What was the turning point, in your life, that helped you become an atheist?

Mine was simple. I was diagnosed with my brain tumor on my 13th birthday. At the time, my parents forced me to go to church and this just made me so angry. And over the years, I was never comfortable being who I was, because the whole concept of atheism was taboo..I never would accept the god BS, fully, because I knew it was a lie and people used it to control me. Being a disabled person was really tough enough, without adding in more stuff to cause grief to my life.... But then, something happened... at 30 years of age, I got to spend 6 months in 4 comas, when my shunt (a valve in my head to drain fluids) failed. This absolutely showed me that there is no god and I was not angry anymore, just frustrated with people, who blindly follwed the religious lies.

 

Now, I am putting together a new advocacy agency, to help people, who are disabled and people, who are disabled and homeless. It is estiated that there are 10,000,000 disabled people in this country and it is estimed that there are 350,000 people, who are disabled and homeless.

 

My agency is called "Journey Thru Storms".

 

My web address is  www.journeythrustormsadvocacy.org

 

Please visit and give your thoughts.

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For me it started when I would ask questions and was punished for doing so, a young boy can't ask questions? Then it really hit home when my grandmother who was a lifelong Catholic made an off hand comment about a friend of mine saying " it's okay to be school friends with him but watch him because he is a Jew" I knew right then and there religion was not for me.
I was around seven or eight when I started questioning the world, and started learning about the world. As I studied, I found out that most of the things described in the "holy" book are outdated, estimates (value of Pi is not 3.0, for example) or simply plain wrong...

I still prayed for a while, even though not to anything particular, and for specific things...

And at 10 I realised that I was an Atheist, and around 12 or 13 I mentioned it to the first person, an American online friend. He was, fortunately, an agnostic. I understood the real "meaning" behind the Bible after I saw Zeitgeist (It's all astrology, people!)...

Last year, I bought "The God Delusion" when on a trip to London, and after I read it, I knew I was right to be an atheist.

I still haven't told my parents, though, but I suspect they know (There's a big Scarlet A in my room - either they think I'm an Atheist, or suspect me of adultery... and there is some Anti-Religious reading material as well)...
My mind always questioned, but it was Tolestoy's Novel "Ressuraction" which provided the final push. I am still unable to understand after all those 17 years that what it was in the book which brought such a big change.
For me it was when I realized that I was the only one in my Sunday school class that was reading the bible and living by the rules. Everyone else in my class was picking and choosing what rules they were going to follow and just basically do whatever they wanted to do. That was when I started to question what I believed in. From there I started to really read the bible, and I also started doing reading from other religious books and started to see that Christianity is nothing but stolen beliefs from older "pagan" religions.
Honestly? When I was Wiccan!

I'd spent most of my life (starting around age 11) trying to find a meaning in various religions, a higher purpose through spirituality and/or religion (I'd tried both Christianity and Buddhism by that point), and I joined a coven in college. I was perceptive enough to be recruited for the "inner circle," in which other early twentysomethings and myself were given a sense of importance and the idea of a sense of control of ourselves and others. During a solstice celebration, I looked closely at our high priestess and realized what she really was: a sad old woman seeking control over others via the promise of power, and no real medium by which to give it.

So I looked at the others in the coven, and realized they too were just looking for an excuse to be important; none of us had any idea what we were doing, besides educated guesses and fun symbolism. There were no spells, only coincidences if you knew where to look; there was no prediction, only the confirmation of what others wanted to hear. If I were to write a chapter about that portion of my life, I'd call it The Great Disillusionment. I miss faith, to be sure, but I feel that I'm honestly better without it.
You might want to check out the group Ex-Wiccans and Pagans
My experience in a coven was about the same. It was just a dysfunctional cult-like clique full of people who hated each other but convinced themselves they loved each other. People don't realize how prone to cult activity paganism really is.
I was pretty sick as a little kid. I learned first hand that the peace, kindness, and decency of religion were a myth. My first actual memory of complete disbelief was at 6 years old. Lucky for me we had no deep religious beliefs in my immediate family. I think it is great that you have started an agency. I have worked as a welfare officer in child protection. I do a lot of work in housing and mental health. I write so many submissions I get invited to many govt functions. I speak at govt inquiries and tribunals. I believe our place is everywhere. Every kindness matters. Just taking the time to say hello, read a pamphlet, or write a letter or email to your local representative on issues your passionate about. I believe every letter or email counts.
My advice is to join Slate's (magazine)online chats. I did and I live in Australia. I told them that for a country that had such a high number of declared christians, the lack of decent health care and services for the poor and low incomed was an outrage. Slate magazine started to invite me to lots of things in Washington. Give it a go and see if you can get some invites to issues that grab your interest. There are it seems many senators and the like at these things. It can do no harm and may get you some help with your organisation.
Best of luck
After reading Simone de Beauvoir.
It's sort of a long story but to make it short (LOL - I guess I failed in the short department . . .), it was when my closest friend developed this horrible chronic pain condition. He had a rough life already (horribly abused as a child, rare joint condition, chronic kidney stones) but he had some very awesome qualities. Things in his life took one bad turn after another. At that time, I had recently "come back" to fervent Christianity. By that I mean, going to church, praying all the time, trying to have "child-like faith", trusting God to provide.

I prayed so hard for my friend. I cried and prayed on my knees that things could be ok for him - things could work out. This went on for years. It then came to be that I was praying for some other people in my life that needed relief from other opressions. God did nothing. Nothing changed for the better and every single person I prayed for seemed to have things get worse. It got to the point where I was afraid to pray for anyone. Afraid even to pray the general prayer in church because I began to believe that if I prayed for anyone or anything, only bad things would result. It seemed like either God hated me personally or God does not exist.

I should mention here that also, I could not fathom that the loving God we are taught about would give this person the terrible things that he experienced throughout his life. I did not see how a "loving" God would do that to any person - and then provide no respite from it - or purpose for it - or anything positive at all from it.

So, then I thought - wait a minute. Does God EVER answer a prayer? (You might have heard people say "yes" it was just not the right time - or no one knows the mystery of God, etc.) But I saw absolutely no proof of any answered prayer.

Now I used to have an event or two in my life that I pointed to as God giving me what I needed at that time - or even answering a prayer. But the more I thought about God, the more I didn't see any evidence at all of his existence. Many of the things that seemed mysterious in olden times have now been explained by science and are not divinely derived.

It seemed to me that the roots of religion are manifold. Explanation of things not understood (the weather, where we came from, etc.) ethics, control of populations (the "opiate of the masses . . ."), human arrogance (we are so great we are made in the image of God) and here's a biggie: human inability to accept the finality of death.

After much soul searching, I believe we are just animals - like cats, dogs and coyotes. We happened to evolve this brain and the opposible thumbs (:>P) that allow us to shape our environment and invent, etc. But we have no life after death. This is it.

And here's the irony for me. At the beginning of my relationship with my friend, I thought God brought us together so I could show him God. But in the end, he showed me through his circumstances that God is a fable. Unable to bear his burdens any longer, my friend ended his own life this last April.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it :>)
I was never really an theist. Sure i got told there is this god somewhere up and the clouds but same time with you and some stuff in school but I jus nver happpned to believe in it because it seemed just weird to me. I also was bored of reading bible because I didnt like them age o much in genesis. I never had a problem to admit it though because I don't cime from a religious region(Here unless you want to work for church it is not allowed to ask of a person's religion in a job interview by the way. )I always liked to read and my parents and who else ever got me books got me great ones, so as a 9 year old I read a book about genetics it was a huge book and colourful and for kids and explained many different aspects of genetics I wish I remembered the publisher because I loved the style. :)

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