when did you realize that you had truly let go of god?

i would like people to share their stories or expireances with the end of their religious beliefs. i think mine was a long time coming, i was raised southern baptist, very strict, and i never truly bought the entire story. i was listening to a book on tape,maybe the phsycology of religion,not sure. the phrase that rang my bell was " a god is a being Worthy of worship". yeah,if there is a god, universal energy, what ever, i find the phrase Worthy of worship to be a good rule of thumb. i have yet to find such a being. so now i'm an atheist.my husband is the only person who knows how i feel,although he doesn't fully agree. i don't know anyone that thinks such crazy ideas about god. it's good to know there are others who have found a similar path.

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I was born and raised the fourth of thirteen children in a very religious mormon family.  My parents decided that public schools were unholy places for their children to be educated, as they taught about such pernicious lies as evolution and refused to pray to the almighty day in and day out as a part of their normal class schedule.  So, when I was three years old, my parents began to home-school my siblings and I.  I was never allowed to enter a public school of any kind.  Our school days began at 6:00 am, when my mother would wake us all up, drag us and our blankets into the living room, where we would pray, sing a hymn or two and then read a few chapters of the bible, book of mormon, d&c or pearl of great price (the mormon scriptures) then we would sing and pray again and go eat breakfast.  After breakfast, we would do our chores (or the girls would do their chores while the superior boys would play).  and then, according to the schedule, we would do our school work, which usually meant we would all disperse and avoid each other for the rest of the day in any way we could.  While I learned to read at a very early age (so early that I have no memory of it, my mother tells me I was three) math and science were sadly neglected.  I have struggled my entire adult life to make up for the massive holes in my education.  I was a very studious child, and read voraciously.  Mostly religious books about mormonism.  At the age of 12, my eyes were first opened to the idea that there might exist some reality other than mormonism.  My sunday school teacher, who was black, told us about the racist doctrines of the church.  I was completely shocked!  I found it completely unfathomable that god could possibly discriminate against his own creations.  At first I refused to believe what this teacher was telling me.  I researched all the mormon teachings on the subject and argued endlessly with this teacher.  In the end however, my research led me to an unavoidable conclusion; the mormon church is horribly racist.  from there, all of the church's doctrines began to fall one by one.  the sexism that so pervades the church's teachings was always bothersome to me, and only became more so as I grew older and became more and more aware of it.  At 14, I started volunteering at a living history museum that re-enacted early utah life as it was in the period between initial settlement and the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad.  While working there, I met a historian who was employed there.  He had been excommunicated from the church for writing a history of the church that conflicted with the church's official version.  At the time he wrote his book, he still believed in mormonism, but his treatment upon presenting what he found to be accurate in historical writings made him re-think his position.  While he never tried to direct me away from the church, he taught me how to do historical research and helped start me on my own investigation of the origins of mormonism.  Needless to say, my findings led to an inevitable conclusion.  

While my faith in the mormon church ended in my mid teens, I struggled for many years with my lack of faith.  I found life among believing mormons to be intolerable, so I ran away from home at 17 and joined the Army.  (actually, my parents kicked me out when I told them I wanted to join)

From there I traveled the world, got the education my parents had denied me, became fluent in three languages and established a successful career for myself.  During this period of my life, I studied many other religions, but found none of them to be satisfying and eventually just shoved it all to the back of my mind.

It wasn't until I met my husband and was able to freely discuss my opinions with another human being that I finally began to seriously research the whole question of god and finally came to the conclusion that, not only was mormonism a complete hoax, but all religion and belief in any type of god is an invention of the human mind.  My husband started reading the same books I was, and through our constant discussions, he quickly came to the same conclusion.

The realization was pretty terrifying at first, but then, after I came to accept what my senses had been telling me was true from the beginning, I finally felt a release from all the guilt and fear religion had drilled into me.  I have never felt so free or so happy to be able to pursue whatever life I choose.  

Strangely enough whenever someone asks me this question, my mind always goes back to a very clear memory of when I was a child maybe 5 or 6 when I asked my mom "If God created the earth, then who created God?" and my mom telling me that "you don't ask such questions, God just is", and me just pondering over and over how this was supposed to be possible....skepticism from an early age huh? However, I really started questioning the existence of God towards the end of high school.  Understand, I come from a deeply religious home and whenever I would question the existence of God it felt like I was committing a huge sin, I would feel guilty and all. I'm an avid reader of Greek and Roman mythology and What really used to bother me, was how people transitioned from worshiping Greek or Roman gods to worshipping "God", and why God won't help the poor people and why the people who have grown up Muslim will not go to heaven? I figured that since I had grown up Christian, if a Muslim came up to me talking about Mohamed I would probably laugh him out of my house, This was towards the end of high school.  But when I got into university wow, I took philosophy 101 class and this really widened my perspective on things, I really started reading up on logic, the arguments for and against God, the history of the church  I still used to feel guilty and all for reading such works BUT I didn't stop believing in God THEN and certainly not for logical reasons.  I was going through depression in University and I used to pray right? I would go to church because I felt hopeless, unwanted and it felt like my prayers weren't going anywhere.  The exact moment I stopped believing in God was this service I went to, I gave all the money I had for the month like 600 dollars in the church offering because what I was thinking then was that God would see how hopeless I was or whatever.  The moment I stepped out of that building, it was like a lightning bolt just struck me.  I asked myself: If God exists and even if he does help me, what makes my situation that much different from a family who doesn't have food to eat or clothes to wear, what makes me any different from a child in war torn Somalia or Sudan who has never had any enough to eat for as long as he can remember, why can't God help those people? There's no way he can possibly exist.  My decision  was more emotional than logical but that was the exact moment I truly let go of God, 600 dollars well spent :)

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