I didn't "turn" to athiesm because I didn't like rules or because of some rebellious tantrum. I just came to a point when I realized that religion and gods were made up, and all the things I'd been taught seemed silly. I think the internet helped because it made me realize that people will fucking believe anything.
same here. i was too young to know what i know now, or express it in a strong way. silly was a word i used a lot when discussing God and religion with others in my teens. i'm lucky to have had such an easy time with it, as i'm reading here (and elsewhere) it doesn't come so easy to many.
I have already written my story as a blog entry, so here is the link:
Unlike other "turned" atheists, I wasn't raised in a very religious family. When I was young, I went to a Catholic school where I was forced to attend mass every first week of the month. For six years when I was in that school, I actually believed very strongly in the existence of God and the doctrines of the Christian faith. Fast forward about 10 years and I turned atheist (finally) last year when I found my love for philosophy. It was a little easier for me to reject Christianity because my faith in Christianity wavered a lot after leaving the Catholic school.
For me, it was none of the above. I've always had doubts, even from childhood. I never had a constant religious teaching within one denomination, so I was able to see the conflicts between them. My doubts grew as time went on and I learned more about how the world works. There was a fairly slow erosion of belief. When I started understanding cause and effect, I realized that God really had no bearing on anything that has happened since the beginning of the universe.
I went to a conservative Baptist church for about two years while secretly being a general Deist. What really did it for me in the end was taking a step back, looking at the matter from a completely objective standpoint, and realizing that there was no evidence for god to exist, nor any need. Using the presumption of a deity to explain anything was simply giving up on asking any more questions. I know that in this day and age for many believers, the question of "what came before the big bang?" is the final gap that god has dominion over. But if everything had to be started by something, what created the creator? That's what did it for me, being able to let go of that flawed logic.
I guess I never truly believed. Then I started wondering, if God is a universal truth, why there are so many religions with the notion of "my God", "your God". If something was universal, then it should be like the Sun, water, air. I guess, it didn't make sense at all to have so many definitions, many times totally opposite definitions, for something that is supposed to be universal and not a single empirical proof.
I don't have a conversion experience. I was raised in a nonreligious household. If my parents had any ideas about divinity, etc., they were mostly deistic - a creator god who otherwise left everything and everyone alone. They also probably had some vague notion of heaven, an afterlife where people meet their lost loved ones. My mother died two years ago and my father still thinks that when he dies he will see her again. However, since my mother's death, he has made some pretty stong anti-clerical and anti-theistic statements, certainly stronger than any I remember from him before that time. So, I had no religious background at all. When I got to Junior High, and was old enough to start thinking about these things and met some students who were beginning to accept their church's indoctrination, nothing in religion appealed to me. By about 9th grade or so I was firmly convinced that all religious ideas were complete bunk. In high school I discovered the existentialists (Sartre, Camus, and Kafka mainly) and Ayn Rand, and what they had to say about gods and afterlives and the rest of it fit pretty well the way the world works, while the religious ideas spilling from the mouths of students and occasional teachers made no sense. I've really never looked back, apart from deciding that Rand's objectivism is complete hogwash. But that is another debate.
I was riased not as a strict christian but a very lax catholic in Scotland UK. My Mum sent me and my brother to service but she died when we were young and the catholic services stopped then. I went through life as pretty non religious until I was 19 years old then I had a conversion to christianity and for ten years I lived what I thought was a happy christian life but many many doubts annoyed me. I strggled with a lot of negative thoughts due to what I thought was my lack of faith which meant I was not a very good or productive xian. No one I ever spoke to got saved or experienced the same high on faith that I had experienced originally. I longed for reading material that denied the existance of god for that was the only way I felt better.
If I could disprove gods existance then I could put all my feelings of failure down to mere human psychology and perception. I was more than happy to read of the many accusations against gods existance. Gaining a science degree meant I came in contact with reason and experiment, empiracle truth became the truth that now made most sense to me. It has been a brilliant exprience to rid myself of all the god nonsense, shake myself free from years of negative thinking and wrest back my true mentality.
Reading about the theories of physics and cosmology givs me the knowledge of what happened and that also takes me closer to the reason of why things happened. There is no ultimate answer to why we are here and morality is the morality that we as human beings create and hold acceptible and good. I am now happy to call myself an atheist and a free thinker.
David, I agree 100%. Including the "Rand" assessment.
Kaila, the reasons you have mentioned may be why some people left their own particular religion, but NOT why people become atheists. Consider also the atheists who have never been indoctrinated into a religion by their parents. The reasons you list are why many of the faithful jump from sect to sect. As you read more of these posts, you will be surprised at the various routes we have travelled to reach "enlightenment". For me, the first step was reading the bible. All of it. Studying comparative religions informs us that all the myths have certain things in common. Our own myths begin to appear as outrageous as all the others. Most essential is the having will and capacity to think logically, and reasonably, and to require proof before accepting anything as fact. NOT truth, but fact. The statement, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." sums it up. Then, when we realize that we no longer believe in any gods, some of us who were harmed by religion begin to lick our wounds, and get angry that all that pain and sacrifice was for a stupid delusion. These delusions continue to bully humanity every day.
Will you tell us how you came to be among us, Kaila? I bet your own story is interesting.
i was thinking much the same thing in reading these (wonderful) stories. most cite reasons for leaving religion, but Atheism is a different thing altogether. there are many who can't stand organized religions but maintain their belief in a deity. regardless of how it came to pass, i'm thrilled for everyone's deconversion.
Just sometime back, may be around two months or so before, I had myself run such a discussion on the same topic, in the group 'HANG WITH FRIENDS'. I had received many and very interesting and also educating replies.