De-converted Christians! What was that pivotal moment that you knew you weren't a Christian anymore?

Story time!

I wanted to be a warrior for Christ. I went to private christian schools all through middle school and was very devoted.

The moment that it clicked that Christians were irrational was in 8th grade. I'll never forget it.

My middle school was "preparing us" in the last 2 months before graduation to "fight the good fight" and hang on to our religion even though high school would challenge us with things like evolution.

They gave us a 2 month course on atheist arguments and how to counter them. The effect was SO ironic. Finally I was exposed to the opposite opinion and awakened my mind for debate. The answers that they gave were so irrational; such petty sidesteps.

The very first class, I got there all excited to learn how to defend Christianity and the topic was evolution. Of course, I knew all about evolution but had never thought about it as being wrong or contrary to the Bible.

(Side note: My parents didn't try to brainwash me like the school did, so they taught me other religions and other theories so that I could have the facts and draw my own conclusions. My parents were by no means radical (LOL) they only sent me there because they thought being around good people would prevent me from joining a gang later on.)

The teacher started by teaching evolution from a theist perspective (facinating, by the way, in retrospect) and finally started making the arguments.

The first one was: "Think about it. If we were evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?"

I was dumbfounded. Her argument was stupid. It was from complete ignorance. I had looked up to this woman and listened to what she taught about the Bible. Now she was wrong. Now she didn't do her homework before she taught. What else did she have the wrong answers to?

I spent the next two months pouring over the Bible and finding inconsistencies and troubling thoughts and wrote them down to ask the Bible teacher. Finally, I took some of these questions to her and the answers to half of them were (seriously): "God works in mysterious ways. His thinking is higher than ours and we can't understand his plans."

This was the second click. I walked out of that door an agnostic, later to become an atheist who can "defend my lack of faith" thanks to my Bible teacher.


What was that moment for you?

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Comment by Johnny on November 6, 2009 at 3:32am
amen to that.
Comment by Jason Spicer on November 6, 2009 at 2:24am
Jared, I think you picked up a bit of a contact high there. Sounds like fun, though.

John Q, I admire your criteria for selecting a religion. At least your inspiration was right in front of you, in the flesh. The hot, steamy flesh.

As for myself, I didn't really have an a-ha moment. But after getting thru my teens without the big guy returning my calls, I moved on. Another decade and I had read enough to realize what a scam religion is and how easily it capitulates to the merest whiff of critical thinking. Ever since, I've been atheist, and lately pretty much anti-theist. The more I learn, the more pissed off I get that this lunacy is so entrenched and ruins or devalues so many lives.
Comment by Johnny on November 6, 2009 at 1:58am
whew what a mouthful! people like you are exactly why i wrote this. I felt a surge of pure joy when i left theism even better than the one i got when i found "the holy spirit."

I like reading the stories that are long and proud. Leaving theism is no small accomplishment. I feel like I am a part of an elite few and have a great secret and I love being able to share that with other atheists.
Comment by Jared Lardo on November 6, 2009 at 12:19am
Sorry if this ends up having been outlandishly long. I go mad with the details of cognition on topics like this, trying to suck out every last detail that contributed to the pivotalness of the moment.

While I wasn't the loud, noisy kind of "christian" that some may have been, I called myself one. The pivotal moment was when I was off in my thoughts once again, as I often was, philosophising about something, and I was continuing my investigation of the afterlife--similar to that time when it was suggested to try to deduce the number of teeth in a horse's mouth from first principles, I suppose in retrospect--and I looked honestly about each thing that I felt to be the case and why, in order to arrive at the truth and not deceive myself, and some question came up that I can no longer remember and the reason why I felt about it as I felt was "because I don't believe in God."

I woke up then, feeling, loud and clear, the carpet beneath me and hearing the gentle hum of the vents--or whatever I felt and heard--I just made those details up for examples. I became keenly aware that I had composed, from individual words, using no stretch in their meanings, with perfect rigor and consistency of language, the sentence that I was to most strongly execrate. It was worse than farting in an elevator, or church, or even a mini-chapel in a large elevator in a super mega-church--it was more provocative than denying the Holocaust in front of each and every Jew, once a day, every day.

Necessarily, as in the latter example, a fight broke out. It seems that that very conflict has shaped my character and tastes to this day. A fr'aquiantance of mine who utters such nonsensical stoner'd-out nonsense that I'd smack him in the teeth with an umbrella if I'd carry one around more often asserted some faggotry in which gravity and magnetism were interrelated--using the very same "You don't know 100%." argument that gets used for arguments for such-and-such a god all the time to argue his view. Of course, as he has easily admitted to having used the grass, and as I have met another person who is shite at following premises to their conclusions and is a stoner like fuck-all, I imagine that his perfect ineptitude with anything even slightly scientific is influenced by a combination of having had deep-feeling "philosophical" discussions while passing a blunt and by a sort of unwillingness on his part to see that he has ever held a misconception--the key misconception in which he has engaged being that whatever the nonsense du jour is that he's ejaculating is insignificant and that he's essentially holding onto the past and to that feeling of deep-penetrating meaningfulness that struck him hard while he has hitting the reefer. I try, whenever I can, to lead him down a proper path of deduction from first principles, each of which would be secured in by the successes of prior scientific experimentation proving the principles, but he ever interrupts me in the middle of a word "Ah! But you don't know!"

I think I might have ended up like him, had that fight gone the other way. I had the confidence in my ability to assess whether the techniques that had been employed to come to the conclusion were rigorous. I was a scientist about it. Somewhere in the administrative fog of those fractions of a second, whether my ability to do this assessing was good came up; I digested the topic at length and concluded "Fuck you, this question is fucking bullshit. *spit*" and carried on. Of course it was differently phrased, as I was only 9 at the time, but the conclusion was, in fact, simply that my ability to assess the poorness of my ability to assess whatever exactly it was that I was assessing that ultimately led me to the conclusion that I didn't believe in that god wasn't good enough for me to render an opinion on it. I.e. assessing a value as 56.789±.002±.00004m, assigning an error rating to an error rating on a measurement is an absurdity and is irrelevant to actual answers.

With that settled, and with the error rating on my cognition found to be zero, and with the realization that my god-beliefs were puffy clouds of smoke lacking worthy form, making my analysis a better answer in comparison regardless of my having reliably found that they were reliable, I followed through, concluding as I did.
Comment by Laura on November 5, 2009 at 10:57pm
I didn't have a moment. For me, it was incredibly scary because I was so deeply entrenched in it. It took 5 years. I don't remember just one moment. When I finally did become an atheist, I put the label on and took it back off many times before it stuck. I did have many "huh?!" moments like what you described, though. I remember in elementary school sitting in a Ken Ham lecture aimed at children. His big slogan to ask those horrible evolutionists was "Were you there?" And I thought, What?! Nobody was there! Adam and Eve aren't still alive telling us about it! I asked my mom, and she mumbled some kind of incoherent response that left me unsatisfied.

It was the first question of many that went unanswered for many, many years.
Comment by Johnny on November 5, 2009 at 9:55pm
Nobody actually told me about Santa. I figured it out when I was so young because he used the same wapping paper we had.

I never told my parents for like 3 years though because I got the extra presents from Santa LOL
Comment by Jim DePaulo on November 5, 2009 at 6:40pm
About a year after a caught on to the Santa scam I reasoned that god was just a Santa for grown ups and was a story they told each other. Later I discovered I wasn't far off the mark. Except god was a cheap shit and never brought presents.
Comment by Johnny on November 5, 2009 at 5:16pm
Saving it because god commands you to is no power at all!

I agree with the whole "holding back for power" thing, but that's only if the woman is trying to hook a man w/ playing hard to get...not necessarily because she is a slave to god's will. Big difference.
Comment by Johnny on November 5, 2009 at 3:09pm
Why are all the hottest girls the ones who live at church and want to save themselves for marriage? Isn't it terrible? Society is so messed up.
Comment by Johnny on November 5, 2009 at 3:08pm
"I finally settled on Baptist, naturally, because all the hot girls in school were baptists."

hahaha great way to decide how to pass the test of God and into eternal salvation!

It's rather dark, once you think about it, but that's often how it works.

Thanks for sharing =)

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