Why are you an atheist? Share your story!

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Why are you an atheist? Share your story!

What is your story like?

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I just joined and this is my

I just joined and this is my first discussion in the forum so hi

Paleoanthropology / Evolutionary Anthropology - student's picture
Hello, I just joined as well.

Hello, I just joined as well. I am kind of poking around and checking things out at this point. This looked like an interesting thread and I am curious to see see what some other people's stories are like. I thought it might be a good idea to try and find some other like minded individuals since I have no one here to discuss and share my atheist views with. How are you finding things to be here so far?

Shawn Ivie's picture
I will try to make this short

I will try to make this short and sweet.

I was raised NOT going to church, but my parents were both raised in a Christian background (my mother was raised Catholic and my father Methodist). Even though we never attended church as a family, they still talked mildly of their belief in God and church. We celebrated Christmas and Easter, but never Ash Wednesday or any other minor holidays.

As a kid, I still believed there was a God and I would pray when I was scared or needed something. However, it never felt right. It always felt fake, no matter how much I wanted to believe.... it didn't feel “Real”.

When I had my first child, I decided to start going to church, because I felt the need to have something spiritual and loving in my life. It still didn’t feel right. My visits to church didn’t last long. The first time the pastor started preaching that we HAD to be baptized in order to go to Heaven and NOT go to Hell, was when it suddenly hit me. The ALL LOVING GOD I was looking for was not here. The BULLSH*T meter suddenly went off and I never set foot in church ever again.

However, I still felt a need to have something spiritual in my life, but not religion. The world we live it is amazing and beautiful and I will not “pretend” to know how the world, in all it’s complexities, became that way. I think science explains things better, even though there is so much we don’t know and are still learning about the world around us. However, I just find that I am content with the mind-set that I “Just don’t know, the unknown”..... and that’s ok. Does that make me a full out Atheist? I don’t know. What I do know and feel in my heart is that, religion is man-made. It was created to control the masses.

Is there life after death? Do we go on when we die? I hope so, but I don’t know. Nobody knows. So, I will keep asking questions, reading books and keep an open mind. Maybe, some day I will know.... or just cease to exist.

Paleoanthropology / Evolutionary Anthropology - student's picture
Hello Shawn, thank you for

Hello Shawn, thank you for sharing your story. I just joined and I was instantly drawn to this thread because I am quite curious to see how others ended up here as well. I immediately started reading others stories and have not even gotten around to posting mine as of yet. I can relate to a lot of what you said. I will spare the in depth details of my story for my post but the experience of feeling nothing when going to church is very familiar to me. I grew up in a very strict Christian household and we had to be in church every time the doors were open. I hid my lack of belief from the time I was old enough to understand it until I was 15 because I knew my family would go nuts when I finally told them. Very long and painful story later I have been disowned by most of my family. I occasionally see my father still but it usually ends abruptly because he still sees it as his fatherly duty to make sure I get brainwashed. I have given up and lost everything for my atheist views, but I cannot be someone that I am not, and it sounds like you have had an similar inward struggle. If belief is not there, it is not there, and no amount of praying will change that. For many many years I said exactly what you did above, that I do not know and that is alright with me. I can understand that viewpoint but it eventually changed for me. I have gradually come to the point, particularly since I started studying human evolution, where I realized that I do know, I am an atheist. I was hesitant to commit to the term for a long time because when I was younger I did not want to make a definite leap in any direction as long as I felt that it might be a knee-jerk reaction to my upbringing. I have now been away from that influence for a long time. Odd as it sounds, I actually, literally, breathed a sigh of relief when I recently finally said out loud, "I am an atheist". It probably sounds silly, but for me it has been a missing piece of the puzzle that I have been searching for my whole life to know that for sure. I wish you all the best in your studies, no matter where you end up with it, I know it feels so much better to know in the long run.

When I was young I was always

When I was young I was always an atheist my parents weren't religious. Some kid at school started some conversation about a church and they asked me and I said I was a non believer. They looked at me like I had two heads. Seriously I kid you not I thought I had a second head growing out of my neck. There was a huge argument and I eventually won. Later in fifth grade, the subject came up again and some person came with a book to try to prove me wrong. Other kids chased and tackled me and told me to read the book. I read and found no reason to believe them and they said I was blind. I looked at them like they tore a winning lottery ticket for a million dollars in half. Now I don't go to church and find no reason to.

Savine's picture
That is so ignorant! Why do

That is so ignorant! Why do religious people care so damn much about converting non-believers?! "Oh, no, you're different, we must convert you!"

Travis Hedglin's picture
There pastors and preachers

There pastors and preachers tell them to based on interpreted passages in their ancient book.

Pitar's picture
Double-edged sword. Atheists-

Double-edged sword. Atheists-> Thesists-> Atheists-> Theists-> repeat, ad nauseum.

Why do atheists, who've sworn off the whole theist thing, bother to be bothered at all with anything theistic? The whole academic purpose of dispensing with a god and the various spiritual trappings of it is a personal motion suing for peace. Instead, it's more lie conflict.

I don't quite understand declaring one thing and acting opposite of it, in effect. It's...theistic conduct.

Travis Hedglin's picture
"Why do atheists, who've

"Why do atheists, who've sworn off the whole theist thing, bother to be bothered at all with anything theistic?"

Why wouldn't we be bothered by something that makes great attempts to intrude into our lives? I get JW's, seven day Adventists, baptists, and even a few Mormons coming to MY door despite me constantly asking them not to come back. My kid tells me that his teacher often talks about her Christian faith in class, as if it has any place there. My son CAN'T join the boy scouts because he doesn't believe in a god. Yet I am the one overreacting? You really need to stop using this argument as if it means anything in a society that actively discriminates against atheists, it is retarded, and just serves to piss people off.

I really just randomly close

I really just randomly close my username. I have no idea why it is little or dude.

Сергей октябрьский человек's picture
When I was young, round

When I was young, round Primary School age, my school at the time and still does now require you to be a christian, despite how I did not like it, it was a requirement, after reaching through the bible in the church next to school, I slowly started to realize the many flaws in all the passages, I started to doubt God's existence .. then over the course of months, years, I repeated the cycle of reading the bible, and learning the flaws of it, until one day, I realized that all things told, was nothing but lies, something to subjugate the masses, I denounced my belief in Christianity and became an Atheist, as I was firmly convinced, that no divine being that would care for his/her own creations would allow such misery to be inflicted upon the world.

Everyone's story of them is

Everyone's story of them is greatly appreciated.

Tristan Teh Higgins's picture
I grew up in a fundamentalist

I grew up in a fundamentalist baptist household, and the only advantage to that was the food that was served up every Sunday. I have always been skeptical and tried to be rational in our thinking, but sometimes we realize what is being told to us Wasn't scientifically possible or proven to be so.

I read the other stories here and I felt the same way when it came to praying. I prayed but it never felt like anyone was there. I prayed when I needed something severely important or if I was scared. Nothing ever happened even though I put all my faith in God or whatever I believed to be the case.

Like many others, we tend to be an aftermath if religious indoctrination. This is and should be considered child abuse. I was scared all the time of going to hell, I couldn't develop my own personality until the last few years because of having to give yourself and time to God, and above all my families unacceptable to questioning of any sort. You will see it in every religious institution. They don't take too kindly to logical questions and will condemn you to hell fit said questions.

I had extreme doubts in myself for a period of four years until I educated myself, the way I never did before because I never had access to the Internet or books, went back to the default position of humanity. Atheism.

I now operate a highschool Secular Humanist Alliance at my local highschool. Reason is available for everyone and no one should ever have to hide who they are or the questions they want to ask.

GodlessGal's picture
Great story. As a person who

Great story. As a person who is old enough to be your mother and just coming to these conclusions myself, I am glad to see someone as young as you already coming to that conclusion. I wonder how your family feels about your atheism, if you care to share.

Savine's picture
It is awesome that you

It is awesome that you organized and operate a Secular Humanist Alliance, kudos!! I am so glad that you pulled yourself away from all of the Baptist bullshit, because I was raised in such an environment and still have to hear about it from my mom (1,000 miles away). It's pretty frustrating being the black sheep in the family when expectations are for you to be a sweet little white lamb to sacrifice to god.

Doris Tucker's picture
I was raised Roman Catholic,

I was raised Roman Catholic, and unfortunately it's the dominant religion in the latin community. When I was a child I of course bought into it, even becoming an alter server. Growing up I realized they are just fairy tales, stories to pretty much scare you straight. The nonsense alone was enough to turn me away, I only trust in science and fact. I'm too old for fantasies and I raise my daughter proudly with no religion in my home. Being a minority in my community is hard but I am proud to be an Atheist and have the veil pulled from my eyes. I think religion will be the down fall of man if things don't change. It's a way for people to justify war, the objectification of women and other atrocities and I don't want to have any part of it.

ImFree's picture
I was raised in a Church of

I was raised in a Church of Christ environment. I attended a private Church of Christ school 1st through the 8th grade. I’m glad my parents let me leave that school for family budget reasons. I quit attending church about the same time. To be honest, I never liked attending church. At the age of five I remember thinking the story of the talking snake was bizarre. I never walked down the isle to be baptized. From eighth grade till college I was on the fence concerning religion. When I took geology in college, I can remember staring at a box of fossils millions of years old and fell off the fence. The earth’s estimated age is 4.5 billion years old. Subtract six to ten thousand years and that is a big difference religion can’t account for. I trust radiometric dating much more than a conglomeration of superstitious writings from bronze-age sheep herders. Every angle I investigated from other areas of knowledge such as secular history, evolution etc., the biblical fairy tales became more and more ridiculous. I'm happy to be free of the burden of mind-control religion tried to enslave me with.

AntigoneRisen's picture
I think; therefore, I am

I think; therefore, I am Atheist.

So true so true

So true so true

Micki's picture
I've been a christian for 4

I've been a christian for 4 years. It gave me so much stress on trying to please god. I always try to connect with god but I failed to do that. I started to think why should i be in so much pain and pressure just to raise god's arrogance.Why should I constantly apologize to someone who done way more crimes than me?Maybe I failed to connect with god because god doesn't exist.

Ken's picture
There was no alternative. 13

There was no alternative. 13 billion years and I get a whole 3 score and ten, and I have to share that with politicians and theists.

Johnny Moronic's picture
Hello and welcome! I am an

Hello and welcome! I am an atheist mostly due to a lack of gods. My story... hmmm... I'm old, so that would take a while. Short version: Born atheist, still atheist despite the best efforts of my mother. Willing to consider non-atheism upon the presentation of believable, testable evidence. None has been forthcoming thus far. Anyway, life is awesome! Lots of interesting people visit here. (And more than a few nut jobs, who are often very entertaining.) Welcome to AR. Enjoy! - JR

Larry Porter's picture
I was raised in a southern

I was raised in a southern Baptist home and have several preachers in my family but even as a child I was never a believer. But I have studied religion all my life as it would have been easier to be a Christian then and atheist at least in my family I am and old man now 69 years old and I don't have much formal education.But I am certain in my mind that I won the genetic lottery by being born and will not spend my life hoping for some paradise after this world were all lucky to have this one chance at life so enjoy it
.I am new here and this is my first post on this site.

RJ's picture
I was raised southern Baptist

I was raised southern Baptist as well. Thanks for sharing your story!

Nicolas Valencia's picture
This my story.

This my story.

I was raised in a catholic household by my parents. My parents were never that religious but took me to church and I took my first communion. Luckily, my parents got me an astronomy book when I turned 7. This book showed the vastness of our universe and the Big Bang theory for kids. I always read the nonfiction aisle in the libraries. Slowly I connected similar topics. God or I don't know? I picked the I don't know choice. I began peeling away at prayers at church and realized how foolish it was to me. I began researching atheism and here I am in middle school, commenting on an atheist community, being a freethinker.

That's my story.

BlackTag's picture
That moment when you stop in

That moment when you stop in the middle of your bedtime prayer, open your eyes and ask yourself,''WHAT IN THE HELL AM I DOING!!'

I didn't know for my first

I didn't know for my first discussion I would have so many comments and shared stories thanks guys

zebo-the-fat's picture
I was sent to church as a

I was sent to church as a child, but around the age of 13 - 14 I realised that what they were telling me made no sense, so I stopped going. I'm now 60 and have only been in a church for one or two funerals. (I have already made plans for my funeral... the first instruction reads "At the funeral there should be no priests, vicars, ministers, shamans, witch doctors or other peddlers of superstitious nonsense.")

Pitar's picture
Why am I an atheist? Because

Why am I an atheist? Because gawd made me that way ya big silly.

Who knows? Maybe it's because I'm not satisfied with the popularly accepted answers to the larger questions about life. Maybe I'm not biologically predisposed to faith healing. Why are people who they are? One thing's for sure, asking them isn't going to fetch any definitive answers. Why? Because people make stuff up as they go. It's not like that's happened before, right?

Some of it is a certain predisposition of one's tendency to trust or distrust, some of it is weighted by environment - society and culture, some of it is by examining the evidence lying in facts.

For me, I know man will lie, cheat, steal and generally use his fellow man for his own ends. Making stuff up to create for himself a properly orchestrated scam is much more palpable than some pie-in-the-sky, cockamamie story about powerful ghosts selling eternal seats to some favorite afterlife scenario in trade for a mere human life span of part-time praise, worshiping and goody two-shoeing.

RJ's picture
When I was a kid I was told

When I was a kid I was told that there was a God, a Tooth Fairy, and a Santa Clause. As soon as I found out there was no Santa or Tooth Fairy, I began to question the existence of God as well.

Using a typical 9 year-olds logic, I reasoned that the existence of God could be proven or disproven, depending on if prayers were answered. So I prayed. I prayed that I would get a good mark on a test, that my parents would stop having financial difficulty, that the school bully would clean up his act, that my little league baseball team would make the playoffs, etc. But no matter how much or how hard I prayed, none of it seemed to matter. I noticed that the only effect that is made on reality is what people make of it. When I got good marks on a test, it was not because I prayed but because I had to work a little harder. When my Dad got a better job, it was not because anybody prayed but because he'd finally had enough of his old employer and had the courage to move on. When the school bully did something wrong, it was the teachers and principal that had to teach him right from wrong, not some holy manifestation. When my little league team won a game, it was because we practiced harder and played harder than the other team and not any sort of divine intervention. It wasn't God doing all of this good work, it was people. So just like they tell you there is a tooth fairy and a Santa Clause, but it's actually just your family providing for you, so they tell you there is a God who answers prayers, but it's actually just people who care and work hard doing good things.

Fast forward nearly 30 years and I am still non-religious. As I got older and wiser, I realized that, despite this realization, there are people out there who are not free thinking enough to separate religion and morals, either because of social pressure or brain wiring from the way they were raised. Though deep down, I believe that religious people share the same desire as we all do; to be a part of something that is greater than yourself, so I try to be respectful of that. Discussing my atheism, or non-religiousness, is a sensitive topic for me, and I am often guarded about it, as I know some people just aren't emotionally equipped for such discussions.

I find it a relief to have this forum where we can share such stories.


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