I'll Tell You Mine if You Tell Me Yours!

35 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jimmy Neutron's picture
I'll Tell You Mine if You Tell Me Yours!

I got on this website mostly because I was interested in hearing other people's stories about how their journey in life led to agnosticism or atheism. I also wanted to tell my story and see how many people could relate to it. I know it's a bit long, but it feels important somehow to put it out there. Also, please feel free to tell me your story as I would love to read it.

I’m a 60 year old man and I can’t even begin to express, and certainly could never overstate, the profound impact that religion, and ultimately non-religion, has had on my life. Like many atheists, I grew up as a Fundamentalist Christian; you know, church service Sunday morning and Sunday night, Tuesday night “visitation” (knocking on doors of people that weren’t in church on Sunday to try to get them to come to church again), Wednesday evening service, Saturday youth group, Vacation Bible School, church camp, daily prayer, memorizing hundreds of bible verses, the whole ball of wax; total indoctrination! What I remember most about those religious years, though, was my unrelenting and nearly constant worry about people I loved burning in hell! It was completely torturous to have been so brazenly brainwashed with such nonsense, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that to be taught such a horrendous thing at such a young age was almost certainly a most vile form of emotional child abuse!

I’d have to say that for pretty much my entire childhood, I was, as far as being a Christian goes, “all in”. I believed what I was told and had virtually no doubt about the authenticity and truth of the biblical narrative our church espoused. Around the time middle school began, though, there was a series of events, one being (believe it or not) when our Pastor told the one and only African-American family that attended our church that they needed to find another one because they weren’t welcome at ours (and this was in Detroit in 1971). Even having lived in a white-bread bubble for all 12 years of my life at that point, I knew there was something inherently and terribly wrong about this. That same year, my beloved grandmother died of a sudden heart attack and when I told my Sunday school teacher how much I was suffering because I wasn’t sure if she was “saved” or not, and greatly feared that she was now burning in hell, his idiotic and non-helpful response was to say, “Well, Brian, that IS what the Bible teaches and that’s why we have to bring as many people to the Lord as we can.” Of course at 12 years old, as you can imagine, all I heard from that statement was, “Yes, Brian, she is now literally on fire!” It was horrible. These events, and others like them over the next few years, eventually led me to a desire for an unflinching honesty and a desire to learn about what was real and what was honest; and what wasn’t.

I began dissecting and dismantling my religious beliefs when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. I can’t even begin to express what that process was like for me, but by the time I was through, after literally years of struggling and wrestling with it, I just couldn’t continue to be a “believer” anymore and would never again consider myself to be a Christian. I could find absolutely no conceivable way to reconcile my basic common sense with an entire narrative that seemed to be extremely unlikely at best. I just couldn’t continue to convince myself, anymore, of any truth in the litany of implausibility which I had so convincingly been taught. For example, I couldn’t come to terms with, or accept the “fact” that the earth could possibly be less than 10,000 years old, or that snakes or donkeys or burning bushes could talk, or that a man lived in the mouth of a whale for three days, or that a God could possibly ask Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his love and devotion to Him, or that men could have lived to be 900 years old, or that a woman could be turned into a “pillar of salt”, or that the Noah’s Ark story was even remotely plausible, or that the 10 Commandments didn’t even prohibit such obviously immoral acts as rape or slavery – while at the same time included several basically meaningless commandments that had no moral importance or relevance whatsoever. The story of Job, raising Lazurus from the dead, God somehow being Jesus and some kind of holy ghost (whatever that is) at the same time, Jesus coming back to life, Mary’s virgin birth, the intolerance and hatred of homosexuals, the easy dismissal of any and all other religions, condoning slavery, a completely invisible place in the sky called heaven, a lake of fire for nonbelievers, all of the random, unfair and unnecessary suffering in the world, unanswered prayer, the hypocrisy of church leaders, other religions with literally billions of devout adherents that had to be wrong for me to be right, millions of children under the age of 5 dying every year; the list goes on and on. What I went through to come to my conclusions, I have to admit, was quite scary and horrible at times, but I reached a point where intellectual honesty and Christianity just weren’t compatible in my brain anymore and finally, after a long and laborious process, I just had to let go of that helium balloon called “faith” and watch it disappear.

Believe me, I am well aware of how nonbelief and apostasy are viewed by most people in this world, but I couldn’t square my religious beliefs with what made any kind of honest, real sense to me. So while atheism may mean all kinds of horrible things to people, for me it wasn’t anything more than an undaunted determination, willingness and desire to be profoundly honest with myself about it, and that’s all it was, and is, period. There was no evil, or Satan, or devil worship, or anything else involved. To believe in a God requires faith, which seems to me is nothing more than a willingness to accept and embrace a conclusion based on bad (or no) evidence, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t see any value or virtue in that.

Then, once I’d worked my way through all of that and concluded I could no longer consider myself a Christian, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d been a complete fool, that I’d been duped, manipulated, lied to and cheated out of my real, actual life to that point. I swore to myself right then that I would never allow anything even remotely similar to that to happen to me again. I would live in the real world, the honest world, the non-delusional world, the world of evidence, peer-review, plausibility, believability and common sense. So I’ve spent the last 35 years completely determined to settle for nothing less than an unflinching pursuit of intellectual and emotional honesty with myself, unencumbered by supernatural or superstitious beliefs of any kind. I’ve remained vigilant because I felt so strongly that I never wanted to feel that tricked, or cheated, or ignorant and foolish ever again! There are no words that can adequately express how lucky I feel and how grateful I am to have escaped that world of complete and utter nonsense!

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Jimmy Welcome Home....*hug*

@ Jimmy

Welcome Home....*hug*

Cognostic's picture
@Jimmy Neutron: Yep! 1972

@Jimmy Neutron: Yep! 1972, Kansas State Fair, Bible in my hand, walking around the grounds looking for victims to recruit into the Assemblies of God. Been there and done that. Dropping my faith; however, was not that difficult for me once I began noticing the hypocrisy of the Church. I made the dreaded mistake of wanting to be a preacher and actually wanting to know more and understand the Bible and its teachings. A friend of mine and myself decided to visit every church in town. WOW! That could cure anyone. It's almost like actually reading the Bible. It was an eye-opener. And like a person moving to another country and living there for years, when I returned to my own country (Chruch) I was able to see it like an outsider and it was just as weird as all the rest. The delusion became obvious and I just stopped going. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, Carlos Castaneda, The Seth Materials (Jane Roberts), and eventually, J. Krishnamurti (Some excellent stuff here) among others, all influenced my path into non-belief. The more beliefs I delved into, the more they became magical kingdoms that one could visit without setting up residency. The world became a place full of magical kingdoms and I have simply elected not to live in any of them.

Tin-Man's picture
@Jimmy Re: "There are no

@Jimmy Re: "There are no words that can adequately express how lucky I feel and how grateful I am to have escaped that world of complete and utter nonsense!"

Amen, Brother! (Pardon the term.) I know exactly what you mean. I only wish I could have escaped as soon as you did. As it was, it took me until my late forties before I was finally able to unshackle myself. Bravo to you for being able to get out far sooner than I was able... *tipping hat in respect*...

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks, Tin-Man. How old

Thanks, Tin-Man. How old were you when you finally 'saw the light'? Did you struggle with it for a long time? Was there a tipping point? Tell me a little more about your experience, if you don't mind. I'd love to hear it.

NewSkeptic's picture
@Jimmy,

@Jimmy,

I have to admit I rarely read posts that long, but I found yours compelling and appreciated every word. Your story is similar to mine in many respects,

You'll find a great community here. I look forward to your contributions.

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks, NewSkeptic. You are

Thanks, NewSkeptic. You are exactly the type of person I hoped would read it and comment on it. Thanks so much for the kind words. Very much appreciated!

LogicFTW's picture
@Jimmy Neutron

@Jimmy Neutron

Thank you for sharing your story. I always find these stories, and even the opposite (someone going atheist to theist,) fascinating. There is a few old threads here in the hub where regulars here posted their "atheist origin" stories. If you are interested in reading more of them.

Incase you can't find that thread (I think it is at least a year old), a quick rundown of my own story:
My mother was atheist (but not vocal about it) My father was RCC, but did not ever really pushed it on us, (especially around my mother!) I grew up with very little tv, no internet and little other exposure to mass media and certainly very little exposure to church/religion.

My maternal grandmother would send me books for birthdays/christmas. (Yeah not the first thing I wanted as an ~8 year old!)
She first sent Aesop's fables. Which I understood to be fiction, (kind of obvious isn't it!) Then she sent me a "youth" version of the holy babble. No one explained to me that this particular book (or a different version of it) people hold very sacred and many people consider the events depicted in it actually occurred. I read it like Aesop's fables. It was only months after I read it and asked my parents/peers about it did I realize it was much more than just a fictional book to many people. My 8 year old brain correctly realized that: no, the book is fiction, and that little tipping point against religion at 8 years of age never went away, only strengthened.

Most of my teenage years I just plain did not care. I thought little of religion or even of the people that practiced it. I tried not to be judgemental but just figured people believe crazy things. Fortunately my minimal exposure to religion stayed that way. My family and myself made friends with people that were mostly the same way. I cared about teenager things instead.

Later in my life (right around when I turned 30,) I began to question why do people deny human caused climate change? All the evidence is there and is obvious and extremely well vetted. Later with the election of tRump, I again got confused, why do so many people vote so obviously against their own self interest?

I found my way to this site and a few others like it. Started interacting with both atheist and theist more and in the last almost 3 years learned a lot. How evil just about all religions are and how much they hold us back as a species, and also I began to understand (certainly do not agree with!) why people believe in religions, why they vote against their own self interest etc.

 
 

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks for the tip on the old

Thanks for the tip on the old thread, LogicFTW; I will definitely check that out. And thanks for sharing your story. I seem to have an unlimited fascination with hearing about how people get to the conclusions they reach about religion. In your particular story, whenever I hear (or read) that someone just simply grew up with very little exposure to religion I always feel something akin to jealousy. I hope you realize how truly lucky you were to not have to 'undo' all of the damage done by the brainwashing,, which literally took me years to dismantle and is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Your parents deserve all kinds of credit for that! Again, thanks for sharing; I appreciate it.

LogicFTW's picture
@Jimmy Neutron

@Jimmy Neutron

Thanks for the tip on the old thread, LogicFTW; I will definitely check that out.

Sure! I wish I could better remember how long ago those thread(s) were and their titles, maybe try searching for story in the title of the threads.

whenever I hear (or read) that someone just simply grew up with very little exposure to religion I always feel something akin to jealousy. I hope you realize how truly lucky you were to not have to 'undo' all of the damage done by the brainwashing

Oh I am very grateful and feel very lucky. I am always very impressed by those (lots of them here!) that were raised in the thick of religion, brainwashed from a young age and they still managed to pull themselves out of it. I honestly don't know in a "what if" scenario if I was raised in a highly religious family if would've ever freed myself from bondage to religion.

which literally took me years to dismantle and is one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I could only begin to imagine, again kudos to you and everyone else that managed this despite the "harder" road.

A thought occurred to me writing this, so many of the major religions today, certainly jewish people sort of base themselves on how much sacrifice, and how hard their road to is to their "truth" and "faith." Constantly getting tested and all that. But how hard is it really to have "faith" when you were brainwashed by every single parent and "trusted" figure in your life as well as all your siblings, friends etc to believe in "faith"? It sounds more like that is the easy default most people slide into. I would be more impressed and likely to believe they have a lot of sacrifice etc if they managed to find their religion w/o constant heavy brainwashing like exposure from a young age. Their faith was never really tested or in doubt until they go out to the broader world and meet people that actually do not think like them. Instead most of these people stay in their little "bubble," of people that think exactly like themselves.

One thing I like about Atheist republic boards and others like them, is we interact with religious apologist all the time instead of staying in our little "bubble" and I don't think anyone can deny we are constantly exposed to various religions, "atheist that give a shit" I would say are still a tiny minority around the world.

 
 

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
Tips on forum use. ▮ A.R. Member since 2016.
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Pirate Jack's picture
@Jimmy Neutron

@Jimmy Neutron

Your story mirrors my life in a lot of ways. I spent my childhood trying to make sense of something that made no sense. I was not as heavy into attending church as my parents didn’t either, but that didn’t mean I still didn’t struggle with religion. My biggest hang up was “ if it’s not real, why do so many people believe “? I continued to struggle with many thoughts until one day I concluded that the shit did not make sense, that it was more likely to be bullshit than to be true, and that it is a scam to rob ignorant people of their money. I began researching a bit and it affirmed what I thought. It is a form of abuse. It is a money making machine. It is brainwashing. It is all 100% fucking bullshit! I hate religion and everything it stands for!

,

Jimmy Neutron's picture
I have reached that point of

I have reached that point of hating religion, too, Pirate Jack, but unless you're really immersed in it like I was, I don't think you can quite understand the 'Fear of God' that is instilled in you that it burdens you with the rest of your life, even when you KNOW it's ridiculous! If I'm being honest, to this day I catch myself occasionally worrying that He's watching me and is going to punish me somehow for my 'backsliding', even though it's been 35 years since I turned my back on it and I totally realize that it's completely absurd nonsense to think that way. Our church also taught that at the end of life there would be something along the lines of a movie of your life that everyone would see and I still sometimes picture in my mind something that I'm doing (or have done) on that big screen someday and everyone will see me at my worst. How crazy is that?!? They cast the dye so intensely, and it is so hard to overcome that it is not an exaggeration or an overstatement at all to call it psychological abuse, as you eloquently do! That's exactly what it is. I hate those bastards that did that to me. I really do, and I don't care if they thought their hearts were in the right place, or whatever. It's pure evil!!

Randomhero1982's picture
Lovely post Jimmy and it's a

Lovely post Jimmy and it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

I hope you enjoy the site and participate.

My story is fairly different in regard to many atheists I know, in that I never had any belief in the first place.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where religion and politics were not discussed and therefore I had no foundational indoctrination.

From there I attended fairly secular schools that again did not push religion and then at my secondary school (13 or 14 years old) religious education class was presented to me as an optional class.

I took it for a few weeks to see what it was all about as I'm somewhat of a bookworm and love to learn constantly.

However, the stories being told, the passages being read and so on.. just struck me as nothing other then fabrications constructed by men.

As I got older I noticed it appeared to be a primitive attempt to understand the world, since superseded by science.

I also begun to draw the conclusion that it was simply a form of neurological control and social engineering.

Still to this day I find the claims of a mythical deity to be pathetic and surplus to requirement.
I cannot take any religious claim seriously and although I know this is quite a strident approach, I maintain that in order for religion to have any credence, it must meet certain criteria for proof.

Of which is has not, will not and cannot.

Jimmy Neutron's picture
Thanks for sharing that,

Thanks for sharing that, Randomhero1982. While I was reading your reply, I couldn't help but wonder how many more non-believers there would be if we were all raised the way you were. How many adults would find God and religion even remotely plausible if they weren't introduced to it as a child? It seems like we'd have a whole lot more people like you walking around and the world would be a vastly better place! Again, thanks for your input.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey there, Jimmy. My

Hey there, Jimmy. My apologies for the delayed response. Things have been rather hectic around my part of the woods lately. Don't have near as much time to get on here like I usually do. Anyway, I'll try to give you the Reader's Digest version of my story. I actually have a few detailed versions of it on a few different threads, but I haven't had time to track them down. If you want to take the time to scroll through all the responses in my profile, you may be able to run across one or two. Until then, here it the basic down and dirty of my escape...

I grew up in a Baptist/Methodist household in a very small town Christian-oriented community. My Mom and my Granny were stout Baptists, and I had an Uncle who was a Methodist preacher. Very rarely did we miss Sunday church services, and quite often attended Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. All the major holiday gatherings, of course, and any other special church events, along with a couple of weeks of vacation bible school during the summer months. Basically, the works. Oh, and I recall being one of the shepherds gathered around darling little baby Jesus during a grade school Christmas play. (Fourth or fifth grade, I do believe.) Got baptized when I was about eight or nine. Funny thing, though, is that the more I went and the more sermons I heard and the more bible lessons I was taught..... the LESS and LESS it all made any sense to me. Even at a very young age, I was able to detect the inconsistencies and contradictions. Problem was, though, I just did not know how to verbalize them or fully understand them at the time. I only knew that too much of that stuff never added up in any reasonable way, and it always made me feel very uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, the concept of heaven/hell was the one thing that got cemented into my psyche very early on. Plus, I was taught that to question the bible/God could possibly get my little ass sent to hell to be punished by the nasty Satan for eternity. Being an obedient and respectful child, I simply trusted the adults who loved and cared about me knew more than what I understood. The shit still never made sense to me, though, and I stopped going to church as often as soon as I was old enough to make that decision for myself. I NEVER felt comfortable walking into a church. And, oddly enough, that made me think more and more that maybe there was something wrong with me. Therefore, I just avoided the subject as much as I could.

The one positive thing I had going for me was that my Mom and my closest family elders actually encouraged me to think for myself and to learn as much as possible. (My Dad was never around.) Academically I was always in the top of my classes, and I always seemed to have an ability to learn things very quickly. Almost instinctively. (Except for history and civics, though. I absolutely SUCK at remembering dates and names of places and such. I would memorize stuff just to pass the test with a high score, and then pretty much forget most of it right after the test was over. lol) Math, science, and physics, however..... LOVED IT! Still do. English and literature I usually enjoyed a bit. I like to read. So, I guess, in a way, that combination of parental encouragement and learning abilities is what kept me from getting totally swallowed by the religious whale. Like I said, though, that parasitic notion of going to hell was deeply embedded in my tiny brain like an annoying little rock stuck in your shoe during a hike.

So, long story short, it took me until I was 49 years old to finally get that damn little rock out of my shoe. My Mom died in early 2017, and I suppose that she was really the main reason I could never completely pull away. Granted, by that time, it had been an untold number of years since I had attended any type of church services. But I could never completely shake that dreaded uncertainty of hell. Later that same year is when I was finally able to tell myself, "Fuck it. Enough of this shit being constantly worried and second-guessing every thought I have and every action I take." And so, in December of 2017, I logged on to my computer and joined the Atheist Republic. (Took me almost two weeks to get up the nerve to join the site after I found it during a Google search... *chuckle*...) And after a brief period of adjustment (two or three months), I was like a new person. It was as if I had awakened from a bizarre dream where my thinking had been all hazy and muddled. Now it is more clear and worry-free than it has ever been in my whole life. It is a feeling I have tried to describe many times in many different ways, but it seems words are never able to do it any real justice. It is wonderful.

In giving credit where credit is due, I must say I owe a great deal of thanks to my wife who was very instrumental in my journey toward breaking free. She and I met in 2011, and although I did not know it at that time, that was the beginning of the end of religion in my life. In a nutshell, she is incredibly knowledgeable of the bible (grew up attending a private Christian school), and she is an absolute research fiend. To put it lightly, she pretty much detests the whole Christian dogma. It was her influence and all the things she taught me about the bible that were a major factor in helping me to see how absurd the whole thing truly is. Oddly enough, she is Pagan and just recently embraced her inner witch. It is amazing the things I have learned about witchcraft lately... *chuckle*... Suffice it to say, we have an interesting life together... lol.... And I LOVE it... *big smile*...

Tin-Man's picture
Oh, almost forgot to mention

Oh, almost forgot to mention something. Remember how I said I never felt comfortable going into a church or being around pretty much anything related to religion? Well, I am happy to say that I have no longer had that problem since my escape. Matter of fact, I actually feel incredibly comfortable now whenever I encounter religious sites and situations. Quite often even have a feeling of slight amusement during those moments. Oddly enough, I now welcome having somebody approach me to discuss religion. Whereas before, I would avoid that subject like the plague. Strange, I know. But it just simply does not bother me anymore. I don't even get upset with the super gung-ho theists. If anything at all, they just cause me to chuckle and shake my head in amusement. I suppose the only caveat to that would be those theist individuals and/or groups that advocate violence against those who do not share their beliefs. For that particular breed, my guard is up instantly. In my opinion, those folks are incredibly dangerous and cannot be trusted. Otherwise, whenever I happen to be around a group of "faithful followers", I usually feel like the only person in the area who can actually see. And I cannot help but smile inwardly (and outwardly), because it is such a relief to know I am no longer one of those blind little sheep.

Cognostic's picture
I am dying to get a big tub

I am dying to get a big tub of hot buttered popcorn and a Big Gulp from 7/11 and sit in on a service.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog Re: "I am dying to get

@Cog Re: "I am dying to get a big tub of hot buttered popcorn and a Big Gulp from 7/11 and sit in on a service."

Me too. But I'm afraid I'll get kicked out in a rather unpleasant fashion because of laughing too much. Besides, I usually have better things to do with my Sundays... *chuckle*... Also, if I were to bring a Big Gulp, then I would miss half of the service because I would be back and forth to the bathroom so much.

LogicFTW's picture
Hah, I would join you guys. 3

Hah, I would join you guys. 3 of us and they got a problem on their hands. You may be able to eject one person without creating a giant disrupting scene in the middle of the sermon, but 3?

I have actually seen no food or drink signs at church doors. Will have to find one that did not learn that lesson. (Or think their highly principled "sanctity" of a sacred place would scare most people into observing the unspoken unwritten "rules".)

If I got tired of eating popcorn, I would take my greasy butter and salt covered hands and start editing the bible and/or the song book they got with a big fat marker. And start blacking out anything that is contradictory, not proven, and hearsay or just flat out lying. I suspect I would have to black out most of the books, and would get bored and just start ripping out pages instead.

The hardest part would be not laughing hysterically and some of their more insane/comical claims.

Tin-Man's picture
@Logic Re: "...editing the

@Logic Re: "...editing the bible and/or the song book..."

Heeeeeeeeey..... You may have something there. Editing the hymnals would be a blast. And what a great and creative way to pass the time! For the sake of efficiency and to get more bang for the buck, however, I would suggest having the lyrics written ahead of time and just take the notes with you. That way all we have to do is open the book, white-out the original words, and quickly jot down our improvements. Between the three of us, we should be able to upgrade several hymnals within a one hour sermon. But we should limit ourselves to only two or three of the choice songs that are sang most often. Better coverage that way.... *snicker*...

Cognostic's picture
Amazing place, this church I

Amazing place, this church I'm in
With Jesus on the cross....

He's 10 feet tall but not at all
the Christ he-was-said to be.

This Church was once a place of fear
but now my fear relieved.

I gave up sin for non-belief
and now it's set me free.

LogicFTW's picture
Sounds like a good plan, I

Sounds like a good plan, I vote cog writes the new lyrics!

Rohan M.'s picture
@Tin-Man

@Tin-Man
For you, it'd probably be a "Big Gulp" of oil, because you're made of tin.

Rohan M.'s picture
Oh, and don't forget your

@Cognostic
Oh, and don't forget your bingo sheet:

Attachments

Attach Image/Video?: 

Yes
Cognostic's picture
I really want to go to a

I really want to go to a church and play church bingo some day. It's on my bucket list.

LogicFTW's picture
@Jimmy Neutron

@Jimmy Neutron

How many adults would find God and religion even remotely plausible if they weren't introduced to it as a child? It seems like we'd have a whole lot more people like you walking around and the world would be a vastly better place!

Based on the very limited sample size of posts I have read here and a few other atheist/theist comment areas I have been that discussed this, I would say very few. Especially in today's world where information and differing opinions is so readily available.

Right now you can watch multiple videos of say a highly educated and experienced geologist that spent a lifetime studying the earth that can give you a video tour of the grand canyon and help show that the planet is indeed well over a billion years old.

(Which all by itself destroys most religious arguments for their god.) Even religions that accept the ~4.5 billion year old earth and ~14 billion year old universe, run into the real problem of: what was "god" doing the first 14 billion years before humans came along? Why would humans even be remotely relevant to such a god/entity.

Randomhero1982's picture
Your very welcome Jimmy.

Your very welcome Jimmy.

I do believe that if religion was not allowed within education systems nor were children permitted to attend church etc... until they was of a certain age (say 18) I think the number of atheists would far outweight the number of theists.

It mainly comes down to death.

We as humans, all share a set of subjective morals that we have come to over time... we have evolved to know how to survive and get by as societies.

But what we dont know is what we fear and that is what happens after we die.

Religion offers a comfort blanket for those who worry about it I think.

Do we need need religion to tell is how we got here? No, biology and evolution tells us.

Do we need religion to tell us how to live? No, we as societies work out what is best for ourselves to flourish.

The only spot where we cannot say or hold a claim of knowledge over is death.
And this is where they slip in their imaginary cosmic wizard.

But I genuinely hold all gods of any religion to be nothing more then a Santa claus charachter, a tooth fairy if you will.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Randomhero1982 - I do believe

Randomhero1982 - I do believe that if religion was not allowed within education systems nor were children permitted to attend church etc... until they was of a certain age (say 18) I think the number of atheists would far outweight the number of theists.

Theists don't dare wait until their kids are 18 to tell them about their religion; because they don't want their kids to die from laughing.

David's picture
Hm... I always feel that my

Hm... I always feel that my transition to atheism has always been a little underwhelming. My family was Lutherns, but I never really considered my family that religious. I mean, they went to church, I did bible school, and all that fun stuff, but my parents were also a university teacher and a veterinarian and I always loved to learn about the world. I was only a serious Christain when I was young, read the bible in my teens, found it rather boring and after going to college, I just couldn't give a damn for it anymore. Though I will admit that when I found out I was an atheist, I still went to church with my family for a short while. I finally got so tired of listening to the nonsense, I walked out of the church and waited till the service was over. I haven't gone back since.

Though my family was pretty chill when they found out. Even my grandparents, who are rather devout, just took it in strides. The only time I go to church now is when I'm visiting them, for I know it makes them happy. The only person that freaks out a bit is my Mom but even now she just doesn't mention it when I visit here. I guess having a son/grandchild is more important to them then worrying if God frowns upon them.

Rohan M.'s picture
Wow. Congrats on your freedom

Wow. Congrats on your freedom! *virtual hug* I went through a similar experience as you- in that I was once a conservative Christian who believed that ending an unwanted pregnancy before it has the chance to turn into a living, breathing baby was "murder" (and that anyone who mounts an argument for abortion views it as such and supports it because they are evil Nazis who want all babies to die), who despised atheists and believed that their (now our) movement successfully putting an end to forced school prayer 50 years ago was an act of oppression against Christians and meant that they were slowly "destroying" America (which I also thought was originally intended to be a "Christian Nation") and replacing its democracy with communistic despotism, and who thought that it is impossible to be happy or moral without Christianity and that therefore atheism was to blame for all of America's real or imagined (though the me from three years ago would have begged to differ; see my above two points) problems. In addition, in my religious days I also used to subscribe to other superstitions- like slenderman, ghosts, and the power of "magic" (and that my father and paternal grandmother had the ability to practice such through various means, but usually faith-based). I was never a full-on fundamentalist, though.

I agree with all of what you said, except for the part about "billions of people needing to be wrong in order for you to be right". That's argumentum ad populum- a fallacious argument that theists use all the time. But then again, not all of our initial reasons for leaving the faith are the best. And I must confess- you know what one of my initial grievances with Christianity was? That they had no "respect" for other beliefs! (Yes, there was once a time even after I deconverted when I viewed religion as this special, unattackable sacred-cow that must be unconditionally respected by everyone on the planet no matter what. Once I had completely lost the last vestiges of my faith, however, this attitude didn't last particularly long.)

Other than that, your other listed reasons for deconverting are pretty good.

(Edited to fix last sentence.)

noreason's picture
I get ya. I was atheist from

I get ya. I was atheist from very young.

Why do yo feel you escaped religion and not escaped your parents? I ask because I am atheist and only deal with whats in front of me and I see your parents.

and why did you believe so long?

Pages

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.