Why are you an atheist? Share your story!

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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.

RobertJ'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.

Mxolisi Masuku'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!!'

Littledudekj's picture
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.

RobertJ'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.

maming's picture
I was raising in devout

I was raising in devout Muslim family, since i was young i was bad at praying and memorizing Koran the teachers of madarasa used to beat me. I remember when exhausted from hunger i used to break my fasting and i could no longer hold on. when i started university i met different people from different countries different believes. and i asked why is it difficult that people can't figure out the right religion.one word that despised me was calling non muslims (kaafir) infedels. by age of 23 i started to think free and concluded that religion is just man-made political sort freak of philosophy to control and benefit from gullible masses.

Pitar's picture
This. If everyone were to

This. If everyone were to question what they've been taught for the sake of simple cultural examination and rationale, power would eventually transfer itself to the people from an arrogant few who would control them through religious coercion.

Anthropology7's picture
Religion for the purpose of

Religion for the purpose of controlling he masses is a common theory for the purpose of religions. Indonesian this is a large part of why religion persists. I also think that many people are afraid of questions that they cannot answer so myths were and still are created to answer these unanswered questions. I have also seen cases where people have used religion as an excuse for their prejudices or immoral actions. I love your picture by the way!

Karen Rinta Knapp's picture
As an 8-year-old child, I

As an 8-year-old child, I experienced the death of my father in a horrible logging accident. He was 34 years old. In order to allow my mother to come to grips with having 3 daughters under 8 years of age (youngest was 10 months), the lady next door offered to have my sister nearest in age to me and me accompany her home, where we stayed for the rest of the day until bed time. She said over and over again to me things like, "God wanted him, he was such a good man. He is an angel now." Really? You're telling me that someone needed my father more than my mother and my sisters and I did? I watched the horrible process of my young (age 29) mother accepting that she was a single parent with 3 youngsters, all girls, and would have to assume the job of raising us until such time as another man eager to take on another man's 3 children came along. I spent weeks and weeks crying myself to sleep. To compound it, my mother was completely incapable of comfort. So, at the age of 8, the die was cast as far as my beliefs about some divine power. The only one I had experienced had completely destroyed my life. Ultimately I was cut off from my father's family completely. I did not go to the funeral. We visited my father's grave site one time. As an adult, I view the many deep believers around me as near lunatics. They are completely brainwashed. It frightens them to death that I am the kind of person they aspire to be but do not share their godly beliefs.

Nordic Fox's picture
I cannot agree more! It's

I cannot agree more! It's very sickening when zealots try to 'comfort' others by saying that someone who was leading a good life was 'needed' in an imaginary afterlife...

I'm sorry to hear of your experience, but it sounds like you came out stronger than ever before... Life's hard times are what make us weather the storm better than those who pretend life doesn't have hard times at all.

Be well!

science's picture
First off I am so sory for

First off I am so sory for the experience that you and your family had to endure. There is just no way to talk any sense into a true theist. They will say the most outrageous things, thinking they are comforting you...you are correct in saying that it is absurd to say that God "needed" your Dad more than you and your sisters, and Mom did... that is typical theism. Some of these people are true lunatics...I've often wondered...do they ever really take a step back and LISTEN to what they are saying, and how utterly ridiculous it sounds??

SoSaysApollo's picture
I was born a Southern Baptist

I was born a Southern Baptist and grew up going to a tiny little church around the block. I did truly believe for a time, even quite zealous at times actually. I tried reading the Bible at a young age, but the required KJV of the bible made hard on my 8 year old self's patience. I never really enjoyed church. To me it was just a place where old people went to be nice (went to my grandparent's church) and eat and listen to an angry man scream of the world's wickedness from where I sat in the small Sunday school room.

Although my parents and grandparents went to church every Sunday, they were never opressingly or even overtly religiously motivated. They believe, even passionately so, but were considered less devoted. I grew to hate Sunday mornings, and the whole pretense of organized religion shattered (though I was still Christian). I stopped going to church at 12, and religion was shoved out of my mind.

My religious doubt and questioning grew when I was 14 simply from studying world history, and I became what might be called agnostic theism and a sort of nominal Christianity. I didn't claim to know, but I would call myself Christian and choose not to believe that one of my best friend (an atheist) and his parents was eternally damned. Evolution and the big bang made much more sense than God, and there was no reason to believe Christianity made anyone morally superior.

At 15 I had my first two girlfriends, and both times I was with them I went to their church and pretended to be an orthodox Christian. My mom felt I was using the church as way to hang out with girls. I realized she was right.

A few events happened between 15-16 which challenged whatever faith I had left. My grandfather died, my mom grew ill, and my family got loaded in financial trouble, which made me very poor. My step dad and I got into fights and me my mom moved into one of her friend's house. I dwelled on death a lot and figured there was probably no afterlife, no soul. This terrified me and I clung to God in one last moment. My last genuine prayer "God please exist!" Then I finally realized that God, no gods exist, and I told my mom and my girlfriend, the former disliked, called me a liar, and then begrudgingly accepted. The latter said nothing of it, but dumped me a few days later.

At 16 my atheism was rather weak and infantile, but as part of my quest to accept the souless condition, I watched religious debates and read New Atheist books. I became rather avid and zealous by the time I turned 17. It has cost me a girlfriend (unbeknownst to be the daughter of extreme religious fundamentalists, I pity her honestly) but has also strengthened bonds with nontheist that I helped convince out of their weak theism into agnosticism or atheism, but also with philosophically minded christian friends, at the cost of harming relationships with friends who were dogmatically, unshakeably Christian.

Now I have mellowed a bit in my zeal, but I still hold my humanist values close to me and don't see any reason as of yet to suppose there is anything supernatural, which is, after all, the best reason to disbelieve in gods.

Leaving religion is a very personal experience, as well as denying God's existence. People speak of their reasons for believing in God as a personal connection. This personal element in belief cannot be denied, even though atheists are more inclined to appreciate logical appeals, religious people often don't, so we can't ignore the very personal reasons people find their way to atheism or humanism. I enjoyed sharing

Tarek Harris's picture
Nothing in Islam made sense,

Nothing in Islam made sense, It wasn't supported by history or science, I've always looked the interned for answers from sheikhs about those filthy "accusations" of Islam. And I hated that most of the humanity is going to suffer in HELL because God is mad!

I was waiting from a Ramadan to the next Ramadan to regain my faith. The answer to my problems was that "God is a freak and Islam is plain wrong!" That didn't make me comfortable at all especially talking about HELL dude! but suddenly somehow I found that this is a relieving answer! Islam is wrong, problem solved.
Inspiring story right? :D
I want SO MUCH to make a family here I'm all alone in Egypt :)

Alembé's picture
Why did I become an atheist?

Why did I become an atheist?

The catalyst to me becoming an atheist was the concern expressed by my devout sister-in-law (“Cindy”) regarding my spiritual welfare. My wife comes from a very religious family, though she and I have not been church attendees for over 15 years. Last summer, Cindy asked my wife why we did not go to church, “It’s important.” she said. My wife responded to the effect that I was having issues with God. “Well, he can research it,” Cindy said. When my wife related this conversation to me, I thought, “She’s right. After a lifetime as a scientist, I can do some background research.” So I did.

Let’s first go back over 50 years to the tiny village in England where I was born and subsequently went to church with my family and to school where Christian religious stories were taught. About this time I also started my lifetime journey as a scientist. I accepted the biblical stories, God the Creator, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, though they never made sense to me. My logical science and illogical religious beliefs existed side by side, but compartmentalized in my brain. And that is the way that I lived my life for another 40 years or so. There were times when my wife and I regularly attended church and were quite active in it, though I never had a “born again” epiphany. There was always that feeling that religion just did not make sense.

When a new molecule is synthesized or discovered, as scientists we use a number of different analytic methods to probe its composition, structure and function. I theorized, naively, that I could take a similar approach to try to understand God. I made the assumption that if God existed, it would be the same one for all religions. Therefore by studying how different religions worldwide viewed God, the insights gained would illuminate the essence of God. Alas, after three months of study, I was no closer to that elusive goal. What I did discern was that the interpretation of God by the different religions was a strong reflection of the current culture in the corresponding part of the world.

Fast forward to last summer. In response to Cindy’s suggestion, I started my research with “Scientific evidence for the existence of God.” The results were abysmal. The arguments were of the generic type, “I don’t understand how evolution could have created something as complex as a human eye, therefore God must have created it.” There were logical non-sequiturs in the arguments that invalidated them. I moved on to “Arguments for the non-existence of God.” I found the Atheist Republic. The more I read, the more these arguments and rational thoughts made sense, something that the core tenets of Christianity never did. The clincher was delving into the deep history of Yahweh/Jehovah/God/Allah. This was one of a number of minor warrior gods who was later elevated by his followers to omnipotence, omniscience, etc. Yahweh was a human invention.

The results of my research were tumbling around in my brain. Then one day I thought, “I am not a believer, I am an atheist. There is no God, no Devil, no Heaven, no Hell; the Bible is just another book. You have one live to live, so live it with joy to the fullest extent.” That realization was a moment of supreme liberation. Suddenly, things made sense. The conflict in my mind between science and religion was obliterated.

“Thank you, Cindy.” For the rest of my life, I will be grateful that you urged me to “research it.”

ThePragmatic's picture
Interesting read. Cindy

Interesting read. Cindy should do some research as well...

Henry1998's picture
I think I started swaying

I think I started swaying towards atheism when I was around six. All the past christians in this thread can agree with me that Catechism/Church School/ or as I liked to call it "Nap time" was by far the most annoying and boring time of our lives. Having to wake up extra early to go to a class where they basically cherry pick "good" verses in the bible to fool us into thinking that God was amazing AND to also have the Ten Commandments drilled into your head for the "Theology Exam" you needed to pass in order to get communion was pretty fricken dumb. But besides all of that, I did listen a couple of times about these people and their so called "Savior" and I gotta tell you... Ash from Pokemon was a whole lot more interesting than this guy named Jesus. I found that Catechism classes were too much of a hassle for a kid, shoot I'm sure it was a hassle for every kid in that damn class. Why on Earth would you force kids who can barely tie their shoes, and force them to understand Jesus and the Holy Trinity? That was my first whiff of Indoctrination. This is where I became an Atheist for the first time, just for the convenience of it really. However being only six at the time, my mind was east to manipulate so when my mom told me that "Jesus love you and everything about you" I couldn't argue against that... I mean shoot it was my mom! She HAS to know the truth *sarcasm* So after a few months of skipping church school and playing on the playground instead, I was indoctrinated by my mom and put back into those forsaken classes. But this although effective, was not the end of my young skepticism.

We all know how kids love asking questions when their young, and I for one am all for that. May be annoying the first couple of times, but hey I feel pretty smart teaching them about the universe. Back to the story, it seemed like every chance I got, I would ask my mom or dad about catholicism. I would say things like "If Jesus got rid of all the sin of the world... Then why are there people still sinning?" And "Why would God send his son to take away our sin? Couldn't he have done that himseld?" You know... Basic stuff like that. Though it seemed that my parents were having none of that and told me to be quiet and let God into my heart. In other words, "I have no idea". So when my questions went unanswered I pretty much gave uo again and reverted back to being an atheist. Cause why not? I'm around nine years old when I do this again so I've reached the "Age of Reason". Pretty soon I would be questioning God towards my Catechism teacher who would always lead me to more confusion with obscure bible verses that was supposidly "evidence". This pretty much solidifed my lack of belief in a God and I would remain unchange for quite a long time.

Another reason as to why I left my religion was around the time I became a teenager. Like right when puberty set in. Puberty hit me fast and hard, by the time I got to sixth grade I had grown pimples all over my face and weighed around 200 pounds. I was basically a gigantic ball of puss, pleasent isnt it? Well this led me to feel extremely self conscious and lonely at times since I was constantly being bullied everytime I went to school. This in turn made me question God even more, I had been juggling the thought of there being a God or not before but now was further proof as to why I shouldn't believe in such a myth. I would try prayer each night and ask God to protect me from being made fun it, in which the next morning it looked like God forgot my prayer. So I was left with an Ultimadum, could it be that this was a journey God was sending me on to further enrich my love for him? Or was this simply a result of puberty skewing up teenagers sense of morality due to hormonal changes? I went with the logical desicion. In no way would a God had made me go through that. I like to think God as an abusive boyfriend and the worshiper as the victim.

God: "FUCK YOU I'm going to make you Miscarry your baby!"
Worshiper:"It is Gods will!"
Pretty fucked up relationship right? In the end after fighting depression and eventually beating it without the help of a God. I started high school losing weight and improving my social life. I'm a junior now and have a fantastic atheist girlfriend. Though I go to a catholic school, I still do what my inner child did before and question everything that is taught to me in that school. In a way it's helping me realize how much religion is pointless. Thanks for reading this if you did lol.

kel basav's picture
My father was agnostic

My father was agnostic leaning towards atheist and very anti-religion. My mother was a biology teacher. So I was brought up with a definite bias towards science. Then in grad school I encountered some of the arguments against the existence of God and started studying the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science. My best friend was a physics student. She came from a Pentacostal Holiness background; I was Jewish. We had great discussions.(We're still friends to this day and still have great talks.) I began seriously questioning the existence of a supernatural deity then but decided to hedge my bets and take Pascal's wager. I was married at the time and very much immersed in synagogue and the Jewish community. I kept up my reading and studying, however, mainly in Skeptic philosophy. After my divorce, I kept up my Jewish observance but realized my reasons for doing so changed. I went back to my philosophy books for answers. I didn't really find any until I started reading in the philosophy of science again. I had discarded Pascal's wager altogether. I couldn't hide that I found my answers in science, mathematics, physics...the natural world. So I admitted to myself, yes, I'm an atheist. And it was very liberating. I still practice but more to order my days and honor my heritage, NOT b/c some god told me to do so. (My physicist friend-the former Pentacost Holiness woman-calls herself a "born again atheist" and says "I now endeavour to convert people FROM religion." She rocks!)

Gourd Almighty's picture
I reckon I've been atheist

I reckon I've been atheist all my life (I'm now 62 years old), but didn't really experience any stirrings of disbelief until about age 12, and even then I wasn't familiar with the concept of being atheist.

I was raised in a mildly Presbyterian household, being sent to Sunday School and Church each week, until, around 50 years ago, I informed my parents that I no longer wanted to attend. They weren't regular attenders themselves, so they didn't cause any fuss, telling me not to go any longer if that's what I wanted.

My reasoning back then was along the somewhat simple lines of, "Well, where did God come from? Who made him?". During the intervening years, the more I have read of the Bible and other written works by fellow disbelievers who have a much deeper knowledge of the Bible than I will ever have, the stronger my disbelief has become. One volume in particular which helped to formalise my views is "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Now this work is by no means perfect, although I'd have to re-read it before I could highlight what I see as its flaws. However, it does manage to articulate some of the thoughts and feelings that were swirling around my young head all those years ago.

More recently, "Godless" by Dan Barker has been a very interesting and informative book.

To sum up, something Eddie Izzard said (I think? Quite possibly others have said something similar also) struck me as a good summation of how we can all coexist without the need for a God : "If we all live our lives adhering to the so called Golden Rule of not doing stuff to others that we wouldn't want done to ourselves, then there's no need for any Gods, religions or Commandments."

Well, that's about it,
Alan (My real name)

Liz derck's picture
Ok so I'll try to make fairly

Ok so I'll try to make fairly short. I was baptized at 6 month's. Lived in a devout Catholic home.
When I was about 6 my mom's second husband (notice I don't call him dad or step dad in any way) started molesting me. This went on till I was about 13, and my mom divorced him. During this time I prayed and begged and pleaded that this would stop. It didn't I guess that is when I first doubted there was a God. Why would God let something like this go on. Then 5 years later it happened again with my mom's boyfriend. I know your thinking I'm 18 now an adult but you have to remember this is all I've known from the men in my mom's life. My mom never even asked if her husband had done anything to me. She divorced him because he was an alcoholic. This went on till I was 20 and my mom died. So I was praying for me and my mom. And still no answers. That's when I realized that God isn't the loving God he was supposed to be.
It took me a while to get to be the person I'm today. I realize now that it's not that my mom didn't care it was the way she was raised. You don't question your man! A pretty fucked up way of thinking! I don't blame her any more.
So with the help of my deceased husband I became an atheist. He's the one that made me understand that sometimes life is fucked up. But that life as made me the person I am today. A very kind caring compassionate person.
My favorite quote is from a very strong character, I yam what I yam ~ Popeye
Thank you Peace

Gourd Almighty's picture
A much tougher road to

A much tougher road to disbelief than many of us have experienced, Liz. Good luck.

Liz derck's picture
Thank you Gourd. This is the

Thank you Gourd. This is the first time I've ever told anybody my life story. Yeah people I know bits and pieces, but not that much. Not even my family knows it all. When I try to tell my oldest sister she told me it was my fault. That I was flirting and coming on to him. Yeah right at 6 I don't fucking think so. Sorry I'm venting on you. Just bought up a lot of emotions I haven't thought about in a long time.
Again I'm sorry thanks for letting me vent. Lol I doesn't look like you had a choice.

Liz~ Peace

Gourd Almighty's picture
Don't think of it as "venting

Don't think of it as "venting", think of it as sharing with others who can help you come to terms with a very difficult past.
And don't worry in the least about a rhino-skinned old fart like me .. feel free to write/say/vent anything you want- I'm all ears. ;)

Liz derck's picture
Thanks again. You would think

Thanks again. You would think at 54 I would have come to terms with this. But as I sit here bawling like a baby I realize it still hurts. I used to talk to my husband but he passed away 10 years ago. So I haven't really talked to any body about this for a very long time. What I've been doing for awhile is putting a smile on my face and just not thinking about it.
So I opened up that can of worms again. And here I am crying on your shoulder.

Thanks again


ThePragmatic's picture
It's hard to know what to say

It's hard to know what to say... I sympathize with your situation. Your strength to overcome such adversity is commendable.

Your sister who said it was your fault, probably just couldn't understand. It's the brainwashing of theism at work. Blaming the victim is a long tradition within religions.

Liz derck's picture
Thank you. I did blame myself

Thank you. I did blame myself for a very long time. I finally realized it wasn't my fault. I don't know if my sister still blames me or not. I don't have much to do with that part of my family. I've found that in order to move on. I had to distances myself from them. It's better that way for me.


Nordic Fox's picture
I stand with Mr. Gourd, this

I stand with Mr. Gourd, this place is meant to find comforting, similar ideology!

Vent/rant/talk about anything you need to.... It can be hard to express things out there in this crazy society we all live in... So places like this are awesome!

Liz derck's picture
I just wanted to thank

I just wanted to thank everyone for putting up with my little pity party yesterday. It really helped to just talk about it. I hope each and everyone of you have an amazing day.



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