Why are you an atheist? Share your story!

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Keith Padraig Cunningham's picture
I grew up Catholic, my mom

I grew up Catholic, my mom very interested in saints (actual people), my father, a history buff, informed me of all the lies and corruption the church was culpable of. The stories and narrative never added up for me. At my confirmation I remember thinking "this is BS". Praying when things got hard felt natural, but logically pointless. By 8th grade I knew enough about history, biology, etc, to say for certain religion is complete BS. I don't think being atheist is so.much about saying definitively there's no higher form of intelligence somewhere, but rather calling bullshit on religion, which can quite easily be proven false.

metaphysick's picture
My mother was raised as

My mother was raised as Baptist and my father was raised as a Presbyterian. Naturally, my parents raised me to believe in God as their parents did with them, my mother in particular. In my early days I can remember going to Sunday school with my paternal grandparents, my parents felt that it was important I go to church despite the fact that they hardly went themselves. I don't remember much besides the fact that I hated it. I would much rather spend my time playing and watching cartoons than be stuck in boring church. Despite my dislike of church I was fond of the idea of God and Jesus. I remember always saying my prayers before bed with my mother. I grew in setting in which I was surrounded by faith. being read bible stories at night, children's bibles the whole works. My maternal grandfather was a deacon and when I would visit that set of grandparents I'd be subjected to even stricter routine of church services. Not to mention multitudes of vacation bible schools during the summers. On top of that I ended up going to a Christian private school so to me believing in God was the most natural thing in the world.

Luckily however, my mother was keen to stoke my curiosity and learning as well. I was encouraged to read and had children's encyclopedias to go along with the bibles. I had one particular encyclopedia that I used to pour over countless times, so much so that it began to fall apart (it's actually still around here somewhere). Due to this I found myself falling in love with science and loved science class in school which I excelled at, this naturally would come to help me in the process of shaking of religion. According to most, I had an inquisitive mind and I was always asking questions, another thing that helped me. I actually remember one night laying in bed with my mother after saying prayers where she explained to me that the only way to get to heaven was to believe in Jesus and no matter how good I am, if I don't believe in Jesus I won't get to heaven. I remember struggling with how unfair the notion was, and I asked her what would happen to all the people that never heard of Jesus, to which she replied that we Christians had to spread the word to make sure every person knows so that they could go to heaven too. It made sense to a degree but it still left a sour taste in my mouth that the people who hadn't heard would still end up in hell even if they were good people. Another night I asked here what was the point of creating people if he knew that Adam and Eve would sin and create all the bad things in the world. To which she answered with the standard, we humans can't understand God's ways

As time went on, my parents eventually divorced when I was 9 and my mother and I moved to a new house together with her boyfriend and his two daughters. While before I was not subjected to going to Sunday school every Sunday with my parents, my stepfather made my stepsisters go every Sunday, so naturally that means I had to go every Sunday. This I hated even more so, their church was a bit more high strung than the churches of my two sets of grandparents. It took boring to a whole new level. I pretty much ended up going to that church for majority of my teens. I remember that a lot of the stuff that was being said didn't make much sense to me. I concluded however, that this was Satan trying to deceive me so I silenced my objections and went on being a believer. Despite the fact that I was believer in God, I knew I wasn't Christian in the fact that I was "saved" and committed my life to God.

Eventually I left my country to attend university in England. This was the catalyst to my shift. I was put into a position of engaging with people from many different backgrounds and viewpoints. My first real friend that I made over there turned out be gay, this shattered my perspective of homosexuals. He was just a regular guy, so regular that I couldn't even tell that he was until he told me. As a result I became accepting of homosexuals and realized that they're just regular people going about life like everyone else. I met atheists, some of which were assholes when they found out that I believed, but the majority were just cool laid-back folks like I was. I met Muslims, who were the same as me. People raised up within a faith, that identified with it but wasn't adhering to the faith. I think I realized the reality that we were all Human despite our many differences and that we had more in common than we had differences. Most people at least. The girl that I ended dating over there identified herself as a non-believer despite claiming she was Christian (a concept I couldn't exactly wrap my head around at the time). She introduced me to the documentary Zeitgeist, which planted further seeds to question religion. I resisted the questioning though, unlike my younger self. It wasn't until much later after watching the documentary and after that relationship ended I began to open up to questioning. Somehow I found myself being drawn into New Age type ideas due to open-mindedness. I began to be willing to explore different ideas, found myself following idealist pages on facebook. First I had the notion that all faiths were just "saying the same thing" which encouraged me to explore even further. I started to be willing to look at my own beliefs and the more I looked the less things began to add up. I was scared to push further, felt that it was again Satan leading me astray. However, I encountered Aristotle's quote "it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" and it pushed me on. I concluded that if Christianity was real then my digging deeper would only confirm that. Now, the big thing that kept my doubt in check was the Bible. I was taught from the beginning that the Bible is the most perfect book, God's literal word. All my life I had heard how no one could doubt the validity of the Bible. So I started to look at the Bible. Somehow, I got my hands on a copy of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus". While reading that book I began to get a real sense of just how fallible the book was, but funny enough it wasn't until I encountered a meme on the internet one night that completely tore the cloak of infallibility apart. The meme questioned how could the Sun have been made on the 4th day. All my keen appreciation of Science came back to me in that moment and I was downright embarrassed that I had missed that point during all those years. My faith crumbled that night and I knew that I could not believe any of it anymore. All of the things that didn't make sense to me couldn't, because it was nonsense.

After that, I explored further into Atheist thought reading different nonbeliever authors. Despite, my apprehension of the term it wasn't long before I concluded that I was indeed Atheist. Beyond that I was able to discover Secular Humanism, a world view that I could get behind. Now, I'm encouraged to feed my curiosity again and investigate philosophy, science and whatever manner of thought I'd like without having to worry about it being in conflict with God. I can live without fear and guilt. I can live to help make the world a better place for myself and all of humanity. So there's my story, thank you for reading it.

Maria Madalena Teodósio's picture
As a starter I was, probably

As a starter I was, probably like most of you atheists and other free thinkers, baptized, but not because my parents were religious, but because a friend of my mother convinced her it would look bad not to do it in such a small and devout town. And she was right, and I know it from experience, because there were rumors that two new kids in town weren’t baptized and people already disliked them for that and for their mother not being married in a church ceremony (in fact at that time, my parents had a church wedding in secret because they were afraid people would find out they weren’t even married by the church and they and my mom’s friend had convinced the priest to baptize me without even being married). So, yeah, I come from a very religious small town, and even my mother and I attended church for little more than a year there because her friend asked her to help her with sunday school and to organize a very important religious event when she was sick, so my mom had to be integrated because it involved more people. But my own family wasn’t very religious - my father was an atheist and my mother was spiritual but wasn’t religious at all for most of my childhood and adolescence, and also for most of it we didn’t attend church except sporadically on christmas because my mom liked the tradition (now she doesn’t even do that). So this is my experience with church: about an year of stupidity, and a few more sporadic events (weddings, christmas, etc.). As for me, I never had a strong belief in god or Jesus as the son of god and his resurrection (I think the correct term to use here would be agnostic), and didn’t even think about it much until I was about 10 years old. We also didn’t discuss this topics at home much. Then, one day I woke up and was sure of my disbelief - after reflecting on it for a while of course. As I grew up I realized I was an “atheist”, and that happened when I was 11 or 12 years old. I didn’t have much trouble with coming out as an atheist, although my parents, especially my mother, wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about when I criticized religion. The questions they asked me, as I was seeking an answer, made me grow more into my atheism, and become a more informed atheist. Later I learned that my dad was an atheist too (although I knew he wasn’t religious already), but not my mother (the best term here is “pantheist”), although she wasn’t religious either… Later, when I was starting high school I considered strong atheism for a while, then I identified as an agnostic atheist (between 5 and 6 in the dawkins scale that goes up to 7) towards the end and when I started college (in a different program than the one I am enrolled now and I’m gonna end up majoring in). Then, I was a militant atheist for a while, although still an agnostic atheist. I’ve written many texts about atheism and related topics like evolutionary science and creationism - yes, including addressing claims that stated evolution doesn’t bring information into the genome, therefore god must have done it, which isn’t true because there are mechanisms that do bring information into the gnome, including gene duplication. I’ve written these texts in my blogspot blogs and google page [which aren’t in english so, I won’t bother to link to these pages], on tumblr in my previous blogs about atheism and even in this last blog. I also wrote about the relationship between mental health and religion (and found religion didn’t always had positive effects), as well as about the relationship between cognitive functioning and cognitive abilities and atheism/ religion, including posts in which I stated studies found a positive correlation between atheism and IQ of 0.6, as well as posts where I based my text on a study that found atheists think more rationally and have what is called a “rational brain”, and stated religious people were more on the emotional side. I’ve also exposed the genetic and environmental influences on religion, spirituality and atheism - tendency to believe is genetic, but religion has to do with culture and upbringing. So I’ve done my part on discussing the topic from an intellectual perspective, and now I’m probably one of the most laid back atheists in the entire world and now I mostly joke about it while stating some truths, and use my knowledge on the topics of atheism and related from time to time.
I’m in my senior year of college and I’m a psychology major with some professional training in clinical psychology and neuropsychology, and I would say I’m now a somewhat mature and adult atheist that is getting tired of refuting the same old tired religious arguments - including arguments about mental health and religion, and including creationist arguments. But there’s one thing I won’t tolerate and that is intellectual fraud - asserting you’re something you’re not just to look cool and intellectually credible - such as people saying they’re deists when they’re in fact theists (and possibly christian theists) and that they’re moderates when they’re fanatics… But then their actions won’t be in accordance with their words and if you’re that person, you’ll be discovered quickly.
So this was my journey into my atheism, I hope I managed to be enlightening.

P.S.: When this was written I was in my senior yer, but now I'm studying forensic science (biology and chemistry branch) for a post-graduate diploma

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Love your bio.

Love your bio.

Maria Madalena Teodósio's picture
This is a really good idea,

This is a really good idea, for people to share and read about different experiences...

Nicku7792's picture
I have been an Atheist since

I have been an Atheist since I was 8 years old. Before that I only believed in heaven because my mom told me that you were given whatever you want when you die. I thought I could live in my own world and be a superhero. One day I told my mom that I thought that the Bible was absurd and so she took me to talk to a priest. He couldn't convince me and my mom is kind of a passive hippie so she never pressed it after that. I have been an Atheist ever since.

InvisiblePinkUnicorn's picture
I've been an atheist for as

I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember. Even at my youngest point, sitting in church with my grandmother, none of it made sense. I was lucky enough to not be made to attend any such services before eight or nine years old. I'd already learned the truth: All those fairy tales that made childhood so magical, you know, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God/Jesus, and the Care Bears were just that, stories.

Now, the confusing bit was why my adult parents (well, my mother, my father's religion is quite newly found in the last several years, though I can't confess to know why,) and grandparents so insisted that "God" was there when they, themselves, had already discredited the others. Sure, there's that big black book with the ancient writings of the original oppressors, but, I mean, this was the 80s... The 1980s... we should have all moved out of the Dark Ages of ignorance and blindly following imaginary figures.

The Earth is round, the Universe is flat (last I checked, that tends to be an ever changing concept,) and there are no gods. These things call to me because they make sense. Rational thinking should always result in the same answer: Science! Thunder isn't God bowling, stars don't fall out of the sky, and when we die, all we've left to do is fertilize the ground (thank you Dawkins.)

By the age of ten, I thought of praying to a god as useful as tossing a coin into the fountain at the mall and making a wish... both yielded identical results; no Mustang for my birthday, no best selling novel, and I'm STILL not married to Megan Fox, Mila Kunis, or Keira Knightley (the names might have been different when I was a kid, but, same concept.) Still hoping on that novel, though... that involves writing it and I just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe I'll pray some more.

Steven Nova's picture
I've always questioned

I've always questioned everything. Grieving in my culture is dictated by some 'table' that calls for wearing certain colors for a predetermined time. I asked why and never got a straight answer. My questions ultimately were fielded by either 'god says so' or 'the lord works in mysterious ways'
I am glad to see things clearly


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Sapporo's picture
I came to realize that my

I came to realize that my disgust (or at least doubt) about the violent god of the Abrahamic religions couldn't be due to my sense of morality originating from that god. Ultimately I decided that if an all-powerful god has a warped sense of justice, I can never be sure of doing the right thing (in terms of my personal salvation) except by following my own standard. My conclusion is that a reasonable being would not condemn you for honest beliefs.

fishy1's picture
Because God made me super

Because God made me super analytical, logical, self thinking, not gullible......

Wait ! Just kidding ☺️ lol

F-M-S's picture
I read the old testament when

I read the old testament when I was 14.. That was after reading countless scifi books. I found the bible to be even more unrealistic than even the shittiest book i read. So i put two and two together.

I still occasionally read it. I've read the Islamic and jewish and hindu texts as well. Not for religious reasons as im an athiest obviously but I see these books the way not many do. These are stories that were written thousands of years ago by men and that fascinates me. We are literally reading the imagination of someone who lived thousands of years ago. I find it great.

Don Wall's picture
I was raised by mostly non

I was raised by mostly non-practicing Christian parents but I dabbled with religion at times. I had many talks with my mother on religion and her views were very open-minded compared to most Christians so that had some impact. My grandparents were religious but not pushy with it. I had other cousins and such that were very pushy with it. So I saw good and bad examples in each side. I grew up in the bible belt so I was constantly bombarded with fundamentalists trying to recruit me.

I struggled with the pressure of religion for a long time because I felt like something might be wrong with me. Was I corrupt or evil just because I couldn't agree with others? I found their logic to be very immoral because it defied their own teachings. They would preach love but most of their time was spent in judging others, talking about how people would go to hell, etc. So at first I was like my mother, calling myself a Christian where I believed that most followers had the message wrong with too much dogma. Eventually though I had to ask myself, why cling to this label that implied I believed in a whole set of ideas that I was totally against. I didn't like old label of atheism because it implied a belief that God absolutely could not exist, so I wore the agnostic label. I embraced science but I recognized some spiritual desires around morality. So I continued to look around at various religious ideas and debate whether they had any merit.

Over time labels change, so the atheist label became more about rejection of theistic claims. This resonated with me but I still looked to some moral ideas. Eventually I looked at Buddhism. I still don't accept dogma from it but I find it is like a structured atheism. It's ideas to question things seems like science, so that is good. The eight-fold path gives a way to filter out delusion which I really like. Really though my use of an atheistic label is not a hard position. Science and Buddhism both have the idea that you should follow truth without attachment to bias. This made more sense than saying "I believe X must be true". I can accept a Universe with or without God so I must be partially atheist. I can reject most Theism because it has obviously false ideas. So in the end it is a label that helps communicate some ideas that describe my beliefs but it doesn't perfectly describe them all. I do believe our moral ideas are important and I honestly don't know exactly where all that comes from. Sure we research many things and we derive morality from that study but we also derive moral lessons from bad actions we see too. I still don't think the atheist label is a very good one. There is the negative social stigma attached to it and it causes most people to get the wrong impression of what an atheist does believe. There are many different flavors of atheism. I find many militant atheists to be like evangelicals but at least their view is less dogmatic than most theism. Basically I will argue against any belief system that promotes blind acceptance of ideas, discourages rational debate and encourages taking a hard position without evidence (or despite evidence against it), etc.

Spirituality is a tough concept largely because our brains work against us. Confirmation bias runs rampant. In most cases the only way to avoid our bias is to work hard at forcing ourselves to study the opposite of what we think to be true. Given that, atheist should be studying religion and theist should be studying atheism. And study alone isn't the key as it depends on the motives behind your study. If you are only studying a concept to use it for attacking someone else's position or to reaffirm yours...you are only playing to your bias. Maybe I am an atheist, maybe I'm not or maybe it fits me some days but not others.

I follow truth. If truth comes out tomorrow that changes what I have thought my whole life...then I need to be willing to embrace it. And labels only give us a rough way to talk about concepts in our head.


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CLEVELAND H's picture
Hi everyone i just joined

Hi everyone i just joined this is my first post. i think i was always an atheist but i finally admitted it in 2016 and have been reading and gathering information since then trying to understand and learn more about everything and myself. I am an atheist because i don't believe in any super natural powers be it good or bad i don't think that any god is going to save me from anything. i believe that the only life i am going to leave is on earth i don't agree that my best life will be leaved after i die.

chille's picture
Well I was never religious to

Well I was never religious to begin with, my family is Christian but they aren't fanatics or something.
One of the main reasons for becoming atheist was realizing that I'm gay, and I instantly started to hate myself thinking that I'm doing a mistake that I am a mistake and it was so frustrating.
Also I don't like the idea of a supreme creator I just think that every phenomenon has a cause.
Later I realized that I had much more disagreements with the religion than I though.
I don't say that being religious is a bad thing because it isn't, it's just not for me.

binley's picture
The main thing that tipped me

The main thing that tipped me over the edge of theism was the realization that there are many different religions, all of which contradict each other. Many of these religions claim of an afterlife, of either heaven or hell. If christianity was right, then ~70% of the people that the so "loving" god created would be sent to hell. If islam was correct, then ~80% of the people that the so "loving" allah created would be sent to hell. It just didn't make any sense to me. If god was real, he would be considered as evil. He would only take his gullable children to haven and burn everybody for an eternity of they used logic and reason to justify their beliefs. I would not want to worship a god like that for eternity.

Rhonda Denise Johnson's picture
I did something that

I did something that destroyed my faith and makes it impossible for me to go back to it. What did I do? I read the Bible. You may laugh, but I’m serious. If it weren’t for that book I might still be calling myself a Christian. I’ve read the books of Richard Dawkins, Bart Ehrman, Jerry Coyn, Christopher Hitchens and many others. But all those wonderful thinkers put together couldn’t do more then the Bible to convince me that Christianity is a load of crap.

It started in my teen years when I fell under the influence of a well known word of Faith ministry. They were all so excited because they knew they’d witness a great work of divine healing. But as time went on and my hearing and visual disabilities continued, the people started to wonder. Even my parents jumped on me. “Why are you not healed yet? You must be doing something wrong.” After all, the Bible says whatever I desire when I pray, believe that I receive it, and I will have it. Either that’s true or it’s not true. It’s in the Bible, so it must be true. Which means I must be doing something to block my faith.

For my undergraduate studies, I entered a Christian liberal arts university that leaned heavily toward Calvinism. Trying to reconcile Calvinist doctrine with word of Faith teachings drove me to panic attacks. I began to fear death. Not my death, but the death of those around me. God is a jealous god and he will kill anyone that I loved too much. I had to pray. I didn’t trust God to keep people alive unless I was praying for them. But I’m not omniscient. I didn’t know what to pray for. I prayed for one uncle, and another uncle died. After a few years, I got tired of putting myself through so many emotional changes and relinquished control of what God did in other people’s lives. But that’s not what destroyed my faith.

I held on to my “personal relationship with Jesus.” Yet, even while I thought I was holding on, brushing aside any doubts that tried to creep in, my mind never forgot those doubts. When I read in the Bible how God told Cain that if he did what was right, he would be accepted, I wondered how God could have so little understanding of the psychology of his own creation. When a preacher said we had to believe Jesus was God, the question of why Jesus never actually said he was God tried to enter my mind, but I quickly swept it under the carpet. I had an emotional need to believe in Jesus and not until that need shifted did I see how lumpy the carpet was getting.

After 25 years of slowly increasing cognitive dissonance, it all came to a head.

A man who called himself a prophet came to my church and told me that since the Bible says faith comes by hearing, and I can’t hear, faith can’t come to me. Then he reminded us that the Bible says without faith it’s impossible to please God. I was in tears for days. I needed to hear to have faith, but I needed faith to please God to restore my hearing. I thought God had played a terrible catch 22 trick on me. Then I dried my eyes and said fuck him. I can’t see or hear. Every time I step off a curb, it’s a step of faith. So fuck him.

The plot thickened when I went to visit my family in New York. My uncle Richard was trying to preach Islam to me, but there were so many people in the house thkat I couldn’t hear him. He took me down to the laundry area, jacked me up against the washing machine, and preached Islam directly into my ear for what seemed like three or four hours. When he finished, I literally couldn’t walk straight.

What bothered me was not so much what he said, but the fact that I didn’t know enough about Christianity and church history to know if what he was saying was true or not. I was supposed to be the light of the world, but the people I called myself enlightening knew more than I did.

I went back to Texas and read the scriptures he told me about. I told myself Jesus said no one can pluck me out of his hand. If that’s true, I didn’t have to be afraid to read this. If it’s not true, then I needed to know that. How can I have the answers if I’m scared to ask the questions? So I read about all the terrible things God did to people in the Old Testament. I read how Kind David hated the disabled so much that he put a price on the head of the blind. I slammed the book shut and prayed, “God, I can’t read this.”

For several months, I tried to hold onto my faith without the Bible. After all, the Bible is only 1700 years old. God’s word doesn’t need the approval of the Nicean Council.

After a few months of this, it dawned on me that it wasn’t working. Without the Bible, I had no real foundation for belief in Jesus. Faith is just the capacity to believe in things I know aren’t true, and I couldn’t do that. Nor could I love and worship the bloodthirsty, schizophrenic, draconian psychopath I read about in the Bible. I walked away.

arakish's picture
Welcome Rhondazvous. That

Welcome Rhondazvous. That was a wonderful post to read.

I did something that destroyed my faith and makes it impossible for me to go back to it. What did I do? I read the Bible. You may laugh, but I’m serious. If it weren’t for that book I might still be calling myself a Christian. I’ve read the books of Richard Dawkins, Bart Ehrman, Jerry Coyn, Christopher Hitchens and many others. But all those wonderful thinkers put together couldn’t do more then the Bible to convince me that Christianity is a load of crap.

And here is a quote made by Isaac Asimov I have always loved (and I paraphrase): "When properly read, the Bible is the greatest tool for atheism."

And, have fun while perusing our boards...


Nyarlathotep's picture
It is no accident that the

It is no accident that the church fought for hundreds of years to prevent ordinary people from owning bibles; especially bibles in their native languages.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey there, Rhonda! Welcome to

Hey there, Rhonda! Welcome to the AR. Great story. Thanks for sharing. Browse around and make yourself at home. Nice having you aboard.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
My heart went out to you

My heart went out to you reading this. Welcome to the real world where joy is not an excuse for guilt. Have fun on these forums, your perspective will be invaluable...Just watch out for Tin Man, when he starts clanking around, well, best to grab an oil can...

Cognostic's picture
Welcome to the site....

Welcome to the site.... Nothing ends faith like a bit of intelligence and willingness to read the Bible.

David Killens's picture
Welcome Rhondazvous

Welcome Rhondazvous

Your story is one of pain and suffering, and I feel very sad at the terrible way you were treated.

You are not alone in here.

Muashkis's picture
Ah, yes, Bible, the single

Ah, yes, Bible, the single most effective thing at converting people into Atheists. A good read indeed.

My story is much more simple. I learned to read at the age of five, and given my mother's educational background, various books about biology were some of my very first fascinating reads. I still preferred children tales, like Red Riding Hood, Three Piglets and similar stuff. Especially the abundance of different culture native folk stories, which our family acquired. I still find them as much better early sources of basic moral lessons than anything. But I couldn't help returning to the various encyclopedias, describing plants and animals I had no chances of encountering in my own life.

Either way, given the recently collapsed Soviet Union, my parents figured it was a good idea to send me and my elder sis to Sunday school. Despite themselves not being Christians, they figured we might get better chances in our future if we became ones. Not a bad decision, given the unstable political issues at the time. One that didn't account for our genes. Pops, despite not finishing his education, partly due to the economical pressure due to collapse, was still pretty intelligent. Same as our mother. Needless to say, genetics took over, and we, the two oldest siblings, found ourselves stuck in a weird situation.

Every week, we walked ~1km to our Sunday school. Something we did out of pure curiosity and free cookies. To this day I believe the cookies were actually the ones most contributing to the conversion of the other children. But despite being praised as blessed, simply because we were some of the few that could actually read, it didn't feel right. Not the bible part, though. The verses we were given to read actually seemed rather intriguing and nice. Much like the fairy tales we had grown used to. The weirdness came from other children getting scolded for not being able to read at all.

I still love my sis for what she did back then. I was just 6 and rather easily influenced, especially by her, so it didn't come as too big of a surprise how she convinced the dumbfounded lady that it had been God's will that prevented the other children from learning to read. Needless to say, her relationship with the people running the Sunday school worsened pretty quickly after that. After all, they were constantly proven false by a little girl, who simply used the God's word against what they themselves were teaching to the children.

In the end, it only took a couple month, before they came to our parents, complaining about her behavior. But despite how much they wanted to get my sis scolded, it wasn't something meant to be in our house, devoid of firm beliefs on any kind. On the contrary, as the Christians had left, she got praised for being smart. But our days of free cookies had abruptly ended with that. Something I only came to appreciate later.

Despite having received some form of basic teachings of Jesus, I continued to read my good old children's books. But I found way too many similar lessons in almost every nationality's folk tales. Following my inquiry why the God needed such a complicated book to convey such simple messages, made my parent's speechless. They later told me they felt both relieved and frightened at me seemingly believing God. Enough to scold my sis for trying to convince me otherwise. That, and my regular retreat to my mother's encyclopedias was enough to seed doubt in my young mind.

Still, it took quite some time of philosophical struggles. What little time I had spent among Christians, had planted a firm certainty of there having to exist a higher power. Enough to make me contemplate different kinds of Woo-woo, despite discarding the idea of Bible or any other holy book being the only true word of the divine power. It was only once I entered high-school, and the deepened immersion in physics mine offered. Only then, going through the curriculum, and slowly making more sense of the world, I finally discarded the last notion of a supreme entity.

10 years, from 6 to 16, I had spent troubled. Despite leaning towards Christianity, I didn't take any religion, be it Judaism or Islam, I had spent still convinced of some higher power or meaning. Thoughts that still occasionally appear in my mind, as I find myself contemplating about recent discoveries or theories in physics. Making me curse what little time I had spent as a child in the seemingly kind environment. But now, having learned that the world can be explained much more simply, elegantly, I've spent the other half of my life enjoying it's wonders.

It's a simple story, how plain bribery and some sweet words can affect young children. Myself for one, otherwise a very smart child, as everyone seemed to think. (Way more lazy though) To this day I remember how I accepted the seemingly free cookies, not even understanding what it was I was giving up in return. Which was my own judgement, concept, that hardly existed for me back then.

I can only feel blessed my indoctrination lasted for such a short time. Else I'm not sure I could've completely gotten out of believing Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows. Even if Christianity itself fell quite soon, the basic concept pushed into me was hard to shake. Enough to make me hate the church system as much as my father seems to. Not the people, I've still met plenty of decent religious folks. But apart from having good relationships with them, I can only feel deeply sorry for them.

After all, I myself experienced how hard it is to fix something broken in your early years. And I can't help but wish there was an easy way to help fix what has been constantly kept in the mint broken condition for years by something other than themselves. God is such a liar, promising us free will, isn't he? At least he sure ain't controlling what his own people are doing in his name, to oppose they own deity's will.

But people don't see it that way, like my parents did. If anything, the rather lax attitude of mine that I should be free to believe whatever, had helped. Maybe not directly, leaving me with no concrete support in my exploration of the subject. But that in itself had saved me from prejudiced views. Something I will be forever grateful for. Because it taught me how to learn, which I hope to do for the remainder of my life.

Just hopefully, I can ultimately learn of a way to show people their misconceptions. Their blindness to their own blindness. And not just with religion. I don't plan on ever convincing larger groups of people to at least reevaluate their views, but if I can show my close ones the limitations in their own mind, their weakness to indoctrination, it would be great.

Hoping to learn some great ways of achieving that here! o/

arakish's picture
Muashkis: I learned to read

Muashkis: I learned to read at the age of five...

I learned before I was five, because I remember one of my brithday presents for my 5th birthday was the novel Childhood's End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke with an attached assignment: "Read the book and write a 5 page report." What kind of mother tortures her child like that? Anyway, I loved the book so well that I actually wrote a 10 page report. And I was off to the races. However, I tended not to like the "childrens'" stories because they seemed to be like the Bible. And I hated that my mom taught me to read with the Bible first. Ugh... Tainted meat.

Muashkis: Hoping to learn some great ways of achieving that here! o/

That you shall, my child. You shall.

Welcome to our little corner of godless heathenistic paganism. By all means, enjoy yourself. Peruse the boards. Feel free to join any topic speaking your mind. We are all completely open here.


Muashkis's picture
Haha, that sounds rather

Haha, that sounds rather interesting :D

My memory about finally managing to read a whole page about various tigers without help is why I remember the biological encyclopedia so well. As for my enjoyment of various other books - Bible not being among the very first probably helped. Besides, various folk tales are mild, generally happily ending entertainment in comparison to Old Testament. For a child they made some very enjoyable winter evenings.

And yeah, the early taint isn't easy to get over with. If anything, I'm planning to look around and see how other people came to realize their lack of beliefs. maybe that will give me some clues.

Either way, glad to be around, hoping to learn tons indeed ( ^u^)

Rene Gonzalez1's picture
I started to work at a dairy

I started to work at a dairy farm when I was 8 years old. One of my many responsibilities after school was to go feed the calves. I single handedly raised over 200 of them. Many times especially during the winter they would get sick, and I would watch their lives leave their bodies sometimes. I would pray and pray that these calves(like children to me) would miraculously heal and get back to their joyous nature, but the more and more died in my hands. The more I realized that I was just talking to myself. That's when I truly began to question religion. The simple problem of evil no religion has the answer to.

Alpha's picture
Im 19(just turned!) , from

Im 19(just turned!) , from Iran.
Here is my story :

I was burn in a shia muslim family.You know here being muslim equals to being a fundamentalist muslim.Many read and act to Quran literally and believe that we can extract scientific facts from this book.My family wasnt an exception.
I remember first time i asked my mom about qualities of paradise , my question was if i can bring my computer there or play with computer in heaven! and the answer was obviously no you cant! It was the first negative feeling about anything of religion i can remember i had.

i didn't get abused physically so much from my father.But when it happened the reason was just religious moral teachings.
Once for entering our neighbors home while she didnt wear hijab(And I was 8 years old).I know its weired but it really happened.
Several times because i wouldnt like to wake up for namaz in the early morning(and i was a child and didn't even reach the age of reason(15)).

But It didnt work since i was a child and a lonely nonsocial child.I couldnt understand these horrible actions origin is religion.

The first time i really started questioning religion was last year.I was doing good at university.Enjoying activities i liked such as studying books , programming , etc.For the first time i felt that i can do much more in my life after painful school age.I tried to be a bit more social.Near the end of year my parents prepared a religious trip to Iraq(It was their dream since my childhood).I wouldnt like to go with them because i knew i will have to waste so much time there.I forgot to bring my books and laptop and just brought my ipad.In the first day my Intellectual ability flourished rapidly and i googled so many questions.My interesting problems were problem of hell , existence of free will.
It was a mystery for me what god should do with a brainwashed innocent Isis kid that kills people.what god should do with brainwashed terrorists.
Will he burn them in hell forever? I was looking for solution all the time.I got sick and depressed , lost weight so much.
In quora I saw answers from Atheists.
It was unbelievable for me how an atheist can live without belief to afterlife , to a divine source.How they get on fear of non-existence , fear of losing , etc.
I was scared and confused.It continued for several days.My parents said it may be better for me to ask my theological concerns from mulla of travel group.It seemed pointless to me.
I didnt expect a good answer from him because he seemed ignorant to me.But my depression got worse and i finally decided to talk with him.
For the Isis kid he gave me this answer : People whom can not think well(Mostazaf) will not go to hell.Kids specially will be servants of ahl-al-bait.
For the grown up terrorists he gave me this answer : they will go to hell because of their decisions , if not decisions in this world , in pre-birth world(Alame-zar).We have hadith that there are people who act evil because in Alame-zar they didnt say "ashhad" clearly and undoubtly.

I was so weak and depressed , i dont know how but his answers seemed acceptable to me(I was just seeking for answer , but couldnt think logically at that time).
After a week we came back home.Guess what , I got depressed again.It got worse and worse since my parents couldnt understand me.I was really confused and scared.
I got familiar with Richard Dawkins , Sam Harris and other popular Atheists.Their speeches seemed joyful and logical to me.I spent time several weeks just watching videos and googling to find answers.I dont know exactly when i became atheist.Because i hated labeling myself atheist.

Its about 3 months that Im atheist.I love my parents but its illogical for me to tell them the truth.Theyre really emotional persons.

and sorry for my bad English!

PS : Site throws a php exception when i use emoji in comments!

Muashkis's picture
Welcome, Alpha!

Welcome, Alpha!

And your English seems just fine, also, there are other people not native English speakers here. So expect most posts to be rather easily understandable. Some more difficult words (at least for me) still pop out from time to time, but I advise you do the same as me and just use it as an extra practice session for establishing the language skills. (I blame Sheldon for increasing my vocabulary involuntarily)

As for your story, I'm just glad to see another believer turned nonbeliever, by the simple fact of recognizing the difference between the assumption of knowledge (read blind faith) and logic. Something you can expect theists posting here to fail. I really hope you keep exercising that promising brain of yours.

Studying books is good, as it allows you to get insights from experiences you might never have otherwise, especially coupled with logic. As for programming... *smiles* in my honest opinion, the best practice of pure logic. Keep up on that part, it gives some good lessons applicable to other aspects of life.

Regarding your parents, well, don't expect any sound advice. Nobody can decide whether telling them is or isn't logical for your own circumstances. Though there are plenty of atheists sharing their experiences on internet, regarding similar ones. You are most definitely not alone in that regard. And myself having a rather lengthy, but undisturbed transition, best advice I can dare give you is to look up those shared stories. If not a solution, they might give you at least an idea on how to approach your own matters.

Wish you not only to learn lots, but also to have some fun in the process :)

Cognostic's picture
And like many religious

And like many religious people you think you have become something different than what you are. YOU DO NOT BECOME ATHEIST. There is no such thing. You have only stopped being Muslim. You have stopped being a human being with a label. To wear Atheism like a label is to make it no different than a religion. Atheism is the lack of a belief in God or gods. Buddhism is the belief in Buddha and his teachings. Christianity is the belief in Christ and his teachings. Judaism is the belief in God and his teachings. Islam is the belief in Muhammad and his teachings. Atheism is not a belief. Atheism is only a position that asks, why should I believe? And thus far the religions of the world have only offered up fallacies, stories, condemnations, and threats of death to support their positions. Why should I believe anything on threat of death? Atheists are still waiting for the evidence.

Alpha's picture
You are right and wrong! I

You are right and wrong! I think atheism is lack of belief about what i know and agnosticism is about what i dont know or what im not sure.Im currently atheist toward self contradictory god of Abraham , but agnostic about other religions i don’t know.I may convert to a religion if it comes with evidence in future but now im both agnostic and atheist.
I don’t believe personal gods but can’t prove if there’s no god , gods must be first defined and then i can judge.
For example we can say nature is somehow god but it doesn’t help anything.
The labels are just about certainty not for fun really...
Oh there is a name for this philosophy , “Agnostic atheism”.

I can’t say im the same person as i was 6 months ago.Being muslim killed my ambitions.Many people at my age want to be martyred! I don’t think if they had grown up in a western country their life wouldn’t change so much.


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