Whats Your Story?

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Josh's picture
Whats Your Story?

Ive noticed in talking to a lot of you that many have previously been involved in religion/ church and possibly have believed in a god. If you don't mind sharing I would like to hear at what point you realized that religion was not for you and what your reasons were for leaving.

This is not a debate thread... just a general question I had.

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xenoview's picture
I was a christian till I was

I was a christian till I was 15, then I became a wiccan/pagan till I was 44. Then I became an agnostic for a few years, then I became an atheist when I was 46. I have been an atheist for 7 years.

David Killens's picture
I was raised in a devoutly

I was raised in a devoutly christian family, my father was a Mason, my mother Eastern Star. Every Sunday we attended church. In my late teens I formed the opinion that organized religion was more of a social club than a place of worship. When I struck out on my own at the age of 18 I stopped going regularly to church, although I attended approximately four or five events a year. And to be honest, it felt good when I left a service.

Although I had turned my back on organized religion, I still sought something spiritual. For the next forty years I prayed for a god to reveal itself to me, I sincerely went down on my knees and prayed. Sometimes I could be found alone in the late evening in churches praying. I spoke to many leaders of faith, and had long and interesting discussions. I researched every religion/spiritual belief I could learn about.

With the advent of the internet, I found videos debating atheism versus religion. What I heard from the atheist viewpoint did not change my mind, the arguments only allowed me to organize my thoughts with greater clarity. Not long after, I came to the realization I was an atheist.

LogicFTW's picture
@OP by Josh

@OP by Josh
My dad was religious, my mother was not. My parents split when I was young. Spent my early formative years with my mother, I also lived in a remote location, no internet and little TV. My first real exposure to religion was "the children's bible" when I was around 7 or so. This book followed aesop's fables. I just assumed the bible was just a more violent version of aesop's fables.

Imagine my surprise when I later learned people take the "adult version" very seriously and think its the truth. There was no recovering for religion after that. I even seeked out actual evidence/proof for a god idea and found none. To this day I am happy to hear about actual evidence, (not just people talking/writing,) but I at this point through much experience realized this is an extremely unlikely scenario, billions of people for 1000's of years have been trying to come up with evidence for their god idea, and have only lost ground over the last several thousand years.

I just learned last night, it was popular opinion around 2000 years ago that dreams were: "messages from god." This is the formative years for many of the major religions today. Now we have machines that show dreams are based on memories. Just another chip off a very worn block for religion/god. Bronze age superstitions are just that. Bronze age superstitions, most of the major religions today are a part of that superstition group.

Nyarlathotep's picture
My religious background is

My religious background is very similar to LogicFTW's. Bible stories were presented to me as useful fiction that contained life lessons (golden rule, don't build your house on sand, etc). I was stunned when I realized there were people who believed the stories actually happened. Seemed like believing the three little pigs were real! Still seems that way to me now.

Simon Moon's picture
I had the normal theistic

I had the normal theistic upbringing: religious services several times a week, devout belief by all my immediate and extended families, religious summer camps, etc, etc.

I was s devout believer for the first several decades of my life.

I have always been a critical thinker and a skeptic, when it came to all sorts of other supernatural existential claims, but I came to the conclusion in my 30's, that I never applied my critical thinking and skepticism to my theistic beliefs. Compartmentalization is a bitch.

Very soon after I started this process, it became evident, that my theistic beliefs were completely unwarranted based on their lack of: demonstrable evidence, reasoned argument, and valid and sound logic to support them.

They just started to fall away. I became a deist for a short time, a pantheist for even shorter, then it became obvious to myself, I no longer believed in gods.

Let me make this clear, my atheism is not a dogmatic position (as was my theism), it is a provisional position.

As long as there continues to be a lack of evidence and valid and sound logic to support the claim that a god exists, I will continue to be an atheist.

Randomhero1982's picture
I've never had any religious

I've never had any religious indoctrination in my life really... I was lucky to have parents who keep their personal opinions to themselves and let is discover in our own time.

My first experience was at senior school when I was 11 or 12 and having to partake in mandatory religious education.

But having developed some decent critical thinking skills and having a keen interest in science, all of the claims made my religious studies teacher where just that... claims.

Unsubstantiated claims, with all the evidential powers of dead badger.

chimp3's picture
Raised Catholic. At 13 I was

Raised Catholic. At 13 I was inspired by John Lennon's song "Imagine" and became an atheist. My parents changed to the Pentecostal church and I did not go with them. After high school I took psychedelic drugs and ended up in a Sufi order ( a very hippy one). A few years later apathy sunk in and I was back at atheist.

Cognostic's picture
Lived the life of an

Lived the life of an Evangelic"Jesus People" through the Assemblies of God, in a small Kansas town. With a bible under my arm and spreading the good word. Then, I decided I wanted to be a preacher. (That was the downfall of belief.)

"What better way to be a preacher and learn about the lord, than to visit every Church in town?" I asked myself. So that is what I did. In three months I was cured. You name the congregation and I have been to it. There is nothing but insanity out there in the world of Jesus worship and that is coming from someone that went to a church where they danced in the isles and yelled out in tongues. The more I looked into becoming a preacher the more I realized it was a job for a con man. The more I studied the scripture, the more I realized there was nothing Godly about it. The longer I spent with congregations, the more hypocritical they became (Much like you.) And I never wanted to be that way. Never. The end result was to drop religion.

cranky47's picture
Brought up devout Irish

Brought up devout Irish catholic. Sent to a catholic boys school for 7 years, where I had the shit beaten out of me ,regularly. I guess as with sexual assaults with other kids, my parents simply did not believe me, or my brother. There was no sexual abuse at my school of which I was aware.

Began seriously questioning some of the more fatuous teachings at 16. EG original sin, the trinity, limbo for unbaptised babies, transubstantiation (the belief that at communion , the bread and wine LITERALLY become the body and blood of Christ) AND of course, the outrageously self serving doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope.

I parted company with church the church when I was conscripted in 1968. . At that timeI still believed in god .

Over the next next 20 years, I searched for meaning, in the Occult and learning about different religions. Spent 5 years studying other cultures, myths and religions at University. I came to call myself an agnostic.

It was in the early 80's that I finally concluded that I simply no longer believed, but didn't know. It wasn't until I found Atheist forums in the early 2000's that I changed my self description to 'agnostic atheist'

I no longer defend my position although I'm happy to explain by what I mean by the label.,

Tin-Man's picture
Raised in a Baptist/Methodist

Raised in a Baptist/Methodist family in a tiny little "one horse town" in the middle to the Bible belt. Regular church services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, (some) Wednesday evenings, and then the one or two weeks of vacation bible school each summer. Was baptized when I was eight years old. And during all that time, none of the things I was taught from the bible ever made sense to me. Even as a little kid barely in third grade, I could not help but notice all the inconsistencies and contradictions. On top of that, I also saw so very much of the hypocrisy in how most folks acted on Sunday mornings compared to how they acted in their day-to-day lives throughout the rest of the week. Of course, being that young, I really did not know any of those terms and I did not fully understand what any of those things meant. All I knew at the time was simply, "Dang! None of this stuff makes any sense." And whenever I asked tough questions, the reply from the adults was mostly, "Well, the Lord works in mysterious ways." Or, an even better reply of, "It is complicated. You will understand when you get older." To say the least, those answers never truly satisfied me. For better or worse, though, I was a very respectful and obedient child. Therefore, I trusted the adults and chalked up my misunderstandings to, "Well, I am just a kid and the people I know and trust wouldn't lie to me. So I'll just wait until I get older and then I will understand." And by the time I got old enough, and educated enough, and experienced enough to "understand", that fucked up threat of hell had been firmly planted into my psyche.

Once I was old enough and given the decision of whether or not I wanted to go to church, my attendance dropped drastically. Had a couple of periods (once in my early twenties and once in my early thirties) where I plunged back into the murky depths of religion during a couple of rough periods concerning broken relationships. Even so, they were short-lived due to the fact I never felt comfortable within a church or with discussions during "bible studies". Looking back, I suppose I was there primarily for the "fellowship" and being around people who claimed to care about me. (I have always been a rather solitary guy most of my life.) But even during those times, I always felt ill at ease, because I could never bring myself to believe the same way the others in the church believed. And I guess I was always concerned that somebody would eventually see through my facade. Therefore, I was soon back to avoiding religion in general, with my mind "drifting" about like a feather in the wind in regards to god and faith and all of the nonsense attached to it. Through it all, though, that constant and insidious threat of hell remained stuck like a bothersome burr under the saddle of my conscious. I simply could... not... shake.... it, regardless of what my logical and rational mind told me. As a result, "Well, better to believe, just in case. Better safe than sorry," soon became my mantra. (Even though I had no idea what Pascal's Wager was at that time.)

It has only been within the last two years that I was finally able to sever the last few threads connecting me to my religious indoctrination. And I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my amazing wife for helping me to finally realize it was okay to think rationally and question all the religious dogma that was crammed into my brain at such a young age. She is the one who actually encouraged me to join an atheist chat site so that I could discuss my questions with those of similar mindsets. The AR came up as the first site of my Google search, and here I am today. I registered, and then made my very first post on December 1st, 2017. Still took me awhile to be comfortable with referring to myself as an atheist, for I had to fight through decades of being told that atheism ranks up there right alongside devil-worshiping child-molesters. Imagine my surprise (and RELIEF) upon discovering the truth. And now, after all of the things I have learned on this site, I have more clarity of thought and peace of mind, and I am more happy and carefree than at any other time in my life that I can remember. It took over forty years for my blinders to finally get removed, and I often feel truly sad for those who walk around today with their vision still restricted by those same blinders.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
I was raised by my Christian

I was raised by my Christian parents and maintained my belief until my early teens.

It was once I started to question things like;
- Why are children starving in Africa?
- Why can children forced to be sex slaves, sweat-shop workers etc.

So many questions simply didn't make sense, especially when under the scope of theism.
Why would this just and all perfect god allow this, in any way, shape or form.

After that I begun to study the theological claims and soon realised how far fetched and ridiculous they were.

Cognostic's picture
@Josh: WHEN ARE YOU GOING

@Josh: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO REALIZE HOW UTTERLY INANE YOUR RELIGIOUS FOOLISHNESS IS?

Kataclismic's picture
My father was a devout Roman

My father was a devout Roman Catholic but I never believed anything he said just because it was written in a book. Later my indulgence in other religions were just psychology experiments.

The doubt you have is warranted, and it's because there is no rational reason to believe something based on faith, not because a god is trying to trick you.

rat spit's picture
I’ll make mine short.

I’ll make mine short.

Raised Pentecostal by a single mother who converted at age 35.

Prayed to God every night - never heard back.

Age 14 - ditched the whole thing. Became more interested in beer and weed. Certainly an Atgeist by now. Have found no evidence of God.

Age 20 - third year Uni. First girl I ever loved dumps me. I go on a bender. Smoke a joint laced with something (probably windex).

First existential crises. Annihilation anxiety. Deep depression. No meaning. No God. No refuge from the emptiness.

Age 21 - invent a God to be my friend in the emptiness. Go psychotic - land my self in a four year long stress headache. Requires hospitalization.

Age 25 - headache loosens up and I go on a spiritual quest.

Age 26 - reach the end of my spiritual quest. Enlightenment. Nibbana. Unbinding.

Then. Start having conversations with people in my thoughts. Eventually there’s like 30 different conversations going on at once inside my head.

But I’m smart. I dig through the lies and find the one underlying Intelligence behind the voices - ie. The Evil One.

Everyone has a boss - even the Evil One. Finally meet the OverLord - and go from Atheist to “Theist” - although I detest this term.

The OverLord is not a Creator. He didn’t create the universe or man. He just happens to be the highest pinnacle of evolved intelligence in the Universe.

Age 27 to 37 - follower of the Evil One.

Cognostic's picture
@Ratty: You are a very sick

@Ratty: You are a very sick ratty. But let's face the facts. The Good one in the bible butchers over 25,000,000 people. Innocent men, women and children. We have not even started counting all the animals. Satan, the Evil one in the bible, Always tells the truth and only kills 8 people. I guess if you have to be suck with someone, it may as well be the Evil One. From what I know of Evil Ones from the Bible, the are a hell of a lot more trustworthy and safer than the Good Ones/

rat spit's picture
@Cog.

@Cog.

Yeah. We like to joke around (me and the Evil One). We like to call him a “scamp”. You know; just a rambunctious little troublemaker who likes to torture people every once in a while.

Considering what he could do to me - stop my heart; give me an aneurysm; etc. (and I’ve had the tactile hallucinations to back this up) - he’s really not all that bad. At least he’s not the one sending people to Hell! He just kind of leads you there through vice.

Hey! Where’s the tree man? Arakish? Haven’t seen him in a coons age.

Tin-Man's picture
@Ratty Re: Arakish

@Ratty Re: Arakish

Sadly, our dear lumpy chunk of potential lumber got banished into the Netherworld a few months ago for not being able to control his flamboyant methods of describing some of the more annoying "theist" trolls that frequent our site. Worry not, though, for he is doing well. We still keep in touch by other methods. If you want, I will let him know you send your regards. I'm sure he will get a chuckle or two out of hearing about you.

Re: The Evil One

Yeah, rather like Satan compared to the God of the bible, I have to admit I would rather hang out with The Red Guy. Seems to have considerably more personal integrity, at least. And as the saying goes, "The Devil (or Evil One) can't lead you where you don't already want to go."... lol...

Cognostic's picture
Sadly, he got the boot from

Sadly, he got the boot from AR. I don't know that he will come back but we still have a place for him in our garden. It never pays to go heads up with the mods. Just say Yes, do what they want, and move on. It makes life so much easier.

rat spit's picture
@Tin Man

@Tin Man

Banned? You don’t say? He was our bread and butter. A true staple at AR. I declare that - as a republic - we exercise our democratic right to vote him back into good standing.

I didn’t even get to say good bye :(

Please do send him my best wishes.

Re: The Evil One

He’s a scamp! Always trying to convince me that I hate my life - that I don’t have it in me to carry on. What a rebellious little rapscallion, isn’t he though?

Tin-Man's picture
@Ratty Re: Arakish

@Ratty Re: Arakish

I'll be sure to tell him "Howdy" for you next time we chat. I'll let you know what he says in reply... *chuckle*...

As for The Evil One, you of all people should know by now not to always take him seriously. Seems to me like he is just trying to keep you on your toes and motivate you to think for yourself. You know, the whole "reverse psychology" routine, tough love, and all that kind of jazz? Guess you could say that The Evil One works in mysterious ways... *chuckle*...

LogicFTW's picture
@Tin-Man

@Tin-Man
Tell arakish I say Hi too.

If he does not read this himself. He may be banned from posting, but not reading :)

Grinseed's picture
Oh, d'uh, didn't realise he

Oh, d'uh, didn't realise he had been booted.
Never considered his posts anymore derogatory than the theist guff we usually get.

G'day Arakish, hope trunk limbs branches and leaves are doing well mate. I thought he went off on another one of his epic trips, like overseas relative retrieval missions, volcano smuggling etc, .
I am betting he won't come back if only because he isn't the kind to compromise what he really feels and knows.

Sheldon's picture
Josh "at what point you

Josh "at what point you realized that religion was not for you and what your reasons were for leaving."

I'm not sure I ever really believed it, but before puberty I was pretty much done with it, and the reason is always the same for disbelief of any claim, there simply is no objective evidence for any deity or deities.

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