How did you become an atheist?

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This question is for atheists who at some point were Christians. Was there a set point when you stopped believing, or was it a gradual process?

I recall as early as 8 years old I was forced to attend Sunday school. At that young age I already was a skeptic. The things they were teaching to me seemed utterly ridiculous. I pictured the old Testament God as a horrible tyrant who wasn't worthy of being worshiped and found the supernatural claims to be utter non sense. I hated going and eventually my mother finally gave up trying to force me. After that I never really thought about the issue. I was too busy watching Nickelodeon and playing video games.

Fast forward about 8 or 9 years. I still had a basic belief in God despite my skepticism. One of my good friends attended church regularly and I asked him if I could go with him. The real reason was it was a good way to meet new people and socialize.

At this point in my life after going to church for awhile I started to truly investigate my beliefs and put a great deal of thought into them. One Wednesday night youth service the minister was having a Q&A session. I eventually asked this question. "How do we know that the bible is true and every other religion is false?"

This was a turning point to me. I was already extremely skeptical but I think this instance is what really made me stop believing.

He talked in circles for about 5 minutes but to sum it up his answer was. "The bible is true because I believe the bible and the bible says it is true". His logic was absolutely terrible. Harry Potter books could claim to be non-fiction, but that doesn't make them true.

Another guy there added that the bible never contradicts itself. It does, but even if it didn't that doesn't make it true. Once again Harry Potter books don't contradict themselves either. This same guy added that Christianity is more appealing because you get to go to heaven when you die. If you believe of course. Once again, just because something sounds more appealing doesn't make it true.

The utter failure to answer my simple question led me to never attend church ever again. Realizing the only reason I even attended was to socialize I wasn't going to put on some guise just so I could have a few more friends.

I'm so disappointed I can't share my stories here since I wasn't a christian.

Mine was a gradual process. Was raised Irish catholic, brought to Sunday school and mass... believed fiercely until I was about in high school, when I finally started thinking for myself. Over time, the empty promises from the faithful, the lack of evidence... it all piled up over time until I finally had to admit that while I can't prove there isn't a god, there is absolutely no evidence that there is one.

I went to a catholic school and most of the priests seemed like cunts to me, never got molested though. I resented being forced to pray every morning and saw it as indoctrination from the start. Now I do believe in a god, but am an atheist in that its not a christain god and I see all the evils that religions have perpetrated.

I was about 10 years old when I really started questioning the whole god thing. I was raised in a fairly small, extremely conservative sect of Lutheranism, The Old Apostolic Lutherans, also known as The Firstborns in Finland[1] where it is originally from. My dads entire family, which was pretty much the only side of my family I had contact with, belongs to that sect so it was a large part of my early life, and had a considerable hand in shaping the beliefs of a young GrimTuesday. What really set me off on my path towards Atheism was when I did a project on the Crusades. I found them so horrible and disturbing that I couldn't help but question why anyone would do what the Christians and to a lesser extent the Muslims did in the name of their god. Then there was the period of anti-theism and being an ass, but like most people, I outgrew that phase and eventually arrived at the point I am at now.

[1] Thanks a lot Finland.

I questioned why I was a Christian and could come up with no good reason. Certainly never seen a Christian give a good reason to believe.

And I picked up no other religion because, similarly, I could see no good reason to do so.

I was born an atheist. Jay, inb4 that. ^_^

Well, after that of course got something from a Christian primary school and my parents, but through some people there who also went to that school and whose kids were my friends, I got into the reformist church, which was the biggest religious group is that village.

Now if you don't know reformism, they're extremely conservative. Women are inferior to men. Abortion must be banned by law. Homosexuals are teh evilz. Excorcism if you did something wrong. Television is a device of sin, that sort of thing.


Got pretty far into it too. If you're clever among a bunch of ignorant fishermen and farmers and show promise when everybody just nods yes, it's easily to be well liked. Not as "You'll be the next C.S. Lewis" like they told a friend of mine, whom I swear was the only other person with a brain of our age in that village, but hey, and being near him while he was another hotshot brainy Christian didn't hurt either. I was too young to realise it that conciously, but I basically became a hotshot there without trying too hard. The next big hope for a village church whose membership is leaving left and right and aging fast. I mostly thought it was fun and interesting and nice people around you. Basically the isolation of the 'Christian bubble' as I like to call it.

But when you get in, you also see what happens inside don't you? Starting to grow up and seeing that sort of coincided with me. Seeing and hearing among other kids how they just pretended and acted all crazy in the meantime looked pretty bad. School there was worse even, there were people there who acted like they were braindead when it came to matters of thinking, and their upbringing was the cause of that. Also since my parents weren't in the same church, I faced a lot of bullying. So I switched schools, and ended up 'that boy who cycles here every day from the retarded village' there and it started like before, but the friends I had there showed how different it could be. They had few restrictions but lived better, behaved better. Felt much better to hang out with too.

About the same time I uncovered two rather heinous cases of sexual abuse of children in about 1,5 years worth of time, and their response to that did it. The victim was to blame, and the perp surely would never do such a thing. Neither case ever made it to court as a result. That really pissed me off. An elder from another village who came over regularly once talked to my father (who'd gotten mildly involved in the whole church thing because I'd asked him, even though he has nothing with churches) and he was enraged after that. I wondered why untill he (the elder) approached me and heard what he'd told. He thought he'd go explaining to me why they did that to the victims, and how he had 'resolved' a gang rape by banishing the victim from the village in exchange for informing the police. I foreswore him on the spot to his great surprise. Probably should've thrown him out the nearest window, not like he didn't deserve that, but hey.

By that time I already thought the church was a lot of rubbish and the faith might be too, but you keep going because of social expectations. It can be really oppressive. Plus I'd met this girl who'd later end up my wife through there, although she was from the next village. In the end I decided to stop going and took a lot of shit over that. Told them no, my parents supported me very well and told those who insisted no a little louder than I could. But you can't date heretics, so... That ended for one.

Graduated the next year, found a room in the city where I studied some eight months after. Freakish coincidence: My ex had picked the same study as I had. She really really needed a room, so I offered her one, since my appartment was scheduled to be torn down, free rooms didn't need filling and we had two free. The landlord agreed and so we lived together.
Ended up smacking myself over the head for it, because when she moved in I remembered why I'd fallen in love with her. But you can't make a move, because if you get her a room first and make a move, it looks like you want sex as payment right? Well, that lasted about two weeks before she jumped me. ^_^
So we lived together and restarted our relationship at the same time. Turns out she'd left the church about the same time as me. She got plenty of shit for that from the church, who wanted her to travel all the way back to do chores for free, break up our relationship. She handled it a bit half-assed, not saying no directly and harshly like I did. It got so bad that one day, I was phoned by her. Her church elder had invaded our home and was raging in the livingroom with her hiding in her bedroom. Hurried home, wanted to break his neck, opted to toss him outside and call the police instead.


So if you want the short version: Religion, been there, done that, done it better than the rest even, bought the tshirt, learned too much, still have a headache about it.

I read the bible.

That discriminatory bundle of delusions will not fly.

Determinism and deities' omniscience didn't fit together too well. I chose determinism.

Aside from the local vicar who occasionally came in to do a sermon at school, the odd school trip to a church or temple and school prayer which I just thought of as a thing we had to suffer through bored rather than anything innately religious; I didn't meet someone that I recognised as religious until I was about 14.

I'd come to regard religious people as manticores, mermaids or wookies. Some mythical beast that might perhaps live in some far off land, but which was of little concern to me and which I would probably never meet. When a maths teacher at school mentioned she was Christian, I stared at her boggle eyed like she'd just admitted she was an avid practitioner of trepanning because I couldn't believe an educated adult would believe in a deity.

Really, religion never had a chance with me.

I wasn't ever a committed Catholic. When my brother and I asked why we had to go to Sunday school our parents were honest and said it was to appease grandma, not because they had any particularly strong religious convictions. I think by the time I got my communion (age 10/11) I had gone from considering church a waste of time, and the stories in the Bible made up to thinking that and also God probably didn't exist at all.

well when life doesn't get better after begging with all your heart and supposed soul for it to get better kinda stepped it for me and from then on I migrated to atheism and am now an atheist. best decision ever. However with your question about the bible being "true" they try to say that because certain places and remains of people have been found such as Jericho and certain tombs. and let us not forget the dead sea scrolls.

My mother was Catholic, I was baptised, made my communion and confirmation. As a child I believed, but we never went to mass, my mother wasn't hugely religious, a believer sure (not so much any more), but not religious. It just never factored hugely in my life and my belief faded. There was no eureka moment, they're was no process, my belief just got weaker and weaker until I realised I didn't believe. My communion and confirmation didn't really mean anything to me, it was just something you did. I was kinda the odd one, the only one in my class to joke that I was making my confirmation for the money.

My mom's side of the family is Presbyterian, and pretty hardcore about it, though my mom has become less so in recent years. My dad is an atheist, and his parents are non-practicing Catholics from Germany. My mom's side of the family tried to raise me Christian--like hardcore creationist--but after my dad got custody of me after the divorce, I stopped going to church. I'd never really enjoyed church; it was an hour of boredom and singing and stories I didn't much care about. I was young and all I wanted to do was play with my toys or read my books or run around outside.

Anyhow. I still self-identified as Christian for a while, since that was really all I knew. I'd see my mom a few months out of the year, we'd go to church sometimes. But eventually it dawned on me that I didn't really believe any of it. I was effectively an atheist. And as that self-awareness grew, and as I sought more information about my beliefs, about those I thought I'd held before, it just became more clear to me that there really wasn't anything believable in religion.

It never really penetrated. I was sent to mass, Sunday school, the works. It never really sunk in at all. I always looked at religion as a child with the same distrustful demeanour I reserved for weird strangers or attempted pranks. As a child, I learnt very quickly never to trust adults, and as such I never really fell for the lure of religion. I admit I did fake interest for a while, in one of my many misguided attempts to please my parents.

No one I know has every been strongly religious. Where I live, if you hear about someone's religion it's usually because you overheard a candid conversation or just outright asked. My only real experiences with being on the inside of a church were either entirely nonreligious or bat-crap enough that I didn't take to it at all in the one or two times I went at a young age. First, when I was really young we made crafts and then around ten, going with a friends family we were stuffed under a table that represented hell, waiting for a kid that was LARPing Jesus to come give us a hand. So yeah, I just completely avoided it without any real intention to do so.

Guess I don't qualify. I was raised without religious belief and from the point I encountered it onwards, it just never convinced me.

One day I realized that if there is no God there is no Hell to go to for not believing in him, so I for the first time thought about if there was a rational basis for belief and found there wasn't. I was about thirteen.

I was an agnostic for a few years because I couldn't prove there wasn't a God but then one day I felt silly about that because I realized that I can't prove George Washington was not a space alien to 100% certainty either.

Then I became an atheist.

I don't harbor any ill will towards believers, so I am not anti-theist. However, there is not a doubt in my mind that they are wrong, and if people bring up religion as a major topic of discussion I'll let them know that. For this reason some people mistake me as an anti-theist. I just sort of look at it as a Santa Claus that its socially acceptable for adults to believe in and that's fine for them I suppose because I can't deny believing in Santa was fun.

My parents weren't very religious, but my uncles and aunts were. I stopped believing in God at around the same time as Santa and the Tooth Fairy, for the same reasons. I attended Sunday school once with my cousins around or after this time, and what little I remember of it was that I thought of it in similar terms to one of the fairy tales trying to teach morals to us. I asked God to give me some sign that he existed, and nothing happened. So, I figured that God and Jesus were stories told to children to make them behave, and nothing more.

At the time, it did not at all seem like as big a deal as it's made out to be; it just seemed to be the right choice. It seemed so reasonable in fact that I didn't even realize that most people in the US are Christians until I was in my mid teens, and I was absolutely shocked to find out that so many people believe in God. I did not come to understand how controversial atheism is until my 20s. I thought that there must be something wrong or inflicted upon people, like brainwashing, for them to continue to believe in God all the way to adulthood. It seemed exactly to me like an adult believing in Santa. The alternative explanations made so much more sense, and relied so much less upon magic, that it was just inconceivable to me that this was common.

I suppose that, at some level, I still have the same attitude towards religion, but I now understand how common it is, the motivations for people to believe in it, and that religiosity is not going to go away any time soon. I also understand that a measure of tolerance and patience for religion is required in order to deal effectively with other people, since my beliefs are in the minority.

That doesn't stop the prevalence of religious belief from seeming strange to me though.

I was raised agnostic, though nominally Catholic. I was baptised, had my communion and confirmation, but we were never religious at home (or at school for that matter even though it was a Catholic school). We only ever went to church at Christmas (or for weddings/funerals and the like), and even that stopped after I started attending "highschool" (Dutch Hightschool at age 12).

I became Antitheistic for a while during my mid-teens, but reverted to agnostic-atheist/apatheist as I matured and decided it's just not something I want to have to deal with one way or the other.

Ando85:
This question is for atheists who at some point were Christians. Was there a set point when you stopped believing, or was it a gradual process?

I recall as early as 8 years old I was forced to attend Sunday school. At that young age I already was a skeptic. The things they were teaching to me seemed utterly ridiculous. I pictured the old Testament God as a horrible tyrant who wasn't worthy of being worshiped and found the supernatural claims to be utter non sense. I hated going and eventually my mother finally gave up trying to force me. After that I never really thought about the issue. I was too busy watching Nickelodeon and playing video games.

Fast forward about 8 or 9 years. I still had a basic belief in God despite my skepticism. One of my good friends attended church regularly and I asked him if I could go with him. The real reason was it was a good way to meet new people and socialize.

At this point in my life after going to church for awhile I started to truly investigate my beliefs and put a great deal of thought into them. One Wednesday night youth service the minister was having a Q&A session. I eventually asked this question. "How do we know that the bible is true and every other religion is false?"

This was a turning point to me. I was already extremely skeptical but I think this instance is what really made me stop believing.

He talked in circles for about 5 minutes but to sum it up his answer was. "The bible is true because I believe the bible and the bible says it is true". His logic was absolutely terrible. Harry Potter books could claim to be non-fiction, but that doesn't make them true.

Another guy there added that the bible never contradicts itself. It does, but even if it didn't that doesn't make it true. Once again Harry Potter books don't contradict themselves either. This same guy added that Christianity is more appealing because you get to go to heaven when you die. If you believe of course. Once again, just because something sounds more appealing doesn't make it true.

The utter failure to answer my simple question led me to never attend church ever again. Realizing the only reason I even attended was to socialize I wasn't going to put on some guise just so I could have a few more friends.

At risk of sounding arrogant, when I stopped believing was right exactly around the time anybody made me think about any of the shit the Bible actually said and read some of it.

Until then I was 'Christian' in the sense that we didn't have a specific church or sect, but we believed in God and in my household it was all about God, not about Jesus, really. Jesus was there, but our family's weird self-preserved sect of Christianity held God to be absolutely number one. Salvation was about doing good + believing in God, not so much about worshiping Jesus.

I just accepted all this shit without really thinking about it and floated through any church services we did attend without much of a care about it.

I do remember one distinct time taking off a watch I had so I could play some sort of roughhousing game on a small hill, so I wouldn't break it. When time came for it to get dark, I tried to find my watch, so I wouldn't get in trouble for losing said item (we didn't have a lot of money so losing something expensive was pretty much easy street for a grounding at least). I couldn't, and prayed to God to find the thing, but it didn't work out before I had to go home, and I got in trouble. I remember talking about it and being told that God doesn't answer petty prayers like that, and at the time I didn't think much of it, but some of the people who told me this horseshit are the sort who praise God whenever they themselves accomplish something trivial. So apparently God doesn't answer prayers about my watch, but he will personally intervene when some stupid broad gets good letters in Scrabble. Obviously, I didn't think of the connection right away to that, but once I was asked to start thinking of things critically on my own, that was an instant thing that came up.

I got a lot of the same excuses as you, such as that the Bible doesn't contradict itself, but no hard-core scholar of Christian lore fucking thinks that because a cursory glance reveals it does. That leads me to one of my least liked sort of Christian, the sort that has fuck all idea what his book says, doesn't follow a goddamn word of it, but endlessly moans and bitches about how the world doesn't follow their book. This is the sort that is a woman that speaks her mind, eats crabs (motherfuckers in Maryland love their fucking crab), puts cheese on cheeseburgers, works and shops both on Sunday, misses church on a nearly weekly basis, drinks to drunkenness on occasion and wears eyeglasses in church, all things you're not supposed to do, but then complains that shops are open on Sunday or on holidays, complains about the commercialization of the world and brags about how their religion helps the poor while voting Republican and buying new cars and shit as Christmas presents on a nearly yearly basis and never once donating to charity, and denounces gays for not following old Jewish law despite the fact that when it applies to them it 'doesn't count' anymore, etc. That's the worst.

I think any time that I might even remotely consider becoming religious, I run into 30 examples of said person above and I'm quickly disabused of the idea.

I was raised as a Protestant Christian (Church of Scotland). As a child I believed without question what my mother and the church taught me to be true. But that's what kids do. If I had constantly bombarded my children with the idea that the world was made by a magic space unicorn that lived on the moon, they would believe it at least until such time they were old enough to think for themselves. Even then, if the conditioning is effective enough they could conceivably carry on for the rest of their lives believing this while happily refusing to consider any evidence to the contrary...

Aaaaanyway, just before my 7th birthday in 1986 the US Space Shuttle program hit the headlines world wide when Space Shuttle Mission STS-51-L ended tragically 73 seconds after lift off. This was my first real exposure to the space programme, and sparked my interest in all things space. Around the same time, I stopped thinking of dinosaurs as plastic toy monsters and began to read any and everything I could lay my hands on regarding these fucking amazing creatures that had ruled the earth for so long.

Between the large amounts of newly acquired amounts of information about our planets natural history, and about the greater universe beyond this blue planet of ours, a lot of the claims made in the Bible suddenly didn't stack up.

How could God have divided the day into light and dark as his first creation, but didn't bother with the Sun and Moon until the fourth? Why did he tell the ancient Hebrews that the stars, the Sun and the Moon were set into the firmament between the water on the land and the water in the sky? Why, in Hebrews does it claim that God's repeated promises to Abraham that his people "would be as numerous as the stars" have been fulfilled? There were 6,000,000,000 people on Earth in the late 20th century, and 200-400,000,000,000 stars in our Galaxy alone. Why all the utter nonsensical claims?

That's the tip of the iceberg though, but are just a few of the things that by the age of 9 or 10 were really starting to make the whole idea of God and Heaven start to unravel at the edges. Noah's Ark gave me some real problems to make sense of as my knowledge of both human and natural history grew. If the whole world had been flooded, why were the Chinese, Egyptians and countless others still thriving throughout the time of the Great Flood? How did he get the penguins and polar bears, the grizzlies and the buffalo, the kangaroos and koalas? And how on earth did he fit 2 of the millions of species, along with adequate food supplies onto a boat that couldn't have been more than 300 feet long (300 feet is about the longest you can build a ship out of wood, after that you hit insurmountable structural issues)?

And that doesn't even touch on the absurd idea of 40 days and 40 nights of constant rain submerging all the land. It would need to fall at the rate of 6 inches per minute to submerge all the land on Earth incidentally. A Cat 5 Hurricane dumps about 6 inches per hour. It's not hard to see where the myth starts to unravel.

Also, I'm sure it's pure coincidence that the story of Noah is almost an exact copy of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh which was supposed to have happened (and was written about) before Noah. 1000 years or so in fact.

My mother, to her credit, never discouraged my free thinking or questioning, although she did and still does choose to ignore the overwhelming weight of evidence that suggests to the average free thinking atheist that the whole lot might have been made up to explain what primitive desert nomads couldn't figure out thousands of years ago.

On the other hand, the Sunday School teachers quickly refused to even listen to any questions - usually because they couldn't come up with answers that made sense, and didn't like being made to look foolish by a 10 year old. I was also considered a bad influence on the other children I think. Our Minister was a nice enough old duffer, but the best he ever came up with was to suggest that some parts of the Bible were not to be taken literally, but he couldn't accept that this by default made it anything but perfect. If it wasn't meant to be taken literally, then surely God would have made sure to tell someone to put that in, even as a footnote somewhere?

By the time I was about 12, I had made my mind up that while science doesn't have all the answers, it's doing a more honest job of trying to find them, and the answers it has provided about Life, The Universe and Everything make a lot more sense than "Magic Man In Sky".

I also realised as my teens went on that the whole concept was used mainly as a means to control and subdue an illiterate and uneducated population by fear. And to be honest when you stop and think about it, God pretty much spends the entire Old Testament pretty pissed off and constantly smiting and demanding sacrifices (the smell of which pleased him, apparently). It boils down to "Worship Me, or I'll fuck your shit up". So there's the "fear" part.

Then there's a complete about-face in the New Testament, but then it was the comparatively benign New Testament that was the selling point when the whole thing was sold to the Romans in the 3rd Century.

Saint Paul was a bit of a genius when you read his letters to the Romans. He basically pitched it to the Romans as "Civilisation crumbling? Need something to unite the Empire? Adopt our religion, scare the bejeezus out of superstitious, uneducated masses but let them know that if they embrace Jesus (who could be back at any minute by the way!) as their saviour and do what they're told, then they get immortality in heaven."

"Immortality? Forgiveness for everything as long as we accept this Jesus chap as our saviour? Where do we sign up?" And so the Roman Catholic Church was founded on the "Stick and Carrot" principle and all scientific progress in Europe came to a crashing halt for the next 12 centuries.

By the time I was in my mid teens I had firmly given up on organised religion as superstitious nonsense, harmful to the progress and development of mankind. Haven't attended a church service for over 20 years now, with the exception of attending the odd wedding, christening or funeral and I don't feel that I'm missing out on much.

So yeah...sorry for the wall of text, but you did ask how it happened!

Very simple. I started reading the bible objectively. Not to worship, but to scrutinize it.
And when you do that, it turns out the word of god did not stand a chance.

Skeleon:
Guess I don't qualify. I was raised without religious belief and from the point I encountered it onwards, it just never convinced me.

I envy you. Was held back and denied certain educations because my family's faith said Jesus was going to come back any
day now. So there was no point in higher education. Wanted so badly to become a pilot. But the only pilot was Jesus and that was all I needed I was told. As a kid you do not stand much of a chance against a community of grownups hammering you with the same message.

Rastelin:
I envy you. Was held back and denied certain educations because my family's faith said Jesus was going to come back any
day now. So there was no point in higher education. Wanted so badly to become a pilot. But the only pilot was Jesus and that was all I needed I was told. As a kid you do not stand much of a chance against a community of grownups hammering you with the same message.

That's really sad. I hope that, now that you're out, you've found another career that fulfills you.

I would agree with you and say that I probably had it much better, yes. Although I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to believe or have believed in something like that. You obviously resent the repression that came with it, but did you believe during your early life?

Skeleon:
That's really sad. I hope that, now that you're out, you've found another career that fulfills you.

I would agree with you and say that I probably had it much better, yes. Although I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to believe or have believed in something like that. You obviously resent the repression that came with it, but did you believe during your early life?

All the way up to I was around 11 or 12. Then some bell in my head kept tingling, telling me something did not add up. But I stopped praying long before that. Was only lip service.

But I really did not get rid of all that religious baggage before my early 20'ts. Upon reflection I would say that the intensive bible studies they put us through backfired on them. My guess is that they did not expect one of the kids to actually pay attention. And more importantly, read the parts of the bible that was not on the agenda.

I grew up with a stack of encyclopedias at home that I soaked up like a sponge. Evolution just made more sense to me, especially when every other rock here carries a fossil of some sort, whether plant or animal, and church felt like a punishment for something I haven't done. My family was baptist and in church were constantly scrutinized and looked down on for whatever reason, I don't even know why. So when I was given the choice, I simply stopped going. They eventually found another church with nicer people that have a Thanksgiving-style dinner every couple weeks and aren't complete snobs. Yet they still believed the end was coming last year. I just shake my head and block out the religious background noise with ear-covering noise-canceling earphones. I hold nothing against them for their beliefs but will object if they try to use those beliefs against me somehow. Hasn't happened yet thankfully.

Rastelin:

All the way up to I was around 11 or 12. Then some bell in my head kept tingling, telling me something did not add up. But I stopped praying long before that. Was only lip service.

This part is very relevant to me.

I went a very Christian school (had the word in its name -.-)
At about grade 5 I really started to doubt it. My family has always been scientific though (my dad has a degree in biology, so this would be obvious), so things like evolution and dinosaurs my parents just taught me as fact. Combine this with the fact that my teachers, despite being of the same religion as my parents, totally denied said facts, made me think a lot about their other teachings, which I came to the conclusion were factually and morally wrong. I am also a very emotional person, so for me I HAD to confront this quite often from grade 5-7 (10 to 13 years old). I prayed out of desperation, I was confused as all hell.

But by the time I entered highschool, I knew where I stood, just didn't know the word :P . Within days of having an internet connection I found the words, so I was an agnostic atheist and could now put a label to it. That pretty much resolved the issue for me.

I bought into the hard stuff: Creationism. I can hardly even stand to remember the shit I used to say. I ended up joining the military. This got me out of the bubble of my upbringing. Man, it was like learning to read all over again.

I realized that the rest of it was a pile of crap, too, after that.

I was always trying to find out how stuff works, and back when I was a child, the way I figured a lock worked was of course full of imagination.
I always asked questions and my parents did their best to help me, take me to a lock smith.

But, in their defense, they were only human, and had no scientific backgrounds.
So at one point the questions got too hard.
Living in a small town, and attending a catholic school, the awnsers I got became religious.

"grass is green because God made it so."
Whether or not the people who told me this actually believed that, or did think they could explain photosynthesis to a six your old, is irrelevant, they tried.

I was, at this point very impressed with this god fellow, and wanted to know more about him.
I actually was quite religious at this age, and prayed for that board game I always wanted, to go faster on the swing, or to find that hard-to-find lego part in the big (big) pile of bricks.

This went on until my first year at highschool.
My questions got deeper, but this time there were people who could really explain them.
The more I learned, the more I wondered what this God person REALLY did.

Slowly all my questions were answered with more detail than God did it, and god faded to the background.
Faded into a helping hand in the back, that I could ask for help.
Faded even further when I realized I never got any help that I could have gotten without a god.
Faded into nothingness.

And now I'm still a curious man, who keeps asking questions. Who still (sometimes) has the imagination of a kid.
But knows where to find real answers.
And shares them with his students.

Pretty much just gradually happened, nothing in particular was a eureka moment or anything. Yeah, sorry it was boring :(

There was this religious retreat where some guy said I was possessed by the devil, so yeah, that cemented what I already knew. Plus the freaky shit the people were doing, falling over into a seizure like state because their "sins were being absolved". Insanity

I was Christian for awhile, mostly through indoctrination now that I think about it. When I was about 10 I was leaning towards being agnostic but upholding Christian values. As time went on I realised that compulsion to be good via threats of damnation is no way to actually encourage proper behavior.

I was full agnostic by the time I was 14. I had developed a rather Socratic method of inquiry and my parents were hardly what one would call theist anyway. My mother was a traditionalist but not an actual believer. My father's mother was an Irish Catholic and he never saw eye to eye with her in his later years. Religion was simply not a topic of discussion in my household.

Then when I was 16 9/11 happened and something just snapped into place. I had been studying other cultures, histories and empires of other continents - not just Europe and America. I asked "What makes Christianity more valid than the Norse and Greek gods? Every religion essentially claims the others do not exist. Only one of them can possibly be right and every other of them would be wrong. How could I possibly select the correct one? By virtue of being born in New Zealand I would follow the Christian god but there are folks in the jungle who haven't heard of him." and so my line of thought went on.

I realised that people are killing each other over things written down a book near 2000 years ago. Things that could not have possibly happened or we have seen no evidence of being replicated since. Elaboration is hidden behind "It just is" or "It is to test your faith".

Eventually it all became too much for me. Either whatever diety out there allows terrible things in the world to happen to good people or they simply do not care. I don't believe they're worth my consideration.

I started considering the need to create religion - to explain things that the people at the time could not properly fathom. The very idea of infinity was beyond people or its actual scope was not fully realised. I imagined our planet, then I imagined our solar system, our sector, our galaxy and all the other galaxies beyond ours. Then I thought about what lies beyond or does it loop back on itself somehow? Realising quickly, it wouldn't have to. This universe can go on forever, beyond the billion galaxies there can be a billion billion more. It will not loop back on itself, it will just continue and there will always be more galaxies. I was able to completely grasp the concept of infinity.

Upon realising that I became a complete atheist. It is not belief. It is certainty. I am certain there is not a god in the same way I am certain there is no tooth fairy or Santa Claus. Just because people have been convinced of something does not make it true.

I became fully atheist. It isn't belief. I am as certain there isn't a god as I am certain there isn't a tooth fairy.

I was bitten by a radioactive Dawkins.

I'm not sure if I ever believed in the first place, the first school I went to when I was about 5-10 years old was a Christian school and they tried to pump all that nonsense into me. I honestly can't tell if I ever believed it at the start and then somewhere along the line just stopped or if I never believed it all along. I've never really been a strong atheist though, I always just happily played along with the church ceremonies, prayers, mass etc even though I didn't actually believe in any of it.

I'm more of an agnostic than an atheist. I guess you could say that I just don't care about religion. When I was a kid I was very religious, but I went to a catholic high school and it really pounded the religion out of me. Most of the priests who taught me were really bitter, cynical bastards. It seemed liked the whole organization worshiped hierarchy and pretense at the expense of every decent value.

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