For me, it wasn't. My family has been in New York city for well over 100 years... Irish heritage. From an early age i didn't buy the story of Christ, let alone the catholic thing.
I remember asking my grandmother - if Jesus knew he was god, then why is any aspect of the story impressive?
The best she could do was to tell me "its just important to believe" which of course just doesn't last. But she never raised her voice or made me feel unaccepted in anyway. I was about 10 at the time, and never gave the god question much thought until i was 23 or so. I was irreligious but believed there must be something... then i met a woman who commented "unless god means a timeless, disembodied creator of the universe, then you're just playing word games". Ive been an atheist since.
Despite the religiosity of my mother, and her mother, i didnt get much guff for my questions. And i never felt in anyway disadvantaged for not believing.
I'm privileged to be an atheist in NYC... its really not a big deal in my experience.
Whenever the subject comes up, i freely state my disbelief. My biggest interest is how anyone can believe, and as far as ive been able to figure, its a combination of wish thinking, tradition, lack of consideration, or fear of death.
I'd enjoy hearing about other people's experiences.
I lost my faith when I started doing research. I started to practice questioning pre-existing assumptions to see what I thought and why I thought it. I wanted to be sure that there was evidence to support a position. The more I questioned my religious beliefs, the more it all fell away.
However, I started dropping away from being a catholic when I went to college and wasn't surrounded by the daily reaffirming messages I received in catholic school. I moved from a religion to a more deistic view that was more akin to a pagan notion of multiple gods (many paths, one mountain type of thing). I wasn't really ready to give up the idea of belief since it was so central to life in the US. I held on to that for a while until, well you already read the above.
It took awhile for me to except there was no god and religion is bs. When your family believes one sects way is the correct way to believe in fairy tales and closed minded about letting people of there family to explore another sect of christainity. Since, all sects of christainity are almost the same, why have anything to do with them at all. It's nice to think for myself and not to be held back silly guide lines.
I don't know if difficult is even the right descriptive. It was very convoluted for me while I was young. I didn't understand why the discrepancies didn't correlate and the people in my life that were old enough to tell me about it could never give me a description that I understood. So I took that as an admission of belief for the sake of belief. And I'm never wanted any part of that
I have had many fears and hardships involving this mythical being in the sky and by 2012 I finally realized it was all bullshit. Gods are imaginary.
as far as I've been able to figure, its a combination of wish thinking, tradition, lack of consideration, or fear of death.
Those are your words above and they sum it up nicely. Most believers are going with tradition but everyone has a fear of death. Believers can tell you where we came from, where we are going, and what is going to happen in the future. I reject those claims and I once studied for the ministry.
I was raised in a Seventh Day Baptist minister's home, with four siblings, all older than myself. I was encouraged to participate in church life, but not pushed to any belief. Our parents were all about building good relationships, being good friends, and helping people when they needed help but not presuming to know what they needed. Our parents and those closest to them believed that the natural world is God's creation and is something we should be curious about, and be in harmony with. I was baptized and sang in the choir in our parents' church (and at school), but also attended nearby S.D.B. churches, a Friends (Quaker) meeting. It was in Friends meeting that I felt the greatest profundity, because there everyone sat quietly and waited for it to come to them, before anyone spoke. Most times, no-one spoke, and that was wonderful. Occasionally someone said something, and most times, it was really worth hearing. In both settings, there was little dogma and much humanity and little or no persuasion. We were encouraged to think for ourselves. I never deeply believed in God, but liked the Quaker idea that God is within all of us and we should seek that inner light. As the years have gone by, I have increasingly observed that moral living is not limited to the religious, and is often forsaken by them. I also observed that religious dogma often does not explain the true workings of the world, so I reject it, in favor of scientific understandings, and critical analysis of philosophical constructs.
No being an honest child it was easy saying no to Santa Claus lies Ishtar boy bunnies laying candy eggs on dogshit lawns was also easy to say no to so alleged vaginal virgins birthing alleged baby boy gawds in dirty donkey stables was just another bullshit lie in dead of winter. ...what was hard = bigotry of peers against girls, my black kindergarten teacher and my beloved JW great Aunt Mabel. ....hard for a little kid to say the Emperor has no clothes when your mouth gets washed out with soap and your great grandmother is called a SQUAW. ...bigotry is all about white privilege AND ALLEGED PURITY OF CHURCH WEDDINGS authorizing fucking on demand
I guess for my formerly catholic mother it was. I always had the impression that her agrophobia was the echo of her fears that there might be some divine authority persecuting her. Thunderstorms would just scare the hell out of her. Even my demonstrations, standing outside during a thunderstorm, didn't strip her of her visceral fear.
I grew up in a mostly secular Jewish family on Long Island/Brooklyn. It was fairly easy for me to drop any beliefs in god. It was a huge relief to me when I finally came out as an atheist. When attending any services be it a funeral or wedding, I just have to shake my head in disbelief in the BS and just keep my moth shut. My wife is a believer and that makes things awkward but I think we've come to an accommodation. I know prefer to be around other atheists.
Figured religion (as it did not confirm to reality) was a game adults used to control children when I was very young. It wasn't until I was in my 20's that I realized some older people actually believed in the BS. That realization was very scary. . . A world filled with older children with the power of an adult that did not grow up out of religion.
After many years of "not really believing", then holding out hope, and going to church, then "not really believing"....I finally opened my eyes to the incredibly unbelievable nonsense and decided that "I'm an Atheist".
While growing up my family "always" went to church on Sunday, there wasn't a lot of religious pressure in the house, or during the week. It was just kind of "assumed" that prayer worked. God is alive. Jesus was resurrected, blah, blah, blah. We weren't active members of the congregation.
So yeah there were those admonishments, but not much else.
When I married and we had babies, we went down the christian road. I mean, we have to save their little souls, right? My wife claimed to be a believer..... But she was little more than indoctrinated if you ask me. She picked our church. Went through all of the rituals to join......then she was the 1st to quit. After all of that we went to several other churches , to find the one that "fit us" ......MADNESS!
One day after we had not went to church for a while, she says: " I want to try the catholic church. It looks like a beautiful religion"
I replied: " You just go ahead and go for it" I knew I was done forever at that point.
Becoming an atheist was easy. I don't believe I was ever anything else. I went to church weekly with choir practice an additional day or two; however, I don't ever remember using the word Christian to describe myself. Athiest just felt right the first time I said it.
Not for me, I read the bible at 6 yrs and became suspicious, became agnostic at 8 yrs and atheist at 10 yrs even thought I never heard of either word back then, I have never once in the following 60 yrs had any reason to feel I had made a mistake, in fact everything I have learned only confirms it was the correct decision for me...