When did you first realize that religion made no sense? For me it was one of the first times I ever went to church and I couldn't believe that everybody was listening to the person at podium.
Wow, I guess I'm just slow! I spent 51 years believing in a god. Four years ago, having already lost my father and brother, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and that just opened my eyes. I have experienced such a freedom from bondage and judgement and actually am more hopeful overall. So many people say religion set them free and broke the chains of things like drugs or alcohol. For me, atheism set me free and broke the chains of religion. Better late than never, I guess.
I was around twelve years old and I had a moment where I thought to myself that the entire thing sounds like a fairytale. All the bible stories really didn’t help either. They all seemed more like the bedtime stories in books. Later in 8th grade, when I started in science class and we were learning about biology and evolution, it made so much more sense to me than the story in the book of Genesis. I asked my teacher, who I will not name, if there were any books I could read outside of class to learn more about evolution. He wouldn’t refer anything to me so I decided to research it. I found a copy of “The Blind Watchmaker” in my local library. By the time I was done reading it I wanted more. I can’t place a specific moment as THE moment but between the age of twelve and fifteen, I had stopped believing. I didn’t “come out” until I was twenty-two.
I was in Sunday school about 6 years old and the teacher was telling us a tale that included images of an old bearded white man with flowing hair and a long robe sitting on a cloud...
My childlike mind thought the adult equivalent of “are you freekin’ kidding me?”
I believe it was 2nd or 3rd grade, during catechism, the nun teaching the class was telling stories that just didn't make sense to me. When questioned, she flustered, got angry, and couldn't answer. I wanted to believe, but it wasn't making sense. By 4th and 5th grade, the nuns had labeled me as a "doubting Thomas" and my parents stopped making me go to catechism, so I was never "confirmed" in 5th grade, like my brothers and sisters. I felt that gave me license to be non-religious and think for myself. I was the only one of my 4 siblings who didn't get married "in the church" as an adult.
Over the years throughout my childhood, after being told I had a guardian angel watching over me, I couldn't understand why that angel, or God himself, wasn't protecting me from things going on in my home that were clearly wrong.
I came to realize that this guardian angel was really my conscience and that God was likely a metaphor for all authority. I disliked authority, as I could see it was often a selfish entity with an agenda which wasn't always fair. I learned to think for myself, trust my gut feelings more, and slowly unlearn the concept of blindly following authority.
Took a long time to be free of the prison of patriarchal authoritarian rule, because it was so deeply ingrained in society all around me, and I felt alone in my departure from religion, but access to library books questioning religion, shining a light on a more scientific view of the world helped with my transition in my twenties and thirties, and then when I could access the internet right from my home on a borrowed computer, I realized there were others questioning and discussing the transition online. I found my lifeline!
I am not sure exactly when. I do know that I found joy in watching stand up. It was a sort of youthful awakening to the idea that other people thought this religion stuff was a bit off.
If I may make a comparison stretch: the way deaf children are likely born to parents who can hear-I was an athiest before I knew there was a word for it. Comedians like Eddie Izzard and George Carlin were the first people to hold up a mirror that I could see publicly and show me that it was OK to think. And laugh. I will count that as my 'liberation/awakening athiest' moment.
At twelve I was cloistered in a Catholic nutcase family. There was more than enough dysfunction there that I did not recognize at the time and mental health issues were and still are a thing. Not permitted to socialize outside the Church, I knew no better. At thirteen I was sent to the seminary as my neurotic mothers' sacrifice to the great mother church, which had been her intention for years. There was not much of anything to like there, but being in another environment, where I lived with clerics, put me in a position to begin finding my own truth. I observed the hierarchy at the Diocesan level, and found it to be an human institution with human failings. The theology I had learned by rote (anyone remember the Baltimore Catechism?), and I never had been one to take things at face value. It did not at any time ring true. By fourteen I sat in a church pew screaming inwardly to myself, wondering how religion could possibly be taken seriously. Studying life, social, and physical and sciences, and for that matter applied science at University clarified many issues. Until I was 52 I continued to look earnestly for reason(s) why belief is as ubiquitous as it is, as if I had somehow missed something, reading volumes on Philosophy, psychology, and Theology, studying Comparative Religion in college, and occasionally looking into other denominations. At that point I was pronounced dead while in hospital and experienced the void. It was not a near death, but a death experience. There being no afterlife, that sealed the deal, and since then I am entirely confident in my apostasy. It is with the utmost sense of relief that I live life. The neurosis came to the fore when the family finally figured out that I am atheist. There was hollering and screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and phone calls to let me know that my mother was crying herself to sleep. I am really past caring.
They started late with my indoctrination for the catholic church (at about 6 years old). They really tried, and they really put a lot of effort into making it a good experience.
One of the things they taught me was that God helps those in need, loves everybody, and sees everything because he is everywhere.
Well my childhood... let's say I was in need. So I was thinking that: If God helps those in need and I need help but he doesn't help me, he might not exist because if he also loves everybody and sees everything, he cannot miss the fact that I need help.
I was around 8 or 9 at the time.
I can't remember exactly, I just always remember ridiculous stories that made no sense, I do remember spending half my time outside class for asking stupid questions. But this was not down to being an arse but just because I wanted answers to the doubts I would voice, and no teacher would have an answer, so I'd be outside. I suppose it must have been while outside I realised the reason they had no answers that made sense was because it was just all just made up bullshit.
It came in layers. It started with 2 contradictions in the bible (and then grew by leaps and bounds). A perfect god couldn't have written and imperfect book. Without the book, no jesus. My religion? A good way can't be built on an evil book. After you take away everything MAN says that god says...god is very quiet.
When someone is brainwashed from childbirth, you have a kid who feels horrible and guilt ridden, always crying (literally) in secret and praying to god to forgive his doubts and to give him more faith. He lives his life knowing he doesn't deserve anything including life.
It's horrible and it takes a long period of time to escape it, maybe not fully ever.
Probably about age 7 when I had to make up stuff to say at confession. The nun said if you thought you didn't have sins to confess to, you were a liar, which was a worse sin. I had no choice ... I had to lie so I wouldn't be called out as a liar. Way too heavy for a 7-year old.