So I'm an Atheist, but I've never really been religious even as a kid so one day, before high school, I had just realized that I didn't believe in God or religion in general. Since I wasn't raised with religion, I don't have that perspective so I'm curious what caused you all to reject your previous beliefs.
I never felt comfortable with all the things I read in the bible. Allowing slavery in exodus 21, Paul's letters about women being inequal to men, the whole Noah story, the order to kill witches, God hardening the pharaohs heart and then punishing him for having a hard heart. I would question things and then get what I call "the religious tap dance", where religious people try to explain this stuff away or brush it off. It took me years for me to admit to myself that I didn't actually believe.
Someone that I love came to me, depressed and distraught. he thought he might be gay, and was really upset that the bible said it was a sin. coincidentally I had watched an Oprah episode that dealt with homosexuality a few weeks before and I remember them talking about Leviticus. I began researching the sections of the bible that claimed this. I read Leviticus over and over to be sure I was translating it correctly. I concluded that no matter how I read it, it sounded like a bunch of power-hungry good-old-boys sitting around a table placing judgement on everyone, and the bully-like punishment was that you had to bring the fresh, beautifully cut and trimmed meat...... so that they could sit around the table eating while placing more judgement. LOL I got angry and feverishly studied everything about the bible and homosexuality, which led into the bible and its treatment/judgments on women. which got me questioning more and more. A short time after that an old highschool friend of mine said that he was Agnostic. I didnt know what that meant, so I researched it, and then I wanted to know the difference between that and Atheism. I finally realized that I had to completely rethink my views on death...... and then I realized that death no longer scared me. The end was the end. Nothing......... nothing to fear. I can't tell you how much peace that brought.... It has opened my mind, and I now question everything. EVERYTHING!
I grew up in what was convenience Mormon latter-day Bs. I was baptized and the officiating member of the church nealed down and asked me if I "felt" the holy ghost. I was honest and said "no." They did their boring ritual again. And he asked again. I said "yes" and that's when I knew that path wasn't for me. Decades later, I gave up on paganism as the realization of personifed deities in the mythologies only stood to help us understand the natural world. Science does that fairly well these days. So I walked away choosing to believe in myself and my capabilities to create my own path.
I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school until 6th grade, and about the time I was in 6th grade, I knew I was agnostic. Never told my parents until I was 18 and not living with them. Basically, what caused me to reject Catholicism is that it didn't make sense to me. Plus, there was so much misogyny, and when I questioned that as a child, I never got a good answer. I always saw myself as equal to boys/men, and thought the way women were treated in Catholicism (can't be priests, for example) was just wrong.
Being the only son of an Atheist Father and a rampant Religious 'Mother' I was forced to attend both Sunday School and Religious Scripture lessons at Primary School.
I can proudly state that I was EXPELLED from every one of them in succession simply because I dared to ask questions that they could not/ would not answer.
My father taught me to think for myself, not accept what I am told unless I examine it completeley for myself first and then make an educated decision after that.
I was obsessed with dinosaurs. Saw real fossils, went to museums. Convinced my parents to take me to Jurassic park. What I knew about dinosaurs wasn't compatible with what they were telling me in Sunday school.
It started me down the road to not believing a word they said before I was 10. I didn't know what an atheist even was at the time. I just knew what they were telling me didn't match up with everything else.
That lead me down the road of looking into what I believe. I read anything I could get my hands on from any religion including a Dawkins book. Which lead me to hitchens. I knew how much it meant to my parents, so I read more and more, trying to find a way to mesh my reality with theirs.
My dad was an elder at my church so I was forced to go. My pastor and I had hundreds of conversations about religion, they all boiled down to "faith vs evidence".
When I was graduating 8th grade I knew I was an atheist. But was forced to go through the confirmation process by my parents.
My pastor knew my situation, also knew that I volunteered on all sorts of things. (Stuff like habitat for humanity, an Alzheimer's program run through the church, their craft fares). He convinced me to instead of rebelling against my parents(which at times got bad) that I go through the process then write a humanist speech about helping people. I didn't mention god once, and it brokered a piece between my parents and I for a while.
I turned 18, told my parents I wasn't going to church anymore. They didn't take it well but it became background noise as I was deadly sick at the time. Mom was way more accepting than my dad. And it turned into as long as I was a good person we just wouldn't talk about it.
At 25ish my parents talked about what I believe, we were open and honest. It boiled down to faith vs evidence though. I don't rule out a god, I just don't believe in anything without proof.
I'm now 31 and I don't see my parents as much. But they on the surface are not much different than me now. They don't go to church, he's no longer an elder. My dad still runs a charity through the church, but he is way less involved.
They know in an atheist, they wish I wasn't. But it is no longer an issue.
Reading the Bible was my first step out of Theism. Then, taking comparative religions classes, visiting other religious services and ceremonies, and determining that faith isn’t an effective way to determine what is true. Now, absent evidence, I withhold belief until sufficient evidence is presented and verified.
In the Gospel attributed to Matthew, the gospel writer makes an extraordinary claim concerning world geography. He wrote that the devil took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world.
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory Matthew 4:8
The disturbing thing is that this mountain does not exist. There is no mountain from which one can see all the kingdoms of the world.
I’m sure the writer of the gospel realized that if he observed from a high place he could see a lot further than if he observed from a low place. But he didn’t know that there was no mountain high enough to see all the kingdoms of the world and certainly he did not know that the world is round.
Matthew wasn’t present when supposedly the devil took Jesus up on that imaginary mountain, so we know that Jesus’ imaginary trip to the top of an imaginary mountain is just a fiction made up by Matthew or a later editor.
Dishonest in one, dishonest in all. It only takes one lie to make a liar. Certainly we cannot trust the integrity of the gospel attributed to Matthew.
In my early twenties, I began to question the obvious contradictions in the Bible. So, I started doing research, using whatever secular writings that I could find, on theology. I discovered that so-called, "pagan" religions were the true source of Biblical stories, and Christian traditions. With that knowledge, I came to realize the utter absurdity of the Biblical narrative, and Christian ideology.
Insistance you have to believe in Jesus and accept him as your savior to be saved. What about the billions of people who are not Christian. What God would create that kind of world unless the mythical Greek or similar religions? Everybody would go to hell but a minority. It in certainly non-believable to me. I love the message of Jesus ...do unto others and love your neighbor. Wish this site had auto correction.
Creationism oddly enough. I stumbled across young earth creationist arguments online while in high school, and even though I was christian, I knew enough to realize they were bullshit. I got curious and started googling it. This lead me to finding the Youtube series, "The Foundational Falshoods of Creationism" by AronRa. After watching his series I somehow ended up on the Youtube page for darkmatter2525. I watched several of his videos, and tried to think over the problems that were pointed out...
At first I was trying to defend my beliefs, but as an intellectually honest person I couldn't dismiss reality to fit my views, or just accept my own ad hoc rationalisations without supporting evidence. Eventually I tried to work backwards. I set aside every belief I had and tried to prove my religious beliefs one piece at a time.... and failed. I couldn't even get past the first hurdle. I couldn't find anything credible or verifiable to back up even the simplest premises.
After months of consideration I had to admit that my religous beliefs were baseless, and that I couldn't honestly hold them to be true. It was at that point I realized I no longer believed in a god.
The realisation that the claims in the Bible cannot have happened, and that those who defend the Bible rely on circular reasoning as per the attached image.
That was just the starting point for me. I then studied comparative religion and the place of religion in society. I have concluded that all religions are based on a combination of ignorance and logical fallacies, and that religions are used by the powerful to control the gullible.
Just the final realization that the Goatherder's Guide to the Galaxy was only a book of parables to be taken with a grain of salt (did I hear someone say salt lick??)
At that end, science and math are LITERAL studies, whereas religion and the Bible are open for interpretation. 10 people reading the Wholly Babble will come up with 10 different interpretations. Those same 10 people studying math or science all come up with the same answers!
I never thought about it...I was indoctrinated into the Catholic Church from birth, but when I was in my 20s and on my own I rarely went to church anymore. Then, I had kids and felt it was my duty to get them through their sacraments, then leave religion up to them. That worked well for my first child and he was very cooperative with having his first communion and confirmation. And then my second child went through communion and when it came time for her confirmation she went to a couple classes and then told me one day that she didn't want to keep doing that because what she had to say and memorize and believe to be confirmed she actually did not believe in. And she told me that she thought it was ridiculous to go through all these classes and have confirmation when she wasn't believing anything that she had to believe. And that all made sense to me and I had to agree that she was right. So I didn't make her ever go back for any more classes to be confirmed and I never went back to church again and agreed that all the religious stuff was mumbo jumbo and walked away from religion completely.