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When/how did doubt about God's existence occur?

For former believers, what started the train of doubt that led you to be atheist or agnostic? Was it a moment or a build up of events?

VampFatale 4 Apr 16

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The moment I read Nietzsche

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The emergence of personal computers, modems, and the proliferation of the Internet opened up a whole new world to me. I purchased my first PC in 1987 and immediately used it as a tool in my honest quest for the truth. Not only did I broaden my knowledge in science, specifically biology, cosmology and physics, I began to frequent Fidonet and Internet newsgroups where there was always a lively and educational debate ongoing between theists and atheists.

A curious kibitzer at first and an active participant later, I was absolutely flabbergasted at ignorant, weak and downright intellectually dishonest arguments that were promoted by the theists. At this time, I still believed in the existence of God, but with each subsequent day my long-standing and firmly entrenched beliefs were melting like a late spring snow in the brilliant sunshine. I cannot pinpoint an exact time when the realization hit me, but for the first time I seriously considered the possibility that all of my religious beliefs were a huge lie, a sham, a worldwide hoax of enormous proportions. “How could so many people be so very wrong?” I constantly thought to myself.

The evidence against, or more correctly, the lack of evidence to support belief in supernatural beings, continued to mount in favor of atheism. How could God be real, any more than a concept, when the message was so riddled with errancy and the messengers so feeble and weak? Shouldn’t an omniscient and omnipotent God stand up to the harshest scrutiny? I did not understand.

From my essay [patheos.com]

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I was about 8 years old. One night I was sitting in my bed pondering life and existence, you know those things 8 year olds do. I started to think about the lack of any provable intervention that happens here and then I asked God to give some kind of sign... None showed up. I continued being Christian until I was about 15 and going through what one could lightly call a "rough patch" having similar thoughts as I did that night though I had more access to various life experience. I always think back to that night when I when this question gets brought up though.

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I am seeing a lot of reasons for concluding that religion is wrong but not a whole lot about the possibility f a creator. Religion really should not be the sole reason we conclude there is no creator only that religion is not designed by one.

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I do not conclude there is no God(s) just that religion is not truth. In my opinion there could be a creator from another galaxy that abandoned us. WIth all we know about altering DNA we could easily create another species in petri dishes and send them to Mars. We would then be their creators (Gods) but that sure does not mean we care about them or have any control over how they function. My doubts are in the image of God we have been handed not in the possibility of a creator with the technology to make humans as we are. The problem is that too many people think "intelligent" design means wisdom and concern but Hitler was intelligent and I could seriously see him creating another species to try and control,

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When I listened to DearGod by the band XTC in the 80’s. Never got it out of my mind until I finally gave up the illusion of god and just started being myself in the late 90’s. Took a while but I feel like I am living as my true self now, flaws and all.

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For me I was never really a huge believer, when I was little I thought every one was a catholic and that church was just something we did. I didn’t really think about my first few years on this planet. Whenever I kneeled in the pews and we had to pray I always felt silly: I wasn’t one of those kids who had imaginary friends either.

It wasn’t until I went to go live with my aunt who were some denomination of Protestant that I started seeing the whole religion thing as something odd. I had to go to chapel on Wednesdays and whenever I would ask questions about why they were doing and saying somewhat different things from the Catholics, they basically just said that they were right and the Catholics were wrong.

This was the point when I started to think well how do I tell who is right? Then the snowball started rolling and bam before you knew it, I was an edgy teen atheist: listening to black metal and everything.

I held a lot of hatred toward the religious for a long time, but now in my 20s I’ve let that go and now I can have conservations about religion without things getting heated ( or at least without me being the aggressive party)

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When I was a child, my Grandparents dragged my to church every Sunday. Catholic. I sat and listened, did the Sunday school thing. It never made sense to me. I was punished by giant penguins more than once for not being able to understand how Santa Clause, (whom I had never seen in my house) wasn't real, but God (whom I never saw anywhere) was. I never believed and I stopped going to church when I was around 6-7

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At a very young age I would question everything ever told to me by my religious teachers. Most where volunteers or lower church officials just teaching 1st graders when I'd ask them to explain to me how god can know when I'll die and give me free will. Oh and if foriegn non believing children all go to hell. As you can imagine I got different answers everytime. I guess I've always doubted but didn't leave until I was 18 because I didn't want to be punished by my parents.

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When I was paralyzed from a motorcycle accident

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As a child when I learned about Adam and Eve I found it strangly morbid how any divine entity would perform such a cruel test on such innocent creatures that he created.  To me, it was the same as putting a cookie out for one of my sons, telling them YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH THIS, then, when they do what comes natural to them (eating the cookie), killing them and their decendents, forever.  It just made no sense to me.  "Free will" is bullshit to me.  If god intended to have a perfect world, he COULD HAVE made one if he's the omnipotent and omniscient being that he's proclaimed to be.  He didn't have to keep Satan or any of the angels around for that matter if they needed to be taught a lesson in obedience.  Just get rid of them and go back to the drawing board.  As a Software Engineer, when a piece of software fails due to my faulty coding, I don't blame the end users or anyone else.  I blame myself and I fix my code.  He chose to create "faulty code" then doomed them (and all other living beings) forever because of something he chose to make faulty in the first place.  If you wanted us perfect, you should have MADE us perfect; otherwise, let us eat the fucking apple if we want it WITHOUT REPERCUSSIONS.  Of course, he had to prove he was this almighty fucking being and we should bow down to him, never question him and be the subservient slaves that we should be...and if we don't, we're somehow wrong.  So yeah, when I was a kid.
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I was a Sophomore in college and taking Anthropology 101. Early in the semester we had already learned about many different cultures/tribes, along with their particular religious beliefs. I kept thinking how silly their beliefs were. Then one day, I had a bit of an epiphany and just decided that Christianity was equally as silly and made up as all the rest of them.

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I was in my teens when I realized religions did not pass any logical sense.The more I learned the more I doubted.Fairytales.

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Though raised Catholic, I don't ever remember believing it. I initially refused to be confirmed. My dad told me he didn't really care, except that I wouldn't be able to have a church wedding. He bribed my by offering his signet ring if I chose a name that would give me the same initials. I went for it. It wasn't until I was in my forties that I learned all three of my sisters were also life-long atheists. Why didn't we ever talk about it?

Its funny,religion and politics have a huge effect on all peoples lives but we are told never to talk about them,because we might upset people.Avoidance of these topics is what cause the problems we live with.

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Was raised Catholic and taught that “Faith” is the answer to anything. Doesn’t make sense? Have Faith.
I read the Old Testament in middle school as a novel and it was very clear that God was similar to Zeus. He’s portrayed as a cruel asshole. Obviously invented by man to be used to control the uneducated.

AnneD Level 5 Apr 21, 2018
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Was raised going to church every Sunday, saying grace before meals, etc. Not sure I ever really believed, but spent a lot of my youth hiding my doubts (and feeling guilty) because I was expected to believe, in order to be a "good" person. Studied in India for a year after high school, and observed mostly hinduism, but other faiths there also. Found these other faiths unbelievable, then realized that christian beliefs were just as strange. I wonder how many people claim to believe in god(s), simply because it's expected by family or community.

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I went to Bible college and in my New Testament class we were going over a passage in Timothy about how men and women should behave. The first half of the verse was about how women should be silent and submissive. The class agreed that women should do this. The second half of the verse was about how men should raise their hands while they pray and the class agreed that was a cultural thing and men didn't have to do that now. There were no reasons given; no explination as to how to decide between what we should follow and what is "cultual". This lead me to belive it was all BS.

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I was brought up a Catholic, and the first time I heard that not going to church was a mortal sin like murder is, I thought wow! that sounds like a load of crap to me. It festered from there 🙂

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I’m not sure I ever believed. We were forced to an evangelical Baptist Church multiple times weekly by my parents, til at age 15 they could no longer force me to go. I’m the only atheist/agnostic in my entire family, and I recall many occasions of trying to present science/physics/facts to them...to no avail, so I quickly stopped!
The earliest memory of a ‘WTF’ moment: around age six, during a sermon on Noah’s Ark. I was INCREDULOUS at the outright fiction I was hearing. I looked around at all these gullible crazy people, and felt a little lost: THESE were the grown-ups?!

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As science progressed, humans found explanations for what they did not know before. For example, in ancient times, humans believed in many gods that controlled things such as thunderstorms or vegetation to name a few. Then, as our understanding of the natural world grew, they threw away their gods and then slapped the god label on the next mystery for them. Based on this, I define God as an ever receding pocket of human knowledge and is therefore impossible to disprove but also holds no evidence aside from the fact science can not yet explain what they claim god to have done.

Agreed. Sounds like something Neil Degrasse Tyson would say or has even said (particularly about the ever receding pocket of knowledge -- but it's okay, I've cited for you?). But it would have been interesting to hear your experience in understanding the notion of god/gods rather than that of human development. ?

@CedrickMoore I would’ve went into my personal experience if that was the question...but the question was when and how doubt was brought about in regards to God.

Interesting. I wonder what was meant when the OP asked "for former believers, what started the train of doubt that led you [humanity?] to be atheist or agnostic?" I surmise that the doubt it was talking about was not humanity, but your own. Nevertheless, whatever floats your boat, floats it.

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I always had doubts. I figured these doubts would eventually disappear as I got older, because church was generally filled with old people, so they must have come to terms with their doubts, right? I even WANTED to get rid of my doubts, because I felt sorta guilty for having them. But these doubts only grew, and here I am.

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Well I am not really sure which is funny as both my kids went to catholic school and I volunteered there a lot.

I told my kids to keep a open mind , after they saw a lot of back stabbing and stuff at school by parents and some teachers . I had told my kids that it matters more how you treat people and how you carry yourself when you think nobody is looking. At the bottom of the elementary school and church parking lot is a valid sign that says no right turns.
I bet you can guess how many folks turned right even the priest.

Then I used to get mad and ask if the hundreds of little babies who will die tonight did that god decided to kill them or the ones he choose to starve to death.

Well now I am dying from stage 4 pancreatic cancer but currently in remission for he past 15 months after a bit more then a year of high dose Chemo.

So when they I get my check every 4 months good news or bad I thank the doctors and nurses and others at the hospital that helped me not so fairy tale man in the sky

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I remember reading the bible, especially the parts people "used" to justify things like heaven, hell, etc. After reading it in depth and studying it in depth with different mythologies and historical sources, then I found the same people creating these claims did not even read very much into the bible, not to mention the actual concepts being used in it. Clearly something was wrong. People either were not literate enough to read, or they believed something blindly. The more and more I read, the more obvious it became how ridiculous these beliefs really are. The idea of GOd in itself is not at all the issue, but the idea that a preacher has a special power over God to tell you what to do in your life and can command eternity, is where it hit me something is not kosher here. That sort of desire to rule the world seems to be from comic books but some people do succeed in getting followers using these tricks. Either way, I have become more understanding that most people simply don't think much and beliefs cannot be taken so offensively. Clearly if God is real, then he would not need preachers to represent him anymore than I need Congress to represent wall street.

argo Level 4 Apr 18, 2018
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It was a build up of different things. There's a lot of parts in the bible that were hard for me take. I realized that I was rationalizing a lot of it. So I lost my faith in stages. First I rationalized that people had just screwed up the message. Then I rationalized that the new testament was God clarifying things that people screwed up. But there are some things in the new testament that are as bad as the old testament. So then I quit going to church and just had my own ideas about who and what god was. I realized there was no basis for these ideas so I became agnostic. Finally a co-worker took me that I was an atheist that just couldn't admit it to myself. She was right.

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Reading the bible 🙂

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