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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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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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After Trump got elected. You think I am kidding. No, his evangelical followers have shown me that they will support Trump even when he is doing things that go against their teachings. Please don't ask me to list what those are. Just my opinion. And do not get me started about folks who blow others up in "God's name".

@VampFatale Trump is a modern religious cult for those who have no religion. If you corner them on beliefs they will invoke the names of Hillary and Obama.

4

I started to wonder if life was preordained or free will. If God knows everything before it happens then it is preordained. If he doesn’t know then it is free will and he isn’t all knowing. If it is preordained then all people in hell he knew would end up there and made them just to punish them for what he did. That didn’t make any sense so I started questioning everything in my belief system. I am now completely atheist.

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I think I was about 7, went to a Catholic church with the semi-religious parents and was exposed to its teachings which included their utter hate for Eve and her evil of eating the apple. That plus the persecution of women since and I concluded then that it was all bullshit, how could something that's supposed to tach people to be good and pure condem 50% of its members (at least)?!? Nope, I wasn't buying it!

Oh, and BTW, a really bone chilling yet so accurate quote from the movie "Dangerous Beauty" (based on a true story), ...talking about the prospects women had in the 1500's... "she'll grow up like her mother, she'll marry bear children and honor her family, spend her youth in needlepoint and rue the day she was born a girl. When she dies she'll wonder why she obeyed all the rules of god and country because no biblical hell could ever be worse than a state of perpetual inconsequence!" This put in words that which I remember thinking similarly myself when I was young and made me the 100% sure atheist I am today.

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I kind of disbelieved so young I don't remember. It was when I read negative writings that I began to take disbelief seriously. The Methodists used "Jesus Christ is King" for a theme for a conference and I realized I didn't believe Christ as devine. I thought the church should change to make Jesus a less definitive diety. Then it occured to me, "don't change the church, change you". Coming to the realization that there is no god took a lot longer. I struggled with thoughts that there had to be something after death. Finally I realized there doesn't have anything after life except decay and without body there is no brain function. Perhaps that is discourageing, but so be it. Taday I think of death as taking a wonderful nap. The concept of eternal life looses its glamor when you think the first 50,000 years might be ok, but than it might get boring. I don't think I've given you much comfort, but sincerely hope you find it in your spiritual travels.

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My parents never pushed religion on me, so I was always questioning it even from a very young age. I was raised Jewish, but it was always emphasized that we were Jewish "culturally" and not religiously, so I always accepted traditions from a cultural standpoint; to me, getting together for holidays was always about the food, anyway - there's a running joke about Jews: "We were persecuted, we survived, let's eat."

this was the same way i came up, being Jewish but not really anything, although my mother suddenly thought that when i was 12 i ought to have a bar mitzvah, so i did a crash course at 12 and was bar mitvahed, but i never felt comfortable with any of it, though i did give an effort to study and understand. i even eventually married a orthodox jewish girl, and that REALLY showed me the phony nature of religion and all attached. I have been a non believer since the early 1970s, and been very happy and content about it. a BIG help for me was spending time listening to and reading Alan Watts.

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What "started" it all for me, happened very early on. I was taught that God is all powerful and everywhere. God loves us all equally.

HOWEVER, to ask god for forgiveness, you MUST talk to the Priest! And if you REALLY want God to hear you, you should have the Priest talk to him for you!

Wait! Whaaaat?!?!

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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.

1

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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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.

1

Prior to my 1st communion..

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I was raised Catholic but it never made much sense to me. I was a curious child and asked many questions. The answers I got about religion seemed inadequate or begged more questions. After a while I quit trying to believe the non-sense. As a mature adult, I had to decide for myself what did make sense. I discovered that evidence, logic and rational thinking works a lot better than just believing something based on faith. Faith is what we use to believe Santa Claus exists. Should we use this same method to believe a god exists?

2

Mine started from empathy. Our church was very prejudiced in multiple ways and I didn’t see how a loving god would be cruel to anyone for being different, especially if he created them that way.

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Age 6 when I began to suspect Santa was not real and that magic didn't exist either therefore because religion required the belief it magic I became highly suspicious.

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Question been asked many times with many answers available. We like to tell our story.

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One of the wake up calls was realizing that ALL my "prayers" were being answered..even the unwise ones, that went against Bible teaching. I finally was forced to admit that everything that seemed to be supernaturally happening was because of ME, not god.

Physics indicates that we are participating in creating our own universes/reality:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental and matter as derivative from consciousness." – Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, 1918 Nobel Prize in Physics

3

Doubt occurs when your prayers are not answered. Also, doubt occurred when science explains what was once unexplainable . Doubt occurs when one gives up superstition and looks for explanations in science with good evidence.

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Not sure what age. Slowly, over time. But certain doctrines were big factors for me.
Like Hell. It's just such an over-the-top punishment. Even the worst Earthly death, imposed by the sickest psychopath is better. Arguments that we all deserve it and God is actually merciful for saving anybody felt hollow.
Homophobia. This doesn't square with nature. It also doesn't square with how I've ever felt about homosexual friends and family.
Age of accountability. If we are all innocent until a certain age, and go to heaven because we couldn't make moral decisions, then abortion (if you believe life begins at conception) sends more people to heaven than evangelism, I'd bet.
And it goes on and on, but those are the ones off the top of my head.

EB80 Level 5 Apr 17, 2018
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When he told me sex before marriage was a no no !

1

Over a period of time. Documentaries like hell house, Jesus camp, religiolous always helped paved the way to doubting god. I was brought up in a conservative Christian family.

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I had my doubts as a child, and when I found that the word "bible" simply meant "a book of books," that really got me thinking. I became an agnostic at a very young age, and years of reading (including the enire Bible), and thinking, and looking at religion and philosophy and psychology left me with no choice, as it only reenforced what I felt when I was young. That's why the powers that be, whether religious OR political, HATE education and critical thinking!

1

Forever. The question you need to ask yourself is not " if there is or is not a God" but "what are the possibilities?" Remember your earliest memories, before you were taught the concept of god. There are infinite possibilities, up to a child's imagination. A masculine, creator, judgemental god is simply one possibility from an infinite number.

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A build up of events for me. Being of a cerain age, during my childhood we had the Beafran problem. Hundreds of thousands of starving people. At school, we prayed for them and raised some money, but they still starved. They are today around 40 years on. Then bit by bit, I found that prayer didn't work. Then with religious education (compulsory in England) we studied the bible. Once you try to get an early teenage head around all of this begatting, the whole publication just falls apart under questioning. Contradictions appear. Then why just one son, at that time.... It's all just a lie, just a power trip.
Historically, athiests have around since when humans invented gods as quick answers to shut the stupids up.

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At twelve I decided to read the bible. Even at that age I could not believe the written word, that turned me into a none believer pretty quick.

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When man invented it.

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