How many Jewish or Muslim converts to Atheism or Agnosticism are in this group. All that I have seen comment so far are Catholic or Protestant Christians. I am curious if those stories of conversion are similar
All believers of any theology are former atheists. It is where we all begin. Family and culture interject premature answers for what our brains would ultimately cause us to question, left to develop without interference. That is, to make sense out of this reality. The task of our brain is actually to make sense of all information.
Whether afflicted early or not with theologies, getting in touch with reality is still a task, a journey.
I was afflicted early with Roman Catholic delusions, rejected them for Protestant delusions and believed for awhile that answers could be best found in a religion that respected individual intellectual integrity. Judaism, reform Judaism in particular seemed to hold-out that kind of attraction. For more than half my life it was reasonably comfortable until discovering that one needs actually no religion to validate intellectual freedom or integrity. We are each in possession of the same basic allotment of 'grey matter'; some a little more damaged and some a little less.
None of our kind are endowed with superior equipment or knowledge about any possible hereafter; least of all savage, nomadic Middle Eastern Patriarchs of six thousand years ago. Science is completely unnecessary for disproving myths. Common sense and reasoning are all that is required Unfortunately, damage caused to some of us as a result of early indoctrination and abuse can be life-long. The very idea of asserting ourselves solely on the basis of our personal reasoning and opinions terrifies many and in some parts of the world, for good reason.
I think what is important is the escape itself from mental captors who kidnapped our developing minds regardless of what they call themselves. We return 'home', often still unaware exactly what home is; still clinging to habitual vestiges of what religion imposed on us and applying old bad habits to new 'religions' or political isms. There is really nothing to fear in asserting our native common sense as what the song says about 'old time religion'.
It's good enough for me.
My parents were raised Jewish. Father from Poland and mother's parents from Russia. No religion taught, followed, practiced in my home though. My mother took my brother and I to a Unitarian "church". That's where my brother and I found friends to play with who didn't shame us for not knowing what Christmas is like the neighbor kids and the kids at school were doing. My father taught my brother and I that only science proves that there is no such thing as a creator. My father told us that there may have been a man named jesus who had been crucified, but that he was just a man. My father didn't continue his Jewish teachings after he was released at the age of 17 from a Hebrew orphanage. He had stories of brutality experienced there.
I was raised as a conservative Jew but never embraced the religious side. Always used the term cultural Jew to describe myself. Now I am just me. My brother turned modern orthodox. I avoid holidays since I went to Passover at his house and the kitchen was tin-foiled. Don’t ask?. I don’t like categories because it is used to separate us.
This conversation is interesting. I have not had the time to read all the comments but let me say that I think it is not uncommon to be Jewish and a non-believer. I identify as a Jew because of history and culture. Buddhism introduced me to meditation. I am not a Buddhist but I am very thankful for meditation. The middle east troubles me. The Palestinians should have their own State. Hamas should acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
I was raised in a predominantly Jewish community (orthodox to secular) and in my household, we were culturally Jewish, mainly, Spartan also. The city was a 'haven' for immigrants (my best friend growing up was Iraqi) and African American kids bussed in (post Detroit riots and this community didn't do white flight).
What I found (huge generalizations of course) through my exposure was Christians in the US (children anyway) are raised with concrete thought, rigid almost. The Jewish raising of kids is centered around education and learning (similar I think to Catholic education). Christianity I think is based on 'don't blaspheme God. And, sure, orthodox Jews will be more strict.
What I'm trying to say is that what I've seen of Judaism is many Jews are nonbelievers and active in Jewish rituals and this is dichotomy is often acceptable. I think nonbelieving Christian friends that are American, want that kind of acceptance and to be 'culturally Christian' (w/o the religion) and many are finding it. Islam is not so forgiving for nonbelievers.
I'd also like to hear from religions other than the big 3 (historically that's Auto Industry talk lol).
It seems like many Atheists, even if they are not on here, leave the Jewish faith or are non practicing. Given the treatment of those who leave the Muslim faith, from family banishment to death, I would think many would be leary of joining any group that would make them easier to identify. But I hope you get some responses from other faiths. They are out there!