Did you have an atheist epiphany?
I did I was about 8 years old and I was figuring the world out.
I figured out that Santa Claus was a myth, the same logic to God.
the adults in my life the people that I knew and trusted, look me in the eye and said very slowly God is real Santa Claus is falls
of course the first words in my mind was why?
they're both magical
they both have Supernatural powers
they both care about me
what was the philosophical difference between the two?
after a little bit of soul-searching I came to the resolution but the natural world was pretty awesome and there was no need for the supernatural.
if you had an atheist epiphany I'm very much interested in your story
Almost 20 years ago, I started reading a book: 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail: The Secret History of Christ & The Shocking Legacy of the Grail'. It was fairly long, quite boring and over all should not have kept my attention. For some reason, I kept reading. I knew what the authors were stating as their hypothesis intellectually, but at some other level, I kept rejecting the premise. I kept holding onto the fact that I was a 'Christian'. As I neared the end, the authors began to draw their reasoning together into a unified thought. It literally was an "Ah, ha!!!!" moment. A line drawn in the sand. I had been having doubts for many years, but this shattered the iron grip hold on me that Christianity had. I suddenly no longer believed. I spent several years after that occasionally wondering "But what if I am wrong"? That eventually faded.
Actually, at an early age I had more of an atheist "Apissed-off-many":
I had an "Apissed-off-many" alright. Never looked back.
I don't think I ever believed. I just did what was expected of me. As soon as there was no material reward for church attendance, I quit going altogether. I've always been amazed, even as young as 8, that anyone buys into an idea that is so obviously wrong.
Being exposed to church lowered my opinion of my parents. Over night, my mom turned into such a phony and my dad just went with her.
At age 13, I became an atheist when I realized the Bible is just a book of stories written by men.
I chose rational though, not magical beliefs.
"I don't believe in an invisible being who resides somewhere beyond the clouds," I tell Jehovah's Witnesses. That shuts them up.
“...but the natural world was pretty awesome and there was no need for the supernatural.”
I agree 100% except that the natural world is EXTREMELY awesome to the point of being mind-boggling. The concept of the supernatural is pretty empty IMO. Trying to divide reality into natural vs. supernatural defies logic. There are aspects of nature that we can not detect or understand, but to label that as “super” doesn’t work for me.
I don’t remember having a sudden epiphany. I think I am a born sceptic and contrarian. What I actually try to do is resolve conflicting concepts by taking a broader view. The fact that religious organizations teach ridiculous things about God does not falsify every concept of God. For me the God concept represents something beyond our ability to comprehend. Since “God” is incomprehensible it makes no sense to form beliefs about it. The word is a label for the unknown.
The concept that makes the most sense to me is non-duality where subject and object are one. Universal Consciousness is like that. I lean toward the idea of universal consciousness.
Yes, one day I was thinking about the whole thing and all at once all the pieces just sort of fell together, It was as if everything that I knew from science became crystal clear and it all worked and fit together flawlessly, whereas religious teachings only worked if you tried very hard to make it work. In this moment I saw religion for what it was, because in the scientific narrative there are hints about why religion should exist, and in the religious narrative there is no explanation. I knew exactly where the boundaries of my own knowledge were, what I did know for certain to be true and useful and what wasn't necessarily true or useful.
No epiphany for me. I just never really bought the god thing. Had to go to church on occasion and was aware that many spent much more time on religious things but, by the time I was able to give it any real thought, just wondered why they believed in a god. Maybe I always thought it was a choice. I sure never felt it was for me.
No. It took me years of searching before I could absorb the fact that all of the people I loved and trusted were wrong. I finally comprehended the big lie when I was in Junior High School.
Thus began my meandering quest for morality absent a deity. I had no role model or authority figure to explain it. I gradually came to understand that morality is based on empathy and self-respect. If someone could have explained that to me, I think it might have saved me from years of amorality.
Empathy and self-respect. That's what we need our children to understand.
From the time I was five I owned and read my own Bible, which I did frequently, cover-to-cover.
I noticed that the Hebrew god was a cruel, revengeful, blood-thirsty being and that Jesus wasn't exactly consistent in his kindness, either, when one considers his parables about people being slaughtered for not accepting his sovereignty.
I also noticed that my missionary parents and all the other devout Christians I knew, didn't read the Bible at all, skipping over most of the misogynistic and cruel teachings, to cherry pick a few "nice" passages to promote.
I kept thinking there was a god, though, because answers happened whenever I "prayed." Eventually I noticed that things happened for ANYONE who "prayed" - even unbelievers, and even for things that weren't approved by the Bible.
I then noticed that my prayers for things that turned out later to be very bad for me, still happened.
Eventually, the hateful, bigoted, racist Facebook memes and behavior of childhood friends, my fellow Haiti MKs (missionary kids), convinced me that the entire religious thing was a LIE.
Yup..that was 2016, and I'm now 66 year old. Thankfully, I'd stopped going to church decades before and wouldn't read anything religious, so at least I had been wavering about dumping religion before Trump appeared, and his "Christian" followers convinced me.
Slow process for me too. I was programmed with great effort and likewise had to undo the brainwashing fairly gradually. I did have a somewhat sudden disappointment and lapse of faith when I was maybe 12 and taken to a huge contemporary Pentecostal revival where kids are speaking in tongues. I wanted the gift of the spirit so badly and went to the front to try to join into the alien language translation fun. At some point I decided it wasn’t happening so I’d start faking it a little to prime the pump. The youth pastor that was with me said there ya go, you’ve got it and I realized that that’s what everyone else is doing too: faking it.
I now believe that there are some odd things about ecstatic experiences and charged mindsets that truly are involuntary, but it’s not because a ghost is talking through you. Who knows what the hell theyre on about but it ain’t that. I’d like to think the aliens are using the most gullible of us as radio transistors for a little innerplanetary puppetry. What a hoot.
Sounds familiar. Fortunately, such (sick) adults in my life were not related. Those who were I apparently owe more than realized at the time... They allowed me to discover life unencumbered by ..bullshit. Neither of my parents, neither set of grandparents, or great-aunts & uncles having played a part in my life. Good genes?
I remember when I was a kid and heard that there were different religion outside of Christianity. It was then that I figured that they were all probably not true. My family didn’t go to church or do any kind of religious stuff, so I would not describe the realization as an epiphany.
Mine has been a methodical process resulting in a epiphany like moment. I’ve always loved science and considered myself rational. Any time I went to a church, I rolled my eyes in disgust and disagreed with the logic of the message. It didn’t jive with my rationale. In the past few months I’ve read a few books, listened to debates and lectures; and what I knew just became more apparent. When I weighed the evidence against my programmed ideology, the truth won out. No one ever listened to my prayers or pleas for intervention. The knowledge I gained on my own from education, self-reflection, and life experiences revealed more to me than an ancient, racist, sexist, homophobic, insane book of fables meant to control people. The slow learning and deprogramming process culminated in a “duh” moment, an epiphany if you’d like, a few weeks ago as I was driving to a meeting. I ironically said, “You’re not there.” I guess breaking the chains of habit will be a continuing struggle. This has not been an easy journey, but freeing and enlightening nonetheless.