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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?

By VampFatale
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My parents never mentioned God unless it was followed by "Damnit", so I really started hearing about this God taken seriously what when I went to school. It sounded the same as the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus to me and I just dismissed it. It seemed like a silly game they were playing. I did not at the time relaize how pernicious it was.

SKDeitch Level 7 Apr 17, 2018
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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.

camjohn28 Level 2 Apr 17, 2018

That is so true. Like Epicurus says, "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent." Torturing people because of their predestined fate that he has decided is pure malevolence. If that god does exist, he definitely is not one worthy of worship.

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I used to be a Jehovah's witness and was taught that Jehovah's witnesses were God's anointed group and their governing body were the only guides to "the truth." I was raised and brainwashed to believe that Jehovah's witnesses were the one and only true religion. Then, I took AP European History and learned about the history and formation of the Catholic Church. I realized all of Christianity basically derived from the Catholic Church and Jehovah's witnesses were no different. Once I began to doubt the Jehovah's witnesses and their version of history, I was able to doubt the Bible, then Christianity, and, soon, God.

VampFatale Level 4 Apr 16, 2018

I have JW relatives but was never one myself. I find it strange that they came to the one true name of god by adding vowels of the English language into the sacred unpronounceable name and JHVH became "Jehovah." Nobody seems to catch this and people buy into it all over the world. English is too new of a language for this to be real in any way, yet nobody seems to mind.

Its very interesting to mention it as church, bible, christianity, then God. The sort of hierarchy of beliefs.

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First time they told me Santa was fake but the sky monster was real.

WileEQuixote Level 6 Apr 17, 2018
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Listening to George Carlin’s bit on religion when I was 14. I laughed so hard, and it sewed a seed of skepticism inside of me.

PrttyWs Level 3 Apr 17, 2018
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Well, once you find otu the truith about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, and then you are told how Grimm's Fairy tales are just stories, and the storyies bout the ancient Greek gods were only stories, it does kind of fall together into place that the bible stories re lso just myths too.

snytiger6 Level 7 Apr 17, 2018
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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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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.

Cgosling Level 3 Apr 17, 2018
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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

birdingnut Level 8 Apr 17, 2018
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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!

SunshineBee Level 5 Apr 17, 2018

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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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".

yamaha45701 Level 3 Apr 16, 2018

Think you would appreciate this from Big Think.

@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.

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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.

captainphilbo Level 5 Apr 19, 2018
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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."

bleurowz Level 7 Apr 17, 2018
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The whole "only blood can cover sin" concept seemed particularly primitive and non-sequitur.

Mortal Level 6 Apr 17, 2018

That was a major part of it too. Funny thing is how much that has changed over the centuries. Yet it is simply forgotten as a major aspect of say Christianity.

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I have a naturally curious mind and started reading other books about the world, science and nature. Once I expanded my knowledge it became very obvious that humans created all these gods. Being set free from all this dogma evoked in me a sense of peacefulness and such freedom. I continue my research daily and find more wonder and awe in the natural world than I ever found in religion.

Ladygardner812 Level 3 Apr 17, 2018
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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.

Sofabeast Level 5 Apr 17, 2018
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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.

Heart_Truth Level 5 Apr 16, 2018
3

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?

dare2dream Level 4 Apr 16, 2018
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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.

AndreaTM Level 2 Apr 20, 2018
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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 smile001.gif

ipdg77 Level 7 Apr 20, 2018
2

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.

DJennings Level 2 Apr 19, 2018

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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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?!?!

Normanbites Level 5 Apr 17, 2018

He's all power but lacks telepathy. Even Professor X has that!

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I was suckered in to Mormonism for a few year (actually quite a lot of years) when I got out by coming to terms with the fact it was a pack of lies, I applied the same reasoning to religion as a whole and some came to realise, religion generally was just as stupid as Mormonism particularly.
After that I just became aware that I did not believe a word of it, it was not even a conscious decision, I simply could not lie to myself anymore and more importantly, I could not be frightened by such childish lies anymore.

LenHazell53 Level 6 Apr 17, 2018
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I had to know everything and was studying to be a Pentecostal minister from the time of my late teens. I could never live up to the religion. I tried time and again but ended up later with a mind full of guilt that always followed me and made me feel bad. Around 2012 (maybe earlier) I found Jerry DeWitt videos on You Tube. As this man told his story he was telling my story. In short order it followed that I am a non-believer and that gods are imaginary. The fact of a book speaking of a god is nothing new. There are many such stories. Today I believe in none.

DenoPenno Level 7 Apr 17, 2018
2

When man invented it.

azzow2 Level 7 Apr 17, 2018
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