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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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".
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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.