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When did you start to identify as an atheist/agnostic?

Was there a specific instance where you started to identify as an atheist/agnostic, or was it a gradual process?

By AshleyM1997
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6

6th grade so about 11 years old. I grew up in the bible belt where you're looked at in disgust if you're not Christian. When I got old enough I didn't care and started questioning religion.

ashleyw225 Level 2 Nov 14, 2017
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4

There was for me. It's quite funny how some memories stick with you so well. My mother who is now what I call a spiritual atheist (one who doesn't believe in a soul but feel as long as her body returns to the Earth without being cremated she will unconsciously live on as nutrition in plants and animals.) I kind of like her philosophy. When I was born, she was a Catholic, and my father was an Atheist. She insisted on sending me to Sunday school and church. My father would tuck me in at night, and we talked about all kinds of things. He'd tell me stories about what the Earth was like a very long time ago, and he would ask me questions about God and then ask why I believed it was true. I gave the typical 5-year-old responses. He told me that he didn't believe in God. At five my father was the smartest man in the world to me and if he didn't believe I didn't believe. It's odd, and this is the part I remember so well, but he told me he was disappointed after he had just told me I shouldn't just take peoples word for it. He wanted me to think before I believe. I've written this story before on other sites, and the responses were negative toward my father. Most said my father shouldn't have done that to me at five years old. I disagree, I never felt unloved by him, and his disappointment kept me from indoctrination. I'm sure it was the last thing he wanted to do, but when I asked him years later, he claimed to have no memory of that night. I don't think I believed him.

paul1967 Level 7 Oct 5, 2017
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I did that with my daughter too. I have always made it a point that I want her to make cognitive decisions not blind ones.

Sounds like you had a wonderful father.

3

My whole life. The whole concept of God never made any sense to me. I couldn't see any difference between bible stories and Hans Christian Anderson fairytales.

Bebel Level 4 Nov 19, 2017
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When I was 19.


I was a Hindu till then. Wide variety of gods to choose from, no rules whatsoever, even if there are any rules nobody forces you to do anything.


Then began to learn about other religions and their concept of god.


Then started reading atheist literature and attending science lectures.


Threw away all belief in god and learned to live confidently without the aid of invisible deities.

ArjunMahesh Level 5 Nov 22, 2017
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When I was about 15. I have grown up in a country where religion has more importance than humanity and over the years seeing all the rituals and fanatic sects and tons of contradictions between various religions despite all of them claiming that there is one god. So I chose to put my belief in me, being a good human, keeping my conscious clean, and doing what feels right.

Kanish Level 2 Nov 20, 2017
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2

pretty much always

Sarcasm Level 6 Oct 4, 2017
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I would say I was swinging like a pendulum for years between belief and lack of belief. Then, I watched a Psych 101 course on iTunes University from Paul Bloom (a professor at Yale). He was talking about Alzheimer’s and I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it gave me this sudden dawning that we can’t possibly have souls. If disease can completely devastate our personalities, memories, and essentially dismantle who we are, then we are simply a personality of our brain’s functionality, and once that functionality is impaired or ceases, then we too cease to be. I don’t believe in God, because what evidence there is is based on ancient, outdated, fantastical literature and the very clear point of it is gap of knowledge explanations, control and order attained by fear. It doesn’t hold water, so I had to let it go.

RiskyWriter Level 4 Dec 27, 2017
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I too had a similar inclination. Without our percepts and body to experience life and form a conscious, and let's say only the soul is left, the soul has lost it's vehicle of awareness and being. How does the soul now sense life and the existential plane? Is there another dimension it enters? Another celestial form? What is the soul? What is awareness exactly? Who am I? What happens to the memories and sense of self? How am I able to even sense self or feel alive as self? Will this self experience a different form of awareness and being? Are our memories being written and stored in a global sphere? Is there a sphere of all knowledge and being that celestial bodies can feed from? Does this sense of self ceases to exist when the body ceases to exist? For me, it's all awe inspiring (like thinking about the shear possibility that my sense of self even exists) and the deeper you think about it, the more it all just seems so surreal and magical and like anything is possible. Like we can experience anything so completely odd and different from the plane we sense in this humanly form.

I also thought there's no soul in the same fashion as your flow of reasoning. Then, started thinking about all the other stuff above. Had to clarify just in case this point was lost above.

1

I was 9 years old. I was brought up in a religious family who were regular church goers. There was so much bickering and bitchiness, even at 9, I could see this went against the notions of God I'd been taught to believe. From then I saw religious communities as hypocrites. This coincided with me getting a telescope and learning about astronomy. There was no evidence of God being present in such an expansive universe.

Hannahg Level 4 Dec 24, 2017
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Aged ten. Believe! Believe! Trust! Believe!

Dravid55 Level 3 Nov 20, 2017
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A decade ago, I never thought I would be.
A 23 on the verge of spontaneous combustion. Woe-is-me


I'm 33 now.... Stopped believing at 23. How appropriate.


Pardon me....

EmpAtheist Level 4 Nov 19, 2017
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1

Around the age of 12 or so.

Nolove Level 1 Nov 18, 2017
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I was in 6 grade, I was extremely bullied by my fellow Christians students. Guess fairy tails just never set in for me.

MichaelZ Level 2 Nov 17, 2017
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College

ksmartines Level 5 Nov 15, 2017
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Thanks to God for the blessing of loosing faith in him gradually since I was a lamb hanging around, and then he set me free the day I became a holy bull smile001.gif

WilliaM8 Level 4 Nov 14, 2017
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As soon as I realized that religion is BS, back in high school. I come from a predominantly atheist family. I got brainwashed when we arrived in the US (2nd grade) and the Jewish organization stuck me into Hebrew School. I was just getting over one kind of brainwashing while undergoing culture shock, and thus fell for the 2nd set of brainwashing. By hs, I started observing how many different religions there are in the world and that they are constantly fighting against each other, even within certain variations of their own beliefs (like different types of Christianity). I also noticed all the brutality going on in the world, and was wondering where is that omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and all-loving god. That's when I figured out that there is not god, by the end of 11th grade. I switched hs my sr year, and there people already new me as atheist.

Akatherine Level 3 Nov 4, 2017
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You are right on point & I agree with all of your ideas on atheism! https://www.facebook.com/airforcenurse1

1

Since I recall 'being me' I have not believed in god. Having a nihilist/narcissist mother probably helped!

badpenguin Level 4 Oct 23, 2017
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always and forever

RonaldJames Level 3 Oct 21, 2017
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I remember questioning my mother about Methuselah being 967 years old and things like that. She told me to study the Bible and pray about it and I would understand when I got older. I really wanted to believe but the older I got and the more I knew the harder it got to believe. At age 41 I was forced to accept that the Bible didn't make sense.

Jamesd Level 2 Oct 17, 2017
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My mother raised me going to Christian day care facilities and Sunday church. They made me memorize quite a few of the more popular verses. But everybody there seemed fake. I had questions and their answers were robotic. They were frequently easy to confuse and anger when challenged. Always deferring to "You just have to have faith." ## puke ##


I was probably about 8 when I openly defied the existence of God. I remember sitting outside yelling loudly and daring "him" to appear.

JeffnDFW Level 2 Oct 12, 2017
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I remember a time in my 20s in the military. Our mail was delivered to us at work and was in the break room. I was in the break room getting coffee, and noticed some kind of atheist publication in a coworker's mail slot. I was a little shocked. I talked to him about it, and he made it seem like no big deal. I remember thinking "I don't really believe in god, but I'm not an ATHEIST!" LoL!


I don't know if I ever REALLY believed. I know there was a period in my teens when I really WANTED to believe - I went to church and youth group regularly. But it just never felt right. Then, I didn't really think too much about it for a long time.


Years later, when I was almost 40, Dawkins published The God Delusion. That was the turning point, I guess. Then I discovered the Atheist Experience podcast. I binge-listened to every single episode they made. I worked mostly alone in an office at the time, so it just played all day long. Sometimes, I'd put on headphones. The year after The God Delusion, Hitchens came out with God Is Not Great.


So, it was around 2006-2007 that I became OK with the label "atheist."

carlyhorton Level 6 Oct 9, 2017
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always, actually pantheist describes me better

AndyMorris Level 2 Oct 9, 2017
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1

I grew up going to church, etc., but thankfully got away from that. I started saying I was agnostic when I was maybe 19-20, and became very confident with calling myself an atheist when I was maybe 22-23. It seems like it’s been longer than only a few years since I’m 24 now.

spidermom Level 2 Oct 8, 2017
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The day I stopped caring about what others think of me.

Jerome Level 4 Oct 6, 2017
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For me, it was a pretty gradual process. I was raised in a Christian household and sent to a Catholic school until eighth grade, so my beliefs were pretty strong until then. I went to a public high school and discovered a whole new world, new music and started questioning things. It was in college that any doubts I might have had vanished and I knew there were no gods. Critical thinking and learning about other cultures, studying mythology and history... really opened my eyes. This is one of the reasons I think the first two years of college should be mandatory and available to all!

Bonzai Level 2 Oct 5, 2017
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I didn't start calling myself an atheist until I was 10 because that's when I started using the internet and I didn't know what to call a person who didn't believe in God before that.

Mattbat637 Level 5 Oct 5, 2017
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