You don't believe in God?
YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD?!
You can do that?
My parents didn't go to church but they allowed me to go with friends. I went to so many different denominations! In third grade I went to a church in which the youth pastors healed all of the kids in Sunday school, making their legs the same length. I thought it was funny that so many kids seemed to have one leg shorter than the other. It was like a game to the kids, "Me! Me next! Me!" At seven years old, I was embarrassed for them. For the kids too.
by caitxrawksJuly 29, 2009 at 7:38 AM
You can do that LMAO I love it.
My MIL's death really put things into perspective for me. I guess it was a slippery slope from there. My fiance has been a closet agnostic since he was about 16 (he's 23 now). We used to argue about the existence of God, and he'd always win. I always used the "BUT LOOK AT THE TREES! THE WIND! BABIES!" argument. Same crap everone uses here.
by WoodlynJuly 29, 2009 at 3:35 PM
I was raised in a pretty non-religious environment. Church services were for baptisms, weddings, and funerals only in my family.
When I was in 7th grade when a Christian friend of mine asked if I believed in God. My response was, "That's a good question". I started going to church with her and our other friend but all it was to me was an excuse to hang out with friends. I stopped going when my friend's mother asked if I wanted to get baptized when she was, and that she could say that she saved me. I thought, saved me from what? Oh, and the same friend told me how scary it was that the things in The Excorcist could actually happen. I seriously questioned her sanity in that moment.
In highschool I declared myself Agnostic. I didn't do any research about religion or science. I came to the conclusion with plain old logic, I guess. There's no way I could possibly know, but I'm open to the idea of there being a God, yet I don't believe there is one. That was my mindset.
A couple years ago I started watching Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris videos on YouTube and started watching more science programs on TV. They really got me going. With a little more research about religion and science it was just a short hop to go from being agnostic to being atheist. (And a bit anti-theist, to go a step further!)
by crkirbyJuly 29, 2009 at 3:52 PM
well...I think I always did really....when I was young our VERY christian neighbors bothered me to no end...they talked about god like he was THERE (and yet my mom talking to invisible ppl got her put in the psyche ward?)....they told me he was always watching me, and I was like "so, some MAN that I can't see is watching me??!?!? Even when I shower?!?!" creepy to my 7yo brain.
This was all in middle/high school....one church I went to told me that I was going to hell because I had short hair "God doesn't like women who look like men" ....dude, it's cut to my jawline....then another (My then best friends church) told me that I needed to seek the approval of my life through my father and allow him to make decisions in my life for me, including who I married.....haahaahaa, fuck that. Then there was the church that told my mom she was too fat and poor to worship god. (I seriously didn't even know god hated poor fat people, lol).
My history teacher was talking about Abraham Lincoln one day in class and mentioned he was agnostic...explained what that was...and it kind of clicked for me at that time. Then, as my life progressed into adulthood, I just started to really "see" things and finally admitted to myself and my family that I was atheist. They took it rather hard. Except for my husband, he's atheist (my family always thought I would do him good and convert him haahahahaa)
It started with questioning the traditional doctrine of hell. I was in my 30's, had been raised Church of God and was a devout fundamentalist. I thought I really loved God although I'd also lived in fear of possibly going to hell my whole life. The fear of hell was the underlying basis for all my decisions. I could handle this fear when it was just myself in danger but by then I'd had 3 kids. And I couldn't handle telling my kids the seriousness of life. I'd brought them into a world where it was a good possibility their eternity could be spent in fiery torment. I continually begged God to help me. I started going neurotic and was extremely depressed. There's a blank period of time where I don't remember anything.
My husband had been going through a similar struggle with fear of hell. And about this time he started wondering if our understanding of the doctrine of hell was accurate. I grabbed at that straw of hope as an answer to my prayers from God. I began researching the topic of hell and eventually believed Conditional Immortality (no afterlife for unbelievers) was God's real plan. And that made me happy for about a year.
But I wasn't afraid of God or hell anymore and so I wasn't afraid to question now. I'd questioned one foundational concept in my life and used rational thought to come to a conclusion. And once I'd gotten started, other questions kept popping up. All my religious doctrines came under scrutiny one by one until I was eventually questioning why I even believed in God. And I didn't find a good answer. So I didn't believe anymore.
I was one who always wanted to believe in a god. I had a pretty messed up childhood and I can remember praying one minute and cursing god the next for giving me such crappy living conditions. As a teen I got involved in a teen bible group, gave my life to Jesus and was baptised in a bathtub. I was pretty sure life would only get better for me from that point on with the help of a powerful deity. No such luck. To keep this brief (ha ha ha), I will tell you that to get where I am now took a loooong time. I am a glutton for punishment I guess? I have only been a non-believer for a couple years now.
The "aha" moments for me were many and occurred over a span of about 10 years, but I really began to question my faith after a series of events that involved our church and our in-laws (who are bible bangin' believers to the core). The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that I never really "felt" god or ANY spiritual presence, EVER. I eventually called myself an agnostic and stopped praying (It was truly scary to stop praying. I kept waiting for god to strike us down or punish us for it). I finally realized that most of what I followed in religion was through fear. Fear that was taught in the church and in religion in general.
I learned the most about religion after joining CM and getting into religious debate groups. Very enlightening! Nobody could answer any of my questions with any solid proof of a god. I found many contradictions and double speak in the bible. The scariest part was how some are so willing to walk blindly through life based on faith alone, without any proof, never wanting to try to educate themselves because it contradicts what they have been taught. Then they continue the cycle with their children, never to question, just "believe".
I can honestly say I am actually better off now without religion then we ever were while members of any church. We attribute our successes to hard work and a positive outlook on life. No gods, no spirits, no backwards religion helping us out, and no devil to blame for the bad. It feels GREAT and I can finally say I am truly happy from the inside out!!!
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
I grew up in a christian home going to church 3 to 4 times a week. It was at this church that my husband and I met and attended the bible college they had.He went on to become an associate pastor of that church which was one of the largest non-denominational churches in the south at that time. We were taught not to question "spiritualy authority". They were the voice of "God". So we blindly followed. Until....
Shortly after the birth of my first daughter we made an agonizing decision to leave our church due to a sex scandal and misuse of money. Getting away from that environment (which I think was cultish) made it easier to think for ourselves and question. This led to reason and rationality and eventually atheism.
Reading and listening to such great people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and even Christoper Hitchens really has opened my eyes. All those old beliefs and christian hangups just started to melt away and are replaced with rational thought and a sense of relief. I was like an aha moment. You realize that life is so precious especially when it's the only one you have.
Everything! From the time I was six years old I questioned what I was told about God. If he's so omnipotent, then why doesn't he just do away with the devil? And if he created us, then why didn't he just make us perfect from the start rather than sinful and flawed? If he's such a good and loving God, then why do good and innocent people get hurt while bad people roam happily around inflicting pain on others? And what kind of God would create misquitoes, cock roaches, and tape worms?
Then as I was forced to learn more and more religion, things got really ugly. None of that BS in the Bible made a lick of sense to me. What kind of a god requires financial donations to a church and vengeance upon anyone who doesn't adequately worship him?
There wasn't a single pivotal moment for me. I simply questioned everything I was told from the very start, much to the embarrassment and chagrin of my mother.
The bible stories never made sense to me. I always too them as metaphors...or at least parts of them. I was actually surprised to later find out people believed they were true.
What really made me question, the existence of God though, was biology. I have always been fascinated with animals and nature. The more I learned about all the scientific discoveries explaining how things work, and why, and it all made complete sense to me. The scientific theories made sense. I understood how it was all possible without help from a God. So then I started thinking, if it's all possible without God, then what does he do? Just sit there and watch? Does he guide us in our lives, and that's it? No creating or anything? But then why would he want to sit around all day and watch an ant hill (which would be what we are to him)? Why would he care what we're doing? Do I care what ants do and if they worship me or not?
I just started thinking about this kind of stuff almost obsessively until I came to the conclusion that it makes a WHOLE lot more sense that there just isn't a God. It was an explaination for things people didn't understand....now we understand, so we don't need the fantasy story anymore.
by anklebitrAugust 3, 2009 at 9:19 PM
I took a step away from the church while in my last year of college. I started clubing, drinking (not excessive just when I went out), smoking, fooling around with guys. Kind of sowing my royal oats if you will. Then I got a job, and my own place with bills and all that went with it. I went with a friend one Sunday to a baptist church but that really didn't appeal to me.
Then I met Mike on the Internet. His profile said agnostic so I didn't know what to think at first cause I still seen myself as a backslider. Anyway we got married and had the first child. I still thought of finding a church to go to but never got around to it.
In 2007 I read the God Delusion and it was like a light bulb went off. I was talking to my neighbor and friend about it and she suggested I read about different religions like paganism, buddhism. She said for every "anti faith" book I read that I should read a "pro faith" book to go with it. I also read "Losing Faith in Faith" by Dan Barker reading that really put all my questions in perspective. I could really relate to a lot of what he was feeling cause we came from similar religious backgrounds.
Another one I read that really got me thinking the other way was "Don't know much about mythology".
Oh yeah before I read Richard Dawkins I read "The Faith Club" it is a story of a Christian, Muslim and Jew and what happened when they got together for discussions after September 11th.
There really was not one event. I remember in church praying and trying to get the holy ghost and crying and stuff. Now I know I wasn't feeling so much the spirit of god but everyone elses emotions.
It also helps that I started looking into evolution from the scientific aspect not what christians told me about it.