Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
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22-01-2013, 05:29 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
(07-01-2013 12:43 AM)SingingBear Wrote:  Ex-Jehovah's Witness here. I'm 31 and have been out for well over 10 years now. I was born into a JW family and raised strictly in it's beliefs. I think I can track my deviation from the cult simply, but the details are what really did it for me. I'll try to be brief.

Scared believer - The Early Years
All the bible stories were true, but God could be incredibly frightening. Demons everywhere. Have to tell everyone at school my beliefs and why I don't celebrate holidays and be different. Couldn't wait for Paradise to come so I could play with lions, and cheetahs, and bears, never get sick, and fly (yes, I know flying isn't part of the dogma-- who knows why I believed it).

Shamed believer - PreTeen/Tween/Early Teens
I quickly became publicly embarrassed about my beliefs and knocking on doors. At one time (not knowing what masturbation was, but hearing it was a horrible affront to Jehovah), I experienced incredible anguish simply for getting erections. Sexual shame. God saw me and hated me. Depression begins.

Shamed baptised publisher - 14 yrs
People kept asking me, "Why aren't you baptized yet?" and so I succumbed to the pressure, even though I felt unworthy, to please my family and congregation and the elders. It was what was expected and seemed like the only thing I could do.

Schitzoid believer
What the elders and overseers called "worldly things" were so much fun, I split my life in two so that there was a me I was at school who liked hard rock, cussed, dirty jokes, violent movies and video games, etc and the fake me at the Kingdom Hall who was well-respected for being devout, clean, giving good talks in front of the KH, and regularly going out and knocking on your doors.

Rebel - 18
I ran away with a girl (also raised JW) and we lived together in her home city. Told everyone we were married, but some elders didn't believe us. They set up elders meetings to try to get the truth out of us. We began smoking pot. One elder even began stalking us. Showed up at our apartment. Peeking in the blinds when we wouldn't answer the door. We moved back to my home town to try to escape the heat.

Pariah - 19

In my hometown, people were wary. People I'd known my whole life treated us like we weren't wanted.

Disfellowshipped outcast - 19,20
Elders were ratted to that we were smoking pot. They disfellowshipped us. No one, including most of the family and everyone who said they'd be there with us through thick and thin and through Armageddon so much as greeted us. This woke me up. All these people professing their love and solidarity. If they actually believed we were "spiritually sick", why wouldn't they try to help us.

A painful psychological and emotional restructuring hits full force, but I felt a tremendous amount of empowerment taking my life into my own hands. Consequently, the shame and depression began to go away. Big Grin

Agnostic - 21 to 27 or so
I realized that they were wrong. All religions were wrong. We moved back to her city. Rarely attended meetings. I still believed in God because I thought the universe had to come from somewhere. Began believing in evolution. Looking into buddhism and other non-Chirtsian ways of life including dabbling in pagan ways like the asatru inspired by my new found interest in genealogy and my familial link to the ancient northern European nations.

Atheist - ~27 to Present
Richard Dawkin's 'The God Delusion' helped me realize that I needed to get off of the fence. It helped me realize that I was in fact an atheist and that was okay. Smile I began reading other secular literature and feeling very optimistic and at home, for once in my life.

Hardly brief *lol*, but there it is.

The romantic in me is wondering if you are still with that girl.









Are you?

P.S: I am deeply sorry for what you had experienced. I know a couple of disfellowshipped JWs. From the stories I heard about them, from ex members, it is one fucked up religion.

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23-01-2013, 11:39 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
We were together for 12 years total, but we're going through divorce right now. We took this journey together and I'm grateful that she was there with me through it, but it's time for us to part. Smile

And thank you, A to the Theist. It is. The religion could be worse, though. Big Grin

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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23-01-2013, 10:55 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
(23-01-2013 11:39 AM)SingingBear Wrote:  We were together for 12 years total, but we're going through divorce right now. We took this journey together and I'm grateful that she was there with me through it, but it's time for us to part. Smile

And thank you, A to the Theist. It is. The religion could be worse, though. Big Grin

Well damn. That sucks. I can tell you are going to be a wonderful member on this forum. I hope you have a really good time here. I wish you had not had to go through the process of losing your family. Religion is horrible in the aspect that it can rip families apart.

Anyways, please call me A2, it's what the awesome people call me.

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23-01-2013, 11:12 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
Thank you for the warm welcome and support, A2! All of you, actually. It's wonderful to talk to thinking people.

And I am having a good time reading ideas here and posting my own. There's intelligence, honesty, wit, and even a lot of laughs. Smile

This is good. I appreciate you folks.

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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30-01-2013, 09:39 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I got sick of the lies that I had heard in church about gays, evolution, etc. It went from there. The Old King James bible I had is what really nailed it down. I didn't want to bow to a troll anymore.
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02-02-2013, 10:40 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
SingingBear, please stay here and keep us posted on how you're doing. You're going through one of those times in life when everything is blowing up in your face, so you need support. We're not shrinks but do understand what you're going through. Theists ask me if I don't believe in god, what do I believe in and what gets me through hard times. I say that friendship, family (if that's an option), and other people do. Those and whatever strength I have, and if course time. I don't mean to be going all Oprah on you, but just want you to know you can be yourself here, and for an atheist in the US, that's no small thing.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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02-02-2013, 11:34 AM
Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
When I was young, my passions were reading, science and live theater. I couldn't get enough of all three. Growing up in an evangelical home, I was exposed to the bible and became pretty well 'versed' in it, which brought up many questions regarding contradictions and incompatibility with modern science. For a while I studied other religions in an attempt to find what made them different. I dissected Mormonism, and in doing so, began to see Christianity and the stories of the bible in the same light that I viewed LDS beliefs, as silly, man made stories.
My path from that point to full atheism took about 2 years. It was so liberating to break from the shackles of religion!
In the last 10 years I have taken time to study Islam, and my view is that it is simply 7th century Mormonism. With beheading. And other barbaric crap. They are both so similar in their founding.
I now enjoy debating theists in hopes of saving maybe one little soul from the evils of religion.
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21-02-2013, 11:57 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I went to church with my neighbors as a teenager and was really devout; I tried my best to follow what I was taught. I began to read the Bible start to finish and my skepticism began there, but I dismissed it as a test of my faith. I really tried. It was filling a hole in me that was getting larger and larger, but eventually that hole couldn't be filled.

I became suicidal and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I felt ashamed of myself, but more than that I was angry - angry at a god who had done this to me on purpose, who in the Bible had promised nothing more than I could handle yet was willing to let me cut my entire body with beer bottle shards and repeatedly try to overdose on blood thinners.

I got a bit better. I tried to go back, but without that hole to fill, the pieces just couldn't fit together. Even now, when I miss the companionship of the church members, I cannot logically reconcile what my church taught me and what I plainly learned about evolution in my biology classes.
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22-02-2013, 12:54 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
"For myself, I'm not sure if I ever really believed in God to begin with."

I was always sure.My parents never drug me into a church unless someone was being married or buried but they did tell me there was a god. I tried praying and the only memories I have of it are that I was thinking "this is stupid" all the while I was doing it. I played the game till I was in my mid twenties and then, I just stopped joining in religious conversations... cause I was raised in a backward assed hick town in Texas and to mention you're an atheist back then was social suicide.
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28-03-2013, 01:49 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I have many reasons why I deconverted, like so many others here. But I think it was after I had my first daughter that I seriously started questioning the idea of god according to the bible. I couldn't resolve the issue of hell or sin. As much as I loved my daughter, I could never banish her for eternity, no matter what she did. If I loved her that much, wasn't god capable of so much more love ? If she did something wrong, would I then punish her future child? It doesn't even come close to making sense. Once that thread of thinking got pulled, the rest unravelled fairly easily. All the reading and searching I have done only informed me, helped me define what I was already thinking. I did not need it to come to atheism, and I think anyone that loves their own children, it should be easy for them to consider what they would or would not do to their children, and apply the same standard to god.

BTW, I was by no means a fanatic, but I was very devout. And helped a few people go to god, like a good little christian soldier. We all make mistakes...
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