Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
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02-05-2012, 11:16 PM
Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
Forgive me if this is the wrong forum or if a thread like this already exists; it seemed like the most appropriate place for it (mods, feel free to move this to another board if it's not the right place)

As someone who was born and raised in a Christian family and later rejected religious teachings, I'm curious what convinced others to leave the religion they grew up with.

For myself, I'm not sure if I ever really believed in God to begin with. I kind of always had it on the same level as santa claus and the tooth fairy. I more or less just assumed that there was a God, who made the universe, and that was just how things were. (Admittedly, even today I'm not completely convinced there isn't a god, though I am convinced that Christianity and the bible are human fabrications.) What I think really made me stop and re-examine everything, though, was the garden of Eden.

I've always been a logical thinker, so when I really started to look at Adam and Eve, things just didn't add up. For one, if God was omnipotent, how did he not know that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree? And even if he didn't know - there's an interesting argument I've heard, though I don't know from where, that God can't see where humankind's free will can lead them, or something like that - why did he even make the tree to begin with? Why was the tree in the garden, where Adam and Eve could easily eat from it; if he was all-powerful, why not just make the garden sans tree and let everything be fine? Once I started on that line of logic, other things just stopped making sense. I never looked at the bible too closely, so I wasn't aware of the staggering number of inconsistencies, both with itself and with our moral standards, until much later, but it was enough to make me start questioning everything.

Still, even today I find it hard to completely reject the idea that there is no higher power in the universe. But if there is, I feel that such a being, for whatever reason, did not want to reveal itself to mankind, and instead seems content to leave us to our own devices. Perhaps a sort of "prime directive" thing. Or maybe this is just blatant wish-fulfillment on my part, who knows.
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02-05-2012, 11:24 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
It's seems as though you've answered your own question. People left religion because basically "Shit didn't make sense". That's about it. Of course I am speaking from observation as I never believed in any kind of god at all.

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02-05-2012, 11:36 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
(02-05-2012 11:16 PM)Sethala Wrote:  Forgive me if this is the wrong forum or if a thread like this already exists; it seemed like the most appropriate place for it (mods, feel free to move this to another board if it's not the right place)

As someone who was born and raised in a Christian family and later rejected religious teachings, I'm curious what convinced others to leave the religion they grew up with.

For myself, I'm not sure if I ever really believed in God to begin with. I kind of always had it on the same level as santa claus and the tooth fairy. I more or less just assumed that there was a God, who made the universe, and that was just how things were. (Admittedly, even today I'm not completely convinced there isn't a god, though I am convinced that Christianity and the bible are human fabrications.) What I think really made me stop and re-examine everything, though, was the garden of Eden.

I've always been a logical thinker, so when I really started to look at Adam and Eve, things just didn't add up. For one, if God was omnipotent, how did he not know that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree? And even if he didn't know - there's an interesting argument I've heard, though I don't know from where, that God can't see where humankind's free will can lead them, or something like that - why did he even make the tree to begin with? Why was the tree in the garden, where Adam and Eve could easily eat from it; if he was all-powerful, why not just make the garden sans tree and let everything be fine? Once I started on that line of logic, other things just stopped making sense. I never looked at the bible too closely, so I wasn't aware of the staggering number of inconsistencies, both with itself and with our moral standards, until much later, but it was enough to make me start questioning everything.

Still, even today I find it hard to completely reject the idea that there is no higher power in the universe. But if there is, I feel that such a being, for whatever reason, did not want to reveal itself to mankind, and instead seems content to leave us to our own devices. Perhaps a sort of "prime directive" thing. Or maybe this is just blatant wish-fulfillment on my part, who knows.
Welcome to the forum.

As an agnostic I rather like your "prime directive thing".......maybe something beyond our cognitive abilities and spiritually analogous to material evolution..... Angel Laughat
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07-05-2012, 08:05 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
To be honest,i never had any religion to begin with.

The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism.
-Karl Marx


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07-05-2012, 09:17 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I was raised in the Catholic church. When I was young the masses were in Latin so I usually didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I just followed what everyone else did or said.

Over time, I just started to notice a few things. Prayer didn't work. Going to confession seemed a little off to me...why should I tell some man what I had done wrong when God was supposed to know everything. Why can the rules change? Is God talking to someone and making some edits like with no meat on Friday, doing away with Limbo and I think Purgatory also took a hit...then saints got un-sainted. WTH?

And the people just didn't seem very nice, lots of hypocrisy. Why did the church feel the need to print a book stating how much money each person donated and then send a copy to everyone...what a person gives shouldn't be public knowledge.

Then I realized that they really didn't do much with the Bible other than reading a few passages during mass.

The stories that I thought were like fables, some people took as historical fact...YIKES! I started studying on my own and fell further and further away from religious teaching of any sort. There were a lot of small aha moments but not really one big AHA!

I realized pretty young that I really didn't believe, I was told that I believed. And that didn't work for me. Blind faith just doesn't make sense to me at any level.

'See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way.' -JF
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07-05-2012, 09:25 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I filed away my bible with my fairy tale books when I was 10.

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07-05-2012, 03:16 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
For me, there are many points I could say I left religion... there's so many points in my childhood that to pick one is impossible, or for that matter, I don't believe I ever said I believed other than just saying what others said. Like right now, completely out of the blue, I remember checking "Christian" on my college application. I hesitated some, but as I was going to a Catholic university, I figured I needed to be religious to be accepted (ironically... I chose it only because of my parents). But even then my doubting it was apparently so obvious, that my friends knew, my family guessed. I'd even question people at church about things--to their horror.


It's one of those hindsight types of things, and viewpoints of using current knowledge to re-examine the mind's rewriting of the past. If anything back then, I was probably pagan, but without any worshipping of anything... so one could say theist, yet I denied the existence of any god or gods (it seemed illogical for one to exist). Some could say the church just didn't get to me in time (first grade, not before--I was taught how to build, how things worked [I once re-wired a toy so I could spray tomato soup all over the dining room! they were not amused.... well proud, yet not amused!). I found church to be full of hypocritical (I did view it as such at the time) bigots (only a new term I would use, I just knew they hated people, yet the teachings said to love, hence the hypocritical). I even outright asked ministers how everyone could find happiness in heaven, if some people liked to molest children, and others liked other things. I even asked "is hell and heaven the same place? because hell for one would be heaven for another?" I asked this when I was almost seeking permission to not believe (or something... probably just to upset the people as I only asked that if they totally annoyed me). I viewed the religious people (that I knew)'s heaven and hell like this:
-- bad child? you go to heaven/hell where a child molester gets to molest you
-- repentant child molester? you go to heaven/hell where you get to molest the bad child

They quickly said "oh no!" followed by something else, which I then countered with something they had said prior (ex: if you sin you go to hell, doesn't accepting Jesus grant forgiveness and entrance to heaven? yes, but not for the bad people, but aren't we all bad people?) Soon after they'd say I needed to accept Jesus into my heart.... and this is when I was "Christian"--so really... I probably never was. Even a while after learning about jesus's supposed conception, I thought "we could have virgin births now...". Which could lead to me saying I never left the church, as I never accepted their teachings. Or that I left when I did read their teachings... eh, whatever.

With prayer... I noticed that it didn't seem to matter. And yes, I thought I'd try just to see (OK, I tried multiple religions or things to see), now I could get a 100% success rate--if I prayed for something that was going to happen regardless (ex: pray for money when a relative who was leaving me something was dieing... well yeah, I got the money, because the person died, even though it would've happened no matter what). There was a time I'd did something just to see what would happen (it involved a belief that god and the devil were made up, but maybe there could be angels and demons that were friendly that helped).... but looking back I realize that it was a chemical reaction in my brain causing a clarity of sorts (clearing mind of everything but the problem, allowing me to find the solution). Now I achieve the same effect just by taking a deep breath, and concentrating on something for a few seconds or minutes (for example, picturing something in nature/space), or going for a walk. Granted I have a habit of talking to the item if I literally look at it... but I really don't expect a response from a star when I say "hello there, are you a star or a galaxy? hmm.. are you even still there now? It's probably taken a long time for your light to reach me. Wait, are you a planet in this solar system?" -- nothing like "oh heavenly star please grant me the knowledge" Basically I just question aloud when thinking.

Of course, I am fascinated by two books in the bible, the first and last books. The first involves so much magic and supernatural interactions that I couldn't help but ask "why did he stop?" and the latter is, well, I watch horror movies, so it's almost like that, and the parts I remember could easily be explained by natural events, or outright be impossible given how many I know believe god to act.
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08-05-2012, 06:34 PM (This post was last modified: 08-05-2012 08:10 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
Bullshit promise of a postmortem preservation of identity was my tipping point at 17 yo. Which is also why I still don't dismiss out of hand those religions which don't make silly metaphysical promises fundamental to their system.

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09-05-2012, 06:17 AM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
Left when I realized that the world is not working esotherical Big Grin
All the rituals and mindpowers and what not, all bullshit. The more I wanted to proof (to myself) and the more I practiced and read, the more I found out that it is simple bullshit and will never be more. Not scientific, not proofable, all you need is a leap of faith.
I am too much of a thinker and always was, and once nothing added up anymore, and no straws where left to hold on to my belief, I "quit".

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14-05-2012, 04:20 PM
RE: Atheists/agnostics - what made you leave religion?
I sat down and thought about religion, that how I started questioning it and not believing it.

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