Questions for closet-atheists
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08-02-2012, 01:21 PM
Questions for closet-atheists
To those who are ones now, finding refuge on this forum or those who have been in any measure.

When you first began searching for truths (or the lack of them) finding more out about the religion of your family, what important bits of information really lead you from your faith to atheism? Then at what point did you decide to finally tell your family (if you're that far yet)?

Example: "When I realized that what religion we are really only depends on where we were born and when, it has nothing to do with the truths of the doctrine and that is what made me finally realize this was all nonsense."

I await your responses.

NOTE: Sorry if I spammed this forum with this, when I hit post and looked through the threads I didn't see it, nor did it show in my posted threads on my profile.
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08-02-2012, 01:49 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
I didn't have to come out to my family because my family didn't care at all. So that's a pro for me but for the other question: what let me out of my faith was everything that was not logic but the explanation was always the same "The universe balances itself" > blah, fuck you, give me a real answer! So I searched for answers and they were everything but supernatural.
(obviously not coming from christianity but it's kinda the same as saying that god did it)

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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08-02-2012, 01:53 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
As I was sitting in my nature-science class and my teacher was going on and on about how the earth started and how life evolved from a singled cell organism and the planet was formed via The Big Bang, it soon became clear to me how extremely primitive and far-fetched religious beliefs were/are.

Later that day, I became fascinated and decided to educate myself in the field - And the more I looked up, the more I became convinced that there was no god or any form or shape, people have simply been searching for a reason as to why we are here on this earth and over several thousands of years, they have always looked to a super natural being, may it have been the egyptians who worshipped Horus, Anubis etc. or even the Mayans who worshipped the sun as their "god" or the greeks who even went so far as to have a god for almost every single feeling and event in the world(Death, love, life, happieness and so on) - All this in the name of knowing ,,Why"...

For me.. The answer to that question is.. Chance.. We are only here because of a fluke in nature, although this answer isn't enough for some people.. It is for me.

Sincerely, Elvis.
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08-02-2012, 02:03 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
First and foremost for me as the theory of evolution. I was taught this in schools, since I went to public school. And it conflicted with the creation story of Genesis. Dinosaurs existed, there's no arguing it whatsoever. The bible and its apologists have never presented to me an argument that was satisfactory. When I was in high school and shortly after I listened to cassette tapes of Ken Ham and Kent Hovind and this was enough to satisfy me for a little while. Not that I accepted what they said wholly, but that I accepted that there were alternative theories and it ultimately didn't matter. Eventually I had to face facts and admit that it did matter.

So for a while I believed in an old earth guided evolutionary creation. But already my faith was a little eroded- the Bible was no longer the inerrant literal word of God in my mind.

This was the first key for me.

Then Biblical contradictions came into play for me along with bad experiences with other Christians that had added up over the years. I've watched Christians push their way into the political arena more and more and it helped me see that Christianity is simply a method of control and not real.

At this point I did not bother to seek out other gods. It seems irrelevant as any god that does not intervene with in the horrors of this world and lets them continue must not be interested or involved with us on any level beyond creation- especially not a personal level.
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08-02-2012, 03:48 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
There was never really a defining moment for me. I just started having questions when I was in my early to mid teens and I would ask my parents questions like, "What do you have to do to get into heaven?" Answer: Believe Jesus saved you. "So murderers go to heaven if they believe?" Answer: Yes. So that kind of left me dumbfounded. Later I realized the same thing you did about being born into your religion among other common questions and realizations. It didn't even occur to me to research religion/atheism until I already knew I didn't believe in a god anymore. I didn't even know I was called an atheist...I thought "atheist" meant devil worshiper! It's been probably 6 years since I've realized I'm atheist, and I still haven't told any family members except my in-laws who are on the same page. I don't want my parents to think that they've failed raising me. I'm proud of who I am today and how I got to this point, but I'm sure my very religious family would be sure I'm going to hell. I really want to tell them because I'm tired of pretending to be someone else when I'm with them. But honestly I'm just not a very good debater because I get tongue-tied and frustrated easily. Maybe I'll just have to work on that and then one day I'll be able to tell them.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony
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08-02-2012, 05:22 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
My "Aha" moment was in my theology class. Big Grin

I'd been thinking for a little before that about how my religion was really just dependent on the family I happened to be born into, and that was the beginning of a major turning point. The moment happened when we were taking notes on a PowerPoint about one of the sacraments (I can't remember which). It was full of specific but arbitrary rules and rituals, and suddenly I just realized there was no evidence for any of the things they were teaching me. The vast majority was just made up by a Cardinal or Pope a thousand or more years ago.

I felt like a guy building a big, elaborate house who, one day, decided to finally look underneath at the foundation and realized that there was actually no foundation at all! From there it was only a matter of time until the whole thing collapsed.
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08-02-2012, 05:36 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
Warning: not a closet atheist.

I had an "Aha!" moment followed by investigation that nailed it down.

The "Aha!" came in Sunday School when I was about 9 or 10. The Bible stories just didn't sound believable, not even close. In 5th grade, I did a 'research paper' on Islam. I think the lesson was about using the library and reference materials and we picked the subject from a list of topics. When I researched Islam, its history, beliefs, geography, interaction with Christianity, etc., it seemed that Islam and Christianity were pretty much equally crazy.

I was recently reminded by an old friend of the discussions we would have sleeping out under the stars as kids. He clearly recalls my being an atheist the summer after 5th grade.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2012, 08:29 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2012 08:35 PM by free2011.)
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
Science . . . and science.

Dawkins introduced me to evolution and Sagan to the cosmos. Science does a much better job of explaining things than religions do. When you learn that, religion is plan silly.

As far as coming out. My wife, children, and best friend know but none of my other family members or other friends. I don't plan on making it public until my children are off to college so it won't affect their friendships since most of their friends are from religious families.

.
I wasn't . . . until I was
I am . . . until I'm not
.
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08-02-2012, 09:17 PM
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
(08-02-2012 01:21 PM)GageIbbetson Wrote:  Then at what point did you decide to finally tell your family (if you're that far yet)?

Every situation is different. No one can tell you how to do this.
The only suggestion I have is to think deeply about your situation, then do what you must.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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09-02-2012, 09:16 AM
 
RE: Questions for closet-atheists
(08-02-2012 02:03 PM)kineo Wrote:  First and foremost for me as the theory of evolution. I was taught this in schools, since I went to public school. And it conflicted with the creation story of Genesis.

Not to Hijack this thread, but this IS the VERY reason the Fundies of the USA want Creationism taught in schools.
They want the 'silly notion' of evolution countered with the "FACTS" of Creationism. And THATS exactly how they see this fight.

This is a VERY REAL and GIGANTIC battle for them. So when you hear the Rick Perry's & Michelle Bachmann's of the world talk about that crap...THATS why and when we MUST push back.

They KNOW that evolution is a huge threat to their myth, so they want it marginalized.

And secondly, thats why MANY Christians (of all stripes) don't bother with real science. They refuse to look into Abortion from any other POV than from what their preacher says (as the bible is pro abortion), they wont give DNA a second thought.

D
(08-02-2012 01:21 PM)GageIbbetson Wrote:  When you first began searching for truths (or the lack of them) finding more out about the religion of your family, what important bits of information really lead you from your faith to atheism? Then at what point did you decide to finally tell your family (if you're that far yet)?

TO directly answer this question, my starting point was the Hypocrisy of Christians around me, first and foremost. Secondly the whole notion of Prayers. The 'answers' seemed as random as a coin toss and when i did not get the desired result, i could play the audio loop in my head of 'God works in mysterious ways and he'll give you something greater in the end if your faith is strong'. Thirdly, watching all my Xtian pals that i consider honest people of faith....watch them live tortured lives. Not able to make a decision without checking with the big guy, making HUGE LIFE CHANGING decisions based on 'communication from god'.... decisions that i could see as a Christian that were counter productive to normal life. Many of these pals that are still walking with the lord, STILL live a very hard and tortured life.

The final straw was getting hooked up with this Christian Conspiracy gang in the mid 90's. Pretty much a 'Revelation Club' of doom and gloom. They take current events, pick a candidate for the Anti Christ, watch every move in the news, see the world thru those Revelation Glasses, and then look for naturals signs from revelation and count the ticks to recess. Me and my pal spent an entire evening waiting for the bright moon to turn blood red, as we were promised. If there ever was an 'aha' moment, it was that....but it really was more of a 'damn i feel stupid for this' moment.

There were little moments of 'aha' along the way. I recall running around in my chicken little 'end is coming' phase...and my mom saying to me "Son, they've ALWAYS thought that Jesus was coming back in their time", and at 16 and a lifetime in church...i'd never ever heard it put that way before. Why would they? There is no value for a church or Christian school to show the bigger picture. They preach as if the time is NOW!

As for coming out, it was a gradual process, with the wife never embracing it (only tolerates it now, but we are good), my big moment came out at new years eve 2009 when I'd had too much vodka and my tea party neighbor insisting i run for local office, when i told him there are reasons people wont vote for me...he pressed. It then turned into "Now i WANNA Know, are you a child molester?" he joked..i said "Nope, i am an atheist". (my wife's jaw hit the floor) and the room fell silent. THIS was NOT the new years eve these folks had planned on. In his drunken tea party way...he broke the silence and said "I'd still vote for you man, cuz you use your brain!". I thanked him for the kind words but assured him there is a sea of local folks that DONT feel the way he does. Thats when it became an hour of "Ask an Atheist", i had folks drunkenly firing questions at me and i obliged. THAT was the fateful evening that i played Multiple choice with "was it Allah, Osama or Jesus that stated he did not come to bring peace but a sword". I had a life long catholic get furious with me and insisted i was making it up that JC said that. I simply told him to read his bible for the 1st time and when i told him book and verse, he realized he was unprepared for me and unread as a christian....and we were both quite buzzed. Ever since then i have been proudly vocal about my HUMANISM. I dont really identify as an atheist, as its a Non Identification.....and Humanist ALWAYS gets a follow up question, Atheist pretty much ENDS a conversation...normally.
As a humanist i can tell them MORE about my position and why... without the Knee Jerk reaction of self preservation and callus remarks from the chosen ones.

D
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