Trying to find my "turning point" to atheism
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21-04-2012, 11:06 AM (This post was last modified: 21-04-2012 11:11 AM by elemts.)
Trying to find my "turning point" to atheism
Within the past few weeks, even though it doesn't matter, I've been wondering exactly when I could have been considered an atheist, I know when I would have said so without a doubt, but I was wondering when I could have been yet just didn't know! There are multiple points in my life I could it applied: childhood, teenage years, or college. I just thought I'd post a general timeline, and see when others may think it applies--hope you don't mind Smile

Birth through first grade:
- family never mentioned god (although they claim that they believed "something" existed in an afterlife, but they only went to church [any denomination--it depended on who had the neatest decorations] at christmas)
- mother married a fundamentalist minister (not because of that), biological father decided to have visitation (he was a lutheran-but only because his wife was).
- told my parents that Santa Claus was imaginary and provided proof
(yeah... odd I'm sure), then they told me about the other fairy tales,
and I started wondering if they could be trusted on things I couldn't

First through fourth grade:
-I had to attend church, but never thought of what they taught as true--mainly as the different churches taught different things on points, and even the fundamentalist church skipped around the bible so much that I wondered why (until I read the parts before and after, then I kind of caught on).

Fourth through Sixth grade (about, could've been fifth grade)
-I had to attend church, and attend Sunday school, and had to do other things like bible school. The latter two I thought of as "arts and crafts" Sunday school at church I hated because if you questioned anything--you were speaking horrible things! The question "why" was the same as nuking the planet. In church, I faked any singing (OK, I did prior too, but I just never bought or believed the words--they seemed "wrong" somehow, but I didn't know why).
- I questioned why memorizing the bible was needed (it's written down, so why memorize it?--plus I had learned in school how easily a phrase of "hi! I love the weather today" can turn into "sally sells herself for sex by the seashore" after it's passed through 30 people).
- a minister said that abused children and women were evil people who were disobeying god and that they should not only thank their abusers for beating them, but apologize for not wanting it
---> This was a single point at church where I believed everything they said was a lie, if they said "good morning" I'd think "it's closer to noon, it's lunchtime."

Sixth-Sophmore in high school:
- I didn't have to do church! "thank god" as I would joking say ( Big Grin )
- I hung around people based on how they treated me and others, not because of their beliefs (entered in my friends of atheists, agnostics, "kind of christian, but not sure on things", pagans and yes, fundamentalists).

Junior-Senior in high school (also a Freshman and sophmore in college, I did both at once):
- I realized just how diverse people were, and how they would say one thing, yet they appeared to act the same. I.e. their hormones drove people to lust-filled actions no matter if they were catholic, christian, atheist, or what.
- I became a psychology major, and learned about human interactions and behaviors

Junior-Senior year in university:
- I considered a theology minor as I found it facinating, not in a "I believe it", rather I found all of the religions fascinating (plus I was exposed to virtually all religions, different groups, G:BT, etc--OK, and I went to a catholic university). I believe I thought of myself as "christian I guess.... although I don't believe any of it"--let's just say someone who never knew my religious beliefs knew I was an atheist--I guess my brain knew before I did.

Masters degree:
- Atheist (my actual thinking). Attended with religious people, had to use skill and tact to write papers on topics that basically said "religion is wrong, here's the proof, there is no soul, people's actions are a product of environment and genetics" --those were the group papers, the religious folk had a problem reconcilling their faith with the facts. Some even said they started to rethink what they believed because of it. Although I never said I was atheist, rather the closest being "I don't believe an any gods in the sense of how anyone believes they exist" (I had to work with them--and papers were group projects and grades based on their input).

Oh, and as one thing, the religious teachings at the local churches did have one side effect that I still hate I even thought of believing, despite not having any proof, seeing anyone like it, or anything else: the belief that homosexuals had a choice and should be condemned. I am so glad that I started to doubt that instantly when I met someone I thought could've been when I was in high school (that was a friend). Then when I was a junior in college, I met someone that made me challenge all my thoughts (she was a philosophy major--great influence actually!), and she just asked "why would you believe that?" and I replied "I don't know... huh. There's nothing wrong with it at all." and that was the end of it because I realize it had no foundations in anything other than a faith that I didn't even buy.
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21-04-2012, 08:17 PM
RE: Trying to find my "turning point" to atheism
It's easy to rewrite your own history. I reached a defined point where I started calling myself an atheist, and wrote down at the time my reasons. When I revisited the list six months later it was completely different to what I then remembered and thought were my reasons and steps.
There are many points in my life I can now point to and say that these things didn't make sense, but I was a theist only 12 months ago. Earlier while I was a theist there were things I couldn't explain and things that prevented me talking openly about my faith. I honestly couldn't explain it in a form that I found compelling. Still, I was a theist - 100% a theist. That's part of the thought control involved in religion. It teaches you not to question things that could lead you away from faith. They sit there as contradictions but are papered over by the mind.
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