What was your route to atheism?
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15-06-2009, 11:55 AM
Lightbulb What was your route to atheism?
I'm a lifelong atheist, I was born into a non religious family, my mother believes in god, but is disheartened by religions. My father denounced his catholic faith whilst attending a catholic school, he once told me that he saw a contradiction with the 'Thou shalt not worship a craven image' commandment and praying to 'Mary Mother of Jesus' which he clearly saw, as a thinking child.

As was expected in those days, I was baptised in a Church of Wales chapel, although it held no meaning to me or my brothers. As a family we never set foot in a church again, apart from hatching's, matching's and dispatching's.

I had to participate in religious education in school, but that only served to confirm my disbelief, although I still wasn't sure if, or even what, an atheist was. When I signed up to serve Queen and country I had to declare my religious beliefs, so I said agnostic, only to be told I could only be labeled as an atheist, so there you are, I was confirmed as an atheist.

I did attend services following parades as an airman in the RAF, but it was easier to sit them out than ask to be excused. I have attended funerals, and would never consider refusing to enter a church out of respect.

As it happens I quite like going into churches, here in the UK we have many fine examples of architecture, it only saddens me that more was spent on those churches than was spent on providing homes for the poor and needy. The workhouses of the Victorian era were shameful places, when placed alongside the opulence of the churches it illustrates the twisted priorities of religion.

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20-06-2009, 03:27 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
I was brought up in a Plymouth Brethren household, my father is very devout and my mother also believes.
Following years of 'gentle persuasion' had a full immersion baptism at the tender age of 13, right in the middle of my testosterone-fuelled adolescence. Once my hormones had settled I had a realization that maybe the whole Christianity thing couldn't be proved.
My questioning of how a divine being (who created everything) wouldn't want to demonstrate its existence, drove a wedge between my Father and me.
Upon leaving home and moving away to work in another part of the country the influence subsided and eventually I got married and we had a child, the second child, however, didn't make it to full term and I was left holding a dead baby in the delivery room wondering why a benevolent and all powerful god would wish to allow the death of an innocent life. The hospital appointed minister tried to make things better by saying "it's god's will" and "he had a plan for your son".
As you can imagine, this didn't make any sense - neither, why would it wish for all the other terrible things in the world to happen.
I think University (which I attended as a mature student) made the biggest impact and the reading the works of Marx (I am not a follower of his political teachings) - his revealing essays on why religion exists suddenly fitted into place.
From that moment I have come to a categorical and complete decision that:
There is no God (I am 99.9% certain of this)
Religion is a way for the ruling classes to subjugate and divide others.
Religion had a place in the early days of mankind and has brought us good things, but this was because of the morality of the people who worked within it and not because of a 'divine' creature who influences humanity, but refuses to show itself.

I have lost many years of my life pondering the existence of man, but it's so simple now, our very existence is based on our own thoughts and actions and we can no longer use a god as an excuse for our wrong doings.
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27-06-2009, 09:27 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
Lets see, I was born in an area where religion is kind of the king of the area, where if you spoke ill of anything religious, you would be bullied and beaten for it. I became an atheist around the age of 12, but it had to happen in secrecy. I was found out by a couple of the local churches, and they proceeded to beat me up and harass me wherever I went, until i got the nerve to fight back when they struck against me. When I graduated high school and proceeded to college, the people that I met there really opened my eyes that there are more people out there that are like me, and once i graduated college I started to see if I could find other people that share this point of view.

I am also a member at Atheist Nation, kind of the first place I found so far, but really wish there was a chatroom with voice chat where atheists and anti-religious people can talk to one another freely (after a while, typing can start to hurt). Well, guess that would explain why I became an atheist, in a nutshell I just looked at the whole picture and just didn't understand why people believe in fairy tale characters, adults of all people. Well, Ill try to be around and post when I can.
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14-07-2009, 05:18 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
Hi there! I´m from Sweden, one of the most unreligous countries on the planet, but i was born into a family of churchgoers. A typical Swedish family where none of the members had actually read the bible and still have not til this day, exept me! I was brought to church almost every sunday til my early teens, by then i could speak enough for myself to convince my mother that i did not need to go anymore. I believe she believed that i had taken Jesus to heart or something because i dont remember them forcing me to join them anymore.
Then came the time for my "confirmation", i was in the 8th grade and was badly in need of a moped and the tradition is that one gets many gifts for being "confirmed". All my class-mates did it to but i dont think they were more motivated by god than i was, they were all going to get gifts!
Anyway, we all sat in the little priests-room in our local church and read from the bible, classic indoctrination with only the good and sweet parts being taught to us. Little did the priest expect anyone to actually do their homework, but i did mine a little to good, i read not only what they told us to read but way more, and i was surprised to see how much bullshit this book contained. Actually i kind of lost faith in god right that moment, and all the things that had bothered me over the years, my fathers early passing away and all the shit that was going on in the world, all made perfect sense in an instant, they were simply the result of our actions and bad behavior, not part of any divine plan.
I then more or less turned to the dark side of the force, but only from a christian point of view, i have always been kind to people and animals, never even got into a fight or broke the law once, but i started argumenting god, playing in heavy metal-bands and evolving to pure anti-religous death-metal where most of what we said was never heard because of the growling vocals. Maybe thats for the best, otherwise we might have been shot dead on stage by some religous fanatic Smile This is what i call my Satanist period, not that i worshiped satan, more so that i lived life as Anton Szandor LaVey preaches in the satanic bible where
satan is a metaphore implying that one opposes god and the word of the bible!
I´m not an educated man, but i have no interest in reading novels so i read factual books, mostly about WW2 and mythology, at first i read a lot about Egyptian religions and Greek gods but eventually i focused more and more on the active religions today. And now i dare say that i know a whole lot about the three major religions under Jahwe.
Needless to say, with knowledge comes Atheism, its unavoidable!!!

Thats my story in short, Thanx.
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10-08-2009, 11:21 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
Everyone ever born on Earth was born without theism--at least none that is just "in there" innately--at least none that includes unicorns. My point is that because of that fact there can be no 'route' to atheism. Even 'theists' are atheists underneath, after all, since "God" is, well, a very cruel joke that was simply laid on top of reality.

It hit me the other day that I'm now celebrating about my fortieth anniversary. I mean of the indescribably nauseating realization that--despite some real measure of health and 'goodness' in pretty much all people--the world, its institutions and most of the humans in it are JUST about as completely fucknuts as can be. Anyway I think that for that reason alone I'm gonna let myself go long, here. Present to myself.

I was fifteen or sixteen, living north of the American Bible Belt. Let's hear it for Indiana.

So it was 'youthful rebellion'? Yes BINGO we have a WEINER!!! Adults lie, you see, is what it comes down to. They lie their asses off and they always have. That's been the problem all along. All along. Lying. Particularly by adults, particularly by adults in power positions. In fact, it's entirely arguable that authority itself is a cruel lie, but the bottom line is somewhere deep inside all people KNOW when they're lying and that lies suck. I hope, therefore, that while perhaps unable to express the truth well with anything but rebellion, that youth continues to rebel its ass off--and off and off--until Stupidity is wiped from the face of the earth.

Seriously, if people want to merely "question authority" while otherwise going along more or less peacably with whatever ridiculous and moronic program they've found themselves stuck in, the programs bleeding the humanity of them, I think that's okay. "Doing as much as you can from wherever you are" is all that can reasonably asked of anyone. Using denial now and then just to keep your head from exploding is, well, it just works, all right? And anyway it's true: with very few exeptions there's hardly anyone on earth that's all bad.

Which brings me back to my "route". You see, I had a mother that has been described by third parties (once their perception penetrated her well-crafted and polished veneer, a process that sometimes took decades) as "thoroughly evil". Hey where's the spellchecker in this place? xcstiplonipuddit. Dang I don't see a spellcheck button anywhere! What kinda joint IS this? Oh we;l back to my storie. The point is, I think, that I'd had reason for a long time already to ask questions like "Can this actually be for REAL?!" about much else in life. To this day I sincerely believe that religion co-opts, really, the above-mentioned innate and undamaged goodness and decency in (most) people, claiming literally to be it's source. Which, of course, is The Big Lie if there ever was one. What's stayed right and healthy about the human race throughout the last several thousand years is that way despite religion, not because of it. Exactly like a parasite that "knows" better than to kill its host, religion depends, actually, on its leaving enough sanity in any particular generation of its victims to mess royally with the minds of the next one. In other words, it makes sense that people who's parents aren't completely fucked up are more likely to accept what they see as "a little fuckupedness, maybe" for themselves--to swallow a little poison--and then pass that poison on and so on and so on. And (sigh), defend their poisoners to the hilt, of course, as we all see happening constantly, everywhere. To me, that's the price of "going along" with the program and the wisdom of (again: "if and when possible") shouting "HELL NO!!": acquiescience [THIS IS EMBARRASSING WHERE"S THE SPELLCHECK?!] to The Lie makes one part of the problem. To profess a disbelief in the supernatural is to throw the possibility into believers' faces of the fact that their parents were either idiots or lied horribly to them--and since it is an innate fact of life that we all are born loving and (ironically) deeply honoring our parents, well, your "insult" brings up more emotions than can be handled. There likely is no harder reality to face than the one that says "Your parents suck. They pissed on you hoping to save their own worthless skins."

So--since I'd already seen enough in my own life from my parents and having already worked through all that, rejecting their "beliefs" wasn't terribly difficult. The fact that the rest of the world seemed to subscribe to one form or other of the same BS did cause me pause. For maybe a day.

And I want to give myself some credit here. People laugh and dismiss and minimalize this kind of stuff all the time--but I really was alone in my decision to quit pretending I "believed" the crap being stuffed down my throat. No one dared to share thoughts about this kind of junk then. From what I could see (and time has shown that my perception was maybe about 99% accurate) literally no one else I knew shared my position. Karl Marx I'd heard of. ("Whoppee" and I still don't like that guy.) But even with "bad" parents it's still not easy at all, when nowhere out there at all do you hear any reasonable voice backing up your own suspicions--to conclude "Hey maybe it's this! They're ALL crazy; they're ALL lying!" No, I won't accept that there are really any "dupes" out there. Sort of, maybe. Little kids like maybe about 12 and younger. What choice have they got?

It's important to me to add that after these forty years of having thought about it (and oh boy have I thought about it!) that my opinion now is that religion--while sucking big-time and (despite even its atheistic apologists occasionally claiming so) not having a single redeeming trait about it--is itself only one manifestation of a deeper disease. Even atheists seem mostly not to be "ready" for this idea, preferring to think that religion itself is the big, bad boogeyman. It's not. It's cruelty toward children in general. Recognize that, end that, and religion and a WHOLE bunch of other Stupid just goes away.

All right my girlfriend from Sweden where they banned corporal punishment nationwide 30 years ago and where it's "really really secular" now even though MOST people DO still belong to the Church of Sweden (even though they never go) and tons of them even send barrels of money directly to it from their paychecks (she's one of them, insisting she's Christian and doesn't want to talk about religion, and there's no sign in her that she's--you know--well like people are here in the US) wants to talk to me.

Dawkins and his site has been connecting religion to abuse of children better than most I think. But it's what everybody needs to be looking at and considering. I'm convinced that that is where the answers are. Boatloads of them. Authoritarian cruelty toward children is the Mother of Stupidity.

Thank you, sincerely, for your time.
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18-08-2009, 09:37 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
I don’t know if I ever really believed. My mother is a Lutheran, but hardly devout. I don’t know if I ever saw my father in church unless it was a wedding of funeral. My mother made me go (infrequently) to church, Bible study, and Catechism study until I was confirmed. After that, I was free.

I gave faith a shot on a couple occasions, but it never took. I loved history and mythology. Those two subjects made belief in Christianity nearly impossible. The kicker would probably be logical reasoning that developed with my love for science. I couldn’t get past all the illogical fallacies within the Bible and the dogma. This all happened in grammar school (except the confirmation part).

However, I never thought of myself as an atheist. I searched for other spiritualities. I found great truths in many different philosophies within religions (Buddhism, Taoism), but I still felt that the real truth couldn’t be found by following somebody else’s path.

However, I did not begin to openly attack dogmatic principles and organized religion until they began attacking me. When I saw their purposeful ignorance and false statements of misinformation, I felt called to duty.
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25-08-2009, 09:52 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
Personally, I was born into a fairly religious family.

My mum is a Christian, my father was a Catholic, I went to a very religious school as a child. We'd have to sing hymns, do morning prayers etc. and admittedly I was indoctrinated and believed in all the crap they'd tell me, Noah saving all the animals of the world while god mercilessly drowned every human and sinning creature on earth and all of the other stories we're told.

When I was five my father died of a heart attack after spending a year paralyzed, and as I reached the age of about 8 I began to wonder what he had done to deserve that, started really looking at the world and how much shit currently takes up resident on this planet and I think what really got me questioning, and what really changed my religious mind and made me a non-believer was the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks on NY and London.
After I realised it was apparently fundamentalist Muslims doing it for their religion I began to ask myself "Why would someone do that, whether it be for a belief or not, it's just wrong" and then I looked around, Saw the Christian terror caused on earth, the Islamic and many other religions who preach peace doing nothing but threaten people with hell, torment and torture. I simply right there said, I'm not worshipping anyone who condones these acts.

And now day by day I realise how dillusional most religious people are, and it really takes my trust in humanity down to a low Sad

But yea, that's it, nothing special.
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30-08-2009, 01:49 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
I just happened to born in a country (Estonia), where 80% of people are atheists and those who are religous are mostly just because their parents were. My parents are atheists, just like my grandparents. Main reason why we don't belive in god, is that when we were cristianized (in 13-th century by german, danish and swedish crusaders) it was brought here with occupation. after this we were practicly enslaved. SO many people are against christianity just because of the way it was brought here. But as Estonia was also part of SU, where religouns were "bad things" and atheism was praised, then atheism became even more popular. And after all, we are not stupi dpeople and rather look explanations from science and logical thinking, then god and superstition.
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14-09-2009, 12:20 AM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
I was 14 years of age when I figured out that there was even a word atheist to describe myself. Growing up I did go to church with my grandmother from time to time but I began questioning all of it, all religions. And it really pissed me off how they depict women and how christianity stole basically everything from paganism. So now 13 years later I have not changed my views and feel sorry for the ones that won't open there eyes.
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15-12-2009, 09:12 PM
RE: What was your route to atheism?
I was born into a Roman Catholic family. We attend church every Sunday - still do, in fact. I go because I don't want to stress my mother any further, as she really isn't comfortable with my atheism.
I'm not sure exactly when I became an atheist, but at some point I looked back at my life and realized that I hadn't really believed any of the stuff we were being told by our priest for a long, long time.
And since then, I've been able to find out why exactly it is that I never believed. It turns out that I have a natural tendency towards logical fallacy detection. Even though I didn't know the names of all the fallacies in Biblical stories and Church doctrine back then, I knew that there was something wrong. All the arguments for the existence of the Christian god - or any god, really - seemed to be full of holes.
I finally got interested in the details of logic and its fallacies when one of my teachers handed out a packet with a few of the fallacies, such as the genetic fallacy and tu quoque, detailed on it. I went online, found the Nizkor fallacy list, and was finally able to justify my disbelief of all the theists' arguments I had heard.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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