Why are you here?
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04-09-2012, 06:06 AM
RE: Why are you here?
I always had issues with what I was being told about God, the Bible, the universe, and so on. I found more satisfaction in science books, magazines, and television programs than I did from anything I read about or heard of in the Bible. Going to church made it worse. Especially if I ever got an opportunity to ask questions about things that didn't seem right about what was being said during church services, or what I had been reading in the Bible.
I played pretend for a long time. Some of the pretend was because of my mother, who seems to desperately need God in her life in order to function properly, sadly. If I were to come clean with her that I don't believe in God, and haven't for longer than even I'm aware of, it would break her heart. She's simple minded and she just can't understand. So, I keep my mouth closed around her and keep playing pretend. I did manage to build up this same lie in myself and I THOUGHT I believed. I really wanted to! I really did want there to be a magical man in the sky who loved everyone and had a Paradise in store for those with good hearts (I'm a former Jehovah's Witness, so there was never any teaching of Hell). I loved the idea of living forever on a garden-like Earth with the rest of eternity to explore it, and all the animals being tame and approachable. Who wouldn't want to cuddle with a tiger or give a panda a belly rub?! But... it was always just a little dream; a little fantasy. And I knew it. I just didn't wanna admit it...
The more I read the Bible, the more problems I found with it. The most obvious problems come from stories like that of Noah's Great Flood. The more you even think about that story, the bigger those holes get. But there were other issues, too. And when I'd ask the elders about it, they'd dismiss me without answering me at all, or they would give me round-a-bout answers that didn't really satisfy the question. I eventually got fed up with it all.
Science has always been a love of mine. As a child, I was almost forbidden from indulging in any kind of scientific study. Once I was able to break away from my family's prying eyes, I hit the books (so to speak) like crazy! The more I read/watched, the more it made sense; the more my questions were all finally coming together and getting answered for real.
Eventually, I was able to come clean with myself and admit that I don't believe in God. I gradually found myself wandering into the atheist community through a community page on Facebook here, or a website or forum there. Eventually, via the videos produced by TTA on YouTube, I found myself here. I like it here. Smile
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04-09-2012, 07:31 AM
RE: Why are you here?
(31-08-2012 01:58 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  Even people who have escaped cults and been de-programed, still have this yearning need to fall back into that "safe" place

The mind is like putty in it's early years and if you get your hooks in deep enough, you can have them for life.

It hits hard, but it's true.

I fell for that, once. That 'safe' place feeling is one of the worst traps out there. Coming from a cult that practices shunning, it makes sense after all the emotional abuse that one would crave a safe place. I believe it also goes in with the feeling of needing to belong.

That's sort of what got me here. Not in the way that I'm trying to reverse the shunning by getting a whole new family, but more in the way that if I were to go through this alone, most likely dogma would still have its 'hooks' in me.

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04-09-2012, 04:08 PM
RE: Why are you here?
I came from a fundamentalist Catholic background. Because of this upbringing, I was taught to look at women as inferior: Women are responsible for all sin. For a long time I believed this, along with other hardcore far right dogma. I despised immigrants, Hispanics especially. I even believed atheists caused 9/11. I was in support of the War on Terror. I believed in Capitalism, not knowing the negative effects of it. Overall, a fucked up childhood.

I came across a video around the beginning of high school (five years ago) that shattered my beliefs. It was a normal guy, who hasn't posted anything since, just talking about his deistic beliefs. For a while, I called myself non-denominational, but still tried to hang on to that Catholic belief as much as I could. As I searched more on the internet, I became a deist, agnostic, then atheist. During this time, my immediate family deconverted alongside me, so I was safe from immediate criticism and scrutiny. It wasn't long before the rest of my family began though.

Now I am an atheistic social liberal political moderate equal rights advocate. Big Grin Thanks internet!

P.s: And thanks Hitch, I wish I could have met you before you died.

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06-09-2012, 07:30 PM
RE: Why are you here?
Why am I here on the board? To learn from and interact with others who have been/are where I am and look to be headed.
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23-01-2013, 10:05 PM
RE: Why are you here?
Only less than two years ago, I was a Catholic. I was raised and baptized catholic. What changed me? I went to catholic school. In public school, the influence of Christianity wasn't so terribly strong. Every now and then, there would be a person wearing a cross. I never honestly learned about the faith that I stood by. I was only taught that its good and righteous.

I began my path to nonbelief after only one month of catholic education. I had questions regarding religion, which sprang from questionable verses in the bible and the church's doctrine. When I asked the teacher, the answers I received did not satisfy me. They were not real answers. They simply avoided the actual answer. When I asked even the bishop of my area, his answers were just as insufficient. In fact, all he did was get angry at me for questioning the faith.

Therefore, I began to have severe doubt as a new agnostic. My agnosticism didn't last long, and I chose a side: Atheism. This conversion was a struggle, because I knew what it meant. It meant leaving my childhood spirituality behind. That 'spirituality' is exactly what made my family love me so much. Not only that, I would never fit in. It could be social suicide. Everyone knew me as the child who was so faithful and loved Jesus so much.

After wavering for months, I simply decided not to care and become atheist, after realizing that the only reason I could remain Christian is because of the comfort it would have given me. Sometimes, the hard way is the right way. No regrets.

That's right, I went from a rural, country-lovin' devout Christian to a metalhead atheist. \m/

Better to be hungry and free than fed and in chains.
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23-01-2013, 10:34 PM
RE: Why are you here?
Like others I'm glad to have a place where I can be openly atheist and maybe get some ideas on handling life as an atheist in the Deep South surrounded by southern baptists and evngelicals.I enjoy the funny and intelligent conversations and being myself.

I didn't so much become an atheist as I finally realized I am because religion doesn't make sense to me. If it's so important that we all believe, then a diety would presumably provide way more proof than a few revelations to select people. Theists I know use the bible or Koran or whatever as alleged "proof", but this is illogical. 'Cause I said so isn't reason enough for me. Just ask my mother, I question things! And I think it's normal and natural.

Mainly it's good to feel that I'm not alone in this. That means a lot.

Godless in the Magnolia State
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23-01-2013, 10:48 PM
RE: Why are you here?
I'm here because the silly bastards that hang out here make me laugh my ass off. And you all just seem like good company, some really smart people.
My deconversion in a nutshell:
My two year old son turned me into an atheist!
Dad was a preacher all my life so I was born into it. After I moved out I stopped going to church, mostly because I was lazy and hungover on Sundays. I one day not long ago I realized that soon my boy would be having conversations with me, and would eventually have questions. I realized then that I had questions with no good answers.
I decided to take of the blinders, get on the net and learn. Atheism followed rather quickly. And here I am!

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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23-01-2013, 10:58 PM
RE: Why are you here?
Oh boy was I religious. Not in a nutty AtheismExposed way, but more of a KingsChosen way. Talked to my invisible buddy regularly, occasionally cursed him out, apologized, asked for world peace, etc...

I never liked the bible, Noah's Ark in particular, and never liked the idea of thanking God for every little thing in my life. I always hated how people would wear the most fancy clothes to church and drive their fanciest cars and gossip about others. Yet, I was still religious. I knew God existed and that's the only thing that mattered: none of that other nonsense.

So how/why did I lose my religion? Simple... my rational mind finally prevailed. What sparked this was my getting back into my childhood love, Astronomy. I became re-obsessed with the subject and YouTubed Astronomy like a madman. I started to notice that the bulk of Astronomers were non-believers. I wondered why. So then I became obsessed with YouTubing Atheism. I used to have this misconception about Atheists: a weird bunch without any beliefs whatsoever (strange). Man was I wrong. The more I listened to the debates, the more I realized I have much more in common with them than my fellow believers.

Then I took a good look at my belief system. I came to the realization that I held onto my belief in God because of fear. Fear that I would be punished somehow for something I did because Lord knows I was not the best youth. Fear that I would never see my loved ones again after this life. And most of all, fear of death itself.

I let most of those fears go and was left without religion. You know what though? My life has much more meaning to it now. When I look up, I don't think of God, but I certainly see heaven. And it's fucking beautiful.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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24-01-2013, 12:03 AM
RE: Why are you here?
I was never a believer. I managed to make it trough a few years of Catholic School during my Elementary years without being scathed. The mandatory church service was boring more than anything, my ADHD never let religion settle in and get a good grip because I could never sit still and pay attention during service.

And so I let it slide, moved away, grew up, went to other public schools. It wasn't until moving out of my mom's house to live with my dad to go to a college he lived closer to, did I get a face full of religion again. After my father's second divorce he was really left drifting, and instead of becoming angry or alcoholic, he found Jesus. He had been born and raised Catholic, but fell out of practice when he moved out of his parent's house. Now after his second divorce, he thought he had a hole that needed to be filled, and he filled it with religion. But he never questioned Christianity, he just moved around from church to church until he found one he liked (Southern Baptist) of which he is now convinced is 100% correct.

So ironically enough it was my father's faith, his pressure to have me go to church and his prosthelytizing that forced me to really examine my beliefs. When I started, I didn't know, but I knew enough to know FAR more about other religions than my father had. I enjoy history, I am fan of mythology, and had taken a comparative religion class in college. So I started to really study religion, even more so than in my college class, and I came out an atheist.

Our last argument ended with my pointing out Jesus' moral responsibility for not telling us the truth about the causes of disease, how we're both atheists but I just take it one god more, and how his 'inerrant' Bible had been edited and revised multiple times by fallible humans with personal agendas. Needless to say, he didn't like what he was hearing, but didn't have any good rebuttals short of the 'faith' card. I can only wonder what his conversations with his pastor about me must be like...

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24-01-2013, 02:46 AM
RE: Why are you here?
Quote: For those of you who were religious, what were some of the questions,
realizations, etc... about your beliefs/religion that eventually lead to
your non-belief?
The last straw was being disfellowshipped. After years and years of disdaining those who were shunned by the congregation, I learned what it was to actually be on that end of it.

Having all of these people who professed to love me so much for all of these years (friends and family). They would be there with me through Armageddon and beyond. They turned their back on me for smoking pot-- not evening saying a greeting or acknowledging me. That was it.

I thought, "If these people really loved me and they thought I was spiritually sick, why wouldn't they so much as try to help me?" "Didn't Jesus himself associate with corrupt officials and whores? Being 'Christian' is to be 'Christ-like', isn't it?"

This brought on an avalanche of questions about how true the "The Truth" actually was.

"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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