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Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:43 PM

 

Question for atheists.

When was the moment in your life that you came to the realization you identified as an atheist?

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Arrow 213 replies Author Time Post
Reply Question for atheists. (Original post)
hrmjustin Apr 2015 OP
rogerashton Apr 2015 #1
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #2
haikugal Apr 2015 #31
TexasProgresive Apr 2015 #34
ret5hd Apr 2015 #3
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #5
salimbag Apr 2015 #4
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #7
salimbag Apr 2015 #16
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #24
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Apr 2015 #6
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #9
corkhead Apr 2015 #8
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #10
corkhead Apr 2015 #12
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #14
NoJusticeNoPeace Apr 2015 #177
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #11
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #13
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #17
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #18
johnnypneumatic Apr 2015 #99
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #101
johnnypneumatic Apr 2015 #111
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #112
cbayer Apr 2015 #15
Fumesucker Apr 2015 #19
cbayer Apr 2015 #125
edhopper Apr 2015 #20
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #21
edhopper Apr 2015 #39
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #41
edhopper Apr 2015 #44
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #45
AtheistCrusader Apr 2015 #22
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #23
AtheistCrusader Apr 2015 #25
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #27
procon Apr 2015 #26
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #28
procon Apr 2015 #48
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #49
haikugal Apr 2015 #35
Kelvin Mace Apr 2015 #29
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #30
Auggie Apr 2015 #32
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #33
gwheezie Apr 2015 #36
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #37
phil89 Apr 2015 #38
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #40
phil89 Apr 2015 #104
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #106
beam me up scottie Apr 2015 #42
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #43
beam me up scottie Apr 2015 #46
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #47
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #50
Goblinmonger Apr 2015 #51
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #53
longship Apr 2015 #52
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #54
longship Apr 2015 #59
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #60
Maedhros Apr 2015 #55
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #56
Maedhros Apr 2015 #57
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #58
Maedhros Apr 2015 #67
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #69
Maedhros Apr 2015 #71
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #73
bunnies Apr 2015 #61
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #62
bunnies Apr 2015 #64
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #66
bunnies Apr 2015 #72
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #74
bunnies Apr 2015 #80
LostOne4Ever Apr 2015 #63
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #65
LostOne4Ever Apr 2015 #146
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #148
Act_of_Reparation Apr 2015 #68
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #70
Act_of_Reparation Apr 2015 #88
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #90
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #75
notadmblnd Apr 2015 #76
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #77
notadmblnd Apr 2015 #82
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #84
arcane1 Apr 2015 #78
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #79
arcane1 Apr 2015 #93
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #98
arcane1 Apr 2015 #107
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #108
arcane1 Apr 2015 #110
guillaumeb Apr 2015 #81
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #83
beam me up scottie Apr 2015 #95
edhopper Apr 2015 #97
Warren Stupidity Apr 2015 #139
Faux pas Apr 2015 #85
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #87
Faux pas Apr 2015 #96
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #100
Faux pas Apr 2015 #113
LineLineLineLineLineLineReply .
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #114
Faux pas Apr 2015 #128
Lint Head Apr 2015 #86
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #89
DrewFlorida Apr 2015 #91
Arugula Latte Apr 2015 #170
rurallib Apr 2015 #92
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #102
bvf Apr 2015 #94
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #103
unblock Apr 2015 #105
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #109
unblock Apr 2015 #117
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #119
Chemisse Apr 2015 #115
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #118
mike_c Apr 2015 #116
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #121
mike_c Apr 2015 #124
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #127
Promethean Apr 2015 #120
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #123
SwissTony Apr 2015 #122
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #126
djean111 Apr 2015 #129
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #130
djean111 Apr 2015 #132
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #134
djean111 Apr 2015 #135
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #136
edhopper Apr 2015 #138
djean111 Apr 2015 #154
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2015 #131
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #133
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2015 #141
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #143
PassingFair Apr 2015 #168
handmade34 Apr 2015 #137
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #142
Warren Stupidity Apr 2015 #140
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #144
Heddi Apr 2015 #145
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #147
Heddi Apr 2015 #149
AtheistCrusader Apr 2015 #165
aka-chmeee Apr 2015 #150
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #151
customerserviceguy Apr 2015 #152
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #155
Number9Dream Apr 2015 #153
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #156
carolinayellowdog Apr 2015 #157
Arugula Latte Apr 2015 #171
raccoon Apr 2015 #210
gcomeau Apr 2015 #158
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #159
nil desperandum Apr 2015 #160
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #162
nil desperandum Apr 2015 #164
Rainforestgoddess Apr 2015 #161
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #163
LiberalAndProud Apr 2015 #166
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #167
cbayer Apr 2015 #169
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #174
Capt. Obvious Apr 2015 #172
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #173
Capt. Obvious Apr 2015 #175
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #178
NoJusticeNoPeace Apr 2015 #176
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #179
Binkie The Clown Apr 2015 #180
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #181
Freethinker65 Apr 2015 #182
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #183
3catwoman3 Apr 2015 #184
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #185
Trajan Apr 2015 #186
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #187
OriginalGeek Apr 2015 #188
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #189
OriginalGeek Apr 2015 #190
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #191
DerekG Apr 2015 #192
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #193
DerekG Apr 2015 #194
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #197
DerekG Apr 2015 #199
LineLineLineLineLineLineReply .
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #200
Yorktown Apr 2015 #196
iwillalwayswonderwhy Apr 2015 #206
Yorktown Apr 2015 #207
Yorktown Apr 2015 #195
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #198
BlueJazz Apr 2015 #201
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #204
Laffy Kat Apr 2015 #202
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #203
iwillalwayswonderwhy Apr 2015 #205
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #208
LeftishBrit Apr 2015 #209
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #211
MineralMan Apr 2015 #212
hrmjustin Apr 2015 #213

Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:50 PM

1. I can't answer for myself

since I don't consider myself an atheist, exactly, but I will tell you what my Dad said. He said, "It was when somebody told me that Santa Clause isn't real. I immediately generalized it to the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and God."

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:51 PM

2. My dad would likely say something similar.

 

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:51 PM

31. Me too!

Smart kids!

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #1)


Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:51 PM

3. Sometime in 1st or 2nd grade.

Sitting in church thinking "Wait a minute...this doesn't make any sense!"

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:52 PM

5. Did you tell your parents?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:52 PM

4. At about age 5

I got a weekly allowance of 25 cents. My father told me I had to give 5 cents to the church on Sunday. I figured it was for the grape juice and crackers. Imagine my disappointment when they wouldn't let me have any. They just wanted my money!

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Response to salimbag (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:54 PM

7. Did you tell your parents?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:03 PM

16. Of course

They explained that god really needed my money, so he could build more churches, where he would collect even more money.

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Response to salimbag (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:39 PM

24. I can see how you would be a bad experience for a kid.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:53 PM

6. Sorry, can't really remember a specific moment.

It wasn't really any sort of 'come to Jesus' moment. More of a gradual thing, as I was exposed to religion and realized how sacred texts were chock full of contradictions and logical inconsistencies, as well as things that made sense for a low-tech, unscientific culture, but didn't really have any meaning when shifted forward in time. (I was the high school quiz team's religion guy for a while, which led to me reading through the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon and so on.)

The Bible DOES have a lot of great ideas in it, a lot of universal truths scattered around. But it also has a lot of barbaric and hateful ideas. So I can't really believe that it is 'the word of God', and, as such, is really just the words of men who lived a long time ago. Some good words, some bad ones. Some that were good or useful then, but not so much now. If you want to be a good person, you can certainly find a lot of good in it. But a bad person can equally find support for evil ideas in it.

It's what's inside you that makes the world a better or worse place, not what comes from outside.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:55 PM

9. Thank you for answeing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:55 PM

8. When I was "saved" as a kid. I actually did it twice but it didn't take.

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Response to corkhead (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:56 PM

10. Twice?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:59 PM

12. yes, I didn't feel any different after the first one so I did it again.

when I didn't feel anything the second time, I concluded that there was no one on the other end of the line.

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Response to corkhead (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:01 PM

14. Ok. thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to corkhead (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 01:50 PM

177. When I was saved I wanted to feel different, I wanted strange languages to come from me

naturally as it seemed was happening to others, but none of that happened.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 12:59 PM

11. Watching my mother die of cancer

It took about eight or nine years from first diagnosis to her eventual passing, I was I think twelve when she was first diagnosed and had a radical mastectomy, early twenties when she died after literally rotting away for almost a year when the cancer returned.

I had doubts from the age of confirmation classes, thirteen if I remember correctly because no one would give me a straight answer what seemed to me to be reasonable questions but watching the horrendous death of my mother made me realize that hell is right here on Earth. Then two years later my father also died of cancer, that was bad too but not as a bad as my mother.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:00 PM

13. I am so sorry.

 

Thank you for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

17. Thank you...

That was a long time ago and these days I don't think of it often but the same emotions, helpless grief and rage, come back.

My mother was the one who took us to church, dad never went but never said anything one way or another until after mom died when he told me that he didn't want to believe in a god that would inflict that level of suffering on someone as good as my mother.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:07 PM

18. My parents sent me to Catholic School but don't believe in it.

 

Last edited Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:17 PM - Edit history (1)

They let me make up my mind up.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #18)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:15 PM

99. oops, Freudian slip

"male up my mind"
yes I bet there were lots of cute boys in Catholic school

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Response to johnnypneumatic (Reply #99)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:16 PM

101. I beg your pardon?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #101)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:35 PM

111. hey no offense meant

oh, you edited it
I know you are gay, and I am too.
and all the religious abuse and persecution of gay kids probably turned a lot of them against religion if not all the way to being atheist

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Response to johnnypneumatic (Reply #111)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:37 PM

112. I never really experienced any of that.

 

I left after I turned 18 and became Episcopalian.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:03 PM

15. My heart breaks for you.

I can't even imagine what this must have been like for you.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:16 PM

19. The truly bad part is that my parents were immigrants, my brother and I had no other family in USA

I had cared for dad in his terminal state, my brother is five years younger and was still a minor when dad died and we were on our own completely, then we lost our home and all family mementos, pictures and so on to a house fire caused by faulty wiring about six months later.

But we survived and even prospered eventually, these days I have grandchildren, nieces, nephews and so on. My brother has no biological children but his stepson thinks of him as his father and he gets called grandpa too..

Thanks.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:57 PM

125. I honestly don't know what to say, fs.

Anything I have or will experience in my life pales in comparison to what you have been through.

I could say something trite and hollow, but even those words fail me.

I am so grateful that your are surrounded by family at this point. You of all people deserve this.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:16 PM

20. A slow process going from believer to agnostic to atheist

in my adulthood. Reading things like Bertrand Russell and Dawkins, being involved with the Skeptics and Free Thought organizations.
I kept looking and asking questions, finally I came to the conclusion that God does not exist. I was about 30.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:18 PM

21. Did you go to Ethical Culture here in NY?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #21)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:10 PM

39. I was in California at the time.

but I have been there since.
In fact that is where I saw Dawkins speak.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #39)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:13 PM

41. I went there a few times as a kid.

 

Nice people.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #41)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:17 PM

44. Yes

and a great building and Hall.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #44)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:18 PM

45. Agreed.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:35 PM

22. I have always been an atheist.

Which is actually fairly unusual for an atheist. Not all, but most are inculcated in some faith or another from their parents or local society as children, and they emerge from that imposition later in life.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #22)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:37 PM

23. Were your parents atheists?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:43 PM

25. No. My mother was protestant, and my father was catholic.

But neither attempted to even speak to me about god, for reasons I can only assume go back to some kerfuffle between my father an the catholic church. He wanted to have my older brother and I baptized, and the catholic priest said no, that my mom, and brother and I were all going to hell because we weren't catholic, and my dad told him he'd see HIM in hell, and never went back.

He remained a catholic, and unbeknownst to me, actually said nightly prayers up to the point cancer at so much of him away he couldn't kneel by the bed, but he never attempted to even suggest faith to me, as a thing I should look into or whatever.

Mom didn't either. She's an atheist now too, without belief in god, but oddly, won't identify as an atheist, but not a discussion we ever get into.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #25)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:45 PM

27. My father is similar to your mother.

 

He won't call himself an atheist but he doesn't believe.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:44 PM

26. Around 6-7

My mom used to make me say that children's bedtime prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep", and I hated it. I wanted to read. I finally said no more, and according to my mom, I told her that god must be a very bad man if he would hurt little kids like me and steal their soul, so I wasn't going to be nice to him anymore.

That how it started, although took a few more years before it finally coalesced into my philosophy when I was 15.

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Response to procon (Reply #26)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:47 PM

28. I never said that prayer.

 

Sounds like you wrre a very smart kid to question things at an early age.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #28)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:24 PM

48. I was a precocious child.

My mom insisted on the traditional religious rites like holding hands around the table and praying, but I balked even at that from an early age, long before young children are mentally capable of reasoning.

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Response to procon (Reply #48)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:26 PM

49. Seems like you marched to your own drummer as a child.

 

I appreciate that.

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Response to procon (Reply #26)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:57 PM

35. We had to do that too, every night..

I hated it.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:47 PM

29. After the Catholic Church pedophile scandal in 2002

 

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:48 PM

30. Yes that was horrific.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:52 PM

32. Agnostic around 8 ... atheist around 10

It just didn't make sense when compared with science. The more I learned the surer I became.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #32)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:53 PM

33. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:58 PM

36. I don't remember

I've been atheist as long as I've thought about it. My parents had bouts of going to church. I remember assuming it wasn't a real story. I told them when I was about 10? I didn't have a word for it. I told them I didn't want to go to church anymore. They never made me go.

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Response to gwheezie (Reply #36)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 01:58 PM

37. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:08 PM

38. 3 years ago give or take.

 

I stopped believing in things without evidence. I don't see any evidence for anything supernatural. Learning about the logical fallacies also helped me understand flawed arguments for a god.

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Response to phil89 (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:12 PM

40. Ok. was there something specific that made you reject religion?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #40)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:21 PM

104. I think once

 

I began to hear arguments against it, and learned the actual history of the bible specifically, I saw it as a constructed fraud. The council at Nicea, the gospels being written so long after the fact turned me off of Christianity. No other religions seemed to make sense to me either after that.

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Response to phil89 (Reply #104)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:23 PM

106. thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:14 PM

42. Like AC I have always been one.

I never realized how rare this was until later, or that there was even a name for it.

Thanks for asking.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:15 PM

43. My pleasure and thanks for sharing.

 

Were your parents atheists?

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #43)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:23 PM

46. I didn't know the answer to that until I was an adult.

My dad was always an atheist, I think my mom became one after being in a refugee camp in Germany during WWII.

We weren't raised to be atheists, we were just raised without religion.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #46)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:24 PM

47. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:26 PM

50. kicking.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:31 PM

51. It was a long journey for me.

 

During my senior year at the seminary, I was accepted to the university where I ended up going and the priest that was my advisor called me in and asked why I wasn't going to minor seminary, and I'd be a good priest, and yadda yadda. We talked about it and he just asked me if I'd read the whole bible. I told him yes. He asked me to read it again and openly think about coming back to the seminary as I did. I agreed to. And I did. And as I read it again, it just started to seem silly to me as reality and only made more sense as the other fiction I had been reading and loving.

Jump to college. My Freshmen year I was at a rummage sale and saw a book called Why I am not a Christian and Other Essays by Bertrand Russell. After being at a Catholic Seminary for 3 years and going to church daily, I had not been to church while at college. I read it and fell in love with Russell. He was making me think and was building on things I had been thinking. That was probably the point when I really should have understood I was an atheist but I buried it because of Catholic guilt and what I knew my mother would say if she knew.

Then graduated, then marriage, then teaching at a Catholic school, then accepted to grad school. Summer before grad school, my wife and I drove to Colorado for a vacation before the gauntlet of grad school and law school. We went white water rafting. And we came around a bend in the river and it was beautiful and awesome and I knew that I was irrelevant and that everything around me had a perfectly sound reason why it came to be and god played no part in that and that was the moment when I finally admitted to myself that I was an atheist.

And, no, I never told my parents. My mom would have died never talking to me, and I couldn't let that happen.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #51)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:36 PM

53. Seems like there were many forces trying to prevent you to be honest with yourself and others.

 

I am sorry for that.

Thanks for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:34 PM

52. Sunday school kindergarten.

The Jesus story of the gospels never ever made any sense to me. Although I attended church for the first 13 years of my life, I basically never believed any of it. And although my parents took my sisters and me to church almost every week during that time, apparently neither did they.

One Sunday, when we were all piled into the family Oldsmobuick, on the way home from church, my mother turned around and basically said, "Your father and I have decided to not attend church anymore. However, if any of you would like to continue, we will drive you there." They really meant that. My parents would no more mandate church attendance than they would have forbade it.

That is the measure of ones atheism. Both of my parents have since died. Neither of them had any kind of religious celebration upon their death. Interestingly, my father's memorial service was held at the local and very rural Masonic Temple. There was a kind of Masonic ritual, apparently rarely practiced in public, but reserved for such occasions. There was no appeal to any god in that memorial, which was led by his younger brother, also a Mason, and also sadly gone. It made me proud of my father, who so gently lived his life and so gracefully left it behind. Basically without religion, but not necessarily denying its influence.

I think that one cannot be an atheist without knowing religion. My parents knew that, too. I thank them for that every day that I consider these things.

My best.


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Response to longship (Reply #52)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:38 PM

54. Thanks for sharing.

 

Glad they didn't push it on you and gave you that option.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #54)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:48 PM

59. BTW, R&K

This is turning out to be a very nice discussion.

Kudos to you, my good friend.

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Response to longship (Reply #59)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:49 PM

60. Thank you.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:41 PM

55. I grew up in a German Catholic household, and went to Catholic school until 7th grade.

 

I was an altar boy and a member of the youth group at church.

What did it for me was attending a Search retreat as a junior in high school. The first night of the retreat ended with a group activity centered on a theatrical presentation designed to show us how much Jesus loved us. Everyone had a very emotional response to the presentation, with lots of crying and hugging.

Everyone but me, that is. I felt guilty, because I wasn't having the same emotional response.

After that first night, I began to notice all the manipulative tricks being used. For example, they took all of our watches and covered all the clocks so that we would have no sense of time. The constant love-bombing. The subtle pressure to respond in particular ways to different situations. I started to resent being the target of psy-ops.

By the end of the retreat, my faith was gone. I realized the only reason that I had had any 'faith' in the first place was because I was indoctrinated as a child, and I didn't need any of it.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #55)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:44 PM

56. Did you tell your family and friends your view at the time?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #56)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:47 PM

57. No - I couldn't, because my best friends were all part of it.

 

And my family was abusive.

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #57)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:48 PM

58. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #58)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:03 PM

67. When one is young and Catholic, it's more than just a belief system.

 

It's an identity and one is never given the opportunity to question it.

I had always questioned my 'faith', because so much of it made so little sense, but I had never questioned 'being Catholic.' My experience at the Search retreat helped me to get over that hump and realize that I did not need to be defined that way.

Leaving home, leaving the church, eventually leaving the country, all led me to a place of greater peace.




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Response to Maedhros (Reply #67)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:05 PM

69. I am glad you found that peace.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #69)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:10 PM

71. Thank you.

 

I try not to hold a grudge. I still have respect for the Church and for well-meaning Catholics (and other Christians, for that matter).

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Response to Maedhros (Reply #71)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:11 PM

73. I left at 18 but I became Episcopalian.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:50 PM

61. I dont ever remember being anything but.

 

Seems like I was born this way.

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Response to bunnies (Reply #61)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:51 PM

62. Were your parents atheists?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #62)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:55 PM

64. My Mother went to a Baptist college...

 

was religious, wasnt religious, then became religious again. I think my Step-father just went along with whatever my mother wanted to keep her quiet.

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Response to bunnies (Reply #64)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:01 PM

66. Did you tell her about your views?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #66)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:11 PM

72. Yes.

 

She doesnt bring it with me anymore but for years she told me I was going to hell. Kinda hard to take from someone who was into the occult during her non-religious time.

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Response to bunnies (Reply #72)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:12 PM

74. I am sorry to hear that.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #74)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:18 PM

80. Thanks.

 

Im sure she meant well.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 02:54 PM

63. I was struggling with it for a long time

[font style="font-family:'Georgia','Baskerville Old Face','Helvetica',fantasy;" size=4 color=teal]But I think the point I finally stopped believing was when I saw this commercial (has nothing to do with religion):[/font]

[center] [/center]

[font style="font-family:'Georgia','Baskerville Old Face','Helvetica',fantasy;" size=4 color=teal]I just couldn't believe that even an different god would allow something like that to happen. Then the realization that things like that and worse happen everyday all around the world and no god has done anything to stop them....

Every last vestige of belief died that day.[/font]

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #63)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:00 PM

65. Powerful commercial.

 

I understand what you mean.

Thanks for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #65)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 07:42 PM

146. Thanks for the Great thread

[font style="font-family:'Georgia','Baskerville Old Face','Helvetica',fantasy;" size=4 color=teal]Nice to see a nice thread in here for a change [/font]

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #146)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 08:17 PM

148. My pleasure!

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:05 PM

68. I never believed.

But I paid lip service to faith for more years than I'd care to count.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #68)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:06 PM

70. What made you stop?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #70)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:27 PM

88. I graduated.

I was enrolled in a Catholic school throughout much of my youth. Once participation was no longer required of me, I severed my ties with that organization and never looked back.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #88)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:28 PM

90. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:12 PM

75. kick.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:14 PM

76. There was no epiphany

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #76)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:16 PM

77. Was gradual?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #77)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:22 PM

82. yes, a gradual realization

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Response to notadmblnd (Reply #82)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:24 PM

84. Thanks.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:17 PM

78. I deduced it in retrospect, in my mid-30's, but I don't know if the word "identify" applies.

 

I'm not part of a club or anything.

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #78)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:18 PM

79. Was there a definitive moment for you?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #79)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:57 PM

93. If there was, I don't remember it.

 

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #93)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:14 PM

98. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #98)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:24 PM

107. Anytime! Mine certainly wasn't the most interesting story :)

 

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #107)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:25 PM

108. But you are an interesting poster.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #108)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:26 PM

110. Warm fuzzies!

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:20 PM

81. thanks for the discussion.

When I saw the question I felt that many of the responses would be angry. I am glad that I was wrong.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #81)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:23 PM

83. Not surprised really.i expected a good debate.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #83)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:06 PM

95. Yep. Most of us will respond favourably to sincere questions.

If they're of the "when did atheists stop eating babies" variety then not so much.

Anger is a reaction.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #95)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:13 PM

97. Who stopped?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #81)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:09 PM

139. Are you?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:24 PM

85. I finally had to admit it

after 30 yrs of calling myself 'agnostic'. That was 2 yrs ago

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Response to Faux pas (Reply #85)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:26 PM

87. What finally made you do it?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #87)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:12 PM

96. Talking to a life long friend

who was raised baptist (I was raised catholic) and he said 'you know, I don't believe in god anymore.' The light flashed on in my head and I said 'me either!'. We laughed because who'd of thought the baptist choirboy and the weekly communion partaker would end up here.

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Response to Faux pas (Reply #96)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:15 PM

100. Sometimes life brings you places you don't expect.

 

Thanks for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #100)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:39 PM

113. Way too true

hrmjustin. I've always lived my life in Peace, Love and Joy and, hopefully, logic

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Response to Faux pas (Reply #113)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:40 PM

114. .

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #114)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:59 PM

128. Right back at ya

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:26 PM

86. It's personal for me. I don't wear religion or anti-religion on my sleeve. But I have wondered if

the moment a newborn emerges from the womb and the doctor slaps it's butt to make it breath or cry if they don't think, "Hey this supreme being just hit me!" or just, "Ooge blah WAAAAAAAAAH!"

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #86)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:27 PM

89. Good question.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:40 PM

91. I'm still not sure, nor do I care what category I fit into exactly.

Here is how I see it. I don't believe any religion which believes they know what God is, especially those who believe God created man in his likeness. The more a religion pretends to know about it's God, the less I believe that religion is for real. I look at the question of God and the nature of God, in a much more abstract way. I don't believe humans are the special species, I don't believe Earth is the special planet, I don't believe humans have the capacity to know or understand where we came from or how we came to be. I'm ok with not knowing, I'm ok with not being the special species. Obviously somewhere and somehow life and the universe came to be, but if there is a special source of energy which created the universe, then what created that special energy? I don't know! Anyone who pretends to know is a fool and a fraud in my opinion!

Man created religion to control and profit from the masses. I don't believe that anyone actually believes half the crap they pretend to believe, if they did their actions would show their belief. I rarely see Christians feeding and clothing and sheltering the poor! I rarely see Christians foregoing greed and wealth to help the less fortunate. I rarely see Christians loving their neighbor as they do themselves. If a Christian does not act like Christ, then he is not really a Christian, he does not really believe in Christianity.

Furthermore, any book that is supposed to be a "Good Book" which approves of slavery, is not a good book, it's a fraudulent man made manipulative tool!

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Response to DrewFlorida (Reply #91)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 10:33 AM

170. I like your dislike of the myopia of religion.

 

In a 14-billion-year-old universe consisting of at least 100 billion galaxies, the insistence that events in the last 2,000 years by one relatively recent species of ape on one little planet in one little solar system in one little galaxy are the most important things that have ever happened and that they affect the entire universe strikes me as the pinnacle of homo sapien arrogance. This applies to all three Abrahamic religions.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:51 PM

92. Raised Catholic - pretty much left the church @ age 15

but waffled on god for about 40 years - actually didn't think about it much.
The revelations about the priestly abuse of the kids - I was one of them - reawakened a philosophical strain in me. I had pretty much suppressed the memories, but they came flooding back as if they were yesterday.

For one thing I thought I was pretty much alone, but access to the internet let me know I wasn't. After reading more and more about religions and atheism, i slowly made a trek toward atheism. Then one day about ten years ago I did have an epiphany. I had been hanging onto a possibility of a god for a long time then it just hit me - gods make no sense. Or at least in the constructs humans currently use.

Goodness gracious I felt like someone had just lifted a a huge lead weight off my back. I called my kids who had moved to atheism long before they left high school and expressed how I felt. They were so proud of me.

My wife had always been pretty much atheist - actually more simply areligious.
Every day when I see the problems religion causes only to prove their god is the true one, I am so glad i don't add to that fire.

When that religion is so beat into you, it is hard to just walk away. But I feel so much better.

Right now I am listening to a Seth Andrews (atheist lecturer) lecture in the background. Feeling better all the time.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #92)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:19 PM

102. Thanks for sharing and I am glad you feel better.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:57 PM

94. I can't recall a particular moment of realization.

 

It was more of a process that started in Catholic elementary school and Jesuit secondary.

I spent my post-college years until my late twenties as an agnostic, but really didn't give the question much thought, which to me is what agnosticism is really all about.

It probably wasn't until about the age of 30 that I began to understand that there had to exist a god or not, and the more I looked around me for an answer to that, the more I became convinced that there wasn't any evidence for one, but piles of evidence that religious structure is a handy way to keep people in line.

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Response to bvf (Reply #94)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:20 PM

103. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:23 PM

105. i suppose you could say the moment i learned the word "atheist".

as in "oh, there's a name for that?"

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Response to unblock (Reply #105)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:25 PM

109. Were your parents atheists?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #109)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:44 PM

117. don't think i've ever heard them use that term for themselves.

they consider themselves "secular humanists".

not sure what it is if see belief in god as irrelevant or beside the point.

you might call it agnostic. the point is that whether or not you believe in god, you still have to sort out moral issues, find a purpose in life, make a contribution, treat others kindly, etc.

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Response to unblock (Reply #117)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:48 PM

119. Thanks for sharing and well said.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:44 PM

115. While I certainly didn't use the term,

I realized it in 6th grade, when I learned about Greek and Roman Mythology. I learned about so many gods, understanding that people invented these stories to explain their existence. But when all the gods fell out of favor and people settled on just one god, it was like a big light went off in my mind.

I continued to believe in God for a few years after that. I liked the Bible stories; I liked the orderly arrangement of right and wrong; I liked the idea of a kind and loving man named Jesus. But the seed of skepticism was firmly planted, and by the time I was in my mid-teens, I no longer believed.

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Response to Chemisse (Reply #115)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:48 PM

118. Thanks for sharing.

 

Was it hard on you with your family Or were they atheists?

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:44 PM

116. I don't remember a time when it was otherwise....

I grew up in a rabidly fundamentalist evangelical christian family, so the message I heard as a child was strongly pro-religion, of course. I do not remember a time when I bought it. Presumably I did, before I gave it much thought on my own, but I've been an atheist pretty much all my life. I never "lost my faith."

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Response to mike_c (Reply #116)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:49 PM

121. Did it create problems for you with your family?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #121)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:53 PM

124. yes

I had no real contact with any of my family for decades. In recent years-- I'm 60 now-- I have visited my mother and younger brothers, once (for a sort-of-reunion). But we are not close and likely never will be. None of them are so ardently fundamentalist any longer, although all still participate in religion to various extents. And to be fair, there were lots of problems with my childhood years, and religious differences was only one of them.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #124)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:59 PM

127. I am sorry to hear that.

 

Thank you for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:49 PM

120. For me it started in history class.

But first I need some establishing facts. During my childhood I picked up a certain set of ideas. First that there is a spiritual something. God, gods, afterlife, etc. Second that religion was "good" in a general sense. Religious people were trustworthy and such.

Now back to history class. My school taught American history then moved further back to European history and other parts of the world. I remember learning about the witch trials in the U.S. However I didn't connect it to religion at the time. My teacher focused on how it was bad people scaring people into doing bad things. Not incorrect but not the full story either. Later I learned about the Protestant reformation and I just thought it was silly that they were making such a big deal about insignificant rules. My teacher had focused on how it was differences in dogma that lead to the split.

I could go on about how the religious influence on history was mostly glossed over in my classes but I am sure you follow me up to this point. I came to question and look harder at it all after we got to a part of history that could not be glossed over or explained away as not religion's fault. The Inquisition. Our books had pictures of some of the devices. The teacher couldn't hide that they tortured people into confessing or converting. Then killed them anyways. Remember up to this point I lived with the implication that religion is good. This shattered my assumption that christianity was good in any way. I just associated it with religion in general though because I didn't realize there even were other religions.

It was later learned about alternate religions. It was covered in a different history class at my school. A very simple overview, describing a few basic beliefs of each, their origins and in some a few famous figures. I looked into each and didn't really resonate with any of them. So I went about life rejecting christianity but not really embracing any religion for a while but still holding the previously described "there is something out there" belief. As an adult I joined the U.S. Air Force and there I encountered a pagan group. I finally thought I had found the religion for me. The community was open and thoughtful. They had frequent discussions about spiritual subjects and loved new ideas.

Interestingly enough there are pagan religious groups everywhere if you knew where to look. I was able to find a community everywhere I went. However for me I never really felt the spiritual part of it all. People would regularly talk about spiritual experiences they had. I never had any. I attended rituals. Did the dances and the chants. Nothing ever effected me beyond the usual psychological effects. Eventually I stopped going as I never had any spiritual stories to share like the others did.

In the end it was the internet that finished off my lingering magical thinking. I finally learned that you could actually just not believe that stuff. Still I cannot just point to a moment when I switched over. Even when I signed up on DU I was still somewhat religious as Prometheus was my favored godhead as a pagan. Between republican overt religious abuses in the public and the various atheist articles and videos I at some point just stopped believing and started being actively opposed to the harm religion causes.

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Response to Promethean (Reply #120)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:52 PM

123. Did DU help you in your formulations of your views?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:52 PM

122. When I became an altar boy.

I'm being a little facetious, but not entirely.

I was raised as a Catholic in Glasgow, Scotland and attended a Catholic Church and went to a catholic school. The priest at my church was an old-fashioned "you're all going to die in hell" Irish priest whose face (I now realise) probably indicated a fondness for a good deal of alcohol. But his idea of Catholicism scared me and made doubt its veracity.

My family was taking steps to emigrate to Australia. Not long before we left, a much younger, much more reasonable priest was appointed to our parish. But I didn't have much experience of him.

Once in Australia, I went to church but somewhat reluctantly. My cousin was much more religious than I was and he and his brothers had been altar boys for some years. One day, I went to church and my cousin emerged from the vestry(?) and told me the priest wanted to talk to me. Why? I couldn't have told you. But when i walked in, the priest said "Ah, our new altar boy has arrived". The other altar boy had rung in sick. Being just 13, I wasn't going to argue with him. So, I received a crash course in being an altar boy from my cousin. The mass went fairly well, except for one bit where we were supposed to bow down three times and on the last bow, stay down. I started to come up and my cousin shot his hand out to pull me back down. We were both giggling. Afterwards, the priest thanked me and said I had done well.

I won't say that experience drove me out of the church. It may have accelerated the process. I didn't want to be an altar boy again.

I think it was the Irish priest who started me heading for the door. The younger priest in Scotland and the priest in Australia were both wonderful. My wife and I raised our kids without reference to religion. We've never said anything like "God doesn't exist". My eldest daughter was invited (as a young child) to attend church with a school friend. She asked if she could, and we said yes. She went twice and then stopped.

Thanks for asking.


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Response to SwissTony (Reply #122)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 04:58 PM

126. Unfortunately many clergy have driven people away.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:04 PM

129. NDE when I was 17. Not a religious experience.

 

And what others think of the whole NDE thing is irrelevant.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #129)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:06 PM

130. NDE?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #130)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:09 PM

132. Near Death Experience.

 

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Response to djean111 (Reply #132)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:11 PM

134. Thanks. And this event helped formulate your opinion on religion?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #134)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:26 PM

135. Absolutely. And this was in the early sixties, I had never heard of an NDE, and it was not

 

until many years later that I read about them, and realised that the experience had a name, and that others had had that experience too. I had no desire to join others in talking about it. Just a thing that happened to me.
Mystifies me that some others put so much time and effort into debunking, but then everybody's gotta be doing something with their time, and at least they are not harming others!

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Response to djean111 (Reply #135)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:30 PM

136. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to djean111 (Reply #135)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:51 PM

138. The debunking comes

when people publicly use NDEs to claim it's evidence of the afterlife. Those claims deserve scrutiny and debunking.

You are just talking about a private experience that you don't want to discuss further, so there is a difference.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #138)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 10:23 AM

154. If only NDE's were afforded the same acceptance as religion!

 

Or, at least, give me a break on taxes.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:07 PM

131. Over a period from about 14 to 16

It started during confirmation classes (I went through with confirmation anyway - my best friend was doing it, I thought "he's sensible - if he thinks it makes sense, it probably does"; I found out a couple of years later he was thinking exactly the same thing, about me - and I also thought pulling out at the last moment would disappoint my mum a lot). The most memorable thing was they put up a slide of a pattern of light and dark in snow, and said "what do you see?" - everyone chorused 'Jesus!', and I had just thought "a man with a beard". So I started to realise the others had Jesus on the brain, pretty much (or wanted to look that way, at least), and I didn't; and I started observing them rather than just joining in.

As I learned more science, and read more literature, I thought about standards of evidence, and story-telling and the motives of authors, and thought it less and less likely that the Christian message was anything like metaphysical reality. When our class had to give the morning assembly, the school chaplain and the guy in the class who was a future priest wanted me to say stuff I didn't think, but that followed their pre-planned script, and that pretty much stopped me having anything more to do with religion at school. Eventually I decided I didn't see any good evidence for any form of higher power, afterlife or reincarnation, and no point in living my life as if there was something like that, and that seemed 'atheist'.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #131)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:10 PM

133. Were you Anglican?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #133)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:21 PM

141. Yes - my mother's family was quite Anglican

Her father was Provost of a cathedral, and her elder sister an Anglican nun (and a nurse; she ran a clinic in Africa). My father's side had mostly drifted into the Church of England from other denominations (one branch had earlier been Plymouth Brethren - the loons largely responsible for foisting 'The Rapture' on an unsuspecting world - and another included a Congregational minister who literally wrote a book to 'prove' the Earth is flat). His side became less religious with each generation - my father was agnostic bordering on atheist, though I didn't realise it for years; he didn't talk about it much, to make my mum feel better, really.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #141)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:35 PM

143. Thanks for sharing.

 

I thought you might have been Anglican.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #131)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 09:11 AM

168. I left behind all pretense of belief during my Episcopal confirmation classes as well!

I asked so many questions that the minister pulled me aside.
He told me that my questions were valid, and he would love
to discuss them with me at a later time, but "could we just
get through this for my mother's sake"?

He was a really great guy. One of my favorite believers, in retrospect.

By the time I was "confirmed", I realized I had no religious beliefs at all.

I am still "getting through things for my mother's sake" though.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 05:44 PM

137. seminary...

studying to become pastor...........

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #137)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:34 PM

142. Was it something specific that happened there?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:10 PM

140. Raised without religion.

 

Never believed, never had to do anything other than learn the word and realize it applied to me, so no moment occurred.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #140)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:36 PM

144. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 07:05 PM

145. I think I kind of always was one...

I went to a Methodist church as a child...mainly because I spent the weekends at my great-grandmother's house and she went to church on Sundays, therefore, I went to church on Sundays when I was too young to stay at home by myself when she went. It was never forced, and I was, I dunno...1st, 2nd, 3rd grade...that age. Outside of church, she wasn't an outwardly religious woman and neither was anyone else in my family. I mean, there was talk of heaven after you died, and guardian angels, but no pictures of Jesus in the house or crucifixes or any outward overt religiosity growing up. No god and jesus talk. I had an aunt who was Jehovah's Witness and everyone felt bad for her being in a cult, and she'd bring me bible story books but they didn't hold any special power any more than mother goose books or little golden book books. They were just story books (although I do remember this sweet pop-up bible story book I had. I loved that book b/c of the popups.

Did the sunday school thing and then when I got older, the youth group thing. It was just a thing I did. I think when I "graduated" into 4th grade sunday school I got a bible with my name in it. No idea where that thing is now.

Like, did I believe in God? I dunno. I still believed in Santa and the easter bunny. It wasn't a big thing to me, and really was only a thing I thought about on Sunday when I was told to think about it (just like I didn't think of Santa until December and I was reminded of him).

I do remember the first time I had open doubt was in Sunday School and we were playing bible jeopardy and the question was "what book of the bible are dinosaurs mentioned" and I answered some stupid book like Exodus or something, and the teacher said "No, dinosaurs aren't mentioned in the bible, that's how we know they're not real" and I was like 'Yeah but TV's are mentioned in the bible and they're real"

that was a real WTF moment for me, and the first time I am aware of questioning my "beliefs" but I don't even know if what I had were "beliefs" or not.

It's not like at that moment I was like ah ha! I love me some Dawkins, because I was...8? maybe?

But that was the beginning of questioning the bullshit. And the older I got, the more I knew people of other religions, and the more I went from "yeah god!" to "well Hindus and muslims and pagans can't be wrong, can they?" and then I went through the "God and Shiva and Allah and Jehova and Ra are all names for the same person" phase, which was alongside the "so polytheistic deities are just praying to the same god as monothiests, instead of looking at the whole God, they're looking at parts of god" phase and then finally I was like "wait...no...this doesn't make any sense, and I don't believe any of it...and I don't think I ever did now that I think about it."

For the majority of my life, I was just someone who didn't believe in God, someone who didn't go to church. Until I was 26 I lived in the Deep South so to everyone except my husband and close friends I was "spiritual but not religious" or "i'm not a church person" but that's only so I wasn't set on fire by coworkers. I was never spiritual. I don't know what that means.

In my late 20's-early 30's I finally met other people who were Atheists and Agnostics, mainly b/c I lived in Seattle where it's not a sin to be gay or to not believe in God or to not have children, so I was much more comfortable being myself.

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Response to Heddi (Reply #145)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 08:16 PM

147. Thank you for sharing Heddi.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #147)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 09:01 PM

149. Thanks for asking

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Response to Heddi (Reply #145)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 03:49 PM

165. "mainly b/c I lived in Seattle where it's not a sin to be gay or to not believe in God"

This is SO incredibly true. You still encounter religion or religious people, but it doesn't dominate society here like it does in other parts of the country I've visited. I've been absolutely shocked how much of a daily part of life it is in other parts of the country I've visited. Mostly, but not exclusively, in the south.

I tried to do the math, how much of a person's waking life is spent on it. It scared me a bit.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 10:13 PM

150. Wasn't very old,

Probably early teens. But kept going to church and Sunday school because "That's what you Did" in this part of the world in the 50s and 60s. Plus, there was no other way I was gonna get out on Wednesday night if I wasn't going to choir practice.
Briefly considered that perhaps there was something wrong with me because I just couldn't see any sense in any part of it and I still can't imagine how anyone can actually believe that stuff.
I don't mind now the occasional prayer; at funerals and weddings. Gives one a chance to spot the other free thinkers in the group.

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Response to aka-chmeee (Reply #150)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 10:14 PM

151. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Mon Apr 20, 2015, 11:37 PM

152. After reading Richard Dawkins' book

"The God Delusion". I identified as an agnostic before that, and after that, I realized it was OK for me to come out as an atheist.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #152)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 10:51 AM

155. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 10:07 AM

153. More of a gradual process

Raised Catholic, but attended public school, so I had to go to catechism on Saturdays and Catholic summer school for confirmation prep. I hated wasting my free time on indoctrination which I had a hard time believing even then.

Seeing "Inherit the Wind" (1960) for the first time pushed me much closer to being agnostic.

Between witnessing the hypocrisy of the church and science classes, by the time I was a senior in high school, I had stopped going to church and considered myself an agnostic. My parents were okay with my choice.

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Response to Number9Dream (Reply #153)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 10:51 AM

156. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 11:26 AM

157. Santa Claus undermined the credibility of my family on all such matters

That wasn't an "I am an atheist" moment so much as an "I can't believe anything they have told me" moment; and have subsequently ID'd in various ways but generally as pantheist rather than agnostic or atheist. Rejecting belief in an extra-cosmic deity, while accepting a sacred dimension to life and the cosmos.

But Santa Claus almost seems like a poison pill for Christianity. Since at ages 3 and 4 he seemed so important in the overall scheme of things, and it seemed like adults put so much effort into making me believe, by ages 5 and 6 I felt that if they lied to me about something so hugely important as Santa, they just HAD to be lying to me about God and Jesus and everything in the Bible.

Maybe if parents had a heart-to-heart with kids along the lines of "we were lying about Santa, and here's why, and we are not lying about Jesus and God, and here's why" there would not be such pre-literate agnostics. But the perception that a huge amount of effort was involved in convincing little kids of the existence of an imaginary entity kinda made all adults seem untrustworthy.

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Response to carolinayellowdog (Reply #157)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 10:35 AM

171. You know what's funny? I believed in Santa but never in a god.

 

The gifts and candy seemed like evidence that the Man Upstairs (in the North Pole) actually existed.

The god story never made any sense to me when I was a kid, and it makes even less sense now.

But I was down with Santa.

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Response to carolinayellowdog (Reply #157)

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 05:55 AM

210. Which is why I hate the idea of adults lying to kids about Santa.

But the perception that a huge amount of effort was involved in convincing little kids of the existence of an imaginary entity kinda made all adults seem untrustworthy.


In my FOO, I had already learned adults were untrustworthy. All the Santa BS just reinforced it.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 12:20 PM

158. Always was one...

 

...but identified? About the time I realized you actually needed a label to tell people you didn't believe in magic superbeings that ruled the universe. Astonishing as that realization was.

12 maybe? In that neighborhood anyway.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #158)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 12:21 PM

159. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 12:47 PM

160. When

I was asked to refrain from attending any further catechism classes for asking some questions regarding bible passages such as this:

Sister, If Matthew 23,9 says this "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." why do we call our priests father?

Father, if 1st Timothy 3;2 says this, A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, why does the Bishop not get married to a woman?


Instead of any answers I was told to basically shut up and ask no questions and just do what they told me and believe what they said, that didn't sit so well and became a constant source of verbal conflict. Eventually they contacted my parents and told them they didn't want me at catechism because of my inability to accept the teachings of the church and a few other things were said about my parents to my parents with respect to their ability to raise good catholic children. Those things were quite hurtful to my folks, and I never forgot those things nor those who said them.

I started to believe that much of what catholics believed was designed to control the masses and not actually lead them into any blessed heavenly afterlife. Then I did some more reading and felt that theory confirmed.

I took a shot at Methodists thinking they were the reformation part of the religion and consequently a bit more forward thinking, but discovered some issues there as well....by the time I was 18 I joined the Army, and when asked to swear or affirm my oath I chose to affirm instead of swear and chose to have "NO PREF" placed on my dog tags to indicate no preference for religion.

That was way back in the 70s...I took a fair amount of crap for that simple phrase on my dog tags, taught me that the tolerance of religious people isn't all that tolerant.

So to directly answer your question, sometime after my 16th birthday and prior to my 18th I sort of fell out of believer mode into a far more negative outlook on religion and those who believe they speak for god where I was probably more disrespectful than required to make my point.

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Response to nil desperandum (Reply #160)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 02:40 PM

162. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #162)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 03:15 PM

164. You are welcome

hope it helps with whatever project you are working on and provides some perspective....

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 02:33 PM

161. I was raised in a culturally Anglican house

That was not religious. We did Christmas and easter and caroling but not much in the way of church. My mom went sometimes, but it was a social thing. She gets into temporary hobbies and that was one of them. She and the minister used to drink the leftover sacramental wine when organising events.

Not many religious people around me, it was more abnormal to be religious than not in my town. I didn't really know the term atheist, and didn't think much of it until the Internet came to be. Then I suddenly because a minority, at least online, and started to self identify as atheist.

Interesting reading all the responses. Thank you for asking so genuinely.

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Response to Rainforestgoddess (Reply #161)

Tue Apr 21, 2015, 02:41 PM

163. My pleasure and thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Wed Apr 22, 2015, 06:45 PM

166. Late.

Somewhere north of 50 years of age. The process was long and not without resistance. There came a day when I contemplated a godless universe and consciously stepped away from the idea. The thought was frightening because I needed to believe in a benevolent guiding hand.

I came to realize that I had no scriptural basis to argue with the likes of Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson, but that my disagreement with their theologies rested on my idea of god, which led to an examination of where did I get my idea of god, and is it possible to prove that my idea of god was the more correct. As it turns out, the answer to that was "no."

The problem of evil has always been a question mark for me. For decades I engaged in the mental gymnastics required to attempt to make sense of it.

Finally, the last straw was Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he would protect his pedophile priests from civil courts. For me, that either put the lie to Romans 13:1 or proved a malevolent god. Belief finally had to give way to unbelief. And I know I am the better for it.

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Response to LiberalAndProud (Reply #166)

Wed Apr 22, 2015, 06:48 PM

167. Yes that was horrific and infuriating that he said that.

 

Thank you for sharing.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 09:33 AM

169. What a great thread, justin. Kudos to you.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #169)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 12:54 PM

174. Thank you.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 12:19 PM

172. I think about age 10

Maybe younger

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #172)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 12:53 PM

173. Do you remember what was the reason? Was there an event in your life at the time?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #173)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 01:43 PM

175. I think I can trace the origins to finding out that Santa wasn't real

From there I started to realize I'd been lied to about a lot of things and began asking questions. At about that age I came to the conclusion that the idea of God was a lie and that religion was used to take people's money and control them.

I told my mother around age 15 when she was getting on me because I hadn't been to church in years. She burst into tears and lost her mind. I was told not to tell anyone and to put on a show so as not make her die of embarrassment.

eta: And to keep up the show because it's okay if I wanted to burn in hell but don't bring anyone with me.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #175)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:02 PM

178. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 01:49 PM

176. For me it was being surrounded by liberals who not only were atheists but surprised

anytime anyone said they weren't.

About ten years ago I guess.

Although for a long time before that I saw signs, that it was all just way too much to swallow.


The very fact that we even discuss it as a possibility, is going too far.

I could explain that later but dont want to fuck up your thread.

BTW, when I look at all the suffering, pain, misery, republicans, I dont see god anywhere there.

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Response to NoJusticeNoPeace (Reply #176)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:03 PM

179. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:19 PM

180. It took a while. I had to stop believing in one god at a time...

and I discovered that there were a lot of gods I had to decide whether to believe in or not.

I started at about 7 deciding to not believe in the Christian god. The stuff the priest said from the pulpit made no sense at all.

Then I had a look at the Hindu gods. That phase took a year or two to complete.

Then I had to look at the Buddha. But he didn't claim to be a god, so I decided I could believe he was real without having to believe in him as a god. I learned to meditate. That was cool. Being able to sit around doing absolutely nothing and calling it "virtuous".

The Mormon vision of god took me only a few weeks to discard.

I buzzed through a long list of Greek and Roman gods in short order. (I was getting better at detecting Bullshit by then. After all, I was a teenager. I pretty much knew everything there was to know.)

I explored a variety of "new age" versions of god, but none of those measured up to my exacting standards either.

I'm still waiting for some version of god to believe in, but the prospects are looking pretty bleak now. I'm 70 and haven't found a believable god yet. I'm seriously starting to doubt if one will come along in my lifetime.

But one thing I'm pretty certain of: Not one of those version of "god" I examined has any possibility of being real. Those religions are, every one of them, steaming piles of dung fed to the gullible.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #180)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:26 PM

181. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:44 PM

182. well before first communion

I went to catechism class in elementary school and always felt like an outcast. I made my first communion and first "confession" as a non-believer. I still remember how strange it was that I felt absolutely nothing about the event that others were fussing about.

After that, my parents allowed me to quit the after school religious ed. I was never "confirmed". I have mostly kept my non-beliefs to myself. It is easier that way. I am turning 50 and I finally told my aunt and former college roommate a couple of years ago when the subject came up.

I am married to a Catholic and had my one and only son baptised. He seems to have inherited the "non-believing gene". He, too, keeps his views mostly to himself and is in high school.

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Response to Freethinker65 (Reply #182)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:52 PM

183. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 04:03 PM

184. It seems I was a questioner from a very early age.

One of my mother's favorite stories is about a question I asked her one night while saying the traditional bedtime prayers. I asked her if we couldn't please say "Ah-ladies," instead of what my 5 yr old ears heard as "Ah-men."

My parents took my brother and me to church when we were young, but it always seemed as if it were something they felt they ought to do, and not something that had any particular meaning or importance to either of them. When I was 8, we started going a Presbyterian church in downtown Rochester NY that our next door neighbors attended. I found out much later that this church was sort of "the one" to go to for those who were upper crust or wanted to be. the wife of the next door neighbors had aspirations in that regard.

By the time I was about 12, I really disliked it. The church had a pretty well-to-do congregation, and many of the kids in the Sunday school classes went to private schools and had nannies. Very different slice of the socio-economic pie than I lived in. I never saw any of the people there except on Sundays, and no one was very friendly or welcoming. I started skipping the Sunday school classes and just hung out in various empty rooms in the church, which was a huge building and had lots of empty rooms to hide in. Apparently, none of the Sunday school teachers ever even noticed I was missing, because no one ever contacted my parents to question my absence/disappearance. I would emerge from hiding when it was time for the full service for adults and older kids that took place after Sunday school was over. I went thru confirmation when I was 12, and remember being very irritated by having to write a prayer to turn into the minister leading the classes so he could evaluate it. I felt as if any prayers I prayed should be private and personal.

We stopped going there after a while, and didn't start up anywhere else.

By my junior yr of high school, I started participating with a local Young Life chapter. I don't think it was as "fundie" then as it is now (late 60s), it was fun and lively, and I was friends with most of the classmate who also participated. Altho I temporarily did the "accept JC as your lord and savior" thing, I never really felt the alleged personal relationship aspect of it. And, I was completely unable to go around witnessing and asking other to accept Christ. Just couldn't do it. It felt too pushy and in-your-face.

When I went to college, I found a local chapter of YL and thought it might be a good way to meet people. I bailed after 5-6 weeks. the guy who was the self-appointed leader of the group wanted to do weekly Bible study, and each member of the group would take turns leading the discussion. No thanks. The denouement, so to speak, came when said self-appointed leader was discussing something from Revelations (IIRC) that talked about how many legions of demons existed. there was a definite number, according to him, and each legion had a certain number of demons in it. so, if you multiplied the number of legions of demon by the number of demons in a legion, and then divided that by the world population that told you how many demons were personally assigned to you and were actively in the world tempting you to do evil. "That's it. I'm outta here," I said to myself, and I was done with organized religion.

A few years later, after attending a performance of the Hill Cumorah pageant in Palmyra NY, not for from Rochester, I attended couple of Mormon services. A couple was more than enough to know that their expectation of subservience from women wasn't going to cut it with me.

I went to a few Quaker services, and thought that could be a fit if I wanted it to be. I like their no war stance.

In fall 2011, I started going to a Unitarian Universalist congregation. My younger son was a college freshman at the time, and as part of a core curriculum religion requirement (everyone take 2 classes sometime during their 4 yrs), he had to go to a church service not typical of what he usually did. I didn't take our sons to church, because I didn't want them warped by people with narrow and inflexible views. so, any church service would have been different from what he usually did. His class defined UU as a healthy religion, so he went on Google and found the closest one. I had to drive him, because Mr. Leadfoot was in the middle of his second driver's license suspension at the time for too many speeding tickets.

I had looked up UU philosophy several times, and found it appealing, so I attended the service as well. I like what I saw and heard, and have continued to attend. I'm a member of the handbell choir, which is a lit of fun, and there are many interesting people there, who are deeply committed to a variety of social and planetary causes. the recently retired minister was an atheist, as are several members of the congregation. Also lots of folks who call themselves recovering Catholics.

So, atheist of agnostic? I call myself a content questioner. I like to think there is something beyond this life, but I don't know if there is, and I'm OK with that uncertainty. I am intrigued by the possibility of re-incarnation. I want to remain open to spiritual wisdom from wherever it might come.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #184)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 04:12 PM

185. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 05:03 PM

186. Walking out of church, standing on the steps after Confirmation

 

All throughout my catechism/religious indoctrination, I had questions that could not be answered by teacher, nun or priest ... questions about omnipotence and the existence of evil ...

I questioned how we can say Jesus died for our sins when he apparently didn't actually die, and is seated in the happiest place on earth, at the right hand side of 'the father' ....

It simply didn't add up, and I realized I was being grifted .... the whole ball of wax fell apart for me on those steps, even as my own devout mother praised Jesus for my sacramental success ...

I stepped off that stairway a free man, and have never looked back ...

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Response to Trajan (Reply #186)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 05:05 PM

187. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 06:44 PM

188. As hard as I tried to believe I believed

I think I always doubted. But I was being raised in a fundamentalist baptist home so it took me a while to admit it to myself and even longer before I could say it out loud. I left home at 17 shortly after graduating high school and have been a non-believer ever since.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #188)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 06:45 PM

189. Has it been hard on you relationship with family?

 

You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #189)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 07:06 PM

190. Oh it absolutely has

but not any more. The last conversation I had with my mom was her crying because I wasn't right with god. She was on her way to cancer surgery that she never woke up from. I literally hate my step-father and will be happy when he dies. It pisses me off that he outlived her.

I love my little brothers but I can't be around them for very long as they can't help but try to re-convert me. It doesn't really bother me but they get mad as hell and walk away in disgust.

In her later years, though, mom was getting better about my lack of belief. About the last ten years of her life she would come visit us for christmas and leave him at home (she was getting sick of his shit too lol. But she couldn't divorce him because bible). She tried hard not to proselytize and I appreciated her for trying even though she wasn't always successful. She was a children's evangelist and ran vacation bible schools and it was just not in her to completely not talk about the lord.


My real dad, on the other hand, was a joy and fun to be around and I love him with all my heart. I wish he was still here. He was a believer (but not a fundie like mom) and we were good friends.

So with mom and dad gone and my brothers scattered around the country I don't really have family issues with my atheism. I still have my Grandpa (Dad's dad) and he's close by but he'll be 94 next month so I don;t know how much longer. He doesn't care abut my religion or lack of it. He attends church still (though not as regularly as he was) but he firmly believes that whatever religion you are, you don't talk about it with other people as it's a private thing. He get's dressed, goes to sunday service and then eats a big lunch and naps.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #190)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 07:09 PM

191. I am sorry being honest came with so many problems.

 

Thank you for sharing this.

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 11:06 PM

192. Just last year, after a horrifying 5-year spanning loss of faith

Unlike many here, I would describe my religious upbringing as positive. Grew up in a moderate Protestant church (no talk of hell, whatsoever) and blossomed into a Christian socialist in my late teens and twenties.

Unfortunately, the utterly meaningless suffering and incomprehensible evil I would come to see and confront destroyed my Christian cosmology. There was just no reconciling the brutality and injustice of the world with a god of grace. It was tremendously painful. I didn't so much lose my faith, as it was ripped out of me, beaten, raped and left in the ditch to die.

There's nothing liberating about my own break from religion; the nonexistence of god is just an unbearably sad truth with which I live. Kinda keeps me out of the loop of the comparatively liberated New Atheists.

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Response to DerekG (Reply #192)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 11:10 PM

193. I am so sorry you had this experience this way.

 

Do you feel you can feel positive about your new views in the future?

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #193)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 11:59 PM

194. No, I wouldn't

Strange as it may sound, I relate to the characters you'd find in a Dostoevsky or Graham Greene novel. I was hard-wired to be spiritual--part and parcel of my very personality--and it took a lot of others' pain and a radical evil (which I won't talk about) to destroy it. The emotional fallout is probably not something a rational nonbeliever can understand.

(To use a metaphor: Imagine being married to the love of your life--your sun and moon--and after ten years, you discover that your spouse was cheating on you through the whole course of the marriage. That's the level of anger and grief I'm talking about.)

I'm going to continue and extend my efforts to help others, but so far, nothing has managed to ameliorate the pain. I've seen decent and loving people destroyed, and honest-to-Christ psychopaths prosper, and it just makes me howl.

I'm glad other people find solace in nonbelief, but personally speaking, there's nothing liberating with the realization that I live in a world of chaos, where past victims were handed rotten luck and then rewarded with oblivion.

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Response to DerekG (Reply #194)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 01:49 PM

197. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #197)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 09:34 PM

199. Thank YOU

I've rarely seen an OPer so cordial and sympathetic through his/her thread. All my best.

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Response to DerekG (Reply #199)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 09:36 PM

200. .

 

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Response to DerekG (Reply #192)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 09:22 AM

196. If I may offer some words of comfort..

 

I find solace in this: we are the lucky beings that happen to be alive with a reasoning brain.
That state has only existed for a few millenia in our stellar vincinity in an universe which started just 15 billion years ago. Some other beings probably enjoyed/will enjoy that state in our 90 billion light years diameter universe with 10^22 solar systems, probably a few billion years before or after us. Then this whole universe will enter a dark era, decaying into mere photons after 10^100 years. And the whole scenario might restart in 10^10^56 years. Or before. Or now in a multiverse.

Why don't you just rejoice in being a collection of atoms that can think, drink wine and enjoy Mozart?

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Response to Yorktown (Reply #196)

Sat Apr 25, 2015, 06:46 AM

206. Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

We are lucky mud that got to sit up.

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Response to iwillalwayswonderwhy (Reply #206)

Sat Apr 25, 2015, 07:18 AM

207. Vonnegut is underrated

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 07:29 AM

195. Between ages 8 and 12

 

When I was in Primary School, I was an avid reader of the myths and legends of all over the world. There was a series of books for kids that were fantastic. And I began to note the commonalities between all these myths and some in the Bible stories. I was also struck very early on by the stupidity of the Noah myth: God is angry because folks are not perfect, and he decides to kill them all?

Then in the first years of Secondary School, I was sent to Bible study group and I got to read the texts of the Old and New Testament. And I found more and more silly stories just like Noah, but worse. And the story about Noah got worse. Remember what happens after the waters have receded? I asked myself if all religions were like that. My father had a Quran. To this day, I remember the impression of awe I felt when I read it: I remember the exact words I thought then: "Can grown-ups really believe that?"

From that point on, I kept following to Church on Sundays, but stopped singing the hymnals on the solid ground that my singing is atrocious. And would regularly deconstruct the weak points of whatever was preached.

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Response to Yorktown (Reply #195)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 01:49 PM

198. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 09:50 PM

201. About 9 years old. I read where Christianity came from and why is was introduced.

 

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #201)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 11:38 PM

204. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 11:18 PM

202. In the third grade.

We were studying Greek and Roman myths. I just didn't understand how any religion differed from the myths. I struggled in silence for a couple of years. My parents (one raised a southern Baptist and one a Methodist) converted to Unitarianism when I was about 10 and we finally talked openly about my doubts. Although my mother still identified as a Christian, both my folks told me that I would have to find my own truth. Even though we attended a Unitarian church, this was still the South and it was pretty conservative. Things turned out fine in the long run. Both of my sons identify as atheist, although my oldest is spiritual.

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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #202)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 11:37 PM

203. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Sat Apr 25, 2015, 06:44 AM

205. None of it ever made sense to me

At a very young age 4? 5?, I determined that everyone was pretending and it was make-believe. So I pretended, too. I was and still am, very musical and I loved the harmonies of hymns, so I did get a lot of my early musical education from the baptist church. But I never believed any of it. The idea that everyone pretended was more comfortable for me than the thought that I was evil, which did cross my little girl mind at times.

At around maybe 15, I started seeing things I just couldn't go along with and just stopped the pretense. At that point I had other outlets and resources for music.

I still kind of miss the social aspect.

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Response to iwillalwayswonderwhy (Reply #205)

Sat Apr 25, 2015, 01:15 PM

208. Thanks for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 02:21 AM

209. I don't think I knew the term 'atheist' until about 9 or 10...

but I think I knew that my parents didn't believe in God, and some other people did, from about 5. Probably when I started school and we had school prayers.

We did have quite a few religious people (both Jews and Christians) among family and friends; so I also became aware of different people having different customs and e.g. dietary rules based on religion.

Although my parents did not force atheism upon me, and indeed introduced me to Bible stories as part of the culture, my coming from an atheist family meant that I came to religion from an essentially neutral perspective, and my meeting people and later reading books from a variety of religious beliefs made me feel that there were so many conflicting accounts, and why would one be truer than another. The one exception to this was that from the age of about 10 to 12, I was really worried that I might go to Hell, which was not a feature of my school religious instruction, but which I'd come across in my reading. Being a natural pessimist, and inclined to guilt feelings, this was the one aspect of religion that resonated with me at that time.




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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #209)

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 08:22 AM

211. Thank you for sharing.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Original post)

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 02:40 PM

212. There was no "moment."

My atheism developed over a period of a couple of years, as I examined whether belief in supernatural entities made sense. At about 20 years of age, I realized that I had decided that it such a belief made no sense. But, it was a process, not a revelation of some kind. So, there's no particular epiphany I can point to.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #212)

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 02:48 PM

213. Thanks for sharing.

 

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