How And Why I Became An Atheist (If Anyone Is Curious).

Someone said to me in a PM “May I ask if you were always an atheist or became one? Can I ask why?”

This was my response, I thought I’d post it:

You can ask me whatever you like. I was born an atheist of course (nobody’s born religious, you have to be taught it by someone else). I was raised christian and believed in god, heaven etc for as long as I could remember. I’m glad I was never made to feel really guilty or afraid or like I needed god though, I was more kind of casually brainwashed. Anyway, I grew up going to church, sunday school and a catholic elementary school/junior high school and when I got old enough to seriously think about it all, the idea of hell was very troubling to me. If god would send someone to hell when he’s all-powerful and could fix them or teach them or even blink them out of existence, how could he be a good person?

I remember asking myself if I would send someone to hell and what they would have to do to deserve it, and after thinking about it for awhile I concluded there’s nobody that deserved it. Even hitler for all the pain he caused would, in an eternal punishment, start to feel more pain than he’d caused – double the pain he caused, triple the pain, ten times the pain, a million times the pain. No matter how evil someone was an infinite punishment would always be overkill, it would always be unjustified. So I kind of lost faith in my religion but believed for like a year that god still had to exist and it had to be the god from the bible. I didn’t realize why though but it was just indoctrination – if I’d been raised muslim I’d be sure “god” must somehow be the god of the koran.

So I figured god was okay but we somehow screwed up the message. Or maybe the bible and the idea of hell was sort of like training wheels, something to help us be good but that we were eventually supposed to discard and stand on our own two feet and do the right thing for the reasons god would do it and not out of fear or self-interest. I thought about the “new” testament and wondered if there would be a “new new” testament to replace it someday. Or maybe the new testament was god’s last communication until we get our act together and it’s some kind of test, or maybe it’s his last communication for all time and now we were on our own. I even thought what if god died to create the universe, used himself up or somehow had to be destroyed to make it happen (sacrificing himself like jesus in the bible) and dying the way a parent dies and their children have to carry on on their own strength. I thought what if he somehow planned a series of cause and effect events that would lead to the bible being “inspired”, like a delayed message.

A lot of stuff was going through my head. Eventually I started looking into philosophy and getting into debates and realized the idea of a god didn’t make sense for various reasons I won’t bore you with (and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to hear anyway) and found out how many similar religions there are and the whole “they can’t all the true” thing – eventually I stopped believing. I only realized I was an atheist when I came across the term atheist for the first time and realized it applied to me. To this day I’ve never read a book about atheism or why there is no god, just snippits here or there. Anyway, I was open to the possibility of a god (and still am) but once I started looking for good evidence (better than other religions) I found out there was none, so I stopped believing. Then I did the unthinkable – actually started studying the bible. It took becoming an atheist for me to seriously read the thing, lol. I was absolutely shocked at what all was in it that nobody told me about. It reminds me of a passage from richard dawkins:

“Winston Churchill’s son Randolph somehow contrived to remain ignorant of scripture until Evelyn Waugh and a brother officer, in a vain attempt to keep Churchill quiet when they were posted together during the war, bet him he couldn’t read the entire Bible in a fortnight: ‘Unhappily it has not had the result we hoped. He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited; keeps reading quotations aloud “I say I bet you didn’t know this came in the Bible… ” or merely slapping his side & chortling “God, isn’t God a shit!”‘ Thomas Jefferson – better read – was of a similar opinion: ‘The Christian God is a being of terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.’”

I then looked at history and saw that “religion” was kind of a monster, it was the driving ideological force behind almost every evil I had ever heard of, everything from the holocaust to 9/11 was done in the name of god. Every minority that, to my knowledge, had ever been persecuted it turns out the bible was the main or often sole justification for persecution, and against civil rights – it was the main justification of slavery, oppression of women, oppression of (and violence toward) gays, anti-semitism, you name it. It was then that I went from simply not believing in god to actively being anti-religion.

I’ve softened a bit since then and while I still think “religion” is bad, I see what it could be and what parts of it are good and bad, and am more depressed at how jesus’ teachings, most of which are truly beautiful, are always turned into something so ugly and opposite. Like the republican party.

Anyway, that’s my “journey” in a nutshell, sorry it’s so long.

About agnophilo

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44 Responses to How And Why I Became An Atheist (If Anyone Is Curious).

  1. jmallory says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with everyone. 🙂

  2. TheSutraDude says:

    good story. it takes intellectual courage, as someone once put it to me, to question the beliefs we grow up under especially i think when we question based on moral grounds. 

  3. Yes,there are some pretty horrific things in the Bible that appear to be God’s fault,but did you every look at it as God always fixing what His creation screwed up?Overthinking God I will admit would drive me crazy so I don’t do it,I don’t have a mind to comprehend it even if I delved into it.There is nothing wrong in questioning Christianity and even God,but when you turn it into being a fight against God(you may call it religion) but its actually God you are anti.Religion is the manmade part.Man is a religious being at heart.Let me ask you something.If God caused nothing but good and never let any harm come to anyone,never even let evil be introduced to man,how would man have ever known good or evil?If he was not given a choice to actually DO bad,then would he not THEN be a robot?Why is it so hard to see that God let evil be introduced by the evil one himself and to redeem us back after satan had done his work,God would through time show in the Bible what was to come by sybolizing His sacrifice and then finally coming Himself as a man,Jesus,His Son yet still Himself and give His life for his creation(not have His life taken,it was given willingly)?Why is that sacrifice not seen as ulitmate love,a creator loving His creation so much he would take it’s own sin on Himself,the very one thing He detests and can not be a part of in all the world,but He did it for us.You and me.I’m blown away by it myself and I don’t need to anaylis God.He owes man nothing,He owes no one a thing.He is God and we aren’t.We ca’t begin to comprehend His nature.Only by His Spirit can we see some of it,be we can’t even then grasp to perfectness of it.Thats where faith comes in.I believe it’s true and if I’m wrong I’m wrong and I’ll gladly except it if I am wrong.I want to believe a love like that can and does exist.Well,thats me pouring my heart out to you Mark.I don’t know what esle to say man,that’s basically it in a nutshell from this frail minded man.

  4. PPhilip says:

    Man is starting to have high expectations about G-d. Will he keep Karma at the level of general balance or tip it due to personal expectations?The personal expectations sort of explode the idea of a fair G-d. What possible good actions could be rewarded with an answered prayer? Is giving a lot to charity a way to increase your personal profit?Right now I am expecting other Christians and myself to be very responsible. We supposedly know better so we should do better in the fairness and justice thing. Basically being an isolated Christian and doing contrary things is not good. I should be doing things as if G-d and the world is watching me.If there is “ugliness” in my life, I should work to undo it, pure and simple.If someone needs help, I should do the wisest choice help them on the same level as I help myself.If I am confused, I will have to admit my confusion and hope for an answer later.

  5. starmanjones says:

    being oneof those who believes in invisible beings as it helps my little world out  to contrive a “force” of it will and is better than it may seem now, I can happily congratulate you on also having useful beliefs of your own to yourself…yes, even if they’re opposite of mine.  mine serve me and yours serve you :D.

  6. crazy2love says:

    “It’s the question that drives us.”In this day and age, it takes a brave soul indeed to question what one knows and try to find Truth, and discover what they truly believe. I’m actually inspired to write about my own journey through religion because of this post…writing such a post would take my mind off of things, after all.Questioning what one thinks they know drives us to a higher consciousness.

  7. GaijinWords says:

    It’s not really that long and it makes good sense. I had a similar upbringing and now (since 1967) follow  bushido.

  8. theKisSilent says:

    I wonder, does it ever come up in the course of religious indoctrination to question the “sacrifice” God made in allowing his only son Jesus to die for our sins when we are taught that Jesus was God the son, and therefore did not actually sacrifice anything at all? God is still God, right? I mean, I can’t make another me in some far more vulnerable form to die a sacrifical death in order to save those I love. True sacrifice would be dying and really being dead, gone, no original to recreate another copy. I don’t identify as an atheist, but I don’t understand the willingness to ignore the obvious questions that the teachings themselves raise when considering the veracity of the truth they claim to extol. Once these questions have opened up in your mind, how can one possibly see past them and accept this strange “truth?” I think the fact that you didn’t come by your atheism as a result of some horrible tragedy that left you feeling there was no God must make true believers extremely uncomfortable. As for me, I believe in “God” though I don’t think of him, or it, the way Christians do. I believe there is an energy, a life force, that connects us all and works in ways we haven’t evolved enough yet to understand. I keep my mind open to the possibilities.I wish more people would do the same.

  9. According to you, you hallucinated God in your own image, didn’t like it and became an atheist.  That explains why atheism is so intellectually empty.If you learn about God the way he really is, you’ll like him.

  10. Pickwick12 says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. 

  11. My story is, in some parts, similar, and in others, different. Feels good to know I’m not alone! Thanks for posting this!

  12. jaydedheart says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – I understand your fervor, but i don’t think you’re correct in declaring he said that he hallucinated god. I think he is saying other people made it up for him. You’re applying a general talking point to a situation it doesn’t attach well to. 

  13. jaydedheart says:

    Your conclusions are performed in a logical manner, as you undressed them according to the way they were dressed. Perhaps in time you will find yourself redressing such a belief in a creator in a cloth all your own. As i have. Perhaps not. It should be no skin off of anyone else’s back, i figure. It’s between each person and the god who is or isn’t there.

  14. crevis05 says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂 

  15. I will come back and reply to your blog before too long – a bit too much vino to be cohesive right now, and your blog deserves that. :)For now – I just posted this… you might get a smile from it. :)

  16. This was very well written and I honestly liked the fact that you questioned perceptions of religion.I do have a questio, though. As an atheist, do you believe in the soul? I know some atheists who don’t believe in a higher power but do believe in a soul, and others who don’t.

  17. riantisa says:

    I fell sorry for you. God and religions never disappoint every one. But the one who use God and religions always make the stories.You should have faith there is a God.

  18. I mean this honestly – thank you for sharing (sometimes people accuse me of being sarcastic when I’m not). I very much appreciated reading about your journey and your doubts. Respect!

  19. herzog3000 says:

    You have many eminently logical reasons for rejecting religion. Are you also saying that there cannot exist any rationally justifiable reasons for being theistic?

  20. @jaydedheart – Here is agnophilo creating God in his own image by imagining himself as God:I remember asking myself if I would send someone to hell and what they would have to do to deserve it, and after thinking about it for awhile I concluded there’s nobody that deserved it.It isn’t my fervor that is smacking you upside the head, it’s just plain old common sense.

  21. We’ll never see eye to eye on the religious issues – but I respect your freedom to your own beliefs 100%. And I can honestly say, I am glad that you have thought it through and know what you believe, and why you believe it.  That is far more than most. Thanks for sharing this. 

  22. Nushirox2 says:

    I kinda want to hear your reasons

  23. Thanks for sharing your journey.  I have reached many of the same conclusions that you have, though I have held fast to the hope that God does exist.  Don’t know why…

  24. Doubledb says:

    “I see what it could be and what parts of it are good and bad, and am more depressed at how jesus’ teachings, most of which are truly beautiful, are always turned into something so ugly and opposite. Like the republican party.”That is why I have now become independent, in regards to politics. try as i may to get other Christians to understand we should follow Jesus and not a party or a nation, many are so tied to Patriotism, they cannot see the seperation or the need for that seperation. I very much see the need for seperation of church and state. that is why so many wars have been faught and are being faught in my opinion, well.. along with poor religious and theological udnerstandings/teachings.Thanks for taking us on your journey. Good Blog!

  25. Kraatakans says:

    @PrisonerxOfxLove – I think that’s simply  attempting to rationalise how a supposedly perfectly loving and just omniscient being could sentence someone to eternal torture for what is a finite transgression. It’s certainly a fair enough question

  26. YouToMe says:

    I always enjoy when you share some of your journey/ self on here. Think it is good for you to express but also for others to hear. Excellent.

  27. BlizzZX says:

    cheers bro…check out a book titled “the athiest bible”..pretty cool shittt

  28. animechrisy says:

    I find it amusing when some religious folk comment in a defensive and unthoughful way after a sincerely open, and rational post.Thanks for sharing. It is an eye opener when we see things for what we can hope is as accurately as possible. But it’s important to remember, even though much turmoil in history has been started by religions, religions also have provided a unparalleled amount of support to people, solidarity, and so on in times of great difficult. To that, I believe it makes religion even more dangerous, because it is so very powerful. But not inherently so, unfortunately if everyone believed in their own religion, but respected and was honest with every other person, then it would never be detrimental. But….things don’t work out so nicely.

  29. Nous_Apeiron says:

    Thanks for posting about your conversion story.    I always find those stories interesting.Would it be fair to say that your acceptance of Christian ideals such as love, justice, generosity, and honesty are what ultimately led to a rejection of the theology of Christianity, much of the content of the Bible, and the failures of most Christians to practice those virtues?

  30. maniacsicko says:

    thanks for sharing your story…   

  31. plursheep says:

    Curious about what kind of philosophy you got into.  I took a philosophy of religion class which was pretty interesting.  We had to prove God does and doesn’t exist.  The argument for does was often something like “nobody said God was a man.  God is the universe itself.”  Now we could argue whether the universe actually exists since we clearly don’t know anything beyond galaxies buuut we’re getting a little over our heads 

  32. mila says:

    God is always with us, don’t stop believing just because someone else ruins it for you. If there is no God, the world is hopeless.

  33. kirakirasky says:

    It’s hard to be convinced of a supreme creator god when one has perspective of the whole world. Maybe there is a god, but if so, humans have projected so much on to the nature of such a being.

  34. Goudprijs says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey.

  35. “God, isn’t God a shit!”

  36. I still believe in the message in the Bible, but I think somewhere along the way of the progress of Christianity, the practitioners started contradicting itself to suit and adapt with the times. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but most religions are big on tradition.I don’t support some of their stance on many concepts (both modern and old… previously shunned, but secular-ly accepted nowadays. I haven’t been going to church for a while now.I guess you could say I’m a walking contradiction… to which I think everyone is.

  37. shadow320 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this!  You have a unique way of looking at things.  You make me think… 

  38. kk_grayfox says:

    That’s cool that you like Jesus (or at least his teachings).

  39. Great blog, awesome thinking, I know many a times I have questioned our God. Like what about those people who refuse to believe in God because growing up they were beaten and caged and treated like shit. Tha t when they even heard about God, they wanted nothing to do with Him because he NEVER helped them, he was NEVER there?Or in my case, when bad things happened to me. Because the “bible says it’s just.” I think I can’t let go of this idea of God, because miracles HAVE take place right in front of me. But now I can’t help but wonder.. was tha a hoax set up? Was that adrenaline in your body because you really truly believed you were healed? the mind is an amazing thing. If you want to believe something, it will cause you to believe it.

  40. LeeKymKween says:

    I feel that those aforementioned questions arose from the fact that you portrayed him in your own way. People tend to question god as if he had the same mindset and behavior of a human.It takes faith to rbelieve in god, though most people would say that faith is a load of crap. Faith is used for many other things including money.

  41. Ooglick says:

    It is interesting how many of the people (including me, I guess) read this blog and are Christian. I guess my reasoning is I was curious about what makes people decide to stop believing in religion. It sounds like it was a very thought-through process for you, and I respect your decision to become atheist because of it. Though we have different views, it seems like you’re a pretty cool person. 🙂

  42. agnophilo says:

    @Ooglick – Thank you.  Most atheists (aside from the knee-jerk teenagers rebelling against their overly religious parents, though not to dismiss all or even most teenage atheists, I was one too) are thoughtful people who take the question of the existence or non-existence of god very seriously.  I think when people grow up with a worldview pre-programmed in their head it robs them of that experience of really looking for answers.  And when it’s phobic and anti-science and dogmatic it actively stops the process.  It’s really a shame.  Reminds me of this.

  43. Ooglick says:

    @agnophilo – *Rotfl at the cartoon*

Speak yer mind.

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