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Poll: What faith were you raised in before becoming an atheist?
You do not have permission to vote in this poll.
Presbyterian
0%
0 0%
Lutheran
5.26%
1 5.26%
Episcopalian
0%
0 0%
Catholic
26.32%
5 26.32%
Methodist
15.79%
3 15.79%
Baptist
15.79%
3 15.79%
Evangelical
5.26%
1 5.26%
Charismatic/Pentecostal
5.26%
1 5.26%
Non-Christian Religion: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism,
5.26%
1 5.26%
Other (please share)
21.05%
4 21.05%
Total 19 vote(s) 100%
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Faith Before Atheism
#1

Faith Before Atheism
So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
What age were you when you became an atheist?
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Feel free to add anything else!
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#2

Faith Before Atheism
P.S. Crap, I don't know why on the poll you can't pick multiple options.. does someone know how to resolve this?
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#3

Faith Before Atheism
I was raised agonistic and grew to be an atheist...an atheist agnostic.
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#4

Faith Before Atheism
Hi Katherine. Welcome to the forum. If you take a moment to tell us a bit about yourself and perhaps answer some of those questions that you asked some of our more reactionary members are less likely to suspect you of being a theist troll. Not that they typically bother with anything of this depth.

(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?

Christian Lite. United Church of Canada

Quote:How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?

About a decade.

Quote:What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?

They were pretty awesome people.

Quote:What age were you when you became an atheist?

Mid-teens. About the time they wanted me to be Confirmed in the Church.

Quote:What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?

Mom wasn't thrilled but got over it quickly. It was otherwise a non-event.

Quote:What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?

I didn't believe, I wasn't enough of a hypocrite to say that I believed, and I like to sleep in on Sunday morning.

Quote:Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?

It wasn't exactly a choice. More like what was left when my juvenile beliefs failed to mature and withered on the vine.

Quote:Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist? 

I consider myself both. A/theisism describes what you believe while A/gnosticism describes what you know. I'm an agnostic atheist because I don't believe in god and don't know that god doesn't exist. That latter is somewhat situational. I'll take a much firmer stance on the non-existence of the ridiculous god of Falwell and Phelps than the more deistic god of Spinoza.

Quote:Did you try to believe in or practice another religion?

The Church of the One True Pancake.

Quote:If so, which one and why?

It's tastier and significantly less silly than its competitors.

Quote:Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate?

I appreciate it when they don't come knocking on my door or trying to pass legislation.

Quote:Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?

Liberal

Quote:What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Science, history, mythology, and the construction of siege weapons in our tree forts and their application to dispersing unwary trespassers.
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#5

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

1. What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
2. How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
3. What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
4. What age were you when you became an atheist?
5. What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
6. What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
7. Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
8. Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
9. Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
10. If so, which one and why?
11. Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 
12. If so, what are they?
13. Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
14. What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Feel free to add anything else!

That's a lot of questions, I'll number them then give answers below.

1. Evangelical Lutheran. I'm convinced my parents picked that church because it had more of the towns movers and shakers. They would have attended any protestant church except for pentecostal.
2. Age 13, it was also the same time that I started overtly rebelling to a lot of things.
3. It was the thing my parents expected so I didn't think much about it until my later grade school years (age 10 maybe).
4. Age 13.
5. My parents fought it for awhile, I eventually wore them down. Others my age really didn't care.
6. Continued belief became untenable, attendance unbearable.
7. Chose atheism, I not much of a fence sitter.
8. No.
9. We made the rounds in our small town (at the girl friends request), kept hearing and seeing the same thing.
10. All the protestant ones available in town and mormon. I knew enough from catholic kids to stay away.
11. Some parts of buddhism I find interesting but even that has parts that I can't buy into. I love to point and laugh at Scientologists.
12. 4 truths/8 paths.
13. Had some of both, mom conservative, dad liberal. Politics were not discussed in our house, I ended up centrist.
14. Music and science. I played piano and 4 other instruments plus there was choir/madrigal/musicals. Science became the main focus in college/grad school. Also there were sports but not team: tennis, golf, swimming, water skiing and hunting.

I need to note that I'm not an anti-theist, at least not until one of them comes after me for my lack of belief.
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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#6

Faith Before Atheism
Browser swallowed my post, may try to answer again tomorrow.
Factio Republicanus delenda est!
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#7

Faith Before Atheism
hello, I'll be brief.
Raised in a liberal household with no church affiliation what so ever. I could go if I wanted.
By the time I was 12 or so I had seen enough and none of it passed the smell test. It really is that simple.
There was no soul searching or decision tree, no deconversion.
test signature
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#8

Faith Before Atheism
My story.
Raised in a mild Orthodox Jewish religion, very loving and happy and the rules never bothered any of us.
Around 18, I began questioning the god story and never got satisfactory answers.
Briefly checked out Jesus and couldn’t make myself believe that story at all, plus, they really wanted to cash in on a Jew converting and I wouldn’t let them use me.
Around 20 I had enough with any gods.  However, I felt so alone as I didn’t even know there was a name for not believing in god…thought I was the only one.

Spent time at a lot of libraries where I discovered a lot about the Bible (Jewish and Christian) and that there was a name for it…atheism.
Then, the internet arrived and I found my tribe.  I also discovered the difference between agnosticism and atheism.  I’m an agnostic atheist.

My family knew I was struggling with religion but I never really told them I left.  When I visited, I went to shul with them, attended Bar Mitzvah and weddings/funerals…and no one really asked me.  We were married by a Rabbi when I was 21.

By that point, I wasn’t going to play the Jewish atheist role that many others were doing.  I left completely.  I ate ham and bacon.  I no longer celebrated any holidays (unless at my parents for a visit) and I didn’t raise my kids to be Jewish though, I did have them named in the synagogue in case they ever wanted to emigrate to Israel or marry a Jew.  Not likely as they are as atheist as my husband and I. 

Like most atheists, I have no problem with other theists as long as they keep their religion to themselves and off of my body.  That means there are some theists I dislike and some I love dearly. 

I guess my parents would be called liberal today.  They always voted Dem but were considered conservatives Democrats in their day.  I’m 71 and have never voted Republican in my many years of voting. I didn’t hate Republicans then, I do now. I don’t have problems with other religions that don’t push their ideology on me.

Growing up, I leaned towards math, art, and science and returned to college in my 30’s to become a Medical Technologist, worked in our local hospital lab for 27 years and retired 7 years ago.

Did I miss anything?
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#9

Faith Before Atheism
Quote:What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?  catholick


How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?   I was 11 when I started having doubts about those people

What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?  Opinions about what?  About religion?  The whole thing was fucking boring.  I wanted to go play baseball.

What age were you when you became an atheist?  It was a process....I had nothing to do with the church after I turned 13.  But it had little to do with the church.  My older brother drove us to church every Sunday but it was a way for him to get his hands on the car.  When he went in the Navy, my father asked me if I wanted him to drive me.  I said "I'd rather sleep."  He nodded.  I'd say I was about 50 or so when I accepted the title of atheist.  That was when I read Israsel Finkelstein's "The Bible Unearthed" and realized that the whole thing was built on a foundation of sand.  Prior to that I didn't think about religion much at all.  It was irrelevant.

What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?  Muted. My parents were a mixed pair and neither one was particularly religious.  

What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?  I don't like being lied to.  
The more I learned about history the more I understood the lies. 
The utter scam that religion perpetrated for centuries.

Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?  Either a thing can be proven or it can't.  Religitards could never do more than quote from that silly book of theirs.  Agnostics are people who have yet to decide which way they are going.

Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  No.

Did you try to believe in or practice another religion?   Hell NO.
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate?  None.
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?  Difficult to answer.  My father was a lifelong union man.  My mother was the first woman in our neighborhood to get a driver's license and she went out to work when I was 13, which was unheard of in the early 60's it seems.  Both of them grew up in NYC and thought that "blacks were ruining the city."  Kind of a mixed bag.  At the end of his life my father voted for Obama.  You decide.

What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)? History, music, sports - mainly baseball and football.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#10

Faith Before Atheism
What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?

Before I came out as just an atheist, I was a Unitarian Universalist (some of whom are atheist, but that may be another thread) for over ten years. Before that, I went with my babysitter's family to a Christian church that met in a YMCA (not sure what denomination, since I don't think the Y is its own). That was probably just a couple years, and I was under 8 years old.

What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?

Again, I was a small child when I was a Christian, but I think I remember feeling that God belief was the default belief, but at the same time it always creeped me out to bow my head and close my eyes in prayer. I found the UUs through another babysitter and I fell in love! It was seemingly an accepting church, and we were free in our youth group (YRUU) to formulate our own beliefs about god.

What age were you when you became an atheist?

I was 30 when I felt I finally "got it" and started feeling that my lack of belief in a god was firm and permanent (though it had been fermenting for 5 or 10 years)

What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?

My adopted father was first to know, over a pizza in a Pennsylvania Pizza Hut. He happens to be atheist as well, but I have really run away with it, starting on that snowy night north of Pittsburgh, when I joined my first forum.

What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?

One reason. I don't believe in god. I don't know 100% but I believe I can know, hence I don't see myself as agnostic.

Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  

No, but there are agnostic atheists. Some might say I am one since I am only 99.99999% sure there is no god. But I'm pretty sure, and will be disappointed if, after death, I arrive at pearly gates, or really anything else. The idea just makes no sense to me.

Did you try to believe in or practice another religion?

Nope

If so, which one and why?

See above.

Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate?
If so, what are they?


Hmmm. Well...I'm fascinated by the ornamental feel of Catholicism, with the robes and hats and whatever else clergy wear. And just all the symbols in Christianity in general and Judaism. And even the political structure of the various churches. But all of that is aesthetics. Sprituality turns me off now.


Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?

I'd say solid liberal, leaning radical on environmental concerns, but my mother is more pro-life than I am. And more environmentally minded, though I am certainly tolerant.

What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Gaming (Nintendo NES). Funny how I don't do that now even though it's way more social than in the 80's. Also adaptive sports (mostly wheelchair track and road racing), TV (Nickelodeon, motorsports, sit coms). Music (smooth jazz/new age instead of my peers' favorite rock and pop bands. I adamantly did my own thing).

Feel free to add anything else!

Any questions?
Is this sig thing on?
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#11

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
What age were you when you became an atheist?
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Feel free to add anything else!

I was raised as a Methodist by conservative parents, but had big problems with Christian ideas by the time I was a teenager.  At that point I defined myself as an agnostic.  I was especially bothered by what I saw as the polytheism of the trinity doctrine and the idol-worship of Jesus.  By the age of 16, I refused to join a new church after my family moved to another city, since I considered the pledge of faith dishonest. Reading Thoreau's Walden got me interested in a wider range of spiritual traditions, so I started investigating alternative ideas, including Taoism and Buddhism.  By the time I was 19, I discovered Sufi mysticism, which promised a kind of knowledge of God.  I spent several decades studying Sufism since it emphasized a purer form of monotheism and the iconoclasm implied by that, at least until my parallel studies of the mind convinced me that consciousness was brain-dependent. 

I became an atheist at the age of 50, after reading Dawkins' The God Delusion.  My best friend, who also had an interest in Sufism, became an atheist just before I did.  My wife was delighted I became an atheist, since she has been a life-long agnostic.  Several of her family members are also atheists.  More recently, I discovered that one of my sisters has been an atheist since she was very young, and had never told us.  She never went through all of the intellectual questioning I did, but just dropped religion from her life.  At this point of my life, I think she and people like her were right all along, that no one really needs religion or spirituality, since all religions have too many weird ideas mixed in.  All of the God-concepts and spiritual systems which I have examined closely have been incoherent, so I can no longer believe in any of them. Science, scholarship, and intellectual honesty are more than enough to meet life's needs. 

My interests growing up were cartooning, painting, and consciousness studies.  I was confused by the idea of an afterlife ever since I first heard about it as a child, but thought others must know more about it (somehow) than I did.  That one idea was a big time-waster in my life.
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#12

Faith Before Atheism
I was brought up as a Catholic before I came out as an atheist. I attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school. 

I was a loyal Roman Catholic until I started going to a secular college. My conversations with those of other faiths and those of no faith filled me with serious doubts about my religion. I was a non-practicing Catholic by the time I was 18 or 19 years old.

I came out as an atheist in 1982. I was 34 years old at the time.

No one in my family had anything to say when I came out as an atheist, with the exception of my mother. She had a real conniption and spent the next several years praying for me to return to the Church.

My top three reasons for becoming an atheist: I read several versions of the Bible and decided it was nothing more than a book of mythology. In high school, I debunked St. Thomas Aquinas' version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. My senior religious instructor, a Catholic priest and creationist, was such a bullshit artist that he actually made atheism sound good.

I never chose to become an atheist. I considered myself an agnostic after serving in Vietnam for 2½ years. Joining another religion was never an option. I came to the conclusion that I was an atheist after a decade of comparative religious study and many years of deep introspection.
“I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” (Etienne De Grellet)
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#13

Faith Before Atheism
Pretty diverse field of religious options and role models available to me growing up.  I suspect that having those often antithetical points of view being advocated for by people I trusted and respected and from institutions and communities I wanted to be a part of had alot to do with my never coming around to identifying as any one of them.  Gods as additional and specific items in those religious worlds were probably doomed by the same.  There's no reason, or at least no cognizable reason, that I become or just was an atheist.  I don't know if anyone had a reaction whenever they realized I didn't believe what/how they did.
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#14

Faith Before Atheism
Hiya Kathryn --

(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
What age were you when you became an atheist?
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Feel free to add anything else!

I was raised Southern Baptist. My parents weren't very devout, and while dad was politically and socially conservative, mom was a bit more liberal. When we lived in Iran they'd send us to church with whichever Americans were convenient, so I did get exposed to different flavors of Christianity. As a believer, I was frightened by the prospect of Hell. I started losing my faith at around twelve, and that was pretty much solidified by the time I was fourteen or fifteen. At first that scared me too, but I realized that no god, no heaven, no hell meant no fear.

I never did try any other religions, and I didn't "choose" to be an atheist; I was compelled to by the lack of evidence for any gods. Along with that, the problem of evil occurred to me. I got neither support nor criticism for this, but I did keep it from my very devout grandmother -- I didn't want to break her heart -- and some other family members.

There are aspects of various religions I can respect, and other aspects that I find just ridiculous.

My interests growing up -- history, science, music, football, and girls.
On hiatus.
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#15

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?Fundamentalist Christian
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?Roughly 30 years
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?It was what I knew. To question it wasn't really thinkable.
What age were you when you became an atheist?I generally date it to age 36 but it was a somewhat gradual process really.
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?My parents had sort of a don't ask, don't tell policy -- sort of willfully didn't notice. They were pretty good about minding their own business once I was an adult.
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?Promise after promise broken.
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?I quickly figured out that all religions have the same broken epistemology.
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?No
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion?Investigated but didn't pursue them.
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like and appreciate?I have a high regard for Buddhism
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?Leaned conservative but that meant something very different in the 1960s and 1970s
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?science, photography
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#16

Faith Before Atheism
Raised in central Europe, in a country where people dont wear their religion on their sleeve day in day out.

Its funny, since, although i was officially christian (by birth), my denomination is not even in your list, which is obviously US centered Tongue . I was christened general "protestant". Dont know and never really cared what denomination that would be. We were rather "casual" christians. At home religion never was a topic. My parents were "Liberal"/left, definitely not conservative. We were "working class" people. Religion was (and is) more of a personal issue here. Since my mid to late teens i completely ditched my last remaining traces of belief in the possibility of a deity that cares about me and what i do in my bedroom. Reason: No good reasons left to believe, no social pressure, it was that simple.

I omitted officially leaving the church and paid a (very) small tax*, until a few years ago.

* Church-Tax, because we dont have a clear separation of church and state. Ironiclaly, my country does not have a separation of church and state, unlike the US, but the control and influence of religion in politics is way less, and our current leader/chancellor is an atheist.
R.I.P. Hannes
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#17

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 09:00 PM)Brian Shanahan Wrote: Browser swallowed my post, may try to answer again tomorrow.

Day late:

1) catholic.
2) Between 8 and 18 as a catholic, slowly falling away after that until I went full atheist at about 25.
3) Pretty typical for a child brought up in eighties catholic Ireland.
4) See answer 2.
5) Acceptance, though my mother did want to hear my path of reasoning (she thought I had a good chain of logic). Got no pushback on my choice.
6) a) reading the bible, b) the first stirrings of the various sex abuse scandals and c) the final straw was watching the Channel 4 documentary on the Falling Man photo of 11/09/2001.  A family's vehement "no he wouldn't commit suicide, he was a good catholic man, he wouldn't disgrace god" on hearing their son may have been the person captured in the photo severed what lingering religious ties I had.
7) I'm an agnostic atheist in that I accept that there is insufficient evidence to say that a generic god doesn't exist.  Remember agnosticism is a knowledge position, atheism a belief one.
8) Stupid question frankly.
9) No.
11) Not really, no.  There are philosophical systems which I find useful and good and some have been hijacked by religions, but religions themselves are not good.
13) Definitely leaning heavily towards social democracy from both parents.
14) Sport, reading, music, games.
Factio Republicanus delenda est!
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#18

Faith Before Atheism
I was raised Catholic, going to church every Sunday and all the usual stuff. I started questioning things in my late teens and eventually became an atheist in my early 20s. My family was mostly supportive, but a few friends found it surprising. The main reasons were inconsistencies in the doctrine, a love for science, and a desire for personal freedom.
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#19

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 05:35 PM)Paleophyte Wrote: Hi Katherine. Welcome to the forum. If you take a moment to tell us a bit about yourself and perhaps answer some of those questions that you asked some of our more reactionary members are less likely to suspect you of being a theist troll. Not that they typically bother with anything of this depth.

Hi, sorry, about me:  I was an atheist for 15 years.  I was raised mainly in the Methodist church.  There was a brief period of my very young childhood (maybe three to four years old) where I was raised in a hellfire brimstone baptist church run by a psychopathic preacher who preyed on people within the church to make them feel terrible about themselves.  

I'm sure methodism was a lot healthier, full of reasonably intelligent, kind people, and there was a huge social justice element which I really enjoyed, but I just did not see evidence for a loving God.  I also felt no one could answer a lot of my questions, which created a lot of frustration.  Sunday school didn't seem like a place for disagreeing much with the bible or what was going on within it.  It seemed more like a place where there was a "correct" answer already there and you just kind of had to go along with it.

To me, it made no sense if God was Jesus, who taught these wonderful messages about forgiveness, kindness, compassion, loving your enemy, etc. then why would God go around killing the people he was supposed to love.  They simply seemed like two completely different people, so I began to conclude that Christianity and all religion must be made up stories that exist from human history designed to create fear and obedience within people.

I also had huge problems with conservative Christianity. For whatever reason, around the same time, I was seeing a lot of "Christians" going around on the news picketing the funerals of gay people, rejecting their LGBTQIA+ children, harassing women outside of abortion clinics. I didn't understand what Christian values or what the values of Jesus had to do with gun ownership, property ownership, or supporting policies that favored the rich or destroyed the environment. I didn't see what Christianity had to do with supporting the military, opposing public television or public programs that actually helped the poor. I couldn't understand how there was a group of people out there who hated Mister Rogers. They left such a bad taste in my mouth I wanted nothing to do with them.

I had also asked Jesus into my heart numerous times.  I never had that "born again" experience people said would happen if I asked him into my heart, and I did this over and over hoping Jesus would come into my heart.  When nothing happened, I really began to lose hope in God being real at all.  I had a talk at the age of 14 with my mother in a car and told her I was becoming an atheist.  I think she was sad, but she didn't really fight me on it, and I said a prayer to God at the same time, that if He were really real, He would understand all of this and come and get me one day.

I didn't really explore other religions after that.  I kind of chucked religion in a basket of "untrue" and spent my life living free to think and feel exactly what I wanted without this fear of hell looming over me.  I considered agnosticism for a bit, but it seemed too much like a cop out or like fence-sitting.  I wasn't about to be some half-assed coward who couldn't make a decision, so I chose atheism.  I absolutely loved being an atheist, and reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion kind of solidified the whole thing for me.  I became involved with a group of very liberal atheist friends and was interested in feminism, psychology, science, politics, philosophy, and physics.  It was some of the happiest times of my life being an atheist.  I made a lot of atheist friends, nerd friends.  I remained an atheist for 15 years.

I enjoy elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.  I think Catholics are wonderful people even though their church is completely corrupt.  I also still just love and miss atheists.  I found out after I became a Christian that a lot of churches are mainly filled with people who've never questioned their faith in any serious way, or who've never stepped outside of Christianity, and that leaves them a disadvantage, in my mind, so I'm here.  I still feel like a very small amount of my life has actually been spent being a Christian, so I hope to never fully leave the other part of my life behind.
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#20

Faith Before Atheism
(05-16-2024, 08:01 PM)Brian Shanahan Wrote:
(05-14-2024, 09:00 PM)Brian Shanahan Wrote: Browser swallowed my post, may try to answer again tomorrow.

Day late:

1) catholic.
2) Between 8 and 18 as a catholic, slowly falling away after that until I went full atheist at about 25.
3) Pretty typical for a child brought up in eighties catholic Ireland.
4) See answer 2.
5) Acceptance, though my mother did want to hear my path of reasoning (she thought I had a good chain of logic). Got no pushback on my choice.
6) a) reading the bible, b) the first stirrings of the various sex abuse scandals and c) the final straw was watching the Channel 4 documentary on the Falling Man photo of 11/09/2001.  A family's vehement "no he wouldn't commit suicide, he was a good catholic man, he wouldn't disgrace god" on hearing their son may have been the person captured in the photo severed what lingering religious ties I had.
7) I'm an agnostic atheist in that I accept that there is insufficient evidence to say that a generic god doesn't exist.  Remember agnosticism is a knowledge position, atheism a belief lack of belief one.
8) Stupid question frankly.
9) No.
11) Not really, no.  There are philosophical systems which I find useful and good and some have been hijacked by religions, but religions themselves are not good.
13) Definitely leaning heavily towards social democracy from both parents.
14) Sport, reading, music, games.

FTFY.

Got this definition of the net for agnostic bold mine: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.



Question: do you have a disbelief in Zeus, Odin, any other 'god(s)' other than a mental construct?
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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#21

Faith Before Atheism
Why do they define it as belief/disbelief when addressing someone's knowledge? Agnosticism refers to what one knows or doesn't know. It literally has nothing to do with belief or disbelief. It's in the etymology. Whatever site you got that from seems ill-informed about the words it purports to define.
On hiatus.
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#22

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?

catholicism.

Quote:How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?

Can't really recall. I stopped believing when I was about 14 if I recall correctly.

Quote:What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?

I did not thought much about it. Being catholic was simply way the things were.

Quote:What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?

There was no reaction.

Quote:What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?

Lack of even tiniest shred of evidence for existence of deity of any kind. However I started questioning things cause of striking immorality of christian deity not skepticism.

Quote:Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?

I did not choose atheism. As I started to read and acquiring some knowledge I simply stopped going through the motions of being believer.

Quote:Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?
  

No. Also in strictest sense I'm not so much a-theist as a-fideist (fideism being doctrine that put faith over reason). As a-fideist I think that faith is simply worthless and inferior to reason in everything.

Quote:Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 

No.

Quote:Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 

No. I find faith to be abhorrent and spirituality to be a meaningless word.

Quote:Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?

Provincial one. Parents never really talked about things that would let me discern their political leanings. Mother grew conservative in her old age though.

Quote:What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

History, reading and games.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#23

Faith Before Atheism
You reminded me of this quote by Ingersoll, Thump.  I too desire ONE FACT from the religitards.

Quote:“We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years.”

― Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods and Other Lectures


Alas, they have no facts to give......and in return, I have no fucks to give!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#24

Faith Before Atheism
(05-14-2024, 04:53 PM)Kathryn L Wrote: So, just kind of curious.  I wanted to learn more about fellow atheists and what it's like becoming an atheist or growing up an atheist.

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
What age were you when you became an atheist?
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
If so, which one and why?
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate? 
If so, what are they?
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?

Feel free to add anything else!

What was your faith/denomination/religious/spiritual upbringing before atheism?
None.
How long were you a part of this faith or denomination?
N/A
What were your opinions growing up within this faith or denomination?
N/A
What age were you when you became an atheist?
Always was, (having no specific religious thoughts) but began to realize it around 12 years old.
What was the reaction of others?  Did you receive or find support for your decisions or not?
Mom warned me not to tell my elder relatives, who were very catholic on her side of the family. My parents weren't bothered about it themselves.
What were the main reasons for why you became an atheist (like top three)?
I was a very fact-oriented child, parents were of mixed religious backgrounds, and I felt no family pressure to follow any belief.
Why did you choose atheism vs agnosticism or another religion?
Both are more similar than most people think. Both are a realization that there is no actual evidence for a deity. As an atheist, I probably hold the "no actual evidence" a bit more strongly.
Was there ever a time you considered yourself agnostic before becoming an atheist?  
I'm 74. My first thoughts about religion and deities at 12 is too far in the past. But I don't recall ever being "agnostic".
Did you try to believe in or practice another religion? 
I read several books comparing religions when I was a teen. I never saw much actual difference among them.
If so, which one and why?
N/A
Are there other forms of religion or spirituality you like an appreciate?
No. Actually, I don't even like basic philosophy.  
If so, what are they?
N/A
Did you come from a more conservative or more liberal household?
Difficult question. Growing up, I didn't really know much about my parents political views. Later (around 30?), I realized my Dad was quite conservative. Not that Mom was a "flaming liberal" either, but she admitted to me once that she didn't always vote the same way as Dad.
What were your interests growing up (math, science, art, dancing, etc)?
Many. There was no subject I didn't want to know more about. I read the family encyclopedia cover to cover. Even read the few college textbooks my parents kept. I had an open mind to science and did well enough at that in school. Took every "Introduction To" course in college. I was good at math until calculus. Majored in Govt&Politics and minored in history (mostly medieval Europe, but also worldwide, to understand how modern nations developed). Focused on the US Civil War and Medieval England as an interested amateur. Primary interests these days are Human evolution, mammalian predator evolution (love the miacids), archeology, and how the mind perceives and interprets the universe.

"Anything else"... Love complicated strategic board games, living alone, writing, thinking of things in detail, and gardening. Used to love bowling, golf, tennis, fishing and hunting. Can't do the 1st 3 anymore, and stopped the last two when I realized the pain it was causing.
Two paths diverged in the woods, and I managed to take both...
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#25

Faith Before Atheism
So, Kathryn, have you seen how these questions don't really hit, and more to the point, create an unrepresentative narrative of atheism?

You say you used to this, or used to that, before you became a christian. No one is going to believe that. You're doing heavy lifting in the framing of these posts that suggest you have always been a fundy asshole.

Now, that may not actually be true, but if so...think about it.....
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