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Post Reply What made you start to disbelieve God's existence?
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Posted 1/23/16
I consider myself an agnostic theist. I choose to believe but I do not think that I have to be right, I may be wrong about it. I am not bothered by others believing in any given religion or deity, so long as they do not use that to control or harm others. This does place me at odds with many religious individuals, especially fundies. I have no problem with atheism and no desire to convert anyone by badgering them. I believe firmly that if one wishes to evangelize it should be through action (i.e. take care of social ills by feeding, clothing, sheltering those in need; being kind; not being a general asshat about one's supposed moral superiority or another's supposed moral inferiority based on dogmatic junk).

If something has been subjected to the scientific method and verified properly, I accept it. Science is good stuff and has worked much better than the nearly pure trial and error that preceded it. I think the Dalai Lama summed it up pretty well when he said, and I paraphrase, "If science contradicts claims in Buddhism we must accept the science and abandon those claims." While I am not a Buddhist, I think this wisdom should be taken to heart by any religious or spiritual person.
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Posted 1/23/16
Some atheists are refugees of a religious background and some were always atheists. I guess I kind of fall in between because I was raised in a mostly non-religious family. I think my parents called themselves Episcopalian or something at some point, I'm not even sure. This is one of the most liberal denominations there is. Anyway, the only time I went to church as a child was when I was visiting some of my more theistic-leaning family members. Well this made me curious about religion and church always seemed to be a friendly place, with nice people and really good food with the family gatherings. Somehow the ideas and stories they always told at church never stuck with me, they were only stories. There were lessons I got there about how to be nice to your fellow person and so on, but the God, Heaven and Hell stuff just all seemed too far-fetched for me. So I got the do-unto-others messages and all that stuff, just without all the hocus-pocus nonsense that went along with it.

I didn't really label myself an atheist though until much later in life. My inspiration about the idea of non-belief actually came mostly from self-described agnostics, not atheists. I don't label myself an agnostic atheist however because my philosophy is that atheism is something that is difficult to label oneself as with how successful religion is at promoting itself, finding adherents and propagating a certain animosity toward non-adherents. Therefore, there must be a reason, a causality to a person's non-belief, otherwise we'd all be theists. Humans are reasonable creatures for the most part, but to see reason sometimes we also need proof. I'm not saying there is proof of God's non-existence, but I do think whatever world view each of us comes up with, whether it be believer or not, is derived from things we observe, experience, learn and contemplate as we make our way through this short period of time called life.
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Posted 2/22/16
Growing up, my family didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on religion. Truth be told, they were more the partying type and were more focused on drugs and alcohol and such than to take their kids to church. But my dad was always fairly religious in a cool sort of way. He didn't judge anybody, didn't hold on to many of the more hateful aspects of christianity, but he did consider himself christian. I grew up believing what he did, basically, but I never thought very deeply about it. Didn't occur to me to question it or even to really care all that much.

Eventually, I met a girl (who went on to be my first major girlfriend) who considered herself atheist. By this point in my life, I'd lived with my grandfather a bit and he had me going to church every Wednesday, and though it didn't really get me thinking too deeply about anything, it caused me to hear fairly nasty things about atheists. I didn't have a completely clear idea of what it all entailed, so I asked the girl a bit about why she was atheist. She just gave a vague answer, but my question to her caused me to put a question to myself: why was I religious?

At that point, I couldn't find a good reason. I basically dropped christianity. It made me think about these issues more and more, and so I started going online and exploring a bit. Eventually, I formed a basis of logical that, to me, basically guaranteed the absence of god, or at the very least, ensured that no one religion was correct. So I became more of an "active" atheist.

That's basically the short of it, though it isn't necessarily short. I'm sure if I were to think on it more, there would be many more details.
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Posted 2/22/16

Schmooples wrote:

Growing up, my family didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on religion. Truth be told, they were more the partying type and were more focused on drugs and alcohol and such than to take their kids to church. But my dad was always fairly religious in a cool sort of way. He didn't judge anybody, didn't hold on to many of the more hateful aspects of christianity, but he did consider himself christian. I grew up believing what he did, basically, but I never thought very deeply about it. Didn't occur to me to question it or even to really care all that much.

Eventually, I met a girl (who went on to be my first major girlfriend) who considered herself atheist. By this point in my life, I'd lived with my grandfather a bit and he had me going to church every Wednesday, and though it didn't really get me thinking too deeply about anything, it caused me to hear fairly nasty things about atheists. I didn't have a completely clear idea of what it all entailed, so I asked the girl a bit about why she was atheist. She just gave a vague answer, but my question to her caused me to put a question to myself: why was I religious?

At that point, I couldn't find a good reason. I basically dropped christianity. It made me think about these issues more and more, and so I started going online and exploring a bit. Eventually, I formed a basis of logical that, to me, basically guaranteed the absence of god, or at the very least, ensured that no one religion was correct. So I became more of an "active" atheist.

That's basically the short of it, though it isn't necessarily short. I'm sure if I were to think on it more, there would be many more details.


I wish more people were like you!!! And had the ability to question their own beliefs without fear. Good on you!
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Posted 2/22/16

Reneker54 wrote:


Schmooples wrote:

Growing up, my family didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on religion. Truth be told, they were more the partying type and were more focused on drugs and alcohol and such than to take their kids to church. But my dad was always fairly religious in a cool sort of way. He didn't judge anybody, didn't hold on to many of the more hateful aspects of christianity, but he did consider himself christian. I grew up believing what he did, basically, but I never thought very deeply about it. Didn't occur to me to question it or even to really care all that much.

Eventually, I met a girl (who went on to be my first major girlfriend) who considered herself atheist. By this point in my life, I'd lived with my grandfather a bit and he had me going to church every Wednesday, and though it didn't really get me thinking too deeply about anything, it caused me to hear fairly nasty things about atheists. I didn't have a completely clear idea of what it all entailed, so I asked the girl a bit about why she was atheist. She just gave a vague answer, but my question to her caused me to put a question to myself: why was I religious?

At that point, I couldn't find a good reason. I basically dropped christianity. It made me think about these issues more and more, and so I started going online and exploring a bit. Eventually, I formed a basis of logical that, to me, basically guaranteed the absence of god, or at the very least, ensured that no one religion was correct. So I became more of an "active" atheist.

That's basically the short of it, though it isn't necessarily short. I'm sure if I were to think on it more, there would be many more details.


I wish more people were like you!!! And had the ability to question their own beliefs without fear. Good on you!


Well, we all basically went through it, right? Good on everyone here. :D

I think most people are capable of that sort of questioning and exploration, but I think society tends to crush that sort of thing.

Children aren't afraid to ask question, this causing the infamous "why" stage when kids question everything. Adults tend to get really annoyed by this, and I think it leads to a culture where people are afraid to question or view questioning as a bad thing. And of course, compound that with the fact that many religions threaten disbelief with hell and suffering, and I think the issue is more with society than with people.
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