Questions for former Christians

Questions for former Christians

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“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#1 Aug 18, 2011
Hello everyone I am a Christian myself and I was hoping those of you who are Atheists who are former Christians would be kind enough to share your story of how you decided to become an Atheist.

Let us please try to keep this civil, as much as I don't want to see "(&*% you fundie" I also don't want to see any Christians saying "your going to Hell" let's please keep this civil.
Amused

Lowell, MA

#2 Aug 19, 2011
Well, for me, there really was no bright line 'decision' as such. It was really a gradual erosion of belief, as I began thinking about things that I had learned by rote as a child. More and more, things I had been taught to believe just didn't add up. When I asked questions in Sunday School, the answers I got from the teachers were less and less satisfying, and didn't seem to address my questions, or amounted to not much more than 'you have to have faith'. In the 9th grade, I had a "history of science" class that focused on Copernicus, Galileo and the change from a geo-centric view of the world to a heliocentric view of the world. Seeing the church dogmatically defending things in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary was a real eye-opener. As time went on, I just could not reconcile what I saw was true with what was in the bible and what was preached in church. But the journey was one over time, and there really was no exact point I could point to and say, "That's when I became an atheist."

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#3 Aug 19, 2011
Amused wrote:
Well, for me, there really was no bright line 'decision' as such. It was really a gradual erosion of belief, as I began thinking about things that I had learned by rote as a child. More and more, things I had been taught to believe just didn't add up. When I asked questions in Sunday School, the answers I got from the teachers were less and less satisfying, and didn't seem to address my questions, or amounted to not much more than 'you have to have faith'. In the 9th grade, I had a "history of science" class that focused on Copernicus, Galileo and the change from a geo-centric view of the world to a heliocentric view of the world. Seeing the church dogmatically defending things in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary was a real eye-opener. As time went on, I just could not reconcile what I saw was true with what was in the bible and what was preached in church. But the journey was one over time, and there really was no exact point I could point to and say, "That's when I became an atheist."
Thank you for sharing friend
The Solipsist

Covent Garden, UK

#4 Aug 19, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
Hello everyone I am a Christian myself and I was hoping those of you who are Atheists who are former Christians would be kind enough to share your story of how you decided to become an Atheist.
Let us please try to keep this civil, as much as I don't want to see "(&*% you fundie" I also don't want to see any Christians saying "your going to Hell" let's please keep this civil.
Hi there,

I recently posted about this on another thread so I'll sum up what I wrote there (if that's OK):

I remember having doubts about the Bible at quite a young age (less than 6 years old, I think). It wasn't a particularly pleasant experience: I sincerely wished that I could be less skeptical and just accept what I was told, since at that age the mere possibility of eternal punishment was a pretty frightening thing.

Despite my efforts and prayers, though, my doubts remained. Over time I came to understand (or hope, perhaps) that if God exists and is truly perfect, then He understands and respects the doubts of skeptics - He made those minds, after all, and must surely be aware of a skeptic's need for a certain standard of evidence.

That was a significant stepping stone, since it took away the "fear-factor". I no longer felt that I needed to "fake faith", as it were. Then, as time went and I examined more of my beliefs, I found I had no evidential support for them. Now that I was free to be the skeptic I naturally am, those beliefs just naturally evaporated.

Nothing sudden, nothing dramatic.

Like I said to another poster, if God is real I think He wants me to be a skeptic rather than a worshipper, so I'm not going to argue.:-)

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#5 Aug 19, 2011
The Solipsist wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi there,
I recently posted about this on another thread so I'll sum up what I wrote there (if that's OK):
I remember having doubts about the Bible at quite a young age (less than 6 years old, I think). It wasn't a particularly pleasant experience: I sincerely wished that I could be less skeptical and just accept what I was told, since at that age the mere possibility of eternal punishment was a pretty frightening thing.
Despite my efforts and prayers, though, my doubts remained. Over time I came to understand (or hope, perhaps) that if God exists and is truly perfect, then He understands and respects the doubts of skeptics - He made those minds, after all, and must surely be aware of a skeptic's need for a certain standard of evidence.
That was a significant stepping stone, since it took away the "fear-factor". I no longer felt that I needed to "fake faith", as it were. Then, as time went and I examined more of my beliefs, I found I had no evidential support for them. Now that I was free to be the skeptic I naturally am, those beliefs just naturally evaporated.
Nothing sudden, nothing dramatic.
Like I said to another poster, if God is real I think He wants me to be a skeptic rather than a worshipper, so I'm not going to argue.:-)
Thank you for sharing Solipsist.

Since: Jul 11

San Diego, CA

#6 Aug 19, 2011
Around 15 years old.
The Solipsist

Covent Garden, UK

#7 Aug 19, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for sharing Solipsist.
It was my pleasure :-)
redneck

Cave Junction, OR

#8 Aug 20, 2011
I smell a sockpuppet.

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#9 Aug 20, 2011
redneck wrote:
I smell a sockpuppet.
What is a sockpuppet? Besides Lambchop...

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#10 Aug 20, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
Hello everyone I am a Christian myself and I was hoping those of you who are Atheists who are former Christians would be kind enough to share your story of how you decided to become an Atheist.
Let us please try to keep this civil, as much as I don't want to see "(&*% you fundie" I also don't want to see any Christians saying "your going to Hell" let's please keep this civil.
Okay. I can do civil-- so long as you continue to remain so.

For years, I just called myself an agnostic, thinking (falely) that it was a kind of 1/2 way between belief in god and belief in no god.

Silly me-- after speaking with hundreds of self-professed atheists, I realized none fit the "belief in no gods" category!

In fact? I could not find a single self-professed atheist who made such a statement or claim.

It was just recently, that I realized that all these years of myself saying I was an agnostic (meaning I had no belief/faith in gods) what I really was, was an atheist-- no faith.

But that's neither here nor there--

-- I lost my faith in Christianity by degrees, over a long period of time.

The first to go? Literalism in the bible. The bible cannot be taken literally-- it is too illogical for that to last. Too many inconsistencies and contradictions with actual reality.

So I became a bible-allegorical christian for many years.

But that paled, too-- when I realized that >>nobody<< was realizing the actual benefits of the bible's promises!

The bible is pretty clear on what a christian can expect, with regards to god's behavior-- but it never worked out as the bible states. Never. Ever.

That was another piece of faith, knocked out of my head-- I came to realize that >>none<< of the real-world-consequential promises in the bible were real. None. Not a single one.

And then I began to ask, if none of the real-world promises are real? What about the unreal-world ones? Such as the promise of eternal life and all that?

And as I studied the bible's history, and the history of the christian church? I realized that it was filled with atrocity after atrocity! All in the name of the christian god, too.

Not good.

Not good at all.

I realized that any god who is as demanding of exactitude as the bible describes, would never permit such things to happen in it's name! Never permit the soiling of the good name of the christian god, like all of history shows happened.

So how to explain this failure?

Either the christian god could not prevent such things, meaning he's not all-powerful, and therefore, not a god at all?

Or the christian god >>deliberately<< permitted this rampant evil to happen in it's name! And that is >>worse<<. Much, much worse.

And no-- the idea of an anti-god only makes it even worse that what I just outlined!

No genuinely caring and genuinely loving god would permit such as satan the free reign the bible states he has, over earth.

That would be tantamount to a parent, deliberately hiring a known pedophile, as a baby-sitter... when there are other choices that could be made!

No-- the satan character makes the bible's god into even more of a failure as a genuinely caring deity. It does not help at all.

In the final analysis? The very existence of the bible itself is the proof that there cannot be a god as described in it.

For no genuinely caring/loving deity would permit such as the bible to exist-- soiling it's good name like that.

If a god exists? The god has no interaction with humans at all-- and as such? There is little point in acknowledging such a hands-off deity.

For it is unlikely such a deity would suddenly go all "hands-on" when people die, if it acts so strictly hands-off while we are alive...

Obviously, no god at all is the simplest of all explanation for the rampant evil done in the name of the bible and other "holey" books....

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#11 Aug 20, 2011
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
Okay. I can do civil-- so long as you continue to remain so.
For years, I just called myself an agnostic, thinking (falely) that it was a kind of 1/2 way between belief in god and belief in no god.
Silly me-- after speaking with hundreds of self-professed atheists, I realized none fit the "belief in no gods" category!
In fact? I could not find a single self-professed atheist who made such a statement or claim.
It was just recently, that I realized that all these years of myself saying I was an agnostic (meaning I had no belief/faith in gods) what I really was, was an atheist-- no faith.
But that's neither here nor there--
-- I lost my faith in Christianity by degrees, over a long period of time.
The first to go? Literalism in the bible. The bible cannot be taken literally-- it is too illogical for that to last. Too many inconsistencies and contradictions with actual reality.
So I became a bible-allegorical christian for many years.
But that paled, too-- when I realized that >>nobody<< was realizing the actual benefits of the bible's promises!
The bible is pretty clear on what a christian can expect, with regards to god's behavior-- but it never worked out as the bible states. Never. Ever.
That was another piece of faith, knocked out of my head-- I came to realize that >>none<< of the real-world-consequential promises in the bible were real. None. Not a single one.
And then I began to ask, if none of the real-world promises are real? What about the unreal-world ones? Such as the promise of eternal life and all that?
And as I studied the bible's history, and the history of the christian church? I realized that it was filled with atrocity after atrocity! All in the name of the christian god, too.
Not good.
Not good at all.
I realized that any god who is as demanding of exactitude as the bible describes, would never permit such things to happen in it's name! Never permit the soiling of the good name of the christian god, like all of history shows happened.
So how to explain this failure?
Either the christian god could not prevent such things, meaning he's not all-powerful, and therefore, not a god at all?
Or the christian god >>deliberately<< permitted this rampant evil to happen in it's name! And that is >>worse<<. Much, much worse.
And no-- the idea of an anti-god only makes it even worse that what I just outlined!
No genuinely caring and genuinely loving god would permit such as satan the free reign the bible states he has, over earth.
That would be tantamount to a parent, deliberately hiring a known pedophile, as a baby-sitter... when there are other choices that could be made!
No-- the satan character makes the bible's god into even more of a failure as a genuinely caring deity. It does not help at all.
In the final analysis? The very existence of the bible itself is the proof that there cannot be a god as described in it.
For no genuinely caring/loving deity would permit such as the bible to exist-- soiling it's good name like that.
If a god exists? The god has no interaction with humans at all-- and as such? There is little point in acknowledging such a hands-off deity.
For it is unlikely such a deity would suddenly go all "hands-on" when people die, if it acts so strictly hands-off while we are alive...
Obviously, no god at all is the simplest of all explanation for the rampant evil done in the name of the bible and other "holey" books....
Thank you for sharing your story Bob.

I will certainly remain civil...my purpose here is to listen and not to judge. From a Christian perspective my question answered in this thread is "why do people lose faith?" and the only way I can learn this is by listening to others share their experiences. I am very grateful to all of you so far who have shared yours with me.

“Darwin died for your sins”

Since: Aug 08

Nunya

#12 Aug 20, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
Hello everyone I am a Christian myself and I was hoping those of you who are Atheists who are former Christians would be kind enough to share your story of how you decided to become an Atheist.
Let us please try to keep this civil, as much as I don't want to see "(&*% you fundie" I also don't want to see any Christians saying "your going to Hell" let's please keep this civil.
I was a christian till about 10 or 11. I began realizing that everything I was hearing in church totally went against what I was experiencing and learning about reality. I held onto the whole "higher power" thing till 9-11. That's when I really started learning about all religions and studying the works of atheist writers and philosophers. It wasn't a big leap like alot of theists tend to think. I, like the majority of atheists pondered for years about losing their faith.

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#13 Aug 20, 2011
madscot wrote:
<quoted text>
I was a christian till about 10 or 11. I began realizing that everything I was hearing in church totally went against what I was experiencing and learning about reality. I held onto the whole "higher power" thing till 9-11. That's when I really started learning about all religions and studying the works of atheist writers and philosophers. It wasn't a big leap like alot of theists tend to think. I, like the majority of atheists pondered for years about losing their faith.
Thank you for sharing your story.

“The eye has it...”

Since: May 09

Russell's Teapot

#14 Aug 21, 2011
I was born in 1962 Appalachia.

I was "born" Primitive Baptist, men folk in the right pews and women folk in the left pews. Families with kids in the middle pews.

Sermonsdeliveredinanonstoplitt any onlybroken byanothergaspofairbefore continuing,hah,If youhah, get whAT ,hah, I meeean,hah,all sspOken in the prESEnce of tha ALLLLMIIIGHTY LOOORRRDJESUSCHRIIIST whoDIIIED on that crRAWSSS,hah.*pulpit slap!* Deacons - "AMEN!", as Preacher Lee paused and mopped his brow. Trembling.

Every service dedicated a portion to sweaty, bent knee confessions of the unworthy lives they were leading. Some stood, stomping the pews, arms held high as they prayed...LOUD? My Granny would reach over and close my eyes, whispering...

"don't stare at em!"

But I saw her stare too. Just like me. Sometimes.

I really enjoyed the hymns. The men&women singing from opposite sides with alternating choruses and harmonies. Beautiful. Electric. Tribal.

Never did my innocence perceive this god thing. I was 5?

I did notice the Easter Bunny got my baskets at Eckerds Drugstore. I couldn't figure out how the clerk and the busy guy behind the tall counter remained so calm with this knowledge...mmm cherry cokes.

My parents migrated to Southern Baptist, which, friend, has a much more subdued, friendly god. He'll still burn your worthless, full of sin, god giveth and(trust in this) god taketh away, BEhind.

Pass the plate...friend.

Then just Baptist. You decide, but you must GO UNDER WATER. And you're safe. Occasionally walk up the center aisle and re-up on safety. A collection plate was at the pulpit for the re-up. And passed around every service.

The Easter Bunny has been proven fake. I was 7?

Santa ruled. It was so obvious.

I noticed Santa ordered his toys from many places. Mainly Sears, or Western Auto? Maybe Santa supplied them? The North Pole was the official version.

I wasn't sure.

My parents tried Methodist. Then Episcopalian and Lutheran faiths...Please follow the arrows in an orderly fashion, don't worry!, you WILL reach your destination. Where's your Jesus ticket? Gooood. They were more or less the same. Different robes and similar terms etc...Catholibaptist.

Falwell would roll if he saw Catholibaptist.

Around 12?, "!SANTA?", needed my help assembling my siblings toys. There were 4 boys now. Dad wasn't too mechanically inclined. I was. All toys worked that year. Flawlessly. My next brother even commented. I couldn't say a word.

Only one mysterious thing left to believe in...

We were Seventh Day Adventist now. They try to embrace {all} of the gods word.*Sorta*

They even have a prophet(they don't call her that). She endorsed the legitimacy of dogmatism and faith. Plus some additional hoops, because, the bible just isn't enough.

I went to Adventist schools, too.

In my religion courses, the beginning of each textbook stated there were no right or wrong answers. That sounded fair. So I asked questions, and gave my thoughts. Many times I was informed my answer or question was due to my misinterpretation? This became problematic in high school, when a more complex god was revealed, and my emerging mind was too.

I was expelled from the boarding school for "sin"(ironic comes to mind). I went back to public school.

A good education otherwise. I was behind in science, temporarily, but caught up.

Huh...

After all of the different (gods/faiths), each supported by the bible. I really looked into god. Who is god? Where is god? What does god want?. This god?. I looked at other gods. Religions. I really put time into it.

I pondered this throughout my time in the Army. Becoming agnostic.

I finished my service, at around 24-25. An adult now. I understood I was atheist. It took about ten years to say that to anyone.

I've not read many atheist writings. I've glossed over some, finding its what I'd already concluded. Just another minds expression.

I've read some Stenger. I like Stenger.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#15 Aug 21, 2011
I loved the way you wrote that scaritual.

Quite vivid, I was 'there' with you the whole way.

Truly enjoyed reading your story.

“Proverbs 12:16”

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#16 Aug 21, 2011
scaritual wrote:
I was born in 1962 Appalachia.
I was "born" Primitive Baptist, men folk in the right pews and women folk in the left pews. Families with kids in the middle pews.
Sermonsdeliveredinanonstoplitt any onlybroken byanothergaspofairbefore continuing,hah,If youhah, get whAT ,hah, I meeean,hah,all sspOken in the prESEnce of tha ALLLLMIIIGHTY LOOORRRDJESUSCHRIIIST whoDIIIED on that crRAWSSS,hah.*pulpit slap!* Deacons - "AMEN!", as Preacher Lee paused and mopped his brow. Trembling.
Every service dedicated a portion to sweaty, bent knee confessions of the unworthy lives they were leading. Some stood, stomping the pews, arms held high as they prayed...LOUD? My Granny would reach over and close my eyes, whispering...
"don't stare at em!"
But I saw her stare too. Just like me. Sometimes.
I really enjoyed the hymns. The men&women singing from opposite sides with alternating choruses and harmonies. Beautiful. Electric. Tribal.
Never did my innocence perceive this god thing. I was 5?
I did notice the Easter Bunny got my baskets at Eckerds Drugstore. I couldn't figure out how the clerk and the busy guy behind the tall counter remained so calm with this knowledge...mmm cherry cokes.
My parents migrated to Southern Baptist, which, friend, has a much more subdued, friendly god. He'll still burn your worthless, full of sin, god giveth and(trust in this) god taketh away, BEhind.
Pass the plate...friend.
Then just Baptist. You decide, but you must GO UNDER WATER. And you're safe. Occasionally walk up the center aisle and re-up on safety. A collection plate was at the pulpit for the re-up. And passed around every service.
The Easter Bunny has been proven fake. I was 7?
Santa ruled. It was so obvious.
I noticed Santa ordered his toys from many places. Mainly Sears, or Western Auto? Maybe Santa supplied them? The North Pole was the official version.
I wasn't sure.
My parents tried Methodist. Then Episcopalian and Lutheran faiths...Please follow the arrows in an orderly fashion, don't worry!, you WILL reach your destination. Where's your Jesus ticket? Gooood. They were more or less the same. Different robes and similar terms etc...Catholibaptist.
Falwell would roll if he saw Catholibaptist.
Around 12?, "!SANTA?", needed my help assembling my siblings toys. There were 4 boys now. Dad wasn't too mechanically inclined. I was. All toys worked that year. Flawlessly. My next brother even commented. I couldn't say a word.
Only one mysterious thing left to believe in...
We were Seventh Day Adventist now. They try to embrace {all} of the gods word.*Sorta*
They even have a prophet(they don't call her that). She endorsed the legitimacy of dogmatism and faith. Plus some additional hoops, because, the bible just isn't enough.
I went to Adventist schools, too.
In my religion courses, the beginning of each textbook stated there were no right or wrong answers. That sounded fair. So I asked questions, and gave my thoughts. Many times I was informed my answer or question was due to my misinterpretation? This became problematic in high school, when a more complex god was revealed, and my emerging mind was too.
I was expelled from the boarding school for "sin"(ironic comes to mind). I went back to public school.
A good education otherwise. I was behind in science, temporarily, but caught up.
Huh...
After all of the different (gods/faiths), each supported by the bible. I really looked into god. Who is god? Where is god? What does god want?. This god?. I looked at other gods. Religions. I really put time into it.
I pondered this throughout my time in the Army. Becoming agnostic.
I finished my service, at around 24-25. An adult now. I understood I was atheist. It took about ten years to say that to anyone.
I've not read many atheist writings. I've glossed over some, finding its what I'd already concluded. Just another minds expression.
I've read some Stenger. I like Stenger.
That was quite revealing, thank you for sharing your story.

“The eye has it...”

Since: May 09

Russell's Teapot

#18 Aug 21, 2011
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
I loved the way you wrote that scaritual.
Quite vivid, I was 'there' with you the whole way.
Truly enjoyed reading your story.
Thank you, Bob. I'm humbled.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#19 Aug 21, 2011
scaritual wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you, Bob. I'm humbled.
You ought to be proud-- you have a vivid way with words.

And you overcame a rather largish obstacle (religious indoctrination).

That's no small accomplishment.

“I see quantum effects”

Since: Jan 11

In the macro world.

#20 Aug 22, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
Hello everyone I am a Christian myself and I was hoping those of you who are Atheists who are former Christians would be kind enough to share your story of how you decided to become an Atheist.

Let us please try to keep this civil, as much as I don't want to see "(&*% you fundie" I also don't want to see any Christians saying "your going to Hell" let's please keep this civil.
Good topic.

I was born and raised catholic. Church every sunday, catechism classes once a week, confession every two weeks or so, followed by those disgusting wafers.

It was apparent early on that religion's answers to the types of questions I had were completely unsatisfactory. I was skeptical of miracles for as long as I can remember.

I found the answers in science books much more satisfying and fascinating.

I went along with the catholic protocol in silence until I got my license. Then I started going to "church" on my own.
nina

Surrey, Canada

#21 Aug 22, 2011
EMS Servant wrote:
<quoted text>
....my purpose here is to listen and not to judge. From a Christian perspective my question answered in this thread is "why do people lose faith?" ...
because what they were teaching in Sunday school was contradictory to what I learned in school.

education is a big reason why people give up faith, because when you learn about world history and other cultures, it becomes apparent that every human civilization has made up their own religion to reinforce their cultural values and to enforce behavioral norms.

we used to explain everything through religion, and now we have science to explain a lot about the natural world and how to be in it.

it's a simple thing really, we are on the verge of a global civilization and things that divide us, like religion, need to be put in the past

we need to uncover answers together - and science is the same no matter where you are on the globe

it comes down to will enough people want to have people be in charge or deities that divide us.

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