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Question for the Atheists who were formerly Christians *Edited*, to include everyone

I am asking this in all seriousness, because I am genuinely interested in your responses. I'm not bashing anyone, or judging, just asking. When you made the decision to no longer believe in God, did that decision come all at once, I mean, did you just wake up one day and decide to be Atheist, or did the decision come over time, through your own studying? I will be honest, I have known Atheists in real life, I used to work with a girl who's family had always been Atheist. But, until I joined CM, I had never heard of Christians who had left the faith, and became Atheist, and I just want to understand what the motivation behind that was. Thanks in advance for your answers.

 

I wanted to edit to include everyone who doesn't believe in God, whether you did, never did, follow a different spiritual path, whatever your situation is. Thanks again, for all the interesting answers.

 
cbk_mom3

Asked by cbk_mom3 at 9:27 AM on Jan. 4, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 26 (29,046 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (38)
  • I was raised nominally Catholic, but it was always my choice. I knew from a very young age that the music was nice but the logic was pretty screwed up. I'd sit with my grandmother and listen to a sermon about being courteous, and then watch all the biddies of the church herd off to the bake sale after and start gossiping about the people who'd been sitting around them while trying to wait just long enough to grab the brownies that they'd knock the price down to get rid of them instead of paying full price.

    By HS, a lot of my friends started going to an "alternative" church that had it's own house band (80's Christian hair metal band, that is), and I saw even more hypocrisy and double standards.

    It was finally as an adult I found what worked for me, and once I did, it was so obvious, I really couldn't see what my family ever saw in church, aside from habit.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:27 PM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • It isn't a decision. If I could just decide to believe, I would. I don't like being a minority. Some do just realize suddenly that they no longer believe (such as myself).
    ashisamom

    Answer by ashisamom at 9:53 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • Like a wife who is being cheated on, I was blind to the signs that my beliefs were not true for many years. I finally started to wonder WHY my prayers were never answered, why I was so angry and unhappy if I was really doing the right thing in being a christian, and why I felt so empty if god was in my life. After about 22 years, I left the church (it had become an unpleasant chore by then) and went agnostic for 4 or 5 years. I figured if god REALLY wanted me, he could, at the least, give me a sign of his presence and of his supposed love for me. Then I gave up. I struggled for a couple of years, trying to shake off the insidious mind control exercised by the church, searching for something that would fit me better. Something that was real. So I suppose it was a long drawn out process. A lot of waiting for signs that never came. "The book your church doesn't want you to read." saved my life and gave me atheism.
    witchqueen

    Answer by witchqueen at 11:22 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • There is nothing to "decide", either you believe, or you do not. Simple as that. I have not believed in fairies, magic, unicorns, or any god since I was a very young child. I was forced to play lip service, and did so until such a time which I could make perfectly clear what I did, and did not believe.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 12:17 PM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • I don't think it's a decision. Did you decide to believe in God? Or did he, in your opinion, prove himself to you?
    BubbaLuva

    Answer by BubbaLuva at 9:53 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • I'm going to answer this, even though I'm a Pantheist, because Pantheism is closer to atheism than it is to what most people think of as theism. I'm also a former Christian. I was raised as a Presbyterian, and attended church and Sunday school regularly until around age 12. I only attended occasionally after that—mostly to keep my mom company or if a friend invited me to their church. The short answer to your question is that it was gradual, but it's hard to explain. I don't really think my beliefs are different than they were when I was a teenager (as a very young child I probably just accepted whatever but questioned things pretty early), so it was a gradual discovery of what I already was.

    cont'd
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 9:58 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • I started exploring Buddhist philosophies, and found most of it makes sense to me. It's kind of like eastern psychology in a way, but to many it's more than that. In recent years, I discovered Pantheism, or more specifically Scientific Pantheism which is a fairly new idea, even though Pantheism itself is probably older than any religions. It was like discovering a name for something I've always been. So, Pantheism is how I view the concept of God and Buddhist practices, such as meditation and mindfulness, are how I deal with life.
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 9:59 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • After coming to the decision that there was no God, I felt peace like never before. I KNEW in my heart it was true. I did tons of research which only validated my non-belief. I have since learned to love, trust and have faith in myself, have never looked back and I've never been happier...
    IhartU

    Answer by IhartU at 11:34 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • I just want to check and see if you want answers from atheists who were raised christian but never really believed? Because that is where I fit in and so for me it was a gradual overtime thing to where I became true to myself and my own beliefs (which were strengthened through study and research) rather than believing because it was expected of me based on how I was raised. (My parents weren't strict but rather I'm speaking of the common aspect of your parents raise you as X so as a good child you should be X. No pressure from my parents but more society and what was expected of me).
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:52 AM on Jan. 4, 2011

  • There weren't any bad Christians or major issues with the churches I attended that influenced my decision. I've never been anything but welcome in churches or among Christians (well until cafemom but I'll chalk it up to communication issues). And that still holds true today among my encounters in real life. My beliefs just grew and evolved and took me down a different path.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:00 PM on Jan. 4, 2011

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