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can you help me out with an assignment?

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I have an assignment for a social & religious course that I'm taking and we are briefly discussing athetism this week.

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share how you came to become an atheist.  What led you to where you are today?  Secondly, what has been your experience with other religions, especially Christianity and Christians, and what has caused you to reject other religions, specifically Christianity?  What do you find unattractive about Christians, the Bible, etc?

I moved recently and don't have any friends here yet so I would really appreciate any answers you could give me.  If you would prefer to PM me or have me join the group that is fine too.  I plan to delete this post in a few days.

TIA!

by on Nov. 7, 2011 at 4:02 PM
Replies (11-19):
lilangilyn
by on Nov. 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

I became an atheist recently after being a long time Methodist. I now follow the Buddhist practice. It was a belief system that evolved after much reflection and study as well as discussion. I was brought up by Christian parents, though my dad was a very liberal Chrisitian in the sense that he taught us that the Bible was a book of allegories.

I realized I wasn't a Christian anymore when I got more peace of mind for thanking myself than thanking a god. I looked to myself as the source of everything that happens to me, good and bad. Works for me.

SWasson
by on Nov. 8, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I wasn't raised with any official religion, because my parents were both atheists. So, I've never had the experience of "rejecting" a religion.

Most of my experience with Christianity has been through going to Quaker school and summer camp. Since liberal Quakers aren't into Jesus, and many are atheists, the parts of Quakerism that get pushed are more like humanist philosophy than like a religion; equality, acceptance, and peace are the big things, and if what someone discovers through meditation conflicts with religious texts, that learned in meditation takes precedence, at least for the person who discovered it. 

So, imagine how bizarre most other forms of Christianity seemed to me when I first encountered them. Virgin birth?  Resurrection?  Revelations?  Angels and Satan? Literal interpretation of a book written by many people and edited by even more, often for political reasons?!?  I'd already read the Greek myths, and they made more sense to me as a way to explain that which people didn't understand at the time. The concept of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent deity makes less sense to me.

I have met some very nice Christians, some very awful ones (judgmental and full of hatred), and many who are somewhere in between. I frankly only socialize with the first and last group, and avoid the middle one. I also don't live in a part of the country where people talk about their religion much, so I am not inundated with invitations to churches or bible study groups, in fact, no one has EVER asked me (which I am quite happy about.)


FrogSalad
by Susie K-M on Nov. 8, 2011 at 4:13 PM

So that explains why Liberal Quakers are always at the top of my results list when I take the beliefnet quiz!!!  I've always wondered about that.

Quoting SWasson:

I wasn't raised with any official religion, because my parents were both atheists. So, I've never had the experience of "rejecting" a religion.

Most of my experience with Christianity has been through going to Quaker school and summer camp. Since liberal Quakers aren't into Jesus, and many are atheists, the parts of Quakerism that get pushed are more like humanist philosophy than like a religion; equality, acceptance, and peace are the big things, and if what someone discovers through meditation conflicts with religious texts, that learned in meditation takes precedence, at least for the person who discovered it. 

So, imagine how bizarre most other forms of Christianity seemed to me when I first encountered them. Virgin birth?  Resurrection?  Revelations?  Angels and Satan? Literal interpretation of a book written by many people and edited by even more, often for political reasons?!?  I'd already read the Greek myths, and they made more sense to me as a way to explain that which people didn't understand at the time. The concept of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent deity makes less sense to me.

I have met some very nice Christians, some very awful ones (judgmental and full of hatred), and many who are somewhere in between. I frankly only socialize with the first and last group, and avoid the middle one. I also don't live in a part of the country where people talk about their religion much, so I am not inundated with invitations to churches or bible study groups, in fact, no one has EVER asked me (which I am quite happy about.)




Mrs.Salz
by on Nov. 8, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Thanks!

Quoting lilangilyn:

I became an atheist recently after being a long time Methodist. I now follow the Buddhist practice. It was a belief system that evolved after much reflection and study as well as discussion. I was brought up by Christian parents, though my dad was a very liberal Chrisitian in the sense that he taught us that the Bible was a book of allegories.

I realized I wasn't a Christian anymore when I got more peace of mind for thanking myself than thanking a god. I looked to myself as the source of everything that happens to me, good and bad. Works for me.


Mrs.Salz
by on Nov. 8, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Thanks!

Quoting SWasson:


MyMyOhMy
by ImNotThatGod! on Nov. 10, 2011 at 9:52 PM

I noticed there weren't any gods. That's pretty much it.

LaHop
by on Nov. 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM

I was a Christian, but in high school, I started realizing that there were some holes in the Bible's stories and things that were blatantly wrong historically. My freshman year of college, I started researching the Bible myself... going back to the original language it was written in and translating the verses myself. This is where I realized that in the original Bible, Mary was a "young woman", not a "virgin", etc. Then, I read the entire Bible front to back for the first time and was horrfied. That is when I had to admit to myself that if this was true and this was "God", I couldn't stand him, much less would want to spend an eternity with him or anyone like him. What kind of "God" dedicates so much of his ONE book to the world to discussing stoning people, killing sprees, beating and keeping slaves, caring who sleeps with who, women not being equal, asking people to kill their children and then stopping them just to prove a point, and other riduculous things, but doesn't mention a thing about how to cure AIDS, or how to stop wars, etc?

Because churches don't teach science, I taught myself. Evolution has proof, God does not. Many things contributed to me becoming an atheist, but overall, it came down to the realization that I was a Christian because I was raised that way, not because I actually had ever looked at both sides and made my own decisions on the facts of each side. I reject Christianity because the book it is based on, in my opinion, is fictional, historically wrong, has no proof, and causes more harm than good (violence, extremism, arrogance, etc.). I don't dislike Christians, I just don't understand them. How can you preach "don't judge others", but tell homosexuals they are going to hell? I also don't understand their arrogance... What makes them believe that if there is a heaven, they are the only ones going? What makes their religion right and the others wrong?... Especially when most have never even read or researched the other religions. I also don't like the fact that so many Christians are so unaccepting of others.They cannot accept someone saying they are an atheist without either gasping in shock or trying to convert them. And they assume atheists are incomplete when in reality, I feel more complete now than I ever did as a Christian... Now, instead of praying that things will happen, I realize I am in control and take the necessary steps to handing things myself (which gets MUCH better results).

i.m.r.
by on Nov. 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I was Christian for most of my life. My mom didn't raise me in a specific sect, but has always had a strong faith in God so it transferred to me obviously. It was in highschool that I became less open to the idea of organized religion. I came to the obvious realization that I was pansexual (like bisexual, but able to love anyone regardless of gender etc.). At this point my step father was in the picture who is Lutheran. They went to a very small Lutheran church which treated it's members like family. We had gone a few times, but after one particular service I realized this definitely wasn't the religion for me. It seemed that homosexuals were not accepted and as I began to research other sects of Christianity soon came to the obvious conclusion that the majority of Christians would not accept me for who I was. I began, from there to question a God who would create a species that was so diverse, but not all it's diversities were accepted in the eyes of the Lord. I eventually became agnostic (with a strong Christian basis though).

I began to absolutely despise Catholicism. The anger I had towards the church was fierce. I felt that it was possibly one of the worst forms of organized religion. I grew to hate most organized religions from there. The constant hypocrisy of the bible, and the people was so apparent and abhorent I couldn't accept it. I could easily accept those believing in a higher power, but not those who decided to worship in a church/organized setting. It was even worse when my girlfriend at the time decided to be "saved" due to pressure by her family. It was a Florida baptist church and the youth pastor told her that her sexuality (she was lesbian) was wrong, and being saved would hopefully lead her in the right direction to becoming a good Christian again in the eyes of God. I couldn't understand why she would want to be a part of a church that thought her life choices were wrong and sinful. A church that on a daily basis told her she would burn for all eternity in the fiery depths of Hell. It was also commical to me to see the pastor's daughter run around dating other girls and having sex out of wedlock, but again, it seems the more oppressive a faith is the more their youth rebel against it.

Finally when I started dating my husband I began to give up the very notion of a god. I slowly let go of the idea that there was a omnicient being looking over us, or who had created our world. I gave into science and logical thinking, and have felt free ever since. Knowing that what I do in this world only really matters to me and those around me is liberating. Not having to fear the wrath of a diety in the end of days, knowing that as long as I'm a good person that's all that matters is a lot easier to live with. I find that Christianity specifically (not all sects, but many) seems to drive fear into their followers to follow their religion. If you don't believe, if you don't follow God's rules, he will turn his back on you, you will go to hell, etc. Demons, Satan, etc. it just seems that they constantly need to scare people into believing (again not always, but a lot of the time). Also this hatred towards LGBTQ individuals, and the pro life phenomenom just gets to me. It pierces my heart and hardens it. And of course the hypocrisy and contradictions in the bible are just too much to me. In one line they say one thing, in another the opposite. Different translations say different things, completely contradict the other, it's just too much. Plus if you believe in logic, critical thinking, believing the majority of the bible just doesn't make any sense. If Moses really did hear God speak to him then perhaps he was schizophrenic? Because in modern times if someone is hearing the voice of God then they probably have a mental illness... Again, just my viewpoint of course.

skir
by Member on Mar. 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I would strongly recommend watching "Religilous" its online free you see many reasons why most people leave the church.

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