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Reasons Why...
04-10-2010, 03:24 PM
Post: #1
Reasons Why...
I saw in another section of the Forum, General Religion i believe, that someone wanted to hear the stories of how people came to believe in their faith. I felt that my comment was not really suited for that particular thread because i posted the exact moment when i fell out of belief... So i started this thread...

When did you first become an Atheist? what caused or sparked your path away from religion?

The reason why i post this is because its always interesting to hear other people's stories about who they are,and how they got there... ill start it off...

"a few years ago i was a smoker and while i was at a friends house, ya know... hanging with the boys... i took a break from the action to relax with a smoke outside. Noticing i was out of cigs i asked one of the guys at the house, i didnt know him (first mistake), if i could use one of his. (he rolled his own which wasnt uncommon, us college kids were poor and found everyway possible to extend the life of a good cigbuzz) he provided and i stepped outside. i lit up and took my first drag... immediatly i noticed it wasn't just a cig and that something was wrong. i started to feel colors... thats right... i felt the color red, tasted it too, saw it all around me... i could smell it... the whole nine yards... it freaked me out, a lot... not only because i was experiencing this... but because im colorblind... and had no idea what red was prior to this night. i found out later that my cig was laced with LSD. ... oh yea, i quit smoking that night

i had never, and have never since used drugs... im serious about this... im even against using advil for headaches... my remedy is to drink water, and tons of it... anyway back to my story...

i guess when they found me i was praying... something i never really did, even when i considered myself christian... and i still, for the life of me cant figure out why i was praying... the best i can gather is that i was pleading with whoever might be up there to make it stop... idk

but i do remember feeling sick...

bottom line is ... that night changed my life... i realized the power of the mind, the power of earthly chemicals... and thats all i needed... it made me understand that we as humans have the uncanny ability to misinterpret crap that happens to us... we are afraid of things that we don't know... and even though we might think that we have everything figured out... we dont... not by a long shot. someone who may have had a different background could have interpreted that as divine intervention... i just see it as a small bit of insight from the natural order of things..."

The Todd
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04-11-2010, 11:43 AM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2010 11:58 AM by MerryAtheist.)
Post: #2
RE: Reasons Why...
That's quite a story, Todd (or do you prefer "The" for short?). Did you ever kick the [censored] of the fellow who slipped you the LSD without telling you? That was a dangerous and foolish prank on his part. If anyone ever did that to me, I'd be furious. Even though I'm not completely against drugs (I don't smoke, but I enjoy a little alcohol every so often, and though i don't - and won't - use it myself I believe marijuana should be legal), the choice to use recreational drugs should be left to the consenting individual and not forced upon him by trickery.

Here's my story:

It started with anger over the way my Catholic Church handled (or mishandled) the priest sex scandals.

My questioning the actions of the Church leadership, while alone not enough to make me lose faith, did prompt me to seek answers to other, more fundamental questions, like "Where does the authority of the Church come from and why did they fail so badly in this case?"

In my searching for answers, I did a LOT of reading and soul-searching, and I eventually came to believe that the Church was not, in fact, founded by Jesus. While this may not seem like a big deal (I am convinced one can have this view and still be a catholic), it was a big turning point for me because it showed me just how much of Catholicism I had accepted uncritically. After that "revelation", I began to question everything from the teaching authority of the Church, to major dogmas (Mary, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, etc.). My research wasn't based on just non-catholic sources, either, I read many catholic apologetical works along with the Catechism, and I believe I weighed all the information fairly before coming to the decision that, for me, Catholicism no longer made sense; it no longer had relevance for me.

Upon losing my faith in the Church, I began questioning my belief in Christianity using the same methods of researching both sides. Again, the result was a loss of faith in the Jesus story.

What followed was the inevitable examination of the question of God. Of course it all boiled down to the big question: Does God Exist? It took a lot of introspection, and quite a bit of research examining the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. The search through philosophy was inconclusive, as I didn’t consider myself sufficiently familiar with the arguments to say with certainty which side made the best case. I then considered as much objective, empirical knowledge as I could manage, and it was there that I found little support for the existence of anything beyond the known universe. Did that answer the question? Not really, but it did leave me with enough information to determine that, while I could not know with 100% certainty whether God exists or not, the fact that God, if he existed at all, was so well hidden, his interactions with humanity (answering prayers, miracles, etc.) were so well disguised so as to be indistinguishable from mere chance, and the universe seemed to appear just as it would if it had not been intentionally created, that it was just as if he didn’t exist at all. In the end, it seemed that God, if he indeed existed, had made himself irrelevant.

So, I had to ask myself, why do so many people believe?

Eventually, I came to understand that religious belief is usually inherited (not in the genetic sense, but rather in the sense of being handed down from parents and community).

Alternatively, I learned that many people have faith because of what they perceive as personal encounters with the Divine. Reason and logic and proof come into play as a means to describe and convey a sense of that experience to others. Because of this, it is impossible, in my view, to "prove" in an objective way that there is conscious existence beyond death; that the soul is real; and that God exists. One first needs faith to believe such things.

All the decisions to believe in God, Christ, the Church etc. must therefore be based on faith. I was forced to conclude that I no longer had that faith (if indeed I ever had it in the first place).

In that moment I knew I was an atheist.

I don't claim to "know" or even "believe" that God does not exist. I only claim to have no belief in his existence based on what I know and have learned about the world.

I do not regret leaving the Church, Jesus, and God. The world and the universe are subjects of great wonder and curiosity to me, far beyond what I ever felt towards my faith. And my brief life is even more precious to me now that I know it is the only one I'll ever have.

That's the short version of my apostasy.

Not selling anything.
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04-11-2010, 12:52 PM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2010 12:54 PM by Secular Hobbit.)
Post: #3
RE: Reasons Why...
I never even considered myself an atheist until I left England when I was 22 and came to this theocratic nation known as the United States of America. Growing up in England, God was as relevant to me as Zeus or Medusa or Wootan. People in England kind of went to church as a hobby, I never got the impression they REALLY believed in a sky fairy. I can remember thinking though, as young as 8 or 9 years of age, how ridiculous the Bible was; not for one moment did I ever consider it contained any truth about anything, and anyone in school whom revealed any form of religiosity was mocked for being 'weird.' So the bottom line is, where I am from, Liverpool, people live their lives very much as though God does not exist, which is exactly as you should expect for an entity lacking so much in evidence.

Then I came to America. WOW! This country is a Christian nation, there is no doubt about that. It hits you in the face as soon as you immerse yourself in the culture here. College kids pray! 20 year old males and females actually pray! My atheism, no my anti-theism, is a result of the pervasive, intrusive manner of religion and the religious of this country. I won't go into it in this thready, so back to the original post: I've never had a reason to believe in a God, there has never been evidence for God or a god, religion is the antithesis of inquiry, it is divisive, racist, childish, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, solipsistic, abusive, pernicious, ghastly, and childish. The question should be, why on earth would you ever want there to be a god? You should count your lucky stars no such thing exists.

We would be 1,500 years ahead if it hadn't been for the church dragging science back by its coattails and burning our best minds at the stake
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04-11-2010, 05:24 PM
Post: #4
RE: Reasons Why...
beleive it or not... i haven't seen him since. I would love to ask him why he did what he did. but in a weird way im glad it happened. It got me thinking about how the mind precieves what it "sees". One day, i might experiment with something that is safer but as for right now... i like my job, and i wanna keep it.

if you have time, check out this video. its Fear Factor's Joe Rogan talking DMT.

Merry, Hobbit... have you ever considered looking into far eastern religions? i did for a while and it made me a believer in Altruistic behavior rather than mindless worship and obediance.

The Todd

(Just Todd is good in my book)
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