sent in by Sandra G
A friend of mine posted here a while back and suggested that I do the same. From reading a lot of the testimonies it seems that people generally abandoned their beliefs for intellectual reasons. I think most religious people have questions or some doubts about their beliefs but most don't abandon their religions outright. The doubts co-exist with the desire to believe. I think leaving your faith usually takes more than doubts. I think there have to be other factors or events involved.
I'll explain my situation. My mother died when I was 11. People at our church really reached out to us. My father and I always got dinner invitations on Sundays (no close family lived nearby) and church members offered to care for me after school when my Dad was working. However, something just didn't seem right to me.
My best friend at that time was from an athiestic family. Of course, Dad didn't know that. My friend's mother was such a help to me during the difficult teenage years. Although those years are hard for everyone they're a little more difficult for a young woman being raised by a single, somewhat, puritanical father.
Anyway, I said something just did seem right to me when it came to the help offered by church members. They never seemed truly genuine to me and they were just a little too sickly sweet for my liking. I just never felt good when I was around them. I felt like a burden. It took a while for me to realise it but the main reason people were so nice was because they wanted to earn capital in their quest to get to heaven.
My friend's mother helped me not because she was trying to get to heaven, but because she genuinely cared. And I really felt her care and concern, like I was her second daughter. I have been completely turned off religion as a result. Doing good to others to gain heaven/avoid hell is really a form of exploitation. You are simply using others to get something for yourself. When I'm around nonbelievers or nonreligious people at least I can always know they are doing the right things for the right reason, and that I'm not some pawn in a quest to gain eternal life in heaven.
So, my reasons aren't intellectual. They're really based on feelings.