sent in by Clay
So my name is Clay, and I'm 19 years old. I go to the University of Washington in Seattle. It's nice.
Although I have moved to different areas my whole life, I don't actually remember going to church until I was about 7, right when we moved to a suburb outside of Dallas, Texas. My Dad was raised Catholic and my Mother Methodist, and it just seemed normal that I went to church with my family every Sunday. I went to sunday school, then the church service, and when I was old enough, the youth group. I was never big on religion and was definitely not big on going to church, but I just thought I had to believe in God and that was it, that's all religion was; I was never a hardcore Christian or anything like that.
When I was 13 we moved to The Netherlands. It was a little surprising that my Mother didn't search out a church for us to attend, but I didn't give it much thought and just continued on with business as usual. I would later find out why she didn't...
The Netherlands is not particulary religious, at least not in the Christian faith (they have many immigrants who are Muslims, Buddhists, etc.). In fact, only the older generations still go to church, and much of the country considers themselves not religious at all. I think it was a combination of not being around christians and the christian faith (what? Christians in Texas? Noooo) that allowed me to step back and think of things for myself without any influences. And believe me, there were no influences at all, because I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying!
Within the first few months of moving overseas I remember sitting in my room and it just hitting me that I didn't believe in the christian God, and not only the christian God, but any God. It didn't make any sense to me. I believe religion in general was a way to explain the world and answer questions like why we are here, how did we get here, etc., before there was any scientific evidence to prove otherwise. It's annoying to hear this talk from christians about "don't you feel your life is pointless then?" and "what do you have to live for?", like I can't appreciate the fact that I am alive and live a great life and love and accept everyone, make lifelong friendhips and have a completely fulfilling life.
Up until a few years ago I didn't know what my family's religious were anymore, since we hadn't been to church in several years. I feel I have been priviledged to be able to travel the world, hear other people's points of view, learn their cultures, and formulate my own ideas and thoughts based on my experiences. I feel I have been able to be shown what's outside "the box" that I think many Americans live in. Not only am I an atheist now, but in some ways I am anti-christian. The Bible has some good teachings on how to live your life, but there are a surprising number of teachings that I feel are downright unhealthy and harmful and are the reason of many intolerances and discriminations we see in our society, such as the anti-gay and sexist teachings the Bible preaches. Not all christians follow the Biblical teachings literally, but many do, and base their beliefs against things like homosexuality solely on what the Bible tells them.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my entire family does not believe in Gods or God of any kind. My Mother started doubting her faith right before we left Texas, and realized her newfound beliefs right before we moved. This was why we didn't attend church when we arrived in The Netherlands.
I've been an atheist for 6 years now, and don't see myself ever changing that. I have a lot of fun reading all of your comments and postings, keep it up. Thanks for reading=)
How old were you when you became a christian? Very young
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 12-13
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Christian, Methodist
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist
Why did you become a christian? It was just part of my upbringing and I thought it was natural and everyone did it.
Why did you de-convert? I thought about it for myself and used rational and logical reasoning.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)