Sent in by Bob
Growing up I went to church every once in a while. I even went to two different Christian schools in between public schools. My Mother was not a big church-goer but she thought it did good for us kids to believe. In my early teens I was surprised to hear her confess to me that she was an atheist.
I was a gullible sort all around in that I believed a lot of other nonsense as well in my youth all the way up to short of a few years ago. I was an avid UFO buff and strong believer in just about anything supernatural in mainstream media. When I was 20, a lot of my friends started getting saved and having bible studies.
We were all musicians, and one in particular was a really good song writer. He wrote a song that was so moving it gave me chills about the torments that Jesus went through.
From hanging out at these bible studies and going to Christian concerts, it wasn't long before I was one of them. I found many contradictions along the way... I, like someone else mentioned in here, laid hands on people in circle jerks of prayer and spoke in tongues. Someone asked someone on here if they were insane because they had spoken in tongues. Honestly you don't have to be insane. You're in a circle of believers and someone says you are getting baptized in the holy spirit and you've heard others speak in tongues, and there's an expectation to live up to. So you start speaking nonsense... then you start doing it faster, and before you know it, you even believe that god is speaking through you.
When you already believe in a mighty being who popped out of nowhere and created everything it isn't hard to believe such things. Anyhow.. as time went on I was "tempted" to the point of going back to doing things the way I wanted. Over time I started becoming very bitter toward god. I went back and forth between believing in a god and not believing. Finally I settled on believing in god and not believing in Christianity. I was content with who I called "the god of Abraham" even though I didn't believe he existed.
I know now that I did still believe in him.
And a few years later I went back to Christianity. This time it was because of fear that I came back. I was afraid for my life at one point and prayed to god and felt comfort so what the heck might as well, huh. I went on again as a Christian.
Me and my fiancé who was also Christian, got married. She was very happy that I rededicated myself, etc. I believed stronger than I had in the past. I never went to church that whole time but maybe once. I believed in worshiping from home and with friends and family. after a couple of years I re-discovered an old passion: Astronomy. I started learning all I could about astronomy and soon found myself moving into new territory called Cosmology. The more I learned about our Universe, the more questions I had.
Eventually everything I believed in as a Christian collapsed under the weight of reality. It happened really slowly actually. and quietly. I didn't speak about it with my wife. I didn't speak about it with much of anyone. Eventually I told my wife that I wasn't sure how I felt about it. At this point I was sure I was not a Christian but I was not sure what to believe about god. Then seemingly out of nowhere my wife was talking about leaving me.
Come to find out she cheated on me. We ended up working things out and staying together. Long story and not really the point of this story. Anyhow I remember walking through a store thinking about my life and all the things that have happened and In an instant it hit me. There is nothing -- nothing at all beyond the physical reality we can sense and measure. Nature is all that is and has ever and will ever be. There is no fate.
Anyhow, I still didn't put make a complete decision until earlier this year when I realized by accident so to speak that I AM AN ATHEIST AND IT'S TIME FOR ME TO STOP PRETENDING I'M NOT.
So I told my wife.
That didn't go to well.
And then my mom passed away.
Hell of a time to be coming to terms with being an atheist. Anyhow, that's my story.
I continue to learn all I can in science and have learned to become a true critical thinker. The hardest part was coming to terms with the likelihood that this life is all there is. Once I finally learned to accept it, It felt like the world opened up for me. I think atheism has done more for me than any religion could ever hope to. I no longer have to look for the answer or feel conflicted by contradictions.
How old were you when you became a Christian? was raised as an Xtian and then became a Christian at age 20, around 22 I became an agnostic, and then went back to Christianity at 24
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? 26
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Baptist, Pentecostal, etc.
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist, Critical thinker, Human
Why did you become a Christian? grew up believing in the bible and felt moved to really show it.
Why did you de-convert? Critical thinking