I realized I was an atheist

Sent in by L.S.

Some people think I'm lying when I tell them that I just woke up one morning and realized that I was an atheist, but that's what really happened.

My parents are Christian but they don't go to church. We stopped going to church when I was about 6 because they disagreed with how that particular church treated a family with 3 young daughters who couldn't always make it to Sunday worship. Because of the hypocrisy, they rejected the idea of organized religion but maintained their beliefs. They pray at dinner and do the whole Christmas thing and occasionally will talk about god, but they aren't zealots.

It was because of their attitude that I grew up thinking of god/Jesus as that distant relative that you know you're related to, people talk about and you're supposed to love them but you don't really know exactly why. God wasn't a being to me. God was an idea that I never really understood.

I was a really sheltered child. I (mostly) did what I was told, thought what I was supposed to think and had few friends who might have influenced me in negative ways. So I grew up as a christian. Not really because I understood what being a christian meant, but because my parents raised me that way.

When I was 15, I started realizing that I was missing something, something important, but I just couldn't figure out what. So I became extra religious - or tried to, rather. My best friend was/is a christian and she was the one who tried to answer my questions because I was afraid to go to my parents with them, fearing the forced bible studies and trips to church on Sundays. For about 6 months, I tried really hard to be a good christian. I prayed regularly, though I had no idea what I was doing, and even wrote a couple of religious poems. I wanted to believe. I really and truly wanted Christianity to be the answer to my problems, to make me a happy person again.

After 6 months, however, I still wasn't happy. I wasn't fulfilled in what I was supposed to believe.

And then, one morning I woke up, and realized that I didn't believe it, any of it. I realized I'd NEVER believed any of it.

The relief I felt upon this realization was immense. It was like shrugging off years and years of repression and guilt. I felt lighter. I felt free. Most of all, I felt happy.

I hid my atheism from my parents until I became an adult. While I know that organized religion isn't important to them, having their kids be christian is, and I knew what would happen if they knew I had rejected that belief and all subsequent religious beliefs as well. When I finally told them, at age 18, they were saddened and disappointed but also believed that it was nothing but a phase. It's been 10 years now and nothing has changed as far as my atheism.

My oldest sister is now what she considers a Pagan and that two of 3 daughters are not christian is a major disappointment to them. My mother has admitted that she feels she is a failure as a parent because we are not christian. I told her that she should feel pride that we are all individually unique, that we were taught to use the brains we were born with, and that we each found a belief, or lack thereof, that we are happy with instead of lying to ourselves and being miserable with.

10 years ago, I was struggling with trying to figure out what I believed. Once I became an atheist, my life became better. I've never been happier.

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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always appreciate a candid admission.

You are not an "ex" Christian, obviously, since you "never believed any of it", so I don't see how your anecdotal information is really relevant to this supposedly "ex" Chrstian site.

Rick said...

Anonytroll : so I don't see how your anecdotal information is really relevant to this supposedly "ex" Chrstian site.

I think I see Troll droppings in the yard again ...

twincats said...

"I think I see Troll droppings in the yard again ..."

Right you are, I'll go get a plastic bag, and you man the hose in case it comes back.

eel_shepherd said...

L.S. wrote:
"...I prayed regularly, though I had no idea what I was doing, and even wrote a couple of religious poems. I wanted to believe..."

Someone should compile a book of all the devotional and doctrinal stuff that nonbelievers wrote while they were still Xtians. When the current crop of Xtians read the material, nodding their heads at how true it all is and how much the writers sound like themselves and how infused they all are with the holy spirit, and then realise that every single one of those writers no longer believes a word of what they had written, it might help them to see similar writings of current Xtians in their true light and for their true worth.

Canadian Infidel said...

I was pretty much the same way. For me it was while sitting in the gym of our Catholic school in Grade 6. I was looking at the chapel (which was separated from the gym by a currently open common wall) and thinking about Gawd. I actually thought something was wrong with me because I didn't believe. Thank you Christianity for all the confusion.

It wasn't until my University years when I acknowledged to myself that I was indeed an atheist.

Like you, my Mother took it hard but I explained it by saying I was on a different path. She seemed to accept that. She still tries to bring me "back to the light" and I accept that. She's got her thing and I've got mine.

Thanks for sharing,

Derrick.

skyeyes said...

I had to laugh when you said your parents thing your atheism is just a phase you're going through. I'm 57, and my devoutly christian mom was 82 when she died and *still* thought my atheism was "just a rebellious phase."

Some folks can't deal with the truth, I guess.

AtheistToothFairy said...

L.S. said:
"My mother has admitted that she feels she is a failure as a parent because we are not christian"
----
LS,
First off, ignore that hateful and anonymous trolls. They just love to try and scare off new folks.

Now about you and your Mom. I think it's a matter of perspective.

From your own perspective, god simply doesn't exist and the god-illusion stopped suddenly one day for you. For your Mom, it's just a fact that 'of course' god exists. To her, there is probably NO question about it and she never had a reason in her life to ever question this child-indoctrinated 'truth' of hers.

While you see it as a matter of this god going from a heavenly being, who you were assured existed, to one that just vanished from existence one day, your mom views things a bit differently.
From her side of things, you 'REJECTED HER GOD'--- PUSHED HIM AWAY, that she feels is reality.

I'm sure to your mom, it probably feels like you rejected not just this invisible god you were taught about, but actually were rejecting an important spiritual piece of what makes-up your mother. To see 2 of 3 of her grandchildren also rejecting this god of hers, only adds to how she takes this as a more personal rejection of her beliefs, and it's 'values' etc..

To christians like your Mom, it's not that we found good reasons to conclude this god can't exist, but that rather we made a decision to REJECT their 'real' god instead.
To such xtians (as we see here all the time), we are pushing god away from us, while they maintain that we still surely believe he exists in our hearts; somewhere. They can't comprehend that for most of us here, it wasn't a matter of pushing any god away from us, but realizing none of this god stuff made sense.

I'm also sure your mom is now worried that some of her progeny is doomed to eternity in hell. Besides her concern that all of you will suffer terribly, she also believes she is going to heaven, so when everyone's earthly existence had ended, she feels she will never see some of her progeny again.

Now if you put yourself in your mom's believing shoes here, is it any wonder she feels she has been a failure because she couldn't transfer her faith to the one's she loves.
You certainly are far from alone with this problem, as I sure many of us have loved one's that see us as lost-souls who willfully reject their truth of god and will suffer some destined horrid fate for doing so.

What your mom needs to understand is that you are not rejecting her god per se, but you require more tangible proof that her god really exists in order to believe like she does.

Tell her that you can't feel her feelings, because her feelings are her own.
Then add, for you to believe in her god, she would need to show you valid reasons for such a god to exists.
If she is the type to try and find reasons to prove her belief in god, it will give her some internal hope (albeit false hope) that one day she might sway you and yours.

Who knows, in such discussions with her, you probably won't shake her faith in god, but it might show her that you do have solid reasons to not believe in her god and that you didn't reject her god in order to spite her etc..


Best of luck to you !!!!!!


AtheistToothFairy

Bill said...

"And then, one morning I woke up, and realized that I didn't believe it, any of it. I realized I'd NEVER believed any of it.

The relief I felt upon this realization was immense. It was like shrugging off years and years of repression and guilt. I felt lighter. I felt free. Most of all, I felt happy."

Your story is in a sense my story. God damn I tried so hard to find God and become a Christian, but it just never took. I guess deep down inside I have always been an atheist. I remember the moment when I was in our breakroom at work on my lunch hour. I was alone on my laptop checking out atheist sites. When I read my first good article refuting religion I said to myself, "It's really is all bullshit !!!!!" It was a magical moment. I've been free for about a year and a half now.

xrayman

Chucky Jesus said...

Plenty of "Christians" give lip service to the idea that they believe in all the Xian nonsense. Some of them later admit they had doubts and never really believed it; some carry their doubts to their grave. Troll, please don't equivocate and try to claim that the poster was "never a Christian." Of course she was; to be Christian means to lie -- to yourself and to others about what you believe. Really believing in God/Jesus, etc, is like really believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Chucky Jesus wrote:
"Really believing in God/Jesus, etc, is like really believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny"

WHEW Chucky, for a second there I thought you were going to say the ummmm "Tooth Fairy" wasn't real to, and I would have instantly popped right out existence.

Heck, I'm already lonely without Santa and the bunny. I would miss me a whole lot more [grin}

AtheistToothFairy

Dave8 said...

L.S. thanks for your article, It's refreshing to know that there continues to be people who are strong enough to find their own identity by molting from the pre-fab patent-identity given by parents, society, etc. Even the butterfly has to leave the cacoon in order to fly :-) Congratulations on taking control of your life and identity!

Dave, not the WM said...

When I was 16, I also woke up one morning an atheist, although I didn't get much sleep that night. I was at a church youth camp and something was bothering me the day before. I spent the night thinking about all the crap I was being fed at the church camp. Eventually it just dawned on me it was all BS. I got up the next morning relieved and free. It's such a great feeling to be free of guilt!

freethinker05 said...

Its been about 2 months ago now, since I told the group, that I was laying on my bed thinking, when this overwhelming feeling struck me, that there is no-way that any god,(if one exists) will put me nor anyone else in a burning hell, to be tortured throughout eternity. It took me about 48 years to wake up and all of a sudden realize it. So, I do believe people; No matter what age they may be, to all of a sudden snap-out of this silly idea. Peace, Roger...P.S. And the relieved feeling I had that day is still with me.

trancelation said...

To The Anonymous Buttplug:

If L.S. is not an "ex" Christian because he or she was unable to force him or herself to believe, that certainly makes the vast majority of Christians "non" Christians.

I've learned something about Christians in my time on this little blue orb that we call Earth: they don't believe it. They want to. But upon even remotely intense study of the religion, and encounters with the reality of human life, ALL Christians become faced with the truth. And that truth is that Christianity is bullshit. But they still want to believe it. It looks SOO good. It's like hoping that you won't get fat if you eat that cake, or that you won't catch the Clap because you slept with Suzie Whitmore after the Revival Barn Dance. That cake looks so tasty, and Suzie Whitmore's ass is just CALLING OUT to you. What could go wrong?

But then your fat ass gains weight, and then it burns when you pee. The same thing happens to Christians. Though of course the ordeal is much more traumatic than burning pee or thunder thighs. But people go on convincing themselves that they want to believe, and they shut their eyes nice and tight against the terrors of the night. It's all about hope, Anonymous Buttplug. Hope that they are more than the insignificant creatures they think they are because they won't take the time to ask the Big Questions and actually research them.

People want to know. They are afraid of not knowing. Yet Christianity is an organization which follows a book in which it is uttered SOMEWHERE in there that we should accept what we cannot change. Like the hypocrites they are, Christians do not want to believe this micrscopic bit of wisdom locked away in the tome of contradictions and mastubatory fantasies that is the Wholly Babble. Because acceptance is just SOO hard, and that cake is SOO tasty.

So, Anonymous Buttplug, L.S. is no different than any other person proclaiming themselves to be a Christian. L.S. is merely TRUTHFUL about it. And being this way has brought L.S. the one thing that Christianity promised but could never deliver: happiness.

To L.S.:

It took me a long time to face up to what I knew was real. I did not believe in a supreme being that made the universe. I could not bring myself to terms with that, and so I towed the spirituality line for a long time, as well. But the simple fact is that there are things that we do not know. Filling in the blanks with easy answers is unacceptable, so it's awesome to hear your ex-timony. Welcome to the club!

Bob said...

I can identify with this post as I now wonder how deep my beliefs were, even as a 'believer'. I think I always felt that religion had no basis in fact but what's a child to do?
Once, while talking to my elderly mother, she said "You're an atheist, arent you?" I replied that I was and for a long time, as well. She then said: "WELL! DON'T TELL ANYONE!" Clearly being an atheist was OK as long as the social aspects were confined. This is my 56th year of free atheism out of 73 total years.

Anonymous said...

Trancelation, you are quite correct.

Many people fronting as Christians DON'T believe it.

They are not Christians at all. The are what the NT calls hypocrites, and the church is full of them.

That is why much of what is ostensibly done in the name of Christianity that is so horrendous is not done by Christians at all.

It is done by people who don't believe it, and never did.

Glad to see you admit it.

Anonymous said...

Bu the way, the original post is quite interesting.

In a way, my own experience is the same.

Except in reverse.

One day I woke up and realized that I couldn't believe that all existence, life, mind and reason itself was a product of mindless forces.

I know that is what I am expected to regurgitate in school, but I can't believe it.

No matter how much I force myself, or am forced.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Anon said:
"One day I woke up and realized that I couldn't believe that all existence, life, mind and reason itself was a product of mindless forces."
--
Anon,

Ever see a snowflake close up?
Notice how complex it is !!
Pretty darn complex when you look at all the unique patterns in it.

Do you think god makes each and every one of them?

Just one of many examples that prove complex looking things can be made totally by nature alone.


AtheistToothFairy

Thackerie said...

Anonymous: "One day I woke up and realized that I couldn't believe that all existence, life, mind and reason itself was a product of mindless forces."

Maybe you're right. SO, how do you make the leap from that to believing that the creative-force-with-a-mind is the god described in the christian bible?

Dave8 said...

Anonymouse: "They are not Christians at all. The are what the NT calls hypocrites, and the church is full of them."

Between the OT and NT, every Christian is a hypocrite, since each testament offers an oppositional view in many aspects.

By the way, being a Christian is based on belief; meaning, it is a political, social, communal, etc., assembly of people without the benefit of knowledge or reason.

Any Christian claiming to "know" God, does more than present themself as a hypocrite; they stand proud as either ignorant or liar.

I "know" for a fact, I have yet to be given evidence for a God by any Christian. Therefore, I am a knowledge bound atheist. My position is not dependent on another person and thus, not a cause, it's the product of personal intellectual integrity.

Now, Christianity does not hold knowledge that can be given to others; it's why it's called a "belief" system based on "faith" or trust one gives to their information provider.

Now, obviously, without well-reasoned knowledge, Christians attempt to seek/pose other benefits that make the religion relevant; polotical, social, communal, moral/ethical, etc.

The fallacy of course, is that any political, social, moral/ethical, etc., cause they would present can only end-up conflicted, because there is no consistent knowledge base for those to build on.

The reason there are so many diverse religious views with Christianity to begin with, is due in great part by the lack of knowledge possessed within the religious doctrine. Sure, there is a lot of information, most of it conflicted, or metaphorical, but not much that can be "known" or corroborated. This obviously leaves the entire religion in a position of moral relativity, based on total subjectivity.

There can never be a True (non-conflicted/rational) Christian, until Christianity finds a way to base its claims on knowledge; and that hasn't happened for a few thousand years.

In short, each Christian can be seen as hypocritical not only to anyone who basis their philosophy of life on knowledge, but hypocritical to other Christians as well. So, don't point the finger at the individual and claim it is "their" fault for being a hypocrite; by accepting the title Christian, they by default become a hypocrite to someone within the Christian domain itself, as well as those outside Christianity.

trancelation said...

To Anonymous Buttplug 2:

Zzzz. Please. Spare me. You think you're being clever, or coy, or witty, but in fact you're just being typical.

Anyone who truly believes in something does not revert to tactics such as name-calling, finger-pointing or word-twisting in their attempts to make their argument have any credibility. In your post, you used ALL THREE of these tactics, and thusly it has been made clear to me that you not only do not believe in Christianity, but by these very facts alone you must be a Christian.

Before you go off and accuse ME of calling you names, just remember that I called you a name AND succeeded in making my point. I think that evens things out a lilttle bit.

So, seeing as how we have established that YOU do not believe in Christianity, and are therefore like ALL Christians, let me move on to something else:

"One day I woke up and realized that I couldn't believe that all existence, life, mind and reason itself was a product of mindless forces."

Christians love to claim that the world is too complex to have come from "nothing". They love giving examples like the human eye, or the human hand, or any other number of human parts (thusly making themselves feel warm and fuzzy and oh-so-special inside). They then claim that these complex things, like a painting or a mechanical device, need a creator. This raises the problem of: who made the creator? Christians immediately follow with the claim that God has always been, and always will be, because the Bible says so.

This is illogical. It is illogical because while Christians claim that complex things need a creator, they claim that the most complex thing of all (God) does not need a creator; that God just IS. Again, this is illogical. If the most complex thing ever (God) does not need to be created, and just IS, why, then, can't things that are infintisemally LESS complex "JUST BE"?

The Christians' reply? "Because."

Because they are afraid of admitting that they don't know.

Because they are afraid of facing the truth.

Because they want to believe.

Because they want to feel special.

Because thinking is hard.

You see, Anonymous Buttplug 2, you cannot offer any real reason as to why the universe HAS to have a creator, or any evidence that there is such a thing. You WANT to believe there is, for the reasons listed above, but the fact is that you, like all Christians, DON'T.

So please. Just stop before I gag.

freethinker05 said...

To all the christians who post comments anonymously, thats a grand idea Trans. buttplug 1,2,3, etc. etc; LMAO, Roger, A/A

trancelation said...

freethinker:

And it would be nigh impossible to confuse them; they post once and never return.

AtheistToothFairy said...

trancelation wrote:
"And it would be nigh impossible to confuse them; they post once and never return"
---
Trancelation,

While I've only been around a couple months on this blog, the one pattern I keep seeing over and over again, is the one you site here.

Now I can understand the trolls antics, for they only wish only to stir-the-pot, but what about the one-timers (usually anon's) who SEEM to want an honest reply to their remarks, but then vanish into thin-air (thin-air being evidently, the sky abode of god).

Perhaps these one-time-xtian-posters think they have the magic key that will change our hearts and gain them an extra special (padded?) room in their heaven.
Perhaps somewhere in the bible it states that for every soul you convert, you get one extra fluffy cloud to lay upon, while playing your harp to winged angels.
It would be beneficial if some how we could know that our posts to these one-timers were doing any good or not. Oh well.

I can't say for sure, but it seems that most of the new 'members' we see come in with their letters and testimonies etc., hadn't been the type to post here, but were instead actively reading the site, usually for quite some time.
So while it doesn't seem we do any good towards these one-timers who then vanish, perhaps those who lurk are the one's we really affect eventually with our thoughts?


AtheistToothFairy

trancelation said...

ToothFairy:

I, too, lingered and lurked for a long while before posting to the site in any way, shape or form. And I still haven't even posted my ex-timony. and I have to garee with you. The hit-and-runners, even those who post a few times in the name of their Invisible Man In The Sky, will get nothing from this site, because they glean throughbthe information looking for something they can take out of context and stir the pot. Like Anonymous Buttplug 2. Even after my thorough handing of his own ass to him, he will have no intention of reflecting seriously on what I said. He will probably never be back.

But for the people who linger and lurk, well, I think they learn something, because they are truly observing our experiences from a distance. They need not speak up if they do not want; having been there, I can appreciate the anonimity of simply reading the site and appreciating what it has to say.

liniasmax said...

Ditto on the thoughts by trancelation and ToothFairy - I have lingered for months, soaking it in, using it as therapy - and feel 'bout ready to post something substantial. But just posting a comment has been a major step for me - and I used to be one to not let someone get his/her opinion out before I already had my "better" opinion formulated and back at'm. At 43 I have much to learn in this new journey...The first one is how to listen and wonder as I wander...

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