Why I am an atheist – Joel

For most of my life – late teens until mid-30’s – I was an Evangelical Christian, and this wasn’t just a social identification for me. I really believed, I really loved Jesus. My freshman year of college I went to a little Bible college in Minnesota, and seriously considered becoming a pastor or missionary (fortunately in the end I decided to pursue engineering). Over the years I attended various churches within the evangelical/Pentecostal part of the Christian spectrum – Assemblies of God, Vineyard Christian Fellowships, occasionally Baptist or independent churches – but always places that took the Bible seriously and believed that Jesus should be the #1 priority in a believer’s life. At various times I led youth groups, attended men’s fellowship groups, went to prayer meetings, and volunteered for various special events. I tithed. I hosted missionaries in my home when they visited our church on fundraising trips. And, I’m now ashamed to say, for a couple years in the late 90’s I helped run a pray-the-gay-away program that was sponsored by my church. My churches were for most of that time the center of my social and personal life.

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Why I am an atheist – CuervodeCuero

I was born rural, poor and white in western Canada, a region soaked in Christianity in all its rainbow of heresies and home to one wannabee theocracy that ruled a province for some years. Prairie communities might have churches as half the buildings in town. Because the populations were/are sparse, the community villages and towns can’t isolate parts. People have to interact, intersect marriages happen.

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Why I am an atheist – MD

I had been an atheist for over a decade but hadn’t realized it. It took a child to make me see that. My own child. He asked me one day why I didn’t go to church like others in our family. All these reasons flew through my head in a matter of seconds, but they all boiled down to one. “Because I don’t believe in it,” I answered him. “Me neither,” he said.

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Why I am an atheist – Steve

It’s probably a sign that you’re doomed to be a heathen when your initial conception of God was not the Gandalf-looking dude from the “Creation of Adam”, but the Fairy Godmother from “Cinderella.” It was easy for me as a child to buy into fictional characters being real. The brief time that I did go to church, and claim to feel something there like angels in the rafters or whatever, was also at about the same time that I was looking for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in sewer grates. Yep, The Almighty, and four mutated terrapins named after renaissance artists were equally plausible to me.

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Why I am an atheist – Garry J. VanGelderen

Let me digress just a little right up front……I do not like the word “Atheist” as it sounds so negative. I have considered words like “Naturalist”, “Naturist”, Universalist”  but these have all been appropriated by other groups for other reasons. I certainly do not like the word “Bright”, advocated by some atheists, as I really don’t think I am that bright most of the time. A more positive sounding epithet is still looked for and I would welcome suggestions.

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Why I am an atheist – j.

My story begins at a very young age.  In my earliest memories my family, and in particular my father, were very religious.  I was initially raised in the Lutheran church. It seems now that the Lutheran church we attended was really quite vanilla and innocuous. However, when I was 12 the church’s new youth minister had an idea: Christian Youth Camp. Mom and Dad ponied up the nominal fee and I was sent to a christian bible camp for two weeks in the summer. All my friends went. Heck, we jumped at the opportunity. It was a chance to get out of town and be preteens away from our parents and bond as budding adults.. It was something different for kids my age stuck in a small industrial town of northern Iowa in the stagnant early 70’s . Every kid that went to Trinity Lutheran Church looked forward to this excursion. For two weeks we were sent to a rural setting that for the most part, looking back, resembled a military boot camp. Cabins, mess hall, summertime activities, a canteen (yes, they called it that) and “counselors” for each cabin of 6 attendees. Every morning there was a revelry, breakfast, bible study and then you were left to your own devices (supervised of course) until lunch. Then more bible study and then you were again left to entertain yourself with canoeing, swimming, volleyball etc. etc until dinner, followed by another hour of bible study and then were freed to explore the woods, go to the canteen for a snack,  or nap if you cared to. At nightfall , however, the nefariousness began. We would all be called to a large hill next to an A-frame chapel. A massive bonfire would be constructed and the proselytizing would intensify. Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on here was a well orchestrated manipulation of young minds. The glowing fire, the singing, mass recital of prayer…… preteen and teen boys and girls, hormones…… very powerful stuff. Not to violate Godwin’s Law, but it was very much a nightly authoritarian rally. Flags flying, drums beating anon anon.  Being a child, it took…….. for about two weeks. Then it was back to being a preteen and summer baseball, eating apples from the neighborhood trees and generally coming home only when I was too tired to do anything else. Very, very bucolic.

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