Why I am an atheist – C. Earle

I was brought up with a sort of “good-stuff” version of Christianity: heaven, but no hell; Golden Rule, but no rules about homosexuality or masturbation; love, joy, and sweet treats at Christmas AND Easter, but no “original sin” or “he died for your sins.” My mom considered herself a Christian although she didn’t (and doesn’t) toe the line on almost any of Christianity’s teachings, and my dad considered himself an agnostic.

My dad leaned toward a more emphatic version of atheism when my little brother died of cancer while we kids were still in elementary school. Where some parents would turn more firmly to certainty of an afterlife when dealing with this sort of tragedy, I think my dad thought that my sweet little brother’s death was one more piece of evidence that prayer doesn’t work, good deeds buy you no consideration from the universe, and there is no God.

But he didn’t tell us kids that. Many, many people assured us that our little Stanley was up in heaven, with God and Jesus, and very happy. I had comforting dreams about him being up there.

Flash forward to me as a teenager. I was exposed to the hippie version of Jesus. You know, Jesus Christ, Superstar stuff. Jesus with long hair, long robe, and a lot of peace and kindness and acceptance no matter who or what you are. Still a good-stuff version of the religion—and very appealing. I didn’t want to be the kind of hippie that had rampant sex and took a ton drugs, so I became the kind of semi-hippie that sang Christian songs in huge groups of happy-hippy people. Big group hugs and acoustic guitars and circle folk dances and love and peace.

The next step was to actually learn something about the religion I’d adopted. Read the Bible. Find out about apologetics and church history.

At this point, having been a “Jesus freak” for almost two years, I was now in college, enrolled in The Bible As Literature, and part of a Bible study group that met every single night. There was so much appalling stuff in the Bible—I was shocked! Also, even though the kids in my group were really wonderful people, there was an appalling LACK of critical thinking when it came to the Bible and what they thought of as God’s voice (through the gifts of the spirit: prophecy and speaking in tongues and interpretation of such). I met my husband at these Bible study meetings—and we were the only two, often sitting opposite each other, saying, “That doesn’t make sense!” or “That’s a really rotten thing for Jesus to say!” We got together partly because of our shared shock about what Christianity was really all about, and we drifted away from the Christian group for the same reason.

I didn’t stop studying. The more I read about religion, including Christianity, the more I didn’t believe anything like that stuff. The more I turned away from Christianity and religion, the more I was interested in what science said about deep mysteries and complicated issues. It took a while for me to self-identify as an atheist—but really, about three quarters of the way through my freshman year of college, I became an atheist.

C. Earle
United States


  1. says

    The last time I had evangelicals at my door, I unfortunately did not have time to chat. However, when they said they were going around encouraging people to read the bible, I said, “I have read it. And that’s why I’m an atheist.”

  2. says

    Jesus Christ, Superstar stuff. Yes, I wore out the album set as a kid. Also Godspell and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
    Religion still sucked though.

  3. truthspeaker says

    “Liberal” Christians who don’t teach their kids about hell or the bad or difficult parts of the Bible really bug me. First, it’s dishonest. Second, their kids will eventually be exposed to it, and while some of them (like the author of this post) will respond by rejecting Christianity altogether, others will respond by embracing the doctrine of hell and all that other crap. I mean, their parents and Sunday school teachers told them Christianity was great and the Bible was a good source of moral wisdom, right? So when some other pastor teaches them about Jesus being the only way to God, about hell, and about the second coming, why shouldn’t they believe him? He’s a Christian, and all of that is in the Bible.

  4. concernedjoe says

    Excuses/reasons for believing in the god stuff are:

    * you are insane

    * you can parley it into money, a job, your desired squeeze, or the like

    * you are a dolt

    * you are lazy and never thought about it

    * you have a strong RWA innate personality that additively craves the certainty of religion dogmas and doctrines and the hierarchy it imposes on us and creatures and the environment

    * you culturally like the bennies of the group-think

    * you are coerced in profound way by your society/country

    * you calculate risk/benefit and conclude no upside to declaring being atheist

    * you cannot do without the warm fuzzies and want strongly to believe you believe

    Of course there is mixture and shading throughout. But I claim the last reason is predominate for most sane, free, modern educated people. This god stuff is the only fairytale and myth people can drown their sorrows and tribulations in without society chastising them.

    People do not really believe – not at the numbers claimed. If they did medical insurance companies, medical facilities, seat belt manufacturers, alcohol distillers , etc. would cease to exist. If you get my drift?

  5. biggusdickus says

    The new testament at least makes perfect sense, it just doesn’t mean anything like what the christers think it means. Really it’s a kind of puzzle, and the apparent contradictions can be reconciled by taking them at face value. There is not just one Jesus. That’s part of the joke: false messiahs are a dime a dozen. But they are granted by the authors the prophetic vision to foresee the coming of the ostensible true savior of the jews, Titus Flavius, who is obviously the person foreseen in the Son of Man prophecy. He does exactly what Jesus says will be done to Jerusalem and the temple, and exactly when predicted. Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee can be seen to be based on Titus’ military campaign there, crushing the rebellion in the First Jewish War ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Jewish%E2%80%93Roman_War ). This can be easily discerned by reading the gospels alongside the official history of that war written by Flavius Josephus, an adopted member of the imperial Flavian family that later invented Christianity in an attempt to supplant militant messianic Judaism.

    This is all noticed by Joseph Atwill and published in his book, Caesar’s Messiah, and now a documentary.