Why I am an atheist – Emily

There was a point in my life that one could label me a Christian; that ended when I was around fifteen. I was always the questioning type, and after enough years of my inquiries being stifled, I swallowed the religion of my parents. Rebellious youth kicked in after a while, and no longer was it necessary to be silent with my questions. I found support in none other than my preacher, who had advised me that I should question everything, even my faith; little did he know what personal journey this mentoring would take me on.

From years fifteen to twenty, I must have tried every religion, cult, et cetera on for size. I read the Christian bible cover to cover, 1/3 of the Koran, large chunks of the Torah, multiple ‘sacred’ texts from obscure religions and cults, practiced witchcraft, and played with so many other ideas. After this flood of exposure to the faiths on Earth, it started to all become meaningless, so I headed to the library to steep myself in the philosophy of the ages. Thus, came a list so long of books over three years, it would blind you and break your back if taken in at once. By age twenty three, I considered myself an agnostic. My level of disbelief only strode so far across the bridge and paused from absolute fear; fear driven in since I was old enough to understand the English language. For nearly a year after these studies, I tried to think about nothing related to religion, and then simply couldn’t any more; I just couldn’t push away everything I’d learned from those books and from my own examinations of life, it was all very clear- and I announced to myself, that I am an atheist. For seven years, I withheld this information from close friends and family, and ‘came out’ October 10th, 2011. Why am I an atheist? I examined every detail about my life, existence, and read until the brainwashing washed away.



  1. says

    Seems you’ve really earned it, much more than many of us. I lucked out in that my parent’s particular strain of christianity is bizarrely abstract, and carries no threats or guilt, so it was much easier to just blow the whole thing off and engulf my childhood in science.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Loud says

    Quite refreshing to hear of a preacher encouraging questioning, and apt that you found atheism (eventually) as a result!

    Religion needs more preachers like that!

  3. TimKO,,.,, says

    Wow Emily, that was recent! Sounds like your searching prompted an erudite base that will serve you well.

  4. flapjack says

    I can relate to some of that… in my late teens and early 20s I started dabbling in alternative new-age beliefs after a dogmatic Christian upbringing. I think that’s the real reason Xtians don’t like the new-age circuit, not because they are a gateway to other cults but because they’re often a halfway house to no belief at all. Think of it like spiritual methodone for people having difficulty kicking the habit.
    Once I went through the looking glass and realised that the very stuff Xtians accuse other cults of doing is stuff they’ve done for centuries, looked at half a dozen comparative belief systems and witnessed the dogma and hate evangelists can muster when their dogma is threatened it made me re-evaluate everything I’d been spoonfed from the nursery onwards.
    For all their faults I can happily say new age woo made me the atheist I am today!

  5. says

    Follow the link, too: That’s Emily Dietle, her very good blog is EmilyHasBooks, and she was also a contributor to Maryam Namazie’s calendar. She didn’t just break free of religion personally, she’s now on the frontlines fighting it!

  6. stonyground says

    I was interested to find yet another person who, like me, managed to read the entire Bible but failed to get through the Koran. It seems odd because the Bible is mostly pretty tedious and also very very thick. The Koran is a much smaller book but is boring beyond belief and incessantly repetative, it defeated me.

  7. cag says

    Emily, glad you are no longer a mind prisoner of superstition. So sad that religion (of love) makes so many of us hide to avoid the “love” that in any other context would be cruel and in some cases criminal. At least during those 7 years you were true to yourself, if not those around you.

    I was out at work well before retiring. I’m out to family and friends. If PZ uses my WIAAA I’ll be out on the internet as well. I submitted it using my real name.

  8. mquint says

    you americans are really amazing. you have to COME OUT to let your family and friends know you’re an atheist? from a european perspective (i am german) this is really hard to grasp. how backward can a society be?

  9. DonDueed says

    mquint asks, “[H]ow backward can a society be?”

    You might ask someone who was alive during the period 1933-1945 in your country.

  10. mquint says

    @ DonDueed: fair enough … you’ve got a point. it seems we have progressed since then, but i don’t think we want to get into this.