Why I am an atheist – Mandi Ottaway

I am an atheist because I no longer blindly accept what people tell me. I used to be a conservative, practically fundamentalist, Christian. I was raised that way and never thought to question it. Then I started blogging. I made a Christian blog and arrogantly thought that I could convert the world. I ended up meeting a whole host of people who believed differently than I did, but the really crazy thing was that they weren’t demonic or evil the way my pastor always depicted them! Once I realized that they really were just people like me, I began to question everything I’d ever been taught. It took me two long and painful years to finally accept what I’d come to know – there is no God.

Mandi Ottaway
United States


  1. cag says

    When a preacher is caught in a lie (i.e. atheists are evil) it is important to ask what else are they lying about, although a shorter list would be what they are telling the truth about.

    Let me give it a go: my comments in brackets

    1. Please open your bibles to page 79 (arbitrary number).
    2. Let’s sing (xxx).
    3. There will be coffee (???) and cookies (???) after the sermon.
    4. god needs money. (of course this is a lie but I needed to pad the list)
    5 We have some used cars to sell, only driven to church. (got me)

    That’s all the truth I can come up with, how about you?

  2. bader says

    When I was a Christian, I had a big email fight with an atheist after a friend forwarded me an email that was getting passed around. (this was before blogs in the Internet Bronze Age) That conversation was a major step for me in leaving Christianity, I had never had anyone really challenge my beliefs before that. If I knew who he/she was, I would really like to thank them now for the service that they did for me. I feel like I should pay it forward somehow, Would anyone have a good recommendation for a blog site that is good for these theist/atheist flame wars? There are not too many theists around here.

  3. mikee says

    Thanks for sharing your story, it was awesome to hear about your journey to atheism

  4. echidna says

    Great story. The bones of it are clear: that you trusted people who lied to you in the name of religion, and then as you discovered the lie, you rejected religion. The thing that’s hard about this process is realising that people who you trusted were lying to you – and you put this in the first sentence. It was more than your faith in religion that was shattered.

    I am curious about what happened to your relationships with other co-religionists. I suspect you don’t have much to do with the pastor any more.

  5. frankb says

    Bader #11 On facebook, type in creation. That will get you to a place where there are pitch battles all day every day.

  6. Less Evolved Than You Might Think says

    Interestingly I am an atheist mainly in the hope that I can one day become famous, convert to Christianity and pick up the Templeton Prize. I figured a convincing back-story of atheism and rational thought could only help. :)

  7. corkscrew says

    Wow, serious nostalgia trip. I wasted huge amounts of time on Amanda’s blog right through uni. It was civilised, challenging, diverse and intellectually honest, and the debates we had were a major reason why I’m a biology geek today.

    Mandi: Glad to hear you’re doing OKaye :)

  8. says

    @Ibis3 – you can still see it in all of its glory at http://www.mandikaye.com – I’m sad to say I don’t update it anymore. I stopped blogging there when I made the choice to leave my faith, but would have gotten fired for it (I worked at a faith based NPO at the time). I never really got that groove back, even though I tried. I did however, put together a page that kind of outlines the transition here.

    @echidna – I lost every single “friendship” I had within the church.

    @corkscrew – Thanks! You played a HUGE role in the journey, as you well know.

    To everyone else who commented, thanks for the kind words. It’s been one hell of a journey.