Why I am an atheist – Adam

I was born into a christian family. We weren’t fundamentalists, religion wasn’t the center of our lives. We did go to church every Sunday morning and I went to youth group every Wednesday night. Neither were overbearing and you were allowed to believe whatever you wanted, so long as it was still christianity, except, that, science always took a back seat. I loved biology in high school, But, when my teacher was forced to read that dreadful memo at the beginning of the evolution portion of the class, my parents started pushing me towards engineering. I didn’t quite understand why, but t liked math and legos were my thing for a while, so I followed their wishes well into college.

I hated college. Engineering, physics, math. All majors I tried and hated. I failed because I thought I had already failed. You see, I met my high school sweetheart in youth group when I was 13. We dated throughout high school and I thoroughly believed that “God” had wanted us to be together. She was my future. She broke up with me the week after graduation. I’ve only been in one relationship since then.

Four years later, an Interdisciplinary Degree in Mathematics and Psychology (basically a liberal arts degree, but not useful), a 2.1 cumulative GPA, and two suicide “attempts” later I decided not to live by “God’s” rules anymore. I took a job with the company my father works for. It was basically data entry, so although my hands may have been tied to the keyboard from 9 to 5, my mind was free to absorb as much about how the world actually works as it could. I started listening to podcasts first. Science Weekly, Science Today, Astronomy Cast. Then Skepticality and The Skeptic’s Guide. I usually scoffed when they brought up anything about evolution and skipped the episode. It happened more than I like to remember.

Then I found Irreligiosophy. They were brash as first and I couldn’t make it through their current episode. I went back to their first episode and they told me how they deconverted from mormonism. By the end of that episode I was an atheist. Though it wasn’t for another 3 or 4 more months that I would feel comfortable identifying as an atheist, but I was one. I expanded again, listening to The Atheist Experience and watched every single debate with Christopher Hitchens, at least those that are on youtube.

By then I was listening to Point of Inquiry, and from there I found Audible.com. The first book I bought was “Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans” by Brian Fagan and the second was “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne. I listened to “Cro-Magnon” twice, bought the paperback, and must have read the first few pages a dozen or more times. I bought the Planet Earth blu-rays and watched them over and over.

Too make an already long story a little shorter, I’m back in college pursuing a BS in Biology, working in a plant genetics lab part time. Hopefully, this time in two years I’ll be in graduate school. I’m planning on genetics or ecology as a focus, or some melding of the two.

I’m an atheist because biology is so much cooler than religion.

United States


  1. archaeopteryxlithographica says

    Your story is so much like mine, but since mine occurred twenty years ago, you have to substitute “books by Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov” for “podcasts.” You’re right about biology–stay strong and study hard.

  2. baal says


    PZ accepts emails from the readership which answer the question, “Why am I an atheist?” He then posts up a random one about every day.

    It’s been a interesting read. It also has documented how many current atheists gave religion very full chances and left anyway.

    @ OP, It wasn’t until I was well into graduate work that I felt like I understood how a cell worked and answering that question was a central drive for my studies for quite some time.

  3. says

    I love reading these. It seems like in most of the cases education is the answer. Campaigning for good science education seems to me a more productive way ahead than campaigning for atheism. If people understand rational logic, how to evaluate evidence, and good science, everything else falls into place. Generally, even the ones who remain theists are at least not the dangerous/crazy type.

  4. says

    I must look up Irreligiosophy. If it can finish off deconverting somebody with only one episode, it must be doing something right.

  5. charlesminus says

    What a treasure was Irreligiosophy. So sad that it has ended. But the archives are still available, I think. Best atheist podcast ever.