Why I am an atheist – Kathleen Axe

I was brought up as a Methodist in England. I went to Sunday School when I was young, and then church, and also had daily assemblies with prayers and hymns at Grammar School (aged 11-18). At home we had no religion.

At the age of about 15 it was time to become a member of the church and be confirmed. I decided I didn’t want to do this, and stopped going to church. I hardly gave it any thought at all. That was it. For the next 45 years religion just did not feature in my life, apart from going to weddings and funerals, but I have to confess that my first husband and I were married in church despite us both being atheist (wedding options were very limited back then).

Religion just passed me by, but about 5 years ago I joined the National Secular Society and began reading religion articles and blogs on the Internet. Here I discovered all the awful things that were going on, by churches and governments, and the whole religion thing now horrifies me.  How I could have ignored it for all of those years I’m not sure, but it tends to be the British way – don’t talk about religion or politics, The churches, and “persecuted” Christians here are trying to change that, of course. America seems to be sending its crazy ideas here too, which doesn’t help.

I obviously did realise, all those years ago, that I was an atheist, without giving it much thought. None of my children were baptised, or went to church. Basically I think I just grew up and realised that God, like Santa Claus, was a myth, and the bible was nonsense. Going to Sunday School and church was just something we did as children.

Science, often quoted as being a factor, has nothing to do with my “conversion” as I wasn’t interested in science as a child, though I am interested now. You don’t even need much science knowledge to see that the creation story in Genesis is rubbish.

My “conversion” was really just apathy which lasted 45 years and has resulted in a bit of an obsession for the past 5 years or so.

Kathleen Axe
United Kingdom


  1. baz1 says

    Thanks Kathleen – that very nicely sums up how many of us Brits feel about religion and why we tend to raise a quizzical eyebrow at some of our American cousins’ infatuation with it…..

  2. Rob says

    Considering the website we are on, I imagine that sums up how most of us here feel about religion, including Americans. Careful with your broad brush, the crazy fuckers make up less than half of us.

  3. stonyground says

    I have been wondering whether to get around to sending my deconversion story in for quite a while. This story is so similar to mine that i’m not sure that I need to now. I am male and went to a comprehensive but otherwise my story is very similar. Our Methodists didn’t do confirmation, that was a CofE* thing. But I did do Sunday School, regular Chapel, Church wedding while we were both atheist but indifferent, discovering how much harm religion does and becoming more active and joining the N.S.S., not having the sprog baptised. All of this is the same. I also subscribed to the hard copy of the Freethinker, it has been going for about 130 years and in the early days people went to prison just for publishing it. I feel a duty to support it.

    *Church of England.

  4. says

    That’s a lot like my story except I started out slightly more religious and hovered in the ‘agnostic’ camp for a while. Then reading about the abuses of religion in the last few years has made me much more activist and outspoken.