Why I am an atheist – Paul Williams

I attended that most English of institutions, a Church of England Boarding School. My mother was a lapsed Catholic and my father was inscrutable on such issues but he did pick the school.

The school advertised its “pastoral” approach to the care of the young men who attended. Girls were only admitted in the 6th Form (for any US readers – that is the last 2 years of study before a pupil leaves at 18 years old). Chapel attendance was compulsory. There was a school service every week on a Sunday, a week day service for your class and a weekly event called a House Meeting that was for members of your house (think fraternity without the beer, or porn, or TV other than the news or sport) that was partly a meeting about upcoming events and partly an excuse to get a pupil to write a short morality based story that always ended with the “Christian Family Prayer” (The Lords Prayer). There was also Religious Education classes that never mentioned any other faith at all, despite the demands of the National Curriculum.

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Why I am an atheist – Brian


That single word has defined my existence from birth until this moment, and will likely continue to dominate it for as long as it lasts. I was born into a devout Jehovah’s Witness household. My father was a church elder, I gave my first sermon when I was eight years old, and I became a full member of the church at fifteen when I got baptized (unlike other churches, baptism and confirmation are not two separate things). 

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Why I am an atheist – Dee

When I was in grade school, I had a friend who convinced me that she could see and talk to ghosts, and also switch bodies with animals and let their spirits talk to me through her body. I believed this for months, if not more than a year. I guess I was a pretty gullible kid, but I thought it was pretty exciting to be able to talk on the phone to my dog or her cat or the ghost of the girl who lived in my house.  Eventually, though, I noticed inconsistencies in her stories and decided to subtly test whether she was truly doing what she claimed. When she put me on the phone with my dog, I would start a conversation about something that had happened in my home that day that I had not discussed with my friend.  My friend, of course, was not able to play along convincingly. I never told her that I knew she was lying to me – I had no other friends and didn’t want to lose her. That friend grew up to be a pathological liar and I don’t talk to her anymore. But this embarrassing-in-retrospect experience taught me that it was a good idea to test things before believing them, and that everything worth believing was testable.

I wasn’t raised religious by my parents, and in fact I was basically ignorant of how widespread religion was until I loudly proclaimed my disbelief in God in my sixth-grade language arts class to the horror of my thirty fundamentalist Christian classmates. Until then, I thought that religion and church was something people on TV did, a fantasy along the lines of mom making everyone a big hot breakfast before school while dad read the newspaper. But I still had lingering spiritual curiosity – I would read about people who talked to spirits, or try to find pictures of the Loch Ness monster, or let my wacky “medicine-man” neighbor try to manipulate my aura to set my spirit free of the chains of sadness and self-doubt. Like my childhood friend’s little fantasy, the idea that something supernatural and unexplainable was out there was attractive. But I kept noticing that for every amazing story, there was a skeptical viewpoint that got harder and harder to ignore. And as I had long suspected, the stories that people tell themselves to justify their beliefs God and religion just didn’t add up. I recognized that I’ve never seen or experienced anything that couldn’t be completely explained by science, and that this was not a coincidence.

In the past few years I have realized that I’m not just agnostic, I’m an atheist and a skeptic. Web sites like Pharyngula, whatstheharm.net, sciencebasedmedicine.org, and even XKCD have helped me crystallize my views. Now I’m that annoying person that points out to friends that their homeopathic remedy contains no active ingredients, that acupuncture doesn’t do anything, and that for every Bible verse that offers a rule on life, there are many more that don’t make any sense. I’m not an expert on everything, but I try my best to be well-informed and present evidence rather than opinions and anecdotes. I’ve found that the more I understand about our physical world, the more comfortable I am, and I have promised myself – the embarrassed, misled child, the curious college student, and my present self – that I will learn as much about it as possible.

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Why I am an atheist – fullyladenswallow

Kneeling, kneeling on the living room carpet. Six years of age and staring at the top of the wood mantle on which a small, shiny bust of the virgin-mother sat between a lit candle and my elder brother’s clock radio. The radio was playing a late-50’s weekly broadcast of  “The Rosary Hour,” where a kindly-sounding male voice would guide our family along with the rest of god’s radio audience, in a trip ‘round the rosary beads in solemn prayer for world peace. Didn’t know it then, but “praying for world peace” really translated to- “God, if you’re listening, please keep us safe from those bastard communists!” I learned later that communism was a term that was often equated with atheism. While watching the news, dear ma-ma would often spit, “Those damn, dirty, atheist, commies!” It sounded so potent, yes? Though it would be years before I would begin to wonder why no one ever asked me if I wanted to be confirmed, I was already forming doubts. I think that even at a young age, children of the religious tend to wander through a minefield of almost subliminal hints- where the religious beliefs that their parents’ have them swallow, don’t square with reality at all.

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Why I am an atheist – Mitch Austin

I was raised lightly religious, Lutheran, went to AWANA with friends.  At 14 I joined De Molay.  They say prayers at regular intervals.  The prayers are all non-sectarian, but everyone knows they’re said to Baby Jesus.  It’s also a great way to meet the ladies.  I’m sure most everyone lost their “purity” through club hookups.  Around age 17 that just kinda petered-out (no pun intended) and I didn’t give it another thought.

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Why I am an atheist – Nyq Only

Some christians ask me how I lost my faith or what took me away from god. I think, like many atheists, the question is almost nonsensical – it as if there is an assumed trauma or falling-out: that atheism is like a divorce or the end of a relationship. Perhaps for some it is exactly that, I don’t know. However it is not that I stopped loving god but that I stopped believing god existed and so questions of ‘love’ or any kind of relationship became irrelevant.

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