A Question For Atheists.

(249 Posts)
DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 21:09:49

When and how did you decide that you didn't believe in god?

technodad Tue 26-Mar-13 23:03:13

I have no idea if such studies have been done. But any idiot knows the results before even doing the research.

noblegiraffe Tue 26-Mar-13 23:05:26

I was raised catholic (Irish!) and believed quite scarily fervently. Then I remember sitting in church aged about 12 and realising there was nothing there, it was an empty room. And all the prayers were one way and there was nothing coming back.
I really wanted to believe, went through all the motions, dutifully attended church. I went to a catholic school and atheism wasn't discussed. My mum would have not accepted me not going to church. I got to university and my first boyfriend was an atheist. That's when I found out it was ok not to believe in god.

HesterShaw Tue 26-Mar-13 23:05:39

There is no proof that newborns are aware of God because there have been no studies into it. OK.

There have been no studies into whether pandas are aware of the teachings of Chairman Mao either as far as I am aware.

I remember as a kid thinking 'But this is just ridiculous' on more than one occasion: I went to a church-linked primary which involved a lot of arse-achingly tedious Going To Church, and a lot of the stuff talked about then seemed irrelevant or boring and 'God does it/say your prayers' never seemed an acceptable answer to questions. Because I'm in my late 40s and British, I grew up with a sort of default-C-of-E background, with weddings and funerals generally taking place in church and, even into early adulthood I would sometimes go to Midnight Mass with my parents purely for the music. I went through a bit of a woo-phase in my late teens (tarot cards and Wicca) but even that tended to seem a bit silly a lot of the time. Now it all just seems a bit daft and unimportant and implausible: what I resent about religions is the power they insist on trying to exercise over everyone else's life.

kissmyheathenass Tue 26-Mar-13 23:08:56

To answer your earlier question Dione, I was raised to say prayers at bedtime and go to Sunday school. I abandoned those practices when I was around the age of 9 . religion never really had a place in my life after that. I married in a reg office and didn't have my dcs christened.I never gave it a second thought. Something must have been lurking in my mind though as I was compelled to read the God Delusion, then Beyond Belief by David Yallop and god is Not great by hitchens. By the time I had read those, I totally and unequivocally despised the church and all that it stood for.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Tue 26-Mar-13 23:10:02

Have you got an article or a paper you need to write?

Right around the time I realised that Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and The tooth Fairy and the Wizard Of Oz were not real. Also ideas thrust upon us by parents/popular culture.. Far more nicer figures than the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-punishing "God".

Had further run-ins with Billy Graham when he toured Britain. Some very religious friends took me to see a live screening of one of his sermon things (I would call it a recruitment drive) and I was absolutely horrified by all these seemingly sane people around me who suddenly got up and declared themselves to be suddenly feeling the presence of God. I just suddenly recognised religion for what it was - a way to brainwash and control people through fear.

The final straw was attending a Catholic baptism of a nephew. The priest was banging on about how all unbaptised babies go to purgatory but how this one's soul had now been claimed by Mother Mary so HE was alright. Made me realise at that exact point that I was absolutely right not to have christened/baptised my own children (for relatives' sake).

Inertia Tue 26-Mar-13 23:18:11

Which god?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 23:22:34

Thankfully Chipping I do not have any paper or article to write.grin I am not currently in study, I'm just interested for the reasons given my earlier post.

elQuintoConyo Tue 26-Mar-13 23:24:42

I didn't have religion forced on me contact with religion until I was 11, by which time I couldn't get an answer to any of my questions in class. In fact, the teacher (school vicar) thought I was taking the piss, I wasn't, I was truly curious, and I spent an hour each Thursday after PE in the headmistress's office. I had a special chair!

I do remember winning pass the parcel at primary school and crying my way home as I had won a 'Jesus book'!

You either have faith or you don't and I'm not a lost lamb because of it.

DH is lapsed Catholic and we live in a Catholic country, he's trying to persuade me to baptise DS... hmm

LadyLech Tue 26-Mar-13 23:30:57

I stopped believing when I did my theology degree.

We used to joke and call it the atheist factory, as we all trotted in good little Christians, and left raging atheists. I went to a religious college too!

I was brought up being told that the bible was a story book. Nothing more, nothing less. I have never had belief of any kind. I would always be respectful of other peoples beliefs in real life. But inside, I can't help but feel amazed that so many people can confidently call a strange sect crazy and yet accept mainstream religion as perfectly believable.

I struggle to identify as an athiest how someone could think Scientology madness but Catholicism correct. In my mind one is no more believable or likely than the other.

Dh is not exactly a believer but is happy to say he is sitting on the fence until judgement day. He takes great pleasure in telling people that I am a fundamental athiest and would combust merely waljing past a house of god! It is not true, I would never openly pull anyone up on their beliefs. It just annoys me that my views aren't quietly respected. I have been called to question by aquaintances as to why I wouldn't send ds to a church school or beavers. I wouldn't dream of giving anyone a hard time about why the choose a religious school so I don't see why me choosing not to should matter either.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 23:40:18

Thecapitalsunited did you ever question your atheism once you discovered that others believed?

Hester what do you mean by "a fervent stage" in your teens and did you ever believe that the bad things in the world were caused by a vengeful deity as opposed to nature and bad people?

fortyplus Tue 26-Mar-13 23:43:22

OP when I was 5 I believed in Father Christmas, ghosts, fairies (especially the tooth fairy) and God. Oh... and I wouldn't walk under ladders, either.

My dad stumbled around rather heavily one year delivering the presents and that pretty much put paid to all my superstitious beliefs.

BlissfullyIgnorant Tue 26-Mar-13 23:48:25

Thanks, Sucks. Must think about changing my name - you're the second person in almost a year to tell me I'm anything but grin

Look at it all with common sense - it's not hard...

Religious fundamentalists like to attack non-believers with knives, bullets, bombs and even stones. Atheist fundamentalists write.

Some believe we are all made in god's image, so is it male or female? What colour is it? Is it hairy or bald? Does it have a missing or deformed limb? Does it have a perfectly symmetrical face or a nose that points slightly left? If we are made in god's image and god is perfection, where is my penis and why did DH's have to have a bit chopped off to make him perfect? Surely, if he's in god's image, he wouldn't have had a foreskin in the first place? Why are so many children (especially in very religious countries/communities) born with severe deformities and disabilities? What god has a parasitic twin? (Think yet another hideous modern day 'Victorian freak show' tv programme on C4)

Of course, I can answer that last one - the reason so many babies born into religious sects suffer disabilities is because those sects advocate marrying 'in' and forbid marrying 'out', sometimes to the point of carrying out so-called 'honour killings' to preserve what can only be seen as racial purity. When cousins marry cousins, they may perpetuate the sect, but they also create birth defects. There - I said it. The devout may be able to trace their ancestral religious purity back for generations but at what cost to their descendants' futures? Pray all you like, but only science will help.

Genesis says god created two sources of light; the sun for the day and the moon for the night. This is plainly crap - the moon acts as a reflector, it's not a light source. It doesn't get any better the more you get into it, either. What kind of god makes a bat (mammal) and calls it a bird (bird)? If you can't be naffed with arcane bible language, read The Brick Testament, which is simply superb. Google for it, and enjoy (especially Leviticus!)

IndigoBarbie Tue 26-Mar-13 23:49:50

Apologies OP: I might be jumping in here, (obviously) but if god does or doesn't exist could never probably be quantifiable/proven in our lifetimes.

Will we get to the end and realise we wasted such a time arguing about the existence that when we find out the answer it will be too late to realise; we are all human, we all feel love, we all feel pain. We all lived our lives as best we could, but yet allowed ourselves to be dictated to and divided from others - just because of our beliefs (whatever they may be)

<runs and hides now......> I love everyone xxx

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 23:52:02

To Fortyplus and the others who believed in god when they believed in Santa and the toothfairy and then didn't believe, did you ditch all these beliefs at the same time? I kind of understand that belief in FC and stuff goes away when you discover that it is your parents who provide the gifts and cash. No adults believe in these, but quite a few believe in a god. What difference did this make? If any?

Ladylech what do you think it was in your studies in theology that ended your belief?

DadOnIce Tue 26-Mar-13 23:54:19

No great decision, no great single moment of revelation. I was brought up soundly C of E, very trad "English country village" Christianity. Went to church but found it all a bit boring really. Got into the happy-clappy scene for a while, tried to enjoy it, thought this might be more my "kind" of church. Like Trills above, spent time at university "trying" to be a Christian. But it was a bit like a gay person trying to have heterosexual relationships - it always forced and fake.

I eventually admitted that it just never really made sense to me, and it took until my young adulthood - probably about 23 or 24 - before I really admitted to myself that there was no substance to the belief. Since then, I've simply consolidated my position by insisting that there has to be at least some evidence for anything people want me to believe in.

University was actually a great training-ground for this kind of sceptical belief. I did a course which encouraged you to mistrust opinions, back up your ideas with quotes, compare and contrast sources. Good solid stuff. Anyone daring to base an easy on one single critic's belief, or one single text, would be roundly upbraided. It continually amazes me that there are people who went through the same processes as me and emerged still believing in a 3000-year-old myth system.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 26-Mar-13 23:56:01

Indigo, I didn't start this thread to argue whether or not god exists. Christ knows there are already enough threads here doing just that. On the contrary, I think lack of belief is interesting in it's own right.

recall Tue 26-Mar-13 23:57:16

It wasn't a decision…just never have…why would I ?

This question is like asking someone "when and how did you decide you didn't believe in Fairies ?" confused

It is quite a loaded question too, suggests that not believing in God makes one a deviant.

Booyhoo Wed 27-Mar-13 00:03:52

i think i always thought of it as make believe in the same way i knew story books weren't real. i remember sitting in primary school aged about 8 hearing the stories from the bible and then one time a classmate referred to something out of one of the stories as if it had actually happened and i remember being really confused and thinking "wait, those stories actually happened?". i'm not really sure if i convincec myself one way or the other after that but i know when i got to about 11/12 i realised that no, it wasn't real. it was made up just like santa/tooth fairy etc. i really struggled in (catholic) secondary school with how everyone else seemed to unquestioningly (sp?) accept what was being read/told to us by teachers. i couldn't understand how/why no-one else was sitting with a confused face like me. i still feel like that now TBH.

happybubblebrain Wed 27-Mar-13 00:06:48

My parents, grandparents and most people I know are atheists. I have nearly always been one. I've had brief periods in my life when religious friends would talk to me about God and I'd want to believe what they believed, but within a short time I'd realise I was just fooling myself and I'd have to accept the truth again. I'm completely open to believing in something and if there was ever any evidence that a God existed I would, but in 40 years of my life there hasn't been. I have to believe what I see, hear, feel.

I think most religious people must know deep down that God is pretty unlikely.

I was one of the ones who mentioned Santa and God. It was the realisation that it was possible for adults to tell you things that are not true as if they are fact. It's quite a blow, that, to a child who is assured that adults know best about everything and that telling lies is wrong! Also - Things that you chose to quietly ignore about Santa before, for example, because it defies logic, for fear of not getting any presents - it makes you explore other things which you don't quite "buy". Because there is now the possibility that it is based on an untruth or a myth.

nooka Wed 27-Mar-13 00:12:52

I was brought up Catholic (although my mother is CoE), went to church every week, Catholic primary school, had first holy communion etc. My secondary school was CoE aligned and I went to catechism classes and was confirmed. During most of that time I didn't really think about it much. Church was a chore that we did as a family and being a Christian was a bit of a default. The only time I positively chose to go to church was when I went to boarding school for sixth form, so that's probably th only time I'd say I really had a belief.

Then I had a difficult time in my year out, and prayed for help/support. Realised that there was nothing there, and have never believed since. Mostly I am apathetic toward religion, but sometimes I am quite strongly anti-theist.

Fundamentally I think religion, and in particular religious authority are quite dangerous.Which is interesting because not only are my parents quite religious but my sister and BIL are ordained.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 27-Mar-13 00:16:53

That's really interesting Curly. How did you feel when you realised that the adults in your life had lied to you? Did it have any other consequences?

I ask because I cannot remember a time when I did believe in FC and the tooth fairy? That's not to say I didn't ever believe in FC, it's just that I cannot remember having done so and by the time my teeth fell out I already knew my folks were responsible for the 10p under my pillow. I was a light sleeper.grin

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