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Coming Out Stories Share the story of your path to Atheism.

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Old 5th March 2009, 07:06 PM
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My story hasn't been any great struggle, more of a gentle ramble, but for those who'd like a (longish, sorry) gentle ramble here it is.

As a child I went to sunday school and RE at school. I don't remember much of what I learned, there were some pretty strange stories that seemed pretty immoral even at the time, but I liked the singing and the making pretty crafty things bits. At home religion wasn't really discussed. My father was a calm, gentle, science-headed atheist who liked some of the poetry and language of the bible; and my mother converted from not particularly passionate Christian faith - as encouraged by her still devout god-lovey cousin (who is quite lovely and into rights for all but I cringe every one of the numerous times she mentions god, and at the obligatory 'god bless you' at the end of every thoughtful card she sends for big occasions in my life) - into a sudden agnosto-atheism when she went to uni and studied philosophy. It simply hadn't occurred to her before that the Christianity she'd been raised with might not be true, and the moment (in her early 30s when her husband helped her gain the education her parents wouldn't pay for a girl to have) that she was told to think about it, she decided it was all nonesense.

For whatever reason, after my mother's conversion we (my brother and I) kept going to RE and sunday school. My mother is very much against 'rocking the boat', so I guess she was pleasing her mother and other such people. Anywho, I was the sort of child who questioned every one of my mother's rules, but also the sort of ludicrously honest and naive child that never went behind her back (I shouted "why not?!", not just did my own thing), and who believed everything I was told - including the existence of god. I even went through a phase of praying by my bed every night, despite sniggers from my mother, because I decided that if I was going to be a Christian, I was going to be a proper one, not a pretendy-one. (I have always believed in following my convinctions, even at age 7 or whatever I was... my childhood memories are pretty sketchy).

My father lost his battle with cancer when I was nine. I took a lot of years to even believe it had happened, and I spent a lot of time telling people it was very unfair. I don't remember thinking one way or the other about god at the time, but I'm sure I didn't believe my dad had gone to heaven. He was just gone, and I was mightily pissed off about it. I think religion went off my radar for a couple of years.

Then suddenly in late primary school I had an epiphany. I had two thoughts that prompted me to leave Christianity forever. One was that I didn't understand why sex outside of marriage was so sinful. (I'd hit puberty and was terribly interested in sex in an abstract, future-interest sort of way). That just made no sense to me and no-one religious was going to give me a practical answer. The other thought was to look outside of myself for possibly the first time. I realised that there were children in India (I don't know why this particular country occurred to me) that had been raised as Hindus. Girls like me who had just blithely believed in Krishna or whoever, purely because that was the god they had been raised with. And I thought, "why is their god wrong, and mine right?" And I realised there was no reason why one should be true, and the other not, and that was the end of it! I then actually read some of the bible and threw it accross the room a few chapters in at the horrific nature of the morals I found there!

I spent a few years being annoyed at having been taught a story that wasn't necessarily true, and feeling scared that god was going to strike me down for not believing in him... but I forced myself to continue with the new path. For my teens and even into my early-twenties that path was not to be anti-religion, but to find a better religion, one more suited to me. I checked out Hinduism (couldn't convince myself that cows were sacred) and Buddhism (too much hard work) but stayed clear of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic dogmas. Eventually I decided I was Wiccan, and starting working on my 'craft'... although that waned too, and I spent my drunken years in England and my (slightly) less drunken Uni years afterwards being vaguely pagan-agnostic and thinking more about my politics.

Now that I'm living with my best-friend (and soon to be husband) and feeling all secure and happy in my life, I've gotten more radical in my lounge-chair politics and religious outlook. With all the wonderfully stimulating conversation and reading I get from this intellectual lad and his clever friends, and my quite clever friends, my ideas have simply had to be more arguable and less wishy-washy. Reading 'the god delusion' basically sealed the deal on choosing atheism over agnosticism (and time with future-hubby has sealed the deal on choosing communism over greenism). For me dawkins is all mingled with my romantic life... future-hubby read 'the god delusion' too me in bed while we were still in the first throws of blissful in-lurveness.

The more I think about atheism and religion, and the more I read the discussions on this board, the more I find all forms of religion abhorrent and ludicrous. I still find the mythology of religion interesting, and I hope to teach some of it - as interesting fairytales - to my future children. But I don't believe anything could induce me to slip back into following any of it as any form of faith.

I look forward to continuing rambling on here.

anne. x
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Last edited by eclectic; 5th March 2009 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 5th March 2009, 09:58 PM
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... future-hubby read 'the god delusion' too me in bed while we were still in the first throws of blissful in-lurveness.
*sigh* that is so lovely.
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Old 5th March 2009, 10:37 PM
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well I must say it's been a pleasure reading your ramblings I hope you hang around for aaaaages

GROUP HUG!!
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Old 6th March 2009, 12:21 AM
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I spent a few years being annoyed at having been taught a story that wasn't necessarily true, and feeling scared that god was going to strike me down for not believing in him...
I still sometimes have a flash of this feeling, even after all these years. Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for god because I don't believe in him anymore! I think it must be normal for those of us who were indoctrinated from birth and had to extricate ourselves from religion the hard way.
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Old 9th March 2009, 05:25 PM
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I still sometimes have a flash of this feeling, even after all these years. Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for god because I don't believe in him anymore! I think it must be normal for those of us who were indoctrinated from birth and had to extricate ourselves from religion the hard way.
yes, I think it is normal. A very good reason to try to stop more children being thus indoctrinated.
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Old 9th March 2009, 05:26 PM
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well I must say it's been a pleasure reading your ramblings I hope you hang around for aaaaages

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awww. yay! Thanks Davo.
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Old 15th March 2009, 08:26 AM
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Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for god because I don't believe in him anymore!
Hi Hell Girl, I don't know if this is funny or sad. What a kind person you must be
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Old 17th March 2009, 01:25 PM
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Hi Hell Girl, I don't know if this is funny or sad. What a kind person you must be

Duffy I think your response actually demonstrates what a kind person YOU must be.
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Old 17th March 2009, 11:23 PM
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Agreed!
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