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Non-religious people: What convinced you to stop believing in God?

Discussion in 'Non-Theistic/Non-Religious Beliefs DIR' started by JeremK, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. KWED

    KWED Scratching head, scratching knee

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    I never believed in the first place.
    My parents were both atheist, socialist academics. Religion never came up in my early childhood, but knowledge, reason, and the need to verify claims before accepting them certainly did. By the time I started school where religion was being actively taught, it already seemed improbable, and the replies I received from teachers when I questioned certain things merely confirmed my suspicions.

    I like to think that had I experienced religious indoctrination as a child, I would soon have realised it was merely myth and superstition - but I understand that I probably wouldn't.
     
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  2. Vitality

    Vitality Member

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    I denounced religion at age ten after years of being forced to attend church and Sunday school. At that point both of my brothers and I banded together and refused to attend any more church services. Because I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits I found it difficult to wrap my head around the idea that some omniscient being or even deities existed. I grew up in a diverse community with friends of many different religions and spiritual practices. The argument about there being any one right or wrong way to lead a faithful life has always baffled me. I turned my focus instead to world history and learning how different belief systems developed. That has only led to further skepticism.
     
  3. Yazata

    Yazata Active Member

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    The question doesn't really apply to me, since I don't recall ever believing in God, even as a small child.

    That being said, I do find myself drifting closer to something like deism in recent years. While I've never believed that any of the purported revelations of the major religions is true, since I was a child I've always felt very strongly that I'm surrounded by mysteries in every direction. My experience as a philosophy undergraduate and then in graduate school only strengthened that intuition.

    Something is happening with all this reality business, and I don't have the faintest clue what the explanation is.

    But unlike many others, I don't have a whole lot of confidence that science is capable of providing the deeper answers I seek.
     
  4. Kfox

    Kfox Well-Known Member

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    I used to be Christian. I was raised in a Christian home, and believed because I was willing to take everybody else's word for it. One day I decided I would read the entire Bible from cover to cover with an honest attempt of understanding what I was reading. When I finally read the book I was taught to just believe without question; this is what convinced me what I was taught to believe was wrong.
     
    #84 Kfox, Mar 27, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
  5. Ella S.

    Ella S. Vulcan

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    I was raised Catholic. I was taught the existence of God not only alongside history and science in Catholic school but as indistinguishable from history and science.

    I believed that we lived in a Just World and that everyone was genuinely trying their best to do their part to make the world a better place until I was about 8 and saw in the news that a priest was murdered inside of a church. Up until then, I thought churches were places protected by God's constant, watchful eye and that nothing bad could happen in them. This was the seed of my nonbelief.

    As I grew older, I was growing impatient with the way we educate people. To me, I was growing weary with the fact that my teachers would just tell me how things are without first explaining why and how we knew that things were that way. We were just given a list of claims to memorize. I struggled with this because the claims essentially exist as isolate pieces of information with no tie to the real world to me. So I studied a lot in my free time and begged my parents to let me go on field trips to museums.

    This was incredibly satisfying to me. I was getting answers to my questions about how we knew what we knew. I was even learning the scientific method in class, how science is open to being corrected and not necessarily absolute, and the importance of falsifiability. I then began to try to apply these principles to my religion so that I could better understand what God's will for me was in life.

    Of course, not even my priests could answer my questions and everyone around me began to get fed up with my whole "free-thinking" approach. I shunned them and turned to topics like angelology and Christian Cabala looking for the various experiments that could "prove" the existence of angels and of Heaven, given that the best I could come up with so far were some studies showing that prayer was as effective as placebo and that NDEs were probably dreams but were "pretty weird."

    My mother actually encouraged me here but I eventually concluded that occultism had no good evidence for it, either. At this point, I became an atheist at about 13 after becoming disillusioned with how I could never get any real evidence from the people who believed in God so fervently. From here, I started to find that there were many atheists online who shared my experiences and my unanswerable questions. I didn't even know there were people who didn't believe in God before. I had been raised to see it as just as true as the fact that the moon is made out of rock or that the sun is a million times larger than the earth or any other number of claims that are not easily testable as a kid.

    This didn't last. While I was atheist for about 2 years, I was still interested in finding ways to disprove the idea that the supernatural doesn't exist, which I see now as a bit silly. I looked into a lot of various superstitions and eventually found and settled on chaos magick at 15. I couldn't find any scholarly studies done on chaos magick methods so I figured, if I could test it privately and it seemed to work, then eventually I might be able to convince someone to help me test chaos magick with a larger sample size. During this time, I dabbled in a lot of esotericism and occultism, but it was mostly philosophy steeped in metaphor and symbolism.

    About a year goes by and I am ready to conclude that, no matter which method of constructing a ritual using chaos magick that I use, it does not seem to work any more than prayer. This is also when I meet my ex-boyfriend who, when we began dating when I was 17, deconverted from Christianity and became a Neopagan.

    This boyfriend of mine was heavily abusive. I won't go into detail here. However, he essentially gaslit me into verifying the reality of his religion and convinced me that the only reason I could doubt him was if I didn't love him enough to trust him. After we broke up 2 years later, when I was 19 in 2018, I had some really horrible cognitive dissonance for years afterwards. It took me a long time to trust myself to even believe that I existed. That's how much this guy screwed with my head.

    It's only after... wow, 4 years of therapy that I've been able to untangle myself from all of that. During that time, I bounced around in a lot of occult and New Age circles and even returned to Christianity. First, through Rosicrucianism and then again through Gnosticism. Eventually, I slowed down and stopped running from myself. My health improved and I could think again without destroying myself.

    At that point, I returned to my previous position (or lack of a position: ) atheism. Now that I have explored a much wider variety of religions and have learned a lot more about various forms of Christianity in particular, there is actually a bit of a distinction. I am not an agnostic atheist like I was in my early teens. Now, I am more-or-less a strong atheist and I have more trust in my own convictions, although I am still open to new evidence that contradicts my position.

    This is thanks to my formal education in symbolic logic, modal logic, statistical analysis, and epistemology that I have received in college and continue to self-study. I am able to not just return to my previous, more rational state but to be better at being rational than I used to be. I would have been atheist ever since I was 12 if it wasn't for that ex of mine who manipulated not my rationality but my emotions. I realize now that emotion is a weakness and I should never rely on it again.
     
  6. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    As a soldier I was blessed my regimental priest in the name of God, so I had God on my side. That didn't make sense to me, so I stop believing. Thus I stopped being a cultural Christian who had some folk belief in God. Today I am an atheist and agnostic cultural Christian, but Christianity is my culture, not my belief.
     
  7. Kfox

    Kfox Well-Known Member

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    What is Christian culture?
     
  8. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Something is not at all related to the real world and it is taught by communistic LGBTQ+ pedophile academics.

    In earnest it for Western culture means that some non--religious still use some of the structures in the thinking in Christianity.
     
  9. Kfox

    Kfox Well-Known Member

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    That's your idea of Christian Culture? I know a lot of Christians who will definitely disagree with you.
     
  10. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    I don't say that as you read it, because it was sarcasm. I have been taught the basics about culture in an academic sense. So I know that Christian culture is not just religiously Christian. Here is one form my country and region. Social democracy is a version of Christian values without the belief in God. Now I can unpack that but then we have to talk a cultural diffusion, subculture and a lot of academic theory.
     
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