or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › For Atheists, and Agnostics
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

For Atheists, and Agnostics

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
In a previous section, I asked if some of the parents on this board wouldn't mind sharing how, and why they became atheists or agnostics. I was redirected to post my question in this section, the "Religious Studies" section (which is odd and amusing, but I'll give it a whirl).

So, how or why did you become an atheist or agnostic?

DISCLAIMER: All backgrounds and perspectives welcome.

Thank you,
Christopher
post #2 of 48
Well, I didn't exactly "become" one - as I never was anything else. My parents were each raised in very different religions, both of which were abandoned when they married at 18 and the families each insisted the other convert. We were raised with much morality but no religion. My parents passed away when I was in junior high, but I'm pretty sure my mom believed in god but my dad - I'd guess no but not sure.

As I grew up and learned a bit about religion from friends and the media, I just didn't buy it. Nice if it works for you, but I just didn't believe. There is a song called "Dear God" by XTC that sums it all up pretty nicely.
post #3 of 48
i heard a rumor that i was agnostic. i know there's *something* but i don't know what, exactly, and i can't believe anyone who claims to know what, exactly, god (or whatever you want to call it) is. i suppose i "became" agnostic over a long period of time, when i gradually realized that i didn't agree with the specific religion i was raised in, and then realized i didn't really believe in the narrowness of christianity at all, because i think god/goodness reveals itself to all people and can't believe that only a few (relative to all the people who have ever lived) people are "right" in their idea of what the "higher power" is.

i'm not an atheist, because i experience a spiritual world all around me. i happen to use the word 'god' because i'm comfortable with that word, but i suppose i don't think of that concept the way i used to. otoh, i think it's okay to connect with god/goodness however people go about it, if it's working for them, so i don't take issue with christianity. i just wouldn't choose it for my kids/family because i personally found it limiting.

i would love for our family to be jewish because i love the deep studying (including questioning and debating), the family-centeredness and the traditions and sense of identity/history, as well as several specific beliefs, but the fact is, we're not jewish, so i'm not sure where that leaves us. we do have a uu congregation here, and i've called about r.e. and i've google mapped it and i've driven past it, but it doesn't appeal to me like judaism, so we just drift along for now.

sigh.
post #4 of 48
Well, I was raised in a very fundamentalist-type of Christian sect. Up until I was about 18-19, I just accepted what I was told and believed it was true. But then my eyes started opening, particularly regarding the terrible things that happen to humankind. Children starve, are abused and murdered, killed in wars, etc. I could not reconcile that reality with what I had been taught about God, namely that he was (1) all-powerful, (2) all-knowing, and (3) loving.

I cannot see a loving parent allowing their child to be hurt or killed if they both knew something was about to happen to them, and had the power to stop it. I have been told that the Biblical view of human suffering is because Satan challenged God and said that humans with free will would sin. God then effectively said, "I think you're wrong, but I'll give you a chance to prove it."

Ultimately, that casts humanity into the role of pawns in a universal game of Truth or Dare. If that is the case, I refuse to worship a being who could be so callous.

That's where my faith broke/shattered. Once that happened, I started looking objectively at the arguments for God's existence. (Or the devil's, for that matter.) I believe the arguments are weak, and I can see far more logic in a lack of a god all together.

Since you asked.
post #5 of 48
I was raised Catholic, went to parochial school. The teachers got tired of my constant questioning early on. When I was in 5th grade, Sr. Mary gave a very heartfelt talk about how lucky we were to have faith, because some unfortunate people didn't, even if they wanted to believe.

I knew I was one of those poor unfortunates even though I wouldn't learn the word "agnostic" for several more years.

As an adult, after feeling extreme disappointment that my agnostic bff had admitted to himself that he does believe in God, I decided to just admit it to myself-- I'm an atheist!

It's funny, because I try to raise my dc without religion, but to be respectful of religion, and they have (so far!) turned out opposites. Ds1 declared himself an atheist at 6 (without even knowing I was, as well), and ds2, at 4.5, likes to go around telling people that he believes in Yahweh!
post #6 of 48
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
:

I was raised Catholic and went to catechism from kindergarten through high school. I remember being read bible stories at very young age (maybe 5 or 6) and thinking "that doesn't make sense." I dropped out of catechism a few weeks before I was supposed to be confirmed. I had tried dropping out quite a few times but my mom wouldn't let me. The concept of "God" just never registered for me.
post #8 of 48
I was raised to be an atheist and to be rather scornful of religion, actually. As an adult I encountered atheists whose manner of thinking and attitudes struck me as very similar to fundamentalist religious people in that they seemed so positive they were right, they knew all the answers and everyone who disagreed with them or even speculated on the possibility that there might be something out there we don't know about was not just wrong, but stupid as well. I definitely did not want to associate myself with that group of people! Please note that I am not saying all or even most atheists are like that.

After reading and conversations with many people and just growing in experience I have decided that we don't know whether there is a god or not, we have no idea about the nature of whatever god there is, if anything. I am confident that there is no personal god - no superman or all-powerful, all-knowing father figure. No religion actually has any real answers - they are all just metaphors or ways of thinking about or envisioning the unknowable. I now self-identify as an agnostic Unitarian Universalist.
post #9 of 48
I was raised by extremely Catholic parents, and knew from a very early age that Catholicism wasn't for me. I was another one who caused the nuns a great deal of indigestion by always asking hard questions that they couldn't answer in any meaningful way.

I tried hard to be Christian for many years, attending a variety of churches in various flavors. But deep down, I never felt that any of it added up. The mental gymnastics required to explain all the contradictions of the various denominations struck me as ridiculous.

I'm a believer in science and data. Over time, it just became obvious to me that there is exactly zero evidence that there is a god. Nothing that holds water at all. It is something that mankind invents largely to keep from accepting the finality of death. So, I started being honest with myself for a change. I would describe myself as agnostic, because if there ever were any data to support the supernatural, I'd be open to examining it.
post #10 of 48
I was raised atheist, and I still am. My dad is much more of a religion-is-stupid, religion-is-evil sort of atheist. I'm just an atheist because it makes sense to me, and I see no reason to think otherwise (despite having studied religion pretty extensively).
post #11 of 48
I also did not come to become atheist. I always was.
post #12 of 48
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I simply never believed the religious propaganda being fed to me. Even as a young child, something seemed very off to me, and it just didn't add up.
:

When I doubted their teachings, I developed a greater desire to learn the truth, then I researched, asked questions and was given more to , even though I desperately wanted to have that blind faith, that sense of security, that 'thing' to lean on in hard times, in the end, my brain could not be washed.
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
pretty sure I was born an atheist. I mean, how can you possibly be born any other way?
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?
Nearly universal? It's not.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ospreymaven View Post
Nearly universal? It's not.
What I mean is that (to my knowledge, which is certainly incomplete) you can look at any populated area of the planet and find that some form of religion exists there. There is some lore pertaining to how the world came to be, and it generally involves a creator(s).

I'm okay with being wrong about that--would like to hear your POV.
post #17 of 48
My general perspective on religion: (raised Catholic, now agnostic?)

-Most organized religion makes me uncomfortable or angry
-I don't believe in the traditional character of God as I was taught in Catholic School (male, on a throne, reward and punishment, judgement day)
-I feel uncomfortable when people quote scripture or pray publicly or praise God for things when it was really a fellow human who deserved the credit.
-I take a scientific approach to the world and like proof for things
-I am open to the idea of a supernatural world of spirits but really just don't know for sure but don't deny or accept its existence either way
-I like divination and some magic but don't consider myself Wiccan
-I like Jesus (the real Jesus, rebel, street person, wise sage, highly intelligent, hater of those who take advantage, lover of the simple person) but I don't consider myself Christian or Catholic
I like many taoist , Hindu and Buddhist perspectives though don't agree with them all.
-I believe my little baby who died at birth is an angel and is with me on some level still, though I don't necessarily believe Angels exist (in the traditional sense of the word, with names and wings and in armies fighting bad angels)
-I believe in the here and now not pining for some afterlife reward.
-I find the most peace and spirituality in nature and with art and music and kind hearted people who are non judgemental and smile.

I guess this makes me agnostic but for the last 12 years or so I just considered myself non-religious. I left the Catholic church around then after 12 years of Catholic school, a religous upbringing and marriage in the Catholic Church. Me and my husband currently do not practice anything but are considering a UU church to have something for our son (now 3) to identify with. But still undecided. I guess I always questioned things, found church boring and meaningless, found I was always pretending to be religious to please the adults, thought a lot of things didn't make sense, and had a sensitivity to hypocrisy at an early age. I have felt liberated since being away from religion, though early on had a lot of "Catholic guilt" due to family pressure. But that is now long gone.
post #18 of 48
I was raised Christian, but not the 'go to church, be a good girl' kind. It was there, my mom was hard core Jesus lover. I believed till I became an adult. At some point, I questioned my beliefs and came to the conclusion that I had been delusional all my life. I studied the hard and the soft sciences. I majored in world religions and myth. I now see that religion is a social construct and nothing more. I don't feel a deity tugging at my soul. I am down with nature in a sacrosanct way, like pantheism. I feel that most major religions are about social control or answering a question we aren't willing to see the true answer to.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyrie9 View Post
I like the way you say that--it makes sense to me. But for the sake of argument, how do you believe religion came to be a nearly universal condition of mankind?

Well, mankind is sentient and is aware of mortality. I think it is natural that people look for an explanation of how the world came to be. It's also part of the human condition that the finality of death is difficult to handle. Religion fills in the blanks--if we don't understand it, it must be magic (god). It takes away the fear of death by promising an afterlife. I look at god in the same way that many children have imaginary friends.

As science has developed, many people have started to take a hard look at the evidence for god and found it wanting. There are a lot of things science still can't explain, but we're getting there, and I think it has a lot more answers than looking to an imaginary deity.

People overwelmingly take on the religion of their society. If god were some genuine, universal entity, and not a social construct, we'd see much more universal religious beliefs and practices.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panoramic View Post
My general perspective on religion: (raised Catholic, now agnostic?)

-Most organized religion makes me uncomfortable or angry
-I don't believe in the traditional character of God as I was taught in Catholic School (male, on a throne, reward and punishment, judgement day)
-I feel uncomfortable when people quote scripture or pray publicly or praise God for things when it was really a fellow human who deserved the credit.
-I take a scientific approach to the world and like proof for things
-I am open to the idea of a supernatural world of spirits but really just don't know for sure but don't deny or accept its existence either way
-I like divination and some magic but don't consider myself Wiccan
-I like Jesus (the real Jesus, rebel, street person, wise sage, highly intelligent, hater of those who take advantage, lover of the simple person) but I don't consider myself Christian or Catholic
I like many taoist , Hindu and Buddhist perspectives though don't agree with them all.
-I believe my little baby who died at birth is an angel and is with me on some level still, though I don't necessarily believe Angels exist (in the traditional sense of the word, with names and wings and in armies fighting bad angels)
-I believe in the here and now not pining for some afterlife reward.
-I find the most peace and spirituality in nature and with art and music and kind hearted people who are non judgemental and smile.

I guess this makes me agnostic but for the last 12 years or so I just considered myself non-religious. I left the Catholic church around then after 12 years of Catholic school, a religous upbringing and marriage in the Catholic Church. Me and my husband currently do not practice anything but are considering a UU church to have something for our son (now 3) to identify with. But still undecided. I guess I always questioned things, found church boring and meaningless, found I was always pretending to be religious to please the adults, thought a lot of things didn't make sense, and had a sensitivity to hypocrisy at an early age. I have felt liberated since being away from religion, though early on had a lot of "Catholic guilt" due to family pressure. But that is now long gone.
I could have written a lot of this.

I was raised in the Lutheran church for most of my life. My parents began attending when I was 3-4. I went to Lutheran school from K-8th grade. Went to church every Sunday, youth group every Wednesday, vacation bible school and Lutheran summer camp every summer. It was our life, but I was always, ALWAYS skeptical. From a very young age I asked *too many* questions in Sunday school & youth group. I had a lot of guilt, I felt like a bad person for questioning any of it. I've just always kind of felt that organized religion was created to placate the masses. Sure, there could be a god/goddes/creator, I don't refute that. I just don't know. I've been going through a personal religious crisis for a few years now. I still feel insane amounts of guilt because I don't know what I believe. We attend my husband's Baptist church, which I really have a huge problem with.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › For Atheists, and Agnostics