The first story today is from Carah:
I was raised believing in the basics of christianity… but it was a taboo topic in my family since my parents had different beliefs. (Both christians.. but different prophets/beliefs). Whenever someone would bring God or religion up in the family.. it was a shameful moment because it would always end up in a 3 hour convo.. and a fight, so we never did. we never went to church or prayed. It was taboo.. but at the same time, me and my brother knew that my Dad was SUPER religious. When I got older I was going through a hard time. This lasted me 3 years. I remember watching some Christians Youtubers. They told me about their hard times that they went through… they turned to God. One girl said that she heard God speak to her in her room… he told her what to do, and everything turned out perfect in the end… blah blah blah. I went 3 years, praying. CRYING, SOBBING and praying. Hoping God would help me understand these things I was going through. I was waiting for some sort of sign. I wasn’t even asking for much, just a sign that I was doing the right thing… or if I should move on. Thats all I wanted to know. I did this for 3 years. Week after week I found myself in tears praying… basically begging for a sign. Nothing ever happened. I thought that maybe I would have this prolific moment that this girl on youtube told me about. If I prayed hard enough… and cried hard enough God would send me a sign… EVENTUALLY. If it happened for her it would happen to me. I thought that maybe God didn’t think I was connected enough so I pulled out this never touched bible and started reading it from the beginning and found it incredibly boring, and honestly didn’t understand the wording much since I didn’t grow up going to church so I put it away. I finally had enough, mentally. I felt as though I had an answer to my problems… that answer was God and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t reach him. It felt pointless. That was the first time I REALLY questioned his existence. I remember going on the internet and the first question I typed in was… “how old is the earth.” Who knew I would get 2 completely different answers. And thats what made me realize that science and religion were NOT on the same page. I was so interested I almost became obsessed. I wanted the TRUTH, and I didn’t care what that truth was. If the bible was true, okay… if the bible wasn’t, I was okay with that too. I just wanted to know.
In the end, I realized… I’m an Atheist.
Here’s Willow’s story:
I became an atheist in a very roundabout way. The rest of my family are varying degrees of the ‘very spiritual, not religious’, and they believe a mish-mash of their favourite parts of anything they find. But they have always raised me to think about and decide what to believe for myself- something I will always be very grateful for. When I was in primary school I ended up going to a Christian school (my choice, because the school was very good). As a result I quickly became a Christian, mostly because I liked the songs. However as I got older I began to get uncomfortable at the cherry-picking of the bible, and I wondered why only parts of it were considered ‘true’ and the rest ‘figurative’. Then I began reading about other religions and I soon slipped from being a Christian, into the same sort of ‘spiritual’ type of faith that the rest of my family held. This probably would have stayed for the rest of my life if I hadn’t had a few pushes in a different direction. One was a young-earth creationist friend, another was my first high school science teacher. First off, my friend and I quickly came to a heated disagreement about the age of the Earth and evolution, but due to many arguments and a series of analogies I managed to convince her that the bible was an analogy and that the Earth was old. But the important part of that was that it got me interested in debating, and doubting my own beliefs. Second, my science teacher refused to stay solely on the school curriculum. Instead he would set a task from the curriculum for the people who felt like doing the work and instead talked about cosmology, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and philosophy instead. I found myself frequently getting into civil arguments with him and in an effort to actually stand my ground I found myself naturally drifting towards skepticism. Things didn’t change much until I decided to pick apart my own beliefs to see which ones made sense and much to my horror I found that very few, if any, did. Cue several existential crises. After all of that I found myself to be an agnostic atheist and it’s all thanks to approximately four people.
And here is @Atheist_punk666
My story started when I was about 5. After reading encyclopedias I learned a lot about a lot of different things. I was asked to go to Sunday school by one of the crazy Christians ladies. I was being raised in a very free thinking household, my father being raised by Catholic nuns at all boys and my mother being a nonbeliever. My parents never pushed any religion other than that silly Christmas thing. So back to the Sunday school thing. The “teacher” started telling the story of Noah and his ark.. as the story went on I was thinking to myself what the F is this BS? I knew that it was impossible in so many ways… I thought if they are lying to me about this than what about the rest of the “stuff” they were saying was real and so special. They are liars and how dare they lie to me about something that is so out there! After that I was amazed that anyone could believe this kinda stuff. I was amazed that my big brother and sister had fallen in the pit of not using critical thinking or as a kid would say how can they believe this? So 55 years later I have not stopped trying to help others ask important questions about the “God Thing ” I did help my second wife become an atheist from a born again Christian. I raised three secular children and that is a beautiful thing. My 18 year old son told me that almost all his friends are non believers.