This first one is from Lindsay:
I was raised a Christian and spent many Sunday mornings at church. I sang the songs and participated in discussion, but never felt that connection with “God” that my parents insisted I had. It was in high school when I began the harrowing journey from Christian to Atheist, jumping from non-religious to agnostic and finally atheist. It was tough admitting it to my parents, whose first reaction was “How did we raise you so wrong?” and “It’s just a phase.” Now, they have somewhat accepted the fact and religion is just a topic we try to avoid speaking of. I became atheist because I got tired of hearing that humans are small, useless, and sinful creatures that deserve to suffer and die. I am sick of people blaming their mistakes on a “divine plan” and never learning how to better themselves. I am annoyed that people are giving tons of money to churches instead of to research. Finally, I am angry at how cruel religion can be to others, whether they are atheist or from a different religion. I am proud to say that I am an atheist and that I place my faith in the human race, because we have so much more to give if everyone learns to accept each other.
Here is what Victoria’s story sounds like:
My parents raised me as a Christian – sent me to Christian school, went to church, the whole thing. When I was little, I bought into it mostly because I wasn’t aware of anything else. Over the years, I became increasingly doubtful of the Christian religion, and eventually of religion in general, until at the age of 14 I officially declared myself an atheist. My parents (especially my mother) were and still are upset about my decision. I still Live with my parents (I’m 17 now) and still face their criticism and attempts to convert me back to christianity. Even before I ‘officially’ became an atheist, I was very doubtful about the validity and truth of religion. I don’t have a specific event that made me an atheist – I just gradually realized that religious teachings were nothing more than falsehoods to comfort those who fear death. Even if I tried, I could not make myself believe religious teachings again. Ever since I have made my decision to become an atheist, I have never felt more free and in control of my life. You don’t need religion to be happy, all you have to do is enjoy your experiences and the people you meet along the way.
Our last story is from Tanner:
I live in southern Louisiana and it’s mostly Catholic/Christian. I’ve had the privilege to be brought up with a catholic background and with grandparents who love me so much that that have put me through catholic school for 13 years now. Being little I never really liked church or praying that much, because I never saw results. I got aggravated talking to myself if I wasn’t going to get something out of it. I never felt the connection everyone else felt. Around the 8th grade I met this guy from Texas and we became good friends. We started talking about the subject of religion, I then told him I was catholic and I asking him what he was. He said he wasn’t anything and it threw me off, but I got over it and started asking questions. Then we talked of evolution. I told him how it’s illogical that god made everything in 6 days and how the bible could be false with all the different authors an such; he agreed with me. So as I got older I started to question everything and with going to a catholic school I had a lot of information to question. I did tons and tons of research and eventually I decided I was agnostic. At the end of my 10th grade year I told my class I was agnostic at a class retreat and I was so shocked at the response. These people that I’ve known since I was 4 looked at me with total disgust and udder disappointment. Didn’t they realize I was still the same person they knew? After that I put on a defense and really started to buckle down and learn more about atheism and religion. Over this past summer I fell into a really deep depression over my beliefs. I didn’t know exactly what I believed and the months following I knew I had to confirm in the Catholic Church. I kept telling my mom I didn’t want to confirm, but she told me sometimes you have to do things you don’t want. Plus I couldn’t tell me Grandmaw that I didn’t want to, because she’d be so upset with me and probably never support my with college or anything like that. The depression was getting the best of me. I would sleep all day, cry at night, and be angry with the world for making me this way. I finally told my mom that I was depressed and I went my doctor, he prescribed me an antidepressant and my mom flipped and wouldn’t let me take it. And every time I brought it up she would laugh at me and think I was joking, so that didn’t help. Once I got back to school I felt better. The routine and the social aspect helped me so much. October of 2013, after much research and self reflecting I decided I was an atheist. I told my friends and they accepted me and I was happy, but I still had to confirm. I went through all the steps. I went to the confirmation retreat, which was on my birthday btw, I went to confession and told the priest I didn’t believe in god, I even went to all of the meetings all crap. So on April 6, 2014 I become a confirmed catholic. 🙁 It bothers me that I couldn’t stand up for myself and not confirm, but in the long run I’ll be able to go to college and that’s helpful. I hope my story can help someone not feel so alone like I did, because honestly it the worst feeling in the world. I’m now doing so well and I’m planning to go to LSU in the fall of 2015. Stay classy my fellow atheist.