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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 05:39 PM
Original message
"What Convinced You?"
Writer and Blogger Greta Christina is asking for input from atheists who used to be believers. She wants to know what changed your mind. You can either leave a comment at the end of her post, or if you prefer more privacy you can e-mail your response to her.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm willing to bet I am in the majority when I say the #1 thing that convinced me...
was reading the bible, cover to cover. Couple that with finally getting exposed to freethought writers in college and the deed was done.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Same answer here.
Grew up in a somewhat practicing Catholic home (only my dad went to church on Sunday & he always drove my maternal grandma too). Went to Catholic school for a few years, mostly because the public schools had contract problems a few times, teachers went on strike and the Catholic schools always started on time. That was worth any price to dear old mom. Anyway, we had nuns and lay-teachers. The nuns were pretty liberal and kind. My experience with the church was entirely positive. It was an intellectual curiosity that compelled me to take a serious look at things. As I read the bible I highlighted atrocities, injustices, contradiction and all things clearly NOT enlightened. Stuck a post-it on each page with highlighting, as you can imagine they are pretty densely packed along the side and across the top.

I processed it all as I went through it, along with a great deal more information on all matters religious. Took me some years to wade through it all, was raising family and working and all that, I had arrived at the point of dis-belief by the time I was done. It was somewhat empowering to realize what it is you actually figured out. I had to learn and practice a more disciplined thinking to effectively learn what I was after. I felt great after the whole thing, like I now was able to figure out just about anything.

Sorry for that side-thing there, anyway, essentially it was thoroughly reading the bible that lead me down the path of atheism.

Julie
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That was a good part of it for me
The more I read the more contradictions I found and questions I had. Learning the mythology of other religious faiths via a college course was what put the final nail in it for me.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Oh yeah, I forgot that part. 10th grade English-Mythology
I was never what you call "devout". I actually was never taken to church as a child. That was my doing during adolescence. Went to church, had myself baptized and confirmed in the Episcopalian faith. But looking back I truly just wanted to be a part of something.(Plus I really liked this boy from youth group) This is what people did. I lived in a very 'dysfunctional" poor family with no father. Shit most of my cousins had no fathers around. Single mothers that seemed to hate men. But that is another story. But, then, I so wanted to be "normal". Anyway....
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. My answer....
Edited on Mon Nov-14-11 02:33 PM by amyrose2712
Never had religion forced down my throat. Grew up believing that God/Jesus=Love. I don't know exactly when I became a non-believer but I'd have to say going college and being exposed to more free thinking writers and the scientific method. Funny, 2 of the books I remember that had an influence were The Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. The latter sort of made me think more of less, "if there is a god, he is kind of a sociopath so why follow him" I'm not saying these were the final nails, more like the start of me moving to admit it to myself. By the way, I am still not 100% because, nothing is certain. Could be something we can not yet perceive. Or maybe we are all in the Matrix. Red pill, please.

(Obviously, I love your sig line :)
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. God is a sociopath
Sadly when I was a devout believer I was able to excuse his abhorrent behavior as well as any of them. It's scary how easy it is when you're clinging to the irrational.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-14-11 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I should say "violent sociopath", cause not all sociopaths are violent.nt
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WillParkinson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-11 07:41 AM
Response to Original message
8. My answer is stupid...
It's the old, "If gawd is all-powerful can he create an object he can't move?"

I first read it in "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" and it blew my 13 year old mind and set me on the path to questioning everything.

Mom said I was a good kid...till I started reading.
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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-11 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
9. Probably when I went to the zoo...I was about 8...and noticed how..
... similar the Apes and some animals were so much like humans and even had the same traits.

I remember thinking: "I don't think these church people know what they're talking about" "A lot of stuff they say doesn't make any sense"

I believe that day was the start of me thinking for myself.
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uriel1972 Donating Member (343 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-11 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
10. I didn't have a token religious upbringing even
Had some mental health issues which confused the matter, but it really was just a long journey of connect the dots. A mission to make sense of the world. I never became an athiest, there was no conversion, no blinding epephany, just sorta waking up one day and saying "Oh crap, I'm an athiest. Guess it's soyalent (spelling?) veal for breakfast."
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-11 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
11. "Nothing fails like PRAYER"
We had a guy killed at work. Hundreds of people (the job was with a ministry)were praying for gawd to save him, but he died.
That started an examination of "prayer". I found that you may as well pray to the Easter bunny.

Oh, reading the holey Buy-bull and trying to resolve the contradictions and out-and-out crazy shit helped, too.
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-11 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
12. This is gonna sound strange: I always figured the conventional idea of God was a crock.
But I kept an open mind, thinking maybe there was a creator who molded us, and oversaw us. Otherwise, how does one explain love, compassion, empathy, altruism? I mean, humans are base, selfish and greedy, so our higher perceptions have to come from somewhere, right?

Well, all I had to do to shoot that idea down is: go through menopause. Seriously, after riding THAT emotional roller coaster, I realized the maternal, loving, sexual, caring impulses all come from brain chemistry and hormones. Really! Consider how we evolved, needing to protect our progeny because our Big Brains kept them dependent a lot longer than the young of most other species. So we had to form small social groups, and we needed strong men to fend off the elements, other humans and fiercer animals who might want to do us harm. So we "love" each other, we "marry" and raise nuclear families because it's all about reproduction and the survival of the species. Women needed protection cuz we were either having babies or feeding the ones already around.

I suppose I should be disillusioned, but no longer believing in a mythological creator is as freeing as no more bloody hot flashes!
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks all. I'm enjoying this thread.
In my case, I can't point to just one thing that convinced me. Losing my religion was sort of like the way I sometimes describe a bad movie - I could suspend my disbelief up to a certain point. But finally, my suspension of disbelief creaked, groaned, and fell apart in the Chasm Of Unbelievable BS.

I can remember several things when I was a kid that helped:

--asking questions in Sunday School and being told not to ask those questions.

--my father bringing home a book of quotations from people like Robert Ingersoll and Denis Diderot. (He did construction, so he worked away from home a lot and often brought home books he found in rooming houses and trailers.)

--at times, my mother worked at a small college as a waitress. Sometimes she took me to work with her, and I would roam around the campus. The Natural Sciences building had display cases full of fossils and rocks a little more than 6000 years old. And the college had the ultimate WMD against religion - a library. The librarians were usually nice and let me sit quietly with a book.

Didn't take long to figure out that the Baptists had lumbered me with a lot of bass-ackward history. The real history of the Middle East was full of great, fascinating empires that rose and fell. Then there was Buy-bull history, mostly religious propaganda written by a bunch of resentful losers.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-23-11 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
14. I was never a believer, but friends who were have told me the following:
Edited on Wed Nov-23-11 02:56 PM by LeftishBrit
(1) (Ex-Christian): Too many contradictions in the Bible; e.g. the basic story of the Nativity has different versions in different Gospels.

(2) (Ex-Muslim): The story just seemed increasingly improbable. Why would an all-powerful God require that people prove their support for him by e.g. all praying five times a day? It makes Allah sound like an earthly politician seeking re-election.

My Jewish mother was never a believer, but reading the Old Testament more or less from beginning to end convinced her that (a) much of it was great literature; (b) it couldn't possibly be true.
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