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February 6, 2012

18

How I Became An Atheist

by juju2112

I was recently asked by a Christian how I became an atheist. I wrote about my experiences with paganism last week, but I didn’t really explain how I fell away from it.

I used to be a believer. I was not a Christian, but I did believe in a great many supernatural things. I was 100% convinced that God and spirits existed. I spoke to them every day. At the time, if you told me they didn’t exist, I would have thought you were an intentionally closed minded person who would see the obvious if they just opened their eyes and looked around. I thought people didn’t see the truth because they didn’t want to.

There were a great many things that convinced me of God’s existence. I eventually found out there were flaws in the brain behind every single one of them. I learned that we can’t trust our own experiences, and I learned all the reasons why that is.

Losing your faith is not a quick process. It can take years. For me, it took 7 years. First, I learned how a certain experience I’d been having (astral projection) could actually be explained another way. At first, I wasn’t convinced I was wrong. However, the very idea I could be wrong at all disturbed me. I didn’t know what to think at first. Eventually, though, I accepted that the experience was not real.

I ended up having to have this realization many, many times over the years, because my faith was built on many, many experiences. One by one, throughout the years, the truth of my experiences fell away. There are only a limited number of flaws in the brain, but there are an infinite number of experiences you can have that can fall victim to them.

Now that I know my beliefs were not true, it pains me to see others going through similar experiences. When I was a believer, it was awesome. It was like I knew more than everybody else. But once you realize it’s not true, you wish you had known that all along so you wouldn’t have dedicated your entire life to it.

I feel like a fool for ever believing any of it.

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18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 6 2012

    Yep, I believed in a lot of wacky crap back in the day: the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Ronald Reagan…

    Reply
    • juju2112
      Feb 6 2012

      Ronald Reagan’s not real!?!?

  2. Feb 7 2012

    It’s a hard thing trying to explain how one becomes an atheist. The question I get more often than how is why. I didn’t want to be an atheist. I discovered that I am one. Sure, I’ve had bad experiences with religion. Who hasn’t? It’s not the sole reason. I think I just saw through the misinformation that is being fed us through religion.

    I come from a very religious background. I was taught young-earth creationism and dispensationalist eschatology. I discovered that there was a big disconnect between what we were told about what others believe and what they actually do believe. My life was so micromanaged that I was unprepared to live on my own and I was pretty much pushed out into a world that I was not able to experience before being an adult. That is hard. It’s the parent’s job to prepare the kid to be an adult, not to shelter him from things so he is shocked by what he sees and is unable to deal with things outside of his world-view. It was like I was set up for failure. I was even set up for failure in the ministry. I have been turned down a few times for positions at church because I didn’t have a good “testimony”. It actually took me awhile to figure that out. I was turned down for the position because I wasn’t bad enough before becoming good.

    Also, I was not given proper treatment for my panic disorder. When I was growing up, I was often punished quite severely during my panic attacks. Of course, my parents had no idea what a panic attack was. There was even a time when they might have thought that I was demon possessed. Of course the whole church would try to lay hands on me. You get 20 people to crowd around to touch a child with a panic disorder, and you can be sure that the madness will commence. I couldn’t stand one person touching me, let alone a whole room full.

    Reply
    • juju2112
      Feb 7 2012

      Great post. That sounds incredibly traumatizing. Does medication help your condition?

  3. Feb 7 2012

    If you are an engineer, you do what engineers do; that’s your profession. Christians are supposed to have a profession as well. Jesus said this is your profession: If you believe in me you are supposed to the same thing that I do; that is how you know I am real. Many of this disciples did just that but after they were laid to rest that chain of faith seems to have been compromised resulting in the feckless getting about of people called the church today. Not that it is not real; there just has been no real pursuit of that true profession. Self delusion is not new; what we are told is if you know the truth and do not do it we will deceive ourselves. We can choose our own delusions. If I choose to believe in Jesus, and as a consequence of that belief, proceed in fact to actually do as he does: raise the dead back to life to avert insufferably premature loss to others, heal the sick to end their suffering, reconstitute matter at a molecular level to feed thousands of people form a few fish and loaves of bread to address world hunger; I think that is my ideal reality.

    Frankly I don’t think God cares much about religion, anymore than electromagnetic radiance is religiously inclined; he has no race, color, religious affiliations or for that matter any of the peculiarities of human limitations that we enshrine and have heavily vested so much divisive ideological value in. Anyone becoming a new believer in Christ will inevitably run in to a wall called the “clergy”. Jesus spoke of them saying: they will not enter the kingdom of heaven (meaning…they will not do like I in ministry works or in my life in faith), nor allow you to do so either. If as a new believer you are not prepared to press with vehement determination past them you; it will happen to you as Jesus said: they cross land and sea to make one convert, then make them twice the child of hell as they are.

    Atheism is Christianity with a bad case of indigestion. Like Darwin, they all come from within the church, and are twice as smart, know the bible better than most of the clergy, and are extremely dissatisfied because of what they see as gross incompetence in them. There is a monumental seismic shift from the marked character of the Jesus’ ministry to works of altruistic humanism done today by church leaders who call such works “the works of God”. Today everyone is busy making disciples but nobody is a disciple of Jesus in the ministry that he demonstrated across his 3 years on earth, and then told us to do the same and even greater things. Today you look across the globe and what you see is a stunning fulfillment of that warning. For the better part of the last 1000 years the church has been producing some of fiercest most outspoken Atheists in history

    The common lay person is begin to awaken to the gross lapse in the kind of ministry that Jesus demonstrated and what it has devolved into in the hands of these physicians of no value.

    “As a result (of denying our spiritual heritage), many Western Churches that have chosen to deny the spiritual realm beyond salvation, and as a result have devolved into a powerless civil religion that can only give people hope after they die. Most of what is offered at many Honestly, sometimes I feel we may as well just be the Boy Scouts or Rotary Club. Do we honestly believe that Jesus’ Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Glorification and our Baptism with the Holy Spirit all happened so that we could be one of many organizations that help people? To be one more source of morality and ethics?” …..speakfaithfully.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • juju2112
      Feb 7 2012

      You typed a lot, but I’m not exactly sure what you’re talking about.

    • Feb 7 2012

      So, God doesn’t want us to be religious? I guess we’re OK, then.

      Really? What is your definition of religion, because I don’t think you are using the one that is in the dictionary.

    • Feb 8 2012

      I think I may be screwing up in duplicating this comment; if so please disregard the first because I don’t think I activated the “notify me” button.
      thanks

      Hi Robert that’s a very good question. You’re good enough for God, you’re good enough for me. On the question of religion I actually wasn’t sourcing any dictionary but I think scripture provides some interesting insights.

      Religion is a form of Godlinesss, and there are many forms of godliness; none of which gives evidence of the life of God. The definition rendered in scripture in: James (1:27—Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.) Here religion is defined as the various expressions of godliness as seen in observing certain rituals and moral conducts none of which require the you actually have the life of God in you to do it. It says you may be doing something nice, but you are the one who under your own human steam are doing, in this case the keeping of yourself form worldly pollutions. This covers all the Greek, Roman, and all other pagan gods. Those that are sons of God actually receive power to become so: John 1:11-13— reveals more of these forms of godliness which are not to be confused with the actual life of God: (11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born , not of BLOOD, nor of the WILL OF THE FLESH, nor of WILL OF MAN, but of God. In this regard atlrusitic humanism may show great compassion toward a fellow man.) Again here some people’s form of godliness expresses various codes of morality that the family of BLOOD relatives they are born into practices— another is the will of the WILL OF THE FLESH which Colossians 2:23 describes as “will worship” [Which things have indeed an (appearance) of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any way conceding to the satisfy of the flesh.] These are things done to show great self restraint in abstaining from various known excesses and indulgences— yet another is THE WILL OF MAN; Paul writes that some men are forced to be eunuchs. People are sometimes coerced into certain behaviors or practices by peer pressures or other kinds of pressures being brought to bear on their manner of conduct, which may even include throwing bombs on other people, committing genocide in the name of religion.

      These are only some of the forms of godliness that are expressive of religion. Spirituality is the actual life of God, religion is the proverbial “corn maze” that people wonder through to find him consisting of all the myriad exercises that make them look godly, but they may not be spiritual, they may actually not have the life of God, though they appear godly. Those who God calls his children receive power to become sons…..Jesus is the power of God, and God’s children are God’s power expressed to do the things he does. Mothers express milk for their infants, God expresses his image into his offspring so his offspting are the express image of God in the power of God.

  4. Feb 7 2012

    Hi Donald,

    You know, I get that a lot more often than I frankly care to admit. Thanks for not being put off by the insensitivity of my first comment. If I understand you correctly, it appears you’ve experienced a bunch of perceived reality encounters. You may have sorted out the one that rings as true to you, based on whatever litmus test you hold credible. People who make the pursuit of empirical science their life’s work reports very curious findings about our world that squares with God’s version of “reality”: …“not everything that can be counted, counts; not everything that counts, can be counted” As far as the laws of mathematics (the language of science) refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.…Albert Einstein.

    Much of our framework of the reality is described by the very science that has brought to us virtually all the modern hi-tech convenience we take for granted, and they say it is a very uncertain thing. As scientists peer deeper into the mysteries of the universe, it is confronting bizarre real observations that matches with uncanny accuracy the information within the pages of the Bible, which when they were penned, no technology existed that could offer empirical insights on such things. There is a reason that leading theoretical physicists like Harvard’s Lisa Randall writes about, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”, and $10 billion projects like the Hadron Colider that look for the “God Particle” are headlining the vanguard of science.

    They say the laws governing our world at a subatomic particulate level do not just describe these particles, but because we are made of them and they are everywhere, they describe we, and the world we live in as well; but for unknown reasons these characteristics much less noticeable at our scale than with these particles though we are made of them. These particles demonstrate properties that are characteristic of all the miracles of Jesus who said when you act according to the faith of God these things are possible with you too.

    We may not be aware of it, but for the last 100 years science has been using language like: absurd, imaginary, preposterous, ridiculous, irrational, unbelievable, confounding, voodoo, spooky, illegal, insane to describe our “world” where multiple realities and universes like the pages of a book are as real as any of the hi-tech devices it has brought us. Since this is consistent with God’s account of himself and the world in the Bible, I suggest that we could go along with some perception of what we deem real; or subscribe to that which God offers which is corroborated by the findings of science. Either way because such uncertainties, we have to proceed if at all by faith…said another way (by the laws of probability) you have to take a chance either way; and I’d rather take a chance on God.

    AND you are probably going to tell me that’s not much clearer…..right?

    Reply
    • juju2112
      Feb 7 2012

      Let’s take a specific example. What’s an example of something in science that the bible predicts?

    • Feb 7 2012

      How about his very nature: Jesus says he is the past, present , and the future. The mathematical predictions of science says the past is not gone, the future is not waiting to happen, and the present is not separate from either, but they are inseparably linked and are one thing every bit as much as space is.

    • juju2112
      Feb 7 2012

      Are you saying Jesus and time are the same thing?

    • Feb 7 2012

      Well, I’m not the one that said it; it’s been written right there for over 2000 years, but I am agreeing with it. One of the greatest mistakes about God we have made is to think that God is limited to the representation of the Anglo Saxon version of a Jewish male that lived 2000 years ago. Long before there was any man there was God; and he didn’t look like man, but is entirely something else. When he first introduced himself to the human family notably by the name, (I AM THAT I AM): not Lucy, Joe, or Henry; he added that it is to be his name for ever to all mankind. What that name amounts to is ….sentient matter that lives, gives life, and gave life to man who is himself 98 cents worth of raw natural material brought to life by God’s life. If we have misunderstood him it is a function of a mind that is locked and virtually broken is a perceived reality that cannot account for anything outside a world of limited sensory perceptions.

      He was quite clear when he not only said he is “light” but proceeded to demonstrate that fact in the transfiguration account where he radiated in strength of candlepower rivaling the sun; but the eyes of man cannot see what his single track mind is not prepared to conceive, and the inept clergy cannot veer from the script of such mindless parochial dribble that they parse like so much snake oil even when it makes no sense. All matter throughout the entire universe is a result of the condensation of light. Light and matter are the same thing. Jesus said all things are made of him. Not only is he matter that lives, he is light, time and space. Hollywood could easily light up the big screen with an alien that could do and be just that and make it look plausible. An alien is an alien depending on which side of the lense you are peering through. God says we are the aliens; we are the ones who have been alienated from him where we had our origins.

    • Feb 7 2012

      That’s pretty weak, newgen.

    • Feb 8 2012

      No way Robert, I think you were rather impressed.

  5. Feb 8 2012

    Newgen, Donald asked for an example of something in science that the bible predicts? You answered that Jesus is time, matter, light , and everything else. Can you site a peer reviewed journal that states that Jesus is time, matter and light? Of course not! No scientist that know of has said anything like that.

    Reply
    • Feb 8 2012

      Why would I need any journal to tell me something What was already written 2000 years ago that science is just now seeing by means of very advanced technology. All science is doing is echoing what I already know. Better men than those that are at it today would make no secret of it, but today you won’t find many that would come out and admit the obvious. Einstein said science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind. That harkens back to a revealing insight by scripture saying if you study the heavens and the firmament you will see God and his workmanship. Science is not in the business of proselytizing people. They see themselves as mutually exclusive with any god claim, but the truth will soon become undeniable and known to all. Whether they all care that it is so is another matter entirely.

  6. Feb 10 2012

    I thought that the firmament fell as rain during Noah’s Flood.
    http://www.present-truth.org/3-Nature/Evolution%20of%20Creationist/Chapter%2007.htm

    You said that science confirmed that Jesus is light, energy and matter. For that you need a Journal article that explains how Jesus is light, energy, and matter. Sorry, that’s how science is done.

    Reply

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