Why Atheism? July 23, 2008

Why Atheism?

Daniel Florien asks a simple question:

What made you become an atheist or agnostic?

His own story is captivating in itself:

I’m Daniel Florien. I was an evangelical Christian for over a decade, completely convinced that God was real and Jesus was alive today. I attended Bible college to train to be a pastor. I worked at a Christian church for many years. I have “led people to Christ.” I have left tracts in bathrooms. I have knocked on hundreds of doors asking people to repent and believe in Jesus.

I now know I was wrong…

He’s getting a number of interesting responses. Feel free to share your own at his site.

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  • mike

    When I was three i figured out that Santa Clause and friends were made up. Same difference. Wasn’t ’till I was like 12-14 that I started to actively show I knew it was bullshit. My dad grew up catholic and was a choir boy so I had to be one too. Eventually just got fed up with it and I led the others in a huge mess up during christmas mass. That was the end of that, hehe.

    When I was like 6-7 and someone at school spilled milk on me, the nurse didn’t care until I started screaming my ass off about god and stuff. Hehe, got me a half day 😀

  • Ron in Houston

    My personal favorite:

    I started a successful internet company and helped take it public on the OTC (over the counter) stock exchange.

    OTC companies are very shady, I saw firsthand how easy it was to fool the general public. That’s when I knew religion was made up

  • Polly

    What made you become an atheist or agnostic?

    Lots of reading – both, books and online.

    Having the courage to think for myself instead of backing away from the precipice.

    Real life examples of the “love” of christ showed me just how useless the Holy Spirit was at his “sanctifying” work, ie making xians conform more and more to the image of Christ. Decades of intense prayer and Bible reading only seemed to make people more pompous, judgmental, selfish, petty, and cold-hearted.

  • Anthony

    I took a college course on genetics, and another on evolutionary psychology. After that semester, I went from Christian to Atheist. I simply cannot reconcile genetics with the claims of religion, and evo-psych gave me an assertive reason to believe that gods/magic/etc are complex byproducts of many other aspects of the mind.

  • Simple for me: I was a Catholic and then I asked myself: do I really believe what I am reciting? (no)

    Do I really believe that some Jewish holy man was killed (yes) but then rose from the dead? (no)

    I simply ceased to believe in supernatural stuff; it is really that simple. There is nothing deep or philosophical about it, no rebellion against a deity, etc.

  • EKM

    For one thing, I never got a decent answer to the question “Why religion?”

  • TXatheist

    Comparative reading on how xianity is just plagiarized from earlier mythology. Utilize the bible but it’s not history and the supernatural is bunk.

  • wintremute

    I was about seven years old and attending catholic school. I asked my mother something along the lines of “where’s the proof”. Her answer was “you have to believe it first, then you will see proof.” I knew it was all bunk from that point. I begged my parents to put me in public school, which they did to save on tuition, not because I was a budding atheist. I still went with them to church (kicking and screaming) until I was about 11. Have not been back since.

  • gmanicus

    I grew up as a Protestant Christian. My moment of “clarity” came when I took a course on world religions in high school. Looking at religion from a historical/scientific perspective made me see that religion was just an archaic belief system used to explain the unexplainable events of that time. I learned that books such as the Bible were recorded orally for hundreds of years before they were actually written down, and of course, the kicker was that the original orators were uneducated fishermen, and the like. Popular Science magazine also ran a cover story at the time that explained “great” events from the Bible from a scientific perspective (i.e. the burning bush, the flood, and the parting of the red sea). This information, coupled with the education of people at that time really cemented in my mind that it was all a misguided effort to try and explain seemingly supernatural phenomena of the time. It was no different than indigenous tribes of South America who believe in sun gods or that taking a photograph steals your soul. In short, when people ask me why I am an atheist, I reply: “Because I don’t believe in superstitious nonsense. I believe in rational thought and science.”

  • bipolar2

    ** no self-respecting ape is religious **

    The falsity of ‘intelligent design’ is proved by the existence of those who believe it.

    All gods are stopgaps introduced to cover for our disfunctional hypertrophied pre-frontal cortex. Ditto morality.


  • EKM

    On July 24, 2008 at 10:55 am, bipolar2 wrote:

    The falsity of ‘intelligent design’ is proved by the existence of those who believe it.

    Could you explain this statement? Are you joking that the ID people are not too bright? Or do you mean there is some inherent contradiction in ID that I do not see?

  • This is too good to pass up:

    What made you become an atheist or agnostic?

    God did, ot maybe he didn’t.

  • He went to bible college to become a minister. Sorry, we can’t take him as an atheist. He needs at least a masters degree from a seminary or divinity school. We have *some* standards.

  • Susie C

    I read a book which described medical experiments in which a part of the brain was stimulated by an electrical charge. It said that the charge made 90% of the participants describe the feeling of the presence of God. The last 10% felt nothing.

    I came away understanding that there might be a physiological reason for my constant doubt. It helped me finally admit that I didn’t believe in God.

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