How I (Ron Gold) Became an Atheist April 24, 2009

How I (Ron Gold) Became an Atheist

Hey, this is Ron Gold (obviously).  Today marks a year of blogging for me, so I decided to commemorate the event by telling the story of how I became an atheist. I hope everyone enjoys it:
I was only six or seven years old at the time, but I remember it vividly. I was going through my first (and as it turns out, my last) crisis of faith. To this day, I have never been so burdened with doubt. This wasn’t any ordinary variety of doubt, either; it was the sort of doubt that kept me awake at night, that made me not want to eat, and in the darkest of moments, made me wonder if life was even worth living.

Having no one to share my burden with made things even worse.  I jealously watched my blissfully ignorant schoolmates continue to happily live their lives.  But how could they be so firm in their faith when there was so much evidence against there being a higher power?
Eventually, I decided if I ever wanted to move on in life, I would have to come to grips with the truth.  With great reluctance, I finally accepted the facts: There was no Santa Claus.
Over the next few weeks, my belief in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and God would all fall like dominoes. As it turned out, this wasn’t so bad. I still got presents and candy on Christmas, more candy on Easter, and money whenever a tooth fell out. And losing my faith in God was no problem at all. I had tried praying to Him when I was still a believer, and He never answered my prayers. Now that I didn’t believe in Him, my prayers still weren’t answered. Nothing had changed.
It was much easier for me to reject the notion of a God than the average person since I had the luxury of never being indoctrinated in any religion, which gave me the added bonus of never fearing hell. This was thanks to having one non-observant Jewish parent and one non-observant Christian parent. It’s not that my parents ever told me there was no God, they just never told be there was one. My scant religious knowledge as a child was mostly picked up from TV and comic strips. The most sophisticated beliefs I ever had about God were that His tears were rain, in was sunny when He was happy, and silly stuff like that.
It would be a while before I used the atheist label on myself. More than anything, religion was a non-issue at this point in my life, and I almost never thought about it. Besides, I was too busy with important things like Nintendo and Super Soakers to think about God.
A few years after I rejected the existence of my four entities, I casually mentioned that I was a non-believer to my parents.  This statement was met with apathy, to put it strongly. It’s good to have parents who care.
When I was in my early teens I started to become conscious that my lack of religious beliefs put me in the minority.  I finally started identifying as an atheist, but only because I realized that there was a lot of hatred directed at anyone who didn’t believe in God. In my youthful naivety, this surprised me; I never cared at all what someone’s religion was.  Why would they care about mine?
It’s now been about 20 years now since I stopped believing, and even though there is a lot of anti-atheist discrimination out there, I’m happy to say it’s never been a problem for me.  May my lack of faith continue strong!

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  • This should also take care of my meme duties for “The Ages of Your Religious Transformation”:

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  • Happy blog birthday, Ron. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Just today I was daydreaming of categorizing atheists into types. A taxonomy always has a purpose, however, and first, I wanted to be clear on my purpose. So I am still thinking.
    But something has to be said for:
    Atheists who are:
    1) Ex-believers
    2) Raised religiously but never religious
    3) Parental relationships
    4) Societal benefits
    and others. So, I’d love it if other readers could help me think of a Atheist Taxonomy. My guess is that though most of us want to think we decided to be atheists, instead, we became atheists and then thought up reasons why.

  • Revyloution

    It looks like you had a childhood very similar to mine, though I never struggled with the 4 gods of kiddom. I feel lucky that I never had to go through the struggle of shaking off a belief. I always wondered what it would be like to loose belief in something.

    ‘Til last year. Watching Alan Greenspan talking on the floor of the Senate shook loose the last strings holding together my belief in Libertarianism. Its an odd feeling having something you knew to be ‘true’ that you now see as naive.

  • SarahH

    I love hearing stories like yours. Maybe someday that will be a much more common type of story 🙂

  • No wonder you are “friendly.” You never had to put up with religious shit. That explains it.

  • Kate

    Hahah I love it – and I had an upbringing very similar to you!! Great read. 🙂

  • Thanks for the feedback.

    Sabio – like the taxonomy idea.

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