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!