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delicious 05-24-2007 09:43 AM

I was raised an atheist and am now an atheist. I can't imagine becoming religious, but I am curious about those of you who were raised one way, either religiously or not, but changed to the other side as you got older. What made you change? Are you happier now? Please share your stories!

sabbath999 05-24-2007 11:02 AM

I have two pairs of flip-flops. I have never asked my shoes if they were bound to a certain religion, but they have been faithfully comfortable when I wear them.



Not sure if this helps or not.

Seusomon 05-24-2007 11:04 AM

I was raised atheist, then became Pagan. It would probably require a book to explain all the details of how and why that happened, but the succinct answer is that I gradually came to perceive that the atheist worldview was limiting the types of experience I could engage in and appreciate, and limiting the tools I had available to me for learning about myself and my relationship with the world.



I am indeed much happier now. My life is richer, my relationships with other people are vastly better, and there's a lot more love, and a lot less stress, surrounding me these days.




honeyfugle 05-24-2007 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by delicious View Post

I was raised an atheist and am now an atheist. I can't imagine becoming religious, but I am curious about those of you who were raised one way, either religiously or not, but changed to the other side as you got older. What made you change? Are you happier now? Please share your stories!



so this has absolutely nothing to do with flip flops?



strangely i was a bit downhearted that shoes arent the topic here... mabye it's just proof that i actually AM a female...

GhostUser 05-24-2007 02:59 PM

Raised Christian until age 6

mom re-married a man that followed Native American beliefs, was exposed to those ideas and started to get really confused

became agnostic around 10

atheist around 14

agnostic again around 16

looked into Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and New Age stuff over the next few years

recently became Christian for a month

gave that up and now I'm figuring things out.



I'm happier now than I have been at any other time. I have always been searching, but I'm more at peace with where I am in this moment than I ever have been before. I consider myself to be spiritual but not religious at this point, and I don't ever see myself following an organized religion ever again.

peace 05-24-2007 06:07 PM


*Samantha* 05-24-2007 07:44 PM

I don't have a story myself(as my dad was the one who taught me religious beliefs as a child, and I have stuck to them), but I have one from my mom.



She was raised Christian, but around age 16 she became disillusioned with the Christian churches because she felt many (not all) of the people didn't seem to be at church for the joy of worshipping God so much as being there out of duty, for social prestige, ect.. This was detracting from her enjoyment of going to church, so she became a (still devout) non-denominational Christian. Around 18 she discovered the Baha'i faith and joined it, while still believing in Jesus. She also ended up becoming interested in Buddhism and Hinduism, and believing in those religions, also. She even had a Buddhist spiritual teacher. At age 45, she finally decided to leave the Baha'i faith and become a Hindu/Buddhist combination, because she couldn't reconcile her beliefs in reincarnation on the Earth with the fact that the Baha'i religion doesn't believe in this.



She says she feels much more spiritually fulfilled now then she did with her prior religions.

Beancounter 05-24-2007 08:19 PM

I've been an atheist since I was five and I still am. However, I wanted to present another angle to you question. Belief or lack of belief is usually deeply integrated into your worldview at an early age. It becomes part of your "hard coded" perspective on life.



Frankly, I don't see how some one can go from not believing to believing (or vice versa) on a drop of a hat.



For me, an earth shattering event would have to occure before would I started believing in a god. (e.g. seven horsemen riding down Main Street)

I imagine those who are theist would have an equally hard time switching over to atheism.



So, for theist who have turned to atheist, have you really stopped beleiving in a god, or are you just disenchanted with you particular religion?

Skylark 05-24-2007 08:37 PM

Drat, I thought this thread would be about a summer marketing scheme by a "Christian" apparel distributor!

Amy SF 05-24-2007 10:54 PM

skylark, seriously, so did I.



I don't have any personal stories, actually. I was raised atheist, and after a brief moment of casually looking at Wicca and Paganism and wondering if they proved that there is more out there than science can demonstrate, I reaffirmed my atheism. I'm just not convinced that any of the religions out there can provide any answers for me. But I do have respect for certain religions, such as Wicca, because it just seems to me to be a gentler religion than some of the others.

Blue Plastic Straw 05-24-2007 10:55 PM

I thought you meant these
LL

honeyfugle 05-25-2007 09:05 AM

wow...



i want those shoes... even if i'm not christian

catswym 05-25-2007 10:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beancounter View Post




Frankly, I don't see how some one can go from not believing to believing (or vice versa) on a drop of a hat.



....



So, for theist who have turned to atheist, have you really stopped beleiving in a god, or are you just disenchanted with you particular religion?



so, i was a christian until this past fall. i wouldn't definitely call myself an "atheist" but, pretty much that is where i fall.



and, no i don't see how someone could go from one thing to another "on the drop of a hat" either. it took me about 1-1.5 years of really thinking over whether i really believed everything christians believe, and it was a progression of saying: well, i don't believe this, i don't believe this, i do believe this, etc etc.



finally i realized i was no longer a christian. and then, not even agnostic.



and, no, for me, i am not "just disenchanted with my particular religion". which is probably why i didn't just switch to a new one.

Thalia 05-25-2007 11:27 AM

I don't have my own story to contribute, but http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=35947 has many stories of how people became atheist.



I know there are also many websites for exchristians, exmuslims, mormons, jehova's witnesses, and even Amish. Might want to try searching for former or apostate and particular religions. I find these stories fascinating.

delicious 05-25-2007 12:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by catswym View Post

so, i was a christian until this past fall. i wouldn't definitely call myself an "atheist" but, pretty much that is where i fall.



and, no i don't see how someone could go from one thing to another "on the drop of a hat" either. it took me about 1-1.5 years of really thinking over whether i really believed everything christians believe, and it was a progression of saying: well, i don't believe this, i don't believe this, i do believe this, etc etc.



finally i realized i was no longer a christian. and then, not even agnostic.



and, no, for me, i am not "just disenchanted with my particular religion". which is probably why i didn't just switch to a new one.



Well, I welcome you into the least trusted group in America, catswym.

delicious 05-25-2007 12:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

I don't have my own story to contribute, but http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=35947 has many stories of how people became atheist.



I know there are also many websites for exchristians, exmuslims, mormons, jehova's witnesses, and even Amish. Might want to try searching for former or apostate and particular religions. I find these stories fascinating.



Thanks for posting this Thalia. I think it's interesting, too.

delicious 05-25-2007 12:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seusomon View Post

I was raised atheist, then became Pagan. It would probably require a book to explain all the details of how and why that happened, but the succinct answer is that I gradually came to perceive that the atheist worldview was limiting the types of experience I could engage in and appreciate, and limiting the tools I had available to me for learning about myself and my relationship with the world.



I am indeed much happier now. My life is richer, my relationships with other people are vastly better, and there's a lot more love, and a lot less stress, surrounding me these days.






I'm curious! Would you mind going into more detail?

delicious 05-25-2007 12:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by veggiejanie View Post

Raised Christian until age 6

mom re-married a man that followed Native American beliefs, was exposed to those ideas and started to get really confused

became agnostic around 10

atheist around 14

agnostic again around 16

looked into Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and New Age stuff over the next few years

recently became Christian for a month

gave that up and now I'm figuring things out.



I'm happier now than I have been at any other time. I have always been searching, but I'm more at peace with where I am in this moment than I ever have been before. I consider myself to be spiritual but not religious at this point, and I don't ever see myself following an organized religion ever again.



You might want to read Why I am Not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell. My bf was raised in a religious home and felt alone (and confused by) his own lack of belief...until he read that book at 15, I believe.

delicious 05-25-2007 12:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Plastic Straw View Post

I thought you meant these



Lol!

GhostUser 05-25-2007 12:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by delicious View Post

You might want to read Why I am Not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell. My bf was raised in a religious home and felt alone (and confused by) his own lack of belief...until he read that book at 15, I believe.



Thank you for the suggestion.

jAded 05-25-2007 07:38 PM

I wasn't raised an atheist, but I was raised without religion. Dad was Jewish but didn't observe any rituals or anything though he had a big interest in religion in general. I think mum is pretty much an atheist.



I jump between atheist and agnostic, pretty much. I don't have the strength of mind to say there is no God, but I really struggle to reconcile my own ideas, or personality even, with any organised religion. I've had some minor paranormal experiences and believe in medians and psychics and ghosts and all the rest of it but I'm unsure about any sort of Heaven/Hell afterlife or one almighty power up there.

*Samantha* 05-26-2007 10:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jAded View Post


I've had some minor paranormal experiences and believe in medians and psychics and ghosts and all the rest of it but I'm unsure about any sort of Heaven/Hell afterlife or one almighty power up there.



This describes me perfectly, except that I do strongly believe in God(I'm Christian).

honeyfugle 05-26-2007 01:46 PM

now for my serious post...



well, i was raised without a religion, but because my family were strong catholics i was always drawn towards it. so at about 12 or 13 after years of wanting to be part of the church (my family all were and i didnt want to be the "black sheep" anymore) i started going to church every saturday and sunday, taking holy communion each mass, and i got confirmed on easter saturday 2005.



soon enough (by 15), i feel out of love with the christian church and organised religion in general, so i guess it didn't last long.



i still believe in God and Goddes, which is something i have always done, but obviously the view of a Goddess isn't really in christianity, so i had some disagreements there.

i still have huge respects for the christian church, even though i know many people do not.

GhostUser 05-27-2007 07:26 PM

Raised Anglican. Never could get my head around it and could never understand why God was an old man with a beard sitting in the clouds (I hate beards *shudders*) and then when my parents got divorced (I was 7) the vicar came around and screamed at my mum that she was the spawn of the devil and that she would go to hell if she divorced my father who was a good Christian man and Jesus had forgiven all his sins. Surprisingly that had quite a lasting effect on me seeing as I couldn't understand how Jesus could love a man who raped his daughters, beat up his wife and children and stole half a million pounds in total from his vulnerable elderly clients (he was a corrupt solicitor) over my mother. I still went to church after that because mum still did (we moved 15 miles away) and being 8 years old I couldn't really say no especially as mum seamed happy at the church in the village. Oh how wrong I could be. There was a woman in this new church who was friends with my father and she spent two years befriending my mother and slipping in comments about my father until mum was convinced that she had to see him again to get closure. So when I was 9 she rang him up. The whole thing resulted in mum having a nervous breakdown and this woman getting her shut into the mental hospital even though all she needed was to be given £500 and told to go spend a few days in a spa. (That's what we (meaning my gran, brother, sister, aunt and I) wanted to happen but this woman got her way.) So mum was in the mental hospital for two weeks while this lovely woman and my father were trying to get me to say that I wanted to live with him. Yeah right! So anyhoo, Mum comes out of the hospital, realises what was going on and severed all contact with him and this woman straight away. This wonderful, incredibly Christian woman doesn't give up though: we ended up calling the police.

Surprisingly, I still went to church after all this (a different church: there's about 30 within 5 miles of where we live so we were spoilt for choice.) I actually really got into it (still had problems with the whole re-born again Christian thing for obvious reasons) and when I was 13 I wanted to be confirmed. Now to be confirmed you had to go on a 13 week Alpha course which was every Saturday morning and if you missed one you had to wait until the next "batch". So I toddle off to these sessions at first being very happy and agree with what was being said. Then the questions started. I got a lot of unsatisfying answers which were mainly based on biblical quotes (I've always believed the bible to be a work of fiction written by men hundreds of years ago and the main means to have been lost through translation. Not a very good Christian ) but the one which got me most was Q: "If Christianity is meant to be the one true religion then what about Hinduism which is probably the oldest religion there is? And were all the people before Jesus came to earth condemned to hell even if they followed the Ten Commandments? And if they were condemned to hell does that mean Noah and Moses (my two favourite characters from the bible) supposing they existed are in hell?" To say the least I got screamed at that I was a "witch child" etc etc. Needless to say I left the church that very day and have never gone back.

That was when I was 13. I was atheist for a while because (thanks to my Christian upbringing) I believed that you could only believe in the Christian God because all other gods are evil etc etc. So I told myself that there was no god because how could a god who was meant to love me have let all those things happen to me (the things mentioned above and more) and how could he hate my mother but love my father?

In June last year I finally realised that I did believe that there is something there. On the 21st I hear some people talking about "the weirdos at Stonehenge" so after being banned all my life from asking about what happened at Stonehenge on the 21st June I decided to look into it.



I'm now Pagan and couldn't be happier.



Sorry for the long post but you did ask.

Shantih 05-27-2007 07:38 PM

I was sort of raised Christian in that my mum would tell me why we celebrated Christian holidays, she would tell me to pray about things sometimes, and little things like that, but we didn't attend Church or read the Bible or anything.



I believed then, I didn't question God for years, until I was around 11. Then I became agnostic I guess, had a look into paganism. I did consider that there might not be a God but that just never sat right with me and I never stopped believing there was at the very least a higher power.



In the last two years I've come back to Christianity, more so than when I was younger, I do read the Bible, attend church (I'm actually inbetween churches right now, but I did and want to again when I find the right one), etc. I feel closer to my god now than I ever have, and that grows every day.


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