Hi all,

Its not common that I receive three different endearing labels in just a couple of days. One poster jokingly called me the "atheistist atheist of atheistdom". Someone who had the label hilariously foisted on them gave it to me, "That Little Evil Thang" and I was recently told by my daughter that as regards atheism "I'm kind of a big deal", another joke of a label that comes from a funny movie and one I repeated on TA a couple of times.

When I thought about this I realized people are saying this because I was more or less born atheist; I mean, my parents were both atheists and I was never drawn to religion. And that made me realize that almost every story I've read on TA is about the deconverted; people who have left religion. Is there anyone out there who was "born" atheist? If so, I'd like to hear your story. I'd especially like to know at what age you decided for certain that you would not "depart" from tradition and convert. For me it was 12.

We hear the deconversion stories all the time but I rarely hear our stories. Also, I'm curious if anyone's larger family is all atheist? All my relatives as far back as I know were all atheist. This seems rare. Is it?

One of the reasons I ask this is because when new people join who have deconverted they tell their stories about it and, while I can understand it in a deconversion context, its hard to know how to relate to some of the issues they encounter, especially after deconverting. There is so much tension within their own families and I don't know the right thing to say to them. Any ideas on that?

All are invited and I'm not a topic natzi.

Thanks for reading - kk 

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I was born to a Catholic mom and an agnostic dad, though I didn't really know my dad's beliefs until I was older.  I have always been different from my siblings in that I was born a skeptic and have always been fascinated by science.  I never bought into religion despite many attempts by family and neighbors to convince me, ironically it just gave me more ammunition to stomp around with.  I would say it was about age 12 that I was firmly set in my ways and have identified as atheist since. 

I actually feel quite fortunate to have snuffed out religion before it left an impact on me.  The stories of deconverters make it sound like a difficult journey, and one that I wish I understood better so I can guide people out of that train wreck.

Hey Ryan B,

Well, we're similar in this regard. I'm curious about what you said about science. Do you think your interest in science or fascination with "things science" came before those serious convictions about atheism? I've noticed that, listening to a lot of posters here it sounds like science kind of led them in the direction of atheism, although its not always easy to tell the ordering of things.

I feel fortunate for the same reasons. Reading all these post-deconversion stories is scary. Despite trying to understand all this and be a "good deconverter" I must admit I'm a fish out of water sometimes. It makes me feel kind of pertly or impudent for trying to deconvert people sometimes. What do I know? Yea, its a train wreck.

- kk

I always have enjoyed learning.  I constantly read and watch documentaries and have always been that way.  So learning what I did just didn't match up to what people tried preaching.  Maybe some of us are just lucky to spot the discrepancies at an earlier age than others, but I would say science threw up a roadblock to religion and then continued to tug on me until I was old enough to really understand what I was thinking all along.

Hey Ryan B,

It sounds like you are saying that science did precede atheism to some degree, but that perhaps you didn't realize that until you were older?

- kk

Everyone is born completely atheist. Sadly, the poison of religion is introduced for many immediately after being born, and continues for the rest of their lives. Returning to the natural state of atheism is often a very difficult, painful and even perilous journey.

Hey Graham,

That's a good point. Do you think that many of the "later" comers to atheism, say, those that deconvert after high school are drawn to it by science, or is science just a passenger in their journey, so to speak?

- kk

As a deconvert, I can't say it is science that draws me, it is just a passenger in my journey

Hey Onyango,

That describes my feeling about it. I hate labels, so I don't call myself an atheist, I just happen to be one. And the same is true with science. I don't worship science and I don't let its "personalities" lead my core thinking, but at the same time it necessarily shares core similarities in methodology with my thought process; which I like to believe is driven by a keen attempt to employ the power of reason in everything I encounter.

But one difference I have with many other atheists I think, which is why I'm asking about science, is that I have tended to gravitate toward atheism more on the basis of a sense of "street smarts" - I hate to use that phrase but I don't have a better one - than upon the more rigorous foundations of the scientific method. Having said that, I certainly don't reject the scientific method and in a contest, it would trump if I were happy with the data and methodology. I think anyone with good street smarts can spot a con a mile off, and that's all religion is. You really don't even need science to dismiss it on instinct, imo.

When the man in Alexandria is trying to sell me a "Timexx" watch for 20 dollars my instinct says, "con job". And it is, because "Timexx" is spelled "Timex". I've actually had this happen to me before in Alexandria. Its the same way with all the canonical text used in religions - they stink of a con job on their face. In law they call this Stare Decisis - you know a con job when you see it and don't need to get into the weeds to realize it.

So, I'm wondering if this view, which some consider odd, is a product of having been "born into" (recognizing that everyone is, of course, technically born atheist) atheism. The instinct for spotting the bs of religion came more immediately for me. Maybe those who later deconverted would not have any affinity or appreciation for the "street smarts" mentality.  I've wondered about this. If anyone has a more sophisticated word for what I'm trying to say, please throw it out.

- kk

well maybe given your background, it would be easy for you spot the bs in religion from a mile. Where I grew up and even where I live now, most people can't even begin to imagine there are godless people in the world in fact on the contrary, they would see the atheist to be full of b.s.

I like the scientific method, but for me what really works for me in my encounters is appreciation of logic don't ask why it took so long to deconvert, that will be the story of another day

Hey Onyango,

well maybe given your background, it would be easy for you spot the bs in religion from a mile

Which could be a form of bias. No matter how objective my family tried to be, the generations of atheism had an influence, I think.

... appreciation of logic

That's a good basis.

- kk

"So, I'm wondering if this view, which some consider odd, is a product of having been "born into" (recognizing that everyone is, of course, technically born atheist) atheism."

I think in a way it might make a difference. Since us deconverts were indoctrinated early (usually), I think there is a tendency to see those specific religious beliefs as being more valid. In a sense, we've already been conned so are still believing it is true.

Hey Sagacious Hawk,

Which makes me wonder if the label "poser" isn't really just a relative term. And there's nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that if you are using that term it has negative connotation.

- kk

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