I'm curious as to how many people shared my experience of being raised essentially, atheist, or at least "nonreligious."  I consider myself a second generation atheist as my parents both abandoned the religions of their upbringing (Catholic for my Mom and Methodist for my Dad) by the time they reached their late teens.  My brothers and I were not brought up in any faith, and instead were encouraged to explore and think for ourselves.  


As a family, we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but in a secular way (Santa and the Easter Bunny versus Jesus/God being the focus), and I still celebrate "pagan" Christmas today.  My parents never objected to my going to Sunday school with a friend or going to a church service with a friend, but I always remember it as being more of a curiosity on my part rather than a "searching" for some kind of spiritual meaning. 


I've always been interested in religion/spirituality, but am a confirmed atheist.  I'm curious--as an atheist and a sociologist--as to how many others in TA were also raised atheist or nonreligious.  Another sociologist, Robert Wuthnow, wrote a book called Growing Up Religious, where he interviewed people raised in various religious traditions--interestingly most people talked about food and family, and not so much "scripture" or the religious beliefs!  I'm interested in the memories and experiences of those of us who "Grew Up Atheist."

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Thanks for your reply, Freddy. I do feel fortunate that my parents were, and are very open-minded with regard to religion. My older brother "converted" and became a Jehovah's Witness when he married his wife, although he's not very involved (really not at all!) in the faith. His wife is, and my family and I love her. She is a very sweet woman, but she does know better than to try and convert any other family members! Religion is NEVER a topic of discussion at family get-togethers. I feel lucky to have been encouraged to think critically about everything--including religion.
I agree with Freddy. I had to find myself the hard way. I was heavily indoctrinated and am still criticized by my fundamentalist christian family.

This is a very big reason why I am an atheist I think. It took a lot of experience with religion to realize exactly what I beleived.
ditto to Jon.
I was raised with no religious influence. I mean, my parents will both say that they believe in God if you asked them, but they've never gone to church, never actually prayed other than for show (bowing their heads at a funeral or something). My mom will swear that "we" (the family) are Southern Baptists, but I was never baptized into any church and have never ONCE seen either of my parents set foot in a religious establishment for anything other than weddings and funerals. When I was a very religious person and set on becoming a minister, I would say religious things to my parents and the response was an odd one. It was as if they wanted to sneer but just couldn't. They clearly look down on any serious religious sentiment as something silly. Whether they'd admit to that or not is a whole different question. My mom actively avoided churches because "they're full of nothing but hypocrites and they don't give a damn about God they just want to talk about you behind your back" (my mother's words).

So in spite of being raised "Southern Baptist" I really WASN'T raised with any religion. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I was raised religious in theory, but not in practice. Looking back on it, I'm very grateful for not having religion's influence in my early life.
? am i missing something here?
LOL I don't think any one notices on stuff like that unless it's something like " I went their" (UGH Pet peeve LOL) I think I made about the same mistake in mine :) Don't sweat the small stuff :)
Someone is a perfectionist.
early on (really early) I was (like galen said) raised in a religious in theory type home but then when I went to 4th grade I went to a christian school. That must have set off the "christian thing for me. So after that I was back in public school by the 7th grade. Then from then until a few weeks ago I went to church on and off some stints longer than others. Religion became a big deal to me for a while. I had a very hard time dealing with the feelings I had about it though. But I was still as blind as ever. It wasn't until I had my AHA moment (details in the AHA moment blog) that I finally found my place in life. Atheist. Even with such a sketchy religious up bringing I still had problems leaving it. IDK why. You are lucky, I do know that much. I will let my kids find their own path and when they ask me about santa and all the other imaginary beings, I HOPE they ask about God. I will give them the watered down version why I don't believe in God, that's just the right thing to do since they have been raised thus far christian and still attend church with my mother in law ( my kiddos are young 8, 7, 4, 3). O how lucky you are!
Your story is pretty much word-for-word what mine is. Christmas and Easter, Church-going curiosity etc.
I was raised secular. There was no emphasis on religion when I was growing up, atheist or theistic, in any way. No church services, no prayers around the dinner table, no baptism or confirmation. I consider myself a second generation atheist even though my mom is now a spiritual agnostic and my dad is a reborn Christian after marrying a young Earth Creationist Christian about a decade ago. My twin brother is also entirely secular, although he's more non-religious than I am in the sense that he doesn't even think about religion. Where it's an issue in my life and sometime that I think about a lot it's something that is a complete non-issue to him.
I think with regards to non-religious memories I have growing up I'd have to say that in retrospect the most obvious things I can think of are things which were lacking a religious overtone which would usually have one, such as special holidays and prayer over dinner.
I had a children's Bible because my mom thought it was prudent for me to know the Biblical stories. She also found them interesting, but she never touted them as fact. In fact, she never said anything about it, she just gave it to me along with a pile of other kiddies books and let me read it in my own time. I loved the story about David and Goliath and the Good Samaritan, but never for a second paused to think who this God person was. He was always just another character in a story for me.
As I grew older and I discovered Narnia I fell completely in love with Aslan and I was convinced Narnia was a real place. In retrospect I see the irony in this because of the intentional Biblical parallels between Narnia and Christianity.
When I was in High School I considered myself a poly-theist for a while. I was in love with mythology, especially Greek, Roman and Egyptian, and the notion of several semi-omnipotent warring gods made much more sense to me given the state of the world.

Most of my memories are rooted in my personal interest in mythology, anthropology, and literature. I think that because my brother's interests are quite separate to mine (I'm a linguist and social media strategist, he's an industrial engineer and product designer) he missed the "exploration date" for the topic of religion. Now he tends to sigh whenever I bring it up. He agrees with me on general points but finds my ramblings about it tedious.
My mother was English (C of E), my father Canadian. I don't know what, if any, religion he or his family practiced. I can't remember a single time my parents ever went to church, except for a wedding or funeral. Religion, Jesus or God were never discussed in our home. Nor were they criticized. Whether by design or chance I grew up secular. Thank God.


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