Hello all. I'm a college grad and a former missionary who once was quite convinced God was real and was helping me. After I got back, as I thought about what I really believed and what I'd experienced, I saw that, while God could be there, I had never seen anything happen differently from what would happen if there was no God. Since then, I spent a lot of time keeping to myself, and not really researching the issue because I was afraid what I would find.
It's been a slow process of reading more atheist blogs, coming to terms with what I really believe, and now posting on a forum for the first time. I want so badly to talk to someone in real life, but everyone I know would try to help me back into the faith. I don't really have many friends and I'm very shy so it's hard to meet people.
I have all these reasons that I say I turned away from my faith -- I've never seen evidence of a god, the bible is illogical and inconsistent, religious people don't seem more moral or more happy than anyone else, prayer doesn't work, what about creationism and biblical anti-gay teaching? But I'm not necessarily happy at getting free, or angry at what I used to believe. I feel like other atheists I've read about who called their deconversion "like getting a painful divorce."I still don't know what I believe. I'm half afraid that if I come out to my real-life friends, all these good reasons will sound dumb when I say them out loud. Most of them really believe in miracles, you know. I'm just looking for some support. I'm in the middle of Iowa about two hours away from the nearest good atheist group, from what I can tell. I want to know that what I'm going through is normal and expected, or hear how others have made it through this same kind of issue.
@Physeter - Welcome - I think you could feel 'obliged' to come out, because you find it difficult to keep things hidden, because you are basically a 'good' person, and not because you were a 'christian'.
You don't 'have' to tell anybody. Sort stuff out in your own mind, ask any questions you want here, no question is too silly, read other peoples 'journey' to get rid of the 'fear' of hell, it could take a while, don't rush it, and you too will see the light :)
Everybody has a different reason for leaving religion behind, and they come from all parts of the world - that in itself is an education. My reason for leaving catholicism, was first , hypocrisy of organised religion, then I just couldn't believe that a god made everything, the universe, stars, planets, suns, then, humans born with sin, and then, concerns himself with who is begetting who, and then, perpetrates some of the most evil acts. The more one reads, the more the bible doesn't make sense. The bible is actually what finally convinced me, it wasn't' true. It could well be a very enjoyable journey getting rid of the yoke you have around your neck, to be a good person, just because you are :)
If you have the time or the inclination, have a look at this - http://www.clergyproject.org/