When talking to many people, I get the notion that many Americans have grown up in a Christian church. Along side that, many leave the church because of something that the church did to them or they had a bad experience or they just didn't agree with it.
I want to know what peoples experiences are with the American Christian Church is, and if this drove them/opened their eyes to not believing in God. Also, if you once believed there was a god, what was the moment that you stopped believing there was and why.
- I don't want this to be just a big bashing session on Christians in general, I actually want to hear your experiences, if you don't mind sharing.
The title was a little misleading, wasn't it, Mak - originally, it looked to be, "Christian Church," but in the details, you find that it's the "American Christian Church." I don't know why it would make a difference what country it's in, it's still the Christian Church.
I'd just assume he screwed up, or didn't plan ahead, and just go ahead and answer it anyway, if you like.
The title and the content is misleading and presumptuous. He pretends that the only atheists here are from America and had issues with the American church.
The Catholic church here runs many schools and hospitals. I was not in a catholic school. My experience in the church was good most times, I mean, I could go for mass and sleep half the entire mass, meet lovely damsels and so on.
Such teachings of the catholic church as those against contraception didn't bother me. I stopped giving offerings, I just did not see why I should continue to enrich the church.
My leaving was not because I was disillusioned with the church, far from it. I could not continue to rationally belief it was true after I started to read the bible for myself and not just those parts in the Roman Missal but the whole damn thing and then after a while I met archy, read his wonderful site and I have read much more on evolution of gods, arguments for god's existence and I have reached that point when I can't believe some people, educated for that matter, believe that whole myth.
I don't know when exactly I had the eureka moment. I wasn't keeping notes. All I know it was quite a gradual affair.
I hope that helps
"then after a while I met archy, read his wonderful site"
Mak, are you saying that I contributed to your delinquency?!!!
indeed no, on the other hand, I met a wonderful teacher. I was a delinquent already :-P
I like to recommend a book, Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, by David Niose.
I personally have not had a negative experience with the church. My disagreement was with the doctrine itself.
If there was any one thing that opened my eyes to the nonexistence of god it would be when I realized the immense scale of the universe. I realized at that moment how insignificant we were and how there was no way an all powerful god created the infinite cosmos for our tiny species.
Just to be another voice in the chorus... ;)
The church did nothing to me that is doesn't do to everyone: bore me to tears once a week with a big Jesus Pep Rally. Yay Jesus. You're great. See ya next week to tell you how great you are again.
As a very young child, I believed the nonsense just like you believe everything the grownups tell you at that age. By the time I was logically working out that Santa couldn't possibly exist, I was already becoming dubious about the whole God thing for the same reason.
As a preteen and teenager, the nonexistence of God was painful. LIFE was darkness and pain, and ended in nothing, and everything sucked.
As an adult, you learn that NOW is what counts, and doing your best to make later NOWs better than this one. Would it be nice if invisible magical beings existed to bring you paradise upon your death? Sure! It would be nice if Santa was real too, but wishing don't make it so.
Reality MATTERS. Enjoying a nice diversion from reality is fine -- I watch sci-fi/fantasy movies all the time! -- but losing the ability to DISTINGUISH fantasy from reality is unhealthy.
What does church do (to everyone)? It ENCOURAGES the literal belief in fantasy. It tries to wedge itself into our laws, courts and science classes, to the detriment of all. It provides comfort to the sick and elderly, but it's the comfort of the Big Lie. Ignorance is bliss, and these guys push bliss like a drug.
No one denies that the church does some good -- but the price is too damned high.
"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
-- George Bernard Shaw --
"Religion is the opiate of the people" — K. Marx
I knew his whole family - Chico, Groucho, Harpo, and Zippo, who ultimately went into the cigarette lighter business.
Based on video footage, you sure their motivation for doing so wasn't for something other than lighting cigarettes?
Here's some simple examples of how religion can be harmful. It doesn't just start bashing Christians, or blame Christians for all kinds of bad things, it just lists a few simple things that can come up in every Christian's life.