I have noticed that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris both cite 9/11 as the fuel to the fire of their current passion for atheism. I also often cite this as one of the biggest seeds of my frustrations with religion.

 

I wondered if anyone else had a big turning point that either largely help you realize that there is not a god or gods, or made you more "militant".

Tags: fire, fuel, spark

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deep point of depression at the end of college in 1997.   i went looking for answers, and great muppety odin was silent.  it was then that i started to question everything that i was taught to be true.

 

i would not say that i am more militant, but i am also not afraid to state my lack of belief to family and friends (and strangers) who think i can be saved.

A fellow church member was raped and stabbed to death on-the-job (she was a city bus driver and someone had snuck and stayed on the bus on her way back to the station, without her knowing it, and he ambushed her). Our church had little to say about it. This completely blew my mind and that is when the first doubt entered (the day I looked at the empty space in the pew where she used to always sit).  

In college I researched optimism and it helped me start to question how anyone could find happiness in anything as gloom and doom as religion?  My thanks goes to Max More and then later Paul Kurtz.
For me it was the bible. at about 15 or so i had a few minor questions regarding my faith so decided to read the bible,  i mean gods own word should make everything crystal clear. a few chapters in i started to have serious qualms about my religion. a few days later when i had got to the end of it i realised i only had 2 possible options. to either laugh christianity off as nothing more than bronze age mythology, like the worship of zues or thor. or to become a malthiest
Reading the Bible did it for me, too.  I mean, really?

Awesome band, awesome song.  I've been a Rush fan since the 1970s and an atheist for as long as I can remember.

  

This reminded me of a song by The The that I used to listen to all the time:

(from the album Mind Bomb 1989)

 

Armageddon Days are Here (Again)

 

They're 5 miles high as the crow flies
leavin' vapour trails against a blood red sky
Movin' in from the East toward the West
with Balaclava helmets over their heads, yes!

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming
Honey you've got another thing coming
If he ever finds out who's hi-jacked his name
He'll cut out his heart and turn in his grave

Islam is rising
The Christians mobilising
The world is on its elbows and knees
It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

It's war, she cried, It's war, she cried, this is war
Drop your possessions, all you simple folk
You will fight them on the beaches in your underclothes
You will thank the good lord for raising the union jack
You'll watch the ships sail out of harbour
and the bodies come floating back

If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
He'd be gunned down cold by the C.I.A.
Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass
Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart
But God didn't build himself that throne
God doesn't live in Israel or Rome
God doesn’t belong to the yankee dollar
God doesn't plant the bombs for Hezbollah
God doesn't even go to church
And God won't send us down to Allah to burn
No, God will remind us what we already know
That the human race is about to reap what it's sown

The world is on its elbows and knees
It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds
Armageddon days are here, again

 

 

Praying.  Clearly wasn't working.  Bible says it does, so - what's a person with a brain to do?
I was a very curious child and was always interested in science; especially biology. So when we reached the section on evolution in my 8th grade science class, my teacher pretty much told us that it was all a lie and if we were good christians, we wouldn't fall for it. She skipped right over it and explained the story of earth's formation in a very skewed way.  I got in trouble later that day when I told her that her version made no sense and that I thought she was wrong. I did the research for myself and then started asking my pastor and youth pastor how god coul fit in to the grand scheme. I was told to stop questioning and encouraged to spend more time studying the bible. Needless to say, I kept up with my search for answers and that started my journey towards atheism.

As far as being militant? I generally haven't held a very negative view towards religion in general but I think that's slowly changing as I see more and more side effects of it all. I do, however, have to constantly defend myself to my extended family and those, more often than not, end up with me taking a very militaristic stance unfortunately.

I was a devout Catholic when I grew up due to my family, but unfortunately for them (and the church) they also taught me to think logically. I therefore grew out of the belief of Catholocism and struggled to remain a Christian. Too many things didn't make sense. My biggest question was "why would God tell one small group of people, and leave the rest of the world to make up their own bullshit.

I later was best described as a theist but of no religion. I thought maybe it was the same God in all religions and we had just written it all differently. Merging slightly after that with Deism, I was inspired by the movie "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams on my views of the afterlife, that are shaped by our memories n beliefs. But hell to me was the regrets of life haunting that afterworld.

My turning point, or spark was when a GF of the time, stuck the God Delusion in my hands. It made more sense in every page than i was ever able to get out of a priest!!

That book gave me the confidence to admit I was now an atheist. Christopher Hitchens' work which I read shortly after that, made me a proud antitheist.

I have always been an atheist. Sometimes people ask me why.
Mostly the reason is that the whole idea of gods makes no sense. Everything i see has a natural reason for being, that
requires no magic super spirit.
However if they cant accept that and push for more i point them to images like
this:
http://www.utahpunk.org/e107_images/newspost_images/tsunami.jpg

for no all knowing, all powerful 'god', who supposedly cares about humanity would allow such a thing.
I don't know if you'd consider it a big turning point but one thing that got me questioning how good religion actually is was when one of my Christian friends told me how his church specifically tells it's teenage members to avoid and not help friends who have been partying or are drunk. It doesn't seem very Christ-like to actively avoid people when they ask for your help.

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