When you decided you didn't believe in god, how did your life change? What, or who, did you lose? Did anything really change for you?

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I heard Sam Harris on the radio while driving for 2 hours.  There was someone articulating what I'd thought and felt for decades, just kept it bottled up.  No family ostricizing, because it's only their business if they ask me about it (no-one has).  Bought some of his books, some Dawkins and found so many people I respect and or admire (Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, that big magician guy) who are athiest, made me realize I'm not alone.

I realized |I was born this way, but some doctrinaire/brainwashing was imposed on me from an early age...starting when I could understand language.  It was the socially acceptable thing to do to go to church (what a waste of time and "good" clothes), so I did until my late teens.  Did n't have my daughter baptized, we thought we'd let her decide if there was any reason to...hurray, she's living the athiest life quite well, thank you!

Now I really wish tax exempt status for churches would dissapear like pope Benny.

There are a lot of things I like about this comment. 

I went to church because I felt like 'I should'. I thought I was evil if I didn't. 

We also haven't been brainwashing our children. We've explained to our oldest that it's just a story that some people take too far. She will happily deny god if you ask her, and we would like to have Jaine (our youngest, 3 months) do the same when she is older... 

And I agree - Religion is a business. It shouldn't be exempt from taxation.

However, isn't that somehow violating the separation of church and state (as if they don't)? 

Religion should get the same treatment as everyone else.  I'd say favoring them OR taxing them harder would be a violation of the principle of religious neutrality, because of the issues that would raise in deciding what gets the break or punishment.  For example, if you decide to exempt religion from some forms of taxation then someone in the government gets to decide what is and is not a legitimate religion  Methodist OK, but FSM bogus?  Who are they to say?  and THAT is definitely an establishment clause violation.

Ahhhhhhh, makes sense.

Nothing changed really, by the time i accepted i was an atheist i was surrounded by open minded and skeptic people, even though my mother is religious she loves me more than she does religion, so it doesn't really matter to her.

I felt relieved that I no longer had to wrestle with making sense of my religion. I was at peace and it was totally unexpected! I lost a close relationship with two family members (but it is hard to tell if this has more to do with where they are at than my atheism) and possibly the respect of a third. I am about to come out to my "fundie family," or my dad's side of the family, which will probably be spectacularly histrionic. I'm thinking about a two-fer--'Hey, y'all, guess what, I'm bisexual and I'm an atheist.' I just don't care what they think anymore. They're either good people who care about me and can see past their religious hang-ups, or they are not.  No sense in building a relationship based on lies if it will all fall apart once the truth outs.

Other things that have changed are my interests and priorities. I tend to look at things from a more rational point of view. I really value my time now! LOL. I no longer feel shame about enjoying things...I tend to savor the moment and I feel gratitude instead of guilty pleasure. I think being atheist makes things a lot more simple to experience once you toss out your religious baggage.

I always felt like someone was watching over my shoulder.

My life made more sense, less guilt and more time to grow as a person. The only negative is that I can not realy talk about the way I feel or think without people judging me. The one or two that asked me why, would not listen to the why half way through they would tell me how tong I am in what I do not believe.

I love that. They ask a question knowing full-well that they don't want the answer.

I became an atheist in junior high (middle school) due to reading and thinking about the probable reality of it all. No one in my family objected, and when I told the minister at a church I used to go to (Episcopal) that I couldn't come anymore because I no longer believed in it, he said, "Oh, come anyway; that makes no difference; we need you in the choir"

On the other hand, many years later when I was out of college, my mother, who'd become alcoholically religious, said to me, "Oh, you'll change you mind when you get older." I didn't want to argue with my mother, but I remember thinking, "But when are the facts going to change?"

I find it interesting that many respondents to this came to atheism at a later age than me. I would have thought that puberty was about when folks would start to think about these things. Then again, I know a lot of guys that willingly went to Vietnam only to later on think, "What the hell was I doing?" It's better to learn late than not at all.

As much as anything, it surprises me that there still are religious people. Religion is so wrong on so many levels that, despite the sweet little Desmond Tutus and Mother Theresas, it appalls me that it's still a force in the world. But then again, it's useful to remember that half the people in the world have an IQ of less than 100.

I dunno Im inclined to agree with him on some level.  I was about 13 when it became clear to me that religion was just a handy control mechanism.  And I wasn't having some deep moment either it was just something that casually popped into my head.  Maybe being an atheist doesn't automatically mean you are smarter..but I bet there is some correlation, even though I know this does not equal causation.  Now I just look at it as such a primitive, ignorant thing to hold on to.  *shrugs*

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