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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In reality I've been an atheist since I was 14, forty years ago. I came to that decision on my own after taking classes at our church. Their lessons back fired, they just gave me proof that it was totally irrational to believe. I only became open and vocal about it after reading The God Delusion. The majority of my family is deeply religious. Our relationship has changed since my "coming out" as a non believer. We've become distant. They worry about me and tell me that they pray for me. It makes me sad to know they waste so much of their lives on that nonsense.

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.

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.

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.

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 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*

I think the age that a person deconverts is most likely to coincide with finding some challenge with religion.  For most people who lived in the 1800's, religion wouldn't have been challenging at all.  For those who live in, and fit into a religious community, there is no need to question it, no challenge at all.

In our contemporary world, if you gravitate towards a lot of scientific materials (documentaries, periodicals, etc) then religion fast becomes a challenge.  You could be drawn towards art or music, however, and encounter far less of a challenge while still being very intelligent.

I grew up in a home where you were never aloud to question, but do as you were told. I saw my mother going from one religion to the next and we had to follow and do as we were told even ended up in Santmat. Religion was switched between bouts of drinking for my mom and her being bipolar searching for some form of crutch. I believed because that was the only thing that made sens as a child , that maybe this Jesus they spoke of would oneday come and change my misserable childhood. I remember the fear when I read that I would pay for the sins of my fathers, that was just horrible as a girl age 13 for the first time I questioned, because Jesus was suposed to have deid for my sins, and my parents, parents must have sined like hell for me to grow up in an abusive home. I still clone to hope until age 29 when my husband was murderd and religios people came to show simpath and said things like "It is Gods will" " he is in a better place" God decides when it is our time" " He deid at the hands of Satan" "God pics his most special flowers" Now that got me thinking. If this God is so loving why would he think that a one year old girl and 5 year old boy needs to grow up without a father. Was it God or Satan, just did not make sense anymore. I decided at age 38 to finish school and started to study psychology, some om my subjects were socio cultural anthropology and philosophy that and The God delusion opend my mind, only then did I start educating myself. So for me it realy did start on education, but my childhood did not leave room for me to start this prosess before an later age, nothing wrong with my IQ I was conditioned not to think for myself, not to question and blindly follow. I will never force my opinion on to my children but will leave them room to grow and find the truth, to read, read ,read and yes question even adults because adults is not always right. 

Hmmm...actually I was born an atheist.  I didn't believe in any deities at that time.  My parents sent me to Sunday School but I think that was just to get me and my brother out of the house on a Sunday morning.

Anyhow the teaching didn't stick, I didn't believe the fantastical stories were any more true than the other fantastical stories I read when I was a child and I don't think I got the idea that they were supposed to be true as they were obviously impossible.

As I got a little older and realised that the adults thought the stories were true (kind of, to suit their own purposes...what's that about?) I thought they were a silly.  When I raised the the issue I was asked to leave Sunday School as I was a disruptive influence!  And not much has changed since...

I had been moving farther away from religion as time went by. I was raised Catholic, and so much of the doctrine disagreed with what I felt was right as a person. It was a very gradual thing for me, and I guess I didn't even really think of myself as an atheist until one of my friends called me one. Then I was like "Yeah I guess I am" I really started to look at things a lot more critically and here I am. I may have lost a few friends, but noone I was really close to. Most of my Christian friends just agree to disagree with me. We debate from time to time, but nothing too bad. My girlfriend is a Christian, and knew I was atheist when we started seeing each other. We respect each others views, but don't really talk about it...


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