Coming Out Godless: What's Your Story?


Coming Out Godless: What's Your Story?

We all come from different backgrounds & have different reasons for identifying ourselves as atheist or agnostic.

Whatever your story is, we'd like to hear it. Please share & encourage others who are considering "coming out"!

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Latest Activity: May 26, 2016

How to tell your Religious Parents you are Atheist

Discussion Forum

I DON'T recommend "coming out" if you're ...

Started by Sadly 'M' iCantSay. Last reply by Raquel May 26, 2016. 50 Replies

As Diminished as any Good Christian

Started by Lucid. Last reply by Lucid Sep 8, 2015. 3 Replies

Who else is hiding?

Started by Johnny Walker. Last reply by AlexOfCeaser Mar 14, 2015. 2 Replies

How I found my way!

Started by Emily Savannah. Last reply by _Robert_ Feb 25, 2015. 1 Reply

Coming out to my catholic parents

Started by Colleen. Last reply by Roberta Upton Cross Oct 29, 2014. 19 Replies

From Catholic to Mormon to Atheist

Started by Tom Smith Aug 20, 2014. 0 Replies

It was pretty much like this.

Started by Lewal. Last reply by Lewal Feb 26, 2013. 2 Replies

Being an 'out' Atheist at work.

Started by Zombie Atheist. Last reply by Jens Schwaiger Oct 10, 2012. 6 Replies

How committed are you to your atheism?

Started by Anachro1. Last reply by Ken Hughes Mar 1, 2012. 29 Replies

Your god contradicts all I live for.

Started by Sebastian Torren G.. Last reply by Suzanne Olson-Hyde Oct 12, 2011. 2 Replies

Here I Am

Started by Kat Humble. Last reply by Kat Humble Sep 20, 2011. 4 Replies

Another Brit - religion as a dangerous habit.

Started by Helen Pluckrose. Last reply by Steve Sep 4, 2011. 3 Replies

How I Lost My Faith in One Month's Time

Started by Kim. Last reply by Jack Frost May 30, 2011. 28 Replies

Where do I go from here?

Started by Kevin Marks. Last reply by LovelyGirl Apr 10, 2011. 3 Replies

i don't think i'll be a christian much longer...

Started by S.S.. Last reply by MikeTheInfidel Mar 27, 2011. 15 Replies

From Bible-literalist Fundie to Outspoken Atheist

Started by MikeTheInfidel. Last reply by MikeTheInfidel Mar 27, 2011. 3 Replies

Losing My Religion

Started by Wesafc. Last reply by Wesafc Mar 22, 2011. 2 Replies

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Comment by Malissa on June 15, 2009 at 11:01pm
Here is my story: I was born into a Catholic family. I was christened as a baby. My family did not regularylt attend church when I was a child but I do remember a few times going to the Catholic church with my mom. When I was around 12 0r 13, my mom found a baptist church where we actually began attending regularly. By going, I had heightened anxiety most of the time. I had constant thoughts of hell and death and horrific images brought to me by the sermons. I was baptised and attended Falls Creek church camp for a few years. I always had an empty feeling and according to the church, it would be filled with god's holy spirit. That never happened. Eventually, going to church was a struggle. My mom would make me go and I was so miserable. The pastor made an example of me once and I never forgot it. The one thing i enjoyed then was hanging out with the youth pastors. They were decent people and very young and fun and they cared (so i thought). They left the church and went to another one. I mentioned to a friend that attended that church to say hi for me. SHe came back and said they had no idea who i was. My mind began creaking its wheels once again.
I stopped going to church and pretty much just forgot about god. There was no reason for me to think about someone who is not there. I met my husband who was already an atheist. I then called myself agnostic for the last 8 years. Finally I admitted that i am an atheist and I am happy to be one. I feel great saying that!
Comment by Serotonin Wraith on May 5, 2009 at 5:11pm
I was raised by Christian parents (Jehovah's Witnesses) from the very start. I believed it all, but I didn't like it. I found church really boring, and we had to preach to people, which I hated too. I know lots of people think it's 'sharing the good news' but I saw it as threatening people to worship our god or die by his hand. That's the message, but people try and dress it up to look nice. I wasn't fooled.

We didn't just study the nice Jesus bits like a lot of churches nowadays do, and forget all the nasty stuff. I learned it all. So I'd hear all about how God flooded the earth and killed everyone, and they'd say it was necessary cos man was evil, and I would think 'were the animals evil?' Even if they don't have souls, I'd never drown an animal. It's cruel. If God was so powerful he could have wiped out the humans without harming the animals. I thought 'were the babies evil too?' cos they drowned. I'd hear that they inherited sin, but then so did Noah and his family but they were given a chance to grow up and show they could be good. The babies weren't.

I came to see that this god was a tyrant, and I honestly was scared of him. I could see the people round me either didn't understand the kinds of things God did or the threats he was making, or they were sucking up to him and lying to themselves about God being loving because they were scared too.

I was told that non-Christians (and Christians not in our particular brand of Christianity) had been led astray by Satan, and they weren't good company. Yet I knew lots from school and life in general, and I could see they weren't evil at all. The ones in other religions might not have had the correct god, but their hearts were in the right place. They were still trying to be good people and trying to worship - what difference did it make if they didn't use the correct name? Was God that petty and unfair?

I basically resigned myself to the fact that God was going to kill me and there was nothing I could do about it. It was just a matter of time, and when it happened (they taught the end was always just round the corner, I wasn't expecting to live another 5 years) I might scream and plead and say sorry for not liking his religion, but that would have been out of self preservation, not cos I did like it or him.

I always had doubts, but they keep themselves insulated so I didn't have much influence from people with different beliefs. My friends had to be in that religion, you have to marry within that religion, things like that - which makes sense if you believe the rest of the planet is evil and about to be killed by God! The doubts were small, as much as a young boy could think critically while living in a bubble of paranoid delusion. For the most part I believed it was true, but hoped that it wasn't.

Then of course the teen years hit, and my thinking skills got stronger. I knew I needed to see the big picture - of course I believed it, I was born into it - but also because it was all I'd known I couldn't shake it. Even now at a time I don't believe in the Bible god, I still have an image of him from my childhood if he's mentioned. A bit like having an image in your mind of what's happening if you read a book without pictures. You can read the same book years later, but the images stay the same as the first time you imagined them.

Each year that passed I believed it less. If I'm remembering correctly, I'd say at 13 I put a percentage of 80 on it being true. 14 - 75%. 15 - 65%. 16 - 55%. Sixteen was the year I left it.

I would have left it earlier, because it wasn't about whether it was true or not. It was about how I felt being in a religion I hated. Cos I thought I was going to die, I obviously felt sick at having to keep going to church before he killed me. I wanted to get my money's worth and tell God he could stick his rules! I was gonna die anyway, why not?

None of that made me feel evil. I actually felt I was on high moral ground. God was the one in the wrong for being so nasty and unfair, not me for refusing to worship a dictator. God was gonna kill me cos he could, not cos he should. He had the might and I had the right. He didn't like homosexuals, I saw homophobia as a bad thing. He thought women were second best, I saw sexism as a bad thing. In the end it got to the point where I would have rather died than continued to live following that morality. I'd die, but my morality would prevail. Quite noble now I think of it! I was making a stand, despite the risk to myself.

So because I was old enough at 16, I moved home and had nothing to do with my father, two brothers and step mum. Nothing whatsoever. I completely cut them out of my life. They were so wrapped up in the religion it had consumed them. They saw everything through the lens of the Bible. I'd left their religion so I knew they saw it as Satan leading me away, not that I'd made my own choice. I knew they expected me to be killed like all the others, and even if it's family, people like me are seen as bad company and a risk to their faith. God is way more important to them than family.

I did nothing whatsoever that was religious. I couldn't even research it. I had to have a complete break, because the whole thing had stressed me out that much. Just in that break I came to see that my old beliefs were fading fast. The fear was slipping away. It wasn't that I was burying my head in the sand and hiding from God, it was that it wasn't being drummed into my head almost every day that Bible god existed and was going to kill most of the planet off. If you hear that most days for years, you tend to believe it. Repetition techniques. The more it's repeated, the truer it feels. It felt more and more like nonsense the more my brain freed itself and started developing its own worldview.

Skip forward a few years, and the belief was at something like 5-10%. Low enough not to bother me at all, but still hanging on in there whispering 'what if it IS true?' In 2004/5, I was back in contact with one of my brothers, and he was still in the religion. I also saw some people preaching in the street that same week. Right, I thought. I don't want this bugging me now, let's dig deep and see if there's anything to it and shut up the demons in my head once and for all.

So at first I looked up stuff on the net just about the religion I'd known - I uncovered deceit, cult techniques, things like that. I knew it was true because I'd experienced it. The writings from that religion (supposedly inspired by God) changed with the times, with newer ones contradicting old beliefs, and yet both were from God? Obviously it was completely man made. They'd say something like 'the beast mentioned in Revelation represents this... (let's say Russia, I forget them all now) and we know because God revealed it to us' but then when Russia got split into smaller sections and was less of a threat, all of a sudden it was 'This just in! The beast in Revelation represents this... (I dunno, the UN) and we know because God revealed it to us!' If they couldn't be trusted in the past, what made them trustworthy now?

That religion I'd been so worried about had turned out to be completely false, and without the net I may not have known for sure. So the fear was gone.

So then what about the other religions? Maybe the Catholics had it right, or the Mormons or Muslims. This honestly hasn't been a concern for me really. They all seem bogus to me because I wasn't raised to believe in them. I can tell right away that something like Mohammed flying on a magic horse and Jesus going to America are just nutty beliefs, there's no need to go 'hmm, what if...?'

Of course with the net, one page leads to another and I soon found the whole 'new atheism' stuff that was getting started. I was hooked. I listened to hours of debates, read the books, studied evolution properly cos my knowledge of that was limited, and basically went in to my 'search for truth' phase. Learning new things is important to me now, it's one of the biggest driving forces in my life. I'd like to understand the universe and myself as much as possible, instead of assuming as I used to that God was the magic force behind things we didn't know.

Any doubts about whether there's some god have completely gone now. The atheist arguments made so much more sense, and I'd only heard the other side before. I've had so many debates on the subject now it's no lie to say I can get anyone to the point where they either give up their belief in God or have to ignore me and be dishonest with themselves in order to keep it. Part of debating is for me personally to be sure I'm right - not believing because I don't want the Biblical god to exist would be just as bad as someone believing because they want him to exist.

I have wondered, if I'd believed in a cool god (like one of the gods that invented beer or sex!) would I have reached this point? The thing that got me started on my journey was not liking the god I believed in, so I was open to it being shown to be false. I suspect I'd have resisted if I'd thought God actually was loving, so I should thank the old religion for not hiding the nasty bits. It's truth that matters to me though, so even if it was tough I'd have still preferred to find out. Comfort matters less to me than truth.

I also wonder if I'd have been so open if I believed in hell. I was only afraid of being killed one time by God. If the threat was burning forever, I think that would have held me back from questioning Christianity for a time. I'd have been too scared to. If it turned out there was a hell, I couldn't have done the noble standing up to God thing. I'd have sucked up, I know. Anything to avoid that.

If I hadn't questioned it all myself, I'd have hoped someone would have brought it up with me and shown me their side. I wish that could have happened in my youth and I'd have saved myself a good many years worrying. Most people are too polite and say nothing about someone's religious beliefs, but I can't do that. If I find out someone's religious in real life (I don't know too many, most in the UK don't believe) I see if they fancy talking about it. Turns out most call themselves Christian without knowing much about the Bible (if they've read it at all!). If they want to chat, I will. If they don't, I leave it, unless they promote their beliefs. I'm not against that because I believe in free speech, but free speech works both ways. It can't be that they can promote their god without me asking how they possibly know this god exists. I see that as fair.
Comment by baddy on April 16, 2009 at 1:48pm
I was raised in a Roman Catholic home. My dad was Protestant, but converted to Catholicism before he married my mom. We went to church just about every Sunday while I was growing up and I was made to jump through all the Catholic hoops, pretty much against my will. I was baptized as an infant, received communion and got confirmed. I attended CCD every Wednesday night and eventually ended up skipping practically all of my classes by around ages 13-15. I hated church. Always did. I never felt any connection to God. When I prayed it was only because I was depressed or needed something from him and it always left me feeling unfulfilled. Any good that came out of my life I didn't understand why I should be thanking any God because it never felt like he was there for me when I was down and out.

Shortly after I turned 15 I discovered punk music. I was introduced to Bad Religion and I felt instantly connected. I finally felt like someone was speaking my language and I felt accepted into the community. In church I never felt like I was good enough. With punk, nobody gives a fuck. You can be yourself and no one will judge you.

The biggest turning point and final straw was when my friend from school committed suicide at 16. It tore my world apart and to make matters worse at the wake and funeral all the preacher could talk about was how Garrett was a God-loving young man and how he is now walking with Jesus. I thought, "What a bunch of fucking shit! That's not what they taught me!" I didn't know what to believe and I just saw the whole ceremony as some kind of sugar coating to try and pull the wool over everyone's eyes to make them feel better. Why couldn't we just celebrate his life? Here was an intelligent, articulate, goodhearted 16 year old kid who just ended his life and you wanna talk about "where he is now."

Anyway, this is less of a coming out story and more of a why am I here. My parents hate that I'm agnostic. They think I'm going to hell, but we don't talk about it. I prefer for it to be that way. When I dropped the bomb to them my freshman year of college my dad said to me, "Well, Kristen, no one really knows for sure if there's a God or not so why aren't we all agnostic?" I answered with, "Yeah, well, why aren't you?"
Comment by EmryB on March 26, 2009 at 6:38pm
I'm from a small town in Kansas. Needless to say, everyone there is Christian. Luckily both of my parents are free thinkers/agnostics. They never pushed me to be religious (even though I tried really hard to "accept Jesus into my heart").

My parents just wanted me to be a good person. I'm so lucky to have their support.

My heart goes out to all of you without the support of your family.
Comment by Gaytor on March 26, 2009 at 3:36am
My mother was raised Catholic. Her brother died in an accident at 19 and the Priest wouldn't give last rights in the hospital because he didn't tithe. My Mom lost the taste for religion but still sent me to a Baptist Church. After a few months we came upon Easter. When I was told the Christ rose from the dead, I knew the taste of death and that my loved ones didn't come back three days later. I called Shenanigans on the Sunday School teacher. The result was my nose in a corner and me having had enough of the BS in less than a year. I don't recall "coming out" maybe because I was so young. I do remember older people being terrified if it came up. I talk people that I wasn't a believer so early on that i do not even recall the first time. Just the original impetus.
If God's love leads me to embarrassment and having your nose in a corner at five for having questions, then eff it. I'll take my chances and keep asking questions without fear of reprisal for wanting to understand.
Comment by SkepticalAtheist on March 9, 2009 at 8:04pm
I was raised catholic and more or less drank the kool aid until my freshman year of college. A little time away from home and I began to realize just how insane organized religion is and what it has done for, and more importantly to, us. When I turned my back on catholicism, only my father seemed upset. Everyone else was ambivalent. I gave up on organized religion but I tried to hang onto “spirituality” for some time. I struggled to shuffle loose the spiritual coil, reconciling the desire to believe with the new reality that was dawning in my mind.

My favorite delusion in this time period, being a fan of science fiction, was that god is an alien and jesus was a human-alien hybrid. This explained all the miracles and other phenomenon, even down to his ascension into heaven (tractor beam into a spaceship, of course). The virgin birth was accomplished through simple artificial insemination. I’m sure there are at least short stories if not full novels written with this premise. I don’t care to seek it out.

Finally, I just gave up. When I started reading the works of Dawkins and Hitchens later in my adulthood, it all just made sense. It rang of Truth. I knew I had come home.
Comment by Chris Britton on February 25, 2009 at 11:26pm
A lot of crap happened to me in my life. Not a bad home environment or anything like that. (I had a very good home life actually, I'm very appreciative) But my life outside of my home, mainly my school life. From the beginning of school i was never really noticed as a person and no one paid attention to me. I wasn't picked on or anything, just never ever talked to by anyone. This trend lasted until about highschool 10th and 11th grade. It was around then that i eventually started to get thoughts of, 'well IF god is real, hes never noticed me and fuck him.' Soon, i started hearing all the disputers and such, and when i finally started looking at the evidence, with god no longer a fear in my life, i realized that i had broken the dependence i once had on god. However, this wasn't until recently. It took some time to really be able to say "I know that there is no god". My life has since got a lot better in my point of view. I am way less depressed about things, and have started focusing more on my studies. Now that the universe isn't repressed by god anymore, the possibilities are endless! =P
Comment by Roxy641 on February 16, 2009 at 4:55pm
I don't think there is one moment where I've "come out" as Atheist, although I do in small ways perhaps.

My parents "attempted" to raise me a Catholic (but I never believed in their god, or any other one for that matter), but I am pleased to say they have failed.

Why did they fail? Well, none of it made sense. I attended church every Sunday (at the time I thought my parents were quite religious, but now when I've heard so many horror stories, they don't seem that religious). If there was a film of my life they would be two versions, one where you could hear what the priest was saying and the other would be how it sound to me "...Blah, blah, blah, holy ghost, blah, blah, blah, god..." I think you get the picture now.

I wasn't very active until Richard Dawkins did the Xmas Lecture in December 1991, I was at home from college holidays, and when I went back to Birmingham I immediately brought his book "The Selfish Gene". Not only did the book appeal to me on a science level, but was pleased that Mr Dawkins didn't mind informing people that he was an Atheist.

When I was searching for internet websites on Atheism I discovered the Atheist Network radio station. Still to this day I don't know why we aren't at that level.
Comment by Rev. Tom Hicks, D.D. on February 6, 2009 at 6:22am
Comment by Jaco on February 5, 2009 at 1:52am
I was brought up a protestant christain, always tried do do my part and playd in a church band...ect.ect. But the more i became involved the more it started to think that it is all just major BS. So i started looking for God but he was nowhere to be found and just one day I decided (whith a bit of help from Metal) to call it quits. Still would like for God, Santa, Fairies, Unicorns and Valhalla to be true though...But reality is always better than fantasy.

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