I figured before I started posting more regularly, I should give a little history on myself and how I came to be the atheist I am now.


I was baptized and raised in the United Church of Canada.  It was actually a nice church, sort of a Protestant-lite.  No hellfire and brimstone, just the concept that God and Jesus love you and how to live your life.  Sunday school was pretty much the same thing.  The church is very "New Testament".  Not much is discussed in the old testament other than creation, Noah, Moses (excluding all the killing), etc.  Everything was about Jesus and all the nice things he said and did.  It was quite pleasant.


But I always had issues with the supernatural claims of the bible.  I was always fairly rational and logical, to the point of being frustrating to my friends and family.  And I loved learning about evolution and space when I was a kid.  Noah's ark, Jonah and the whale, the creation story, Jesus' birth, performing food-based parlour tricks and rising from the dead all seemed to me to be parables, like Aesop's fables.  But I thought everyone else in the church thought the same thing.  I would see televangelists and fundamentalists and think "Wow!  Good thing we're nothing like that.  Only weirdos would think all of this is real."


Then when I was fifteen, I attended the regional conference for the church, and I discovered that people in my church actually believed at least some of the supernatural things in the bible happened, if not all of it. I was crushed to find that these beliefs made people so irrational, and that was when the first real seeds of doubt where planted.  Now, I wasn't even aware of atheism until I was in my mid-twenties.  Then a few years ago, I started watching Penn & Teller's Bullshit and saw the episode of the bible.  That was when I was introduced to Michael Shermer, skepticism and atheism in an organized way.


In the last few months, I realized I needed to nurture my atheist nature and connect with the community.  I have finished "The God Delusion"  and am almost finished "God Is Not Great" with other books from Dennett, Harris and Ehrman next on my reading list.  I also plan to finally read the bible and koran in full, as well (debate preparation more than anything).


I apologize if this is wordy and kind of disjointed.  It's something I've been wanting to get off my chest for a long time.  If you made it through to the end of this, thank you.

Views: 24

Comment by Cameron W. on June 25, 2011 at 9:55pm
Thanks for the recommendations.  I've put those on my "to buy" list.
Comment by Southern Skeptic on June 26, 2011 at 12:24pm

Hey there, welcome to TA. Your story is very similar to mine, I too was raised in a fairly fundie but not hellfire church. I wanted to believe but never could 100%. I also used to marvel at my fellow churchgoers flair for self-deception. Then when I moved out and started making my own way in life I dropped religion and have never looked back.


I really enjoyed Stephen Pinker's books on evolutionary biology. I would recommend that you read "The Blank Slate" for some brilliant refutations of the notion of a soul, as well as some generally very interesting things about game theory and evolution. In the book he takes three concepts and refutes quite thoroughly:

"The noble savage" (people outside of civilisation are more noble and kind)

"The blank slate" (Genes don't matter, all behaviour is learned)

and "The ghost in the machine" (The notion of a soul separate from the hardware of the brain)



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