I figure this is a decent enough place to post my leaving of religion, especially since it might help the people here get to know me better.
My dislike of church started young. I was never really brought, and although my mother was raised catholic and my dad in a church-ridden area, I never heard anything but hatred of the tithing system growing up--we apparently had a few churches, that when they began going, asked immediately how much of my parent's income could be promised to the church treasury.
I always wondered, why do churches really need money from their followers. Can't they earn it?
Another thought came to me very young, the most devout in the ranks were the elderly, the sick, the poor, the people who stood to gain the most from the promised life-after-death reward of a big mansion full of food and big screen tv's. I was none of those, obviously. I've never been obsessed with gathering material wealth, either.
I went to a christian camp at the age of 10, and most of what I remember were girls obsessed with certain counselors, which I never understood--these girls were the same age as me, but I still just wanted to play with barbies and make friendship bracelets. I remember songs about going to heaven and one of the rewards was playing sports in a giant yard. Not exactly my cup of tea.
Later, when we moved from Florida to Alabama, I attended bible camp and I remember being pressured at age 12 to be saved and baptized within the week. It didn't change me, or any of the other kids who were mean to me. It changed no one.
I went to a single Awana meeting, and I think one more vacation bible camp, and after that I was relatively done with the local christians--they were more obsessed with gossip, and petty things that I wasn't interested in in the least.
Fast forward to 16 year old me, after I get a scholarship to a science camp at a semi-local college, I go camping, and then spend a week in Moundville, AL excavating things. I tried being a hardcore goth christian, but of course when I went back to school that fall I was told that you couldn't be both. The sheer shallowness and outward expectations of people lowered my care for humanity even further.
Finally, there was my college classes: The Divine Feminine, Physical Anthropology(where we studied transition fossils), Race, etc. Each one, in succession, has pushed me further from religion and further into science, where I at least am not giving answers like "because god said so" to explain why something is the way it is.
I have not believed in a god for a while, but upon my coming out, most of my family said "I will pray for you every day so you don't go to hell", including my mother, who still dislikes organized religion but still prays to a male god who put my verbally abusive father in charge of my family.
I will admit that my anger towards god--of him choosing the more "attractive" girls, of him outright damning the unattractive girls, of allowing people who claim to be amazing good super-awesome-fantastic christians to claim to be better than me when they follow none of the preached rules of their religion(premarital sex was a biggie that I saw constantly. Stealing was another one, from myself, from others, right in front of me, if I said anything--I was an evil bitch, not a good person, I saw outright bullying of some of the kindest people, and I saw adults do absolutely nothing when they were the people put in power--I have so little faith in authority because of the adults I have had experience with). I saw 'god' allow me to be punished, over and over again, for not being pretty enough or a male or a rich person. I suffered at the hands of "his people" and a the end of the day, I was supposed to be crazy thankful to be alive and on this planet?
No thanks. I'm going to call the assholes assholes, and rather than try to lord over them with more devoutness, I will simply point out that they're the types of people that make this society such a crappy place that people need to turn to a false deity, in the hopes of seeing it get better.
I remember a sermon once about how prayers are only answered if god decides to answer them, if they are according to his plan. If he doesn't answer them, I should praise him for his plan(so if I pray not to get raped, do get raped--praise god for such wisdom), if he does answer them, it was all his work, and none of mine.
I have a problem with all my hard work being placed as god's ability. I wasn't born the human encyclopedia. I slowly gained the knowledge over many years. If I hadn't, I would know nothing more than the people I graduated with who hated school and learning. I have not been 'given a gift by god', I had access to knowledge, and I chose to use that access. Simple as that. It's why I recognize my habit of being a crappy student at school as my fault--not god's, and my good grades--my job, not god's. It is attributing these logical things to miracles that tick me off about a lot of devout people--nevermind the yoga and the dieting and the body torture you put yourself through to lose weight--GOD MADE YOU DROP THOSE 5 POUNDS.
If prayer worked, they would sell it as a cure for every disease. Why do you -think- it's free?