I am not an atheist. Or at least, not yet. I’m not sure. I am growing, and trying to learn about what is true.

I am a recent college grad. I studied physics and minored in writing. I spent some time in 2010 on a mission trip to a remote village in Africa, in part because I wanted to strengthen my faith, and it seemed to work at first. I saw God working there in new ways, and I learned a lot about seeking God, seeing God, and trusting in God. While surrounded by other missionaries and cut off from much of the rest of the world, I was absolutely convinced that I had found the right way to live. Even though I didn’t agree with everything the mission organization believed, I did think I’d found a true faith in God.

But when I came back from missions, I came back to my old life. I started reading the news online again, and I ended up running across atheist blogs. I found that I could relate to those experiences—I seemed to have more in common with the former Christian who left the faith than with Christian apologists. I found that atheist arguments made more sense and were much less refutable than Christian apologetics. Worse, I began to see that some of the problems we’d had on the mission field could be better explained by assuming there was no god.

I had never seen hard evidence that there is no God. But in all my time in remote Africa, giving my all and wholly devoting myself to God, I had never seen anything that would have happened differently if there was no god. No unexplained miracles, no prophesies or revelations, nothing at all without a material explanation.

There are many reasons I would call myself an atheist. I will try to list the biggest ones on my other blog, and in the future write more regarding each topic. I still can't decide if I will do most of my blogging on this site or at Wordpress.

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Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on April 6, 2013 at 6:18pm

It is often a “light bulb” moment for many when they realise that they no longer (have to) believe in any gods. The mind-set that theism creates takes some time to recover from. Faith is bolstered on an emotional level by its constant reinforcement from other theists. It only works at the group level where your biases are confirmed each day which means you never have the time to question any doubts that you have.

 It is only when someone is removed from the flock that they can spend time analysing their beliefs and whatever doubts they may have. This is also why Theists or at least those in charge of the flock dislike “doubt” so much. It is the work of the devil and you need to pray it away. God is testing you because he loves you. That keeps it on an emotional level rather than answering any intellectual questions anyone might want resolved.

Devoting so much time and effort into establishing a strong faith (becoming more deluded) gives people an emotional high and any challenge to its not being real is met with contempt. The “arrogant Atheist syndrome” as I call it. Then one day you realise it is all BS. It is gone in a second. But it reverberates for months afterwards. That is because there is often an emotional vacuum left that faith used to fill. It takes time and courage and some patience to move away from looking at the world where a god pulls all the strings to one where he does not exist, which of course he does not.

It takes time to learn how to think critically. It is a skill. It is what separates us from the other animals. It can be confusing for a while because we thought we had all the answers and that the “Truth” was crystal clear. God did it and that was that. Once we become atheists we come to the realisation that we need to look for answers elsewhere. This is why Atheists are keen on Science. We can see it provides a method of discovering answers to the big questions in life without being godmatic (my word) about it. We are compelled to seek out knowledge, to ask questions and to search for answers. That takes time and effort.  Don’t worry if all the answers don’t arrive in one go. That is ok because we have our whole lives to do this. It is what a part of life is all about.

Theists don’t understand this. How could they when they already have all the answers. If they did they would be Atheists! You are already free. All you need do now is continue to learn how to Think Atheist.

Comment by Physeter on April 6, 2013 at 6:33pm

 It is only when someone is removed from the flock that they can spend time analysing their beliefs and whatever doubts they may have. This is also why Theists or at least those in charge of the flock dislike “doubt” so much.

Yeah, doubt is fine, as long as it drives you deeper into that flock. Sure, we understand that you're feeling doubt -- everybody does! -- but you need to get over those doubts. Read your Bible more. Pray more. Don't let your mind go into those bad places or read those books that make a strong case against your faith. Just keep digging in until you can't form a coherent doubt anymore.

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