Posts Tagged ‘skepticism’

From Fundamentalist Christian to Atheist

Posted: March 28, 2010 by justmeangie in General
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This is my first post on this blog. I wasn’t going to contribute to this site at first because I really don’t feel that I have much to say that hasn’t already been said by far better thinkers and writers than me, but my husband (skepticalProgrammer) really wanted me to. I thought I’d start by telling you a bit about myself and my religious background.

I am 24 years old. I grew up as a Fundamentalist Christian and believed in a personal God whole-heartedly for most of my life, though I always had questions I knew I wasn’t allowed to ask. I pushed these thoughts and doubts out of my head and threw myself completely into religion, especially during my teenage years. Religion is where I found my identity, my friends, my sense of well-being, acceptance, meaning, and respect, among other things.

The first time my beliefs were ever seriously challenged was when skepticalProgrammer and I became good friends (I was 16). He was a Christian, yes, but he was one of those “liberal Christians” I’d heard about–not a “real” Christian. I had always been taught that one could not be a “real” Christian without also being Republican. The two were practically synonymous. But here he was, a Democrat and a Christian. I was forced to reconsider my entire religious belief system and what it meant to be a Christian. He supported the LGBT community, he supported a woman’s right to choose, yet he obviously knew and believed the Bible and seemed to be just as strong in his Christian faith as I was. He was gentle and patient with me as I reevaluated my positions. Eventually, reason won and I dropped many of the conservative views I held.

This was the beginning of the end of my religious belief. I realized the importance of questioning even those off-limits parts of Christianity. I realized that different people have different ideas about what constitutes “true” Christianity. I spent the next six years slowly moving from Fundamentalist Christian, to moderate Christian, to liberal Christian, to religiously apathetic, to agnostic, and finally to atheist. It was a gradual process. I couldn’t tell you when one stage ended and another began because there was, for the most part, a lot of overlap and a lot of going back and forth. At the time, I wasn’t even thinking about these kinds of labels. It’s only now that I look back on it all that I realize the different labels that generally fit the stages I went through. I suppose using such labels is only relevant to show in very vague terms the process that led me where I am today. So there you have it, in a nutshell.

I’m still a “closeted” atheist for the most part. My family remains very much fundamentalist and would worry about me burning in hell for all eternity if they knew the truth about my lack of belief in a deity. A few of my friends know, but I’ve been very careful to only tell people who I know will be accepting and open-minded. Living in the Bible Belt means this number is very small.

There are things that I miss about religion–the community, the support, the acceptance–but by finally embracing a rational approach to life, I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost. Most significantly, I am able to freely explore new philosophies and ideas and come to my own conclusions about the world and the nature of life. I’ve grown in more ways than I would have ever imagined, much more than I ever could have when I subscribed to the Christian faith. Life is exciting and full of possibilities. I’m learning  and growing, challenging myself and expanding my mind every day. Leaving behind the myths and lies of religion, though a difficult path to take, has been one of the best choices I have ever made.

To the readers of this blog, no matter your beliefs, I wish you well on your journey.

Namaste.

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just let the video speak for itself.

Divorcing Religion

Posted: March 23, 2010 by skepticalprogrammer in Atheism
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Sometimes relationships just don’t work out. As we grow and change over time, we sometimes outgrow the other party in the relationship. That’s how it was for me in my divorce with Religion. Religion and I had been acquaintances when I was young, but it wasn’t until late middle school/early high school that Religion and I started growing close. Maybe it was my tumultuous home life and my craving for love and attention, or maybe it was that all the popular kids were so enamoured with her. In any case, Religion won my heart swiftly and completely. Like many people in a relationship, I viewed her without awareness of her flaws and I was able to overlook even glaring inconsistencies in her character.
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Introduction

Posted: March 22, 2010 by skepticalprogrammer in Atheism
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Hey all, I am the skepticalProgrammer! I am a young atheist living in the Bible Belt, and I’m very politically and socially liberal. I believe that anyone can live a moral live without believing in a deity, and that religion should never be used to cause, justify, or allow harm to others.

Many people upon hearing the word “atheist” tend to think of an angry person who is either looking for attention or angry at God for a perceived wrong and out to destroy religion at all costs. While there are those who fall into the above category, I (as well as most of the atheists I know) do not fall into that category. I am not an atheist because I am angry at God or because I want attention. In fact, only my close friends know my views on God. I am an atheist because I feel that specifically Christianity leaves me with too many questions lacking credible answers. For example: How can a God who is Omniscient and all-loving create a person who he would know would invariably end up suffering in Hell for all eternity? If God loves us and wants us to believe in him, why has he not given us any concrete evidence like the Bible tells us he did for Thomas? How do Christians believe in one God while large portions of the Old Testament were formerly written as texts for the Polytheistic ancient semitic religion? And that’s just the beginning.

While I cannot bring myself to believe in a god with the above questions, I am by no means against religion. I have seen the good that can come of religion, and I have quite a few Christian friends, some of whom are pastors or studying in seminary to become pastors.

I am writing this blog because I would like an outlet for my thoughts without facing the judgment of my most conservative friends.