Atheists Share What Made Them Originally Question Their Beliefs

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Religion, faith... God. There are so many things to discuss after after expressing those ideas. Wars have been fought.... are STILL being fought over religious faith. Many people are steadfast in the belief that God is among us and will save us; that keeps believers in comfort on the daily. But there are many who challenge the thought that a higher power exists. And some at one point were very involved in their faith of God, but, things change.

Redditor _Johnytheanarchist asked the atheists of Reddit to share... What's something that's made you question your belief? _There is always a turning point when you ask yourself... is this me?


My church telling me not to question my belief or their teachings.


Redditor _extrohex responded in solidarity. _

I'm a Muslim and I can totally agree with you that people should be able to question their religious scholars about the religion they are in. Even in Islam many 'scholars' tells you not to question anything and just believe. There is a story in our Holy Book Qur'an where even the Prophet (I don't remember which one, Abraham or Moses) asks Allah (Allah literally means The God and not muslim God) to show him how you give life and death. Allah asked him that does he not believe? He said I do believe but to be stronger in faith. Now this is huge. However these 'scholars' tells you to not even question simple things and even some elders in the family. Hence people just move away from their religion.

Majority of the scholars in Islam encourages questioning but only few says that just believe and don't ask.


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My parents are Christian. What made me really question it all was the concept of "prayer chains." _What a prayer chain is basically whenever something bad happens to someone (they get hurt, they get sick, lose a job etc.), a person will pray for them and then call the next person on the prayer chain, who then prays for them and calls the next person. The idea is roughly _"the more people praying to god asking for help for the person the better."This is a noble idea, if you don't think too hard about it. But, if you are like me and think about stuff harder than the average Christian; what this basically means is _"God will help people more if more people care about them."_ So, if you are dying in a ditch and no one knows your name, god doesn't care about you.


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When I was a teenager my parents got divorced and the church we were members of told both my parents they weren't really welcome to be involved anymore. It seemed totally counter to the stuff they were teaching us, and was definitely the moment where i first thought, "wait, what? what the hell is this place?"


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I used to be a member of Campus Crusade for Christ (sometimes called Cru or CCC) It's a Christian men's organization popular on many college campuses, and it's basically a cult.

I went to a Methodist school and it wasn't super christian or anything, an ordinary college really. But Cru was something different, it had a lot of respect among campus management because local pastors it was Christian, but a bad reputation among students who weren't into that stuff.

I still remember it vividly - Freshman year, first week of college, going to the organization fair because I was excited to join some kind of club or something. I guess I looked lost or alone, and someone who wasn't with any of the regular clubs approached me and started talking about this men's club, being that I was a practicing Catholic at the time I decided to try it out. First meeting they talked about nothing other than masturbation and how evil it was. After several meetings, I'll admit they had me feeling really bad about myself, convinced I was just an awful and depraved person.

They wanted to control every aspect of my life - only associate with other members of Cru, always let Cru know where you're going and who you're with, you had to show your laptop's browser history (and it had better not be cleared), at each meeting, and definitely no association with women for any reason. And for a while, I actually did all this. Well eventually I snapped out of it, realized I was being manipulated and brainwashed, stopped going to their meetings.

I didn't start calling myself an atheist until many years later, but in hindsight my experience with Cru was the first time I saw religion as being harmful.

And in later years I realized, that's how they prey on naive and impressionable kids, they get em in before they've had a chance to make other friends. I was exactly the gullible fool they were scouting for. The president of the club was only a student by technicality, he never graduated and just takes the minimum number of classes to be considered a student. He just stays in college to run that club, and was in his 30s. I don't know if he was being paid to do this, or was a creep, or just completely brainwashed.

In my later years of college, many of us experienced cases of losing friends to Cru. Once they joined that, you wouldn't hear from them again unless they left the club. From what I hear, it also runs into money after a while, like a lot of money, and it works kind of like a pyramid scheme.


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Walking on water, miracle cures, burning women at the stake for being progressive (witches), the world is 5000 years old, my aunt was not allowed to take communion due to her divorce. Basically the constant one sided BS. I'm sure these stories worked to control the population like a government, back when they didn't have the answers. I'm sure Jesus was a good guy, but he didn't sacrifice himself for me, he was killed.


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I was always an atheist, but I went through a rough patch after college and I started going to a nearby church with a friend of mine. I never did buy into all of it, but I did start to see the draw of the community aspect of it. To me, it was like a good group therapy session, where you thought about your life and your choices a lot in the context of other anecdotal stories that just happened to be from the bible.

In the end, I stopped going and never really found religious views in it. However, I can definitely see why people love the community aspect of belonging to a church and getting to know people at your church. They become a little family to you. That part was very appealing. Made me think twice about questioning why people go to church and why people are so drawn to religion because I can see why they were drawn to that part of it very clearly.


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From Christian to Atheist:

When I realized that I could come up with better, more moral and loving solutions than the all knowing God of the universe. For instance, when the Israelites were told to kill all the men, women, and children of an enemy nation, I couldn't help but think about the "radical love" (that was the title of a book I read once about how the love of Jesus should really change our life... like selling your possessions to give to the poor kind of change) that Jesus displays and see the disconnect between saving people at all costs and killing them (and punishing the Israelites who failed to kill all the people). Why couldn't the Israelites adopt the children? Or find a non-violent solution altogether? God can't do that?

From Atheist to "doubting."

What causes me to doubt my atheism is the idea that God isn't who he is portrayed as in the Bible. Maybe God never commanded those horrible things but the people who wrote about him did? Of course at that point, I'm basically creating God myself, picking and choosing the aspects that I think make up a God that I don't see much evidence for in the first place. That's when I realized that I really just wanted a sense of community, over-arching purpose, and spiritual connection to people. I was drawn to Catholicism through its rich and long history (I never had that as an evangelical!), it's connection to the saints, it's connection to people around the world, and it's connection to people who have died. I would be lying if I said I wasn't still drawn to that idea of connection.

But then I remember the ridiculousrules, the idea that the all powerful God of the universe can't heal an amputee but will punish me for masturbating, and I remember that I can't fall in line again. At least not easily or happily.


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"Believe in me or burn and be punished for all eternity." Doesn't sound like a very loving father


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There is no belief. It's a lack of belief. And there has never been a single piece of evidence that any of it is real. Watching people constantly thank some invisible man for helping them in their daily lives while children die of cancer is ridiculous, and keeps it all in perspective.


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