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Religion is a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Whatever reason you go to church, whatever kind of church it is, you go for a reason. There's a purpose for you attending a ritualistic gathering of people, all doing the same thing every time, expecting something to happen. Atheists typically don't buy into this, choosing instead to live their life believing in science or not believing in a higher power. However, sometimes the stars align and the Fates intervene and an atheist can turn to religion.

Reddit user, u/Wheatles_BiteAlbum, wanted to hear about:

Former atheists of Reddit, what made you turn to religion?

Understanding The Smaller Parts Are The Bigger Parts

People think church is a once a week thing, where you go to a building and sit in a service surrounded by fellow like-minded people. Turns out it's the smaller bits, the little moments you share with people outside of that building, that matters more.

The Big Questions Answered

I was raised atheist and became a Christian at 19.

I met a group of people through friends who seemed genuinely to care about others. They volunteered with elderly and fed the homeless, but also the kind of people who would sit quietly with you while you're going through a tough time. Or drop off food to someone grieving. Or buy a used van for a struggling single dad. I could write an essay on all the ways they helped me and other people for nothing in return except friendship - they didn't even collect tithes at their church, encouraging people to donate their tithe to bigger initiatives that could help more people.

I was so impacted by the way they lived in service to others that I began exploring Christianity. The thought of being part of a group that tries to make others' lives better seemed WAY more meaningful than how I had been living.

I learned about Christianity/God in an environment that encouraged hard questions, debate, studying for yourself and showing care for everyone. It disturbs me deeply that many people use Christianity as an excuse for doing terrible things.


Understanding What The Rituals Are

I'm starting to realize that it might be actually incredibly good for humans to believe that everything will be ok. Like, in general. Having a purpose and believing that there is a point produces positive brain chemicals.

I'm getting into a specific religion now, including aspects that I don't necessarily believe are true. Take prayer for example- it doesn't matter if there's a beardy dude in the clouds taking notes. It's not the point - regularly contemplating community and loved ones is a good thing to do. If you need to frame it as talking to a fella in the sky, well then do it to it. To me, faith is more about believing that living a certain way is the best way to live. Whether it's true or not is besides the point.

That being said, religion is not an excuse to treat others poorly. If someone uses their religion to treat other people poorly, I still look at them the way I look at anyone that treats people poorly.


Weekly Dinner, Weekly Togetherness

My life hit rock bottom. I was constantly anxious, constantly searching for peace. I took up meditation and found myself praying. Eventually a coworker invited me to their weekly church dinner and over many months I found myself a regular member.

I am a member of an independent church that broke off from the Methodist Church specifically over the conservative policies they instituted.


A Life Changing Moment

We'll suffer a traumatic experience, something far worse than anything we would ever imagine. In those times, in those lowest moments, we might do something strange and foreign: pray.

Hoping To Feel Closer

My great uncle was a life long atheist til his wife of 50 years died. She was always begging him to go to church and he would never go with her. When she died he was so devastated he started going to church to feel closer to her. That naturally resulted in him converting. He loved and missed her so much that he was willing to believe anything that would reunite them. He was a tough man but her death broke him. He always gave me sh-t for not going to church and it annoyed me but I respected how deeply he loved my aunt. On occasion I would go with him and he was grateful I humored him.


Losing Someone, Praying To Someone

You don't know desperation until you start praying as an atheist.


Yeah the darkest day of my life was when I was at a work conference for my new job and I got a few messages and calls that my best friend died. I was in such a bad state, hysterically crying, just a complete heap of despair. I pulled out a bible to help and I just wanted someone, anyone there. Pure desperation.


Overcoming Mental Hampering

I was on a years long depression and hopelessness spiral in my late 20's that I couldn't seem to dig myself out of. Decided I had nothing to lose by sincerely praying to God (and Jesus by extension), so I did. Within days I had a renewed internal strength and motivation that coupled with some random things falling into place, helped me dig out of it and start moving to a much better place.


When The Unexplained Happens To You

Then there are those moments when something inexplicable happens to you. Your life shouldn't be going the way that it is. It's unfair, harrowing, and depressing. Suddenly, you're met with a miracle, the only way to explain it.

Suddenly church doesn't seem that far off.

Finding Wonder In A Candy Wrapper

When I am stressed, I go to the vending machine and get a Milky Way candy bar.

Around the time this happened, I had been on a reading binge with philosophy and religion books for a while so the subject was fresh on my mind. I had been thinking a lot about things like deism, transcendentalism, and naturalistic pantheism.

On a particularly stressful day, I went to go get my Milky Way. The machine was out of them and I was crestfallen. I got a Snickers instead, which is not quite as good.

I walked back to my desk thinking, the universe has no inherent order or meaning, there is nothing watching out for us or a great plan. Camus was right.

I sat down and opened it and took a bite, and it was a Milky Way, in a Snickers wrapper.


When The Big Questions Are Shifted

To be honest? Because I separated the "how" and the "why".

I accept science explaining the "how's" (evolution, Big Bang, etc), but they never explained the "whys" for me (and, as an objective tool, science was never intended to explain it regardless). Religion and science answer different questions, and both are incredibly fulfilling to me.


When Life Is At Stake

We struggled with infertility for a couple years. I was at my breaking point. I had tried every supplement, wives tale, even fertility crystals. We were of course consulting with doctors and taking meds. Trying to find it in our budget to pay for the expensive fertility treatments. I decided I had nothing left to lose and I prayed. I told my husband the next day how dumb I felt for it... and he told me he had also been praying for pregnancy over the past few days. We went in for a fertility treatment and missed my ovulation by one day.. we were crushed. Until a few weeks later when I got a positive pregnancy test. Turns out we had conceived naturally that month, and saved the money on the expensive treatment.

To really seal my non-believer coffin, we learned we were pregnant with twins but in the process of miscarrying one. I prayed every single day for that baby to survive and I am currently in the hospital getting ready to deliver two healthy baby girls.


Whatever your reason for attending any kind of religious service, make sure you're doing it for you. Get out of it what you want and never feel like it's tricking you into doing something. A lot of good can come from that kind of community, but don't feel like you have to do anything differently than what you've been doing.

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In the words of every millennial who was once on Tumblr, adulting is hard. I’ve been a legal adult for nine years now, and I still don’t fully understand taxes. I just let TurboTax do its thing and hope for the best. They REALLY need to teach that sh*t in schools.

But I’m not the only adult who still feels like a child! I think a lot of us can relate to that. And to be honest, we can be very unprepared for what life throws at us.

U/cracksandcrevices asked: What is an adult problem that nobody prepared you for?

The worst part is the cruel awakening that we actually have to, you know, do stuff on our own.​

Choosing things is hard.

Having to not only make important decisions by myself (I expected that much) but also having to do so in a timely fashion uninhibited by indecision.


Having to make decisions is such a big thing for me. Intellectually, of course I knew I'd have to make decisions. I just want ready too make them without knowing the consequences and at the speed of life.


Errands eat up sooo much time.

season 2 your shoe's untied GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants Giphy

How much time you spend just doing stuff.

"Oh need to replace my tire and that's over by the store, so while I replace the tire I can do some errands and I'll save time and be home in no time" three hours later "Okay just one more errand before I head home"

Also how putting off a small task just a couple days in a row can quickly amount to a longer chore/responsibility later. "Eh I can just leave this in the sink, get to it later before bed" x 2 days "Why is this grime caked onto this plate still I've been scrubbing for 10 minutes straight!"


That’s what delivery is for.

Being sick and having to care for yourself. Like when you were younger your parents would get the medicine, or the medicine cabinet would just be stocked all the time, etc. But here I am with a cold having to build up the energy to go to the supermarket to buy some asprin and throat lozenges all by myself.


Underwear gnomes are the true pests.

The endless cleaning. I had chores when I was a kid, but I had zero clue how much actual work went into keeping house. I cleaned my house this morning and by midweek it'll be a war zone of pet hair, crumbs, and dust. I don't even have kids wtf it's like the underpants gnomes show up when I'm asleep and mess my house up.


Another sh*tty thing is the crushing loneliness that comes with adulthood. Why didn’t they tell us that we would have no friends after the age of 25?

The only thing I miss about school.

motivating bart simpson GIF Giphy

A lack of community. Growing up you have your elementary school. Each day you see your friends and participate in activities together. Sometimes they move away and sometimes you do, but it largely stays the same through high school and middle school. Flash forward to adulthood and you're just alone. You want to make friends IRL, but have no idea how to go about doing it without seeming creepy, desperate, or god knows what.

This is really hard when you are not overtly religious so you cannot join a religious community. My friend and I talk about this from time to time, it's arguably the hardest thing to deal with in life. It gets worse the longer you live, as you know you are outliving your generation.


The reason why I have cats.

You can go days on end without having to speak to a single person, at first it's a dream come true, after about 2 months you start talking to your toaster to pad the silence while waiting for your toast.


I literally haven't spoken to someone beyond saying thank you/no when buying groceries in months. At first it felt kind of freeing and now it's just kinda sad.


Ditto on this advice.

The inevitably of your parents dying. My dad just passed away and I'm one could have prepared me I guess.


I feel you. Mine passed away back in August when I was 28. There's nothing you can do to prepare for it, and I'm afraid I have no magic words to make it better. Just know you're not alone. I'll never say it gets "better," but it eventually starts to suck less and your hard days get a little less frequent. I'm so, so sorry.


​The sad fact is, you have to start fending for yourself with no one to help you. And that’s terrifying.

Saving money is hard for this reason alone.

Basic home maintenance: when to change air filters, smoke alarm batteries, timing of lawn care, how often do you clean the gutters, are you supposed to clean under the stove, what is edging, how do you recycle, how to change locks, etc.


Not to mention the random costs that spring up. Trying to save up money? Good for you. Except your sink just sprung a leak so you need to pay a plumber to fix that. Now you can save money agai... Nope, car needs servicing. Okay, your can definitely save money now.... Wait, that leaky sink sprouted mold so now your bathroom needs to be gutted and redone.


We are all Squidward.

Being absolutely exhausted most of the time. I never thought I'd be the 'I hate everyone' guy. But I am and everyone can f*ck off.


We all become Squidward after hitting a certain age.


You either die a SpongeBob or live long enough to become a Squidward.

Me? I'm Patrick. F*ck your rat race.


As someone who has lost a parent, I can tell you that sometimes you will never be prepared for certain events in your adult life. Everyone’s experience is different, and sometimes adulthood just means figuring it out for yourself.

You got this, grown-ups of the internet. I believe in you

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