Many children grew up going to church and never questioned why Sunday mornings were reserved for the Lord.
But not every young adult remains devoted to organized religion as they develop critical thinking.
When Redditor screamingcat99 asked: "Ex-followers of an organized religion, what was your "f'k this sh*t" moment?", strangers on the internet had plenty to share.
Many witnessed their church neglecting to practice what they preached – including refusing to help those in need.
Scandals also seemed to be a recurring theme.
"When personal issues and politics in the church became more important than doing the right things to make a safe and supportive community for everyone."
The Unwelcome Visitor
"I say that I left the church in my heart at 10, in my head at 14, and physically at 18 (when I moved out of my parents house)."
"My 10 yo moment is most FTS. It was pouring down near freezing rain outside, we're in the middle of the sermon. Drunk (found this out later) guy walks in and quietly sits on the back pew. (if the sanctuary door didn't squeak, you wouldn't have heard him come in) He's clearly disheveled, homeless looking, pitiful and soaking wet."
"Middle-aged righteous looking lady from the Amen pew walks back and asks him to leave. He asks to stay. She says, loudly enough that I can hear sitting several pews in front of him, 'We don't want your kind here.' Actually says that, in the middle of a Christian 'love your brother' service."
"Two ushers/elders of the church get up to help and and lift the man out of his seat, they take him out of the sanctuary and outside to the steps of the church. Service resumes. I'm bawling, my mom is trying to help me feel better."
"I refused to put my allowance in the plate that day and gave it to him when we left (like my measly 2 $ did anything, mom told me later that my stepdad wrote him a check and told him which bank to cash it at to make sure they would give him the money)"
"And that was the day that my 10 yo mind said, FTS."
"Grew up mormon. Read the history of the church vol 6-7 (which they actually have in every church library.) And realized, wow... This is completely bullsh*t. These people are no critical thinking."
Marriage Over Education
"UK based ex Mormon... my moments crept in in small doses, lots of not feeling like I fit in, lots of the rules and teachings didn't feel right. My 'I'm done' moment was when a young women's leader said she would rather her 18 year old daughter get married than go to university. Seems small but was completely against my parents attitude towards marriage and education."
"It wasn't really a single big moment but a series of small ones. When I was about 9/10 I started to notice the politics within the church of who was in the clique and who wasn't. Then I began to notice the vicars wife was super materialistic which doesn't fit with how that sort of person was 'supposed' to be. Then finally I learned what the catholic church is one of the richest organisations in the world, whilst simultaneously asking its members to give money to both the church and church-related charities and that was the last nail in the coffin."
"I wasn't catholic but church of England. They've got a hell of a lot of money too so it all just made me think the whole thing is just one tax-exempt scam."
"Growing up, our pastor had an affair with a married woman from the congregation and ended their life when they were found out."
"Our next church had a father/son pastor duo. The younger pastor was married with children but got in legal trouble for sending d*ck pics to women in the congregation."
"You don't need religion to be a good person."
Turning A Blind Eye
"The church I used to go to had a free pancake breakfast for parishioners after service on Sunday mornings. I never ate, but always saw the congregation flock there after mass every time I went. There were homeless people outside the church asking for spare change to get some food and never did I see one of the parishioners take any of the homeless people for pancakes. They just passed them up saying they hope God finds a way to help them. Never went back."
"Growing up Pentecostal and experiencing all the stuff charismatics do like praying in tongues, getting slain in the spirit, prophecy, dancing, etc. As a kid I took it seriously and struggled because the spirit didn't affect me that much, then my friends and family started admitting they were faking it."
"At that point realizing that we are seen as weirdos even by other Christians by knowingly pretending to do this crap in order to fit in with the cult made it clear that was what this was a cult. After that I took up studying religions and philosophies of the world and the whole dogma just fell apart."
With so many people in our generations growing up on Harry Potter, it can seem kind of nuts that magic-related things would be restricted to us when we were kids. But plenty of children grew up with restrictions to what they could watch or otherwise consume- typically the children of very religious parents. Here are their stories.
u/monsteraadansonii asked: Redditors with religious parents, what nonsensical rules did you have about what video games/books/movies/etc. were okay while growing up?
Santa = Satan?
No Power Rangers (obtaining powers from crystals was witchcraft).
No Santa Clause (Santa was Satan apparently, we were too afraid to question that one).
No Pokemon (psychic powers came from the devil).XxVerdantFlamesxX
Really big butterflies.Giphy
Pokémon promoted evolution, and therefore was a corruption menace, leading to my secret cards being discovered and shiny Lapras being put through the washing machine :(
"No, mom, this isn't Darwinian. Just think of these things as really big butterflies instead."
My wife is a librarian. She says a lot of parents restrict Harry Potter because it imperils their children's soul with tales of sorcery.
He read Harry Potter back when the whole 'ohmyGOD burn the heathen book' mess just started.
His response was 'do these people know the meaning of the word allegory?!' He thought the book was great and told quite a few nuts they were, well, nuts.
Those evil bicycle cards.
Almost anything could be construed as evil. We were playing with bicycle cards once and she looked at the king with the sword in his head and freaked out, threw away all the cards.
I was also told even thinking the word damn would get you sent to hell so I was always nervous when I thought about that. Basically just thinking "don't think damn, do not think damn".
Sports were pretty much the only thing I could watch besides Christian programming. I liked cartoons obviously but the only acceptable ones were these tapes we had that told bible stories.
Not the drums!Giphy
My partner comes from a very religious household, and he was forbidden to listen to any music with drums in it because drums were the "devil's music".
Edit: just to answer some questions, his parents are really f*cking weird and seem to have their own version of Christianity. He and the rest of his siblings were homeschooled, and most of the time they do their own little church service from home. As far as I know they don't listen to any music at home still!
I wasn't allowed say "jeez" because it's "short for Jesus." That's the most annoying thing I can think of.
I almost got kicked out of a religious friend's house mid-slumber party for this. We were playing monopoly, I said "Jeez!" at some point, and her mom got up and left the room. I heard later from my friend that her mom was seriously considering calling my parents to come pick me up
That's kinda cute.
So this reminds me of a fantastic story. I went to Catholic high school so unsurprisingly a decent number of the teachers had fairly strong religious beliefs (all were super accepting and supportive of the students' beliefs and interests). My history teacher for 9th and 11th grade was one such teacher. His replacement for when he was irritated or in shock, etc. was "cheese and crackers!"
That just sounds racist to me, dog.Giphy
Action and violence? No problem. Serial killer documentaries? No issue whatsoever. But anime was heresy and trading card games were the devil because "these things come from a different culture".
Tbh it wasn't as much of a problem that they were religious as it was that they were racist about anything non-western.
That's a little extra.
No Disney movies because they were full of magic. Harry Potter was of course pure evil.
Mother blew a fuse when she find my father had a Styx tape because that's the river in Hell.
I borrowed the Escaflowne anime box set from a friend in high school. My mother saw approximately 0.5 seconds of it and declared it evil. Her snide remarks next time said friend came around were enough to guilt her into selling it for a fraction of what it was worth.
No computer or video games on Sundays.
Parents wrote nasty letters to the local TV news because of their use of the phrase "blow job" during the Clinton impeachment.
The worst part is how long that sh*t sticks with you even after you finally escape it.
Edit: how could I forget the most ridiculous one — Halloween is devil worship, so when my elementary school classmates were colouring jack-o'-lanterns, I was sitting out in the hall with the Jehovah's Witness kid.
Nah, it's just vegetables.
I couldn't watch Dragon Ball Z because my mom heard on the radio that all their names had satanic meaning in Japanese. I told her "But I don't know Japanese! It means nothing to me." But she said the message could get buried in my brain and affect me subconsciously.
Turns out the names did have meaning, they're pretty much all types of food or food-related. Kakarot = Carrot, Vegeta = Vegetable, Raditz = Radish, Broly = Broccoli, Paragus = Asparagus, the list goes on.
If anything, DBZ would have subconsciously encouraged you to eat healthily.
Not The Simpsons!!!!Giphy
For a short while I lived with my dad and his parents and the only thing they banned was the Simpsons. My dad and I still watched it when they weren't home though.
My mother is a Cuban emigrant. She and my father were missionaries before I was even born. I wasn't allowed to watch/read/learn anything that wasn't directly related to the church. I "learned everything I need to know from the Bible." Instead of listing everything I wasn't allowed, I will just list the things that were confiscated by my mother for being non-religious.
- Garbage Pail Kids cards. Especially devastating because EVERYONE at my school had them, and I had traded a lot of stuff to get them. Also in this category, Baseball cards, and playing cards were not allowed, because the act of,"trading cards" is a form of gambling, somehow.
- Walkman, my parents didn't allow the private listening or viewing of anything. They said that they didn't allow it, because a) I could be listening to music, b) listening to Christian radio stations with headphones on was wrong, because it showed that I was embarrassed to listen to my Christian music in public, another sin.
- Books. Including text books. My parents believed that I was "called" to be a missionary, and therefore only needed to learn Christian material. I had a HUGE collection of used text books that I kept under my bed. When my parents went to work I learned everything I could, except Math. I hated Math, and had a hard time learning it on my own.
- I wasn't allowed to have friends, even Christian friends, because anyone can be tempted into being a bad influence.
I haven't been in contact with my family since my father died. He was the last sane person in our family, and used to sneak me off to McDonald's for secret dinners. (Soda wasn't allowed at home.) He knew my life was hell, but he was a weak person. My mother sent me a long letter on my birthday that year, saying I was a hellbound sinner. So on her birthday, I sent her a photo of me in drag for Halloween, telling her that I just got a sex change. (I did not)
Cards for sorrow, cards for pain.
I lost several MTG decks to my religious grandmother. She would raise a huge stink about them being constructs of evil then burn them outside while praying.
Loved that woman but gawd she pissed me off sometimes.
Makes sense, I guess?Giphy
I wasn't allowed to watch the Grimm Adventures of Billy and Mandy. I think my mom screamed at me once for that when I was nine, and I stopped watching that. To be fair, it is entirely about the grim reaper...
That's a new one.
My mom was Buddhist and The 3 Stooges were too violent.
What people find offensive can vary greatly from person to person and one culture to another. Morality can be pretty different between different religions and cultures, and the same holds true for what is considered truly insulting or offensive.
Reddit user u/3choplex asked:
Being interrupted, being talked down upon, being seen as "inferior". I wouldn't use the word "offend" necessarily, but it fits. lucifersbestfriend
When people respond to facts with "That's just your opinion." TheLiberalOgre
Well thats like... your opinion man. MJC088
I think the most offensive idea/thing I was ever told was that because I have two dads and am not straight (not gay either, but not straight), that they must have messed me up.
That's like... next level homophobia.
That and racism/antisemitism. And people who hate on disabled folks. Like I don't get that crap. My aunt is in a wheelchair and she literally got yelled at in public once for being a "drain on society" cause she asked some dude to get her some cereal off the top shelf. I don't get that crap? Just... be nice to people, damn. raleighwh2001
People who bend and manipulate words in fallacious ways, especially to support their invalid or malicious points. CreepySCD
Older people thinking they're always right and automatically discounting new ideas just because they have "more experience."
I understand that wisdom often comes with age, and I grant that life experience is helpful in many situations. But some people just stay stupid, no matter how much experience they've had. Reddit
Honestly, not a whole lot offends me personally.
Go after a friend or family member though, and I'll be there like an angry Roadrunner. Meep meep, moron. MagicalMonarchOfMo
Being told to do something I'm already doing. It's like "gee thanks for the advice but if you can be bothered to look at me you'd know it's unnecessary." GPAD9
People who turn innocent memes such as Pepe and the ok symbol into hate symbols. Same goes for those who call innocent people out for using these symbols when they aren't even spreading hate. Seriously, why do people have to ruin memes?! EliteShadowElite
People who take their frustrations out on retail or food service workers.
Being talked to in a condescending manner.
Especially by someone who has no f*cking clue what they're talking about. lol
People making fun of others with acne. I'm 27 and still get it from time to time.
I only saw this woman once but she had the audacity to ask me what was wrong with my face when I was 1) 15 years old and 2) that was the first thing she said to me and has since remained as That C*nt in my mind.
"i dOnT rEaD bOoKs, aNd i hAvEnT sInCe i wAs iN sChOoOL" /s
People who abuse animals.
People who conflate facts with opinions. That vaccination works is not "just your opinion."
Oh this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I state clear facts and someone responds with " i disagree" .
When people know your name but go out of their way to call you by the wrong name. Girl in my Spanish class called me Evan all the time, my name is not Evan, not even f*cking close to Evan. Her excuse was that I looked like one so I said "Well you look like a b*tch but I still call you Morgan." She never got my name wrong after that.
Strangers commenting on someone's mental well being when they have no clue as to the person - who they are, what they are about etc. It's one of the few times I struggle to bite my tongue and sometimes not successfully.
My coworker declares people as Liberals, virtue signalers, etc based on next to nothing, like the brand of car they drive.
Someone telling me to smile. Like wtf? Who walks around smiling all the time? Also, if I'm not smiling at you, take a hint.
Even when i see this in a movie I physically cringe. I can't imagine this ever being used as flattery LOL its legit just creepy IMO
People pushing their religious beliefs on someone by accusing a stranger of being an evil person.
"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
The first step in inviting someone into a Religious relationship is to love them and listen to their story, which is the opposite of "turn or burn" evangelism. For every 1 person that sees those picket signs and thinks "maybe I should be a better person", there are 100 that look at it and think "take the plank out of your own ass first you idiot". Completely counterintuitive.
It takes a lot to turn away from religion, so it must take even more to turn back.
Atheism generally comes about from people who have completely and totally lost their faith, either via a traumatic life event or from some other disillusionment. But some people do eventually go back.
Some go for the community. Some go for the lessons. But what is it that made them turn back?
Here were some of those answers.
The Spark WithinGiphy
I was raised church of christ in the heart of the bible belt, and they were genuinely wonderful people, but i was an angsty goth as a teen. A lot of horrible things happened to me that drove me to rebel against everything. I was working hard to get far away from home. A few years after HS i quit my job, and moved to SLC for school, and wanted to learn as much as possible with my time abroad. One day my mormon roommate asked me to go to his sunday service, and out of curiosity i decided to go. No, i didnt convert to LDS, but it did ignite a spark in me. The next saturday, i went to my other roommates church that was seventh day adventist and it was really eye opening.
It was like an open discussion instead of being preached to. After that, i made it a point to try a different church every week to better understand how people worship in their own ways. Ive been to an almost entirely black Baptist church, islamic temples, easter mass at a large cathedral, korean first methodist, and many more. I made lifelong friends, ate all kinds of amazing food, got help during the low times of my life, and most importantly i gained understanding.
In the end, I found home with a small Universalist Unitarian congregation back in my hometown because everything just clicked. I wish I could share all the stories and amazing experiences i had, but it would be 100 pages long, and I honestly think that the path to finding spirituality is up to you and how much you search for your own soul in the melting pot of the cosmos.
It's not exciting, and kind of weird to me still, but I found comfort in prayer when I was feeling bad about stuff from my younger years, and I guess I just never stopped. I'm not about to spread the gospel or try to convert anyone, but getting back in touch with my spirituality helped me deal with life a little bit more. For the record, I was one of those edgelord atheists that would often try to argue with my religious friends, unprompted, when they just wanted to simply hang out.
North South East West
When I was at the lowest point in my life, I had nothing left to live for and needed a reason to keep going and to improve as a person. My SO, my friends, I lost them all to my increasingly disgusting behavior. The core values of religion provided a good moral compass for me and helped me be more patient and in control of my actions. I became a better person because of it, and I found a reason to live. Not to say that atheists are bad people, I just mean that it helped me personally become a better and more patient person.
I was born and raised in an atheist household. Starting in high school, I was really depressed and didn't know how to seek help. I loved and continue to love my parents but they didn't allow me to seek medical help. This continued on into my freshman year at college, even though I was living on campus and away from my home. However, I was still stubborn and wasn't comfortable with seeking help. Instead, through an acquaintance I met in a class and, after briefly mentioning about some life issues I was going through, he guided me to Christianity. We would occasionally have Bible study with other students, and I felt belonged. It also warmed my heart to know that God was protecting us all, including me, from evil. In a way, this moment also helped me become a better person by learning to love and not judge people so quickly, help others, and most importantly, love and accept myself for who I am. A few months later, I finally had the courage to get medical help for my depression. I honestly would not have done so had I not become a stronger person in part due to my curiosity and time with Christianity.
As an avowed teenage atheist (having grown up in a non-church-going family), I met a super smart nerdy guy and starting hanging around him. Turns out he talked about his faith in Christ... a lot.
So one day I blurted out something -- I don't remember verbatim but along the lines of, "Gee, I thought you were smart and understood science."
He said, "It's because I understand and love science that I believe the Scriptures. Every new archaeological or scientific discovery just keeps confirming what I know."
He went to great lengths to show me what he meant, and 38 years of marriage later we're still sharing what we learn -- from Scripture or from the latest physics discovery.
Spirituality Vs. Religion
Not necessarily religious but spiritual. I was raised Christian, and my mom was very forceful with it. When I was 12, and starting to develop my own beliefs, she refused to accept that I might not be Christian/didn't want to attend church. That just made me rebel and I became a very edgy, angry atheist that hated anything spiritual, period.
As I got older though I utilized a thing called DBT therapy which is based on Buddhist practices. It made me realize that spirituality could be useful and wasn't all bull. I picked up different theories and bits of religions, whatever resonates, and built my own belief of a "god." I personally call it "source" or "universe." I've been happier, since. It makes the world make a bit more sense, gives me a sense of purpose and comforts me in terms of what potentially comes after death. I'm a kinder, more tolerable person now. As an atheist I believed there was no purpose to life. Everything was random. Now I believe everything has a reason and there's no coincidences, adds a sense of wonder and mystery to even day-to-day life :).
Science For Religion
Not really religious, but eventually hard problem of consciousness convinced me that the current scientific models of reality are fundamentally incapable of explaining my consciousness.
At that time I was kind of early 20th century science optimist so this was quite crushing realization. Around that time I also found out about Gödel's incompleteness theorems which made me think about many other things which seem obviously true but are not rigorously provable and science suddenly has not seemed as powerful as before.
I didn't turn religious in the sense that I follow a religion, but after some pretty intense experiences with acid I came to understand that there most definitely is something beyond the physical plane and that our senses aren't really equipped to understand it.
The argument for atheism is always that the onus is on religion to prove God exists, which is fine and all but is "God created the universe" really any worse an explanation than "a big bang happened but we don't know why and an enormously complex sequence of unlikely events just happened by coincidence and here we are"?
I grew up in a Protestant household but around seventh grade went through some really hard times and developed depression. It became difficult to believe in a God. This year, however, I went through confirmation at my amazing church (highly recommend United Church of Christ churches -- super accepting) and really built my faith. I realized that faith is about just that -- believing that no matter what this mortal world throws at you, He has a plan, and that it's okay when I have doubts and question that there's a God who watches over all 7.5 billion people because I know in my heart that He's more amazing than my human mind can understand and that when I meet him again, I will understand the glory of His kingdom.
Leap Of FaithGiphy
Don't follow an established religion, but i now believe there is more than our life on earth. Maybe it's that our "soul" is just a higher dimension we can not tap into in our human form. Maybe there's a heaven and hell, or maybe they're just a representation of the reflection we will endure after leaving life on earth. My lack of religious beliefs changed after a very large dose of mushrooms and hearing experiences from those who have tried dmt, which i really would like to experience.
Athiesm itself is a religion imo, because you have a belief of something you can not prove, thus requiring a leap of faith. Was atheist from around 12-16, then agnostic, now i guess I'm spiritual? The word makes me cringe but I don't know what else to call it.
My family is atheest. I was too. Then, I started hearing people talk about religion and how special it was to them, and I was like "Wow, that's incredible that you have something that you believe In so much." Then, I began reading the bible and thinking about it and realised, I can't believe that there isn't something bigger in our giant universe. It didn't all just poof into existence without some sort of interference, I don't think. What really cemented it, though, was hearing my dad bash it. I didn't tell them I believed in God. They always said they'd be fine no matter what I believed in, but I felt like at the age I was, I didn't know for sure. Then, my dad started bashing people of faith for being "foolish enough to believe in a man in the sky." And for some reason that just made me more convinced.
Shades Of Grey
I've turned from Atheist to mostly agnostic. When I was 4 or so, I decided that there were some lies in the Bible so all of it must be lies. I saw only black and white, not the many different shades in between. I've let religion back into my life. I'm learning about acceptance of myself, taking time to rest and self-love. I'm learning about being a member of a community, kind of a family.
I don't go to church every Sunday, I actually rarely do. I don't believe in God or miracles or anything like that. I believe in myself and everyone else. I believe evil people do not exist, that everyone is good, but perhaps confused. I believe in helping others, accepting help when I need it and not overworking myself anymore. I'm happier as an agnostic Catholic than I ever was as an Atheist.
This is something that gets done to death in religious circles, people use these made up stories as "proof" of god. Plus a solid conversion story sells well, there are plenty of religious authors who made a nice chunk of cash recounting how they found faith.
This thread is going to be filled with
- sock puppet accounts featuring people pretending to have been atheists who found god (but were really always religious to begin with)
- bullshit strawman accounts of people saying they lost faith because they were "mad at God" or decided at a young age to be atheist just for the edgy shock value
- special pleading fallacies.
I found myself surrounded by people who were openminded, kind, and understanding. They saw things others I encountered couldn't, and reassured me I wasn't crazy. They believed me when I told them of the things I'd done in secret, and they shared their stories too. Legitimately, Fae Worship (not genuine worship, but the acknowledgement of fae and acceptance,) has positively changed my life and allowed me a healthy mental, physical, and magical outlet for stuff Ive carried with me for way too long.
I wasn't atheist really I was more agnostic. But everything in my life fell apart. My mom was going through it all with me. She was telling me about the sermon she heard at church that week that brought her comfort. She never tried to push me to go back to church. But she was dealing better with the tragedy our family was going through than I was.
I decided that I would try to go to a church near me. I went and everything the pastor said felt like it was talor written for my ears. I went back weekly I said prayers some were answered. Some were not. I felt better. I felt lighter. I am glad i went.
I wish every one could find something that makes them feel as content, happy and at peace as religion makes me feel. I don't care if that is a religion an activity or what. As long as they are not hurting them selves or others. I also have no will to push others in to my religion, or hate and judge others because of religion, race, sexual orientation or any other reason. I know some religious people do that. I don't like that so many so called Christians do that.
Didn't turn religious, but I did change the way I look at religion.
At some point in time, as an atheist, I decided to look into other religions besides Christianity to see if anything appealed to me. Surprisingly, many things I read changed the way I would see the world. I still think that God isn't real, but I treat religions as ways one can become better: I keep the good parts only. I would also interpret things in my own way just for the sake of simplicity, such as meditation being time spent with my eyes closed thinking.
Most of us were raised in some sort of faith.
Church is a part of the communities of America, and church groups often have outings together, camps, bake sales, festivals--it can be a really inclusive experience, if you fit in.
But churches also have serious problems. Bigotry, indoctrination, taking large quantities of money from its parish--and sometimes those things can send people away.
Here were some of those answers.
Short answer: grew up southern Baptist.
When I started getting to the age where I could think critically about things, I just started noticing some inconsistencies. Specifically, I was told that people who believed in other religions would go to hell because they followed the "wrong" religion. What?? When religion is based a lot on where you are born, I just could not truly believe that people would be sent to hell for being born in the "wrong" country.
Money Money Money
Taking a mythology class in college and realizing all the different religions had similar origin stories of how earth and man were created and evolved, but the details differed based on the environment the people lived in and how far along they were technologically. Anything science couldn't explain was the will of a higher power.
Not saying higher powers COULDN'T exist, just realized people are killing each other because theirs is the 'right God', but the people don't realize that for all intents and purposes, they are all following the similar lessons/stories.
I also believe religion is separate from its organization structure. I think being spiritual and believing in a higher power is okay - it has helped mankind cope with the terrifying unknown. Anybody telling you that God wants you to donate money to them so that their leader can live in a super mansion or own an airplane is a liar. Last I checked, none of that money ever gets trickled up to a deity.
Being told to not question my faith made me lose my faith, if I cannot question what I believe in to better understand it then it wasn't worth believing in it in the first place. Or they are hiding something they don't want me to find out, which makes me even more skeptical of it.
Also reading beyond the selected passages in my bible study classes? Whoa, there is a LOT of messed up stuff in the bible and you would get in trouble! for reading more than just the cherry picked parts they only wanted you to know. Contradictions Galore!
I was in a hard time for me and I started praying, attending catholic activities and doing lots of other things like these. I wasn't feeling better. Years after I gave up doing these things and started taking care of me by myself and now I'm happy. So the faith gradually went away. I'm not fully an atheist tho, I may be an agnostic but I'm not sure.
A Made-Up God
I started to read the Bible.
Then it was gradual. First I did not believe that the god in the Bible was good and created my own personal god. Then I realized that I was making up a god and started to question if everyone else was doing the same. That's when I started questioning, but felt guilty about it and had conversations with god like "You cannot be angry that I am questioning. If you wanted me to believe you shouldn't have left all of this gaps and contradictions." Eventually I became an atheist.
The Business Of Oppression
The Church did it for me. When I started to understand that it was a business. For profit and for power and for influence. When it started to become political. The final straw was when I started to see how much hypocrisy there is, by way of prejudice, and hate.
When Nobody Helps You But You
Was heavily indoctrinated with young earth creationism as a child. Stopped believing in the literal truth of the Bible in college when confronted with extensive evidence to the contrary. Was still very religious, with faith in the moral truth of the Bible. Got engaged to a conservative Christian in medical school, it ended badly. Realized after the fact that Christianity did nothing to prevent the emotional abuse I had suffered by the hands of my mother growing up and my ex as an adult. In fact, faith actively facilitated it in many ways. Hence, not a reliable source of moral truth, too subject to personal interpretation. Put faith on hold. A year later, realized I was happier not going to church. About another year later (just recently), discovered my beliefs align much more cleanly with secular humanism.
The Lies Fell Apart
I spent my early childhood education years in a Christian school. That age is easy to manipulate. The economy tanked when I was entering 5th grade and I had to go to a public school because my parents couldn't afford to send me to a private school. I gradually started to doubt my faith as I was exposed to people from different cultures and religions. I was told by teachers to be weary of people at public schools because they're awful people who will poison my mind. As I got older the lies fell apart. I became an Atheist at 18 and unfortunately I lost a lot of people I thought were my friends.
People Cycling Out
Church politics put me off a lot. I grew up in generally friendly churches full of well-meaning people, but when I was in my teens there was some trouble with the ministers (a husband and wife couple) that were there at the time. They were a bit too evangelical with their sermons compared to the rest of the denomination, and also had some personality clashes with the rest of the church leadership.
After a few years of listening to my parents gossip and grumble, the ministers were sent off to somewhere else and we got a new one. (Not that my parents had any part in that happening, just that that's how I knew about it at all.)
It was hardly the only reason I stopped believing, but it really made me see how these were all just humans, doing their own things, and trying to make their community the way they wanted it.
Everything's Beautiful, Nothing's RealGiphy
I wish I could point to a specific factual source or analytical process or real, concrete and rational justification for my loss of faith like others in this thread, but I can't.
What happened is that I reached my teenage years after being a dutiful believing Catholic my whole life and just...began feeling like it wasn't real. Suddenly I went to court and saw that the emperor had no clothes. I didn't like church, I didn't like all the youth stuff I had to do, and I put my foot down and declared that I would not be following through with confirmation.
The intellectual stuff and the reading and the Sagan and Dawkins and all the other junior atheist bro phase came later. But it started with simply feeling one day that it wasn't real.