Apostates: what made you lose your religion?

First off, if a mod wants to move this thread to GD, I won’t object, though I see this thread as being less witnessing and more of a call for anecdotes.

Secondly, let me make clear what I mean by apostate. I don’t mean to use any pejorative or insulting connotation of the word, but rather it’s simplest meaning: a person who has deliberately changed his or her religious affiliation. So if you were raised Catholic and became Baptist, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic later in life, you have the sort of story I want to hear; or if you were raised atheist or agnostic but later converted, I’d like to hear that story too.

And now, finally, the question of the day: What made you change from the faith of your childhood? Was there a watershed event, or was the process gradual? Did something happen to you, or was it something you read? How traumatic was it? How did it affect your relationship with your family?

I should probably answer my own question, shouldn’t I?

For me, it was reading the Bible and paying attention.

I was a very bright kid, star student in both regular school and Sunday School. The latter, in the Pentecostal denomination I was raised in, was as serious as a heart attack; it was indoctrination. You were expected to memorize every book in the Bible, all the apostles, all the tribes of Israel, and endless Bible passages; and analysis of the text was not merely discouraged, it was virtually sinful. “The Bible isn’t for you to understand,” my father (lay minister and Sunday school superintendent) used to say. "It’s for you to believe.

In my pre-teen years this never bothered me. I didn’t just believe in Jesus, I was in love with him. He was so perfect, so good, so merciful, so loving–everything the savior of mankind should be; and of course, he and his father were exactly the same in every attitude, so the Creator was just as wonderful. I loved every moment of Sunday School; I loved reading from the Bible in church; I loved testifying (which went like this:

“My name is Skald the Rhymer. I’m saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. I want to thank God first for waking me up this morning, for giving me my parents…”

And so forth. I remember my oldest brother once giving me a particularly gruesome comic book that detailed all the sufferings Jesus underwent during the crucifixion. Mel Gibson must have read this comic while scripting The Passion of the Christ; it went into enormous, sadistic, loving detail of how long the nails in the crown of thorns were, how the Lord wasn’t just whipped but actually flayed, and so forth. One day during a revival service, I prayed that God would let me take one just a fraction of the suffering Jesus had felt, so it wouldn’t be so bad for him. That’s how serious I was about it.

Until seventh grade social studies. I was in Miss Augustine’s fourth-period class, which has nothing to do with the rest of the story but which I found amusing later in life. (She was also an ex-nun, which I also found amusing.) Being an ace student, I typically finished all my work for the day long in advance of the other students, and I’d typically spend my free time reading my Bible–which, according to our church,is the literal word of God, not merely inspired but practically DICTATED by him to the prophets.

One day I happened to come across I Samuel, chapter 15. In this chapter, God (via Samuel) tells Saul, king of Israel, to attack the nation of Amalek. Several hundred years earlier, it seemed, the Amalekites–or rather their ancestors–had harassed the Israelites as they came into Canaan, and God had sworn vengeance. Apparently God got distracted, or the memo to destroy Amalek got lost in Gabriel’s inbox, because nothing was done during all the time of the Judges. But God had remembered now, and he ordered Saul to gather his army, ride over to Amalek, and kill everyone there–man and woman, boy and girl, down to the baby born yesterday.

This seemed harsh to me. It didn’t seem like something a merciful Jesus would countenance. Frantically I thumbed through other books of the Old Testament, hoping for some explanation of this aberration–but things only got worse.

Kill everybody in Canaan, God ordered the Israelites. Kill every man, kill every boy, kill all the newborn babies. Kill any woman who has had sex. But keep their stuff. Oh, and if you see any cute virgins in a city you’re conquering, you can rape her, shave her head, give her a few weeks to mourn her family, and then she’s your wife.

So I went to my father, the minister. I asked him what this was supposed to mean. “Dad, God wouldn’t REALLY kill babies, would he? I don’t understand–”

“It’s not for your to understand, son,” he replied “It’s for you to believe.”


"It’s not for you to understand. It’s for you to believe."

He gave me a long lecture on why it was wrong to doubt, to question, to think anything that wasn’t authorized by the King James Version of the Bible and the Presidium of the Church of God in Christ. And with every word I felt my love for Jesus, my faith in God, withering, like a cut flower in the sun.

By that night I didn’t believe anymore.

It was very traumatic. You see, I’d been taught that belief in God was dichotomous. Either everything written in the Bible was true, or none of it was; either everything COGIC taught was God’s own truth, or none of it was. As I saw it, I could either believe that God existed and would happily authorize murdering babies and raping virgins (like my little sisters, or I had to conclude there was no God at all. I decided that it didn’t matter. If (a) was correct, then God wasn’t trustworthy, and he might turn on me at any moment no matter what I did. If (b) was correct, there was no god for me to turn to anyway.

So I stopped believing.

Reading the bible was enough for me. I was 15, never really a “good” x-ian, but kind of half-believed. After reading it the first time I started cross-referencing and noticed that it was self-contradictory. I was willing to let the creation stuff go, how do you explain the formation of the universe to a tribe of savages? Yeah, that part was myth and that was fine. But when one passage would say something and another passage directly contradicted it, that’s not acceptable. Either the bible is true or it is not - there’s no middle ground in my opinion. Since it’s provably false the entire religion is false, so no need to worry about it.

Now I’m pagan 'cause it’s more fun with way less hate.
Yeah, a pagan NRA member… Hehehe!

A third vote for reading the Bible. In high school I worked in the English book room, which had a stack of Bibles for a Bible as literature unit. These had an introduction describing how the Bible was clearly written by multiple people and edited together. That started it - when I actually read the Bible all the way through I was “converted” to atheism.

I was raised Methodist. I remember never buying the “all non-Christians go to hell” thing, and wondering at age 9 or so, “There are all these different religions in the world- how do we know which one is right?” But I knew that I would get in trouble for asking my parents or our pastor a question like that, so I just kept it to myself.

When I was 16, I realized that I didn’t actually believe in Christianity. I tried to make myself believe in it, but never managed to convince myself. I tried being an atheist in college, with similar results. I learned about Judaism when I started dating the future Mr. Neville, and eventually converted before we got married. I’m pretty sure I would have converted even if I hadn’t eventually married Mr. Neville.

I started off Jewish, but that never really caught on. I always questioned why I had to eat kosher food. Though now I prefer kosher meat (animals are killed more humanely), back then I couldn’t stand it. By the end of high school I just believed in God, but no specific religion. It was after I took AP physics and then an ethics class in college that I kicked the habit entirely. When I learned basic physics I gained an understanding of how the universe could work without God. When I read Practical Ethics by Peter Singer, I learned how ethics could work without God. After that, God just drowned in a sea of logic.

My parents were from two different Protestant Christian backgrounds, and when they had kids, they agreed to bring us up in yet a third Protestant sect, the Presbyterians. (I’ll skip the presbyopia joke this time, okay?)

In the process of teaching us about the Bible, the Sunday school folks told us about the old Roman gods that were worshiped before the Jews and Christians came along. They told me the Roman gods were made up to explain the natural world (creation, weather, love, wisdom, etc.) Frankly, instead of showing me that Yahweh and Jesus were the real deal, it showed me that the Father and the Son were just another set of myths. I was a non-believer from the starting bell.

When I was 12, and going through the dance of formally joining the church, part of the teaching was done by the Rev. Dr. George Taggart. He was a deadly bore, and he thought we were old enough to understand his dry, complicated lectures and be prepared to take our places in the real church. Joining meant listening to this papier-mache gasbag every Sunday? Ack.

At roughly the same time, a Sunday-school teacher named Lee Handley endeavored to tell us about the Protestant work ethic. He said we prsbtrns believed in predetermination, that is, that God had decided before our birth which ones of us (the elect) were going to Heaven. He said it was our custom to strive to be successful, to show that we were favored by God to succeed. What that meant to me was that if God had already decided, I had no incentive to be a good person. What the Hell was the point to this big limestone building, and why should I come here every Sunday?

As if to prove me right, Handley spent a Sunday or two “proving” that evolution was a mistaken concept. :rolleyes:

I stumbled through the joining the church thing to avoid embarrassment, but I didn’t believe a word of it.

In my early thirties, for reasons I can’t quite explain, God and I sorta came to an understanding. I would allow that he probably existed, and he wouldn’t mock me for being a disbeliever. There’s still a lot of the program that I don’t buy. I can’t think of a single time when any prayer was answered, for example. Does God answer nobody’s prayers, or just not mine?

So, my apostasy goes like this. I started out the atheist son of two Christians. Then I passed through several degrees of agnosticism, and now I’m more-or-less a theist. I don’t suppose that’s an inspiring story.

What’s the difference between a agnostic and a theist?

an agnostic

Agnostic believes there is not enough evidence to decide either way, a theist believes in a god, but one that doesn’t mess with our lives.

I’d imagine an agnostic and a theist would live pretty much the same kind of lives, which should be almost identical to an atheist, since none of them would expect a deity to interfere with the operation of the universe - just for different reasons.

Of course, I’d also imagine that there are as many different types of agnostics and theist as there are atheists and christians, so AskNott may rightly disagree with everything I’ve said.

Raised as a Catholic. The full works: Church every sunday, Catholic junior school, Catholic high school, blah blah blah.

The first crack in the mind control came when I stumbled across the concept of a ‘closed system of thought’, wherein the conclusion is always the same no matter what evidence you present. I soon realised that if the game is rigged so that everything supports the claim, then nothing does. I realised that the claim had to be falsifiable before we could actually assess it one way or another.

I began to notice that my Catholic teachers and priests deployed this kind of unfair and very bad logic all the time. Your prayer gets answered? God loves you and granted your wish. Your prayer didn’t get answered? God loves you and He knows what’s best for you so don’t argue. The sick relative in pain got better? God healed him. Didn’t get better and is now in even greater pain? God knows what’s best, and the fact that our faith may be tested from time to time doesn’t mean we should abandon it. The Catholics were saved from some terrible disaster? Behold God’s mercy and protection power. The Church roof caved in and killed some Catholic children who praying to God at the time? This is indeed troubling and a challenge to our faith, and we may lack easy answers, but we’re going to carry on believing what we believe anyway.

I also noticed that the authority figures had a number of cop-outs that they deployed with tedious consistency whenever ‘awkward’ questions were raised (not necessarily by me), such as ‘Don’t be so impudent as to doubt/question the truth…’, ‘There will always be mysteries that lie beyond our comprehension’, ‘We must respect God’s will even when it’s hard to understand’, ‘You should pray to strenghten your faith and fight these doubts’, ‘the Devil loves to plant seeds of doubt’.

I also noticed that the people who took the faith very seriously, including all the ordained priests who formed the majority of my teachers in high school, were no smarter, wiser, nicer to know, kinder, honest, more benevolent in their outlook, happier, contented, fulfilled or loving than the average population, and in many, many instances they actually behaved less well and seemed to be less inspiring than people I knew of different faiths or no faith. This seemed to me a bit odd - they were the ones with special gifts from the Holy Spirit, the ones with the best access to understanding of life and its mysteries, the best ‘hotline to heaven’, the best access to the teachings of Jesus, and they didn’t seem any better off for it. I could acceot them being flawed and imperfect. But I figured they ought to be at least a fraction less flawed and imperfect than some atheists I knew, or else what, exactly, was the conferred benefit supposed to be of being Catholic?

Then I tried to get answers that made sense to some simple questions I had about my faith. None were ever forthcoming, from any source (book or person). I got the same, tired old evasions, glaringly flawed logic and emotional blackmail. And that’s when I wasn’t just fobbed off altogether.

Another thing. I think any close and well-guided study of the New Testament shows that Jesus was saying the ‘Day of Judgment’ was close, and that all the final reckoning (good guys getting their reward in paradise, bad guys going elsewhere) was due to happen within the lifetime of the apostles or soon thereafter. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand’ and al lthat. It’s also clear (to me) that the people writing the New Testament also believed this. Well, 2000 years have passed and we’re still waiting. Sure, you can always say ‘It hasn’t happened, but it will…’, but there has to be a reasonable cut-off point. I figured that after 2000 years, it wasn’t premature to say ‘He broke his promise, he was wrong, and it isn’t gonna happen’.

Then I came across sources of Biblical Errancy. And then I learned more about cults and mind control, and eventually I realised that I had been subject to a process of mind control that hadn’t done me any good and had probably done me quite a lot of harm (or at least wasted a lot of my time). Things came to a head and I realised it was time to move on, try to undo some of the mind control damage, and get in touch with at least a moderate amount of reality. I also wanted to learn a little bit about how to evaluate the different claims that people put in front of me and expect me to believe.

So, a very gradual process and one very much spurred by the sundry idiocies and inanities of the Catholic Church itself and its representatives. Now a ‘devout atheist’, and I consider myself very happy, contented and fulfilled, and with a much better life than I had before. I also think I’m demonstrably a much better person than I ever was while I was a Catholic.

I wasn’t raised anything, although technically I suppose I’m supposed to be Catholic. Both of my parents were baptized Catholic, and both of them went through Confirmation. However, my mom just sorta stopped going to Church, and my dad actually went up to the Comments box at the Vatican and asked the Pope to excommunicate him.

I’ve been through a lot of religions - Southern Baptists (that was scary), Lutheranism, Wicca, and most recently LaVeyan Satanism, and none of them felt right. None of them held in it an answer that seemed acceptable to me. Gardnerian Wicca seemed closest, but what drove me off was the teenybopper Wiccans with the pentacles the size of their head hanging off their necks. Studied that religion for seven years, with a coven that told me I was never, ever, EVER supposed to tell people I was Wiccan, and then I find a new age shop with all kinds of Instant Witch ™ products lying around. It was enough to make me toss that out the window real fast, not wanting to be associated with people like that. A few years later I found that site, Why Wiccans Suck, and boy oh boy did what the girl had to say make sense. The Satanism thing was interesting, in a sort of vague way, but overhyped by everyone around me who wasn’t a Satanist. When it comes to religion I’ve always been a rather low-key person, figuring that what I choose to worship is a lot like who I choose to have sex with - something best kept private. So people would deal with me for years on end and then somehow find out I had the Satanic Bible in my knapsack, and freak the fuck out, which made me want to just leave.

So yeah…no real clear-cut reasons for why I stopped believing in God. Just sorta did. Although I have a feeling the whole “Church covering up molestations” thing might have had something to do with it.


[Nitpick] You’re thinking of a Deist, not a theist. Deism is the belief that there was a creator but that he does not intervene in the universe (the analogy of a clockmaker is sometimes used. God “winds the clock” and then sits back and watches).

A theist is just anyone who believes in God. [/Nitpick]

In my experience, unless you’re a missionary, the more you travel, the less religious you become. Here’s my reasoning (adapted from something I wrote elsewhere).

I was raised Church of England (i.e. Episcopalean). My apostacy began the morning after my confirmation, aged 14, where the gross inconsistencies I’d been reading in the Bible finally sunk in. I remained theist tending to agnosticism until one day, aged 27, I was standing in a small temple in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, looking at a statue that had apparently appeared out of the blue one day on top of a hill, and observing people paying obeisance to it. This could be one of the smallest religions in the world, with only a couple of hundred worshippers.

Down the road from this temple is the Cao Dai temple. This is another small, new religion that worships, amongst other things, Victor Hugo.

There’s a cargo cult in the South Seas that worships Prince Philip.

As I watched people praying to this statue, I had an epiphany: people will worship anything.

It was at this moment that I lost any residual faith I may have retained.

I have experienced a perception from some religious people that atheism is a ‘faith’. It is my view that this is markedly - and obtusely - wrong. Atheism is an absence of something, not a different form of the thing that it lacks.

To me, there are only three choices in belief structure (and do let me know if you think this is a false er… trichotomy. Is that even a word?).[ol]
[li]One religion is the only true way, and all others are bunk.[/li][li]All (or some) religions are worshipping the same thing, but in their own way.[/li][li]All religions are bunk.[/li][/ol]Clearly point 1 is the view shared by religious fundamentalists. “I’m right, everyone else is wrong.”

Point 2 is shared by the liberal religious, theists, and possibly some agnostics.

Point 3 is atheism (note: I use atheism in the ‘weak’ definition: atheists who would believe in religion given incontrovertible evidence; not the ‘strong’ version, which would not accept any form of religion despite evidence, which strikes me as completely illogical - fundamentalist atheism, if you will).

In my opinion, point 1 is easily dismissable. It’s too much of a coincidence that of all the fundamentalist proponents of dozens of individual religions, or the thousands of sub-branches thereof, only the version that they worship is the One True Way, and that all others are barking up the wrong tree. In my world, only points 2 or 3 could possibly be true.

The problem I have is that the supposedly tolerant religious mentioned point 2 are inconsistent. A phrase often used by the religious tolerand is that “everyone’s climbing up the side of the same mountain”. They feel that the fundamentalists in point 1 may be correct in the object or form of their worship, but not their exclusivity. Indeed the tolerant religious of Religion A frequently complain that the fundamentalists of Religion A don’t accurately represent Religion A. The supposedly tolerant are, in fact, intolerant of fundamentalists.

Furthermore, despite many claims to the contrary by these tolerant religious people, the ‘truths’ taught by Religions B, C, and D are often totally contradictory. Polytheism and monotheism are mutually exclusive. While the tolerant monotheist may argue that Hindu gods may are all avatars of the one Godhead, the gods of Greece and Rome were definitely separate entities, as were the Norse gods. Animist religions such as Shinto accept the existence of ancestoral and environmental spirits; many branches of Christianity, for example, directly contradict the existence of a spirit world. As a contributor to religioustolerance.org puts it:

And that’s just what’s being worshipped: not how to worship, which creates myriad further subdivisions of practice and belief (e.g. Orthodox vs. Reform Judaism, Sunni vs. Shia Muslim, Catholic vs. non-Catholic Christian, etc. ad infinitum).

I propose that the tolerant religious of point 2 are ultimately unable to reconcile their position logically, based on the ‘different ways of worshipping the same thing’ argument, since the different ways are in fact often mutually exclusive.

Now I turn to theists. Theists don’t necessarily know what it is they’re worshipping, nor ‘correct’ way of worshipping - or indeed they ‘worship in their own way’. They observe the followers of religion and reckon that perhaps some of them are right. However, because of the aforementioned mutual exclusivity of belief, theists would surely have to conclude that at least some worshippers are incorrect in that which they worship. Thus the theist, unsure, or following their own object and method of worship that is not shared by any others (I’d call this a ‘religion of one’), are in fact unable logically to reconcile their position of tolerance either.

Next, the agnostic concludes that there may or may not be anything ‘out there’, but believes the answer is unknowable. Which, I suppose, is entirely true. A deity, or deities, or cloud-of-love, or whatever, may indeed have constructed the universe so that its existence is utterly and permanently unknowable. If this were true, however, there may as well be no deity at all, since it is irrelevant, due to being forever unknown and unobservable. However, the overwhelming absence of observable, repeatable evidence for religious phenomena, and the many contradictory messages, and mutually exclusive ‘realities’ being dictated by different religions, should indicate to the agnostic that in all likelihood it’s all bunk.

Then I considered religious distribution: does not a Muslim in Saudi Arabia, a Hindu in India, or a Catholic in Ireland, think it utterly serendiptious that they just so happen to worship in exactly the same way as the majority of their peers, and this just so happens to be the One True Way? Or do they ascribe it to divine providence? How, therefore, do they reconcile the people born in other parts of the world that worship different religions? This strikes me as nothing more than a mechanism of the ego, rather than divinity.

Further, the greatest religions in the world must have all started with one person, or a very small number of accolytes, in the manner of the statue-worshipping Vietnamese. What turns beliefs from crank cults into religions is nothing more than a matter of popularity. The majority of divine texts, and the genuine wisdom within them (as well as the dross), follow wholesale conversion, or borrow from their progenitor religions - no religion ever starts off with The Book in place already.

Thus, if one accepts that there isn’t a divine hand spreading religion throughout the world (the rise and fall of huge faiths over the millenia indicates that the mutually contradictory deities involved are somewhat inconsistent and distincly non-omnipotent in their abilities), I believe they grow or cease in terms of Dawkins’s ‘meme’ theory. The growth and survival of a religion will in part depend on the attractiveness of the idea behind it - its message and its advantages and threats - although forced conversion (e.g. 19th century Christian missionaries), as well as adherence to a particular religion being a function of a specific society (e.g. that of the Roman empire), may also contribute to their rise and fall. (Please note that I abhor Dawkins’s support for the ridiculous and divisive term ‘bright’ for atheist - proponents of this word can’t have been entirely unaware of the synonym with ‘intelligent’.)

Based on the logical contradictions and paradoxes raised by points 1 and 2, I conclude that all religious beliefs, no matter how tolerant they claim to be, exclude at least some other religious beliefs: they all actually tend towards point 1. And point 1 is a fallacy (or an incredible piece of serendipity, depending on which fundamentalist you’re talking to). To me, therefore, unless I’m seriously mistaken about the universe, point 3 is the only correct answer: all religious belief is bunk. Or to put it more succinctly, with a cliché thrown in:

Raised Protestant, baptized (saved) at about age ten, after being traumatized by a puppet show version of hell at my church’s summer camp.

I wasn’t sure though. I think it was the belief that unbaptized babies will go to hell that did it for me. Not only them, but people around the world who had never heard of God or Christianity were going to hell too.

For awhile, I chose which aspects of my religion to believe in. Then when I was in my early teens, it hit me that this wasn’t right – it should be all or nothing. I couldn’t deal with that.

I think God is possible, but I sure don’t believe in heaven and hell, and I don’t take the Bible literally.

I was raised a mild-mannered Methodist. As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I think our parents sent us to Sunday school every week so they could have an hour alone together. We rarely went to church services.

There were two turning points in my life. The first was when I was 13, shortly after I was christened. I started actually listening to a sermon, in which was quoted the homily about a camel having a better chance passing through the eye of a needle than a rich man getting into heaven (never mind that “eye of the needle” is apparently an actual place where a camel can, with exceeding difficulty, actually pass through, I don’t think that came up in the sermon). I was dumbfounded. Everyone wants to be rich (I thought to myself), that’s what our whole society is about, and anyway what’s so sinful about being rich? This caused me to start thinking about everything that I had heard espoused in our church and elsewhere, and within a few weeks or months I was consciously identifying myself as an agnostic - not to my parents, but anyway to myself and to my sister.

The second event was when I read the Ayn Rand interview in Playboy (I know, I know, just bear with me). Due to my age and lack of access I didn’t read it until maybe three or four years after it was published, so around 1966. In the interview, she was asked “do you believe in God?”. She didn’t just say “No”, she said “Of course not”. This was another revelation to me. Of course not - of course not. Oh. So I did more reading and thinking, found out the difference between an agnostic and an atheist, and from then forward have identified myself as an atheist. I studied philosophy, including philosophy of religion, in college, and have had numerous discussions on the topic with various people, including my born-again sister, and nothing has changed my mind so far. I am open to persuasion, I suppose, if anyone comes up with a new argument. Hasn’t happened yet, though.

As I’ve mentioned in other threads, I was raised extremely conservative in an independant church that would most resemble independent baptist. (cards are bad, movies are bad, catholics are evil, women must never wear pants etc etc)

A large part of my leaving that belief system was their teaching on being gay. As I grew older it became harder and harder to reconcile being gay myself with being in that church.

When I moved out on my own, I started attending a presbyterian church for a while. It was largely comprised of gay people, with a female minister (another huge no-no in the church I grew up in). This church was heavily involved in the politics of the synod as far as how open to be to gays, if they should be elders etc. I enjoyed that experience but was slowly realizing that I just didn’t believe a lot of the church teachings. Some of the things in the bible already mentioned had bothered me for years, the killing of children, slavery being acceptable, women being essentially and often literally property etc.

When I left that church I sort of floundered for a while, did a lot of reading about other religions and basically trying to figure out what seemed right. I finally settled into something similar to Gardenian Wicca. The whole foundation of it felt right to me and still does. A large part of what appeals to me is that you can craft your form of it basically how you choose and that’s ok.

I wasn’t exposed to religion on any kind of frequent basis until I moved to live with my dad, my stepmom, my biological brother, and my two half-sisters when I was about 11 years old. At the time, my dad and stepmom went to church every Sunday morning and evening and every Wednesday evening.

It was fun for a few years because I got to meet other kids my age in Sunday school. I got involved in the youth ministry when I was in high school and got to take trips with the youth group.

The fun began to wane when I realized that all of these people around me were more concerned with what they were wearing (and what everyone else was wearing) than they were with what was supposed to be important about attending a church: listening to Scripture, singing songs of praise, being surrounded by people of like minds.

I realized that while there were members of the church who were good Christians (those who’d feed the poor and sick, for example), it seemed the majority of the congregation were materialistic and judgmental. It was not uncommon to hear conversations among members as they exited the building at the end of the service where they’d say something like, “Did you see what she was wearing?!”

It was that experience that turned me off about going to church. I didn’t go back. Ever.

As I got older and was exposed to more diverse people and cultures and ideas, I began to form my own opinions about the existence of God, the validity of Christ’s divinity, etc.

My grandmother is still very devoted to church and to God. She is one of those who, until she was too old and weak to cook or travel, would make soup and bread from scratch and spend Saturday delivering meals to poor people, shut-ins or people she knew were sick. In her old age, she has become somewhat of an apocalyptic Christian. She asked me if I thought anything bad was going to happen on 06/06/06, and I told her that I think the number has more significance in the context of superstition than it has in real life. She and my brother both stared at me as if I had just sprouted a frog on my head. The subject was changed.

I don’t know if my particular beliefs fit neatly into any one category. When someone asks me what religion I am, I always say that I am a recovering Baptist.

I was raised “Christian”. That’s how it was described to me. I was baptised, and AFAIK, that was the only ritual that was performed on me.

Our church while growing up, was quite vague, and innocuous. I asked the “Which religion is right” question, and recieved a platitude.

I then questioned the basis of belief for a school of thought.

I compared this to magic, and realized that people sometimes choose to be decieved. I got the “we can’t explain it, so it must be God” reasoning way too many times. I like my evidence before my conclusion thank you.

Faith = gullibility. I guess it could also have some conection to fear as well. I’m not trying to make faithfull people mad, I just can’t see it any other way. Guess I’m going to hell, even though I’m baptised. I’ll stop now.

I’m going to count this as a “witnessing” thread, and am moving it from IMHO to Great Debates.