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  1. I started out with, not a belief in “God,” but rather, a belief in magic, which eventually left me open to accepting the concept of God or other supernatural entities. Since recently embracing my inner skeptic, indeed coming out of the closet as a skeptic, I’ve begun to analyze my former beliefs and to write about them. Here’s a link to the first post on the subject at my McSkeptic Blog:http://xrl.in/8sgf

  2. HaggisForBrains

    It’s an interesting question, particularly in the light of the evolutionary perspective. I was brought up in the Church of Scotland, and although my mother seemed to have a simple, old fashioned faith, I think my father (a graduate engineer) only went to church because it was expected. We never discussed this, but I was made to go to Sunday school as a child.

    To be honest, I don’t really remember ever having much of a belief, but as I became a teenager and started thinking about it, it all seemed pretty silly. Initially I lacked the courage to speak out, but by the time I went to university to study science, I was happy to call myself an atheist.

    At that point the local minister told my girlfriend of three years that she could not marry an atheist, so our relationship went slowly down the tubes. With hindsight I owe that minister my heartfelt gratitude :-).

    So the question in my mind is: was my scientific bent in any way responsible for my atheism? And why do I not seem to have the “god gene”, which as you pointed out would seem to have evolutionary advantages?

    I’m not sure that I was ever a “captive”, but on the other hand I was surrounded by pressure to conform, mostly from my mother (“you should join the church; all your friends are joining, and it will be easier when you get married”!) which I resisted. Of course, that could simply have been teenage contrariness ;-).

  3. Mullah Nasruddin

    It’s a long story. It started when I turned 18, legal adult age here on Brazil. I felt responsible to take religion more seriously. My parents are spiritists (kardecism), so I started some studies for adults there. I studied with teens before, but it wasn’t serious study of the materials.

    Fast forward a few meetings they start going into the formation of life on Earth. My darwinian education at school made me feel uneasy as they taught that basically some kind of seeds were spread on early Earth and developed on animals and plants when the conditions were favorable, and then proceeded to populate the planet through sexual reproduction.

    Ok, my intellect was starting to question, but I basically convinced myself that I might be wrong on this. Later on they went on the god subject. I remember the saying that god is the origin and the cause of everything. I raised a comment on that it was difficult to grasp something existing always such as god, since we come from our parents and so on, so how can god not have a start. They labeled that as a materialist thought, and every student gave me weird looks and the coordinator proceeds telling to stick to the material. How great.

    I decided not to go to studies anymore. There are lectures on the spiritist center I went that are kind of like sermons in churches. Next one I went they said that if anyone has any trouble believing the most obvious things spiritism teaches, this person better not try anymore, because they are so obvious!

    I left spiritism since then. Best advice ever. I must remember if I ever see this person again to thank her.

    Fast forward some months I start feeling emotionally empty; the lack of religion time was getting me to seek truth. I ended up joining a cult about kabbalah that was offering free studies through the internet. Spend around six months with them when they asked to contribute with 10% of my income. I said them I was a student and couldn’t pay, they were ok with this. This money thing raised my alarm, and then I started investigating and realized my brainwash. I believed I was a bad person that needed correction. This realization opened up my mind a little more. Left the group and never contacted them anymore.

    Few months ago I was in the mood of seeking some spiritual thing again, but this time I was getting a little smarter. I ended up trying some hypnosis cds, and was trying to free my mind from all this nonsense. I ended up listening to a cd by some guy called Hypnotica. I don’t know exactly today what he was trying to accomplish with those suggestions, but one phrase stuck into my mind after listening for a few times.

    Think for yourself. Question authority.

    Googling up this and I learn about Timothy Leary, his struggles with defending legalization of LSD, and I started reading some counter-culture materials. His message on his video How to Operate your Brain really opened me into realizing that there was nothing wrong with me. This was what others wanted me to thing, wanting to control me and get my money, instead of what was real.

    At this point I was non-religious, but still a theist.

    Later on I got in contact with some material about a guy named OSHO. That old guy is the one person I’m most grateful for taking all bullshit out of my head.

    His talks on the subject God is Dead, Zen is the only Living Truth made me an atheist. This old crazy man made me left the idea of a personal god, made me value my own freedom of thought, made me learn about meditation and trusting myself, made me value science and creativity.

    The subreddit Atheism made the final touches to my new way of living, made me know others who faced something like me, and the huge harm that religion have made in the past and is making every day. Thanks Reddit.

    It’s probably quite weird that I ended up an Atheist on my journey into spirituality. Timothy Leary was cited as the most dangerous man alive once by Richard Nixon, yet his message was really important into freeing my mind from religion.

    So is the contribution of OSHO. He is called a cult leader, a destroyer of lives and I can’t really defend him on this subject, as I know that his organization made questionable things in the past, and the man is seen mostly as a spiritual leader. Yet I found that many of his discourses contributed immensely to freeing me from the worse of religion, made me rely much more on my own instead of seeking the opinion of others, and his insistence on meditation fulfilled the emptiness that was once the idea of god on me.

    Today, I’m an atheist. I don’t have any beliefs sustained by faith. My approach to everything is through science and direct experience. I value scientific knowledge and that moral and ethics are not dependent on religion or god, but a characteristic of human beings.

    So what was the turning point? My everlasting curiosity and will of meeting truth. It guided me through a most crazy path, filled with traps, but my thirst for finding it was enough to guide me into the right direction.

  4. HaggisForBrains

    @ KXAR I’m afraid that your link does not answer any questions, and is a rather sad and defensive rant against “libbies” which I presume means liberals. It is also a denial of scientific and intelligent questioning.

    Typical quote:

    “You just want to be little babies and have mommy or the ninny state take care of you. In any case I don’t feel sorry for you, because its people like you who are screwing up life for everybody else. Please libbies, go back to Mars! The libby’s response – name-calling.”

    Pot/kettle?

  5. Dave Gamble

    @Karl Haggis is quite right … your blog link does not answer any questions, its just a rant.

    The essence of what you are saying is that whenever you engage what you refer to as a libby in debate, you are on the receiving end of name calling, then proceed to do just that.

    I’ve a couple of observations …
    – You appear to assume that only liberals can be non-believers
    – You appear to assume that only believers can lead good moral lives
    – You appear to assume that only believers find meaning
    Yet for all this, there is not one logical argument, not even one jot of evidence.

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