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  1. #1
    Senior Member ZPowers's Avatar
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    Default Skeptics, Atheists, Agnostics: What was the first thought that made you doubt?

    Most of us started off believing in Santa and ghosts. And then there was that moment that said... maybe not. Not necessarily comparing the two, but I think there are parallels for non-believers.

    For me, it was considering the idea that maybe the afterlife is wrong (this started in roughly 5th grade). It terrified me (I stayed up for hours on end tormenting over it, before realizing how much of a non-concern non-existence really is months or years later), but I couldn't find any evidence that afterlife existed or was plausible.

    But the reasons doubt starts are legion (no religious implication intended). Perhaps you saw that there are many religions, and no one could be right. Maybe you felt the moral ideals of the whatever text were dubious. Maybe the concept of God was suspect. Maybe you felt that the answers in your religion were wrong scientifically or didn't add up. Maybe you saw people using religion for oppositional reasons. Maybe some religious story was just silly to you. Maybe you saw darkness in the world God shouldn't allow. Or someone told you AIDS was God's punishment and that didn't sit right. Hell, maybe your parents didn't believe to begin with.

    So non-believers. What was that first little nougat of questioning that blossomed into your current ideology?
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

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    Senior Member Simi's Avatar
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    I think I full-on believed in "God" and loved Him at one point, but I think I just woke up one day and wondered WHY I believed in Him when I was about 9 or 10... So then I started "testing" this God by my so-called prayers. Then, I decided it was silly about at age 12. I started listening to Atheists talk and watch Atheist videos, and it made a lot more sense to me than religion and whatnot did. So, that was pretty much my turning point. It wasn't anything too big or story worthy, though :P
    Your epidermis is showing. <3

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    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    The moment I started questioning my faith and what had been told to me or the moment I began to doubt the existence of God? I ask because they are two separate events that happened years apart.
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
    ― Woodrow Wilson

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    According to my parents, I shyly approached my father at about age 3 and asked: "Daddy, I have been thinking about this a lot and come to the conclusion that there is no Santa Clause, is that true?"

    But I also remember my confusion as the parents of some friends played the whole "Santa has just been here" thing for them. I was confused because what I knew or thought to know and what these grown-ups said didn't go together. Who was I to believe - my own reasoning or those grown-ups?

    Religion was similar in certain repects. My Mum is an atheist and my Dad an agnosticist, so they never told me that there was a god. But I heard other people talk about it and remember having to draw pictures of Jesus at elementary school. When I came home and told about what we had discussed at school, my Mum explained that, yes, some people believe those things, but she didn't think they were true. So I grew up knowing that the majority of people around me thought things that probably weren't true. But that was at an age when fairy tales and reality aren't clearly seperated. While I was still learning to seperate story books from reality, god and Jesus weren't much different than, say, characters of the Brothers Grimm or Pippi Longstocking. It sort of overlapped in my mind. They were just one more cultural icon and cultural reference point.

    And yet just as there are moments where you wish and hope that you can fly if only you try hard enough and move your arms fast enough or that maybe, just maybe, magic exists if only you believe hard enough, there was an age when I did something you might call praying in that I expressed hopes and thoughts to the universe, deeply, deeply hoping to be heard (need I say to no avail?). As I got older, fact and fiction seperated even further and I became an ardent rationalist.

    Then in my early twenties, I started to envy religious people for the cozy safety net and sense of pupose they had. So I read and thought a lot about religion and god and all the usual arguments for or against the existence of god. And I tried really hard. I really tried, did the whole "if you are there, please give me a sign" thing. Nothing. And whenever I read the arguments for the existence of god I just couldn't help but discover logical flaws and loopholes everywhere. It just didn't work. I couldn't do that leap of faith.

    Today I am 99,9999999999999% sure there is no god, so I use that as my working hypothesis and accept the remaing risk. I do not believe in the supernatural either, but I say nothing when my hyper-esoteric ENFP friend talks about how she visits a fortune teller or offers to lay the cards for me or prays to mother earth before every meal. I just let her be, as I do with my Catholic friend who participated at parade during Semana Santa in Spain and was enthusiastic about how after en entire day on an empty stomach and hours of carrying a heavy wooden cross in the Spanish midday sun at over 40° C he started to have visions.
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    Senior Member Jessica's Avatar
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    Getting heavily into science, specifically astronomy at first, was a big moment for me. Especially when I learned that my favorite star is eight thousand light years away and most Protestants believe the world to be 6,000 years old. Astronomy happened at about 8 years old, finding out creationists believed the world to be 6,000 years old happened at about 11 or so.

    The next major thing was getting duped into believing in the Planet X thing of 2003. Supposed alien contactee Nancy Lieder suggested that a brown dwarf was going to swing by the Earth in May of 2003 and cause all sorts of disasters. May of 2003 came and went, and I came out of that a new person. I adapted the basics of skepticism after that, where I decided to question everything. I had been scared shitless by something that couldn't have possibly occurred, and it wouldn't happen again.

    After my studies of evolutionary science and supposedly controversial subjects like the big bang, I lost all semblance of religiosity by the age of 15, in 2005. I came out as agnostic in 2005 (but fit the descriptor of atheist), and declared myself an atheist in 2006. I consider 2005 to be the year I moved into atheism as opposed to 2006, however.

    Six years godless and happier than ever because of it.
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  6. #6
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    Religion was similar in certain repects. My Mum is an atheist and my Dad an agnosticist, so they never told me that there was a god. But I heard other people talk about it and remember having to draw pictures of Jesus at elementary school. When I came home and told about what we had discussed at school, my Mum explained that, yes, some people believe those things, but she didn't think they were true. So I grew up knowing that the majority of people around me thought things that probably weren't true. But that was at an age when fairy tales and reality aren't clearly seperated. While I was still learning to seperate story books from reality, god and Jesus weren't much different than, say, characters of the Brothers Grimm or Pippi Longstocking. It sort of overlapped in my mind. They were just one more cultural icon and cultural reference point.
    I had a similar experience. My parents are both atheists but they never sought to persuade me to believe one thing or another. I was encouraged to do this on my own.

    I experienced no revelations in regard to religion. I think as a child I saw the arguments for and against playing out in my head like an extended court case. I was pulled back and forth by either side. There wasn't a single nail in the coffin for me. It just got to a point where I just felt it wasn't proven beyond reasonable doubt, so to speak. But at the same time logical arguments didn't hold much sway over me. I feel like evaluating religious belief with logic is missing the point. I was looking for a clear feeling, an instinct that would guide me. This took time to develop properly and eventually I settled on the position of agnostic atheism.

    Superstition is different, however. My skepticism towards it is based on logic, not instinct.
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    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  7. #7
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    For me it was a combination of several things.

    I remember when I first learned about the theory of evolution how much logical sense it all made. It just made more sense than the theory of creationism.

    I've wondered alot about why God would allow bad things to happen to good people and why some people have to endure more pain and suffering than others. Why would thousands of innocent people be victims of war or disease or natural disasters while others were spared? As I learned more about the world, I realized that good wasn't always rewarded and evil people often didn't "pay" for it. This contradicted what I was raised to believe about God.

    There are thousands of religions. Some have beliefs contradicting each other. They can't all be right, yet they like to think they are. I just couldn't believe that most people would go to hell for having a different set of beliefs. If God was truly a loving and merciful God, wouldn't God accept people for different beliefs?
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  8. #8
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    For me it was largely learning about other religions that first lead to my atheist stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    So non-believers. What was that first little nougat of questioning that blossomed into your current ideology?
    I don't remember what sparked my reasoning, it could be the fact that my class were going through the bible in school. I can't find myself remembering ever believing in a deity, my parents are strictly atheists and they simply left that kind of truths for me to figure out on my own.

    I do remember that I was lying in my bed at the age 8 and after thinking things through I concluded that there's no god. When going through things again older, and with a wider perspective I only find myself reinforcing that belief.

  10. #10
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Non believers.. hah. I think that the title is supposed to exclude me. I believe a lot of things that by the book 'skeptics' would flame me for, but I am ultimately a skeptic. I started out by questioning a line of faith that was fed to me, started from a blank slate and explored from there.

    Skepticism is a useful tool. It's supposed to be used in a process of finding truth. It seems like people use it as a way to define some sort of canon of what to believe or not to believe.. the non existence of God for instance. I can respect people who have arrived at that conclusion using their own reasoning and understanding. There are far to many who take 'What all skeptics know' and just buy it wholesale as if it is just another religion.

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