I recently had a commenter ask me what my past with Christianity was, and what my reasons were for calling myself atheist, so I thought it would be fun to write up my history from childhood to now, in terms of my beliefs. It should be interesting for me, and I hope for you as well.
When I was young, elementary school, my family attended church every Sunday, a Roman Catholic church. We were also put through Sunday school. I found it very boring and apart from singing and being told Jesus loves me I dont’ remember much.
At 11 years old I went to the BEST summer camp EVER! It was a week long, and I was with my sister and a group of other kids who were all older than me which I thought was wicked. The camp was a trail ride on horses. We carried our clothes and toothbrushes in saddle bags, and we stopped at a different camp site every night in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba.
It was a Christian camp, and we sang Christian songs around the campfire at night. I loved those songs. At that age I loved singing, so it was awesome to have an excuse to sing every evening. I know that when I got home from that camp I considered myself a born-again Christian, but I don’t specifically recall what I learned about Christianity while at that camp other than that I shouldn’t say “I swear to God”.
After I got home from camp I started wanting to go to church, and I joined the youth group. Between my sister and I we got our family to start attending church on a regular basis, and the whole family started making friends at church so we became a part of the church community.
In junior high I went through confirmation at church, which involved learning more about the Bible and confirming my faith in god.
When I got a little older I began to get bored with church. I found it too ceremonial and repetitive and I started thinking what’s so special at church? Why can’t I just read the Bible and pray on my own time? After struggling with it for awhile I wrote a long letter to my mom explaining why I didn’t want to attend church anymore. But I didn’t stop believing in god, and I would pray all the time.
I was that way about my faith all throughout highschool and into university. A few years ago I started going to a Bible study. My sister was still very religious, and she was going to this weekly study, and it was put on by good friends of mine, so I went along with her. I went every Monday for probably about two years, so I learned a lot about the Bible. My faith was strong. I truly believed.
I’m not really sure what the turning point was. I don’t think there was really a moment or an event that made me start doubting my faith. I guess it was the Bible studies that made me really have to look at what it was I believed. The more I learned the more I realized that most of what we were being taught were things like “even though _____, Jesus loves you”. It was all about coming up with reasons why our beliefs were true even though there was no evidence to support it.
I began paying closer attention to the lessons and thinking more critically about them. I noticed how we would skip over certain chapters of the Bible, and excuses were given for that like “there’s a lot of confusion over this section, so we just won’t worry about it”. Well isn’t the Bible the word of god? Why is it such a puzzle?
I just kind of kept these doubts to myself. I kept going to Bible study, although not as regularly, because I enjoyed the company. But once I began questioning what I believed I started getting so sick of the Bible study lessons. They had nothing to do with real life, it was all just about affirming that this fantasy world of god and the Bible were valid.
In October 2008 the movie Religulous came out, and I was interested to see what a movie critical of had to say. What I really took from the movie was a sense that it was okay for me to question my beliefs. It was okay for me to think critically. I saw that blind faith was not a virtue.
After that I began reading about religion and atheism and science, and I realized that I didn’t believe in any gods anymore. Learning about different sciences is really important to me now. I see how amazing our world and our universe is and how insane it is that we’re even here. There’s no need for a god to explain our existence, and I think that believing in god limits what you can allow yourself to learn about ” life, the universe, and everything” (Douglas Adams).
I’ve never been happier and I’ve never been more secure with myself. I have a newfound passion for life. This is my one life. When I’m dead, I’m gone forever, so I’m going to make the most of this life. I’m excited to learn every day and I want to share my passion for knowledge with as many people as possible.
So that’s that! My “spiritual” journey through life. Questions welcome 🙂