It’s Been a Year Since I Lost My Religion

A year ago today my life began to change in a big way. On October 3, 2008 Bill Maher’s movie about religion, Religulous, was released in Canada. At the time I was a Christian, but I decided to see the movie because I was intrigued by the previews. I had never been exposed to such outright criticism of religion.

I didn’t know who Bill Maher was (honestly…people find this hard to believe), so I didn’t know what to expect. What I saw was a crass, in-your-face dump on faith. But rather than feeling offended I felt inspired by the closing scene of the movie. Maher said:

Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking…keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and distruction.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt.

I started to allow myself to doubt my beliefs, and to consider that the Bible was probably just a fairy tale.

A short time after I had seen the movie I was in a book store and noticed Christopher Hitchens’s book God is not Great, and decided to pick it up. By the time I finished reading the book I was an atheist, and wondering how I ever believed in a god in the first place!

I was now very fascinated with the topic of religion, and picked up Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Dawkins introduced me to the world of skepticism of all sorts of beliefs. I discovered that there was a whole online community of skeptics.

I filled up my iPod with podcasts that allow me to learn while I’m working:

The Atheist Experience
The Conspiracy Skeptic
Hunting Humbug 101
Point of Inquiry
The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
The Skeptic Zone
Skeptoid

I also got into reading blogs that kept me up to date on the big stories in the atheist and skeptical communities:

Bad Astronomy
Friendly Atheist
NeurologicaBlog
Pharyngula
Skepchick

And I’ve been doing my best to get a fairly well-rounded understanding of science. Some of my favourite books:

The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene
Death From the Skies! – Phil Plait
Quirkology – Richard Wiseman
Trick or Treatment – Simon Singh
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

I’m being opened up to a whole new, fascinating, mind-boggling, incredible, inconceivable, evidence-based, beautiful and awe-inspiring universe.

It has been quite a year! I’ve been taking in so much information that I needed to start this blog in order to articulate some of my thoughts, and to try to take part in what others in the skeptical community are doing. I’m learning and growing every day, and I can’t wait to see where I’m at in a year’s time.

If any of the people involved in the podcasts, blogs and books I mentioned above happen to stumble upon this blog entry, I just want to say thanks!

I think that the best thing that I’ve learned in the last year is the importance of science. Science is the most useful tool that we have, and I’m excited every time I see someone promoting it to the wider public. It seems to be on the increase and that’s so encouraging.

I’ve rambled on long enough, but I just felt the need to reflect on the past year. Thanks for reading!

add to del.icio.us Add to Blinkslist add to furl Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It! add to simpy seed the vine TailRank

Advertisements

24 Responses to “It’s Been a Year Since I Lost My Religion”


  1. 1 Jean October 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    You should read Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. It is excellent and made me start to think rationally about religion. I have since read Dawkins, Hitchins and Sam Harris. The more reading and the more thought I’ve put into this has made me amazed at how many believe everything they are taught in churches, especially with so many now attending these mega non-demoninational churches. Who knows what kind of training those ministers have and how they exploit the ignorant. Now it all seems very silly to me. If it was just silly, you could ignore it and laugh it off but these irrational beliefs cause so much heartache throughout the world. I’ve read and studied the Bible and cannot see how any rational human being could take it literally. I feel totally at peace with my new life view. I would put my ethics and morals up against anyones.

  2. 2 linzeebinzee October 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Demon Haunted World is definitely on my list…but the list is long! I’ll get there eventually, can’t wait. Every time I see a youtube video of Sagan explaining something I get sucked right in. I haven’t read anything of his yet though I don’t think. I haven’t read any Sam Harris but I intend to get around to his stuff eventually too.

    I agree with you in that I think a rational atheist has way better morals than someone who takes theirs from the Bible or any religious text or who believes they’ll be punished in the afterlife for being bad.

    On Sundays sometimes I like to watch the sermons that they broadcast on tv from the megachurches and I’m always taken aback by some of the things that come out of their mouths. It’s crazy how these people whose only qualifications are that they’re charismatic and know the Bible are giving advice to a large group of strangers on how to live their lives. It’s very arrogant to think that they have some kind of special insight into the secrets of the universe. Churches have such control over people.

    I’m assuming that you were religious at one point? Were you very devout? I’m always interested in hearing about peoples’ de-conversions. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. 3 kevinbbg October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Found you through the Blogroll. As someone who has been an atheist/skeptic for longer than you’ve been alive I was delighted to find and read your blog. The spirit of discovery is truly exciting, isn’t it?

    Good luck and good reading. How is your husband taking your conversion?

    Kevin

  4. 4 linzeebinzee October 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    It is exciting! The world is a way more interesting place without god πŸ™‚ My husband couldn’t be happier with my de-conversion. He was never religious and I never pushed my beliefs on him. Now that I’ve dropped my faith I think our relationship has gotten even better because there aren’t any taboo subjects between us, and I don’t feel like a horrible person for not trying to get my husband into heaven haha…

    I always wonder about people who have always been atheists…what’s it like growing up? How is it different from being in a religious family (if you have any references for comparison)? What’s a secular Christmas like (if you celebrate)?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. 5 kevinbbg October 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I wrote a post on my blog that gave a very brief summary of how I became an atheist. It’s really more of how I came to acknowledge being an atheist.

    http://dailybbg.blogspot.com/2007/08/coming-out-godless.html

    If you look down the left side to Labels and click on Atheism you’ll find some of my best posts.

    Kevin

  6. 6 dwasifar October 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Linzee,

    Found your blog because we were added to the Atheist Blogroll in the same batch. πŸ™‚

    I was about to ask how your husband took the news of your “deconversion,” but I see you just answered that. Glad to hear you never pushed anything on him. Believe me, being in a relationship with someone who keeps trying to convert you is pretty taxing. Remember that scene in Steel Magnolias where Daryl Hannah tells her husband to pray with her, and his reply is, “I’d rather eat dirt!”? It’s like that. πŸ™‚ I’ll bet he’s glad you went this direction instead of becoming a religious zealot.

    Congratulations on a year of enlightenment, and a belated welcome to the world’s most distrusted and reviled minority. We accept you, one of us!

  7. 7 Nic October 7, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Very interesting and honest post,
    A very enlightening blog πŸ™‚

  8. 8 Paulo October 7, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Hi Linzee

    It is so pleasing to see someone being able to use their brains and challenge their own beliefs, and I’m even more pleased to see that you now are enjoying your life so much more!!

    I grow up a catholic in Portugal with extremely devout grandparents, my parents however were always very liberating and allowing me to choose whatever I wanted to believe and do. So I grew a catholic. But throughout school as I learned more and more and become in love with Biology I started to believe less and less. Not sure when I stopped believing, maybe when I was 16 or 17 and I started to understand the many atrocities that have been done in the name of God over the years (and still are!).

    I thought I was maybe agnostic until I read The God Delusion and now I know that in fact I am an atheist. I wrote about evolutionary biology in my degrees dissertation and read many good books, including of course On The Origin of Species by Darwin (you must read it, it is actually incredibly accessible and not a difficult read at all!), and one which you may not have heard of by Daniel Dennett called Why the Leopard Changed its Spots.

    Happy reading. Here’s to a life free of preconceptions and judgement!

    P

  9. 9 Cello October 7, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Sounds like your faith as a christian wasn’t even that strong to begin with if all it took was a low budget movie and a book to change your faith.

  10. 10 linzeebinzee October 7, 2009 at 9:25 am

    dwasifar-that must be hard for atheists when their spouse is religious (I’m guessing from your comment that yours is?)…I think it’s even harder than if the couple both has different religions because with that situation at least they both believe there’s “something out there”.

    Nic-thanks!

    Paulo-thanks for sharing your story…and both of those books are on my ever-expanding reading list! (I’m currently in the middle of Flim Flam! by James Randi and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)

    Cello-My faith as a Christian was strong and sincere for many many years (at least 10 years). Of course I always had doubts, like anyone should, but I had always suppressed them for fear that I would offend god. The movie simply gave me the courage to explore those doubts, and the subsequent books that I read just made sense, and I couldn’t possibly believe in god now (without extraordinary evidence) as it just sounds like made up fairy tales to me.

    I can’t stand it when people say that my faith wasn’t strong. How arrogant to think that your faith holds all of the answers and that someone who disagrees with you just wasn’t strong enough.

  11. 12 linzeebinzee October 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks! I actually have both of those on my iPod but I haven’t listened to them yet hehe…

  12. 13 Cello October 7, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    what are you talking about? You completely missed my point. I’m saying you sound like a confused woman who doesn’t know what to believe in. Instead of trying to find some spiritual conclusion yourself you go off and read books and watch movies and let someone form an idea in your head. You basically just stole someones ideology and borrowed someone else’s belief. Before you respond making yourself look ever more dumb, read my words carefully.

    This is why athiests have such a bad rep, they never listen to logic and reason and are so quick to defend themselves. *rolls eyes*

  13. 14 Cello October 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    oh and how could your faith as a Christian been strong if it contained suppressed doubts for over 10 years? Youre a walking contradiction.

  14. 15 kevinbbg October 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Cello:

    I think you are WAY out of line here. She had her beliefs because that was what she was raised with. When she saw Maher’s movie he introduced ideas she had never encountered before. Fortunately, she was open minded enough and smart enough to recognize the value of those ideas right away.

    And everyone steals everyone elses ideas, that’s how we grow. Awfully time consuming to have to reinvent the well for each person. Are you stealing someone’s idea when you drive a car you didn’t design or build?

    And the only Christians I’ve seen who didn’t have doubts were the really crazy ones.

  15. 16 Cello October 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Kevin I usually don’t go back and forth on comments, but that was very well put. I can respect that.

  16. 17 dwasifar October 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    > dwasifar-that must be hard for atheists when their spouse is religious (I’m guessing from your comment that yours is?)…

    Not exactly. I was in an extended relationship with a fundamentalist christian woman, though. I foolishly thought we could just live and let live, but that was a huge mistake, and I was stuck in it (for reasons I can’t go into publicly) far longer than I wanted to be.

    After that, I made the decision: no more religious women. Ever. It’s just too much of a minefield.

  17. 18 Shamelessly Atheist October 8, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Instead of trying to find some spiritual conclusion yourself you go off and read books and watch movies and let someone form an idea in your head.

    So, Cello, in other words, dont’t read (goodness forbid you might learn something!) and remain wallowing in ignorance and you will remain a Christian.

    Which comes to this point:

    This is why athiests have such a bad rep, they never listen to logic and reason and are so quick to defend themselves.

    As a scientist who works with logic and reason every day, all day, I don’t think you know what the words mean. I came to and continue to accept my atheism through logic, reason and evidence. You, however, haven’t demonstrataed any proficiency in critical thought at all. The extent of your “logic and reasoning” is the |ad hominem attack.

    The technical term for people like you is “asshat”.

  18. 19 Global Villager October 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Cello are you kidding me? You are accusing atheists of never listening to logic and reasoning? Are you implying that religious people do so? You are delusional if that’s the case.

    How did you come to your “spiritual conclusions”? By reading a poorly written and contradictory fairy tale from thousands of years ago? Was it a voice in your head that confirmed your world view? Did you witness a “miracle”?

  19. 20 linzeebinzee October 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Cello – sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. I think everyone else pretty much said what I would have said so I won’t go on about it. I do just want to say that I thought this comment:

    Kevin I usually don’t go back and forth on comments, but that was very well put. I can respect that.

    was cool of you to say. One of the things that I found once I started immersing myself in the atheist and skeptical communities was that those people are very willing to admit to their mistakes and adjust their opinion when their poor reasoning is pointed out to them. I think that’s what you were doing when you posted that comment, so I commend you for that.

  20. 21 sherav October 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Hi

    I just wanted to say that I found this blog very refreshing. I will be frank I am not an aetheist or a sceptic.

    I was brought up in a Jewish background and my family and friends accept that I will and do question everything.

    I fully appreciate that religion does tend to dominate with dogmatic practice (and prejudices) which the human species can and does manipulate to their own ends.

    That aside do I still believe in G-d? Of course and do so because for me it seems a natural reaction to ‘What started the big bang?’

    I have no issue with evolution (I am certainly no creationist which I simply believe is a dark ages construct to explain where the was an absence of science) as to me it just shows that G-d has not finished with the creation he/it set in motion.

    That said it is nice to actually read and converse with people who can put together an alternative argument without it being hate filled.

    Some very provoking ideas (and yes I have read most of the literature you mentioned and balanced it with many pro-creationist, and biblical writings, it helps me balance my opinions).

    That said my family find me odd that I have the testaments, Mein Kampf and Das Kapital nestled with George Orwell.

    Kind Regards
    Matthew

  21. 22 anardana January 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Hello from Ontario! Thanks for sharing your story. Personally, the Point of Inquiry podcast was my biggest influence to become a skeptic.

  22. 23 EnlightningLinZ January 31, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Hi anardana, POI is my fav podcast…who knows the future of it now that DJ has left CFI. Have you subscribed to his new podcast yet? It’s called For Good Reason.


  1. 1 Thinking About Religulous on the 2nd Anniversary of my Atheism « Struck by Enlightning Trackback on October 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 49 other followers

AtheistBlogroll5
Free counters!

%d bloggers like this: