This first one is short and sweet and pretty much exactly the same as my own story. It comes from Mitch:
I was born atheist – as, incidentally, was everyone – and nothing’s ever happened to change that.
Here’s another quick one from Dan,
I read a lot as I kid. I was indoctrinated as a Roman Catholic. I realised at an early age that people in authority (priests, teachers, other adults) were lying to me about one thing after another and making it up as they went along. I can’t say I never believed because I started out as a child like everyone else but as I reached adulthood I dropped the whole thing like a live grenade and never looked back. A brief look at the realities of warfare convinced me nobody could be in charge of this mess.
There are atheists in foxholes.
This final story, is an incredibly brave one from The Anti-Religious Atheist, who has a blog here. I can’t imagine struggling with what these things, let alone finding a way to cope all on your own, all while being brave enough to leave your fith behind.
I was indoctrinated into Christianity at a young age, and I was “saved” when I was 10 years old. I never questioned anything about being a believer and totally bought everything I was told. I was a firm believer for several years, and in school I had it in my head that I was being allowed to suffer for some greater purpose. At age 12, I was attending a friend’s church regularly and I didn’t realize until later on it was a toxic church to attend. The teachers and preachers of it were bigoted. I was baptized at that church at 13. My mom went to the church too but I stopped going and so did she, our reason being that it wasn’t a good church to go to after all. We found another church to go to and went to it for a while, but then going to church got away from us and I didn’t really attend church anymore after that. With all of that going on, I also studied with a very kind-hearted Jehovah’s Witness, learning more things than I did in church. I will say they have some… interesting interpretations of things. I even went to the Kingdom Hall a few times (their church). Back to what I was saying before, I stopped going to church and I still kept my faith and prayed and never ever thought to stop believing or question anything. Well, cut to a few years later, someone posted a video by this pastor named Joseph Prince in a Christian group I was in. I checked it out and I found this pastors preaching to be the best I had ever heard. This preaching about love and grace was unlike anything I had ever heard. For several months, I kept listening to him and it made my faith grow and grow. It became the strongest it ever was because of Joseph Prince. I thought nothing would make my faith waver. I hold nothing against him, he most certainly is a good preacher if ever there was one. No bigotry, no hate, no judgment, just love and grace and glorifying Jesus. However, even all of that couldn’t keep me from giving up my faith when my life got extremely difficult. In late 2012, I started having symptoms of crippling depression, and had episodes of it going into March of 2012. Then I had hypomanic symptoms which turned into manic symptoms which turned into an ER visit which turned into me going to see a therapist which turned into a diagnosis for bipolar type I. I was put on various medications throughout the year to help with my bipolar, all due to seriously bad episodes that I kept being afflicted with. I went to the ER 6 separate times last year, all related to my bipolar. I am now on 5 medications. Well, my 5th visit to the ER was due to me having uncontrollable, impulsive suicidal thoughts and urges. I was terrified. I actually had a feasible plan to kill myself. I did the only thing I could do, which was drive myself to the ER. I almost didn’t survive because I had plans to kill myself while in the car! At one point I was on a bridge and I thought I could just jump off of it, that it’d kill me like it was no big deal! So the happy ending is I got help and recovered. I was still having difficulties after that happened, however, and one night in November, I got to thinking long and hard about my suffering. I didn’t understand it. It didn’t make sense to me that God would let anyone suffer like this, to have mental disabilities that cause so much discord for the afflicted person, ESPECIALLY those who believe in him! I realized I was angry at God, that I wanted to defy him. So for about a week, I did just that. I “sinned” on purpose and blasphemed his name. Then after a week of doing that, I figured what’s the point? God’s not there. He doesn’t exist. So I stopped being angry at nothing and moved onto another religion. I was a Wiccan for a little while. That was interesting but it couldn’t keep me for some reason. I then drifted into spiritual Satanism which was also interesting. I was into that for an even shorter time than Wiccanism and then at one point I decided fuck all of it. I don’t need to worship someone to validate my existence, I wanna just live for myself. I wanna be independent and not worry about serving some deity. So I became an atheist and at first I thought I’ll be quiet about it. However, I kept thinking about Christianity and how it didn’t make sense (which had started right after renouncing God and Jesus, actually) and then I decided to be outspoken about my atheism and have been ever since. I have talked to others and have been influenced by various things and by that and my own critical thinking and research, I am against religion. After all I have learned about Christianity and religion, there’s NO way I can go back to being a believer. Christianity just doesn’t make sense at all. So I am an atheist because I used to be religious and woke up one day to the fact that no deities exist. I am happy to have realized this because that means I am not suckered into anything anymore. I answer to NO ONE. I can do what I want with no guilt or shame. Deciding to be godless is the best thing that ever happened to me. Now I have my own blog (which Godless Mom inspired me to start) and I have an audience interested in what I have to say. I’m glad and proud to be an atheist, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can follow The Anti-Religious Atheist on Twitter : @TheAntiRAtheist.
Thanks you guys, for continuing to send me your stories. Every day I get more and some are amazing, some are brutal and some are hilarious. It just goes to prove how diverse atheism is. It is reaching every type of person and that’s a fucking good thing!