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My Life And Conversion To Atheism


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Alright. So this is my story.


22 years ago I was spat out into this world to a reformed christian family. I was homeschooled for the first 8 years of my life. I followed a christian home school curriculum provided by an american christian school. Monday through Thursday I did regular school work. Friday we attended a homeschool group. This wasn't a christian only group. It was a mix of christian, catholic and anglican. I should note here that my church was so reformed that we saw catholics as non-christians and actually pagans. Of course we would never tell them that.


Up to this point I had no social life. I attended this small group on Fridays and church on Sundays. Those where the only times I would engage in socializing with those my own age.


In grade 9 I was sent to a very reformed christian high school. I was very socially awkward. I suffered from low self esteem. Up to this point I was also very christian. I would never dream of doubting religion. It was my exposure to other "christian" teenagers that caused my first doubts. The people around me were christian, or what christians should be as I had learned, but it all seemed so fake. In our Bible classes we studied theology deeply. The main problem with a faulty ideology, is the more you study it, the less sense it makes.


I had so many questions that could not be answered.

- How can people who have never heard the gospel be condemned to hell?

- If life begins at conception how can a merciful god condemn unborn children to an eternity of torture?

- If Lucifer was a perfect angel, how could he have fallen?

- How can god blame an imperfect creation for being imperfect when he created it imperfect?


In grade 10 I had a debate with my theology teacher on the doctrine of election. I asked, "If election is real, why must we send missionaries or even seek salvation ourselves? If we are elect, god will come tap us on the shoulder." The response was, "Well maybe you aren't elect then." This shattered my worldview in one sentence. I would say that was the moment I became an agnostic.


The rest of high school was tough because of this. I wasn't interested in relationships with anyone around me. My friends were religious, yet they weren't. It was nauseating. I never associated with girls because of chronic low self esteem. The extremely crooked teeth didn't help anything. My parents were paying $11,000 a year to send me to this school. $5,000 for braces couldn't be spared.


I always felt like an outsider looking in during my time in high school. I could never be myself. I always had to put on the christian act. The only bit of relief I got was when I played "the atheist" in religious debates. Much to the embarassment of my teachers and peers I usually won. I especially loved shredding Islam. That made me feel apart of the class. It was something we could all rally behind.


Finally high school came to an end. I went to a secular technical college to study electronics. It was like breaking out of prison for 8 hours a day. I lived at home during college. College opened my eyes to the world around me. I saw all the different worldviews. In College I met my best friend, a nominal muslim. He and I were virtually the same person except he was from Islam and I was from Christianity.


I completed my first year of college and went on a 12 month work co-op. The company I worked for had me traveling alot. This was 5 days of freedom a week and 2 days of prison at home. I began drinking heavily(drinking age is 19 in Canada). It provided me an escape. At the tender age of 19 years and 5 months I was hospitalized for alcohol induced pancreatis. I recovered with no discernable pancreatic damage but was told to never drink again. I have kept this promise thus far.


I returned to college for my final year. It was very difficult. This gave me an excuse to spend long hours on campus doing homework. Spiritually nothing had changed since the tenth grade. I was an agnostic. I had a few christian friends who I still hung out with. I finished college, found a full time job and life continued. Immediatly after graduation I was planning on moving out. My father requested I stay at home to help with the family business till my little brother was old enough to help. This of course means attending chuch regularly.


Fast forward a year, I am being forced to take confession of faith classes. The culmination of these classes is public profession of faith in front of the church and all your relatives. I had to go before the consistory the Tuesday before for my examination. I not only purposely flunked it, but brought forward all my doubts about religion. It was as if I had dropped a bombshell on them. Mouths were hanging open. They had no answers to my questions. I was told and I quote, "There is a significant element of faith to living the life of Christ." In my mind i was just told that I was being prepared for a profession of ignorance.


The problem christian education poses is this. If the teen or child being molded is a christian, then at the end you will have a preacher. The depth of my christian education made me more knowledgeable than many ministers. There is however, the complete reverse. If at 14 someone already rejects or seriously doubts christianity, the end result of their education is an extremely knowledgable "persecutor." Thats me. All they were really doing to me in high school was give me more ammo.


I continued to live at home and attend church. I still considered myself an agnostic. I had no real friends except the muslim one. He eventually moved away for work. I have never had a girlfriend. Any religious girls that are "acceptable" to my parents were nauseating to me. I had no way of getting out and meeting any other girls as I had no non-religious friends and still suffered from extremely low self esteem. After all everyone else was better than me.


I began playing competitive soccer. This ended with a dislocated jaw a few months later. Now braces were a necessity to fix that. I did get my wish of straight teeth. Well, halfway there. $5,000 out of my pocket.


Fast forward six months. I discovered the magic of Twitter. There is a saying on Twitter. "Facebook is were you lie to your friends and Twitter is where you tell the truth to complete strangers. I began following many atheists. They were in my opinion, amateurs. They lacked the theological knowledge to really hit christianity where it hurts. From that time to now(about 6 months) I really began to question the idea of god and the world around me. A friend of mine who I strongly suspect was also trying to break free from religion killed himself. He opted out of life rather than religion.


The breaking point was a few weeks ago. I was on another internet forum discussing events in Syria when a poster was going on about how god foretold this is the end times. I snapped. I proceeded to completely shred christianity. I wasn't nice about it. I got no response from the original poster. I looked at myself and said, "Wow I'm an atheist and didn't even know it."


I have the post here.

You failed to address a single point I made. You simply quoted the holy contradictory book. Tell me oh wise one, if god is all knowing, why does he need to "test the world?" Better yet, if his creation was so perfect, how could it possible fall? How do you even know god exists? Have you ever seen any proof? One cannot look around and say, "A work of art like this must have an artist" without considering bone cancer in children. If god is all knowing, he foresaw the fall. The argument can be made that he planned it. Thats like knowing a child will be hit by a truck in front of your house at 3:37:21 pm tommorow and doing nothing to stop it. Humans have a word for that. Its "negligience."


Someone who meticulously plans a failure and the subsequent eternal punishment of said failure is not a merciful god. We have a word for that too. In all honesty, I do find the doctrine of election very comforting. This is the doctrine that everyone is chosen before they are born or in most cases, condemned. Take note fellow cgn'ers. If god really is real and one day you find yourself in hell, you will not have a shred of guilt or regret(I know I won't). Why? Because nothing you could have done on earth could possibly change the final outcome. You were destined for heaven or hell before you were even conceived. Isn't that comforting? how could I possibly feel guilty? Maybe all this is true and thats why satan rebelled. Who's side would you want to fight for then? After all you were precondemned. Satan doesnt judge. He accepts everyone. He gave mankind knowledge and critical thinking.

Of course this is assuming god even exists. I have yet to see any proof.


Of all the religions in the world, christianity is the most "sound" yet you can still drive a convoy of trucks through the plot holes.


Note: I am not a satanist but if you really examine the bible he seems to be the most logical, an underdog. I love a good underdog. He wasn't an ethnic cleanser, a racist(god only loves jews not gentiles), a mass murderer etc etc. Really, he is just a guy who lets god say aweful things about him behind his back and gets blamed for all gods mistakes. Who knows, maybe I've cracked matrix?

I have come to a point in my life were I not only reject religion. I despise it. I am 22 years old. The only thing I have going for me is a good career. Everything else is a mess. I have no real friends. I have never been in a relationship(I'm still a virgin, how pathetic is that), I still live at home even though I hate it here and I still have been unable to throw the monkey of religion off my back.


Here is my problem. I can move out. I am planning it now. I should be out in about 2 months. Do I still attend church? It would kill my parents if completely rejected religion. They spent close to $50,000 on my education. I feel guilty. Also, as soon as I do reject religion, ALL my extended family and religious friends are going to ostracize me. This is 98% of the people in my life. This is the reason why I still live at home and still go to church. Christianity puts you in a nice little bubble. Stay in the bubble, things are good. Break out and god help you.


Well that's my story. I really need to get out, but getting out will be the hardest thing to do. At this point my plan is just to get out. Even if I still attend church, just getting out will be heavenly freedom.


I struggle with the idea that I have friends now, even though my life is a lie. I know that if I gave up christianity publicly that I will be ostracized. That makes them not really my friends, but for now they still are. Thats the reason I have put it off for so long. It scares me to leave all that behind. To go out into the world and have to start over. The only thing that won't change is my job as I can be myself there. Everything else in my life will be turned upside down by giving up christianity.


I should start writing in a journal of some kind. Just writing this down has helped me a lot. Please forgive any spelling mistakes as this was typed on an iphone.

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Hi Scottsman, welcome to our forums.

Leaving religion is not always easy for a lot of people for a lot of reasons, don't be surprised if you feel like you need to go back to church sometimes. I did a few more times just to remind myself why I left. Stupidity has taken over the church and that is also reflected in our politics in the US. I found many of my religious friends do not come around since I left Christianity a few years ago (around 2005?). Many people you socialized with at church will take a stand against your choice to leave the church even though it is none of their business. Family will always play the guilt card on you for leaving religion. My father is a So. Baptist preacher and I come from a family of fundamentalists (funny-mentals). I have a step-family and they are mouthier than my biological sister who is as religious as my father. My family doesn't really listen when I have told them in the past I no longer go to church and have absolutely nothing to do with the church or Christianity and I consider myself to be an atheist for that reason. Family problems may never go away. I would not feel guilty about your family paying for your education. They did it out of the kindness of their heart for you and if they feel as though you betrayed them by leaving the religion after they paid your college then they only paid it because they felt compelled to do so by Jesus. In that case it would demonstrate they have no real feelings for your well being beyond their religious beliefs. If you don't want to go to church, don't go. If they ask, tell them what you believe and see what happens. It is much better to get things out into the open between family members while you are younger because it is harder to argue with older people about religion--my experience. You can always find new friends. The ones I found after leaving the church are nicer people, more liberal thinkers and some are liberal Christians which is a big departure from the conservative religious nonsense I grew up with. Don't be hard on yourself if things do not work out like you had hoped. Learn to trust your own judgement. Discover who you are and be that person.

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Welcome, Scottsman!


You know this already, but I'll say it anyway... any friend who will ostracize you when they learn you are not a Christian is not a friend.  Wave bye-bye to those people in your life.  It's good that you're making plans to get out and make your own life.  You are young.  You will make new friends!  Find some activities that you like outside of work, and you'll meet people there.  I made a lot of new friends when I moved to a new place by playing volleyball.


Your parents paid for your education, but they did not purchase your life choices with their tuition payments.  You did not ask them to pay for this education, nor does it sound like you even wanted to attend that school.  They got what they paid for when you got your diploma.  You do not deserve to feel guilt about this.


You seem like a strong person to be able to break out of religion despite your forceful indoctrination, and to speak your mind openly even under coercion.   I know it will be difficult to deal with your family, but I suspect there will come a time when you won't be able to stop yourself from being honest with them about your non-belief.  I know that the future all looks scary right now, but once you forge through, create your own life and become comfortable with yourself, I believe your esteem issues will diminish and your confidence will grow.  I'll bet at that point, you'll start having more success with the ladies, too.  wink.png


I'm looking forward to hearing more from you!

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To begin with, I have found that the only friends that matter are true friends, and that even only one or two of them are still better than a church full of fair weather companions. I have been an atheist for nearly a decade now and for the first 8 years, the only friends I had were friends from my college years that I could only communicate with via email and telephone. It was lonely, but I sense that you, like myself, are no stranger to loneliness. But my true friends stood by me when my faith fell apart, and it didn't matter to them what I believed or didn't. Some of my friends are even pastors, and they don't care that I am atheist; they've even used some of my own arguments against god in their sermons. I have a facebook group of 11 friends and we are split almost in half between believers and non-believers and we sometimes get into lengthy debates, but there is never any hard feelings between us because what matters most to each of us is the friendship we've enjoyed. You will find your place in this world, and when you do, you will also find that it is populated with plenty of people you can make friends with.


As to your parents, NEVER feel guilty. I said NEVER feel guilty. Yes, they paid $50,000 on your education, but did you ask them to do it or did they do it of their own free will and volition? Yes, they invested a lot in you in an effort to make you a good god-fearing man, but is that what you wanted for your life or was it only the life they wanted for you? You cannot live someone else's version of you life and be happy. They had their choices to make and they made them, even the choices they made for you. They didn't consult you before bringing you into this life; nor did they have your permission to squander your childhood on brainwashing and indoctrination. You are an adult now; you can make your choices without their consent, just as they did without yours. You CAN walk away guilt-free. My parents paid for me to go to a christian school from the time I was 11 until I graduated; then they paid $4,000 per semester for me to go to a christian college and earn a 4 year degree. I don't even use the degree and never have; but I refuse to feel guilty over the choices they made. Now they realize that they should have let me live my own life and make my own choices. Yes, it was hard to bring them to that point, but I manned-up and got the job done. You can do the same. Always remember: this, too, shall pass.

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Welcome, Scottsman!


As a parent of young adults, I agree that my children owe me nothing for what I put into raising them.  I did what I thought was best during their childhoods, then it was their job to go out in the world as adults and do what they feel is best for them.  I am proud of their very individual choices, they are not little "me's," but they are very good at being themselves.


Not all parents agree with me, obviously.  But that's not your problem.  I do not own my children, and nobody owns their children.


Good for you for stopping drinking! 


You're at an age where you're going to go out in the world and start over and learn who you really are regardless of your religious or non-religious ideas.  It's a scary time for everybody.  But you're smart, you question, you have a brain, and you are so close to moving out and getting to live your own life!


My own two cents on attending church:  after you move out, and hopefully it will be far enough away that you'll be away from your church too, you should not attend.  Even if you're close, don't attend.  Rip that bandaid right off!  Seriously, you have a lot of good questions and a lot of good anger in how you were raised, you will get nothing out of attending church, other than faking out your parents and "friends" for a while and frustrating yourself.


Again, you're at an age, where regardless of your religious or non-religious ideas, you're going to go out in the world and make a whole new set of friends and have a whole world of adventures.  Go and enjoy it!


Good luck and keep posting and learning!

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Hi Scotty, 


I am the same age as you and I totally get where you are coming from. It is like they force you, try to box your mind and not give you any room to think for yourself. Xians claim they love but they would spit you out if you're not like them. Don't be worried man. You're 22 and you can always turn your life around. It is never too late. They is this saying that 'I rather be hated for who I am than loved for someone that I am not' and the saying goes to you, Do you like reading? You can join book clubs (if you're worried about the nerd thing, there's a variety of book clubs) and meet intelligent and like-minded people. You may even meet your future girlfriend there, who knows. Join networking and put yourself out there. I was very socially awkward but then I thought if someone smiles at me, then I would think they are nice and I would want to talk to them. Smile and eye-contact is they key. Some people would reject you but not everyone, and you will be fine. Put yourself out there. Of course it would be baby steps but you would be fine :). Welcome to the forums!

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Hey Scottsman,


I really enjoyed reading your testimony.  I'm from Ontario myself (living in Quebec now).


You're lucky to be out of Christianity at such a young age.  The future looks bright for you.  I think you will experience a lot of relief, peace and joy once you move out of your parent's house.  Don't even need to tell them you're leaving the church.  You've reached the age of leaving the nest, that's all.  From there you will be able to start building your self-esteem.  There are many ways to do that.  Journalling is a very good idea.


Keep writing, I'm looking forward to reading your posts.


And welcome to the site!

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the honesty.


I think you're right. People who have been inside the religion know more than those who have never experienced "the life of the church". You have a real voice in which to speak from. Twitter is a great platform to speak from.

You have your whole life ahead of you and you're free now.

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So you must be the One True Scottsman. Welcome.

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It's hard to be socially awkward in the best of circumstances. However, you are bright, articulate and well-spoken and in non-religious circles those things are assets. 


Living a lie will wear on you, but I predict that you will follow your truth and create a life for yourself that nurtures your obviously analytical and logical mind. There are plenty of people you will meet who will accept you for who you are... some may even become trusted and true friends. Explore the world... carve out space, and a home for yourself that is YOURS, and reflects who you are. You will be amazed at the peace of mind that comes from this.


I am a parent of a teenager, and I want nothing more from my daughter than she is happy and true to herself. She won't make the decisions I want her to, she will make the ones that are right for her. That might take her far from my lifestyle, but she owes me nothing. When I chose to become a parent I also chose to raise a person who will leave me and create her own life. That, to me, is being a successful parent.


I know it isn't the same for all parents, and religion seems to create division and hard feelings in a lot of families... but it is now your life. Don't live it for others. You can respect and be grateful for what they have done for you, but that doesn't mean you have to be held hostage by that.


There are many atheist and humanist meet-ups here in Ontario, and I'm sure across the country, where you can meet like-minded people. Try meetup.com... I've found several groups in my area that meet once a month for a 'pub night', and also coffee meetings, just a social get-together. In Canada the freethinkers and such are far more prevalent than farther south.

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Welcome, Scottsman! I very much enjoyed your writing. Thanks for sharing.


Your little bio on the side says you are interesting in cycling. Go to your local bike shop, buy something small, chat with the owner. I bet there are groups who get together to ride, maybe even on Sunday morning when traffic is light. (Hee hee.) You'll get to ride and hang with other guys, without a lot of pressure to chat while you're riding.


Ravenstar mentioned meetups.com, which I second. There are people out there who would appreciate a friend like you. If nothing else, it will build your self confidence and hone some interpersonal skills. You have nothing to lose.


I would recommend not going to church. At first, you can soften it by saying you're taking a break and trying to get your bearings and all that. You can even fib and say that once you get settled in and get your routine going (work, grocery shopping, laundry, basic stuff) you will look for a church closer to where you live. (Looking for and attending are two different things, just sayin'.) You are an educated adult, paying your own bills, living your own life.


Please note: You are allowed to have an inner life that is private. Dont be fooled into thinking that your spiritual life is up for public discussion. I don't go around telling people how often my husband and I have sex and in what positions -- it's private, and there is no need to "come clean" on such things and change people's minds about me. I only talk politics if I sense that the other person shares my philosophy and I have something specific I want to hear their thoughts on. I only discuss spiritual matters with people I know and trust, who are either going to support me or at least challenge me in a caring, nonjudgmental way. All of that stuff is allowed to be private! You can set your own rules and boundaries! Your indoctrination and guilt are the only things making you want to confess your apostasy, but it's nobody's business what goes on in your heart and mind. I hope that makes sense.


I'm not saying you should never tell them. But make sure you are in a good place physically, mentally, and emotionally before wreaking such havoc in your life. Settle in to your new thought patterns. Let some of the anger mellow a bit. Be sure of your independence and freedom from possible guilt trips that you will face.


You are on the right path. You will figure it all out, and one day you will have all that elusive peace that passes understanding. Be strong. Be free. Peace to you on your journey.

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I just wanted to note that I didn't lose my virginity until I was 23, so you aren't a freak by any means.  Now I am married with children, because I didn't give up on myself. 


The key to friendship is openess to experience, and trust.  The more your practice socializing, the better you become. 


I'm not sure where you live, but moving to a big city could be a great experience.  A place full of different people and ideas for you to explore your new life, and get away from the negative influence of the church.  Your'e clearly intelligent and could find people who would appreciate that.


Good luck to you, you have this one life to explore our Universe.  Go out and dance in the rain!

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Dude, 22 isn't that bad for virginity (I was 26) at all. Just don't expect it to work out with the first person. 


I really enjoyed reading your post, welcome to the forums!  As pointed out, it was your parents choice to pay for that kind of education; that doesn't mean they should be able to control all your life choices (something a lot of parents don't get, I know mine don't and never will; it's just how they are). But yes they probably will be upset but not much you can with that.  Up to you how you want to handle it.  I haven't told my parents because dealing with my mother is already extremely stressful for me and she would have my brother and sisters stop communicating with me (something she has done in the past- tho both my sisters have moved out but one has become very fundamentalist so she would probably just elect to stop speaking to me on her own) so basically depends on the kind of power they have over you, if any.  Once you're no longer living with them and feel confident (and these aspects will also make you more attractive to females for what it's worth), just let it all out. You will be better off with new friends and not these ones.  Some of your current friends might even surprise you; not every Christian person is totally awful or has a problem with other beliefs and some might even have their own doubts.   


Also, having to start over is scary and can be stressful, but it can be done and sometimes it's for the better, sometime's it's not. You just gotta see it through and not give up on yourself as ShallowByThyGame puts it.  Also, openness to experiences and trust are also good points; stuff I'm still working on. We'll all get there. At least you're figuring this out early, a lot of us didn't til later and some of us, myself included, made major life decisions that we regret and would have made a different decision if we had not been religiously influenced. My life would have been much better if I'd figured all this out at 21 or earlier, lol, but that's life for you. Live and learn. 


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