Question for the nonbelievers and atheists
It was a gradual journey for me, and happened simultaneously with my initial walking up from JWism. By the time I was enough beyond the grasp of the cult to investigate it online, I was already an atheist. The funny thing is that I might've held onto a belief in good longer if not for the scathing review of christendom that I was raised with in the cult. I grew up heating constantly of the dishonesty and hipocracy of other religions, and long ago decided that I would never be a part of anything like that.
As I got older I became interested in science, and especially physics. This led me to learn a lot about cosmology, which led me feeling that it is just as likely that the universe could've come about without a god as with one. This kinda led me back to the question I asked as a child that never got a satisfactory answer: If the complexity of creation is proof that it was created by an intelligent designer, wouldn't that designer, in turn, need a designer? (I'll about I was probably less articulate when I asked my mother a variation of this question when I was about 8). It always felt hypocritical to me that we would ridicule scientists for a lack of understanding of what came prior to the big bang, but we ourselves responded with some variation of "it's not for us to know" when asked where god came from.
At the same time, I was learning about evolution and found that it explained things so elegantly (and predicted many things that were only observed later). Again, god was not necessary for any of it. Archeological evidence that humans had existed for well beyond 6000 years also had no refutation in the WTS publications. There was a period where I actually eagerly awaited an article that explained how carbon dating was flawed, this would've left me with that feeling I had in my childhood that I knew something these so called experts didn't. Oh how I had loved that feeling I got when I could don a superior attitude and explain to someone how Christmas was pagan or how mammoths where found with clover frozen in their bellies (which, somehow, was evidence for a global flood). Strangely, no article refuting carbon dating was ever published.
I also observed many other religious people making obviously flawed arguments for their personal interpretation of creation (particularly young earth creationists) and resolved never to tolerate such an argument, regardless of where it came from. Examining my own beliefs under this lens left me most of the way to atheism. In this stage, when confronted with anything regarding other religions, I often thought to myself, "if I wasn't a jw, I'd definitely be an atheist."
I was still left with years of indoctrination about the bible, that it must've been from god because of its scientific accuracy and fulfilled prophesy. I started with the scientific accuracy bit and this part seemed to boil down to a few things that I'm sure will be familiar. The commandment to the Israelites to bury their poop, the "circle of the earth" bit, and the water cycle description. Upon objective consideration, I found none of these to be evidence of special knowledge bestowed only upon Jehovah's servants. This left me with bible prophesy as the last bit of evidence for god. Upon objective observation, I found that the only prophesy that could not be explained without the supernatural was a few of the prophecies in the book of Daniel. A little research left me with the realization that the argument that the WTS always so vehemently fought against, actually had a lot of evidence behind it. Daniel was written after the events it professed to foretell.
At this point I was in the of position of being absolutely sure that atheists has it right, while still refusing to believe that I (and my parents, who I always considered to be quite intelligent) had been systematically lied to and fooled all our lives. After a period of soul searching I resolved that God would forgive me for checking out apostate sites of it was with honest motives to know the truth. About 3 days, and every article on jwfacts and a good bit of jwsurvey and others, I was finally free of any notion that god was out there.
So to make a long sorry short, it was a journey of nearly 20 years, starting before my teens. Since it was so slow, I did have the advantage of being able to consider a lot of the things that often seem to trouble people as the consider the possibility that there is no good or afterlife. I decided I was OK living this life the best that I could, and if that's all I got, then it was more than I deserved. After all I had done nothing to earn my birth. I considered morality without a god before I was sure of his absence. When I woke up to the lies of the cult, while still a shock, I suspect it had less of an impact on me than those who find themselves simultaneously questioning the cult and the very existence of god.
Holy crap, that was long. Sorry for the wall of words.
The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. That book explained evolution in such an easy to understand way that it made perfect sense. Once I realized that evolution was true, Christianity could no longer stand. No creation = no Adam & Eve = no original sin/fall from grace = no need for a "ransom" or a "redemption from sin", and the entire basis of Christianity falls apart.
Not sure if what I believe now could be considered "athism" or not, but I sure ain't Christian.
Bible contradicts itself, science proves the earth has been here longer than the bible does. God isn't a person I'd like to serve. He likes to slaughter entire cities of people who don't acknowledge his existence. Witlesses don't really serve him out of love but out of fear. God is a fabrication to instill fear and maintain order.Jesus is a fabrication of what the ideal human being should be. That is my philosophy.
While research and getting a better understanding of the bible, becoming a true Christian so I thought. I came across a comment about the " canaanite god named El" well I knew god of the bible was also refered to as El so I decided I would look in to this canaanite god and the rest was history.
Two words: global flood.
I re read the bible free of wt references and saw that so many accounts just didnt make sense, or were obviously just stories
Lot / wife salt / incest with daughters
cruel barbaric accounts of murder supposedly approved by god
The entire concept is so flawed and nonsensical that believing it or trying to believe it was physically painful. It made no sense to me.
The Bible is useful only as a piece historical literature.
What turned me off of religion was the tendency of religious people to always insist that THEIR version of God and the Bible ( Koran, etc ) is the ONLY valid one. And their intense desire to have EVERYONE else believe just as they do. Christians in particular look down on 'other' people who have different beliefs, and adopt an air of moral superiority and judgement. Anyone believing differently ( or not believing at all) is told they will 'burn in Hell', be killed at Armageddon, or something similar. No thanks!!! If anyone tries to 'convert' me to their religion, I just reply: 'Religion is not a subject I choose to discuss with strangers. Please respect my wishes'. That includes discussions of the Bible, Jesus, God, Allah, Heaven, Hell, etc.
I was baptized 1973. I had a lot of questions unanswered. Questions about the cruelty of God. The possibility of the flood, how can the sun be “stopped” (several hours). Why could God send Jesus to earth as a ransom for our sins. And how could we benefit from his death when we had him killed.
All these questions hummed around in my head, but I had a feeling that it was not appropriate to start discussions about it. So I kept quiet. Whit in a few years I become an elder, and had a large family with lots of friends. This makes your responsibility even greater. You must keep the flock together. And if you are an elder with a large family and a full time job, the society keeps you so busy that you cannot even think one thought for yourselves.
Everything ended up with 4-5 hearth strokes, high blood pressure, and a long time putted on the sick list. Now I was liberated from field service, from book studies, from having speeches in KH and assembly halls. My own thinking started to come back to me again. I entered a University for 3 years. I took my PhD in field of History of Science and Ideas, with other subject like archeology, and Egyptology.
With this as a background, and the greater part of my family out of the borg. I know that my first doubts was very right, and that the bible cannot be regarded as a “light from God”. First I started to fade, but the more the brothers paid their “visits” to me to get me on track again, they understood that I had got all the education that the soc. is to anxious not to let the other friends have. So they “banned” everyone in my congregation to pay me a visit. Even other friends from other parts our country, don’t dare visit me. Not even CO,s… of witch I know many.
Its only my wife who is still in. I understand it must be a terrible situation for her…. But one must stand up and tell TTATT, even if it hurts sometime
Regarding the Bible, eventually I felt that the only water tight prophecy was the prophecy of the 70 weeks from Daniel, which had accurately foretold the coming of Jesus. That was the final pillar of my faith in the inspiration of the Bible. Once I found out that the prophecy did not originally apply to Jesus, and was reworked with such an explanation after his death, I realised that there was nothing about the Bible that made it any more than just a book, with the Old Testament being particularly offensive and barbaric.