What made you turn atheist or agnostic?
If you were a JW and are now an atheist or agnostic, what was the tipping point that made you turn to it?
The reason I ask is I have noticed that many who leave the JW's seem to turn to atheism, versus still having some form of a faith. Have many of you given up on God first or have you had atheistic views first and then found atheism to be true. Please help me to know your view.
Here is my personal take on it. I am pretty sure there is not just one answer here, but I have thought about this personally before. I'm agnostic currently.
As a pioneer, servant, part of the "center" of the congregation, what really got me to leave was through time being able to be honest with things, despite where the honesty took me. I had ZERO desire to leave my religion. I wasn't being mistreated, molested, dealt with improperly (yet).......I just wanted to know what was true and what wasn't. So once i got a question about blood I couldn't answer, and allowed myself to research in a way that wasn't just trying to prove what i already held to be true.....the first brick fell.
that enabled me to think for myself. I followed what I found to be accurate, or in some cases personally meaningful to me, wherever it led me. It led me out of the religion of my youth, despite the high cost.
An unintended consequence, is it made me look into and be honest with myself about things int he bible that don't add up.
Origin of man
The homicidal nature of God
I could no longer just give a pass on these questions. I still question. But the old testemant in particular seems to really just be the writings of an ancient tribal culture justifying its actions through their God. If there is a God and he is loving, he probably doesn't appreciate the bible much. Then again if there is a God and he is loving, and not just waiting out the suffering on earth watching us stumble to improvement through the centuries because of a cosmic bet with one of his sons kids.......you see where I am going here?
I want to believe in more. But just in case I am living my one and only life, I don't want to waste it. And what I do know is that when my loved ones pass......they stop breathing and they are gone. No thinking, no sleep. Just the decomposing of their body that used to hold their thoughts. I have no reason to think I will be any different.
JWs poison the well on all other religions fairly well, that was a good starting point for me.
After deconstructing JW beliefs, I applied the same tests to Christianity. It failed miserably in every area.
Short answer: The evidence.
I believe a lot of the constraints of the JW cult have little to do with faith in God and more to do with strength of being born in a cult ie fear obligation guilt. So let's say you would naturally be an atheist if not born in, the social and emotional pressure of the cult makes you fight to believe even if you don't. "You just don't have enough faith".
Scientologists don't believe the desert god yet they are equally as screwed in a control system. And north Korea as well. Even when God is absent high control groups are doing what they do and replacing it with something else.
For me it was a big moment allowing myself to be atheist, I would say I turned, I was just constantly trying to force myself to be a theist.
Honest open investigation into ancient mythology, how religions came to be and how they grew and sustained themselves reveals the actually truth.
Some people are not inquisitive enough to study and acquire the truth to how and why, they are quite content for someone else do their thinking and acquired knowledge, those ones usually stay contained in the JWS religion.
It should be realized that there is a fair amount of mentally indoctrinated fear to restrain people to seek out knowledge outside of what these religions propagate.
Fear controls human social behavior as well the pursuit of knowledge.
cofty : I just kept scrutinising my beliefs and the reasons why I held them. I chose an evidence-based worldview instead of one based on faith.
Pretty much the same as Cofty, except I thought of myself as an atheist at about age 14, I think I would've had quite simplistic views on the topic, But I got quite hard in my opinion, mainly because the son of the local Methodist minister, who was much bigger than me and tougher, kept bashing me up and trying to make me say I believed in God.
And then ... well, you can guess the rest ...!!!
I used to be agnostic - now I'm not so sure :)
I did go through a periiod of agnosticism but I'm probably now a lot more athiest. Mainly down to more reading and a better understanding of natural selection.
I think i've come to accept that for me agnosticism is a big lump of intelllectual dishonesty; fence sitting at its worst. It's along the lines of Pascal's wager and thst's not for me.
Slightly longer answer: JWs convinced me all other religions were false. Then, after being an elder for a dozen years, it became painfully obvious that my religion was also false.
So now they are all false.
The only question left was this: if all religions are false, is there any evidence at all that God exists?
I spent a few years re-examining all of my beliefs, this time without being committed to any particular belief system. That sure made it easier. It actually didn't take very long to come to the obvious conclusion: The evidence is overwhelming that none of the gods that humans have ever worshipped exist, in particular that desert god of the Old Testament.
I'm fond of, and in complete agreement with, Carl Sagan's assessment of the situation:
- The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying ... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
This does not, however, make me an atheist. As far as I'm concerned, claiming that there is no God is almost as irrational as claiming there is one. Again, I'll share a succinct comment from Sagan on that point as well:
- An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed. - Conversations with Carl Sagan (2006), edited by Tom Head, p. 70