What made you turn atheist or agnostic?
As i grew up, the science I learned in school made sense. The drivel at the KH did not. Especially that book about Daniel (I think), it was red - was it the "Revelation" book? Claptrap! Also, I couldn't understand how god cared about each little bird, but let children suffer.
The walls of 'trust' came crashing down, when I saw, at age 17, the hypocrisy of my fellow pioneers and elders leading 'double lives'. And after my friend suicided, I was 'done' with the WTBTS, God, and the whole thing. Yes, I researched other faiths later in life, and found it interesting, but Star Trek makes more sense to me, to tell the truth. ; )
I was 18, the last time I set foot in a KH (except for my DF hearing several years later). xx
Never been JW, but was raised with Catholic family and some friends had other religions.
Probably ages 8-12 I noticed religious hypocrites (spent a few years in Catholic grammar school). The kindest, sanest and most honest family I knew never even talked about religion or God. This was my best friend's family - my racist Catholic family were uncomfortable about them because they are Mexican, that made another impression on me about religion.
Also my child mind figured God was like the Easter Bunny, Santa, Tooth Fairy. I remember thinking they were going to keep it secret from kids until high school. I was considered a weird kid.
And that God was so mean and twisted. Creating a world of animals that eat each other? Hell? War? I could see that the religious adults were fearful of God, and I wondered why they believed it, and knew to keep my mouth shut about it.
Now, I don't know what the hell is out there, but it 's not likely anything from these crazy fairy tales. I believe in "Do the right thing"
Research into 'the problem of evil' and discovering the abject failure of all theodicies to explain how a supposed loving, prayer hearing God that we can have a supposed 'personal relationship' with could possibly allow so much suffering and evil, especially that suffered by babies and children.
I don't think I can say that I 'turned' Agnostic. It's more like once I really understood that our personal belief system is a CHOICE, Agnosticism is what suits me best - for now.
For a while, I wanted to be Atheistic, but there were too many things that didn't quite jive in my mind. Too many coincidences that made me think (or want to believe) that there is some short of energy out there that might somehow equate to a superior-type energy. Thus, Agnosticism felt like a better fit for me than Atheism.
And it still does.
Occasionally, I feel an interest in attending a church - just for the symbolisms and traditions. There was a basic comfort in attending (4 or 5 times in the past 8 years) but nothing that spurs me to return. The most rewarding visit was when I went to a Christmas service that a JWN poster was performing in. That was very nice. The others were less captivating.
So Agnosticism still feels like a good fit for me. At least for now.
-Aude Sapere (meaning: Dare to Know; Dare to Have Widsom/Understanding; Dare to Think for Yourself)
EDIT TO ADD: Another BIG reason Agnosticism suits me just fine - for now - is because I just plain don't care what may or may not be "up there". I spent a couple of my best years believing I was serving the one and only true god. As it turns out, I was in a high-control group, serving as a free slave-laborer for a publishing company that was masquerading as a religion.
If there *is* a god up there, then he knows the spiritual abuse I've endured. And he would see and understand the good in my heart.
If there *is* a god up there, he should have made the 'truth' abundantly clear - with no room for mis-interpretation and subsequent abuse.
If there *is* a god up there, and this life that we have here on earth is a gift from him, then I've squandered several decades of my life and have not been cherishing that gift by living and enjoying the gift to the fullest potential. I cannot afford to squander any more of my life. I have absolutely zero interest in hypothetical religious discussions and arguments.
Formal religion and 'god' discussions just do not interest/matter to me anymore.
Although I consider my Agnostic, I also consider myself much more spiritually-inclined than when I was religious. Witnesses seem to view 'spirituality' as something measurable by others. I believe that true spirituality is something that drives your being, it's the driving force within a person, the motive behind their actions, not the actions and activities themselves. Certainly not an activity that is done just for the purpose of showing other(s) how godly someone is.
Rather, it's the driving force that moves you do something (anything) just because it is the good and right thing to do. Even if noone ever sees it or knows about it. That's my idea of spiritual. It's more cosmic, yin-yang, something along those lines. I probably should read a few books on the subject of spirituality, but not all that motivated to do so right now.
I'm actually quite comfortable with where I am with my own personal beliefs. No need for labels, but if I must pick one, Agnostic is just fine for me. At least for now.
When I came to realize the Witnesses were not the truth , then I started to question the Bible that they based their beliefs on with a critical eye and found that also to be untrue .
The input of ever so many on this board leading me to so much more information on the subject of God and faith did it for me , believers & non believers alike .
Thank you everyone , an Atheist who stands in awe of the Universe and the diversity of life on this planet who firmly believes one day it will be discovered elsewhere .The odds are in my favour .
Only 3 months (or so) I started reading all kinds of subjects on Quora.com. Business, engineering, science, theology.
Of course I also read questions wrt atheism; what better way than to feel superior than laughing at them stupid atheist arguments :-D
Anyway, someone posted something along the lines of:
'If a Creator must exist because complex things and beings cannot possibly come to exist by themselves, that complex Creator must also have been created. If you accept that the Creator was not created, then you should also accept that other things and being do not necessarily need a creator.'
OK I love logic, and basically Creation was the only real evidence for God's existence (Rev. 4:11 fav verse yay), so this thought hit me like a ton of bricks.
I set out to find other/better arguments to base my faith on, but I tried to find evidence that would convince me if I weren't already believing.
Does God exist?
Is the Bible God's word?
Are JW Gods people?
First I investigated the time humans appeared on earth. It's a topic I never dared look into before....cognitive dissonance is a bitch :-(
Well guess what? There is plenty evidence humans roamed the earth way before Adam was created in 4026BCE.
Also the different scientific dating methods are actually quite trustworthy.
And....Reasoning book paragraph that tries to make the reader doubt all dating of early human remains by quoting a scientist....looked up the source material and the quote is intentionally misrepresenting the scientists position.
Score so far: God 0, Bible -1, JW -1
Thanks to Quora, I was now also aware of logical fallacies and studied those, and how the scientific method really works.
Next up was finding other evidence in favour of creation, or against evilution. Being a good boy I started with the 5 question toilet pa...eh brochure. Given the honesty in Reasoning book, I tried to find source materials for all quotes. Well guess what again? Almost all quotes in that brochure are dishonest, supporting points opposite of what the scientists actually were writing, etc. And the rest is just logical fallacies. Therefore I started to investigate evolution from neutral sources. Never thought this Satanic idiot belief (evolution) would have so much evidence, fits in with everything I know is true, and is so beautiful.
Also I found it very telling that Gods spokesmen in earth cannot provide a single shred of evidence in favour of creation, and they cannot find a single reputable scientist (in a relevant field) who supports creation.
Score so far: God 0, Bible -2, JW -100
Of course life and dead decisions are not made easy, so I set out to find evidence that supports a global flood. None exists except 'all cultures have flood stories!'. But that is easily explained by all the floodings that occur all over the world (and for which there is evidence).
And there are a lot of practical problems with the story.
Score so far: God 0, Bible -3, JW -101
And during this whole process I prayed Jehovah to show me he exists please? But as I didn't want to fall for confirmation bias ('another day! Must be a sign!') I asked very specific if he would make any brother in the hall make a random remark about creation to me, in the next 4 weeks. Apparently he was either busy, doesn't care about me, or I didn't ask with enough faith.
Score so far: God -1, Bible -5, JW -101
Now when I told my wife and later some close friends all this, none them even tried to make a convincing case for God. The smartest of them told me he will write me something to convince me. I hope he will, and finds out ttatt while writing.
Here I am, a fresh deculted atheist with a dislike of the Borg. On Quora.com I write on all topics JW to spread the bright light of knowledge burning here on the 'dark side'.
If I had been a Catholic, I might still believe. But the literalist crap JW are claiming is easy to disprove with loads of evidence. And given my JW background all theology collapses when creation story is just an allegory. If that is not to be understood literal, then what in the Bible is?
Now I'm being voluntarily shunned by my wife's sister and her elder hubby (I'm not df'ed, I don't give them that chance :-) and having a hard time with my still-in wife.
However, as the wise man Jesus of Nazareth (supposedly) said: 'The truth will set you free.'
It really does. In my head I'm free, and the Borg have no authority over me at all.
PS. Basically my story is like Daniel Genser's, except for my wife not leaving with me...
I wasn't a JW. i was an unbaptized born in.
When I realized that not all was as it seemed, I soon worked out that everything I had been taught was suspect. Everything. Trying to cherry pick the bits I liked out of the cult's teachings was not a sensible option. I had to start over and do due diligence on anything I read.
i was born atheist
Basically the "descovery channel"...the earth has had 4 or 5 mass extinction events which killed 97% of ALL life on the planet. There is no God doing this. Life rebuilds and thrives by inself like a virus. No "Eden" ever existed. Learn about even basic science and you will be an atheiest.
After leaving the JWs and going to a number of churches, I realised that faith is delusion. There can't possibly be a magic man in the sky that makes it all better because he never has, does or will.
I found out that living life without god was the same as with god. No difference!
I applied the same process to religion as I did to destroying the JW cult beliefs.
I decided to first of all, see if the bible was actually a holy book, inspired by god and stuff.
The bible failed every time. I don't even believe jesus existed now.
When you ask for evidence, and all you get in return is 'you just have to believe without evidence', then it's all wrong.