Atheists - How Did You Become An Atheist After Waking Up?
I consider myself an atheist. And right now i'm reading a lot on atheism in general (books written to answer creationists).
I'd be interested in knowing how you became an atheist after leaving the JWs and how long did it take? Was it instant or did your belief in a deity gradually decline?
When I woke up from the Watchtower cult I still believed in some sort of god. It wasn't until a few months later that i came to the conclusion that there probably is not god. Looking back i can see that it happened in stages:
- Still believed in Jehovah, but not the Watchtower (this is when i considered myself "awake" from Watchtower.
- Still believed the bible, but that it was gods general thoughts that had been watered down and corrupted over time.
- Believed in a god/goddess
- Studied Hinduism/Paganism/Old Norse religion and was open to the idea of worshiping nature under the personification of gods (at this stage i think i was just grasping at straws)
- Read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and had a very real mental shift. I was off kilter for a few weeks not really sure of myself.
- Decided that there's no evidence for any god and that the most important thing is to treat myself and others well regardless.
After becoming an atheist again (i say "again" because we were all born atheists) there was a lot of things to think about and to deal with. Yes, i will die and never come back. No, i'll never see my dead father and grandparents again - the memories I have of them are all that are left. Yes, i should work to make my community/country/world a better place, no, nobody is going to solve world hunger overnight.
At the end of it all though, it's made me a much happier, grateful and kinder person. Anyone else feel that way?
Yes I do
Just reviewing my prayers and realising I had been talking to myself.
I was told that God only answers prayers in line with his will so you can't ask to win the lotto for instance.
I was very careful not to ask for "selfish" things but still nothing.
Then you have ones tell you that God helped them find their keys or something equally trivial that most people can do without any divine intervention.
I watched Serena Williams thank her God Jehovah when she won tennis but not help ones who really needed it.
Only logical conclusion is that he is not there.
Great thread Pale. Loved your experience. When my wife and I first left she was already a atheist and being a born-in I was still searching. I knew the wt. was wrong but the idea of no god was still not in my thinking. My wife went along with me with my search. We ended up going to a little community chruch my wife went to as a little child. It lasted about 5 months when the preacher started bad talking atheist knowing my wife was a atheist. Trying to turn her to repentance it open my eyes to what a sham religion really was. That is when I came to terms with there being no god. That was six years ago and my mind has not changed but I do take the good from all forms of beliefs and have developed and my own personal moral thinking. This is what guides my life now for good or worse. If the cult had not gotten a hold of my parents before I was born I feel I would have come to this conclusion decades ago. I can only hope so. Still Totally ADD
I read The Blind Watchmaker already around the year 2000 (on the banks of the river Ness on a summer day) and that dented my faith. It certainly made me think again about evolution. But the height of my atheism was a result of the Bozing Day tsunami in 2004. I could not believe God would let this happen. But since then I’ve become much more skeptical about whether God exists. Ironically it seems that being an atheist requires too much faith.
My experience is similar to Pale Emperor's, got jilted by the lying corrupt fear mongering of the WTS. back in the 1970's, left but still believed in god, looked at other religions and couldn't find anything believable or acceptable.
A couple of decades along I researched scientific topics such as biological evolution, the earth's evolutionary history, ancient history to name a few and I confidently resolved that there is no god but there certainly was human ignorance which really is the source of all gods.
I have always been into science but did my best to make excuses as to why evolution was wrong.
Things started to not make sense when it came to what the GB was saying, and overwhelming and indisputable scientific discoveries and data made it hard to ignore.
I learned much about how the brain works, and how much of what the WT has said was crap.
When all that started happening, the entire religious house of cards fell apart.
Its not just JWs - its ALL bullshit.
I had basically primed myself to realize there were no gods well before I woke up. After observing the many failures in reasoning that people used to justify belief in god combined with the pervasive hypocrisy in religion and its being used cynically as a means for control and monetary gain, I started thinking to myself "if I weren't a JW, I'd surely be an atheist" starting sometime in college. Of course we all know that it's easier to be an atheist with respect to someone else's religion, and unfortunately it took many years and an understanding of cult mind control to see clearly enough that I was in a cult to be comfortable lighting the match that would burn down my former life entirely. But once I knew JWs were a cult, I knew god was universally a delusion.
In some ways I think this is a great way to go about things - I'd already worked out a lot of the things that can be jarring in the transition, and I'd done it without actually having to commit myself to atheism. I already understood a lot about cosmology, so I didn't get hung up on silly "first cause" arguments. I'd pondered morality without the appeal to a higher authority, so I wasn't shocked by nihilistic despair. I would've liked if the process had gone a bit more quickly, though.
I'm definitely happier now - not having to constantly lie to myself in order to maintain internal consistency of thought is an underrated luxury.
I still believed the bible was god's word when I first left, it took about another 3 years till I gave up on the biblical deity.
Now I'm thinking all god's are just a projection of the human mind. There is some psychological truths we can get from the study of these psychological projections but it is a mistake to take any stories literally.
I'm open to the idea that we all may be in a computer simulation or in the Mind of God and that everything that exists is the mind of god therefore I'm god, this chair I'm siting in is god, Jimmy Hendriks is god, the whole universe is god.
I reasoned that my ancestors were not on bible gods radar until he decided to enslave them in America...
Seriously god did not care about Asians, African, etc... for millenia. That ruled out the bible. That also meant that every other holy book that focuses on singular groups we