Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

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When did you become an atheist/agnostic and were you taught a religion before rejecting it?

0-5 years old
29
10%
6-9 years old
18
6%
10-12 years old
31
11%
13-15 years old
48
17%
16-18 years old
27
10%
19-21 years old
14
5%
22 years old or older
4
1%
I was raised as an atheist/agnostic from day one.
46
16%
I became an atheist/agnostic after rejecting what I'd been taught.
65
23%
 
Total votes: 282

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Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby oxoiron » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:40 pm UTC

I suspect that very few people are raised in atheist/agnostic families, which leads me to believe that most atheists and agnostics had to at some point reject what they were taught as children. So I'm asking those of you who identify as atheists/agnostics to say when you became one and whether you were brought up as one. Please mark the age at which you became an atheist/agnostic and indicate how you were raised.

EDIT: Definitions for purposes of this thread...

Atheist--confident without doubt that there is no god(s).
Agnostic--willing to accept the possibility of, but not a believer in the existence of a god(s).

If you believe in any sort of god(s), you don't qualify as either of the above.


On another note, as of the time I am writing this, I have been surprised by the number of respondents who were brought up in non-religious households. However, I keep forgetting that xkcdians are very international. I grew up in the U.S. surrounded by religious nuts and I often forget that most of the rest of the world isn't obsessed with religion. My hypothesis was based on my perception of the population in the U.S.; unfortunately, the international contingent will prevent me from getting a result that actually tests it.
Last edited by oxoiron on Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:47 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Jessica » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:47 pm UTC

I was raised Agnostic, and became athiest. I never was part of a church, but my dad had a kids bible to read me. I was never expected to believe in god, or religion of any kind, but for a few years was expected to go to Christmas mass. But yeah. Both my parents are Agnostic, and raised me the same.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Angua » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

My dad is a Methodist (doesn't go to church but does believe in God), made me say my prayers at night, my mum is an atheist and I had religious assemblies at school every day (in my primary school we actually had to pray three times a day). I don't think I ever really believed in it, so I put myself down as 0-5 yrs. I basically went through the motions because it was polite (even have had to lead some assemblies on occasion). Being agnostic/atheist in a Christian community didn't seem to bring up many problems though, even though it did surprise my history teacher when I came up with apropos quotes from the bible.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Flying Betty » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:10 pm UTC

I think I turned out that way by default. My parents aren't super religious, though I've never asked them specifically what they believe. We used to go to church when I was little, but stopped when I was about 10 partly because they never found a church that they much liked in the town we moved to and partly because no one was really enthusiastic about it and as my sister and I got older it was harder and harder to wake us up in time for church. So with no overt religious influences, I only ever saw religion as something that you went through the motions of and never saw anything that would inspire me to care more than that.

I went through a while describing myself as "vaguely Presbyterian" or "a twice a year Christian" before realizing that I'm not because I don't go, don't care, and don't believe. If I'm feeling snarky I say that I'm not religious because we'd stopped going to church by the time I was old enough to think for myself.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Dobblesworth » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:33 pm UTC

Catholic father, Methodist mother. Raised the former and did local Catholic church for probably until age 10-12 before I trailed off. I did the first holy communion business at 8, but I never really showed strong interest in my faith, and viewed the hour every Sunday morning as a chore. Initially I did what was the 'in' thing and swing to full atheism; I think at the same time we ceased going out of school homework commitments and what-not. I probably eased into agnosticism a few years later. Age 13 I encountered the Cosmological Argument, and it's a perspective I align with; nowadays I consider myself a deist. My uncle and godfather still probably looks at me and believes I'm something I'm not. A religious upbringing is never something you can shake off.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby blue_eyedspacemonkey » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

Raised Catholic. None of my family are particularly religious though, I was only a Catholic because the nearest decent schools were Catholic. I started questioning what I'd been taught at 14yrs old. I read around-found a great site: http://www.religioustolerance.org/
Then decided that agnosticism suited my beliefs perfectly.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby tryptanymph » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:53 pm UTC

Raised kinda agnostic. My dad is an atheist and my mum isn't. She isn't particularly religious, however. I decided I was an atheist at about 8 years old, I think. I've always been a pretty cynical bastard.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby crowey » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

raised nothing, I don't think I was particularly aware of religion until I had been at school for a while and some of my friends couldn't play on sundays because they were at sunday school. It was just a non-issue/non-subject in my house.
Mind you I also went to a hippy school where we sang beach boys songs instead of hymns in assembly*, so I don't think I had an average upbringing.


*which whilst being good because I can sing lots of beachboys songs, it makes me a bit sad because I don't know many christmas songs, or the kids hymns that all my friends reminice about now.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby poxic » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:59 pm UTC

Raised agnostic, I guess. My parents didn't go to church and never talked about it. Apparently I went to all sorts of services as a kid because my friends invited me along -- Mom recounts a Catholic mass, something Buddhist, a Unitarian service, plus I once spent a few months as an altarkid in an Anglican church, also because a friend was doing it.

Then I fell into a fundamentalist, right-wing, evangelical Christian church. I did that wholeheartedly for a year (roughly age 14), then half-heartedly and guiltily for a few more years, then gave up on it in my last year of high school. I thank my parents for tolerating me during that period. I was rather preachy.

I bounced around for a while longer, just sort of ignoring the whole issue. I did get to the point where I could confidently and publicly deny the you-are-saved-if-you-believe-this statement (the "Jesus died on the cross for my sins" thing), but I didn't have much to substitute for it. I dabbled in shamanism, taoism, and a hair or two of Buddhism.

Then I really got into science. I started reading everything Scientific American published, starting around 2000 or 2002, plus a bunch of lay science books. One day I want to read Feynman's lectures (I hope my head doesn't asplode). I get the whole picture now, what we're made of and how we tick. (I can thank Douglas Hofstadter for the last bit.) I still think I might enjoy following Buddhism or Taoism for the life management skills and fellowship, but I don't need a central deity. I don't believe there is one that we can actually have any effect on. If there is an all-encompassing consciousness, we're part of it the way leaves blowing in the wind are part of the whole Earth. It's useless for a leaf to pray to the planet, except as a way of understanding its own experience. For that, prayer can be valuable, like meditation or art.

/warning: post may contain half-baked theories and half-learned knowledge
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby |Erasmus| » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:00 am UTC

My dad is catholic, and my mother was raised anglican, but is basically catholic now.

I was taken to church with them for basically my whole life, and I'm not really sure how much (or for how long) I really believed in the whole thing. I did not really think about it that much, and it didn't really affect me in any way. It was about when I went from not caring or really thinking about the whole thing, but sort of identifying as catholic out of habit, to being somewhere in the atheist/agnostic camp. So I ticked 13-15, but I think I wasn't really into the whole catholic thing properly for a long time before that, probably ever.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Sparthox » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:18 am UTC

I started questioning religion around age 11 and decided I was an atheist at age 12. I was raised with religion, and went to a Catholic grade school and high school.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Dingbats » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:22 am UTC

oxoiron wrote:I suspect that very few people are raised in atheist/agnostic families, which leads me to believe that most atheists and agnostics had to at some point reject what they were taught as children.

How so? The vast majority of everyone I know wasn't raised in religious families at all.

The question when I "became" an atheist is meaningless to me; I've never "become" one, religion has just never been an issue. Just like I haven't "become" not-a-fishmonger or whatever. I wouldn't say I've been raised to be an atheist either, that would imply to me that my parents actively told me not to believe in god. It just never crossed my mind that religion would be something I had to care about.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Rachel! » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:26 am UTC

Well I was raised po white trash sans religion. My parents were too busy working and beating the shit out of each other to take us kids to church. hyuk hyuk

no, I'm really not exaggerating or joking at all

I didn't answer the poll because I never really became an agnostic. I always was one, and just ended up realizing it sometime in my teens. to clarify, it's not like I was raised an agnostic. I wasn't raised anything. We didn't go to church, we didn't talk about god in my house. it's nothing that ever occurred to me to ask when I was very young since I wasn't really exposed to it, and my parents hardly volunteered information about a topic in which they lacked interest.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Ramses IV » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:35 am UTC

When we started CALLING ourselves one, or when we started sort of being one? I mean, my parents didn't raise me in any religious context at all, they let my brother and I sort of "figure it out for ourselves". WE didn't even know what "God" meant until one of our churchgoing cousins asked us about him. And even then I thought it was pretty silly. So you could say I've been an atheist or agnostic from the start. But then, I only became much more outspoken and serious about it in my early teenage years, maybe 12 or 13. So what should I put?
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby wishiwasabear » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:51 am UTC

I was raised Methodist in a fairly religious family. I went to church often, then youth group, etc., although with increasingly less interest or devotion. I was even confirmed, despite the fact that I had some serious difficulty convincing myself all this stuff was true. But I did, because everyone around me believed in it. Then, my junior year of high school, we read Grendel by John Gardner and as background info we learned a little about solipsism, nihilism, and existentialism. My thoughts were something along the lines of "Holy shit, I'm not the only one who doesn't believe in that stuff." That was the point when I realized I had other options and started considering them; a few years later, I'm a firm atheist and comfortable identifying myself as such. but as for 'becoming' one, I'd say I've been an atheist my entire life, never having really believed in God.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Mat » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:59 am UTC

I don't come from a religious family, but I did get a chance to officially reject religion after accidentally joining this as a kid. I vaguely remember quitting after they said I had to go to sunday school? As a result I am now lacking somewhat in the "christian manliness" department :o

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Schmut » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:19 am UTC

I've marked "0-5" and "raised as" because it best describes the circumstances of my beliefs. My father is pretty much an agnostic and so am I but it's not something I've been raised into as such; religion is just barely mentioned withing family life. I was christened as a child but I think this is more out of family tradition than any sort of religious act.

I should mention my parents are devorced and that they have been for as long as I can remember. So I've always known my step-mother and my mother's partner as being within my life. My mother, like my father, doesn't go on about religion at all. Since I've never spoken to her about it, I don't actually know what she believes but I believe she's just ignorant to the whole subject which, in a way, makes her an agnostic; not out of choice or reasoning but out of a lack of interest. Her partner, whom she has had two kids with, is Catholic; he attends Christmas and Easter mass. He's clearly not that into it as he's living in what his religion identifies as being sin. I imagine it's just the tradition of it that keeps him going and I doubt he's really given much thought to the existence of his God.

So, parents varying from the open-minded non-believers (my father and step-mother) to the ritualistic and blissfully ignorant (my mother and her partner), my major religious influence comes from school. However, in school we are merely taught to say the Lord's prayer every morning and nothing more (other than the occasional church services around Easter and Christmas). So looking back, it just appears to me that we were repeating words blindly of what they meant. I said the Lord's prayer in school because it was ritual and tradition to do so, nothing more. It wasn't until secondary school that I actually thought about the concept of God and decided I was an atheist (at 13). Years later, after considerably more thought, I developed a different understanding of what God was than is taught in Christianity and I decided that some form of deific being could exist. From that point, at 15 or 16 years old, 'til now (20) I've been an agnostic.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby fyrenwater » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:09 am UTC

I've always been agnostic (minus a few atheist phases), but I don't exactly have a religion. Chinese folk "religion" is less a religion and traditions and cultural rituals. While it does have various deities and celestial entities, it focuses more on ancestors, respecting elders, and family honor. There aren't any commandments, rules, or set-in-stone morals to follow. No single origin stories, but an afterlife: pretty much everyone goes to the same place, but the quality of the afterlife is largely dependent on what burnt offerings your progeny sends your way. Since it's more culture than religion, it's compatible and often practiced alongside Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, etc. It still gets pigeonholed as a religion, though.

Personally, I treat it as a cultural thing rather than a religious thing. It's akin to people being culturally Jewish but not religiously Jewish. My own spirituality comes from other sources, but is definitely influenced by Chinese folk religion.

tl;dr- Parents passed down an agnostic-slanted version of a pseudo-religion, I accepted it culturally but have my own agnostic beliefs.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby GuitarFreak » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:15 am UTC

I dunno. My family is christian, as in we celebrate christmas and all that fun stuff, but we never went to church. My mom grew up in the 60s-70s, and of course they went to church then, so she is religious I guess, but we never talk about it or anything. I just don't really care for the whole church/religion thing. It bores me really.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Simbera » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:26 am UTC

Very Catholic mother, thoroughly apathetic father. Raised Catholic, going to Church and so on, Catholic high school. Around 16 got kinda sick of the hypocrisy and contradictions of the church and its teachings so went faith-shopping; was considering Judaism but was running into similar problems (ie I was having to invent reasons why things that they said could be compatible with reality) so realised that none were going to be right for me, and science was going to be my faith from then on.

Fully confirmed agnostic/atheist well before I was 18, switching from agnostic/atheist to full-blown atheist about 20. I'm now 21.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Rachel! » Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:29 am UTC

Maybe this is the wrong thread for this, but can we qualify the definition of atheism vs agnosticism for the thread? Simply "not believing in God" is not, to me, atheism, since it doesn't address the existence of God, merely one's perception of his existence. Atheism is actively believing that God does not and cannot ever exist. Whereas agnosticism is actively believing that God's existence can never be proven.

It's been a long time since I was in phil 110, but are we going off the hard or soft variant of atheism here? Am I totally off base?

/thoughts

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:16 am UTC

My Mother is (non-practicing) Catholic and my Father is (non-practicing) United.

I was baptized when I was 4 because my mother wanted me to go to a Catholic school. We acted the part for a while--though I can't say that religion ever played a large part in my life. I never really thought any of it made sense. I didn't self-identify as atheist or agnostic till about age 17, but I was never a regular church goer or believer. Before that point I was of the opinion that if some deity existed, all religions were inept human interpretations of that singular being-thing.

We celebrate Christmas and Easter secularly.

I would agree with your assessment Rachel.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:28 am UTC

Athiest dad, non-specifically spiritual mom.

I was raised in a mostly atheist household, though we did attend the local Unitarian Society (can't call it a church now, that might be offensive to all our members who don't like churches). I was sort of wishy-washy agnostic for a while before I finally admitted to myself that I considered the possibility that there is a God about as likely as the possibility that I was a brain in a jar dreaming the universe, and thus I filed it into my category of "things which could possibly be true, but are so unlikely that the only sane thing to do is to proceed under the assumption that they're false until evidence to the contrary is presented."

Edit: I consider an atheist to be someone who lives their life under the assumption that there is no god. To me an agnostic is someone who considers the possibility of "god" to be equivalent to the possibility of "not god".

Of course by my definition a majority of religious people are actually atheist (especially in the Abrahamic religions), since almost no one lives their life in the way that a person who truly believes in the sacred texts of those religions would (i.e. selling all you own, giving everything you have to the poor, and spending your entire life desperately trying to convert anyone you can so they avoid hellfire (for Christians), adopting ultra-orthodox lifestyles (Jews), etc.)
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Shadic » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:39 am UTC

Raised.. Partially Christian.

Went to Church a couple of times. Mom wanted me to experience it. Don't know my Dad's religious beliefs.

I became Atheist through thinking a bit after ten. I mean, everything else that we were told was "real" (Santa, etc.) wasn't. What about God? Hell, our parents trick us into seeing more evidence for Santa than any magical sky wizard.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby thatguy » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:46 am UTC

Raised/live with Catholic parents.

Became Agnostic in 5th grade (so, 10-11?) when I didn't get struck dead for missing church.

Became Atheist in maybe 7th or 8th grade, after being told some of my aunts/uncles were gay and hearing the church policies on the subject. Hearing more of actual Catholic doctrine on various things (sex ed, how you get into heaven), as well as seeing the hypocrisy inherent in seeming every Christian around me (It's okay to get blackout drunk/do drugs/lie cheat and steal, but having sex with someone you love is completely out of the question? That's fucked) just cemented my world view.

I define atheism as not believing in a god. Just like the word says when you break it into the base Greek. a meaning without, and theism meaning belief in a deity.

I also get annoyed when it's described as "belief that God does not exist." It seems to imply that I'm believing in the lack of a god, when I simply don't believe in a god. There's a very distinct difference in meaning there.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:11 am UTC

I can't pick two because "Was taught nothing and was allowed to think for myself" isn't on there. Unless that's what you mean by raised agnostic / aetheistic.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby mf92 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:16 am UTC

At heart I think I was an Agnostic/Atheist since I was about eight, but I don't think I knew what either of those words even meant until I was eleven. My mother was/is very religious and took me to church every Sunday until I was about thirteen. But once I reached the age where I started fighting with my mom I would say to her during an argument that I didn't believe in God. This was mainly me expressing my feelings and being able to write it off later to her as saying it only because I was angry. I actually started doubting in God before I doubted in Santa Claus. Santa Claus was so much more believable at the time! At least he proved himself by giving me presents (or so I thought) once a year! God wouldn't do anything to prove his existence except help me find lost items (that was how I was taught to look for things; pray it would appear) every once in a while. I started REALLY doubting in God when I actually learned that there were normal people out there that didn't believe in him (the churches I went to made it seem as if non-believers were completely immoral people). If anyone would ask my religion I would say I was a Christian/Agnostic (whatever that means), leaning more towards the Agnosticism, until I was about fourteen. Even though I didn't believe in God, I didn't say I was an Agnostic because of the guilt induced from years of attending church. I'm now an Atheist. I used to believe that there might be SOME "greater being" out there, but I don't anymore. I find that science can explain everything, we just don't know all of the answers yet. There's no need to create some deity to fill any gaps in our knowledge of how the Earth and life came to be.

Has anyone ever had a negative experience when "coming out" as an Agnostic or Atheist to their parent(s)? My mom was upset about it, but mainly because she thinks she didn't raise me right. She's never insulted me (at least not intentionally) for my beliefs like some parents do to their children. When I mentioned it to my dad it turned out that he was one too, so that wasn't bad. I never knew as a kid what he believed in because he came to church with my mother and I, but he never talked about religion like she did.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:26 am UTC

When my dad was in primary school the children were being divided up so that the Catholics could get their communion and what-not, and he was asked what religion he was. I think he said Lutheran because that's what his friend was, and he needed to go home and ask his mum to find out for sure. So he's an agnostic on that level--no loyalty to any religion, he respects my mum's Catholicism, and he got teary-eyed at his uncle's funeral when the sun shone through the window a little strongly at some point.

My mum's Catholicism comes from Nanna, the matriarch of that side of the family, who takes her Irish background very seriously. She'll invoke God or Jesus in any conversation, and will use the conversation to make it clear how pious she is instead of actually contributing anything. Any times I've actually won religious arguments with her, she's complained to my mum about it later and told her I'm a bad grandson. Not that we speak to her now, anyways. Christian love has its limits, or else she loves us dearly but doesn't think she has to show it in her actions. Religious hypocrites don't bother me so much because none of them hold a candle to her.

As a child I was one of those deeply pious Catholics who closed his eyes as tightly as possible when praying so God would know how devoted I was. I read a children's Bible at about seven until I realised it wasn't actually the Bible. I read a chapter/psalm of the Bible each night from when I was thirteen to seventeen, roughly. I wanted to be a saint. I was a prat, basically. I loved science, but never knew enough of it or religion to see the contradiction (but then, most Catholics don't. They learnt their place back with Galileo).

By about thirteen I was deeply suspicious of religion, and its obsession with ritual. We had a teacher who told us about when he was a boy, how he'd ride on the train with his books on his lap, and how many Hail Mary's he'd have to do for getting a boner. I learnt about the crimes of Catholic Missions, like these priests who'd been getting Aboriginal women pregnant and then disposing of the babies down a well. I saw hate come from religious people, some of it around the terrorist attacks, that was so incompatible with what Jesus preached. But I still believed strongly in God until I was eighteen, I just rejected the idea any organised body could worship him properly.

My atheism came when I was about seventeen... none of it fit anymore. A universe without God made more sense and was more useful to me. Until that stops being true I will always be an atheist, but I still have a keen interest in religion and there are bits of it I still like.

Rachel! wrote:Maybe this is the wrong thread for this, but can we qualify the definition of atheism vs agnosticism for the thread? Simply "not believing in God" is not, to me, atheism, since it doesn't address the existence of God, merely one's perception of his existence. Atheism is actively believing that God does not and cannot ever exist. Whereas agnosticism is actively believing that God's existence can never be proven.

It's been a long time since I was in phil 110, but are we going off the hard or soft variant of atheism here? Am I totally off base?

/thoughts

For the purposes of this discussion I think we can define an agnostic as someone who isn't sure whether or not God exists, and an atheist as someone who is sure God doesn't exist. It's nitpicking, but an atheist can't ever prove that God doesn't/can't exist. So if an atheist claimed that was true, it would mean they are indulging in their own unfounded belief structure.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby sje46 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:32 am UTC

This is a horrible poll. I was raised nothing. I never believed in God, not that I know if. Screw this poll. Fix it.
EDIT:
Raised agnostic? What's that, a parent teaches their kid that they can't know whether there is a God or not? Or are they raising them to not care? Or are they raising them to be totally 50-50? No one would raise their kid that way. Lots of parents would raise their kid without discussing these questions at all. This was me.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Gojoe » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:37 am UTC

My parents are not religious, but my grandparents were. So when I was very little I went to sunday school. And was taught about god. And I guess i believed (I do not really remember to be honest). We moved to Hawaii when I was 6, and never went to church. So... yah. It was not a shocker that I was not religious. I have read big chunks of the bible, and a few other holy texts, just so I could better understand what all the fuss was about. Like, people argue about religion all the time, but I had no point of reference. I read it so I could take part in arguments I guess. I didn't think that biased news articles was enough to understand what was going on.

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Shut up
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Luthen » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:44 am UTC

I'm going to post here because I'm sort of the opposite to everyone.

Dad was raised Church of Christ, mum in an agnostic (her dad was a very deeply ex-Catholic)

However, when I was a kid we never went to church, God wasn't mentioned, and parents focused more on just teaching us to be good people. So the method in our house was agnostic, even if my parents probably weren't.

Then when I was eleven and already a scientist at heart, dad started going back to his old church (we'd moved back to Melbourne when I was 8). He told us we were old enough to decide for ourselves and asked we come for a least a few years to see what church was like. We did and honestly I think I found something that was missing. Also I have to thank him for treating me like an adult with it, and not sending me to some Sunday school.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby sje46 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:47 am UTC

Gojoe wrote:
sje46 wrote:This is a horrible poll. I was raised nothing. I never believed in God, not that I know if. Screw this poll. Fix it.
Shut up
No, I mean it. It's a bad poll. People should consider every option before making a poll. There in't even an "other". Because of this a significant amount of people who don't believe in God can't answer, or can't answer correctly, and thus there are skewed results. So don't tell me to shut up.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby thecamoninja » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:09 am UTC

...I really don't see a problem with it. That argument might hold valid if this were asking you what religion you were, but it's not. And personally, I don't know anyone who's 'other' years old. But I think we can safely say that you're both a little wrong. Sean had no reason to lash out at this poll when really there was nothing wrong with it, and Gojoe was wrong in just being a jerk in response.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby sje46 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:22 am UTC

The problem isn't with the ages. It's with the last two. If you are a strong atheist (which, for some reason is defined the same as "atheist" in this poll) or weak atheist (which includes agnostics atheists, which I am) it implies you were raised that way. I wasn't raised any way at all about the existence of a divine creator. I just . . .wasn't. And this poll, for not including this option, is therefore not valid. I am an atheist and I can't answer honestly.

EDIT: sorry for calling the poll stupid. It's invalid. Biased.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby thatguy » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:26 am UTC

...Or you could just chill out and pick the best answer, even if it's not 100% correct for you particular situation.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby sje46 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:31 am UTC

thatguy wrote:...Or you could just chill out and pick the best answer, even if it's not 100% correct for you particular situation.

INTERNETS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

I am chill, I just want people to understand these things better to prevent ignorance, both about what atheism and agnosticism are, and how to make a decent poll.
I refuse to lie on this poll.
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby thecamoninja » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:35 am UTC

Okay, you're just being nitpicky here. It doesn't matter! It doesn't make an FSMdamn difference! No one is really technically 'raised' to be an atheist anyways. It's just that parents don't talk about god with their kids, so when the kid hears about religion for the first time, they have a clean slate to work on, and can see why their parents didn't get them involved in it. Saying that you were raised as nothing is the same as being raised as an atheist because an atheist IS NOTHING
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Megatriorchis » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:00 am UTC

sje46 wrote:I am chill, I just want people to understand these things better to prevent ignorance, both about what atheism and agnosticism are, and how to make a decent poll.
I refuse to lie on this poll.
If your parents raised you without knowledge or belief in a higher power, then they raised you atheistically. Because "atheist" literally means "without religion".
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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby Rachel! » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:10 am UTC

thecamoninja wrote:No one is really technically 'raised' to be an atheist anyways. It's just that parents don't talk about god with their kids
You're wrong, see below.
thecamoninja wrote:Saying that you were raised as nothing is the same as being raised as an atheist because an atheist IS NOTHING

Being raised as an atheist would mean your parents raised you telling you that there is no god. Being raised without ever discussing religion with your parents is not comparable to that. It's a lack of education on one hand, and an education that negates God on the other hand. So, you're wrong.

There are people who are raised without their parents ever discussing god who still believe in a higher power. Whether they call it God or not. These people are also not atheists.


I'm with sje in principle here, because there is not an option that describes me in the poll. But, I don't mind give a shit if I can't vote in one poll on the forums because the forums don't revolve around making me happy.

That doesn't mean we can't point it out and be right, that this poll doesn't apply to everyone.

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Re: Atheists and agnostics: When did you become one?

Postby ameretrifle » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:10 am UTC

My parents weren't all that religious-- I'd get dragged off to (Baptist) church many Sundays, went to Sunday School for a while, my mom worked at a church preschool, my grandfather handled some financial stuff for the same church, joined a choir for a year... Okay, that sounds more churchy than I'd thought. But still, I never really heard/thought/cared all that much about religion, all through elementary school.

I was forced to face the issue when my parents didn't want me to go to a public middle school, and I went to where my father went, North Florida Christian. I thought their textbooks were terribly lame and resented their equally lame Chapel Thursdays (forced to sing crap Christian pop with half the school, then listen to a sermon... thrilling). I also recall starting to swear a hell of a lot more around then. (That school was where I first heard the word "fuck" used in transitive form-- not as an exclamation, but as a proper verb. As in, "Go fuck a dead moose". I do enjoy the irony of that.)

Then, they had a "revival". At this revival, I heard for the first time that apparently, if you weren't saved by Christ? You were going to hell. (Yeah, first time I remember hearing it. I was really oblivious as a kid, to pretty much everything.) That startled the hell out of me, so eventually I joined up, and for a couple of months I tried to be a proper Christian, with some initial success. Thing is, the textbooks were still unutterably lame, and the Bible? Not actually all that internally consistent for something I was supposed to believe was inerrant. Not to mention the seven-day creationism and "Harry Potter is, if not evil, spiritually dangerous" crap they were trying to shove down our throats. Finally, I tried reading the Gospels one more time, and realized that "these words written in red" didn't impress me all that much-- and sometimes, I even disagreed. So that was when I gave it over.

So I'm now agnostic at the least, with strong atheistic tendencies. I have no one I can tell this to. My grandparents think Obama is the Antichrist, my dad still listens to Gospel music, and my mother tells me she wants me to be in Heaven with her someday. You can't answer that one with "But none of the ways you describe heaven make any sense to me". Or, worse, "Any God who would damn so many people to hell for simple ignorance of the correct religion isn't worthy of admiration anyway". That's the argument that got through to me most, in the end.


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