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How did you become non-religious?

Aug 15 2010
Newbie here! Former baptist

I grew up in a Baptist family. I remember being around 9 or 10 when I was interviewed by the pastor to see if I was ready to be baptized. It was so awkward because I really didn't think anything they told me was really true but I said that I did because it was expected of me. Most of those bible stories are pretty far fetched. Even a 10yo could see that. David and Goliath, Noah and his ark, Ruth turning to a pillar of salt, the parting of the Red Sea. Then all the other stories that contradict each other. God is a loving God who forgives all sins and welcomes you into his home. Yet he flooded the earth to kill off all the heathens, lost his temper and destroyed the temple, will rain down fire and brimstone on all those who do not believe in him. That didn't sound right to me. Believe in me or I'll kill you? That's loving? And why is it a GOOD thing to be "God fearing"? We aren't supposed to fear what we love...are we?

So I told them what they wanted to hear and got dunked in a tank behind the choir. Of course the pastor took great care in making sure that my penis was clean and I was completely naked under the baptismal robe. That's another story for another day...

I grew up in the church and noticed as I got older how completely hypocritical everyone was. The bible says not to judge others but that's ALL that they do. I was actually sent home from a Wednesday night service because I didn't have a tie on. I had on khakis and a nice button down shirt but that wasn't "good enough for the Lord". So much for him accepting everyone for the person they are instead of the person they claim to be eh? A large percentage of the baptist church members smoke, drink, do drugs, cheat on their spouses, beat their wives, molest their children and then go to church on Sunday and act like saints while looking down on everyone. At the age of 17 I'd had enough. I stopped going to church all together. I briefly returned to a non-denominational church in my 20's but I still didn't feel right. All these people singing songs with their hands in the air and occasionally passing out when overcome "with the spirit". I never felt that way and thought it was kind of silly. I really think people do that just to convince others in the room that they have a better connection with God. "Look at me!! God has taken over my body! My body, not yours!" Whatever.

In my mid-twenties I started thinking about religion and looking for some hard evidence. My journey of reason I suppose. I always wondered why the bible never mentioned the dinosaurs and other proven historical time periods on earth. According to the bible, Adam and Eve were created and all humans descended from them. That was the start of humanity and the planet. Nothing else happened here before that. I could never get any pastor to explain that to me. If that story is true, aren't we all a product of incest? I also had an interest in the unexplained. Particularly the Nazca lines in Peru, Stonehenge, the great pyramids, and the Sun God. Perfectly aligned structures and images only viewable from the sky. You have to admit that it's quite fascinating. Most intriguing is the fact that many ancient religions, including christianity, tell of some sort of deity in the sky. It kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Do you think there is life on other planets? Could they have come here and inspired the religion? I just don't know.

So now I'm sort of "in the closet" with my views but I really think that you all are right. I know that once I make my views public I will be shunned by family and friends. I've enjoyed reading the posts here. They have given me some ammo to use when family attempts to convince me that I will burn in hell for thinking this way. Thanks for reading


Aug 15 2010
Re: Newbie here! Former baptist

Welcome (again...I already replied to another post from you in another topic).

One of the reasons I like this "How did you become non-religious?" topic is that the stories are all so different. Your situation is quite different than mine. I didn't really have any bad experiences in the semi-religious setting in which I grew up. All of the people there seemed basically decent. My only problem with the stories (as you point out) is that they are so obviously not true. Also, obvious to me, is that you don't have to believe in those silly ancient stories in order to be a good or happy person. Another difference between my situation and yours is that I didn't really have to fear "coming out". There were a few tense discussions with family, and I admit there are a few topics it is still better not to discuss to avoid getting into a fight, but it usually isn't a big deal. If you do decide to start talking about your skepticism, I hope it works as well for you as it did for me! (But, I know that it doesn't always.)

As for the "alien thing", I don't need to include extraterrestrial activity in order to explain why people imagined gods living in the sky. There are lots of interesting things to see in the sky (sun, moon, stars, etc.) which would appear powerful, mysterious, and beyond the reach of any pre-scientific society. If they were making up stories about supernatural beings, it is an obvious place for them to have been from. (Some stories also have gods at tops of mountains, in the ocean, deep under the earth...mostly places that nobody could go to check if they were really there!) Also, none of the things the ancients cultures did was so spectacular that I think they could not have done it on their own. The engineering and math they needed developed slowly over time, in what looks like a very human way.

Perhaps you've seen things I haven't, and in any case you're entitled to your own opinion. Mine is that there are almost certainly aliens (the universe is so huge, it's hard to imagine that there aren't) but I really don't think they've visited here yet.

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