Pretty much the same story here. After years of going to church with our neighbors (Protestant, don't know which denomination since the church itself is physically no longer there), I got baptized around age 11. After a year, I decided that needed to get serious about it and study up on what I was supposed to believe, so I started reading the Bible. From the beginning. About halfway through Genesis, I realized that not only did it contradict most of what we know but it also made no sense. It was so unbelievable that I realized I could not believe it. So I left since I could not qualify as a believer. Everything that I have learned after that over more than half a century, including a few years of close association with the Jesus Freak movement circa 1970 (a friend's family got heavily involved), just demonstrated even further how unbelievable and out of touch with reality it is.
When I left, it was just because I no longer belonged so why stick around? An analogy would be growing up around stamp collectors and thinking that you were supposed to be a stamp collector too, but then realizing that stamp collecting is not for you so why should you keep going to the meetings? So unlike atheists whose very negative religious experiences have left them angry, I bore no animosity towards religion. Any anger has since grown from Christian attacks against me personally and against society on a whole.
There's also a bit of irony. When I was reading the Bible with the serious intent of believing what it said, I was making the naïve mistake of assuming that I was suppose to be taking the Bible literally, which I now don't think was required by my church. Of course, that made what I was reading even more unbelievable. But then half a decade later along came the Jesus Freaks for whom biblical literalism was an article of faith and who grew to dominate Christianity through their sheer numbers (creating mega-churches everywhere) and their political activism. What I had mistakenly assumed (and which led to my becoming an atheist) they insist on most emphatically.
So we are non-believers because we don't buy what believers are trying to sell. Basically, it's as simple as that. "God" really has nothing to do with it and most of us couldn't care less about "God". Rather, it's about the belief systems that they keep trying to push and the dishonest and often harmful methods that they use.
But they to understand any of that. They "know far better than we do" why we became atheists, but they have no clue. And it shows in their arguments.
They think that the whole issue revolves around the existence of "God" (even though they cannot agree among themselves precisely what "God" is supposed to be). So they demand that we present our proof that God does not exist even though it has nothing to do with the issue and we couldn't care less. They accuse us of being far more dogmatic than they because of our non-existent "absolute certainty that God does not exist."
Or they try to use leading questions to attack our "certainty" and get us to concede that "it is possible, however remotely, that a god might exist." At that point, due to their ignorance and massive lack of self-awareness, they declare victory, adding that it was their god and the entire heap of theological baggage accompanying it that we have conceded to. Even if the supernatural were to exist and some supernatural entity powerful enough to be considered a god were to exist, the likelihood of it being identical to their particular god is virtually impossible, as is the entire theology associated with their particular god.
Similarly, is it possible that somewhere in the world there exists a food or beverage made from an extremely odd combination of ingredients completely foreign to English-speaking society? Yeah, it might be possible, but who cares and who would want to buy it? Does that "concession" mean that it must be one particular arbitrary list of ingredients? Most likely not. And I still won't buy it.
One of their most stupid "reason why we are atheists" is that "we just deny God in order to avoid being responsible for sinning." In that case, they are projecting their own desire to escape responsibility. They want to engage in hedonistic practices (eg, illicit and indiscriminate sex, substance abuse, violent acts), but they can't because God won't allow them to do any of that "fun" stuff. If only God didn't exist then they could do whatever they wanted, including being serial axe murderers (there have been believers who would argue that they would be axe murderers if not for God, so if your neighbor is one of those then you don't want him to ever deconvert). Some of them actually pretend to be atheists for that reason, but most simply indulge themselves and plead "the flesh is weak" when they then pray for forgiveness (which their invisible friend always gives them freely -- if your own invisible friend won't forgive you, then you have very serious problems indeed).
I have encountered that type in the wild. A local YEC activist claims to have been turned into an atheist by evolution as a teenager, but by his own admission none of that is even remotely true. He tells the story of his "deconversion" in one of his tracts (directly quoted from his tract, my emphasis added):
quote:I was raised in Buffalo, New York, and was fortunate to have great parents They took my sister and I to church every Sunday, we attended Sunday school and church camps in the summer. I believed in God, and never gave the issue much thought.
In sixth grade, I remember seeing a big colorful book produced by Time-Life. It caught my eye, and I opened it up and was pleased to see big colorful drawings. One set of drawings really caught my eye. There was a series of animated drawings that went across two pages. On the far left was a very ape-like character walking on all fours and covered with hair. The character to his right was a little more upright, he had shorter arms, was starting to walk on two legs and had less hair. This progression continued for a few more drawings until at the far right side of the page there was this handsome fellow, a human being! This is called the ascent of man chart that nearly everyone is familiar with.
In sixth grade, I looked at that chart for a while, smirked, thought it was ridiculous, and went outside and played softball.
Eventually I made it to ninth grade. While in a Biology class, the teacher was teaching us about evolution and placed the same chart up on the wall. I still remember it. I sat there and studied that chart for a long time. It was on that very day that I recognized a major conflict existed between what this teacher was saying and what the Bible taught. Should I believe my science teacher, who is teaching man has ascended from ape-like animals, or do I believe mommy, daddy, and that book (the Bible) that says God made man instantly from the dust of the ground?" I reasoned that this teacher is a scientist after all, so this must be valid information.
I had a choice to make that millions of people world wide are faced with. Do I believe the Bible or what is taught as science (please note I did not call it science).
In ninth grade I chose to go with the science teacher, and considered myself to be an atheist for about 14 years. I took many more science classes in high school and in college (I am a Mechanical Engineer), and none of these classes changed my beliefs, if anything they reinforced my atheist beliefs.
I assume the majority of you are in college now. Do you understand my story? I am pretty certain you have had several hours of your education dedicated to the teaching of the Theory of Evolution. I would love to hear how this affected you. Has it done anything to your faith? It obliterated mine!
Question! Why in 6th grade did I think the drawings were ridiculous, but in 9th grade I believed them?
Was it because I was more intellectual? No. Was it because the Biology teacher explained it so convincingly? Not really. The real reason for my becoming an atheist in 9th grade can be summed up in one word...hormones. In 6th grade I did not have much temptation in my life. Perhaps my biggest sins were a lie here and there, throwing snowballs at the school bus and riding my minibike where I shouldn't.
But in 9th grade a whole new world opened up to me. The temptation of drinking, drugs and premarital sex presented themselves to me at exactly the same time I was being taught evolution. I knew the Bible said that being drunk and having sex outside of marriage was wrong, but here is my science teacher, telling me the origin of man is completely contradictory to what the Bible taught as the origin of man. I felt excited.....and decided the Theory of Evolution was for me, after all the Bible was scientifically wrong on the very first page!! I considered myself to be an atheist. As an atheist I no longer had to abide by any rules but my own. If I wanted to get drunk, no problem, if I wanted to try to have premarital sex no problem, I now belonged to the evolution "religion" (religion meaning a system of beliefs built on faith) that allowed me to sin without guilt.
It was not the data that made me an atheist, it was the conclusion, a belief that made me the judge of right and wrong. Those cartoon drawings of ape men did look sharp, but I wanted to believe them emotionally, more than I really believed them intellectually.
So what we see is that it wasn't evolution that "turned him into an atheist", but rather his own religious beliefs. He was availing himself of the huge legalistic loophole offered by his religion's mistaken teachings about morality, which are that you are only responsible to God for your actions and, explicitly taught, that without God you are free to do absolutely anything you want to. By "becoming an atheist", he freed himself to indulge his bubbling hormones guilt-free.
Just to hang a lantern on it, the theme of his autobiographical bit is that it was being taught evolution that had turned him into an atheist. But in reality it was his own religious training and beliefs what done it. Evolution does not teach immorality and neither did the biology teacher, I'm quite certain, but rather this guy's false conclusions came straight from his own religious beliefs. He was only using evolution as an excuse.
But the bazinga here is that he admitted that he never was an atheist, but rather he was only pretending to be an atheist in order to get away with something. Trying to falsely claim that atheists know full well that God exists but they just deny it to get away with sinning, he stated to me that the entire time he "was an atheist" he continued to believe in God and also prayed to God every single night. What actual atheist does that? None that I know of.
And yet, this loser continues to falsely claim that he had been an atheist and he insists the atheists became atheists just so they could escape responsibility for their sins.