The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of Atheism

I was basically a born atheist. Growing up in a Catholic household meant that I was forced to go to my fair share of Sunday schools and church services. I was (and still am) the kid that always needs to know why. I found that no practicing Christian or church member I knew had an answer. They often would be very general which made me even more confused. I thought if none of these adults had the answers how could I possibly find them. As a small child I idolized the church. They SEEMED to be very giving and had such direction in their life. As I grew older I saw that that was far from true and most of it was just a cover up. By the age of 8 I was over religion and had come to my own conclusion that there was no god.

As a child God is like Santa. A mythical being that does no wrong and is always there for you.

I have had so many wonderful and so many terrible encounters with religion.

First, my 7th grade summer I went to a Christian Hockey Camp in Boston. They were the Christians that sang loudly and enforced love and togetherness. On my way to this camp, I inconveniently decided to tell my mother i didn't believe in God. She sat quietly for a while then said "Don't tell Gram, she'll kill you." A strict, Catholic grandma did not help my situation, for if she knew she'd disown me. Instead I put on an act that I was a good little Catholic girl, covering my true feelings for fear of being out casted. Being at this camp, putting on my show, I found myself desperately wanting to believe in this man in the sky. If these people truly felt so strongly and so moved to the bone by this man, why can't I know him too? But you can't force yourself to believe something no matter how hard you try. I couldn't help what made sense to me and what didn't.

Whenever I tell a friend I don't believe in God, they ALWAYS (no exceptions) try and prove something to me. Whether it be that I'm wrong and hopelessly doomed to hell, or that they "support gay marriage, don't worry" or tell me that they're an Atheist too, even though they've clearly expressed their hopeless love for their God. All of it bugs me to the point where I barely want to talk about it anymore. My bestfriend is a true believer in God, and whenever it is even minutely brought up, it turns into a full fledged debate about which one of us is right. I feel like I'm the only one who understand that honestly we don't know yet whose right so why argue? Let me believe what I want. Which bring me to my current situation.

I openly decided last year that I wanted to attend a Catholic Highschool. My reasons were that 1. my towns school isn't even accredited 2. I wanted to play on their hockey team 3. everyone at my school drove me crazy. So after deciding this, I began a strange journey into learning about the religion I tried to avoid all my life. I'll say right now they've yet to convert me, even though they've tried one too many times. Religion classes are required and the school has regular masses. It's pretty awkward being that kid that doesn't go up for the Eucharist even though I've had my fist communion. I decided I'd take the observer approach to studying the Bible. I read it like I'm reading a book on Greek Mythology.

I'm honestly surprised religion exists.

As everyone already knows if one thing happened differently with one of the prophets, we would still be sacrificing goats. The book openly discriminates people of other religions and races. Somehow they skipped that lesson in Sunday school. In the Bible, the main people are murderers, rulers, and some people that I question their sanity. Why can people hang on every word Jesus, the supposed "messiah," but look at modern cult leaders and say how wrong it is? You're believing the same story, just from a more gullible time period.

When I asked my religion teacher why Atheism was rising in first world countries, and he replied saying more people now are starting to believe in Christianity. I researched this and he was talking about third world countries that are being converted by missions. Native Americans all over again, Catholics trying to conform anyone who is different. I'm very sick of people forcing their religions onto me. I don't go around yelling "God's not real suckers!"

All of these people trying to force their beliefs onto me are only helping me realize that I want no part in religion or God, and I'm happy being the only Atheist surrounded by Catholics. Though people are constantly challenging me or even trying to prove that they don't believe in God, I stay away from all of the questions because no one listens anyway. Like many Atheists I'm well read, well informed, and proud of what I believe. I'm not crazy and I'm not going to cause crime. I don't need a religion to tell me to have morals. And if you're struggling with being an Atheist, just own it. People will forever judge my decision but it doesn't matter to me.

Oh, and if you're going to be one of those Atheists who force themselves upon people; be informed. Don't learn your info from the History Channel. Read the Bible or any other books so you can reach your own conclusions, not someone else's.
ashleymarie21 ashleymarie21
18-21, F
5 Responses May 10, 2012

This is literally my life story here! Catholic mother's side, atheist dad's side. I grew up so immersed in Catholicism! All my friends are Catholic, I go to Catholic school, I go to church, and I do church youth group and bible camp. When I was 12 I became a closeted atheist. Best decision ever!

It's hard living with my mum- she is the opposite of me! She believes in ALL the religions and is constantly trying to inflict her views on me. I won't to be able to believe in what i want to! I am sick of others trying to convince me otherwise. She even tried to pay me to read the bible!

Just stay strong! It's so hard to be strong when voicing your opinion especially if it is against the popular opinion.

I grew up in an atheist family but went to all religious schools (church of england). One thing you will learn is its much easier to not talk about being atheist, after all why talk about things you don't believe in? gods and religion play no part in my life so unless some one brings it up I don't even think about it.<br />
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If you truly are atheist and I mean you have no doubt about it at all you should just stop worrying about it. from time to time you will have a religious person try talk to you about it all but don't let them drag you into a debate, they will never change you mind and you won't change theirs so its pointless. Always remember this is a grate place to vent if they do get to you though :)

Thats my favorite thing about knowing I don't believe; I never have to live in doubt or question my faith.

That was great Ashley. "As everyone already knows if one thing happened differently with one of the prophets, we would still be sacrificing goats." that really made me laugh. I don't wish to sound paternalistic but I am impressed by how articulate you are at your age. It is interesting how early in life people that become atheists begin to question religion while others never do. There is some interesting brain and cognitive sciences research that suggests that there are innate brain differences that make some people more predisposed religiosity than others. I bet that soon evidence will be found for an interaction between religion and brain development, but that is another story. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful story Ashley.

I like to think that religious beliefs are like how many gay people say, its something you're born knowing and you just can't change. My mind physically won't allow me to believe such foolishness. I absolutely believe science will someday prove that our brains are just plain different (and slightly more advanced, if you ask me).

The influence of the brain on gender identity and religiosity differ in that gender identity appears to be innate or fixed while propensity for religiosity is influenced by but not solely determined by some innate trait. Compared to less religious people or non-religious people, the devout show significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex portion (ACC) of the brain and have larger more active amygdolas. The ACC helps modify behavior in response to some anxiety-producing event, like an error, and the amygdola, often referred to as the primitive brain, is the 'flight or fight' response part of the brain. This means that the more religious a person is, the less likely they are to modify a behavior whose outcome is negative. A more active amygdoal also means that the behavior of the religious is more like to be influenced by their emotions than non-religious people. These findings have been supported by other studies and additional research has also shown additional brain differences between believers and non-believers. No matter what brain a person is born with, the more you use it the better it works for you.

one thing, if your school is anything like the one I went to and they have the question "is god real" or whatever....dont answer no...I did XD<br />
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<br /> the last bit "Oh, and if you're going to be one of those Atheists who force themselves upon people; be informed. Don't learn your info from the History Channel. Read the Bible or any other books so you can reach your own conclusions, not someone else's."<br />
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something I wish more Atheists understood, except the History channel bit...probably one of the best ways to gather information, not to get ALL information from, but its definantly just as good as books and hearsay. (Books and other people can be biased and full of BS, so they can be just as questionable as the tv.)

My father actually had a bit of a breakdown this Easter, trying to start a debate with my mothers religious side about the authenticity of god. I was proud of him for being open about it, but also terribly upset that he was one of those Atheists that are no less crazy than the believers. I mentioned the History channel section here because that was the premise of his argument: he saw a show about the exile and proof against it and used that as his fact. When asked if he read the Bible he said "No. Why would I read something I know is false?!" His ignorance and hostility is something I've seen in many new Atheists and I am completely disgusted by it.

I dont always makes me feel smart hahaha XD
on a more serious note, Im in the same position as you grandmother wise, I dont want her to know Im Atheist, its the only way to live and let live while keeping a good relationship with her while shes alive. Im one of the few people left that she can depend on, so I have to make the best of her life while shes got it.
I hate people who dont know the religion they are spewing crap against, but I hate people who dont know their own religion more, and any Christian who cant accept someone else is different than themselves, are not true Christians, while other religions may vary in how to approuch differences, Christianity is the subject at hand.

I also believe attempting to Disprove a religion is just as pointless as trying to prove it. However I enjoy debating religion in general. I study any religions I find for the fun of it, same as history and mythology. So I like to think I know a little something somewhere.

Your best argument against his "why should I read something I know is false" is hes probably read other fictional books, so why not read the bible? the least he could do is learn what hes against before being against it.

Even though it makes me feel like I'm keeping something from her, it's just better to keep silent. I think a lot of christians just like to say they're christians and not put the effort into learning what they are actually believing. It's pretty much a bandwagon thing. I will only argue with the conformist types because it makes them so angry that someone doesn't believe their religion. Maybe if God let you turn water to wine or make it hail fire.

I argue with anyone regardless of who they are, and I dont pick sides, I just take the side of the opposite of the other person, Atheist arguing against Christians? Ill be a Christian for a few minutes, Christian arguing Pagan? I love pagans in general, so playing pagan is fun for me.
The only religions I hate persay are Scientologists and Jehova's Witnesses...
so illogical...
If God did that id be afraid...seriously think of what people would do just having such powers even for a few seconds before God took them away or something. Law and order is a better reason to not have powers than Anarchy and chaos is to have powers, lol.

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