Why I Became an Atheist

Faith’s a funny thing -religiously speaking. For those raised with the idea of an Almighty God; faith is imperative and unquestionable. For those raised without much deific influence, faith is a nice idea.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The first group is the one I relate to, since I’m unable to erase my upbringing in order to try the second. Faith was a necessity -a requirement of my developing years- but I felt I lacked. I felt misplaced for the lack, and felt misplaced for growing questions of a religious nature. Inevitable questions of purpose or fairness are discouraged in organized religion. Yet, said questions bother every mind. They blip around like mosquitoes.

We’re taught to ignore them. We learn to ignore them. We learn to block out the noise with more religious fervor; more admissions of FAITH.

Some never notice, much to the concern of those being bitten. Such, again, was I. I felt my whole life danced to a background chorus of buzzing insects. Why do bad things happen to good people? How can I trust a God who might kill someone I love? Do I really have a testimony? Who is this God person, anyway?

I muted my concerns, or numbed myself to them. I couldn’t find answers; moreover, I couldn’t find other people willing to talk to me about them in a helpful way. I certainly heard responses like, “Have faith and patience. You’ll know someday.” My favorite unhelpful advice was to “trust God.” That idea didn’t work well when trust was the Number One issue I had with my Maker.

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

I’m not good at numbing indefinitely. Sooner or later, my dormant volcano of repressed tendencies bursts its confines and demands addressing NOW.

I tried a few things to address the faith crisis; like, not attending my church meetings.

I tried praying.

I tried asking others if they’d felt the same.

I even read Wikipedia.

Nothing worked. Nothing assuaged my frantic desire to KNOW, for certain, if God was real and why a perfect being operated in an imperfect way. My crisis dragged on.

Then, a close friend gave me a copy of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins not only raises similar concerns and provides logical answers to them, his writing is engaging and entertaining. Here, I found, was someone who knew! Here was something to do! I read the book, thought it over, discussed the issues with said friend… Then, taking Dawkins’ advice, I walked away from God.

Like a person steps out from under an umbrella.

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

I felt so much relief. I felt such mental, anxious freedom.

My ‘faithful’ prayers had been been rife with guilt for The Sin of Omission and pleas for God to spare those I love. No longer believing, I stopped praying.

I’d been unnaturally stressed by others’ questions, tales of faith, or exhortations to do more. Without God, I felt above others’ religious compulsions and removed from their trifling issues.

After continually feeling apart because of my questions, I felt justified. I felt included in a private, exclusive, intelligent group who were free like I was. -The club of atheism.

My decisions were my own. No one orchestrated my life. I was the one in control, to the extent I could be.

However…

The mosquitoes of discontent persisted -as a different species. I still entertained the possibility that God could be real. Others, again, did not seem to notice the static. They swatted it away with more atheist fervor; more claims of ‘logic’ and ‘science.’

If God doesn’t exist, why am I what I am? Why do miracles happen -no, really; REAL miracles that I have personally witnessed?

Some might cry, “Foul!” Some might suggest I re-name this post to Why I Became an Agnostic, but I didn’t become agnostic. I really and truly stepped away from the ever-present cloud of God’s existence. I erased Him as much as could be and walked without Him for a change.

I stopped believing, if that ever was what I’d done before.

And I scratched my head at all the other unenlightened people laboring under the delusion of faith.

Β©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Adam Grabek on Pexels.com

What happened next? If you’ve been following my blog, you’re likely wondering why I write about being a Mormon if I was an atheist. This was continued, a week later.

63 thoughts on “Why I Became an Atheist

  1. I am looking forward to see how you got past atheism.

    Regarding atheism one should keep in mind that one can always provide “logical answers” to anything. Even someone who accepts a flat earth can give logical answers to their critics. Such answers, however, depend on the assumptions one takes for granted. Being logical is not what counts. Coming up with what is true when one uses logic is what is important.

    The real question is how to do we know what is true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too true, Frank. I’ve had difficulty composing this post and its follow-up because of all I’ve learned, realized, matured into, etc. Life experiences are larger than the words we use to describe them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve got my full attention, Chel. I am curious about part 2. I think it’s natural to have many of the questions you pose, and I’m not going to judge anyone on which side of the fence they land.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so interesting Chel. I think we all have similar journeys.
    I was brought up strict Roman Catholic but like you I stopped believing because things seemed so confusing and overwhelmed by it all.
    I am not a Catholic any longer, I don’t want religion or churches they just cause hate and wars …. I believe in a God and I am christian with a small c. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What an Excellent post. And a brave one. I was fortunate, because growing up I had a Rabbi who answered all my questions and encouraged me to be a free thinker. When I was in high school I asked him if it was ok to perhaps question my belief in G-d. He said of course. And he told me that following Jewish traditions didn’t necessarily coincide with believing in G-d. That many Jews are devout in a traditional sense but waver spiritually. He said it’s normal for intelligent teens to question things. And while he hoped that one day I would find G-d again, he told me to never stop questioning or asking questions. I did find G-d, the truth is I never really stopped believing, I just don’t believe in (Him/Her) in the same way He is biblically depicted. So good for you for being a thinker and unafraid to admit it. That took courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❀️ Thank you, Lesley. I could have used such a Rabbi, particularly one who recognized intelligent curiosity as opposed to ..say, potential eternal damnation..

      It’s true about the Bible as well. It’s so old, passed through so much, and was recorded by humans all the way.

      Like

  5. I’ll bet I know what restored your faith in God. You discovered some inconsistencies with Wikipedia, and lost faith in it as a viable alternative. I know, I know, this can be a traumatic experience. But you must understand that there are explanations behind the misinformation so rampant in Wiki, that we mortals cannot fully grasp. Perhaps in the afterlife it will all become clear.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I had that question too. I will wait for your followup post, curious. Thanks for the book ❀️. I am very much interested to read that book by Richard Dawkins. Excellent Post 😍.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can very much relate to your experience. Some 10+ years ago I lost my faith in the religion and that all the daily ablutions were helpful. I’m not antagonistic, and if I regained my faith it would likely be in this Church, but at present I just feel nothing. And I was angered by Church people following political leaders who were the antithesis of everything the Church supposedly believed. That, to me, was unconscionable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had similar qualms, downright social sleights, and (as you read) overwhelming emptiness from loss of trust or spirituality. We are, indeed, of similar minds.

      Like

      1. I reread the line “If you’ve been following my blog, you’re likely wondering why I write about being a Mormon if I was an atheist.” Clearly writing about being a morman is present and in context it could be implied that you are writing about being a morman as an atheist. The word ‘was’ then throws the sentence into a grey area. So you could be writing about being a Mormon as an ex-atheist. I was wrong. This is not a present-tense situation. I’ll still look forward to your next post on the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Like the others, not the route I was expecting. Have you read Adams on religion, and the God character? He’s as articulate and less dogmatic than Dawkins who does come across as a bit too chippy for my taste.
    I don’t think I’ve ever really believed in some supreme entity. There’s just too much mess and inconsistency to think one entity could be responsible – well apart form the nummocks who issue passports; they’d make as much of a mess if they were in charge.
    I can’t ever imagine a situation where religion, faith, or unwavering belief will ever be apart of my existence. I’m here, now and I wont be for ever. Then, per Hamlet, I’ll be a quintessence of dust. Fine, I’ll enjoy every day whatever nonsense comes my way as my last and delight in the absurdities of it.
    If people want to have a faith, believe in some great work or whatever, marvellous; just let me not. Don’t push it at me.
    So, it’s confusing and, yes there may be a god or gods, but only in the small ‘g’ Roman and Greek sense of capricious sods playing with us because they’re bored.. And if there’s some sort of afterlife (though I’m with Arthur thinking it’s more likely to be an aprΓ¨s vie) and I get the firepit and not the cloud… I never did much like the harp anyway.
    Looking forward to your next post. One thing I have concluded. None of it matters; it’s such a waste of time when you could be living and full life without these ‘eternal’ questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not (to your first query); I ought to, being such a devoted fan to his works. I remember reading that Adams thanked Dawkins for putting The God Issue so well that Dawkins helped Adams thoroughly embrace his atheism.
      (Oh, and The God Delusion might be his Magnum Opus. I read another of his -or, tried to- and it wasn’t the same.)

      As to all the rest of your demi-novel, πŸ˜‰ I very much relate. The difference between us might very well be upbringing: my learning a Name for the miracles (yes, real ones) and for the eternal feelings within which connect me to God. I feel quite comfortable with a more fluid description of said Maker, which can be a bit of a pain to explain to others who haven’t reached that point.
      You and I might also differ on a mental health standpoint, frankly. I’m not so flip about eternity and dust; literal acceptance of those ideas sends me too close to the bridge’s edge.

      Like

  9. We can all find God if we look for It/Him/Her/They/Whoever. It’s rare that God finds us first, before some kind and helpful human guide points I/H/H/T/W our way. Just my jaded observation. Anyway, I have no other answers but mine, Good to hear from you. We might not see eye to eye, but at least we stay in hearing distance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree, generally, on the point that God does not find us. Perhaps I’ll be able to elaborate in a later post -I do agree that one can refuse to recognize Him; that’s our human prerogative.

      I think you’d be surprised at how closely our visions align. πŸ‘“ Comes from being jaded, I’m sure. Thanks for shouting out to me so often!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, I came up from a rabbit hole and wondered how long I had been down this particular warren…Is it a short story I asked myself. It seems not …Chel and atheism…Mmmmm it seems I was as surprised as many…bring on part 2 …x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I had a religious upbringing as my father was an Anglican minister. I really stopped believing in God when I was in my late teens. It just didn’t make any logical sense to me. I always try to be respectful of other people’s beliefs however.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s