Everyone has their story about how they came to their faith or how they lost it, and this is mine.
I was adopted at a very young age by two loving parents who had originally belonged to two different sects of Christianity (my father a Baptist, my mother a Catholic). Eventually my mom nagged my dad enough that he too considered himself a Catholic (funny how that works), and thus I was also labeled as a Catholic. Of course I had to go to church every week and was 'confirmed' by the catholic church (basically a little ceremony where they congratulate you on becoming an adult in the eyes of the church, while ironically in reality you've just been deluded into continuing to believe fairly tales you were told as a child). I would also like to note that my parents were very good parents. They raised me well and I am forever in debt to them. I love them very much, and none of this religion crap will ever change that. Anyway, to continue...
This went on until I was about 16 and started to more thoroughly question the teachings of my religion and religion in general. Don't get me wrong, I questioned a lot of the crap they tried to teach me before I was 16, but it took that long for it to bother me enough to look into it. At 16 I was able to embrace my skepticism and more accurately embrace the idea that what I had been taught to be true was nothing of the sort. It was all confirmed after taking some upper level biology courses and understanding how things came to be rather than the intelligent design shit I had been spoon-fed by people who either knew it wasn't true or were too dumb to know better.
After successfully dumping my irrational belief in the deity of the bible, I studied and learned about a couple of other major religions and saw that they were packed full of the same kind of bullshit (faith without evidence makes you gullible, not "holy" or "spiritual").
At this point (about 17) I guess I was more of an agnostic because although I didn't believe in any kind of religion, I still felt there might be some kind of deity out there. This continued until I was almost 21 when I had actually studied and heard many of the arguments for and against atheism, and decided that it made a hell of a lot more sense than any of the religious BS I had ever heard of, and was a better choice than just claiming we can't possibly ever know, which is obvious and not helpful (I'll cover agnosticism in another blog).
And then a few years later I started using youtube and found lots of people with whom I agreed, and many with whom I didn't. I got better at forming my own arguments and reasons for what I think to be true, and what I think is complete bullshit. The main point of all of this is that a healthy amount skepticism and yearning for information is good, and if anyone else tells you otherwise, they probably have their own interests in mind, not yours. Nobody really benefits from their atheism other than living in reality and not being duped into believing a bronze-aged myth. The only real benefit of converting someone to atheism is that there is one more rational, skeptical person in the world while there is one less irrational, faith-based, prayer-blabbering, solve-nothing-while-thinking-they-are-doing-something dumbasses that think they have the mysteries of the universe all figured out. I'm glad to say that I never got that far with my 'faith,' and learned pretty quickly that it takes a certain kind of person to be religious, and I wasn't that type of person.
I am happy to report that my loss of faith didn't do anything but sharpen my mind. This alerted me that to some people, the idea of a god is extremely important. There seem to be those who can't live without the faith that they were raised into (or have their own personal miracle story), and that you will never convince them otherwise (and that even if you did it would make them miserable). Coming to accept that a long-held belief of yours isn't true is hard to do, no matter what the circumstances, and religion must be the hardest for people to let go of. But having a hard time admitting you're wrong doesn't make you right, now does it?
More to come,