I am a Bright, are you?

(Via Erika Cowen)

All my life I have been puzzled how so many intelligent people I know and trust appear to believe in a god. The same goes for ghosts, life after death, superstitions and astrology.
I joined a local Freethinkers Group three years ago and became aware of Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett's writings.

I suddenly felt understood after years of confusion :)

Now I spend many happy hours listening to them on Youtube and have proudly registered as a "Bright".
A bright is an individual whose worldview is naturalistic (free from supernatural and mystical elements).

Tabula Rasa

(Via Adam P.)

My story isn't particularly interesting, nor is it filled with much adversity, so, it may make for a boring read, but I feel it is important to share this information to let other people know it is okay to believe this way.

At the age of about 8 or 9, my parents thought they should do their parental duty and give me some kind of religious education. They are not religious in the least, but felt the pressure from society.

Now, growing up, I never even had the notion of god in my head, as my parents always had a reasonable answer to my curious wonderings, without resorting to the idiot-proof 'God did it.' argument.
So, going to Sunday school at age 8, it was a little to late in my development to be indoctrinated. And for that I am thankful.

So, I went to Sunday School and all of that jazz until about age 12. That was also the time that I had first read the Bible cover-to-cover, and I distinctly remember being absolutely horrified at the kind of injustices and contradictions that confronted me on almost every page. Even at that young age, I was able to tell that all of this was a man-made charade.

Again, luckily I had parents who didn't force anything upon me, and as time has gone by I have found more and more people, and more and more information that confirms that I am outside the bubble of delusion.

How I became a non-believer

(Via Hollis Geary)

Born this way.
Had some life problems. Investigated the super natural. Rejected the super natural.

Very happy now

Overcoming Faith

(Via Caleb T.)

I was raised by hyper religious parents, and I went to a private Christian school for the first decade of my education. Quite literally everyone I spoke to, every friend I had, and every adult-figure in my life was a fundamentalist Christian. The thought of atheism was to my young mind silly, though I felt sorry for all the people for their future stint in hell.

At the age of seventeen, I began to question things. I am bisexual, and it was at that age that I began to realize this fact about myself. For the first time I picked up a Bible and read it completely - from Genesis to Revelations, and for the first time I began to realize how barbaric and silly most of it was. It was at this point I became a deist. (I did not as of yet have the courage to reject God completely.)

I quickly graduated to an agnostic, and then more slowly developed into the militant atheist I am today. I still find myself mumbling prayers to myself, and I still have a bit of a fear of hellfire. These things are still so ingrained in me due to my conscription (I 'accepted' Christ at the age of 6) that it disgusts me, but over the years I am slowly healing, and slowly overcoming faith.

My atheist story

(Via Kevin Forbes)

When I was a young man, I existed in that realm of what could be called "Sort of Christian." That is, I believed in God and Jesus, but I didn't study the Bible and I didn't go to Church.

When I reached the age of fifteen, my family decided to become 'religious' and as a result I was brought to Church for the first time that didn't involve weddings or funerals. That summer I became a born again Christian. In that time I got to experience the joys of religious hypocrites. I eventually abandoned the idea of Church, which was the first nail in the religious coffin.

Although I abandoned church, it would be much longer before I abandoned god. I lost my actual faith in the early twenties. I don't remember why I initially abandoned Christianity. It might have been my budding interest in Philosophy or my problems with depression. I do remember that it was for the wrong reasons-I abandoned Christianity because I was mad, not because I didn't believe in it.

Floundering around for some sense of certainty, I rediscovered the Problem of Evil, in it's form laid down by Epicurus. If you aren't familiar with it look it up. It left me with two choices:

I could accept the compelling arguments against god.
I could pretend that I never heard it and continue to live a life I honestly didn't believe.

I chose the former, and it changed my life.

Confederacy of Dunces

(Via Michael Bunn)

I was not raised religious. My family's religious background is Unitarian Universalist, a faith that I truly respect for its inclusiveness and beautiful message of peace, as well as its uniqueness among Judeo-Christian sects in its adherence to the message it espouses. Its focus is not on Jesus or God, but on general respect for life through friendship, love, and charity. I grew up with not a Bible, but a thin guidebook containing messages of morality. God was never mentioned in my house until my younger sister and I heard about him from neighbors and friends. When I inquired about it, my mother told me that 'God is the light in our hearts that shows us how to be good people.' Had my best friend growing up not been a stalwart Christian, I doubt I would have even heard that.

I grew up loving science: exploring the woods behind my house, looking up at the night sky, and knowing the Latin name of every dinosaur. I knew what a quark was before I could write in cursive, and religious explanations for natural phenomena never passed through my mind.

I never really thought of my views as different from the norm until the fourth grade. I was doing group work with two classmates of mine, Delonte and Karla (who was, incidentally, my first crush; I remember being ecstatic when at her 7th birthday party - Power Rangers theme - she went as the yellow ranger - I was the blue ranger, and the blue ranger was always getting the Asian tang on the show, but I digress;) when somehow the origin of the universe came up in discussion. Delonte asked me how I thought the universe was created. I told him that there was no definitive answer, but many scientists thought that there was a "big bang" that had shot out lots of energy which became matter.

Being in fourth grade, I didn't quite know the details of string theory, but if I had, I wouldn't have been able to explain them, because Delonte proceeded to ask Karla.

"God made it!" she said confidently.

"That's right!" Delonte replied. "Damn, Mikey, I thought you were smart..."
I was harassed for the rest of the day by the numerous students who Delonte found who shared his knowledge of the irrefutable truth. Come get the smart kid, he doesn't have the answer this time! We do! Our parents told us the explanation simple enough for a child to fully understand.

I remember coming home and crying to my mother about it. How did I not know about this God. How did I lack the certainty that all the other kids had? And WHY would a loving God send his believers to attack another child for his lack of indoctrination?

But I knew why. I'd always known why but had thought only in uncertain terms. Not anymore. I said it to myself in bed that night: There is no God.

I can only thank my parents for supporting me and not brainwashing me as a child, allowing me to think freely and come to my own conclusions about the world around me.

Thinking back to this story I always recall a quote by Jonathan Swift, a quote that inspired the title of one of my favorite books:

"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him"