My story of how I became an Atheist is probably not amongst one of the most spectacular ones you’ll ever hear but I still want to tell my story. So here it goes:
My Dad was a Catholic on paper (though I now know that he’s a deist) and my mother was a Protestant on paper as well, though in retrospective I don’t know if she believed in Jesus as we never really talked about religion at all. The first time I heard of Jesus was if I remember correctly, in my first visit of church as a little boy on Christmas. Christmas, along with Easter was pretty much the only time we went to church and we did it for cultural reasons because everybody else went as well. All in all I was raised deistically with a sense of apathy towards the subject of God. We just lived and enjoyed life (as we do now as well) and that was it.
I was taught about the world religions in school, with an emphasis on Christianity of course but we also learned about Islam and the other world religions and what other people believe. I’m glad that we learned about the different belief systems in the world, because this gave me the first bit of perspective that I needed: There’s much disagreement among religions and who has the right God and who doesn’t.
By the age of about 12 I completely rejected the notion that Jesus was raised from the dead because at that time I came to know that the gospels borrowed from each other heavily and that we only got copies of copies of accounts written decades after the fact (I still can’t believe that my Catholic teacher told us that, yet she still believed it happened).
So Jesus was done for me at that point, but I still held on to some version of a deity. At that stage of my life I didn’t think about the topic at all and I didn’t really care all that much about the issue to be honest. I just figured if everybody believes it, then they must have some kind of justification.
At age 18 we learned about supposed evidences for God in school. These “evidences” included the 5 ways of Thomas Aquinas. Though we weren’t given any rebuttals to these arguments, I intuitively knew, that there was something wrong with them. Later the same year we also learned about theodicy which culminated in an answer that I found quite frankly outrageous: God works in mysterious ways and we can’t always understand his reasoning for doing what he does.
However I still didn’t reflect upon the issue too much. I was intellectually unsatisfied with the supposed evidence and the solution to theodicy that was offered but I didn’t let go of the “prime mover” yet.
Then I discovered some famous YouTubers like Jaclyn Glenn and The Amazing Atheist (at that point I didn’t know what an Atheist was; I did know that there are people who don’t believe in God but I didn’t know the term). Watching some of their content also including some of their videos on Christianity and Islam, which I largely agreed with, must’ve programmed the YouTube algorithm somehow because then I came across Hemant Mehta the Founder of FriendlyAtheist.com and I watched some of his videos which I again largely agreed with.
At that point I decided to investigate whether my belief in a deity was warranted. I found myself empty handed. After watching some debates including William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, David Silverman and Christopher Hitchens (wish you were still among us) as well as rebuttals from other YouTubers it only confirmed to me, that I really had no reason to believe. At that point I became an Atheist but didn’t want to be outspoken about it (and frankly I’m not an “in your face” Atheist in the real world though my Dad and a friend of mine who asked me knows about my Atheism) but then I watched the Nye vs Ham debate. I wanted to teach the bewildered followers of Ken Ham on Twitter how evolution works, however as I soon discovered, they weren’t basing their beliefs on reason and evidence but on faith alone. I then found myself having fun in these discussions about science and God as well as Philosophy and after I saw what religion can do to people (like Ken’s ilk, but others as well) I decided to follow other Atheist accounts which led me to where I’m at today.
My road to Atheism was probably easier than for most former believers in deities and is probably not that interesting but that was how it happened.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation