“I tell you, sometimes it feels much longer, but I’ve been an atheist for a little over a year and a half. My initial problem with Christianity was the obligation to attend church. Contrary to what some of the congregants believed, I didn’t go to church often because of constraints. The weekday services were out of the question; I attended classes during the day and worked evenings. That was my schedule right up until I transferred to my current college”.
After I acquainted myself with the curriculum, I decided to register for an introductory anthropology course. Of course, I registered for other classes, but this was the class I enjoyed most during that semester. It was also the class that brought me to question my beliefs. I began to learn of other cultures, religions, lifestyles, traditions, and philosophies. I admired the full diversity of their ways of life. I started to realize that a universal objective view on morality was implausible whilst I learned of other moral views. I remember in one session we spoke of a people who bury their elderly alive on the sands of a beach; everything but their heads are buried. If they can survive or escape their predicament, they can live on. As the Professor spoke of these people, most of my peers mumbled and became uneasy. At this point during the course, I was used to hearing the seemingly strange and absurd. At this point I grinned because I knew my Professor had a response to their discomfort. Indeed she did. She asked: “is there a difference between what they do and what we do? Do we not put our elderly in nursing homes in where they are often mistreated and abused? Do we not abandon our parents when they reach a certain age?” Of course, the questions didn’t apply to all Americans, but how can anyone look down on a tradition that is similar to their own? Thus, I started to adopt relativist point of views.*
However, the true breaking point was our discussion concerning social constructs. Many examples were given, but I was most intrigued by one in particular. Does the dollar have real value? Indeed a difficult question to grapple with. That question led me to ask a similar question, albeit vaguely in correlation if not wholly independent of that question: does the Bible have real truth?
This question became quite the focus. It followed me as I decided to minor in anthropology. It followed me as I registered for a course in Hinduism. Learning about Hinduism sparked an interest in Buddhism and Jainism. As I looked into these religions, I saw many parallels with my own. The only aspect of Christianity that had me in its grips was “the gifts of the spirit.” Its fingers started to relinquish their grip as I learned that Hindus and Muslims could also perform miracles and faith healing. However, I still had the devil to blame, but the devil was no answer for the next wonder of Sufi Islam: casting out of evil spirits. Satan cannot cast out Satan (Matthew 12:26). Thus, at this point, there was either a god who transcends all religious titles or a natural explanation for the seemingly supernatural. However, before I became a Deist, I questioned the gift of tongue speaking. It has been studied in the field of neuroscience; it is known as glossolalia and other religious devotees speak in tongues as well. Therefore, I was left with no reason to believe in the Bible. I was left with no reason to be a Christian. Since then, I have ventured further into the realms of non-belief; hence I’ve gathered evidence that further disproves what I now know to be true—the Judeo-Christian god does not exist.
What about Deism? What about consciousness? While I admit to having been a Deist for a short time, I realized that the possibility of such an abstraction is even more implausible. Therefore, when it comes to both of these beliefs, I’m an agnostic. Perhaps there is a creator. Perhaps there is a designer. Perhaps there is a conglomerate of designers. At this point in time, I cannot pretend to know that. Nonetheless, there is one fact I know for certain: theistic conceptions—whether we speak of Ahura Mazda, Allah, Yahweh, or Marduk—do not exist. There is no hell; there are no Narakas; there are no Jahannam. There is no heaven; there is no paradise; there will be no new Earth. I can only be certain of this: I am alive right now. This is why I’m an atheist.
*I am no longer a relativist. I’m a procedural realist from an ethical standpoint and a consequentialist from a more pragmatic standpoint.
To learn more about my process, watch this video series; the link will take you to the first video: 2.0 Deconversion. If you are interested, watch the entire series. This man’s process correlates with mine in so many ways. A Christian doesn’t become an atheist because they desire to rebel or backslide. The reasons are much more profound and much more honest. Familiarize yourself with the reasons why some of us question the Bible before you ask why we question it.