I don’t know if I can say I’ve deconverted as I was never religious to begin with.
I grew up mostly non-religious. My family practices ancestor-worship and there’s some belief in spirits, but I was never forced to take it seriously. As a pre-teen, I attended church for a few years. My little sister and I only went so that we could hang out with our friends from Chinese school. I never really believed, though I wanted to. (Same story with Santa Claus.) I did feel guilty when I stopped going. I think that even though I was in a pretty secular environment, some of the Christian sentiments filtered through, like the idea that people should be pious and that sex was shameful. Though not quite sure if a god existed, I was creeped out thinking something out there might be watching me in my private moments and read my thoughts.
After trying out Christianity for a bit, I think I came to be agnostic. I also had this absurd notion that I would find a religion that fit me eventually (I’d considered Buddhism, the other major religion in the area), and that I might even find my way back to Christianity. What I knew though was that Christianity was not right for me then.
Fast forward to after graduating college and looking for work, I got on the internet to learn more about astronomy and physics. I just wanted to watch youtube videos of the cosmos from the Hubble telescope and Phil Plait explaining astrophysics, but silly creationists couldn’t leave their dogma out of it. I read through their comments, which led me to videos between creationists and scientists/biologists/physicists/skeptics/atheists, which in turn led me to skeptic and atheist videos and blogs.
I also found the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The wiki entry for the FSM is the only wiki article that has ever made me laugh out loud.
I eventually read The God Delusion, and realized that “atheist” was a better label for me than “agnostic.” I don’t consider myself agnostic about the existence of leprechauns, unicorns, or ghosts, even though I don’t know for sure they don’t exist. It only made sense to group gods in with them, so although I don’t know 100% that no gods exist, the lack of evidence points to the high probability that they don’t.
These are some reasons why I don’t believe gods or other supernatural things exist. Though there are a ton of others: I was also lucky enough to live in a liberal part of the U.S., learn about awesome Greek myths in fourth grade, get a really great public education, learn about logic through math, and read a lot of fantasy books.
I would just say that I’ve gone through an enlightenment because it has been liberating to come to the realization that super entities don’t exist. I have learned to be more skeptical and consider how I know something to be true. I realize I have to take responsibility for my actions, that I control my life, what I do matters, and I want to do things that make the world a better place.
The reason I call myself an atheist though is because it’s become a necessity. I would still be all of the above without the atheist label, but religion (and irrationality) have been a real issue in this country and influence the laws here, so it seems necessary to remind the country that there are people who don’t believe. I really wish that people didn’t care if someone was an atheist and that their beliefs don’t cause real harm to society and individual people. As long as religion and belief are a point of contention, I will call myself an atheist.
Submitted by (jayggurl)