My own path to atheism feels like an easy road when compared to many of the heavily indoctrinated people whohavebroken free. My story is a much more gradual processthat started with the church itselfdriving my whole family away in one swift move. It was before I was born when my aunt gave birth to a still born child. As you would expect of a long term church member and greiving mother she approached the church requesting a ceremony and burial with the other family members buried there. She was told the church would have nothing to do with her “the child was born into sin and as it was never baptised it died in sin”. Talk about kicking her while she was down… The family was outraged and all moved away from all church involvement. Most family members became anti-church but not necassarily anti-god (I’m unsure if there is a specific term for this, but the idea that god exists but that the church and all its teachings are evil and corrupt prevailed).
I was sent to Bible classes in the belief that it was good to understand Christianity and my parents liked the idea of their children being informed enough to make their own decision. The classes never really took, I was doubtful from the start about the many unbelieveable stories, but simply too young to understand what was wrong with what I was hearing. While many of my friends quickly made their minds up saying “its too crazy, I’m atheist” or “I felt God in my heart, I’m Christian now” I was left wanting to answer all of the outstanding questions.
I read every book I could find, watched movies and DVDs on the subject and studied the numerous angles of the debate. I would say it was a gradual dawning of realisation that only one side of the arguement had evidence and data to back up its claims. Time and time again a question would be asked of science, “how did x occur?”, “why is x the way it is?”, and while the answers weren’t always easy to understand or quick to find they were always there. While on the other side of the debate I kept getting frustrating non-answers like “its God’s will” or “who are we to judge God?”.
Reading The God Delusion once again let me look at the debate from new angles and if only I’d read this earlier I might have saved a lot of time learning what this book quickly and clearly explains. I’m happy to say I’m a firm atheist and glad to be living in a country (New Zealand) where religious fanatics are rare and usually treated with the contempt they deserve.