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Liberal Catholic turned atheist
#1
Liberal Catholic turned atheist
Hi all!

I'm new here, and other than my introduction this will be my first post.  Yay!

I was raised in a very liberal Catholic household.  My parents were very involved in liberation theology back in the day and even if they rarely agreed with The Pope or some of Catholicism's more questionable teachings, they were proud of their Catholic heritage, and I guess this rubbed off on me.  So I was happy to go to a Catholic primary school and received the sacraments expected of a Catholic child.  I never liked going to church, but was of the opinion that because so many people believed in god and Jesus, there must be some merit to Christianity.  I suppose the first chink in my admittedly moderate faith occurred one day at Catholic school.  On this day (I must have been in year 5 or 6), we were marched into a year 7 teacher's classroom (this was a big deal for us).  He asked us to get our bibles out and read a certain passage (I believe it was the one about Elijah ascending to heaven in a whirlwind).  He then asked us if this really happened.  Almost everyone, myself included, raised our hands.  The teacher then explained to us that this story along with many others in the bible almost certainly didn't happen:  they were just stories.  This was quite the revelation at the time.  Despite this, I still believed in god, Jesus, and heaven (I'm not sure that I ever truly believed in hell).

Fast forward a couple of years, and I'm now a young teenager attending a secular high school.  Thanks largely to my mother's influence, I became interested in Marxism (a philosophy to which I no longer subscribe).  When I first heard the phrase "religion is the opiate of the masses", it resonated with me, and I rejected not only Catholicism, but organised religion in general.  However, I still believed in some sort of wishy washy god and that there were generally good teachings in most faiths, including Christianity and the bible.  

At my high school, students who wished to do so could attend one hour of religious instruction per week.  Even though I no longer considered myself Catholic, I decided to receive this instruction.  These instructors however were some hardcore, hardline, old school Catholics and lectured us about the evils of abortion, pre-marital sex, Protestantism, and so forth.  Even though I never divulged that I was no longer of the faith, I asked lots of tricky questions that they simply could not answer.  They would usually say to the class "This boy is a thinker!  He'll be a great defender of the church one day!".  I wonder if anyone else has had similar experiences.  Anyway, that whole experience further soured my opinion of religion.  

It was around this time that I became friends with someone who is still one of my best friends today.  I soon learned that he was (and still is) an atheist.  I was shocked.  I had never met an atheist before and honestly found the notion laughable.  As I got to know him better, I soon learned what a reasonable person he is.  This significantly altered my views on god and what it is like to believe (or disbelieve in him).  One day this friend showed me an online debate (this was the early years of the internet and I did not yet have access at home) he had been watching in which someone stated that they were opposed to homosexuality, citing the bible as the basis for this belief.  Another poster then countered with some of the more vile passages from that book.  This was another revelation.  In my Catholic experience, the bible came second to the teachings of the church, so other than a few of the stories about Jesus, I was completely unaware of some of the horrid teachings of the bible.  My respect for Christianity sank even lower, but I did still believe in the wishy washy god I mentioned earlier.

Not long after this, I decided to actually look into the evidence or arguments for the existence of god.  I learned about the major ones, and I was once again shocked.  I thought "people have been believing in god for how many thousand years now, and this is the best that they've got?".  It was soon after this that I began to identify as atheist.  Since then I have studied the bible and life of Jesus further, several other religions and other arguments for the existence of god, and have come to the conclusion that agnostic atheism is the most reasonable stance I can take.  My nominally Catholic parents have no problem with my lack of belief, and these days most of my friends are atheists.  

Whew.

This thread has become a lot longer than I originally intended, and believe me, I could go on.  But there you have it:  my path from Catholic to atheist.

Thanks for reading.
- The Mgt.
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#2
RE: Liberal Catholic turned atheist
That's a very interesting journey you've been on, thanks for sharing it with us Smile

Well done on pursuing the truth, and not continuing to fall foul of the appeal to popularity. It's such a common mistake. (If many people believe it, it must be true). I understand its appeal, and from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense to act as the group is acting, for various reasons. But now we've developed beyond mere survival and tribalism, some of our instincts lead us astray in the quest for knowledge.

Your story shows how just being a nice, reasonable person can shatter the preconceptions people have about atheists.
Feel free to send me a private message.
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#3
RE: Liberal Catholic turned atheist
Nice username, too Smile
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

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#4
RE: Liberal Catholic turned atheist
(March 5, 2016 at 3:06 am)Alex K Wrote: Nice username, too Smile

Thanks.  I'm still waiting to meet Simon Moon  Smile
- The Mgt.
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#5
RE: Liberal Catholic turned atheist
Oh, gosh damn.

I'll let you learn on your own.
[Image: mtfbwyf.jpg]
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#6
RE: Liberal Catholic turned atheist
your story was an interesting read. It's funny that sometimes all it takes is for two people to look at each other and think "why on earth do I believe all this rubbish?". I think one big factor is that your parents don't seem to have been pushing your religion at all. From an early age you knew that being a Catholic wasn't *all there is*. Unfortunately, in many religious families, the kids aren't even shown the *possibility* of an alternative - and when they grow up, they've already been indoctrinated beyond the point of no return.

So I am pleased you finally shook off the burden and you can see life for what it is.
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