Losing My Faith

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was the problem of suffering that led me to start examining biblical morality, or rather lack of. My mother was a pillar of the church, nursery school teacher, later school crossing guard (she loved kids), worked as many hours in a week in the local PTA thrift shop for free as most people work in a week, visited the elderly, took them out to eat, and for those she did not know, donated her time to delivering meals to them. She was the most loving and selfless person I ever met. Then come her 60's and she is rewarded with Parkinson's disease, instead of just simple aging. But that wasn't enough, through severe arthritis on top of it because there's really no suffering like shaking arthritic joints. This kept her from doing the one thing she looked forward to - going to church. That's some plan and reward that an all-loving being had for her. She would never have flooded the earth to destroy evil along with innocent animals. I came to see my mother as being more moral than supposedly the most moral being - quite a paradox and irony. I could see no moral purpose to the suffering of the Boxing Day tsunami - 250,000 people gone. I wondered what purpose some of their slow deaths by drowning, served. For a while, I just decided that the biblical god just let things happen to see what we each would do with our own situations, but then I realized I was simply creating my own religion without any foundation just in order to continue having belief. That was quite a dilemma.

A friend introduced me to Reddit for the humor and the like, and one day I ran across this sub. I did not care for some of the tones of a number of posts, so I placed those aside and just focused on the information, discussion, and links to debates on YT with Bart Ehrman, Hitchens, Dennet, and Harris. More moral arguments against religion. Jesus never spoke against slavery, demouncing it for the horror that it is, but rather, used it in his teachings. Then I looked at everything else - no evidence of indisputable medical miracles (amputees regrowing lost limbs), archaeological and historical evidence showing the origins of the OT (some stories borrowed from the Babylonians), medical explanations and treatment for demonic possession, errors/contradictions/revisions in supposedly sacred Christian texts thus requiring apologetics and showing that therefore the Bible could not be a book for anyone because it required special explanations. Add onto that the scientific claims the Bible gets wrong, along with superior explanations for existence, and I then just let it go - no drama or theatrics - I just let it go.

I then went on a search for morality, and found my answer not in the ancient Greek philosophers, but in the Bible - the Ten Commandments - rules to prevent suffering for followers. But I noticed that some of the rules made sense universally (don't kill, steal, commit adultery) while others were just religious rules that mean something only to Christians (idolatry, keeping the Sabbath holy, etc.), who were taught to become upset if these rules were broken when in fact no emotional or physical suffering had actually occurred. That's when I came to see morality as simply consisting of those actions that reduce emotional and physical suffering, actions that reduce suffering regardless of age, gender, status, occupation, religion, culture, status, etc. Without reading about the origins of morality, I discovered it. Religions don't teach followers how to think morally (reduce suffering), but rather what to think morally (follow these rules). What an eye opener that was.

Since leaving religion, I have become a more caring and loving person. I haven't come out with my non-belief to everyone, though I will address an immoral thought from a believer if I hear it.

Anyway, those are the major happenings, if you will, in my path to non-belief. I am thankful for the moral freedom I now have, as well as being able to see the world for what it truly is, having a greater appreciation for its problems, because this is all we have.

Good luck to you in your search for truth.

/r/atheism Thread