First I’m going to get a few things that are NOT the reasons.
1- I don’t hate God. I don’t believe in any god, and haven’t for 35 years now. I can’t hate him. I DO have issues with his fan club, but that isn’t the same thing
2- I didn’t want to live a sinful lifestyle. I was only 10 years old when I figured it out. I didn’t even know what a sinful lifestyle was.
3- It’s not that I’d have to change my life now. I’m married and live closer to what the Bible says than most Christians. Other than I’d lose some free time on Sunday and I’d have to stop using most of my jokes, I wouldn’t have to change anything.
So now the story.
I seem to be a bit different than a lot of other atheists in one thing. I went from totally believing and praying everyday, to totally not believing in about a week. Most seem to agonize over it for quite awhile. I didn’t have that. I did have a period of time where I wanted to be wrong, but I never seriously thought that I was.
For background, my parents were both pretty religious. But they were also both college educated and valued science. They took me to museums and zoos and I watched a lot of PBS. I knew there was no doubt the Universe was very old, and that evolution happened. But they always took the approach that it wasn’t a literal day, and other than that the story fit pretty well.
That seemed reasonable to me until I was in Sunday School the one week and they started writing the things Genesis actually said on the chalk board.
Day 1- light, the Earth and the Universe – OK
Day 2- Water. Now they started talking about how the water above was divided from the water below. That seemed wrong, but this one I could let go.
Day 3- Plants. I don’t know if this was something I questioned right away or not, but I know I did in the days right after. Plants evolved the same time as animals and I knew that.
Day 4- The Sun, Moon, and stars – I remember being told this like it was yesterday. It was the stupidest thing I ever heard. First off, the Sun was way older than plants not to mention that the plants NEED the Sun to live. Second, the light was on day one with the Earth. That made sense in that the Sun formed the same time. But now they are saying that the main source of light was after the plants….wow.
I didn’t really pay much more attention. This was so breathtakingly stupid that the Bible couldn’t possibly say that. The teacher is just wrong.
That worked until I got home. I had a Bible, so I opened up. I found out that it really did say that. That was shocking to me, because it clearly meant that this book didn’t know how we got here….which means that it wasn’t inspired by God. I pretty much knew right then that I wasn’t a Christian.
Like I said, it happened really fast. I didn’t know another atheist. I wasn’t talked into it by anyone. I didn’t even know what the word for it was. I just knew that the Bible had it fundamentally wrong. That first week, I thought about it a lot. I couldn’t come up with a reason to believe in any god at this point. The Universe seemed to have natural explanations for the big things, and any details would fill in eventually. Introducing magic into the mix didn’t seem like it made sense.
And it still doesn’t.