Becoming an Atheist

The slow erosion of my belief in God was something I never intended, and frankly, was something I never saw coming.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when this erosion began. I’ve always had questions about my faith, as I believe most people have, from a young age. Even the most devout believer will admit there is a lot about Christianity that just doesn’t make a lick of sense. How is it possible to be both three gods and one god at the same time? Where did God come from? How could he have always existed? If the world was only created less than 10,000 years ago, where do dinosaurs fit in? How do we even know that the Bible is true?

These questions (and many, many more) remain generally unanswered, to the point that even adults who are rock solid in their understanding of Christianity must simply accept them as truth on faith, confident that the answers are impossible for mere humans to comprehend. How do we know that the Bible is the true, inerrant word of God? Obviously because we have faith that it is so. Why then must we hold to this unwavering faith? Because the Bible tells us to.

And round and round it goes.

For most of my life, blind faith was good enough. If it was good enough for literally every other person I knew, why should I be any different? They certainly knew more than me, and accepting the mysterious, incomprehensible machinations of the almighty God was a simple answer to all of the questions I had. It was easy, and thinking about them was hard. That isn’t to say I never tried. I studied the bible and prayed to God for answers as any good Christian should. Ultimately though, regardless of the question at hand, if you go far enough down the rabbit hole you will eventually reach the inevitable conclusion that His ways are higher than our own. Like I said, that was good enough.

Until it wasn’t.

In the end, it was the concept of Hell that set me on the path of no return. Now, I’m not talking about the more modern “Hell of Separation” popularized by C.S. Lewis (though that has problems of its own). No, I’m talking about the Hell described by Jesus himself, the one into which unbelievers are discarded as a punishment from God, forsaken there to suffer unimaginable pain for all eternity without hope of escape. The idea has always repulsed me, but when you’re indoctrinated from a young age, it’s difficult to reject such a concept, regardless of your true feelings toward it. I hated the idea of Hell, but I accepted it because that’s just what you do when you’re a Christian. It’s a necessary evil, right? A necessary evil, one that exists because God created all things that exist, a perfectly omnibenevolent God… okay, again, let’s try not to think too hard about that particular aspect.

So why is Hell so bad, and actually bad enough that it eventually led to me giving up my beliefs altogether? It’s about justice, and the fact that Hell is its very antithesis. In a letter to my family announcing my deconversion, I went into some detail explaining why this is, but it’s far too lengthy and personal to post here for the world to see. However, the crux of it is this: there is no crime terrible enough to deserve the punishment of Hell. Consider for a moment what Hell actually is, as it’s described in the Bible. It consists of being burned alive – widely considered one of, if not the, most painful ways to die imaginable – except that it is impossible to actually die. The offender is forced to endure this horrific torture indefinitely. Every second of this pain is unbearable, and yet they must bear it for billions upon billions of years, and even then their suffering has hardly begun. But who is this offender that deserves such unfathomable punishment? Would even the worst offenders in the history of the world, those whose crimes can be set and defined to be finite, deserve infinite suffering? I can’t imagine how that would be so. Eventually the punishment will sufficiently atone for the crime and should end. That is the very definition of justice. Hell is a repugnant mutilation of the idea of justice, one that only a human could think up.

But even all of that is avoiding the actual problem of Hell. Because if we’re really honest here, we have to acknowledge what the true Christian believes, even if they are loath to admit it. It’s not only the worst of humanity that is tossed into the lake of fire. It is the Hindu who devotes his life to peace and bettering the cause of humanity. It is the innocent 13-year-old girl in Africa who has never heard of “Jesus” or “Christians.” In fact, if you take the Bible at face value and reject the invented concept of the age of accountability, then it is the baby who dies days after birth due to a congenital heart disease that now faces the flames of hell for all eternity.

To call this ideology perverse would be a vast understatement beyond anything I can imagine. There is already enough suffering in this world. The idea that we could create a whole other plane of existence that consists of naught but unfathomable pain for all eternity makes me feel sick to my stomach.


Except, not only did I imagine it, but I once believed it to be true. I now look back and wonder how that was ever possible, how any rational person can subscribe to such an awful concept. After some time and considerable soul-searching (so to speak), I came to the realization that Hell does not exist. Besides the fact that it makes no sense logically or physically, there’s also no proof of its existence. If such a proof were ever offered, one that could be scientifically measured and verified… well, I would still find the concept abominable, but I at least then would be forced to acknowledge it as a possibility. I am thankful that no such proof will ever be found.

But if it’s proof I demand, shouldn’t that extend not only to Hell, but to all facets of my faith? Once I finally relented and could see no choice but to answer that question in the affirmative, there was no going back. With a new sense of objectivity, I began looking at my own religion in the same way I looked at everyone else’s, and it simply didn’t hold up to even the slightest bit of actual scrutiny. Suddenly, the world made sense in a way that it never did before. I no longer had to question why bad things happen to good people (there is no reason and life is random), or why we have never seen real proof of miracles (because they don’t exist), or wonder about the ultimate meaning behind our existence (there is no meaning except the one we make for ourselves).

In the end, the world looks exactly the same without God as it did with him, and that tells me everything I need to know.

Now I find myself starting over in a sense, because even though the world hasn’t changed, my perception of it certainly has. What I see is scary and interesting and wonderful. I see a place full of humans just like me, searching for the truth in whatever way they know how. For some, that truth is belief in Yahweh or Jesus or Allah or one of the many other gods that are purported to exist. Some take a more general spiritual approach, and some have decided that it is simply good enough to not seek any kind of truth at all. For me – and as I’m increasingly learning, a huge number of people just like me – it meant rejecting the unfounded faith of my childhood and rediscovering the truths of the world through logic, evidence, and reason, all without the need for the supernatural or any kind of god at all.

I am an Atheist, and I’m not ashamed to call myself one. There’s generally a negative connotation with that term, especially where I live in the south. People make the assumption that atheism implies some kind of beef with God, or that I’ve simply become disillusioned, or even that I’m actually secretly a Satanist or some bizarre such notion. What it really means, though, is that I’ve looked hard at the arguments, the evidence for and against God, and have come to my own rational conclusions based on what science has proven to exist, not on what I arbitrarily believe or do not believe.

Such is how my journey truly begins, in whatever short time I still have left in this world. All I can hope for is to make the most of that time as possible.

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13 Responses to Becoming an Atheist

  1. Tejas Greem says:

    Spot on. Religion is bullshit.

  2. Thomas says:

    Hell always bothered me as was awakening from the slumber of religion. It was Pascal niggling in the back of my mind, “What if you’re wrong,” that kept a residual soul in me. Eventually it was a YouTube video that set me free of the fear of hell. ‘Why Don’t Scientists Fear Hell’ by philhellenes was formative, unshackling me from the last, little terror, I hope it helps others Wonderful post, by the way. Look forward to reading more.

  3. Great post. You make some really interesting points, it’s a thought provoking topic isn’t it? I’ve just published a blog post on atheism as a result of travel- I’d love for you to take a look!

  4. Don says:

    Institutionalized religious circular reasoning: Dinosaurs lived millions of years before man because my government preachers and texts say dinosaurs lived during the age of reptiles, which was later proven by bones (often still containing unfossilized tissue and blood) found near isotopes that happen date to the age of reptiles

    But in reality isotopes are more easily corrupted than any texts ever could be and the only thing evolving is evolutionism where our public school pantheists preach “oh wow that bird must be a avian-like reptile and that whale and beaver and bat, etc.. etc..must be mammal-like reptiles”

  5. Don says:

    Actually, the Bible tells us that men’s conscience can save them because the laws are written on their hearts, particularly those who haven’t heard the word.. Likewise, its man’s own conscience that places him in heaven or hell for he goes into a dream state after death until the rapture where he then either goes to be with the Lord or dies is eternally destroyed by the second death via a lake of fire. Only those immortal parasitic beings will suffer eternal bondage–possibly to further put all that energy to more good use–fine tuned tectonics

  6. Don says:

    Justin, your whole diatribe is based on what the Bible says but I showed that you do not actually know what it says.

    • The whole point of my “diatribe” is that the Bible is not true. You are the one using claims from the Bible as evidence in support of your worldview, and so the onus lies on you to prove that it is true. So again I ask, how do you know that it is true?

      • Don says:

        You are changing the goal post again. I was showing you that your understanding of the Bible was wrong and thus so the foundation of your worldview. But, yes my worldview depends greatly on what the Bible says and what many great Christians, the greatest scientists ever, say about it. Like them, Jesus miraculously saved my life and turned it around and He continues to speak to me and so many others with good logical revelations.

  7. Don says:

    Your welcome but this still mean you wont debate Dawkins and Bible?

  8. Andrew Bain says:

    Addressing your wheel of power.
    I totally get where you’re coming from. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there are many people who actually think that is logical, because so few people are critical thinkers anymore.

    It’s interesting to me that you admit that “Blind Faith” was once enough for you, as you appear to be a deep thinker. I think there are probably a lot of people who identify with that as well, and wouldn’t admit it, and I view that as a failure of the church.

    But that aside, I’d like you to know that my faith, as a Christian of 31 years now, is not a blind faith. It may have started out that way when I was younger, but as I grew, and my faith grew and I began to recognize the importance of apologetics in sharing the truth of Jesus. I sought out answers to many questions I had about my faith, and as I searched, my faith grew stronger. Yours appears to have gone in the opposite direction, leading you to no faith in God at all.

    So, the wheel of power does absolutely represent circular reasoning. Therefore, it in no way validates the truth of the Bible. But it also in no way invalidates the truth of the Bible.
    So, how do we know the Bible is the Word of God?
    Because of Science.

    Nothing about faith in the existence of God should be blind. We know God exists because his creation exists. Just as we know there had to be a painter if we see a painting before us, or there had to be a writer if a book is before us. His creation includes all the sciences. Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, Geology… all point directly to the necessity of a creator to even exist. The Scientific method is proof of an intelligent God who placed intelligence into us.

    So, because creation exists, with all of its sciences, in all of its glory, design, and order, we have to ask the question, where did it all come from?

    So there are two hypotheses’:
    1) There had to have been a creator
    2) There was originally nothing, and then, somehow, there was something.

    So, the issue isn’t about blind faith. The issue is what do we conclude from the evidence we see all around us?
    To me, logic demands an intelligent creator best explains creation had to have had a creator. Because the concept of everything coming from nothing is scientifically impossible. We never see order from chaos. We never see anything new being created from destruction. The sciences tell us that the universe is “winding down”. What wound it up? Stars are burning out. Life comes after it’s own kind. We don’t see any animal kind changing into a different kind. Instead, all life comes from previous life of it’s own kind. And, pardon the pun, nothing also comes from nothing, after it’s own kind.

    “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.”
    – Charles Darwin

    Instead, we see them nowhere.

    “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.”
    – Charles Darwin

    Absolutely absurd. You’d have to have an awful powerful amount of faith to believe that.

    So the concept of everything ultimately coming from nothing seems to me to be logically and scientifically impossible. Especially since part of the scientific method demands that before something moves from a hypothesis to a law, it has to be observable, and repeatable. If we can’t use the sciences to create anything from nothing, then this is not observable, nor repeatable, so how does it make sense that it would logically be true? So, where did everything come from?

    Okay, so, what about the Bible?
    Well, if you do take the route of a creator, then the Bible is your best, most logical avenue to take to figure out who that creator is.
    According to the Oxford Handbook of Atheism, only 7% of the global adult population subscribe to Atheism. Which means that 93% have at least some persuation that there might be, or is a God. Who that God is, is another matter entirely, and there are a whole lot of religions out there to choose from, so how does one choose!?
    Well, the Bible makes a lot of claims, so we have to put them to the test.
    The Bible claims to be the Word of God. Okay, let’s disprove it. How do you begin to do that? You have to prove that something it says is untrue. If something it says is inaccurate, or untrue, then the whole thing is tainted, and should therefore be discarded as just another book. For if the God who created the universe can’t write a perfect book, he could not possibly be God.

    The Bible claims to be the source of truth. It claims to be infallible, and inerrant.
    Okay, show me definitve, scientific proof that the Bible is not everything it claims to be.

    You seem to spend most of your time talking about how God cannot possibly exist because you don’t like what He says, or you don’t like what you think that He says. Much of what you claim Christians believe is not in the Bible. And much of what you say the Bible says, it doesn’t say.

    You may not like what’s in it, but that doesn’t make it not true. Hell is not a comfortable thing to think about. I don’t personally like the fact that Hell exists, and the punishment seems unjust to me too. But that must mean that we do not fully understand the magnitude of sin. And it’s not God’s fault that we sin. It’s ours. If you’re afraid of Hell, or your kids or your wife, or people you love are afraid of Hell, they should run to the Bible to find their way out of it. And it’s really simple. Believe in Jesus. Acts 16:30-31

    What if they don’t? It’s their choice. They have free will. We can beg, plead and cry. We can use every angle we can think of. You can drag a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You can try every day. You can try every minute of every day. But ultimately, it’s their own choice to be persuaded or not.

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