How I became an atheist

Daniel Florien over on Unreasonable Faith has been collecting coming-to-atheism stories. This was my brief capsule description:

I was brought up Roman Catholic, including going to parochial school, and was quite into it in my pre-teens – altar boy and all that. Reading the Bible and the various extra-scriptural stuff, I just couldn’t find a way to make it make sense. I tried, though. I even rewrote many of the parts that didn’t make sense, which didn’t go down well with the nuns.

Finally I gave up on Christianity. I examined other religious traditions, hoping they’d do better. They didn’t, although I did have to admit they were interesting to learn about (and made me realize anew that the Catholic tradition I’d grown up with was as weird as any of them). I wasn’t concerned much with community, but I love mythology and ritual. I just wanted it to make sense, and none of it ever did.

Giving up the ‘belief in belief’ was the hardest part. Syncretic paganism satisfied me for a while, rolling my own rituals and riffing on any mythology that appealed to me at the time, but I couldn’t really escape the fact that I was just making it up for the fun of it. I slowly shaded over into purer types of fun, like Discordianism and Sub-Genius.

Finally I just left it behind, coming to enjoy my little rituals as pure OCD indulgence instead of trying to force them into meaning anything, enjoying the myths on the same level as any other type of fiction, and drawing on science and hard-headed skepticism for compiling knowledge.

I’ve been much happier and more centered ever since.


~ by B.T. Murtagh on July 25, 2008.

2 Responses to “How I became an atheist”

  1. Christianity led me to it. Not so much in the “corrupt machine” sort of way, although that had it’s play too. But it had to do with how I started to see the Bible and understand it as a whole story that is filled with mostly metaphor and some facts and not just bits of stories and rules that are 100% true. And at the end of the day it just like Jerry Springer says “take care of yourself and each other.” Well that sounds ok to me.

  2. I think it had something to do with the opposition to female priests. If I’m not welcome except in a supporting role, I’m not all that interested. And then the rationalizing… Any little coincidence gets called God’s action – but if your prayers aren’t answered, He’s not to blame. And the final straw is the Catholic church’s rule that anyone who admits any knowledge of child sexual abuse by priests is subject to automatic excommunication. The Church is an evil institution.

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