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Andrew Buchmann

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When, how, and why did you become an atheist?

When- the time and place in your life
How- the process of realization
Why- what were the reasons for the change

If you were an atheist your whole life, maybe share your experiences of growing-up in a dogmatic theistic world.

Topics: atheism
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    Jun 2 2011: I'll share my story:

    I was born into a very loving Catholic family. For most of my life I attended church every Sunday, usually without too much hassle. No little kid really wanted to be waking up to go to church on Sunday. Every church I attended had great priests. There was one priest who influenced me a great deal. I was an alter boy for Father John for years at this one church. The community was great, they loved me, and I loved them. They all knew I had aspirations to be the Pope (it was a joke that I was going to skip everything else and just go right to being the Pope).

    What I now see as my "turning point," happened on Christmas Eve mass some years ago. I was still young, but I believe this was the Christmas right after 9/11. It was still a few minutes before mass and Father John and I were sitting in he office area waiting for the others to arrive so we could begin mass. He sat across from me, with his arms crossed and head down, not looking his usual happy self. He then began crying, not waterworks sobbing, like when watching a sad movie. He looked at me and said (I'm paraphrasing as I don't remember everything verbatim), "Andy, I just don't know anymore... there are so many bad things in this world, how can God not do anything to stop them. I sometimes wonder if there even is a God." He apologized if he had upset me, wiped his face, and we continued to prepare for mass.

    A few years later, Father John was relocated to a new Parish, so my family stopped attending that church, We continued to go to church, I even went everyday before school in Middle school. Over time, I slowly began to realize I never really believed in any of the Catholic dogma, I just loved the community. It was also at this time I started becoming interested in science and received my first personal PC. I began reading, and eventually learned enough to say that a belief in god was not justified by facts, but instead by this strange concept called faith. Reply to hear the rest.........
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      Jun 2 2011: Great story Andrew. Let's hear the rest.
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        Jun 3 2011: Thanks Tim!

        By the 9th grade I was what you would call an atheist, or non-believer. But this was such a minute part of my life, why should it matter? I was more concerned with girls and school than I was with religion and god. I continued to attend Christmas and Easter masses (we slowly became a twice-a-year Catholic family) going only to make my mother happy and not threaten to disown. It wasn't until my senior year heading into college that I started to become a "fundamental atheist." I changed my Facebook religion from catholic to atheist, and started becoming angry with religion. My first semester in college I took a course in Logic. I was never a very good math student, but I did exceptionally well in Logic. I'm pretty sure that around this time is when my prefrontal cortex was reaching maturity. If only I had an opportunity to have an fMRI "before and after!" From that point on I felt like everyone around me (religious people that is) was trapped in a fog and that I had finally broken through. I'm now VP of my college's Secular Student Alliance, VP of Philosophy club, and what the ignorant would call a "fundamental atheist." BUT unlike practitioners of religion, if I am presented with the data that is conflicting with my world view, I will accept the change and not death grip by beliefs in dogmatic fashion. As an atheist, my world view is more open than anyone's.

        I recently informed my family of my feeling and as you can imagine it didn't go over so well. At first my mother cried anytime it was brought up, but now I am able to talk to her about my blog and such without a single tear. People have such a poor understanding of what an atheist really is, but that is a problem with language. Words have no intrinsic meaning and thus they are subject to whatever the speaker says they mean.
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          Jun 3 2011: Was it worth it?
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          Jun 3 2011: people think atheists chase christians around with daggers and flamed torches.. however the reality is we have looked for answers and found them. the beauty of being alive at all, against all odds. we dont need religion to be good either. im sure an atheists would help an elderly lady across the street just as quick as a devote christian.

          we just have our eyes open is all.
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        Jun 3 2011: Yeah, we're cool. Life is no different really... the woman Facebook stalks me just as much as she did before and embarrasses me in public whenever possible. All the thing the modern mother is supposed to do. -__-

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