How I Became an Atheist

Note: I was going through my old computer files when I found something I wrote in 2003, describing how I became an atheist in 1980. Here it is.


What brought me to atheism was a growing unease with what I was being told about the Bible.  I'd left Jehovah's Witnesses several years earlier but continued studying diligently.  I had just finished reading the last of the C.S. Lewis commentaries.  But something was wrong.  I studied and studied scripture, but it just felt less and less right.

Then, one evening, I was lying in bed and an odd thought popped into my head.  I asked myself, “Have you ever personally seen anything happen that was incontrovertibly the Hand of God?”  I gave it some thought, then answered my question, “NO."

I then asked myself, “Do you think there's even the remotest chance that an angel might appear before you in this, your moment of doubt?”  I knew the answer that was welling up in my heart: “NO.”  Such things don't really happen now.  “Did they ever?” I wondered. “How could I know?”  This was an strange and novel perspective. I toyed with it for a while.

I continued, “If there was, in fact, no God, would things be different from the way they are, right here, right now, at this precise moment?”  In a blinding flash, the answer crashed into my skull, “NO!"

Suddenly (and this might sound odd), I noticed that the walls looked “solid” to me. Before that rude awakening I'd always imagined — without realizing it — that the world was suffused with spirit creatures coming and going.  But now they were gone.

I've been an atheist ever since.

So now I don't believe in God; I don't think the idea of God explains anything in a way that is more compelling than other points of view, such as Science or Buddhism.  As a result, I chose sides by picking the one that exhibits the greatest ability to admit error — Science.  Followed by Buddhism, which seeks to eliminate the error-making processes (though it is, unfortunately, not an inherently self-correcting system of thought).  Theism, while comforting, comes in dead last when one requires this kind of honesty, because it demands faith, which is the eternal enemy of frank appraisal.


Note: My current opinions about faith, Science, and Buddhism are more nuanced than they were in 2003. But I still don't believe in gods.

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