I read a post yesterday that made me proud. Heather Reese over at "My husband ate all my Ice Cream" wrote an article on personal belief's.
I guess it all started when I was young. I was born into a very religious family. My parents are still hardcore religious. What religion you ask? Mormonism. I was baptized at the ripe ole age of 8 years old. The Mormons figure that at 8 years old you should know what is right and wrong and be able to make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to be baptized. This is a load of shit. I was baptized while I was crying my eyes out because I didn't want to. So I'm assuming that at some point in my child hood, I can't remember exactly when but at some point I decided I didn't want to be religious.
However, I stayed with it for a while. I was active in the church. I went to early morning seminary everyday before school to study scripture. I know the bible very well. When I was around 14 and really knew the bible well, I started to ask questions. Questions no one could answer, things like "How can God be all powerful if he couldn't create a world where sin doesn't exist?" They would answer with you just have to have faith.
That is what it always boiled down to, faith. Religion didn't make sense to me, so I was told to have faith. I tried. I stuck with it for several more years.
I stuck with it because every single person I cared about and that cared about me was Mormon.
When I was 19 I went on my mission. I went to England. I loved England, but I began to see the hypocrisy that was inherent in the church. I was even made into a district leader. That is when I'm in charge of looking after other missionaries. I, who knew a ridiculous amount about the church and the gospel in general but who never had any faith in it at all. Not without trying though. I would pray and pray and pray. The faith never came. I never saw anything that would make me have faith that god exists.
Eventually I decided that I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to come home from my mission. So I did. In the process I ended up getting ex-communicated from the church. This is partially because they said I wasn't repentant enough.
Which is true. I don't feel remorse for anything I've done. I've felt apologetic, but everything I've done and all of the experience I've had has turned me into the person I am today, and I kinda like him.
Where am I now? I'm roughly 20 years old and my whole world has been torn apart. Everyone I know has turned away from me. You'd think that when I was having the most trying experience of my life that everyone would want to be there for me. Not true. All the friends I had in the church all of a sudden started treating me like I had the plague.
I needed some form of support. I needed something to fill that void that the church left. Did I do anything stupid like turn to drugs, or alcohol? No I didn't. I instead turned to education.
I have the majority of my degree in philosophy. (the only reason I don't have the degree is because I needed to get a career out of my education philosophy doesn't offer that)
I took every possible course I could find on religion, ethics and morality. I learned a lot. Eventually I formed enough of an opinion to say that I was an atheist.
Since then, however I've learned more about history and more about belief systems that have nothing to do with philosophy.
How barbaric certain religions are and are allowed to be for religious reasons. Halal meat for instance.
Modern day slaughterhouses use compressed air and a metal rod to kill our meat. The rod is pushed into the brain using massive amounts of compressed air. The animal dies instantly feeling almost nothing. In Halal, the animal has to bleed out. Don't believe me. Watch this.Warning though VERY GRAPHIC. If you can't watch it, and agree with it, it shouldn't exist as a sanctioned permissible action.
This is just one act that still happens every day that is sanctioned by religions.
How about the fact that the Catholic church doesn't allow birth control but that allows and hides child abuse when committed by the priests.
There are countless atrocities that have happened in the past that were entirely the fault of religious people and sometimes condoned by the reigning religion at the time.
History will be bound to repeat itself unless we find the cause and stop it. We can't just stop believing in one part of religion like halal. That wouldn't be good enough. We can't get rid of one religion, it isn't the Islamic people that are doing all the atrocities. How about Christians and their lobby to have creationism taught in public school as if it were fact.
Circumcision is genital mutilation.
The problem is religions tendency to tell you to do something and you do it without thinking. It is the principal behind just about every form of hate and intolerance in the world right now.
Homosexuality is hated because of religion, when it is something that occurs naturally in nature as well has existed in human culture since before history.
Some people will argue and say that religion does more good than harm.
Charities and morals will still exist regardless of religion.
The only argument people have for religion it seems is. "Knowing god is out there and loves me makes me feel good" or "I can't imagine living life thinking there isn't an afterlife".
These are like security blankets like the blanket Linus from peanuts walks around with.
Religion, if it isn't an excuse for violence, hate and discrimination, it's a security blanket. Regardless of what it is, it is a suspension of logic and reason for the substitution of faith.
When I realized all of this I turned into an anti-theist. However, I won't come knock on your door to tell you about it.
If you're interested in learning more have a look here http://www.facebook.com/Antitheists