How my Christian childhood led to Atheism

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You know how sometimes you remember something from your childhood, be it the lyrics to a song, an old movie or something that happened to you, and suddenly you understand it with new meaning? Sometimes you just understand things better, like when you couldn’t understand why your brother could walk around without a shirt but you couldn’t, even though your bodies looked the same (at the age that you thought it still did). But usually, for me anyway, I remember kinda screwed up things. Things that make me question the generation of Afrikaans Christian whites my generation was raised by.

Religious culture, the way I found it, is always black and white (no pun intended). You either did everything and believed everything in the way that your elders did or you were wrong. Simple as that.

My problem was that I was never a black and white person. I was skeptical from a very young age. Questioning my mother about everything. Starting with ones like, when did the soul get put into a baby? How did all the animals fit into the ark?

These questions were always met with the answers like, “God only knows these things and we should trust him” and “It is a sin to question the things of God”. I felt these answers to be unfair and infuriatingly insufficient. Later on in life, no matter how hard I tried to believe, I just couldn’t. None of it ever made sense to me.

That is why I’ve been asking myself, since others have asked me, why and when did I become an atheist. There is not one event or person that “turned” me. I do, however, have flashbacks of these instances where things just didn’t make sense to my child-brain, but that I understand better now (or that just make me go WTF, no wonder). I hope that these memories will change the way that I raise my children one day. Teach them to explore the answers to their questions and believe what they want.

I will post some of these as I remember them. Hopefully fellow atheists will relate and share their memories and thoughts on it as well.

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