Religion is a touchy subject, no matter which side of the spectrum you fall under.
Here, religious people ask questions they've always wanted to ask atheists.
1. The reason they "left".
Q: How many of you left because of bad experiences with the church or some other group (e.g school, parents, etc)?
A1: Not I. Raised in a household that was wholly indifferent to religion. My parents never said a good or bad word about it - they just didn't care one way or the other, so I ended up not caring either.
A2: I asked a lot of questions all my life, got told more than once that if I was questioning it was because I lacked faith. This created a discrepancy with my mom telling me to research and question everything so you know why you believe what you believe. In my mind, I didn't understand why god would want to keep me away from the truth if he was about love and freedom.
Hypocrisy was a factor, I saw people picking and choosing sins to hate like at a salad bar, some greater than others. As I grew up it became plain that these sins were just a tool used by Christians to ostracize and hurt people, and these Christian were taking joy in causing others pain. People at the first service said that they loved god more than people who went to the second service, because they were willing to get out of bed for god.
Tithing bothered me, I was told people tithed to the church to help reach people. My church gave the pastor a 80,000 salary and his wife 60,000. He worked maybe two days a week, all his sermons were from binders in his office, he never wrote new ones and I don't know if he wrote the ones he had. I found all this out because my brother was a pastor under him. My brother was fired for not playing the game, was told "God is sending you in another direction." More like my brother's boss wanted to hire his brown nosing friend to be music minister.
The big thing that helped me break from the dangers of religion was when I began to see it as a system of controls. Everything from the Bible and how organized religion in general operates is designed to control people. They tell you want to think/believe, tie it to your immortality (which is important if you know christians are terrified of ending up in the bad place, some will sell family to stay out of the bad place) and THEN they tell you not to ask questions. (Maybe not directly, but questions = weak faith and weak faith = hell.)
I'm not as angry as I once was. My husband won't try to put the conservative Christian restrictions on me because he wasn't raised in a church. I'm not below him because there is no god to put him in authority over me. I can be comfortable with my sexuality rather than thinking my body was something to be ashamed of. To be clear, I'm not talking about my sexuality because I'm LGBT+. It's because even straight women are taught our bodies caused the first sin in the garden, our bodies made men sin. Totally messed up.
2. Lumping lots of people into one group is pretty much always reductive.
Q: A lot of religious people get frustrated or angry because of bigoted or ignorant people in their own faith who give a bad reputation to everyone else. Do atheists have similar reactions to the stereotypical kind of atheist?
A: I very much do. It makes me upset because they set the precedent for the stereotypes people have for us. I'm generally pretty accepting of differing views, but people will automatically assume I hate all religious people.
3. Never stop questioning.
Q: Do you ever have doubts, like we do?
(answers continued on the next page...)
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