Are there any theists still visiting AR? I have a simple honest question

When, where and how did you first realise there was a God?

Apostates are welcome to reply.

I didn’t have a realize moment. I was raised to believe god existed (namely, specifically, “Jehovah”). To have him hear you when you talked to him, you had to end the prayers a certain way.

I once (age 3 or 4) tried to draw a picture and was told quite quickly that nobody knew what he looked like.

I just took it for granted that god existed. I felt very close to god and had my spirituality.

I was one of the lucky ones born into the right religion, serving the right god - the only true god - and had the correct understanding of his written word.

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My first permanent memories are from when I was about 6 years old, living on a military base in the middle of buttfuck-nowhere.

Since it was physically and culturally isolated and the military mindset does not accept dissent, it was just accepted there was a god, just like there was air.

Getting dressed up on Sunday morning and going to Sunday school was an established normal routine, just like getting up each school day, getting dressed and going to school.

Christians always told me there was that moment or awakening.

That God talks to you and you’re filled with the holy spirit. That you know what it is when it happens.

Evidently. I never had this awakening. I was never “touched” by this deity.

The Christians told me that was sad. So they thought I’d have this awakening once I got Baptized again. So I did. Still nothing.

Then it was because I didn’t pray enough.

Oh wait. That’s not it. I just didn’t believe in this horse shit and was being forced to attend their cult and listen to their superstitious delusions.

From my perspective. I knew deep down inside that I didn’t need to be there. I didn’t believe in it. I was just struggling to be what my mother wanted and it wasn’t happening.

An Atheist attempting at or being forced to believe something we don’t believe exists is like trying to force a gay person to be straight. It ain’t gonna happen. It’s not in the cards.

I tried to believe for my mother’s comfort. I can’t. I’m mentally and emotionally unable to believe in something that I strongly believe does not exist.

What she asked of me was unobtainable.

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As a confused sophomore in HS, alienated from my family, I moved to the bible belt to stay with an elderly aunt and avoid going to jail in California. Got invited to a church by a cute little thing, let my dick do the thinking, ended up that she had a boyfriend and I ended up responding to an alter call. What did I know about rational thought with all those hormones bouncing through my body. Did I mention I was a horrible student as well? I was a “Born Again Christian” making a joyful noise unto the Lord. Joined a little witnessing troupe and we all bounced around the Bible Belt witnessing and singing songs to congregations. Praise the Lord. The highlight of my experience was witnessing to strangers at the Kansas state fair. Walking around with a bible in my hand, looking for targets. Anyone who seemed to be having a bad day was immediately on my radar. Ha ha ha ha ha … Oh… how pathetic… looking back. I was doing the Lord’s wrok. Spreading the good news.


Pretty much a non question for me. Knowing there is a god is part of my earliest memories. That’s what I was taught by all of the adults around me until I left school, at 17. Because children are gullible, I believed that shit without question. Just like I believed my dotty aunt when she told me that if I swallowed chewing gum, it would wrap around my heart and kill me. Oh yeah, same aunt told me if I ate too much sugar my arms and legs would fall off. I can’t really speak for others, but I was certainly a gullible, trusting little boy.

I parted ways with the Catholic church at 20. Didn’t realise I was an atheist until I was 40. I no longer know much of anything, starting with the existence of god, pro or contra.

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My earliest exposure to the Christian God was in primary school where we had a weekly class in religious instruction. It was all colourful stories for a little heathen like me.

It wasn’t until I was ten years old when Cecille B. DeMille, Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, Technicolor and Cinemascope convinced me there was an arse-whooping god almighty to smite my tormentors in the playground and my older brother. I started going to churches on Sunday and plumped with the Baptists who liked to sing and dance as well.

Sunday worship, scripture union bible study and bible camps, one at which I had my ‘Come to Jesus’ moment. I graduated to public testimonies and witnessing which involved some pretty hairy encounters with obviously unappreciative audiences. I ended up being a leader in the church youth group, visiting nursing homes and welcoming new families to the suburb. But something was missing and I started noticing a growing occurrence of less than Christian sentiments and actions amongst my older fellow worshippers.

One night invited to dinner with the church deacon after Sunday evening service I was stunned to hear him comment on the “filthy boongs” next door who had prepared a Maori “hungee” (buried oven feast) in their backyard. I was a friend of that Maori family, I took my leave from the deacon early and joined my schoolmate and his family who heartedly welcomed me for a second meal (pork potato and cabbage, my favourite three) at their lavishly set table.
And disappointingly I had not felt the Holy Spirit enter my life. To remedy and promote this I decided to delve deeper into the Bible and by the time I was leaving High School I had become a heathen again just as I was being pressured to be baptised. I expressed my growing doubts with Rev. Small, I got stuck on a baptismal verse he gave me to read, about serving the lord with my knowledge of the world. The solemn nature of the ritual of baptism impressed itself on me, and I had no real knowledge of the world or life or the problems of either. My impending baptism felt inauthentic. The reverend assured me there was no rush. He commended me on my frankness and confessed he had grown jaded by people who got baptised in a rush and either fell away from the church or just ended up being “census Christians”. I took this to be a tacit admission of his own pressing doubt. So began my deconversion which was slow but thorough. I am now a contented atheist.


Yeah. My whole school went to see ‘The Ten Commandments’ and Ben Hur. I was 11 and loved seeing pharaoh Yun Bryner get smoted (smitten?) and the evil Messala get his just reward. The symbolism in Ben Hur was so trite that even an 11 year old understood it. I did miss the homo eroticism between Judah Ben Hur and Messala. Apparently, so did Charlton Heston . Old chucky wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box.

Around that same time, there was a Sunday night serial of "Ben Hur. It went for months. The whole family would sit around the huge radio and listen.
I understand that book is quite ghastly in terms of a reading experience…

I’ve had two ‘spiritual’ experiences in my life. The first was at 16 while I was on weekend retreat at a local monastery. The other was 26, when the answer to a Zen koan simply came to me. Wasn’t thinking about it at the time.

Today, I 'm still not sure what actually happened. However, I no longer see either experience as mystical. Probably closer to NDE and OBE, for which I think there are simple explanations.


Yesterday I read a few accounts of children allegedly remembering past lives. Taken on face value it’s all pretty impressive. However, I think the flaw in each case is the presence of significant adults. There actually isn’t any credible evidence. However, there is a plethora of hearsay.

Neither Buddhism nor Hinduism teach the survival of a soul in the sense of ego/personality. However, I’m not sure how pertinent that is to the reported phenomena.

PS went to a couple of great Hangi in the army. One of my mates was a Kiwi and lived out.

Children can be very suggestible, and there have been some catastrophic miscarriages of justice based the testimonies of children who were reacting to the loaded questions and attitude of interrogators.

Sadly, I think many well-meaning parents and adults do the “loaded questions” without fully realizing that they are. Kids are incredibly perceptive.

I too have read kids’ testimonies on past-life and NDEs. Interesting, yes - convincing, no.

Yes I think that sounds possible, but the examples I was thinking of were including in a book I read recently, where a bunch of religious zealots persecuted individuals framing them for crimes against children. It was doubly heart breaking when you consider how often in the past crimes against children went unheeded because children were not believed.

Standards of evidence are as always critical.

Not to mention will do just about anything to please adults. Kids are pretty good at saying things they think will please adults …

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I found this hilarious when the grandchildren used to get this wrong, trying to outdo each other usually.