How would your life be if you had not been influenced by religion?

Occasionally, I catch myself reflecting on the past, considering how my life could have taken a different path had I not embraced Jesus and eventually become an atheist 13 years later.

In my particular situation, I’m left wondering whether I would have crossed paths with my current wife, whom I met at church. I also question if I would have pursued a career as a software engineer, among other decisions that might have unfolded differently without my faith journey.

Christianity, in particular, has left some lasting scars in my life. As I reflect on my past, I can’t help but recognize the moments when my faith led me to make what now seem like unwise decisions. It’s sobering to consider the financial resources I invested in tithes and offerings and the friendships I abandoned, deeming them “worldly” and “negative influences” on my spiritual journey.

I wonder if others ever find themselves pondering such scenarios?

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Luckily religion in this part of the UK was relatively innocuous, at least that’s how I remember it anyway, so without giving any theists any ideas, it gave me time and space to examine the claims properly and critically.


Howdy, Horse. Yippie kie-yay! :cowboy_hat_face:

I have to admit that I will sometimes have a moment or two when I reflect back on my life and wonder how things might have turned out without the shackles of my religious indoctrination inhibiting/contorting my thoughts and feelings. I can certainly think of a few events in my life I would have handled MUCH BETTER without the foggy God-glasses obstructing and/or distorting my view. There are even a few folks I would have definitely treated better and would have been much more understanding as to their “alternative” lifestyles. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Can’t change my past, but I can make damn sure I don’t repeat the same mistakes if I can possibly help it.

Overall, it is almost impossible to say how things might have turned out differently for me without the Christian influence. As it is right now, I have an amazing wife and a wonderful life I never imagined I could have. I made my full “escape” from my Christian upbringing only about six years ago, despite the fact none of the bible and god teachings ever made sense to me starting about 7 or 8 years old. Over forty years of my life in an almost constant mental battle wrestling with the things I learned in school vs. the things I was taught in church, the fear of Satan and hell always creeping around in the back of my head if I tried to question anything about god and the bible. However, despite my psychological struggle over all those years, there is a part of me that is almost “thankful” that I went through it. Because I am now able to more fully appreciate the freedom and peace of mind that I have gained in finally breaking away from the brainwashing. Moreover, a useful side-effect of that is I can easily relate to those who are still struggling with questioning their religion but are unable and/or too afraid to take the steps necessary to put it aside. I know EXACTLY how difficult that can be, and in many/most cases, I know EXACTLY how the individual might feel. As such, I am in an ideal position to assist those who need a “guide” to help them “detoxify”. I can tell you from personal experience, it is NOT an easy nor a pleasant process. So, while I may have had a few difficulties in my life caused by religion, I like to think it put me in a position and the proper mindset to help others who might be struggling with their own indoctrination battles.

(Edit because I think faster than I type.)


I can’t say my life would be much different, religion hasn’t had much influence on my adult life. I’ve wondered what the world in general would be like without religious influence, would we just find other things to kill each other over? Too, all the time, effort and resources put into religion could be so much better spent. The success of some secular countries is encouraging, but the U.S. is sliding backwards in that respect. I don’t think the world will ever be free from the ignorance and superstition of religion and we’ll always be in danger of it rearing it’s ugly head. One thing I probably wouldn’t be without the influence of religion is such a pessimist :stuck_out_tongue: .


The question has been a source of reflection for me. Christianity, true to its form. appeared in my life, at a low point. As a sophomore in HS, in trouble with the local police. As I was uneducated and failing HS, in trouble with the law, dealing with a divorced family, and being raised on welfare, I was pure fodder for the fires of hell and the good Christians let me know it. Then of course, they game me the solution and offered to save my soul.

I left California, escaping the warrant for my arrest, and moved to the small town of Pratt, Kansas. Not long after my arrival, I was honey potted into the local Assemblies of God Church. I was attending Sunday services and going to a small group meeting 5 nights a week, praying, playing guitar. writing songs, etc… Our little group got together and decided to witness all across Kansas. (Medicine Lodge, Kingman, Topeka, Cunningham, Great Bend, and more… We sang our little hearts out and witnessed to the glory of God!

During this time, I thought of Jesus and the church as my family. Jesus was the father that I never had and the only person (using the term very losely) that had ever told me that he loved me. Though thinking about it, Jesus never really said anything of the kind. Where in the bible does a fist person Jesus tell a first person reader “I love you.” NOPE! Other people just report he loves us. Where in the bible does Jesus profess his love of humanity?" “I love them?” It never happens. “Tend my lambs. Forgive them.” and many similar expressions. I have never seen Jesus say, “I love you.”

The closese he gets is John 15
[1 ] I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
[2 ] Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
[3 ] Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
[4 ] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
[5 ] I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
[6 ] If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
[7 ] If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
[8 ] Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
[9 ] As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
[10 ] If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love…;.

In short - Do as I say and I will love you. Nothing unconditional about that at all. Fall away and you are a piece of shit.

Anyway… The spirit of the Lord moved me and I decided to become a preacher. My plan was to visit evey church in town. (First Baptist, LDS, Friends, JW, Methodist, Trinity, Calvary, Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene), and somewhere along the path I just realized it was all made up. I didn’t stop being a Christian, that faded slowly. I just never fit in to Christian meet ups again. I had seen one too many con men in front of one too many congregations touting one too many sob stories and asking for one too many dollars to be passed his way. And of course, during all of this… 'I was doing the same thing."

I left Pratt and returned to California. I went to a few Jesus meetings with Calvary Chapel, but religion just faded from importance as I took up other interests. (Carlose Casteneda, Jane Roberets. Buddhism, GI Gurdjiff, J. Krishnamurti. Hinduism, Taoism, Krishna Consciousness, Transcendental Meditations. Bushido, and much more… My need for a father figure diminished with maturity and as I individuated from the need for parental figures.

So, where exactly was religion in my life and what role did it play? It seems to me that it was once a part of my identity. It was a pillow upon which I once laid my head. I also believe it offered me absolutely nothing. When I look back on it…

My religion would have been perfectly content, having me play my guitar and continue witnessing to people my entire life. It did nothing to facilitate my growth or change. It would have been content to allow my high school to remain unfinished. It would have been happy to have me go from town to town and tell people how I did not have an HS degree but how I found fulfillment in Christ. My religion would have been thrilled to have me attend their gatherings five nights a week. I would meet new members, sing songs and fill their minds with nonsense. I would encourage them to also invite new members to the meetings, and be praised for my dedication. When I look back on religion, I see a trap that I was somehow lucky to evade. Unconditional love is a bit like quicksand. It might feel nice and warm as you are sinking but once you sink a bit, you aren’t getting out. You don’t have the skills, intelligence, time, or knowledge to change your ways.

This is not something I thought much about before. As I sit here thinking about it now, these are some of the thoughts I had. Perhaps I will change my mind later. I think most of this rings true with me currently.


I’d have had a lot more time on my hands.

UK Atheist


Religion often provides a framework for understanding right and wrong. Without this, an individual might turn more to secular philosophies, personal introspection, and societal norms to develop their moral and ethical beliefs.

Haven’t you realized that ‘RELIGION’ actually looks towards more secular philosophies, personal introspection, and societal norms, in order to shape its moral and ethical beliefs? Examples are all around you. Are there not now religious institutions for people who identify as gay or transgender? Are there not female Catholic priests and preachers? (There is at least one organization that, without Church authority, calls itself “Roman Catholic” that ordains women as priests at the present time.Roman Catholic Womenpriests; and several independent Catholic jurisdictions have been ordaining women in the United States since approximately the late 1990s.)

Do you, in your wildest imaginations, think that our churches of today are anything at all like the churches of the past? Our modern churches have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the light of secular rationalism. They have been dragged here by secular philosophies, introspection, and social norms. It is not the church providing a framework for society, but rather, society providing a framework for the church.


Outline how religion, at this point, supports our inquiry on morality and is not a mere vehicle of ignorance and I’ll consider taking this comment seriously.

I suggest that you have some unjustifiable beliefs on the nature of right and wrong.

Edited for: kinda repeats above


Hmm, I’d say it offers doctrinal claims offered as absolutes, that are not a matter of choice, unless an eternity of torture and damnation is something one finds appealing, and that’s without the obvious and immediate threat of retribution from theists are as we know ever ready to usurp the mythical posthumous revenge of the angry deity they imagine, and speed things along on the here and now.

Morality is subjective, even religious morality, and I cannot see how it can be otherwise.

Well I am not sure that needs the word might, I’d also speculate that religious ideas evolve alongside those things, with influence occurring in both directions. Animals that have evolved to live in societal groups would necessarily have an innate ability to learn what was and was not acceptable behaviour within that society, and a desire to appease others and seek their approval within that group. The rest is down to our evolved intellects ability to imagine and examine complex arguments. Nearly every time this is discussed with theists, I have noticed how horrifying they find the notion that wrong and right and entirely subjective ideas, as the claim something is wrong becomes meaningless, but it has meaning to us both as groups and as individuals, and societal existence seems implausible without the ability and desire to understand why some behaviours are conspired wrong or bad. .