Guest Post: The Closet Atheist Writes on their Personal Journey into Atheism

A guest post by The Closet Atheist on how they became an atheist. In this story you hear about the birth of skepticism and what happens when a Young Earth Creationist leaves a bubble and is exposed to science. This journey I believe goes on in a Christian school somewhere in the United States. 

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”

Benjamin Franklin 

“History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god.”

Giulian Buzila 

Betty Bowers humor

Once a month I like to have people tell their stories of de-conversion. This blog writes frequently about atheism, doubt and related topics. Here is a sampling of posts that I have written about atheism. 

  1. Often times Christians teach that you need God to be good, and as many know that is not always the case. Down in SE Texas an atheist group is feeding the homeless and gave birth to a movement that helps those down on their luck. You can read more at “An Atheist Group in Southeast Texas Takes Care of the Homeless, and in the Process Teaches Why you do not Need God to do Good.”
  2. Recently in the news there was the story of Shannon Low of the Order of Elijah who de-converted from Christianity. Shannon Lowe led a Christian Metal Core band at the time. You can read about this in “Order of Elijah’s Shannon Low De-Converts from the Christian Faith: When it Becomes Necessary to Leave.” 
  3. Out in Oklahoma not long ago, an atheist donated money to a children’s home run by a Baptist organization. The Baptist organization rejected the donation because it came in the name of an atheist organization. The post I wrote is when the atheist has a better understanding of the Christian Gospel then the Christian. “When the Atheist has a Better Understanding of the Gospel than the Christian.” 
  4. Finally a major issue among atheists today is constant and ongoing Christian discrimination of atheists and skeptics. It is a major issue and its long past time that the Christian church acknowledge and confess this situation. “The Issue of Christian Discrimination Against Atheists.” 

Recently Rickey Green from the Memphis, Tennessee area wrote his story of how he de-converted. If you would like to read that article you can do so in, “Rickey Green from Memphis, Tennessee Writes about His De-Conversion from Christianity.” I encourage atheists and former Christians to tell their story because I believe they should be listened to and learned. Each and every atheist has a lot to say and a story within them. It is one of the many reasons why I love blogging, you can give many people a platform to speak their mind. 

Today’s post comes from an atheist blog that I read. They do some amazing work and offer some perspectives that are deep and well thought out. The blog is called The Closet Atheist, and is written by a college student inside a Christian college. They write it anonymously. They have some good things to say and I would encourage you to check them out sometime. The post below comes from two posts on their blog which you can read here and here. The Closet Atheist will answer questions below and I will let them lead the discussion. The guidelines for interacting are in this post here which I would encourage you to read. If anyone is disrespectful, short or puts this person down you will be booted. I want all the atheists here to feel welcome. I value diversity and want people from all perspectives to be involved here. That said feel free to ask questions and engage. I want to thank The Closet Atheist for their courage and bravery. It is not easy to go through this kind of process. They have a lot to say, and as part of this there is an 11 page college paper which is linked in below. It comes from a PDF file. That’s it guys and know that I love you. 

When I was a child, I believed in Jesus. I couldn’t wrap my head around how he worked or what he could do, but my mom told me he loved me, so I thought, cool, I love him too. Once she told me that when I got older I would see much greater things that God could do than what I could even imagine. Obviously, I’m not as impressed as she thought I would be, but I do know a lot more about God now than I did then.

I was taught the usual fundamentalist Christian ideas: God created the universe, and that is the end of the discussion. There is no evolution and there was no big bang, and don’t ever question it or listen to what those evil others (atheists) tell you.

Unfortunately, that’s not what they teach you in public school. Being practically scientific fact and all, evolution and the big bang are pretty widely taught in grade school science classes (of course, not without the disclaimer first that anyone who doesn’t believe in these ideas doesn’t have to personally accept them). I was one of those kids on the day that my 6th grade science teacher showed us a video about the big bang and the formation of the earth. I couldn’t believe that someone would try to teach me about the non-Christian (read: evil) option of origins. However, it didn’t take much of the video to convince me that the idea of a big bang wasn’t so impossible. In fact, I didn’t see anything hard to believe about it at all, unlike the concept of creation.

This video sparked the beginning of my skepticism. I had never really liked going to church anyways. I’d never understood how anyone had been able to accurately record the creation story in the first place if no one was there to witness it, and I didn’t know why people believed that humans used to live to be 900 years old but nowadays they couldn’t. I never asked about it, though, because something told me that my mother probably wouldn’t have the answers.

From then on until high school, I didn’t really have a name for what I was. At first, I just called it I-don’t-think-I-believe-in-God-but-whatever (a convenient excuse to not pay attention in church), then what-makes-anyone-think-they-know-all-the-answers (non-labeled agnosticism), then I’m-not-a-Christian-but-I’m-not-an-atheist-because-that’s-bad, then you know the rest. Until recently I’ve said I’ve been an atheist since 6th grade, but it definitely wasn’t that clean cut. I didn’t truly accept atheism until coming to a Christian college.

I was planning to attend this college since I was young. My mother knew it would be perfect for me with the Christian atmosphere, rigorous academics, and the location. I knew that there was a heavy Christian foundation here, but I figured that it wouldn’t be too bad and the good would outweigh the negatives. If I could choose schools again, I don’t know if I still would have come here, although the atmosphere and the coursework have grown my interest in atheism and influenced this self-discovery immensely.

My college has a series of 6 Christian-worldview-based core humanities classes and one Science and Faith course. As it turns out, these classes have become some of my favorites because they can infuriate me, make me consider what Christians believe and what I believe, and show me the good and bad of both sides.

The class here that I am the most truly grateful for is called Civilization and the Speculative Mind. My professor was one of the most humble Christians that I have met, and it showed in his teaching. Being from the philosophy department, he taught the class from a philosophical manner. He compared the worldviews of theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism. I began the class with an open mind, and I was excited to learn about these worldviews and hopefully identify which one aligned with my beliefs. I ended up enjoying learning about naturalism the most, and I decided that of these five perspectives, I would consider myself more naturalist than anything else. It was this time when I started using the word naturalist to describe myself; I wasn’t quite ready for the word “atheist” yet, but I was getting more comfortable with admitting to myself what I believe and don’t believe and how I answer life’s big questions.

All six of these humanities classes require a big term paper near the end of the semester. It is at the professor’s discretion to decide what the paper can cover, and for this class, we had to write something persuasive that related to anything we had discussed in class all semester. He said it should leave the reader legitimately questioning their beliefs if they went into it with the opposite view of what the writer is arguing. I didn’t want to take on the task of trying to convince a religious philosophy professor that God doesn’t exist, so I decided that I could argue against some points made in one of our textbooks. For the most part, the class had regarded naturalism fairly; it was honest about the ups and downs of a Godless worldview, but this textbook made the bold claim that all naturalism leads to depressing, meaningless nihilism. I took on the task of spending ten pages arguing why naturalism does not inherently lead to nihilism.

This paper was one of those times when a project starts off as homework for a grade and turns into something a lot more personal. I think that the process of learning and writing this paper really changed my life and the way that I think. It may not be perfect, but it is an accomplishment that I really hold dear. I did more than try to make a compelling argument for the sake of a persuasive paper; being in this delicate time of self-discovery, I wanted a fool-proof argument in which I truly believed everything I was saying. I wanted something that I was really proud of and that I could stand behind. You can read it here.

*Keep in mind that this is something I wrote about eight months ago, before I had ever heard the word “humanism.” It was my first time breaking the ice and learning a lot of ideas and arguments that went for and against my claims. There are some claims that I made that I no longer entirely agree with, and I would identify as more of a humanist/atheist than a “quasi-agnostic optimistic naturalist.” Some sources have been edited in order to not disclose the name or location of my college.

8 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Closet Atheist Writes on their Personal Journey into Atheism

  1. As a fundy, turned atheist, turned follower of Christ I love your honesty.Giving up the faith was the hardest, most painful thing I ever had to do, and coming back to Jesus (not the church) was the best. I’ve found so few of the people who tried to tell me why my new faith of total inclusion is wrong never use the words of Jesus, only Paul or the First Testament. Wonder why that is? I appreciate your heart Closet Atheist, and I hope you can come out someday. Know there are a lot of us that respect you and want your voice as a part of our world, and thanks Eagle for giving the platform. Blessings

    Liked by 2 people

      • The Closet Atheist I want to thank you for your courage and bravery to share you story. It is not easy to come forward and speak about such a difficult topic. You state something that is personal and heart felt. But above all that I love your honesty. Its refreshing to hear someone say they don’t believe in God as compared to those who act it out and go with the flow. Your honesty is to be commended. You do a good job blogging and I hope this encourages you to keep publishing and keep writing. Thanks for letting me tell your story.


  2. Closet, I really enjoyed that, thank you. Time to go peruse your blog. Thank you for posting this Eagle.

    I appreciated you closing out your paper with Camus on Sisyphus. I left Christianity behind as well and eventually found Camus and absurdism. A great comfort to me today. Good paper! Can I ask what grade you received for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I am glad that you took comfort in my writing. I hope you enjoy my blog. 🙂

      As for my grade, it was actually turned in on the same day as my final exam, so I never got the individual paper back. All I know is that it increased my previous grade from a B to an A, so I must have gotten an A.


  3. Thanks for sharing. Your personal story strike me hard as it was very similar to my walk. I will also share my story.

    I was a Buddhist/pagan worshiper as a kid, shallow Christian as a teenager, atheist in university/early career, and then came back to faith in Jesus.

    Long story short I am a very logical person. Others might “feel” God is near and that is enough for them to believe. I however cannot worship a God that is all about feelings and have no logical facts. Blind faith, believing for the sake of believing, just doesn’t do it for me.

    And it doesn’t help that I have never actually felt God being near me. My life was doing poorly. I studied, but non-believers gets better grades. I tried to ask girls out, but non-believers get the girls I wanted instead of me. I tried to grow my career, but non-believers have better careers than me. And to make it worst often times I know many of these non-believers are actually evil. They cheat, steal and bully and yet they succeed. Evil triumphs over good. I question often that if God is real where is he?

    Next problem was the behaviors of the Christians in my church. The church is very clique, the in-group and the out-group. I was obviously part of the out-group. I asked weird questions and think weird thoughts. But either way I don’t feel loved.

    Meanwhile plenty of teachers teaches things like evolution and big bang theory. Hence I lost my faith and became an Atheist.

    As I said I did came back to faith in Jesus. The thing that started this was I read a book called The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. It provided me with a lot of solid historical evidence on Jesus’ death and resurrection, that I believe it must have been historical. And that’s how I came back to faith, by solid logic.

    Put it another way. It will take me more faith to believe that Jesus didn’t die, didn’t resurrect and wasn’t seen by 500+ people, than the faith of that he did die, resurrect and was seen.

    For example James was the brother of Jesus. James never believed in Jesus while Jesus was alive. However after Jesus died, James now say Jesus resurrected and James was willing to die for his faith. How did this happen?

    And so with Paul. Paul was out killing Christians. Suddenly one day he just turn around and become one of the most devoted Christian there was. No one else wrote as much for the New Testament as Paul did. And he gladly died for his faith, going to Rome even when he knew he would die there. How did this happen?

    What did James and Paul saw, or thought they saw, that changed them so much?

    Even the behaviors of the likes of Peter and John made no sense. If they are going to make a fake story, they would have said that they themselves were some kind of heroes of faith. That their faith was so solid that they stood tall for Jesus even as everyone else ran away. Was that the case? Nope. Peter and John repeated mentioned how weak their faith was. Peter deny Jesus 3 times. John was nowhere in sight, and probably ran away naked. And these are so-called those that was close to Jesus.

    Why would these cowards who deny Jesus when Jesus was alive, suddenly became so brave AFTER Jesus died? Pretty much every single Apostle died terrible deaths for the name of Jesus. None of them gained any wealth or frame. Now today of course Peter and John are famous. However remember that back in the first century Peter and John was fugitives hated by both Rome and Israel. They gained nothing in their lifetime.

    Now know the difference. People die for something false all the time. People are easily brainwashed. However who would willingly die for something that they knew was fake? And not just one person that was willing, but at least eleven of them that were all willing to die for something they knew was fake. How is this possible? I don’t think it is possible. These eleven men and others knew what they saw.

    If Jesus didn’t die and didn’t resurrect, all the feeling of “closeness” with God doesn’t matter. However if Jesus die die and did resurrect, then also all the feeling of “distant” away from God doesn’t matter. Facts are facts.

    If God let even his son Jesus suffered and die, why would I even bother questioning about my own suffering? My suffering was nothing compared to Jesus who was crucified and suffered for our sins in hell, and then raise again victorious over sin and death. Sin and death would have won over any other man. But sin and death cannot overpower Jesus, but are instead defeated and destroyed by Jesus once and for all. There is no greater love than this, that the Prince of Peace himself dies for his creations so his creations might be saved. That God of love rather he himself die than let his creations die, and whoever accepts this love from God will certainly have eternal life. And on this love the first Century Christians were all willing to die to act as witnesses to this truth.

    I think it is important to go back to the core story of Jesus. Did he died? Did he resurrected? Was he seen by 500+ people? My conclusion is yes he did. And today I praise him to be a God of truth and logic, not a “god” of blind faith.


  4. Pingback: Guest Post: Closet Atheist’s Boyfriend’s De-conversion Story | Wondering Eagle

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