My journey from belief in the Abrahamic deity to atheism has been a profound one. For most of my life, I was a devout believer. However, in my mid-twenties, I had to confront the fact that I no longer held these beliefs. Ironically, at seventeen, I undertook the task of memorizing the Bible, much like Muslims do with the Qur’an. This endeavor, initiated as a show of faith to my friends and church members, would be the first step in reshaping my spiritual beliefs.
When I embarked on my cover-to-cover reading of the Bible, I encountered passages that puzzled me. I was already aware that certain stories were meant metaphorically, so initial discrepancies, such as where Cain’s wife came from, didn't phase me. Many Christians, following guidance from religious leaders, view such details as metaphors or mysteries of God.
However, when I reached the tales of God's wrath, like Noah’s flood, I started questioning. Reading the story in its entirety in the King James Version provided a stark contrast to the simpler versions I had been told. The idea that nearly all of humanity, along with countless innocent animals, was deemed so corrupt they deserved to die troubled me deeply.
Hoping to find clarity, I spoke to church leaders. Their explanations were unsatisfying, mostly suggesting God’s motives are beyond human comprehension. Around this time, a Baptist minister recommended reading works by Christian philosophers and apologists. Following this advice, I purchased "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel, "Reasonable Faith" by William Lane Craig, and "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.
Upon completing the Old Testament, I dived into these apologetics books, yearning for reaffirmation. Instead, they left me with more questions. I then turned to the New Testament, hoping Jesus's teachings would dispel my doubts. Yet verses suggesting conflict and adherence to old laws only intensified my concerns.
In my early twenties, philosophical discussions became a significant part of my life. Through these dialogues, I met Mike, a Christian apologist. Our debates further ignited my interest in philosophy and theology. Around the same time, YouTube was growing in popularity, becoming a rich source of debates on these topics.
However, as I encountered atheist content, my initial doubts resurfaced. Seeking a balanced perspective, I explored atheist philosophies, finding resonance in works by thinkers like Oppy, Nietzsche, and Dennett. A subsequent reading of the Bible, paired with my deeper philosophical understanding, made it harder to reconcile my beliefs with the text.
Despite my increasing doubts, I limited my intake to Christian material, hoping to regain my faith. Yet the internal conflict persisted. The more I learned, the harder it became to hold onto my beliefs. Eventually, I had to confront the truth: I was an atheist.