How I Became Agnostic (and started researching unbelief)



hello I'm Sally I'm a graduate student at Durham University and I'm agnostic I've been watching videos here for a while and I thought it would be really fun to do a project on YouTube atheists for my study of religion class even though a theism is the absolute opposite of religion it still situates itself in the conversation with and in contrast to religion so I'm interested in the community of atheists that is formed on YouTube so I wanted to say a little bit about myself and my own journey to agnosticism I usually call myself agnostic although when people learn that I'm studying religion and they automatically assume that I'm going to join the clergy I do like to say that I am an atheist who's studying religion and they're always kind of like that's a bit weird but that does happen sometimes so I was raised in the Unitarian Universalist Church and when I was 8 my sister died and my mom became a very devout Buddhist in this Tibetan Buddhist tradition I followed her into Buddhism and I myself was a devout Buddhist from the time I was 8 until I was 16 I even lived with my mom and two sisters in a monastery for a while so I had a religious upbringing but it was very alternative when I was 16 my mom left that Buddhist community to start her own Buddhist sect she didn't stop us from continuing to practice the Tibetan Buddhism but it felt sort of weird to practice a different religion from my family while I was still living at home so I kind of abandoned the meditation and the practices that I was doing so without really deciding to I stopped chanting I stopped meditating I learned things about the guru that made me distrust religious leaders and move away from organized religion but I kept reciting mantras on my mala so the Buddhist rosary and when I went to college I brought my Buddha with me my best friend in college was an evangelical Christian and she tried really hard to convert me we would talk and debate for hours because I've always been really interested in religion but the more she told me the less Christianity made sense what I couldn't understand was how somebody so kind could live their life believing that the people that they loved if they're not Christian that they're going to go to hell that was just really shocking to me when I was 18 my mom was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live I don't think it even occurred to me to pray for her to get better just because she seemed so sick it seemed really impossible that that would ever happen but when she died part of my grieving was that I didn't feel her presence at all anymore there was just absolutely nothing she was completely gone and I didn't even dream of her I was kind of a spiritual seeker for a while after that although I disagreed with too much in each religion for any label to really fit me in my last year of college I lived with an even more evangelical Christian than my best friend was she was practicing abstinence with her fiance who she was going to marry after we graduated she didn't believe that women could hold leadership positions in the church and she and her fiance were planning on becoming missionaries in Africa I was opposed to all of those things so I read a lot about religion I read The God Delusion and I watched debates between religious people and atheists online and documentaries like the Bible told me so I read how Jesus became God by my favorite biblical scholar the agnostic our airman and I pretty much just became a heathen I started doubting everything supernatural like the virgin birth or the resurrection or whether how existed as well as reincarnation and karma and whether Jesus or Buddha were listening to or would answer prayers I kind of envy people who have faith although if I was religious I would definitely be a heretic because I just have my own point of view on everything and I can't sort of force my beliefs to fit those of any specific religion and to make myself grow against my own sense of reason so now I'm studying religion because even if you're not religious I don't think that any person lives a life that is unaffected by religion to me it's one of the most important things to try to understand so that's me please comment below or message me if you would like to be interviewed for my research I'd like to learn about how you became an or an agnostic and your experience being in the Atheist community on YouTube I'll be doing interviews over Skype I look forward to hearing your stories thank you bye