You have reached Atheist Republic voicemails. God may not be listening to you, but the citizens of the Atheist Republic are. Leave us a voicemail on atheistrepublic.com for a chance to have your message broadcast to our followers worldwide. Send us your opinions, stories, advice, or concerns. Together we’ll build a platform for atheist voices all around the globe. Hello, everybody. I am Beleef Nobani from the Himalayan country of Nepal. First, I would like to thank Atheist Republic for giving this opportunity to voice our message as an atheist, and secondly, what I would like to do is share some of my experience with you about atheism. When I was 14 years old, I was a really bright student, and I had a very religious background, and my grandmother always quarreled with me about logic and explaining things with religion, but in my heart, I always believed in atheist values and beliefs. Secondly, I was in Finland studying environmental engineering for five years, and during that time, I was into substance abuse, and in that moment of hallucination, I saw several pictures of God, especially belonging to my religion. I saw the incarnation of Sai Baba with his huge presence when I was using the substance, and I would like to ask what might have caused me to hallucinate and find such presence of God when I took the substance. And I don’t believe that it’s true, because it’s all hocus pocus, so I just want to look through the glasses of substance. Now I am sober for the last five years, I am now studying master’s in Nepal, and during this period I have had the opportunity to look into atheism in more detail. I am also interested in the subject of death and what happens to us when we are dying. Actually, my grandmother died just a couple of months ago, like two months ago, and in that period I saw how death actually took place, and it made me more into atheist values because my grandmother was a devout Hindu, and she believed in Hindu values, but during her death, I think it was part of the pain, the religion was part of the pain that she took away with her when she departed. So, I believe that religion is doing bad to the people rather than good. I also had the experience of finding out that religion is just a gateway for weak people who don’t have the time and opportunity to make changes to their own life and bring about changes to the other people’s life also. So, what I would like to ask from this podcast is that, what should I do to become more atheist and completely forget the religious values that has been injected into me since my birth. And I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to voice my message, and I would like to hear from you. Hi, Beleef. Thank you so much for sharing your story and perspective on what it’s like to be a young teenager growing up in a Hindu household and eventually escaping the indoctrination of your religion, and seeing through the facade, and becoming an atheist. I’d like to applaud you on your pursuit of education and your sobriety. Those are both excellent goals, and congratulations on both of those. I’d like to address your first question as to why you saw Sai Baba in a hallucination and what the meaning of that was. And you know, this is just something that I don’t really believe that we can derive interpretation from the substance-induced hallucinations. A lot of people claim that this is how religions were made – people hallucinate, and they write these things down, and it’s just not a reliable source of evidence. If it was, then people’s hallucinations of purple frogs on their wall and everything else would have some kind of meaning. But I believe the reason that you probably saw Sai Baba in your hallucination is because in being a Hindu guru and a supposed reincarnation of the Hindu Lord Shiva, there’s a great possibility that maybe that was in your subconscious somewhere and the hallucinogenics brought that out. The next question was, ‘How do you become fully free from your religion?’ – ‘more atheist’ as you put it – and to escape the indoctrination that you’ve been a victim of since birth. And as a former religious person, it took me a lot longer than 14 to escape my religion, which is Christianity, and you know, some things never leave you. I still celebrate some religious traditions. I no longer have a ‘God belief’. I no longer have a ‘prophet belief’ – the prophets of my religion, I don’t believe in the gods or the prophets of any religion – and it’s more freeing, really. And the only way to get around the indoctrination is to find those things that are bothering you about your religion, the things that you just can’t seem to let go of, and research them. Do a quick Google Search, do a real, unbiased search of why you believe what you believe, and in the end, you will see the truth behind it all once you educate yourself, and that’s really the only way that anybody can escape the indoctrination of religion, is by educating themselves on their religion. There are many atheists who are ex-Muslim, ex-Christians, ex-Jews, that became an atheist by studying their doctrine, by studying the Torah, by studying the Bible, by studying the Quran, and it really opens up people’s eyes to the facade of it all. Beleef, I’d like to thank you so much for sharing your story with us and asking us those questions, and we really appreciate you being a member of the Atheist Republic. Thank you. Hi. I am Viyah from Tunisia, North Africa. I like the fact that you made this Atheist Republic website. I think I’ll join, and that’s it. Thanks. My name is Jamie. I was born in the U.S., in Philadelphia, which is a massive melting pot of many cultures and religions. I was born into Judaism, and according to that religion, being Jewish is a birthright. That is to say, one cannot wash it off or decide that someday they are no longer a Jew. The first awakening I had was in Temple at five years of age when I realized that all the women sat on one side of the room separated from the men by a dark curtain which you could not see through. They weren’t allowed to speak, and even at that age I thought, ‘Women should not be separate. If anything, they should be held in a place of honor.’ Because of that and many other experiences, it just didn’t feel right. I left the temple, and in time I began considering myself an atheist. Fast forward to the present, I now live in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, a place where there is no place for a non-believer. It is a mostly Mennonite and Amish area. I discovered, being here, that there are only three things in their mind that make a person worthy of equal treatment and respect. One is a devout faith in Jesus, two, a work ethic that prohibits any real enjoyment of life, and three, you have children – many children. Recently I was employed at a hardware store that was owned by a Mennonite family. Thanks to my dad, I have an old-school work ethic, and I pulled more weight in my department than everyone else combined. I was constantly getting kudos from customers for my service and scored higher on secret shops than anyone else – and then my mom passed away. I asked to drop a day and go down to part-time temporarily so I could take care of her estate. I had to pay bills, clean out an apartment, and get lots of stuff sorted out, and using my full-time hiring status as an excuse, I was told that if I couldn’t maintain full-time I was no longer welcome. The real reasons were that I didn’t believe in Jesus, that I have a partner I live with whom I’m not married to, and at 50 years of age I should already have kids, which I decided against early on. I also made the mistake of mentioning to a co-worker that I didn’t require a faulty definition of how our planet and the universe came to be in order to feel confident about myself or my place in it. In fact, I’d rather enjoy the wonderment and mystery of it all. For many of you in other parts of the world, being an atheist puts you in mortal danger. It saddens me to hear your stories. I am thankful that I don’t live in fear every day, I just never thought I’d lose a job due to the prejudice and willful ignorance of fundamentalism. Hello. Hello, atheists. I am — from Kolkata, India, and I’m proud to be an atheist. I am an ex-Muslim. I was born a Hindu and later was brought over to Islam, and presently, I’ve left Islam and become an atheist, all thanks as to Atheist Republic. Please consider supporting us by sharing the podcast with your fellow heathens, or donating, by going to atheistrepublic.com and clicking on ‘support’. Subscribe to Atheist Republic voicemails on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app, and please leave us a review.