Peter looking up at hand breaking a chain with a dove at one end and a light bulb at the other end. The dove stands for religion and the light bulb stands for reason. This is a flyer for My last days in the church - becoming an atheist.


Last updated on June 2nd, 2023 at 07:32 am

This is the story of how I became an atheist. I don’t have the exact date I left the church, but I certainly remember my last days in the church. It was undoubtedly one of the most gruelling moments in my life. But I am glad that I was able to finally ditch my faith for good. Who would have ever thought that such a devout believer, aspiring to be a minister, would one day become an unbeliever? How?

Peter looking up at hand breaking a chain with a dove at one end and a light bulb at the other end. The dove stands for religion and the light bulb stands for reason. This is a flyer for My last days in the church - becoming an atheist.

I swear I was more surprised, probably more than anyone else. The surprise was not that I had become an unbeliever. The real surprise was how I became an unbeliever. I would say it was a natural progression.

The more I studied the bible, the more I transformed into an atheist.

That reminds me of this premonition often propagated among believers, particularly Christians. The belief that the more you read, the more likely you are to stray from the faith; that having too much knowledge corrupts your faith in God. In fact, one of the popular comments thrown at me when my loved ones found out I was no longer a believer was, “You have been studying too much. You have been reading a lot of books, haven’t you?’

Too many books stacked on top of each other.

Is it not the same bible that says ‘… You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free’? How about Proverbs 18:15, which says, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise speaks knowledge.” Knowledge is not bad after all. Is it? Well, Proverbs 24:5 says, “A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might.”

Defining my last days in the church as gruelling might not do enough justice to explain the experience I had. For a moment, let me pick up a dictionary. 

My last days in the church were excruciating, agonizing, harrowing, torturous, intense, unbearable, punishing, cloudy, desolate, moving and endless.

This transition from being a believer to an unbeliever was finally realized in the early months of 2017, my last year in university. I was the Off-Campus Bible Study Coordinator of the Bible Study Wing of the National Union of Presbyterian Students-Ghana (NUPS-G) at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. I was also part of the team that designed the Bible Study Manual for the fellowship. I also ministered on my accordion and recorder.

Peter with the accordion strapped over his chest
Peter holding the recorder to his mouth. He is dressed in a long sleeved full dress that reaches just below his knees.

Studying the bible was my daily bread. I studied the bible at most six hours a day. It competed with my time for my course studies. At a point, I started studying the bible in the original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I had a Hebrew and Greek bible. I remember a friend, Helena, telling me, “Ei Peter, we don’t even understand the bible in English and here you are reading it in Hebrew and Greek.”

A page of Hebrew Text

For me, it was not for the fun of it. I studied a lot because I loved to understand the bible and deepen my faith in God. I even shared devotionals on WhatsApp every morning based on my studies. The question still remains, and I am sure you might be wondering how studying the bible made me an unbeliever. Let’s dive in! I will categorize the factors that contributed to my conversion under the following: CHURCH, which stands for 

Contradictory, Historicity, Unrealistic, Reasonability, Confusion, and Hostility.


I studied the bible in two ways, which is how bible scholars mostly do it: horizontal reading and vertical reading. There are those who say the bible is the perfect word of God. That it contains no contradictions. This is true if you read the bible horizontally. If you read the bible vertically, you would understand how beautifully contradictory it is.

Two signs posts on the same pole with the inscription 'ONE WAY'. The top post points to the left and the bottom post points to the right.

When I read the bible horizontally, it means I read the bible like how we read any book, line by line, page after page. Every normal human being reads this way. That’s how most of us read the bible, line after line, page after page, chapter after chapter, etc.

When I read the bible vertically, it means I read the books of the bible side by side, especially the synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which talk about the same story. If I were reading the crucifixion of Jesus, this is how vertical reading would be done.

I open Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John side by side as I read. I read the storyline, plot after plot, across all the books, not just the complete story in only Matthew. So, if I were reading the section in Matthew about Peter denying Jesus, I would also read it in Mark, Luke, and John before proceeding to the next verse in Matthew. Try it and you will see the amazing contradictions. In fact, did the women go back to tell the disciples what they had just witnessed in the tomb? Do some vertical reading of the gospels.
A scene of the woman visiting the tomb of Jesus at his ressurection. Two angels are seated on the tomb looking at the woman.

Let me pose this question: when the women (disciples) visited the tomb of Jesus, how many angels were present? If you answered 2, You are correct – Luke 24:4. If you guessed 1, you are also correct – Matthew 28:2 , Mark 16:5. This is what happens when you read the bible horizontally. If you read this story vertically, your answer will be ‘The number of angels depends on the book you read’.

Well, why is this so important? – at least to me. As the only path to truth, the foundation for faith and belief in God, the book should be truthful about its events. I mean, if we were in court today testifying about the number of people that were in a room when an incident happened and all the witnesses mentioned different numbers, there could be two conclusions. First, only one of the witnesses is right about the number, which is to say, all the witnesses can’t be right at the same time. One is right and the rest are wrong. Secondly, it is also possible that all the witnesses are wrong.

Since post that says 'Entrance Only. Do not enter'

However, someone might want to stop me here and say, “But these little things do not matter. What matters is the message in the bible.’ Well, it definitely does matter! It is the little things that make up a story, especially when the truth is of concern, or at least if you honestly care about the truth. The next category, Historicity, will probably explain better why the bible is riddled with such contradictions or errors.


Historicity is seen in two forms.

The first deals with the historical quality or authenticity based on fact. What this means is establishing whether or not an event is in accordance with established facts. This is usually what we think about when we are referring to “history” in everyday language. The second form of historicity is not concerned with the authenticity of facts. It is concerned about preserving the structural integrity of an event. What this means is that we are concerned with following a story line, how it unfolds, so long as it is intelligible. We are not concerned about whether the events really did happen or not.

A typical example of the application of the second form of historicity can be seen when bible publishers maintain the clause ‘THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO…’ on the first pages of the synoptic gospels. What is happening here is that bible publishers since time immemorial have been very careful about distinguishing between the two forms of historicity; knowing for sure that an event happened versus believing that this event happened as presented are not the same. The fact is that the authors of the gospels are unknown. In fact, the data available shows that the gospels were written many years after the death of Jesus and the apostles. All four Gospels were originally anonymous. None claim to be written by eyewitnesses, and all contain giveaways that they were written generations later, by well-educated Greek-speaking theologians, not illiterate Aramaic speakers.

The intro page of the Gospel according to Mark.
The intro page of the Gospel according to Luke.
The intro page of the Gospel according to Matthew.
The intro page of the Gospel according to John.

I mean, if the apostles were dead before the gospels were written, they couldn’t have authored them, but well, if they were resurrected, they could have. Moreover, these gospels were not written independently, as is believed by most Christians. The first gospel to be written was Mark. Matthew and Luke copied heavily from Mark, hence the similarities in their stories and the errors in them. More information about the authorship of the synoptic gospels can be found at here.

There are numerous other cases of historicity that call into question the bible’s credibility as the “true” word in its literal sense. 

Another discovery that alarmed me was the “missing” books of the bible: The Shepherd of Hermas, The Book of Enoch, The Gospel of Judas (130-170 AD), The Gospel of Thomas (140-170 AD), The Psalms of Solomon, The Odes of Solomon, just to name a few. What criteria did the church use to canonize the bible? And what was the assurance that it was not politically motivated or Holy Spirit motivated?

List of books that didn't make it into the Christian Bible


Before I talk about Logic – reasonability, let’s take a look at Reality. By “reality,” I mean, how humans normally live their daily lives and what is generally accepted as normal. It is normal to throw a stone up in the air and watch it fall back to the ground. It is normal to wince in pain when you step barefoot on a sharp object. It is normal to drink a hot cup of tea and scald your tongue. We consider it the natural order of things. We consider something to be unreal when it goes against the natural order of things. Oh boy! I was so engrossed in my bible studies that everything in the bible seemed normal to me. After all, even if it seemed unreal, I had to accept what I would normally consider unreal as real, and I did so with awe and reverence. Then one day, I chanced on a question that made me question my measurement of reality.

The question went like this: “Let’s assume a person from a completely different religion from yours told you the exact same stories you (now) know of in the bible, only this time it is the very first time you are hearing the story. Would you believe those stories really happened?’

To be honest, if someone from another religion told me that a woman gave birth to a baby but there was no human sexual intercourse, I would not see that as normal. I will probably think they are somewhat crazy. And that is how I saw other religions except mine. My religion was the true one. Every other religion was weird.

Man in blue suit walking on water
Mary carrying baby jesus
Artist rendition of the moon split into two.
Artist rendition of Okomfo Anokye commanding the golden stool from the sky.

The intensity with which I believed unreal things in my journey was amazingly unbelievable. Remember how long I could study the bible? The more I read, the more I imagined and accepted the stories as “normal”. It is normal for virgins to give birth without sexual intercourse. It is normal for humans to walk on water without sinking. It is normal for dead people to be resurrected. Not on this earth, but in the bible it is. I also believed Jesus was born of a virgin. For a brief moment, I was terrified of reality, wondering what the difference was between me, who believed that a virgin could conceive a child without sexual intercourse, and the Muslim, who believed that the prophet Muhammad split the moon in half. Yet I will mock at the idea that Muhammad split the moon in half or that Okomfo Anokye conjured a golden stool from the sky. So I looked closely at all the things I believed as a Christian and found the culprit – Faith. It is summarized beautifully in the words of Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin

Here’s how the categories above affected me.

My brain crumbled under the weight of the contradictions I saw in the bible stories when I applied vertical reading. My brain couldn’t just pretend that these contradictions didn’t exist. The problem? I didn’t know which narrative to believe. Wasn’t the bible supposed to be the perfect word of God? My doubts increased the more when I found out that the historicity of the stories and their authorship were questionable. What if I’ve been worshipping the wrong version of God all along? Finally, I was concerned with how reality in the bible conflicted with reality in my everyday life. I was convinced that these were real: the splitting of the sea, snakes talking, donkeys talking, the dead resurrecting. I remember even during one Christmas season when the Holy Spirit appeared in my room (a discussion for another day).

The next three categories Reasonability, Confusion and Hostility, will be discussed in my next post.

“Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!  But He loves you." - George Carlin

What’s next in Peter’s Box? ¡Hasta luego amigos! 


  1. Interesting findings from your search… awaiting the next categories or the complements.
    I always ask if religion has done us good or bad in our part of the world 🌎. So what religion do you practice or what’s your belief now ?

  2. Interesting notes Peter. I believe to all extents that some people in history have expunged some books, chapters and phrases from the bible by their own authority. However, can we say the whole bible is false? What about the old testament? Do you find any contradictions there as well? I will be expecting the next episode.

  3. Kwabena Osei-Poku

    A drunkard had two sons, one a drunkard and the other very sober. Interestingly, each attribute their behavior and disposition to their father’s drunkenness. Same for faith. I hope your chosen path has led you to find peace.

    1. Interesting analogy; had to think about it for a while. How well does your analogy fit with my ‘chosen path’? Is faith one of the sons and my chosen path the other son? If so faith fathered faith and my chosen path. However my chosen path would be the sober one right? Let’s have lunch over this Cobby. I love the analogy!

  4. There are so many beliefs in this world and i believe many if not all try to convince man to choose a certain disposition especially about things transcendent. I’ve not that much knowledge as you may but i subscribe to the biblical worldview in answering for the things which are transcendent, beyond the comprehension of man’s limited mind. You may have found a new belief but subject that belief to same scrutiny and lets see which one will pass the test. Anyway, even Charles Templeton on his death bed exclaimed, I BELIEVE. Looking forward to read more. Give us when u update

      1. Every man believes in something and that can’t be changed cuz its ingrained in the human nature. Some believe in God,gods,science or self and whatever one believes in, that’s where the attention goes so definitely you will believe in something. What do u believe in? Does ur point of believe able to provide answers to the basic questions of life? Throw more light

  5. Peter, well done. Thanks be to the 77 gods of Cape Coast (just kidding…LOL), that you have escaped from the graps of religious dogma. Your story is well written and hope one day you convert it into a book. Ghanaians will be better off investing all that time, energy and money into science and technological education and enquiry to better our lot.

    Africans need to stop worshipping these foreign deities or the local deities which are all of the same shit. However, as Africans we should not throw away the cultural value and significant of ancestoral beliefa and practices.

    1. Free inquiry is the way sir! And oh! 77 gods of Cape Coast, that will be an interesting read if there’s any historical writings to it. I take it you are atheist or irreligious. When did you become atheist?

  6. Very interesting read Peter.

    I must admit, I thought that was all it was going to be, an interesting read.
    If you actually became an atheist, that is really unfortunate.

    I believe you will find the answers you are looking for. You have not found them yet. You read the Bible seeking ‘knowledge’ and not to know the One who actually led men to write it.
    The scriptures say, ‘ we know in part, and we prophesy/speak in part.’

    1 Cor 13:9-12
    9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

    10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    I hope you also find time to pray and read 1 Cor 1:18-31.

    Please remember to pray that the Lord Himself will open the eyes of your understanding.
    Remember, Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God; He is also the Love of God personified. He is ALL things to ALL men.
    I know this better than I know myself, and tell you with all assurance, that He is REAL, not a figment of one’s imagination.
    May He give you the answers you so desperately need (even though you don’t realize that now)
    I hope we can talk more later but will leave this here for now.

    Stay blessed dear Peter!

    1. Thanks for the read Jemima. It’s rather bold of you to claim that ‘I read the Bible seeking ‘knowledge’ and not to know the One who actually led men to write it.’ I’ll accept your assertion and inquire as to how you know the One who inspired mankind to compose it. How did you know that? And how did you and your experience get to that conclusion? What separates someone who believes they know the One from someone who genuinely knows the One? Also, how did you determine that God is a He, real, and not a figment of one’s imagination. I am looking forward to your answers.😄

  7. I know Him because I personally seek to know Him through His word and through prayer. I do not read His word without asking that He reveals Himself through His word. When I attempt to do that, nothing changes in my life.
    But when i ask that He takes over, even if it is just one scripture, I can meditate on that for days and I am transformed.
    I submit every single aspect of my life to Him, and I am helped every single step of the way.
    Of course I have a part to play.
    Not for a second, do I believe in the fact that I don’t need to act. Even the word says, ‘faith without works is dead.’
    For instance, I study, I prepare for projects, assignments etc, but then I pray for retentive memory; one does not work without the other.

    And this is only a fraction of what I know.
    I also know Him through my own personal, spiritual encounter with Him.
    Just like you, a part of me doubted He existed. I used to go to church with my mum and watch other young people during praise and worship. ‘Were they pretending?’ I did not know how to pretend. I sat and watched. But then one day I asked Him, and told Him that if some of these people actually knew Him for Who He is, I wanted to know Him too.

    And He revealed Himself in the most spectacular and wonderful way, through His spoken word as well as through the written word of God. In my Hostel room in the university, I got down on my knees and accepted Him and I have never been the same.

    There is existing my dear but then there is LIFE, and that is only found in Christ and in the power of His Holy Spirit.

    I hope this helps in some way. All the best on your quest!

    1. Very well delineated. How did you conclude it is his word? What about other sacred books out there? How did you determine the one you have is his word? Many people have various personal experiences but with different gods or deities. Why shouldn’t I seek those ones but yours?
      Also you the experience you shared is not quite clear to me. Do you mean God appear to you in your room? What is spoken word? And how does one identify it?

  8. Dear Peter,

    You search because you haven’t found what you are looking for. I found what I was looking for and I am fully satisfied. I do not know how to explain this but everything I ever looked for when I was younger, I have found in Him. Yes, I do want to know Him more but then I don’t need to know anyone other than Him.
    I am not interested in those other books. I have studied a bit of Islam but don’t ask me about that because I can’t remember. I studied it during a discipleship course some years back. What I remember is what I have found valuable and what has renewed my mind and given me purpose, the word of God.

    I may not be making much sense but there is no other way I can explain it.
    The encounter I had with Him was only the beginning of several, He spoke to me, a gentle but nudging voice deep within me, much like my very own voice but with so much love.

    You see, I had never known this kind of love and when I heard that voice, Peter, I could not believe I what I was hearing. But I spoke to Him and He answered, and I broke down and wept, telling Him, ‘So You have been here all along??! My whole life I doubted You, I can’t believe You are real.’ We spoke like I am speaking to you and He wants to speak to every Christian this way but most of the time, we are in too much of a hurry. The Holy Spirit is encouraged to speak to us whan we create the atmosphere to invite Him, through worship, and waiting on Him. Just telling Him we love Him and giving Him the glory, He so wonderfully deserves. But we pray and end there, but we don’t wait on Him. If we wait, He chooses to speak this way (the spoken word but mind you the spoken word is also preaching or teaching by a man of God) and also through the scriptures, the written word of God. But most of the time, we rush off, and we think we are not getting answers.

    1. If you are not interested in other books which equally claim to be the truth, how sincere is your search for truth? What if you are following the wrong book? How do you get to find out? How did you differentiate between you thinking He spoke to you versus actually hearing His voice? You stated God answered you. What did he tell you?

  9. Dear Peter,

    One may say truth is relative but I say my truth was found in Christ Jesus. His word says He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH. In my own simple way, He fills a void in me, fully satisfying me as if I was thirsty and drank water and that thirst was quenched, as simple as that.
    He spoke to me by answering questions I had. He has spoken to me about which company to choose when I had 2 job offers, as clearly as that, He has spoken by speaking His own word, or reminding me about what His word says; and He still speaks this way, to every Christian who seeks Him through the Holy Spirit.

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