My Year as an Atheist

Renae Nicole
7 min readJun 2, 2020

Why I left the church and why I came back.

For a year during college, I considered myself an atheist. Long story short, I thought God was calling me to be a pastor, but when that didn’t work out, I gave up on religion. I didn’t understand Christianity. For about a year, I wandered.

Why I Became an Atheist

When I was a freshman in college, I thought God was calling me to be a youth pastor. Let me unpack that a little bit. Emotions ruled my life when I was a teenager. I had no discernment when it came to intense feelings. When I got an inkling that I should go into ministry, I didn’t question it.

Freshman year of college, I majored in chemical engineering. I couldn’t stop thinking about what “God had called me to do.” I also had the misconception that being in ministry was the only way to further God’s kingdom — laymen’s terms: be a good Christian.

When I decided to pursue this “calling,” I visited other colleges, because my state university didn’t have the major I thought I needed. At a private college, I could take Bible classes. I found one and was all set up to transfer at the beginning of my sophomore year.

After finishing my freshman year, I tried to sign up for classes at this new college. With the help of an advisor, I figured out that it would take me longer than I had planned to graduate. For some reason, that made my world come crashing down. I started to question everything — my career choice, my faith, and my life.

After discussing it with my parents, I decided to stay home and take online classes in the upcoming semester. I picked a few different fields to explore what I wanted to do for a living, and I got a job at the local library and YMCA.

The summer after my freshman year, I was deeply depressed. For about three months, the only productive activity I did was go to work as a lifeguard at the community pool. I questioned everything, but the biggest question I had was, “if God is a good God, why doesn’t he want me to work for him?”

Renae Nicole

Certified Personal Trainer | Health Coach | Nutrition Coach | Worldview: Christianity