Grieving for the loss of god
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09-06-2012, 09:20 AM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(09-06-2012 07:43 AM)Billybrawner Wrote:  
(08-06-2012 12:26 PM)Dom Wrote:  Ok, I've been thinking ( hubby would say: "oh, oh!")

There are quite a few atheists here who used to be seriously practicing christians.

For a practicing christian, god occupies quite a large part of life, things one does and thoughts one has. It's a way of life and a way of thinking.

The medical definition of grief:



So, looking at this from a purely medical point of view, when one removes a large part of daily practices and habit, grief replaces it until that issue is resolved and the void that has been created is filled again. (from other readings I gather this takes a minimum of a year and likely several years).

When a person who is a huge part of your life dies, at first you surround yourself with memories and you think about everything that happened with them and analyze things to death. (no pun intended)

From what I see, atheists who used to be practicing christians do much of the same. They read the bible and other books of faith and analyse them and discuss them and spend a lot of time on this.

I see all the symptoms of grief coming up repeatedly - anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. (humor is not precluded here, just because the afore mentioned feelings are present doesn't mean that all others have ceased to exist, life goes on even when grieving).

I also see people who are at the door of letting god walk out and letting atheism in go through a lot of the things you go through when anticipating the death of someone very close - clinging to hope by coming up with a never-ending flood of alternative possibilities - anything but the death of faith will do. Some strange logic comes up this way...

So that's what I have been thinking about. Your thoughts?


I've been in the stage of knowing my faith was dying for the past 2 years and going as a foreign exchange student where I was all alone and had time to think for myself was what finally killed it, as I became basically agnostic halfway through my year here but I have yet to feel any of these symptoms of grief, I've just felt more relief from judgments and restrictions and have allowed myself to hang out with a wider variety of people and experience more things, but I haven't had to return home and face the consequences of my decision yet nor be in a familiar environment. I think it was easier for me to change my beliefs and let go of the old ones because I'm across the world right now in a completely foreign environment already, so I've become sort of numbed to the feelings of change and don't even notice them sometimes.




You got two things helping you beat this much easier:

You are young. You haven't devoted 20 years of your adult life to religion. It takes time for religious habits to become so ingrained that removal causes grieving.

You changed your environment completely. By doing that, you removed the triggers. You also removed the church based relationships you may have had, you may have to face these when you come back. If you had any.

Anjele, religion is a "never no mind" thing for me too. What there was of it went out when I became a teenager. There are other life situations that cause these issues too though, like becoming an "empty nester", being out of work, and whatever other things rip a hole in your life as you know it.

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09-06-2012, 09:31 AM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
Interesting thoughts, Dom.
There are obviously strong parallels between grieving for a lifestyle / belief / "father" and the grief felt at the loss of a loved one.
So much easier if one had nothing to lose i.e. one had not been in a god-relationship.

So here is a counter-thought...
If it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,
is it therefore better to have loved and lost god than never to have been indoctinated in the first place?

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09-06-2012, 12:32 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(09-06-2012 09:31 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Interesting thoughts, Dom.
There are obviously strong parallels between grieving for a lifestyle / belief / "father" and the grief felt at the loss of a loved one.
So much easier if one had nothing to lose i.e. one had not been in a god-relationship.

So here is a counter-thought...
If it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,
is it therefore better to have loved and lost god than never to have been indoctinated in the first place?


I suppose everyone has to have their own answer to this.

Grieving is also learning. You are forced to learn new things. You are forced to abandon the status quo and remodel your life. There is definitely good in that, painful as it can be.

Also, when grieving for a person, the quality of the relationship has nothing to do with it. The abused will grieve for the abuser. Good or bad, it was a major part of life and it's gone. So, even if you were miserable in religion, taking it away will cause grief.

Personally, would I trade 26 years of a good marriage for the avoidance of a couple years of grieving? Heck, no! I would do it all over again if I could.

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12-06-2012, 01:22 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(08-06-2012 12:26 PM)Dom Wrote:  Ok, I've been thinking ( hubby would say: "oh, oh!")

There are quite a few atheists here who used to be seriously practicing christians.

For a practicing christian, god occupies quite a large part of life, things one does and thoughts one has. It's a way of life and a way of thinking.

The medical definition of grief:



Quote:Grief: The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job). Emotional reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness.
So, looking at this from a purely medical point of view, when one removes a large part of daily practices and habit, grief replaces it until that issue is resolved and the void that has been created is filled again. (from other readings I gather this takes a minimum of a year and likely several years).

When a person who is a huge part of your life dies, at first you surround yourself with memories and you think about everything that happened with them and analyze things to death. (no pun intended)

From what I see, atheists who used to be practicing christians do much of the same. They read the bible and other books of faith and analyse them and discuss them and spend a lot of time on this.

I see all the symptoms of grief coming up repeatedly - anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. (humor is not precluded here, just because the afore mentioned feelings are present doesn't mean that all others have ceased to exist, life goes on even when grieving).

I also see people who are at the door of letting god walk out and letting atheism in go through a lot of the things you go through when anticipating the death of someone very close - clinging to hope by coming up with a never-ending flood of alternative possibilities - anything but the death of faith will do. Some strange logic comes up this way...

So that's what I have been thinking about. Your thoughts?
I guess it depends on the nature of the God you followed. The version out of conventional wisdom of a benevolent, kind charitable soul who helps his creation, yeah I could mourn over that.

But that's not what I found in God.

What I found in God was a selfish power hungry egocentric dictator who enjoys and perpetrates evil and whose hobbies include cruelty, inflicting pain and humiliating others, both by his own hand or by the use of his spiritual goon squad. Fuck him in the ass. I don't miss him one bit. And if he did exist I'm glad he's dying a slow death by being eclipsed by knowledge and scientific reason. From here on out I'm going to forget that he ever existed and put my time and talents 100% toward my own endeavors.

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12-06-2012, 03:19 PM (This post was last modified: 12-06-2012 03:23 PM by kim.)
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(08-06-2012 01:42 PM)Dom Wrote:  It just struck me how very similair the loss of god seems to be to my loss of my husband.
Thank you for this posting, Dom. The grief process is something very rarely touched on but it's very evident in anyone experiencing a loss of any kind. Even a loss of God. Loss is loss and the best thing we can do for ourselves, is grieve it.

My 12 year marriage was shit, but when it was over... the horrendous loss was beyond comprehension. Even though this relationship was treachery itself, it did have it's moments... and goddamnit I tried so fucking hard! Time wise, I've finally been divorced longer than I was even married. Does this loss still effect me? I've just barely shown you my scar. Shy

(08-06-2012 05:33 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I've minimized my own feelings in this area because I feel my loss is imaginary while you lost someone dear to your heart. But the thing is, when I was a Christian, I wasn't in name only. I really bought into the Relationship that God has with his Believers. God was dear to my heart, the lover of my soul and I loved God...real or not, there is a loss of my central source of guidance and comfort and even identity as a Child of God. Stuff that seems hokey to non-believers, yet it was all very real to me. I guess that's why I appreciate your posting of this topic. Smile

Erx, your loss is not imaginary in any way. Your loss is very real and palpable... others recognized it. It was so noticeable, you hid it from others and possibly yourself, at times. You had a real relationship ... for you, God was real. Feelings of love for God can not be discounted or minimized in any way; it's effect on your life was far too great.
_____________

I find that many people come to this forum because they aren't quite certain how to go about making do without something they know is now not in their life. Understanding this loss is why I especially try to tread lightly on people who have just come out of the fog or who are trying to find their way out. It's like finding a half starved newborn; feeding it too much might make it sick, holding too tightly might hurt it, not letting it feel what it needs to feel might risk misunderstanding how to help it survive.

Heart Every experience in life is accompanied by very real feelings and when that experience stops, it's loss is defined by very real feelings of grief.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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12-06-2012, 03:35 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(12-06-2012 01:22 PM)Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver Wrote:  What I found in God Scott was a selfish power hungry egocentric dictator who enjoys and perpetrates evil and whose hobbies include cruelty, inflicting pain and humiliating others, both by his own hand or by the use of his spiritual goon squadrelatives.

Well, I see my ex-husband hasn't changed much. Wink

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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12-06-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(12-06-2012 03:35 PM)kim Wrote:  
(12-06-2012 01:22 PM)Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver Wrote:  What I found in God Scott was a selfish power hungry egocentric dictator who enjoys and perpetrates evil and whose hobbies include cruelty, inflicting pain and humiliating others, both by his own hand or by the use of his spiritual goon squadrelatives.


Well, I see my ex-husband hasn't changed much. Wink


Sounds like a nasty piece of work!

And yes, divorce results in grief. Probably the deepest grief afflicts those who get out of an abusive relationship. An abusive-relationship eats even deeper into your life - whether the abuser is actually there or not - the abused is constantly thinking about the abuser. Take that away and there is nothing left - no life.

Most people just don't know that grieving (the clinical, medical definition) has nothing to do with missing someone you loved, it is about a void in your life. The disappearance of someone you hate can result in the same amount of grief as the disappearance of someone you love - it just depends on how much daily time was spent on or with that person.

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12-06-2012, 04:54 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
(12-06-2012 03:57 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(12-06-2012 03:35 PM)kim Wrote:  Well, I see my ex-husband hasn't changed much. Wink
Sounds like a nasty piece of work!

No, not really... divorce humor is often mistaken for bitterness... probably a part of grief... kind of like that anger/defiant stage Carlo isn't experiencing. Dodgy

I think at one time, or in some sense I could have seen my ex in that nasty way. Although the dynamic was quite intensely manipulative on his part, the relationship wasn't necessarily abusive rather, just very childish, selfish, and possessive.

The void for me was kind of like Erx's experience with God. It's almost like something that was there or supposed to be there (commitment) that really wasn't. Then, when I found the chance to walk away I even orchestrated leaving. I felt forced to become part of the betrayal of fracturing an illusion which I was ok with. But then, it wasn't ok ... the illusion wasn't mutual... so I had to get out.

What was that list... grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair... let's not forget the incremental feelings at each step... realization shock is followed by it's own grief stage ... etc.,.
***
I'm at the point where I'm way past all that... and all that's left is humor ... and I suppose there'll always be some disappointment or sadness.
We all want love in whatever form we find it, and even have to grieve it when we find it's not there... even if it never really was.

Little steps. Little steps. We want leaps and bounds but little steps is best. Shy

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12-06-2012, 08:40 PM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
Grief ? Maybe. But then you come to realize there's nothing actually lost. Every individual element that made up the initial position's attractiveness is replaceable with something else, more mature, and not subject to loss. For me, it was all aesthetic. Gods ain't got no corner on that. You discover you can make the Grail appear, (and disappear). It's been addressed here before. (Atheism's little secret....http://theunconverted.com/atheisms-delic...le-secret/ ) ,

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ail+Castle

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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13-06-2012, 01:26 AM
RE: Grieving for the loss of god
Thank you, Kimmie for your groovy exhortations. You've given me much to ponder. Consider Heck, you even made a cameo appearance in my therapy session today. Big Grin

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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