Help with deprogramming
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14-06-2016, 06:39 AM
Help with deprogramming
Hello, all. I am new here and have only made one post, my introduction. I am still in the closet, as coming out would quite possibly mean the loss of my job, house, and even perhaps custody of my children. My life is horribly tied up with my super religious parents, as in - I work for them and they own my house and if I do something they disagree with, its lectures and family gossip conversations, and coming over uninvited just to "check in". Church is one of those things that I "have" to do in order to keep the peace and my home and my job. I do have an exit strategy, but it is painfully long and drawn out (I will finish school in about three years and at that time, will move someplace else when I get a job in my chosen field). In the meantime, I am socially pressured to continue going to church and taking my kids, but I have started having rational, truthful conversations with them afterward instead of not talking to them and hoping they forget what they learned. I have also made up my mind that as long as I have to be there, I will learn from it. I downloaded the Skeptics Annotated Bible onto my Kindle and have been using that in church. I come home and type up notes on the sermons and what is contradictory or whatever. I found out that the Sunday School classes are going to be studying "A Case for Christ" in the upcoming weeks. I went online and found books with counter-arguments and I will be reading those books simultaneously. I don't know if I will have the guts to speak out, but I am trying to do things to help myself. I guess these are small steps in deprogramming. But my main thing is that my mind still has all these songs and scriptures and stuff floating around in it and it drives me insane. And even though I know I am talking to no one, my first instinct internally is still prayer. I have to stop myself multiple times a day and say "What are you doing?!?!?" Do these things fade over time? I have 36 years of deprogramming to do. I know it won't happen overnight, but if someone has some advice, that would be great.
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14-06-2016, 07:06 AM
RE: Help with deprogramming
Things will fade over time and get better. It can take a long time to retrain your mind and create new habits. Just be aware of them when they are happening and get into the habit of stopping and thinking your way through it instead of asking for magic to fix everything.

Don't worry about coming out to people until you are ready. You may never be ready, it is a personal decision and doesn't require you to shout it from the hilltops if you have no desire to do so. Also, don't come out until you are comfortable enough with your living situation that it can't be used against you as a tool to blackmail or shame you into conforming.


Hope this helps.
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14-06-2016, 07:36 AM
RE: Help with deprogramming
Hi Welcome

It does take awhile sometimes re: deprogramming as OD said. I was heavily involved in Christianity and when I left, I caught myself still praying on occasion or saying "Thank you God" when something good happened in my life. When you do something for so long, it's really hard to just stop because this way of thinking has become so ingrained. As with any change of habit, your brain will eventually catch up and stop doing what you trained it to do for so long.

What helped me retrain my brain and stop the praying/thanking God thing was actually kind of silly, but it helped me psychologically see the absurdity of the whole thing. When your brain sees the absurdity for what it is--I mean clearly sees it--it can make it much easier to stop the prayer/thanking God thing. The reason I think the prayer thing stuck with me when I recently deconverted was because part of my brain was still conditioned to believe, even though I logically and rationally knew from reading and studying scholarly works that belief in a magical entity living in the clouds was not reality.

So here's what worked for me, as I say kind of silly Tongue, but worked:

Every time I wanted to pray or felt myself praying without even realizing it, I would take out God and put in a magical, invisible leprechaun. So when the urge to pray kicked in, I would remind myself it was like praying to a magical, invisible leprechaun. When I found myself thanking God, I would tell myself it was like thanking a leprechaun for any outcome in my life. My brain quickly acclimated and saw the absurdity in what I was doing and I stopped the praying, thanking God.
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14-06-2016, 08:27 AM
RE: Help with deprogramming
(14-06-2016 07:36 AM)jennybee Wrote:  So here's what worked for me, as I say kind of silly Tongue, but worked:

Every time I wanted to pray or felt myself praying without even realizing it, I would take out God and put in a magical, invisible leprechaun. So when the urge to pray kicked in, I would remind myself it was like praying to a magical, invisible leprechaun. When I found myself thanking God, I would tell myself it was like thanking a leprechaun for any outcome in my life. My brain quickly acclimated and saw the absurdity in what I was doing and I stopped the praying, thanking God.

Magical leprechaun! I love that idea!
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14-06-2016, 10:40 AM
RE: Help with deprogramming
Relapses happen. If you read in the Personal issues threads many of the time you'll see people thinking about hell, or punishment from god. I've been threw that as well. I can usually snap myself out of it thinking would I really want to follow something that would punish me for simply asking questions.

My wife and here family are religious. The first 3 years we were dating she didn't know I was Atheist. The subject never came up and I didn't think about it. But when the subject did it blew up. She didn't know how to handle it. I remained calm for most of the out bursts. We had a large argument over dinner one night when she demanded I pray. I said I don't pray any more. Words were exchanged, and I said "Our emotions are high right now. I think it's best that we go to separate rooms calm down, and when we do come back and talk about this. This is an important subject that I think we need to talk about especially since we're considering getting married." we separated came back with level heads and talked. We've been married 2 years now this coming Wednesday. Since then the god discussion has only come in trickle. I don't bring it up but if she has a question of religions or superstations I confront it from there.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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14-06-2016, 11:50 AM
RE: Help with deprogramming
Welcome here and sorry to hear that you are currently stuck in this situation.
You will probably find it very refreshing, that you can just speak out here. You can speak your mind, ask questions. We are a pretty social bunch here and you will always find someone to talk or bounce off your ideas.

As I see, you are reading up a lot and working against your children's indoctrination.
Here are two resources you might find helpful:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/skeptic-reference
http://www.atheist-experience.com/
Maybe you know both already but I just wanted to throw them out there just in case.

Cheers,
Leela

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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14-06-2016, 04:13 PM
RE: Help with deprogramming
A healthy dose of skepticism will help but one of the best things that you can do for your kids is to introduce them to good fiction. Arguments and counter-arguments make for dull reading but bedtime stories are fun! And once they know what good fiction looks like it becomes painfully obvious that the Bible is bad fiction. Better yet, it's boring bad fiction so they'll lose interest very rapidly.

Depending on their age try The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Discworld, Narnia. Yes, Narnia. CS Lewis did us a massive favor the day he reduced Christianity to a witch and a pack of talking animals, especially since it's a much more gripping read with the obvious fairytale elements.

It's also easy to get in under your parents' radar. They're just bedtime stories after all.

Also, dinosaur books are great for kids around 8 years. Promotes thinking and wonder and woe be unto the sunday school teacher who tries to tell them that dinosaurs never evolved. Depending on your kids interests, bugs, flowers, volcanoes, astronomy, etc. can be similarly useful. There are some good Youtube videos on most of those but the books are better. CGI doesn't hold a candle to a child's imagination.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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14-06-2016, 04:47 PM
RE: Help with deprogramming
The Belief Book by David G. McAfee is really good for kids. It's written for kids and gets them thinking critically about religion.
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14-06-2016, 04:52 PM
RE: Help with deprogramming
I forgot to add: also good for kids is teaching them about biblical history (I'm talking about actual biblical history not the church's version of biblical history). Bart Ehrman's The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction would be really good for you to read and will give you useful tools in explaining to your children why people wrote the (biblical) stories they did and why they believed in their particular version of god.
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14-06-2016, 06:58 PM
RE: Help with deprogramming
(14-06-2016 06:39 AM)kathariskepsi316 Wrote:  Hello, all. I am new here and have only made one post, my introduction. I am still in the closet, as coming out would quite possibly mean the loss of my job, house, and even perhaps custody of my children. My life is horribly tied up with my super religious parents, as in - I work for them and they own my house and if I do something they disagree with, its lectures and family gossip conversations, and coming over uninvited just to "check in". Church is one of those things that I "have" to do in order to keep the peace and my home and my job. I do have an exit strategy, but it is painfully long and drawn out (I will finish school in about three years and at that time, will move someplace else when I get a job in my chosen field). In the meantime, I am socially pressured to continue going to church and taking my kids, but I have started having rational, truthful conversations with them afterward instead of not talking to them and hoping they forget what they learned. I have also made up my mind that as long as I have to be there, I will learn from it. I downloaded the Skeptics Annotated Bible onto my Kindle and have been using that in church. I come home and type up notes on the sermons and what is contradictory or whatever. I found out that the Sunday School classes are going to be studying "A Case for Christ" in the upcoming weeks. I went online and found books with counter-arguments and I will be reading those books simultaneously. I don't know if I will have the guts to speak out, but I am trying to do things to help myself. I guess these are small steps in deprogramming. But my main thing is that my mind still has all these songs and scriptures and stuff floating around in it and it drives me insane. And even though I know I am talking to no one, my first instinct internally is still prayer. I have to stop myself multiple times a day and say "What are you doing?!?!?" Do these things fade over time? I have 36 years of deprogramming to do. I know it won't happen overnight, but if someone has some advice, that would be great.

Knowledge, knowledge builds confidence, knowledge builds assuredness, knowledge builds the road that leads you down the epistemological path to truth. Read, read some more...here are some talking points to flesh out your confidence that you chose the right side of the theological debate:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...rce-thread

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...-available

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...or-Dummies

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ce-Library

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-Look

Glad you found us

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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