How to Rebuild?
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22-06-2016, 09:21 AM
How to Rebuild?
I just thought perhaps some of you might have personal experience and/or some good advice regarding the situation I find myself in. So, I realized (not quickly, but after a long process) that I was no longer a Christian, and that I take the side of science and reason. As a result I have lost my entire social support system. I was completely immersed in the church (Protestant), so all my friends are Christians. Since I came out of the closet I have been completely shunned. They have taken the time to tell me I am going to hell, and that I am rejecting Jesus.

I no longer have any friends; I am alone. It's been a long time since I was in a situation where I moved across the country to go to graduate school, and had to make new friends. Therefore, I literally do not know how to build an entirely new support system.

I am just wondering if any of you have advice with regard to how to rebuild my support system. I am still in the closet where my family is concerned, but all my friends know and have stopped talking to me. It hurts because I love them. Anyway, any feedback anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
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22-06-2016, 09:25 AM
RE: How to Rebuild?
It does feel very isolating when you first leave religion, especially if you were heavily involved in the church and it was such a framework of your life. I think reaching out to forums like this are helpful and possibly joining some meetups in your area with other like-minded people. I know there are also atheist "churches" that provide the sense of a "church" community without the woo. I also found that joining clubs or groups--like hiking clubs or taking classes that interested me was a great way to meet others without the backdrop of religion hanging over things.
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22-06-2016, 10:03 AM
RE: How to Rebuild?
How about a meet-up group?

http://www.meetup.com

They come in all kinds of flavors, you'll have to see what's available locally.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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22-06-2016, 10:40 AM
RE: How to Rebuild?
I am so sorry for your situation Belinda. It is hard to believe that friends could turn their backs on you like that. You are going to have to refill your life with new friends, which is understandably easier said than done since it is going to require effort from you. In essence you are going to have to get involved whether in volunteer organizations, cycling/running/hiking groups, local UU church, etc. In the mean time come here and vent. I think you will be surprised at how supporting this community can be.

Some local groups:

http://americanhumanist.org/What_We_Do/L...AHA_Groups
http://www.atheists.org/affiliates
http://unitedcor.org/our-groups/
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22-06-2016, 11:22 AM
RE: How to Rebuild?
I'd recommend looking for friends related to other interests or hobbies you may have. And I'm very sorry that you're getting this kind of reaction from the people in your life. It happened to me when I was a Christian, actually, but had a family member involved in a scandal--I was ostracized by all but one of my Christian friends and acquaintances.

This is a more off the wall strategy: I would also consider talking to the pastor of whatever church you were going to and asking him/her what exactly is Christian about shunning a friend who has done you no personal wrong. If there is a god, your friends' actions certainly aren't pushing you towards belief. Maybe understanding that would lead the pastor to address this problem, from the pulpit or privately, and your former friends might see how wrong they are being and apologize. It might be worth a try.
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22-06-2016, 01:35 PM
RE: How to Rebuild?
You are only as isolated as you allow yourself to be. Many of the links provided will help you to find new people to connect with. And you have already connected with us. :-) The isolation you feel will eventually fade away. Just give it some time.
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22-06-2016, 01:48 PM
RE: How to Rebuild?
(22-06-2016 09:21 AM)Belinda Wrote:  I just thought perhaps some of you might have personal experience and/or some good advice regarding the situation I find myself in. So, I realized (not quickly, but after a long process) that I was no longer a Christian, and that I take the side of science and reason. As a result I have lost my entire social support system. I was completely immersed in the church (Protestant), so all my friends are Christians. Since I came out of the closet I have been completely shunned. They have taken the time to tell me I am going to hell, and that I am rejecting Jesus.

I no longer have any friends; I am alone. It's been a long time since I was in a situation where I moved across the country to go to graduate school, and had to make new friends. Therefore, I literally do not know how to build an entirely new support system.

I am just wondering if any of you have advice with regard to how to rebuild my support system. I am still in the closet where my family is concerned, but all my friends know and have stopped talking to me. It hurts because I love them. Anyway, any feedback anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Join a club or volunteer at an outlet devoted to activities you enjoy -- cycling club, working at an animal shelter, that sort of thing.

Join the local atheists / freethought organization, assuming one is in place. Maybe consider starting one if there isn't?

I hope you give those friends an honest, smiling, and hearty "Hi, how have you been?" whenever you see them. Nothing cuts to the core of dark hearts like basic kindness.
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22-06-2016, 04:01 PM
RE: How to Rebuild?
Is there a Unitarian Universalist church nearby you? They are accepting of non-believers, as far as I know. Meditation centers could help as well.

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22-06-2016, 09:55 PM
RE: How to Rebuild?
Hug

From across the interwebz a Hug is all I can offer.
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22-06-2016, 10:00 PM
RE: How to Rebuild?
You start by rebuilding yourself, realizing that they were never your true friends if they could abandon you due to you being an atheist. True friends are for life. True friends do not abandon you because you no longer have the same belief system as them. It is clear that they were never truly your friends.

You rebuild by moving on: one step at a time.
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