I'm a new athiest? Help me?
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08-11-2012, 08:14 PM
I'm a new athiest? Help me?
Hello everyone So this is my first time really talking with any ( some what like minded ) people on this subject.
( new member, first post )

I'm Jixr, a 22 year old guy living in Austin Tx

So to make a long ( as i'm sure all ours are ) story short, I was basically --> <-- this close to going in to seminary school and after a long drawn out
process I've found that I no longer hold to the beliefs of Christianity, and after about 2 years of religious studies, self reflection and basically came to the conclusion
that all of the worlds major religions that i've studies are far too complex, confusing, mythical, ancient, conflicting, etc for me to take hold of. I ended up wanting with all of my desire to not be a christian, jew, muslim, methodist, catholic, agnostic, or an athiest, I don't want a label, I just want to be a person.

I do suppose i'm an atheist by definition. And I have a few questions for some people who may can help me out, and i'll just list them all out.

1. I'm glad i'm free of the religion I was so deep into, but now that i'm out, I feel a bit scared/ancious that I basically threw off everything I was raised in. Is this a normal feeling after people relalise that organized religion is a sham? I used to be happy in my very protected and sheilded bubble, but now that its popped, i'm not sure if i'm quite happy knowing how the world really works.

2. I don't really want to "come out" to my family, as they are all highly religious, and i'm sure they would out me quite a bit ( I was miss communicated from my family shortly after I moved away from home because ( through a bad prank from an ex gf ) they thought that I was gay. ( Home town is a 3,000 pop farm town, with 2 churches, you go to one or the other, prayer before football games, very highly christian centered school, etc ) So my parents are not very open to ideas, and I have a preacher uncle and a by the book devoutely religious aunt in the family. But I do want them to know I don't want to follow the religious views they follow. ) Any ideas on how to slowly ease into the family that I'm ( what i prefer to being called an athiest ) non-religious. ( my parents equate athiest with devil worshipers ) My girlfriend is a desit, and we have been together for a while, but both of our past are so broken and the wounds are still healing, that we don't often talk about deep subjects like religion, our own political views, etc. We both like our 'easyness' of eachother, and I don't feel like we are in a position to bring out a painful subject just yet. ( she is a desit though )

3. When I was 18, I had the bright Idea to get a solid black cross tattoo on my wrist ( during the peak of my christianity-hood ), and now I absolutely hate the tattoo ( the design, not tattoos in general ) and I'm not sure what to do, its rather large, and can't be covered with a watch or wristband, but often get labled as a "good little christain boy" when people see it ( its seriously the only reason why I got my job where I work, as i'm the youngest person there by 15 years, and my boss is a highly religious person ) I was thinking of a cover up, as tattoo removal ( which i've looked into ) cost $2000 and would take over 2 years to fully remove ( or lighten to the point for an easy cover up job ) So my question is how do former belivers deal with tattoos, religious sentimental items, etc now that they are no longer religious?

4. I don't have anyone that I know who is an atheist, and I have tons on my mind and basically have been in a 2 year struggle over all this, and have really been thinking of creating a blog over all the stories I have ( several good ones involving me nearly dying, adults beating up kids at church camp, being apart of a cult-like homeschool family, etc) but I don't know if It would be a good idea to do so. Part of my struggle is I have no one to talk to, and all this is constantly spinning in my head, and would like to set something up where people are free to comment on my stores, share what they know, etc. Anyone know of a good blog host site that could fill my need? the few friends I have are all highly religious and the one I've tried to talk to basically shut me down without trying to understand my reasoning. I don't care to be an athiest converter or whatever, I just want to live without the ball and chain of christianity locked around myself.

Thanks for reading all these, I have a very heavy heart over all this, and am just looking for a direction and someone to talk to. The only person who I confide everything in was my old pastor, and even outside the church, he is still one of the smartest men I've ever known, but unfortunately, I don't see how he could help me out with this. My previous views of athiest were god hating devil worshipers ( who i was sure were 'evil' people ) and I hope there are some of you who can help me out.
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08-11-2012, 08:23 PM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
Welcome!

To answer your #1 question...go find the Recovering from Religion forum listed under Health and Psychology. You'll see that many here can relate very well to what you're experiencing emotionally. It does get better. Thumbsup


Or so I've been told. Confused

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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08-11-2012, 08:50 PM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2012 09:14 PM by Logisch.)
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
Quote:1. I'm glad i'm free of the religion I was so deep into, but now that i'm out, I feel a bit scared/ancious that I basically threw off everything I was raised in. Is this a normal feeling after people relalise that organized religion is a sham? I used to be happy in my very protected and sheilded bubble, but now that its popped, i'm not sure if i'm quite happy knowing how the world really works.

Very normal. When I went through my deconversion from Christianity I felt emotions of everything from FEAR to BETRAYAL, ANGER, CONFUSION, you name it. First I felt confused... "how can this be? I don't believe this stuff... but what if it's true? What if I'm wrong? It's the ultimate sin to say I don't believe. But... who am I kidding? I just don't.. at all.."

That was followed later on with, "I'm so glad I went forward with pursuing my questions. Now I definitely am happy I went away from it. But how could people lie to me?" only to realize that more than likely, 85 or 90% of the people who believed really truly believed that crap, I was now alone at that point.. realizing I was looking from the outside in. I could at that point officially put myself in their shoes. They could not put theirselves in my shoes. It was a new perspective.

Then it was followed with anger... resentment... frustration. I had to relearn the things I previously thought to be untrue. Evolution, cosmology, biology in general. I wanted to learn things. I WANTED to know how the world worked. It took a while. But I am in an extremely comfortable place now. My wife went through much the same, probably not as much of a shock for her since she's been quite apatheist (She doesn't really care one way or the other).

Quote:2. I don't really want to "come out" to my family, as they are all highly religious, and i'm sure they would out me quite a bit ( I was miss communicated from my family shortly after I moved away from home because ( through a bad prank from an ex gf ) they thought that I was gay. ( Home town is a 3,000 pop farm town, with 2 churches, you go to one or the other, prayer before football games, very highly christian centered school, etc ) So my parents are not very open to ideas, and I have a preacher uncle and a by the book devoutely religious aunt in the family. But I do want them to know I don't want to follow the religious views they follow. ) Any ideas on how to slowly ease into the family that I'm ( what i prefer to being called an athiest ) non-religious. ( my parents equate athiest with devil worshipers ) My girlfriend is a desit, and we have been together for a while, but both of our past are so broken and the wounds are still healing, that we don't often talk about deep subjects like religion, our own political views, etc. We both like our 'easyness' of eachother, and I don't feel like we are in a position to bring out a painful subject just yet. ( she is a desit though )

BE VERY CAREFUL. First off, you don't HAVE to... If you don't want to DON'T. and again... MOST people will NOT understand. MANY will NOT understand or be accepting, PERIOD. You WILL have people who will look at you differently, treat you differently, think of you differently. People who will say, "it's fine I still love you" to your face, talk shit behind your back and think you are satan incarnate. Remember, the people who cannot put themselves in your shoes who are heavily indoctrinate who think atheists are the spawn of satan will still think that way. It's easy for an atheist to go back and think about what it was like.

To a believer, they are told not to have those thoughts. You don't want to have doubt. You don't want to stop believing. Your gut instinct is either "CONVERT THE NONBELIEVER" because it's uncomfortable to be around someone like that... OR, to distance yourself from them.

I did come out to my family later. They are now "ok" with things, but I still get them trying to debate with me, talk to me, plead to me about things. I have some family who don't talk to me. I've lost friends.

I finally found a local meetup group FULL of atheists. No joke, 150 members. When I finally met them there was probably 10-15 people at that meet. I've already met new people who are like minded and it was such a RELIEF.

Want some good advice? Go find a group. Or make one. Surely there is someone out there like you. You are NOT the only atheist around, and there may be others out there who are afraid to speak up. Maybe just a local email support group, or a group that meets up now and then to have a little comfort in each other. I've found it to be quite healthy. Whatever you do, do it safely and carefully, since in some places even in the united states being an "atheist" is social bad karma for some people.

Hopefully your family can come to terms with things if it happens, but plan it out if you do it and be careful about it.

Quote:3. When I was 18, I had the bright Idea to get a solid black cross tattoo on my wrist ( during the peak of my christianity-hood ), and now I absolutely hate the tattoo ( the design, not tattoos in general ) and I'm not sure what to do, its rather large, and can't be covered with a watch or wristband, but often get labled as a "good little christain boy" when people see it ( its seriously the only reason why I got my job where I work, as i'm the youngest person there by 15 years, and my boss is a highly religious person ) I was thinking of a cover up, as tattoo removal ( which i've looked into ) cost $2000 and would take over 2 years to fully remove ( or lighten to the point for an easy cover up job ) So my question is how do former belivers deal with tattoos, religious sentimental items, etc now that they are no longer religious?

Oh man I still have all kinds of shit here and there I find. I made a thread about that:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...conversion

You might get a kick out of it.

You could always find a tattoo artist to cover it up or make something else out of it if it bothers you. That's why I have a rule about no religious, political or tattoos about viewing things. I may be affirmative in one thing now, and later in life things may change. I can't imagine stop being an atheist, since I don't think I could ever possibly see religion the same way again... but who knows how I will view life in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now.

I keep a bible around for "debate" purposes, but I don't really give a damn about the book. I'm sorted my religious items out of my life so I can concentrate on life now, and going forward. But that's just me.

Quote:4. I don't have anyone that I know who is an atheist, and I have tons on my mind and basically have been in a 2 year struggle over all this, and have really been thinking of creating a blog over all the stories I have ( several good ones involving me nearly dying, adults beating up kids at church camp, being apart of a cult-like homeschool family, etc) but I don't know if It would be a good idea to do so. Part of my struggle is I have no one to talk to, and all this is constantly spinning in my head, and would like to set something up where people are free to comment on my stores, share what they know, etc. Anyone know of a good blog host site that could fill my need? the few friends I have are all highly religious and the one I've tried to talk to basically shut me down without trying to understand my reasoning. I don't care to be an athiest converter or whatever, I just want to live without the ball and chain of christianity locked around myself.

Do whatever helps you cope man. I have a blog as well, my name remains anonymous on there and I have shared it with few people, though it has an ok amount of views. I'm quite outspoken, and keep other names anonymous as well. It's mostly when I feel like I have something that just REALLY pisses me off I need to talk about. I also vent about the things I see that religion does that hurts people. I can safely say that I didn't used to feel like I felt the need to "deconvert people" besides myself, but the more you see people blinded by religion, and the hate, discontent and bitterness, the "us vs them" mentality it breeds and the brutal and shitty things people have done in the name of it.... the less you want to see it. But that's up to you to decide.

That said... blogger.com is a fantastic place to get started and it's free. I think you just use your gmail to sign in (google bought it a long time ago).

Quote:Thanks for reading all these, I have a very heavy heart over all this, and am just looking for a direction and someone to talk to. The only person who I confide everything in was my old pastor, and even outside the church, he is still one of the smartest men I've ever known, but unfortunately, I don't see how he could help me out with this. My previous views of athiest were god hating devil worshipers ( who i was sure were 'evil' people ) and I hope there are some of you who can help me out.

If you need to talk or vent in private, you're more than welcome to drop me a pm. Many of us have been through VERY similar things and I was a christian for some 15 years of my life. I would have said "all" but I don't think it matters or counts when you're a kid since you're not old enough to understand. I've been a "soft" atheist (didn't feel too strongly there was a god.. didn't believe religion had the answers" for several years, and more of a "hard" atheist (I definitely don't feel there is one, and religion is a waste of time to me) for probably 2 years now.

Here is some things for you I think you can enjoy, appreciate and perhaps relate to. They helped me as well.

Evid3nc3 - Why I am no longer a christian (this is from beginning to end his deconversion process, it is INSANELY detailed, very good, and a wonderful series to listen to)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSy1-Q_BE...p_play_all

Some beautiful views on life in general from Philhellenes

Dust that sings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nnwvoH-4XI&feature=plcp
Science saved my soul
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6w2M50_Xdk&feature=plcp
Through these godless eyes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txp8LhL56rU&feature=plcp
This remarkable thing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdRCPjXn1DY&feature=plcp

Richard Dawkins - We are going to die
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOXMjCnKwb4

And reading material:
Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion
Christopher Hitchens - Mortality
Christopher Hitchens - God is not great
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08-11-2012, 09:11 PM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2012 09:22 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
(08-11-2012 08:14 PM)Jixr Wrote:  I'm Jixr, a 22 year old guy living in Austin Tx

1. I'm glad i'm free of the religion I was so deep into, but now that i'm out, I feel a bit scared/ancious that I basically threw off everything I was raised in. Is this a normal feeling after people relalise that organized religion is a sham? I used to be happy in my very protected and sheilded bubble, but now that its popped, i'm not sure if i'm quite happy knowing how the world really works.

Felt like a reptile just shedding its skin to me at the ripe old age of 17 some 3 decades ago now.

(08-11-2012 08:14 PM)Jixr Wrote:  2. I don't really want to "come out" to my family, ...

Then don't. Your metaphysics ain't nobody's business but your own.

(08-11-2012 08:14 PM)Jixr Wrote:  3. ... So my question is how do former belivers deal with tattoos, ...

Dunno, got no tattoos.

(08-11-2012 08:14 PM)Jixr Wrote:  4. I don't have anyone that I know who is an atheist, ...

You do now.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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09-11-2012, 12:23 AM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
First of all, welcome to the forum, hopefully you will find some things here that will help you.


Just my take on your questions.

1. Not too sure if there is anything that anyone can say to help you with this. It will probably just take time for you to accept things as they are. There are things about the world that you can change, or try to change, and there are things that nobody can change. A thing that you can try to remember is: It's not the world that is evil, or bad, there are people in the world that do evil or bad things. Everything else is just nature, and is not evil or bad even though we may like to put those labels on it. (Such as when natural disasters happen). Instead of feeling depressed about it you can do what you can to effect a positive change.

2. If you think that it will affect your livelihood, safety, or happiness to come out to them as non-religious, then don't do it. If you think there will be a worse affect on you if you don't come out, then come out.

3. Not having any tattoos yet myself, I'm not sure what to tell you. At this point a coverup might be the best option, but if you can wait, start setting aside small amounts of money in a fund for yourself to eventually get the tattoo removed. You might not be happy with the coverup either, especially if it might affect your ability to get certain jobs.

4. There is a Skype group on this forum, you could always try hitting them up for some people to chat with, or you can feel free to PM me. I might not always have the best advise, but I'm always ready to listen. I'm sure other members would be willing to chat with you as well. As for blogging, there are many different blog sites out there, just do a bit of googling, I'm sure you can find one that will fit your needs. Here's an article I found with a quick search. You could also try video blogging, if that's more your style.

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09-11-2012, 02:39 AM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
You've already got some pretty kick-ass answers form everyone, and since I don't feel as if I was ever properly indoctrinated I think those that were can probably give you better answers anyway.

I will give you a bit of advice on the tattoo though. I would save up. cover jobs might be okay, but a plain black tattoo on the wrist should be easy and relatively inexpensive. Go see a clinic and get a quote before doing anything rash, you might be surprised. With that out of the way, welcome to the forum, hope we can help you. Look forward to hearing more from you.

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09-11-2012, 10:41 AM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
Yeah, my tattoo is what bothers me the most. And after visiting several removal places, most agreed that it would take at least 15-20 sessions ( its very dark and heavily done ) and the cheapest session was $100, and you can only get a session once a month ( to allow proper healing )
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09-11-2012, 11:29 AM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
Hi Jixr. Welcome to the forum.

1. Some of your circumstances sound similar to mine. I too had given serious thought to entering a Seminary at one time. I had spent several years taking religion very seriously and practicing it and learning all I could about it. Then one day, I literally just didn't care about it anymore. It was like someone had pulled back a curtain that had been previously keeping me from seeing the truth. It took me another year or so to understand what had happened and how my supposedly strong faith could just vanish almost literally overnight. (That explanation is a whole other story.) But, during that time, I was scared and confused. I actually tried to get my faith back and prayed to God to help me do so. But it was no use. For a few years after that, still not completely comfortable, I looked into other religions, latched onto some new age stuff for awhile, but eventually cast it all aside kicking myself for taking so long to let it all go. That was over 20 years ago and, to this day, there is still a grain I can't seem to completely shed. My brain has no doubt whatsoever, but deep down some emotional leftover sometimes still rears it's ugly head to say "what if you really ARE wrong..." Then a moment later I feel disgusted that indoctrination has left me with that. Normal? Yes, it's normal. Unfortunately.

2. Personally, I find it difficult to give specific advice when it involves people's family members. We all have different circumstances and you know your own family better than any one else. So follow your gut. You don't have to come out and you don't have to stay quiet. At the very least, I would take some time - years if necessary - for you to completely feel comfortable with your own atheism and learn as much as you can about the arguments in support of atheism. At least then, you will be more ready - both emotionally and in terms of knowledge - if you decide to come out someday and get into a serious heated argument with family members.

3. I don't know anything about tattoos. I have never had one myself. One possibility might be if there is a way to "continue" the tattoo, adding to it, so it looks like something completely different. That would depend on what it looks like in the first place though I guess.

4. This forum is a great place to start. Check out the Atheist / Agnostic Informational Resource Library thread too. There are a lot of great learning resources there.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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09-11-2012, 05:28 PM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
(09-11-2012 10:41 AM)Jixr Wrote:  Yeah, my tattoo is what bothers me the most. And after visiting several removal places, most agreed that it would take at least 15-20 sessions ( its very dark and heavily done ) and the cheapest session was $100, and you can only get a session once a month ( to allow proper healing )

Make it look like this.

[Image: ironcross.png]

Just make sure not to shave your head. ... or go bald. Evil_monster

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09-11-2012, 06:17 PM
RE: I'm a new athiest? Help me?
There are people just like you all over the place - and you likely know a few - but they won't talk and neither will you. The world is still crawling with closet atheists, and there is good reason for it for many.

Don't confront anyone if you don't feel comfortable about it. Wait until you do - and if you spend time with like-minded people, like here or in a local group, you will grow to be a lot more comfortable as time goes.

Watch youtube - lots of atheist things to watch there and some are really interesting.

Go to a GOOD tatoo artist and have the tatoo changed, when you are ready.

Most of all, give yourself time to grow comfortable with your new self. Everyone and everything will still be there later. No point making yourself unhappy.

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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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