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05-07-2017, 06:50 PM
Introduction
Hello Fellow Skeptics:

My story is quite common among skeptics.

I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at 8. I was baptized (dunk) at 12. I rededicated my life to God at 16. I started Bible College after high school intending to be a missionary. But I left after 1 year and ended up with a degree in Computer Science.

I married a fellow believer (former Roman Catholic, now born again) and we attended church together. We dedicated our daughter as a baby and sent her to the Christian school in Kindergarten (but due to money sent her to public starting in 1st grade).

We moved out of state a few times and our church attendance declined.

When I was 41, I met on the Internet a wonderful gay man. Having lived a secret I knew I was gay (or different) since 12, he and I fell in love. I divorced my wife the following year and went to live with this man.

My wife had been unhappy with our marriage for years and was glad to be divorced. My 14 year old daughter took it hard.

My new partner (who also had been married and the father of three) and I went to Metropolitan Community Church (MCC - a gay church) for a few years, becoming leaders in the local church. But I had a falling out with a member and we left the church. We could not find a new church and stopped all together.

My journey into skepticism actually started when I was young and very religious. Like most believers, I was frustrated I could not see, hear, or touch God. I was told that is because God is holy and I would die if I saw him.

In my heart, I deeply believed, and felt strongly God loved me deeply.

Once my partner and I left church all together, first my agnosticism and finally my atheism grew more and more.

(I now know most atheists are agnostic atheists - they do not KNOW God does not exist, only that no evidence exists that God exists and they live their lives accordingly).

In 2014, after being forced to move 1200 miles from my family (with my partner) because of my job, I developed a severe depression. I decided to retire early (I was 57), but even though we moved back to near my family, my depression grew. I became seriously suicidal, so much so, I had myself admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

In 2015, a friend convinced me to apply for Social Security Disability Income because of my debilitating depression. I did and my SSDI was approved on my initial application (only 30% are approved on their initial application).

Having SSDI gave me a great deal of assurance I would not become homeless.

But, I also started seeing a gay psychologist in 2014.

My major explorations in therapy involve deep losses and pain:

1. My utter self hatred for being gay
2. Losing a compensation for that self hatred - my career
3. Losing the deep emotional comfort my belief in God gave me

Despite my severe depression, I have been a fighter. When I first came out at 42, not only did I become a leader in my gay church, but I became a gay activist. I led a protest in Columbus, Ohio in 2004 for marriage equality. It was reported on local TV and I was extensively interviewed. I was also quoted in national AP. I became the president of my local Democratic Party club and campaigned for John Kerry and Barack Obama. And now, I have become an atheist activist, mostly with pointed posts on Facebook.

I have said I do not see how I can ever be a believer again. I truly miss the emotional comfort my believes gave me, but now see that was exactly that, emotional comfort, not any clear reality. I do not want to cease to exist when I die and yet I see no evidence anything but that will happen when I die.

On the one hand death should not be feared. I will close my eyes and cease. I will not know I ceased or ever existed. I will not know. But it still makes me sad. As a believer I really bought into a joyful thought of being with an unconditionally loving Father for eternity. I often quoted a New Testament verse, Romans 8:15, where we would cry, "Abba, Father". Rough translation of Abba is Daddy.

I hear familiar beautiful music of praise to God and it often melts my heart and causes me deep sadness knowing I have lost this. As my former gay minister said recently, I am grieving.

So atheism may be more logically and rationally honest, but there is a powerful motive to believe in an all caring Parent there to protect you and love you unconditionally.

So there you have it. My short autobiography. LOL

Steve Wild
Columbus, OH
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05-07-2017, 06:58 PM
RE: Introduction
(05-07-2017 06:50 PM)slw0606 Wrote:  Hello Fellow Skeptics:

My story is quite common among skeptics.

I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at 8. I was baptized (dunk) at 12. I rededicated my life to God at 16. I started Bible College after high school intending to be a missionary. But I left after 1 year and ended up with a degree in Computer Science.

I married a fellow believer (former Roman Catholic, now born again) and we attended church together. We dedicated our daughter as a baby and sent her to the Christian school in Kindergarten (but due to money sent her to public starting in 1st grade).

We moved out of state a few times and our church attendance declined.

When I was 41, I met on the Internet a wonderful gay man. Having lived a secret I knew I was gay (or different) since 12, he and I fell in love. I divorced my wife the following year and went to live with this man.

My wife had been unhappy with our marriage for years and was glad to be divorced. My 14 year old daughter took it hard.

My new partner (who also had been married and the father of three) and I went to Metropolitan Community Church (MCC - a gay church) for a few years, becoming leaders in the local church. But I had a falling out with a member and we left the church. We could not find a new church and stopped all together.

My journey into skepticism actually started when I was young and very religious. Like most believers, I was frustrated I could not see, hear, or touch God. I was told that is because God is holy and I would die if I saw him.

In my heart, I deeply believed, and felt strongly God loved me deeply.

Once my partner and I left church all together, first my agnosticism and finally my atheism grew more and more.

(I now know most atheists are agnostic atheists - they do not KNOW God does not exist, only that no evidence exists that God exists and they live their lives accordingly).

In 2014, after being forced to move 1200 miles from my family (with my partner) because of my job, I developed a severe depression. I decided to retire early (I was 57), but even though we moved back to near my family, my depression grew. I became seriously suicidal, so much so, I had myself admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

In 2015, a friend convinced me to apply for Social Security Disability Income because of my debilitating depression. I did and my SSDI was approved on my initial application (only 30% are approved on their initial application).

Having SSDI gave me a great deal of assurance I would not become homeless.

But, I also started seeing a gay psychologist in 2014.

My major explorations in therapy involve deep losses and pain:

1. My utter self hatred for being gay
2. Losing a compensation for that self hatred - my career
3. Losing the deep emotional comfort my belief in God gave me

Despite my severe depression, I have been a fighter. When I first came out at 42, not only did I become a leader in my gay church, but I became a gay activist. I led a protest in Columbus, Ohio in 2004 for marriage equality. It was reported on local TV and I was extensively interviewed. I was also quoted in national AP. I became the president of my local Democratic Party club and campaigned for John Kerry and Barack Obama. And now, I have become an atheist activist, mostly with pointed posts on Facebook.

I have said I do not see how I can ever be a believer again. I truly miss the emotional comfort my believes gave me, but now see that was exactly that, emotional comfort, not any clear reality. I do not want to cease to exist when I die and yet I see no evidence anything but that will happen when I die.

On the one hand death should not be feared. I will close my eyes and cease. I will not know I ceased or ever existed. I will not know. But it still makes me sad. As a believer I really bought into a joyful thought of being with an unconditionally loving Father for eternity. I often quoted a New Testament verse, Romans 8:15, where we would cry, "Abba, Father". Rough translation of Abba is Daddy.

I hear familiar beautiful music of praise to God and it often melts my heart and causes me deep sadness knowing I have lost this. As my former gay minister said recently, I am grieving.

So atheism may be more logically and rationally honest, but there is a powerful motive to believe in an all caring Parent there to protect you and love you unconditionally.

So there you have it. My short autobiography. LOL

Steve Wild
Columbus, OH

You've already been through hell, and it didn't kill you! Laugh out load Welcome! The "All-caring parent" wasn't there to help you this far, don't expect much going forward. Beautiful music can move people that way, too. Doesn't mean that a god is there.
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05-07-2017, 07:15 PM
RE: Introduction
Welcome! I hope you'll feel as welcome here as I have!

And by the way, I enjoy Beethovan's Fur Elise without being German. And I know an atheist who LOVES Christmas Carols. Music is universal. I play several songs on my ukulele that would be considered religious or spiritual. Doesn't make me any less atheist or less true to myself. I guess what I'm saying is although I "get" your sadness, I hope you will find your way past that and be able to enjoy that music again for the sake of its own quality---and no longer have it make you be sad.

Anyway, glad you've joined us![Image: monkey-kiss.gif]

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
"Life is not all lovely thorns and singing vultures, you know." ~ Morticia Addams
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05-07-2017, 08:33 PM
RE: Introduction
(05-07-2017 07:15 PM)outtathereligioncloset Wrote:  Welcome! I hope you'll feel as welcome here as I have!

And by the way, I enjoy Beethovan's Fur Elise without being German. And I know an atheist who LOVES Christmas Carols. Music is universal. I play several songs on my ukulele that would be considered religious or spiritual. Doesn't make me any less atheist or less true to myself. I guess what I'm saying is although I "get" your sadness, I hope you will find your way past that and be able to enjoy that music again for the sake of its own quality---and no longer have it make you be sad.

Anyway, glad you've joined us![Image: monkey-kiss.gif]

*Monkey kiss*, yuck. Meanwhile, I do know atheists who like to sing, and do sing in choirs at churches. Go figure. The music can be beautiful; after all, people who made it did so for "something higher than themselves". That "something higher" could be something besides a putative "god". Call it art and move on. No "god" required. I prefer mathematics. There's a real beauty there, but you may have to pay a brutal price with study time to get to a point where that appreciation can occur. Truth is, if a person wants to paint, there an be a brutal price in terms of cost of material and the amount of time involved getting to be proficient. All a mathematician needs is a pad of paper, a pencil, and a large wastebasket. Don't remember where I read that, but when I was working on my B Sc in Physics, I threw many a sheet of paper away in frustration. Yes
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05-07-2017, 08:40 PM
RE: Introduction
Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story!
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06-07-2017, 08:49 AM
RE: Introduction
G'day mate, and welcome to TTA. Smile

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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06-07-2017, 03:06 PM
RE: Introduction
Hey, you can keep the music and ditch the religion; I did. Wink

Welcome to TTA.

--
Dr H

"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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06-07-2017, 03:48 PM
RE: Introduction
Welcome!
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06-07-2017, 03:49 PM
RE: Introduction
(05-07-2017 06:50 PM)slw0606 Wrote:  I hear familiar beautiful music of praise to God and it often melts my heart and causes me deep sadness knowing I have lost this.

[Image: b5f90a9a215ce30c3cc3952b4ac103cb.jpg]

I kid Tongue
Hug


Welcome to TTA! Shy

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