Learning to accept myself as a non believer
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27-01-2018, 06:37 AM
Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Learning to accept myself.... You'd think after 65 years and the last 27 of it having left the Church and pretty much becoming a secular Pagan/ almost Athiest - still getting there - that this would be easy. Or at least easier. But sometimes it is a real struggle. A few years back when I realized there really was no need to keep trying to placate the Christians who were trying to reconvert me and that religion in general was serving no purpose I did a paper for this Druid Order I belong to that basically presented my reasons for saying that we didn't need religion anymore. Well it didn't go over as well as I had hoped but it did jump start the conversation with the more religious people in the Order. A lot of the same points Seth makes on his podcasts were the same ones I used. This was before I found his youtube channel. I only did that last year. So guess how amazed and delighted I was that he also had left the Church and that somehow he was not one of the "Angry" Atheists that my mentor in the Druid Order found so annoying.
Well the journey for me has not always been easy. The de-conversion process as a non believer has taken me through a lot of religions and spiritual paths. Along the way I am still daily grappling with all the shame and unworthiness and low self esteem I was brainwashed into accepting while still a believing Christian. Coming out as LGBT was definitely much easier, and while I can pretty much ignore the God question these days I am still grappling with the consequences of my decisions, the fears , the angry Christians who see my leaving the Church as some sort of persecution of Jesus (its not) who see me as a failure (I am still alive so I am not a failure) yada yada yada. The loneliness since my bff who is Athiest too lives in another town etc But I am getting there. And this forum like Seth's Thinking Athiest podcast really helps. So Thanks for the paitience with this long post and for being here.
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27-01-2018, 07:11 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
(27-01-2018 06:37 AM)Patricia Norwood Wrote:  Learning to accept myself.... You'd think after 65 years and the last 27 of it having left the Church and pretty much becoming a secular Pagan/ almost Athiest - still getting there - that this would be easy. Or at least easier. But sometimes it is a real struggle. A few years back when I realized there really was no need to keep trying to placate the Christians who were trying to reconvert me and that religion in general was serving no purpose I did a paper for this Druid Order I belong to that basically presented my reasons for saying that we didn't need religion anymore. Well it didn't go over as well as I had hoped but it did jump start the conversation with the more religious people in the Order. A lot of the same points Seth makes on his podcasts were the same ones I used. This was before I found his youtube channel. I only did that last year. So guess how amazed and delighted I was that he also had left the Church and that somehow he was not one of the "Angry" Atheists that my mentor in the Druid Order found so annoying.
Well the journey for me has not always been easy. The de-conversion process as a non believer has taken me through a lot of religions and spiritual paths. Along the way I am still daily grappling with all the shame and unworthiness and low self esteem I was brainwashed into accepting while still a believing Christian. Coming out as LGBT was definitely much easier, and while I can pretty much ignore the God question these days I am still grappling with the consequences of my decisions, the fears , the angry Christians who see my leaving the Church as some sort of persecution of Jesus (its not) who see me as a failure (I am still alive so I am not a failure) yada yada yada. The loneliness since my bff who is Athiest too lives in another town etc But I am getting there. And this forum like Seth's Thinking Athiest podcast really helps. So Thanks for the paitience with this long post and for being here.

> Welcome to the forums. I look forward to reading your posts. Smile
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27-01-2018, 07:19 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Welcome! There are many who struggle with it. You can think of it like someone close to you having died. A big part of grieving is being triggered because your thoughts keep going to the now empty spot in your brain - it gets better with time because we do learn to move away from that spot. Eventually it fills with something else...

Sounds like you had quite the journey. Many of us also don't know any other atheists in real life, and this forum provides the sort of conversations and support we haven't found in our day to day lives.

Pull up a chair and chime right in!

[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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27-01-2018, 08:01 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Hello! Big Grin

Hug
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27-01-2018, 08:30 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Thanks for sharing your journey. *hugs* As Dom said, this forum is a great place to come to connect with other like-minded people. I find it really helps when you have a lot of religious people in your life (like I do), to have a release valve from all of that and this place has been a "saving grace" Wink for me. I originally just thought, "Cool, a place to talk to other atheists," but then I developed a lot of friendships on here, and that has been really nice Smile I hope you find the same here as well. TTA really is a little oasis in the middle of religious nuttery.

I hope you are able to let the religious shame, unworthiness, low self-esteem go. I think, for some, that is part of the journey though. I hope it's a quick process for you because you deserve to be happy and to kick any residual religious crap in terms of the guilt/shame/feelings of unworthiness, low self-esteem brought on by religious indoctrination to the curb. Do you think maybe talking to a counselor would be helpful in your journey?

Also, as someone who was highly religious like myself, I will say the whole deconversion process was difficult for me as well. This is because it is not just the brainwashing, but it's that religion also becomes a part of your identity, a part of your social circle as you say. In some ways, while liberating, it's also scary to start making decisions for yourself instead of the church and a magic sky genie doing it for you. I will say, over time, it does get easier and pretty soon, life becomes free as you break through all of the religious chains.
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27-01-2018, 09:23 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
(27-01-2018 06:37 AM)Patricia Norwood Wrote:  Well the journey for me has not always been easy.

I have experienced similar struggles and low self-esteem. It's difficult to accept that the majority of people are foolish in such a big way. However, it's just the fact of the matter. We have to be honest, even if it means seeming arrogant or superior.
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27-01-2018, 09:38 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
I'm sorry to hear of your struggles. I can relate to some degree. I wasn't raised religiously, in that respect my parents did well by me, but I was the subject of emotional abuse that lasted many years and has wrecked my self esteem. Even now, at 40, I feel like I'm not a real adult. I'm a child, with no idea what I'm doing, running around waiting to fail at things, and everyone thinks I'm rubbish.

I don't think anyone needs religion of any sort, but perhaps the need for it is indoctrinated into them. It's a bit like giving heroin to kids. If you'd never done that, they wouldn't be relying on it in later life.

I wish I could give you more specific advice. All I can say is to not trust your emotions when dealing with matters of fact; instead pursue credible evidence. I think almost all religious mental trappings come from using feelings as evidence, the placebo effect and confirmation bias. Logical thinking will help separate fact from fiction. I employ this when examining my self-worth: what evidence do I have that I'm worthless? What evidence to I have that I'm not worthless? Do I have evidence that I screw up all the time? Once broken down like this, the mental traps can be beaten, but it takes time and effort to keep it going. It's the basis of cognitive behaviour therapy.

I view leaving religion and woo-style spirituality as a second "growing up". It's accepting how things really are, that there isn't (any evidence of) a superbeing that is going to make everything alright. There isn't a father figure to defer to. We're then properly adult, accepting responsibility for all our actions and their consequences, and making the most accurate decisions that we can.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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27-01-2018, 04:43 PM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Robvalue----I totally get what you're saying. I've often been made to feel that I've come from the shallow end of the gene pool, relative-wise.

But I gotta say that I'm SURE I'm not speaking only for myself when I say that NOT "everyone thinks (you're) rubbish." I think very highly of you. We may not be related by dna, but I think of you as an important member of this family.

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

"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." Robin Williams
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27-01-2018, 05:19 PM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Become your own God. I highly recommend it. Programming helps if you find it difficult. It makes it easier. Smile

#sigh
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27-01-2018, 05:41 PM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
Welcome. Your post was beautifully written.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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