Learning to accept myself as a non believer
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27-01-2018, 09:28 PM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
(27-01-2018 06:37 AM)Patricia Norwood Wrote:  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.
Hi Patricia, and welcome.

I come from fundamentalist Christianity originally but I don't, and have never really, grappled with any significant level of self-loathing. I was insulated from it, apparently, by some combination of personality, parenting and the particular dynamic between myself and my particular denomination and its unique emphases. In particular I never had reason to doubt my parent's unconditional love and acceptance. It may be useful to separately evaluate the potentially multiple sources of your shame, as it could be a mistake to attribute 100% of it to religion. For example, I've seen religion be an amplifier of shaming, authoritarian parenting and I've seen that style of parenting damage people's psyche even in the absence of religion. Even good, well-meaning parents can fail to actively affirm or stand up for a vulnerable child at critical moments.

Just a thought for what it's worth. As others have pointed out, you do adjust in time. My deconversion was probably less gradual than yours; I am nearly 61 and have been out of religion for about 30 years and self-labeled as atheist for almost 25 of them. My acute phase where I was trying to salvage some vestige of theism lasted maybe two years. But I think it also matters what the impetus for your departure was. Mine was multiple traumatic personal losses that repeatedly violated my religious expectations. Or put another way, religious faith failed to either explain or predict my experienced reality. I could not trust it as an accurate model of how the world works. And I found the same fundamental problem in other religions. This slammed the door on a lot of potential dithering I might have otherwise done. Some things, once known, can't be un-known or even rationalized, particularly when driven home by very unambiguous bad experiences.

Other people do more of a "slow burn" so to speak where religion still somewhat works for them, just not well. So the specific reasons for your departure from the faith go into the mix, too.

Regardless -this is a great support community and we're here for you -- we're glad you're here :-)
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28-01-2018, 12:02 AM
RE: Learning to accept myself as a non believer
(27-01-2018 04:43 PM)outtathereligioncloset Wrote:  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.

Thank you very much, I appreciate it Heart

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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