Loneliness, community and nonbelief
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20-04-2013, 08:59 PM
Loneliness, community and nonbelief
Before I begin, I first want to say that I'm grateful that this forum exists and that I have the privilege to participate on it.

It gives me the opportunity to post a topic regarding loneliness, community and nonbelief.

I'll start by painting the broad strokes:

* Former Christian, now agnostic who thinks that the evidence shows there isn't a god

* Family, friends, acquaintances and FB friends are overwhelmingly Christian, and the ones who aren't probably believe in God

* My job has me working late afternoons and evenings, to where I get home at or after midnight. This caused problems for me when I still went to church, and remains an issue in regards to joining atheist Meetup groups

* Not to mention that my immediate and extended family are pretty much Christian, or at least theistic (believe in God, not necessary practicing the religion), as are my FB friends.

* And....I am by nature a loner. Socializing with others is a chore, something I have to work on. Sometimes emotionally it has been impossible; I literally have felt anxiety attacks in the large crowds at church. There's also the fact that in many ways I never really meshed socially with these church people. And all of that comes to mind every time I seriously consider being part of an atheist community - will it be easier or will I face the same issues I did in church? Is it different or the same thing as an atheist church singles group/small group?

That freaks me out.

And yet...Seth Andrews (and many others are) is right: we are social creatures.

In the past I dealt with the isolation by 'fellowshipping' with other Christians on a website. In fact for a long time I was convinced that the community it spawned was proof that community could work online. Then it descended into partisan bickering, and between my distaste for that and my drift from religion, I found myself leaving that website.

Still, in the back of my mind I am hopeful I can find community online...here or elsewhere.

I want community...and solitude...and to keep my business my business while making friends and acquantiances with good decent likeminded folks. I want this without burdening my family with my nonbelief nor forcing myself to burden the mountain of pressure that would come from their (Likely) swift reaction against it.

Thoughts?
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20-04-2013, 09:07 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
If you weren't looking for good and decent folk, you could probably find some semblance of community here. Big Grin

But seriously, I share some of your traits and concerns. There are many of us here who find this place a supportive community. But we can also have our share of the bickering and divisions that you didn't like on the Christee site. The difference here is you can call people Fucktards and Dipshits and you'll be amazed at how cathartic that can be. Just be sure to give a hug after you do it. Hug


Big Grin

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-04-2013, 09:09 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(20-04-2013 09:07 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  If you weren't looking for good and decent folk, you could probably find some semblance of community here. Big Grin

But seriously, I share some of your traits and concerns. There are many of us here who find this place a supportive community. But we can also have our share of the bickering and divisions that you didn't like on the Christee site. The difference here is you can call people Fucktards and Dipshits and you'll be amazed at how cathartic that can be. Just be sure to give a hug after you do it. Hug


Big Grin

You Fucktard.
Hug

You're right, that felt amazing!

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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20-04-2013, 09:10 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(20-04-2013 09:09 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(20-04-2013 09:07 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  If you weren't looking for good and decent folk, you could probably find some semblance of community here. Big Grin

But seriously, I share some of your traits and concerns. There are many of us here who find this place a supportive community. But we can also have our share of the bickering and divisions that you didn't like on the Christee site. The difference here is you can call people Fucktards and Dipshits and you'll be amazed at how cathartic that can be. Just be sure to give a hug after you do it. Hug


Big Grin

You Fucktard.
Hug

You're right, that felt amazing!

I know, Dipshit!

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-04-2013, 09:11 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
Sometimes it feels better without the hug. Tongue

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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20-04-2013, 09:33 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(20-04-2013 09:11 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Sometimes it feels better without the hug. Tongue

You cut me deep, Erx. I'm gonna remember that. Weeping

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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20-04-2013, 09:45 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
I can empathize with you BrianD. It can be a struggle. Seth does a very good job of addressing this in his podcasts. I found this site just recently and I have found that it really helps with the isolation. Another thing that I really appreciate about Seth is that he speaks about respecting and valuing people for who they are despite their irrational beliefs. I get along quite well with people who believe in ghosts, aliens and all manner of strange things and I see no reason why I can't get along with theists as long as they don't wear it on their sleeve.

"Which is more likely: that the whole natural order is suspended, or that a jewish minx should tell a lie?"- David Hume
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22-04-2013, 08:34 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(20-04-2013 09:07 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  If you weren't looking for good and decent folk, you could probably find some semblance of community here. Big Grin

But seriously, I share some of your traits and concerns. There are many of us here who find this place a supportive community. But we can also have our share of the bickering and divisions that you didn't like on the Christee site. The difference here is you can call people Fucktards and Dipshits and you'll be amazed at how cathartic that can be. Just be sure to give a hug after you do it. Hug


Big Grin

I better give someone a Hug after calling them a Fucktard and Dipshit lest I get Bechased

Big Grin

The bickering and divisions are all too human, my friend...
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22-04-2013, 08:34 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(20-04-2013 09:45 PM)Heathen Wrote:  I can empathize with you BrianD. It can be a struggle. Seth does a very good job of addressing this in his podcasts. I found this site just recently and I have found that it really helps with the isolation. Another thing that I really appreciate about Seth is that he speaks about respecting and valuing people for who they are despite their irrational beliefs. I get along quite well with people who believe in ghosts, aliens and all manner of strange things and I see no reason why I can't get along with theists as long as they don't wear it on their sleeve.

Great thoughts, heathen!
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04-05-2013, 08:01 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
I have no problem with people who believe in the Christian God or any other religion, who believe in "woo".

My problem would be having it forced on me...and honestly as many of my relatives and current acquaintances are Christian, any advice they say is going to be filtered through that particular grid. So that is one reason, maybe THE reason, I am keeping my struggles and issues to myself for now. I don't want to hear:

"Go back to church" (Tried that. Numerous times over, the past 25 years. Unless you can pay the 10 percent membership fee, give more money and time on top of that, are single, young, extroverted and evangelistic - as I came to see the last church I was involved with - there's no point in wasting your time. I got tired of dressing up early Sunday morning, sit in a crowd, hear music, listen to a speech, only to be back alone after the show ended. I'm over that f***ing bulls****.)

"Get in the Word" (Tried that but couldn't get into the recommended methods for daily Bible reading. I found the Bible to be best used as a reference source.)

"Pray" (I tried that. Silence.)

"Pray more" (tried that, too. Even yelled at the bastard. Screamed at Him, with profanity. Cussed Him, and everything else. Silence.)

"Tithe" (NO thanks. My money is needed elsewhere.)

"To find a friend you have to BE a friend. Go to church" (A proverb that sounds like it has some basis in reality, but in my experience is another pithy evangelical piece of BS)

"Come to church (and either try to break into a clique or have some weirdo zero in on you and attach himself to you and keep you from interacting with any other human without the idiot hovering next to you. Sounds harsh, but it's happened to me twice)"

"Get involved in a small group" (did that. A new one each fall, in fact. Near impossible to build community when the damn group of people change because the church encourages group leaders to leave and start new groups or oversee new ones - while leaving the group they were involved in)

"Go to church. Don't go to bars or anything else in the world" (I don't exactly want to go to bars either, but there have to be better options 'in the world' than the church is offering. At least I hope so).

I am in my early 40s.

I work second shift in the newspaper industry. Most people I work with are married or younger, and no one there gives a sh*t about the emotional issues I deal with from this job. I'd love to leave, I'd also love to win the lottery. I'm not going to up and quit and forfeit the paycheck, especially in this economy, without having another job lined up.

I also suffer from depression. Really bad at times, enough to make me feel hopeless and in near-total despair. Part of it is hereditary, part of it is circumstantial. Part of it stems from my job. Part of it stems from having to stay with an aging parent to help out around the house, and pay the bills, and her not be in the house alone at night. A very religious parent, mind you.

I was raised, partially isolated, and sheltered. Shy, introverted, picked on, bullied, inadequate social skills. I retreated into myself and my fantasy world of comic books, cartoons, etc. when I failed at reality as a kid. I went to the wrong college, and flunked out of it because I was convinced that God would damn me if I tried to study and keep up my grades, which I thought not to be His will. Therefore I had no degree and no contacts to get a decent job. I didn't start making decent money until my mid- to late 20s. Still aren't making decent money now, and though I've gone back part-time to school (and gotten good grades each semester), my schooling is on hold because my company no longer offers tuition reimbursement.

So between all that, and the other issues I alluded to on other posts on this site, I've hit the freaking wall.

I gave up Christianity. Got tired of talking to the f***ing sky and I don't want to serve a God whom if He does exist seems to want nothing but pain and misery for my life.

I want a second part-time job to start digging out of debt. I'd like to start taking classes again, even one per semester, without going into more debt to do it.

I am going to see a counselor - albeit one from a corporate entity subcontracted by my employer - to try to get my head straight. When you are depressed, you see things through a f***ed-up filter - the world is there, but it's twisted. You don't know what is truth and what is a lie. I hope counseling - from a local counselor, paid for by the company, and not from some church - will help this time.

I'm at the point where I'm watching TV, and seeing shows like NCIS where the characters seem to be a family and have solid friendships and that touches a nerve in me because I'm envious of what I see there...I'm not getting it from my relatives and sure as hell not from my coworkers - and that's messing with my head and heart something fierce. I want to enjoy TV shows and their universes as entertainment, but I know enough that living there in some sort of fantasy world is not the answer to my problems. (that applies to movies, music, sports...even dare I say religion?)

I can't do a damn thing about my past. I wish I could.

I know I can do a damn thing about my future. Starting with getting counseling, and venting here - thank you for your kindness in bearing with me in this particularly long post. And by saying something to younger readers who may be seeing this:

If you are shy and introverted....push yourself. Try to be smart in how you do it, but don't isolate yourself if you have no idea how to reach out. Better to reach out and screw up than not do anything and suffer for it.

If you are sheltered....your parents may mean the very best for you. THey may see a world out there that will eat you alive and they want to protect you from it. They mean well, but in that regard they are not doing you a favor. Get out of the house as soon as you can. Assert your independence. Take steps to meet good people whom you can be good friends with and maybe have a relationship with. Don't let religion or well-meaning relatives (including parents) keep you from pursuing someone who might be that special person you spend the rest of your life with. Find a career that pays well and allows you to spend quality time with your spouse/partner and any kids you two have together.

Don't be like me, a failure at 43, trying to figure all this shit out through the lens of reason after 25 years of superstition after 18 sheltered years of life.

Figure all this out, NOW...as best as you can. You'll mess up some of it, and some of it you'll miss out on. That's OK. Screwing up is part of being human. Learn from your mistakes...but don't let fear keep you from pursuing what you really want out of life.

Thanks for your patience, and tolerance.
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