Loneliness, community and nonbelief
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05-05-2013, 09:48 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(05-05-2013 09:38 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  It's interesting that in a world where technology has brought our ability to communicate with each other to never before seen levels that we find our selves more alone then ever.

Sorry "Muffs but I don't think that's quite right. I think that because we're able "to communicate with each other to never before seen levels" we are privy to the loneliness many of us feel in our immediate circles. Where before I would have never known such-and-such was lonely, with today's technology I am made aware of it. Technology doesn't make us more alone nor do I think it is the cause of people's loneliness. What do you think about this?

"Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's."- Mark Twain in Eruption
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05-05-2013, 11:40 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
meh, you know what I meant. The point is that I come across as deep.

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06-05-2013, 01:59 AM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2013 02:22 AM by Atheist_pilgrim.)
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
You'll run into a Husky or two here, but otherwise most folks are cool ;-).

Like you, I'm the only out atheist in my family, and have taken heat for my stand. Also alienated my Xian friends by leaving the faith, so I kind of feel like a guy who married young and got divorced in middle age in that I'm still getting my bearings in a new and unfamiliar way of living. But I have realized a little bit in my six years of atheism:

Just keep in mind that atheists are people too. I'm kind of a loner myself, but like you I desire at least some fellowship (to use a Xian term - after all, I was one for almost 25 years). In March I did my first atheist event - the American Atheist convention in Austin. I met the usual mix of folks: cool, weird, asinine, nice, and so on. But it was invigorating getting out of my comfort zone and doing some socializing, and I hope to do attend some more gatherings in the future.

What we can be, finally, is ourselves. No more worrying about fitting into a pastor's "vision" or monitoring all thoughts and actions to make sure God is happy and will show us his roadmap for our lives. No more wasting time praying, fasting, sitting in church, reading/memorizing scripture, suppressing doubts and questions with shaky apologetics, or asking questions that get vague or condescending answers from elders and small group leaders. No more fearing satan or his demons (not to mention divine discipline). No more try hard/give up "sin cycles", guilt trips, or shame-based conformity.

If you want solitude, you can revel in it without some pious church member wondering if you're engaging in some secret, besetting sin. If you want community, you can come here or find a local atheist group without being labeled a church hopper or pew shark. You can go where you want, do as you will, and hang out with whom you want without making your weaker brethren stumble. You can love and be loved by another consenting adult without being an abomination or unequally yoked.

Yes, you'll still run into non-believers that you clash with or creep you out (and vice-versa) but that's life. At least you can go your own way and not feel forced to hang with them for fear of being labeled divisive or unloving if you don't. You are now free to move about the world, ask whatever questions you want, and accept or reject the answers as you wish.

It is an adventure on our own terms, a quest where the future is uncertain, the way is perilous, and the outcome is in doubt. But that's what gives it spice and flavor and joy and excitement and passion and, yes, fear. Life wouldn't be worth doing without these things.
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09-05-2013, 06:27 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
atheist_pilgrim,

Thanks for your reply.
I had my fill of 'vision' from my last church, and I'm over jumping through all the god hoops.
It sounds like you and I may have had identical church experiences...the talk of vision, small groups, elders sound all too familiar.
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09-05-2013, 06:32 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
I bailed on a meetup group that was going to meet at a local coffee shop. Anxiety attack; it was too reminiscent of the times I tried to socialize amongst groups of very extroverted, very social singles in church.

There's a group meetup coming up on Tuesday that I do intend to meet - it's larger, and I won't be as, ah, exposed, but there should be enough of an opportunity to socialize.

Also, I took the first step towards meeting with a counselor to help me through my more difficult issues. Waiting for the call back tomorrow.
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10-05-2013, 08:55 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
Well, she (the counselor) will work me in over the next few weeks, telling me to be flexible.

Not as soon as I preferred, but it's better than nothing.
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10-05-2013, 09:04 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(10-05-2013 08:55 PM)BrianD Wrote:  Well, she (the counselor) will work me in over the next few weeks, telling me to be flexible.

Not as soon as I preferred, but it's better than nothing.

Just from my own experience looking for a therapist a couple years back...I wasn't cool with waiting when one clinic told me it would be several months and the next place told me I'd have to wait a few weeks. I was so discouraged at the news that I immediately gave up all together. I'm still alive today, largely in part to a good friend kicking my ass and telling me that I was to call and call and keep on calling until someone could see me right away. I made one more call and met someone who has become an extremely important person in my life today.
So if you're not comfortable waiting...keep calling until you find someone who can see you when you want.

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11-05-2013, 09:36 PM
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(10-05-2013 09:04 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Just from my own experience looking for a therapist a couple years back...I wasn't cool with waiting when one clinic told me it would be several months and the next place told me I'd have to wait a few weeks. I was so discouraged at the news that I immediately gave up all together. I'm still alive today, largely in part to a good friend kicking my ass and telling me that I was to call and call and keep on calling until someone could see me right away. I made one more call and met someone who has become an extremely important person in my life today.
So if you're not comfortable waiting...keep calling until you find someone who can see you when you want.

That's an option I'm keeping open, erxomai. The company that subcontracts our counseling does offer 24/7 counseling by phone, and I'm keeping that open as well if I start to emotionally crash (again). Strangely enough, I had a conversation with my mom earlier today about some of this stuff (some of it...definitely not the atheism thing) and that gave me a lift to where I'm at an even keel and not in the pits.
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11-05-2013, 09:58 PM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2013 10:18 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
Welcome. *hugs man*

Maybe this will help out.





We've (ex-christians) have gone through a lot of hypocrisy, failure of prayer, bible interpretations that are so insane we can get from the verse to what the preacher is talking about, etc...

And we have a good community here and a skype thread if you feel like hanging out with us some time.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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12-05-2013, 12:09 AM
 
RE: Loneliness, community and nonbelief
(05-05-2013 09:34 PM)BrianD Wrote:  I like solitude myself, and at times strongly prefer it. But there also are times when I really do want to be around others, and not just in the crowd but socializing with other people...I think we're all wired that way, to varying degrees.

What kills me is when I'm isolated for too long. Yeah, people can be annoying, but they're also necessary...to paraphrase the old saying, 'you can't live with them, you can't live without them'. That's just the way it is.

The pet thing is not for me, not right now.

I read every word you wrote so far in this string. You have a very clear way of putting things. You should be a writer--you probably are.

I'm sorry you're depressed. I have experience with that state of being as well. You do realize, statistically, you're entering the most unhappy time of life. They say if you make it into your sixties, you tend to get happier. I think that's because in our age group 40-60, all we can see is what we didn't get from our youth. When we get to sixty, we don't expect anything anymore. I don't really know if any of that's true.

I took an anti-depressant for a while and it really helped. In your case, it might help with the social anxiety as well. I don't take them now for a few reasons, but 10 mg of Lexapro once a day really really worked for me.

You sound like a good person if you're taking care of your mother, and you sound like a smart person. And if you're going to meet with atheists, it's fine to be an atheist. In fact, I would imagine that helps.

If you're not on an antidepressant, you know, you don't have to wait for a counselor, you can go to a regular doctor and ask for it. Just tell them you're depressed, but you're not suicidal, and you have social anxiety.

And Brian, I say this with all due respect: Everyone ends up alone in the end. You can be really good at socializing with people only to realize they're all a bunch of jackasses who only want to be near you so they can spew every detail about their life into your face. Then when you try to say more than one sentence, they interupt you to continue their spew (Gee, can you tell I'm at work?). Those are the people who are always seen as "social."

I swear I have a dream I'm going to live out on my lucid spiritual plane: I'm sitting at a table in a big library and there's five of us, and no one is saying a word, we're just quietly working on model airplanes or ships in bottles or something. Finally someone says, "I got to the end of pi the other day." Then silence.

"Oh really?" someone responds, then more silence. Everyone working on their thing.

"So was the last number prime?" Someone asks. Another minute of silence.

"No." The guy says. "It was a four." Another minute passes.

"You don't say?" someone else says.

Then we all go back to doing our thing until another one of us has something worth talking about in a coherent, concise manner that doesn't suck the life out of you just to have to listen to it.

...ugh...Sad

Good luck with your socialization, Brian. I really mean that. I'm sorry I rambled on so long in this reply. It's time I spent some time alone, I think.

Keep us up to date. I sure would like to know how this Tuesday meeting goes.

E.
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