My time of need answered by Atheism
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07-01-2012, 12:03 PM
My time of need answered by Atheism
Honestly for the longest of times I was unsure as where to start; I have mentioned this long and very rocky transition from Christianity to Atheism to a very few, and have only posted about it online a couple of times in my few years of questioning my faith.

It isn't full of rejection from my family members or a form of persecution from those that I thought I could trust, it is more about how I dealt with a death in the immediate family poorly, and how my outlook on my life changed dramatically after feeling free of the bonds that have held me tight since the near beginning of my life.

I understand there are several people stuck within situations where they cannot vent their beliefs to anyone, for knowing that they would be oppressed and lose everything they came to love. This is mainly reading material if you were ever to find yourself in a similar position, be it alone in the world around you or surrounded by people that understand or do not understand what you are going through.


As a starting background I was raised in a family that recognised the Christian faith, but did not follow it in the sense that we did not go to church on Sundays or Wednesdays (As it is done by many Christians here in the UK) but I was raised in a state primary school where the fables and stories of the bible were taught and said to be true. I understood at the time there was a god and his son died for our sins, and we prayed to them during special occasions only; yet I always felt awkward when we did like we were lying to ourselves, and that itch was always present.

This continued on until my first year of University; my hopes held high and my mind set fully for a future where I could be happy and appreciate the things given to me by GOD. Honestly I had based my very choice of subject on signs which I thought were from god and followed them without question. Naturally I would soon find out that this was a mistake. I prayed to him regularly regarding a few things that I felt were wrong with the world, asking him to feed the hungry and save the unfortunate from the atrocities committed by their fellow man. They seemed to be never answered. As a lasting token for myself I prayed for the one thing I only ever really asked for in my life or ever really wanted and that was my 'soul mate.' I can tell you now they were never answered either.

However I was glad in the fact I had my family and my sister was living with us and my nephew now happily and content with the things we were already given PRAISE GOD. If only it were so simple. Our entire world was turned upside down when on the 14th of this month 2007 in the morning I was awoken by my mother explaining my sister had a seizure (my sister suffered from epilepsy) but it was very different. Coming down the stairs and looking to where my sister's body laid I instantly saw that indeed it was not normal and she may not be with us for much longer. We were ushered into the room when the paramedics took over and tried to revive her, and if not 30 minutes later she were gone and we were told by responding ambulance doctor.

The grief was insatiable; I was unsure on how to react or how to control my state of mind. My entire ideal and perception of a good life was melting away by the person that had just passed away in the room she were in not less than 12 hours before. It wasn’t long before in my mind I was cursing everything representing GOD and/or JESUS including the crucifix around my neck. All the previous examples of their divine intervention now seemed like a cruel game, and no serious or reasonable explanation came to fruition when I really needed it the most. It wasn't long before I heard those sickening words "She's in HEAVEN now," or "She's with everyone else beside our LORD." These words still did not help.

Her funeral was full of similar words and although well presented and gratefully spoken, not a single one of them could help me in what was going on inside my mind or indeed the grief that had stricken me. Any sign I would now recognise as GOD was now painted as something to avoid: to name a few the sun sitting directly between two houses shining upon me; the church where my sister's funeral took place; animals getting very close to me and appreciating my existence. All easily explained with rational thought but at the time I ignored them all if not wanted to curse them because of my association with them. I understood that if I began to think and consider these things, I would only spiral myself into a foetal position where I would not want to do anything or speak to anyone.

The family that I had granted me comfort in the form of distractions and acts of affection, including the few friends I had at the time. Even an ex partner offered me a moment where we just laid on her bed and she let me embrace her and cry a little. For these I am thankful, yet they all were temporary and I wasn't really facing the issue that wasn't allowing me to move forward. I returned to university with a strong will but every time I got quizzed about my sister I almost burst out into tears, so began avoiding the topic entirely. This went hand in hand with the burning questions filling my mind about the truth of GOD's existence and if he was really there.

This continued for a couple of years, at which point I had finished my second year and gained my HND certificate, and found myself struggling viciously in the third because my mind was still on the existence of GOD and of my sister, because I never really talked about either and was unsure as where to go or who to turn to because I knew most of the people around me I didn't know well enough or were religious (with the next sentence adding to that). I even at one point I attended a church ceremony and was indoctrinated; I felt the bizarre feeling you get from being surrounded by a community having a good time celebrating something. I felt extremely awkward because I had a hard time believing them, and I could feel the questions and grief returning to my mind.

I left not even half way through the third year of my degree because I could not catch up with my studies and even if I did, I no longer understood what was going on. Naturally my parents were upset and they spoke to me about it, wanting to understand that it was the choice I was making and not something else. Honestly I can say now it was a good choice for me but I could not understand it at the time, and my only focus was getting out of there because everything in my mind was piling up. In tears I finally explained to them the troubles I were facing and that I just wanted time to work and feel really appreciated by something.

Since the death of my sister I had not spoken to GOD until that very same night, and when I did it was more of a curse if anything. Asking him why I could not catch up, why my mind was still erratic and unsure of anything anymore and why I found myself even questioning him. If I recall correctly the final thing I asked him in tears was why he didn't give me my soul mate as I had asked for. Again as per the usual, I received no reply.

In the next few mornings I had decided that the only way forward to make sense of the situation my mind was in was to find this soul mate and to bear all to her. I had somehow come to the conclusion she is the only one that will ever be there for me when I need to talk to her about things like this. To this day I have not found her but the story doesn't end there.

It was around this time I began to seriously question GOD and anything to do with FAITH. Understandably these sorts of things don't happen overnight but being left alone with the same feeling of grief and depression overcoming me every time someone even mentioned my sister's name was enough to make me decide I needed to look for answers. In the timeframe between this moment and the beginning of 2011 I made some very close and special friends; friends to this day I still keep in touch with and friends I treasure the most.

One in particular above the others affected me the most; not because she was better or worse, but because she began the transition in my mind that I really needed, that I was really waiting for. Sometime during the early months of 2011 after keeping to myself my sister and everything that was happening we had a short but very important conversation that would change my life forever. As per the usual friendly people in my life she asked me about my sister, and instead of ducking out of the way or running I actually opened up and explained some of my feelings, although mild and incomplete it was enough to start a chain reaction that was initially bad but brought about the times of the right questions.

Because I had locked up my thoughts and feelings for so long the reaction started very slowly because my mind was being distracted by the entertainment my other friends were providing be the usual mad men and women that they usually are. However over the course of the night I began to think about things very seriously and as I did the usual feeling of grief and depression began to take effect but I could feel it taking itself on a more serious level. I found myself asking questions on the purpose of my existence, why I was still alone (even though I realised later I was not), why the world is as it is, but more importantly, how was I going to deal with the GOD problem?

That and with the mind now thinking on overdrive, on the very night the comments I found funny not but 1 hour before suddenly became hurtful and personal; my mind began to connect every conversation to a bad point in my life or my sister's death. Overdramatizing everything and dragging me surely but slowly into sadness I hadn't ever experienced. My friends began to notice something was amiss and luckily for me we were already heading home, and when I was safe and alone I broke down. Every thought that had compelled me into some form of action in the name of my existence was now seen as a mistake in my mind and sure enough, so did the good things that had happened in my life. The thought processes alone kept me in bed for a day, and I didn't want anyone to see or hear of the state that I was in.

On the morning of the second day, I notified a friend of what I was going though, and quickly enough it went back to the friend that started it all. She felt terrible for asking the questions, but the minute I began to talk about it the minute the bad thoughts of mistakes and trivial jokes began to disappear. My newest understanding of the world on that very day was that even though GOD seemed to have abandoned us all, the very friends and family I treasured didn't. This very understanding which I wish only to have discovered sooner was the forefront to everything that followed. Previously I thought everything GOD gave me made me happy, but now everything I did with my friends and family, of which I was born into and made, makes me even happier.

In my free time I began to do searches on GOD, JESUS and FAITH, and sure enough as if a light in the darkness of everything else I hadn't sorted out yet, I found "Why do people laugh at creationists." Unorthodox at first for I didn't really understand the concept or mind set, and in fact by memory it wasn't even the first episode, but this one episode made me fully aware of what was happening to me. It made it ok that I was losing faith in god, that I was no longer accepting him as something of truth.

In no time at all I had seen every episode alongside several other atheist channels, and I was now aware of the culture and mindset of the movement, yet I still felt uneasy about the entire situation. This was until I came across Seth's channel. Hooked and very much now in the same thought processes as everyone else that followed this channel and didn't believe, I began to think and question even more about the world, science and religion. After listening to a few podcasts my decision was made, and I understood myself to be an atheist.

This all happened during the summer months, branching into fall. The summer months were the best times of my life, for shockingly as an atheist I met my first special someone in a very long time. The relationship didn't end well but what relationship would when you have been fighting with your own mind over your own ideals and goals. However it was the best 3 months of believing I was happy in my life, and it got better during winter but with the fairy tale ending too.

I now understood that it was I achieving this happiness, which I was the one making everything happen. GOD no longer had a role in my life as he never did in the past anyway, what FAITH I did have was in the person I was dating turning out to be a good relationship, and the FAITH in my friends continuing to be a bigger part of my life so long as I didn't abandon them. When the first relationship ended (not so well) I was crushed, but I was no longer helpless. My new mindset that these times will all be a part of who I am in this life and a definitive collection of experiences rather than tests, pushed me to move on and value my friends. My big break came when I got a chance to be with someone I had previously loved, and a member of my little group of good friends.

Unlike the previous relationship we ended on fair terms, but compared to the previous, the 1 month of being together was bliss for me: it was a shot at hope that I have what it takes to enjoy myself, to be who I really am inside without worrying about doing the right things in a relationship. But to be fairly honest like before, to be truly happy all I ever really needed were those friends. The loving relationships now are a bonus, and I will treasure them just the same.

One of my biggest questions for myself was how I could face knowing that there is nothing after I die; my greatest answer to myself would be that the goodness of life is now apparent in this life. This is my only chance to succeed and make a difference in a way that makes me happy, that makes my friends happy. It's my only chance to influence the network of people that will be born of those friends, affected by them and moved by them. It's my only chance to show my children, if and when I have them, of those same ideals that make us think about each other and do good things in the interest of humanity without fear or regret of the afterlife.

As for the grieving and the emotions surrounding my sister; it's still a part of who I am but I now am open to the questions and the comments. I may not appreciate religious eulogies as much as thoughts for me and my family, but I don't react to them as badly.

If only I could have realised all of this sooner... Where would I have been? Who would I have been?

But alas never mind; the time is here, and the time is now.
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08-01-2012, 12:54 AM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
This is a intimate and very personal story Nealos.
Thanks for sharing.

I found out myself recently that human interaction is one of the key ingredients in letting go of the God concept.

Welcome to the forum.
Have an insightful stay.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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08-01-2012, 03:41 PM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
I have but one thing to say. DO not look to us for what to believe and think but rather examine yourself.

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08-01-2012, 04:38 PM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
Hi Nealos101... Man, you have been through a lot. All the manipulation, the guilt, and struggle religion places on a person, can be just unbearable and unbelievable.
I'm glad you have been able to make it beyond that.

You are so right; the time is here, and the time is now!

Smile Welcome to the forum.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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25-01-2012, 04:10 PM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
Thanks for the kind words everyone.

I cannot re-iterate the power of conversation has on dealing with such issues. Honestly there have been times where I have wondered what the point in anything was, and had those very dangerous thoughts no parents deserve to have running through thier surviving child's mind. Luckily I realised how selfish I was being, and snapped out of it and got on with some sort of continuance.

I feel lucky to have found such an exciting community, as such a great time!
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01-02-2012, 06:27 AM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
Thanks for sharing this! Very interesting journey you had.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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07-02-2012, 12:23 AM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
I'm been very depressed lately. I keep thinking about living my life to the fullest, but all I can think about is losing the people I love. I'm married and have a young child. The thought of losing them paralizes me. I have lost friends to car accidents and a friend to cancer. She was only 24.

I understand where u are coming from about making this life count but I can't get over the feelings of grief and sadness for all the children who are born into horrible situations and die in pain and no one even knew they lived. Just makes me sad.
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08-02-2012, 03:11 PM
RE: My time of need answered by Atheism
Jasrace, I am very sorry for those losses but how can you enjoy your life and enjoy your time with your loved ones if you live in fear that you could lose them. Do you want to look back one day and only remember that you always feared for the lives of your loved ones, or would you like to have lovely pleasant memories of things you did together, of laughing and spending time with each other?

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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