New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
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05-01-2018, 10:43 AM
New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Hello. So, quick backstory.. I've been a Christian my whole life, and the last couple years have really been struggling with making sense of all of it. Just felt conflicted. (I'll spare the long story..)

I've come a long way in my thinking thanks to reading and researching. TONs of youtube videos and podcasts later, I don't know if I'd claim to be atheist yet (close), but definitely do not believe or revere the things I used to.

I have some problems though and could really use some advice please:

1. I'm sad. I feel like so much of my life has been wasted pursuing my faith. I kept very close to the church and even worked for Christian places (Christian radio dj, and church worship leader) for the last 15 years. Wow.

2. I'm sad about many childhood memories that were so special to me. Special moments by myself with christian music, times at youth group or with my youth pastor, going to church every Sunday with my mom and dad.

3. I don't know how to make friends. I moved to a new town just over a year ago. I started going to church here and played guitar too for a while to meet people. Since going through this I've stopped on the worship team, and mostly stopped attending altogether. It's just uncomfortable now to even go and listen. Church has been my only social outing and source of friendships. I don't know what to do now, I'm 35, in a new town, no friends, now what?

4. I don't want to tell anybody. My wife and whole family are Christians. I don't feel the desire to try to destroy something they're so convinced of and that brings them comfort. And I don't want them every day praying for me and always worried about my "eternal soul". I don't want to debate them or burden them in thinking I'm doomed to hell.

5. I don't want to brainwash my kids. They're 12, 11, and 4. I'd like to teach them to question everything, not just trust what they're told, think for themselves. I don't know if this is gonna fly with my wife being a strong Christian. And I don't want to tell my wife for fear of causing strife in our marriage.

So on one hand I feel very refreshed, like life makes sense finally. I'm thinking clearly and really enjoying life every day!

On the other hand though, I feel disconnected with my wife, kids, and extended family. I don't want to rock the boat by speaking up, but don't want to go with the flow either and stand by and watch the indoctrination of my kids.

I also feel lonely. I don't share this one big thing in common any more with the people I know. I'm in a new town, and without church I don't know how to meet anyone or start friendships.

Sorry, this is my first post and it's a lot longer than I intended. Any advice would be really appreciated.
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05-01-2018, 10:55 AM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Yep this is the place where you ask for stuff like that.

Welcome and this is a good community (most of us are x-believers).

We can be cantankerous but not in this section. Smile

Finding people who are similar or have went through what you're going through right now can help.

We have many subforums to discuss just about anything too.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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05-01-2018, 11:03 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2018 11:06 AM by jennybee.)
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Hi Welcome!

1. Don't be sad about the past. You're free to live your life on your own terms now. Some people never get that. You're out of the religion cage. Don't waste that freedom being sad. Don't let religion take any more from you. It doesn't get to.

2. You can still hold onto special times that include religion with your family. Being an atheist doesn't mean you have to give that up. Many atheists are cultural xtians. I am--which means I celebrate all xtian holidays and even go to church on some occasions. Being an atheist means you make your own decisions about everything. No magical sky genie is telling you what to do anymore. You create the life you want to lead.

3. There are meet ups, atheist "churches", nondeniminational churches, humanist volunteer opportunities, classes of all sorts out there, clubs, etc. What are you interested in? Start there and then do a google search for classes, outings in your area. Always easy to make friends with like-minded people. Thumbsup

4. You don't have to scream you're an atheist from the roof tops. You don't have to tell anyone if you don't want to. You do what is comfortable to you in your own life. Atheism doesn't have rules.

5. You can still allow your kids the ability to think for themselves. Teach them about other cultures, the beliefs of other cultures, teach them about philosophy, physics, astronomy, archaeology, anthropology, biology etc. etc. The worst thing for religion is education and planting the seed in a child to question everything is key.
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05-01-2018, 11:05 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2018 11:09 AM by BikerDude.)
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Said it before and I'll say it again....
Counseling.
It's not a dirty word.
Personally I'm a software engineer.
I know as much about mental issues as I do about origami.
I suspect many others who will happily step up to the plate have similar expertise.
Just saying.
If you were serious about fixing your car would you talk to a dog groomer or a mechanic?

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05-01-2018, 11:19 AM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
(05-01-2018 10:43 AM)tjo252810 Wrote:  1. I'm sad. I feel like so much of my life has been wasted pursuing my faith. I kept very close to the church and even worked for Christian places (Christian radio dj, and church worship leader) for the last 15 years. Wow.

You have every right to be sad about lost time and may even be angry about it at times. That seems to be pretty normal for people leaving religion. It was a huge part of your life that now seems wasted. On the other hand, there is now a whole universe waiting to be uncovered and you don't need to waste any more time so you can feel good that you've freed yourself.

Quote:2. I'm sad about many childhood memories that were so special to me. Special moments by myself with christian music, times at youth group or with my youth pastor, going to church every Sunday with my mom and dad.

The reason behind them may be gone but the experiences aren't any less valuable or any less real.

Quote:3. I don't know how to make friends. I moved to a new town just over a year ago. I started going to church here and played guitar too for a while to meet people. Since going through this I've stopped on the worship team, and mostly stopped attending altogether. It's just uncomfortable now to even go and listen. Church has been my only social outing and source of friendships. I don't know what to do now, I'm 35, in a new town, no friends, now what?

Have any hobbies or enjoy any activities for which you can find a local group of enthusiasts? Religion tends to make you narrow your focus so that you devote all your resources to it alone but if you turn around there's a whole world to take part in.

Quote:4. I don't want to tell anybody. My wife and whole family are Christians. I don't feel the desire to try to destroy something they're so convinced of and that brings them comfort. And I don't want them every day praying for me and always worried about my "eternal soul". I don't want to debate them or burden them in thinking I'm doomed to hell.

Can't help there... never been in any situation like that. All I can suggest is give it some time while you are still sorting out your own beliefs and be clear that any doubts you have about beliefs don't change how you feel about the people.

Quote:5. I don't want to brainwash my kids. They're 12, 11, and 4. I'd like to teach them to question everything, not just trust what they're told, think for themselves. I don't know if this is gonna fly with my wife being a strong Christian. And I don't want to tell my wife for fear of causing strife in our marriage.

If you teach critical thinking about non-religious subjects, especially the idea that nothing should be taken as unquestionable regardless of what authority states it they will have a good chance to figure it out for themselves.

Quote:[quote]So on one hand I feel very refreshed, like life makes sense finally. I'm thinking clearly and really enjoying life every day!

That also seems like a common response. Welcome to reality and to being able to take charge of your own life.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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05-01-2018, 12:18 PM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
I think your childhood memories will become pleasurable again after a time.

Atheism doesn't define you - it is only one of many attributes. It is just overwhelming right now. When you "lose god", it's like someone who was close to you all the time suddenly died. It causes sadness because there is a grieving period. Anger is another part of grief, as is confusion. A lot of this will just dissipate.

Your kids - just give them books that teach logic and biology and such - age appropriate of course. Make sure they learn to think critically. They'll find their way.

Friends - most places have atheist groups. Or - do you have an interest, a hobby, a sport, something you would like to learn or do? Join a club or a class. Church is not the only thing people have in common.

[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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05-01-2018, 12:20 PM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Hello!

Hug

Heart

Thumbsup

Much cheers.
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05-01-2018, 12:58 PM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Hi and welcome to TTA.

Lots of good advice already, but I'll just add that if you're a guitar player, that's one way to meet others outside of church. Join a band (or start a band) and in a short while you'll have some new friends from that.

I think you're going to feel more normal about your past once your emotions settle down.

Your past hasn't been wasted. You have a wealth of knowledge about your kind of Christianity that gives your perspectives on it authority. You've figured out how to break free of your own strong traditions and social coercion. Not easy to do, and also something that other people will want help with, should you care to offer.

Undergoing the process you've described takes a lot of energy. Moving is another event that leads to those kinds of feelings, so you're kind of double-whammied there. It's not surprising that you're feeling a bit depleted emotionally and at loose ends. Understanding that these feelings are temporary and normal/to-be-expected may make them a little easier to process.

Things are going to get better, I bet.
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05-01-2018, 01:01 PM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2018 01:16 PM by tjo252810.)
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
Yeah, I guess I would say I'm in a grieving period of coming to terms with all of this. And I didn't mean to sound depressed or dreary, just struggling with... Ok, what do I do now??

Family and I are not attending church now, but I'm worried about the inevitable conversation when my wife will want us to get back into it. She's wanted my two sons to get involved Wednesday nights at church too and I don't know what to say to that. Plus I have conflicting thoughts/memories of growing up in church that were positive! So I'm torn.

As far as hobbies, it's weird to say that church has been my hobby! So I guess it's time to start looking around at what else is going on in this town.. It's a weird spot to be in, really feels like starting over. It's good, but overwhelming.
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05-01-2018, 01:04 PM
RE: New to this, really need some help and advice!?!?
(05-01-2018 10:55 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Yep this is the place where you ask for stuff like that.

Welcome and this is a good community (most of us are x-believers).

We can be cantankerous but not in this section. Smile

Finding people who are similar or have went through what you're going through right now can help.

We have many subforums to discuss just about anything too.

I am not "cantankerous", I am "cansuberous", get it "tank", "sub"? HA, I made a funny.

To the OP, velcome, PAPERS, LET ME SEE YOUR PAPERS.....Big Grin

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