Old habits die hard
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21-03-2014, 05:17 AM (This post was last modified: 21-03-2014 05:34 AM by LadyDay.)
Old habits die hard
Hi guys

I became an "out of the closet" atheist some years back after a long process of getting to that point. But still, I find some annoying habits sticking around from my intensely religious upbringing and my life as a christian. Mostly habitual thinking and emotion.
I still catch myself getting pangs of guilt when reading and enjoying atheist/freethinkers literature. I still have creepy moments of fear of damnation propping up and the warning words of my parents telling about Satan and Hell in my brain.
Oh, and my parents and sisters always say the lords prayer in unison in connection with some bible reading etc after dinner, and when visiting them I have TWICE caught myself praying/speaking along, out loud like the rest, out of old habit. Gasp

Do you other former theists still experience habitual thinking and the fear/guilt that you were brought up with sometimes? How do you deal with it?
It's a disconcerting thing and makes me sad when these things prop up and I feel like even though I've rationalized myself out of religion and found great freedom in thinking for myself, I am still effected profoundly by the sheltered and intensely fundamentalist upbringing I had. How do you break completely free of something you were indoctrinated with day in and day out for most of 20 years, in a closed community with nobody even questioning it?
It makes me angry to be frank that children are brought up like this. My two sweet and incredible younger sisters are still both deeply religious and suffer from it.

Help please Sadcryface

NOTE: I am not at all sure I've posted this thread in the right category? Sorry Blush

"I believe that while not all people are essentially good, most are trying" - Adam Savage
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21-03-2014, 05:36 AM (This post was last modified: 21-03-2014 05:43 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Old habits die hard
(21-03-2014 05:17 AM)LadyDay Wrote:  Hi guys

I became an "out of the closet" atheist some years back after a long process of getting to that point. But still, I find some annoying habits sticking around from my intensely religious upbringing and my life as a christian. Mostly habitual thinking and emotion.
I still catch myself getting pangs of guilt when reading and enjoying atheist/freethinkers literature. I still have creepy moments of fear of damnation propping up and the warning words of my parents telling about Satan and Hell in my brain.
Oh, and my parents and sisters always say the lords prayer in unison in connection with some bible reading etc after dinner, and when visiting them I have TWICE caught myself praying/speaking along, out loud like the rest, out of old habit. Gasp

Do you other former theists still experience habitual thinking and the fear/guilt that you were brought up with sometimes? How do you deal with it?
It's a disconcerting thing and makes me sad when these things prop up and I feel like even though I've rationalized myself out of religion and found great freedom in thinking for myself, I am still effected profoundly by the sheltered and intensely fundamentalist upbringing I had. How do you break completely free of something you were indoctrinated with day in and day out for most of 20 years, in a closed community with nobody even questioning it?
It makes me angry to be frank that children are brought up like this. My two sweet and incredible younger sisters are still both deeply religious and suffer from it.

Help please Sadcryface

Stop and think for a second about how much you worried about being subjected to the Mormon Hell or the Muslim Hell, remember just how little sleep you lost over these propositions. Remember that whenever you start to worry about your former beliefs and fears, they are no more substantial than all of the other cosmic threats of other religions you always dismissed. All you are doing is adding one more belief set to the category of 'things I no longer have any reason to believe are true', right next to Thor, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Kraken. There is no shame in having thoughts and exploring ideas, as intellectual freedom is the only one that people cannot take away from you; only you have to the power to impose these limits on yourself. There are no chains, nobody else can read your thoughts or pass judgment on you for it; you do not live in a celestial dictatorship.

Keep thinking for yourself, and I sincerely hope you enjoy your life now that you realize that you are no longer required to filter your thinking. Hug

:EDIT: If you want, a Mod or Admin can move this to the Help section if you'd like, just edit your post again and put the request in. We'll make sure it gets taken care for you, if you'd like. There are much stricter posting rules in the Help section, so the choice is up to you; it will keep you shielded from trolls at the very least.

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21-03-2014, 06:08 AM (This post was last modified: 21-03-2014 06:11 AM by LadyDay.)
RE: Old habits die hard
(21-03-2014 05:36 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Stop and think for a second about how much you worried about being subjected to the Mormon Hell or the Muslim Hell, remember just how little sleep you lost over these propositions. Remember that whenever you start to worry about your former beliefs and fears, they are no more substantial than all of the other cosmic threats of other religions you always dismissed. All you are doing is adding one more belief set to the category of 'things I no longer have any reason to believe are true', right next to Thor, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Kraken. There is no shame in having thoughts and exploring ideas, as intellectual freedom is the only one that people cannot take away from you; only you have to the power to impose these limits on yourself. There are no chains, nobody else can read your thoughts or pass judgment on you for it; you do not live in a celestial dictatorship.

Keep thinking for yourself, and I sincerely hope you enjoy your life now that you realize that you are no longer required to filter your thinking. Hug

:EDIT: If you want, a Mod or Admin can move this to the Help section if you'd like, just edit your post again and put the request in. We'll make sure it gets taken care for you, if you'd like. There are much stricter posting rules in the Help section, so the choice is up to you; it will keep you shielded from trolls at the very least.

The Loch Ness Monster isn't real? Ohmy Wink

You're right. It's funny how something you know is bullshit can keep effecting you. How stray thoughts and feelings crop up even though the thinking, conscious, reasonable part of your brain has long since filed "the protestantic christian god" with Bigfoot, Santa and other mythic creatures. I guess it's just the final stage of the de-conversion process, of releasing yourself from what I believe adds up to brainwashing.
I think I'm still getting used to the glorious fact that my brain is my own space. That my thoughts and feelings aren't being monitored by a deity who might punish me with eternal damnation and hellfire for mere thoughts.
It's awesome!

You bet I enjoy it! I still get giddy, childlike, fits of 'woohooo, I finally get to study and "believe in" Neanderthals and everything!'. Laugh out load

:EDIT: I think I kinda like the thread here for a more general discussion of the lingering effects and habits of a religious past. I'm curious as to other peoples thoughts and experiences, not just a "help LadyDay feel better" thread.
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21-03-2014, 07:59 AM
RE: Old habits die hard
(21-03-2014 05:17 AM)LadyDay Wrote:  Do you other former theists still experience habitual thinking and the fear/guilt that you were brought up with sometimes? How do you deal with it?

Regarding fear, I had an issue with that for a bit at first. It took me about six months to admit to myself that I didn't believe, because I was scared of the unforgivable sin of apostasy. I got over that by realizing that I've never sweated going to Muslim hell for not following the five pillars of Islam or going to Pastafarian hell for... what sends you there? So, why was I worried about Christian hell when I no longer believed? Just habit and indoctrination.

As for "habits" that still exist, I have a few:
  • I often find myself wanting to say "bless you" when someone sneezes.
  • I still can get an odd euphoric feeling during the right hymns or when someone tells a story about God's love. I used to attribute this feeling to "God communicating with me" or something, but that was just cherry picking. I've gotten that same feeling from completely different sources (looking forward to something fun, finding out I'm "right" about something, or even thinking about atheism).

Overall, I tend to find singing hymns very awkward, now, so I don't get that feeling during hymns the same way I used to. As for hearing stories, it's pretty hit or miss.
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21-03-2014, 08:08 AM
RE: Old habits die hard
LadyDay - welcome Thumbsup

Yes - I'm certain that some of us non-believers have moments of doubt. I say that because I certainly have. It's one of the reasons I am here. On-going support system for what I *know* is true. And No I don't have to seriously discuss a anti-god position all day, every day as a support system. What works is spending quality time with friends I've made here that are atheists. Being in good company makes a huge difference - mostly because it keeps me from feeling so alone in my thinking.

Support system can help you remain sane. I suggest you carve out at least a few mins each day to pop by here, read and hang out a little. Get to be part of the community. Talk about what hot topics give you flares of emotions and enjoy that there are fine, moral, exciting, very intelligent people Here.

If not here - find a place where people support your ideas and thoughts regarding religion. You can face fears, set backs or worries with friends.

Thumbsup

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21-03-2014, 08:22 AM
RE: Old habits die hard
(21-03-2014 07:59 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(21-03-2014 05:17 AM)LadyDay Wrote:  Do you other former theists still experience habitual thinking and the fear/guilt that you were brought up with sometimes? How do you deal with it?

Regarding fear, I had an issue with that for a bit at first. It took me about six months to admit to myself that I didn't believe, because I was scared of the unforgivable sin of apostasy. I got over that by realizing that I've never sweated going to Muslim hell for not following the five pillars of Islam or going to Pastafarian hell for... what sends you there? So, why was I worried about Christian hell when I no longer believed? Just habit and indoctrination.

Overcooked, mushy pasta is the ultimate blasphemy and will send you straight to hell to be squeezed through a colander for all time.

Quote:As for "habits" that still exist, I have a few:
  • I often find myself wanting to say "bless you" when someone sneezes.
I still catch myself doing this one too. I've tried replacing it with "don't die" as it's a bit funny and a throwback to "bless you"'s original intent.
Quote:
  • I still can get an odd euphoric feeling during the right hymns or when someone tells a story about God's love. I used to attribute this feeling to "God communicating with me" or something, but that was just cherry picking. I've gotten that same feeling from completely different sources (looking forward to something fun, finding out I'm "right" about something, or even thinking about atheism).
  • I don't get that feeling from the songs anymore, but I'd caught myself humming a few before.
    Quote:
    Overall, I tend to find singing hymns very awkward, now, so I don't get that feeling during hymns the same way I used to. As for hearing stories, it's pretty hit or miss.

    Time and conscious thought help out a lot with these types of things. For a while, I couldn't say things like "God Dammit" without a twinge of guilt over using the lord's name in vain. I would roll my eyes at myself and sort of mock my inner thoughts for still clinging to it. After a while it stopped, and now I say it all the time. I sometimes forget that people who are still theists take offense when I do.

    Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

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    21-03-2014, 08:27 AM
    RE: Old habits die hard
    (21-03-2014 08:08 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Support system can help you remain sane. I suggest you carve out at least a few mins each day to pop by here, read and hang out a little. Get to be part of the community. Talk about what hot topics give you flares of emotions and enjoy that there are fine, moral, exciting, very intelligent people Here.

    If not here - find a place where people support your ideas and thoughts regarding religion. You can face fears, set backs or worries with friends.

    Thumbsup

    Meetup.com is just one way to find groups in your area, whether specifically an atheist/agnostic group or with some other focus. I found a local atheist/agnostic group for my city, but I get my daily requirement of sanity and community from the forum already; so I've had little interaction with them.

    Whatever works for you, it is your life afterall. Thumbsup

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    21-03-2014, 08:31 AM
    RE: Old habits die hard
    (21-03-2014 08:27 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
    (21-03-2014 08:08 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Support system can help you remain sane. I suggest you carve out at least a few mins each day to pop by here, read and hang out a little. Get to be part of the community. Talk about what hot topics give you flares of emotions and enjoy that there are fine, moral, exciting, very intelligent people Here.

    If not here - find a place where people support your ideas and thoughts regarding religion. You can face fears, set backs or worries with friends.

    Thumbsup

    Meetup.com is just one way to find groups in your area, whether specifically an atheist/agnostic group or with some other focus. I found a local atheist/agnostic group for my city, but I get my daily requirement of sanity and community from the forum already; so I've had little interaction with them.

    Whatever works for you, it is your life afterall. Thumbsup

    I really just have to hang out here for my daily source of sanity.
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    21-03-2014, 08:36 AM
    RE: Old habits die hard
    (21-03-2014 07:59 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Regarding fear, I had an issue with that for a bit at first. It took me about six months to admit to myself that I didn't believe, because I was scared of the unforgivable sin of apostasy. I got over that by realizing that I've never sweated going to Muslim hell for not following the five pillars of Islam or going to Pastafarian hell for... what sends you there? So, why was I worried about Christian hell when I no longer believed? Just habit and indoctrination.

    As for "habits" that still exist, I have a few:
    • I often find myself wanting to say "bless you" when someone sneezes.
    • I still can get an odd euphoric feeling during the right hymns or when someone tells a story about God's love. I used to attribute this feeling to "God communicating with me" or something, but that was just cherry picking. I've gotten that same feeling from completely different sources (looking forward to something fun, finding out I'm "right" about something, or even thinking about atheism).

    Overall, I tend to find singing hymns very awkward, now, so I don't get that feeling during hymns the same way I used to. As for hearing stories, it's pretty hit or miss.

    Haha. Not being a native english speaker, I am not suffering from the "bless you" habit at least. You can use the danish version "prosit" instead if you like, that word basically means "may it be helpful to you" or in other words "great, you just spread your germs everywhere man, hope you feel better now". Haha

    Yeah. I've sometimes gotten that positive feeling connected to hymns as well. I normally figure it's just that the melody is really pretty and the text poetic and anyway, all people react emotionally to music, I get the same feeling from a bunch of other music. So that doesn't bother me too much.
    Funny enough it's otherwise only the uncomfortable feelings from my past as a christian I still get sometimes. I don't get fussy warm feelings from people talking about gods love anymore. I just get awkward and a little annoyed.
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    21-03-2014, 08:39 AM
    RE: Old habits die hard
    (21-03-2014 05:17 AM)LadyDay Wrote:  I still catch myself getting pangs of guilt when reading and enjoying atheist/freethinkers literature. I still have creepy moments of fear of damnation propping up and the warning words of my parents telling about Satan and Hell in my brain.

    Has anyone ever said "bless you?" when you sneeze?
    Well, that gets you out of hell if it exists.
    Also the pope said all atheists are redeemed.

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