Recovery from Religion.
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14-09-2012, 06:41 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(14-09-2012 01:01 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(13-09-2012 08:03 PM)Alice Wrote:  I think the very word atheist is hard to say, for me it still is. I am nervous to tell anyone I am an atheist, what will they think of me?! I remember what I thought when I heard the word.....it wasn't good. Whenever I would hear Christian instantly I would think oh they are a good person, I would give them much more of a chance in trusting then an atheist.

Spend enough time in the biz, you'll see things in an entirely different light.

I hope so!

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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14-09-2012, 11:45 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(14-09-2012 06:41 AM)Alice Wrote:  
(14-09-2012 01:01 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  Spend enough time in the biz, you'll see things in an entirely different light.

I hope so!

I know so. ;D

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15-09-2012, 12:40 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(13-09-2012 08:03 PM)Alice Wrote:  
(05-09-2012 05:43 PM)BrianD Wrote:  I apologize for taking so long to respond. Tonight's the first time I thought that I had to do more than skim through the board.

I'll start out with a partial, Cliff's Notes version of my story.

As I grew up, I wasn't religious, though I was surrounded by Christianity. I remember wondering once what it would be like if God were there and I could talk with him, then moved on to something else.

I got "saved" my first year in college, at an old-fashioned altar call. I've tried since then to get into prayer, Bible study, faith, church, the whole Christian thing. I've had times when I was sure that there was a God, and Jesus was watching over me, and the Holy Spirit speaking to me. And, times when I didn't sense Him at all.

And, times when I wondered if He even cared, or existed.

My life has been, shall we say, less than joyous more often than not. At one of my more down moments, I remember driving and screaming to heaven, "GOD ARE YOU THERE? WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? ARE YOU F******G THERE????" And not hearing, feeling, or sensing a response in any way.

In the church world, they say that people leave the faith through a prolonged period of drifting. You stop praying as much, reading the Bible as much, stop showing up to church, you watch TV shows that you shouldn't, and so on. Before you know it, you're backslidden. Then, if you keep it up, apostate.

I never wanted to be apostate. I still don't. But I've practiced religion for years and years and, looking back, find so much of it wanting.

One of the last straws was having a glimpse into the evangelical church world, and seeing that so much of it is a business. Churches will associate with other theologically or stylistically like-minded groups, despite the numerous antedoctal stories about those other churches regarding spiritual/phyisical/emotional abuse, or misuse of money, or pastors living in comfort while demanding members tithe and give more. Scripture twisting to justify the demand for money, or the growth of the organization, or the distance of the pastors from the laity. Church leaders who know better (or should) nevertheless continuing to be influenced by men who have no business in a pulpit or as a representative of a loving God, because those men are "gifted" or "successful'.

That is what I meant when I said that recently I had a moment of realization that life made more sense without a God, or at least with one that is distant and leaves us to our own devices. Between my own life experience and what I have observed in Christianity, it's a rational place to come to.

OF course, I am surrounded by Christians in my life, online and offline, and probably to a certain extent at work. I may be willing to read atheist blogs, and books and listen to atheist podcasts...and post on an atheist blog Smile .... but I'm not ready right now to say full on that I'm an atheist. And definitely not ready to "come out" as one.

But I'm no longer sure that I can put all my faith in a God I'm not even fully sure is there, anymore, much less expect Him to bail me out while I sit on my butt and wait for Him to move. And I definitely don't want His people to try to tell me what to think, feel and how to react.

So, there you go.

I think the very word atheist is hard to say, for me it still is. I am nervous to tell anyone I am an atheist, what will they think of me?! I remember what I thought when I heard the word.....it wasn't good. Whenever I would hear Christian instantly I would think oh they are a good person, I would give them much more of a chance in trusting then an atheist. I would hear that and think hmmm.....I need to watch their behavior and I don't know just have this feeling of dislike a judgment was placed on them by me. I think we are taught at least I was that if you are not christian then you need to be more skeptic of the person, how many times have you heard christian in the same phrase as good person?? I know for me alot they are a good person they are a really good christian.

Alice, I've been around Christians for a long time and have learned that not everyone who claims to be Christian is trustworthy and or good Smile

Many more are than not, IMO.
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15-09-2012, 12:47 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(14-09-2012 06:29 AM)amav.eram Wrote:  
(13-09-2012 08:11 PM)Alice Wrote:  I am new too and everyone is very friendly, really the most least judgmental group of people I have ever known and I hardly know them lol. Obviously I kept good company as a christian (note sarcasm). I too feel like I have severe brain damage I think I finally was like I'm an atheist, its like a lightbulb went off and I realized that was the word that now described me then I was scared shitless. The entire transition was slow as a whole but the end realization just seemed to "hit" me. I am not comfortable yet and would say I'm in a transition phase I don't ever feel like hes there but I feel like I miss him. I did pray the other day but did it consciously knowing no one was there, it helped my anxiety at that time. I did read a article about an atheist that prays, and they had always been atheists but had turned it into more of a reflection of things out loud kind of thing. I haven't felt that urge almost like a scratch you have to itch to pray since though. I'm trying to accept it but it is hard, harder then anything. I'm actually going to start going to therapy to try to work it all out (not a crazy christian lets get her saved therapist lol) they know specifically what I am there for. I start later this month, it is too hard to handle on my own and since my family is very evangelical you could say, I really have no one to talk to besides my husband, some friends, and this forum. But the problem is besides this forum no one really has any advice on how to deal with many things I now face because no one else has gone through it, it is nice to be able to come here and actually hear that you aren't crazy that these are normal emotions and that others felt them too.

Yes...I can very much relate to the feelings which you are describing. I hope that the therapy helps you, I had done a bit of psychosynthesis therapy a while back and found it helped me a lot.
I don't know your situation, but here in NZ I have managed to find a local Humanist group and radio show which is a really good way to bring that sense of community back...
I note that you mentioned in an earlier post that you are into documentaries...I saw one recently titled "Did Jesus Die" which has really helped me in dealing with my faith...the documentary is about the evidence that Jesus actually survived crucifiction and travelled to india where he died a regular human death. It helped me to separate the religion from the man. I would recommend it.

amav, I'm glad you referenced a group. Seth Andrews himself has said that being in a community is important for people leaving religion.

That's part of the reason I'm here, to start that process. We humans don't need dogma, guilt, brainwashing nor dysfunction. But we do need other people.
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15-09-2012, 08:55 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(15-09-2012 12:40 AM)BrianD Wrote:  
(13-09-2012 08:03 PM)Alice Wrote:  I think the very word atheist is hard to say, for me it still is. I am nervous to tell anyone I am an atheist, what will they think of me?! I remember what I thought when I heard the word.....it wasn't good. Whenever I would hear Christian instantly I would think oh they are a good person, I would give them much more of a chance in trusting then an atheist. I would hear that and think hmmm.....I need to watch their behavior and I don't know just have this feeling of dislike a judgment was placed on them by me. I think we are taught at least I was that if you are not christian then you need to be more skeptic of the person, how many times have you heard christian in the same phrase as good person?? I know for me alot they are a good person they are a really good christian.

Alice, I've been around Christians for a long time and have learned that not everyone who claims to be Christian is trustworthy and or good Smile

Many more are than not, IMO.

Oh I know that now but that is a perception and if you were to say to a Christian that someone who is christian was a horrible person, religion is never at fault they must not be a "true" christian or the devil is using them. lol its funny now, and I don't think christianity or any other religion defines a person but it could have a huge part to play depending on how the person uses it, which to me makes it a dangerous tool used for war, oppression of minorities, to promote peoples egos, to gain in a political or financial sense, etc. so now when i hear it I'm like hmmm ok so what else lol. And I'll admit a little like I really hope they don't try to save my soul, I need to keep them away from my family if we become friends in fear of a intervention. (Last part overreaction, maybe).

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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16-09-2012, 02:51 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(15-09-2012 08:55 AM)Alice Wrote:  
(15-09-2012 12:40 AM)BrianD Wrote:  Alice, I've been around Christians for a long time and have learned that not everyone who claims to be Christian is trustworthy and or good Smile

Many more are than not, IMO.

Oh I know that now but that is a perception and if you were to say to a Christian that someone who is christian was a horrible person, religion is never at fault they must not be a "true" christian or the devil is using them. lol its funny now, and I don't think christianity or any other religion defines a person but it could have a huge part to play depending on how the person uses it, which to me makes it a dangerous tool used for war, oppression of minorities, to promote peoples egos, to gain in a political or financial sense, etc. so now when i hear it I'm like hmmm ok so what else lol. And I'll admit a little like I really hope they don't try to save my soul, I need to keep them away from my family if we become friends in fear of a intervention. (Last part overreaction, maybe).

People flock to religion for group identity, and when I point that out, they are quick to associate me with the atheist group. The reason I disagree with that is this:
The only thing that an atheist is guaranteed to have in common is their disbelief in God. Other than that, you are sure to find new and interesting philosophical viewpoints, different levels of scientific literacy, and varying grades of tolerance.

With religion, however, it is a dangerous "group think" institution.

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16-09-2012, 05:35 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
I spent 8 years lovingly devoted to being a Christian, while also working toward becoming a minister. Befor then I was a Secular Humanist. I spent 10 years in recovery and have finally emerged with a new identity--Humanist who believes that god/gods do not exhist. That was nine long years of free falling through an undefined space: the loss of my identity, and nothing to catch onto. I am not a young person (this may or may not matter).
Recovery was long and painful:
1. I began my descent to earth through my inability to reconcile a loving creator to the purpose of hell (schizoidal).
2. I then questioned the things about "other" people that I must refute and condemn as a Christian.
3. I questioned the gender of God, and my place (being female) as a woman in the eyes of a god who could not accept my gender as equall to men. What does God want with a penis and testicals anyway?
4. Last, I decided to search for the truth of god. After that, I hit earth.
I have searched many religions, most of the major religions, and now find them frightening.
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16-09-2012, 05:46 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(16-09-2012 05:35 PM)depat Wrote:  I spent 8 years lovingly devoted to being a Christian, while also working toward becoming a minister. Befor then I was a Secular Humanist. I spent 10 years in recovery and have finally emerged with a new identity--Humanist who believes that god/gods do not exhist. That was nine long years of free falling through an undefined space: the loss of my identity, and nothing to catch onto. I am not a young person (this may or may not matter).
Recovery was long and painful:
1. I began my descent to earth through my inability to reconcile a loving creator to the purpose of hell (schizoidal).
2. I then questioned the things about "other" people that I must refute and condemn as a Christian.
3. I questioned the gender of God, and my place (being female) as a woman in the eyes of a god who could not accept my gender as equall to men. What does God want with a penis and testicals anyway?
4. Last, I decided to search for the truth of god. After that, I hit earth.
I have searched many religions, most of the major religions, and now find them frightening.

So your an atheistic humanist? I think the majority of people here are, so you are definitely welcome!

Yeah, the rode to recovery is a long and hard one for mot atheists. It is nearly the same as the stages of grief for the loss of a loved one.

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19-09-2012, 06:42 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(15-09-2012 12:47 AM)BrianD Wrote:  
(14-09-2012 06:29 AM)amav.eram Wrote:  Yes...I can very much relate to the feelings which you are describing. I hope that the therapy helps you, I had done a bit of psychosynthesis therapy a while back and found it helped me a lot.
I don't know your situation, but here in NZ I have managed to find a local Humanist group and radio show which is a really good way to bring that sense of community back...
I note that you mentioned in an earlier post that you are into documentaries...I saw one recently titled "Did Jesus Die" which has really helped me in dealing with my faith...the documentary is about the evidence that Jesus actually survived crucifiction and travelled to india where he died a regular human death. It helped me to separate the religion from the man. I would recommend it.

amav, I'm glad you referenced a group. Seth Andrews himself has said that being in a community is important for people leaving religion.

That's part of the reason I'm here, to start that process. We humans don't need dogma, guilt, brainwashing nor dysfunction. But we do need other people.

Yes...in fact looking back, i recognise that a main driver for my christian life was that sense of community, but what I have found is that where dogma, dysfunction and brainwashing exist you cannot have genuine community.....I like the possibility that, as Atheists, we can meet and connect based on our humanity...it is honest and simple and healthy.
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11-10-2012, 09:18 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
Are there any resources here (or elsewhere) to help nontheists find that type of community in their own communities, especially when telling family and coworkers what you believe really isn't an option?
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