Struggles or Plain Sailing?
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07-06-2016, 10:37 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 07:25 AM)julep Wrote:  I was a theist as a child (Southern Baptist, mainly, although my father at one point tried to start his own denomination). My father was first a part-time pastor and then a full-time missionary for the bulk of my childhood, so my home and social lives were saturated with religion. I was taught that Satan was an always-lurking force and behind any of my doubts. Despite all of the attempts to choke off thinking, by the time I was in my teens I had noticed that Christianity didn't seem to make its practitioners into better people than they had been before, even though they claimed this was the case. Having read the Bible cover to cover at least 10 times and having studied and analyzed it with other Christians and on my own, I noticed that the god of the Bible's statements of benevolence and love towards his creations were flatly contradicted by his actions. By about age 16 I had decided it was immoral to worship such a being. I wasn't yet able to let go of the idea of a god at that point, so this was a difficult time period for me.

I went far, far away to college and while there read and studied about other religions and also took courses in theology and philosophy and history of religions. I became convinced that all gods were manmade. I was very relieved that I was no longer in the position of having to suffer the consequences of opposing the immoral Judeo-Christian god. My position eventually became one of agnosticism regarding whether some force that could be called "god" started the universe, and atheism regarding a personal/interventionist god.

There was some emotional turmoil that came with the decision, but that was mostly because I had made some great friends who were Christians while I was in college, and I was afraid that our friendships would suffer if I no longer believed. Fortunately, that wasn't the case with my college friends. I wouldn't say it was an easy transition, but it wasn't gut-wrenching, either.

That is interesting. Sounds like you were totally surrounded by the Christian thing and with people with very strong beliefs. I think I picked up on the religious thing subliminally, although the teachers at primary school were religious. I was confirmed in the CofE when I was 14 years old, thinking I was a Christian, but there was always something not quite right. I think with me, it was a gradual rejection, after learning a whole lot more about other things, although I wouldn't say it was a smooth ride to clear out all of the religious baggage from my mind.
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07-06-2016, 10:40 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 10:00 AM)JDog554 Wrote:  Never was a theist, never will be. Father left when I was young and Mother, if she is a Christian, never really showed it. Never went to church or anything so religion was never brought up or an issue growing up.

I would have much preferred to have been brought up in a non-theist environment. Part of me feels angry that I was brought with believing in God, but I guess every cloud has a silver lining.
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07-06-2016, 10:42 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 10:36 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Other forum members are sick of hearing this but I had no idea who the hell Jesus was until I was around 10. Religion was nonexistent for me. I had no idea what a church was for. We lived in a cabin in the woods up in the Tahoe area with no tv or radio. I had a fabulous childhood. It was just the most fun ever.

Religion is sick.

Fantastic! I envy you there! Smile
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07-06-2016, 10:44 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
I too grew up in a non-theist home, and the nearby theists were not very nice folks. Those adults would say things that a child could recognize as wrong headed. We had some fundie neighbors, the dad was after the older brother for making the younger one cry. "I'll teach you to be mean!"
Well no shit.
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07-06-2016, 10:49 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 10:40 AM)Dramamask Wrote:  
(07-06-2016 10:00 AM)JDog554 Wrote:  Never was a theist, never will be. Father left when I was young and Mother, if she is a Christian, never really showed it. Never went to church or anything so religion was never brought up or an issue growing up.

I would have much preferred to have been brought up in a non-theist environment. Part of me feels angry that I was brought with believing in God, but I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

There are many different routes to a final destination. You just happened to take the long bumpy one but you got where you needed to go.

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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07-06-2016, 10:53 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
When I was a child parents sometimes took me to the church, also I had religion lessons in school. But I can't say that my faith was deep, it was more about tradition than anything else. Deconversion wasn't hard, it only took some thinking about the foolishnes of faith.

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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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07-06-2016, 10:58 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 10:49 AM)JDog554 Wrote:  
(07-06-2016 10:40 AM)Dramamask Wrote:  I would have much preferred to have been brought up in a non-theist environment. Part of me feels angry that I was brought with believing in God, but I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

There are many different routes to a final destination. You just happened to take the long bumpy one but you got where you needed to go.

The other part of me is sort of glad for the experience too, as in a strange way, it has shown me how parts of my mind work. I actually developed agoraphobia and I think the old religious stifling of free thought was a factor in that. I'm actually halfway through writing a book which includes stuff like this, based on my own personal experiences and other things. Big Grin
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07-06-2016, 11:05 AM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2016 11:16 AM by Reducetarian.)
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
I was raised in a very pious, practicing Catholic family, and never really questioned my beliefs until my children were in their teens.

Believe it or not, my children (and some of their friends' parents, who were atheists) started me down the road toward atheism.The horrible abuses and hypocrisy of the RCC didn't help.

These doubts crystallized when I started helping my daughter extensively review the history of philosophy in preparation for her MPhil, especially the works of Bertrand Russell.

The process was one of intellectual discovery, not particularly distressing at all, except for the regret of having wasted so much time in church.

Your faith is not evidence, your opinion is not fact, and your bias is not wisdom
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07-06-2016, 11:10 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
(07-06-2016 11:05 AM)Reducetarian Wrote:  I was raised in a very pious, practicing Catholic family, and never really questioned my beliefs until my children were in their teens.

Believe it or not, my children (and some of their friends' parents, who were atheists) started me down the road of questioning my beliefs.The horrible abuses and hypocrisy of the RCC didn't help.

These doubts crystallized when I started helping my daughter extensively review the history of philosophy in preparation for her MPhil, especially the works of Bertrand Russell.

The process was one of intellectual discovery, not particularly distressing at all, except for the regret of having wasted so much time in church.

That is fantastic! Good on you for finding it relatively easy! Smile Like you, I felt I had wasted too much time with the whole thing. I think I was a late developer too. I sort of think of the whole belief in religion, as being stuck in a childlike state of mind and with that analogy, I think I went through my teen years, in my mid-20s. Haha! Big Grin
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07-06-2016, 11:32 AM
RE: Struggles or Plain Sailing?
The only time I ever felt any kind of anxiousness was when, at one point, my daughter seemed to hint that she didn't believe in God (sometime right before her confirmation, at age 12 or so?)
I remember thinking in distress: "but that means you won't go to heaven and I will be separated from you!!"
That mother-instinct moment of panic kicked in at the thought of being completely cut off from my child. Quite scary, actually.
Then I realized that I would rather be with her in hell than without her in heaven.
Which got me thinking ...

Your faith is not evidence, your opinion is not fact, and your bias is not wisdom
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