The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
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08-09-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Question The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
Today it's been 36 days since I distanced myself from Christianity (and 9 days since I joined this forum). After a short while here, I decided to reveal something about myself here, and ask for advice.

My "deconversion" was surprisingly quick - it took merely a few hours. Apparently, my opposition to Christian doctrines and ideas grew gradually within me, and finally escalated with a simple "enough," which was what I said to myself when my rational self finally prevailed.

I don't fear death in the naturalistic sense - I see it as a natural part of the cycle of life. Our ancestors leave this world to us, we live to make it better, and then we leave it to our posterity. I don't need a better purpose in life. In fact, eternity would make life meaningless - what makes life valuable is its transience. Every moment is precious, and that's why we need to make the best out of it.

However, there is still this lingering feeling of "what if I'm wrong." It's not a fear - it used to be a fear while I was a believer - it's merely a nagging thought at the back of my mind. Maybe I'm expecting too much - after all, not two months ago I was a firm, dedicated Christian. Perhaps it takes time...

There is one other thing that troubles me - confusion. When I was a believer, I was certain that I was right. Yet now that I look at what I used to believe in, I understand that I was deluded. So how can I know that I'm right now? I've become aware that emotions play a role in the formation of a person's worldview. I want to think objectively about religion, but I feel (not think) that I lost trust in my cold, INTJ-like neutrality that used to help me so often in life. I want to be sure that emotions will not lead me to another delusion.

I'm looking for some advice from those who left religion. Did anyone have experiences similar to mine? Did the "what if I'm wrong" feeling go away and when? How to resist emotional influence on objectivity?

Thank you in advance.
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08-09-2013, 03:37 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
There are approx 4 threads scattered around here somewhere covering Myers Briggs.
INTJ is disproportionately represented on TTA considering it's only supposed to be 1% of the population.
It's near 40% here!

I stopped the nonsense at around 10 years old so it's hard to recall what it felt like.

I vaguely recall a sexual encounter at around 14ish and thinking what if ghosts/ancestors/gods are watching?

The inner ape prevailed and I figured, why not put on a show?
If my ancestors want to wank off watching me, so what?
If they cared about their descendant, they would find some way to send me some advice.

They never did.

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08-09-2013, 03:57 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
Hi Phil.
Very largely the Christian faith is held as positing a moral system locked in to our finite life spans, after which a judgement of some description is held in a seemingly capricious manner.
Hard line atheism holds that we are simply products of a chancy evolutionary process.
This latter position, when taken to extremes by some, such as Max Stirner, would hold that morality is simply a personal choice.
Is there room for a middle ground? A non ultra polarised position, where choosing belief in a potential ever evolving cosmic consciousness for the better becomes manifest to the believer.Process theology has touched on this, holding that individuals are co creators in a marvellous cosmic system largely transcending secular logic.
Hopefully Saspianism will elaborate even further on this phenomena and a far more open spirituality take its place in cosmic consciousness.Thumbsup
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08-09-2013, 04:34 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
Considering Thor is the one true god, you've already misstepped long ago when you chose one of the varying Abrahamic religious branches as your belief system.

Thor is a fun a rambunctious god, but he's also a drunk and jealous god. I do not envy your eternity of hammer blows to the groin.

Now, did all that sound ... ridiculous? It should. Will you ever be completely deprogrammed? Perhaps, perhaps not. Will you now and again fear hell or wish for a heaven, or for a superhero like figure? Perhaps. Don't feel bad though. You're working against thousands of years of indoctrination, billions of dollars, and billions of people. Expecting you to go away without a ANY mental scarring or hang ups is just not reasonable. You're doing fine. Thumbsup
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08-09-2013, 05:33 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
I recall having similar thoughts after losing religion, mostly when I was around relatives who are strong Christians. Their belief made God seem as though he could be real. I got over it. For me, atheism is a conclusion based upon logic, reason, and evidence (and lack thereof).
The more you think about the religious beliefs and their flaws, the more you will reinforce your conclusion.

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08-09-2013, 05:40 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
(08-09-2013 03:26 PM)Philosoraptor Wrote:  Today it's been 36 days since I distanced myself from Christianity (and 9 days since I joined this forum). After a short while here, I decided to reveal something about myself here, and ask for advice.

My "deconversion" was surprisingly quick - it took merely a few hours. Apparently, my opposition to Christian doctrines and ideas grew gradually within me, and finally escalated with a simple "enough," which was what I said to myself when my rational self finally prevailed.

I don't fear death in the naturalistic sense - I see it as a natural part of the cycle of life. Our ancestors leave this world to us, we live to make it better, and then we leave it to our posterity. I don't need a better purpose in life. In fact, eternity would make life meaningless - what makes life valuable is its transience. Every moment is precious, and that's why we need to make the best out of it.

However, there is still this lingering feeling of "what if I'm wrong." It's not a fear - it used to be a fear while I was a believer - it's merely a nagging thought at the back of my mind. Maybe I'm expecting too much - after all, not two months ago I was a firm, dedicated Christian. Perhaps it takes time...

There is one other thing that troubles me - confusion. When I was a believer, I was certain that I was right. Yet now that I look at what I used to believe in, I understand that I was deluded. So how can I know that I'm right now? I've become aware that emotions play a role in the formation of a person's worldview. I want to think objectively about religion, but I feel (not think) that I lost trust in my cold, INTJ-like neutrality that used to help me so often in life. I want to be sure that emotions will not lead me to another delusion.

I'm looking for some advice from those who left religion. Did anyone have experiences similar to mine? Did the "what if I'm wrong" feeling go away and when? How to resist emotional influence on objectivity?

Thank you in advance.

Such thoughts are a nagging concern, particularly for apostates from fundamentalists sects who taught hell was a literal place.

Bear in mind that, if you accept Jesus as God, you are subject to eternal damnation in hell if it turns out that Allah is, in fact God, according to the Quran. Other deities throughout history may not be too thrilled with you worshipping Yahweh and his son Jesus Christ, as opposed to them as well.

Food for thought.

"IN THRUST WE TRUST"

"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
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08-09-2013, 05:46 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
The fear subsides once you've had distance, educate yourself more and reroute some of the old ways of thinking to a healthier, new way. Being indoctrinated is a type of brainwash and the 'what if I'm wrong' is a heavy and crucial part of the indoctrination. The part of you realizing what you (don't) believe may have been a few hours, but the actual de-converting will take longer. Smile Find a strong community, read up on and discover your new way of thinking.
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08-09-2013, 05:47 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
(08-09-2013 03:26 PM)Philosoraptor Wrote:  Today it's been 36 days since I distanced myself from Christianity (and 9 days since I joined this forum). After a short while here, I decided to reveal something about myself here, and ask for advice.

My "deconversion" was surprisingly quick - it took merely a few hours. Apparently, my opposition to Christian doctrines and ideas grew gradually within me, and finally escalated with a simple "enough," which was what I said to myself when my rational self finally prevailed.

I don't fear death in the naturalistic sense - I see it as a natural part of the cycle of life. Our ancestors leave this world to us, we live to make it better, and then we leave it to our posterity. I don't need a better purpose in life. In fact, eternity would make life meaningless - what makes life valuable is its transience. Every moment is precious, and that's why we need to make the best out of it.

However, there is still this lingering feeling of "what if I'm wrong." It's not a fear - it used to be a fear while I was a believer - it's merely a nagging thought at the back of my mind. Maybe I'm expecting too much - after all, not two months ago I was a firm, dedicated Christian. Perhaps it takes time...

There is one other thing that troubles me - confusion. When I was a believer, I was certain that I was right. Yet now that I look at what I used to believe in, I understand that I was deluded. So how can I know that I'm right now? I've become aware that emotions play a role in the formation of a person's worldview. I want to think objectively about religion, but I feel (not think) that I lost trust in my cold, INTJ-like neutrality that used to help me so often in life. I want to be sure that emotions will not lead me to another delusion.

I'm looking for some advice from those who left religion. Did anyone have experiences similar to mine? Did the "what if I'm wrong" feeling go away and when? How to resist emotional influence on objectivity?

Thank you in advance.


The "what if you're wrong" question is nicely refuted by any responses to Pascal's Wager. Google around for the atheist refutations of that and you will have some good ways to think about this problem. The wager essentially says that it would be better to go along with faith 'just in case' you were wrong, since there is supposedly little cost to adhering to the faith if the faith were wrong, but the cost of guessing wrong if god were real would be eternal damnation.

The problems with this wager are that practicing a faith is not cost free, and the question is set up as a false dichotomy--the only choices are Christian and not-Christian. I could ask this question about every other god. What if you are wrong about:
Yahweh
Allah
Zeus
Buddha
Zoroaster
Thor
etc

Consider that until your recent rejection of the faith you were growing up in, you were just fine with the possibility of being wrong about all the other hundreds or thousands of gods you never believed in.
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08-09-2013, 05:50 PM
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
If the Christian god was real, then dealing with that would be of central importance. Since that is not the case, religious artifacts in our lives are not important. Detox can take some time, but concentrating on other aspects of your life is more important now.
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08-09-2013, 06:23 PM (This post was last modified: 21-09-2013 12:31 PM by Anjele.)
RE: The "what if I'm wrong" feeling
I didn't ever fully buy into the Catholic thing I was forced to participate in. Was stunned to find that there are people that see the Bible as literal accounts...even as a young, young kid I didn't think the Bible stories were real. Well over 90% of the people around me were Catholic but I don't recall seeing anyone read the Bible...weird, huh? But I was well aware of the whole heaven/hell/limbo thing.

I was probably around 10 and was at my grandparents' farm for a week in the summer. Their farm was on a dead-end road so the only way in and out was by passing the church cemetery. I was so used to seeing it that it really didn't bother me.

One day a friend of my grandma's was at the house. This friend's husband had recently died. She and grandma were talking and the friend was describing the double headstone she had put on her husband's grave and how her information was all filled in and ready to go. That was mildly creepy, but it got worse. The friend turned to my grandma and said (I remember it clearly some 40+ years later),"You and George should buy the plot next to ours. Herb always wanted to learn how to play cards." WTF?

The rest of my vacation was spent wondering if heaven was getting to hang out with your friends and play Pinochle, or was it angels and harps and all that, or were their spirits going to be hanging out at a card table between the headstones chain smoking and drinking while teaching Herb how to bid...no more hide and seek in the cemetery for me.

It was then that I really started to question the whole concept of an afterlife of any sort.

If you are 'wrong' what fantasy are you going to miss out on?

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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