New to atheism and feeling extreme isolation and loneliness

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Marco Antonio's picture
New to atheism and feeling extreme isolation and loneliness

Hello to everyone here. I hope all of you are doing well. This is my first time here, as a member. My name is Marco Antonio and I am a 42 year old male, of Latino/Portuguese descent. I come from a very strict, Roman Catholic upbringing. It was not until around the Christmas holiday, of this past December of 2014, that I became an atheist. I felt like I finally broke free from, literally, living a life of hell everyday, worrying about if a god would punish me forever because I could never be "perfect" enough for a heaven. Looking back, I do not know how I actually believed such biblical fairy tales, especially with my love of the sciences, human psychology, music theory, technology, and commercial airliners. I cannot believe I lacked the most basic intelligence to see the irrational logic behind religion. There is a story of how all this came to be, though, and where it has brought me now, feeling depressed.

I grew up being physically abused by my father, and from a mother, who told me to tell the teachers at school, that I "accidentally" tripped down the porch step and fell, or that I fell off my bike, to explain the marks on my body. I never questioned it, otherwise, my mother would make threats of me never getting to see her again, etc.

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Marco Antonio's picture
Sorry....accidentally sent my

Sorry....accidentally sent my post without completing my story.....will be back with the rest

AcerbicAtheist's picture
He's ridiculously handsome

He's ridiculously handsome and I'm jealous.

Welcome, though! :D

Marco Antonio's picture
Thank you for the compliment.

Thank you for the compliment....I appreciate it :)

Marco Antonio's picture
I was always very interested

I was always very interested in mechanical things growing up, however my father disapproved of mostly everything I did. Eventually, my parents divorced and I ended up living my maternal grandparents. They were extremely Catholic, as well, and I had to attend mass weekly. It was at the age of around 9-10, that I started feeling confused about my life, as I started developing same sex attraction, and I did not understand it. Because of my religion, I believed it to be some sort of evil force taking control of my soul. Long story short, my family rejected me, around 20 years old, because of my sexual orientation.

Maybe it is because of my upbringing, but I have always felt a need to help people in anyway that I can. Theists often wonder how an atheist can have any purpose in life. In my opinion, I often think that we, as atheists, value life even more than those who are religious, because we know it's the only time we will have, with no promise of an afterlife. Because life is so precious, I value making the purpose of my life to do all I can to contribute to humanity, with compassion and sensitivity. Sometimes, I think people feel atheists have no feelings, except for themselves. This is quite the contrary, with myself. Atheism has allowed me to open my mind and not judge others, whereas religion, prevented me from meeting wonderful people in this world, simply because of their appearances, beliefs, hobbies, customs, behaviors, etc.

As far as my sexual orientation, it is a very small part of who I am. I live my life identically to the average heterosexual male, except that I am attracted to the same sex. I have no desire to be feminine in anyway, like the stereotypes have most people believe. In fact, I do not do anything in the gay scene, because I live a quiet life, on my own. For myself, I believe in monogamy, and I eventually would like to find someone who believes in living a quiet life, outside of the gay scene, and contributing to helping people who are less fortunate. Being an atheist, however, it is difficult to find someone because of others religious beliefs.

I live with a roommate, who is also my best friend. He happens to be very Catholic and has spoken of his rejection to atheism several times. If I were to tell him about being an atheist, how would most likely throw me out. The only family I have now, is my mother and brother, and if I told them of my atheism, they would disown and shame me. My only escape is this forum, which I usually have to get on, late at night, when my roommate is sleeping.

The isolation is difficult for me because I have no one to talk to. I am going to open up here and share that I was purposely infected with HIV at the age of 19, as well. I was looking for a monogamous relationship and planning to go into the US Air Force, at the time, as I have a love of aviation, and then wanted to become a dentist, in the military. Those dreams were destroyed and the person who infected me, disappeared. My family has insisted that HIV is punishment from god on me, for loving someone of the same sex. I am presently very healthy because since I was diagnosed, HIV has changed from a certain death sentence, to a chronic, manageable condition.

Despite my good health, I have managed to fall into a depression now. I feel free from religion, but so alone, socially. Most of my days, I sleep for hours, cannot eat much, and I feel doubtful, because I have 3 strikes....gay, atheist and HIV positive. Even though, I am atheist, there are often times when I wish there was a pill or treatment to make me heterosexual, as this life is never something I would choose. I have experienced a lot of negativity in the gay scene, as it seems to be all about sex, and not about who a person is. I also feel isolated in the gay community, because of my HIV, and the fact that, I do not have the stereotypical interests of most gay men. I have no interest in things like makeup, fashion, clothes, female singers, etc. I enjoy racing motorcycles, working outdoors landscaping and painting, playing baseball. I love commercial airliners and the mechanics of flight, etc. I live my life as a man, because that is how I naturally feel.

I feel lost right now and I do not know if any of this is normal. I do not have the desire to really do anything. Most of all, I feel closed off from anyone to talk to. I do not like living my life in secret, for fear of rejection. I am happy to have found this forum, though. Take care and be well.....Marco Antonio

joelinguini's picture
Marco, I think it is normal

Marco, I think it is normal to feel lost as an atheist, especially when we're surrounded by believers and in a society dominated by believers. One thing you said about having 3 strikes I'd like to take issue with .... being an atheist is NOT a strike against you. Its a big positive FOR you. To me it shows you have the strength and intelligence to understand and deal with reality. However, you do sound like you're depressed. I, and I'm sure many others here have dealt with depression. You might want to seek professional help for that. I realize that you've got issues and hurdles in your life (as most of us do), but I also see that you have a lot going for you as well. I'm hearing you and I'm interested in your story. Keep in touch.

AcerbicAtheist's picture
I am swamped with work and

I am swamped with work and school, but I saw the highlights and would be proud to be your friend. Twitter? @AcerbicAtheist On Twitter I can introduce you to the broader community that I know, super nice folks. And I know how PMs work there haha so I can send my IRL email.

MountainMan's picture
Your not alone here at

Your not alone here at Atheist Republic! Thats why were here. Welcome to the forum!

's picture
You are definitely not alone.

You are definitely not alone. I lived in a highly religious community and when I started questioning religion I lost friends. When I became an atheist I kept it secret for years. I told my friends before I told my family. I lost even more friends due to my atheism so it wasn't until three years after I left for college that my family found out. Most of my family accepts me, but my relationship with my dad has been strained since. I understand not wanting to let your family and friends know but you shouldn't let that push you far enough to not live your life the way you want to. Feeling alone at first seems to be pretty normal because unlike the religious we don't meet once a week or more. We are spread around but that doesn't mean we aren't here. Hopefully this forum can help you and you can find friends who accept you for who you are.

Pitar's picture
You certainly have had some

You certainly have had some baggage to deal with. Anyway, keep it on the up side for yourself. You aren't the only Roman Catholic who divested himself of the trappings and pageantry of a man-made religion created to channel the worship of a man-made god through. Deal with who you are and build your life around that premise. Include those who want to go there with you and be glad you have them.

HeathenGirl's picture
Hi Marco! Welcome to atheism.

Hi Marco! Welcome to atheism. I'm sorry to hear about the abuse you have gone through. I can't imagine how painful that was and still is. As for feeling isolated and depressed, you are not alone.....

Endri's picture
Oh, welcome here Marco! You

Oh, welcome here Marco! You're always going to be welcome in this community, we are diverse and we respect each other. I'm sorry to hear that you went through that kind of abuse, that's a big triple-middle-finger. I am an Atheist, and I use my computer and phone in broad daylight because my parents are too stupid to understand English or just to carried away from their jobs. You're not alone in the "isolation and depression" moments, I've gone through that too.

(Edit) Why THE FUCK DID I NOT LOOK AT THE YEAR!

Truett's picture
Wow, Marco. I am deeply

Wow, Marco. I am deeply moved by what you've said. I'm glad that you found this forum; it is a sanity saver for me and I think will be for you, too.

Don't question your intelligence; you are obviously intelligent. I too was taught from infancy that god was real. I didn't snap out of it until the Summer of 2015 (50 years old) and I was IMMEDIATELY appalled at myself. Thing is, it's an advantage to our species that as children we unquestionably accept what we are taught. It keeps us from dangers that we would otherwise be ignorant of. Religious dogma that was taught to you and me was accepted by us along side the warnings about fire and snakes and cliffs and hot stoves. People accept it and build their worldview around it. It's a wonder that we made it out at all. You and I made it out. That is nothing but good.

I think that you will immediately benefit from being able to open up and fully express yourself here. I felt like a pressure cooker about to explode before I arrived here. I have no one with whom I can open up. Your circumstance is even more isolated than mine, but we're in the same ballpark.

On sexuality, you are 100% perfectly good the exact way you are. Humanity has been poisoned by what ignorant goat herders wrote in early Palestine. Vicious persons who believed in ghosts and human sacrifice were hostile to homosexuality, and that hatred was codified in their delusional religious texts. Humanity has suffered ever since.

You are smart, very handsome, interesting and caring. You have some number of decades of life before you. I'm rooting for you. A lot of the folks here are rooting for you, too. Welcome to Atheist Republic. We are a better group now that you've arrived.

Truett's picture
I've been made aware that

I've been made aware that this original post was from 2015. Darn, now I feel silly.

Endri's picture
Oh God the awkwardness and

Oh God the awkwardness and the irony of me saying the first word!!! What have we done?!!

mykcob4's picture
Okay, Marco read your story

Okay, Marco read your story thank you.
1) You are not alone, but you really are. The thing is, to make such a personal decision, you are alone in that. No one can know what you have been through, how you felt or the angst over the isolation from family and friends just because you came to the realisation that there is no god. Even now I find myself falling back into wondering if my actions would meet approval by a god THAT I KNOW ISN"T THERE!
2) You are not alone because if you try you can almost always find someone to confide in like the Atheist Republic. We atheists are few and far between but we are here. In that sense you are not alone.

CyberLN's picture
I'll iterate...Marco hasn't

I'll iterate...Marco hasn't been here for two years. Responding to him is going nowhere.

Ryan Herdiansyah's picture
Hi Marco. I, too, felt those

Hi Marco. I, too, felt those same sadness as a new atheist (I'm about 6 years of being an atheist now). Last year i nearly kill myself because of the loneliness i felt, if it weren't for my mum and dad (strict moslems) maybe i'll have a second or even a third attempt. But i'm not sure if want to see my mom sad for seeing me being dead. I love them anyway. So i try to survive even if it's painful (keeping this secret of being an atheist is really sucks, i bet you know it). I believe thing will get better, if not great, that is because i'm working on it, i still have this many dream i want to accomplish.

I am glad you still have love left within your heart, despite the loneliness, love for things like science and aviation and stuff. When i was still teenager I'm not sure about thing i like or anything, i guess that's the lucky part of the story you've shared to us.

You have this forum, and this forum has you. Don't ever think again that you are alone, eh.

P.S: Do you find it fond to read manga? I have this quote from manga titled Hunter x Hunter (a work by Togashi), i think you might like it, it says: "don't die until you die, live your life as you make it."

P.S.S: Carpe diem

Deb Nicke's picture
I'm confused...if Marco's

I'm confused...if Marco's post is more than 2 years old then how did it get highlighted on the AP Facebook page as something new? No big deal, except I was going to reply to Marco as well until I read all the way down thru the comments and someone made us all aware.

Nyarlathotep's picture
There is a system in place to

There is a system in place to promote certain threads that way; I don't know the details.

Cognostic's picture
Not having read any of the

Not having read any of the previous posts yet... Welcome ... and here is my response to the OP.

The issues associated with leaving religion are diverse and many.

Atheists who come out risk being disowned by family and friends.
They lose their support systems.
They lose a contextual view of the world in which they live and the events of that world.
They gain a whole lot of free time that they have no idea at all what to do with.

I have a view of life that I have shared before and I hope it makes a bit of sense to you. Life is like the game of Jenga. You begin the game by taking on an empty table. You stack the blocks one at a time until you have a tower. You then take the blocks from the bottom of the tower, put them on the top, and build the tower taller and taller.

You begin life with a blank slate. You gather information and build a tower of knowledge. You continue building and growing until something comes along and knocks that tower down.

The death of a child, the loss of a loved one, getting married, the birth of a child, becoming a Christian (for someone not raised Christian), a natural disaster that destroys your life and your home, hitting the jackpot in the lottery and yes - GIVING UP ON RELIGION. All of these events and more are life changing events. They all knock over the tower. They all leave you in a place you have never been before. They leave you questioning the world that you thought you knew. They can leave you alone, isolated, confused, and certainly seeking answers. People around you begin treating you differently. Your friendships will change. Life just isn't what you thought it was. So what do you do.....

One at a time, you begin picking up the blocks and organizing them into a tower once again. You look at the world around you and realize that you are different and the tower you are building is going to be different. That's okay. And you will keep building and if you are lucky you will build it all nice and tall before it all comes crumbling down again. Old age, bad health and death are waiting around the corner to knock everything over for everyone. Just know that things in life change. Relationships change. Nothing is forever. The towers fall and then we rebuild them. This is life. I practiced Shito-ryu Karate for 25 years and one day I ripped the meniscus in my knee. Karate was over. No more practice, no more fighting, 3 knee surgeries and 40 pounds later -my life is great! You just move on. You just move on.

This idea that "Nothing is forever" is exactly why life, friendships, love, and the rest are so important. It is an amazing thing to have a fiend, to fall in love, to have a loving family, it's amazing for the simple fact that they all eventually fall apart. You appreciate them so much more when you realize something can happen to them at any moment. Enjoy them when you can. It's a wonderful thing just to be alive another day.

So now, you can look at the fallen tower and all the blocks scatters about the floor and feel depressed. Or you can just see that you really don't have time for depression or sadness because there are a whole lot of blocks to pick up and start stacking again. You can ruefully dwell in the past as you imagine the tower you once had and wish you had it again. Or you can use your imagination, motivation, and desires to begin building a new tower for your future. Joining a site like this is probably a good step in that direction.

Good Luck

Now I will go back and see what others have said.

Cognostic's picture
HA HA HA HA ! I have 3

HA HA HA HA ! I have 3 strikes....gay, atheist and HIV positive.
How in the hell are any of these strikes against you . You have a built in friend detector. Anyone who calls you a friend with all that going for you is going to be a real friend. You don't have to play games with people.

Why would you view any of these as strikes against you? You are just buying into the Christian crap people have fed you.

1. You are gay? So what? 10% of all mammals on the planet are gay. If someone can't deal with it, why in the hell do you need them for a friend. Why are you agreeing with the homophobes? You got a Catholic room mate who is an ass. So what. Deal with it or get a new room mate. How in the hell is this a problem. Better still, how is it a problem over which you have no control. Stop being a victim and either admit that you put yourself into the situation and do not want to do anything about it, or do something about it. (Pick up those blocks.)

2. You are an atheist. No problem at all from my perspective. What does not believing in a god have to do with anything. I can't imagine how enjoying my coffee is going to be affected by the fact that I am an atheist. If anyone is shallow enough to assert that you are somehow worthless because of your atheism, why in the hell are you still talking to them? You need a lesson in surrounding yourself with better friends.

3. You have HIV. So cry about it or get on with your life. We are all dying. You just happen to know a bit more about how you might die that the rest of us. Hell, you might get hit by a car crossing a street. What in the hell does HIV mean then. LIVE YOUR FRIGGING LIFE. You have one life and this is it. You are not even looking at a tower you once had. You are only imagining a tower that you think you could have had if this or that had not happened to you. You are not dealing with reality. It's called living in a fantasy. The only life you have is the one you build for yourself. Start building or stay the same, the choice is yours.

I would assert that you could probably benefit form some sort of HIV support group if you could find a secular group. Failing that, there are secular counselors. "Oh woe is me" is not a response to the difficulties life presents you with.

HEY WATCH A MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO - Try this one. It is one of my favorite motivational speakers. If you can still be down on yourself after this, you just aren't human.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI5K98MGR88

Disregard the faith crap...

Cognostic's picture
YOU ARE ALONE!!!

YOU ARE ALONE!!!

I went back and read all the posts. I keep hearing this crap - "You're not alone." GARBAGE!!!! Of course you are alone. You know you are alone. What the other posters do not know is that "We are all alone." Your life experience has led you to a remarkable place. You realize we all live alone whether we know it or not. Our spouses will die. Our friendships will move on. Our lives will change. We are alone. We will die alone. You have HIV alone. No one is in your skin with you. No one understands you. We only understand our own reactions, feelings, and imagine you feel the same. The fact that you are alone is what makes you strive for human contact. It is the sense of loneliness that makes us value others so much. Never pretend you are not alone. (Another tower waiting to fall.) The harder you hold onto the idea that you are not alone, the harder the fall when you are forced to face the fact - YOU ARE ALONE. WE ARE ALL ALONE. Reach out and find a friend because they are alone too. Together the loneliness is easier to bear. Together we don't feel so alone. But it is the loneliness that makes the friendship so special. Forget that, and it is so easy to pretend you are not alone and take the friendship for granted.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog

@Cog

Psssst.... Hey. The guy is a ghost. Look at the dates.

Cognostic's picture
LOL... Misses it. I hate

LOL... Misses it. I hate when that happens. Still, some lurker may find it useful and I have time to kill. It's final's week and I don't have to give the test until 3 PM. I still have an hour and a half of comments in me. I guess I will go find another thread.

NOTE TO SELF: 1. Check the profile to make sure you are talking to a Christian before you ream them.
2. Check the date so you are not giving advice to ghosts.
3. Hate Tin Man for pointing this shit out and not allowing me to remain delusional in my own little bubble.

Tin-Man's picture
Hey, Cog, if it makes you

Hey, Cog, if it makes you feel any better, at least you were giving some great advice. *chuckle*

Cognostic's picture
I feel better! :-) I

I feel better! :-) I also entertained myself at my desk for an hour.

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