Falling apart

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Dragonfly's picture
Thank you. Yes, I'm finding

Thank you. Yes, I'm finding this community and the support wonderful. One of the things I've noticed is that atheists, both online and in person, have been willing to help a seeker find her way, and that's quite something new coming from a world where everyone had a motive of saving your soul.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Dragonfly

@ Dragonfly

"Yes, I'm finding this community and the support wonderful."

That may be because nearly all of us have had to confront their own humanity and finite consciousness. Therefore I find atheists (the ones I have met) tend to be more compassionate than those who are very sure of their fate.

Unlike a religion, we do not really give a tinkers cuss about the rest of your politics or world view, and definitely not your "immortal soul"...whatever LOL...we will argue with you call you names, but when you are struggling we help with words and support. No reward or any portion of what you may think as your soul required. Just you feeling better. We are humanity, we have to live and dance now...like mayflies our time in the sun is brief, but if we can live the moment all is worthwhile.

Sapporo's picture
I think in general, you

I think in general, you should try to live by the truth, and not worry about regrets that you cannot change. I don't think you'd find it satisfying to follow something you know or at least suspect to be false.

Moving away from religion certainly did have a negative effect on my wellbeing in some areas. When I had religion, I was made to feel that there was a safety net and that worldly concerns were of little importance. I also lost friends when making a clean break from religion - it isn't easier in hindsight to see how I could have managed that better.

You probably should try to speak to/see you family if you have not seen them for years - there is a danger in such a situation of a divide becoming so great that it becomes insurmountable. You can only really live according to your own principles and hope that your family can mellow over time or at least mutually agree not to talk about something as divisive as religious dogma.

Dragonfly's picture
I agree that it'd probably be

I agree that it'd probably be impossible to follow any religion right now.

I can totally relate to losing that feeling of a safety net. It's a very vulnerable feeling to suddenly realize there's no God holding everything together. There's no God to keep me safe while driving. There's no God to protect against a giant meteor hitting the earth.

The last time I was there, things ended badly. I ended up taking a $200 taxi cab ride to the airport. They haven't invited me back since that visit. I speak to my parents every week and to my sister about once a month.

xenoview's picture
Welcome to AR Dragonfly!

Welcome to AR Dragonfly!
It's good you're questioning things.

As an Atheist, I believe in zero gods.
I live free of the guilt of sin and the fear of Hell.

You are starting your first steps down a road to reason and logic. The road to Atheism is sometimes bumpy and full of doubt that you have made the right choice. As a new Atheist never stop questioning everything, always look for the evidence that something told to you is real and true.

It's good you understand that humans created religion and the gods they worship. Religion created sin and Hell to control people.

Dragonfly's picture
I'm seeing that it really isn

I'm seeing that it really isn't a linear process. Some days I wake up and feel really depressed and anxious that there is no God (for aspects like not seeing family again in an afterlife), and other days doing a bit better--still depressed and anxious, but seeing things more optimistically and interested to see what the day will hold when I'm not viewing it through god lenses. When I'm functional enough, I'm finding studying science to be fascinating.

I'm definitely going through a deprogramming process. A few nights ago, I had a dream that I had two weeks to live. I thought I'd spend it with loved ones as well as enjoying every hedonistic pleasure I wished. A short while later, I had the dream again that I had two weeks to live, and this time I was desperately calling friends from my old Christian high school and asking them for their help because I was terrified to die without God and go to Hell.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
Christ split himself off as a

Christ split himself off as a separate entity and allowed himself to be tortured to death to bring us closer to him. Why would you think he is looking to TRY to throw you in hell after going to all that effort? Why do you choose to believe in the power of hell rather than the power of God? The message of Christianity is that GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE!

Why would you think that your 'friends' from your high school are more powerful than God and would have the power to save you?

Keep in mind the message of Christ "Love one another as I have loved you." Do what you can for people and keep up your studies on the REAL laws of God; the ones that are woven into the fabric of the universe. That is the privilege of the scientists. The words of the Bible are only written in the hearts and minds of weak human beings.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Mrs. Paul Owczarek - Why

Mrs. Paul Owczarek - Why would you think that your 'friends' from your high school are more powerful than God and would have the power to save you?

You did read that she said it was a dream, right? If I told you I dreamed I had a cookie head, would you ask me why I think I have a cookie head?

Dragonfly's picture
Christ as part of a triune

Christ as part of a triune god is a manmade entity. Why would I want to be closer to him? Why would we be given such a stupid dilemma--love this stranger and go to heaven, or don't love him and go to hell? I don't even know my neighbors well, and I'm supposed to somehow want to love someone who lived thousands of years ago and for some reason felt he was god and suffered a miserable death because of it? Why would god put me in such a predicament? I never asked to be born. As Christopher Hitchens said, "We are created sick and commanded to be well." And this is supposed to be god on my side? If this god exists, he is an evil motherfucker, and I don't want to have anything to do with him.

As far as your second paragraph, I think you missed the point entirely. There's the dichotomy of the two dreams. It's not about the details, but a short explanation would be that I've lost my faith, and my old friends still have theirs and could possibly be called upon if I needed help believing again. It's really impossible at this point, though. I've seen the man behind the curtain. I've seen Santa is a human creation. The emperor has no clothes.

I couldn't care less what Christ's message to me is. See my first paragraph. You have ZERO evidence for these things you're saying. You're regurgitating stuff that you've been taught. And when I see someone who is a believer swoop in on posts in which someone shows they're vulnerable and dealing with existential questions, I can't help but see this action as vulturous. You don't need to lead me to god, the "only one who has the power to save me." I understand you probably see me as a house that's on fire, and you want to put the fire out, but that's conditioning. And I think that in Revelations it's expressed that as long as you've witnessed to those who would go to hell, you won't have their blood on your hands. Your deed is done. Your hands are bloodless. Now you are free to cheer and praise god as I'm thrown in hell. No worries for you.

Tin-Man's picture
@Dragonfly Re: That entire

@Dragonfly Re: That entire response starting with, "Christ as part of a triune god is a manmade entity. Why would I want to be closer to him?..."

...*standing on chair applauding like a mad-man*.... *hoots and whistles and cheers*..., Outstanding! Bravo!.... *clap-clap-clap*.... By golly you catch on quick!

Dragonfly's picture
Haha, thank you! You have me

Haha, thank you! You have me laughing out loud here.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
You also have my motivation

You also have my motivation backward. I'm not trying to save anyone from damnation. I replied because I am also emotionally falling apart through loss of faith in the religious community.. I obviously misread what you meant in your dream sequences. My intent was to attempt to provide comfort as to me you sounded slightly suicidal or under the influence of a fire & brimstone upbringing. You seemed to me in terror of demons and being bullied/ ostrasized.

Manmade - of course. I find your second sentence inconceivable. If I thought of God that way, I would want no part of it either.

I suppose the fact that I am also feeling vulnerable and dealing with existential questions as irrelevant. That was why I replied. Not because I saw you as a house on fire to be put out, but because I saw you as a fellow sufferer.

I have no wish to cheer while anyone is hurting and in hell in this world or a possible next world.

I just don't understand why you keep referring to fear of hell, seeming to refer to a religious belief and the consequence of a lack of faith.. I meant only to try to help you be less afraid by going beyond fire and brimstone. If I made you feel worse, I apologize.

Dragonfly's picture
It sounded like you were

It sounded like you were preaching when you talked about god splitting himself, sacrificing himself, etc., so I thought you were trying to save me from damnation. I'm sorry you feel like you're falling apart due to loss of faith in your religious community. I would only suggest that you might want to look deeper. Christians are supposed to be reflections of Christ. By definition, Christians (at least those who believe in the Trinity) have a Holy Spirit inside them--a splinter of god, if you will--so they should be at least as good as those who are not saved, no? Why then would so many be involved with things like pedophilia? And it's not just the Catholics, but Protestants, too.

I AM depressed and under the influence of my fire and brimstone upbringing. I'm not terrified of demons or being ostracized, although I am feeling somewhat isolated with my new lack of belief. I lost (or am losing--not sure there's any clear line of demarcation) faith that the god of the Bible exists, and I don't see any evidence of a god in general. When I take my sticking points, like how could the universe be so orderly, and search for them online, there is a wealth of information that shows many of my questions are faulty. An orderly world can come about through evolution, there are transitional fossils after all, something can come from "nothing," and so on.

"I have no wish to cheer while anyone is hurting and in hell in this world or a possible next world." But Revelations says you'll be praising God while your unsaved loved ones are being cast into Hell. Can you imagine yourself doing that now? It's probably inconceivable. So what will have to change between here and Heaven for you to be able to do that? Will you be horrified (not something depicted of Christians in the Bible)? Will you be like a robot who no longer really has any feelings of your own? Would you want God to wipe away your tears when these horrific things are happening? Why or why not?

"I just don't understand why you keep referring to fear of hell, seeming to refer to a religious belief and the consequence of a lack of faith."

I can't say I fully understand, either, but what I've read about conditioning is that it's not abnormal to have cognitive dissonance. As my therapist and other resources have indicated, when you're a child, you're wired to be fully dependent on your parents at first. You trust them fully. They caution you about things--the hot stove, the cars on the street--and you learn that these things are absolutely real. You are like a sponge, and you absorb so much from your parents--their attitudes, language, and fears. If they tell you about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, etc., you likely believe it 100% for a while at least. And there are no fears about those beings because they're soft, fluffy, feel good stories. When you introduce the most terrifying thing you can ever imagine, that you will be tortured, burned FOREVER alive in a place "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," (the loving Jesus said that in Mark 9:44) and you've got an absolute terror introduced into your psyche. It sounds so much worse than being briefly burned by the hot stove or hit by the car on the street, no? If that's drilled into your mind from your earliest memories, don't you think it could be hard to get rid of?

I was also taught that an adult's beliefs, words, opinions, teachings were right and trumped mine. Respect your elders, be seen and not heard, and all of that. So I did not grow up trusting my own impressions. I did not develop a certain independence of thought. I am only now learning critical thinking. I don't think I even heard of the term "logical fallacy" until well into my 40s. There's a REASON so many religious teachers do not teach children how to think rationally! We would reject so much as bunk if they did. And if we reject that stuff as bunk, then it's threatening to the adults because maybe they, too, should be rejecting it.

I think it's been shown that people will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. Think about it: IF the Bible merely said God is Love, and you had a choice to love him and go to a great place called Heaven or simply live a happy (eternal, if you wish) existence on earth or elsewhere, how many do you think would choose Heaven? If you can be happy away from God, why choose to live with him? What would be the real motivation? Introduce Hell, and now you've got both the pleasure and pain in this story. Very motivating.

Your upbringing is your nurture. Add to that the nature element, and you have the potential for an even worse experience. I have always been anxious and sensitive. I also have OCD, which you probably know is an anxiety disorder. One of the characteristics of that is "what if?" thinking. "I know there's no rational evidence for God, but what if I'm wrong and Hell really exists?" I had this as a kid and went through countless sleepless nights, crying and asking God to give me some peace because I was supposed to be saved but I was scared. They'd say in my Christian school that you should go forward at an altar call if you "have a shadow of a doubt" about your salvation. I always had a shadow of doubt about things, so this was a rather torturous thing to experience. Compound the scary home messages, chapel messages, church messages, and Christian school messages with terrifying multimedia like the movie A Thief in the Night (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RrXf0zGjxQ), and you've got a perfect shitstorm.

So I think you can both not rationally believe in god and still have a fear of the scary things you were taught. The question for me is, can I ever get over this? I've had one therapist who said I'll probably always be dealing with these fears. I'm trying to find a way to get over them. The prospect of living the rest of my life in fear is very depressing to me.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
What I remember most of my

What I remember most of my religious upbringing is the moral, parables stressing the need to care for all and the inclusion of the outsiders. I would say my religious conditioning was to help, include, and trust in God, not be terrified. I was educated in the public school system.

I have been lucky to have more motivation in the gain pleasure than fear of pain. I can't believe people do that to children.

My lack of faith crisis would be the loss of my very best friend.

You talk of conditioning and fall back. Again my reply was an attempt to give you a religious way to break through your fear where your religious conditioning gives you nothing but fear.

I hope you find peace.

As for why I am posting on an atheist forum. My vocation is to battle the proud, pagan, pedophiles in the vatican who are incapable of conceiving anything more sacred than their extra special, ontologically endowed penises that give them the right to rape children with immunity - a doctrine they have proudly and meticulously documented in Canon Law. I wound up here when Google popped an anti-pedophile rant here and I found other people angry about the subject.. I've gotten more response on the problem here than the over 2,000 messages to religious groups and people.

LogicFTW's picture
"I've gotten more response on

"I've gotten more response on the problem here than the over 2,000 messages to religious groups and people."
Somehow I am not surprised though.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
P.S. About Revelations - Also

P.S. About Revelations - Also keep in mind it was written during a time when the Church was under persecution and partly written as revenge against the murders. The 'best sellers' of the day were symbolic, apocalyptic writings. They were the cultural equivalent of Stephen King novels where he makes up all kinds of evil to terrorize people with. Adrenaline rush?

Could you do me a favor and ask your psychologist WHY people would pay good money to be terrorized out of their minds?

Fleeing in Terror's picture


You have described how I feel. The difference is, I still believe in God. It is humanity I have no belief in. I was a 3-4 times a week, 50+ year old cradle Catholic until 2016.

All the time I was growing up, I was mostly alone, but knowing that Christ was there and loved me got me through the days. I loved the incredible beauty of the Church and was happy and proud to be part of a world wide organization bound together worshiping God and doing all we could for one another.

My fellow CCD students could be nasty sadists, but the liturgy and clergy were there inspiring me to better things and I knew that at the end I would be with God, who truly loved me.I was never really close enough to anyone else to worry about seeing them again in the afterlife. I was raised on children should be seen and not heard by my father. My Catholic school raised mother was a nasty individual who would lie without a qualm, steal towels from motels, and drop kick a puppy out the front door.

But still, God was there. The universe was too logical and interconnected to think otherwise.I could see that in the sciences and math.

Then life happened. I found out from my Catholic School raised first husband unconditional love from me and our children is valued less than little pieces of cardboard. (POGS, Pokimon, Yugio, Magic the Gathering, et. al.) when he threw me out of the house in my bare feet in January.

I found out from my second husband that it wasn't just my first husband. All that talk about sex being an expression of love is bunk and men are only interested in a power trip. It is necessary to scream abuse at an autistic spectrum teenager for an hour in order to get a hard on.

The previous entity in possession of the vatican compared women priests to pedophiles and thereby defined Christ as the GREAT PENIS IN THE SKY TO WHOM YOU MUST SACRIFICE CHILDREN. I found out later they codified that in Canon Law.

It went downhill from there.

I don't expect God to miraculously solve anything. Life after death is irrelevant. I continue going from the concept - The force of creation throughout the Universe, split a part of itself off to experience life as one of us. He allowed himself to be tortured to death to give us the example that we are holiest when we live for each other. Belief or no - I will live my life to MAKE IT SO.

I will keep protesting 'legalized' pedophilia in the Catholic Church. I will get up knowing that the sun will rise. The Universe is ordered and will function to its own knowable rules. I can't stop. I have three people dependent upon me, though I have them set up in a more or less stable environment that they could function without me.

LogicFTW's picture
@Mrs. Paul Owczarek

@Mrs. Paul Owczarek

Yikes, sounds like you had a pretty rough go of it in many aspects of your life.

I actually do not have a problem with people that privately want to believe whatever they want to believe, even the various god concepts. I only take issue when they actively, (or passively support,) pushing their unsupported opinions on others. --This includes brainwashing of young vulnerable children to only their way of thinking rather than teaching children to think for themselves and form their own opinion on unsupported ideas like a god.--

If your belief system helps you and is overall positive for you, and you do not push that idea (in any way) on others, I only caution that you should be careful making any decisions based on unsupported ideas, but beyond that, do what works for you.



▮          I am an atheist that always likes a good debate.          ▮
▮   Please include @LogicFTW in responses directed to me.    ▮
▮        Useful list on forum usage. A.R. Member since 2016.      ▮

Fleeing in Terror's picture
Thank you for your reply.

Thank you for your reply.

Dragonfly's picture
I've read your post a few

I've read your post a few times. I have sympathy that you had such a horrible time with relationships and the Catholic church. Not sure what those have to do with my original post, but whatever. Regarding "Men are only interested in a power trip," you must know this is a generalization that isn't true of all men. In Christianity, god is usually depicted as a male, so there's that to consider. Well, maybe god is only interested in a power trip, so you might be onto something.

You've found the Catholic church as a whole has condoned a lot of harmful behavior. Are you certain that your belief system in general is not doing harm to yourself and others? You once believed the Catholic church, yet you've found it to be poisonous. Isn't it very possible then that you could be wrong now about your Christian beliefs?

As far as god splitting himself in pieces, yada yada yada, that has nothing to do with me. Someplace I read or heard a quote like "God sacrificed to himself to save us from himself." How utterly ridiculous. And if there's a god this ridiculous, then he can't be perfect, and if he isn't perfect, then he fails to be god.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Dragonfly

@ Dragonfly

"God sacrificed to himself to save us from himself." How utterly ridiculous. And if there's a god this ridiculous, then he can't be perfect, and if he isn't perfect, then he fails to be god.

Hold that thought....'cos, lady now you are cooking with gas....just repeat that to yourself every time you start the fear cycle. Love that paragraph of yours (which I am stealing btw). You GO GIRRRL!!!

*joins TM on the chair cheering and throwing toilet rolls*

Dragonfly's picture
Hahaha you guys are funny!

Hahaha you guys are funny! Now if only I can *feel* as confident as I sound; there's a disconnect in there. But I want to be with the group that jumps on chairs and throws toilet rolls. :)

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ df

@ df
Yep, that's your short name for now on...hey just jump on a chair and chuck away! I use the triple length Quilton super soft but TM uses the real cheap sandpapery stuff from Costco....but them again he's metal so a sandpaper just gives him a bit of a polish...

He is not a bad lad, still young and full of the vim and "humour" of youth. He's got a lot more civilised since I introduced him to vegemite on sourdough with lashings of butter....next thing is to introduce peanut butter (super crunchy only) to the mix.....

Tin-Man's picture
@Old Man Re: "...but TM uses

@Old Man Re: "...but TM uses the real cheap sandpapery stuff from Costco..."

Well, truth be known, I use actual sandpaper. Typically 150 to 220 grit, but there ARE days when I have to break out the 60 and 80 grit... (especially after Taco Tuesdays)... *shudder*...

@DF (That has a nice ring to it. *grin*)

Just like Cyber said, your inner confidence will grow with time. That fear and uncertainty about the threat of hell is a difficult thing to shake loose from the psyche. Took me quite a while to get past it, and I wasn't submersed in the belief anywhere near as deep as what you were. So cut yourself a little slack... *wink*... You are doing fantastic. And try not to over-think things too much. I have a touch of OCD myself in that department, so I know how hard it can be to shut down the thoughts sometimes. Just try to find an activity to distract your brain if that starts happening. Hell, could be as simple as working a crossword puzzle of something similar. Turn on your favorite music and focus on that, maybe. Little things like that can help. Meanwhile, beware of Old Man. Once he gets a couple of bottles of wine in him he can be a bit of a hazard on that tricycle of his. There's a reason we all pitched in to buy that helmet for him. *chuckle* You're doing great, girl. Keep up the good work.

CyberLN's picture
Dragonfly, you wrote, “Now if

Dragonfly, you wrote, “Now if only I can *feel* as confident as I sound; ”

You will. Sometimes just acting like you do teaches you how. I call it “learning from the outside, in”.

I think you’re doing fabulously well.


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