Good morning everyone,
This is my first time posting on any athiest site and it is my first time admitting this publicly. I have struggled with this for a while now but especially over the last four months or so and I can no longer lie to myself and deny the truth and how I feel. I have become an Athiest, it is even hard for me to type that...I didnt choose this, it seems that it has chosen me. I was born into a Christian household with a born again Christian father. My entire life I have believed in god and Jesus ETC. My faith has been shaken over the years, but I never lost my faith. I have not reached this conclusion due to my life going south or some sort of crisis that is happening with me. It is due to lots of thinking, studying, watching how the church and religious folks behave, the corruption of organized religion, just to name a few. I guess I just feel almost guilty feeling this way, I feel like I have let me late father down. My family has no idea I feel this way and they still come to me for advice on keeping their own faith. I revealed this to my girlfriend last night and she was very supportive, I'm not scared or any of that, I just feel as I said almost guilty and ashamed to have come to this conclusion. There are many many other reasons why my beliefs have shifted, if anyone happens to be curious about that, I will share that with you. Thank you for any kind words, advice or support you can offer as I begin to accept this change.
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You've come to the right place. You'll find that many of us come from similar backgrounds and have struggled with the same issues.
I come from a Lutheran background, all fire and brimstone and fear. It took a while to shake free and at times I'll still thing about what if I'm wrong even though all logic points to the religion being just a made up fantasy.
Conversing here with others who have gone through this helps a great deal.
It also helps to see some of the hoops some of our theist friends will jump through in order to "support" their positions and how fallacious their arguments are.
It will take time. I still play the game with many of my relatives and will continue to go so as long as my Mother remains with us, there simply is no reason to come clean with her at this point. When she's gone, my honesty card will be played with the others. My wife and kids are already well-aware of my thoughts on this issue, my daughter is with me completely while my wife and son hold to some supernatural beliefs due to personal experiences but are not beholden to any organized religions.
Everyone's journey is different.
Thank you for your reply.
I come from a Baptist background myself, after thinking about it hard my father turned to religion IMO because it was the only thing he had to get him out of the terrible life he was living. I feel like human beings a species need a reason, a reason for absolutely everything. Religion gives people direction, a reason for hope and a meaningful existence. I feel like their small minds cant wrap their heads around the fact that our existence doesn't have much meaning outside of what we have right in front of us and we need to make the most of our time on earth. We control our own destiny, "god" does not. I realized through lots of thinking and pondering about the past that in my worst times I am the one who climbed out of it and figured it out. It wasn't god, I didn't just lay there and pray, I did something and got myself out of it. I am tired of people claiming that prayer and gods plan will determine your future ETC. I call BS. You determine your own future and destiny in life.
If someone was to lay there all day and pray for gods blessing and lost his job and income he would end up homeless and penniless. God isn't going to snap his fingers and change that. People need to regain control of their own consciousness and become aware that life goes as you go, and it is only as good as you make it. No one else is responsible for that, including "god".
I converted to Catholicism when I married my ex wife and I experienced lots of religious and spiritual abuse at her hands, she used her religion to get out of all sorts of things, including intimate time with me amongst other things. She also ran out and cheated several times then divorced me for another guy after he knocked her up. The priest that married us and baptized my daughter recently left the priesthood because it came out that he was stealing money and having sexual relations with another priest. This man also had the audacity to judge me and my ex because we had marital troubles. I am certain that religion really messed my EX up to the point of mental derangement. Its very sad. I could go on and on really, but I agree with you on how your dealing with family. I think I will do the same, especially with my mother. There is no way that wouldn't be some ignorant argument that I frankly don't want to be apart of.
Hi Medic0258. Welcome. I’d suggest a book by Greta Christina called “Coming Out Atheist”...it may help you process what you’re going through.
Edited to add: if you’re feeling fragile, you may want to post in the Atheist Hub room rather than this, the Debate room. Non-atheists are unable to post in the Hub so you won’t get any guilt from them in the Hub.
Hey there, Medic! Welcome to the AR. Good to have you with us, and you are definitely in the right place for advice, support, and learning.
That guilt you are feeling is totally natural, and it is a feeling with which I am very familiar. Matter of fact, reading parts of your post reminded me of the day I made my very first post here on AR about two and a half years ago. Simply having to choose "I am an atheist" during the enrollment process filled me with a deep sense of guilt and nervous anxiety. Good news, though.... That feeling of guilt does eventually go away.
Looking back, I now recognize why I felt that guilt and anxiety for having escaped my religious indoctrination. Aside from the obvious matter of feeling like I was "betraying" my friends and family who were mostly devout Christians, there was another factor it took me a little longer to realize. You're familiar with the Stockholm Syndrome, I imagine? Well, you spent all those years knowing nothing other than your captor and becoming dependant upon what few little crumbs of happiness he might toss to you from time to time. As such, you start seeing that captor as a "stern but generous benefactor" who truly cares about you. (Or so you tell yourself in your mind in order to cope with a reality you don't want to face.) Well, now you are starting to see and acknowledge the reality, and it has allowed you to escape your prison. In doing so, however, you feel you are being ungrateful to the captor who "took care of you" all those years.
An even more subtle factor is the feeling of Survivor's Guilt. You have escaped. You are now free. Your life is now on its way to a change for the better. But as you start down that road, you look back over your shoulder and see your friends/family/loved ones still being held captive.... and there is nothing you can do to help them escape. Even worse, many/most of them would actually FIGHT TO STAY IN THERE even if you tried to help them escape.
It is frustrating. It is sad. It is bewildering. It is disorienting. But once you see the prison and jailer for what they truly are, you cannot UNsee it. Therefore, you must continue to move forward and start learning to live with your new freedom. That unknown road is scary at first. (Believe me, I know.) And you will likely hit a couple of rough spots along the way. Rest assured, though, it does smooth out. And eventually there will come a day where you will look back and wonder, "Wow, how did I ever let that bother me so badly?"
Hang in there, Medic. It gets better.
Thank you all, I appreciate all of your responses. Thank you for letting me know about the hub, cyber. I feel pretty good through and I am fine debating whatever any religious person would like to throw in my direction. I feel like I have debated enough for two lifetimes in my own head HAHA. Tin man, what you said is pretty much dead on. I feel like I saw the truth many times and as much as I wanted to unsee it and live in ignorant bliss I couldn't. My name on here, medic is true in that I work as a Paramedic. In my time on the streets I have seen some pretty horrific things. Things that most people cant imagine. It exposed me to what the world really is, the world is chaos and you have to do your best to survive it and be happy. Life isn't fair, its unfair unfair too everyone. "god" isn't going to step in and save you from anything, although sadly that's what lots of people believe. God isn't punishing anyone for "sinning". Life simply has a way of being unfair, that's how it is for every person. It has become obvious too me how sheltered, close minded and egotistical religious people truly are. They are also some of the most unhappiest people I have ever come across. I have met nicer homeless people and criminals in my life than most religious folks.
@Medic Re: "I have met nicer homeless people and criminals in my life than most religious folks."
...*chuckle*... Yeah, I know what you mean. Even if the criminals were not necessarily "nicer", I still ran into quite a few that I actually had more respect for than some of the Christians I've known over the years. I spent twenty years patrolling the streets of a large crime-infested city. Some truly viscious and mendacious characters out there. (And that's not even counting the leading officials who actually run the city... *chuckle*...) So, yep, I totally agree that sometimes life is simply unfair. Sadly, some folks simply cannot handle that, though.
I was also a medic for awhile. Combat medic with the Army. Two deployments (Afghanistan and Iraq) as a parachute rigger. One more Iraq deployment as a medic. Interesting days, they were... *grin*...
Anyway, hang around long enough and you will start seeing things more and more clearly. Once that fog of the mind begins to dissipate, life becomes a much brighter place to be.
Welcome to Atheist Republic Medic0258.
I never intended to be an atheist. In fact, I sought diligently for over forty years for something spiritual to inspire me. And after that long search, I understood that I was not convinced of any god, and therefore an atheist.
Having a family that attempt to drag you back into the clingy embrace of religion is a common ailment for atheists. But it will always be a balancing ct, IMO one where you can never find a perfect equilibrium. My only suggestion is to always be true to yourself, never lie to yourself, and never avoid being morally responsible for every decision.
Medic0258, you are in the company of those who have walked in your shoes.
Thank you David, I too tried diligently to get something to inspire me as well spiritually. I literally begged god to help me through whatever religious crisis I was going through, never got an answer. No surprise there though right.
Tin man, do you feel your time in the military and on the streets patrolling led you to see the light a bit?
@Medic Re: "Tin man, do you feel your time in the military and on the streets patrolling led you to see the light a bit?"
Well, as I have said many times before, all the religious stuff I was being taught as a kid never made much sense to me even when I was a kid. I simply did not have the knowledge/experience to explain why at the time. Time marched along, and I became more educated and more experienced. And all the religious stuff started making even LESS sense to me. And, yes, my time with the department and with the military absolutely played a vital role in allowing me to see through all the bullshit of not only my own Christian indoctrination, but also that of several other religious dogmas. Unfortunately, it still took me many, many years to finally crawl out from under the suffocating fear of Satan and hell. That part was THE hardest thing for me to finally shake. Now, though, I look back and have to shake my head in amused disbelief that I ever had any trouble with it. The entire concept is just ridiculous silliness to me now... *chuckle*...
@Medic0258: Here in lies your guilt; "I have become an Athiest."
No. Actually, you have left religion. You have simply set it down and walked away. Like a hungry person who has had is fill of one type of food, you have put the food down and now you are looking for something else to eat. All atheism means is that there is no replacement. EVERYTHING IS FOOD. Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, Belief in Ra, Zoroastrianism, Shamanism, and anything else you can imagine. Atheism is not FOOD. It is not a belief system. Your guilt is not in "BECOMING ATHEIST" but rather in "WALKING AWAY FROM ALL THAT YOU KNOW."
Here is the dirty little secret. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty. That food that you set down and walked away from is ALWAYS THERE. It is ALWAYS WAITING FOR YOU. You can ALWAYS CHOOSE TO GO BACK TO IT. The guilt is coming from the shame you feel for walking away and that shame comes directly from your friends and family who warn you to NEVER WALK AWAY less you lose your eternal soul.
If there is truth out here in the world. What does an all powerful magical being have to fear from it. Jesus blessed Doubting Thomas didn't he? Are you any less? You are guilty for simply coming here and asking for evidence? Atheists are simply people who have asked for the evidence and found it lacking. We did not "BECOME" atheists. We found religion and religious claims fallacious, illogical, without merit, and we keep looking.
What we get from the religious are "You can't prove this not to be true so it must be true (FALLACY). "Look at the trees they prove god (FALLACY). It must be God because we can't think of anything else (FALLACY). It must be true because on cause and effect there can be only one possible cause (FALLACY). The theist position is an abstraction that can not be demonstrated. The position is unjustified and remains unjustifiable.
Do not think you have come here to be an ATHEIST. That treats atheism like a belief system or world view. There is no "becoming." Atheist is what those people over there call you now that you have walked away from your meal. "How dare you not sit and eat with us." "How dare you walk away!" "You heathen, you apostate, you non-believer, you sinner, you have no morality, REPENT and return to us!"
You have not become an atheist. You have become a "human being" who asks questions. In that, you are now among other human beings who ask questions. You are a human being, seeking evidence, truth, and rationality. We also seek evidence truth and rationality. But unlike religions, we do so without dogma, rituals, rules, delusions of that which is true.
You have come here to be a human being with Questions. And you feel guilty about that? Amazing! Can you not see that "Atheist" is just a derogatory word being hurled your way by the theists. Call me "Atheist, non-believer, heretic, apostate, amoral, sinner, worthy of the fires of hell, and all the rest. It all means the same thing. I have come here looking for answers to questions.
We have only adopted the word "Atheist" so that we can share the information we find with others who find themselves on the same journey.
Welcome to the journey. This is the place we seek answers without tradition, dogma, ritual, or unjustified belief. We look forward to all the information you can share. Thanks for dropping in and we hope you will stick around. All we offer in the way of food is an occasional banana and a few cups of eggnog at one of Tin's x-rated parties. (That's too much information.... You will figure it out as you go along.) Welcome to the site.
RE: It is due to lots of thinking, studying, watching how the church and religious folks behave, the corruption of organized religion, just to name a few.
Some of the exact same reasons I walked away from religion. I was Atheist, long before I ever knew there was such a word. I just didn't believe any more. God became a silly, make believe, idea. And.... there it has remained.
And everyone is curious about your reasons for leaving religion. We often share our stories with one another. You share as you feel comfortable. There will be threads allocated just for that as you stick around.
WOW! I made it through two whole posts without being an asshole! Bonus points for ME! :-)
@Cog Re: "WOW! I made it through two whole posts without being an asshole! Bonus points for ME! :-)"
Aw, fuck... *disgruntled look*... Dammit, you mangey ape, don't go trying to pat yourself on the back again. Last time you did that you wound up with both arms in slings for two weeks from dislocated shoulders. And I, for one, will NOT have my name put back on the rotation roster for your daily diaper changes! Hell no!
Thanks cog, I have seen a lot of what you post on here you are certainly one of the more outspoken ones here but you seem to know your shit, which is a good thing. Your right, everything you said is correct. Like you said, evidence is the key word here, especially for me. I have seen nothing in my life except evidence to the contrary of any deity based on experience. I don't hate religion, if people find comfort in god and it gives them purpose or whatever the case may be then fine go for it. But the issue I have is it doesn't make you better than anyone else, you know? Like I said these are the same assholes that will judge you then go beat their meat to pornography. Or the Priests that "forgive sins" raping little boys ETC. Its disgusting, and don't even get me started on the money aspect.
It is funny how each church has a specific row near the front for the "top givers" in the church community. That is directly contradictory to what is in the bible. Jesus and the story of the elderly woman who gave her only coin is a perfect example of the blatant contradictions modern religion has with the bible and if we aren't following the bible anymore, then what the hell is anyone actually doing? It's clear that is a sophisticated business built to make as much money as possible and not pay taxes, which disgusts me. Like I said before, I can literally go on and on and on about this but, don't want to bore anyone with the details of my disenfranchisement with god and religion. Its amazing what happens when you look at the system without bias toward theism, it all becomes very obvious and quite ridiculous. No wonder churches are losing numbers in shocking amounts.
Welcome to AR.
Your name possibly implies you work as a possible front line medical worker, if so, you continuing to do your work every day during the times of covid, makes you a hero in my eyes.
I am always curious about how people break free from a life time of brainwashing. it sounds like you just recently broke free? I can only begin to imagine the rush of emotion when that occurs.
And the "atheist" position, at least for me only sharpens the more you talk to others about it. I have learned so much here. What the term "atheist" really means, how cruel and barbaric just about all major organized religions are, sharpened my debate skills, and a lot more.
So share, while I am busy these days, I try to sneak in a little time here when I can.
Hi Medic... just wanted to welcome you!