I’m going to start off by saying religion provides something different for everyone. Some folks who are really struggling, it provides hope, comfort, community. Some folks who need a bit of moral guidance in their otherwise sociopathic pursuit of life and liberty, hopefully it provides that (enough).
To those folks - rock on.
We left our church when I was 12 years old. My parents sat me down and had a very long, heartfelt conversation about their decision and why they had come to it; it had mostly been my mother's decision, although it was also her decision to join in the first place. She explained how she couldn't wrap her head around some of the scripture, or embrace some of the values that ran counter to her heart. She said she'd questioned and asked so many priests and other church-goers, trying to seek answers, and this was the one she had come to - the church wasn't what she believed in anymore.
It's really difficult to describe the tumble setting of emotional laundry I went through at this time, especially as it's been awhile now. If I could capture the essence of it though it felt like dropping a huge weight off my shoulders and standing suddenly free. Like stepping out of darkness and into light. Like dropping the mask of a play actor and descending from a stage into reality, all the fake lines and roles you had to enact no longer constraining you from stepping into the person you really were. I felt like flying on cloud nine for the first week.
That was the first week. Then the "programming" kicked in.
Again - if religion floats your boat, rock on. I am not here to tell you to give it up; if anything, the next bit explains why you shouldn't just suddenly rip belief systems up like tissue paper.
For folks though who are already seeing the rips in their seams, and maybe just need that extra support to step through, this is the sucky part - but believe me it gets better.
For weeks I started feeling like I was the devil. No lie. I started worrying that I'd been led astray, or my mother had been possessed, or that because we'd left the church somehow that meant we were now Satanists (note: this is not how it works - I was 12 though so young imaginations and all that). Everything I'd been taught to believe crashed down on me, trying to pin me back and take away that euphoric feeling I'd had when initially I'd heard I could just walk away.
My best friend wanted to stop being friends with me, because I was dirty now. A pariah. I had other friends, who didn't care, but that one hurt.
My mother also struggled, even more than me perhaps since she was older and bore the responsibility of little ones. She ended up giving in and committing herself to a mental ward for a week. She took medications for awhile, and continued going to therapy. Her therapist kindly explained she was de-programming; essentially, she was recovering from being brainwashed. She needed to give herself time and grace to reset.
My own struggle might have been minor in comparison, but having a mother who was open about her own mental health struggles made it easier to talk out what I was feeling / imagining. My parents kindly swiped away the nightmares in my head and helped ground me again.
My mother started buying books on different world religions. I'd always loved studying other countries / cultures, so this became our new fun hobby. We would talk about the similarities and common threads or themes among all the different faiths, the bits we liked and the bits that seemed maybe too much for us. Instead of going to church on Sundays we created a new ritual of taking long hikes in the woods - connecting to nature, and understanding that we could still be spiritual without having to be religious.
To this day I still feel actual trauma stepping into churches; I avoid them like a vampire. It's not that I begrudge folks their holy spaces, it's just scary to feel that suffocating darkness and weight trying to press back in on me. I can't step back into the actor's role of a good little Christian again.
I know some folks who when they questioned their faith they simply altered it to fit their new reality/beliefs - and that's awesome. I truly feel if any faith is to serve its purpose it should be a living, adaptable thing. Because I do know there are plenty of souls out there seeking help, connections, and guidance. If a faith can do better, and fill that void for them, that's amazing.
However when anyone tries to share or preach their faith to me I can only politely decline, no matter how pushy they get. I've already walked that road. It's not my path.
And if it's not your road either, I just want to share that that's okay. There are so many roads out there - relying on a single one to carry the weight of the world's souls seems a bit silly. Choose your own path.
The problem with evidence.
I’ve been pondering the existence of a God a lot recently but more in the abstract thought of a creative force rather than how religion sometimes explains it.
I often think if a “God” exists then this force must exist outside our physical dimensions and this force must also exist outside of the laws that govern our physical realm, as this force created it all.
How we can test for something that’s beyond what we can possibly conceive of ? Beyond the limitations of our four dimensional space? Beyond our own imagination even ?For example outside the
constraints of time? (even time is an abstract yet how do we measure beyond it or without it?)
If we can’t devise tests or experiments for this level of existence doesn’t “evidence ” become a moot point? The evidence could be all around us but we just don’t know it yet !
Love for example can't be measured or quantified, it's just a feeling right? Yet it exists and is a powerful force....imagine a world without it.
I also watch a few detective shows and often hear the quote “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”? which I think can be applied here.
What do you think ?
I would say I believe in a creative force, a “first cause” as it were.... as the physical realm has to have a point of origin. It begs the question though, whether that “first cause ” has a personality or a purpose....in which case that would be God.... but I’m not sure how we would know that or if we can.
Finally, I watched sci-fi show the other day where a scientist said “spirituality is just science we haven’t understood yet. ” Do you think there’s truth in that statement ?
Have you ever wondered if you were wrong and there is a heaven and hell?
Are you an atheist to be cool?
If christians are right and there is a God who is willing to take a chance for you why can't you just give him one?
Are you to afraid to ask God to revel himself to you?
Do you have no religion or are you afraid to have belie?
Finally, A Place For My Questions!
First, @Harry_Situation, thank you for creating this! I'm a Christian of very strong faith, and I've always been curious about atheistic belief, but I've never had a safe place to ask about it. So, um, I guess I'll just fire off my questions?
Even if you don't believe in God, do you think humans have souls?
Where do you think music comes from, and why does it affect us as people so powerfully?
Is atheism a religion? Because you have faith that God doesn't exist?
Don't you want there to be something after death?
Do you believe that humans are inherently inclined to do good, or to do evil?
Do you think that everyone should be an atheist? Do you think faith gets in the way of life?
How do you explain recorded miracles?
Why is the earth so perfectly suited for life, if there wasn't a Creator?
Do you ever doubt your atheism, or are you confident?
What is it about faith in a God that turns you away? Why don't you want to believe?
Please don't feel compelled to answer all of these, I know it's sort of a lot. If you're still reading, though, thank you! I'm super grateful for this, I'm just so curious, and look forwards to any answers you feel inclined to give! Hope you all have a wonderful day :)
What is the difference between an atheist and a theist...?
Two on a bus bench compared notes... They had some valuables. One had some coins; the other a metal cross. Neither had enough. The former decided to prostitute; the latter to pawn the pendant. They both took a loss, but satisfied that they did what they could, they both boarded the bus in good faith that at some point they would get off.
Ask an Atheist Day Round Two challenge @Harry_Situation
(Real Life Oh God)
Triple A this is R.L. OG I’ve gotten a bit flak over the years for the practical joke I played on Abraham and to a lesser extent Isaac. As he would never had any memory of it being a baby. If I really wanted to be a dick. And put the kibosh on those Old Testament scribes and yapping yentas. Also AAA is it my fault if Abe couldn’t tell I was joking. Also for a long time I gave Job some shit to settle a Gentlemen’s bet with one of my oldest. But I knew he could take it because his wife was twice as hard to live with than the shit I put him thru. So the cross looks peeps still throw at me for that are due to a lack of context on their part. And no fault of my own.
So Mr Fonzirella the third could you straighten out this PR jukebox for me. And get me back to number one on the charts?
Or else!!!!! JKLOLTGIFWhyOhElIosubtextdotsemicolon