Blamtasticful

How can anyone deal with a religious mindset without going insane?!

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Sometimes the only thing more challenging than re-orienting myself to a healthy way of living after deconverting is trying to talk about issues of faith with believers without my head exploding! How did so many of you atheists remain so relatively calm when debating myself when I was a believer or any of the other believing whack-jobs lol. I am not saying you never let it rip at times but now it all seems so small in comparison to the lunacy that comes out of believers mouths. What I am trying (unsuccessfully admittedly) is to remember just how sure I was that I had the truth as a believer. To be honest doing so is kinda painful because I get embarrassed at how I could have been so blind. It reminds me to stay humble enough to be willing to engage with those who believe what I once believed. Cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization, these are powerful tools that have kept beliefs safe for a long time.

 

Still it is tough to even know where to begin when some unknowingly arrogant believer spews a word-salad full of Bible quotations and personal anecdotes. I do better with the William Lane Craig types because they at least attempt to make the best rational case possible. What's worse is I don't like being placed in a position by believers where they assume that if I criticize the Bible that I therefore think every single thing in it is rubbish. This is where I think I see atheists make a mistake. The power of religion is that in spite of all of the horrific things in it that there are ideas that resonate with people that are enough to push past the terrible things it contains. That means something. I am with A.C. Grayling who also understands that religion is often where we used to do our deepest meaningful contemplations. Just look at Song of Solomon and it's beauty or at least some of the beautiful things said about love in 1 Corinthians 13. I am not fighting against love, joy, peace and etc. Far from it! I am seeing terrible things within Christianity that undermine so many of those principles that Christians hold dear.

Lastly If there was any one cause of a religious mindset hyper-resilient to criticism it has to be fear and you all know specifically that I mean the fear of hell. This hovering blackmail in the background of the Christian mindset makes it almost impossible to truly be open-minded as to whether or not Christianity might not be true. The stakes are too high. It pains me that I and many of my fellow ex-Christians still every now and again feel the sudden terror of going to hell come to the surface of our consciousness from where it still has a grip deep within our psyches where it was drilled in from when we were kids. In fact I don't know if I ever truly faced fear on anything. Any courage I mustered was from a false belief that God was giving me a helping hand in trying, and was there with a loving embrace if I failed. This is the opposite of growing up. It is infantilizing and I still get angry about it in others and I get angry that such fear exists within myself. At this point I am not sure if any of my ranting comes to one main point. The frustration remains but knowing you are all out there helps me because I know I am not the only one feeling this.

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Geezer    1,979

Your posts seems to assume the journey out of religion is/was easy, but it isn't, at least for most people, & everyone handles it differently. Personally, I think it's important to study the origins & evolution of both the Bible & Christianity to obtain the historical truth about both. That justifies your intellectual decision to walk away from religion & also strengthens & prepares you to defend your decision to walk away. 

 

It all gets easier with the passing of time, just hang in there.

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Bhim    664

For some reason, even now people who believe in creationism, claims of Biblical historicity, and other such Christian absurdities don't really bother me at a gut level. It might sound weird since I'm a trained astrophysicist and have devoted years of my life to work which these people would blithely invalidate. But I guess that since I converted to Christianity rather than being raised in it, I can understand why someone would willingly choose to believe such illogical teachings.

 

What does bother me, on the other hand, is my fellow Hindus who believe that ancient Indians had spaceships and nuclear weapons (yes, this is a thing), or that ayurveda is a legitimate form of medical treatment. I guess it just hits closer to home for me.

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skysoar15    116

After leaving the faith, I felt like I lost almost 5 years of maturity, if not more. 

I suddenly felt like a child, angry and frustrated at the world.

 

Gone was my calm sense of self that everything was going to work out because of God.

Instead, I struggle to regain my sanity on a daily basis. This affects me somewhat at my job as well.

 

I'm learning to take it one day at a time. I'm realizing how much of a journey life really is. 

I won't wake up in a day and suddenly be 100 percent okay. As long as I'm at least 1 percent better each day, that's honestly enough.

Exercise, focusing on hobbies/goals and self-improvement are the main ways I see out of this depressed funk I've been in all summer.

 

Even if it's just for 30 minutes, stepping into the gym is a huge deal. 

Etc.

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♦ ficino ♦    1,637

Sarah Beth Caplin talks about how one of the expectations in evangelical Christianity is that everyone will have a sense of certainty about whatever it is that the group thinks matters. Even lack of knowledge gets folded into bigger assertions of certainty, as in "I know that the Lord is in control and will show us this in His time".  If you're uncertain, you're suspect, for the devil is the author of doubt and confusion.

 

So someone's certainty about the interpretation of nuances of disputed Greek words in a 2000 year old text is supposed to provide a basis of denying legal rights to someone else.

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Arguing the faith with a believer is like trying to calmly use a malware infected computer. The computer was loaded with it with the thought that this is going to help; the computer is no longer "thinking" correctly nor can it; has been hijacked by a program that has its own intentions and will carry them out at the expense of the other data and even the desires of the operator; it protects itself from being removed by disabling common tools that the user would have to get back to normal; the malware may keep promising that it is protecting the computer and urgently displaying warnings about what is to come if more malware isn't paid for NOW!!!! 

 

Christianity, like other cult programs, infects the mind with promises of love, salvation, relationship with daddy in heaven, and once infected has self-protection defenses against being removed, believers will warn of demons and devils and the horror of damnation and never consider how very unloving, unholy, cruel, sadistic, narcissistic, and psychotic their god is, even though the evidence is staring them in the face (Bible). The more the malware spreads, the more it may seem normal to other users. The only way out I've seen is when the system check finally realizes that something is terribly wrong and begins undermining the malware and not heeding the dire warnings. It took me a year to undo 30 years of ardent faith in Jesus, and I had the help of the other "techs" here who deconverted before me. Now when I see the same infection in others, I would very much like to disable the malware but I don't have admin rights to the system. Only they do. So if they are content with it, and see it as helpful instead of harmful, there is little that can be done. Only those who question, who doubt, can find their way out. But keep talking to them regardless of your frustration. Something may replay what you said and it may be the system interrupt needed to start the process.

 

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Much of what's been stated so far really resonates. I like Ficino's observation about Caplin's observation on Christianity having a convenient framework for answers that also cause guilt about feelings of doubt. 

 

Bhim also reminds me of a humble observation I had to heed about how we take the injustices we have experienced personally when there are other illogical and often more dangerous beliefs that speak to other's more deeply and that have more pressing consequences.

 

Fuego while it might be just a helpful analogy I do wonder if religious mindset does sort of work as a virus from an evolutionary perspective too.

 

Skysoar15 Just keep taking it one day at a time and yes exercise helps!

 

Lastly does anyone know where the like button is for posts? I can't seem to find it. :wacko:

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MOHO    446
 

Arguing the faith with a believer is like trying to calmly use a malware infected computer. The computer was loaded with it with the thought that this is going to help; the computer is no longer "thinking" correctly nor can it; has been hijacked by a program that has its own intentions and will carry them out at the expense of the other data and even the desires of the operator; it protects itself from being removed by disabling common tools that the user would have to get back to normal; the malware may keep promising that it is protecting the computer and urgently displaying warnings about what is to come if more malware isn't paid for NOW!!!! 

 

Christianity, like other cult programs, infects the mind with promises of love, salvation, relationship with daddy in heaven, and once infected has self-protection defenses against being removed, believers will warn of demons and devils and the horror of damnation and never consider how very unloving, unholy, cruel, sadistic, narcissistic, and psychotic their god is, even though the evidence is staring them in the face (Bible). The more the malware spreads, the more it may seem normal to other users. The only way out I've seen is when the system check finally realizes that something is terribly wrong and begins undermining the malware and not heeding the dire warnings. It took me a year to undo 30 years of ardent faith in Jesus, and I had the help of the other "techs" here who deconverted before me. Now when I see the same infection in others, I would very much like to disable the malware but I don't have admin rights to the system. Only they do. So if they are content with it, and see it as helpful instead of harmful, there is little that can be done. Only those who question, who doubt, can find their way out. But keep talking to them regardless of your frustration. Something may replay what you said and it may be the system interrupt needed to start the process.

 

 

 

Most appropriate and illustrious analogy, Fuego.

 

The members of a church are like nodes on a network - they facilitate the spread of the virus as they begin impacted.

 

As for questioning and thinking - are those of us with introverted tenancies prone to this? As I look around at the folks at Mrs. MOHO's church I see the really quite ones with knitted eyebrows.

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buffettphan    974
 

 

Lastly does anyone know where the like button is for posts? I can't seem to find it. :wacko:

 

@Blamtasticful   The like button will show up after you've made 20 (maybe 25?) posts.  Welcome to Ex-C!

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Insightful    194

Fuego: I completely agree with the virus concept.  A virus makes the computer unable to do normal processes as the system resources are all being over-used by the virus  =  wasted years and lives running the virus...

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Lucy    267
 

What does bother me, on the other hand, is my fellow Hindus who believe that ancient Indians had spaceships and nuclear weapons (yes, this is a thing), or that ayurveda is a legitimate form of medical treatment. I guess it just hits closer to home for me.

 

I know people that aren't Hindu but think something along those lines. They think there was an ancient alien battle in the sky that ancient Indians witnessed. For some reason, aliens flew to this planet, fought a war with each other, then flew home. But ancient people retold those stories and added myths to them and that turned into the Hindu religion over time. It doesn't help that they started showing these theories on the History Channel.

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buffettphan    974

@Lucy     "It doesn't help that they started showing these theories on the History Channel."

 

That's a big pet peeve of mine.  They might as well call it the Sci-Fi Channel!  :49:

 

 

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Regarding Hell.  This is the one thing I am most personally grateful.  Like most everyone else here the deconversion process was quite painful.  Took a good two years to get through most if it.  But, for me, when it came to the concept of Hell, it amazingly and completely disappeared on the day it "all clicked" and I knew that god was imaginary.  From day one, no fear of hell, and little fear of death, as it is an endpoint not currently resolvable.  Not having these dibilatating fears has multiplied my person well being many many times over.  Now I live my life in the most satisfying way and manner available to be.  And it is all soooooo good.

 

From what I see, I am clearly in the minority on how fast I disposed of the false hell narrative.  I feel for everyone who still struggles with this sick mindfuck "virus".  It is causin you sooo much pain, and denying you soooooo much well being and joy.  I wish I could make a vaccine from my mind and give it to you.  But, unfortunately all I really have to offer is this pleading:  

 

You know that the hell narrative is not real.  This narrative ADDS NOTHING to the one and only existence you have.  Value yourself first.  Dump this trash from your mind RIGHT NOW and immediately go experience something you really enjoy, be it chocolate chip cookies, a certain person, bocce ball, helping others, helping the planet, whatever.  Just don't waste one more moment of your precious existence making emotional blackmail payments to those creeps and bastards that programmed your mind in the past.  They are not worthy of even a half second of who you are, or the processing space in your head.

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MOHO    446
 

Regarding Hell.  This is the one thing I am most personally grateful.  Like most everyone else here the deconversion process was quite painful.  Took a good two years to get through most if it.  But, for me, when it came to the concept of Hell, it amazingly and completely disappeared on the day it "all clicked" and I knew that god was imaginary.  From day one, no fear of hell, and little fear of death, as it is an endpoint not currently resolvable.  Not having these dibilatating fears has multiplied my person well being many many times over.  Now I live my life in the most satisfying way and manner available to be.  And it is all soooooo good.

 

From what I see, I am clearly in the minority on how fast I disposed of the false hell narrative.  I feel for everyone who still struggles with this sick mindfuck "virus".  It is causin you sooo much pain, and denying you soooooo much well being and joy.  I wish I could make a vaccine from my mind and give it to you.  But, unfortunately all I really have to offer is this pleading:  

 

You know that the hell narrative is not real.  This narrative ADDS NOTHING to the one and only existence you have.  Value yourself first.  Dump this trash from your mind RIGHT NOW and immediately go experience something you really enjoy, be it chocolate chip cookies, a certain person, bocce ball, helping others, helping the planet, whatever.  Just don't waste one more moment of your precious existence making emotional blackmail payments to those creeps and bastards that programmed your mind in the past.  They are not worthy of even a half second of who you are, or the processing space in your head.

 

Nice, @ConsiderTheSource!

Thanx for that post.

 

As for the highlighted section - in the words of Liceman (from Up The Academy move from the early 80's )

                    "Say it agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain!"

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