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This post is meant primarily for ex-christian atheists. By atheists I mean those who do not believe in the supernatural whatsoever, even those ideas which do not necessarily entail a deity. I respectfully ask that for the sake of not bogging down the post with irrelevant material, only those who "fit the bill" respond, at least at first. Once a few substantive responses have been posted then we can have a free-for-all. :grin:

 

The reason I am being so specific is that my logical rational mind tells me that without evidence of the supernatural that it is pointless to consider it with any serious regard in my life. The problem I am facing is that although my mind has no problem with lack of belief in the supernatural, my "emotional self" (I guess you would say) is scared to death. I feel that by having had the courage to explore the possibility of there no being no supernatural realm, I now find myself in a bit of a bind. Let me explain.

 

Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

The reason I am directiing this post towards atheists is I am wondering if there are any out there who have experienced a similar situation and come out victorious. I do not know whether this unsettled scary feeling is an inherent part of being human (which could explain humanity's invention of religion in the first place) or whether it is simply traces of my childhood christian brainwashing.

 

If the former is true, then I am trying to find something that will allow me to be fulfilled emotionally as far as meaning in life. Without something, it's difficult to see how life is not depressing and empty. There were times I even considered trying to be religious again, but this to me is analogous to waking from a dream, only to try to close your eyes and dream again. Once you know the dream is not real, it's just not the same.

 

I appreciate any feedback on this question. To clarify, the qualifier in the first paragraph is simply meant to avoid irrelevant discussion.

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I've not had the oportunity to welcome you to the forums Aidans, so welcome.

 

To give a short answer, in addition to the pursuit of my own goals, I find a lot of meaning and emotional satisfaction in my relationships with my friends, family and neighbors.

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Hello and welcome to the community.

 

I think your 'feelings' are normal and will subside with time. You said you've been a nonbeliever for "awhile". The longer you were entrenched in the belief system, the longer it will take for the 'feelings' to sort themselves out.... years even.

 

I don't know if others have had the same experience as I, but it seems to me that the more Bible knowledge you have/had, the easier it is to decompress, so to speak.

 

Most of us who were Bible believing preachers/teachers/missionaries, etc had a lot of "inside and indepth" knowledge of the Bible (and the workings of the organized church 'behind the scenes'). I came to a place of unbelief because of what I learned and knew. The more I studied the scriptures, the less logical and reasonable they became. It was relatively easy to understand that my "faith" & "experience with god" was of my own making, once I understood that the Bible is manmade fiction too.

 

It seems that people who "believed" but didn't know "why" they believed have a harder time decompressing. Theirs was a faith based almost entirely on what they were taught as a child and what they thought they experienced and felt. It's not easy tossing your 'heritage' aside and admitting you've built your life on a lie.

 

I guess I've been an atheist- I have no belief in any god(s) - for about 10 years now (I am 50). I've never been happier or more fullfilled in my entire life than now. Believe me... there is tremendous purpose in life outside of a god belief!!

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I guess I came at it from the different direction, in that I rejected the supernatural and the paranormal and Christianity and God were the last of my baggage to unload.

 

personally I find it a great relief to be unburdened of all that spiritual crap. I like the idea of being alone in the universe. (Well, not "alone" of course because we have our friends and family). When I fail - not to often, I hope, I have only myself to blame.

 

But when I triumph! High fives and pats on the back all round! It was by

my own strength! I DID THIS, not God, the invisible sky fairy, the malevolent desert goblin.

 

Let it all go, and have faith in yourself.

 

Regards

 

Stew

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Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

The reason I am directiing this post towards atheists is I am wondering if there are any out there who have experienced a similar situation and come out victorious. I do not know whether this unsettled scary feeling is an inherent part of being human (which could explain humanity's invention of religion in the first place) or whether it is simply traces of my childhood christian brainwashing.

 

If the former is true, then I am trying to find something that will allow me to be fulfilled emotionally as far as meaning in life. Without something, it's difficult to see how life is not depressing and empty. There were times I even considered trying to be religious again, but this to me is analogous to waking from a dream, only to try to close your eyes and dream again. Once you know the dream is not real, it's just not the same.

 

I appreciate any feedback on this question. To clarify, the qualifier in the first paragraph is simply meant to avoid irrelevant discussion.

Welcome to your confrontation with the Void!! :grin: This is classic Existentialism. I would recommend reading some Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Jean Paul Sartre's, Being and Nothingness. Facing the Absurdity of existence is the moment of freedom. We confront the void of meaninglessness and see only ourselves staring back. In that moment we are free to act, to define meaning without limits. That is the ultimate freedom of the individual. It is indeed terror to look into the void, but it releases us to become ourselves.

 

So to answer your question, has anyone else experienced this? You are in the company of giants!

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Hi and welcome.

 

I am the real deal Atheist and sceptic!

 

I am so glad you asked the question because this is an issue that causes me some grief.

 

Lying bastard religious folk have brainwashed people into thinking that anyone who lives their life for anything other than reward in the afterlife is a fool and has no purpose in life.

 

This lie is so totally wrong and angers me.

 

Life is wonderful! There are so many things to discover and there are so many interesting people to engage. This site is full of them.

 

We have one life to live, only one. Don't waste it by dreaming foolishly about another one that doesn't exist.

 

Time is so short and there are so many things to do.

 

Look deep into yourself and ask what really matters to you.

 

If everything is "meaningless" then why not at least spend your life helping others in some way. Volunteer!

 

For me, raising my kids is the most important project I have. I find parenting very fulfilling albeit terribly frustrating.

 

When I was an xtian, sometimes I would sit in church and wonder why I was there and not out exploring some aspect of the world.

 

Now I think, "I don't have eternity" I only have now. Woohoo! :woohoo::woohoo::woohoo:

 

Think about what matters most to you and make a change that sends you in that direction.

 

Mongo

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I never went through a "Oh, dear, life has no real purpose" phase...mostly because by the time I shifted to nontheistic thinking, I was already a humanist. Humanism is as real a purpose as I could ever hope to find.

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This post is meant primarily for ex-christian atheists. By atheists I mean those who do not believe in the supernatural whatsoever, even those ideas which do not necessarily entail a deity. I respectfully ask that for the sake of not bogging down the post with irrelevant material, only those who "fit the bill" respond, at least at first. Once a few substantive responses have been posted then we can have a free-for-all. :grin:

 

There have been a number of strong posts now so perhaps it is okay for me to enter. I'm not absolutely sure of my deepest identity at this point but I identify with a few of your issues and would like to respond.

 

The reason I am being so specific is that my logical rational mind tells me that without evidence of the supernatural that it is pointless to consider it with any serious regard in my life. The problem I am facing is that although my mind has no problem with lack of belief in the supernatural, my "emotional self" (I guess you would say) is scared to death.

 

My suggestion is to give yourself time. There is probably no deadline to meet, no baptism to go to, no testimony you're obligated to make. It was perhaps a year ago, possibly less, when I first confronted the idea of there being no god. The universe felt so "empty" with no god out there filling the vast empty spaces with love, power, presence, or whatever. I concluded that a different type of thinking is required for atheism than for theism. I had not been praying for quite a number of years because the conviction came on me very strongly that prayer was wrong. However, God was still there.

 

But the idea of atheism refused to leave me. I've been playing with it for all the months since then. Then I found an article about the "God spot" on the brain. That made it possible to explain "spiritual" experiences without the existence of God. However, as I said elsewhere some time ago, there are phenomena for which I know no explanation except that some invisible power exists. When I said that, I definitely identified as agnostic.

 

I still have no explanation. But my atheist feelings are growing ever stronger. Based on my own experiences and on the things people say on this site, I conclude that atheism requires far greater faith than belief in the Christian God. Why? First and foremost (for myself, at least) is the question: IS HELL REAL? We cannot disprove its existence until we are dead. And then it will be too late.

 

Then there's also the idea of me being just one tiny speck alone in the universe--no almighty God who knows the number of hairs on my head--to look out for me, to guide my life, to plan my future and make sure all the details come together just right. Perhaps the biggest item I had to face was this: I have made some drastic life decisions. If there is no god to credit, I must be an infinitely greater and stronger and wiser person than I ever wanted to be because things are working out. I guess I can file it under: Desperate situations call for desperate solutions.

 

I feel that by having had the courage to explore the possibility of there no being no supernatural realm, I now find myself in a bit of a bind. Let me explain.

 

Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

QUESTION: What does it mean to talk about "meaning of life"?

 

For me it is important to enjoy life and to be a morally/ethically good person. Beyond that I am not sure I ask for anything. Peace, joy, and liberty. These three came to me when I made my drastic decisions. As time passes and I move gradually further away from the religion of my parents, I am experiencing these qualities increasingly more. Accepting that there may be no god has been another step toward greater freedom, peace, and joy of life. For most of my life I did not know what people meant by the "joy of being alive." I am beginning to get a glimpse of it.

 

The reason I am directiing this post towards atheists is I am wondering if there are any out there who have experienced a similar situation and come out victorious. I do not know whether this unsettled scary feeling is an inherent part of being human (which could explain humanity's invention of religion in the first place) or whether it is simply traces of my childhood christian brainwashing.

 

I am convinced it is part and parcel of the brainwashing. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." That bit of folklore/sacred scripture is very accurate. What is indoctrinated into the infant brain becomes part of our deepest identity. This is proven for religions other than Christianity. In Irving Hallowell's Experience and Culture, a collection of essays about his work with Ojibwa peoples around Lake Huron in ca the 1920s, (or maybe it was somewhere else) I read about Natives who converted to Christianity. However, at the point of death they reconverted to their own religion. The person said he had seen heaven and there were only footprints of the whiteman. There were no moccasins. He did not want to be alone with white men. He felt better in the religion of his childhood.

 

If the former is true, then I am trying to find something that will allow me to be fulfilled emotionally as far as meaning in life. Without something, it's difficult to see how life is not depressing and empty. There were times I even considered trying to be religious again, but this to me is analogous to waking from a dream, only to try to close your eyes and dream again. Once you know the dream is not real, it's just not the same.

 

I appreciate any feedback on this question. To clarify, the qualifier in the first paragraph is simply meant to avoid irrelevant discussion.

 

I hope my discussion here has not been irelevant. As for the origin of religion, I like Max Weber's idea. In Sociology of Religion he suggests people had no way of knowing whether the spark came from rubbing together two items of from a supernatural being. It's been a while since I read it, so I may have the details wrong, but you may get the idea.

 

I mentioned the God spot above. In my observation, this part of the brain is not equally active in all humans. I can often pick out people who have a very strong connection with "the spiritual." However, some people whom I have thought to have spiritual experiences profess not to have them. All the same, they tend to be very respectful of people different from themselves, open to learning new ideas and to changing their minds when/if new information comes in. This suggests that there is a range of "spirituality."

 

My studies in anthropology also made me aware that not all people have the same level of access to the spirit world, not all medicine men are equally "powerful." This agrees with the OT where some men were considered true prophets and others were considered false prophets.

 

When I put all of this together, I come up with the idea that religion originated from these two facts:

  1. humans needed an explanation for why inexplicable things happened
  2. very spiritual people (in terms of the god spot) "knew" there was more to life than could be sensed via the five senses

Tentative conclusion: These two were put together and religion developed as a sophisticated explanation. As we all know, this is not the end of the story re relgion. But I was responding to the question about the origins of religion and not what it eventually became.

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I was glad to read your post, and your concerns, AidensPop...

 

As an atheist I see it this way: I see no compelling evidence that any such things as "gods" exist. That includes all gods; Zeus, Yahweh, Marduk, Ormuszd, Quetzalcoatl, or whatever. That being said, what does that mean? To me, it means that I am here, and I am in charge of my own little boat in this life. I am responsible, and I alone. So, what does THAT mean?

 

It means that I am responsible for defining who I am, and who I will be in the course of my life, for I know without a doubt that it will end at some time. I have to define, in myself, what I believe my life is, what I want to accomplish, what I believe is important, and what I would like to live on in some way after my physical life has ended. I see no responsibility to any supernatural entity.

 

I see that as a challenge, and a good one. The basic questions are, who are you, and what will you be, now that you are here? I intend to answer that challenge with something good and positive. I intend to arrive at my last moment with the thought that my life meant something good and positive, that just might live on in some way after I have seen my own life end, through the eyes of those with whom I've shared this little bit of space and time. Who knows how such things can be multiplied through the generations?

 

I am me, and that is enough...

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The true meaning of life is in learning to deal successfully with the fact that life has no meaning.

 

Sorry. I don't do deep.

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Guest Aidans Pop

Thanks all for the encouraging responses. I am especially interested in looking further into Existentialism. I studied up on it for a while about 1 1/2 year ago, but it seems more applicable now. Thanks for the links Antlerman. It's nice to know that there are others who have gotten through this uncertainty and been OK with everything. Thanks again.

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Aidans Pop,

 

I have definitely struggled with your questions. As Christians we derived our sense of fulfillment and purpose from doing acts that pleased God. Why simply allowing a fellow brother or sister to cry on our shoulder racked up heavenly points for us! We had a mission. Comfort, exhort, witness, preach, teach, etc., etc. All of these carried eternal rewards. Direction in life was supernaturally provided.

 

All of these things are gone as an atheist. Just gone!

 

I have spent much time attempting to come up with a replacement for this sense of purpose. I'm not sure I've found it yet, but I think it has to do with legacy. If you have children you can pass things down to them, both wisdom and knowledge as well as material items, including writing and family history. You can become more active in promoting atheism. Maybe you can create art or writing. And don't forget what you write on the internet (I'm very concerned that my many web sites be endowed to stay up on the 'net for as long as possible after I am gone).

 

Try thinking along these lines -- hope that helps!

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I'm an ex-christian athiest too...

 

For me, in all honesty, it took therapy for me to finally convert to atheism.

 

My counselor didn't tell me, "Oh there is no god! Stop believing!" nothing like that. It was a gradual, year long, progression.

 

At first I mourned my loss of faith in Christianity. Then I went about learning about other religions, hoping to find another one...Then I realized that finding another religion was the equivalent of trading in Santa Claus for the Easter Bunny...

I could not, in all rationality, believe in a God anymore...especially with the more tangible theories of evolution, natural selection, and etc.

Those are solid. I can believe in the natural world with no problem...

 

So I asked myself, "How much does the spirit world, if there is one, really benefit my life?"

 

My resounding answer was "Nada..."

 

I really had to mourn over saying good bye to God. When you spend your entire life talking to an imaginary friend it is hard to let go.

I liken it to when I was 9-years-old and I finally stopped sucking my fingers and carrying a blanket...

My blanket was, accidentally, thrown in the garbage can by our housekeeper. I tore down the place looking for my blanket because my fingers did not taste right without it...

When I couldn't find it I started using another one. I couldn't do it. No matter how much I tried to replace it it would not do...

 

Finally, after the initial withdrawal and tears I haven't need my blanket in 15-years...

 

I guess the moral of my story is that, eventually, everyone grows up and realizes that they have to put away their blankets.

 

Well, some people don't...You become so indoctrinated with fear that deconversion can be painful and emotional, ecspecially if you really believed it...

 

Sometimes, I get sad when I see family members praying. I feel sad for them, not me. Because they lead their lives in constant fear of divine ramifications...

While I lead my life, now, just to be a really good person.

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Aidans Pop

 

Thank you so much for your post!! I've been going through the exact same thinking/emotional process the last month or so. I thought I was the only one with these questions and feelings!

 

I would also like to thank everyone for their responses as they have helped me, too.

 

Losing My Religion, I appreciated your post, also, because it really sounded like my life and family.

 

Once again, I'm reminded why I love this site.

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The question "What is the meaning of life" is invalid. It's too broad and pressuposes that everyone has a meaning or a goal. Think about a rock, does it have a meaning or a purpose? It was created through natural physical, geological and chemical processes but there was no inherit goal in the whole thing. A rock is a rock. The realm of morality and ethics which question the meaning of ones own life does not apply to the natural world.

 

So in that regard trying to tie your own meaning to the universes is a false premise to work with. Your life, however, does have a meaning and purpose -- you. You are an end in yourself, not the means to the ends of mystical beings, racial collectives, or social classes.

 

As far as still believing in the supernatural but emphasising the natural world is a contradiction. Contradicitions can't exist, if you find one, check your premises because one of them is wrong. In this case the supernatural exceeds the natural or exists outside of it. It's basically like saying it exists outside the natural world, but all you have is the natural world because it's all that exists. SO the supernatural is non-existent by basic definition.

 

If you realized that, and realized your life exists in this world and you learn to react with it through reason and rationallity, you'll be fine. :grin:

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I became a skeptic at an early age, around 8 years old. From that point I never discussed religion. I knew it made me uncomfortable and internally I still believed in God but maybe not so much Jesus. It wasn't until after high school that I considered myself agnostic and not until maybe five or 6 years ago that I allowed myself to just bite the bullet and say I was an atheist. Those years considering myself agnostic were the ones where I struggled if I was wrong to not believe. It's truly something that fades with the more knowledge you obtain though.

 

Once you completely shed it, can you find true enjoyment of the real things around you and in your life.

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Hi Aidans Pop!

 

I believe we may have crossed paths in the ex-pentecostal forums, but maybe not.

 

I fit the bill you established in your post. I'm an ex-pentecostal youth and music minister, ex-AoG. I'm a kindred spirit of Mongo's, actually, and LosingMyReligion's, too. On the one hand, I agree that the better you know the Bible, the easier it is to deconvert, once you let your intellect take over from the emothional rollercoaster ride that is fundamentalist Christianity; on the other hand, if the reason you know your scripture so well is because you had let fundamentalism completely suffuse every part of your being, then the harder it is to let go. Therapy really helped me, too, but it took 12 years to be completely free.

 

It is scary to stand on your own two feet and not have a supernatural sugar daddy to lean on - even if that particular sugar daddy was capricious and undependable! It just takes time to replace the GREAT PUMPKIN with pumpkin pie. :lmao:

 

The thing ex-Christians might miss the most is the sense of community that comes with church membership - however skewed it was. What's worked for me is joining the local Rotary club - simple philosophy: Service Above Self. Go out an start doing things for people worse off than you. Works wonders.

 

Rob

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Wow, it seems my situation is not that different.

post-2672-1165133744_thumb.jpg

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Wow, it seems my situation is not that different.

 

Feel like sharing a little about it, Jella?

 

 

Rob

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Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

This is something I too have felt for some time. Whether it be the fact that I still can't tell folks that I flat out don't believe, or is that I do believe that something is still out there, for a lack of a better way of stating it. I tend to believe in a sort of human spirit, or a spirit of all living creatures. Every time I say that though, I think it just sounds dumb, and that is the way others will see it.

 

I have been recovering from cancer, and in that same year I lost my Mom and uncle to cancer. I can't say that I was mad at God, but it sure didn't help with others telling me to put my trust in God and prayer...blau blau blau. That an another issue finally made me say enough is enough, if I'm going to survive I don't want to pretend any longer.

 

I'm not sure I ever believed, but I can't tell you how hard I tried.

 

I'm sorry, that was suppose to be a quote from the original post. I guess I don't know how to do that properly.

 

Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

This is something I too have felt for some time. Whether it be the fact that I still can't tell folks that I flat out don't believe, or is that I do believe that something is still out there, for a lack of a better way of stating it. I tend to believe in a sort of human spirit, or a spirit of all living creatures. Every time I say that though, I think it just sounds dumb, and that is the way others will see it.

 

I have been recovering from cancer, and in that same year I lost my Mom and uncle to cancer. I can't say that I was mad at God, but it sure didn't help with others telling me to put my trust in God and prayer...blau blau blau. That an another issue finally made me say enough is enough, if I'm going to survive I don't want to pretend any longer.

 

I'm not sure I ever believed, but I can't tell you how hard I tried.

 

I'm sorry, that was suppose to be a quote from the original post. I guess I don't know how to do that properly.

 

 

Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

This is something I too have felt for some time. Whether it be the fact that I still can't tell folks that I flat out don't believe, or is that I do believe that something is still out there, for a lack of a better way of stating it. I tend to believe in a sort of human spirit, or a spirit of all living creatures. Every time I say that though, I think it just sounds dumb, and that is the way others will see it.

 

I have been recovering from cancer, and in that same year I lost my Mom and uncle to cancer. I can't say that I was mad at God, but it sure didn't help with others telling me to put my trust in God and prayer...blau blau blau. That an another issue finally made me say enough is enough, if I'm going to survive I don't want to pretend any longer.

 

I'm not sure I ever believed, but I can't tell you how hard I tried.

 

I'm sorry, that was suppose to be a quote from the original post. I guess I don't know how to do that properly.

 

 

 

Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

This is something I too have felt for some time. Whether it be the fact that I still can't tell folks that I flat out don't believe, or is that I do believe that something is still out there, for a lack of a better way of stating it. I tend to believe in a sort of human spirit, or a spirit of all living creatures. Every time I say that though, I think it just sounds dumb, and that is the way others will see it.

 

I have been recovering from cancer, and in that same year I lost my Mom and uncle to cancer. I can't say that I was mad at God, but it sure didn't help with others telling me to put my trust in God and prayer...blau blau blau. That an another issue finally made me say enough is enough, if I'm going to survive I don't want to pretend any longer.

 

I'm not sure I ever believed, but I can't tell you how hard I tried.

 

I'm sorry, that was suppose to be a quote from the original post. I guess I don't know how to do that properly.

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Although I feel I have crossed the point of no return as far as believing rationally in the supernatural (given the overwhelming lack of evidence), I find this notion very unsettling. What's funny is that I have considered myself an atheist for a while, but I guess I was still holding on to the notion of the supernatural somewhat. I now feel that I cannot do this rationally, but it has taken me to the brink of fear. Realizing that life may have no ultimate meaning is very disturbing to me.

 

This is something I too have felt for some time. Whether it be the fact that I still can't tell folks that I flat out don't believe, or is that I do believe that something is still out there, for a lack of a better way of stating it. I tend to believe in a sort of human spirit, or a spirit of all living creatures. Every time I say that though, I think it just sounds dumb, and that is the way others will see it.

 

I have been recovering from cancer, and in that same year I lost my Mom and uncle to cancer. I can't say that I was mad at God, but it sure didn't help with others telling me to put my trust in God and prayer...blau blau blau. That an another issue finally made me say enough is enough, if I'm going to survive I don't want to pretend any longer.

 

I'm not sure I ever believed, but I can't tell you how hard I tried.

 

Welcome to the forums, Jella...this site is practically made-to-order for those who are out of christianity, but are unsure of just what or what not to put in its place. Your inquisitive approach is anything but dumb, and there's no need to feel pressured to declare yourself aligned with any particular belief system. It's a journey, so enjoy it...read, think, ruminate, and just be a freethinker. You're in good company here.

 

"The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning." (Voltaire)

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Thank you Piprus I appreciate that.

 

I read Sam Harris' The end of Faith earlier this year, and that gave hope that many of the things I've felt for quite some time were not so out there. I've been to a few Atheists websites, and while I'm still just reading there, I found a link to this site and thought that it may be a way to read/share some similar stories. So far I've been pleased with what I've read and it does make me feel I can breath a bit.

 

I still have a lot of anger, and my doc is helping me with that. I've repressed it so long, and my fear now is that I'll never be to a point where I don't immediately go there when I listen to Christians. I was lucky to have parents that didn't force any type of religion, but the extended family is Catholic on Mom's side, and southern baptist on Dads. I was baptized when I was about 10ish in a Protestant Church, and I loved Sunday school. While they never answered my questions with anything other than 'you have to have faith' I just figured I'd get it someday. I was 'saved' in a southern baptist church on August 8, 1974. It's funny how I've never forgetten that date, nor that experience. My heart raced and a started to cry, and my uncle told me to go up their and accept Jesus Christ. All those people crying and screaming, that pastor put his hands on my head and asked me if I believed...... it was so intense, I said yes and they all praised Jesus. My uncle looked pleased with me, and I would have done anything for him to look at me that way.

 

About 15 I found I didn't quite agree with what I was hearing, and the judging of others by fellow Christians disturbed me. I listened but never said anything, as it was I was feeling different than other boys my age, so I again just hoped I would understand it as I got older.

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I read Sam Harris' The end of Faith earlier this year, and that gave hope that many of the things I've felt for quite some time were not so out there. I've been to a few Atheists websites, and while I'm still just reading there, I found a link to this site and thought that it may be a way to read/share some similar stories. So far I've been pleased with what I've read and it does make me feel I can breath a bit.

I've felt the same way about this site, Jella, that I can breathe here. I've been carrying a lot of religious baggage around with me for many years, and even though I had a lot of therapy that enabled me to work out what was real and what wasn't, it's very liberating to share these experiences with others who went through similar pain.

 

I see that you're having trouble with the quote function. Let me try to help. Look at any post (this one, for example), and you will see at the bottom right-hand corner a couple of buttons. One says "Quote," and the other says "Reply." If you want to include a quote from that post in your reply, first click the "Quote" button, and then click the "Reply" button. The entire post will be quoted, and you can type your reply under the quote. If you only want to quote a part of the post, just delete everything you don't want to include between the [quote name=....... and the [/quote at the end of it.

 

Rob

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Thanks all for the encouraging responses. I am especially interested in looking further into Existentialism. I studied up on it for a while about 1 1/2 year ago, but it seems more applicable now. Thanks for the links Antlerman. It's nice to know that there are others who have gotten through this uncertainty and been OK with everything. Thanks again.

Not a problem. I don't really identify myself as one philosophy over another, but Existentialism intrigues me because of that sense of the aesthetic I feel strongly in myself that doesn't find a voice in pure rationality. Though I am primarily rational/materialistic in my thinking, I see that Positivism falls short in defining who we fully are as human beings.

 

There is something irrational to being human that has validity, and how to approach that irrationality, in a "rational" way seems intriguing to me. Rationally, I know there is no ultimate meaning; however, "meaning" has value to us despite that. And that meaning is the meaning, and it has true value to us because it is a "true" meaning to us. If that makes sense? I'm just thinking out loud.

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[i've felt the same way about this site, Jella, that I can breathe here. I've been carrying a lot of religious baggage around with me for many years, and even though I had a lot of therapy that enabled me to work out what was real and what wasn't, it's very liberating to share these experiences with others who went through similar pain.

 

Thanks wonderer, you know I unfortunately didn't read the Bible in it's entirety, I read bits and pieces, and listened pretty intently during Bible study and sermons. After awhile I stopped asking questions, cause of course I got no satisfing answers, but it didn't stop me from trying to put in all in context with what I felt in my heart, or mind. I don't know maybe you would say emotional response to events in life. I have a deep empathy for people and I don't think it came from scripture or sermon, since I had that as a small child. I think that may be why I get so angry at christians, since I do feel for them as human beings, and I know they actually believe in their hearts, well some of them, the way the bible has been oriented.

 

It seems that people who "believed" but didn't know "why" they believed have a harder time decompressing. Theirs was a faith based almost entirely on what they were taught as a child and what they thought they experienced and felt. It's not easy tossing your 'heritage' aside and admitting you've built your life on a lie.

I

 

When reading folks here, I see words expressing how I've felt for such a long time. Maybe if I read more about theology I too will find it easier to decompress. Some friends have asked why I've been so interested in religion lately, and I tell them that I just want to know more. I will never believe, I know that, but if I do further my study will I be going into it bias? See this is the way I've approached things most of my life, always wondering why I choose the things I do. I'm hoping therapy will continue to help me figure it out.

 

Thanks so much wonderer for helping me with the quotes function. I was so embarassed. :Doh:

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