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I Dont Feel Liberated


LastKing
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I know many have said to give up religion is a liberateing experaince but Since my deconversion I notice I have gotten more angery. I know its natraul to feel that way but I have been an X-Christian for a year now and I think I might be getting wores. In my eralyer days of theism I belived in a kind and loving god that all religions lead to in some form or another. It was this God I use to find peace in. After radical Christianity that image of God was turn into somthing not so loving. My days with the radical Christian God gave me the wores metal hell I have been in yet, (and what scares me is that I know there are people who have sufferd worses) but now that I am out I feel like I'm in a strange new kind of mental hell. Since I belive in no god at all I no longer feel at peace and find myself becoming more unhappy as time go's by. I cant go back to being a liberal Christian because I saw to much and following it led me to hurt good people. At the same time I dont feel right with myself. I feel somthing is wrong but I dont know what is. I think I was hoping that the nice god was real and the radical God was Fake but instead they both were fake. (well I guss thats better then having the radical God be real)

 

 

What should I do?

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Some of us have settled on a new path of spirituality. Some have become Buddhist, some follow one of the pagan ways, some of us just settle for a vague Deism. I don't know if there is a word for what I am now, and I'm in flux anyway so it could be different by next year. I think there is some kind of afterlife, and that we return many times, but I don't try to prove it to anyone. I flirt with atheism, but I still think there is something more going on here than meets the eye. I have found that the lack of church and forced religion has made me more accepting of others and their differences. I can also look at nature and appreciate the beauty, while recognizing the dangers that are just as real (viruses, hungry beasts, slippery rocks, etc).

 

I can feel anger well up in me quickly around fundamentalist types, so things that remind me of the old way do press buttons of anger. Probably this is because I recognize that I believed a lie for 3 decades, and these people continue to see it and promote it as truth. So anger is a normal thing when you realize that you have been fooled. Anger is normal when you sense that the world is a lot different than you were led to believe. Dwelling on the anger is probably not your best bet, but realizing what happened to you and seeing yourself as a survivor is important. Some loose ends may need to be tied up, and some relationships will probably have to fade or be severed. But there are so many things you can be involved with now, whatever your heart desires pretty much (find groups that focus on your hobbies, or learn to play music, or learn a language, or become a ham radio operator, or..... whatever you would like. meetup.com can tell you about groups in your area with all kinds of interests).

 

Peace isn't something that will be handed to you. Find the source of your frustration and do what you can to settle your life the way you'd like it to be.

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Lastking, while you may have lost your belief in a god and that is a terribly disappointing thing, try focusing on the positive aspects. You have also lost your belief in satan, demons, and hell. While many Christians see satan and demons around every corner just waiting to ensnare every human being in their sinister traps so those "lost souls" will ultimately be doomed to an eternity of hell, you do not. You are free of such trappings. You do not have to cry at night out of fear that your non-Christian children are doomed to an eternity of fire and brimstone. You do not see a judgmental, jealous, and angry god who will doom you to hell if you do not fall in line and worship him and believe everything in the bible. You do not have to adopt a corrupt "code of morality" written two to three thousand years ago by simple, uneducated (by today's standards) men who didn't even realize something so basic as that the earth is a sphere, that it rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun. You are free to truly search for truth and then to embrace it.

 

As for the anger, I feel it too. I am angry that for 30 years I was lied to by those who wrote the bible. I am angry at myself for falling for, what I now see as, foolishness. I am angry that I lead my family into this foolishness. I am angry that I wasted so much money on the foolishness. I am angry that I used the bible to help shape my world views when I now know that the bible is foolishness and even evil. But here's the thing I have learned: don't try to suppress the anger. Let it happen because it is natural. It is like steam building up in a pressure cooker. It must be let out because if it builds up too much it will cause the cooker to explode. So let the steam out slowly but steadily and try not to take the anger out on any person because many of the Christians who push their religion truly believe what they preach and are now as brainwashed as I was - they just don't realize it.

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Anger is not an inherently bad emotion, it alerts us to incongruousness between what was expected and what has occurred. Finding healthy ways to vent anger can bring release, whether it's listening to heavy metal or sports.

 

And really, peace in this world is about accepting that you are insignificant, and that that is okay, so there is not much in life worth getting worked up about. Christians are not at peace, or they wouldn't have to go back to church for their weekly fix of redemption, and spend time judging others to reassure themselves.

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One of the things I found was that for years, even though I intellectually knew how deep the transgressions of Christianity went, I kept being kind of emotionally sandbagged by horror and disgust every time some new depth of moral depravity and injustice was more clearly revealed to me. Let's face it, even the CIA with all their nasty, dirty tricks has only been in operation for less than a century. Christianity has had twenty centuries to strengthen and deepen their mind-control tactics and crimes of twisted thinking.

 

And you've been out for a year.

 

One of the things I find to be very common for ex-Christians is moral outrage over the injustices perpetrated in so many ways by their former religion. Along with having to deal with the emotional baggage of guilt at our own participation in it, and the fury at the ways what should have been trustworthy spiritual leadership betrayed us into colluding in these crimes, basic anger at the deep injustice of it all is such a common emotional thread that I can't even begin to tell you how often I see it.

 

I feel very safe in stating as fact that nobody knows and understands the crimes of Christianity as well as we do. It's my firm opinion that anger over injustice is a clear sign of moral health. To love justice, particularly when it affects other people and not us, can only come from a place of compassion for others.

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Not sure I've got much to add to the words of wisdom spoken by the others in this thread. I'm still too close to the anger myself.

ShallowBeThyGame said:

 

And really, peace in this world is about accepting that you are insignificant, and that that is okay, so there is not much in life worth getting worked up about. Christians are not at peace, or they wouldn't have to go back to church for their weekly fix of redemption, and spend time judging others to reassure themselves.

 

Insightful words, and by no means shallow. I can't help but wonder how shallow and meaningless must be the lives of Christians who are forever harping on the meaninglessness of atheism.

 

LastKing, I don't know about you, but I find myself still stuck sometimes in Christian thinking. I think I'm an atheist because I don't think there are any supernatural entities (I could be wrong but that is my personal position) but I don't think atheist equals black-and-white cut-and-dry materialist. I don't know what all the terms mean or what all the feelings and thoughts and experiences are that I get. Maybe they can be reduced to materialism but that's definitely not what goes into the making of a painting, poem, or song. And atheists can make all of those. Christians may deny that we can but I don't take my orders from Christians.

 

Loren said:

 

I feel very safe in stating as fact that nobody knows and understands the crimes of Christianity as well as we do. It's my firm opinion that anger over injustice is a clear sign of moral health. To love justice, particularly when it affects other people and not us, can only come from a place of compassion for others.

 

I'm so glad you're back to posting more, Loren. I really like to see this bit on injustice after reading long diatribes written by a rich American Christian regarding the incapability of atheists to perceive the economic injustices of our world, starving people, etc. So this white guy from the States worth how-many-hundreds of thousands "sacrifices" a couple thousand to make a trip to Africa to share the gospel--and a couple crumbs of bread that he will never miss and that all-the-same make the difference between life and death to them (at least while he's looking; don't ask about when he's boarding the plane) and comes home all righteous and stuffy about how selfish and greedy atheists are because they (obviously because they haven't got a gospel to share) don't even go to Africa. Never mind that his church probably sponsored the trip and that the atheist has no church to do this; if the atheist went to church he would have the same privileges. Except, of course, if God's blessing wasn't with him.

 

CONFESSION: I don't know that the details of that story are correct. The guy has talked about doing mission work in Africa, and he used some twisted sermon about the starving people of Africa to push guilt trips on atheists and it wasn't taking. I didn't follow the thread very closely. But anger at these guys is fully justified. That is my opinion.

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Anger is not an inherently bad emotion, it alerts us to incongruousness between what was expected and what has occurred. Finding healthy ways to vent anger can bring release, whether it's listening to heavy metal or sports.

 

And really, peace in this world is about accepting that you are insignificant, and that that is okay, so there is not much in life worth getting worked up about. Christians are not at peace, or they wouldn't have to go back to church for their weekly fix of redemption, and spend time judging others to reassure themselves.

Excellent way of stating it, Shallow. That's my outlook in a nutshell.

To the OP, there is peace. It's like the death of someone close in that you feel a sense of loss and it takes time, varying amounts for different people, to get over. I have a sense of calm and well being now that I never had in my xian days.

Peace.

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I know many have said to give up religion is a liberateing experaince but Since my deconversion I notice I have gotten more angery . . .

 

What should I do?

 

Don't mistake liberation for happiness. Liberation, to the degree that it actually exists, creates the opportunity to self-direct your life. What follows may be hard work and the immediate result may not be happiness.

 

Do you have people in your life to talk to when something makes you angry? If you find yoursef isolated from others, taking steps to build relationships with various people from different areas of life may be an outstanding long-term resource to develop.

 

One way to look at liberation from christianity is that you are no longer bound by empty promises and vain words that have no bearing in reality. You are now free to find a better way. Finding a way that helps bring peace may be a long time coming, though.

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Well, along the lines of Fuego, I became a Humanist, who is pantheistic (sexed up atheism as Dawkins calls it. :lol: ) and border between atheism and agnosticism. However, I still have my moments where I have very emotional tirades about Fundamgelicals. I don't think that ever goes away, esp if one is a caring and compassionate person. However, I am accepting of those who are Taoist or Buddhists or in the case of my older son "Tao Buddhist" (don't ask, but a prof said they are very compatible). My son and I can agree that there is no god who can help us, we have to help our selves. That and we are both vegetarians. :lol: So we are very compatible in the same house and we share our philosophies with each other with very little issue.

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?
Anger is not an inherently bad emotion, it alerts us to incongruousness between what was expected and what has occurred. Finding healthy ways to vent anger can bring release, whether it's listening to heavy metal or sports.

 

And really, peace in this world is about accepting that you are insignificant, and that that is okay, so there is not much in life worth getting worked up about. Christians are not at peace, or they wouldn't have to go back to church for their weekly fix of redemption, and spend time judging others to reassure themselves.

 

Christians do as much they merely have a different understanding of their insignificance and a different set of things they do not get too awfully troubled or "worked up" about once they realize said insignificance. And the particular variables will vary based on the form of Christianity they believe in. I think it's more accurate and precise to say that we, as monists, are more intellectually honest than the people who believe in occult "stuff" and dualism.

 

In general I think peace is found by accepting that I am significant and so is everyone else. I tend to think there is much in life worth getting worked up about, and it's good to have a sense of how important humanity is precisely because that sense of overall significance ties into the survival of the species and the overall quality of life that everyone can enjoy. Why do I want people I love and care about to have quality lives? Why do I get worked up about moral issues? Because the alternative is to sit by and watch others bulldoze the rights of humanity that I value. I think realizing the significance of ourselves as humans enables us to stand up for ourselves and have a vision of where we want to go and a sense of justice along the way. Sure in the grand scheme of things the rest of the universe may turn and operate just fine if our entire planet got blasted by a gamma ray or something and all life was wiped out, but I think it's important for a lot of weight to be assigned to the significance of each and every one of us, far more than anyone who subscribes to religion usually would assign. Only once that weight is assigned can a more humane future be provided for.

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I tend to think there is much in life worth getting worked up about, and it's good to have a sense of how important humanity is precisely because that sense of overall significance ties into the survival of the species and the overall quality of life that everyone can enjoy. Why do I want people I love and care about to have quality lives? Why do I get worked up about moral issues? Because the alternative is to sit by and watch others bulldoze the rights of humanity that I value. I think realizing the significance of ourselves as humans enables us to stand up for ourselves and have a vision of where we want to go and a sense of justice along the way.

 

I totally agree, and well-said.

 

I also struggle with anger. I struggled with it as a Christian and people talked about it behind my back when I was in church leadership (although it obviously wasn't that big of a deal since I was selected for church leadership), and all the help I got from the church elders was a book blaming it all on demons (which I had to pay for myself).

 

I realize now that my anger partly comes from expecting things to work out a certain way and then getting angry when they don't. When I was a Christian, the bible promised me that if I did certain things and behaved a certain way and pursued God and Jesus Christ with all my heart, I would see certain rewards. I did all those things and saw nothing in return, and I think that affected me on a subconscious level, coming out in angry, spontaneous comments.

 

Other things that make me angry are stupid people, injustice, arrogance and condescension. There's no shortage of those things around me, and I have to struggle with some of them myself.

 

I also realize now that there is something genetic – my grandmother and mother suffered from the same kind of anger – and since I've started my deprogramming I have had better luck getting it under control. What has helped the most is realizing that every moment of life counts. Life is not some giant waiting room for eternity. This is it. I have to make it count, and getting angry doesn't help. It's OK to get mad about things like injustice and abuse, though, and I'm trying to transform those feelings into something positive, doing something to help rather than just get mad and let it fester in my mind.

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I remember feeling a period of "anger" when leaving Christianity and it lasted for about 3 years. This may be a phase but...

 

I think self-awareness comes at a cost. When you look at who is the most "happy" individual, the one who is most sure that he is right, what kind of person do you have? A simplistic one. One who doesn't think through the whys of existance. "An unexamined life is not worth living." is something I live by and that carries a cost. The great men and women, the great thinkers, came to this carefully and with much thought. I'm thinking specifically of Abraham Lincoln. He was constantly second-guessing himself, full of doubt and probably clinically depressed. It was his quality of self-examination that carried with it the cost of...human happiness.

 

When you think of the people who are "absolutely certain" that they are on the right path, and don't consider the deep questions, you end up with someone like George Bush or Bill O'Reilly. They know they're right. They don't question. They probably sleep pretty well at night too.

 

Hopefully this angry and troubled phase will pass for you as soon as it did for me. I thought of it like a breakup with a boyfriend. God was very central to my life, so it took a while to get used to "his" absense. Eventually I was able to find a new center of balance. In my christian life, I was riding a 3-speed bike. When I learned to drive the Atheism Ferrarri, the first few years on the learning curve wasn't fun. You'll make it through.

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Being liberated from something, religion or anything else, is simply that. A release from a specific set of bonds.

 

Having lost a religion that proved to be false means there is no longer that imaginary crutch available to get you through. What you are not used to yet is taking responsibility for your own life. Happiness or peace isn't guaranteed to anyone, religious or not. Life is life, and it throws shit our way and we have to deal with it. Imaginary gods don't protect us from the trials of living, but if you are free to see things as they really are, without religious goggles, you are also free to accept, reject or change them. Use that power to your advantage. Even when you can't control external issues, you can always control your response, and that's an awesome power if you think about it. Develop it, use it, forgive everyone (including yourself) and move on. That is the road to peace.

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No matter what has happened, where you've been, what has tied you up and chained you down, TODAY you get up and chart your own direction.

 

Just like the religious life, we get up, bathroom, undies if any, clothing, shoes, and get to do the shit we do to make a living happen.

 

What's different? You are doing *this* for you and not the HollIE SkIE SP00KieZ an' Der PaterGoDd. Your choices, your direction, your desires, and for you...

 

BuBBA and them skIE ThingS aint'a watching you, they aren't juding you, and you don't have to go about life wondering if you'll every be good and holy enough for them, and of course the humans here.

 

Yeah, your life is all about you. It may suck, it is the one you have. Learning how to not have it suck is sometimes a hard road to walk along.

Here you've got fellow travelers who can help you along. Like a map ExC is a resource to use and pass along.

 

kL

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Guest RaDen

I've never felt the anger some have, but I too struggle to feel "liberated". For me, it's about inspiration. One thing I had to give up with my belief is that eternal "finish line". For 30 years no matter what was thrown my way, I had that trump card. Something bad happened or I was feeling down, I'd say to myself "well it won't matter in the end" and I'd leave it up to god. Now that I know my life is in my hands some times it is tough, and it makes the gloomy days tougher. I constantly fight this, and the way I've found that helps is I make some simple real-life obtainable goals. Little things, like I'm going to run 3 times next week, or I'm going to make sure I ride bikes with my daughter at least once a weekend (these 2 are from last week) I make sure they are always easily obtainable and enjoyable goals that are designed to remind me what's worth living for here and now.

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Yeah, your life is all about you. It may suck, it is the one you have.

 

This is worded a bit harshly, but it's something that I've had to learn the hard way time and again. I always thought that there was something better than this, that there was some grand afterlife that I could look forward to, but I realized after I deconverted that, as an atheist, I can't really believe in that anymore. This life is the only one there is, and if it's lived in near constant suffering and misery, or anger in your case, then what else is there? There's more to life than just anger and pain. There is also beauty, and if you look hard enough, you can find it in the simplest of things. Anger, especially righteous anger, is a perfectly valid emotion. I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings by saying these things. What I am trying to do is remind you that anger isn't the only emotion that you can feel. I don't know if this is true for you, but this is something that I often forget. I don't allow myself to feel anything other than depression and other negative emotions at times, but human beings are so much more than just vessels of anger and sorrow. My advice to you right now would be to do something that doesn't have anything to do with religion or anger. Find something that you like to do, watch a funny movie or TV show, do something that allows you to feel other emotions besides anger. Even if you do this for only 30 minutes or so, it would at least be a stretch of time where you felt positive emotions. This advice may not help you, and if I received the same advice when I was in a bad place, I probably wouldn't take it to heart at first. I'll admit that. But I do hope that what I said does help you, and I wish you all the best.

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