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Lydie

I'm thinking of going back to church- am I a terrible person?

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I agree with all the articles which say religion holds humans back. I know first hand that that kind of religious does unthinkable damage in a person's life. I never had much 'fun' when I was young (going out, drinking, being loud). I chose a useless career and married an unsuitable person in a large part due to religion.

 

BUT

 

I'm so lonely. I am not good at making friends and leaving church left me quite lonely even though I realise now they were never real friends or 'spiritual brothers and sisters'. Their loss cut me deeply. However it would be lovely to have acquaintances. I miss the singing. I have looked into Sunday Assemblies and they seem to have shut down. 

 

I would probably lie. I have learned from experience that atheism either (a) makes people uncomfortable, scared you will infect them too and your demonic thinking possess them too... or (b) make you a project to be evangelised to. I have seen it and am ashamed to have also done it myself.

 

My kid is 14 and apart from these last couple of years has always been fully immersed in church. When we visit relatives we go. The damage is done.

 

Has anyone here done something similar?

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If you want acquaintances and love singing, why not join a secular choir?

 

I mean, having to lie about who you are and disagreeing with something that's really crucial to the group...I don't see how that's healthy.

 

Then again you definitely wouldn't be the first person to go (back) to church just to get to be with people. We are social animals and we love how it feels to do things together. Your longing for this is very natural and very understandable, and one of the things that go through my mind now and then too, even though I'm way past believing in biblegod. 

 

Are there any Unitarian Universalist groups near you by any chance? 

 

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Yunea, thanks for your reply. Your comments  here are always so thoughtful. I have considered a choir but weekday evenings are unsuitable and that is when they are held.

 

I'm still scared of my religious family. To them it is better to have 'backslid' and not go to church for a while than to go to a 'demonic' church like Unitarians. My mum starts crying and is genuinely upset I won't be in heaven and I can't deal with that.

 

 

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No, it won't make you a terrible  person.

 

Some atheists go to church because the like the singing and cultural enjoyment. However these would likely be friendly open churches who preaches Jesus loves, rather than you gonna burn in hell types.

 

Pick your church carefully if you are thinking of going back.

 

I can't go back, even for the social side. The resulting feedback loop of complete bullshit does my head it. I just can't sit and listen to stuff I know is false.... but maybe if you could find a church that was positive and talked a lot about helping humanity and loving each other etc- I think that stuff is good and fine. Essentially stay away from evangelical fundamental churches.

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I agree with @LogicalFallacy, if you still feel a need for church, find the most open-minded one possible. However, if it's the social side of it you're missing, there are plenty of other opportunities for socializing, it doesn't have to be church. Do you have a local athiest meet up or anything similar? Many places do. As well, do you have any hobbies, could you join any groups where you would meet more people? And a unitarian church is an option, and @florduhis right, don't stand for the emotional manipulation, you make your own choices and you shouldn't let other people have a say in what you choose or don't choose to do socially, do what makes you happy.

I'll never find myself in a church again, or any other place where they talk about God. Now maybe they don't mean God as I've understood it through my formerly fundamentalist Christian perspective, but my brain still deciphers it that way, and any place that could perhaps feed me more fairly tales is off the list. I'd much rather go to some humanist gathering where I can talk about real issues that matter to me, or find more time for the things that I wasn't allowed to do on Sunday because of it being the lords day and all that. And there are a LOT of them, it'll take me a lifetime of Sundays to make up for that :D

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Oh, honey. I know the unknown is scary and it can be intimidating to branch out. I'm curious what advice you would give your child if he/she was struggling to make friends? Would you empower your child to be brave and try new things? All you need to do is go to a Starbucks during church time to find the likeminded! :P

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I have been there with the isolation part, although I do not have children.

 

I would just say, don't be afraid. If you feel you need to go back, then do so.  No shame in it.  See how that works out.

 

I am afraid I do not have good advice as to how to handle your mother.  I can hardly figure that one out myself.  Its possible that a lie might be ethical in certain cases. In the meantime you can simply say you don't want to discuss the subject.  That has worked for me for a number of years.

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I'm going to also give you the same advice my therapist gave me today, because it's intimidating going out there and doing things and meeting people, when your main focus on socializing has been a church community. Baby steps, one at a time, don't try to leap in. Start with brainstorming ways in which you could meet like-minded people and don't push yourself too hard, but slowly you will start building a social network for the one you lost. I'm starting with book clubs and things like that, you won't find me jumping into a party right away. And ((hugs)) Lydie, most of us here know exactly what you are talking about when you talk about that loneliness. You can also try our online chat room for socializing, that has been such a good thing for me.

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Here's the wonderful thing about freeing yourself from the burden that is religion - you can do whatever you want/need as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else!  If you need to go back for a time, do it!  Nobody will think ill of you here.  The only judgement you will face you have already faced from your family when you left before.  Yes it's hard, but you no longer have to please anyone but yourself.  Do what YOU need to do and don't worry what anyone else thinks.  It took many of us, myself included, many years to finally cut the last apron strings.  Do what you need to do for yourself, but remember the friendships are not likely to be real and it will bug you to know that.  

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Nobody said leaving religion is easy, because it isn't. It's difficult & it takes time, sometimes years to truly break free. Religion comes with a lot of baggage & it's difficult to get rid of all that garbage.

 

Are you leaving for theological reasons or for other reasons? I believe it's extremely important to know why you're leaving. I left religion because I studied & researced the origins & evolution of both the bible & the Christian faith. That study convinced me that it simply is not true. The people you read about in the bible were generally not real people.They are characters in a story & I'm convinced Jesus was just a literary figure too. The stories you read about in the bible are just that....stories, they were not real historical events. It's a big fairy tale disguised as a religion.

 

Some people just can't let go & that's fine as long as you don't take religion seriously. As others have noted some folks come & go many times before they make a decision one way or the other. I think most people eventually leave once they find out the truth about the bible & the Christian Faith but that often takes a lot of time to make that decision.

 

You have to do what you feel is best for you & you can always change your mind....as often as need be. :)

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Hey, @Lydie,

 

Thinking ill of you for "going back" would be like the pot calling the kettle black!

 

I Went back in the Summer of 2015 because Mrs. MOHO's pastor said I just needed to give my life to jebus and he (jebus) would do the rest.

 

IT WORKED!

For about 20 minutes I was on top of the world.

Then reality, logic, reason, history, and science started creeping in around the edges.

 

I don't think it was 2 weeks before I began searching the Interwebs for content that would assist me in keeping the faith.

Then, of course, I found this site - again - where I had posted my extimony a year before.

 

I began to read here and read content from recommended books and the journey free dot org site.

That little trickle of reality became a flood and I felt compelled to to come out AGAIN!

 

As far as socializing goes the folks I met at Mrs. MOHO's church are some of the kindest, most decent folks I have encountered in my 11 years in Oregon. I don't hang out with any of them, though, because it's just jebus this and scripture that. Mrs. MOHO is so over-the-top addicted to religion that I don't need any more that shit!

 

I'm a scream'n introvert though so I don't really need to socialize anyway.

 

Just letting you know you are not alone and that no one is judging you for listening to whatever is nagging at you. Just be advised that, once you are enlightened, there is no true "going back". I think you already know this deep down inside. ;)

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