VerbosityCat

Will I ever stop being angry?

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I'm not angry all the time. I think that's an improvement. But it's been 2 decades since I left Christianity and I'm still angry. My anger isn't even rational. I'm not even angry about shit that has happened in my lifetime. The stuff I'm angry about happened a thousand years ago. I just wish history had taken a different turn, that Christianity had never grown to the monolith it is and that everybody still had a sense of where they came from in a real way. I feel a very real sense of loss over "what could have been".

 

And it's possible, even likely, that I'm conflating things. After all, whether or not Christianity ever happened, if my family had been secular I wouldn't have these feelings. I just feel like the world could be so much better.

 

I don't feel like everybody has to be atheist, though I would be very happy with a world in which "unaffiliated" was the largest religion. Or one where everybody kept all their spiritual feelz to themselves and a very small circle of their closest friends. I could feel good about most people being "spiritual but not religious", but I really just wish all organized religion would die in a fire. Specifically the abrahamic monotheisms. It's one thing to have some spiritual beliefs, it's another thing to think you have some universalist truth that applies to all people in all places and you just happen to follow the one true god. The amount of violence, bloodshed, destruction of cultures these religions have caused is beyond the pale.

 

I really don't want to spend the rest of my life angry about this but I'm not sure how NOT to be angry about it. Maybe it would help if I looked at all the progress. The west is a LOT less religious and Christian than it was overall. I can walk down the street as "not a christian" without being murdered. But I hate that that is the bar for "good."

 

I think I just have a really bad habit of thinking once I'm ready for something to be a certain way then the entire world should just fall in line with that. And I'm really not sure how to "be" in the world as it is. It probably doesn't help that I'm in the bible belt. I think if I lived in a more secular area this probably wouldn't get to me but moving is off the table.

 

Am I ever going to just "get over" this? I mean it's great that the fear part is gone and has been gone for a LONG time. But the anger and annoyance part feels like it won't ever go. I hate having to bite my tongue every time someone I care about says something ridiculous about Jesus. I hate even having to be around people who believe in Jesus because of all the baggage that comes with that.

 

Has anyone else been out of Christianity for a LONG time and yet still angry about this shit? And I mean I don't want to imply that I'm in some constant state of anger or that it's seriously impacting my life on a day-to-day basis. It isn't. There are just little "flare-ups". This latest one is inspired by my mother trying to bring me back to Jesus again a few weeks ago. Maybe it's because these attempts actually are less frequent but I think I get more irritated by them every time they happen because the longer time that goes between these little come to jesus eruptions, the more I feel like 'okay good this is over' but then it's not. And it's really just wearing me down.

 

 

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I've been an atheist for 6 years now. (I'm 58 years old.) No, it isn't 20 years, but I'm still mad. Maybe it's because I'm still finding out things about the history, so it keeps getting stirred up. I'm also semi-closeted, so I'm exposed to it more often than I'd like to be. (Long story told elsewhere.)

 

I'm currently reading Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now. I didn't realize until I started this book that "Romanticism" was backlash against the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers were showing the world that the only way to be certain of anything was through empiricism. The Romantics said "no no no no no! Feelings are just as relevant!"

 

We were in the Nordic Museum in Seattle a few months ago and there on the wall was a plaque mentioning this!

 

But things really are better now. It's just that we have a long way to go, and we've been moving the wrong direction for a few years now. But over time we've been going in the right direction, so hopefully the course reversal isn't permanent. I don't think it is... it's we baby boomers and the Gen-Xers who are messing things up right now. The younger generations aren't falling for this shit.

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I'm at least 20 years out but I never had any great anger. I was a bit ashamed and disappointed in myself for making a lapse in judgment and turning off intellect in favor of emotion. But it happens. Whatever happens, you learn some shit along the way. Anger is a waste of time.

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@Cat987,

 

I'm thinking that, given the state of large sections of the world where religion drives so much of the social fabric, that it is OK to be angry. Each day we have to listen to, and are impacted by, those who really believe that their sky daddy is, not only in control, but does things on their behalf. It stand to reason that those individuals, and groups, are narcissistic control-freak bullies. It also stands to reason why some of us are so uncomfortable around them. They need to control and they achieve this control using shit that you and I know is not real and is easily disrupted. 

 

What I am saying here is I'm thinking your anger is less related to what religion did to you over 20 years ago, or the impact it had to society 2k years ago, than what is IS DOING today.

 

Not only do they not have legitimate authority over us but the groupthink and social pressures are  all around us every day. Perhaps I'm overstating the impact because I live the the Bible Belt of the Pacific Northwest, but that is my world and,  perhaps, it is yours as well. 

 

I too wonder what things would be like if ,during the enlightenment period,  religion was done away with on a large scale. Then again I ponder things like - is Mrs. MOHO's embrace of the doctrine simply masking her need for authority? Would her fundamentalist nature be satiated by something even worse?   :Hmm:

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1 hour ago, Lerk said:

 

But things really are better now. It's just that we have a long way to go, and we've been moving the wrong direction for a few years now. But over time we've been going in the right direction, so hopefully the course reversal isn't permanent. I don't think it is... it's we baby boomers and the Gen-Xers who are messing things up right now. The younger generations aren't falling for this shit.

 

Ha! You're right! :P I'm gen X on the cusp of Millennial. And yes, my age and younger tends to be not very religious. And even when they are it's just not "the same way" as earlier generations. Like my brother considers himself a somewhat conservative Christian. He was raised fundie like me but he attends a different church in a different city now and he doesn't really believe in hell. He's totally cool with my views/beliefs. He doesn't really believe in  hell and he's not raising his kids with that shit. He has friends of multiple religions as well as friends who are gay. (and these aren't "tokens" but genuine friends who he does not look down on, or judge, or think are "wrong" or "sinful".) So even inside of Christianity itself, the younger generations really are changing dramatically in how they view things. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's like a thousand times better than my mom's Christianity or my grandparents'.

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

I'm at least 20 years out but I never had any great anger. I was a bit ashamed and disappointed in myself for making a lapse in judgment and turning off intellect in favor of emotion. But it happens. Whatever happens, you learn some shit along the way. Anger is a waste of time.

 

You're right it is. I have to let it go. This is the hardest emotion for me to process which is really weird because I always thought it would be the fear part.

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Actually, I'm not so sure that anger is a waste of time.  It can be one hell of a motivator, a guardian against apathy.  From where I stand, nothing wrong with anger - it's what you do with it that matters.

I rather hope that I will always be more than just a touch narked by oppressive nature of Christianity - be it historical or current.

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1 hour ago, MOHO said:

@Cat987,

 

I'm thinking that, given the state of large sections of the world where religion drives so much of the social fabric, that it is OK to be angry. Each day we have to listen to, and are impacted by, those who really believe that their sky daddy is, not only in control, but does things on their behalf. It stand to reason that those individuals, and groups, are narcissistic control-freak bullies. It also stands to reason why some of us are so uncomfortable around them. They need to control and they achieve this control using shit that you and I know is not real and is easily disrupted. 

 

What I am saying here is I'm thinking your anger is less related to what religion did to you over 20 years ago, or the impact it had to society 2k years ago, but what is IS DOING today.

 

Not only do they not have legitimate authority over us but the groupthink and social pressures are  all around us every day. Perhaps I'm overstating the impact because I live the the Bible Belt of the Pacific Northwest, but that is my world and,  perhaps, it is yours as well. 

 

I too wonder what things would be like if ,during the enlightenment period,  religion was done away with on a large scale. Then again I ponder things like - is Mrs. MOHO's embrace of the doctrine simply masking her need for authority? Would her fundamentalist nature be satiated by something even worse?   :Hmm:

 

Yeah it's a lot harder to get rid of the fundamentalism than it is the christianity. The former is something rooted in your personality more deeply that requires more in depth personal work IMO to be rid of. Like you see people leave fundie christianity just to become fundie about their new philosophy be it another religion or no religion. The dogmatic trait is the real underlying problem.

 

I didn't realize the pacific northwest HAD a bible belt. But yes I'm in the bible belt (the south one that everybody knows about).  And there is probably a lot of truth to what you say. It is CURRENTLY affecting me. That's why it wears me down. If something is truly in the past you can start to really heal from it. But it's like picking at a scab. I mean I'm nowhere near where I was during early deconversion. That was a nightmare.  But at the same time, it's this soup I'm swimming in. Church on every corner. Dealing with Christians on a semi-regular basis. Having occasional "come back to Jesus" attempts by certain family members. And those family members are the ones I can't talk to about any of my problems because they see it as a weakness they can exploit to bring me back to Jesus. (I mean they are not consciously this manipulative and gross. It's a subconscious thing I'm quite sure, but it still makes it impossible to have a relationship with some of them.)

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27 minutes ago, Cat987 said:

 

Ha! You're right! :P I'm gen X on the cusp of Millennial. And yes, my age and younger tends to be not very religious. And even when they are it's just not "the same way" as earlier generations. Like my brother considers himself a somewhat conservative Christian. He was raised fundie like me but he attends a different church in a different city now and he doesn't really believe in hell. He's totally cool with my views/beliefs. He doesn't really believe in  hell and he's not raising his kids with that shit. He has friends of multiple religions as well as friends who are gay. (and these aren't "tokens" but genuine friends who he does not look down on, or judge, or think are "wrong" or "sinful".) So even inside of Christianity itself, the younger generations really are changing dramatically in how they view things. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's like a thousand times better than my mom's Christianity or my grandparents'.

 

Hey, that's good to know!

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8 minutes ago, Tsathoggua9 said:

 

Hey, that's good to know!

 

My brother and I were definitely both harmed by fundamentalism though. As in, we are aware that we were harmed by it. I know this is definitely a trend, but I'm not sure if it is a stronger trend among those who "know" they've been harmed. Because I do still see some younger fundies running around oblivious. But maybe they just haven't hit that breakaway point yet. If one is under their parents' roof it's pretty difficult to assert one's spiritual independence.

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Anger, like any other emotion, is a choice you make.  It is entirely up to you if and when you choose to let it go.

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I probably deconverted 12-14 years ago? I still struggle with anger, although I can say my anger is less than what it used to be. It helps to be in a more secular region, but this is a very religious country nonetheless. You never get far from Xianity here~

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20 minutes ago, DestinyTurtle said:

I probably deconverted 12-14 years ago? I still struggle with anger, although I can say my anger is less than what it used to be. It helps to be in a more secular region, but this is a very religious country nonetheless. You never get far from Xianity here~

 

That's true. And my anger is less than what it used to be also. It flares up every now and then, particularly when someone in my family does the "hard sell" for Christianity. I guess I really naively believed eventually my family would just "get over it and move on" And really it's just my mother and grandparents (Her parents). Despite being pretty conservative Christian, my dad's side of the family is just... weirdly pagan is the only way I can describe it. We had a big Easter "feast" would not be an exaggeration and the whole thing was more bunnies and eggs and flowers and family than it was baby Jesus. Jesus wasn't really mentioned once. Outside of praying over dinner everything they do seems more secular to me. It may be because on my dad's side there are people of all political persuasions as well as many different religious viewpoints. Most of them are Christians but so many different denominations are represented that there is just this respect for everybody's views and "family comes first" over whatever views you hold. For this reason on my dad's side, we can discuss politics and religion and people don't start screaming and flipping out.

 

So I guess instead of being annoyed by 3 people on my mom's side of the family and angry that those conversion attempts keep happening, I should be grateful my dad's side is so cool. (Christians and all.) This is where I really should be seeing the glass as half full. Might help the anger a LOT.

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