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Learnagain

Are atheists happy

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I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

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Leaving Christianity is a difficult process for most people. Some struggle for years because they can no longer believe in Christianity but have trouble living without a god in their lives.

 

On the other hand, many of our members were unhappy as Christians and have found a happiness and peace outside of Christianity that they never experienced before.  Some consider themselves atheists, others don’t. 

 

Speaking  for myself, I was pretty happy as a Christian and I’m still happy as an atheist.  Actually I’d say I’m happier overall because of no longer having to wrestle with the conflicts and other dilemmas of believing Christian theology and dogma. 

 

Leaving Christianity and a church community can leave some feeling isolated.  We are social animals so a community like this one is very valuable for those who no longer have it. 

 

People who are just beginning to question the truth of Christianity can be really put off - even scared - by atheism.  I was.  I never imagined I could ever become atheist.  But that typically changes as we move through the deconversion process.  Now I’m more confident and comfortable as an atheist than I ever was as a Christian.  

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2 hours ago, Learnagain said:

I've been away from church for about 6 years. I work as an ICU nurse. I was a very serious Christian and as far as morality, I was way more moral. My standards of integrity are much higher I find unfortunately than a lot of people I encounter. Many lie, only care about themselves, dont spend time with their children, and have unhappy marriages. When I was a Christian not all but most of my friends that were serious Christians had an underlying resilience in them, and a drive to please God that made them have more integrity than most. Before you mention the fear of he'll being the driving force. I always believed gods love was way deeper than this and that my trying to please God should come from a place of reciprocating love, not fear. Just like a positive relationship with a parent or spouse we please them because we love them not because if fear.

Why do you believe God's love is so deep? It's so deep that he couldn't forgive a woman who ate an apple from an apple tree, and he decided that all of us would suffer for this and supposedly be born sinful, and that we require saving through his sacrificing himself. If we don't accept this, we suffer eternal torture. Love? What love?

 

 

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7 hours ago, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

 

Well, you could return to Christianity and avoid this website. Why did you leave Christianity?

 

I'm not sure how one compares levels of happiness, really. I do know that I was tired of fear, shame and guilt from the bible and my Pentecostal church indoctrination. I wasn't any happier before or  during my time as a fool for Jesus. It was nice to let myself out of the absurd mental prison of Christianity, though.

 

I also know that the people I went to church with put on this fake joyful persona during the service, yet I'm pretty sure all that crap evaporated when they went home. People are people are people. Just because someone calls himself a Christian/atheist/agnostic doesn't mean they get bestowed with some sort of bliss....or anti-bliss. :) Someone can be miserable as a Christian (read: ex-wife) and Jesus aint gonna fix that.

 

Churches like to guilt people into doing what they feel is important, such as being a great parent or spouse. It seems artificial, to me. My wife and I are both happy agnostics in part because we aren't listening to some rabid fundy nut tell us the cookie cutter way that husbands and wives should behave. We do what works for us, not what the bible or Christbots think is best.  

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News flash: there are unhappy and unhappy people. Whether they are Christian,or atheist, or something else entirely is simply beside the point. Also, one does not have to be 'connected' to (biological) family to be happy. I've noticed from many years within Christianity that 'connection' often spells family dysfunction/unhealthy boundary issues/violations. Also, one major reason for atheists not to be happy with family life is completely valid: if their family doesn't accept them and who they are, can they feel completely happy about that?

Speaking from personal experience, I'm less connected to the people around me out of necessity. I'm also much happier.

 

So, I'd ask, how are you defining happiness? I get the feeling you are still very influenced by all the messaging you were given within Christianity regarding atheists. What I would do is ask people themselves, and think a little about how you define happiness.

Also, have we been a bad influence? There are a lot of atheists here.

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4 hours ago, Learnagain said:

I've been away from church for about 6 years. I work as an ICU nurse. I was a very serious Christian and as far as morality, I was way more moral. My standards of integrity are much higher I find unfortunately than a lot of people I encounter. Many lie, only care about themselves, dont spend time with their children, and have unhappy marriages. When I was a Christian not all but most of my friends that were serious Christians had an underlying resilience in them, and a drive to please God that made them have more integrity than most. Before you mention the fear of he'll being the driving force. I always believed gods love was way deeper than this and that my trying to please God should come from a place of reciprocating love, not fear. Just like a positive relationship with a parent or spouse we please them because we love them not because if fear.

 

You can still have a high standard of morality and not believe in Jesus. You can be honest, care about others, spend time with the kids and have a happy marriage. As a non-Christian you can also ignore some rather absurd notions of morality (sin) which are impossible to keep and cause no harm anyway. You just need to allow yourself to believe that it is possible.

 

I like your thinking that God's love ought to be a positive relationship .... love for the sake of nurturing, not to avoid hell. Christianity doesn't have to be my past experience, or your past experience, or what the bible says, or what a church says ... it could be whatever you decide you want it to be. Just allow it to be. :) 

 

Maybe God could be seen as a helpful friend or parent (like you said) that wants to see you succeed....and not some angry old man that floods the earth. :)

 

You should do and be and believe (or dont believe) whatever feels 'right' to you. Be creative. Be different.

 

 

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People are as they are.  What they believe is largely incidental.

Happy people tend to make happy atheists, and happy theists, for that matter.

Unhappy people tend to be unhappy regardless of their belief structure as well.

 

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On 12/9/2018 at 2:10 PM, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them

That's the indoctrination...right...THERE!

 

On 12/9/2018 at 2:10 PM, Learnagain said:

Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

That's because so many of us have had our family members and former circle of friends disown us and/or tell us we are pieces of shit for thinking. This goes for the ex-deist atheists, of course. 

 

How a wife could tell here husband this but still stick around is interesting. Probably because I pay for everything. 

 

Thanx, @Learnagain. Now I feel like a schmuck. Thanx a whole hell of of lot.  :yelrotflmao:

I hope you sleep tonight. :P

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On 12/9/2018 at 4:10 PM, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

 

I don't know what non-Christians you've been around, but that isn't my experience at all! It's possible, if they're younger (in their 20s, perhaps?), that they aren't as ready for family as Christians of the same age would be, because in (conservative) Christian culture getting married and having children as soon as possible is often the norm. But that's also why Christian marriages end in divorce more often than non-believers' marriages... they simply occur too early in life and are accompanied by the struggles of money problems and a general lack of life experience (meaning that they often choose a mate from who is available at the time, rather than choosing someone they can live with the rest of their lives).

I don't know if that's what you're seeing or not, but it's a possibility.

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I can only speak for myself here. 

 

I was "unhappy" during the period of time that I couldn't decide if I was a Christian or not. The fear, questioning, bitterness/anger, anxiety, emotional instability were all factors that contributed to being "unhappy" when I first deconverted.

 

Now that I am out and have been for a little longer, I am SO much happier. I have goals that either encourage or discourage me, I have not great days like everyone. But overall, yes I am VERY happy. I don't judge people anymore. The "morality below my own" bit I used to believe has turned into a "we're just different, we have completely different backgrounds, and we don't have to be friends if we don't mesh." I don't constantly feel guilty/ashamed/repentant for NORMAL behaviors like enjoying a secular song, saying a cuss word, gossiping about an annoying person, worrying about the future, finding a hot guy attractive, etc.

 

I also don't feel like a piece of crap for trying to DEFEND the things "god thinks/believes" that I personally sort of disagreed with. I always used to "defer" this discomfort to "I am just not god, I don't have the whole picture like he does" or whatever. No. I can be friends with a gay person, I don't have to defend god's attitudes on women/rape/submission/slavery/sin if I don't want to. I didn't lose my morality, but it did change a little as I realized how arbitrary it all is. The "black and white" nature of behavior has gone away, I feel like I can see shades of grey and freely try to understand another person's plight; try to do something to help, not cop out with "prayers." 

 

Frankly, I'm friends with a lot of christians still. If I were a Christian, I would think they were not focusing on "dying to the flesh" enough and would judge them. They probably aren't even the type of christian I was, I really tried to follow Paul when he says "And shall I keep on sinning? NO!" They drink and get tipsy, cuss, some smoke pot, others are having premarital sex, the list of behaviors that I used to judge goes on. It's nice not having to manage other people's values and judging them on what god would think.  

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First, not all non-Christians are atheist. Second, I have come to the opposite conclusion regarding happiness.

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It sounds to me like the religious indoctrination you were likely subjected to is still influencing you Learnagain. I’ve been out of religion for several years now, and I haven’t found non-religious people to be any more or less moral than religious people. Speaking only for myself,  I am decidedly more happy being away from religion than I was when I was a Christian.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

 

It depends on what kind of atheists and / or non-christians you're talking about. As in what type of stage are these atheists and / or ex christians at? Are they in an angry mad at the world type of stage? That stage can pass by, but it can also just as easily consume someone and last the rest of their lives. It just depends on the person. I realize that atheists and atheism get a tremendously bad public reputation a lot of the time. Often not without reason, because a lot of the dialogue is emotionally charged, or at least the dialogue that seems to get the most attention. 

 

long story short, you're broad brushing the situation too much. If the only non christian and / or atheist people that you know are less happy people and seem less connected, then maybe they are not the best people to hang around. But if you want to understand ex christians and / or atheists in a less broad stroking stereo typical manner, just trying conversing with some of the different personality types around here at the forums. There's a descent mix of personalities who represent both. Not everyone's militant. Not everyone's worshiping science as a replacement for religion. Not everyone's disconnected from family. And most importantly, not everyone's an immoral dreg of society either....

 

Just poke around a little and take in the bigger picture if you'd like. 

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I've been away from church for about 6 years. I work as an ICU nurse. I was a very serious Christian and as far as morality, I was way more moral. My standards of integrity are much higher I find unfortunately than a lot of people I encounter. Many lie, only care about themselves, dont spend time with their children, and have unhappy marriages. When I was a Christian not all but most of my friends that were serious Christians had an underlying resilience in them, and a drive to please God that made them have more integrity than most. Before you mention the fear of he'll being the driving force. I always believed gods love was way deeper than this and that my trying to please God should come from a place of reciprocating love, not fear. Just like a positive relationship with a parent or spouse we please them because we love them not because if fear.

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I was deliriously happy as a young Christian. The further I got into what I consider "the cult", the more despondent I became at the injustice of the Yahweh character. It was a bolt of sanity and groundedness when I finally realized that the cult was a cult.

 

I feel anxious and depressed about our political situation from time to time, and I'm not crazy about my decaying early old man's body. But for me, that is no comparison to the existential despair of being in a system of worship of what I could only conclude was an unjust god.

 

If you have not checked out the marine's testimony, it's worth listening to. He goes into this problem of happiness in or out of Christianity.

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39 minutes ago, Learnagain said:

My standards of integrity are much higher I find unfortunately than a lot of people I encounter. Many lie, only care about themselves, dont spend time with their children, and have unhappy marriages.

 

I know a lot of christians who fit this bill. And some atheists. In fact, a lot of my christian school teachers and preachers were just like this. So it's a human being type of selfishness gene more than a religious or non-religious issue. 

 

39 minutes ago, Learnagain said:

When I was a Christian not all but most of my friends that were serious Christians had an underlying resilience in them, and a drive to please God that made them have more integrity than most. Before you mention the fear of he'll being the driving force. I always believed gods love was way deeper than this and that my trying to please God should come from a place of reciprocating love, not fear. Just like a positive relationship with a parent or spouse we please them because we love them not because if fear.

 

No matter how you try and spin it to yourself, I'm sure you must realize, at least deep down, that fear of hell is always a driving force. Whether or not obedience ought to be from fear or love, the myth is giving you a clear cut choice - love god or burn in hell. It's very cut and dry. 

 

The looming question being, how loving is it to present someone with a choice like that? 

 

 

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2 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Why do you believe God's love is so deep? It's so deep that he couldn't forgive a woman who ate an apple from an apple tree, and he decided that all of us would suffer for this and supposedly be born sinful, and that we require saving through his sacrificing himself. If we don't accept this, we suffer eternal torture. Love? What love?

 

 

I would say I believed at that time that God's love was so deep, because I felt loved. Many things turned entirely around for me when I became a Christian. I eventually stopped believing in Christian theology, in short, due to my experiences as a hospice nurse. I came to realize that a god of love could never be that narrow minded and send a person to hell for their beliefs. Eventually I left Christianity altogether.

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17 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

People who are just beginning to question the truth of Christianity can be really put off - even scared - by atheism.  I was.  I never imagined I could ever become atheist.  But that typically changes as we move through the deconversion process.  Now I’m more confident and comfortable as an atheist than I ever was as a Christian.  

I had a lot of misconceptions about atheists, and all of them introduced by the church. But luckily when I left the church, I also left behind caring about what kind of conception people had about me, and what I believed. I really cared too much about all of that when I was in the church. So I suppose I had no problem with being labeled an atheist - if people want to judge me negatively for that, then they're just operating with the same misconceptions and stereotypes they've been fed their whole lives, which is actually a pretty good indicator for me that I don't want to have much to do with them.

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With over a billion atheists in the world the group is far too large to categorise in any way.  Just like there are good and bad Christians, bad and very bad muslims, there are good/bad, happy/sad, rich/poor, black/white... 

Atheists don't believe in god, but everything else is up for debate.

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I have been soooooooo much happier over the last eight years.   Not even close.  Sooooo wish I could get the previous 25 years.  

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Much happier since I realized that I wasn't so innately evil that I deserved to burn in hell for eternity and that I didn't have to try to pacify a god who created me and then threatened me with eternal punishment if I failed at that.  It's amazing what a burden is lifted when you aren't concerned if the bad things that happen to you and your loved ones are caused by sinning or not praying enough or in the right way.  As several folks have already said, there are happy people and unhappy people in every group and no one is happy all the time, but I am living proof that you don't need religion to live a happy life, and a non-religious life is one without a lot of the guilt and conflict that go with many religions.  

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On 12/9/2018 at 5:10 PM, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

 

To answer the question in the title: Are atheists happy?

 

I feel happier and freer now that I don't have to somehow relate to an invisible intangible unknowable entity. It takes too much energy to have the "right feelings" of respect, love, worship, and thankfulness toward an entity whose existence one can't perceive somehow with the senses, intellect, or emotions--let alone trust and have faith in this entity. 

 

As for feeling connected with the people around them, that is a matter of choice. I find there are atheists who don't want community. I myself want community but I'm very particular what kind of people I "connect" with. It has taken me a very long time but I have made connections. I feel deeply connected with the people who really are true friends, some atheist, some deeply religious, others never mention their beliefs so I don't know. 

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Well, *I'm* happy.  I have a great family, financial security, a fantastic job where I'm learning something new almost every day, and extracurricular activities (music, writing and astronomy) that regularly bring me in touch with hundreds of people.

 

If something you previously loved suddenly vanishes from your life and you just sit alone at home feeling sorry for yourself, you probably would feel rather unhappy.  It's important to get out there and get involved in things you enjoy doing, making use of time that was previously wasted on church activities.

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I have always been a happy person.

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On 12/9/2018 at 5:10 PM, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 


I've met horrible atheists at the same rate that I've met horrible Christians.  I've also met people who were unhappy and disconnected on both sides.  The reason you might notice that we seem unfulfilled is because we're open and honest about it.  The last church I attended was filled to the brim with believers who's lives were not going anywhere.  They were good at hiding this fact behind the veneer of God's timing, purpose, or some other nonsense.  They weren't really allowed to display unhappiness or discontent.  This frequently spilled out during prayer groups.

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On 12/9/2018 at 5:10 PM, Learnagain said:

I am still fearful that non Christians will be a bad influence on me if I hang around them. Most of them don't seem as happy about family life and seem less connected with the people around them. 

My family feels the same way and honestly that is why I will never confide how I really feel.  More than likely you are surrounded by people who don’t share your same belief about god.  Even people whom you think do have a differing view of that same god.  No two people think exactly alike even about the same topic which they agree upon.  Anyhow,  people are people.  Religion does not make a person moral.  Telling a person they must not do something that is obviously wrong just because of a belief system in a being that will punish them does not create a moral compass.  Everyone has the capacity within themselves to do good and not so good things.   Claiming you have a relationship with any god does not allow a person to claim a moral high ground.  To do so, belittles others around you.  Stop viewing those who do not hold your same beliefs as immoral.  I do not need an ancient book to tell me right from wrong.  How do people learn these things without being told or taught these things?  Well they can be taught in other ways or told by other facets of society that are not particularly religious like laws and societal norms.  I do not need however even a law to tell me that taking another person’s life is wrong.  The only time I would personally condone that is self defense and really even then I myself might have a difficult time carrying it out.  I mean it’s common sense.  

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