Mandy

Maybe Atheist

Recommended Posts

Hi, I am Mandy.  I recently submitted a full fledged introduction on the main website but it’s yet to be posted. I introduced myself as agnostic but I’m thinking that if I were honest with myself and others I would label myself atheist.  I know I don’t label myself as Christian which is what I was brought up in.

 

I accepted Christ at age 12 and started the long process of giving it all up, beginning to shake it off at around age 20.  I’m 39 now and honestly this shit is taking too long to escape fully.  I want it out of my head, out of my life completely.  The guilt and the irrational fears have caused more than enough damage in my life.

 

I don’t know why I find it so difficult to say I’m atheist and why agnostic seems more comfortable to me.  Maybe saying I don’t know is easier than I don’t believe.  I mean because can I still be considered an atheist if I also say there’s a possibility there could be some sort of god? Also I think I refrain from using the word atheist simply because it feels like commitment.  I feel like I’ve sat on the fence from the beginning lol so jumping to one side fully is strange.  I always knew which side I would fall on though, lol.

 

 I’m watching Matt Dillahunty now on YouTube speaking on Atheist Debates about hell.  Wow that was powerful.  I have enjoyed watching his videos.  Anyhow hi everyone and sorry I seem so scattered about. My mind seems to be all over the place lately with thoughts and emotions.  

 

I used to come to this website 16 years ago after my first daughter was born but haven’t been back since. I was thinking the other day, I should see if that website still exists.  I’m so glad to see it does and that it has grown.  I’m glad to find myself back here.  

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Keeping this site online isn't free, so we need your support! Make a one-time donation or choose one of the recurrent patron options by clicking here.



I also wanted to add that if I don’t post a lot here or contribute don’t think I’m still not lurking around reading and enjoying the things others post.  A couple years back though I deleted all of my social media platforms and haven’t used them since.   This is actually the first place I’ve posted anything online since then.  I used to share a lot on those websites and years ago I shared a lot here at this forum.  I also kept an online journal at diary x.  For me it’s been great leading a more personal life.  I am enjoying it.  I plan on sharing here of course but just wanted to warn you all that it may be sparse or erratic. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well,

 

About the atheist/agnostic linguistic issue

You seem to talk about a personal psychological element of this. I am not qualified nor do I know you enough to give an opinion. I could recommend seeing a therapist, this has helped understand and improve elements of my life. Caution in choosing one however. Bad things may happen. As others have said here, the book of Marlene Winell , Leaving the fold, and her articled on her website may help you understand more, and of course why and how things are so difficult to give up. As said, do not take everything at face value, but she has some good points about certain problems. Again,it helped me in some ways.  Also the personal testimonies and forum members may be able to help you more than me, having greater experience. 

 

The logical element is a little easier to clarify. Atheist  comes from the negation "a" and "theist" ( which comes from the Greek word for God, even modern Greeks when they refer to God, is "Theos"). It means a lack of belief in a certain kind of supernatural being, usually the anthropomorphic/personal kind. So, if you do not believe in such a thing, you are an atheist. But belief is not such an easy thing to actually understand, because there are degrees, questions, doubts. It is not such a rigid and clear factor in the human psyche. But, on a whole, that it is. So, believing in a kind of uniting creation force and being an atheist is not contradictory.

 

Agnostic, again is formed from the negation "a" and "gnostic" ( this word meant knowledge in Ancient Greek, and some form of it may be found in modern Greek as well). It means a lack of knowledge. If you do not know ( it depends in how you define knowledge) if God exists, that may mean agnostic. You can be both an agnostic and an atheist. They respond to different questions. What do you believe vs What do you know? Most people are the same. And it is important to know what the question is. I mean you can be atheist and also quite sure that the Christian God does not exist, so you are NOT agnostic about Christianity, but you ARE agnostic on the idea of a supreme being. 

 

Bart Ehrman says something like this somewhere. 

 

It is important for you to clearly define what you mean, because these words can mean several things. There are many terms like strong/weak atheist, antitheist, materialist, idealist, skeptic. Not all atheist have the same viewpoint. 

 

Research usually helps. It if you do not know (agnostic) maybe searching materials may give the required knowledge to give an answer. For example, you read Christian theology from several denomination and refutations of these by other religions and philosophers, Church and Bible History, psychology, linguistics, physics etc. That is what I am trying to do anyway. Also conversations with freethinkers, atheists, Christians, Buddhists, etc. For me this journey, although hard, is very rewarding. 

 

Stefan

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, Mandy...glad you could join us :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much Stefan for that wonderful explanation.   I am going to continue researching the subject.  A part of me has just tried to kind of ignore it all for years because I don’t want to be entrenched in the subject too deeply.  While I think it’s a valuable subject to research for some purposes there’s another part of me that feels I have wasted a lot of my time on it all.   I compare it to quitting drinking or something of that nature and still continuing to spend your life in recovery. While often necessary, I feel I wasted enough of my life on the addiction, I don’t want to allow it to consume too much more of my life.  Even if it is beneficial.  I hope that makes some sense.  

 

 Based on what’s been presented in my life thus far atheist fits the description pretty well for me.  I don’t believe in any god or gods so that makes me an atheist.  I however won’t deny the possibility of some sort of god existing although I personally find it unlikely based on current knowledge. I guess I just have a hard time actually applying that term to myself for whatever reason.  Definitely some hardcore negative connotations associated with the word itself indoctrinated into my mind that I must get over. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks also Derek! 😊

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Mandy said:

Thanks so much Stefan for that wonderful explanation.   I am going to continue researching the subject.  A part of me has just tried to kind of ignore it all for years because I don’t want to be entrenched in the subject too deeply.  While I think it’s a valuable subject to research for some purposes there’s another part of me that feels I have wasted a lot of my time on it all.   I compare it to quitting drinking or something of that nature and still continuing to spend your life in recovery. While often necessary, I feel I wasted enough of my life on the addiction, I don’t want to allow it to consume too much more of my life.  Even if it is beneficial.  I hope that makes some sense.  

 

 Based on what’s been presented in my life thus far atheist fits the description pretty well for me.  I don’t believe in any god or gods so that makes me an atheist.  I however won’t deny the possibility of some sort of god existing although I personally find it unlikely based on current knowledge. I guess I just have a hard time actually applying that term to myself for whatever reason.  Definitely some hardcore negative connotations associated with the word itself indoctrinated into my mind that I must get over. 

 

About the first part. I kind of get what you say, about wanting to get away from it all. At least for a while. The process is different for everyone. But, to continue your analogy about drinking, finding out MORE about HOW the addiction actually works - for example in the case of drugs, how they affect the hormonal systems , helps you accept and overcome it easier and also helps you not relapse in it anymore. Knowledge heals and protects. That is my experience. 

 

And religion is a whole different thing. Because it is so connected to history and human culture and psychology. It is not "just" an addiction. I mean European history in the last 1000 years cannot be understood properly without having if only a superficial grasp of Christianity. So researching this subject will open up vast areas of human knowledge. Even psychologically it is interesting how religions create and maintain communities.  

 

So, again going back to your analogy, if you research drinking from the point of view on how you can drink more and more, that indeed is not only wasteful, but dangerous. Studying for healing and protection is exactly the opposite. So it depends what you actually do.

 

Of course obsessing over it does not help. So it is a matter of intention, method and degrees.

 

I hope you get the peace and understanding that you feel necessary , however and whenever that may come.

 

PS. I for one do not like the term "atheist" because it basically says nothing. It is a denial of a claim, not a claim. It is like a Muslim telling you he's not a Christian. The word says only what you do not believe, not what you actually believe. It is the same with the term "religion". A person can say he is "religious". That means basically nothing, again, because it so vague. Agnostic is the same. 

 

I think the best question is not What you DON'T believe?, but what you DO believe?  That one is pretty different IMHO. I am the process of trying to answer that. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome! I do so hear you on how difficult it can be to overcome the past. I've come to accept my past will always have an impact on me, but I've tried to actively be aware of the negatives and do my best to improve on them. I've had a lot of progress in some areas (irrational fears) but it's very slow progress in others (core identity, recovering from the "you are a bad/sinful/ rotton person" messaging). 

 

Glad to have you with us. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Mandy! 

 

Myrkhoos has it right. Simply put, you can be an agnostic atheist and in fact there are a lot of ex christians who are. For the reasons he's already pointed out. Good job explaining that @Myrkhoos

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been there! Whether you’re atheist or agnostic, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. Nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t know.” I think keeping an open mind and being true to yourself is what’s most important. 

 

Thanks for sharing 😊

 

-Aaron

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to X-Xian, Mandy! You can call yourself whatever you want! Glad you're finding your way out of the irrational fears and anxieties that come with toxic religious beliefs! Hope we can help :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back Mandy. I truly believe you will find this site helpful. All of our stories seem to have similarities, so we understand how difficult it is to get all that indoctrination out of our heads. Our journeys are often long and difficult, especially if we  were associated with some form of Christian fundamentalism. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to EX-C, @Mandy

 

Glad you found us.

Yes, getting all the crap out of your head can be a journey with all the joy, pain, wonder, searching, and enlightenment that you can imagine. 

 

As for the labels...well... as an atheist I'm not 100% certain that there is not god but I'm also not 100% there are no polka-dotted unicorns that fart cotton candy either. I am damn sure, however, that I will not spend my life worrying about either - given the infinitesimally small possibility that they exist.

 

And if the Bible god exists and he gives you absolutely no feedback or communication whatsoever when you are on your knees for hours praying to him/she/it, then why would you worship him/she/it. Also, given all the really really nasty shit that happens in this world there is 0% possibility that the Bible god exists - given that he is supposed to be such a loving being. And don't get hung up on that "he wants YOU to come to HIM" crap either. How many hours did you spend "going" to him?

 

I thought so.

 

Now, chin up. Don't ponder the tiny remaining little remnants of your former indoctrination. Life's too short. 🍸

 

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Mandy.

 

I think it's more important to remove the Christianity from your head than to declare yourself this or that. There's certainly nothing wrong with calling yourself an atheist ... unless it doesn't feel right for you. It is not mandatory to choose a title nor are you required to believe/accept a certain set of rules. I enjoy some pagan ideas, some Buddhist ideas and some atheist ideas. For me titles are somewhat irrelevant and yes they do tend to bring with them the concept that once you decide you are then locked in to that philosophy and must think only that way. That's nonsense. 

 

Anyway, glad you're here.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Mandy! I sure hope you'll stay awhile! I'd like to hear more from you! Glad you are here with us!

 

(hug)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the term atheist easier to explain to people when I ask them if they consider what Thor thinks of their life, or Zeus. Nobody today really gives these old gods much thought, and I doubt anyone fears them. In regards to those gods, everyone is atheist. Just lump in the bible god with the rest of them.

 

Is there something out there? Possibly, but very unlikely anything "anthropomorphic", i.e. made like a human. And if there is something, it hasn't gone out of its way to communicate, so it is safe to not consider anything that seems threatening from your old beliefs. No one is keeping tally about what kind of sex you like, or if you ate some kind of meat that a religion prohibits. Those are tribal taboos, nothing more.

 

Welcome, and I hope you find the mental/emotional freedom you seek.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mandy

 

Welcome... back?

 

Lingering fear is a common theme among ex-Christians, whether it is fear of hell, fear of repercussions from peers and family, or fear of perception which I think the agnostic/atheist distinction plays into. Myself, I've solved that one - I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't know there is no god, but I don't believe in any presented thus far.

 

Matt Dillahunty is very good with his Atheist Debates projects and explains many things very well.

 

Aron Ra is another atheist youtuber very good explaining things, especially topics surrounding science so maybe look him up?

 

Hope you stick around and get the closure you seek from deconversion.

 

LF 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Fuego said:

I found the term atheist easier to explain to people when I ask them if they consider what Thor thinks of their life, or Zeus. Nobody today really gives these old gods much thought,

Really good point, another thing I'm going to adopt when I get the typical horrified response I will if I tell the fam I don't believe in the christian god.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Mandy!

 

Regarding the atheist/agnostic thing, these are just words.  Call yourself whatever makes you happy. You don't believe.  That's the key. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Mandy said:

Thanks for the warm welcomes everyone and here’s a link to the full intro I made on the main website if you want to know more about my background story. 

 

http://new.exchristian.net/2019/01/tired.html?m=1

 

Hi Mandy.  I read your story from your link.  You write quite well and have excellent (and honest) command of your thoughts.

 

God Virus infection is usually accomplished with childhood indoctrination from trusted adults.  It is maintained over time afterwards with additional indoctrination and, quite importantly, from peer pressure from many of those same trusted adults, including family.

 

You have identified, challenged and defeated the indoctrination for the most part.  However, you have not solved the peer pressure part, which is often the more difficult part to solve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sdelsolray said:

 

Hi Mandy.  I read your story from your link.  You write quite well and have excellent (and honest) command of your thoughts.

 

God Virus infection is usually accomplished with childhood indoctrination from trusted adults.  It is maintained over time afterwards with additional indoctrination and, quite importantly, from peer pressure from many of those same trusted adults, including family.

 

You have identified, challenged and defeated the indoctrination for the most part.  However, you have not solved the peer pressure part, which is often the more difficult part to solve.

Thank you for the comments.  I am glad I could convey my message in a way people get me and where I am coming from.  I have said it before and thought I meant it but allowed people to drag me back into the fold.  This time something is different though because I know I won’t go back.  Ever.  The peer pressure part of it all sucks.  All of it sucks but the backlash that follows whether it just be the hypothetical thinking of what I’m going to do in future situations with my family, how I’m going to possibly bite my tongue, and what I’m willing to put up with and endure gives me a headache.  I can’t not think about it either.  I cannot possibly imagine actually telling them the truth and then having to engage with them.  I believe they would basically disown me.  As horrible as that sounds, the worst part for me would be breaking their hearts and causing them grief.  I hate to say it but I feel sorry for them and view their state of mind as damaged.  I know people discourage us from thinking of people who hold religious views as having mental problems but I don’t know.  Maybe my parents and other members of my family have mental issues and that’s topped with religion.  I’m not actually saying it’s causing these issues and I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist so I am not qualified to diagnose someone.  I have just been around these people my whole life and I know the ways they are isn’t exactly the picture of a healthy mind.  The infection is real and the effects are usually long term if not lifelong.  I am determined to not allow this to define me though and I know that I can find healing and peace eventually.  Again thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

                I hear your anguish will say something that you most probably hear from every therapist on the planet. Other's people feelings or thoughts are NOT your responsability. It is healthy and , if you are sensitive person, very intense, to feel empathy for and with somebody's else's pain, bu it is TOXIC to feel dependent or co-dependent. You are basically stealing your identity and theirs in the same time.It is ok to be kind and considerate, but even this has be in moderation. More on this from a professional.

                 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2019 at 2:10 AM, Mandy said:

Hi, I am Mandy.

...

I don’t know why I find it so difficult to say I’m atheist and why agnostic seems more comfortable to me.  Maybe saying I don’t know is easier than I don’t believe.  I mean because can I still be considered an atheist if I also say there’s a possibility there could be some sort of god? Also I think I refrain from using the word atheist simply because it feels like commitment.  I feel like I’ve sat on the fence from the beginning lol so jumping to one side fully is strange.  I always knew which side I would fall on though, lol.

 

Hi, Mandy. Welcome!

 

You can definitely be atheist and agnostic at the same time. "Godless Mom" has a good blog post about it here.

 

I say I am atheist because I'm quite confident that every god people have ever believed in is the product of speculation, not revelation. I might call myself agnostic, because I can't be 100% sure there are no such things as gods. But having said that, I see no reason to believe that any sorts of minds without physical bodies exist, so at this point I'm about ready to quit calling myself agnostic.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Jesus said:

@Mandy 

 

1I’m real, or I wouldn’t be on here talking to you so put the atheist shit to bed here and now or else. 

2After all we went through you’re just going to turn your back on me. Then to add insult to injury you start this atheist nonsense. 3Something didn’t come from nothing, it came from God! 4Repent, return to church, bow down and worship Me; I am worthy of your praise. 

 

-Your Saviour aka Jesus Christ

What?  Can someone tell me if this is a troll or just a fellow member being funny.  Either way, I’m not necessarily in the most humorous patient mood right now. sigh 😔 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now