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Yup. While I never drank the Kool-Aid it was a freeing moment when I realized I was an atheist. No more hedging of the bets.

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It took me a while after realizing I was an atheist to reach the clarity you speak of, but in the years since, yes the mind is less cluttered with negative stuff.

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I found a stillness of mind from the moment I rejected christianity.  Clarity of thought has been a different story for me, though.  Indoctrination from childhood produced a number of defective thinking patterns and I think it will probably take the rest of my life to overcome them.  

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My clarity of thought, I hope, was most often prevalent.

I no longer feel guilty for that. I am now free to judge my own thoughts based on what I myself deem reasonable based on what I read, study, decide.

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Absolutely, yes!
 

Letting go of religious dogma, where so many details of life are dictated, and instead only accepting ideas that make sense to me, was like spring-cleaning my mind.  A lot of clutter removed.  No more trying to reconcile scripture with reality.  Opening up my mind to pre-Christian and non-Christian philosophies to see how to live a better life.  What’s not to love about this?

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14 hours ago, FreeFromGuilt said:

Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? 

 

When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting!

 

Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?

Yep.

 

Quitting Jesus was the hardest thing I have ever done. Now my mind can breath easy.

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Unfortunately I didn't get clarity for some number of years. Because I stopped believing my freshman year while off at christian boarding school. I had to constantly second guess myself because I was literally surrounding by peers and administration thinking that I was an idiot and that I had it completely wrong. Was I wrong? I had to ponder that question over and over again for years before intellectually understanding how correct I had been the entire time based on gut instinct alone. 

 

But yes, some ten years into it I began to reach tremendous clarity which continued on every since.....

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Absolutely! I would talk about wanting “the peace that passes all understanding” and the irony is it took leaving christianity to find it! I still deal with anxiety but it doesn’t come with the religious baggage it did before. It’s no longer something I need to hide in order to avoid getting completely unhelpful (and usually out of context!) bible verses to either tell me to not be anxious or to tell me I’m sinning or not trusting god enough. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I must admit the FREEDOM from all those "talks with God about everything" all day long is refreshing as heck. I'm still in the process of deconversion, in my 9th year if you can believe that, but I'm closer than ever. I have always seen others as savable, I have always wondered about the good people I met who didn't believe, it really bothered me that they were going to hell forever so I would pray for everybody on the street. I truly think that type of Christianity can make you freakin' sick both in body and in the head. So yes, I understand what you are talking about and it feels GRRRRRREat. Keep up the good work.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/29/2020 at 1:10 PM, FreeFromGuilt said:

Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? 

 

When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting!

 

Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?

I know exactly what you mean, everyone who leaves the shackles of Christianity does :)

 

 

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     Yep.  I can't explain it any other way except as a religious OCD.

 

          mwc

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/28/2020 at 10:10 PM, FreeFromGuilt said:

Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? 

 

When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting!

 

Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?


Yes and no. I feel a lot better because the world makes so much more sense. I feel better because I’m better able to see how people really are and to empathize with them. But I live in a world that’s still obsessed with Christianity, where my wife is terrified that people might find out I’m a non-believer, where I have to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship with one of my adult children, and that keeps me coming back here and reading Patheos Nonreligious all of the time. If I were okay, I wouldn’t bother with those things. The conflict in my mind over having to (minimally) pretend is stressful. These last 12-or-so weeks of not having to be at church due to the pandemic have been great!

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33 minutes ago, FreeFromGuilt said:

@Lerk if you are a non-believer why do you still attend church? That would be really hard for me. I'm thankful my husband deconverted at the same time as me

 

 

Yes, pretending you're something you're not is unfair to all parties concerned. Being honest lifts the last burden that religion placed on you. 

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On 4/28/2020 at 8:10 PM, FreeFromGuilt said:

Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? 

 

When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting!

 

Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?

 

Getting sick of apologizing to God for non Christ-like thoughts was the final straw in my deconversion. Yes, it was freeing.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/21/2020 at 8:14 AM, FreeFromGuilt said:

@Lerk if you are a non-believer why do you still attend church? That would be really hard for me. I'm thankful my husband deconverted at the same time as me

 

 

 

Sorry, I've been neglecting Ex-C for awhile, it seems!

 

It's a very long story. Yes, it's hard. I've explained it elsewhere in detail, but to make it short, my family has a very long history in the Non-Institutional Churches of Christ. My mother's parents were members. (My grandfather was a member, and he converted my grandmother who had been a 7th Day Adventist.) He was "out of duty" (church-of-christ-ese for people who haven't been going to church for awhile) but when he got a job in Port Arthur, TX during the depression, a CoC member he worked with got them to going to church again. When my mother married my dad, he was baptized into the CoC shortly thereafter. (His mother was an out-of-duty CoC'er but he had been going to the Baptist church.) And, as expected, I married a member of the NI-CoC, Her dad was a preacher. Consequently, we raised two sons in the CoC, and one of them ended up being a preacher.

 

I was 52 years old when I realized (in church one morning) that it was all bullshit. The best way to make atheists, it is said, is to get Christians to read their Bibles. Of course, CoC'er spend their entire lives studying their Bibles, but there's a lot of spin involved in this Bible study. You're raised to know all of their proof-texts as well as you know the Bible itself.

 

So when I deconverted I kept my mouth shut mostly. My wife figured out that I didn't believe, but I just mostly went along (although I quit participating as much as possible in the assembly -- quit leading prayers and leading singing, etc.). Then, my older son deconverted. I was ecstatic! I had someone I could talk to! But it wasn't going well for him, as his wife was pretty upset and trying to get him to do his "due diligence" (which is how we came to know that neither of us believed it any more). In my attempt to be supportive, I shared with him a blog I had been keeping and said he could share it with his wife. She wound up telling her parents (CoC members, of course) and her dad called the elders at our church. (I love her to death and we're good now, but it really caused a problem for me at the time! Embarrassed my wife, and I had to broach the subject with younger son (preacher) who was pretty mad at his brother at the time. That conversation didn't go too well, and ended up as a "don't ask -- don't tell" sort of an arrangement.

 

So I still go to church in order to keep up appearances. But as time goes on, I'm less and less inclined to do that. Younger son even suggested that we switch to a mainline Church of Christ, which would be great if my wife could find one she likes to go to, because he wouldn't know anyone there and I would be freer to just drift away. He's been questioning the dogma of the NI-CoC lately, so I think he wouldn't mind if we went to some other denomination, but then there's my wife's sister to think about, and my wife is really afraid to leave the tribe. Stinks.

 

With the pandemic, though, I'm at the point where I'm pretty sure I'm going to refuse to go back to the congregation we've been going to, at the very least. Too many libertarians there. They refuse to wear masks. The elders finally, last week, sent out an email saying they were going to reserve one section of the auditorium for people who wanted to wear masks. Funny thing is that there were exactly the same number there this Sunday as the Sunday before (155). It didn't change a thing! That building becomes uncomfortable at around 190, and for the last year there have been 200-250 in attendance on Sunday mornings, so I was panicky when I was there already. There are already too many people there. They can't block off every other row, and they really can't spread out enough on the rows. And they're trying to get people to go back?

 

My wife takes a monthly Cimzia shot for her RA, which is an immuno-suppressant, so we're among the people who have no business being in crowds.

 

Anyway, I don't really have a good excuse to keep going, but I guess I'm just gutless. I mainly don't want to risk being cut off by my preacher son. But he hasn't completely cut our other son, so maybe I don't have anything to worry about.

 

So much for making it short!

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Human relationships... So many things we endure to make them "work". I'd draw the line at going to the building, since the virus is causing long lasting damage for some, death for a few, huge hospital bills, etc. Especially for those who are compromised, there is no magic to protect them from the bug. 

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On 7/21/2020 at 1:36 PM, Lerk said:

 

Anyway, I don't really have a good excuse to keep going, but I guess I'm just gutless. I mainly don't want to risk being cut off by my preacher son. But he hasn't completely cut our other son, so maybe I don't have anything to worry about.

 

I'm also ex-CofC.  Like you I delayed leaving due to family, but as I look back, I wish I had left sooner.  Although some think I am bound for Hell, no one disowned me.  And of course, no one asks me to say the prayer before meals now.   I can almost guarantee that in the long run, your anxiety will decrease, and peace of mind will be much greater.  Anyone who abandons you because of your disbelief, wasn't a true "friend" to begin with.

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On 7/22/2020 at 11:03 PM, Weezer said:

I'm also ex-CofC.  Like you I delayed leaving due to family, but as I look back, I wish I had left sooner.  Although some think I am bound for Hell, no one disowned me.  And of course, no one asks me to say the prayer before meals now.   I can almost guarantee that in the long run, your anxiety will decrease, and peace of mind will be much greater.  Anyone who abandons you because of your disbelief, wasn't a true "friend" to begin with.

 

I think you're right. I'm getting closer and closer to just saying I'm not doing it anymore. I really don't think my believing son would cut me off, although it might be tense for awhile. And nobody else matters. He's literally the only one I'm worried about.

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41 minutes ago, Lerk said:

 

I think you're right. I'm getting closer and closer to just saying I'm not doing it anymore. I really don't think my believing son would cut me off, although it might be tense for awhile. And nobody else matters. He's literally the only one I'm worried about.

 

I know it's easier said than done and each person has a special set of circumstances, but continuing to attend services after proclaiming disbelief emboldens  your family's convictions and does little to encourage others to break free.

 

Do it, @Lerk!

Do it!

Dot it!

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36 minutes ago, MOHO said:

 

I know it's easier said than done and each person has a special set of circumstances, but continuing to attend services after proclaiming disbelief emboldens  your family's convictions and does little to encourage others to break free.

 

Do it, @Lerk!

Do it!

Dot it!

That bears repeating.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Can't say I've reached that point of mental clarity.

I'm hopeful every day though that it's just around the corner.

 

What has helped me is the acceptance that you can't really be angry with chance, with luck. You can, but it's irrational and counter-productive.

 

If there is no God watching over me, then for the sake of intellectual honesty I have to accept the weight of my mistakes and errors through life combined with acceptance that its a tough world out there and humans are inherently brutal and dangerous, and then go on with the rest of my life as it is, striving for the best.

 

Before I die I want to find the best within myself, without regard to the many faults the bible has flung at me.

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