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Did you have trouble accepting your lack of belief in religion when you realized you were atheist/agnostic?

I think I was even more relieved at the most tbh and didn’t care to admit to myself I didn’t believe this anymore.

By EmeraldJewel7
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8

Yes because I was a Christian my whole life before finally accepting I truly didn't believe it. I think I had been subconsciously forcing myself to believe it for about 8 years before I actually accepted it. There was an immense amount of pressure to believe in God from my family, plus the fear of eternal damnation. But in the end right before I came to terms that there was at least no Abrahamic God I knew that if God "knows all" that he would know that I was pretending to believe and would probably be damned anyways. So I did the research with less fear and there are no regrets. I think finally saying it out loud too that I was agnostic was really fulfilling too. It seems kinda dramatic but it was a huge milestone in my life because it involved my sexuality too (bisexual).

7

Yes, I did! I'm surprised by how many people commenting here said giving up religion was easy for them. I went to a christian elementary school, so maybe I was more indoctrinated than most...

When I was religious I found great comfort in the "knowledge" that there was of an omnipotent man in the sky looking out for me and who had a plan for me. It made me feel safe. Also "knowing" there was an afterlife for me to go to made dying a less scary prospect.

When I realised that I no longer believed it was a long time before I could admit it to myself. I felt very alone and vulnerable. Watching stand up comedians helped a surprising amount, making light of what was for me a really heavy topic was cathartic.

7

I did. My whole life centered around my beliefs. Letting go of them has been, ironically, like being born again.

good way to put it! hmm, that could even be used to deprogram religionists. "want to be REALLY born again?" love it!

g

5

No. Mine was pretty natural. Being in foster care most of my childhood I went through homes with different religions and each one said the other was wrong. I went along with it and acted the part "believing" like everyone else. I just assumed it was tradition more than an actual belief. I came to hate the strict religious types as well. I was a kid and I was bad no matter what. Somehow I was supposed to know certain things and act certain ways without being taught, through some divine force. I was punished for not knowing and behaving like that.

Of course being told every other religion is wrong over and over you start to realize they don't know who is right or if any are. I was in a bad position and nobody had an answer as to why a "loving God" would do or allow bad things to happen to a child, why I couldn't have a family, and so on. Typical answers were the norm. "Mysterious ways" and "there's a plan" but "he still loves you". I just focused on science and how things worked. The conclusion was obvious very quickly. What's possible and what's probable are vastly different. One is conjecture, the other requires evidence of which we have none.

ealbers Level 3 Nov 12, 2018
4

It was a struggle until it wasn't. I wrestled with the idea for years before I was ready to admit it, and when I finally did, it was a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. The fear of becoming "evil," divine punishment or hell was gone. However, I continued to experience depression as I cut myself off from my religious social circle and worried about hiding my change of heart from my family.

@valeriean Oh Yes, the feeling that you were about to be struck by lightning, or punished. I remember the dawning sense of "Oh, its all bullshit !"

4

My mother was Pentecostal and my father was Atheist. The trauma from living in a household where those two belief/non-belief systems clashed on a regular basis still reverberates throughout our family.

I escaped early in adolescence, with alcohol and experimentation with drugs. I rejected religion, as my father had, but bore the shame of my mother through her indoctrination.

Did I have trouble? Man, did I!

Sophie -

I feel your pain (from your statement)! But since you are here, you should know you are among friends who are glad you are here (and not in church) !!!!

Relish in the natural world and you will marvel at what it means to be alive and human. We are living in the greatest time in the history of mankind. Why? It is because Science and Technology have taken hold and we are finally beginning to throw off the shackles of religious dogma which have made us grovel before an all powerful god for each day we live.

Our numbers are growing in the USA and around the world. This website is evidence of that!

"Reason Must Prevail."
R. Allan Worrell

@Alw314 thank you for that. ??

Not the exact same situation, but I had the experience of my brother coming out as atheist to my religious parents at a young age, and those arguments really affected me. I was afraid my brother was going to hell, but at the same time I knew he was very smart and had the smallest inkling he might be right--which also scared me. Family conflict can really do a number on you. I'm glad we both came out the other side.

...I still do battle within my
family/1siblingclergy-1practising;I just
pick the extent to which I choose to exhaust
my self emotionally. obligation to the truth for me
doesn't mean I have to change everyone's
belief system wholly?

3

I didn't have any trouble accepting it. It was a huge relief, actually. I was taking no comfort whatsoever in the idea that horrific things were happening all over the world while some decision-making entity could be preventing or stopping them, but wasn't.

Deb57 Level 8 Nov 14, 2018

I suffered the belief in early childhood, but only felt fear, never love. It was easy to let go of that belief.

3

I was never really surprised by my lack of religion. I always found comfort in science and empirical evidence and the older I for the more it began conflicting with religion. That's pretty much when I began asking questions and when religion could no longer answer them I abandoned it in favor of logic, reason and science. Have never looked back since.

ChadDoran Level 3 Nov 13, 2018

...good point-as religion fades
in it's relavence in everyday reality
the need to follow the progress of
science is a well sping of hope...

3

I ran for it because it meant freedom to me. Things fell apart rather quickly in my belief system in the beginning. It was later that I realized how much psychological damage early indoctrination had done.

jjbelle Level 5 Nov 12, 2018
3

Not in the least. As Neil Young wrote, I've seen the needle and the damage done.

nvrnuff Level 8 Nov 12, 2018
3

I never experienced any of that.
I was never a believer, and was not raised in a religious family.
But I do know many who did, and I feel for them, That couldn't have been easy in a lot of cases.

2

I tried to make myself believe for twenty years because my family believed. I struggled with being a failed theist for another ten. When I became an open atheist I finally felt free.

freeofgod Level 8 Feb 26, 2019
2

No. I have trouble accepting my religious friends though. It is fucking hard

2

At first my main concern was along the lines of "but what if I'm wrong?" As the possibility that I was wrong faded, so too did my concern.

Coffeo Level 7 Dec 12, 2018
2

I think it depends on how deeply you believed, and on how tied you were to a church community. I wasn't tied to a church community, so I didn't get a lot of the social/peer pressure. However, I did deeply believe, and that was hard to make sense of. I joined a website for deconverting Christians (ex-christian.net) and that helped in the early stages. After that, I just stopped worrying about it.

Orbit Level 7 Dec 2, 2018
2

Nope. I think I was about 12 or so that I decided the religious ideas I was raised with were not meant to be taken literally, with atheism following shortly thereafter. Looking back, I just see it as another part of the process of growing up.

The-Krzyz Level 7 Nov 18, 2018
2

I went to a relatively liberal protestant church during my teenage years, by my own choice and mostly without the rest of my family. I really enjoyed some of the sermons I heard, and likely still would today because the some of the pastors were really intelligent, thoughtful men. Eventually, though, I realized I was just moving with the herd and left it behind. Leaving the community aspect was harder than realizing I didn't believe. Believing didn't come naturally, and letting go was pretty easy.

alliwant Level 6 Nov 15, 2018
2

I think most religious people are faking it... Thier pack animals... But if you ever truly believed... And was really educated in your faith... It's probably harder.
I'm agnostic, not athiest, not even a little, so I really don't have a belief at all.
I find so much comfort and freedom in agnosticism.
I also still like to study religion and science.

If you took comfort in things like prayer, singing to god(s), dancing, yoga or any other practice that gave you peace, it's probably going to be harder than the average person that just sat next to mom not asking questions.

Also, so much has to do with community and what else you have to help you feel safe and secure.

I've traveled a lot... It depends on where home is... If you even have a home.

It depends on how traumatic you childhood and life was and if you have hope for the future.

It depends on if you are raising children on your own or with religious or non religious partners or parrents.

You might even go back and forth.

Religion is a tool all humans use differently.

It's like a gun.
Some cops work in violent neighborhoods for decades and never discharge... Others shoot 3 people in thier rookie year in the same community.

I definitely miss some things about my church days. I really wish I could stomach the nonsense sometimes

2

I never had any issue accepting the lack of my belief in religion. See, you are born an atheist. You are taught religion. It's up to you whether you believe it or not. Based on the facts I do not.

Wiley1 Level 4 Nov 13, 2018

I definitely agree with being born atheist. Somebody has to scare one into believing a God claim... so accepting my lack of belief was akin to letting go of the fears that were crammed into my headspace as a young person.

2

Your question is like asking:

Did you have trouble accepting you have better health by breathing clean air after you realized breathing the exhaust fumes of an old bus was not good for your health?

Not being tethered to the dishonest faith (belief without evidence) based assertions peddled as truth (Things that can be demonstrated with evidence) is freedom. I figured out religion was BS when I was in early grade school and not being a theist is a title I consider superior to positions dictated by faith based superstition. Those I have helped see the beauty of reason and reality expressed happiness in being free from the darkness of religion.

...thanks,found some of the rewards
rejuvenating;rough patch getting sober
with the term HIGHER POWER(gawd)
pushed down collective throughts ...

2

When the door opened, it was like I was finally me.

2

No. I mean it was a pretty natural transition and I didn't really even label myself as atheist or agnostic. I still really don't care for labels but I am not afraid of carrying them

maxhyde Level 7 Nov 12, 2018
2

I was 8 and had non practicing parents as it was. I had been the only one in my family to go to church on a regular basis. I was beginning to question everything. I started to go to church less and less of over the next few years. Finally leaving for good when I was 13. I still never told anyone for another decade. I didn’t know what agnostic even was.

I quit going when i was 14. I think leaving that young was definitely an advantage. You don't have religious hangover some people seem to go through when they leave the church.

isn't it funny how going to church can either brainwash you or turn you into an agnostic/atheist? i was raised in a secular jewish family and decided, age 14, to start going to shul and studying talmud. i really, really liked studying talmud (a lot more secular than you'd think) and the services were okay but the people my age were... they seemed like really OLD people to me! anyway after a year of that i just stopped going but that's not what made me realize there was no god; the timing was coincidental. i don't think going to shul is as mind-shattering as (from what i hear) going to church is, since there is no fire and brimstone there, and it's very being-good-to-people, being-good-to-the-earth-centered. that's why i don't suffer the pains and pangs when i go to services on the high holy days (when i am well enough) or accompany my guy to shul when they read his late parents' names. there really isn't anything against which to rebel, and my atheism wasn't part of a rebellion anyway. i can see where it can be quite different for christians, and for very religious jews too i guess (even without the fire and brimstone)

g

2

Not even the slightest problem.
Using reason, I saw its absurdities and moved forward happily.

Skeptic66 Level 7 Nov 12, 2018
2

I had no problem with accepting in lack of believing religious bs. There was a great weight lifted off when I did away with religious bs and believing there a deity watching over me.

freedom41 Level 8 Nov 12, 2018
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