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How was your process of leaving religion?

Often people mistake my hyper religious upbringing as the reason I am full blown atheist now. It took me years to shed the guilt and to develop my own sense of self purpose and independence. Always curious as to how others made the transformation?

Jhawk 3 Feb 22

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6

Uneven.

I was raised Catholic but rejected it before my confirmation. It's a large Hispanic, Catholic family so that was uncomfortable, but, interestingly, I got support from the parish priest in that he acknowledged that confirmation must be by the individual, you can't be forced into it.

I felt like I had gone straight to being agnostic at that point, but every so many years I find myself recognizing some aspects of the way that I think that are rooted in religious doctrine or just general cultural beliefs that trace back to religious roots. I tend to recognize it sorta suddenly and spend some time rooting it out of my way if thinking.

The rocks are much smaller now but small things still crop up, now and then. I have learned to be pretty introspective about my own beliefs so as to pass on as little of my indoctrination as possible to my children.

5

It took years and a lot of suffering. I am still dealing with the fallout.

I get angry that I still have to cope with some irrational fears. They were instilled deeply and are hard to shake off.

I find that filling my mind with provable facts helps alleviate a lot of the religious fallacies.

I am fully aware that hell is not real, but that fear still lingers. I welcome any advice on dealing with that embarrassing issue.

This community helps me greatly, though I'm caustic at times. I very much require intelligent, like minded people's input.

My partner is highly intelligent, loving, and kind. He was raised in an atheistic household. He admitted that he's immensely grateful that he doesn't have to deal with the baggage that I do.

Some make it sound easy. "I just quit" to me means they weren't really indoctrinated. My father tried leaving it up to prayer to fix things that a doctor could have easily done. Yes i am a little angry about that. 🙂

@Jhawk Yes. I have bones that ache, because I broke them but they were never properly fixed. We apparently just needed to pray about it.
I guess I didn't pray hard enough, because my wrist still hurts 25 years later.

I too have physical issues from birth that could have easily been fixed at birth but my father decided to rely on faith instead. Fortunately nothing life threatening! But there is unnecessary pain.

I think what helped me overcome the residual fears about Hell was listening to Carlton Pearson's interview on This American Life. The episode is called "Heretics" and it was eye-opening for me and allowed me to release that fear.

@Sciencemama Thank you. I will look into that today!

5

Slow as well... it takes time to de-program for sure. I totally relate to your experience. I wasn't raised in a hyper religious home as you, but was immersed into it when I did the born again thing. I jumped in with both feet, That was circa 1980. After about 15 years of christian ministry, preaching, teaching, etc. my life circumstances changed enough that I could do a "reboot" of my value system and beliefs. That was the beginning of my de-conversion.

I re-examined and deconstructed my faith, and gradually replaced it with more of a pantheistic view of the world and "god". As that evolved, I gradually began to treat all claims of the extraordinary with curious skepticism. So today, I acknowledge the importance of the scientific method, but I don't worship it, nor do I think it to be the only way to evaluate reality.

4

The day my Sunday School teacher told me I would go to hell if I didnt attend every week without fail . I was seven years old , ran home crying to my Dad , who calmed me down , took me back to the school and gave the teacher a good hiding , for frightening not only me , but the other kids with damnation for themselves and families. I,ll never forget that day 57 years ago .

3

I was a freshman when my father came in on a Sunday morning and said he wasn't going to church anymore. He told my brother and me if we wanted to go he would take us. Without hesitation we both said we would stay home too. That was it. Never looked back.

3

When I was young and was made to go to church and sunday school...the minister made some outrageous claim something biblical...can't remember now what it was and I laughed so loud that he banned me from church...I took this as a sign....lol

3

Profoundly painful. I belonged to a large megachurch with thousands of members. I was visible. I sang background vocals. I wrote sketches for the services. I directed the plays. And all this time I was in reparative therapy to "pray the gay away." (It doesn't work, by the way.) So when it went south for me (I was outed by the police... a guy at a bar OD'd and they thought he was my partner... I had never met him), a lot of people saw it. Not to mention the emotional trauma of desperately seeking God for help to get your life in order and being ignored as things get worse and descend into chaos.

Not as easy as "I just quit". Thank you for your response.

2

I was lucky. I didn't come from a super religious upbringing. My parents never took me to church. When my they divorced and both remarried when I was about 6, my stepdad took us to Presbyterian church, but that didn't last long. My mother was not comfortable with organized religion (she's the "spiritual but not religious" type), so we didn't go much after that, except for a few holidays, but then that didn't last either.

Basically - I was just "not religious" for a while. It wasn't until my late 20's when I really embraced being agnostic, and then later, an atheist. I had always been skeptical, even from a young age, but I had to shed the fear of being an atheist. The stigma that society has placed on such a label is what I had to get past. But once I did, there was no looking back.

2

After 6yrs at 'St John's Of Perpetual Guilt' I fired my religion and its hateful storybook of dogma in 1969. It just didn't make sense to me even at 16, and why anyone would want to construct their lives around the scribblings of some ancient bronze-age men full of fear who didn't even understand where the Sun disappeared to at night was beyond me.

2

Quick once I was on my own. I have never felt so relieved and free as now . I have never had any itch to return to any religion. Of those I took part in the Unitarian was the best as I attended as an atheist for several years and was even elected to office for several of those years with everyone knowing I ws an atheist.

2

Raised in moderately religious family. We only tended to go to church once a year for Easter. For most of my life I never prayed or thought too hard about it. It was like a software agreement, taught about it a little bit but scroll down all the way to the bottom to click "I agree" without reading anything. I hit a speed bump at around age 13 and gradually attempted to be more religious, hoping that it would help me get past it but after a few years it only worsened my situation and taught me to not solve my own problem but to wait for a god to help me. Around 15 I started getting super skeptical about religion. I noticed how ridiculous the ceremonies were, how prayer was very likely just an over-glorified placebo and how I conditioned myself to think religiously. I tried reading the Bible, later realizing nothing about it struck me as divine and much of it was horrific and implausible. While 15, I was asked by my rather religious therapist how god had helped me on my journey, to which I responded "He did not, nothing has changed. things only got worse." At 16, I stopped attending church, shortly after being reaffirmed at how horrific christianity was whilst walking around the church graveyard and seeing that someone who had committed suicide had been deliberately put far away from all the other graves in the darkest overgrown corner of the lot with not even a sign of family members caring for the gravestone (it was recent enough to expect some flowers left by family). At this point I was probably already an atheist but I did not even know the definition and was unsure about what the heck I was. At the end of spring, I started doing some digging into this and I came across youtube debates, many with the late Christopher Hitchens. I binge watched them for like four days and had a solemn realization. "Huh, I guess I'm an atheist", I thought. After that I was a raging antitheist for almost two years, picking fights where ever I could find them. I felt so betrayed and angry that I had been fooled most my life. After that I cooled off and did some more digging and settled for the terms: Agnostic Atheist, Secular Humanist, and when threatened or when others are being threatened by religion or religious legislation, an antitheist.

2

Easy. It never made sense to me as a child. By 6 I was questioning, by 9 I was choosing between agnostic and atheist. I found the Bible contradictory early on (God first creates man, make and female then creates Eve ...THRRESOME). Where did Noah get the marsupials? What was the lesson in Judges19, that we should let our women get raped to death? I went, before 10 years old from Jewish, to Deism, to agnosticism to atheism.

2

Slow.
Part of it started with 9/11.
Declared agnosticism in 2006, but unfortunately played an "apologist" for a while.
Declared atheism in 2015.
P.S.-I've survived the Incline.

Hah! The incline is a bitch! Harder than hell, to put it...figuratively 🙂

1

Surprisingly peaceful. It was mostly just me letting go of the things I knew were untrue. I will admit that I bounced back and forth for a bit, but I think that was due to my indoctrination as a child.

1

I got put in a private, christian school from 2nd-8th grade. Assembly of God, which is Pentecostal based. I felt like the whole atmosphere was alien to me, right from the start. The older I got, the more I realised science made much more sense than the bible. But the teachers really had a talent for cramming that bs down a kids throat. It took years before I was able to shake all that crap off of me. At one point I swear I could "feel" god looking upon me with great sadness as I turned my back on him. I had to pull my feelings out and examine them, figure out what conditioning processes were messing with my head and deal with them accordingly.
It's because of this I don't attempt to reason with the religious. There is no reason to it so of course they're not going to be reasonable when confronted. If someone announces they are religious, I usually scowl and say "why"? I've discovered that's usually enough to keep them away from me...

Did not mean to unlike your post. My father believed soooo hard. Grew up believing in Santee Claus because he delivered. I think i never deep down believed in Jesus because he was the same as the tooth fairy. Never met him! X

@Jhawk
Yep. Always sounded like bs to me...always

1

I was laying floor tiles, unfortunately I had started at the wrong end and ended up in the corner of the room with halogen lights glaring down on me. It was horrendous and I lost all my faith but was afraid to tell anyone.

lol

Lol...excellent

1

I was raised as a strict Catholic. I never bought it once I was old enough to have thoughts I was aware of. At the age of 8 I was a full on atheist. At 11 I left the church.

0

I suspected it was a ruse from an early age. I abandoned the pretense as soon as I left my mother's home at age 17.

0

I married a man that did not believe in religion, never did go to church after I married him been that way ever since.

0

I took a Philosophy class freshman year in college and was assigned to read a book called "The Existence of God" with various philosophers talking about the subject...reason and common sense won out. Easy.

lerlo Level 8 Aug 20, 2018
0

I just quit going to church.

Kinda hard to just quit when you are just a child and have no choice.

@Jhawk That's the joy of being a teenager. All I had to do was cause my mom to be late a few times and she quit making me go.

0

I was 16 and one day I told my mom I'm not going to your stupid church anymore. And that was that.

0

Instant

EMC2 Level 8 Feb 22, 2018
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