To those of you who grew up in religion...
How have you dealt with the transition from the idea of being an important part of the plan of god, to recognizing the reality of a cold, cruel, random existence?
I've been atheist for approx 9 years. I know that I can never go back to the beliefs that I had before. But I want to hear about how others manage/struggle with this mind fuck.
Please give me your insight.. I feel so alone.
I'm so sorry you struggle with that. My skepticism began as a small child, and disbelief was gradual and pretty much established by the time I hit my teens. During my childhood, though, I had a close relationship with my nearby grandparents who made a real project out of the salvation of my immortal soul, so I was exposed to frequent Sunday school and Vacation Bible School at their fundie Christian church. To be honest, I always found the idea of an all-powerful and judgmental magical being hovering over and focused on me to be quite disturbing and intimidating. I found it anything but comforting. Once my deconversion was complete, comprehending my own anonymity was a blessed relief.
I've known some atheists who are very pessimistic and depressed and cynical. Make the choice to keep seeking things that bring you joy instead of worrying about the vast meaning of existence of all humankind. Your "mind fuck" is thinking there's either God's plan, or random indifferent chaos. There are many other possibilities to discover if you seek them. There are patterns in the universe, there is an order to things, sometimes it is cruel and indifferent, sometimes it is warm and joyous - but the bottom line is - people will see what they choose to see. Seek good things, and you will find them.
While I was raised to be religious, I never felt like I was a part of God's plan and I certainly never felt I was the center of the universe. I've honestly never considered that some people may have been taught to think that.
As scary as it was for me to make the leap away from religion, I knew it wasn't real. I think having the framework of science to give me answers helped tremendously. By the time I had expunged all religious beliefs I realized the jump wasn't even that big. The hardest part was just making the decision to do it.
I never had this struggle, I think the issue could be perspective. I guess one could see the universe as random and meaningless but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing, it's just a thing, to me anyway. If you want to feel meaningful maybe Perdue your own goals? Develop meaningful relationships with friends or family? Remember the world is random, I suggest to try to experience as much as it has to offer.
It would only be cold cruel and random for you if you were those things yourself - I am sorry that I didnt have your experience. I never had a god. But I know that I am enough to myself my experiences are real and its a fun world if you look at it with humour and intelligence - dwelling on losses I try to tune in to my own lovingkindness - giving out what is missing in my life not particularly with the intent to get anything back just to feel myself as a real person in control of my life and able to love freely whomever I want and to avoid anyone who want s to harm me .
I think what is going on politcally in my world is more damaging than religion In my country people are pawns to be played and we are being kept under.
The "reality of a cold, cruel, random existence" is only one way of looking at
life. It doesn't have to be viewed from that perspective. Additionally, that was already the way life is.
You're alive. Find your life's own meaning.
Now that you've embraced living your life with reason over delusion, go from there.