What Has Atheism Done For Me?

bucketlistbanddA friend once asked me whether or not my life is better now that I no longer believe in invisible spirits or the supernatural. My answer is that it’s a mixed bag. On the negative side, I must say that the reactions of people who liked me better when I still had faith have been at times very strong. While this is no place to go into details, there have been some harsh social consequences for my loss of faith. If you crave the approval of people (and you live where I live), I wouldn’t recommend atheism for you.

But once you rule out how some people have treated me because of my unbelief, I have to say that (when I am not working too much) I am enjoying life in a way that I haven’t enjoyed it in a long time. So to answer my friend’s question, here is a list of the things which my turn to atheism has brought me. Not everyone will necessarily experience the same things I did, but these are the benefits that I see I personally have derived from this development:

1. Peace of mind. As a person who likes to try to understand the world around me, I have found that this perspective fits so much better with the world I see than the religious perspective ever did, and that brings a tangible sense of satisfaction for me. Every week, every month, I find things seem to get clearer and clearer to me. Things just make a whole lot more sense to me now. Julia Sweeney said it perfectly when she said, “The world behaves exactly as you would expect it would if there were no Supreme Being.”

2. A rediscovery of a love of learning. For me personally, I found that the loss of my religious beliefs opened me up to a really big universe of fascinating and intriguing realities. I realize that faith and learning coexist in some people’s minds better than others, but more often than not they are in great tension with one another…and at times diametrically opposed to one another. My change of mind energized my dormant scientific side, and as a consequence I find that almost daily I learn something new which amazes me and further stimulates my love of learning about the world around me.

3. The ability to accept people I formerly judged. Religious belief taught me, for example, to judge gay men for being attracted to other men. It taught me that something is wrong with these men. I now count several of them as my friends. I have found that losing my religion has opened me up to a much wider range of people because I do not have a 2,000 year old book telling me how I should see the world. I think I’m a better person for this change of mind.

4. Less judgement towards myself…for some things. Just as a loss of religion has made me more accepting of others, I am getting better at accepting myself, with certain caveats. I do not let myself off the hook for things I consider unhealthy, or unkind, or inconsiderate of others. There are good, non-religious reasons to work to eliminate those kinds of behaviors in life. I will not, for example let myself off the hook for being dishonest towards people I love, nor will I excuse substandard work in my professional life. But there are quite a few things which religious belief taught me I should feel guilty about, and I don’t have to shoulder that anymore. This brings an improved quality of life, IMO. I will not consider it wicked, for example, to have “thought crimes” such as wanting something I don’t have or savoring the attractiveness of a Sports Illustrated cover model. Religion puts many layers of guilt on us for things which are perfectly natural, and the resulting manipulation is powerful. But I’m done with that now :-)

5. I give credit where credit is due…both to others and to myself. Like the preceding two, I think this makes me a healthier person than before. If someone does something good, I do not thank God for it. I thank the person who actually did it. They deserve credit for the things that they do. Doctors, for example, must get really tired of hearing people give God credit when their surgical/medical skills and learning are what saved a person’s life. My daily life isn’t so dramatic as that, mind you, but it’s analogous. The other side of this is that when I do something right, I allow myself to take credit for it . This, thanks to my evangelical upbringing, is much harder to do. I found that the Christian faith discouraged me from acknowledging positive things about myself so that I ended up with a terrible self image. I still suffer from that because I learned self-loathing so very well. But it’s getting better, little by little. I had to leave the Christian faith for that to happen.

5. Getting Sunday mornings back. Of course, it extends beyond that…once you consider how much of a person’s life can be spent investing in things like prayer, worship, Bible study, witnessing/growing membership, or attending conferences which teach you how to do all these things more effectively, you realize just how much of your life you get back.

6. Better health. I realize good health and spiritual commitment don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but for me personally a shift in beliefs brought a shift in priorities such that my physical health became more important to me. Now I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life, and this significantly affects the quality of my life.

7. (Okay so this one was very personal, so I had to edit it out for blogging purposes. But it was REALLY good ;-)

8. Friends who are more fun. And the parties are way better. Even simple conversation is more entertaining, honestly. I know this may sound petty, but I’m just telling you what my experience is. When group A is dominated by a long list of things you’re not supposed to say, think, or feel, and group B doesn’t have that list, you can guess which group is gonna be more fun to be with. And again, I find it easier now to be friends with a wider range of people.

9. More realistic expectations about life. I no longer believe that I am special or that a ubiquitous, all-powerful paternal figure is orchestrating events around me for my benefit (or for the benefit of anything or anyone, really). So I act accordingly. And I find that I don’t get let down by things not going “the way they were supposed to.” I take responsibility for those things I can control, and I don’t look for a savior to come and rescue me. Again, I think I am a better person for it.

10.  A greater appreciation for the preciousness of life.  Once you realize this life is the only one you’re gonna get, you learn to appreciate each day in a way you never could when you believed there would be trillions more in your future.  I found that a belief in eternity only lowered my evaluation of daily life and it cheapened life, in a way.  But once you realize this one short life is all you’re gonna get, you will find it easier to throw yourself into what you do, knowing that you need to make the most of it that you can.  You won’t minimize the suffering of others (or of yourself) by saying that life will get better after you die.  You might even be more motivated to be an agent of change in the world once you realize someone’s not going to come in and magically reboot the whole thing one day.  It’s up to us to make the most of it that we can, and I find that a disbelief in the supernatural has helped me to do that.

What things could you add to this list? How has a turn to atheism benefitted your life? I’d like to know.

About Neil Carter

Neil Carter is a high school Geometry teacher, a tutor, a swim coach, a father of five children, and a skeptic living in the Bible Belt. A former church elder with a seminary education, Neil mostly writes now about the struggles of former evangelicals living in the midst of a highly religious subculture.

  • http://gravatar.com/warpedscout warpedscout

    Ramen, Neil, Ramen!!!

  • Wendell Neal

    Very good. Not so sure I could add much except to say most of the list applies to me. My trail before disbelief was one of great discomfort because of what I knew intuitively and as a field biologist with an understanding of evolutionary principles cast against what the church teaches and what Christians generally believe. This great tension served to finally push me into disbelief. Now, when I hear friends engage in rants about the recent opening of Boy Scouts to gays, always emphasizing the abomination business or other similar rants about politics, government, etc. I find that my realities almost never align with those who think using Christian-biblically based tenants, and I feel good about my perceptions, but also feel depressed and sort of hopeless at the judgmental proclivities of long term friends, particularly knowing that if they knew how I felt about so much of what they advocate, would no longer be my friends. Some suspect or maybe have guessed, and they have distanced themselves. While I wish to retain these friends, I readily acknowledge they are by definition unhealthy by contrast to the few friendships where their is no biblical view of the hereafter. When it’s a settled matter-non belief, there is little remaining to corrupt friendships. Turns out these are the best in my case.

    I enjoy your blog. Believe you have a niche role that connects with a large percentage of us who have been raised in the south (rural in my case) in a culture affected and largely framed by religion.

  • thebigreason

    All of the above hold true for me, too. My unbridled obsession with learning has to be the most rewarding item on the list, though. Astronomy is now a pretty big part of my life, and it turns out that quite a bit of that is incompatible with a creationist perspective.

    Very closely tied to my renewed love of learning is being able to not have opinions about everything. I think this may come from being exposed to much more science. I am continually surprised by how satisfying it is to take things at face value, and deal with them while withholding an opinion. I guess I am much more interested in how things work than I am in how things should work.

  • steve

    The depth of the close friendships I have strikes me. I repurposed the notion of tithing and “tithe” 10% of my waking hours to helping friends with their projects and to read for please if there isn’t anything to work on … This has become such a fun and rich activity that I joke my goal in life is to be poorly read.

    One appreciates how important life and time are. Five years ago I had something life threatening come up. I told a few close friends and within a few days three had traveled to visit without announcing themselves – all over 1000 miles and two were not in a strong financial position. You realize your close friends and family are the real wealth in life rather than loving a boss in the sky…

  • DJL

    I found there were too many things I could not conceive when there was a supernatural being in my mind. Too many times I questioned why such was and fought the urge to say it can’t be so because god said it to be true. Without god I found it ok to be sad because friends were lost due to illness and found solace in not believing in hell anymore, especially in relation to my friends that committed suicide or died with ‘sin’ on their souls. So many things are more logical without a god in there to muck things us.

    In my blog I made a compelling argument about hell and original sin. I challenge anyone to prove my reasonings wrong. It goes like this. “So you put faith in god and accept original sin. So when an infant dies, with this sin, it goes to hell, by your logic. And this stems from the 2 original people not following one rule and your god condemns all man for all eternity? The logic is ridiculous. Would you arrest a son because of what his father did before he was born? It just doesn’t hold water.”

    • JT

      Hey there DJL

      In answer to your query:

      Babies don’t go to hell; Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is for them (Luke 18 verse 16).

      The bible also teaches that each person is responsible for their own behavior and can’t be punished for what their parents did (Ezekiel 18 verse 20).

      Man is no longer condemned for eternity; that’s why Jesus died!

      There are so many religious people who use the bible to preach hate and condemnation against others using “the bible says”, making God look like a cruel despot out to get everyone. Like Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

      It’s us Christians who give God a bad name with our attitude to others.

      • DJL

        I’ll agree with your first comment. Babies don’t go to hell, in my opinion, because there is no such place. Your next is one of the many quotes that seem to contradict others. We – I was raised a Catholic – were taught that original sin was on everyone and it needed to be removed because of what 2 original people did. That just blows my logical mind. It is just as crazy to think you are condemned for what your father did – in some countries that is what they do, sad to say.

        Now for the sake of argument, assuming there is an eternity, Jesus made it where man is no longer condemned for his sins. So if you don’t follow Jesus, say a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Jew (among others) do you still get that free salvation ticket to eternity? Don’t you have to accept him, Romans 10:19, John 3:16, John 14:6. Sorry I could go on but it would be redundant. It just doesn’t fit.

        God does look like a cruel despot in the old testament. He scared the life out of the Jews to keep them in line. Then along comes the new and improved God ver 2.0. He’s a cool dude, sent his son down here to lobby for salvation and make us feel better about him. No more floods, rain of fire and tuning people into salt. Sweet upgrade. Sorry, I just don’t buy it.

        So in closing I’ll say this. Jesus was a good man. Gandhi was a good man. Martin Luther was a good man. They were all just men. My objective reasoning tells me there is no god, or heaven, or hell. Bible quotes won’t sway me and in some cases they seem to strengthen my argument.

        I appreciate the reply you left, I hold no ill towards another’s beliefs, and I just ask that I be allowed to believe what I don’t. Live and let live.

      • http://www.aa-atheists.com edward

        JT, In your apology, you fail to address the main point of DJL’s argument, i.e. the absurd idea that a child should be punished for his father’s crime. You claim that it no longer applies. That’s why Jesus came back. I’ll grant you your unfounded claim that God no longer punishes the son for the father’s crimes due to Jesus. Fine. But in this claim is the unstated assumption that at one time, God did, in fact, punish the son for the father’s crimes! That’s the issue. Such an idea is immoral and is a moral system unworthy of any God.

    • JT

      “I appreciate the reply you left, I hold no ill towards another’s beliefs, and I just ask that I be allowed to believe what I don’t. Live and let live.”

      Which is why I didn’t preach a sermon to you; you already believe what you believe (as I do) and nobody trying to “sway you”. You put out a challenge, a belief you were taught in the Catholic church but which non-denominational Christians (Christians who dont follow any branch of religion but read the bible for themselves) don’t subscribe to and I decided to answer it with biblical facts. The Catholic church also has numerous non-biblical beliefs like praying to Mary and venerating the saints; complicates Christianity even further! In fact, Catholics believe that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church so I’m doomed also!. But non-denominational churches believe that salvation is through believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, which requires no effort except to believe. Those who never hear the gospel will be judged according to their deeds (Roman 2 verse 6) so that covers Buddhists etc.

      So whilst some churches believe that you are condemned for your daddy’s sins it’s just not biblical. It was a particular church’s interpretation not based on biblical fact. However, as with everyone including atheists, Catholics are also free to hold their own views and ideas on the bible; I guess nobody has a monopoly on theology or lack of it.

      • DJL

        Thanks again for the reply and expressing your beliefs. We are all stuck on this rock together and the best we can do is be good to our fellow man. Take care.

      • http://www.aa-atheists.com edward

        “which requires no effort except to believe.”

        Is belief a matter of choice? Can you simply will yourself to believe something? Or are beliefs the product of being convinced a certain proposition is true?

        If belief is not a choice and is the result of being convinced (via reason and evidence – no matter how flawed) a proposition is true, then it is not possible to simply choose to believe that Jesus Christ is savior and Lord. If it is not possible to choose to believe that Jesus is savior and Lord, then the requirement for belief, that so many Christians hold as the fundamental tenant of their faith, (and the punishment for non-belief) is false.

        It is immoral to punish someone for a failure to believe when belief is not a choice.

  • rturpin

    Excellent post!

    My observation is that many believers who take religious doctrine seriously put a lot of effort into maintaining their faith: shaping their religious belief to lessen conflict with non-religious knowledge, erecting psychological partitions elsewhere, constantly fitting events into the religious framework that they think should explain them, viewing all of the foregoing as a kind of spiritual discipline and practice, and associating with those who do likewise. So it doesn’t surprise me that when someone escapes that, the relaxation from that practice and redirection of effort elsewhere has tangible benefits in their personal life.

    • http://gravatar.com/godlessindixie godlessindixie

      Well said, rturpin. That’s the very peace of mind I was talking about in point one. When your worldview is incongruous with how the world actually works, the mental tension can be tiresome. It can free up so much mental space once you don’t have to keep fighting reality all the time!

      • http://brmckay.wordpress.com brmckay

        But why throw the baby out with the bath?

        Seems to me, the release of tension has caused the pendulum to swing past the center.

        The first effect of not being a Christian anymore, would be, just not being Christian anymore. What’s it got to do with God?

        You’ve taken another step after that. What type of contemplation went into it?

        • http://godlessindixie.wordpress.com godlessindixie

          What step would you suggest, brm?

          What, to you, is “the center”?

      • http://samdouglas77.wordpress.com samdouglas77

        brmckay – if you think christianity isnt anything to do with god i think you might be in need of a bit of introspection yourself ;)

      • http://brmckay.wordpress.com brmckay

        Becoming an Atheist, you have merely left one congregation for another. Each has its own dogma. Each goes out and seeks converts. This is what I meant by swinging past the center.

        Are you sure you want to invest in that model again?

        What about just pure contemplation of “God” without pre-packaged mental constructs. You could even still call it atheism. Just ask a Zen master.

        Cultivating curiosity about the Singularity and it’s relation to man is another suggestion.

        If that is truly impossible, repugnant, or not interesting, then that is what you should say – about yourself. Not “there is no god”.

        Saying that ‘there is no God’ because we can’t prove it, assumes way too much at the start of the inquiry. Better to say “there is no inquiry”.

        • http://godlessindixie.wordpress.com godlessindixie

          I guess I fail to see why I’m supposed to consider contemplating “God” at all. Why should I? Talk about pre-packaged mental constructs!

          It seems to me that you are suggesting the ideal place—the “center”—is some place with no community or “congregation” at all. But why is that?

          And finally, while I have argued in most of my posts in this blog that the particular concept of god which most people I know adhere to (I live in the Bible Belt) is inside their heads, I have not actually made a claim that No God Can Exist. That is a categorical statement that I have not made, even in this particular post. That is an assertion for which I have no proof or evidence.

          Careful what you assume. You are reading assertions into my writing which I didn’t put there, and it says more about you than it does about me :-)

      • http://brmckay.wordpress.com brmckay

        @samdouglas77

        “brmckay – if you think christianity isn’t anything to do with god i think you might be in need of a bit of introspection yourself ”

        What I said was:

        “The first effect of not being a Christian anymore, would be, just not being Christian anymore. What’s it got to do with God?”

        Christianity, in all its various permutations, Is a cultural construct. An aggregate of related qualities and characteristics. It could be thought of as a phenomena, or an object in time and space. It has the same relationship to the Totality as any other phenomena or object. It is only seemingly distinct and separate.

        The phenomena of godlessindixie’s disengaging from the above described construct, in no way alters God.

        Sorry if I didn’t make it clear.

        What do you mean by “introspection”?

  • sam

    I watched your ‘interview an atheist’ video and was really impressed with how you laid out your opinions and beliefs without coming off as antagonistic or patronizing. As an atheist who was brought up a ‘born again’ christian – your comments about how becoming an atheist is like finding out there is no santa claus seems really apt.

    It was nice to have that safety blanket – but it’s even more wondrous to have that fog lift and finally think for yourself.

    I think that is the most profound thing about becoming an atheist – you suddenly realize you are part of a much bigger congregation and need to embrace the world and not fight against it. When you don’t have someone telling you how god wants you to act or think or feel – it makes you actually critically think about issues and actively figure out how you really feel about the things you always thought were not up for debate.

    I have a young toddler now and I intend to instill the same values I grew up with, a thirst for knowledge and a sense of wonder in the universe – with the caveat that he understands that we don’t and can’t know everything – life is a learning experience and putting all the difficult questions into a nice neat box and labeling it ‘god’ is intellectually lazy and denies us the chance to discover the real answers.

    Best wishes,

    Sam

    • Bonnie

      ‘life is a learning experience and putting all the difficult questions into a nice neat box and labeling it ‘god’ is intellectually lazy and denies us the chance to discover the real answers.’

      I love that Sam.

      I have so many Christian friends who like to bombard me with the ‘well then how do you explain this or how d you explain that if there is no ‘God’?? Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. We know now Zeus is not in the sky throwing lightning bolts. Science doesn’t have all the answers but it seems silly to keep creating Gods for things we don’t understand….. yet :)

      Bonnie

  • http://iamchristianiamanatheist.blogspot.kr/ christian

    This is fantastic. I once said to a christian friend when I had rid myself of religion…I said reading the Bible set me free. And literally it did.

    • Bonnie

      When I told my mother I was struggling with my faith, she asked me why I wasn’t reading my scriptures or praying. I said, I am. That’s the problem.

  • http://alexroque.org Alex Roque

    This is such a great list of all the ways that life can change as an atheist. I was raised Catholic, and was a firm believer until college. It was quite a change for a lot of people I knew when I left my faith. Your post is something I would love to just give to every one of those people who look at me funny, who question me, who tell me that I’m not really atheist. You nailed it all so perfectly.

    • http://godlessindixie.wordpress.com godlessindixie

      Thanks, Alex. Very encouraging to read.

  • Pingback: The winding path 2013-05 | In the service of Truth.

  • http://www.dan-olson.com Dan Olson

    Hi Neil!

    My buddy, Nate Pratt, turned me on to your site at a coincidental time.

    We recently reconnected after the 8 years since graduating from evangelical liberal arts college, and we were surprised to find that each other had “made it out.” His friendship is just one of the many things I can point to as a gift for escaping the bubble. I, too, have seen your recorded interview, and I think it may be the best example of unguarded secular/religious dialogue on the web. I wish you the best, and if you’re at all interested in seeing a show, the Addams Family Musical tour pulls into Jackson for performances tonight and tomorrow, and I’m Lurch.

    My wife found it odd that I’d still use “Blessings” as the close to a letter, but I reminded her that I know where the blessings come from now. Your blog is one such source. With that noted,

    Blessings

  • eclairevoyant

    I think being an atheist is like being “Neo” in “The Matrix”. I can see the “real world”. Religion is the “Matrix” through which “believers” see the world. Their whole lives are “programmed” for them and they are being used by religion in ways they can’t see. Funny, life without the “Matrix” of religion frees up my time to concentrate on those social, familial, and personal pursuits that I postponed because of religion and its demands on my time, my energy, and my money. (BTW – I live in MS)

  • Pingback: What Has Atheism Done For Me? | MARTIN'S IN LA LA LAND...

  • http://www.martinworster.co.uk martinworster

    well written, good job, I concur with it all…free your mind and thoughts…

  • http://twitter.com/DarlaGladiene Darla G (@DarlaGladiene)

    Thank you for this. It was shared on FB by a friend of mine, and I was pleased to see that “dixie” is your stomping ground. It’s not easy to explain my position to those who have not lived here and see the sometimes absolute religious saturation of a community. I tell people I had it worse than Catholics. I grew up Church of God (Cleveland, TN). Yeah– the Holy Rollers. I spent years fighting with my mother and older sister (surrogate mom of sorts) because I was a tomboy. Wearing skirts to play softball, basketball, ride bikes, and climb trees? Yep. That’s what they said I had to do to be modest. I couldn’t cut my hair or get my ears pierced (once I was old enough to care). And by the time I graduated high school, they had FINALLY lifted the silly dress code for girls at the summer camp. We were allowed to wear shorts (capris) that came at least to our knees.

    That stuff did nothing to help me. Yet, I have difficulty in fully letting go of ‘God,’ and I appreciate that you pointed out there is no way to know. It actually gives me permission to be the intellectual science lover I am without completely abandoning my roots. Make no mistake– I’m with Ghandi on this: Christians are their own worst enemy and the worst agents for Christianity possible. However, I still have family who will never change. I work and live among them. I’m not likely to broadcast my disbelief in their god.

    One last point: I understand one statement that was made in previous comments about trading one congregation for another. That has been one issue for me that wasn’t even fully conscious until I read this blog. The church-goers aren’t the only ones I don’t share my disbelief with. What if the atheists think I’m not atheist “enough?” ;)

    Peace to us all as we find our way.

    • http://brmckay.wordpress.com brmckay

      Why get rid of God? just improve your understanding of what that is and how you relate to it.

      You will come up against deep seated and unhelpful conditioning. This will be difficult but it provides a great mindfulness practice.

      You have an entire life to live. What would you rather fill it with?

      Let real Freedom and Authenticity be your guides.

      Maybe it will look like atheism. Maybe not.

      • Sergius

        Sounds like becoming an atheist but still saying “God” a lot. What’s the use? If you don’t believe in God, should you just keep it, as a keepsake? Belief isn’t a choice, and people say they feel better after “getting rid of God”, then you say “but why do you get rid of God”? You’re implying they’re better off with God. Just don’t go to church as much. Or call him Mother Nature or Tao…

        Seriously, if someone told me “I don’t want a car anymore, I feel better cycling to work” would I say “but, why get rid of cars? Go half-way, get a hybrid! And tell everyone it’s a bicycle.”

        What is this I don’t even

        • brmckay

          “Darla – Yet, I have difficulty in fully letting go of ‘God,’ and I appreciate that you pointed out there is no way to know. It actually gives me permission to be the intellectual science lover I am without completely abandoning my roots.”

          Sergius,

          I was talking to the above statement. And, to anyone else feeling boxed in or betrayed by religion, who still needing a sense of the sacred in their lives.

          I know this blog is meant to give people courage to declare themselves atheist. But, is it like a rule or something?

    • Bonnie

      I can relate a lot to your post. I was raised LDS (mormon). We weren’t allowed to wear shorts (capris to the knees only) or tanktops or bikinis. We weren’t allowed to drink coffee, tea or alcohol and the list goes on.

      Overall, my journey from mormonism to atheism was a long one. I left religion one step at a time because psychologically it was all I could handle. Letting go of mormonism/God was like cutting off a very real and tangible limb. Luckily my husband and I went through the process together.

      *First I no longer believed but kept going to church hoping the fire would relight. This lasted for a couple years.

      *Second, I stopped going to church but I didn’t tell anyone except my husband and I continued to wear the garments (magic undies). Even at the time I knew I had an emotional/psychological barrier.

      *Half a year later I stopped wearing my garments (it took me another year to throw them away) but I still held onto Christ. Deep down I no longer believed in him but I just couldn’t bring myself to admit it. It seemed too awful.

      *Fourth, I told my family I’d left the church.

      *Fifth, I let go of Christ and religion altogether but still believed in a God. (threw out my garments and temple clothes) I believed religion was still a ‘good’ thing for a lot of people. Just not for me.

      *Finally, (past two years to present) I no longer believe in Christ the ‘deity’ or God (at least not one that’s involved with our lives). I believe religion is very damaging to people psychologically and emotionally. I finally threw away my scripture set that I’ve hauled through four moves last month.

      The hangups I still have ……. I have not yet requested the church officially remove my name from their records as a member (in mormonism you must request it) I am finally ready to do that but worry about the repercussions it would have on my family (parents/grandparents/in laws) as that’s the equivalent of purchasing my ticket to hell in mormonism.

      Anyway, my point is that your beliefs should be constantly evolving as you evolve as a person. It’s an intellectual and emotional process you’re undergoing. It’s unique to everyone and often takes a lot of time, especially when you’ve been programmed to the extent we were. It’s hard (impossible for many) to let go of a very trained dependency on the supernatural.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannon.stoney Shannon Stoney

    It took me a long time to shake the feeling that somebody was always watching me: The Man as it were. I’m really glad that feeling is finally gone!

  • Bringinginthesheep

    “We – I was raised a Catholic – were taught that original sin was on everyone and it needed to be removed because of what 2 original people did. That just blows my logical mind.”

    As someone who was raised Catholic, is Catholic, and teaches Catholicism, I can honestly say that you were taught incorrectly. You are free to (dis)believe what you wish, and I’m not going to try to (re)convert you or argue you; however, if you are going to talk about your former religion as being illogical, then please do the sufficient research to make your claims true.

    Suggestions for you to read, to understand your former religion that you find illogical:

    You can start with this article from Discovery News (what the Pope said is NOT new): http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/pope-francis-on-atheists-unprecedented-130523.htm

    And then follow the link on the Catholic Church and Science.

    And then move on to this heavier reading list:

    Catholicism, by Richard P. Mcbrien.

    The Documents of Vatican II, (in particular Nostrae Aetate.)

    The Concise Sacramentum Mundi, by Karl Rahner.

    Anthology, by Josef Pieper

    Summa Contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas

    Once you know what you’ve left, then your logical mind is free to be blown blissfully away and ignorant free. Until then, your logical disagreement on Original Sin may be a valid argument, it may speak to the truth of your experience, but ultimately it will be lacking in fact.

    • DJL

      So many people have taken that comment and either missed the boat on what I am saying or taken a twist from their beliefs. I don’t know how you can say I was taught incorrectly. We were taught that you are born with sin and it has to be removed by baptism. That original sin stemmed from the fall of man in the garden of Eden as I was taught. Now that I restated it in another way, how am I incorrect based on my Catholic upbringing?

      To make a point of the original comment, that this blows my logical mind, let me restate that. Two people, thousands of years ago do something wrong and all after them are born with the sin of their ancestors. I just don’t believe it. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t wrap my little South Louisiana Catholic public school once conservative now mostly liberal mind around such a concept. That is the point I am trying to make. And as I learned more, read parts of the bible and listened to what people told me, it had less logic.

      I had no ah-ha moment. I liken it to eating a bag of chips while watching TV. You snack away like everyone else, and all of a sudden there is nothing there, and your belief is just gone.

      • eclairevoyant

        What I really don’t get is that the Adam and Eve story is still being taught without full disclosure. First they were not married in the “traditional sense”, and if they were the first humans manufactured by God and their children had sex with each other, that starts a whole other discussion about brother and sister cohabiting and what kind of rules were broken and sins committed. It’s a dumb story which really made me question biblical stories and the people who wrote and recited them both historically and currently.

  • Pingback: The Winding Path – 002 | In the service of Truth.

  • Bringinginthesheep

    “We were taught that you are born with sin and it has to be removed by baptism. That original sin stemmed from the fall of man in the garden of Eden as I was taught. Now that I restated it in another way, how am I incorrect based on my Catholic upbringing?”

    Thank you for the correction. Your teachers were wrong and your upbringing on Catholicism was misinformed. If you wish to go to lenghs on this topic, then I’ll happily take an email address and write you. If not, then please read the books I recommended. I have read Dawkins, Hitchens, Comnte-Sponville and Harris, and I am still a theist. I can assure you I have no illusions that you will read the books I suggested and suddenly believe in God. Thus, the point is being informed, not convinced.

    Reading some parts of the Bible and listening to what some people have to say, IS the same thing fundamental Protestants to in their rejection of the Theory of Evolution. Read all of the Bible. Read what the Atheist Hitchens has to say about the Bible and read what the Catholic Scholar Raymond Brown has to say. Again, be informed.

    Finally, I love your bag of chips analogy, and I can relate having had a similar experience. Really develop that analogy, it’s incredibly nuanced, and may even produce a friendlier discourse in helping others understand why there are some who believe in no god(s).

  • Pingback: QotD: What Has Atheism Done For You Lately?

  • http://whereblog.devhub.com Rachel

    Your style is very unique compared to other people

    I’ve read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you’ve got

    the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

  • Pingback: Your Religion May Be Harmful If… | godless in dixie

  • MJ

    You say:

    “Religious belief taught me, for example, to judge gay men for being attracted to other men.”

    Jesus says otherwise:

    “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7)

    :)

    MJ

  • http://gravatar.com/thephyseter The_Physeter

    8. Friends who are more fun.

    When you are a Christian, you constantly have to worry about the people you are around.

    This person is swearing, or saying things I don’t believe in! Is that harmful for me? Should I voice my displeasure to “be a witness”, or should I keep silent to avoid being judgmental? Is this person harmful to me spiritually? Is this person a bad influence who will teach me bad things, or drag me away from believing what I Need To Believe? Should I try to witness to this person? To convert them? Do they need saving?

    Of course, if you are shy to begin with you might find it is still hard to make friends with or without God…

  • Pingback: Link Love (2013-11-16) | Becky's Kaleidoscope

  • Lee

    11. Atheists have WAY better sex!!!

    • bonnie

      YUP!!!

  • Pingback: The High Cost of Leaving Your Faith | godless in dixie

  • Pingback: Becoming Human | godless in dixie


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X