Into the Clear Air: Extended Testimonies

Part of Into the Clear Air

“Somewhere in those six, long years I finally found peace. I realized that I was never going to know all the answers. I realized that sometimes, ‘I don’t know’ is a legitimate answer. And, I finally realized that I was, to all intents and purposes, an atheist. I do not believe in God.

I don’t know, obviously, what the future holds. I learned to take life for what it is – a fragile, beautiful gift, given nonetheless by an uncaring, unknowing, yet awe-inspiring cosmos. I learned that all of us are entitled to take our own paths through this life; my path is probably no better, nor worse than any other. But, at least I finally get to choose the direction.”
—”Curt”, “Spiral

“PS. Answer to a question: ‘…what it is like to have that belief fall like a foundation of sand?’

Scary, at first. Embarrassing; I believed all that garbage! Infuriating: they lied to me! Disheartening: I’ve wasted my life chasing after a non-existent hope. I’ve turned down opportunities to do what I would have excelled at and enjoyed, in favour of an endless walking down dead-end streets. I have submitted where I should have stood firm, forgiven the unforgivable, validated the frauds. Worse; I have inspired many people to follow me. On the happy side; I am now free to make my own path. Free to tell the truth. Free to do what I think is right. Free to read, to make friends, to try new things.”
—Anonymous, “Missionary Kid Finally Grows Up

“In the years after leaving the military I went back to college — not as a serious attempt to earn a degree, but just to improve myself. In the process I learned enough to render the notion of life as a miraculous, planned occurrence unnecessary. And I came across and pieced together, bit by bit, a humanistic set of values which turned out to be far more self-consistent and pertinent to the modern world than a petrified decalogue of biblical taboo. It was becoming clear to me that the universe behaved pretty much as might be expected if God didn’t exist, or at least didn’t care. It gradually dawned upon me that in the grand scheme of things there was in fact no grand scheme. Even as an explanation for things as yet unknown a deity was entirely superfluous. For indeed experience had shown that religion had never truly explained anything, but merely served as a fig-leaf cover for the shame of human ignorance. God performed no observable function and had no valid purpose. The question entered my mind, ‘What is a god without purpose and for which there is no evidence?’ ‘Non-existent,’ came the obvious answer. The blinders of dogma and the yoke of dread were finally off. For me the universe now shone in a wholesome new light, the comforting glow of reality no longer distorted, either by the almost cartoonish artificial ‘glory’ of myth and miracle or by the dreadful glare of hellfire. I was free!”

—S.A. Joyce, “One night I prayed to know the truth. The next morning I discovered I was an atheist

“Well, let me say that the last few months I have been happier than I have been in many years. For once I am free of guilt – one of the most destructive of human emotions, yet perpetuated and even lifted up as a virtue by evangelical christianity.”

—Anonymous, “Never thought I would be telling this story

“Then a feeling of RELIEF and FREEDOM washed over me a few days later. I was free to do my own thing. To make my own way in the World. I was not a slave to the whim of some big Sky Fairy. There were no demons and no fiery torment for making the wrong choice because the evidence for the “right” choice was suspect.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about leaving.. trust me, it’s very scary at first. But you’ll be better off in the long run :-)”
—Anonymous, “From fundamentalist to Free Thinker

“Having been on both sides, I can tell you. The ability to think and be free of the cloud that religion places one in is wonderful. I study and read scientific materials on physics and some cosmology for a pasttime. I’m still a geek after all. I’ve placed science against religion and religion is more holey than holy.”

—Anonymous, “Street Minister becomes Atheist

“I am very happy in my unbelief, and it is amazing how alive you can feel when the rust starts to fall off of your brain and it starts to actually work again.”

—Anonymous, “Ex-Pentecostal – Now Freedman

“Well, I finally woke up a few years ago with the help of a friend who’s an atheist, and I’ve never been happier than leaving that set of illogical and ludicrous ideas of the existence of god in the past. Since I deconverted, life’s been wonderful. I have a great life, my kids are all doing great (my son’s now a highly-skilled pilot on his way to a degree and flying for the airlines) and I have found true peace. All without god, jesus, church and all of that other baloney.”
—Anonymous, “Freedom FROM religion!!

“I don’t know if I’d categorize my experiences as ‘fun,’ but all the stages were definitely exciting. Sort of the same feeling I got when I left my first husband: scared to death, but in a heady, liberated, ‘this-feels-right’ kind of way. Every step opened my eyes and my mind a little more, and loosened the grip of guilt and superstition on my life.”
—IIDB user “Hazel-rah”,

“To make an incredibly long and painful story short (the process was painful, the outcome was wonderful), I now think that the belief in god(s) is irrational to the point of absurdity.”
—IIDB user “Rydo”,

“I used to be a very dedicated Christian, as I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist society. But my rational mind got the better of me in the end… and it is a relief to finally be relieved from the burden of religion.”
—IIDB user “Loki12”,

“Looking back, it was inevitable. Often I think I was wiser at twelve than at twenty. Now the fear is a memory. Smiles come more easily. And almost to my astonishment, the sky remains blue, the sun shines, breath is sweet, love still gives me wings – and life is as beautiful and meaningless as a flower.

It is not a bad world. Not so bad at all.”
—Kenneth Nahigian, “How I Walked Away

“The final part of my journey into freethought took place as I assessed the damage that twenty years of Fundamental Christianity had done to my psychological wellbeing and to my closest relationships. I suffered a severe depression triggered by several factors, but due in large part to the constant mental juggling required to cling to my faith.

Perhaps I am richer for having experienced the religious version of the ‘peace that passeth all understanding.’ I have at least had an inside view of the believer’s mind: but I feel I have a deeper peace now, not a nervous peace that is forever looking over its shoulder.”
—Ian Carr, “My Post-Christian Testimony

“As a Christian, I felt that I had an abundant life. But life is even more abundant for me now. From my present perspective, the abundance I felt I had as a Christian seems rather shallow and could not match what I have achieved now.

Yet, I think there are ways in which giving up Christianity, moving beyond Christianity, has helped me to find more and deeper meaning and satisfaction in life than I could as a Christian. As a Christian, I wondered how people without God could really appreciate life and the world and all its beauty, and I doubted that they could do so to the extent I as a Christian could. Without a relationship with the Creator, how could one really appreciate creation? But, much to my surprise, I have found life, the universe, everything to be much more wondrous and beautiful without God. When I was a Christian, I considered this world to be just a sign of the next world, the really real world. The beauty of this world was merely a reflection of some other world. The beauty I experienced in this world was derivative. Now, however, I see that this is the real world, this is the source of all the beauty, as well as all the misery, the joy and the sorrow, the fulfillment and the frustration. It is not derivative. It is all here. That allows me to appreciate this world in ways I could not as a Christian.”
—Kendall Hobbs, “Why I Am No Longer a Christian

“I have a word of hope for people who find themselves in this situation. There is a difficult transition period to navigate when one first leaves the faith, but there need not be a permanent fall into existential despair. Life without Christianity can be every bit as meaningful and fulfilling as life with Christianity — many people, including myself, find life even better without Christianity, once the emotional wounds have healed over. Leaving the faith can plunge one into a sense of profound loss — and there has indeed been a profound loss, akin the the death of a loved one in the emotional reactions it produces. But a new worldview can be built, and it can be built on a firmer foundation than the old one. It is hard work, and it takes a focused effort, but there is a fulfilling life to be reclaimed for those who are willing.”
—James Buckner, “No, I’m Not a Christian — Not Anymore!

“For some time now I have felt strong and happy and confident and free, and I believe that I am no longer in need of support. The ghost of my old Christian faith has faded away, and I have really already moved on to living and enjoying life in the here and now without superstition. Hence my own personal emotional state is healthy and vigorous, if I may be allowed to diagnose myself.”
—James Buckner, “Free at Last! (or, My Spiritual Healing)

“I don’t know what this means for me. I know this… I am now, and on some level have always been, a secular humanist. I am suddenly comfortable in my own skin, like my mind is clear for the first time. I no longer know what role, if any, the concept of God plays in my life. It’s certainly not the role that was there two weeks ago. Now that I actually understand the theory of evolution to some extent I realize it’s not just a bunch of wishful-thinking atheists working on some quack theory and calling it a fact. I have developed a whole new awe and appreciation for the world I see around me, like I’m really seeing it for the first time. The geese outside my office looked like little dinosaurs to me and I got the chills.”
—”thelodger”, “Awake for the First Time

“Now that I’m on the other side of that journey, I can say without reservation that nothing beats living authentically, and not having to pretend to be someone you’re not just to keep your family or so-called friends happy.

And, I anticipate having much more time and energy to devote to living passionately for however long or short the remainder of my life may be.”
—John Andersen, “A Word About Living a Double Life

“From time to time I do struggle with the meaning of my existence, but life goes on, and though there is no longer an ultimate meaning to life, there remain multiple meanings in life. I can still bask in the love of my wife and children, find satisfaction in my computer programming work, enjoy running with our dog, watch a good movie, read intellectually stimulating books and discuss them with friends, play a game of chess with my sons, play tag with my daughter, tickle my children half to death, contribute to charitable causes and savor a handful or two of roasted sunflower seeds. I may not retain this optimistic picture of life if a crippling disaster befalls me, but I can only take one day at a time. I am not directly engaged in any significant humanitarian efforts other than through financial contributions, but I look forward to becoming more involved in the future as family and work responsibilities permit.”
—Kenneth Daniels, “From Missionary Bible Translator to Agnostic

“At the moment, I am just starting out on a life in which I have totally abandoned religion, completely, totally and utterly. I feel truly free! No heaven, no hell, no guilt, no fear, no angels, no devils, no miracles, no God. This is the result of years of searching for the Christian God, and finding that he does not exist. It is not a position I have chosen, it is the only possible conclusion I could have come to. It is the natural position we all are born into, until parental and societal influences intervene. I suppose if I had not been exposed to religious dogma (trauma) there would be no realization of the non-existence of a God; I would simply have taken it for granted. I had been sitting on the fence for years, not living a Christian life, but still harbouring secret and atavistic fears. Over the past few years, and especially the last few months, I have been actively replacing those fears (and the shell of a defunct religion) with a view of the world, and our place in it, grounded in science and reason. I am, at last, experiencing freedom from the angst and deeply incongruous feelings and thoughts that come with religion. Atheism is a great tonic!”
—Vincent Rautenbach, “Falling Pennies

“I am finally living my life with a much higher degree of freedom and happiness. I realize now the utter stupidity of believing in a religion or any belief system that does not respond to critical thinking and lots of questioning.”
—A.F. Maas, “Freedom

“When it comes to atheism, I’m pretty new. I officially declared myself deconverted in June of 2004 so it’s been a little over a year now. However, despite my relative newness with this whole thing, I feel very confident in my beliefs and I’ve never been happier.

One morning in June, I woke up and my first thought was literally, ‘I don’t believe anymore’. Surprisingly, I felt really good. In fact, I felt great. I was free.

All in all, I think deconverting was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m more confident in myself than I’ve ever been before and my atheism has helped to finally pull me out of my shell. I feel freer than I ever have and I can finally do the things I want without fear or guilt. However, with this new freedom comes an enormous sense of responsibility. As a Christian I was certain that Jesus would return at any moment and that there was no sense in making the best of what we have right now. What’s the point of bettering the world if it’s just gonna end soon? When I left religion behind I realized that it was now my responsibility to make sure the world becomes a better place because it probably isn’t going to end anytime soon. I know it sounds mushy and cliché, but that’s how it is and that’s how I think everyone should be. After all, this life is all we have.”
—Ben Loewen, “Getting Better All the Time

“There was nothing left for me to do, so I became an atheist and humanist. It felt great! Now that I can see all the problems religion has caused in the world, I wish it had never existed. I look forward to a time when it doesn’t.”

“Some people tell me I can’t be happy without Jesus — but I am!”

“I can’t put a specific date on my deconversion, since it was an extremely gradual process, but it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I began to appreciate life for life, not worrying endlessly at night whether I was good enough for Heaven, or if I would be cast into the eternal lake of fire. There was nothing to worry about!”

“Although I am still learning and searching and ever strengthening my disbelief, I feel more secure and happy than I had ever felt before. Atheism is freedom. As Isaac Asimov once said: One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh. Or in the infamous words of Ernest Hemingway: All thinking men are atheists.”

“Atheism has saved me. As a ‘God-fearing Christian’ I emphasize the ‘fearing’ part, I now can actually act upon the feelings I have rather than worry about how they might conflict with some archaic mythology that was forced upon me.”
—Terrence Tyrka,

“After that my religious faith was hanging by threads, until an atheist friend of mine asked me to read some debates between atheists and christians from the wonderful site Atheism Awareness. This converted me completely, and I am much happier for it, not having to fear eternal pain and suffering.”
—”Nick R.”,

“I am not so much anti-religion as pro-independent thinking. I am not going to turn my atheism into another religion. I can do without religion altogether and be quite happy. Frankly, I am happier now than ever before because for the first time in a long time I am being honest with myself.”
—Dale Jackson,

“Still, blind belief is no longer an option, and I am much happier on my own path of discovery. Life is so much more open now, and more honest.”
—Jeff Thompson,

“I have been in a state of unbelief for 2 years now, and it feels good to do things without fear of a big booming old guy in the sky. I don’t choose to actively hate religion, I choose to ignore it. I like my life and myself a lot better that way. Living with religion is like living in the worst part of Queens. Fear rules your activities. I let go of that fear and I find myself discovering more about myself daily.”
—Thomas Boyko,

“For those out there who actually find religion a positive, healthy, constructive thing (and I’ve never met one of you, but it is within the realm of possibility that you exist), kudos. But it isn’t me, and, thankfully, it probably never will be. I’m much happier and healthier and freer as an atheist.”
—Susan Silver,

“I am happy to say that atheism has made me a much more free person. I no longer live under the yoke of a god, the Pope or any religion. I am free to be my own person. I have a standard of morals to live my life by (human rights), and religion never enters into my decision making process. I don’t have to worry about going to Hell or Heaven, because I know that they don’t exist. I am also sexually free. The deletion of religion in my life and the substitution of human rights — based morality has allowed me to experience new things without fear of divine retribution.”
—Damien Sorresso,

“How did I feel? As if a great, weighty, sooty bundle of rags had been removed from my back — I actually had that image at the time. I felt as though I was breathing fresh air for the first time.”
—David Hood,

“But I have to say, the day I burnt that letter, the day I took off my ‘Jesus glasses,’ and threw them away, was like going from black and white to colour. It was truly amazing to suddenly have respect for people my religion told me to hate.”
—Mike Warner,

“Since I’ve completed these essential (to me) prerequisites to a god-free life, I feel as if I’ve had a great weight lifted from my shoulders. I am more confident in my daily life and I live it with greater zeal. I know that I’ve only got this one life to live and I want to make the most of it.”
—Mark Silgalis,

“It is hard to eliminate Catholicism from my system, because it was injected into my mind at such an early age that it tainted everything which came later, even against my will. It’s especially hard, since it’s the by-product of a devout Irish-Catholic mother (still living), and a formerly Protestant, converted father, who also dabbled with astrology, speaking in tongues, superstitions and psycho-cybernetics.
But, in the words of the old guy in, “Monty Python’s Holy Grail,” I’m getting better. Atheism is a great restorative, and I know it is a positive force.”
—Blair Sanderson,

“But then I started reading some of the philosophy of Russell and others, and I finally saw the light. And you know, in a way I feel cheated. All those years of worship and brainwashing for nothing. I still do not let my family know how I feel about god, but I have peace of mind, and am free of the dogma.”
—Martin Kopec,

“So… I am an atheist who is at peace with who I am and what I believe. Because I am at peace — I can accept others for who and what they are and I don’t feel threatened by differing belief structures. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
—Melanie Walker,

“The light of Jesus does not compare to the light of reason.”

“Learning more and more about atheism I accepted the world-view which it offers and I feel happier now because I concentrate on my life here and now and I freed myself from the illusions about afterlife. I don’t believe in god any more either.

When I was changing my world view it was the biggest emotional crisis in my life till now. As if a new human being was born-more mature and more clever. Information can change your life!”
—Vanya Yankova,

“Dr. Sagan’s work was not the final thrust that broke me free of the gravitational bond of my religious superstitions (John Dominic Crossan supplied that), but it provided both the launching power for the ascent of my journey of intellectual restructuring, and a joyful place to land when my soaring cerebral flight found its new perspective. What a joy it was to vindicate that little nagging voice that kept me searching, probing, asking questions, courageously admitting to the flaws in my previous reasoning. I consider Dr. Sagan to have been a foster parent to the orphaned child of my curiosity.

The actual transition was slow and painful. I have ended up a little bit shaken by it, but relishing the freedom. I am free from fear of evil and punishment, free of Dogma, free to think on my own, free to set my own path. I am now very happy with my choice in life — and that was to follow the truth no matter the consequences — as the Bible so rightly says :-‘the truth shall set you free’.

It was a scary, naked feeling at first, realizing that I am on my own and I better make the best of the one chance at bat I have. I have been a nontheist now for three years and I feel better every day. I found out that there is a Heaven but not your everyday Bible-thumping heaven: My heaven is the circle of trust and comfort I have created with those close to me and together we walk through life. No crutches are needed and we stroll hand in hand down a short (bumpy) road, pausing as often as possible to smell the roses as we gently approach the End.

For my part, I’ve never been happier, though the term sounds strange. I wouldn’t quite say my atheism makes me happy, the way religions claim to. I do feel that untramelled intellectual freedom has opened my mind to wonders I could never have so fully appreciated were the stultifying banality of the traditional myths still hanging over them like a cloud. Just as so many years ago, my skin crawled for some vague reason at the very cheesiness of the attempts to convert the young wholesale in the charismatic manner, my skin still crawls when I hear the wondrous complexity of the modern world ascribed to the wisdom of some god or other. I find myself thinking, it is such explanations that dull us, quiet us, prevent us from looking further. This world is here, let us explore it. Let us not make such banal exultations that subtly put it beyond our potential understanding.

But skepticism, atheism, the freedom to explore, these are part and parcel of the same thing for me. The mere habit of reason may have brought me inexorably to this place, but frankly, I can’t complain about the scenery. To me, Russell still said it best:

“Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor all their own.” —Bertrand Russell, from What I Believe

Thanks, that’s all.”
—Dan Lewandowski,

“The latter work was my inroad to skepticism, which was a whole new way of thinking for me. I had finally discovered where my religious beliefs came from. I discovered wishful thinking. I discovered science, a much better, more useful way. I became a religious skeptic, a non-theist. And guess what? I am much happier now! Life is so much more interesting and enjoyable with skepticism. Reading about how we ‘know’ what isn’t so has brought me great pleasure, and has given me new, positive direction. So, thank you, Carl, and others!”
—Dave Clarke,

“As one of the newly emancipated I can honestly say that it’s better over here. A life without a god or religion may appear bleak, after all, I don’t have neat & tidy answers to some of my most fundamental questions (where did we come from and why are we here?), but I have been ‘blessed’ with so many things: a reverence and respect for our extraordinary universe, and awareness of human fallibility (mine and yours), and the tools to separate what is true from what I would like to be true. Since becoming an atheist I have never once feared for my ‘soul’ in the ‘afterlife,’ because I refuse to believe that any being who gifted me with a rational mind would fault me for using it.”
—Ryan Boehning,

“Now, I have found a happier way of life — without having to worry about going to hell or ‘the second death’ as the JW’s have it when I finally bite the dust, I don’t have to live in fear.”
—Christopher Dean,

“So I’m just starting to sink into living my life as the atheist I’ve fought so hard not to be and I don’t find it bleak or depressing or hopeless at all. For the first time in ages I appreciate my mind, my life and the wondrous world around me, not with a religious overlay getting tossed onto everything to make it all somehow more meaningful and worthwhile, but fascinating and awesome in and of itself.”
—Leslie Shields,

“I am not a peaceful person in much of my life. There is one place however, where I am at peace, and that is in my atheism. It just feels right to me.”
—Ann Murray,

“It took a while for me to feel comfortable with the label ‘Atheist’, but as soon as I let go of all the Christian garbage that I had grown up with, I felt so relieved. I have a new outlook on everything now. My primary concern is for humans, other living creatures, and the environment, not how I think a god would want me to think or act.

I have grown intellectually and emotionally since I have become an Atheist. It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”
—Sharon Payant,

“I choose now to respect my fellow man and woman (something I didn’t do as a Christian) and to live my life being kind, giving, but most importantly — I live my life with my eyes open, my mind fully functional, and with logic and rational thought as my guide. And that has made me happier and more at peace than any blind faith or belief in a deity could.”
—David Garcia,

“My journey through Christianity and into atheistic freethought was a journey of finding myself, and now I can say with great confidence that I have. I am one small link in a long chain, and all I can do is my little part to make my fellow links feel that much happier and that much more loved. The standards of peace and happiness I sought as I believer, I found as an atheist — Who would have thought?”
—Joe Holman, “From Gospel Preacher to Good Atheist

“It is such a relief not to worry about God’s plan for my life anymore. No more trying to find out if I’m ‘called’ to whatever profession or church or ministry or celibacy or anything anymore. Just do what I want to and it’s okay. Trust my own judgement and take all the results, good and bad. No more hesitating. I’m such a perfectionist, and letting go of the idea that there’s one ultimate path for my life and anything less isn’t ‘abundant living’ is so… liberating. It’s such a relief, I worried so much about it.”
—Heather Ann, “Liberating

“I find that I am far happier without the bonds of religion. It is an amazing thing to set the mind free, free from the need to fit everything into a predefined bias.”
—Merle Hertzler, “How Questioning Changed Me

“He kinda gave up on me after that… and, after dealing with some terrible fallout with my family, I started to heal! It’s been a crazy process — the ‘healing’, but I healed emotionally and mentally. Granted, I lost every friend and found myself completely alone (still to this day), but I’m alive and there’s no more ‘thought police’!!!!! I’ve never had a mental ‘peace’ like this in my life. I feel incredible and it’s so awesome to be free from the chains of Christianity! To this day, I still find myself having those ‘moments’ where I just look back on it all and think ‘Wow… Wow… I can’t believe that I believed that!'”
—IIDB user “gillianseed84”, “Devout Christian here for 13 years, now I’m an infidel!

“I used to be a Baptist. The deconversion itself was pretty rough, but I haven’t been a Christian for nine years, and I’m glad of it overall.”

—IIDB user “TransverseWave”,

“I truly don’t remember when exactly I came to the definite conclusion that Christianity simply wasn’t true. However, at some point after the realization was finally ‘complete’, I began to experience a range of emotions when thinking about my former beliefs and the journey that had led me away from them. Much of the time, I felt almost exhilirated by the sense of pure freedom – freedom from constant worry about whether I was ‘good enough’, unnecessary guilt over perfectly normal desires and feelings, cognitive dissonance arising from the chasm between what seemed to make sense intellectually and what I was told I must believe ‘on faith’. I also felt liberated by the fact that I no longer viewed the world in what was essentially a deeply negative way; instead of viewing everything ‘not-Christian’ in the world around me with suspicion or fear, I realized I was free to embrace the beauty of diversity in culture and explore all the experiences that life has to offer.”
—IIDB user “christ-on-a-stick”, “A Salvation Story

“I have been a Christian for most of my life, because I was too scared to ask questions.

The past 5 years changed everything – I took the big step and started some serious investigations and as the Bible says: The Truth set me free.

I went from Agnostic to Atheist and I never felt better; a weight has lifted from my shoulders.”
—IIDB user “Luci”,

“My experience was similar, and I’m more at peace now as an atheist than as a xian.”
—IIDB user “Lola”,

“Atheism is like a revelation. All of a sudden it hit me, I dropped that irrational fear, and didn’t look back.”
—IIDB user “kciredor reprah”,

“I had a number of years of seeing the world through the eyes of a believer and I am glad that it is behind me.”
—IIDB user “JPD”,

“I did not harp on the point, but I felt that I sufficiently made the case that Christianity is unproven, that good people should not be sent to Hell, that Christianity is nothing but a big business with a few fringe benefits, and that my life had greatly improved since I stopped trying to deceive myself.”
—IIDB user “JohNeo”,

“The transition from faith was isolating at first. Leaving the church meant abandoning the way of relating that previously defined his existence. ‘It is a lot more difficult to find and cultivate the friendships I was used to.’ Telling his family was hard, though they were supportive. “I definitely felt like I was ‘coming out.”‘

Rodriguez says he feels it was worth it. ‘I definitely feel healthier and freer, more integrated as a person,’ he says. Though Sunday School will not be his vehicle to change the world, his service continues. This summer he will work at Florida Legal Services, starting a project to help low-wage workers in Miami. It’s a job worthy of a missionary — or an atheist.”
—Jose Rodriguez, quoted in “Godless Church

“I’m just so happy now…. it feels like a weight is off my shoulders now that I can express myself…

Already today I’ve been laughing and having more fun than I have had in a long time with this burden off of my shoulders…

I have such peace right now…. peace that I never had as a ‘christian’ and if I’m going to hell because I have peace so be it…”
—IIDB user “inner-peace”,

“My life has been so much happier without religion. I am free to think for myself and explore ideas that I never would have touched before. I don’t have to justify the atrocities of the Bible and of the Church to myself or perform mental gymnastics to reconcile the changing beliefs of the Church over time. I don’t have to accept the evils of the world as part of a perfect divine plan. I don’t have to grovel before an all-loving God every day to just give me what is best for me. I can be honest about the fact that I don’t really want children, that I don’t want to wait until marriage to have sex with the woman I love, and that entertaining sexual thoughts is perfectly natural and not something to beat yourself up about. I am free to vote and to act as I see best. I am free to find my own meaning and make the most out of the only life I have instead of wasting my time preparing for another one which will never happen. Apostasy has been very liberating… I went from reactionary, scrupulous, miserable, traditional Catholic counterrevolutionary to the liberal, healthy, happy atheist revolutionary I am today.”
—IIDB user “Revolutionary”, “Apostasy: One Year Later

“My life has been much happier and personally meaningful without religion too. If I could figure out why so few other people have come to this realization, my life would be complete.”
—IIDB user “southernhybrid”,

“This was something I hadn’t expected at all. My decision led me to an odd feeling of elation and freedom. I felt as though the world was my oyster! I’m just about sensible enough to know that this new sense of freedom won’t turn me into a super-achiever on a roller-coaster road of success, but now God is no longer a part of the equation for my life I am free to pursue a path of my own choosing. As a Christian my primary goal was always to serve God and give him my best, and as such, almost every decision I made, every action I took and every thought I had would be brought before the boss. This has a tremendously restricting effect because you are never really sure if what you are doing is the right thing! The Bible provides general guidelines, but with the course of everyday life it is of no real help at all. The burden of getting the balance right for a Christian is terrible. If you try to hold back too far in seeking God’s guidance you can be seen as a luke-warm Christian who is not serious about moving on with God. On the other hand, if you go too far in the opposite direction you can become over obsessive to the point of checking that even the very words you speak carelessly might influence your effectiveness as a fruitful Christian! Christians often swing back and forth between licentiousness and legalism. Now I don’t have to worry about any of that.

…As the weeks and months have gone by, I continue to find more convincing evidence that Christianity is untrue. But also I am finding more and more benefits that surface now that my life has turned around. Ironically I feel as though I have been ‘born again’. Like a sinner who has just seen the light – I feel just the same way.”
—Anonymous, “Paradox’s Testimony

“What my life as an atheist has brought to me can be summed up in one word: PEACE! I’m at peace with myself, and have peaceful feelings for all those well-intended fools that intruded or opposed me earlier. I hope to always hold these truths about myself inviolate. My wife (of 18 years) and I have raised our children to be open minded, self reliant, and face life head on. We have instilled in them the idea they have the RIGHT to be a heretic (from the Greek word meaning choice or to choose). Your life IS what YOU make of it.”
—Lee Bowen,

“That afternoon, I felt a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was such a relief to know I am not alone in my exasperation with fanaticism.”
—Lori Gilliland,

“… ever since I realized the truth, I have felt a lot less guilty about myself (Catholicism is really bad about that) and have a clearer out look on life, and other people for that matter.”
—Brandon McGinnity,

“And it’s still worth it. To be able to cry when that young gay boy was killed in Wyoming and not feel wicked. To walk by someone smoking and not instantly make assumptions about his/her lifestyle. To read what I want without worrying if it is appropriate. To watch movies without wincing at the nude scenes. To go to sleep at night and not fear that I’ll die and God will yell at me for doing what I felt was right. To not fear the male majority and concede to their view of the world just because they all have a dick and I don’t.

I wouldn’t go back in a million years.”

“I was raised in a deeply religious household. Since I rejected it all I have been a much happier person.”

“Leaving the addictions of Christianity (deprogramming your mind) is a bit like ridding your-self of an addictive problem such as nicotine. During the withdrawal phase life is hell, you want to stay addicted, but when it’s over you feel so much better, you feel liberated. I would have to say that leaving Christianity would have to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It is good to be set free from outdated mythology, superstition and dogmas. Once you can let go you begin to feel comfortable and relieved and you find that everything takes on a whole new outlook.”
—Jim Lee,

“All those years wasted, but it was never too late. Believe me, it was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my whole life. Now, I am a free thinker. I believe in what I see and things that can be proven; and I am proud of it.”

“I guess there are two reasons for me being an atheist: the lack of gods and the fact that I feel a damn lot better this way.”
—Don Antropos, on alt.atheism