Eventually there comes a time when we as rational adults have to give up some things in the face of logic.
Religion is probably the biggest hurdle.
Besides giving up the belief in a nostalgic paradise after death, there are a ton of other modes of thought we have to let go of.
Here is a list of the things I miss believing in:

Karma- The world isn't fair. Bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. The idea that the dickheads of existence would eventually get what's coming to them had always been a comfort to me. Call it hell, karma, justice or whatever, the fact of the matter is that humans are imperfect, so is our system of fairness. Our laws and punishments don't work 100% of the time. Nature itself is only fair in such a broad way, it does little to appease the individual situations that I am forced to witness. I want people to be held accountable, damnit! Letting go of that notion was hard for me.

Ghosts/ESP/Astrology/Whatever- Right, not so much the astrology for me personally, but I have always been in love with the supernatural. In fact, I do still cling on to this notion more than any self respecting atheist should. Evidence points to the conclusion that there is no "beyond the veil" but I just like to think that there are energies/dimensions/again, whatever out there that science hasn't discovered the technology to explore yet, let alone explain. As I said. I LIKE to think that. I'm not saying I do (anywhere but in the secret fantasies of my own overly imaginative brain.) All technology is magic to anyone sufficiently ignorant to it's workings. Hell, my iphone could be a wizard's wand for all I know....right? Anyway. I mourn the ghost stories of my childhood. I have to realize that frightening coincidences are just that. Coincidence.

Friends and Family- While this isn't a system of belief so much as it is a real, physical loss, I have to realize that there are some people out there that cannot accept my lack of faith. These people have systematically cut me from their lives. It was probably the most humane thing to do, in all honesty. I know there are certain right-wing god-fearing women out there that I love but can no longer stand the presence of due to the drastic differences in our ideology. :(

Someone looking out for me- Religion teaches you that there is always someone that loves you, and there is always some master plan. Even if things are bad now, they will be better soon, and all problems will be magically resolved as long as you keep the faith. As much bullshit as it is, the feeling that I don't have too much responsibilities for my failures was always a nice one. Especially now when I'm underemployed. Oh what I'd give to be able to sleep at night knowing that god doesn't close a window without opening a door.

Ultimate enlightenment- Even as a child, the concept of heaven sounded flimsy to me. It was.. well.. boring. But learning all the answers to the questions I accumulated was the one thing that made it ok to die. Oh... that and pet heaven. I am far too curious to sit on a fluffy cloud and play the harp, but I would like to know EVERYTHING that has always bugged me.

So that's my list. I'm sure I'll think of more later on.
You guys tell me about the things you miss now!

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Community is the best thing religion has to offer. It is also the main reason some people think religion is vital. But, there are other, secular ways to get involved at a local level. It just takes some more work and is not as ubiquitous as religion.
I don't really miss any of those, because I still use them on a regular basis, but mind you, I have just come out of the Atheist closet that I was hiding in for the last 20 years.

I still often say that I have the job I have now because of bad karma, just like when you're "surprised", you'll say "Oh my god", which to me is better that saying, "holy fucking shit" in public...especially when you work with kids!!

I did the astrology thing....force of habit of reading my horoscope every morning, doesn't mean shit, but fun to read. Ghosts I don't believe in until I see one. I've heard that cats are in tune with the supernatural, which is weird cause sometimes my cat's eyes will just start following something for no reason, but I still don't believe in life after death...I joke about it, and say that my cat is following "Conrad", the gentleman who once owned my home.

As for friends and family, I think most of my family is aware of my atheism, but don't acknowledge it. Most are still catholic, but non-practising...Last time we all went to church was for my parent's 50th anniversary, and we were all lost with church protocol of kneeling, standing, sitting, and what's with the hand-shaking?? Friends...I've lost many, but not from my atheism, more from growing up, and changes in life-styles, but we still run into each other from time to time.

Someone to look out for me....I look out for myself. I've learned that people will do anything to make others look bad to increase their self-worth. At work, I do my job, but have an attitude at times...others are slackers, yet because they rarely complain about working conditions, are well-respected with management. I would much rather live my life by my rules, and follow my personal ethics.

I think I've touched on a few things...not bad for a first comment on T|A (yeah...I've been lurking - like a ghost hahaha!!)
.....you're spooooooky.
Welcome to the community!
Who knows who else is out there, watching, waiting, judging!
You must be living in the Bible Belt like me, or a close knit community that has strong religious affiliations.
If you find it difficult, or it becomes unbearable, MOVE.
Most people in bigger cities do not judge, at least not in the cities I have lived in.
Denver, San Jose, Fresno, Sacrament, etc.
Living in Arkansas I am surrounded by religion.
Little churches everywhere, and some big ones.
Christian neighbors, who know of my non belief but have accepted me.
Why? Because of my attitude. I am always ready to help people, and I do.
Religion or non-religion, personality will win out.
Great post. I absolutely agree. Especially about the fairness system religions have in place. It's hard to tell people that nothing will happen to the asshole who just harmed them. There's always guilt I guess
I miss the lack of logic that I had accepted.

When I realized the idea of a god to be a myth I felt like I had just been slapped in the face. It felt almost like a break up of sorts, or maybe a death. This thing that had been there your whole life, this idea of someone to take care of you, and then suddenly it's gone. I thought that was really sad. I was really, really angry.

So I would say feeling loved no matter what. Also, feeling like, if things got really, really bad, I could pray and they would get better.
I see what your saying and somewhat agree that the satisfaction of being safe and loved and watched over was always nice, but i have to say ignorance for me would not be bliss. i am much happier that i have thought this out just because i am a very meticulous person who finds every contradiction and ambiguity and i like to solve it like a puzzle. everything makes sense, but not always to us. i like to bridge that gap. for me its just impossible to be Christian as there are two many flaws and contradictions. I mean come on it is by definition, a cult. Some of the things you listed were contradictions and so they may be nice but they are wrong. its like getting excited over a fake lottery ticket. The friends and family I've lost doesn't effect me. if they aren't smart enough to even understand, much less convert, they i don't want to be with them anyway.

So to some up, those were nice, but enlightenment is so much better.
What Misty is getting at is Skeptical Atheism. I'm an atheist because I am a Skeptic. And being a Skeptic leads me to apply the same critical eye to things like astrology and the supernatural as I do to religion. But, technically, you are right, that to be an atheist requires nothing more than a lack of belief in a god or gods.
As a boy my mom dropped me off at my dads & stepmom's and never returned. I was four. After a week with my stepmom I would pray long and hard for my mom to come back and get me. But she never did. My stepmom practiced Voodoo/Brujeria. She kept statues of saints in her bedroom and gave them african gods names. As a boy they were scary.

They'd send me off every Sunday, to a Catholic Church, by myself, and there I'd pray long and hard for my mom to come back and save me from the daily ass whippings. She never came back. I'd return from Church and there was my stepmom, bouncing around the floor as if in a trance, trying to speak in tongues. While in her "trance" she'd accuse me of using heroin (I was nine), stealing, and doing all kinds of dastardly things. Did I mention I had just returned from church? Soon the "spirit" would leave her and she'd go about her business as if nothing had happened. As a boy that was scary.

At around the age of 14 I started eating the fruit, that she'd leave in a bowl for "Chango"(the African God), and stealing the change she'd put in a chalice for "Obatalla". I then flip them all off. I was no longer scared. I no longer went to church either. I became aware that the "Supernatural" was all bullshit. But I still prayed long and hard for my mom to walk through that door. I finally met her at the age of 19, just before I joined the Navy. We still don't keep in touch. So much for praying.

I don't miss the supernatural. I don't miss astrology, ghost, spirits, and African Gods.

As a boy if I did not have something that I thought would come to my rescue, ie. god, my experience would have probably have been even more frightening. God gave me hope. I was still scared but I always hoped.
That doesn't sound like a happy childhood.
"So much for praying."

I like that. You've experienced first hand how much religion ruins lives and what a crock of crap it all is.


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