I just joined because I really need a support group.  I'm surrounded by Christianity.

I've been feeling really horrible lately because I can't stand the thought that so many of my friends and members of my family are delusional.  I've always internalized this, but I feel it bubbling to the surface.  It hurts me to know they feel so free to spread the nonsense, but knowing I can't be as free without being demonized, or at least pitied.  But, recently I've been feeling pity for them.  Not outwardly, but inside, and I feel it because I look at them clinging to religion, and waiting for Jesus to come back and it's just so pathetic.  I don't want to feel this way about basically everyone I know.  It's disturbing.  I don't even know how to begin dealing with this and these feelings.  I love my friends and family.  I hate religion.  I was brought up to love no one greater than God and Jesus, I literally felt guilty for years because I loved my grandmother more.  I'm over that now, I'm 40, I quit going to church when I was 17, but that's how pathetic I was when I was a kid.  I look back now and I'm so angry at people for teaching children from birth that this stuff is real.  It's a cult.  I have teen daughters and I've raised them the way I wished I was raised.  With love, compassion, honor, dignity, truthfulness, knowledge, and the total absence of religion. 

Not necessarily needing a place to vent (though, I will when something pisses me), not needing to push any agendas (though I may support them), I just really NEED a support system.  I can't keep this inside anymore, I can't. 

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Thank you!!  So nice to hear that :D

Welcome Lesa. I am sorry you find yourself in such a frustrating position. You have found a place where many people can relate to many of your laments.

Thank you so much :D

Thank you so much for sharing. :) I think it's awesome that you've raised your children the way you have. They will, I'm sure, be forever grateful to you for that. They won't have to go through that awful time in their lives that so many of us have where they're forced to question all the lies that were told to them by people they love. (It took me years of questioning to finally admit I didn't believe. It was so painful to admit that the "god" I had been talking to all those years wasn't really there... so terrifying to realize that my entire worldview was based on lies.)

I was raised in church like you were, and I didn't find my way out of my religion until my early 20s. My parents are good, loving people who (with the best of intentions) raised me in a religion that taught me to fear at an age when life should have been fun and carefree. I remember very well what it was like lying in bed every night wondering if something I'd done that day would get me sent to hell. It was torturous. I knew "God" could hear my every thought, so I beat myself up inside for every thought I knew "he" wouldn't approve of. Then the thoughts would come again, causing me to hate myself more.

You weren't pathetic as a kid! You were taught a bunch of confusing nonsense by people you loved and trusted. You were trying to make sense of the contradictions. Unfortunately, I'm sure there are a ton of kids out there going through something similar as we speak. :(

Leaving religion and admitting that I didn't believe was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done in my life. It's made me a better, more honest, move loving and open person. It's changed my outlook on pretty much everything. Unfortunately, it's changed the way I view the people in my life who still believe. And yes, it really is like being surrounded by crazy people... and I feel terrible for feeling that way too, especially since I genuinely care for many of them.

Sorry for going on about my own experiences. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand. Most of my friends and family are Christians too. In fact, except for my "online friends," I'm the only atheist I know. It's obvious to me on a daily basis that I just don't see things the way the people around me do. It's as if they're speaking another language. They find a way to put "God" into everything. They constantly contradict themselves and they don't even realize it. They act as if they are superior to "non-believers" for refusing to question their faith... as if a god would respect a a blind following more than an honest quest for truth.

It's frustrating. It really is. I wish I could make everyone else find the peace and freedom that I've found by letting go of false beliefs, but I'm still halfway in the "closet" myself. I worry that being open about my atheism at work would cause me to lose my job. I worry that my family and friends will distance themselves from me. It sucks being demonized for not believing. And the part about it that's the most frustrating is that I feel like I'm the only one who sees things clearly when it comes to religion... and yet I'm the bad guy. =/

Anyway, I wish you all the best. I know you'll find some support here. :) I know it sucks feeling like you're the only sane person on the planet, but you're definitely not alone. And you've done something awesome by not raising your kids to believe in nonsense. I really do think that's awesome.

Thanks again for sharing. :)

Oh my goodness, I know what you mean, I'd felt so bad for any wrong thought.  Did they tell you all your dead relatives were in heaven watching you all the time?  I truly believed this, I remember feeling so uncomfortable all of the time.  I was always ashamed, walking around the house knowing they were watching.  (I swear, I'm not kidding here)  All my moves were calculated, even washing the dishes.

I remember having diarrhea so bad one time as a kid, praying to god, begging him to make it stop, I'd be extra good, I'd never tell another lie...  Grrrr.  (yes, you can laugh, it's funny...NOW)

It's really nice to hear all you have to say.  I'm reading it thinking YES, YES!  I too am only partway out of the closet.  I told my mom and stepfather.  Complete silence.  I think they were gathering their thoughts.  They didn't criticize but the stunned look on their faces was like I had just unzipped my head and spiders crawled out.  

I told my Aunt and she was in such disbelief I had to be adamant and leave no room for budging.  I said to her, I do NOT believe.  I DON'T.  Not at all.  Not one bit.  I asked her, do you hate me?  She said no.  I asked, do you still love me, she said yes.  I said, good.  But then she automatically went to feeling so bad about my eternal soul.  I was like, OMG.  So I launched into how I raised my girls to be as good as anyone in a church would and how can that possibly be wrong?  The only difference is that we don't believe in god and we don't believe that Jesus died for us.  I was adamant with her that we were very good people.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are perfectly fine with it.  And of course my husband is pretty much the exact same as me.  But he hasn't told people he works with either.  Why make waves where there aren't any?  It's scary to think you might lose your job.

But then there's the rest of the family...  I'm not ready to go there.  I mean, they all know I don't and won't go to church.  But I've never come right out and told them I don't believe in god.  I will.  Eventually.  Just not something I'm going to launch into full steam ahead..lol.

I enjoyed reading what you shared here.
Thank you for sharing!!!  Have a good day, --Lesa

They didn't criticize but the stunned look on their faces was like I had just unzipped my head and spiders crawled out.  

@ Lesa - LMAO! I love your choice of words there, but otherwise, I'm sorry you are going through this difficult time.

Lol, thanks Mabel!

Thank you Dean :)

I sympathize with you, I spend most of my childhood also guilt - ridden and I resent not being able to enjoy those years fully. I , too, hate religion and I have tried to tell myself that that isn't morally right, but I cant help it, I just do. Recently its been difficult to continue close relationships with friends of faith.... I used to reserve comments, but now I just feel so bad for the people I love I just tell them that The Bible is not true and to think for themselves, but I know that others such as my parents would never listen to me.  I have unfortunately had to become slightly apathetic in order to maintain some sanity about it.  It seems wrong, but you cant make anyone come to terms with something so life shattering as "God is not there for you" you just cant.  Recently I joined a group in my area called 'Black skeptics of LA' , we are going to start doing a lot of charity work in gay rights so that gives me much solace.

Thank you Apres.  Yeah, I have one friend in particular who is my best friend in the world.  She is a Jesus freak.  She is also very non-confrontational.  This is one friend I don't ever want to lose, so I reserve comments.  That's cool you have a group in your area. 

Don't ever beat yourself up for what you were told as a child. This is what children do - believe what their parents tell them.

But now you are out, yahoo - your children have escaped this child abuse, what could be better than that - husband is there, and the in-laws - just brilliant - I would say the majority on this site are ex xians - and the burden has been lifted of 'eyes are watching you'.

All that is no more - now is the time to start getting happy, love your husband and kids to bits - and start living - there is so much to look forward to. Bravo you.

There are so many truly fantastic, wise and funny people on this site - so vent away :D

Thank you Suzanne, this is all true, I should look at the positive.  :)

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