I'm beginning my journey as a "deconverted" person.  Any suggestions on how to transition from a life of preaching, praying, and speaking "Christianese"?

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Thanks!

BTW-I'll watch out for those horns on Good Friday.  Thanks for the warning!  :)

Your point about the aggressiveness of believers is one of my biggest problems with organized religion.  It is basically a place for people to feed their already giant egos, and they must be right at all cost.  I could never quite understand it, as Jesus was always talking about humility and was willing to think and act outside the box.  So...might it be true that atheists act more like Jesus than most Christians?

Hi Carla! Welcome to TA!! Just a clarifying question: Do you know other Atheists? Are you still working at the church? Are you considering moving? What kind of support system do you currently have? What are your personal goals?....I feel as though more details would help me give better advice....

Welcome to TA!!!!!!!!

Good Morning!  I appreciate your additional questions!  Here are a few more details:  I left the organized church a year ago because I could not live with the narrow-mindedness and exclusivity any longer, and started my own "church". I found, though, that most people expected a mainline Christian message, while I was trying to teach a more inclusive way.  I felt that I had to get out of ministry altogether to be true to myself. 

My husband is also a former pastor who now teaches Chemistry and Physics.  We have great discussions, but he is a bit concerned about my total abandonment of faith.  I think he is moving in the same direction, but will just take a little while to reason through it all.  I have another friend who is atheist--also a former pastor.  And, I have a few Christian friends who are very open-minded and willing to have deep discussions with me without either of us thinking we need to convert the other.

I'm transitioning into teaching at the high school level in social sciences and philosophy.  My goal is to help students wake up to their own lives, think critically, and make good choices.  I hope to sponsor a debate team, too.

I come from a family with deep Christian roots and I don't intend to tell my 85-year-old parents about my move away from faith.  I don't see any purpose in that.  My children are all involved in fundamentalist churches.  I intend to just model a different way with my life and will have discussions with them if the situation seems to call for it.  I think I will probably have the most influence with my 4 grandsons who are all preschoolers.  It will be exciting to talk with them as they grow about ethics and morals and truth.

Welcome to TA Carla. As has been said already, there is no right way to be an atheist. You are under no obligation to convince anyone but yourself. You can enter into debates if you so wish, there is always something new you could learn

Well the first thing to understand is that there is no divine authority, no ultimate keeper of truth. And there is no clergy to whom special privilege has been given to access heavenly knowledge or wisdom. If you are of sound mental health, there is no person on this earth who can know what could could never know. The only devotion that you need have to attain enlightenment is a devotion to learning. So the first thing you should do is read. Read books about biology and cosmology. Read books about philosophy and poetry. Read books about religion and the arguments against them. Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens have been mentioned. A. C. Grayling and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are also good. I'm quite fond of Hitch myself. But it's important that you form your own opinions about these things and constantly challenge yourself to defend your reasoning. Also, you should read religious and mythological texts (one in the same to an atheist) and discover the eerie similarities which clearly show religion to be man made

Hi Cato!  It's actually reading that got me into all this "trouble" in the first place!  First, I got a Masters of Divinity, devouring all the Christian literature presented to me.  I was a true Bible scholar.  Surprisingly, it was seminary that actually introduced me to Critical Thinking and started me on the path of doubt.  It took me away from the comfort of my religious upbringing and pulled back the curtain on the beauty of a discerning mind.  Then I got to read the major philosophers as I transitioned to teaching, which took me a step further.  One of the biggest influences has been Joseph Campbell. His teaching unified the myths of all the religions as a way of placing our human experience inside a story.  The Hero's Journey makes so much sense, and I was thrilled to see that each person is his/her own hero--not god!

To your other readings, I'd recommend Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not A Christian. There's a book but there's also this lecture, which is in the book and for which the book is titled.

Thank you!

Hi Carla,

Whether or not you've already heard of the Clergy Project, I noticed a couple dozen posts here at TA mentioning it, and some posts from ex-ministers. Use TA's search feature (upper right corner) to search for clergy project, then feel free to message them directly and/or look at their TA profile page.

If you're teaching philosophy, you're probably already aware of Daniel Dennett (my favorite, along with Massimo Pigliucci). Sam Harris' latest book gets into spirituality.

Thanks!  I am checking out the Clergy Project.  I'm amazed as to how many deconverted clergy are out there.  Guess I'm in good company!

What helped me was reading the book 'good without god,' and learning about the long tradition of American secularism, which includes humanism (basically a group of ethical ideas premised on the idea that humans are responsible for moral behavior because it's moral, not because it's received knowledge from a religious tradition). If you have specific questions, ask around. People here were very helpful the first year post belief when you're testing the waters and regaining a sense of equilibrium. Congratulations on freeing your mind. :)

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