ways to get over the fear of living without a god.

First, I just want to say that I never try to push my beliefs on others. I also don't want to feel like I am the one responsible for someone making a life altering choice.

Ok so here's the story. I'm pretty close with my cousin. he's a very logical thinker who happens to be a christian. He was raised as such as you would probably guess, and most of his religious practices have came from time spent in a private school that required the attendance of church every Sunday. We are open with each other, he knows I'm an atheist and we talk about religion frequently.

During a conversation about the bible, afterlife, and how my atheist views effect me daily life, We started talking about how he could never "turn to atheism" because he would be afraid of all of the positive things that he would be leaving behind with his christian beliefs. The conversation got cut short, but I've been thinking about this, and was wondering what exactly I could say to him to explain it. I mean..It's been a long experience for me. It's very liberating now, but it took a lot of soul searching to get to that point.

For me, religion seemed to control every aspect of my life. I wasn't free to be myself. I was constantly afriad of messing up, sinning...always afraid of not fitting in with a certain belief system.

I've done more research on things that I couldn't even begin to list to come to my conclusions. I think that if maybe, he understood that you don't need god to live a stable, secure, hopeful life... the rest would come to him.

Then again, it's different for me...I feel that I've never truly been a christian in the first place. I feel that I've been lying to myself until I realized what I really beleive.

What do you think? Do you have any advice?

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Ask him what those positive things he thinks he'll be leaving behind are in the even he became atheist. As an atheist you can still have practically everything a theists has it just doesn't have god branded onto it.
Does not work. Ignorance intervenes and your arguments will be nullified as he gets defensive. You have to let some room for the "God exists" system for your argument to pass through a theists "mind filter".
the "mind filter" argument is a great point. I guess the key is to only start by talking about things that doesn't make him feel threatened or backed into a corner.
Great Idea. By asking him what positive things he'll be missing, it will be easier to understand his thoughts about atheism.
Excellent question.

First, I just want to say that I never try to push my beliefs on others. I also don't want to feel like I am the one responsible for someone making a life altering choice.
I usually, don't constrain myself. When I get into a discussion I don't "push" my views, but I just point out the obvious.

I was a believer. Fear had an effect on me and didn't allow me to doubt, or rebel against "God". My fear had 2 sources.

1) An negligible source was the one of the "wrath of God" that will consider my doubt as a sin. It didn't affect me as much because I somehow knew that God is loving and caring and he knows that thinking is not a sin. My own morality ( that is the only morality I ever had ) considered that it was better that the morality of God ( so I overcame the "sin" of doubt )

2) A major factor of uncertainty was the social one. My family, friends and mostly everyone I know was a Christian. If I would have left my religion, the social consequences would have been grave. They were grave. It was a period where I was a "hidden" atheist, and I collected confidence, knowledge and reason ( thanks internet ). After that, I came out as an atheist in front of my family and friends, BUT I came out gradually. Not all at once. At the beginning of my search of truth, I started to strongly hint that I lack faith ( without saying that I have none ). Gradually all my friends got the idea that I was an atheist and the asked me if I am an atheist, to which I replied "Yes.". Don't ever start a conversation about religion yourself. Respond only when asked. It is the best way, out of my experience.

Now. I also have a logical, smart ( maybe more than me ), friend ( or even 2 ) that is a believer, but has doubts. The major thing that is hard to overcome is ignorance. When we get at the subject of religion, he knows that I am an atheist and says "Loop, let's just not talk about it, okay." . Later on today I started explaining things that were NOT related to religion or faith in general. I started explaining the scientific method, the validity of statements, circular logic, logic and everything that, usually, leads to free thinking. You just have to make him think.

I am thinking about encouraging him to think free. I point out the obvious falsities that religion has. Everytime I get the chance, I insert a dose of reasonable thought into my conversation. He is a smart guy. He has doubts. I think he is not afraid of point 1). I think he is afraid of point 2) ( his father is a cop and a strict believer ).

When I will reach a time, I will propose to him to try living a month like God does not exist( that is usually how I became one ) and I will state that if God exists he will respect your right of free will and will forgive you for doing so, and if God does not exist, you just live a month without believing in an imaginary friend. Also, there will be no god to "peep" into your mind so you are free to think what you want. A free thinker.

I consider atheism to be one of the most important things that happened in my life ( maybe apart from the time I got my internet ).

Every great thing is achieved gradually.
1) and 2) applied to me as well...but with all of the things that my cousin and I have talked about, I don't think either of these things are the problem.
great advise. we actually talk about the bible a lot. He realizes all of the flaws in it and doesn't take it literally.

It's none of the religious doctrine that he has a hard time disagreeing with. like I said..it's the fear of going into an unknown territory of thinking about a life without god.
Read any book by Albert Ellis. Fear motivated by ANXIETY (a neurological state) results from Automatic Thoughts. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy allows me to subdue my fear of large fat toads. God fearing Xtians can be cured of that if I can pick up a toad.

anxiety..this is interesting because I am on medication for my anxiety. It's completely unrelated to "atheism -quest" mind you.

this is interesting because my cousin's sister moved to Texas. they were very close and missed each other a lot throughout their childhood because my male cousin, like I said earlier, got sent to a private school. They were very close because their father (my uncle) was a very angry alcoholic. well, as they grew older, there dad was no longer in the picture, (spending time in prison) and their mother is well...I'm not even going to go into detail.

anyway, it's interesting because after all of this started happening, my cousin has had anxiety attacks.

I guess this is something that would probably prevent him from thinking about a life without God.


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