Please excuse the novel here... I tend to try to explain myself so clearly that I go overboard, so sorry about that. Also, sorry if this is in the wrong category; I wasn't sure where to put it.
I grew up in a pentecostal Christian household, Assemblies of God to be exact (extremely evangelical believe-every-word-in-the-Bible-exactly group, for those who aren't familiar with it). I remember being told things specifically like "You don't have a conscience; that's the Holy Spirit telling you you're sinning." I remember thinking, "Yeah, because I'm incapable of figuring out when I'm doing something wrong on my own... Riiight."
I knew what hell and demons and Satan were even in early elementary school. I have vague memories of speaking with my school guidance counselor about a ("real," as in not from a movie or a show but documentary style) exorcism I had witnessed. I remember being told horror stories from a youth leader about her experience with demons, which included physical assault on her. I still fear the idea of hell and I've always had a very strong fear of demons (which hasn't gone away).
Anyway, during my journey away from religion entirely I began to be confused by my own thoughts. When I no longer really believed that a God existed and I wondered, "What if I'm wrong? What if I go to hell because of this?" I've had a lot of fear even about just coming to terms with even using the word "agnostic" to describe myself.
Something similar is when I think of things like the fact that I'm going to make sure I have a wedding ceremony with absolutely no mention of God or religion of any sort, something in my head sort of mocks me by saying, "You're just trying to be difficult and defiant." I know that's not true; why would I risk eternity in hell if I really thought it existed? I don't know what that voice is though, or where it's coming from.
Those thoughts aren't always in the front of my mind by they are, and I just keep wondering if they're "God is trying to tell me I'm wrong" or if it's a totally normal human response because leaving a religion can be a scary experience on its own and my brain just needs to relearn things.
I'm not sure if anyone else has this problem, but in a way I'm hoping so because maybe someone could help me understand my "own" thoughts/why I'm having them. Is it normal? I don't really even know if this will make sense to anyone else.
dd - you're an intelligent person, it's in your hands.
There is a man called Nate Phelps, the son of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Church. This is a cult group of about seventy members, but they are very vocal, vehement and hateful. All the children are indoctrinated and brainwashed. The father of this group had eleven children. Three defected with Nate Phelps writing a book called 'Recovering from Religion'.
The difference between you and Nate, he grew to hate his father, as he was an abuser of his whole family, including his wife, so it was fairly easy for him to leave. When a person is an Atheist, but they love their family, then it becomes difficult.
Nate Phelps now gives seminars and talks to would be Atheists, telling them his story and was at a Reason Rally recently as a speaker.
Reason Rally organizer David Silverman, who is also president of American Atheists. "He shows us all that if you can come out as an atheist in that family, it's possible anywhere."
dd - we had one member, a while back, whose aunt invited her to her house for tea - when she arrived, the aunt threw "holy water" in her face.
I told her that if it were I, after that betrayal of trust, I would have, without saying a word, gone to her kitchen, gotten a glass, then to the bathroom for some toilet water, thrown that in the aunt's face and left and never looked back. Turning the other cheek is for Christians, and they don't do it either.
Fascinating article, in case anyone's interested --
Church Sues Woman for $500K After Negative Google Review
Ok well im not a biology major but god isnt telling you anything, its your mind. You have been brought up to believe its true for so long that your fear the denial. I was brought up as christian baptist, i would listen and read the bible but it made no sense to me, i think now that if this is the "good book" that we are to base our life out of why is it so hard for me to understand. Why do god commit evil acts to prove points? You r perfectly fine it will just take some time.
Seems to me that the people that taught you important lessons of life also taught you all this religious stuff and they did it at the time you were the most eager to learn,as a child. I still sometimes think of stuff they told me to be true and with the knowledge I have now appears to be utter BS,sometimes they meant well,sometimes they just didn't know themselves and sometimes it was just to easy to just say that it was gods plan. I sometimes hate the burden that it brings to being brought up religious because it leaves traces deep inside and every now and again they jump up but I'm glad I can be honest about not believing any more and not being ridiculed for it and that is more than lots of other atheists can dream of. You just have to filter out the religious from the truth.