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 - 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.
archaeopteryx - Ugh, that's horrible! I don't understand why people are so ignorant... Being an atheist doesn't make someone immoral or even unfriendly. It's as though sharing that part of oneself is the equivalent of tearing a Christian apart directly. Something like this should not be taken as offensive. That's hard for me a lot of the time because my family and I are all very close and I feel like I'm hiding such a huge part of myself.
I don't think they'd all (or maybe even any of them) reject me for it but I'm sure they'd be unhappy and probably look at me differently. I don't want that.
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.
I agree! Pretty much what I was thinking, I just wanted to see if anyone else had gone through a similar period in their journey. Thank you!
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.