When you decided you didn't believe in god, how did your life change? What, or who, did you lose? Did anything really change for you?

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That's messed up. You needed better friends. As a lot of people here will attest, you are extremely lucky to have a significant other who is a free thinker.

Sadly, I was a sociopath, so went through it all rather untroubled. Except, come to think of it, I lived with a friend and his family for a little while, and there was some tension when his father expected me to go to church... I was a fledgling then, and remember getting red in the face.

For real, are you (still?) a sociopath? How do you make choices that for non-sociopaths would be influenced by ethics? If you're not kidding, kudos to you for actually admitting it.

Not really, I was exaggerating. I feel guilt.

I'm sorry that happened to you . I grew up in the seventies and eighties , raised by parents who were educated freethinkers . Religion never played any part in our lives , other than being fodder for ridicule . My parents instilled in me a deep appreciation for humanism and human accomplishment and exceptionalism . These were the things I was raised to admire and emulate , not some ridiculous , Bronze Age , primitive , regional tribal god who gives people boils as a punishment . Absolutely ridiculous !

I lost my mother, but that was no big loss as she is a very selfish and destructive force.  I always felt that it was coming and that was just the topic at hand, though.  So my one loss was a big win.  The construct that all mothers are good is even more ridiculous than the idea of a benevolent being who doesn't do anything but watch NFL.   So I never really went through anything. It's been nearly 15 years for me and other than suffering the ridiculous words that people say about our cohort, I've never suffered a lick.  My wife became Atheist not long after I did and most of my friends didn't really have much faith.

Over time, I've gravitated towards the full on atheists I know.   And even more so the skeptics.

My relationship with family totally deteriorated.  I just couldn't look at them the same way anymore - they were obstinately delusional.

It's hard to say what changed for me though since I lost my faith between the ages of 13 and about 23; so many things were changing that it's difficult to say what impact my lack of religiousity had.

That sounds like a negative experience. I just throw their religiosity in with other kinds of crazy, like "crazy aunt Margaret who believes in astrology". Love's easier with a light heart and all that.

Some times I feel shame when reading the ordeals of others moving to atheism, I had no peer pressure in regards to religion, yet it took me over 10 years to make the change, I started having doubts about my belief at around 30 but I clung on till my 40s, my family and friends were indifferent to the change, my father who remains christian does ask "how can you explain everything?" usual question, but he does respect my position.

I've been fortunate living in a country where atheism is tolerated and having a family who does not think I've turned to satanism, anyway to the point, reading the ordeals of other atheists is why I've started taking a hard line approach to religion, families and friends are being torn apart by this superstitious clap trap, it not only happens between theists and atheists but also within theism itself when someone changes there religion, people are letting an "idea" because that's all it is, come between them, we question politics but we are not allow to question religion, it seems to have some kind of special protection, well, it's time that ended, I tell theists now, I may respect you as a person, but don't ever expect me to respect your silly religious beliefs.

As David Silverman says, you are not doing them any favours when you respect their religious belief, your just reinforcing it, time for religion to get the same treatment as  any other idea, prove your position or you do not have one.

I'm occasionally given opportunities to say god doesn't give a damn, and enjoy doing so.

I changed very slowly. For me it was a matter of deciding whether I wanted to keep clinging to delusions that made me feel safe .That didn't make me ask questions I wasn't sure I wanted the reality of. I lost friends not because of changing beliefs but because I began to look at who they truly were. I made my self be honest about who they were. I realized while I had a lot of friends very few were real friends . They lived their lives for drama and to feel superior to other people. As to if anything changed, simple answer is yes. I changed because I began to question and research. Knowledge changes you in big and small ways.

Lost some friends, but something else interesting started happening. You find out that many people are "almost atheists". I'll make an atheistic comment and often people smile with their eyes in total agreement. Or even an "ah-ha nod". And I live in the Southern US. Leads me to believe there could be a slow shift happening in this country.

The word itself has a stigma attached to it.  People who are in fact atheists and are candid about what they (don't) believe will refuse to accept the label.

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