For those who weren't born with this monkey on your back, "count your blessings." As I read some of the posts of former thumpers on and some of the testimonials here, it is gut-wrenching. What amazes me the most are the hardcore religionists who grew up in the Bible Belt. Their backgrounds are heart breaking. They go through their whole lives promoting and defending these Biblical stories and then one day they wake up not being "in love" with the idea anymore. One great example of this is Matt Dillahunty from Atheist Experience on youtube. I haven't been with this site long enough to see if anybody has ever cited him here. If you haven't he's wonderful, don't miss him. He is a Texan and was a thumper clear until his early 20s when he started to read philosophers like NeeChee and a bunch of other fancy ones (yeah, that's right, I don't read, but you'll have to take my word for it).

It's not so much you have this whole community built around you based on the same, I don't want to say lie because that's such a strong word, ok, lie. Everybody around you spouts the same thing. Family members, neighbors, friends, coffee klatsches. They have all joined the same fantasy club and expect you to be an active life long member, too.

It's a big psychological burden to extricate yourself from this. And sometimes it doesn't happen overnight either. It's a slow painful process. It begins with the gnawing feeling in your gut and then festers over a period of time. It's an agonizing realization where none of the religious logic is adding up. Much like divorce, you divorce yourself from all that is familiar and comfortable.

I remember being a captive audience to my sister not long after her born-again conversion (while she was in college no less. Usually college is where you find God or lose him.) I was in middle school and going through a difficult time (don't we all). This is where religion really comes into play, it's a medicine for those who are vulnerable. I like RiverOtter's likening religion to a disease. On a side note, the Scientologists are good at pumping up recruitment numbers because they have these drug and alcohol recovery programs to get helpless people to come in. So, recruit them when they hit rock bottom, start blowing a lot of smoke into their faces and then they come out religious on the other side.

I followed my sister's instruction and I prayed and read the Bible in attempts to make my situation at school better. Of course, the cure, religion, eventually became worse than the disease. I was going mad trying to live up to this Biblical ideal of being a good person. By exacting Biblical standards, I was a perpetually bad person. I think after much reflection one day I just let go. Biblical restrictions weren't helping my situation in the slightest.

Leaving this life behind is painful and still is. I became member 666 here and truth be told, initially I freaked out. But after some thought and rationalization, I told myself it's just a random number and I was right. I woke up the next day and everything is the same as it was yesterday. I just have to tuck my horns into my hat a little harder but everything is ok. ;o)

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Comment by River Otter on January 12, 2009 at 11:38pm
Wow. Great blog.

I have just come to the realization that there are many more Ex-Christians Atheists then life long Atheists. It makes me appreciate my upbringing much more. I had a really rough upbringing, but religion what not one of the abuses. Whew! Dodged that bullet. All joking aside, I can only imagine what you all went through and are going through now.

You all have so many different stories. I truly feel for each and every one of you. The pain of leaving your religion will fade with time. But for now, you have to work through the motions. It seems like you all go through fear, guilt, anger, and maybe shame. I suspect you all have been raised in a religious communities and now are having a hard time relating to the ones you love. I really respect the Atheists out there that have had to deal with this. You are truly strong and very couragous.

I am also happy for you. Once you are free, then you are truly free. YOU can actually judge what is best in your life, and you are the only one really qualified to do that. I promise, it will come natural. God is not required to live a ethical, happy life.

I have seen Matt Dillahunty on You Tube. I love his style. He is usually patient & respectful with his callers. I could be wrong about this but, I think that he seriously studied religion and is very knowledgeable about the Bible. My favorite quote by him is, "You are more moral then your god".
I have used this quote a time or two.

You are absolutely right about Christianity praying on the weak. A great example of this is the Catholic missionaries in Africa. The Catholics are literally spreading the disease in more ways then one.

There will be no more guilt about being a bad person because of a book that was written by lunatics 2,000 years ago. Do you understand?! The book has set up unrealistic expectations that nobody could actually follow. As a matter of fact, if Heaven were real, I don't think that anyone could get in.

Remember this. If something doesn't make sence then it probrably isn't true and you should question it. The only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.

Now! Think Atheist needs to recognize you for being the courageous member #666. I do hope you will be getting some sort of prize. You really deserve it.

Keep your chin up. Everything will be alright. :D


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