Coming out as a atheist has been good for me.  As I worked on removing the illogical religious parts from my life, the world just started to make more sense.  The last few years, the world has been in a much more logical order for me.  Even those items I don't understand are not understandable in a logical way.

I do miss on some level the love and compassion found in the religious people during times of tragedy.  I feel this sometimes as a deep ache in my "heart."

I had a friend commit suicide last year.  He had 4 bad vertabrae from two accidents and the last surgery made the pain even worse.  He could not do anything he loved to do and pain medications could not make the pain go away.  With the prospects of thirty plus more years of pain and suffering, he settled his affairs and took his life.  

As an atheist, I find this totally justified.  I watched him suffer for two years.  He had nothing left to live family, couldn't do anything that made him happy.  I mourned the loss of my friend and took solace in the fact he was not suffering anymore.  Yet, the process left me empty and incomplete.

Religion with all its lies and falsehoods gives us a place, and a process for us to heal.  It's the one time I feel jealous of my religious friends.  It's the one time that I miss the comfort of the falsehoods and belief systems of my youth as truth can be harsh even on those who seek it.

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Comment by Robert Karp on November 27, 2011 at 8:13pm

gives us a place, and a process for us to heal.


Could you expand on this? Why is religion, in your view, necessary for a process?

Comment by Ceci on November 28, 2011 at 8:58am

so do you still find, as an atheist, this system of lies and fake beliefs "comfortable"? are you really jealous/envious of your religious friends while you see that they are victims of a fraud? do you think that that "process" left you empty and incomplete because of your lack of beliefs and not because you are sad for the loss of a friend?

Comment by Greg Marshall on November 28, 2011 at 1:24pm

I need to clarify... (and I am still clarifying in my mind so help me here)

Love and compassion are human emotions and do not originate in the church.  As an atheist I have those emotions and occasionally the need to process loss.  The church has a mental "structure" that helps with that process.  The dogma tells you it's ok, that your friend is in a better place, etc. It 


Even knowing that it's a lie, part of me misses the comfort the lie gives. Knowing the truth makes me feel good. I grieve and I move on.  I'm still trying to figure out why I miss part of the process.

Comment by John Kelly on November 28, 2011 at 2:15pm

Greg, I agree with you that for many people religion helps facilitate some things that basic belief systems don't.  People in a religious setting can experience heights of all kinds of feelings that come only from filtering reality according to that worldview.  Our perceptions determine our reality, as Albert Ellis used to say.

Comment by Cristynfaye on November 28, 2011 at 2:47pm

I'm totally there with ya.  The community, the coming together when a tragedy strikes or even in celebratory times, it's something that feels very natural in a church.  When you remove yourself from your beliefs, you also remove yourself from that structure.  It's difficult to find anything like that, outside of a church setting, and it can be very isolating and lonely, and sometimes makes it difficult to find closure on things.

Comment by Greg Marshall on November 28, 2011 at 3:11pm

I'm not backsliding into religion if anyone is worried :)

I've worked hard for ten years to remove much of the religious influences that have been embedded in my (our!) lives.  This is one feeling /process/tradition that is still a mental challenge for me.  


Thanks for the comments and words.  Open discourse is always the best way to understand what we don't know.

Comment by John Kelly on November 28, 2011 at 3:13pm

I think it is awesome you used the word "Backsliding".


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