Author Topic: First step is usually the hardest  (Read 154 times)

kimberlyfaith81

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First step is usually the hardest
« on: November 15, 2011, 02:12:56 AM »
I don't know about other atheists, because I only know one other than myself, but realizing the fallacy and uselessness of religion was the best thing that ever happened to me other than the birth of my beautiful children.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist fundamentalist environment.  I was in church three days a week at minimum.  Went to every church camp, church "sing", church trip, church function from the time I was born until I moved out.  I will credit my church and religious environment with giving me a standard of behavior (aka morality) and a desire for philanthropy.  Although, with maturity, I have realized that you can teach these things without the threat of hell lurking in the background.  Unfortunately, I was also filled with guilt.  I am by nature, an overachiever.  I wanted to be exactly what God wanted me to be and more.  I lived in constant self-doubt and remorse that I couldn't acheive my goals and couldn't please God.  I don't remember the exact day that doubt begin to creep in, but I remember the semester.  And the full realization of those doubts was the most liberating experience of my life.  I was in college, working on my baccalaureate degree in nursing.  I was required to take a course called "Comparative Religion".  The professor, a Jew, was amazing.  He brought much enlightenment to the realm of religions I had never been exposed to.  It was easy to pull out the common threads among all the religions we discussed.  When I began to see just how similiar they all were, even the most foreign to my experience such as Hinduism, I began to question just how I was to know that Christianity was THE way.  The seed was planted.  I worked over it in my mind on long drives and long baths.  Lying in bed at night cuddling my daughter, I'd think "What if I fill her with the same self-doubt and guilt for no reason? I have to know."  Later, when I was working on my master's degree, I had a light semester than needed filling.  I found that amazing professor and took his course "Jews and Judaism'".  For Christians, Judaism is where it all began.  That had to be the answer.  How did their religious text became my Old Testament?  How did they stumble across the everlasting truth??  Sitting in that small classroom of mostly theology majors, I discovered the truth. They didn't stumble across the truth.  They wrote it.  Just like my favorite authors created the worlds I loved to live in.  More to come....

kimberlyfaith81

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They made it up??? What a relief!
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 02:26:25 AM »
Anne Rice, Dean Koontz... easy to read authors I love because they create worlds that are fun to live in.  But obviously fiction.  The Jews had done the same thing.  To set themselves apart from the other ethnic groups they co-existed with, they decided to chose from among their many gods ONE god who would become THEIR God, and thus, somehow, better.  Holy COW!  I just sat there in awe.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, to lose my religion.  No spotlight, no corner, for those R.E.M. fans.  Me and my own mind trying to tear down all those walls that Christianity had built.  For months, I wavered between athesim and some sort of concession between me and god, that maybe Christianity was a poor interpretation of a benevolent diety floating out in space who just wanted to watch and see what would happen.  Ants, magnifying glass, but in a five year old didn't know what was gonna happen kinda way.  But, because I am obviously scientific by nature, ultimately science won out.  And I let go of all that guilt and all that self-doubt.  I was worried though.  If no god, what motivation do I have to do good?  Turns out, I still love people.  I do more community projects, outreach programs, and philanthropy than I did in the Christian world.  Because I am not bound by the assumption that those outside my world are wrong, "lost", hellbound.  I love people, I love LIFE more than I ever did.  I found this book called "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" by Andre Comte-Sponville and I wanted to go to France and KISS him.  I don't need God to be good, ethical, generous, kind, loving.  I can be a good mother, wife, friend, daughter, citizen without any diety or dogma.  Acutally, I can be better. 

Whitney

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 02:38:34 AM »
Welcome to HAF....tell us a bit about yourself; you can rant on about religion after you get past 10 posts. :)


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kimberlyfaith81

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 03:01:04 AM »
But I'm a multi-tasker! I introduced myself and ranted about religion at the same time!  :P  I'm Kimberly, I'm 30, I'm boring.  I'm an athiest and I'm happy.  Although I'm lonely in my religion-void world.  I only know one other atheist, and he hides as well as I do.  He's my boss, though, so work is fun! 

xSilverPhinx

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 03:10:43 AM »
Welcome!

Quote
Although I'm lonely in my religion-void world.

That's why these online gathering places are excellent ;D

« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 03:12:37 AM by xSilverPhinx »
I'm just a student of the game that they taught me.


Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 03:12:38 AM »
Hello, and welcome.

Good and Godless

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 03:14:50 AM »
Hi Kimberly-

Enjoyed your story.  I have a similar deconversion, only with Catholicism.  I agree with what you say; my life has never felt so meaningful, joyful, complete and understandable since I realized I was an atheist.  Now I just look back at it all and wonder how I ever let myself follow such illogical ideas.  I'm just happy to be on this side of the fence.

I also have 2 young girls (2 years and 5 months) and look forward to raising them to be kind and giving for the sake of mankind, not to avoid hell or earn heavenly rewards.

Anyway, welcome.  I'm fairly new to the forum but come here every day because there's always something of interest to read and discuss.

"A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectively on sympathy, education and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." -Albert Einstein
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Tank

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Re: First step is usually the hardest
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 10:16:31 AM »
Hi Kimberly

I doubt you are boring, but time will tell  ;)

Welcome to HAF  ;D

Regards
Chris
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