Questions for former Religious Followers(Or Atheists in general)

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

First, a little context.

When I first started frequenting the R&P forum a few months back, I was a fairly devout follower of the Christian faith. I attended Church every sunday, prayed constantly, all the regular stuff you'd expect.

hen I started reading posts in these forums, you guys just pissed me off and annoyed me to no end. I would have sworn that some off you were just bigots here to troll people for their beliefs. Turns out, that was a knee-jerk reaction.

Talking to you all brought up so pretty deep questions that required me to think hard about my beliefs if I had any hope of defending them. It got tiring after awhile, and I eventually went to a pastor at my church for some help.

Long story short, every time I ask a valid question from the perpective of a atheist, he would come back with an answer that I felt was bullshit. I had already been questioning the more WTF parts of the bible and the things the church believed up til then. But this was the final thing that turned off the whole deal. 2 weeks later I was done with the whole thing.

So, here I am now. Lost and incredibly unsure of what I'm suppose to believe. It hasn't been an enlightening experience. Mostly just a completely depressing one. So here are my questions for those he might have gone through something similar.

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

I never was religious, so my perspective will differ. I haven't experienced the feelings of loss you may have.

But regarding moral values, most Atheists I'm aware of fall somwhere close to Secular Humanism. Valueing the human experience, holding suffering and happiness in high regard rather than specific rules.
My approach involves thinking about circumstances a lot and not dismissing various things and actions as immoral outright. It's a much grayer outlook on the world and I don't mean boring but less of black and white. Things are less clear, people aren't simply good or bad but extremely complex and our evaluation needs to reflect that.
Now, since a lot of religious people think like that already, it's kind of hard to answer the question without knowing what your moral views and approach were before this development of yours.

As for the last question? Honestly? I know this is a bit trite but it gets the point across...

image

Yes, there is very probably nothing after death. Yes, ultimately that makes things meaningless in the really long run (like, in a few billion years when humanity may have died out). But things we do matter now.
People's experiences, accomplishments etc., they matter now and, even when you're gone, into the future. To a lot of people, having children is an essential part of being human. Not just because it's instinctual, but also because something of you gets to live on beyond your own death. And not just your genes! But your ideas, thoughts and values that you taught your child. Think of it like that and then go beyond children. Everything you do, small or big, has an impact on this world in some form or another. You won't be eternal, but you can leave your mark, do a small part to better your and your surroundings' lives.
I once used this analogy before: Think of life as an incredibly expensive car. Even the most valuable car will eventually break down, rust through, become worthless. Hell, not even one stored in a museum will last forever. But does that mean it's worthless now? Doesn't the car have value while it's around?
If you cease thinking that something needs to be eternal in order to matter, you will be able to embrace the short lives we have all the more. Because what is short and low in supply is all the more valuable. There is nothing after this. So make this count.

For me, when I mentally and spirtually realized I'd left my faith long behind (catholism) and read about Deism...It was like an ephiphany, for the first time in my life, I no longer felt supressed and silly. I felt at home and at ease with finally having the understanding of what I believed all along.[1]

My morals remain very much the same, though as I've grown up I've become more liberal. But I was always very left leaning even before my realization.

I haven't really told anyone in real life, as I live in the 'bible belt' part of the US. I told my bestfriend, though herself being deeply Christian, she didn't react very well. (I had thought she might take it better because during a conversation about something she replied, 'you're pratically Atheist anyways.'

So, I've held off as it isn't all that big of a deal [2] and just describe myself as non practicing Catholic to anyone that bothers asking.

[1] I even wrote here about it. ('Confessions of a Former Christian', though I use Diest as a standard label and not to define me)
[2] Though a bit has to do with feeling that people will think differently of me if I'm not Christian

It sounds like you are not too far from turning away from your religious beliefs, at least as far as the fundamental and literal side of there being a Noah who built an ark and resurrection is possible, etc. To me that's a thing a healthy mind should turn away from.

There is an absolute wealth of wonderful advice out there on youtube; people such as Dawkins & Harris have such eloquent and provocative explanations that forum folk such as us cannot compete with. If you are looking for answers about what to be after you leave faith, consider listening to a little of what they have to say.

I'm afraid I can't answer the first question - I was baptised but wasn't ever in a practising family. We were always given freedom to believe what we wanted and to be honest religion just didn't get discussed a great deal. I was taught strictly about Christianity in school and frankly found it entirely underwhelming for a great many reasons. It wasn't so much that I had to 'accept' a new world view, rather than had to turn away from fantasy and wishful thinking.

For the second, I consider myself quite ethical. There's a lot to talk about here, but let's go through some quick points:

Religion doesn't have exclusive rights to ethics. There was freedom, love and happiness before the invention of any one particular religion (a key point, which religion? And what was ethical before that religion was founded?). The great philosophers such as Socrates was for his time an inspired and just man, and he was killed for speaking out against the polytheism at the time. Confucius is another example of a great philosopher who quite clearly shares no connection with Christianity (which your question implies could be the basis of our morality). It is in fact secular thought that has brought us to where we are, in spite of religious teachings! If religious teachings were literal (as the word of God) and absolute then we would still be stoning people to death (still happening with fundamentalist religious people)), we would be raping and pillaging our neighbours (still happening), and we would still discriminate against gays (still happening). So to me, it's quite clear that it is secular thought that holds the moral high ground rather than religious teachings.

As for nihilism and the thought that there is nothing after death? That is remarkably liberating in ways. To me that means I must do the best for myself and for humanity in the here and now. More recent movements within Christianity has abolished the concept of hell, and I feel that some kind of forgiveness and an afterlife actually diminishes our responsibilities for our actions. Without an afterlife, what you do is important, there is no eternity afterwards to make up for something, and if you harm another it is here and now. There's no father figure to make it all better.

The world is a wonderful and fantastic place. We are made literally of stardust. There is so much beauty and wonder I simply don't need to fantasize and create more. Why not just live every moment in this remarkable world and enjoy it for what it is?

Well, the thought of non-existence after death is a bit frightening, yeah, but the vast majority of religious people probably aren't looking for to dying either.

I'm not sure which would be preferable, either, eternal life or an end to everything.

If everything goes on forever, what's the point of everything? You can't count score, so to speak, until everything is finished. Achievements can only be worht something if you aren't comparing them to infinity.

Well I've been an atheist for the entirety of my cognitive life so i can't really comment on the transition between theism and atheism but I can definitely say being an atheist is in no way an indication of being amoral. If there's one thing to take from the whole of world religions to would be the simple golden rule - Do onto others as you would have other do onto you. I like to be treated nicely and therefore I would expect that I need to treat others nicely in turn. I don't see the need for some divine being to tell me to play nicely with others, I(and others) should be able to figure that out without outside influence.

As for the nihilism, I guess I sort of look at it as a path travel rather than destination sort of thing. Even if life ultimately ends in nothing that doesn't diminish the value of everything that led up to that point. In my daily life my goal isn't some lofty palace in the sky after death but rather to live the life I currently have now as enjoyably as possible while helping others do the same.

Of course that explanation isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea and so I'd like to point out just because you've denounced a certain denomination of theism doesn't mean you have to abandon the concept of a God entirely. If you can't believe what the Bible asks you can choose to ignore it and still believe in a God. If believing in a God makes sense to you still or even if it just makes your life better for it no person has any right to dispersuade you.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to except the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

1. Atheism hit me like a ton of bricks around age ten. At the time I was living with my father and step mother, it was a really dysfunctional house. My dad beat the shit out of her kids, and she beat the shit out of my brother and I. At the time I went to a catholic school. I attended church every Sunday and I prayed every night for our family's dysfunction to end. I eventually asked my teacher, Sister June, why god never answered my prayers. She told me god helps those who help themselves, then she asked what I prayed for. I told her everything, catching my step mother strangling my brother my father giving my step sister a black eye. Everything. She nodded and sat down. To be fair it is a lot to drop on someones head, I was young I didn't really understand that. A few days later she came up to me, and told me that I lied to her.

I was floored and paniced. I didn't know what to do, that night when I got home I got the worst ass kicking of my life. This is when I realized there was no such thing as god. At the end of the day I needed something more substantial in my life. 3 years later I went to live with my mother, it was finally an option in the state of Michigan, I could say which parent I wanted to live with.

Around 16 I had "A crisis of faith". So to say, I felt I had a lot of unanswered questions so I started to do research. I looked to science for what answers I could find there. I learned about the origin of life "Abiogenisis". At the time I was iffy on evolution, but I checked out books from the library and learned as much about it as I could, until it made perfect sense to me. From there I wanted to learn about the human condition, so I looked into psychology and understood somethings, I would get a better grasp of the concepts in college. Finally I wanted to know, if there was a true religion. I started looking, and became fascinated with some, learning about religion is actually really rewarding if you can entertain the ideas without accepting them. This lead me to philosophy Kant, Nietzsche, Hume, Aquinas(SP?), Ryand, and Descartes where some of my favorites, not because I wholly agreed but because their philosophy's made me think and question my world view. I look back fondly on this time, as this is when I became sure that no religion could replace the wealth of knowledge I had just gained.

This is how I dealt with it.

2) I'm going to get kinda deep into all that philosophy I learned so this might get dry. People think of Agnosticism as being mutually exclusive to either a theism, deism, or atheism. This is not true. To be an agnostic is to simply accept that you do not know something "A" a prefix meaning without and "gnostic" the root word, knowledge. I consider myself an Agnostic Atheist, I don't know there isn't a god out there, but I'm pretty sure someone made it up. That being said, I have always kinda liked Jesus, he is like an ancient super hero. He was good to the poor, wise, and helpful for his time. I still see him as a role model, even though I'm almost entirely certain he does not exist.

That being said, I get my morality more from my life experiences. I had a troubled childhood, so I believe in standing up for children in trouble. I believe that deep down most people are trying to do good. So I do not believe that murdering people is a good idea. I believe people have a right to their bodies, so I don't rape or drug people. Simple questions I ask myself like "Well, would you like that if someone did that to you?" if the answer is no, I try to avoid the activity. Morality is not objective, and changes by case. It is moral to feed the hungry but not to give a person with peanut allergies a PBJ no matter how hunger they are. For this reason I abandoned all black and white morality regarding other people. I judge this case by case, with an understanding of what I actually know. It is quite liberating to do this actually.

Nihilism is actually complicated, and the straw man of the guy that believes in absolutely nothing is so predominant yet I have never met one. I'm sure there are people who claim nihilism yet do not really understand what it is. These are a small percentage of thirteen year old who looked it up in the dictionary and decided it sounded cool.

EDIT Guess I never answered the question. I have never had any kind of struggle with nihilism, my personally held beliefs differ from it, though there is a lot there to like, there is a lot to dislike. I believe that knowledge has value, and experience is simply gaining knowledge. You only get experience by living your life meaningfully. So that in a nut shell is why I have never struggled with nihilism.

Shadowstar38:

Long story short, every time I ask a valid question from the perpective of a atheist, he would come back with an answer that I felt was bullshit. I had already been questioning the more WTF parts of the bible and the things the church believed up til then. But this was the final thing that turned off the whole deal. 2 weeks later I was done with the whole thing.

So, here I am now. Lost and incredibly unsure of what I'm suppose to believe. It hasn't been an enlightening experience. Mostly just a completely depressing one. So here are my questions for those he might have gone through something similar.

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to except the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

I'm not an atheist, but I'd like to give you some helpful advice anyway-- don't dismiss everything you've believed completely out of hand because your pastor's responses were poor. If I were you, I'd read. A lot. Read the best Christian stuff you can get your hands on, the scholars and theologians whose names ring down through history; and while you're at it, read some material that puts the Bible in a historical context. Maybe read some Rabbinic commentary on the Tanakh while you're at it, because your church rests on the same first book, and their outlook is considerably different.

Which isn't me telling you not to be an atheist, at all, but me telling you not to rest something this momentous on one person's answers and to seek answers on your own. You might come out even more certain of atheism, you might come out a different kind of Christian, you might decide to seek out something else entirely. But you'll definitely come out better informed, in any event.

(I can't help you with the nihilism, it's one reason I'm not an atheist. I realized that, psychologically speaking, I find religion of some sort incredibly helpful to combat a tendency toward anxiety and depression, and helpful to... idk, ordering my mental schema. I fully appreciate Skeleton's answer and the many like it I've seen through the years, but it doesn't speak to what I'd miss about religion if I left it entirely, we're just motivated by very different things. But to your struggle, I can say with the benefit of a lot of experience that the more you read and expose yourself to, the better chance you'll have to understand what *does* motivate you and what you do want from the place that religion or spirituality would fill.)

Oh, and one more piece of advice, and this one is especially hard (I know this the hard way, believe me): you don't need to decide what you are right now. Live with the uncertainty for a while and see what it shows you. In fact, I'd almost say the longer you can go without succumbing to the need to hang a label over your head, the more you'll learn about yourself. I know that's an awfully difficult thing to do, sometimes you just want to decide and say "I'm this" solely to stop the pressure of not being able to answer the "what am I, really?" question to yourself. I think labels are *useful*, but I also think they can give people an excuse to stop questioning and stop learning, to their detriment.

Good luck, however you go.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to except the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

1.I never had a hard time of it, I was mostly religious because my mother was religious, but always interested in science and technology. It wasn't much of a change for me.

2. I was still a polite person, held open doors for people, tried to be helpful, don't swear, haven't gone around stabbing people for any reason. I am still a good person without a religion telling me how to be a good person.

What ever you do, do not be afraid to question the world around you. If something doesn't make sense to you, don't just accept an explanation, a hand wave, or a shrug. Search for the answer yourself, you should not force yourself to accept things that go against facts or logic.

You do not need a God to lift you up. You can stand on your own two feet. We will help you, what ever you need. We can a better tomorrow, using rationalism, facts, and science to guide our way.

1) I was always honestly an atheist in everything but heart before I ended my faith at 16, I only believed in the concept of the Christian God and Jesus for the sake of being accepted into the social circles of my youth group, where I felt the safest with my friends there compared to school during my rougher years (although a lot of them were admittedly self-righteous pricks that loved to judge non-believers). I took comfort in the thought of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent deity that actually cared about my personal life and my troubles, and waited for me until my death in paradise. But eventually I realized that while the message of love and peace was comforting, I never could reconcile the supposed existence of Hell and eternal torment for non-believers with my friendships with my non-religious friends and my liberal views of fair judgment (eternal punishment for finite crimes didn't jive). I ended up coming to the acceptance that this Christian deity was, to me, nothing more than an abusive father figure that claimed to love you regardless of your shortcomings, but became malevolent and spiteful when you broke any number of the arbitrary demands he had supposedly set in place for you (sometimes intentionally to make you fail). Jesus and God seemed like two very different figures at that point, but the bible claimed they were the same being, and that was a logical nightmare.

After a whole heck of deliberations with my pastor and my own conscience, I decided that I simply could not take the existence of this God seriously anymore logically, or on faith, and decided to become an atheist.

2) My moral values were more or less the same, my youth group being one of the more quite liberal ones. The only difference now was that I no longer believed my moral attitude was derived from Christianity entirely, but rather from multiple different sources that were only somewhat influenced by Christianity in my society, but not dependent on it to exist. As for the concept of death, I still struggle with it like everyone else still living, but I would rather my fate be my own and face a naturalists oblivion in an uncaring universe than a fate decided for me by an omniscient deity that considers me ugly and depraved until I prostrate myself to it and declare my love and loyalty to it.

I lost my faith at 14. It took a little over a week.

My entire family is Catholic. My great uncle was a priest. He baptized all of us, he officiated weddings, all of that. He flew down from Ohio and said mass with a bunch of priests he'd never met, just to be the one to give my cousin and me our first communion. I had gone to a Catholic school in 8th grade, but left because the curriculum was a bit behind me. The next year, I attended a Baptist school, despite being openly and proudly Catholic. I was an altar girl, a lecture at mass, and it was pretty much accepted by everyone that knew me that I was likely to end up a nun. So I was pretty hardcore into the whole "faith" thing.

Until May. My best friend was hit by a drunk driver on Sunday night. I got a call from her brother, who told me she was in a coma. I prayed for her to get better before bed every night, and again in the morning. I asked my Religion class to pray for her, and when the entire school got together for their assembly, one of my teachers arranged for me to go in front of the entire school and ask them to pray for her. My life was generally pretty good, so the vast majority of my prayers before that had been more of the "thank you" variety than asking for things. But I wanted my friend to be okay.

She died on Thursday, while I was at school. I took Friday off, and was noticeably down at church that Sunday. And everyone, my priest, the Baptist minister, my youth group leaders, teachers, they all told me the same thing: "It was God's will." It was God's will that my dearest friend be killed by some guy who wanted to drink too much. That one answer, repeated over and over and over, completely shattered my faith.

I started reading about any non-Christian religion I could find. I asked my uncle about Judaism, I asked family friends about being Muslim, I read about Buddhism, Shinto, Satanism, anything I could get my hands on. I settled on Paganism, because I was 14 and rebellious. I picked up quite the library over the summer, and when I went to school the next year (a public school, as I had no intention on returning to a religious school, and it saved my mother some money), I found a group of likeminded friends. I never could get into the rituals and spells and such nonsense, I mostly did it because 1) I liked cats, 2) I loved Egyptian history, 3) this let me combine both, and 4) I was looking to fill a void.

So yeah, there is going to be a void there. The more into your religion you were, the bigger the hole. Don't be afraid to try new things as you look for your place. At first, the natural reaction is to throw away everything associated with your former religion. You don't need to do that, but you do need to take a good look at your values and think about why you have them. This was, thankfully, rather easy for me, as I hadn't really taken an interest in anyone yet (my first "crush" was Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi, which I didn't see for the first time until I was 15), so the crisis of faith upon realising I was a lesbian was avoided. Of course, my complete lack of interest in boys previously may have contributed to the idea of me being destined to be a nun. The point is, you don't have to throw away all of your beliefs, but examining them, and throwing away the illogical ones will be good for you.

Don't rush to redefine yourself. In the space of a year I went from being Catholic to "anything but Christian" to Pagan to agnostic to atheist. In the end, you'll find your own way. I didn't actually change too much when I did. I even remained active in my church's teen group throughout high school. I didn't suddenly leap into a life of "sin" and debauchery. I didn't want to. I just realized I didn't need an invisible man in the sky watching me to make me want to be a nice person. I'll hold the doors open for people because the smile I get in return makes me feel good. I'll dump my change into the Salvation Army bucket outside the mall because I don't need it, and it can help someone else (also because I hate carrying change). Sure, I have a girlfriend, but if God didn't want lesbians to exist, why did he make them?

After a period of "I hate you and everything about you" in regards to Christianity, I look back on it now in much the same way you look at the Santa Claus myth. You can't really be mad at Santa for not existing, you just eventually outgrow it.

Yeah, the idea of ceasing to exist is kind of scary. But I've known too many awesome people of all sorts of religions. And the idea of existing forever without those people because they were "wrong" isn't much less scary.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to except the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

Some frequenters of these forums may already know this but I used to be very christian. My parents were missionaries and I was schooled in a christian school for missionaries. When I returned to my home country and went to university I felt even more strengthened in my faith because I could argue well for my faith and the bible - most people who disagreed with me ended up having no answers or not wanting to argue anymore (I now realise that I was a bit arrogant in my beliefs and they were being very polite in their's). So I went on to lead a youth study group and run a Sunday night youth service while being part of my church's worship committe. I also lead worship services, sang in them and preached. Thats how christian I was. So this may help.

1) It wasn't a sudden thing, more a slow realisation that came from a lot of study of history and the bible. So overtime I began to view more of the bible as metaphor and allegory as I came to see where science and history contradicted it. But I still had a crisis. It was while preparing to preach a sermon (on Jesus, no less) that I realised I didn't believe Jesus said or did the things I was going to preach on. Once I realised it actually felt very good. Almost like a weight had been lifted from me - now I could assess my views on ethics, morality, truth and reality based on evidence and compassion rather than working out what the bible says.

2) Following on from above. I felt like they are better in most areas. I was already pro-gay rights and things like that but losing my faith opened my eyes to some of the problems in society that I ignored or didn't understand fully. Now I notice things like misogyny and homophobia and actually see how these things are real and hurt people. I have flipped my views on the abortion issue form pro-life to pro-choice. On the whole I feel a lot better about myself and my morals. Some things I did in my past that I thought was completely justified I now see as self-righteous and inconsiderate of others - when at the time I was congratulated for them. So yeah; hope that helps a bit.

Matthewmagic:

1. Atheism hit me like a ton of bricks around age ten. At the time I was living with my father and step mother, it was a really dysfunctional house. My dad beat the shit out of her kids, and she beat the shit out of my brother and I. At the time I went to a catholic school. I attended church every Sunday and I prayed every night for our family's dysfunction to end. I eventually asked my teacher, Sister June, why god never answered my prayers. She told me god helps those who help themselves, then she asked what I prayed for. I told her everything, catching my step mother strangling my brother my father giving my step sister a black eye. Everything. She nodded and sat down. To be fair it is a lot to drop on someones head, I was young I didn't really understand that. A few days later she came up to me, and told me that I lied to her.

I was floored and paniced. I didn't know what to do, that night when I got home I got the worst ass kicking of my life. This is when I realized there was no such thing as god. At the end of the day I needed something more substantial in my life. 3 years later I went to live with my mother, it was finally an option in the state of Michigan, I could say which parent I wanted to live with.

I'm so sorry that happened to you, and I'm glad Michigan got that much right, at least.

It's interesting, though, because even though it's only one person's failing, we both have in common an experience like this turning us off to Christianity. Mine was second-hand. My mother's first husband hit her, and she went to her priest and asked for an annulment. The priest said, basically, "you're such a pretty thing, I can't imagine you didn't cause this somehow. Go home and pray on the Sacred Heart for your marriage to be healed". She left the Church and got a civil divorce. I think that story was seminal in turning me off to Christianity-- at least, I think it was the beginning of it. Even though rationally I know that priest doesn't represent the whole of his religion, he's just one person who couldn't deal with the cognitive dissonance staring him in the face, so he pretended it didn't exist and blamed the victim. That happens all the time, to a lot of people who aren't religious personnel. "I can't face this, so you must be lying". It's so incredibly devastating.

Finally I wanted to know, if there was a true religion. I started looking, and became fascinated with some, learning about religion is actually really rewarding if you can entertain the ideas without accepting them. This lead me to philosophy Kant, Nietzsche, Hume, Aquinas(SP?), Ryand, and Descartes where some of my favorites, not because I wholly agreed but because their philosophy's made me think and question my world view. I look back fondly on this time, as this is when I became sure that no religion could replace the wealth of knowledge I had just gained.

I agree completely with this (even though I obviously do accept some of the things I've read, as I'm religious). The best things anyone can have are critical thinking and self-awareness. My take on this is basically to read lots of things. If some of them appeal to you, examine why and if you adopt them, what role they play for you. If some of them repel you, examine why and what that says about you. Question everything, accept nothing at face value. Make the questioning personal, don't just examine things for scientific truth-- your reactions to anything are data, mine that data for information about yourself. It sounds like you've done just that.

2) I'm going to get kinda deep into all that philosophy I learned so this might get dry. People think of Agnosticism as being mutually exclusive to either a theism, deism, or atheism. This is not true. To be an agnostic is to simply accept that you do not know something "A" a prefix meaning without and "gnostic" the root word, knowledge.

Yup. I'm an agnostic theist, following the definition of agnostic that isn't just not-knowing, but the belief that it *can't* be known. I accept gods as part of living my life. I don't know what they are, I don't think it can be known, and I'm okay with that. I don't stop interrogating myself for why I want to do this thing, and I haven't stopped learning from what I get back from that question.

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to [accept] the new world view?

For me, I would say it was easier to accept that established religion was not true because, despite being heavily involved with my protestant church, I cannot say I completely accepted the idea of a divine being and plan, at least in the manner described in the western traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). I actually volunteered for a primary school-level Sunday school when I lost my faith, and I kept with that for a few years afterwords, keeping my doubt to myself. What I saw in these lessons, for lack of a better word, disturbed me. It wasn't any particular social issue like homosexuality or demagoguery of other religions that was the source of this. Instead, it was a series of violent acts, particularly shootings, where the teachers, who I respected and knew they meant no ill intent, casted the instigators, often the mentally disturbed and tragic individuals, as complete others, unworthy of empathy or compassion. It was this that truly solidified my decision to leave and fully accept the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind, the ideas that suggested we were not at the mercy of something other, but rather we are most likely in this plane alone and left to our own self-destructive devices.

But my experience in the church and members of my family saw something important in the practices, that the comfort of those beliefs and that community was something valuable, even if based on a likely falsehood. I have no intention of taking away another's beliefs and the comfort they provide. If there was one thing I knew, it was that the path that I walked was my own and should not be followed by others. So, for many, I hide my beliefs, because I value their happiness more than I value being right on a subject where I have a relative certainty.

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas?

Fundamentally, very little changed. While the motivation changed from "doing good by God" to "try to make the world just a little bit better on your way out," most of my decision making goes through that same Golden-Rule analysis. Even if those prophets of old (Jesus, Muhammad, Sidartha, etc.) weren't divine messengers, that doesn't mean we just dispose of their teachings. Why shouldn't we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the poor, and free the slave? Whether you do it for God or for some other reason, are you not giving a man a meal he would not otherwise have?

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

Because regardless of what we believe or wish, the world we live in is real, and there is no escaping that. Only an immature mind would find the our utter insignificance in the universe to be a justification for doing whatever they wished or just going "fuck you" to the world and withdrawing completely. What our limited time alive gives us is a limited time to make our mark on the world, and we must use it carefully. "Make the world just a little bit better on your way out" may not mean much on an individual level, but multiplied by the billions of people in the world and not even a god could do so much.

And if you think the lack of divine robs us of the wonder of the universe, I would grossly recommend that you reexamine that position. Think of all the beauty and wonder of the universe, and then try to wrap your head around this fact: every thing that happens in the universe is both random and orderly at the same time. At the heart of the universe is this simple truth. Everything that happens is random, but still maintains an order. And it is from this that our world, so small in its size and improbable its existence and yet it is here and we are here as well.

Try wrapping your head around that...

As to Nihilism, I've always know that morals can never be perfect, but I try to use logic to suss my morals out.
Do unto others as they would do unto you.
This seems to hammer things out. And I don't mean just from your perspective. Try and apply the rule from the other person's perspective as well.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

So... I grew up in a Catholic family, and my extended family were a bunch of walking stereotypes. Huge Italian-American family (my dad was one of fifteen kids; I have over 60 cousins on his side of the family alone), all of them hyper-Catholic (and incredibly suspicious toward/judgmental of anyone who isn't). I have multiple cousins working toward the eventual goal of being priests.

I was pretty young when I started questioning my faith. What sparked it isn't terribly interesting or relevant, but long story short, I also started getting a lot of answers that seemed inadequate. The deeper I looked into my faith, the more hypocritical it appeared to be... and I couldn't stand it. So I bailed and here I am now, over ten years later, not identifying with any organized religion.

So to answer your questions...

1. Admittedly, it was initially pretty hard. My extended family stopped inviting me to things, and over the years cut pretty much all communications with me entirely (note that this was not the result of faith-based arguments or anything; we never spoke of it, they just knew from my parents that I stopped going to church). I got over it pretty quickly though. All I had to ask myself was if I really wanted to associate with people so close-minded that they can't even tolerate the idea of a family member with different beliefs. Did I really want to be a part of a faith that claims to be all about peace and love, then turns around and treats people that it can't convert like crap? No. I didn't want to be a part of that, so I moved on and never looked back. I hold no ill will toward my family, I'll always love them. If they wish to get in touch with me, there's nothing stopping them.

2. My morals didn't change at all, really. Many of the core morals are, quite frankly, common sense and by no means exclusive to the religious. My personal moral views are quite simple, really. They can be summed up as: be a decent guy. Try my best to do right by others, and that's that. I'm not looking to be rewarded for good deeds like my extended family, I just do good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds.

3. With regard to nihilism... /shrug. Who cares? Like it or not, nobody really knows what comes after death. You might have faith that something else will be there, but no one knows for absolute certain that there's something. So really... why worry about it? Life's short. I'd rather spend my limited time enjoying life than worrying about an uncertainty. The way I see it, life is a lot like going to the movies. Whether or not the film I see gets a sequel doesn't matter a whole lot, as long as I leave the theater content that I had a good time.

I was never especccialy religious, I abandoned my faith after being on this very forum for a year (A year of lurking, only started posting after confirming myself non-religious)

As for nihilism, well... Being certain of there being nothing after death inspires me to try and do better with the one chance that i have.

I am essentially nihilist, however I fail to see how that would make me depressed.
There are aspects of life I enjoy regardless of how pointless the whole endevour is.

I abandoned religion at around 14-15. Going to a Christian school made me an atheist (and I'll never tire of saying it). It was so fundamentally insane, the things they said, they did, and I was developing in intelligence, so the combination of those things resulted in me rejecting the whole thing.

As for moral values, sure they changed, but I'm glad they did, they were (at least partially) based upon a stupid book prior to my converting.

I'm still pissed off about being brainwashed as a child though. Very, very pissed off.

I used to be really uber-religious, but over time my whole view on the subject sort of slowly shifted towards being more "scientific" so to speak.

Eventually I decided to go about things more logically. I consider myself an Agnostic; if the universe is infinite, and if there are multiple universes, then there very well may be some sort of super powerful, sentient being out there.

Whether or not this being would be the creator of anything in particular is another discussion entirely, but I think it's silly to assume that we humans are as big as it gets. I also think it's silly to assume that we were created by an all-powerful deity when all evidence points towards human evolution.

Not to mention the fact that pretty much every big religious myth/legend is so completely out of touch with reality that even first graders can spot inconsistencies and impossibilities all over them.

Then, if you look at the Judeo-Christian God as an entity, it's quite clear that his description contradicts itself completely. For example, he/she/it/whatever is supposed to be infinitely wise, and all powerful. Yet, this being who transcends everything we can ever hope to understand supposedly hates it when men have sex with other men? Why? It doesn't have any effect on him? You'd think that such a being is capable of a little more open-mindedness.

That being said, I try to go about everyday life like I always have; without being a total twat. Or at least trying to not be that way. As for the whole Nihilism thing, well... life may not be the grand scheme it's made out to be, but the fact is that we're all here, and we all have a basic primal need to continue surviving. Besides, nonexistence is boring.

What I'm trying to say through my ramblings

Shadowstar38:
And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

That doesn't logically follow.

If there is nothing else after this, doesn't that make your life now all the more wonderful? Doesn't it give you a better reason to go out and live and have fun knowing that this is all you get? I've always found this an odd argument; if a theist believes that the next life is important, then why do they care about their life now? This world is essentially a time-waster, a celestial waiting room before we get to the good stuff.

Shadowstar38:
1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

I had a period in which I was very emotionally mixed up. I didn't want to believe that God wasn't there watching over me. I felt like I had lost a big support in my life and I wondered what might happen to me if I was wrong. What helped me a lot with this was reading some of the works of influential atheist and secularist thinkers, such as Carl Sagan. There's still so much wonder in the universe - you don't need God to be humbled or awed, and you don't need Jesus to have confidants and friends. Find people who are accepting of your new outlook (maybe even look around for atheist/secularist groups in your area) and pick up a book or two about secular humanist philosophy. You'll probably find some great substitutions for the things you're missing and that you thought were exclusive to religion.

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

They were the same. I wasn't a very devout Christian, to be honest, so I had always kinda known that the general guidelines (don't kill, don't steal, don't be a dick) pretty much made sense whether the Bible mentioned them or not. I didn't have to shift my thinking on what morality actually entails like many others. In short, you're probably transferring from an authoritarian way of thinking to something more utilitarian or consequentialist - that is, you should be caring less what other people tell you is moral and more about whether your actions lead to good or bad consequences. Often the resulting rules will be the same, but you might find some discrepancies, like, say, being against gay marriage. In such cases, give preference to the side of rational thought.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

I don't see it as fucked up at all. In fact, I like that my existence is limited. I would honestly hate to stick around forever and ever after I die. It would really devalue the life I had lived, you know? You spend 80+ years on this damn rock, doing your best to support yourself and be a good person, and at the end it all turns out to have just been a test and now you get to live in either eternal splendor or eternal agony, depending? That just seems like such a childish way of thinking about life and death. Why do I not give in to nihilism, you ask? Because I exist, the world around me is probably not the Matrix, and there is so much in life that's great. Turn your mind away from thinking of this as only the first step in a cosmic trial, and start thinking of it as the only thing you really have. You've got to live your life to the fullest because you've only got the one. Personally I think that kind of outlook makes my life seem more valuable, not less.

What I find a bit strange is that most relate not being Christian to being Non religious or Non spiritual, or being Athiest, when there are many beliefs of this world. Having One priest, pastor, clergyman, holyman from one religion not give you answers you find acceptable does not somehow equate to " lack of religion", or "lack of spirituality". Your spirtuality is that of your own, you do not need a "leader" to teach you what is in your heart.

It is my Tribes belief that each makes their own path in life, and that it is not up to us to " convert" or persuade others, as they have their own path, their own promises to keep. We are taught that it is our responsibility to take care of the earth and all that dwell upon it, or we will be forced to live the very real consequences of not doing so, that we can have a good future or a bad depending on what we do here on this earth, as we are not going anywhere and will be forced to live through our actions. That a " heaven" or "hell" is that one which we create here on earth by our actions and that mankind has control over the future, and nothing is set. We have choices to make that determine the future. If we do what is good for all life, then life will flourish, if we do not it will suffer, and we will be forced to live through that as well. From what we are told of our own history, is that in early times, the tribes had their own instructions and promises, and sent in different directions of migration and would reunite again in the future, and help correct each other's mistakes. That we are all one family, all related and in time all people of the world would understand that again.

I am not saying that you should follow our beliefs, but rather learn about all the beliefs of this world, as they are numerous, and not limit your heart and mind to something as narrow as one pastors answers, one book, or even a few people on one forum. Learn as much as you can from all views and then look inside yourself to what you feel is right for you. There is not one "right answer" and even in ones own path in life, one may change their mind of what they think is the answer for themselves many times. For me, was taught to learn as much as I can about everything, and make decisions for myself. Good luck in your search for answers. In the end, look inside you for what you know to be true.

Huh, I wasn't aware atheists were supposed to be depressed by nihilism. Gotta say, I just take it as an adventure and the chance to do something meaningful instead of a big 80-year test that decides how you spend eternity. Quite frankly, I wasn't conscious or alive for millions of years before conception/birth (depending on your stance there) so I don't see what's so scary about going back to that.
And if anything eternal life has got to be the more fucked up thing, I wouldn't even take it for free.

And morally I don't think there's much difference, most people in a society have a kind of similar base morals and since I don't assume you accepted the silly parts of the bible as moral values (slavery, rape, stoning, etc) what's going to change?

Shadowstar38:
Long story short, every time I ask a valid question from the perpective of a atheist, he would come back with an answer that I felt was bullshit. I had already been questioning the more WTF parts of the bible and the things the church believed up til then. But this was the final thing that turned off the whole deal. 2 weeks later I was done with the whole thing.

I'm actually more going the opposite way of you right now (atheist to not), and the same seems to be true about most atheist. Ask them a question, and they pretty much seem to straw man it, or answer in something that in no way answers the question. So, it isn't just Christianity that does that, but I do get where you are coming from. In the past, some people told me the stupidest thing that came to mind to answer my questions. Some even tried to "trick" me into believing in Christianity. Never knew why they would just guess rather than admit to not knowing.

Shadowstar38:
1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

Going to atheist, yeah, it was rather easy, because I had never thought about it much at all (plus I was maybe 13). Now, going the other way, it isn't really easy at all from what has happened in the past in my life, my understanding of everything, and trying to understand why things happen the way they do.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

1). I guess I was a bit depressed for a while. It actually took me a while to get over my fear that I would be wrong and wind up in hell, which is the Catholic upbringing, I guess. My response was to keep digging for answers, and the more I found the better I felt about that. I think the nail in the coffin was this video:

Not that I believe it 100% -- I've found some of the hypotheses in the video are considered controversial -- but the fact that it at least made as much sense as my previous religious beliefs was really all I needed to realize my religious beliefs weren't so special as to warrant special treatment, and I was no longer afraid of hell, as there's no evidence it exists.

After that, I guess I kind of flirted with Nihilism a bit, but ultimately I think I realized that I don't need to be eternally existent or cosmologically significant to be happy.

I mean, the nihilists are right that most likely you'll be forgotten by your great grand children, and even if you're someone as famous Einstein or Jesus, you'll still be forgotten when humanity is extinct. I just think the nihilists are trying to answer an unimportant question, as far as your day to day activities are concerned. I mean, how often does your average person sit there contemplating their importance in the cosmos? If you are spending a lot of time doing that, I think you probably need to narrow your perspective to a more personally useful scope.

2). Morals are essentially the same, do onto others as you would have them do onto you. I think the fact that this short mortal life really is everyone's only chance for happiness gives even more impetus to try and treat everyone fairly, donate to charity, and volunteer.

I think that a lot of Christians don't understand how you develop a personal set of morals without an easy made guide being provided to you, with a divine edict and threat of punishment to back it up. But the fact is, I think most people actually get their morality from the same place: how they were raised and/or instructed, their interactions with others, and their experiences. I know plenty of Christians with moral dispositions that fall on a gradient from saintlike to reprehensible, and I think that is evidence enough that you never actually got your morals from your religion, but elsewhere.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

1. Yeah, it wasnt really about me accepting it to be honest. I realized rationally this was how the world was to me and that i had to accept it because moaning or being sad wont change reality. This is reality. We have to make the best of it no matter what.

2. I feel that since we get one life. One go around. That love and compassion and all the things that make my minute existence better should be shared with everyone and that we should make this life a wonderful adventure.

3. I love the world. Life. The universe. Look at this for me please. Just look at this.

http://media.skysurvey.org/interactive360/index.html

I dont think a god made that. And its fucking beautiful. Its mindblowing. I love it. I cannot wait to see and explore and touch every inch of it that i can. Even the places on our tiny blue and green speck. Its fantastic. How can you NOT be awed and inspired by the nature of our existence and the universe. People are amazing. Reality is amazing. We can shape and do so much in one lifetime. And its special because its one lifetime. Adding "Infinite" to anything immediately devalues it because you have nothing to compare it against. An infinite heaven sounds dull.

This is a LARGE WALL OF TEXT defining my life. It might help you.

I wrote the above a long time ago to define who i was. I hope this helps.

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

1.) A bit of background for you. Even from a young age, I was a fan of both fictional stories and the mythology of other cultures. When I got to the point where I was actually seriously thinking about religion, I was already well familiar with the huge similarities between the bible and the previously mentioned categories, and soon came to realize that I never thought of the bible as being fundamental truth. As a result, there wasn't much of a transition in my case. Sorry if this is not helpful.

2.) Much the same, I've always been an altruistic individual, and always will be. I don't need an external standard of morals to choose to do right by my fellow man. If anything, the moral code of an atheist or agnostic tends to be stronger in its own way than those of the religious. It is our own conviction that binds us to it, not threats.

3.) The thought that this life is all we have actually energizes me. I'm not eager for oblivion, but I don't obsess over or fear it, that inevitability simply makes me more determined to leave a lasting impact on the world. This may sound somewhat corny, but a large part of why I chose to become an engineer is because I wish to find a way to improve the lives of others long after I am gone.

My suggestions to those that are lost in terms of faith?
-Find purpose in life itself. If this life is all we have, make the most of it. Find a purpose, action, or objective that motivates you, and GO DO IT!
-Go study the ethics and philosophy of other cultures. Not necessarily as a replacement for the faith you lost, although I would not discourage that if it appeals to you, I know several people that found faith in other religions after falling out with Christianity. Regardless of your intent, I mainly suggest it for perspective. I find the principles behind Buddhism and Sikhism to be particularly thought provoking.

Well, I figure that you simply cease to exist when you die. It's not something awful like being trapped in an endless void devoid of sense, since you no longer have the nervous system required to feel anything. You just...not exist anymore. The concept is beyond human comprehension because it's not possible to understand just what that entails. Even a sensory deprivation chamber is something else entirely. Also, the Ship of Thebes paradox means that you've already died, if you answer the question with 'No'.

The Ship of Thebes is the question 'During it's travels, the Ship became damaged and had to be repaired many times. When it returned, not a single piece of the original ship remained. Is it still the same Ship of Thebes?' The reason why answering 'No' means that you've already died is because of cell death. Once you're fully grown, it takes 10-15 years for every cell in your body to replaced. Every cell. Brain, heart, etc. The person you were 10-15 years ago is dead. You're essentially a clone that merely shares the consciousness of the one who came before you. It's the same concept as the theory that being teleported (Having your atoms broken down and reassembled elsewhere) actually kills the person who went into the machine and the person who comes out the other side is a clone. A entirely perfect clone in all aspects, but a clone nonetheless.

1) I don't really remember how I felt after I decided to abandon Christianity, but I don't think I was particularly bothered, I'd never been especially devout, and besides, I didn't just wake up one day and find I didn't believe in God, it was a gradual process, which probably helped. Also, I was about ten, so I wasn't exactly having deep philosophical thoughts.

2) Being ten, my moral views, such as they were, didn't really change. It was only when I got older that I really started to examine them, and I shifted towards Humanism.

3) Yeah the idea of people just ceasing to exist when they die isn't a particularly pleasant one, but just because eventually everything you ever did will be gone doesn't mean it didn't happen. If I pay for a friend's drink it's largely meaningless and unimportant, but at that moment it probably makes them happy, and that's reason enough to do it.

At heart, I am a nihilist. I recognize that nothing has any inherent meaning and one day everything here will cease to exist, likely millions of years after I've been dead. There's no point. However, these are massive cosmological concerns that I can do nothing about. There are a lot more mundane and tangible issues that I can make a positive impact on. I've got no time for despair when I can do something about the suffering and ignorance in the world.

Also, some people on the internet are wrong. Can't let that stand, now can I?

Shadowstar38:

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

Hey dude. Figured I might give you my perspective. It may be the same as others provided here; then again, it might not. But you asked, so here's your answer:

1) Dealing with it was the easiest part. It was like giving up believing in Santa. There was a short period where I was sad to admit that the world wasn't magical, and that there wasn't some awesome LotR-style epic battle between good and evil I could be a part of. That instead, life was short, people could be dicks to one another, and sometimes there's no punishment at all for the worst folks on the planet and there was little I could do about it.

But once I gave up that magical wish-thinking, I came around to accepting it. The world is the way it is no matter what I want, but I can, in fact, do some little good. I can be nice to people, and I can make the folks around me feel better, maybe, than they did before. It helped me appreciate the privileged and comfort I was born into. It gave me a much greater appreciations for life. I'll expand on that later.

But dealing with the family was another thing. My entire family is Irish Catholic. I was the first out of the entire tree to go atheist; since then, my father and brother have both 'converted'. It's a little bumpy sometimes but honestly, the struggle has been minor.

2) My morals didn't change. I think if you really do some "soul"-searching, you'll find that you acted nice to people, and avoided committing atrocities, not because you were hoping for some eternal reward or fearful of cosmic punishment, but because doing bad things makes you feel bad and fucks up your life, whereas doing good things earns you friends and makes you feel better about yourself. With relatively rare exceptions, this describes all of us. We're evolved to respond that way when around one another; it's in our core nature to be altruistic and to work together.

I think you may find that, from the outside looking it, religion acts less as a motivator for people to do good than it does as a divisive influence.

3) Nihilism. Hm. Think about it like this:

Think about how many people there have ever been or ever will be. A few trillion, right? Maybe a few trillion more after us. That's not a lot, universally speaking. There are trillions of galaxies, each with trillions of stars. There are probably trillions of trillions of planets, billions of which may be habitable.

Not only were you born on one, but you were born on THIS one, an animal that has the mental faculties to observe the universe and appreciate its size and majesty. Every day you can look at the sky, or use your computer to look at pictures from the Hubble, and just marvel at how amazing it all is. It's so huge, and yet it doesn't know it's there. And then consider this:

We are made of star stuff. The heavier elements were made in the cores of stars that, once exploded, cast them into the universe to eventually make up planets and then, finally, us. We are the children of ancient stars. So when you're looking at those little points of light in the sky, you're seeing your distant relatives. You're connected to them through a direct line; you're a descendant of the stars. You wouldn't be alive if a few stars didn't die to make it so.

You are the universe observing itself.

If that isn't enough for you; if that thought isn't sufficient to give you pause and to consider how amazing it is that you are an organism, made out of the detritus of long-dead stars, a consciousness running on a meat engine that survives only a tiny amount of time, but in that time has the capacity to learn about all of these things that would have gone unnoticed otherwise; that you are unique in a way that is un-quantifiable, a once-in-an-eternity event that once gone, will never happen again; how can you think about that and shrug your shoulders and say that it's a poor replacement for a burning bush, or a man who once turned one fish into a bunch of fish?

In the face of the majesty and expanse of the universe and our infantile and burgeoning understanding of it, the 'miracles' of religion look like parlor tricks for children's birthday parties.

You are leaving behind a children's story and replacing it with the immensity that is the reality of our incredible existence. I think you'll be better off for it, if you take the time to appreciate it.

I had that depression stage too. Not at the same time as when I became an atheist though. It was a few years later.

How I dealt with it? I moved on with my life. Took me a week or two, but still. I just moved on. I just accepted that technically, our entire planet doesn't matter in the whole picture. Keep in mind though that your life does matter, to the people that you know and to yourself. No matter how small or how large, it does matter.

As for my views and morals. They didn't change much. I just replaced 'god did it' with 'natural causes did it, whether science figured out how they did it or not'. My morals didn't change at all really.

On the whole nihilism things I want to point out something in the definition from wikipedia.

"Existential nihilism is the philosophical theory that life has no intrinsic meaning or value."

I think the key word is intrinsic. Yes there I see no force in the universe that guarantees meaning. The meaning that one takes from life is what we ourselves give it by feeling empathy and caring for other people and life around us. That cartoon above about the guy with his squirrels is a prefect description of my own outlook.

I actually felt the depression and mental unpleasantness trying to be religious and trying to find something supernatural to believe in. Once I excepted that I did not believe a lot weight was lifted from me.

I had a very similar experience and it came from a very special book: The Davinci Code. I am not going to get into the details of how accurate the fact checking for the book was but it really opened my eyes to a couple of concepts I never took into consideration such as the fact that the Bible is only a small collection of stories and accounts from a much larger collection of written works. This made me realise how easy it would be to manipulate. This in turn opened my eyes to parts of the Bible that I never realised before:

All this led me to rejecting religion but I could not reject God which had always been a part of my life. Through desperate research I found something called Deism. I will not go into details because the concept of conversion or advertising your religion/doctrine of beliefs to be personally disturbing but if you give me a private shout I will be more than willing to share a couple of resources.

Shadowstar38:

So, here I am now. Lost and incredibly unsure of what I'm suppose to believe. It hasn't been an enlightening experience. Mostly just a completely depressing one. So here are my questions for those he might have gone through something similar.

Have to say, nothing about it felt enlightening about it to me either. It's a loss of belief, not a gaining of new beliefs or understanding really. At least for me. Though perhaps it was a bit liberating since for a while I felt like I had to come up with some reason to justify my faith, all while being quite sure I never could find a good reason.

1) How did you deal with it? Was it easy for you to accept the new world view?

Well it happened over time. I questioned it for a long while and just put it out of my mind. I kind of knew that I couldn't feel justified in believing it anymore, it just took a while for me to just admit it to myself completely. So by that time I'd come to terms with it. It didn't change much as my morals were never really all that religion based anyway.

2)What were your moral values like afterwards? Did you still find yourself holding the same views in other areas.

The same more or less. I mean, just easily dropped things that were religion-specific. There weren't much and weren't relevant anyway.

And to any atheist, honestly, how do you not give into nihilism? The thought that there might not be anything after this might be the most fuck up part of this whole thing.

Give in to? Well I'd say nothing has intrinsic value, but the question is whether that actually matters. And I'd say it doesn't matter, there's still things that make me happy. They didn't please me because of intrinsic value before, so why should I really change due to that?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked