Religion had its drawbacks, for me. But so does atheism

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Religion had its drawbacks, for me. But so does atheism Empty Religion had its drawbacks, for me. But so does atheism

Post by Ben Reilly on Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:35 am

So my religious story in a nutshell is that it took me about 30 years or so to realize that though I tried to believe in God (as a Christian), I never really did. I still like Jesus quite a bit, and I'd still say I try to follow Jesus' teachings about kindness and how to treat others, but that's a philosophical/ethical/moral thing, nothing spiritual about it.

Now that I've been out with myself and most other people about my lack of belief for eight years, though, I can see that when I lost my faith, I mistakenly threw away something else, something I didn't realize I needed.

Part of my religious upbringing was the belief that God was constantly watching and judging my behavior.

I think that since I stopped worrying about some moral authority watching me all the time, I've stopped trying as hard to be on my best behavior. I tend to do whatever I can get away with more often than I'd like to admit, and that bothers me.

I don't want to be that way, most importantly. It also makes me a hypocrite for saying things like, "you don't need religion to be a good person" -- which is something I do believe.

It has started to dawn on me that just because I shed my belief in God, I should never have ignored that part of me that monitors and judges my behavior, which I did because I identified it with God.

One of the best things about giving up religion is that you get to own everything good that you do -- you don't feel any need to attribute your positive traits to God.

On the other hand, you have to take responsibility for the bad things you do -- no blaming the Devil.

But above that, you have to remember that the little part of your psyche that watches and judges was always part of you, not brainwashed into you by religion.

Those of you who either left religion or were never raised by it -- any advice or insight?

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Religion had its drawbacks, for me. But so does atheism Empty Re: Religion had its drawbacks, for me. But so does atheism

Post by Thorin on Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:15 am

Well it sounds to me that you are not as disciplined as you once were. Where you mainly perceived a fear was keeping that discipline in place. With a fear of doing wrong with consequences of an after life punishment.

The reality is as seen nobody was watching over you and you yourself was judging your behaviour. What you should do is regain that discipline. With instead to juidge the possible consequences of your actions and who and what that may effect. It means being able to reflect and learn from each situation. As in reality it was always you watching over yourself the whole time before being more concious of your actions or potential actions. You just simple need to regain that discipline you once formely had. Being more conscious of your actions.

Or you could simple stop worrying about such trivial things, being hard on yourself. As after all we are humans and make mistakes. Its all about learning from them. In order to hopefully not repeat them.

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Post by Maddog on Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:34 am

Beats ne. I was raised Lutheran, so never felt the judgy type God that others did.

What I do miss is the peace and calmness I could get by praying and thinking that God would have an answer. That's why I never give religious people any grief over their beliefs. If it helps them out in life, it doesn't bother me in the least.

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Post by Syl on Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:34 pm

Maddog wrote:Beats ne. I was raised Lutheran, so never felt the judgy type God that others did.

What I do miss is the peace and calmness I could get by praying and thinking that God would have an answer. That's why I never give religious people any grief over their beliefs. If it helps them out in life, it doesn't bother me in the least.

I agree with you 100%....as long as people find comfort in whatever, and as long as they dont try to force their beliefs on others....live and let live.

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Post by Thorin on Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:46 pm

For Ben

"I get the feeling that most atheists only feel the "vacuum of no religion" in their lives if they had been raised religious. I think they feel the vacuum more than people with a secular upbringing because religion was used as a crutch, and now they've got to walk on their own."

"Whereas if you were raised in a secular household, you were never forced to rely on religion in the first place, and so you don't feel the same emptiness and meaninglessness that a religious person turned atheist experiences.

What do you all think? Let's hear your experiences!"


Does this make sense to your point ben?

This is a point raise by a friend on twitter

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Post by 'Wolfie on Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:13 am

grin angel

Tried 'religion'  --   didn't feel like you fitted in, didn't like the strictures, dogma or regimentation ?

Tried 'atheism'  --   didn't like that either, often even finding many atheists have effectively created their own "pseudo-religion" --  but still don't believe in, like or understand 'organised religions'  ?


Maybe it's time to give agnosticism a go ?

Leave yourself open to the idea that there may well some higher God, 'spiritual' power, or overruling natural force out there --  but leave it to the true believers to prove that it/she/he exists, or not --  in the meantime, saying neither yay or nay, but just "let it be".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism


Last edited by 'Wolfie on Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Eilzel on Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:34 am

I think any intelligent person, in their heart, is agnostic, since no one can really 'know'.

But religions and atheism can best describe our strongest views on the matter. Saying one is just 'agnostic' implies an uncertainty that puts the existence of gods as equal to the likelihood of their non existence, which mischaracterises my views imo.

If pushed I'd say I'm an agnostic atheist. I feel no void either, despite being born and raised CofE and being in the church brigade.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:26 am

phildidge wrote:For Ben

"I get the feeling that most atheists only feel the "vacuum of no religion" in their lives if they had been raised religious. I think they feel the vacuum more than people with a secular upbringing because religion was used as a crutch, and now they've got to walk on their own."

"Whereas if you were raised in a secular household, you were never forced to rely on religion in the first place, and so you don't feel the same emptiness and meaninglessness that a religious person turned atheist experiences.

What do you all think? Let's hear your experiences!"


Does this make sense to your point ben?

This is a point raise by a friend on twitter

That absolutely nails it, actually.

It's not knowing which aspects to throw away and which to keep.

@Les -- I think you're right. Asserting 100 percent knowledge of something is close enough to faith, for me, that I'm uncomfortable with it. On the other hand, I don't believe in any kind of god or gods that religions have described, so I don't want to give off the impression that I think maybe Jehovah or Zeus are real.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:38 am

And as my wife might point out, a lot of the problems discussed in this thread come from having to label people. Sure, labels can be handy shorthand, but they can also be misinterpreted, or not subtle enough, or become traps that make some feel like they have to follow rules they don't want to.

There's no handy, short label for:

"I don't believe in any kind of god or gods that have been described in a religion, and I don't really think there's some supreme being or beings that take any interest in this little life-infested rock of ours, but on the other hand, I do have times where I feel very connected to the universe, and I do think of life (as in all living things) as rather miraculous and even perhaps holy, and I do sometimes even find comfort in taking a few quiet moments to myself inside a church or at some other place associated with a religion."

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