Religious remainings?

ManuAndres44
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Religious remainings?

I declared myself atheist a few months ago. During the process I started abandon physically the religion (being absent from the Sunday cult) then the agnosticism and finally the atheism. But according to your experience it is normal to feel some thoughts backward toward religion as "but what if...?"  when you have already declared yourself atheist? I guess this is due I started with my new ideology few months ago as I wrote before. What do you think? Thanks

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speaking strictly for

speaking strictly for myself, my readings in taoism and zen buddhism did more to get rid of my religious thinking than anything else.

along the same lines, my wife thinks there's no better green tea than teekane zen.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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ManuAndres44 wrote:I

ManuAndres44 wrote:

I declared myself atheist a few months ago. During the process I started abandon physically the religion (being absent from the Sunday cult) then the agnosticism and finally the atheism. But according to your experience it is normal to feel some thoughts backward toward religion as "but what if...?"  when you have already declared yourself atheist? I guess this is due I started with my new ideology few months ago as I wrote before. What do you think? Thanks

 

"but what if ..."  is a good question.  So, what if you spend a good part of your life believing in wrong god???  What if Xenu is the real one?  I think that you will be better off being a nonbeliever than a follower of a wrong deity when you meet the real one.  Smiling
 

 


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I actually experienced what

I actually experienced what could really be called an 'epiphany', after talking with someone with religious leanings triggered some conflicting thoughts in my mind.  This was while on holday in an idyllic island resort in Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

Over the next few days, my mind wrestled, both consciously and subconsciously, with what I think was some lingering 'respect' for religious ideas, absorbed from the general culture, despite my life-long atheism.

Then, in the taxi ride home from the airport, I had this marvellous feeling of finally 'getting it', of purging the last traces of religious b*s from my thoughts. It seemed to have finally all 'fallen into place'. It really felt like the descriptions of 'sublime' experiences we all hear about from mystics and so on, at least as much as one can grasp of what someone else experienced from verbal accounts. Except of course it was of finally freeing oneself from all that bullcrap, rather than getting deeper into it.

Reinforced my belief that 'spiritual' and 'mystical' experiences are inherent states of mind that have nothing to do with any supernatural being or idea, that have inspired many religions, and been co-opted by them as evidence for their particular dogma.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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ManuAndres44 wrote:I

ManuAndres44 wrote:

I declared myself atheist a few months ago. During the process I started abandon physically the religion (being absent from the Sunday cult) then the agnosticism and finally the atheism. But according to your experience it is normal to feel some thoughts backward toward religion as "but what if...?"  when you have already declared yourself atheist? I guess this is due I started with my new ideology few months ago as I wrote before. What do you think? Thanks

 

Considering the fact that I had been raised my entire life in a strict religion with no allowance for any other sort of view it took a  long while to shake it off . It was a struggle to just leave the religion. It was a harder struggle to finally come to the conclusion that I was truly an Atheist and did not believe in God.

As I have said before on other threads, I jumped through a variety of different beliefs after abandoning my religion (everything from new agey self help nonsense, to eastern philosophy stuff to all sorts of other things).

Life and learning finally left me with no other seeming choice but to discontinue all of it.

As I have said before, I WANTED to believe in SOMETHING, in ANYTHING.

But all of my searching turned out to be totally fruitless.

On the surface of many absurd things, from empty chants to the universe, to the idea of worshipping mother nature, to the idea of some benevolent force, to the idea of a spirit world, etc. etc. I heard stuff that sounded fascinating and intriguing.

But when I got to the bottom of each and every one of those things, I ultimately found NOTHING. I found alot of frauds. I found alot of insecure people that needed some definitive answer to life. I found  alot of lost people that were hoping to find some ultimate truth. I met  alot of people that could see a picture of light on a gravestone and hastily believe that ghosts were on camera.I talked  to incense burning be at one with the Universe types. I was reccomended all sorts of books that turned out to be a total waste of time.

I found nothing of any substance in any of that nonsense. I found no happiness nor fulfillment. I found alot of vague, metaphysical terms that could mean anything and nothing.

When enough personal tragedy struck my life, it finally hit me that the entire notions of spirit worlds and gods, psychic energy and all of the rest of it was nonsense.

At first, I was alot like what you are mentioning, uncertain and afraid and filled with all sorts of questions.

But throwing away faith, was possibly one of the greatest things that could have ever happened to me.

Bad things did not happen in the world because of mystical explanations, they happened because of chance, probability, the influence of people involved.

Prayer was not going to help me, there were 6 billion people on the planet, why should my needs be more important than theirs ?

If unfortunate circumstances were to befall me, I realized that it had nothing to do with the wrath of a god, it was just part of being a human being.

Wonder was no longer to be found in some holy book, wonder was to be found in microscopes, telescopes, in DNA, in physics, in neuroscience, in biology.

Images of the Hubble Telescope were far more fascinating than superstitious stories about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For me, wonder, imagination, purpose, mystery and all of the things that I was looking for were easy to find when all of those absurd notions that were to be taken on faith were tossed out the window where they belonged.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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ManuAndres44 wrote:I

ManuAndres44 wrote:

I declared myself atheist a few months ago. During the process I started abandon physically the religion (being absent from the Sunday cult) then the agnosticism and finally the atheism. But according to your experience it is normal to feel some thoughts backward toward religion as "but what if...?"  when you have already declared yourself atheist? I guess this is due I started with my new ideology few months ago as I wrote before. What do you think? Thanks

Yes it is quite normal to have feelings of "what if". It takes a while to get over that.

I had been an atheist for years before I sought others online and when I typed in "atheist", in the search, I thought to myself "What if people find out I am doing this? What if I end up joining a bunch of anarchists with no morals".

But that was fleeting and merely a leftover of theistic indoctrination of a lifetime of being told by society that not believing was bad and evil.

But don't just be an "atheist", there are lots of things, if you haven't learned should educate yourself on.

Fallacy of Pascal's wager.

Bentrand Russell's teapot

Law of probability

Occham's Razor(sp)

AND BOOKS we recommend,

God Delusion, Richard Dawkins

Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins

God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens

God, The Failed Hypothesis, Victor Stinger(sp)

End Of Faith, Sam Harris

Infidel, Ayaan Hersi Ali

(thats for starters)

 

And soak in as much as you can just by reading the arguments of other atheists here and on other websites. You'll find lots of scientific minded and history of religion minded people here to pick their brains.

The best reason to reject any claim, not just a deity claim, is simple, lack of evidence. Moral claims and logical inconsistencies are certainly reasons, but can only complement lack of evidence.

Don't be afraid of theists. They worship the invisible and immeasurable claiming to know it's attributes without anything universal to demonstrate their claims. It really is all in their heads.

Deity/god/spirit worship requires one to believe that a thinking thing with no location or physical body or physical brain with no neurons or cerebellum, with magical super powers exists.

I used to fear debating theists, but I have over the years learned that the best you will get from them is seeing some new packaging in trying to redress the skunk in a Tux.

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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ManuAndres44 wrote:But

ManuAndres44 wrote:
But according to your experience it is normal to feel some thoughts backward toward religion as "but what if...?"  when you have already declared yourself atheist? I guess this is due I started with my new ideology few months ago as I wrote before. What do you think? Thanks

Definitely. 

I don't think it's a bad thing either. As you think about your old religion and your new perspective on the world, the psychological conditioning from the religion will become weaker. And, in fact, if we are skeptics, we should always ask "what if" and think about how our beliefs might be wrong; so, imho, don't even try to stop asking "what if." To recognize that you can be wrong and to consider beliefs that you don't agree with is to be open-minded.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Definitely. 

I don't think it's a bad thing either. As you think about your old religion and your new perspective on the world, the psychological conditioning from the religion will become weaker. And, in fact, if we are skeptics, we should always ask "what if" and think about how our beliefs might be wrong; so, imho, don't even try to stop asking "what if." To recognize that you can be wrong and to consider beliefs that you don't agree with is to be open-minded.

 

I totally agree. If I were not able to constantly ask questions about everything that I think about, how would I know whether or not I had fallen victim to the same sort of blind dogmatic behavior that I find so abhorrent ?  The what-if questions are indeed what lead me to non-belief in the first place, why stop trusting them now ?

I think the best thing to remember is that knowledge never ends. No matter how much seeking that there is, there is always new thoughts and possibilities to consider. But some of those possibilities would not have been open to me, if I had let blind religious faith keep those doors closed.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


ManuAndres44
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Thanks to you all

Brian 37, Butterbattle, harleysportster and the rest of the posters:

 

Thank you very much for your explanations. I was wondering if all this was normal due to psychological processes we can face on developing our inner thoughts. However, I think is important to be open-minded as you suggested me, remembering that we deal with beliefs that aren't true.

Sometimes it is difficult to me to debate with theists because even I have information, is not enough. I learn through this forums and thanks to Brian 37 to give me all that sources I will read with delight. Is necessary then, to learn much more, no matter if all the knowledge is impossible to get. But what I must face currently is the situation my whole family is theist and I can perceive even they say the respect my points of view, they express some kind of uncomfortableness toward them. I don't want to convince them to become atheists, because doing that I'd do the same thing religions,  but I want to learn to debate with a lot of info especially which is related with evolution. I'm also member of another Spanish-Latinamerican atheist group and I learn from both sites. Always I can, I come here and post or read interesting things. If there are more people interested to add their posts to this discussion, I'll be waiting for them.

Thanks once again

 

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Yes, it is normal to feel

Yes, it is normal to feel some thoughts back, the brain is not a flash drive, a new opinion does not erase and rewrite it. Old habits are imprinted in there as strong neuron connections. Changing them is very diffcult, long and sometimes painful. Some people, specially the old are not capable of that. I think your religiosity got pushed into subconsciousness and it might ocassionally show up in a bad dream, for example. It is no different from any other old habit, trauma or desire that we try to overcome. But attention, reason, time and routine will help to dispel these persisting tendencies.

For example, let's say that you have a problem with stalking. There is some guy that says he loves you, calls you all the time, every day, celebrates you, climbs your ass, but always demands something from you. Help me with this, help with that, do this, do that, give me this and that, thinking that you're his personal servant and Jack-of-all-trades. How annoying it is. I wouldn't stand that for an hour. Stalking ruins lives and is punishable as a crime.
And then consider how it must be if there are billions of them.

If God exists, he can only love you for becoming an atheist. But what if...? Then God is really merciful for not giving the annoying worshippers what they deserve.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


ManuAndres44
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Luminon wrote:Yes, it is

Luminon wrote:

Yes, it is normal to feel some thoughts back, the brain is not a flash drive, a new opinion does not erase and rewrite it. Old habits are imprinted in there as strong neuron connections. Changing them is very diffcult, long and sometimes painful. Some people, specially the old are not capable of that. I think your religiosity got pushed into subconsciousness and it might ocassionally show up in a bad dream, for example. It is no different from any other old habit, trauma or desire that we try to overcome. But attention, reason, time and routine will help to dispel these persisting tendencies.

For example, let's say that you have a problem with stalking. There is some guy that says he loves you, calls you all the time, every day, celebrates you, climbs your ass, but always demands something from you. Help me with this, help with that, do this, do that, give me this and that, thinking that you're his personal servant and Jack-of-all-trades. How annoying it is. I wouldn't stand that for an hour. Stalking ruins lives and is punishable as a crime.
And then consider how it must be if there are billions of them.

If God exists, he can only love you for becoming an atheist. But what if...? Then God is really merciful for not giving the annoying worshippers what they deserve.

 

Actually you are right. I had several nightmares related to religion. For example, god, demons, angles, temples, catholic rituals and things like that. It was trapped in my subconsciousness but I know I must continue learning and devoloping my mind in order to realize those are consequences of a previous habit.

I understood very well your example about stalking but just one detail. I am boy, not girl, so I wouldn't be stalked by a guy hahahaha LOL

It's nice to laugh sometimes in the middle of a conversation.

 

Thanks once again Luminon

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I am from a little different

I am from a little different perspective.  I remember being 6 or so, and telling the sunday school teacher, but heaven sounds so boring.  And it did.  Sit around with wings and a harp, singing all day.  I like to sing, but not all day.  Flying might be fun for awhile.  And what else do you do in heaven?  I was told you wouldn't want to do anything else.  - - - so boring.

So I was never afraid of hell and kind of wished heaven would be a little more like hell.  All those devils and nasty stuff sounded a lot more fun.  Strange ideas some children get in their heads.

Or maybe some of the theists are right, and I am destined to roast.

More likely, I will just - die.  And not be here any longer.  After all, I wasn't here for a very long time, and I didn't notice that, so why should I care about not being here anymore?  Go to sleep and -- not wake up.  That would be fine.

When I finally quit trying to believe, it really was a relief.  I had to keep telling myself to believe and have faith over and over.  Religion and christianity never made a lick of sense to me, even when I was going to church and trying my hardest to have faith.  And so I have never had any thoughts about 'what if I'm wrong?'.  My thoughts were more about 'thank goodness, I don't have to lie anymore'.

Most of my family is not religious - they claim to believe in god/s/dess, but not in religion.  With the notable exception of my sister and her family who are Jehovah Witness.  Most of the time, we don't discuss religion because it isn't important.  And after reading what some people have to go through with their families, makes me glad for mine.

Except for my sister. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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All these remnants of

All these remnants of religious memory stories remind me Matrix movie.   It should be like leaving the matrix, starting to learn again by yourself.

I'm lucky, I was born outside this matrix ... in another matrix that broke apart...

 


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Nicely said, Harley

harleysportster wrote:

Wonder was no longer to be found in some holy book, wonder was to be found in microscopes, telescopes, in DNA, in physics, in neuroscience, in biology.

Images of the Hubble Telescope were far more fascinating than superstitious stories about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For me, wonder, imagination, purpose, mystery and all of the things that I was looking for were easy to find when all of those absurd notions that were to be taken on faith were tossed out the window where they belonged.

 

Like you, there was a day I realised the question was the answer.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

Wonder was no longer to be found in some holy book, wonder was to be found in microscopes, telescopes, in DNA, in physics, in neuroscience, in biology.

Images of the Hubble Telescope were far more fascinating than superstitious stories about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For me, wonder, imagination, purpose, mystery and all of the things that I was looking for were easy to find when all of those absurd notions that were to be taken on faith were tossed out the window where they belonged.

 

Like you, there was a day I realised the question was the answer.

QFT! What a great way of putting it!

To Manu: Lingering feelings of religion are actually fairly common. It is not unusual for people to even have lingering fears of hell and even nightmares and panic attacks.

The very fact that religions use these fear-based tactics to keep you believing 'or else!' is proof enough that such religions are not about wonder at all, but are based on terror.

Here are a couple wonderful videos by PhilHellenes that may help you overcome some lingering fears and doubts, and also to show you what we mean by being inspired by the wonder of the universe itself:

 

.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


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100percentAtheist wrote:All

100percentAtheist wrote:

All these remnants of religious memory stories remind me Matrix movie.   It should be like leaving the matrix, starting to learn again by yourself.

I'm lucky, I was born outside this matrix ... in another matrix that broke apart...

 

I'm in complete agreement with you. Religions are like the matrix.... When you leave them, you start by your own.

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ManuAndres44
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natural

natural wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

Wonder was no longer to be found in some holy book, wonder was to be found in microscopes, telescopes, in DNA, in physics, in neuroscience, in biology.

Images of the Hubble Telescope were far more fascinating than superstitious stories about Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For me, wonder, imagination, purpose, mystery and all of the things that I was looking for were easy to find when all of those absurd notions that were to be taken on faith were tossed out the window where they belonged.

 

Like you, there was a day I realised the question was the answer.

QFT! What a great way of putting it!

To Manu: Lingering feelings of religion are actually fairly common. It is not unusual for people to even have lingering fears of hell and even nightmares and panic attacks.

The very fact that religions use these fear-based tactics to keep you believing 'or else!' is proof enough that such religions are not about wonder at all, but are based on terror.

Here are a couple wonderful videos by PhilHellenes that may help you overcome some lingering fears and doubts, and also to show you what we mean by being inspired by the wonder of the universe itself:

 

.

 

Yeah you are right! Some weeks ago I had lot of nigthmares related with churches and demons, even heaven and god. It was a kind of shock during night and I tried to understand everything was a consequence of the restart. Even though some of my ancient beliefs emerged from the past and I thought sometimes it was a kind of advice but anyway, I finally convinced myself that all was due to my change, and I was leaving all that behind.

Thanks for the videos. They are awesome! That was the voice of Richard Dawkins wasn't it?

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Wow Natural

Wow Natural those videos were awesome !!!!!! Thanks for posting that.


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Awesome vids Natural,

Awesome vids Natural, seriously.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Atheistextremist
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Yeah that second one especially

 

 

What he was talking about is exactly the feeling.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck