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← “Adam”–Telling God Goodbye

“Adam”–Telling God Goodbye - Comments

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

It's astounding that children can get over Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny with a shrug of the shoulders. It's never traumatic when they find out they don't exist, even though there was 'evidence' and tangible benefits in the way of presents. But adults often find it a big deal to get over their invisible friends (Jesus, Allah, Yahweh), despite there being no evidence or tangible benefits. You'd expect it to be the other way around.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 00:37:28 UTC | #912349

M-eme-tic's Avatar Comment 2 by M-eme-tic

First of all, congratulations are extended to the ex-cleric.

This guy is really letting go of a culture and what an oppressive one at that which has experienced infighting that started in the beginning and has continued until the present day. How many countless people have been victims and will continue to be?

Being a fence-sitter, I'm watching to see what type of turmoil will come about within the 'secular' world after the honeymoon is over. In another forum, it was noted that 'might makes right' will continue into this newer morality (to be scientifically studied and continually engineered). Note, please, that 'might' is of all sorts (including the almighty pen - or its proxy via keyboard dabbling).

The 'secular' view is heavily intellectual, at this time. I've not seen much, yet, proposed that would resonate with a common view that is not limited to just the 'sense' connotation. Of course, that culture mentioned above is well known for its exploitative nature (what else does the clergy-hood do?). Oh, let's hope that such doesn't manifest itself within the ranks of the new-found favored (much to discuss here).

At least, on the other side of the fence (of the above culture), they can always joke that G-d must love the common (all sorts of other modifiers possible) folk as so many seem to be out and about. Too, that culture could tout G-d's love for motivation while, at the same time, cracking the knuckles of the errant.

Pray tell (mind you, such symmetry-laden thoughts abound within the region of the fence -- perhaps, a better metaphor will come forth), how will the ivory-towered ones relate to joe-blow and his peers whose set is of such large cardinality as to boggle the mind?

For starters, shooting 'em all is not an option (unless secular morality is warped). To boot, it would be somewhat disturbing that those ones would be warehoused en masse (all sorts of historical parallels might come to mind) or that the peace were to be kept through coerced intake of altering substances (though, there are a lot of arguments that go in this direction -- analogs of nourishment). Wait, are not 'zombies' being universally loved now? Does that indicate a growing awareness of the future, in the newer realm, for those who are less bright than the stellar minds behind this movement?

Hopefully, the one who has removed himself from the culture might have some insight. The casting off of yokes is mightily joyful; but, for any that are thrown off, a myriad await to apply their bounds. Hint: perhaps, we could learn from boundary wandering, while relaxing the stridency, on occasion,.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:18:31 UTC | #912355

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 3 by potteryshard

I heartily congratulate pastors who have become enlightened enough to realize that religion is nothing but a con game. I'm sure that at a personal level they feel much more comfortable with their consciences.

There is another side to the issue, however. Preachers purvey piety professionally. Is there not also a professional and intellectual moral obligation to make an attempt to remedy some of the damage they have done to others during their careers? Dis-believing is an admission that the advice and counselling given before attaining enlightenment is fundamentally flawed. Attempting to undo some of the harm would seem to be inherent part of professionalism.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:20:57 UTC | #912356

mmurray's Avatar Comment 4 by mmurray

Comment 1 by Rtambree :

It's astounding that children can get over Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny with a shrug of the shoulders. It's never traumatic when they find out they don't exist, even though there was 'evidence' and tangible benefits in the way of presents. But adults often find it a big deal to get over their invisible friends (Jesus, Allah, Yahweh), despite there being no evidence or tangible benefits. You'd expect it to be the other way around.

The kids work it out for themselves, the presents don't stop and nobody complains.

The adults are leaving behind real friends and real community and admitting to themselves that possibly they have wasted a lot of their lives. They are giving up something that was part of their definition of themselves. That has to hurt. I wonder if anyone has compared it to the communists who gave up their support for the USSR after the invasion of Hungary?

Michael

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:24:42 UTC | #912358

Metamag's Avatar Comment 5 by Metamag

This just shows that atheists should be far more aggressive. It's all about childhood indoctrination and peer pressure/conformity. We need to keep penetrating those bubbles.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:33:42 UTC | #912361

dsmcdon's Avatar Comment 6 by dsmcdon

As a former part time preacher, I could relate with Adam. Though my story is different I understand him completqely. The day I gave god a Dear John letter was a scary time and also exciting. I felt lost and it took me a long time to heal the scars and pain that religion caused me. Prof. Dawkins God Delusion, is helping me release the anger and bitterness that I have been feeling. I started reading it a few months ago and I have been so angry, at myself, for all those wasted years in religious dogma and lies. My anger is finally subsiding and coming to this site and the warm welcome I received from Penn Jillette has made this transition from god boy to atheist a smoother transition. To the clergy wanting out of religion, there is a freedom out side the walls of the church, synagogue, mosque, or temple. Give it a try, you will eventually like it.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:37:18 UTC | #912362

some asshole's Avatar Comment 7 by some asshole

Comment 1 by Rtambree :

It's astounding that children can get over Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny with a shrug of the shoulders. It's never traumatic when they find out they don't exist, even though there was 'evidence' and tangible benefits in the way of presents. But adults often find it a big deal to get over their invisible friends (Jesus, Allah, Yahweh), despite there being no evidence or tangible benefits. You'd expect it to be the other way around.

In addition to what mmurray has said, you have to remember that adults struggling with a loss of religious faith are also having to swallow the notion that they won't be coddled forever in a big, happy party of eternal bliss with DJ Yahweh, and that when you die, you simply rot.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:43:50 UTC | #912363

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

Comment 1 by Rtambree

It's astounding that children can get over Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny with a shrug of the shoulders. It's never traumatic when they find out they don't exist, even though there was 'evidence' and tangible benefits in the way of presents. But adults often find it a big deal to get over their invisible friends (Jesus, Allah, Yahweh), despite there being no evidence or tangible benefits. You'd expect it to be the other way around.

I'll add to what mmurray says. It's not astounding at all. For many, many believers belief in God is associated with a universe in which humanity is cared for, in which there is real ultimate justice and in which there is some hope that death is not the end. It can be incredibly difficult to give that up, when you have lived with those comforting thoughts since you were a child, and that comfort is a real tangible benefit. Belief isn't a matter of evidence - it's a matter of what feels right and true. For many believers, seeing all the injustice and tragedy in the world and thinking that there is no ultimate justice and hope is simply intolerable.

Losing faith can be a truly terrible experience, because it can be like hearing a fatal diagnosis for you and your family and friends. You have to now finally accept that death is the end, and that there is no ultimate meaning to life.

If we want to change people's minds, then we need more than just evidence and logical arguments. We need to show that atheism certainly need not be a black void of meaningless and amorality. We need to show that it's possible to lose faith and yet live a happy, decent life.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 01:55:04 UTC | #912367

dsmcdon's Avatar Comment 9 by dsmcdon

Comment 3 by potteryshard :

I heartily congratulate pastors who have become enlightened enough to realize that religion is nothing but a con game. I'm sure that at a personal level they feel much more comfortable with their consciences.

There is another side to the issue, however. Preachers purvey piety professionally. Is there not also a professional and intellectual moral obligation to make an attempt to remedy some of the damage they have done to others during their careers? Dis-believing is an admission that the advice and counselling given before attaining enlightenment is fundamentally flawed. Attempting to undo some of the harm would seem to be inherent part of professionalism.

Good point. Personally I did communicate with people after and apologized. Please understand that most preachers have been so wounded emotionally and scarred by the religious dogma that it takes time for them to come to that point. I hope that some of the clergy will come around to doing that. Believe me, you get a lot of positive feedback and also severe negative feedback. That is tough for a lot of former clergy to handle.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:05:33 UTC | #912369

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 10 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 8 by Steve Zara :

I'll add to what mmurray says. It's not astounding at all. For many, many believers belief in God is associated with a universe in which humanity is cared for, in which there is real ultimate justice and in which there is some hope that death is not the end. It can be incredibly difficult to give that up, when you have lived with those comforting thoughts since you were a child, and that comfort is a real tangible benefit. Belief isn't a matter of evidence - it's a matter of what feels right and true. For many believers, seeing all the injustice and tragedy in the world and thinking that there is no ultimate justice and hope is simply intolerable.

Losing faith can be a truly terrible experience, because it can be like hearing a fatal diagnosis for you and your family and friends. You have to now finally accept that death is the end, and that there is no ultimate meaning to life.

I hear what you're saying, but it's difficult to reconcile this apologist attitude (e.g. 'it's very hard for them to give it up') to all the thousands of highly critical statements levelled at theists on this site over the years. Within a day or two, articles will be posted revealing the latest crackpot statements by some faith-head nut-job and everyone here will get stuck into him.

I guess it's a balance between criticism of irrationality and understanding where they're coming from.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:21:48 UTC | #912377

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 11 by Steve Zara

comment 10 by Rtambree

I hear what you're saying, but it's difficult to reconcile this apologist attitude (e.g. 'it's very hard for them to give it up') to all the thousands of highly critical statements levelled at theists on this site over the years. Within a day or two, articles will be posted revealing the latest crackpot statements by some faith-head nut-job and everyone here will get stuck into him.

It's not an apologist attitude. It's simply explaining what the situation often is, and it should not stop anyone from criticising religious vigorously. Someone who makes public statements of their faith is fair game.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:25:16 UTC | #912378

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 12 by Teresa Macbain

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:50:58 UTC | #912384

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 13 by Teresa Macbain

One of my goals is to attempt to remedy some of the damage by being vocal about my journey from faith to atheism, from ministry to freethought. My website, The Agnostic Pastor, is devoted to just that...trying to help those who are seeking truth and looking for a way out. ~AP

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:53:48 UTC | #912385

Quine's Avatar Comment 14 by Quine

Steve: It's not an apologist attitude.

I also don't see it as "apologist" but rather, as basic human compassion. I have been told by religious people that they truly believed that they would have to kill themselves if they lost faith. I have no problem ridiculing the absurdity of someone's beliefs, while still holding compassion for the person who is so sadly ensnared by those same beliefs, that he or she would have such an attitude. We always need to lead by example to show that the value of life can come from demonstrable truth, without the crutches of faith.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 02:58:29 UTC | #912388

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 15 by Border Collie

For the life of me, I could never see a connection between the idea of an all powerful, loving, benevolent, etc. deity and religion. Give up religion having meaning and clergy having power and the rest is easy.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 03:49:00 UTC | #912404

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 16 by rjohn19

I almost think giving up religion is more difficult than giving up god.

Yes, belief in god might assuage the deepest of human fears but religion gives a lot of socially needy people a sense of belonging and community. It gives them a place to go where for at least a couple of hours each week rich and poor, diseased and healthy are united as equals- never mind that after the (lip) service, the rich ones go home and say, "Fvck those poor sick bastards," for a little while they can make human contact without being snubbed and avoid the bill collectors.

Then you also have the possibility that religion might be, in these stressful economic times, the new golf with insurance and car salesmen along with shell-shocked realtors and stock brokers hoping to make profitable contacts. Whom are you going to trust? A damned atheist (we just read on this site we are held in equal regard with rapists) or a fellow church member?

It's one of the main reasons I think atheism is vastly under-reported in US polls. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if more than several business deals have been struck between two trusting members of the the same church who were both closet atheists.

Aside to M-eme-tic- If you are still straddling the fence, you haven't thought it through.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 05:24:45 UTC | #912415

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 17 by aquilacane

...I have prepared to step from the sheltered sanctuary into the real world

Love it, here's a messy scribble

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 05:51:10 UTC | #912418

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 18 by Schrodinger's Cat

I think there are two kinds who give up belief in God. There's the kind who were firmly wedded to a particular and specific God.......Yahweh for example. And there's the kind who made a transition to a more generic 'god'.

The second type ( which includes myself ) never really has a sudden deconversion moment. It's more one of gradual erosion, like peeling off layers of an onion, until there is just nothing left.

I suspect that's also the case with many priests who remain in the church. You can see it even in Rowan Williams.....that the god he believes in is just some vague and nebulous stump of an idea. Long gone is the fiery megalomaniac of the Old Testament.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 07:03:24 UTC | #912421

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 19 by susanlatimer

comment 18 by Schrodinger's Cat

I think there are two kinds who give up belief in God. There's the kind who were firmly wedded to a particular and specific God.......Yahweh for example. And there's the kind who made a transition to a more generic 'god'.

And so many others who just invent or re-invent Yahweh into a more generic "god" who haven't even noticed they're doing it, There is a process involved. How many ways can we reshape Yahweh before we have to admit that it's not Yahweh any more?

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 07:50:23 UTC | #912427

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 20 by stuhillman

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 08:58:09 UTC | #912434

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 21 by stuhillman

Still I’m here all alone; I’ve got to move on now that you’re gone. So I’m crying while I’m trying to pick up the pieces that you left behind. Now I’m wondering and I’m waiting to see what becomes of my new life.

Following the sudden and unexpected death of my wife a few days ago those words, though taken out of context, ring so true. Thanks, Adam.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:00:25 UTC | #912436

urn's Avatar Comment 22 by urn

Comment 3 by potteryshard :

Preachers purvey piety professionally.

betcha can't say that five times fast :P

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:14:57 UTC | #912439

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

Good point, Steve Z. It had not crossed my mind that one sticking point when abandoning religion is the idea that lots of bad people will never be punished for their behaviour, after they die. If it is not addressed while they are alive, we missed our chance. I can see that for some, this will be hard to accept. Perhaps we could hear from people who recently left their faith, what steps they took, mentally, to come to grips with the change.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 09:20:53 UTC | #912442

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 24 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer :

Good point, Steve Z. It had not crossed my mind that one sticking point when abandoning religion is the idea that lots of bad people will never be punished for their behaviour, after they die. If it is not addressed while they are alive, we missed our chance. I can see that for some, this will be hard to accept. Perhaps we could hear from people who recently left their faith, what steps they took, mentally, to come to grips with the change.

You'd expect then, that religious people would generally not be pro-death penalty, because it'll all be sorted out by God in the next life anyway. But the more religious red states tend to also be pro-death penalty, so they very much want 'wrongs to be righted' in THIS life. By contrast, the liberal secularalists are generally against the death penalty (and pro-rehabilitation) even though they don't believe in an afterlife where injustices will be rectified.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 10:03:16 UTC | #912446

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 25 by justinesaracen

@ M-ete-ic

Why do you spell God in the strange way? Seriously, I don't know.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 10:15:38 UTC | #912449

Vaal's Avatar Comment 26 by Vaal

At this point I fully discovered and finally accepted so many things that never really made sense; the numerous contradictions and discrepancies found in the bible, the incongruous character of god as revealed in scripture, the degradation of women, the support of slavery, the fallacy of answered prayer, the problem of suffering, the denial of self, the dismissal of scientific evidence and in general the harmful teachings of religions. Rather than try to gloss over my findings and disguise my doubts, I accepted the reality of my erroneous thinking

Well said. I just don’t understand how anyone could not see this from reading the Bible from opening the first page. It is flabbergasting that any intellectual in history who has read the Bible could have ever taken it seriously other than, arguably, interesting literature and an exercise in social anthropology.

Many times we have seen theists on this forum who claim to be seeking truth but ignominiously embrace anti-truth if it conflicts with their antediluvian literature. Theists who claim the earth is a few thousand years old in the face of incontrovertible evidence, is nothing less than disgraceful and disheartening.

Surely the Bible should confirm science if it is true, not the opposite. Yet, science has had a running bloody battle with the purveyors of fallacy since before Galileo, and even today, in a world of breathtaking knowledge, unprecedented in history, unimagined by our forbears, we have Presidential candidates spouting ancient ignorance as a virtue. This is the shameful and iniquitous legacy of the Bible.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 12:04:36 UTC | #912458

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 27 by Teresa Macbain

I want to thank everyone who read Adam's story. He and I, as part of The Clergy Project, truly want to get the word out that many of our fellow clergy are struggling with the same issues that all of you are dealing with. Moving from faith to freethinking is a very difficult journey for each of us. As we both move toward the day we will exit ministry, I can say for myself that there is an equal measure of fear and excitement! I'm in a mid-sized town in the heart of the Bible belt and well known as a minister. The day I stand up and say I'm walking away because I no longer believe will be a very interesting day to say the least. I know, why don't all of you come to my church and sit on the front row as a sign of support! You can be my bodyguards. :)

Seriously, I hope to post more stories from active and former clergy who've become agnostic or atheist. Keep checking back!

www.agnosticpastor.wordpress.com

Thanks for sharing!

Keep Thinking!

~Agnostic Pastor

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 13:02:16 UTC | #912467

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 28 by Stafford Gordon

I find myself unmoved; it's all so out of proportion.

There's so much real suffering in the world, that I think that sympathizing with this chap's dilema borders on indulgence.

He's a grown man! He should behave like it!

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 13:36:37 UTC | #912472

78rpm's Avatar Comment 29 by 78rpm

I never smoked, so I can't fully empathize with someone who was a smoker and gave it up, just that I know he or she must have had a hell of a time doing it, and I do understand that it must have been very hard. By the same token, I never believed in God, but I very much appreciate the much greater turmoil that ex-believers had and still have in freeing themselves. I wonder if I would have had the will power to give up smoking once I started, or the clarity of thought and immense emotional strength to give up religion if I had been swept into it as a child.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 14:22:46 UTC | #912478

Corylus's Avatar Comment 30 by Corylus

My condolences, Stuhillman.

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 14:24:20 UTC | #912479