Hi, I'm new here. I was born to an Old Order Amish family and left when I was 18 years old. I'm now in my mid-20s. It took me many years but I have the courage now to call myself "atheist". My girlfriend is also ex-Amish but she still firmly believes in God. She is the only person in the world who really knows what I believe. We have discussed our differing beliefs to quite an extent and we both believe that we can make our relationship work for the long-term (now that's religious tolerance).

All my friends are either Amish or ex-Amish but still firm believers in God. The complete lack of atheist friends and my need to hide what I really believe is starting to wear away at my psyche. Someday, I hope to find another ex-Amish atheist. Perhaps here?

I started a blog at http://xamishatheist.wordpress.com so that I have an outlet to vent my feelings, to provide a viewpoint on the Amish from someone who has been there, and also to reminisce and record a little of my journey from "You must be incredibly stupid to not believe in God" to "You must be fairly ignorant to believe in God".

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welcome X!  no, i'm not Amish, but i've become quite familiar with your plot.  i'm guessing you've seen some of the NatGeo shows on the subject?  if not, find them online and check them out.  fascinating, and a little bit frightening. 

congratulations on your journey.  from what i can gather most former Amish are still believers in God.  so you're quite the exception.  you may want to start a Group on this site in case there are others like you. 

best of luck continuing this next step towards freedom. 

Thanks for your reply Matthew. Yes, I have seen some NatGeo shows on people leaving the Amish and can identify with those people to an extent.

My case isn't as bad as many since I'm still welcome to visit home as long as I don't drive onto the property.

Starting a group is a good idea. I think I'll do it.

Welcome to the site. Nice to meet you!

I had a long email exchange with an A/N member who was in an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect. 

He seemed completely convinced that coming out as an atheist meant ending everything - having no further contact with his friends or even his siblings or his parents.  He was petrified to even start the smallest step towards coming out.  He felt the choice was between being a Jewish robot and breaking completely with everything he'd ever known.  He's no longer active on A/N.

Do tell what your experience has been in that regard.

If not Amish, you might have a lot in common with people in other ultra-controlling religious sects. 

I know.  I felt terribly sorry for him too.  That is SUCH a terrible bind for someone to be in!  It's a psychological prison.

I doubted that he could KNOW that his parents would never see him again ...  The attachment of parents to their children is so strong.  But it's quite a threat.

I guess it is a long and agonizing process for someone to break out of that bind - if they do. I kept suggesting possible small steps towards getting out.  But even those small steps apparently seemed very risky to him. 

And the amazing thing to an outsider is that the cruelty of putting someone in this bind, isn't evident to the person in it. 

He said the people around him, his friends and family there were so loving ...  And looking at it, any outsider would wonder, "That's love???  What are you buying, by being a robot - you get glued onto those people and they are glued to you, and that is called love???"  Yet he did consider it love. 

Probably people in that situation have a LOT of suppressed anger!

Hi and welcome,.. so glad you're here ! I feel sorry for you ,and , so I want to try and help by telling you what I know. About 5-6 yrs. ago I had contact with a Jehovah's Witness that helped me with a friend of mine that had become one of those crazies. I felt so bad about what had happened to my friend for we had been close for decades. When it happens it's like a death in the family ! Anyway,.. she lead me to U-tube. There I found lots of webcam videos where these x-JWs tell about their experiences when they got out. It was amazing to hear them . To hear of the hardships on their families and friends. The good parts are how they made recoveries,.. it seems like there's no choice for them, unfortunately.   Hope this helps, please let me know. 

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