I became an atheist shortly after leaving Christianity about three years ago (I know, common story). But I still find myself missing religion. Don't get me wrong! While I don't hate religious people because I know they are brainwashed, I completely hate most religions. I hate all religions with some kind of God or figure filling people's minds and causing them to question what they could possibly do to "fix" their horrible nature selves.
Now you're probably wondering what the heck I miss about religion.
I miss having a "go to" for when I'm having a rough day. I want something to give me comfort. Maybe one reason religion sounds so great is that I will be graduating soon and moving away from everyone I know. Between my job and my apartment, I feel like I would have been better off if I was naive enough to believe in a man floating in the clouds to keep me company. I feel like religion makes you feel good when you're all alone in a room. It makes you feel like you're never alone or hopeless about anything at all.
Even though I hate most of what religion stands for, I suppose I've never let religion go completely.
Does anyone else have mixed emotions on the religion thing? This probably goes more toward past religious people, but any input is greatly appreciated :)
Perhaps you miss the social aspects of religion. Just keep one thing in mind, YOU no longer have to walk with a crutch. You take responsibility for your actions and cannot blame them on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You know that Rev. John Hagee was bonkers when he blamed Katrina on bad behavior by the people of New Orleans, because now that you are a freethinking person, you see how silly post hoc reasoning is. Perhaps if you converted some of your old pew warmers they might find freedom, too. Then you would have a new congregation.
One of the only things I miss about my religious past is the singing as well as the community aspect. It seemed like everywhere I went in the church, people were singing. I rather miss that.
I am not originally Jewish but did you know that in Israel, it is approximated that 15-30% of Israelis are atheist Jews in that they are culturally Jewish but do not believe in god? Some of these atheist Jews even go to Synagogue and celebrate the Jewish holidays. I found it quite interesting and intriguing and I thought it might be analogous in a way to your situation.
Jewish Atheists are the near majority. i know many Jews who love their heritage, rituals, holidays, and even Temple. but all of the ones i know personally don't believe in the supernatural. also, Jews don't believe in heaven or hell. to many Jews, the culture is more important than the God.
What do you love? What do you have in your life right now that you're really passionate about?
I had to quit my religion like a bad habit, but I tried to turn that into an opportunity to learn and try new things.
When I have a rough day, I curl up with a book or confide to a close friend or family member. And when people face adversity, they will come together, no matter the differences or lack of religious belief. I wasn't in the devestated part of Japan, when the earthquake and tsunami hit. In comparison, what I experienced was small change. However, everyone here was affected, emotionally to literal effects. The trains shutting down affected students getting to school. Some of my coworkers lost family and friends who lived in Tohoku. ...Some people may have looked to gods or superstition here. After all, there was the motto "Pray for Japan." However, I'm pretty sure for the majority of people here, the prayer is more of a "keep us in mind and help, if you can" sentiment than actual prayer to a divine influence or entity. As far as missing things from church, yes, the singing is something I miss... If there was a symphony chorus I could join, I might do so... but I'm so out of practice from reading music, probably not.
I agree Steph. Finding something else that fills that void is important. I agree also about nature giving comfort. Also pets! I love my dog and 3 cats. Holding one of them calms me instantly. I think studies have shown it lowers blood-pressure (I don't know how to find that info and link it here). Books too like Nerdlass said! :)
I can understand the allure of having an imaginary friend out there with the power to grant you wishes if you just ask in the right way. That would be nice. When the chips are down you could curl up with your blankie and call his name and plead your intention. If you believed in such magical creatures or people you might even feel some temporary relief from your troubles. Of course, when nothing magical happens you could rationalize with "Bad things happen for reason" or "He's working in mysterious ways". or something like that. All this would be nice. It would be nice if there was a magical man at the North Pole who brought me presents too. As rational people we realize the thought of the existence of such magical people is just stupid. Furthermore, we as Atheists have the emotional maturity to face the reality of life without needing an imaginary friend. You may occasional miss the empty comfort of self deception but the inner strength that allows you to be an Atheist will carry you through better than anyone who has not abandoned childish superstition.