I did a forum search and was surprised to not find any recent threads touching on this topic. I am new to this site, and a big part of what drove me here are my feelings of isolation and subsequent feelings of depression stemming from a lack of community and contact with fellow atheists. I imagine plenty of you have or currently feel this way, and I'd like to hear from other people about their experiences and how they cope.

I currently do not have any close friends or family members who are atheists or skeptics, and many of my friends and family are either fervently religious or have world views that center around some other form of woo. Up until about a year ago I did have a girlfriend who was an atheist / skeptic, but that relationship ended badly so I felt it necessary to cut ties completely.

So in a nutshell I find it difficult to relate to those around me, and I feel a serious void because of it. I'm going to leave it at that so this post doesn't drag on, but please do chime in if you relate or have something to share on the subject. Thanks!

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Steve, being an Atheist doesn't mean your life has no meaning. Actually it can be more meaningful, because you know you have this one life, and you can appreciate it fully. Many people don't appreciate this life, because they think they will end up some place better. Wrong. Live your life each day the way you want to! That is great about your job!
I realize now that my life can have purpose as an atheist and not just as a Christian. However at the time I actually talked to a Christian pastor about it... He was quick to say that my life cannot have purpose without god. He knew I was depressed because I thought that, but I guess he was more concerned about promoting his religion than my mental health. I only became more hard set against religion because of what he said and how he said it even though it made me even more depressed.
How nice of him. I'm glad you can see it now!

Hey Steve....Look at it this way. If you could become  a software developer  at  15, that only shows you have the maturity of  any adult......I can see that you realize religion is not for you, so embrace  Atheism, it makes  you think rationally, science verifies  any  fact that comes your way....No more  silly stories  of great adventure  with as many  miracles  as a Disney  movie.....So rejoice and  enjoy  your life......

But what about the fake xtian ´purposes´ in life? I was always depressed when I lived in my parents' house, because I knew that the family problems were huge and the xtian solutions didn't work. From the day I walked out I have never been depressed. I often felt maladjusted, under educated, awkward and inept, but I was so happy to be boss in my own head. There were so many purposes that I thought worth working at, but you need some time to discover them; they are not marked with angels and crosses.

I love your reply, Chris!  Very well put.

Yes! Very well put... While finding your own purpose is harder than just going along with a set purpose it is far more fulfilling once you find it.

Reading the comments on this string, I'm thinking that possibly this idea that life can have no meaning without god is religion's most monstrous lie. But why does it sound so convincing to people? What kind of worthwhile meaning has god ever given anyone?

Bertold, we live in a world of believers. Why does it sound so convincing to theists that life has no meaning without god? It is because they all believe that we are born with "a god-shaped hole in our hearts."

But wait! This would have to mean that we are really born atheist and the ideas of god and religious teaching would have to be added to us very early on to perpetuate the god muth. This is exactly what the believers are doing. Then they want to claim they cannot be wrong because there are so many of them.

I believe that a true atheist has weighed the options and found religion wanting. I also believe than once this has happened you can never be a theist again. There are exceptions. Some have went from theist to atheist, then back to theism again. What is going on here? Maybe 3 things:

1. A truely wishy washy person.

2. A desire to make money from your experiences.

3. A desire to be with a theist and knowing you can only do this if you also are a theist.

Animals are much more honest than this.

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