I'm new to this website, but I had to vent somewhere. I've been a non-believer since I was 13 and up until last year my life has had its ups and downs. Last year I got into some financial trouble and relationship problems. As it stands now I'm forced to move back with my parents since I cannot hold a job.
And you can only imagine what my family had to say. "You're suffering because you don't believe! Repent and tell God you're sorry for not believing in him."
Thing is, I know why I've had such a hard time. I hastily moved to GA without first looking for a job, lived with people who didn't have my best interests at haeart, and made poor judgement calls in bad situations. I can only blame myself for what's happened to me, not the Devil or anything of the sort.
I guess my whole spheel is about how, even though I don't believe it's real, I can't help but think that religion might make me feel better. In the same way a placebo makes a person feel good without fixing the real problem. I'm curious to hear if anyone else feels they might be better off making themselves believe in the unbelievable, not just for those around them, but for solely the benefits of believing.
Reading the Bible will arm you with more material for theological debates, and will help with understanding the doctrinal origin of believers' viewpoints. And its an excellent way to deepen one's atheism!
Try this line with your parents - and though it sounds facetious, I mean it with all seriousness: "It's just not part of God's plan for me to become a believer. If it pleases god to change his mind in his own good time, then we'll all know. Until then, I follow the path open to me".
Ha, they'd hate that, but oh well. That's how I've always felt about God. It's in his power to show the world he exists, yet he doesn't. Until he does, I reserve my belief.
Hang in there. It's so hard to be atheist when you don't have a support system. I think you hit on a real thing too in thinking religion would make you feel better (No, I don't think it would). What I mean is the sense of belonging to something, the friends, the social aspect etc. I think that is the TRUE reason there are so many christians and religious people. They don't want to learn, they don't want to not believe because they'd lose their friends, their main social outlet, and their support system.
I've said it before, I really believe that if athesim had the close knit social structure, the friendships (not on the internet), the "just hanging out" that churches have our numbers would explode and the church would dwindle much faster. I think it's the social thing that keeps churches strong, not true, deep, and actual belief in god.
I think that's what I'm lacking. I've only just recently found atheist friends in ga, but now that I'm going back to Bible Belt Oklahoma it'll be even harder for me to find my social niche. I gotta try though, the religious will drive me insane if I don't.
"Believing hard enough" to me amounts to little more than FOOLING YOURSELF to the point where you accept the suffering and reversals as necessary elements of your life and embrace them as part of "God's Plan" ... rather than embracing YOURSELF, your desires and interests and working with the current situation (or against it, if need be) to satisfy and realize yourself. Personally, I have always been positively LOUSY at fooling myself. The facts on the ground were just that, and if I didn't recognize it, that acted to my detriment.
The only person you can utterly rely on to act in your own best interest it YOU. Others may qualify as you get to know them and may be counted on as support either moral or physical, but ultimately, YOU are the author of your actions, not some imagined intangible super-being. Clearly you know that, to your credit. Sadly, your family wants to continue living in Fantasyland, and I don't want to guess the level of tension you feel at your current living conditions.
About all I can say is to congratulate you for being real and to encourage you to continue. You ain't alone!
Thank you, I won't lie and say it isn't hard, but when I get through it I can feel twice as good as those who used belief as a crutch to success.
Insofar as we can, we have your back, Victoria. You do not face this on your own, not by a long shot!
Hi Victoria. Not much else to add from what I've read from others, just a note of encouragement. Adversity can be its own reward, though it is hard to understand while in the middle of a swamp full of gators. Remember to always be true to yourself, as you are the only one who really knows what you need. We will be here for as much as it is possible. Will check in on you. Peace in all things, and follow your heart.
Thanks for the encouragement!