Hello everyone. I'm very glad to have found this group. :) I didn't think I would with all the confusing searches and drifting through countless Judeo-Christian/Islamic debunking sites and feeds. So far the posts I've read here are very encouraging for me.
A little bit of background: I had been a Pagan/Wiccan/Vanatru practitioner for over 30 years. (I'm not kidding!-I only wish I was.) As a child, my family was largely non-religious, yet some members of my family still clung to "Christian-in-name-only" tag to prevent us from "looking weird" in front of the neighbors. My father was an "expert" astrologer, my mom a non-denominational, ex-Catholic(graduated a Catholic high school-took communion-etc.) My parents divorced when I was 9-10 yrs. old, and it changed really quick! Our non-church-going family left over,(my mom, my brother and I) were now suddenly thrust into a purging of anything left over by my dad in our house, and replaced with a "serious discussion" @ God, Christ, going to church, Sunday School. I now look at it as an adult, as my mom's way of overcoming her negative feelings and justifying her decision to divorce my father after he cheated on her, and abandoned our family. She found reprieve in it, and my brother and I were dragged along for the ride.
No surprise, like many other unfortunate indoctrination stories, regular church attendance, Bible readings, Sunday School followed. It didn't take long for my parents to remarry other people, and in due course the craziness of chruch attendance stopped as well as the Bible readings. Satisfied that she had done her job of "teaching her children the ways of Our Savior" my mom backed off to a degree and allowed us to freely think again.
It was in high school, and after having read the Bible for myself, that I deconverted into Paganism. My reasoning was I got tired of big, bullying, male authority figures like my stepdad and the Church itself, telling me how I fit in to this world; and if their idea was right, I wasn't worth much at all! I followed a loving Goddess then, and I fully bought the idea that she loved me back. I suddenly felt the giddy, self-aggrandizement that comes from years of pagan practice, you are all familiar with.(and we now laugh at) It took a while, but I realized one day, while budgeting my account and household expenditures, just how much I was spending to keep up my cherished beliefs. Eeek! Furthermore, all those beloved money spells, weren't actually working. They were working against it. Eek! Pretty soon, I realized, I was fooling myself, and Goddess wasn't answering back. It was then I retired as a fully credentialed, Elder High Priestess. I passed on everything and left. RAn!
As soon as I was able, I went back to college, re-fell in love with science, logic, reason, mathematics and I'm now pursuing a Biology degree, towards work in Dietetics and Nutrition. I'm on the path to becoming a fully registered, and legitimate Clinical Dietitian. I took my love of food and science and combined them. I felt it was the best way I can serve my fellow humans, with science-based nutritional support for those who've been clinically diagnosed with illnesses.
I found out just this last year, long after I quit my own personal path of practicing what I thought is ridiculous and clique-ish, from an uncle of mine, that we have family members going back 6 generations, that were also avid practitioners of some form of Spiritualism, a movement going back to at least the mid-1800's. Interesting, but not important to me now.
Sorry for the long post. I hope to hear back from someone soon, and I hope I didn't bore you all. This seems to be a fun bunch of people.
This sounds so much like my own story, although mine isn't quite so harsh.
My parents raised me in a United Church of Christ (very liberal stance) but I think they knew I just wasn't buying it. I thought I had "found" myself Paganism, at least relating to the elements seemed a bit more grounded in reality. I did it for years, occasionally doing solo ceremonies, and in retrospect felt silly doing them.
Years later I was so excited to find a Pagan Princess, we were married in a lovely out door ceremony, I thought we did more together and maybe I could get something with more meaning. But she seems to play more lips service to her faith than action. Shes so hyperactive she couldn't even meditate, let alone turn the TV off long enough.
When I started seeking out my personal philosophy last year, when I took the Pentagram and started reassigning the points with scientific disciplines instead of elements and called it Scientific Paganism. My wife openly mocked the idea in snide snarky kind of way so she could deflect her real intent. Its's as if a new perspective on old ideas was stupid. I'd come to realize I was looking for Pantheism, it was like being Pagan without the god and goddess.
But then the Reason Rally came, and the the Atheists I had known only from online impressions as rather stand offish and sometimes abrasive, were really good people in person. I had it all wrong, and knew these were people who held logic and reason above all were my kind of people, people who good for goodness' sake.
Upon coming home and telling my wife she acted like I had betrayed her. Perhaps the Pantheism (which might have conjured up images of worshiping a lute playing fellow with hooved feet) was a small way from Paganism, but as soon as I decided to be Atheist and proud it's as if it was all different. She asked me if I was done changing religions yet, and if this was who I was why hadn't I done it so long ago. She asked me if I hadn't read up on beliefs as if I was one of our kids who hadn't done their homework.
She thinks I'll try and convert her too, I don't think she realizes what Atheism really is. Maybe she's just upset that it's some common ground we've lost. Or maybe she knows I won't put up with her supernatural explanations, or homeopathy, but she's been a little uneasy since I've come back.
Nice to meet you Stephen, and thank you for your response. You're not alone in reassigning the Pentagram with scientific disciplines; my husband, for years,(and I thought this was really cool way of looking at it-he's always been a skeptic) he reassigned them with the four forces in the Universe: Strong & Weak Interactions, Gravity, and Electromagnetism. He's a Physics and Comp Sci major now. I was definitely lucky in meeting him. He ascribes himself as an Agnostic Pantheist, given the things he discovered within Quantum Mechanics and other scientific disciplines to explain where his stance on the cosmos is.
I am different, but slightly so. I don't ascribe myself the Pantheist tag, even given my naturalistic/holistic Pagan background. I had to draw a slight dotted line between what I was re-learning and pseudoscience jargon within the woomeister path of my past. I have no problem with varying forms of skepticism, if there's anything I picked up and carried with me, is my mutual respect for different philosophies/modes of thought, open-mindedness, and a listening ear. It is not a doormat stance. I don't like to tag myself with any label, but the closest I can come is Freethinker/Atheist/Skeptical Secularist. Perhaps something between those three terms is apt, but for now I remain unlabeled yet proud of my skepticism. I've always been a skeptic, and it just came as no shock to me when I fell away from the pagan path. When my hubby and I conferred our non-faith, we were relieved. Our slight differences are a plus, rather than a minus in our relationship.
I'm sorry to hear of you going through that with your wife. It's difficult to find common ground after something has been shared for so long. I had to wonder for a while too, how my husband would react when he found out I was no longer pagan. Like a lost sense of deep trust-privy to your partner's thoughts. But, I was fortunate,(either that, or picked really good). I hope one day that your wife comes to her senses and realizes how fortunate she truly is. You obviously gave your choices much thought and consideration, and no one should disparage that, least of all someone that close to you. I hope you regain some common ground. Best wishes to you.
My new five point were Spirit->Philosophy, Earth->Physics, Fire-> Chemistry, Air->Mathematics, Water->Biology... or something like that, I never wrote it down. But upon coming to this spiritual realization she told me "Well, I don't know about you, but the traditional elements work just fine for me." I'm not sure if she was trying to assert some deep seated control issue, or she was just scared she was losing some commonality with me and lashing out was the only way she knew how to react to it. It was a similar reaction after I came home after the Rally.
Speaking of which I think I do hold onto a bit of my Pantheism, Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks a lot of of inspirational words about the fascinating way we are part of the universe. How we should feel immensely special for being related to everything we see. Although the concept of the unconscious rules of the universe being divine in their own way just never sat right with me.
When I really dug into Humanism it was something I could get into. The idea that we are here for one another. At a biological level it makes sense being a social creature, but the broader idea of Humans must care for Humans as there is no greater being to do so has greatly invigorated me. As well as their logic look into the world around them eschewing supernatural explinations (Ive become a quick fan of The Amazing Randi and the JREF)
And finally I guess Atheist by default that none of that includes a higher being. So I'd say Atheist/Pantheist/Humanist.
But Ill go by Atheist, it just cuts to the point and is less confusing.
As for my wife, I'm trying to be extra caring to her, showing her that just because my philosophy has changed, my love for her hasn't. I had shown her a video of Tim Minchin's "Storm" which I had though was hilarious. She chuckled a bit, but on many points my wife is quite "Storm-like."
The next day I told her my favorite line from that poem was "...twice as long to love this wife of mine..."
I think she started to get it.
Thank you Steph. ;) Nice to meet you as well. I've loved reading about others' stories as well. It's very interesting to me the contrast and spectrum of how we all relate, and the similar conclusions we all draw at varying points in our lives. As humans we are social by our very nature, even biologically, and it would make sense that we would gather where we feel most welcomed and safe to talk about what's on our minds.