Gawd, I hate that one. I was told that I'm a) angry at God (how can you be angry at something you don't believe in) b) "Not an atheist, just going through a faith crisis", and c) trying to be a rebel.
The stereotype is also strong in the media, at least in Poland. I remember seeing a movie in which two characters are traveling by car to some unrelevant location, one of them is an atheist, they have a talk while in the car.
The atheist gives his friend some strong logical arguments for unbelief, so that I was impressed by this seemingly stereotype-braking scene, but then it turns out he's only really an atheist because his girlfriend died in a car crash or something like that.
I gonked. D:
I'm not angry at god.I have weighed what I know about the bible and came to realize.Like the Garden of Eden.Have any of us ever seen a talking snake.And the Tower of Babel.God was so angry that the people would want to build a tower to heaven so he knocks it down and every one speaks a different language.Lets face it how high could it had been if the story was true with the technology they had.I can't say I know how the universe came to be but I know these stories can't hold any truth.I don't want to dislike the Christians because most of my family still are.My grandfather is an atheist but we are the only two.I must admit when I was a boy I knew little of atheism but thought they were evil by what Christianity taught.I feel very happy in that I'm one of those that have broken free of religious dogma.
Immediately following my deconversion in 2006 i was quite bitter to say the least. I had a strict protestant upbringing, and the bible was presented to me as being "the inerrant word of the living God". I grew up believing in the literal truth of the bible and as a result i needlessly wasted so much time, and money. I experienced crushing guilt, and anxiety trying to organize my life around the vacuous teachings of bronze aged mythology. Two years later I'm no longer bitter, but i am an unapologetic skeptic and non-believer.
I'm not bitter at all... I don't think I've ever even being accused of being bitter towards God (my ex, for a while? yes! God, no). I do think there is a very strong belief amongst believers othat atheists (Ex-Christians or no) are bitter and angry. Maybe this is why people are almost always surprised to learn that I am an atheist. Of course, I DO live in the Deep South, where not being PROTESTANT is a bit of a surprise to people-not being Christian automatically makes you suspect- but being a non-believer in any higher power? Well, that's just downright "uppity", LOL. I wish I could explain the emotion non-belief evokes here better than that, but the best I can do is this: Despite this being the "Bible Belt", people are not nearly as put out by one not worshiping in the same way as they do nearly as much as people in other regions believe. Yet, suspension of all belief in any supreme being--well now, that's a little much for them to take. I suppose it is a direct affront to them to have me--happy, unafraid, independent- standing before them professing to find no validity in what so many of them fervently cling to. More than that, being OKAY with the thought there there is no God just completely floors people. Yet, surprisingly perhaps to you who live in other areas, it is largely a non-issue with nearly all the people I interact with. Then again, this being the South, they probably just wait until I'm gone and then have an attack of the vapors-calling me "scandalous hussy" and "Godless heathen"-never forgetting to add the southern version of the get-out-of-jail-free-card to the end of such statements: "Bless her heart!"... Which immediately exempts the speaker of any offense caused by uttering such opinions.
I think all in all, I have had a positive effect on the way most Christians I know think of atheists. Many of them have never known any one who is an "out" atheist, and most are simply curious.
At any rate, the only thing regarding God that I have been bitter about (other than atrocities perpetrated in the name of some deity) was the feeling of having been tricked into ever believing in the first place-and I got over that years ago.
I'm not bitter, or angry with someone who isn't real. I'm bitter and angry about the years and the money that I wasted, but that is my own problem, and responsibility. Now I mostly feel sad for the christians that I encounter almost daily, because their bullshit is never ending.
I am certainly not bitter at "god". How can you feel an emotion towards something which doesn't exist? I have never understood the logic of those who ask this question in seriousness.
Nor am I bitter about the christain church either. My experiences were fortunately fairly good. There were certainly people I had problems with, but that is so in any large organisation. Christains include the full range of morality and mental health. There are good ones, really good ones, bad ones, and utter arse-holes.
I certainly came across some bad ones. I was seduced by a Methodist minister with a Master degree in counseling psychology from the US Methodist University. But that didn't cause me to lose my religious belief; nor did it prevent me becoming a psychologist myself, some years later. What bearing it had on these two events was complex and partial.
The reason I became a non-believer was that I had an inquiring mind with an intellectual integrity which would not allow me to back away from a conclusion I did not like or run away from a topic when it threatened my emotionally held world-view. I lost my christain beliefs over a period of about ten years: slowly and painfully.
Ironically, the strongest nails in the coffin came from my formal studies in religion. I started along the road to becoming a Methodis/Uniting Church minister. I lost my beliefs towards the end of the first stage (Local Preacher's license). I still have one service to take and one sermon to preach before I get the license. Needless to say, that won't happen.
I have fond memories of the emotional "highs" that I experienced as part of the religion. The friendships I made were good. Some of those friends have gone on to question and lose their beliefs themselves. Others have continued with a liberal view while one has devolved into charismatic craziness.
My friendship with the charistmatic woman has become rather strained. She sent me a spate of "christian witness" letters testifying to her "joy in the Lord", blah-blah-holy-blah. I read the letters and ignored the garbage. Then followed the irritating christian ''feel good" email virals. That did it. I got so irritated that I responded. I think I tore apart about four of them before she got the message and stopped sending them.
The problematic Minister was defrocked years ago. It turned out that I was merely one of a whole harem of parishioners he damaged. I have more pity than bitterness towards this man now. He had severe psychological problems. I hope he got good suitable professional help and I hope he was banned from counseling females.
It is difficult to see how to be angry with most of the people who assisted me with the delusion. They were just following what they have been told by authorities that they trusted and liked. Some of them still do. There were, and are, awfully strong pressures to avoid thinking outside the box.
In summary, there is no reason to feel bitter. It all happened in my twenties and early thirties. I am now in my sixties, married to a really nice naturally atheist guy with whom I am bringing up a delightfully funny naturally atheist kid.
The point of deconversion was very difficult. It was at that stage I had a clear idea of what I didn't believe and none whatsoever in what I did believe. There existed a kind of existential vacuum. Also, I had invested money and four years in obtaining a seminary degree in theology. What a waste. And if someone asks if i'm bitter, I would say that I am pissed off. I'm pissed off at the fact that pastors and "higher education" alike pass off subjective assumptions as objective facts. The system is geared toward human ambition wherever you look. And they feed off of the insecurities of their parishoners. Just once I would love to hear a minister read a passage from the bible and say, "To be honest folks, I don't have a clue what's going on in this text. It was written thousands of years ago before mankind learned to fart in a bucket and seems overall pretty strange." Unfortunately, uncertainty is a cardinal sin when salvation is riding on blind faith. Am I bitter? no, just a little holy wrath to borrow a phrase.
I think if any of us has cause for bitterness, it'd be you, apostate. The only thing I have to possibly be bitter about is having wasted time in high school participating in youth group activities. I hope you use your insider knowledge of da faith for good, aka deconverting some folks when you get the chance.
I don't even know any atheists right now...and frankly..I'm scared of you! :-) Seriously... I hope you will all be people I like. My whole circle is christians. I am not bitter. And I am not on a campaign to bash religion. If it inspires some people to live better and helps them to feel peace, then that's fine with me. I am like Shana. I was raised in an assembly of god church. I had great parents. My whole world was revolved around christian activities and I even went to a christian college. I had a great time and I have a great life. I would not be where I am today in life (great husband, great kids, great house great job...great everything) if I had not been for my upbringing. I think the way we practiced christianity (very moderate) was harmless and did help me to make some good decisions. I recently confessed to my family that I have not believed in the god of the Bible for 10+ years and they don't know how I can't given the beauty of my life. They are devastated. I do not know one person in my family who is not a christian. My husbands parents are ministers. My grandmother was an evangelist. Everybody else...strong christians.
They would like to know how can I not attribute all of the "blessings" in my life to god? I attribute all these things to making good choices and having parents there to help guide me. I am still heavy in this process...I still go to church! help!! My kids go to christian school (this is their last year of that though).
My question is this..is there anything out there that is like a church family for agnostics? I really would love to participate in a wholesome group, that got involved with humanitarian efforts, that could be like the whole "church family" thing without all the religious dogma. I can't find any groups like that. Does anybody belong to that? When all of your friends and family are christians..how do you keep those connections but how do you also find new connections? How do you handle all of your friends and family trying to reach out to you and crying because they think you're going to hell and you're going to lead your kids there too?