After Maybe Years of Learned Helplessness, How Do People Grow the Power that Atheism Requires?

I ask that because a friend of mine, who like me went to Catholic schools, has tried so many times to quit Catholicism but he keeps falling back into it.

I first met him maybe six years ago when he tried to sell me on A Course in Miracles. He worked at it but a few weeks later he was back on the RC plantation.

He next tried to sell me on meditation. When done well it can do well, but my friend never spoke of any flaws it. I knew he had never tested it. Again he worked at his 'mission', and weeks later he was again on the RC plantation.

At about this time he started teasing me with "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic." I told I'd heard "Once a priest always a priest" but I never heard it said the way he did. He wouldn't quit so I started watching his work habits.

When he next teased me with that "Once a Catholic...." thing, I replied with "Once a Catholic, always helpless." You gu/essed it; he stopped his tease.

He next told me he was an atheist but he added that it was my fault and he would hold me responsible. And yeah, he returned to the RC plantation.

Then it was Mindfulness, and a few days ago he told he is again a Catholic.

He has several times asked me if I'm spiritual and I've always told him I'm a materialist.

I'm pleased that he trusts me enough to keep me posted on his 'travels', but I sure don't know where he will go next.

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Voltage is a measure of force just as Pastor Volt is the force behind the EU movement. Besides, Pastor Watt doesn't sound good. You must improve your PR when gathering your flock thus convincing the world that science, as they know it, is the seed of Lucifer.

Volts without free electrons do nothing. With free electrons, stuff happens.

For flunking basic electricity, John, you get two weeks latrine duty. For pretending to atheism you scrub the toilets and urinals with toothbrushes.

Don't mess with a Marine Corps drill instructor
Use some of your twelve remaining days of latrine duty to learn how thinking differs from believing and how science differs from religion.
John, I think the difficulty in breaking away from religion depends on how deeply the religious had their hooks in a person . Not having experienced religious brainwashing from birth would make atheism the logical position.
Religion discourages logic. It's easier to get people to believe the garbage religion sales if you raised them to fear the gods threat of eternal damnation. It's a win win for churches. The sheep happily hand over 10% of their income and they never have to think about a thing.

Also to be atheist one need only recognize the fallacy in believing that out of the myriad religions / sub religions in the world only one is correct.

I found books by Malcolm X, Ghandi, Maya Angelou, and lots of feminists helpful. Plus consciousness raising in a number of academic and feminist settings. One can learn from the insight others experienced in their own lives. It taught me to introspect and question without experiencing threat. Ah, and a youth reading hard sci-fi was also helpful to developing a mind that could turn things inside out and back. Time travel, alternate realities, especially stories that bent reality based on thought.

In jr. high I was absolutely captivated by sci fi. The annual Best of Fantasy and Sci Fi collection was always a revelation. Loved those cheesy 50s films too.

I'd say that you have to understand how much energy you use for your religion. Not just for cleaning the building or organizing sales, but the energy that you spend in making yourself what the church wants you to be, and that is a lot! Once you begin using the energy for yourself, you feel the power growing, even if at the start you're full of doubts and guilt. 

Some people are scared of being on their own, and they'll always try to find another boss, guide or whatever. Perhaps your friend is one of those?

"Some people are scared of being on their own, and .... Perhaps your friend is one of those?"

I think so. He told me his mother, not telling him what she was doing, left him at a place that turned out to be a Catholic boarding school. He said she came back for him several years later and took him with her. He never told me a reason she left him; it could have been anything from a crisis to a romance. He has never mentioned his father.

Poor child! He had a good chance there of thinking;"Now I'm on my own, so I have to decide for myself." But perhaps he was too young then.

He went from living in a home to living in a gym-sized room with many other boys, each having his own folding cot and a locker. He said he didn't know what was happening. It had to be a jarring experience.

In the RC schools I attended, deciding for oneself was forbidden. I walked past Protestant churches and was intrigued by some of the Sunday sermon titles I saw. I wanted to hear them but nuns made it plain that going to a non-Catholic church was a mortal sin.

My two-year-older older sister was the first to quit the Church. She married in a Lutheran church and my dad refused to go.

I cut him some slack because he was taken fron a Catholic school after sixth grade so he could work and his two sisters could finish high school and they could marry better. It's in high school that kids start doubting and asking questions so he was denied that opportunity.

I liked school and graduated but my younger brother wanted to quit in 11th grade. Our dad told him "If you quit before you graduate you will leave home the same day." He graduated and changed his mind about school; his three kids: an MD, a CPA, and an RN.

Where I come from, deciding for myself was forbidden too. I managed to look docile and not too smart and thought and decided behind the mask. Once they saw the game I had played, they gave me up as a 'lost sheep'.

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