I was just going to stay away from this site and not say anything, but then I thought that maybe I should explain why this forum isn't for me. For the past few years I have been vacillating back and forth as to whether or not I should continue to participate in atheist activism and I've finally reached a decision: absolutely not.
Constantly talking about how religious people treat atheists keeps me in a state of anger that is not healthy for me. Other people may be able to address the issue and still conduct their lives in a positive frame of mind, but at this point I am not wise enough to do so. And judging by the nastiness of some atheist activists, I don't think they are wise enough to do so either. I'm finding more and more that I don't want to be associated with atheist activists or ardent theists. I don't like who I am when I am around such people, so I will avoid discussing these issues as much as possible. They will either agree to disagree or I will leave. It is as simple as that.
And it's not just the religious question. This is part of an overarching decision I have made about life in general and my own personality as a highly sensitive person. I can't live my life the way "normal" people do. For years I participated in religious and political forums, trying to give myself a thicker skin. It didn't work. I'm simply wired differently than 80-85% of the population. I can't change my sensitivity any more than I can change the color of my eyes, so I made a decision to avoid any kind of stimulus that is 1) unnecessary and/or 2) elicits over-stimulation or negative emotions. Almost all such stimuli concerns events over which I have very little or absolutely no control. Advertisements; Facebook; Twitter; the "news"; people behaving badly on Internet forums and comments sections--all of it is of little or no value to my actual life or the lives of people around me. People evolved to live in small family groups. Some of us don't do very well when pushed to operate beyond this small sphere of influence. What good am I to society if I'm constantly at the point of having a nervous breakdown due to sensory overload?
I'm sure all of you have heard Gandhi's admonishment to be the change you want to see in the world. Well, I finally get what that means for me. In order to be of any good to anyone, I must gain a balance currently lacking in my life. Now that I've removed most of the unnecessary negativity, I am much happier. I am learning to forgive myself and others. People tell me I'm different, more easygoing and approachable. I've gained valuable insights while on medical marijuana and during meditation. My blind spots are slowly disappearing and I am finally growing in wisdom. I have a long way to go, but for the first time in decades I am experiencing joy and happiness on an intermittent basis.
At some point in this journey, I may revisit important issues that affect others' quality of life, but for now I must focus on my own quality of life. I've heard people say it a million times: You have to love yourself before you can love others. After a session with weed, I finally understood. You can hear the words, but understanding the concept of self-love is an entirely different matter altogether. I finally, FINALLY understood that I was beating myself up in a hundred different ways on a second-by-second basis and that I needed to take care of myself. I needed to forgive myself. I needed to give myself permission to end my own suffering. This understanding was fleeting, but it was all I needed to kick-start a new chapter in my life. Those flashes of understanding are becoming more frequent, more profound and more insightful.
My highly sensitive temperament demands I make amends with myself in every possible way. For now that means saying adios to any stimuli I perceive as unnecessarily negative or overwhelming. Paths others take will be different from mine because their personalities are different. They may not understand my decision, but I don't care. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but rather as a way to affirm my right to find a happier, more fulfilling life.
I still might pop in from time to time to talk to a few people I like, but I won't post on the forum anymore. If the chat room becomes negative and overstimulating, I will leave. I'm doing this for all of you, too. A frazzled me is an unpleasant me. I can't be that kind of person anymore. It hurts me and it hurts others. I must find another way.
Even though I've done my best to explain what is happening to me, words don't seem powerful enough. I wish all of you could feel what I feel, understand what it was like to suffer so horribly and then soar above that suffering, finding those precious moments of emotional freedom. I still fear this is some kind of fluke, but I'm hopeful it might be the real thing. I wish you peace and I hope you wish the same for me.
Too much junk and people using the Chat for arguing nonsense that others cannot understand, let alone join in.
That's why I usually avoid it, unless I see something interesting, but when I do, those discussing the subject have long left the room.
A problem with being in the wrong timeline, for chatting.
Thanks for this post Fundyland, yes, in many ways I agree with you.
Though I'm an anti-theist more than an atheist, it would appear to many atheists that the anti-theists do push hard and complain a lot about being persecuted by religion.
I, thankfully. don't suffer any such conflicts with religion here, so I'm also out-of-touch with what it is like to live in fundyland.
Here there appears nobody calling themselves atheist, just an awful lot of non-believers who don't even mention religion, nor atheism, as those terms here are almost non-sequitur.
Non-believers simply go about living, without worrying about who is religious and who isn't.
The only time I see religion mentioned is on the Internet.
I'm here because I became an active anti-theist due to past experiences,
If I had experienced the secular nature of the here-and-now, instead of the 70s, I'd probably not even consider religion, nor atheism at all.
It is internal strength that shields people from depression and psychological stresses.
My psychologist friend thinks I could be put in isolation without dampening my inner strengths.
Things that would depress most people, seem to slide off my back like on a duck.
Robert Sapolsky in his book "Why Zebra's Don't Get Ulcers" (a book I recommend) also points to those having a strong inner sense of control and self reliance as being the ones least likely to suffer depression.
This blog has given many of us an insight into the reckless nature of many of our attacks and even atheist bigotry towards others.
Of which I have also been guilty.
It reminds me that many are not as internally strong as others, or in other words, less sensitive to external influences.
So, I hope you gain such inner strength and sense of self worth, as in "Desiderata", "You are no less than the trees and the stars", (Brought tears to my eyes when I first read it at 14, as at the time, I also lacked the inner strength to cope with negative influences around me, reading it started my recovery.) and you will always be valued by those you have as friends and for the rest of us for any contribution and insight you have to offer.
As a footnote:
My Anti-Theism is shunned here by the majority of atheists.
They often ask: "Why are you attacking religion, as there is no necessity here for that, since we are a very secular nation and religions are not shoving their beliefs down our throats?"
So I'm totally shunned by both Atheists and Theists here.
I often reply that religion needs to be kept in its place, as we don't want the rubbish that is occurring in the USA here.
To which they usually reply: "That is over there, where they pretend to be a Christian nation, it cannot happen here, as religion has no claim on Australia and never will."
Thus the being shunned by everybody here.
Dyslexic Dog, I am surprised you allow others to censor you. If you believe what you say, you could choose to respond by standing on your principle. Or, you could listen to what others say and challenge their position. Or, if others produce reliable, valid evidence, change your position.
You experience shunning. So what? At least you don't get killed by stoning or whipping or burning with a flaming tire around your neck, or shot in the back of your head.
I don't read your material because I find it not useful. It is the same music played over and over. That is necessary for you so that you can get all your issues out in front of you. You become able to define the problems in clear, concrete, specific ways. Articulating the problem provides a necessary first step in solving a problem. Once you identify a problem, you can set goals for yourself, explore options and then develop a plan of action.
How many people have you known who spend their entire lifetime describing their problems? The problems are real, no doubt about that. Oh! Problem statements get tiring. When it occurs in family members, you can enjoy their funerals.
One of the things I like about Atheist Nexus is that people confront me when I make an error in judgment or statement. Just this morning, I changed a title of a piece I wrote some time ago because a friend gave me feedback that convinced me I needed to rethink the issue. I no longer can make the statement that I formerly made, and I formulated a new statement that I can stand on with confidence. Yesterday, I was challenged on an issue of fact. I was wrong. My friend pointed out my error and of course I changed my mind.
My shortcoming is that I fail to be skeptical. I am gullible. I get caught on that one very often ... way too often. I have to put more thought into the options I choose. Thankfully, my friends recognize my weaknesses and don't tolerate my naivety.
I am not saying I am right, and you are wrong. I am saying we need each other to find the best possible solutions to complex problems.
The problem with the shotgun approach of reprimand is we don't know who caused her discomfort or what hurt her. Everybody gets hit by buckshot, and the problem remains unsolved.
Patricia, how do you know that you never shunned her? It could be any one of us. I sent her a note and asked her if I had caused her pain or any discomfort. I hope she tells me about me. I don't want to know if it was someone else.
I have two kinds of evaluations, especially when I was teaching in college. My students either said I made them think, others said they felt bullied by me. Some said they felt bullied, and it made them think.
Isn't that grand to get that kind of feedback.
We are all grownups here and don't need to play guessing games. We don't need to change what we are doing if someone doesn't tell us how they feel.
Therefore, the appropriate thing to do is tell us that he or she is leaving and why. That is as fair as we can get without working through the problem. Atheist in FundyLand did exactly the right thing. Sadly, she will experience the same k...
We kind of bend and flow, being caring and compassionate at a time and tough and challenging at other times. "Get over it" isn't the correct phrase; "Get with it" fits my meaning better.
I do need to provide a safe place for those who need it. My goal is to have a group of mentally healthy, mature, competent, confident adults who can stand in the public arena. Hostility will be our lot for a long time, I am afraid.
Living in a sick society such as ours means I want to be a change agent and move toward a healthy system. The means to that end is communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, resource management and stress management. These are all learned behaviors. If we don't learn them in our homes or school, we can learn them from each other.
My computer ate up a sentence and refuses to correct it. This is the point I want to make:
My computer does not like this sentence. It will not correct the error.
Patricia, Again, this is why the shotgun approach is not only useless, it is harmful. Thanks for speaking up and making it clear that you were not one who shunned.
Take a shotgun, load it with a container filled with pellets and when you shot the pellets they spread out and cover a whole area.
VP. Richard Cheney used shotgun pellets when he shot his friend in the face.
Below is the photo of a policeman killed with a shotgun blast.
Hey Patricia, I'm not referring to anybody on A/N.
It is the local non-believers who shun anti-theism, because they regard it as rocking a boat that appears to be floating smoothly at present.
Because they don't have theists pushing religion down their throats any more, they forget that it may raise its ignorant head again.
I keep reminding them of this.
That is my job.
I'm fine with A/N, except that I feel that I am not having the same problems with theism as many on A/N, such as yourself.
I'm a little out of place, because I'm living a life that many on A/N dream of.
Sorry if I made it sound as if you and others on A/N have shunned moi, no you have definitely not and I thank you for and deeply appreciate your friendship.
D Dog, I agree with you that religion could raise its ignorant head again, and it's evils need to be pointed-out until it's completely gone.
Thanks for sending us Ken Ham ;-)
Personally, I'm anti-theist too, but I try not to confuse the religion with the people. I think the psychopathic leaders of ISIS would be evil even if they were Amish, but I don't think the Muslim friends and colleagues I have are evil. There are a lot of believers, though, who think they are smarter than they really are, smarter than all the biologists, astronomers, physicists, geologists, climatologists, archaeologists, and chemists put together. Such people are dangerous.
Sorry to see you go, AiF, but if you find this forum depressing, it's probably for the best. It's easy to obsess on the negative, and I bet a lot of us here have a tendency to obsess. I know I do.