Hello everyone,

Joined yesterday so I guess I should introduce myself.  Actually, I've been a member here before, don't remember how many years ago.  I am 53, married with grown children and one grandchild.  Live in the area of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, part of the good ol' bible belt. 

My parents believed in God but didn’t belong to a church or talk about Christianity, or read a bible, or listen to gospel music.  The belief of a Christian God was enough for them, I suppose.  I was in my 30s when I decided I should become a true Christian, i.e. read and study the bible, watch my language, act appropriately, etc.  I tried attending various churches but none of them seemed to be a good fit.  Got baptized by a very nice Methodist minister on my birthday (January 1) in 2004 (or was it 2005?  I don’t even remember now).  Went through a period of self-imposed hard line evangelical Christianity, including wearing only dresses/skirts, wearing my hair long and trying to look as modest as I knew how.  From that extreme I flung myself to the other end of the spiritual path where I embraced Paganism.  –I should say I tried to embrace the Pagan path.  I gave Wicca a shot but, honestly, the rituals felt fake and silly to me.  I explored other Pagan areas as well but, again, none of them seemed to fit me.  In April of 2009 I decided to engage in a year without God.  --From Christianity to Paganism to Atheism, and for a while it felt like a breath of fresh air.  No God!  No consequences!  Hooray!  But after a few months I found myself missing the thought of having a higher power watching over me, of sending up my thoughts and prayers to someone.   So I reverted to Christianity...but would flip flop between belief and unbelief from then to now. 

I need to simply come clean and be honest with myself about what I believe, or rather do NOT believe and stop relying on religion as a crutch or placebo or feel-good pill.  I'm tired of drinking the Kool-Aid.  But I know disentangling myself completely might take a while to accomplish, so I also need to be patient with myself.  It doesn't help that my husband is a small business owner in a mostly Christian town of around 48,000 people, so there's no way I can come completely out of the closet.  I think having all of you at A.N. will at least provide me with an outlet.  Thanks for reading and let me know if anyone has questions.

Trisha

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Greets and salutes from the Buckeye State, Trisha!  Please have yourself a fine time here!

Welcome Trisha, as a fellow bible belt dweller l think you'll find AN is a comfortable place to be.

Welcome and thanks for the friendship add. There's always something to discuss on here.

Hi Trisha and welcome.

Welcome in from one state to the northwest of you- Nebraska

Where the hell is Missouri?

Oh, there it is, in North America, hidden under a Byebull.

Welcome back!!!!   :-D~

Hello Miss Sanders, welcome back atcha' :) 

Thank you for sharing your story, if it is any conciliation as far as I know nobody has the right to condemn you or scorn you for any beliefs or disbeliefs you might have. Being either agnostic or atheist doesn't take away the fact that you can still be in awe when seeing a beautiful landscape your husbands big smile after a prosperous day at work, let alone the joy watching your children and grand children grow up, and nobody can tell you to feel any different, not even the most hardcore of educated bible thumpers. 

Love does not, in any way, belong to any religion. The love you feel for the ones you care about, and for yourself is what matters. 

I'm new here too and still getting warm welcomes, this feels like a good place to vent, connect and learn.

Take Care*

Nice story Trisha, I shared a house with 3 witches, whose spells never worked, well they thought they had, but looking from the outside I knew they did not.

It was the old scenario of how praying to a god brings no more benefits than praying to a laptop, as religion teaches god will grant prayers on a Yes, No or Wait basis, which means a believer will believe god or the laptop answers prayers.  The same with magic, they though that spells may either, work, not work, or take time to work.  So if they cast a love spell on a particular target, then if that target even smiles at them or says "Hi" within six months or more, they think the spell is working.  

So prayer and spells become self-reinforcing delusions.

Though I don't envy your position, as there are no closet atheists in my region, since most of the people I associate with publicly are openly atheist.

So much so that if a Xtian street preacher starts up trying to proselytize here, he instantly gets heckled and abused. 

They are not welcome at all.

Though it was different 20+ years ago, street preachers were everywhere, even I did some Pentecostal street preaching for a short time.

Then I read the Bible and discovered it was full of crap, and turned anti-theist.

Then I would seek out street preachers and deliberately deride them in front of their audience.

So often the audience would cheer and clap at my derision of them, to which they would fold up and leave.

Shop owners hated street preachers out the front of their premises, as they were bad for business, so sometimes I had the shop owner's staff or children knocking on my door to hassle the preacher into moving on away from their business, as these preachers had council permits to preach, and the shop owners had no jurisdiction over public areas in front of their shop.

So in 20 years we went from many Christians and street preachers to an almost invisible number of Christians to almost no street preachers.

So there is definitely hope this may occur in your region!

If the US keeps pushing Rational education and forcing states to introduce and push Rational Critical Thinking in all public education institutions it may be much sooner than 20 years.

:-D~

Though there is a difference, the laptop provides answers, god does not!  :-D~

So there is more benefit in praying to a laptop.

My laptop is on Windows 8.0 / 8.1. It's much worse than praying to a god. More like praying to Satan.

Download the free start button and avoid Windows Live. Maybe wipe it and put on 7. The only other cure is a shotgun.

Hi Trisha,
Welcome (back) to A/N.
Yours is a journey familiar to many. The oscillations at the end, between belief and non-belief, are understandable.
"But after a few months I found myself missing the thought of having a higher power watching over me, of sending up my thoughts and prayers to someone."
If you don't mind, could you please expand a bit on this? I suspect it's important to many other people caught in that no man's land. What was it you found yourself missing? Has that aspect gone away?

I'm reminded of something a coworker mentioned to me the other day while we were discussing the latest Scientology movie. To paraphrase, he said the strongest prisons are the ones we build for ourselves.
Again, welcome back. I think you have a lot to offer and I'm glad you posted.

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