It's not that I feel guilty about it, I've been an atheist too long. It's just that I don't even want to remember it. Nothing really traumatic happened, but there's a certain mindset I had that I'd rather not revisit. Eerie.
I get the creeps every time I visit the town where I grew up, and drive past the Baptist church were I had my indoctrination. It's not even a Baptist Church any more - "Living Water' or some such, whatever that is. I can't help driving past it, it's on the same block where my Dad lives.
There's a group for us? PLEASE don't tell me it's a 12 step programme.
I've been recovering from my Irish Catholicism for about 40 years.
For those who did not have the great misfortune to be brought up Catholic,there are many varieties.Some members of some flavours can give a pretty good imitation of being fair and rational,but don't be fooled; dogma ALWAYS comes first..
However,the facade of reason and intelligent discussion [on just about any subject,apart from alcohol)] has never been a part of the Irish Catholic lexicon. This exceedingly odd and extreme cult is arguably the most intolerant,pig ignorant,hateful and superstitious form of Catholicism ever invented.
Oh, my recovery is proceeding spiffingly,thanks for asking. Why only last year,I realised I can probably now be in the same room as one or two of the nuns or brothers charged with my education without attacking them with the nearest blunt instrument.Besides,most of the pricks are dead.
The group is an atheist nexus group. It's just another place to post and chat really. Thanks for sharing your story, I'm going to add you as a friend. There's a lot of news lately about those Irish catholics, it might be helpful to all for you to be open about what goes on there.
So maybe it's not necessary or prudent for you to join at this time. I go through times when I'm involved in O/A online (for eating disorders) and other times when I just have to stay far away, because I'm dealing okay on my own and don't want to think about the issues. Support is there for when you need it, not to drag you through the muck when you've risen above it.
Yes heard this on free thought radio. It's devastating. I don't consider my religious period traumatic at all — particularly compared to this poor man — I've been thinking about it and, I think the reason I'm hesitant to join that group is because I don't really think of my brief period as a catholic as my main problem with religion or my reason for declaring myself an atheist.
I probably dismissed the church, along with most of my family, almost a decade ago. I think what I realized then is that I didn't even know what they were telling me to believe because I didn't want to be told what to believe at all, so I closed my ears to whatever was said in church and in class. I've probably learned more about catholicism after freeing myself of the church than when I was a member.
So in a way, I never was catholic. I just believed in god and fell into a catholic church. I'm sure if I had had the skills (which you don't have until you are an adult) to take everything I'm told with a grain of salt I'd have walked out a lot sooner.
I'm at least lucky, though, that I didn't abandon the church alone. That my family came along with me in a simple and undramatic way.
I don't think you're alone. We started having a monthly atheist dinner meeting at a local pub. A lovely ex-Catholic guy turned up to the first meeting and told us of some pretty horrific experiences he'd had as a Catholic school boy. He didn't show up again so this month I emailed, just to remind him the meeting was on, and to say we'd like to catch up with him again. He emailed back and said he was so badly effected by the memories our meeting dragged up that he felt he just couldn't face it again. It was very sad, but I understood.
Some people get comfort from sharing their stories, others prefer to put it behind them and not live out their past again.