Hi, its good to be here. For me the journey to atheism was not an altogether pleasant one. My life has not been made easy by religion, making it hard to understand why I clung to it for so long. I am my fathers oldest and illegitemate child, my existance was an embarrasment to his ex-nun wife and so I was not permitted a relationship with my siblings.As a consequence my life was emotionally/financially/socially very impoverished, and to some extents still is. When my father died 4 years ago it affected my profoundly, with him died every chance of being part of his family. I was not allowed to the funeral, I had no closure and many un-answered questions. His death triggered my atheism, at first I saw it as a temporary 'loss of faith' and fought against it. It seems incredible to me now that I had managed to keep believing in god for so long, I was at the time doing a biology degree, I had read and loved The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene, I found the theory of evolution beautiful, elegant and utterly sensible. But there you are, thats how indoctrinated I was. It took about 2 years for me to be able to embrace being an atheist and accept, with love, that my father had, unwittingly left me this one gift.
                One of the aspects of atheism that I still struggle with is the knowledge that no wrongs will be 'righted'. What happens here is 'it'. If some one has a tortured, terrible life, thats it, there is no other. The day this fully hit me, a few months after my father died, I heard a news report of something horrible happening to a child. I wont go into it but I had to pull my car over and I just cryed for such a long time. It was not having that buffer of comfort that believing in god gave me. Sometimes I wonder if I might not have been better off before. And yes, I do realise that this knowledge is important in bringing about change, not accepting things because you believe 'things will be better in the here after'. And of course I am aware of the terrible things done to whole countries in the name of religion and the choices removed from people. But for me, a mum in my 30's who is not about to go off battling for others rights and quality of life, it can be a bit uncomfortable. I am however bringing my children up to be warriors, my eldest son is just starting a degree in genetics aftter spending 6 months working in a hospital in Ethiopia, where he plans to return.  All things considered I would take the truth over dellusion if had the choice again, but it would have been better to have just been spared the indoctrination and dogma to begin with.

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Hi Tasha:

Thank you for sharing your moving and deeply personal story here. It is a testimony to the power of religious indoctrination and how it can cause emotional and psychological pain.
You know your journey to atheism might not have been pleasant but isn't the destination wonderful? It's like your mind has escaped from some ancient dogmatic prison. If it's lonely where you are being an atheist, just jump into A/N with both feet. There's even three different Irish groups you can join. Also, leave all that leftover Catholic guilt baggage behind. Dragging it along just slows you down. I dropped mine about 30 years ago.

Welcome to A/N!
I don't believe anyone has answers or that there are answers. Having been a criminal justice major, I studied many degrees of "injustice", criminal and social. If a person or child experiences a horrible life and that life is extinguished or irreparable, it moves me to seek ways to remedy the situation that led to the tragic circumstance. It also provides me with a greater appreciation of life and loved ones. I think so much is wasted by those who live their lives waiting for the big "payoff" (heaven) in the end. I've asked christians, "What if "heaven" is now, this is all that you get?" They have no guarantee of an afterlife or heaven, only a belief.

I think there is beauty in your humanity, you felt so deeply that you pulled over and wept for a child you didn't know. I know it sounds self-indulgent but when I feel empathy for others, I am somehow comforted by it. I'm acknowledging my connection to humanity.
I completely understand your point, and as others have said, most of it is simply left over remnants of dogma that want an omnipotent justice tracker in the sky. For my two cents, look for the balance in the world rather than justice. When you see something terrible, when you remember the dark times of your life, when the satan of the self pulls you down, just look over at your children and I'll bet very quickly that the world doesn't seem so foreboding or evil.
As for missing parts of a religion, like "knowing" that a wrong will be righted, I think a lot of us can identify with that. I missed praying for a long time, missed the idea of seeing loved ones who have passed on in the after life, hell I still miss the pot luck dinners at the church... I may have to crash one of those sometime...
For what it's worth, I think you should hold your head high and be proud of everything you have endured and suffered because you know that you've earned who you are, and in the end, being able to look yourself in the mirror and know that you earned what you believe means a lot.
I would just like to say thanks guys, your words of welcome and encouragement really do mean a lot. It feels wonderful to be so included and many of your points help to strengthen my resolve. X

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