About two months. I left Christianity several years ago, but I'd gotten sucked back in by a persistent friend when I was going through a rough time. I realized I'd been clinging onto those childhood beliefs I'd been brainwashed to have. It's been quite a process to decondition myself since I was in so deep. But it was doing so much damage to my mind that I had to.
Intellectually, I am an atheist. I made that decision almost two years ago. It wasn't until about two months ago that I was finally able to convince the emotional side of me that it's okay to do this.
Thanks for the support madblackatheist! I appreciate it. I felt different from the people to whom it came naturally to stop believing (or to never believe in the first place).
I know what you mean, now that I've come to realize the truth of atheism I wonder how I've been this gullible my whole life. But it's like you say, we are surrounded, every inch of our lives is infiltrated by this nonsense - even everyday speech. So it will take time to completely disentangle from it.
I grew up in Cincinnati, a very German city. We used to say "Gesundheit", which means "good health" in German. Since I have become more strongly atheist the last few years, I have taken to using that phrase again instead of "bless you". It is better to wish that someone who sneezes is staying healthy instead wishing them to be blessed my an imaginary being.
I don't see an issue with saying "good luck". Hell, I still use expressions like "jesus christ" and "oh my god" when I'm frustrated....they're all simply expressions, fragments of our rich language, and I don't have a problem using them even though I'm a nonbeliever.
I don't have a problem with those either. Sometimes I have fun with the religious ones, like saying "hey Zeus" instead of "jesus", or quoting The Clash "Jesus Christ, where did you get that Cadillac?" Sometimes I say them just as a reflex--born and raised in the bible belt, doncha know. Sometimes I say them just as camouflage when I don't know who I am dealing with--born and raised in the bible belt, doncha know, wink.
It's not like you need to switch which cursewords you use i still use some religiosly inspired words:
(In Norwegian, and i mind you i am translating them to context not directly)
Faen = Fuck(direct translation: Damn)
Helvette = Shit(correct spelling: Helvete, direct translation: Hell)
Satan = Fuck(direct translation: Satan)
(these are only the religious ones, i have plenty more)