I'd like to hear from others about their experiences with leaving the faith. How did you personally cope with the loss of your world-view? Did you quickly turn to science/philosophy or other means to rebuild a frame-work? Was it a long process to find/create/discover your identity outside of christianity?

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Well honestly, I didn't lose faith because I never had it. Even as a younger person I just didn't feel anything when they talked to or prayed to god.
So I'll answer your questions in the order that you asked them.
1. At first there was a period of denial that lasted several months. I just stopped trying to find the answers to anything. But I remember the exact moment it all came flooding back and that's when I had my first panic attack. The thought of death being the end of my consciousness terrified me in a way that I could handle. So I went to several psychiatrists and they all put me on drugs and recommended that I try to find a new religion. This leads into your next question.
2. No. That took a long time because I tried to follow the advice of my doctors and find a new faith, but those attempts failed. It probably took me about two years to realize the only thing that made sense to me was science.
3. I was 18 when my loss of faith happened so I was still trying to figure what a personal identity was. But it took me at least two years to start working on the person that I am today. And it probably wasn't until I was 23-24 that I actually came into being my own person. So I guess 5-6 years is how long it took me, which I do consider to be a long process.

I hope that answered your questions. If not, please feel free to ask for clarification.
"If you ask me it's not hard to give up religion."
I consider you to be a very lucky person. Giving up my religion was the hardest thing that I've ever done. A big difference between us that I see is that I enjoyed going to church and rarely questioned anything that I was told.
Also I appreciate your input, but if you found nothing difficult about giving up your religion then this group might not be for you. The first sentence (and I feel main theme of this group) of the information page states, "Recovering from the side effects of Christian fundamentalism is not easy."
I'm honestly happy for you that you had no trouble with all of this, but I feel that statements like yours undermine the very difficult trials that many of us have gone through and are still going through. I'm not trying to start a debate, I just wanted to share that point of view.
It certainly was difficult for me. I lost all my friends and ruined what little relationship I had left with my parents. I spent a couple years knowing that what I had been taught was wrong, but not having a clue what was actually right. I spent a full year trying to crack the whole "How do we know that reality is even true?" bit - the obvious answer is, of course, that we don't know, but accept as a matter of pragmatism that what we observe around us is the only meaningful reality, but I'd been raised believing that there was this whole other world, and I'd never come across a question that an answer couldn't be provided for. So I spent a whole lot of time on that one until I basically gave up - luckily about that time, I stumbled upon Sam Harris's "The End of Faith" and he made me realize that there was something to ground your belief in reality on, and that was evidence (and of course science is currently our best way of uncovering evidence). It seems so simple, and it is, but I truly had not ever considered the possibility before - I'd thought you'd have to base it either on faith or philosophy, but neither provided secure answers.
Yeah it's simple. My parents not talking to me ever again is so easy. I just need to read a Sam Harris novel. I can't believe how stupid people are for not recognizing how easy having to rebuild their entire social support system is. Sam Harris is obviously the answer. IT'S JUST SO EASY! Why can't these plebeians see how easy it is? It's so easy that some people even kill themselves over this. I cannot believe how simple it all is!

Honestly, it's insulting to be told that getting over all of this is easy. Please show a bit more respect. If it was very easy for you, then this IS NOT the group for you. This is a group for people who DO NOT find it easy.
Dustin, I am not sure why you seemed to take his answer so personally. He wasn't attacking you or belittling your personal struggle in any way. If you go back and look at her question, he answered it. What you don't understand is that this is no place for you to say what is and is not a place for someone else. We want to get past excluding people because of their beliefs, that's why we are all here. I feel you are out of line on this one.
"What you don't understand is that this is no place for you to say what is and is not a place for someone else."

Then I'll rephrase what I said:
This is only my opinion and not based on any official rules, but honestly, it's insulting to be told that getting over all of this is easy. In my opinion I think you should show a bit more respect. If it was very easy for you, then my opinion is that this IS NOT the group for you. I personally feel that this is a group for people who DO NOT find it easy.
I offer all apologies to those that thought I was speaking from some position of authority. I'm not sure how that became a point of confusion, but I do apologize for this concept being so difficult to comprehend. That was completely my fault. Or at least it's my opinion that it was completely my fault.
I'm sorry, I didn't seem to have phrased myself correctly - I didn't mean to suggest that the emotional turmoil is in any way easy to deal with, merely that the philosophical dilemma has an easy answer. I apologize for the confusion.
What a great post! A join this group for a different reason. I have never been a believer. But I live in a world where people are and some of those will come out of it. I'd like to understand what they are going through to be a friend for them where they are most uncomfortable.
First of all, hi. This is my first post on here after reading several threads and deciding it would be a good idea for me to join the group. Anyway, onto answering your questions (in reverse order):

3. It was sort of a slow process for me, which I think helped a lot in terms of coping. Context is important, so here is my religious summary of sorts: I was actually brought straight from the hospital to church as a newborn, and life continued as such until I moved out. I was always the kid who asked "annoying" questions in Sunday School ("Why won't Jesus take better care of those children on TV?" "Why did God make bad things so fun?" et cetera) but based on the adult response to said questioning I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut about the things that didn't make complete sense to me. I continued this up until high school, and after graduating and filling out some half-hearted university applications I moved to South Africa to work on a mission and at a Christian radio station. I was at this point very conflicted; I've always loved science and philosophy, and was having a very hard time assimilating these new and wonderful ideas into the very fundamentalist world-view that had been impressed upon me. After a few months, I wound up engaged to a pastor over there, from whence came my initial dissociation from the church. The life he wanted for me (babies and church) I found absolutely abhorrent. Conveniently I had just received my admissions offers from several universities outside of my home province (read: away from my family) and so I jumped at the chance to free myself from the situation. The emergence of my rational self began to happen in this environment. I still do struggle with guilt and even the occasional doubt, but am lucky to have some extremely logical friends and a penchant for reading and learning, so am generally quite comfortable and stable in my "new identity."

2. I took to the subjects immediately, but as with what I assume to be the common experience it took a while to deprogram myself. Studying university and religious studies at university helped a LOT. It was very beneficial to me to view the Bible as a literary text and nothing more. Surprisingly, the university chaplain was one of the most helpful individuals in this process for me (and yes, it was [mostly] intentional on his part).

1. My immediate reaction probably wasn't the best. Put into a university environment with suddenly no religious restraints on my behaviour I went a little wild with the experimentation. Thankfully that didn't last too long, and for the most part I now cope with a good long read. I'm especially fond of epicurean philosophy on days when I'm feeling particularly guilty about the split. I'm also quite lucky to have a family who, while quite religious themselves, are never angry with me for (as my mother puts it) "being logical." It seems a bit strange to me, but I think they have their doubts as well, and are just now so engrained in the lifestyle that getting out would be too difficult for them. I do sometimes miss the feeling of immediate familiarity and fellowship I had with other Christians but.. well, I suppose the purpose of this site, and in particular this group, is to help with that. :)
Wow Min, you have certainly had an interesting life. In my experience, most people to join this group have been Americans and southern; it is so cool to hear of your experience from another perspective. You mentioned you left your province, where are you from originally? And I am glad for you that if you would have felt imprisoned as the wife of a missionary that you did not choose that path.
I'm originally from around Toronto Ontario (Canada). I moved to New Brunswick, and am now living in South Korea. I guess you could say I get around a bit.




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