I posted this question in a blog post, but it might mean more in this group. Nate's experiences were truly horrible. Sharing those experiences, and transcending them, gives others a sense of hope. Nate, if you could somehow go back and erase all of those memories, would you? Do the memories, or your experience of overcoming them, give you meaning? What about other members who had difficult religious experiences?

I've gone back and forth on this issue in my mind. Sometimes I would erase it all. Other times, I think that I have at least been inoculated against any future religious infection. Sometimes, I feel like it happened to someone else, and I just recall it like something that I read in a book.

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At this point in my "Recovery" I would. I have a lot of bitterness, "what if's", and fear. It gets better over time, but it still haunts me. I don't have much hope that I will ever completely get over it. My Girlfriend is agnostic (doesn't really think much about it) and tells me how she was raised to think for herself. Her parents hate religion. The saw the damage it causes. I can't help but be somewhat jealous. I can't imagine feeling free from this prison. I get glimpses of it at times and it's amazing. I am thankful I have her and her patience with me while I go through this.

That's horrible about your mother, Katie. Sorry to hear that.

No, because it made me who I am to this day. I don't like that a lot of horrible things happened, but they did. That and some good comes from it: I have first hand knowledge of how it is to be a charismatic(that's a tongues talker) Christian. It gives me something else to be able to reach out to someone and say "I understand" and not be talking shit(as Gervais says).

I know it sounds a bit whimsical but that is how I feel about it.


 Oops I already answered this.


but I am going to say it again.




I wish I could have some kind of brain scan that would erase it.


It is still throwing me off today.


I have a bad cold, which is keeping me from doing things I love to do and that "bad religious voice" is saying, "God is punishing you because he loves you."


I don't believe it.


I am talking back to it, saying, "I don't care. I don't care.  No matter how much "God" loves me, this doesn't feel like love at all and nothing a "God" does is going to make me feel any different!"




well i wouldnt because if i had not gone through that experiance i would not be where i am today.

Actually I cherished much of the religious tradition I grew up with. Yes is ingrained guilt and other nonseniscal beliefs, but on the other hand we traveled and went to different churches and met different people. Most times that I got away from my home state of CT, were spent travleing for religious reasons. And while traveling we would have a good time when not in services, and like I said we met different peope, and made many friends. I'm also grateful for many of morals that were imposed upon me. Yes there were fear based and built upon the belief in hell, however I'm still grateful.


No, because I did have some good experiences and made many friends through religion.  The church I attended was very moderate (United Methodist).  Most of the people I knew "believed" in evolution and in other scientific discoveries.  They definitely believed in medical science and were alarmed about faiths that preached against their members getting medical care.  They weren't the "seeing god in everything" types.  They didn't have to say "god made that perfect sunset."  They just watched the sunset without referring to god.   They could talk about plate tectonics, dinosaurs and pretty much any science without bringing up god.  

When my grandpa died from lung cancer, no one said it was because of god.  They said it was because he was a chain smoker since he was a little boy.  They did say god would help him through it.  He thought god helped him and maybe those thoughts did make him feel better.  Of course, my uncle (grandpa's son) just died of lung cancer with the same strength and he was pretty much an atheist. 


I ran into charismatic types in college.  There was a lot of appeal to the lovey dovey way they were, but they could sure get mean if you disagreed with them.  I felt like I had the greatest friends - until I left their way to return to my moderate Methodist ways.  Then I learned the real truth, they weren't really friends. 


If it weren't for the whole god thing, I would probably still be a Methodist.  I do agree with a lot of their social positions (except on gays) and I feel like they contributed significantly to who I am. 

I have absolutely no regrets about my personal religious experiences. I feel like I have an understanding of Christians and Mormons who still believe, and in some ways that is an asset when discussing religion. I know what it felt like to be 'filled with the holy spirit' and to honestly believe I was talking to a personal god.


The big lesson I have taken away from that is you should never assume that you are right about your beliefs, opinions, world view, even your reality. Even now as an atheist I come across beliefs I have had forever, and now, instead of assuming I am correct, I assume I am incorrect and take the necessary steps to confirm or abandon those beliefs. I sometimes might go too far (hyper-skeptical) and some beliefs will be in a holding pattern until I can verify or disprove it, but at the very least I will no longer bet my life on any belief I have, without overwhelming evidence for that belief (or opinion).



I would erase it.  I had to think about it, but not long.
I would like to erase the fear and guilt I was made to feel (e.g., over being gay), for sure. I guess I don't regret 100% of it, because I do know a lot about the history of [c]hristianity (which is sociologically interesting), and I had already read a great deal of, e.g., anti-"evolutionist" literature, which is useful to present critical thinking--I present this as a plus simply because I'm not sure if I'd have the stomach to read it now. I resent how it did make me look stupid, though, coming to college believing that evolution was nothing more than an atheist agenda item.
I absolutely would!  I was one of those "true believers" with "blind faith"  I perceived it all as a bit too real for comfort.  I felt like I was held captive.  I had so many fears.  I've only been an atheist for a year now and it's still hard; I still deal with the fears quite frequently.  When I'm finally over it and at peace with what is real and what is not, I may answer this question differently.  Yet right now, even after much research, and being in these support groups, the grip this true believer mindset has on me is unbearable.  I was never really taught to think critically, and even when my teachers tried to get me to do that, I was reluctant and had a hard time with it.  I still am so naive in so many ways despite all the subjects I've learned about.   

No way. I'm a relatively new atheist (a couple of years... questioning for a few before that) out of a pretty fundamental Christian sect (Dutch Christian Reformed), and I still have a lot of anger for the Church--but I would never erase that. The Church and Christianity were such a huge part of my life for such a long time--whether I like it or not, my faith was instrumental in shaping who I am today. To be sure, I'm not happy with a lot of the values faith instilled in me, but I enjoy the process of losing my religion. It's rough, it's frightening, it's lonely--but the benefits far exceed the detriments and I've come to know myself much better through the process. I'm ofteny angry and frustrated with my past, but I'd never destroy it.


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