Ever since I had admitted to myself that I'm an atheist my mind has been a whirlwind. Memories,
mini-epiphanies (as I call them) ,  concerns that I never thought I'd have and so much more floods my mind any spare moment I have to let my mind wander. I'll wake with a random thought popping in my head. Sometimes the thoughts are exciting and wonderful, sometimes they're depressing, some kind of scary but I can't help love every moment of it. When I was still in the phase of not wanting to admit being atheist yet I felt like I was being pulled towards atheist literature, videos, radio and TV. My mind was not functioning as much. I was almost mentally lethargic. I blamed it on not getting enough stimulus. But it seems that when I admitted to myself that I was an atheist it was like a wave of thoughts hit and I started seeing things in a whole different perspective.

I have heard about the wonderful feeling one can get after admitting it to themself. I was wondering if anyone went through something similar to what I am. I know everyone is a bit different but I'm curious

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At first, I was afraid to look up atheist literature, videos, etc. And the internet was my only source for it - I had to be careful what I brought into the house, since I lived with my mother, who was/is a very devout Christian.

I felt guilty reading it, as if it was tainting my mind. That a giant bolt of lightening would suddenly strike me down or something. (You know that saying, 'if it happened to anyone, of course, it would have to happen to me!!')

But the more I read, the more it made sense. And the more I spoke with an atheist friend, the less fearful I became. And when I finally admitted to myself "I am an atheist, and wouldn't have it any other way," it was the most wonderful feeling in the world. I cried from relief, and from joy. I no longer had to live my life in fear of burning in hell.

I firmly believe I have never loved god. At times I was able to trick myself into believing I did, but it was never sincere.

If you don't mind me asking, what sort of 'memories, mini-epiphanies, and concerns' are you talking about?
Memories of my programming and going wow i made it out and I'm relatively sane despite it. How the church/religion corrupted my family. I grew up in a independent baptist/pentecostal family.

Epiphanies vary, like the idea of not having a soul and what that means. I left the church when I was 14 a rejected Xtianity and never looked at jesus as anything other than a guy that may have lived 2000 years ago that had a lot of words put in his mouth throughout the millenia. I always believed in a god and a soul. Not heaven or hell, I threw those notions out with the xtian bs. i couldn't really define what the after life was but I thought there was something after this life. This has been the most difficult thing for me to let go of. Not that I thought there were awards waiting me or eternal punishment. It's just the fact I will no longer exist is a scary one that I have to except. I appreciated life but now that this is the only one, it makes one rethink things.
Concerns, like how am I going to tell the kids. I was raising them to be non religious but with a belief of a almost pantheistic god. I know honesty and encouraging them to look for themselves and come up with their own conclusions is the route but I still worry. I feel like I failed to protect them. I indoctrinated them with a albeit milder form of theism but theism just the same. So there is a bit of guilt with that one.
But those are just the tip of the iceberg my mind shifts gears a lot right now.
Alice, fear has a lot to do with it. Christians are the ones who thought up eternal damnation. What a horrible concept: eternal pain and suffering without hope.

They'll do anything to keep the flock in line.

My counter is a good God would never punish its creation so mercilessly for refusing to abandon reason. And if God isn't good, than it's not worthy of our respect and devotion.
Since I "admitted" I was an atheist in the eighth grade, I do not have the same kind of mini-epiphanies about my atheism. I do have them, however, about everything else I am learning. I became more involved in the secular movement once I discovered it a few years ago. I started listening to a variety of podcasts, reading numerous books by atheists and freethinkers, attending conferences of Humanists, atheists, and skeptics, and it does feel as if my mind is exploding. I have also started to get back into neuroscience...a field that has expanded considerably since my post-grad days in the 80's. I am having so much fun learning, challenging myself and my "beliefs" about everything...what a ride! Enjoy!!
I have always had a love for learning and that was a detriment to my belief. Unfortunately I think my belief was a detriment to my learning. I accepted all the no-no theories for Young Earthers, evolution, big bang all the really fun stuff. But I sometimes wonder if the religious indoctrination didn't repel me, on a subconscious level, from seeking out a career in science. My love was paleontology, but instead of focusing on that I chose another course for my life. I know I can always go back to school by today's standards I'm young. And I'm grateful that I have gone down the path that I have. But sometimes I really wonder. I don't know maybe I'm trying to lay blame on my religious upbringing for something that was caused by my choices alone.

Neuroscience, from what little I know, is really interesting. I always wanted to have various scans done. I'd really like to find out how my brain fires during different activities but I don't have the money to blow on such a venture for the sake of curiosity. I wonder if there are any studies that need volunteers around here? Do they allow the subjects to look at their scans? I'm familiar with some of the regions functions and always wanting to learn more.
Yeah I've decided to not read it for a long while. I have a long list of books I want to order from Amazon when I get a chance. I do want to reread it sometime I've heard a number of atheists that say when they did it as very enlightening and odd that they bought into it. But I'm not ready yet. I left the church years ago but that book was still very much a part of my life until just recently.
From my experience, the feeling you are experiencing is what everyone experiences when they recognize they are doing harm to themselves and then stop. Religious people feel it, Atheists feel it. It has less to do with religion, and more to do with self-harm. If you are a religious person who is not repressing your feelings, when you stop being religious there are no epiphanies or (for lack of a better term) raptures. It's just a continuation on the spectrum of learning.
If you are religious and have fallen into the trap of being afraid of God, then when you leave you will feel the joys of freedom. Freedom feels good to everyone, but it feels especially good to prisoners who have just been released.

Congratulations on your parole!
My mind was also a whirlwind, constantly thinking of the new ways to view the world. Studying new viewpoints that I had never considered before. My mind was like a sponge, I loved it! I still enjoy learning about this subject but not to the degree during that first year after I accepted the word "atheist" to describe myself.
Rayray, consider, "militant atheist" like Richard Dawkins, Bill Mahr, and many on this board. Christians voted as a block and elected an incompetent moron as president. Young men are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan due to the chimerical beliefs of this corporate stooge.

Now Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee loom in the shadows of tomorrow. I tell ya, if these people regain power, it'll be illegal to touch your own body.

Note", by "militant" I don't mean violent. Better word, "activist."
Your experience is so close to mine I thought you may have read my diary...if i kept one. LOL. My deconversion process was slow and painful like I'm sure many of ours was. I was about 31 or 32 when I officially came out of the closet and haven't peeped backed since. However I remember the feeling of finally admitting to myself that there was no god. No invisible sky monitoring system (well maybe the government), no one keeping track of naughty deeds, no one watching out. I felt like a toddler able to stand up for this first time by himself. There was no one to help me with tests, trials or trouble. No one looking over my shoulder or demanding constant praise and money. I was the best feeling of my life. No my friend you are not alone.

I remember coming to the conclusion that there was no god, but yet struggling with "Why would Jesus die on the cross for me?" Then after much reading and watching youtube videos on whether he even existed and how his words were more than likely changed, I was convinced that it was all a lie. The scales fell from my eyes, like St. Paul's and I felt the greatest freedom and intellectual liberty ever known. for the first time in my life i felt and feel like an adult who is capable and able to make his own decisions without fear of fitting in or making god angry. From a more 'religious' standpoint, no one was telling me where and when i HAD to be at a certain place and what to wear when i was there. No on could tell me what Jesus wanted and how much money or time i needed to put in with god.

I agree congrats are in order on your mental release form fear, subjection, tyranny and shame. We escaped from the greatest prison ever erected......religion.
I think I was lucky in the sense that the first thing I had shed on my long road to atheism was xtianity. I stopped believing in Jesus' deity. I loathed the church and everything it represented. (still do) I was borderline militant. Letting go of god, even though I was so angry and rebellious at the time was something I couldn't do. Sometimes I feel as though those years between my leaving the church and now were wasted bc I spent so much time trying to define my version of the flying sky daddy. But I am a bit of a optimist so I often think of it as increasing my knowledge to defend my lack of faith.




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