Recovering from Religion


Recovering from Religion

Unless you were raised by atheist parents, you probably had some recovering to do when you left religion. The purpose of RR is to provide a landing place for people when they jump from religion. With local support groups throughout the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, and real-time resources accessible to everyone, RR is where to turn when faith has lost its luster.

Location: International
Members: 541
Latest Activity: Dec 3, 2016

Discussion Forum

Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS)

Started by Steph S. Jun 8, 2015. 0 Replies

This is a good website for help in recovering from religion of Religious Trauma Syndrome:• Cognitive: Confusion, poor critical thinking ability, negative beliefs about…Continue

In what way are you still recovering from being brought up religious?

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Richard C Brown Aug 30, 2014. 57 Replies

I was brought up in a fundamentalist family.Anyone still dealing with any issues from religion?Do you fear the result of coming out Atheist to your family?Any thoughts are welcome.Continue

Catholic Family / Atheist Wedding - HELP

Started by Megan. Last reply by tom sarbeck May 31, 2014. 4 Replies

Any one else out there still recovering from Catholic guilt??I come from an extremely Catholic family/upbringing. In 6 days I will be the first person in my entire extended family not to marry a Catholic in a Catholic Church.My biggest source of…Continue

Anyone still deal with anything like this?

Started by Starland Seay. Last reply by Matt Skaggs Aug 26, 2013. 27 Replies

One thing I have noticed is a tendency to "doubt" my new path in life. I still want to reach for the Bible sometimes. I still hesitate somewhat when someone mentions Pascal's "Wager"...LOL! Even though I know that science teaches this and that no…Continue

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Comment by Rich Goss on May 21, 2012 at 2:31pm

A lot of people don’t realize the power and control religion has over the mind.  As Salmon Rushdie says in The Satanic Verses, persons badly infested by religion have every aspect of their lives dominated and scrutinized by religious beliefs.  Idiology controls how they think, what they eat, how they have sex, what they wear, whom they affiliate with, the very words that come out of their mouth. 


So being liberated from religion is much like getting out of prison.  Much of behavior we take for granted has to be relearned.


Comment by L.Hunter on May 21, 2012 at 1:05pm

@ Providence. I Haven't chimed in for some time. However I too agree with the previous posts by everyone, esp Joan Denoo. I remember coming out and thinking I was like a toddler again. I had to retrain myself on how to think about life, diverse coping skills, what I thought about death, homosexuality and a host of other things. Religion is a mentally safe place for many people. When we get stressed or venture to unfamiliar territory it's our instinct to pray or perform some religious rite. I remember when I stopped believing after I read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason", I wanted to bow my head and thank god he didn't exist. How silly is that? Anyway its only been a year. It will take time to unlearn all the BS religion has taught. In the meantime enjoy the ride and everyday will get better and brighter

Comment by Dan DeMura on May 21, 2012 at 12:14pm

I am excited to announce we're starting up a group in Columbus Ohio for those in the area... and or know people in the area. Facebook page is here  I will be putting up a meetup page very shortly.

Comment by Dan DeMura on May 21, 2012 at 12:12pm

@providence... I would agree with other comments here that it's a natural reaction to turn to the familiar comfort that you can find in religion, especially in times of stress. I would suggest taking a broader view of spirituality as Sam Harris has pointed out (even from an atheistic view) just because we deny the existence of the supernatural doesn't mean we can't experience in some sense spirituality. I personally feel a greater awe and wonder for the Universe and love for my fellow man than I ever did as a believer... perhaps take a look at other cultures and belief systems not to convert to them but to gain a better understanding of humanity as a whole. Joseph Campbell is an awesome speaker on the power of myth and anthropology. I would suggest you look up 'The Hero's Journey' that way when you're stressed you may "feel" things but you know they are simply part of the process of being human and the "myth" of Christianity was what at one time brought you comfort but doesn't mean it's true and as time passes it doesn't mean it will always be the only thing that brings you comfort because again the universe is an amazing thing.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2012 at 3:21am

@Providence, there is a principle in child rearing some call the "dock" theory. As children mature, they ventures farther and farther away from the security and safety of mom and dad, metaphorically the dock. A toddler will toddle away from them, get anxious because of being in unfamiliar territory, and scamper back to the safe place. As confidence grows and they get older, distance away becomes greater, and they even go into another room. Unfamiliarity produces anxiety and they run back. As adolescence approaches, they joins peer groups and experiment with other things, read forbidden books, wear inappropriate clothes, putt on make-up, smoke ... stuff like that. Something happens to cause fear and anxiety and they run back into the safe zone.
Reaching toward maturity, they may drive too fast, or do things that are not allowed by parents and they become insecure and run back to the safety of the parent/dock. Because of their age, size, and immaturity, they take even greater risks, get anxious and run home to parent/dock and sometimes overwhelm parent and the dock shakes, producing more anxiety. Driving and sex turn even the most sensible parents into quivering jello. 
This process of adventuring away from parent/dock and running back for safety is a "swinging door" that continues until a child develops independent, self-sufficient, mature, adult feelings, attitudes and behaviors. This learning process occurs when people move away from traditions of family and community and begin to think critically for themselves. This is called "growing up". 
Your insecurity is normal, a good thing, not to be feared or fought against, but is evidence you need to develop skills that build self-esteem and confidence.  That is done by listening to your own body and thoughts, taking with people you trust and who have your interest in mind. 
Some individuals have a harder time making these transitions than others, but trust the process, it will get you through to the last stage, if you are lucky, which is the generative stage ... people such as myself, 76 years old and very happily going into the dottering age of growing dependence on my children. 

Comment by Alice on May 21, 2012 at 2:35am

@providence - it's all about habits.  I would suggest that you speak with like minded people - start a discussion about this - and then go through all your fears - and get everyone's perspective - and keep doing this - talking - until your perspective shifts and you develop different ways of viewing the world.  It's about challenging your beliefs with the support of others who also care about your well-being.  You might want to also spend some time reading some books about this stuff - so books by Harris, Dawkins, Hawking, Hitchens, Dennett - or websites such as - to give you some insights and different perspectives. :)

Comment by Tanya Higgins on May 20, 2012 at 8:08pm
@Providence Chances are good that you run back to religion when you're stressed simply because you haven't yet acquired healthy coping mechanisms. Asserting God as the only means for followers to dimish anxiety is one very powerful way that religion keeps people trapped. If you put leg braces on healthy children, the child that removes the braces as an adult will have difficulty standing simply because they never developed the muscles to do so.

Oddly enough, information available to those recovering from addiction is a good place to find help developing healthy coping mechanisms, but please keep in mind that you may also need counseling until you're able to put those mechanisms into practice.
Comment by James M. Martin on May 20, 2012 at 5:26pm

@Viking, your comment reminds me of the surreal scene in Henry Miller's novel, Tropic of Cancer, in which he depicts high ranking clerics at a banquet.  The elegant waiter brings in a steaming silver platter and places it before the clerics, lifting the lid with great flourish, and smiling as the cardinals and archbishops look down to see the evening entre: a big pile of steaming turds.

Comment by Viking on May 20, 2012 at 4:07pm

My Friend,

Look it this way. I became an atheist when I was still in the first or second grade of elementary school. I was then an altar boy in Poland in catholic church. When I was wasting my playtime on the knees and holding my urine to the limit, because I could not go to the boys-room I begun to think about all this crap. I realized, that this crap is nothing better then a crap. I was still attending the church, but only under my mother supervision. Then, when in the school program we learn more about science there was no return for me. 

My Friend, I don't know how old you are but, when you start questioning existence of god, this becomes a reason for it. Then is only your own choice to eat the stinky meat farther or take an other menu. Bad meat can kill you.  I suggest you to take a vacation and go on a tour and see, how beautiful this planet is. Their is not, never was and never will be a intelligent power to be able to control entire universe or maybe (very possible) universes. 

Get your vacation, go to Las Vegas and I will give you a little discount on my tours. 

BTW, I have a discount for all atheists on my tours. Just enter this code ATH666 when making a reservations at:

Comment by Providence on May 20, 2012 at 3:26pm

Hi everyone, 

I haven't posted on here for sometime- It's good to be back! 

Would it be ok to run something by you all.... I have been an Atheist for about a year or so. (maybe more- it's hard to be exact as there was a lot of coming out and running back to the church when I first started to question things!)

But sometimes I still feel intuitively that god is real, when i pick up the Bible it feels 'true' when I sit and read it. This sounds really strange i know because I know the arguments as to why the Bible cannot be the word of god and heck what do we mean by god anyway?! (I am also aware of the fact that to some extent my reaction to the bible, etc is a learned one!)

Yet I still worry, It's often when i feel uncertain about life or I become afraid of hell that I will run back to reading religious material and pray or whatever. I also get the really strong feeling that I want to go to church and that I (somehow) 'know' god is real but am denying it. 

I know all of this is total crap and I dont think about this when I am feeling fine (i.e confident of myself and my views) but can't understand why these urges are so strong in me when I experience them (i.e when I am uncertain?) and quite why i get them when I know all of this it total crap?? Does anyone else hear where i'm coming from?

I'd really appreciate your responses! 

Thank you in advance! :)


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