Hi All,

Here is an outline of my religious history, to give some background to my blog posts for anyone who wants it:

I was born in 1970 in Western New York and baptized Catholic as an infant. My mother was Catholic and wanted everyone in the family to be baptized into that church. I never liked it or believed in it much, and by age twelve I told her, "Mom, there is no god. I am an atheist." She accepted it kindly.

In 1996, a non-denominational church full of people who would be your friend as long as you were "open" to joining baptized me, as I needed friends. I stayed in that church until 2008, another twelve years as a Christian.

I stopped believing in God in 2008 because I had stopped pushing myself to read the Bible and listen to sermons in order to force myself to believe. I left the church. From 2008 until 2013, I vacillated between atheism and agnosticism; I also joined another non-denominational church, but as an agnostic and to play drums for them, not thinking about being a Christian again. In 2013, I left that church after deciding that same year that I was a strict atheist, and after the President of the church started getting too friendly with his hands on me. I addressed it with the Pastor, and when nothing was done, I left. That was fine, as I was disinterested in that church after its members had begun to hear about my atheism and reject me.

In 2015, I officially left the Catholic church. I had anticipated its being difficult, but it was very easy. I simply sent a letter chastising the Catholic church for some of its injustices, saying I attended the Center for Inquiry for my fulfillment, stating that I did not believe in Catholicism nor God, and that I was in my right mind. I signed it and sent it to my Bishop, and he immediately sent me back a letter of defection. I kept the letter, as it was the proudest day of my life (it now is the second proudest, after getting married in 2018).

I am not happy except as an atheist; this I have learned from my experiences inside and outside theism. I would not care if I had no friends at all; staying true to the fact that there is no god is more satisfying and more important than having friends, especially when the reason they are your friends is that you believe the same as they and are willing to be a recruit. I will never join another church unless a strictly atheistic church starts up nearby and get to like it. I do wish for places to congregate with other free-thinkers near Batavia, where I now live, so I will keep my eyes open for those. Meanwhile, I continue to get my atheistic support and fulfillment online and at Center for Inquiry.

Well, that is my entire life religious history, all in one place. I just wanted to lay it all out, so that if someone wants to, they can refer to it in order to see where I am coming from in my other posts. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great day!

Jeff

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Comment by Joan Denoo on March 27, 2019 at 1:08am

Wallowing in self-loathing is such a common thing, especially in the religious!  

How would wallowing in self-respect look, sound, and feel? 

Comment by Jim the Atheist on March 26, 2019 at 10:21pm
I've used both techniques. Each has its pros and cons. Wallowing in self loathing is generally underrated.
Comment by Loren Miller on March 26, 2019 at 10:11pm

Jim, do you want to feel sorry for yourself, or do you want to kick ass on what's hurt you, and take names ... and maybe some scalps, too?  No, I'm not talking about being violent.  I'm talking about bucking the system, about putting a serious hurt on those who have taken their privilege as a given and letting them know that their time is DONE.

What was it Khan said?  "Revenge is a dish that is best served COLD."  He screwed up.  Let's us NOT screw up, okay?

Comment by Jim the Atheist on March 26, 2019 at 9:54pm
That's entirely possible, but searching for things interrupts my daily "feeling sorry for me" time which is kinda sacred.
Comment by Loren Miller on March 26, 2019 at 7:31pm

Jim, here in Cleveland, we have quite a few atheist organizations, including a social group: The Cleveland Freethinkers.  In addition, we have a local chapter of the Center For Inquiry, as well as the Northern Ohio Freethought Society, a branch of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

While I haven't resorted to Google just yet, I have to believe some or all of those organizations may have branches in the greater Phoenix area.  I'll bet that, with a bit of research, you could turn up at least one or two possibilities where you are.

Comment by Jim the Atheist on March 26, 2019 at 7:00pm
I'm now on a personal quest to find people who will gather with me simply to reject the assertion there are gods. Service starts at 9:00 a.m. service concludes at 9:01 a.m.
Comment by Jim the Atheist on March 26, 2019 at 6:56pm
Oh my goodness Joan, I read your last paragraph to my wife and we nearly coughed up a lung from the laughter. Well put.
Comment by Joan Denoo on March 26, 2019 at 6:47pm

Jeffrey, having friends because they accept you because you think as they seem to be a shallow friendship. How does one discuss life's experiences if the other listen only if you believe as they? Wanting to talk about complex matters requires the ability to explore different ideas.  An excellent exercise I learned in debate was to take the opposite side than mine.

Is there any such thing as a "strictly atheistic church?"

Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods.

I can visualiza people coming together on a regular basis to enjoy food, art, music, dance, theater, car racing, balloon flying, checkers, chess, gardening, or animal husbandry, but I can not see people gathering to reject the assertion that there are gods.

 

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 26, 2019 at 3:07pm

It is harder to find community as an Atheist. You might consider meeting those needs in other areas of life which don't insist on theism, to which theism is irrelevant, such as music, dance, climate activism, art, hiking, etc.

Comment by Jim the Atheist on March 26, 2019 at 10:56am
Is there anywhere online I can listen to you drum? I'm always looking for talented musicians since nowadays we can send files around the world to be mixed.

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