I was formerly a hard core, truly devoted, sincere believer.
Then “pop” … awareness, englightenment….and emptiness.
When your whole life is grounded in the belief in a supreme being, and you remove the premise of god and eternity. It changes your perspective. That’s a huge gap you’ve got all of a sudden.
It’s heartbreaking and depressing. I feel judged and misunderstood by practically all believers and “spiritual” people.
Where do I go from here?
What you’re feeling is understandable. When we live in a world that still believes in magic and hocus pocus, it’s hard not to feel estranged from the people around us. That can leave us feeling a bit lonely. My suggestion would be to find other like minded believers out there. Find a local meetup of atheists and share a drink or a meal with them. This will help you feel a lot less lonely and give you the oppertunity to meet some like minded people. They will also help to show you that life can and will go on, and that it doesn’t have to be all that depressing. You’re in control of your life, not some mystical mumbo jumbo bullshit. That’s a lot of power to have.
Think of it this way, if you were an eagle that spent it’s life believing it was a pig, when you discovered you could fly, would you stay in the pig pen or fly into the clouds ?
Question : For most of my life I’ve hidden that I’m atheist from my family and friends. The thing is: I feel embarrassed to be atheist. Is that normal?
Answer : Yes it is normal. When you live in an area thats heavily populated by theists, it’s understandable that one would feel some social and psychological pressures from that community. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, isolation, and even embarrassment when one is feeling judged or ridiculed.
Which is exactly how they want you to feel.
You see, one of the things about theism is that it creates an attitude of fear and mistrust. It teaches you that those that don’t believe the way you do should be shunned or proselytized . The embarrassment you are feeling is probably due to worrying about how others will perceive you, and consequently, whether or not they will accept you. Religion uses this to their advantage as a way of discouraging people from leaving the flock. It’s a method of control.
To combat this, find ways to build up your self esteem about your atheism. Try finding atheist meeting in your area. Join atheist chat rooms or message boards. A great atheist message board is The Atheist Network Find others who have gone through what you have, and gain comfort from shared experiences. As much as you may feel like it right now, you are not alone. This will help to build up your confidence and allow you to feel less embarrassed about your lack of belief.
Once you’ve built up your confidence, this will allow you to deal with your family and friends in a healthy manner. Try to be kind and understanding towards them and when they aren’t towards you, question them as to why. Show them that you being an atheist doesn’t make you less of a person. Show them that you can be more moral, more honest, and more understanding then they can towards you. Make them aware of your feelings and ask them to be understanding even if they can’t relate to your disbelief. They will find it much harder to judge you when they think that you hold yourself to a higher standard then they do themselves.
Remember, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. If you are a good person, then you are a good person no matter what your beliefs, or lack of beliefs are. Help them to focus on that aspect of yourself and do the same for them.
asktheatheist.com is dead, long live asktheatheist.com!
Welcome to the new site. The old Drupal-based site ground to a halt (like many such sites, apparently) so we’ve gone to WordPress.
Jake’s posted his old videos and I’ll be reposting my Great Big Arguments series (edit: it’s all up now), but the majority of the questions, answers and discussions went down with the old ship and we’re very sorry about that. You’re welcome to restate any of the old questions for us to answer anew. (This is of course your chance to rework or rephrase those questions, if for example you think we got you on a technicality last time.)
We look forward to receiving some questions by voice thanks to Google, and may answer in kind.