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My journey to atheism
#1
My journey to atheism
So, just joined and what not. Thought I'd start with a little bit about how I've ended up here!

I live in the UK but my family, who all also live here, are all Irish Catholics. My maternal Nan, the family matriarch, and Grandad are (or were, my Grandad died last year) very devout. My Mum was very involved in the Church when I was young and me and my brother were altar servers, in the choir, etc. My Dad went through the motions but to this day I do not know how much he does or doesn't believe it. My large extended family, to whom I am very close, are all Catholics and practicing.

Catholicism has never sat right with me. I looked at what I was told in Church and saw in the Bible and looked at what my education was teaching me in science and history and the two quite obviously did not match. Something had to be wrong. Studying history, which I love, was especially enlightening in terms of the development of the Church as an institution and I realised it had never been The Authority where faith was concerned.

I particularly found some of the moral stances of Catholicism increasingly hard to swallow. The rejection of gay relationships and abortion really sat badly with me and I found myself less and less able to brush it off as horrendous stories of child abuse, etc, were coming out. My husband is atheist too so I think his ideas, while not pushed on me in any way, were influential.

I think I moved away from Catholicism in my mind quite some time ago. I still clung to the social institutions of marriage and baptism for my children because I really didn't know what else to do and my family would have been devastated. It took me a lot longer to make the leap away from the idea of God entirely.

I always thought that I was only superficially attached to religion until I admited to myself that I didn't believe in God. I was really affected by the realisation when it came and fell into a depression. I felt crushed under the weight of understanding that death was final, there was no afterlife, no happy ending. I didn't understand what the point of life was and everything seemed really bleak. It sounds very melodramatic writing it down but it's true!

I threw myself into reading philosophy, atheist writers, everything I could. Eventually, I think I accepted what I knew to be true and was able to get to grips with it. The after-effect was a feeling of great liberation. Being atheist feels so much nicer than being religious - it's something I am proud of rather than being a bit embarrased about, which is how I felt about being Catholic.

The problem of my family remains. My Nan, who is like a second Mum to me and 76, is so proud of the fact that I was married in Church and my kids are baptised. She would be beyond horrified if I told her I was atheist. My Mum, although fallen away from the Church herself, still believes all the theology and is very inflexible in her views. So I keep it to myself. Nobody asks me if I go to Church on Sunday and I'm not particularly interested in converting them so I say nothing.

I feel very angry towards religion right now. I feel like it's all been a huge lie and I was being fooled for a long time. I hope I'll be able to process that and move on from it in time
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#2
RE: My journey to atheism
This part of the forum is actually one of my quiet favorites. I like to read these little windows into peoples lives. Helps me to experience something vicariously I suppose. Thanks for sharing.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#3
RE: My journey to atheism
My situation was similar, but differed in that I had some aunts and uncles that left Catholicism; albeit, for some other form of Christianity. Mine was the first professed atheism. My maternal grandmother was about the same age as your Nan when I told her, we were also quite close. To my surprise she said she had always suspected. She lived almost another twenty years and our relationship only grew stronger. I can't say the same for others.

Be prepared for relationships to change, this isn't always bad. I fear in your situation that you'll eventually have to break silence on the matter as your boys grow. I'm not sure how I would handle the years of CCD leading to confirmation and the like. The religious education via CCD wouldn't be bad, but managing the indoctrination aspect while concealing your atheism with the entire family may become burdensome.

Good luck. I'll be here cheering you on.
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#4
RE: My journey to atheism
Thanks for sharing! I'm sure as time goes by, you'll figure out how to deal with the family/kid issues. A lot of us have religious families, some share their lack of belief, others don't. You'll figure out what works for you.
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#5
RE: My journey to atheism
(November 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm)cato123 Wrote: I'm not sure how I would handle the years of CCD leading to confirmation and the like. The religious education via CCD wouldn't be bad, but managing the indoctrination aspect while concealing your atheism with the entire family may become burdensome.

What is CCD?

I keep saying family in all this when I suppose I really mean my Nan. My aunts and uncles, whilst religious themselves, would not force the issue on me at all. I was always very clear that my kids would be baptised but it would go no further unless they wanted to proceed themselves. That was for no other reason than that my husband is atheist and also has a say in the kids' upbringing. I know my Nan will agitate for the kids to do First Communion, etc, but it's not going to happen.

It also helps that the nearest Catholic school is far away so I'm not expected to send them there either. Even as someone whose entire young education was in Catholic ones, I really HATE faith schools and would happily abolish the lot of them.
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#6
RE: My journey to atheism
Is it Catholic Christian Doctrine?

Typically, CCD stands for Charge-Coupled Device, a kind of light sensor made of silicon.
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#7
RE: My journey to atheism
My son was recently baptized, and I agreed to do it out respect of my wife's wishes(I think a big part of her reason for doing it was to please her family). It's simply a harmless little ritual with magic water and useless incantations, so I had no problem bending on that issue. I would fight to the death, however, if it were ever suggested that he be put in a religious school. Thankfully, my wife would never suggest such a henious idea.

And fuck the Catholic church. I would gladly tea-bag the pope if given the opportunity.
Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own - Bertrand Russell
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#8
RE: My journey to atheism
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
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#9
RE: My journey to atheism
Welcome

Sorry to post in an OLD thread that I missed the first time, I can't help myself responding to some of your points. I agree largely FYI.

Cool Shades

(November 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm)squitten Wrote: Catholicism has never sat right with me. I looked at what I was told in Church and saw in the Bible and looked at what my education was teaching me in science and history and the two quite obviously did not match. Something had to be wrong. Studying history, which I love, was especially enlightening in terms of the development of the Church as an institution and I realised it had never been The Authority where faith was concerned.
Yes, we protestants can't even agree upon when exactly the RCC as we know it began. What we do agree on is that matters of faith and of scripture are not determined by "councils".
Quote:I particularly found some of the moral stances of Catholicism increasingly hard to swallow. The rejection of gay relationships and abortion really sat badly with me and I found myself less and less able to brush it off as horrendous stories of child abuse, etc, were coming out. My husband is atheist too so I think his ideas, while not pushed on me in any way, were influential.
If Christians did not disagree with society on important issues, then we wouldn't be needed in the first place.
Quote:I feel very angry towards religion right now. I feel like it's all been a huge lie and I was being fooled for a long time. I hope I'll be able to process that and move on from it in time
Well the RCC is a lie, and I get very angry at it for how it "represents" Xianity.
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#10
RE: My journey to atheism
(December 31, 2012 at 8:48 am)Aractus Wrote: If Christians did not disagree with society on important issues, then we wouldn't be needed in the first place.

You know, you are so right Dan!

Christians really are not needed Cool Shades
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