Struggles of being an Atheist.

Canieldonrad

Songster
6 Years
Apr 27, 2013
344
77
146
Dry Ridge, KY
Hopefully this thread will not become a problem. But I acknowledge, fully, that it may. I am not creating it in hopes of such an outcome. I would much rather this become a place where those of no religion can come to discuss their struggles in life. Struggles with rejection, misunderstanding, and the like. Personally I could probably write 20 pages worth of my experiences of being atheist. And I have only identified as such for about 3 years now. But I would like to get other non-religious'/atheist's views of life.


A little about myself

Personally I come from a family and culture of Non-denominational Christians. I attended Bible College, volunteered at a Summer camp for children and disabled, as well as went on several mission trips before identifying myself as an atheist about 3 years ago. My general response from people has been negative. Whether it be due to misunderstanding or what have you, its never ending. This is something I would like to get many view points from, as I really don't have a large community of people to talk with on the subject.

Many people, upon learning I am an Atheist, feel the need to be defensive around me. Constantly fearing that I will use the scripture in malicious ways to attack their beliefs. Or that I may try to "plant seeds of doubt." But to be honest I never have such things on my mind. Much like the way Christianity/Islam/Sikhism/Buddhism/Hinduism requires a sense of personal choice, I feel Atheism should be no different. The only difference between being in Atheist and "X Belief" is that I feel no obligation to convert others.

I would have to say my biggest struggle with being an atheist was when my father went through Chemo-Therapy and a Stem-Cell transplant. Not because I felt the need to return to the faith, but because people would accredit "God" for the medicines, methods and doctors. I don't like to fight back against others but this was something that cut deep. My father had a rare blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. I won't get into the specifics of how it functions but rather the way it is treated. One of the main drugs for treatment is something marketed under the name Revlimid. Revlimid is otherwise known as Lenalidomide, a derivative of Thalidomide. To really dig into the reason why it "cut deep," when people said "God gave those doctors the knowledge to create those medicines for your father," I questioned what they really knew about Lenalidomide and its predecessor Thalidomide. Thalidomide was used in the 1950's as a sleeping medication, as well as a morning sickness reliever. When I say "was used," that refers to it being removed from the market due to severe birth defects. Children of mother's using Thalidomide were born with underdeveloped body parts(the future reason the drug was used to create Lenalidomide and treat cancer). Every time someone told me that a God gave the doctors the knowledge to create this drug it dug down deep inside of me like a knife. It was though they were telling me "God made all of those babies deformed to spare your father a few more years."



Please, try not to turn this into a free-for-all bash.
 
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Cheeky Chick

Songster
7 Years
Apr 29, 2012
1,122
21
148
Long Island, NY
I think your post is a good one. I am a religious person, but that doesn't matter. I think whatever you believe or don't, is your decision, and I feel no obligation to try to make you anything you are not.

Kudos for you. As long as we can have respect for each other, there shouldn't be any problem.
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Chickerdoodle13

The truth is out there...
12 Years
Mar 5, 2007
6,820
402
331
Phoenix, AZ
I grew up traditional catholic, attended Sunday school until I was confirmed, then never quite returned after realizing science made a lot more sense for me and my beliefs about the way the world works. I've always hesitated to call myself an atheist, but that's probably closest to what I believe. I generally identify myself as "scientist" when asked my beliefs. I do think there are things out there that we can't explain, but I don't really think I believe it is a being of any sort.

I know how you feel regarding doctors and medicines. I've heard that phrase so many times. "So and so healed your parent/sibling/friend/etc" and it irks me because I feel as though it takes away from the talent of the medical professional. Of course sometimes things work better than expected, but that's just typical science. I don't see it as a miracle, but another anomaly that probably needs testing!

My immediate family accepts my beliefs, though they don't have the passion for science that I do. My brother is following in my beliefs (thanks in big part to his girlfriend who is very much a scientist!)

The rest of my extended family would probably say something if I officially identified as atheist but mostly I just don't bring it up. Many of my friends are quite religious with one group or another, but our friendships work because we are respectful of one another.

I also love seeing people transition from religious to atheist/science follower. Having gone through college and now about to start grad shool, I've seen it happen often to friends as their understanding of the world expands.
 

Habibs Hens

Cream Legbar Keeper
7 Years
Mar 31, 2012
3,084
129
213
London, UK
My Coop
My Coop
Kudos for being open and I can see in your post that you have emotional baggage that you need to let go and this is perfect for that

let it all out and have a shoulder to support you :)

I hope you do well in life and people understand you better in the future

I am my self religious but never dismiss other religions even though I firmly believe mine

I have many friends with different beliefs and feel everyone should be treated equally

keep your chin up and ignore the haters

and I wish you all the best in life
 

KristyHall

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 27, 2011
5,047
189
288
North Alabama
A nice post. It takes courage to stand up for one's beliefs and views.

My step father is going through Chemo, and he is increasingly ill, as the cancer has now spread to his brain. I have an odd view of things, and one thing that upsets me is when someone said " well it was meant to be " or "god led it this way so.." no. I am not athiest but I have an issue with the meant to be comments. To me that means our free well is negated. Though I did like how my mother put it. She believes it isn't so much anything leads us anywhere, just that sometimes forces we don't understand meddle. I like the term, meddling. It cracks me up.

Still people try to comfort, and you try and make sense of your life, and sometimes well meaning intentions just drive you crazy. It is also their own way of making sense of their lives. You have gone through a hard time, and it is good you have been able to use the struggle as a way to relfect. It does not make the agony any less painful, but finding reason in the strangeness that is our existence can be a good tool in coping.

I myself have actually found myself returning to the faiths I was raised in. When my mother became very ill, Is topped singing, which is a form of prayer for me.
This past year I have started singing again, and it brings me comfort.

I guess we all just grieve and suffer in our own way. Let's just hope everyone sharing experiences as you have yours, can bring comfort to oneself and to others in the knowledge that we are not alone in this human experience and what ever drives us... or doesn't.

I hope this made sense. I'm short on sleep.
 

debilorrah

The Great Guru of Yap
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
39,693
138
423
The Carpal Tunnel Rehab Center
A personal observation here, and I may be way off base. You have been disappointed. You were raised to believe that God would help those in need. You have been angry with the results that the medical profession has offered for a loved one. I suspect that you are in a time of limbo these days, not really sure WHAT to believe in. I get this from your post.

I am Christian, I am not in the business of judging. God is. My husband was just cleared of any further growths of malignant melanoma, and he has stage IV emphysema, coronary artery disease and an enlarged heart. Strong man? Good God? I make my choice. You will make yours. I really feel heartbroken over your post, about your dad. It is so very hard to see someone we love suffer so.

And science is NOT anti-religious, it just makes for a great argument with extremists
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Canieldonrad

Songster
6 Years
Apr 27, 2013
344
77
146
Dry Ridge, KY
I began identifying as atheist before my father was sick. To me its not a lack of evidence in a god, or an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence against a greater being. I just simply got to a point where I told myself, "this is probably not how things are."

As far as scientific proof against a god goes I will attempt to explain my view. Growing up in the church, attending a college where I studied youth ministry there was always one thing that was pushed, faith. Faith is the full trust in something uncertain or unable to provide proof. In a sense everyone, christians included, should(they may not,but should) accept evidence provided by science. When concrete evidence is provided, and accepted, a faith against it can be present. With out solid proof faith has no solid ground. I was always a scientificperson, I accepted evolution, old earth and the absence of a creator. But despite the fact that I believed those I, for a time, also had faith in a young earth with a creator.
 
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Spookwriter

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
4,421
633
271
Ohio
Faith it to believe without proof.
Without question.

Faith.

Science is based not on faith, but on PROOF.



If we were forced to live in a world where we had to have proof
of everything, what a sad world it would be.

But neither would I desire a world where all things were based
on faith.

Faith has been a part of my life in a lot a of ways. Have I ever seen
this God I believe in? No. But then I guess that would defeat the
very purpose of faith.

But this faith...was it not faith when I asked my wife to marry? For
I could not see the future.

And faith has brought me this far.

In this thing called life, I've seen some highs and I've seen some
lows. And yes, along the way my faith has been surely tried. My
faith in God, my faith in my marriage...faith in all that I hold to be
true.

Proof...yes, I've lived my life with proof of many things. To do other
wise would be foolish.

But faith and proof aren't the same.

Like Debilorrah, I see the pain in your post. To lose someone you
love is something you'll never get over. You may someday get beyond
it, but you will never get over it.

Doctors can do all they can do. But in the end they are only human.
And death as sad, as painful and hard as it is, is a reality that science
can not stop.

With all that I am, I'm sorry about your father. I buried my own father
in December. And I know it hurts. But death--not even death itself--
can stop my dad from being my dad. For he will live in my heart until
my own heart stops beating.

Spook...
 

danagasta

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 8, 2012
16
3
24
West Haven, CT
It's just part of the culture where you live, Canieldonrad. I grew up in eastern TN, it's much the same way. People will treat you differently if you vary in any single way from the norm, which they see as the right way to live. It's deeply ingrained, so much so that I doubt one person can change anything there. That's why I left.
 

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