Quantcast

«

»

Apr 24 2012

Why I am an atheist – Loren Lemos

The answer to that is not particularly interesting: Gods are impossible by definition. Any being constrained by natural laws can’t rightly be called a god, and any being unconstrained by natural laws can’t exist. Q.E.D. However, I would like to share the story of how I became an atheist.

I was baptized as a Catholic before I was two weeks old. I was sprinkled with water blessed by an ordained priest and was anointed with oil on my forehead, thus giving me a shield against Satan’s evil. I grew up a very trusting and very shy little boy, entranced by the power and authority of the priests who spoke so definitively. God was all-powerful. When I became sick, I wondered what I had done to deserve influenza or an ear infection, and prayed my apologies every night as I fell asleep. I knew that piety and devotion were the way to be good, and I only wanted to be good.

When I was a little older, I heard a priest speaking his homily in my grandmother’s impressive church in Hacienda Heights. He said that we were all called to be saints, and this seemed conclusive and sensible. There was no reason to strive for anything less. God abhorred sin of all kinds, and He only ever gave us good things. To sin at all was an unwarranted failing, and He noted all of them in His perfection. To be Christian meant to be like Christ, and the Prince of Peace was a sinless human being.

You may here divine my coming troubles.

I began to leave all my allowance in the collection plate every Sunday, and I examined my conscience studiously. When I learned how to give a proper confession, I sought out priests to unburden my soul, and left every time with a light heart. But that light heart never lasted. I couldn’t seem to refrain from spite, from jealousy, and as I aged, especially from lust. I began to change, to see the world beyond my family, school, and church, and I was pained by what I saw. The world was full of greed, poverty, and hatred, and I myself couldn’t stop desiring the bodies of the women and girls I saw. That dream of piety began to fade with my awakening, and I became desperate to reclaim it. I prayed the Act of Contrition with all the focus I could summon, even as I witnessed the words “I will sin no more” become shamefully fake. I cashed all my birthday checks and bought cans of vegetables for an Easter food drive. I kept a Rosary in my pocket and prayed while riding to school and while waiting for friends. When I was sixteen, I cut down a fifty-pound cottonwood log and carried it across my shoulders while I performed the Stations of the Cross, a series of fifteen prayers commemorating Jesus’ march to Cavalry and His Resurrection, in an attempt to understand the Sacrifice which redeemed the world.

But I was still a sinner.

I believed absolutely, but I knew that I would never be able to joyfully proclaim that I was following the true Will of God. I could be forgiven, but I could never master my sinfulness. I would always choose to stain the perfection of God’s Kingdom. There was only one conclusion: there was something wrong with me. I was too weak to follow or too stupid to understand and I was always too undisciplined. I begged for wisdom, strength, and courage every night. I confessed my shame to middle-aged priests at my high school, stumbling over the words “sexual sins” every single time. Masturbation was never followed by a simple contented sigh, but by anger and humiliation. At certain times afterward I was so furious and ashamed I took all the strength I had and cracked myself in the jaw with a closed fist, desperate for a bolt of pain sharp enough to sever my need for sexual release. I literally tried to beat myself into compliance with the dogma of Holy Mother Church.

It never worked.

Around this time, my appetite for books led me to the Kurt Vonnegut works in my high school library. In the middle of that despicable Catholic institution, a few cheap paperbacks were my first step on the way out. In one of his major novels, he described a tenet of morality: do what is good because it is good, not because you desire reward or fear punishment. There was something attractive about that sentiment. I came to understand that
it was self-contained. This was a method of being good which did not rely on a complicated world of obscurely interdependent prophesies and fulfillments. I liked it.

As I contemplated this idea, my Catholic faith continued to wear me down. The golden land of my youth had become a twisted carnival of guilt. Every week, I sat before a man who continually bled to death in an unappreciated attempt to save people who hated Him. I hated Him, and He died because of me. I could do nothing in His churches but apologize. His hands began to look like pointing fingers. I was looking for a way out and this was my weakness trying to please Him. I was miserable. I don’t know when, but some day I said “I refuse to be ashamed”.

This repeated in my head, almost unbidden. “I refuse to be ashamed.” I was tired. I was exhausted. I had tried with all the strength I had for my entire life and I never won. How do you have a relationship with a Savior who is perfect? You can do nothing for Him but fail to meet the goals He sets. I was tired of missing a bar which He in His fucking perfect Arrogance had set too God-damned high. I went to Mass less and less. One day, I never went back. I don’t even remember the last time.

I still had a confused ball of spiritual beliefs inside me. I believed in love, in the unity of people, in a God who could be found through the discipline of any and all religions. I divested myself of the shameful parts of my Catholicism, but still sought God. As I worked through this, a dear friend of mine who had been raised in Protestant churches explained to me that she no longer believed in any god. I respected her viewpoint but couldn’t abandon the idea of a being who was central to all of existence. Then one day she emailed me a copy of The God Delusion and insisted that I read it. I was bored at work, so I did. Then I read it a second time. Later that week, I told her these words: “There’s probably no god”. She was right.

There is still so much anger inside me. I hurt, and wept, and injured myself while I was a child. I contorted myself into an alien shape to please a master who never existed, because I believed. Do you
understand? I believed what they told me. That was all I ever did. I tried so hard to be the person they wanted me to be and never blamed anyone else for my own shameful failing. I only blamed myself.

The Church taught me to hate myself.

I have no professional training in this area, but I believe there
are strong commonalities with the experiences of people who were abused emotionally as children. I cling to the rational arguments of Dawkins and Sagan and P.Z. himself like life preservers when I feel overwhelmed. I worry if I am obsessing over my church experiences too much. Sometimes I think it was all my fault for taking the church teachings too seriously; if I had only lightened the fuck up maybe I wouldn’t have been such a little bitch for so long. I still can’t talk about my worst experiences without crying, and I bring them up way too often when I’m drunk. I worry that my friends would feel contempt for me if they knew how I can’t seem to heal.

When I hear people say religion does no harm, I want to punch them in the fucking mouth.

Loren Lemos
United States

50 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Nick Gotts

    any being unconstrained by natural laws can’t exist

    How do you think you know that?

  2. 2
    Pteryxx

    It’s definitely emotional abuse. I used to punish myself for making mistakes on homework, to the point of whipping, for much the same reason: anything less than perfection deserves punishment. That’s what they told me, and I believed it, too.

  3. 3
    crystalsinger

    Really KG? That’s your one take-away from Loren’s post? Wow.

    Loren, glad you escaped. Sad to hear it was so traumatic for you. Hope you find comfort in Sagan et. al. ((((hugs))))

  4. 4
    direlobo

    “How do you think you know that?”

    Because he can comprehend the written word. Is that something you are having trouble with?

  5. 5
    john

    It seems a rather silly argument. Any God with the power to create the Universe could likely define what laws it had, much as I define what laws operate in universes I create on my computer. To claim I must operate by the same laws that my flight simulator uses is clearly absurd.

    In short, the argument is a fallacy because it assumes God is part of God’s own creation. I’m surprised the writer failed to disabuse himself of that notion before he or she had finished writing about it.

  6. 6
    john

    I’m sorry; what I wrote was rude. Recovery from the emotional trauma of “sexual shame” is just as valid as process as logical examination of religious arguments, as I ought to know. That the writer has clearly emphasized the former is not grounds for ridicule.

  7. 7
    John Hinkle

    KG and john

    any being unconstrained by natural laws can’t exist

    How do you think you know that?

    It’s not too difficult if you engage the gray matter. Anything “outside” of the natural universe is undefined. To say that something exists in <undefined> is incoherent, incomprehensible. To say that something exists in <undefined> and created the universe is <what are you smoking?>.

    Oh and john, you and your computer are entities in the natural universe, with known characteristics and attributes. To compare your ability to create something and remain unconstrained by its rules with some unknown entity existing in <undefined> is analogy fail.

  8. 8
    consciousness razor

    Any being constrained by natural laws can’t rightly be called a god, and any being unconstrained by natural laws can’t exist. Q.E.D. B.S.

    Fixed.

    Sorry your deconversion was so painful.

  9. 9
    hexidecima

    I’m glad you’ve gotten out, Loren. Nothing wrong with you for believing at all. You trusted people you had reason to trust but they abused it, either intentionally or unintentionally. I can recall being sure I must be fated to be the “anti-christ” since I “obviously” wasn’t a good person per my nasty religion. Now I just laugh at such idiocy on my part but when I was feeling sure of such things, it was horrible.

    oh, and KG? As soon as you can show evidence of any being that exists not constrained by natural laws, well, you just tell us. Since none have been noted in the millenia that humans have been around, poor magical being must be hiding under a rock on Zeta Reticuli IV somewhere.

  10. 10
    echidna

    It’s going to take a long time to come to terms with the harm done by the RCC, Loren, let alone get over it. You managed to pull yourself out of it with the thought that you refuse to be ashamed. Keep that thought uppermost: it is not your fault that you believed people that you trusted.

    The RCC operates by instilling guilt; and feeling guilty for not being perfect is going to be a hard habit to break. But it’s only a habit, and habits can be displaced by new habits. Give yourself time, and dismiss any thoughts that threaten to pull you down. It might help to actively work against the church: supporting good causes that the church undermines, or campaigning against the tax exemptions that religious institutions automatically receive.

    Good luck from an ex-fully-believing-Catholic.

  11. 11
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Loren Lemos, your essay was immensely powerful. I am sad that your escape from religion has cost you so much. ITA agree with you about the similarities between the emotional abuse of a religious childhood and other types of abuse. Your anger is justified, and I hope you can find positive ways to channel it. I hope you feel free, joyful and restored to emotional health soon.

  12. 12
    echidna

    Hexidecima,
    you have misunderstood KG entirely. KG, if I understand him correctly, is suggesting that the argument that Loren uses is not soundly based, not that the conclusion is wrong.

  13. 13
    Tay

    I still remember how they used to brainwash and terrify children in the Baptist church when I was growing up. I can’t help but hear the words to that awful film and terrible song (“I wish we’d all been ready” – From the movie A Theif in the Night) when I read stories like Loren’s, the fear of waking up alone kept me awake at night, no one should let children watch such horrifying crap it’s child abuse. Then there’s VBS, horrid-happy-horseshit-brainwash week! The way they draw kids into their web is reprehensible, ice cream socials, arts and crafts, sing alongs, hayrides, now it’s skateboarding, freestyle and death metal made over into sick, perverted Christ metal.

    It’s all very intense for a child, terrifying and at the same time they make learning about their zombie god so much fun with cutsie songs complete with their own ‘gang signs’ like the one where you use your hands to form a church and a steeple, then open the door and see all the people. It’s quite disgusting and for those who fail to see how one indoctrinated into this madness could still struggle with perceptions after being introduced late in life to ‘other’ viewpoints, all I can say to you, is I guess you had to be there. So glad you made it out somewhat intact Loren! *hugs*

  14. 14
    fullyladenswallow

    I have no professional training in this area, but I believe there
    are strong commonalities with the experiences of people who were abused emotionally as children.

    Yes! I can really relate to this. Catholic teaching and emotional (and even physical) abuse seem to dovetail in the ugliest of ways. I recall (unfortunately) being severely beaten by my mother for trading “blue” jokes with a neighbor kid (the little stoolie). According to her, I deserved such a beating since my elder brother was away studying for the priesthood. After all, what would the neighbors think? I’m sure in some twisted way that she was also wanting to save my mortal soul. It’s a wonder that we turn out as functional humans beings as we do.

  15. 15
    tgriehl

    @hexidecima

    Ummm, the magical being is clearly on Omicron Persei VIII. I hope you burn, infidel!

    “When I hear people say religion does no harm, I want to punch them in the fucking mouth.”

    I have the same problem.

  16. 16
    fullyladenswallow

    Sorry, that should have read “immortal soul”

  17. 17
    eddyline

    Yes, they do have professional training in child abuse; it’s just not formalized as “training”. It’s more vocational, teaching by example, if you will: CCD, Jesuit school, the seminary, et cetera.

    Glad you got out, Loren. One thing to realize: it’s sometimes easier to break free of indoctrination if you practice it completely. That’s one way to come to understand that it makes no sense.

  18. 18
    Thomas Lawson

    One of the best! Thank you for sharing, Loren.

  19. 19
    jeannieinpa

    Loren, this was a powerful essay.

    I have often wondered how thinking adults can continue to believe in gods. I am starting to believe that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who reflect and take life seriously, and those who accept without much thinking.

    Loren, I think you and I are members of the “too serious” group.

  20. 20
    Nick Gotts

    Anything “outside” of the natural universe is undefined. To say that something exists in is incoherent, incomprehensible. To say that something exists in and created the universe is . – John Hinkle

    I think you needed to engage the gray matter a little more critically, John.

    1) What do you mean by “the natural universe”? If you mean the spacetime continuum in which we find ourselves, quite a few physicists would disagree with you. If you mean something else, you need to specify what you meant.
    2) What is your argument for saying that saying something exists outside the natural universe is incomprehensible, when you’ve clearly comprehended it in order to make that judgement?
    3) Suppose we exist in a simulation. Then the “laws” of our “spacetime continuum” are just software in the universe within which the simulation has been constructed. The programmer could use a run-time interrupt to do things that are not in accordance with those laws. Unless you can show that there is somethnig conceptually incoherent about this supposition, its coherence shows that you are wrong.

  21. 21
    generallerong

    Little kid just wants to be good and happy doing the right things…and look what Catholicism did to him.

    So I have no problem not believing in some sappy Heaven, but justice served by Hell certainly is an appealing fantasy.

    So, how do we provide justice in the here and now for those who’ve been abused like Loren? Maybe it’s time to start de-funding religious institutions and stop giving them a free pass on property and income taxes?

  22. 22
    alkaloid

    @KG, #20

    3) Suppose we exist in a simulation. Then the “laws” of our “spacetime continuum” are just software in the universe within which the simulation has been constructed. The programmer could use a run-time interrupt to do things that are not in accordance with those laws. Unless you can show that there is somethnig conceptually incoherent about this supposition, its coherence shows that you are wrong.

    When would this ever be the most parsimonious explanation for an observed phenomenon, though?

  23. 23
    Matt G

    A very powerful story, Loren – thanks for sharing it, and welcome to the fresh air of reason!

  24. 24
    otrame

    KG:

    You read that story of human misery, of terrible pain, and all you can think of is to argue about a philosophical argument?

    Loren:

    You have shown us, in powerful detail, some of the damage religion does. Now consider the complete lack of empathy shown by KG. As bad as your religious experience was, you at least escaped that. You did not lose your human ability to feel pain for another. You did not let your shame and fear turn you into a fucking robot.

    And Loren, I know that you are still suffering, and still need to work through a lot of anger. But remember this: no matter how bad the trauma, at some point, you have to choose to get over it. Getting over it isn’t easy or simple, but it is a choice, an active choice, and if you never make that choice, you spend the rest of your life a victim.

    You don’t have to let go of the anger, but do remember that everyone who vomited this evil ideology on you had it foisted on them as vulnerable children as well. This does not exculpate them, not at all, but I find it helps to remember that they were victims too. You had the courage, in the face of that indoctrination, to say “I will not be ashamed”. Feel sorry for them because they never had that courage.

    I recommend reading Greta Christina’s “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”. She talks about the anger, but also talks about ways to channel that anger into a force to make the world a better place.

  25. 25
    ramaus

    Isn’t it sad that PTSD can result from a common childhood (bad) experience. You are not alone. It gets better, especially after writing about the experience. You are among supporters.

  26. 26
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    KG, kindly fuck off. Fuck off with more kindness than you showed Loren.

    Loren, I am the son of a minister, who chanted verses in front of the congregation at four years old, who performed for visitor at our home, showing off my knowledge of Bible stories. I’m 54 years old now, and though I acknowledged by atheism at 12, the tropes of guilt and self-loathing have never gone away completely. I have to remain aware and watchful of my sometimes-screwed-up thought processes so I do not fall into a spiral of self-hatred.

    You’ll have to watch yourself the rest of your life; the upside is that, by watching yourself, I am sure that you will make many better choices in your life than you would have.

    I stay away from overtly religious people for the same reason you do: being imperfect, I might just punch someone in the face someday.

  27. 27
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is indeed a form of abuse passed down for generations. I hope that you find a way to detoxify it and let it fade into your past history.

  28. 28
    Nick Gotts

    Loren Lemos,

    I apologise: I didn’t actually read your whole post before commenting, and shouldn’t have picked on a purely philosophical point without doing so – if I had read it all, I would not have been so insensitive. Otrame and hairhead, thanks for pointing out my wrongdoing; I’ll try not to do anything similar again.

  29. 29
    loreo

    Thanks for reading, everybody! I know this was rather lengthy. And special thanks to PZ for granting space on his fantastic blog to his readers.

    It’s been months since I wrote this, and I do generally feel better about my experiences than I’ve expressed here.

    I think that experiences like mine are why truth is so important, and why having a useful method for discovering truth is so important. No matter how beautiful you think your fictional cosmology is, how just you think your fictional morality is, they turn into worthless rot when it’s discovered that they don’t actually jive with the real world.

    As for the hairsplitting philosophical arguments, they didn’t make me too mad. This is Pharyngula, somebody’s going to jump on any argument; I expected that. I admit that it’s possible some being external to the universe can meddle with it, much in the same way that it’s possible the whole planet is made of Hershey’s milk chocolate, but nobody’s noticed. Technically possible – but only just, and not worthy of serious thought.

    Thanks again!

  30. 30
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    Glad you’re feeling better, Loren. If it gets to you again, hopefully you are able to talk to someone about it. Also there’s a group called Recovering from Religion.

    http://recoveringfromreligion.org

  31. 31
    barbyau

    Wow. That is incredibly powerful. You speak to the kind of torment that religion applies to its followers that cause them to lash out at women and gays, somehow hoping to alleviate that pain and to cleanse themselves. It’s frightening and terrible to do to children.

    Lately I’ve been thinking about all my “good Christian” friends. All the people who understand the terrible things Christianity can do and does do in this world, but won’t leave because it helps them. I’ve started thinking of that as metaphysical libertarianism. If it helps them, they don’t mind privatizing the benefits and socializing the costs. Not their problem, no matter how sympathetic they are to my cause as a gay person. Just not their problem. They can’t leave, because they MUST stay with their church or they will be tormented for eternity. My suffering in the only life we KNOW we have is a small price to pay for their eternal salvation.

  32. 32
    Richard Smith

    @Hairhead (#26):

    Loren, I am the son of a minister…

    I’m sure there’s at least one study out there on the percentage of children of religious leaders who leave that faith (either changing religions or, more importantly, leaving religion altogether). While I can’t speak for either of my brothers, I certainly pretty much lost my last vestige of religion right after my confirmation. My father was a United Church minister, which means that we already weren’t the strictest of religious families*. It’s hard for me to imagine myself in the sort of environment stricter sects such as the RCC impose upon its followers. Stories like Loren`s do not inspire me to follow such a thought experiment very far at all.

    *I always found it funny when other kids at school found out I was a minister`s son and sympathized that it must be terrible not being able to swear or anything; they`d never been in the car with my father in bad traffic..!

  33. 33
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    While I was growing up, several summer vacations were spent at Camp Kelowna, where my father was the camp manager. We had various groups of Christian children in for two weeks at a time.

    The WORST, most MISBEHAVING children were — the camps made up of minister’s kids!

  34. 34
    saguhh00

    The laws of nature that control the Universe are part of it. Anything that is beyond the natural, such as the supernatural, can only exist beyond the Universe. Since that which is beyond the Universe is unknowable, no one can claim to know that there is something beyond the Universe.

    This is one of the best “Why I am an atheist” I’ve read recently. Religions and cults like Scientology are specialists at making people feel guilty, then offering comfort for the feelings of guilt that the institution itself instilled in the person. This way they can make the person feel vulnerable and abject, but also dependent on them for comfort.

    A perfect illustration of the damage and misery these tactics cause.

    You’re a very strong person to have gone through all that. I hope you will feel better here at Pharyngula, Loren.

    One more thing, I’ve noticed that if you replace the word “God” in a Christian’s speech for a term like “the biblical deity YHWH”, they suddenly start to sound really foolish. When Atheists talk about “God”, I’ve realized, they are talking about a general Supreme Being, while Christians are only talking about the biblical deity YHWH.
    This makes debates a bit confusing.

  35. 35
    Christoph Burschka

    Cavalry

    This is a pointless nitpick, but that story doesn’t involve any horses whatsoever. :P

  36. 36
    allincottrell

    PZ, could you spare us the “Why I am an atheist” spots? No offence at all intended to the contributors, all very admirable, but I’m afraid these posts in general are fundamentally uninteresting.

    I could write one myself, but although I count myself quite a good writer I’m not sure why anyone else would want to read what I have to say on this score. I mean, why would any thinking person in the 21st century NOT be an atheist?

    Much more interesting are your acerbic comments on benighted god-folk and their stupid doings. One has the impression that the “Why I am an atheist” entries are a sort of filler, but I find it hard to believe that you don’t have plenty to say without requiring filler material.

  37. 37
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    allincottrell: the responses to this post are heartfelt and supportive to a person still suffering from the imposition of an unreasonable and vicious religion when he was a child. Many of us, though now atheists, still suffer as well. Such testimonies, and the responses to them, are therapeutic — healing, if you will.

    So you can take your preference, leave the posts and responses unread, and fuck off.

  38. 38
    PZ Myers

    Some people like them very much. They also do a good job pointing out the different reasons many people are atheists.

    If you don’t like them, don’t read them. It’s not hard.

  39. 39
    Inaji

    allincottrell:

    PZ, could you spare us the “Why I am an atheist” spots? No offence at all intended to the contributors, all very admirable, but I’m afraid these posts in general are fundamentally uninteresting.

    Who do you think you are, Cupcake? What you find uninteresting is fundamentally uninteresting to us. You aren’t a regular commenter here, you don’t contribute, so feel free to read what you like and ignore what you don’t. Also, feel free to Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

    This blog isn’t all about you, Sugar. The internet isn’t all about you. Nothing is all about you.

    Go and start your own blog so you can conduct your little whinefests in private, rather than boring us.

  40. 40
    loreo

    “I mean, why would any thinking person in the 21st century NOT be an atheist?”

    Billions of them are. They dominate human culture at this moment. People all over this planet are suffering and dying because of fairy tales!

    This question of yours isn’t just rhetorical. It deserves a real answer.

  41. 41
    Catnip, Misogynist Troglodyte called Bruce

    fundamentally uninteresting

    I don’t even….

    FWIW I like the WIAAA posts.

  42. 42
    chigau (違う)

    these posts in general are fundamentally uninteresting

    “The food here is really bad!”
    “And the portions are so small!”

  43. 43
    Azuma Hazuki

    Loren, um…wow. Just, wow. You have taken the crown from me of “most screwed up by a Catholic upbringing” :( *hugs*

    You’ve been very brave, and I’m glad to hear your deconversion is complete. As stated upthread, you’ll need to watch for the rest of your life not to fall back into this. Hopefully you aren’t as OCD and panicky as I am and don’t subject yourself to years of jittery research, but at the same time it may do you a lot of good to read Bart Ehrman’s books and study some atheological logic.

    You’ve got a support network here. It may be only online but we’ll do what we can for you. Don’t let the bastards win, okay? You deserve so much better than that.

  44. 44
    Watt

    I don’t know what it is, but hardly anyone seems to want to talk about religious indoctrination on a personal level like this. They just don’t have the patience for it, or the stomach, or maybe most people simply don’t have any idea where you’re coming from. I don’t know why that is, and I don’t know what there is to not understand about something written this clearly. I also don’t know what it’s like to *not* be profoundly disappointed by the whole spectacle in a sort of personal way… a lot of people just seem to be angry about the politically active manifestations of fundamentalism and don’t care about the personal experience anyone has with being raised in the faith.

    As you can see, even a lot of atheists are sort of annoyed to see anyone talking about the experience of losing faith. I don’t know why that is, unless maybe most atheists never had to go through deconversion and alienation and all that.

    I don’t think it’s silly to get hung up on it, but there’s only so much of that you can do. Ultimately, you win by doing other stuff and building something else totally apart from all of that, but it’s a bit disorienting to have the rug pulled out with nothing there to replace it. The fact is that almost nobody is ever going to care about your deconversion and the baggage that comes with it. Though I guess to be fair, hardly anyone really cares about anyone’s baggage of any type.

  45. 45
    Catnip, Misogynist Troglodyte called Bruce

    The fact is that almost nobody is ever going to care about your deconversion and the baggage that comes with it. Though I guess to be fair, hardly anyone really cares about anyone’s baggage of any type.

    Not so sure this is the case. I have met many people about whom I care, including the deconversion baggage. Doesn’t mean I can necessarily do anything directly for them. In most cases, it’s about letting people know they are not alone or ignored. Also, don’t forget that everybody carries their own baggage. Makes it hard to be carrying others baggage fo them. Not the same as not caring.

  46. 46
    Watt

    45 – Maybe my experience is different, then. Pretty much no one really wants to hear about it, or they have their own unexplained reasons for not wanting to blame religion for what it does. Pretty much the last thing anyone ever wants to do is acknowledge that religion had anything to do with anything.

    The idea that it’s difficult to rebuild a new foundation from scratch in your 20s or later is totally lost on a lot of people, often shrugged off as “you don’t believe in god, so what does it matter to you?”

  47. 47
    The Swordfish, Ambulatory Memory Leak

    Wow.

    I’ve been jaded enough by the constant stream of horrors pouring out of human civilization that I’m not easily moved to tears these days.

    This brought tears to my eyes.

    Loren, you are an incredibly skilled writer. I hope you keep telling your story. More people need to hear it, and those of so many others like you.

    And thank you for writing it. It’s always good to be reminded what we’re fighting for.

    *hugs*

    Chigau:

    these posts in general are fundamentally uninteresting

    “The food here is really bad!”
    “And the portions are so small!”

    Your timely snark may well save saved me from an aneurysm at the hands of that self-centered lackwit. I thank you. :þ

  48. 48
    Azuma Hazuki

    I’ve never seen one of these quite so well-written before. It’s rare for someone to be able to put their hearts on paper so well. Sadly, I think if any of the people who needed to see this could see it (pastors, priests, the general rash of fundie assholes sinking this country slowly…) they’d just cluck their tongues and say it’s a shame one more person is headed for the lake of flames.

  49. 49
    John Morales

    Good on ya, Loren!

    [meta]

    The more posts in this category, the better, IMO.

  50. 50
    davros

    Loren, thanks for sharing. You’ve shown a lot of character to break free from the cult. That is an achievement you can be proud of.

Comments have been disabled.