Image by Cayusa via FlickrI’d like to start out by saying that I enjoy this community. I find it reassuring that there are other people like me who have grown tired of defying their own common sense with Christianity, and have decided to pursue something more logical (whether unto themselves or otherwise).
I, personally, have found myself to be in the ballpark de facto atheism (according to the spectrum Dawkins explained in “The God Delusion”), and this letter is aimed specifically at people of similar views. The path which led me here was a quick and brutal one. It started about two years ago, when a former coworker (who is an atheist) began inspiring me to challenge my beliefs. Despite the fact that I was beginning to doubt the existence of a supreme deity, I found myself holding desperately fast to the solace which I found in Christianity. While my belief in the supernatural decreased, my instinct to hold on to it increased. This created a feeling which is very difficult to explain, and I will not waste time attempting to describe it here (although given the nature of this website, I’m sure there are people who may understand what I’m talking about). The process continued until I reached a breaking point, and where I stand right now is the direct aftermath.
This leaves me feeling bewildered. I’d held on to God for so long, that I sometimes feel what it must feel like to be a heroin addict on his first day of sobriety. I have this overwhelming desire to say “I’ve fallen, Lord. Wrap your arms around me!” But I can’t get over the fact that those words would reach no further than my four walls. I’ve had a lot of problems in the past with depression, and God was my placebo cure. But now, I feel like escaping; losing myself in philosophy and art, music, sleeping, etc, to “quell the demons”, as they say.
I feel lost. And when I’d found this website, I had read “Encouraging Ex-Christians”, and had interpreted that as being kind of a support group. No doubt, it’s a great place for people to voice their “anti-testimonies”, opinions, and philosophies, etc. But what I had expected to find was a sort of rehabilitation for apostates. Perhaps I have not been thorough enough in browsing this website, but I have not yet found any good tips and tricks for the aspiring or newborn unbeliever to keep from going insane. I know not everyone experiences this rough a transition, but I think it’s natural to want some good advice for dealing with the post-religious heebie-jeebies.
Now, I am looking for words of wisdom. Books, movies, philosophy, anything some of you may have found enlightening or inspiring in your early years as atheists. I’ve been diving into works from the likes of Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens and others, but this only seems to fill the intellectual void.