I can't seem to free myself

From Philip

I'm still hanging onto this emotionally and physically destructive death-cult by a mere thread. I'm wondering how to finally get rid of the pain and guilt and fear forever.

Has anyone else been in such a position where 1) They know it's ludicrous, 2) They know it's based on hearsay and "visions" of desert hermits, but 3) They couldn't quite step over the line and end it once and for all?

I go through the motions, prayer and thanks for food all the time, but I don't want to. It's become so ingrained in my habits and psyche that I can't seem to bring myself to free myself.

It also doesn't help that Christians do apparently have "all the answers," even though I know their "answers" are merely appeals to ignorance or emotion. I've come to the point where even IF the Bible was true, I wouldn't want to worship such a god. But I still do it!?

Suggestions? Comments on habitually praying to and giving thanks to a god you don't believe in, and hate the very idea of?


SpaceMonk said...

All the answers?
Doesn't it just come down to either 'God did it', or 'the Devil did it'?

Thomas Paine on gospel comparisons: "I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted, first, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story to be true, because the parts may agree and the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole cannot be true."
- Thomas Paine, “Age of Reason”

Anyway, your awareness is all that's necessary at first. The rest will follow ...unless you can't handle the uncomfortable uncertainty phase and retreat back into your superstitious routines...?

Anger is the fearkiller.
Self-esteem, and righteous indignation... we aren't just clay for the potter to do what he wants with!

Maybe set yourself a date, by some event or something, like a NY resolution. "From that day on I'll stop living by superstition and fear."
Until then keep on as you are and get it all out of your system, do it 'final justice', then you'll be ready to quit.
By then it will be a relief.

Anonymous said...

Once you realize that religion is just screwing you, you can finally become pissed! Consider it 'buyers remorse'. I resent ever having been deceived, but then I was merely a child, at the time. Religion is a substitute for maturity...Some of us mature slower than others. Congrats on your journey, you'll make it.

Spirula said...

the pain and guilt and fear


Ever wonder why the last two are such prominent emotions in "believers", or where those emotions actually originate? Can you think of what motivates people to provoke those feelings in others?

When you can answer that, you'll see what is really going on in much of Christianity and other, similar religions. Don't feel bad though. Most of us had to go through the same realization.

Anonymous said...

It's not a "sin" to pray so don't be so hard on yourself.
It's really hard to break old habits...Especially ones that have been ingrained in our phyche for thousands of years.
Think of how insignificant our tiny planet earth is compared to the whole Universe... That in itself might jolt you back to reality.The fictional "bible" god is small,... with and even smaller ear!

Anonymous said...

Leaving religion is not going to be an easy, one-time step. Since religion is deeply ingrained in us, it will probably take time to free yourself from it, so give yourself that time. Read, question, search for the answers that you believe in--thinkers like Richard Dawson, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens obviously can help. There is also a man named Leo Booth who wrote on healing religious addiction and religious abuse. His work may help you as well. My suggestion is simply that this is a long process and you may not be able to complete end your connection in one step, but it will happen over time. Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

It is hard, there’s no denying that, but as others told me when I first began this journey, it does get easier. It does help to get a little angry about it.

In regard to praying, giving thanks to god, etc., For a long time after my de-conversion, my husband would pray before dinner—just as we had for over 20 years. I wasn’t sure how to stop that ritual, but I knew I wanted to. Finally, it came to me. After we sat down, I turned to my husband and I said, “thank you for earning the money to pay for this food and I’m also thankful for the farmers who produced it.” I then picked up my fork and dug in—the kids followed and then my husband. Now when we sit down, my kids will thank me for cooking or I’ll thank my husband or he’ll thank me. Sometimes, we sit down and just simply start eating—it’s great.

Anonymous said...

The dinner 'prayer' is the last vestige of religion in my life. My wife still prays and is a believer, though I have planted the seeds of doubt. I have taken up the old custom of offering a toast before the meals. Often it is to simply say, "Here's to a great meal and a wonderful wife and mother who cooked it."

My wife is a bit uneasy with it because it is not "in Jesus name", but is grateful that we are still giving thanks, just now in my opinion giving that thanks to the people who deserve it. God had nothing to do with this meal, unless he would like to do the dishes...

Anonymous said...


I think that one way to counter the fear and guilt brought on by Christianity is to get angry with it. Anger can be a positive emotion as well as negative. You just have to maintain control over it. Get angry with the idea of Hell, and the racism, sexism and all of the disgusting things that are contained in the bible. Also, think about the hypocritical behavior of christians. That should help you get over the last remains of religion in your life, and use logic and reasoning. They will not let you down.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Philip, you just need a new "grace" to say before meals. This one works for me.

"God is gone and that is good,
so who do we thank now, for our food?
Thank the farmers, you won't be wrong, for they've been feeding us for oh so long." Awomen

Seriously, welcome to the world of reality. You've come almost all the way and you just need to acknowledge this to yourself. Be true to yourself is all anyone can ask. It will only get easier, I promise. Good luck. Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

You don't have to stop praying even if you become an atheist. If its a habit and makes you feel good, then do it. There is no point in holding yourself to some expectation about what you SHOULD be doing. You're no longer a Christian anymore, right? So act like it and pray if you want to. Life is messy like that.

Also, it's good to find some other "world and life view" that can guide you to answers as Christianity had. Some people use atheism, others choose a new religion. In my case, I adopted an ancient philosophy of Platonism. Perhaps you can become a stoic like Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus? Read the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu -- Taoism can guide your vision as Christianity had.

The key is to do what works that makes you happy, gives you direction, and points you in the direction of peace and repentance.

Anonymous said...

Jim Earl - I'm liking that awomen idea!

Jamie said...

This came up for me as I was losing my faith. I decided early on that if I felt like I wanted to pray, then I would pray. I still do it. Sometimes in my head I am saying "God...if you are there..." and then saying my prayer. Sometimes it helps just to give form to the words and the thoughts.

I'm agnostic. I don't know whether there is a god or not, though there doesn't seem to be evidence for one. But either way, praying when I feel like praying just sometimes makes me feel better, even when I'm pretty sure that the prayiers aren't being prayed TO someone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support, guys.

I found the original Greek for one of the parts used in about the doctrine of Hell, and was pretty amused.

I found the verse "kai apeleusontai outoi eis kolasin aiounion, oi de dikaeoi eis zouin aiounion," which is translated in the King James Version as "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

I looked at the translations of the Greek words, and came up with the rough translation "But depart these into correction that is ages-long, while moreover those-who-see-themselves-to-be-righteous into life that is ages-long."

The phrase "kolasin aiounion" (or "correction that is ages-long") is the term used in the New Testament to mean "eternal torment." The whole doctrine of eternal hellfire for unbelievers is based almost entirely on these two words, which clearly do no necessarily mean what theologians have thought and tought for 1500 years.

What a waste of emotion and fear. What a waste of life. What a waste of humanity.

Anonymous said...

oh I remember that stage. Im more liberal with my beliefs now. I can see the beauty in the bible but I realize its just a book of literature and symbolism. I have pentecostal parents and go to a COGIC church. However, my relatives dont know what I really feel. Your wife knows and is practicing, so its gonna be difficult because you have to defend alot, plus, you live with her!

It takes time.
check out these documentaries:
Who wrote the bible -robert beckford
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins.
Check out the articles on the "Losing my religion" site , especially what to do after you leave.

all on GoogleVideo or Yahoo Video.

Anonymous said...

"'God is gone and that is good,
so who do we thank now, for our food?
Thank the farmers, you won't be wrong, for they've been feeding us for oh so long.' Awomen"

So, Jim Earl, are you the illustrious poet, or should we thank someone else for the laugh and the great idea?

Anonymous said...

To Lorena: I have to admit that I did come up with this "grace" using the one I was brought up with:

God is great, God is good,
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed,
Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.

I believe my version is a little more truthful, huh? Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

Jim Earl Said:
"God is great, God is good,
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands we all are fed,
Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.

I believe my version is a little more truthful, huh? Jim Earl"

You've got my vote Jim Earl.

The drought nearly killed my tomato plants this past year due to "God's neglect".

So much for trusting "God" in all things.

Anonymous said...

I've been in the same boat as you for a long time. As a black person, most of the people I know come from religious backgrounds and so prayer and things like that has always been part of the african american community. And church seems to be our only institution where we can get together and do some positive in the community. I dont mind prayer and meditation but when it comes to the bible, I know in my heart that I can't believe it. I've been fighting these feeling for a long time and been dealing with the fear and guilt. I've literaly felt sick at some points and just believed so that I could get on with my life.

When something has been indoctrinated in your life for so long, it is hard to just quit suddenly and move on. I'm still going through the motion of religion but everyday it is getting better. Hopefully you and I can totally free ourselves of religion and move on to bigger and better things. Life is too short to waste it.

Epicurienne said...

I'm taking some time to evolve spiritually, myself. I see my spiritual beliefs (or lack of beliefs) as a journey, not a destination.

Here's my progression so far:

Mainstream Protestant, not very religious, with periods of skepticism (birth to 28 years old)

Fundamentalist Christian but not 100% convinced - more like I was trying to force myself to believe (28 to 32 y.o.)

Non-Christian but not sure what I was (32 y.o. for about 6 months)

Pagan/wiccan (off and on from 32 y.o. to 43 y.o.)

Deist (the past 3 months or so)

Sometimes you have to go through stages I guess. Maybe "Deist" is where I am on the way to "hardcore atheist"....maybe it's where I'll stay.

I too agree with the poster who said to study some different philosophies and philosophers. The thinkers and ideas that resonate the most with me are Epicurus, existentialism, Taoism, and Thomas Paine.

You might also look at your religious behavior as an addiction. Check out Leo Booth's writing here:

Also here's another terrific site:

Anonymous said...

I can say freeing myself has been the hardest thing. I am approaching 5 years since I started down that path. The psychology of it is so crazy. I don't pray or go to any church. I find myself making fun of it all the time. I wish I could move on in way that I just don't care. But I was in it so deep within myself, that its even hard to dig out. I guess that is why some deal with it easier than others. I know for sure there is no god we know about. That gives me assurance there is none in existence.

My rule was if I could find one part wrong, the sum of its parts are wrong. Some mentioned that earlier by Thomas Paine. It only takes one thing to be wrong and that makes it all wrong. I have been able to do that with every religion, god, or spiritual belief.

I agree that anger is the fear killer and I wrote down who and why I feel guilt and fear. I feel that in all areas of my life. I feel guilt when I play basketball when I miss the shot or not pass the ball to another. I feel guilt when I think that I think I didn't not live up to another's wishes or standards. I easily manipulated by those who see that. I have always felt guilt and fear in everything. Even before religion.

I was a happy kid who wanted to please everyone and be "blameless". I feel guilty because I want to please everyone and I can't and let me know. I tryed to do onto others as I wanted, therefore, I had high standards on how treated others and wanted in return. That was a dangerous thought. Treated everyone special is hard and impossible. I am realizing at now at 37 that people don't care anyway how you treat them in most cases as long as it appears you are nice to their face. KNow what I mean?

My parents where never there for me, so I had to find things for myself. I got disappointed a lot and hated lies. I learned people will accept lies as long as it has the most benefits. That is what xtianity has turned out to be. THe best lie! It's still not acceptable to me, but most accept it who remain in it. Maybe the poster still sees the lie as the best to offer. It is hard to shake it.

Again, guilt and fear are so hard to shake because they feed off each other. I had so much guilt growing up and it still remains. a hearty serving of guilt is daily for me. I grew up with nothing and I heard it from everyone and adults continue to serve it. It hear it about how I dress or what I drive or what I like. I buy the nicest clothes and I still hear it. I hear it about the car and drive and no matter how much I spend (my current car is 50K), I still hear words of guilt from others. Why didn't I buy the 60K car. Why did I buy that model or brand. It never stops. Why did I buy a house in West Virginia when I work in Virginia. I am a redneck now according my co-workers.

These same co-workers try to witness to me in a weird way. They cheat, steal and lie on regular basis, but continue to tell me I need Jesus. Its so funny. They drink the fear everyday, but no guilt for them, while trying to feed me both.

There are muslims, catholics, xtians, and fundies at my job. They no longer try to convert each other. They don't go after the quiet athiests, agnostics, or deists. The religious go after me, the proclaiming athiest. Boy, do they ever.

Guilt and fear is fed to me constantly. I try to fight is with anger as much as I can. I wish I could just let it roll off, but because of my life's experiences, I have a hard time. Does that make me responsible for my own feeling of guilt and fear? I am day to day on that. I feel more free when I take responsibility for my own feelings of fear and guilt. The others side would agree that guilt and fear is on my perception of it. I continue to analyze that daily.

Here is what I recently learned that has helped me. I am currently reading, "breaking the spell" (very helpful), but the smallest book I have read has been the most helpful. Its called "The Anti-Christ", by Frederick N. It brought me to a paradigm shift.

I learned how humans in search of power (whatever the motivation) use suffer and rescue as manipulation. Its a vicious cycle. Third World countries are a basic example. They suffer in a real way and some tell them we can rescue them with hope. The hope of rescue is the power one's have over the poor. The main point I got from this is that we told we need help (rescue) from our existence or we will suffer. The rescuing in actuality is causing more suffering because its a crutch that tells us we can't do it on our own and we powerless.

This is where religion comes in. Think of how the government does this. Katrina was an example too. People who rely on government don't realize it is the very thing that made them crippled. Its like a government that sells you the disease and then sells you a pain reliever for it. No cure can be found.

Religion tells you need to be rescued after they infect you with the suffering (guilt, hell, loneliness, pain, fear). When I realized this, I truly left the Matrix. This does not come without a price. It is built to try to suck you back in. The guiltful flock continues to feed the same guilt. The religious are feeding the parasite of lies and it grows on.

I learned in "breaking the spell" that love is strong emotion. The love of religion must be protected at all costs by buyers of the "god" product. It must be refined on a daily basis for those who follow. It goes through a continues evolution as like marriage. You must find things new about it and change or it won't last in the minds of those involved.

But overall, to the poster, you must realize that suffering you feel within and without the religion is coming from the religion itself. But remember its within also. You must find the strength within to realize you have the power to rescue yourself. Religion is built to make you a castaway who needs to be rescued. The guilt when you return is stronger and the fear will even more so. Your friends, family, co-workers..all gone. Most people don't leave because of the loss. They don't realize the psyche used to make you believe you are losing god. I have always been a loner, so losing friends has never hard for me. We all have our strengths and we must seek them out to escape the lies.

Religion played a cruel trick on me. It wasn't the lie of sky daddy, but the way they sought me out. I was a lonely kid and I wanted to be accepted. Mostly by women. They sent a woman to attract me. I really felt I was accepted. I was told xtianity was different and that love and acceptance awaited me. I was told it didn't matter that I had no sense of humor, money, or looks. I later realized all that mattered to most. I was duped into thinking that a god could would work though all the shortcomings I had according to the world. I thought I was never "good enough" and religion played on that.

I did suffer in the world, they gave me more suffering (sin), then they said they would rescue from that, but more suffering came. The power continued to work its magic for them.

Its the hardest thing to take back that power, because we were dupped into thinking that we can either serve the worldly master or the religious master. Guilt and fear has been interwoven into the fabric of society by religion. They created fears on both sides of the fence in order to keep you in their power. Religion is wagging the dog. Its all a cult no matter how subtle. Religion makes sure we are never free from the doses of guilt.

Poster, freeing yourself does not come easy. It comes from within. The last advice I can give you is to remember that the religious say they believe in god, but their actions say different. NO exceptions! There are no true believers.

Anonymous said...

When I left my religion, I remember doing some sort of "leap of faith". I had these thoughts telling me to stay religious, but my beliefs oppressed me, and so I was propelled to leave the faith because Christianity was Oppressive.

Being a non-christian is one of the best decisions I have ever made, if I hadn't of made the decision, I wouldn't be who I am today, which I think is a person that is more valuable to society, as I am no longer a mere machine that follows his program, the program was the bible in my case. I now think on my own and decide what I think is best on my own. I am able to make wiser decisions now because of this. Decisions based on good reasoning and not on some ancient book about a God that's sadistic.

I am happy I made the decision I did, because with further research on Christianity, The topic of Religion and becoming philosophical, I have figured out what I believe, to be the best moral choice, which is to be non religious, because religion is a destructive memeplex. I would be another droid in a "church" (just call them robot factories because that is what they create) If I hadn't made the decision.

From Enlight3ned

WhateverLolaWants said...


I sometimes pray, even though it goes against my rational mind. I don't "allow" myself to pray for the usual things, though, and I really don't get the impulse anyway. I do, however, pray for others if I'm asked to do so, and occasionally I just pray some snarky-but-honest prayer, like, "God, if you actually exist- ha- you really better make sure so-and-so recovers from their illness quickly." I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to pray, even though I don't want myself to get into it too much (I used to pray all the damn time when I was religious, so I'm just trying to live differently), but if you want to break the habit, perhaps you could try praying to different gods each time? Just a thought... good luck!

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