I thought I'd share some pictures from our Nature Walk.
In our conversations we talked about how people struggle when they are questioning their faith. It's different for everyone, but some of the big things you have to give up are:
- Your consciousness living forever in heaven. Life after death.
- Someone thinking for you, telling you what your morals are, and spoon-feeding you the big answers to questions about why we're here, etc.
- Community from your church. Sometimes this is everyone you know. Family and friends.
One thing the budding atheist community needs to do is to help people with things they miss out on from their church. This makes the transition away from religion easier and less painful.
The first one is the toughest. A person deconverting just has to come to terms with the cold hard fact that consciousness dies. But one way I've dealt with that is to find relief in the fact that I won't burn in hell, since it doesn't exist any more than heaven (which sounds extremely dull and boring). Another way I've dealt with it is to really embrace science and learn about how amazing nature is.
That brings me to the second thing. What is my personal ethical/moral code? And the big questions. How did life begin? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What I've realized is that I had to reevaluate all these things. And it took time.
I've gone through the morals that I was indoctrinated with and carefully came up with my own reason-based code of ethics. It boils down to being good for goodness' sake. You can see my 10 Principles here.
And I've realized that I have to come up with my own reason for the meaning of life. It's individual. We all decide what that is for ourselves. A lot of this work was realizing I could throw away the garbage from religion I had accumulated. Filling in the answers for myself was much easier once I got rid of the nonsense.
When it comes to questions about how life began, I turn to science. That's easy. The church could never answer those questions honestly, but science investigates these things every day, all around the world. It's awesome. It certainly answers great questions a zillion times better than religion ever could.
Freethinking groups are the solution to community. We have a wonderful group here in Morgantown. Just do it. Find a group or start your own. If you want ideas for how to start your own group, let me know. I am not a group kind of person (being a bit of a hermit by nature) but I find that hanging out with my fellow atheist friends is wonderful. Give it a try. You might really like it.
And here is the sunset from our awesome day. I just caught the last bit of it. :)