How does one know all remnants of theïsm are shed?

I really have no idea if I managed to get rid of all indoctrination I was drowned in as a child.
I seriously doubt it, if one has been pounded with false believe from the first breath on, there are bound to be silly remnants lurking in my subconscious mind. Or not, how would one be sure of that?
I consider swearing hard to abandon for goddammit is such a sweet rolling word.:joy: For Christ sake also has a nice ring to it. I’d rather insult those dudes as throwing horrible diseases around to show my dispise about something.
Do you guys have a good advice for finding out myself, what book to read, what questions to ponder it anything else?

I was raised in a high-control religion. Left it and was disfellowshipped 24 years ago. I spent years de-programming.

The last vestiges for me was prayer :pray:…. I lost that about a decade ago.

1 Like

You need to get serious. There is no “all.” When you get rid of theistic concepts like “all” or ‘none,’ you will be ready to begin getting rid of the theistic shit. You aren’t even close yet. You have no idea how deep down the rabbit hole you have fallen. The fact that you can even ask a question like that is demonstrative of the dark hole you find yourself in.

Do you really imagine you have a “subconscious” mind? Really? Do you think it’s a fact? Might it not just be a convenient way to say, “I don’t know what the fuck I am doing or why?” If you actually took the time to stop, look at your life, and evaluate it, might some of those ‘subconscious things,’ actually just be shit you didn’t think of before?

Sure? There you go again. Showing how deep down the rabbit hole you have fallen. What in the fuck do you imagine is ‘SURE,’ in this life? I’m betting the Bible Quote that you remember the best is, Matthew 12:30. It’s fallacious at its core and only the ignorant would fall for such a ploy. It’s as stupid as the idea, "If you loved me you would… " Pure fucking manipulation and you are still wallowing in it.

Advice? Yep.

  1. Use ‘I’ statements.
  2. Eliminate your use of obligation verbs; need, must, should, ought to, have to, etc…
    (Replace them with “Want to.” If you can’t say 'want to," you are lying to yourself or you are
    allowing others to manipulate you.,
  3. All pessimistic and pajoritive statements can be reduced to a 'want." “I want.” as well.
    The asshole in front of you cuts you off while you are driving. The pice of shit should have seen you . You were in the fucking lane. He’s a fucking morong. (FACT: I want to be regarded… I want him
    to notice me. I want him to be different than he is.) All delusional ideas. Expressing these
    things as a “Want.” helps to point out the delusion. You no more get to control other people than
    they get to control you.,
  4. Awfulizing: Nothing is awful, horrible, terrible, or any of these other extreem words. Everything is
    normal when you open your eyes. The human animal has been raping, murdering, killing,
    insulting, and whatever else you can imagine, since the beginning of history. (recorded time) This
    is a fact. It may be unfortunate that we are the way we are. Creating mountains from mole hills
    is not a useful tactic in dealing with life. Life is messy. Chickes and cows don’t grow on littel
    plastic trays all covered with plastic wrap and labeled for your convenience. Live is a lot more
    messy than you imagine. You can wallow in the mess intentionally, and have a bit of direction in
    your life, or you can wallow in it unintentionally, imagine you are going in one direction and end up
    someplace completely different.
  5. Who Am I? Is always a good question. But if you think about it, you are the person thinking about
    the question and not the person being though of. (Think about it.)


I was raised in a theist family, and left organized religion at around the age of 19. And although I still tenaciously clung to many supernatural concepts, the christian part slowly began to erode. It is not a quick process, it can take decades.

It is not about flushing all theist training down the toilet, it is recognizing what is harmful, what is neutral, and what can be a positive influence in your life.

Love thy neighbor? Turn the other cheek? Love and cherish children? All positive aspects of anyone’s life.

Even today I sometimes ask myself, "what would jesus do? I do not use that as a rule ( I don’t even believe there was a jesus), but a reference point in guiding me in sometimes hard decisions or judging others.

I do not concern myself whether religion has a hold of me, I only try to be a better person. And if I try to be a better person each day, I know that I am slowly disengaging myself from religion and loving a life truly free. And much happier.


It’s taken me years to get over the mental & emotional abuse that I suffered from my indoctrination.

I came out as an Atheist at age 18. I’ve had anger issues because of Christianity, putting up with Christians, their rules & censorship, the manipulation, the lies, & the control.

I really think if we got rid of that religion like Christopher Hitchens has said. The world wouod be a better place.

1 Like

For Zodan & MrDawn: (TLDR: This went longer than I planned. Sorry.)

Many here already know my story, so for their sake I will try to make this brief by hitting only the high spots. However, I would be more than happy to field any questions you might have to fill in the gaps if you are interested.

Raised primarily in a small Southern town full of highly devout Christians of varying denominations. My family’s sects of choice were Baptist and Methodist. My Granny being a steadfast Baptist, with her oldest son (my Uncle) being a Methodist preacher. God EVERYWHERE. Church every Sunday morning/most Sunday evenings and more often than not on Wednesday nights. Vacation Bible School for a couple of weeks each summer. Baptized at the tender age of 8 years old.

Now, overall, it wasn’t ALL terrible. Arts-n-crafts with cookies and koolaid during Sunday school, and some of the holiday parties were rather fun. Never was a fan of sitting on the pews during the sermon time, though. Boring. Thing is, though, even at a young age, the stuff I was taught about God/Jesus/The Bible never made any rational sense to me. Problem, though, is that I did not have the knowledge or experience to understand/explain WHY. Then there was the puzzling problem of those who attended church. With a couple of rare exceptions, the behavior displayed while IN CHURCH never seemed to match up with their behavior OUTSIDE the church. I was a very observant child, and those things often baffled me. Annnnyway…

For better or worse, I was also an obedient and respectful child. Therefore, despite none of it ever making sense to me, the fear of Satan and hell became firmly locked into my still-forming psyche long before I ever had the “tools” to counter it. In all fairness, though, I have to admit I do not recall suffering any direct abuse due to religion. My family as a whole was fairly benevolent, fortunately. Many of my childhood friends, though, were not quite as lucky. And I saw the results of that, too.

Now, fast forward a few years. Twenty years on patrol in a large crime-infested city, seeing up-close-and-personal on an almost daily basis some of the worst shit a person can imagine. Combine that with seventeen years in the Army Guard that took me once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. Toss in a couple of failed marriages along the way through it all, and all those doubts I had as a child increased exponentially. Problem was (as you might guess), that fear of Satan and hell maintained its insidious grip, thus preventing me from questioning any of it to any productive depth. As a result, my mind stayed in almost constant turmoil struggling with what I was taught in my religious indoctrination, compared to what I saw daily combined with the knowledge of science and history I had accumulated over the years. The struggle was REAL. And that same struggle caused me to make some really fucked up decisions during my life.

Now we are at 2017. My Mom died earlier that year. Up until then, I had gradually been pulling further and further away from the grip of my indoctrination. But she was basically the last tiny thread keeping me tied to it, because her faith was very strong and I always felt it would be disrespectful to her to walk away from it while she was living. Even after she died, though, it still was not easy. For here in The South… the heart of THE BIBLE BELT… the term “atheist” was seen as pure EVIL beyond comprehension. Hell, you would get more sympathy and understanding if you said you were a child molester. (Seriously.) So I spent several months raging a war within myself, writing countless papers to organize my thoughts/feelings, and generally bugging the piss out of my wife by asking questions and venting. (My wife is Pagan, by the way.) When she finally got to the point where she was ready to club me over the head repeatedly with a heavy blunt object, she suggested (strongly) I join an atheist chat site to prevent her from smothering me with a pillow as I slept. Found the AR by pure chance of a Google Search. Literally took me two full days to complete my profile to join, because the only choices were “Atheist” or “Non-Atheist”. With much trepidation, I finally clicked “Atheist”. And so began my journey to complete freedom.

The first few weeks here were spent getting acquainted with folks and learning the lay of the land. I was uncertain, (reasonably) polite, and just trying to come to terms with who/what I had become. Actually took a long time for me to become comfortable with referring to myself as an atheist. However, once that happened and I had gained a bit more knowledge from the fine folks here, I became an absolute RAGING STORM for two or three months. I was so vicious at ripping into the theists that frequented the debate rooms that I almost got my ass booted from the site at one point. Forty some-odd years of pent up resentment and frustration blowing out like a volcano. Thankfully, an amazing Mod at that time took pity on me, pulled me aside, and showed me the errors of my ways. I will forever be grateful to her for her patience and guidance, because I honestly don’t know how things would have gone for me without the AR. (You reading this, Cyber? If so, please know you made a huge difference in my life. With tears in my eyes, a sincere Thank You.)

Uh, so, uh, anyway… (wiping eyes)… Well, so much for my being brief. Sorry about that. The moral of the story, though, is that there will be anger, and the process of “getting over” religion is not quick NOR easy. More importantly, though, it is not necessary (nor productive) to hate/despise those who still follow their religion of choice. But more on that later if you are interested. I’ve rambled enough already. Like I said, I’m happy to answer questions. Even feel free to PM me if you want. Hope this helped a little. Please don’t strangle me for the long post.


Thank you for those encouraging words.
I was lucky to have an extreme grandmother after all.
She would threaten me a lot when i did things she ordered not to be done. One example very clear in my mind still is when Iwas playing with a small maggi bottle. I filled it with water and let little drops fall onto the sand making little sands balls. Granny saw that through the kitchen window and rushed out to grab the little brown bottle from me, empty the water out immediately and warned me not to do that anymore, for my clothes would get dirty if I was playing with water and sand.
I was left stunned at first, but then realized those tiny drops would not get my shorts dirty so I filled it up with water again. Right back in the very same spot and I once more got lost in the magic of water shaping perfect little balls in dry sand.
Than I was surprised by Grant again, she had seen me at it and startled me grabbing that little brown bottle out of my hands again. She emptied it and scolded me for being a naughty and develish child. I should not consider filling that bottle up once more for up there was god up there (pointed up) and he would see any misbehaviour bad thing I would be up to…
Now that struck me as total bs, I think it was one of the very first cracks in my forced upon theism…
My thought, however young I was at the time was why would any god care if I am playing with water?
Second thing that comes up in my mind is when my most favourite uncle was over for a visit.
He was one of the very people in my small world I liked most and when we were going to have a sandwich in de garden in front of the tow wagon of my grandma my younger brother bumped me and gestured me to look at my uncle during prayer.
There it was, one of the most understanding and friendly people I knew did not close his eyes, he did not pray, he saw me look and blinked at me with a broad smile on his face…

Well, I see another reaction came in, I’ll chop my story in pieces I suppose.
What i do think to notice is that religious crap seems to never have gotten so deep as I think to read in your story Tin-man…

Hahaha she would have freaked on me!!! When the boys were little (2-5 yrs) I had a water and sand table in the kitchen. They played while I cooked. Washing machines, brooms/mops and bathtubs :bathtub: were available after the boys played.

Nice thought, so unconscious/subconscious is a drive one is not aware of jet?
I’ll keep my “eyes” open for that one!

Sorry, I had to look it up…:joy:
I’m afraid the force never was so strong in me…
That manipulation got used against me tho.
It just didn’t enter my believe system…
My dad several times expressed surprise where
I got all those silly* ideas from that contradicted his believes. And honestly? I don’t know either…
I guess it’s just the way I was wired…

About your statements:
I want people to stop believing in abeing that created all and forces rules upon us, that’s just bs of the highest order, I never understood how religion could grow in such huge mass psychosis as it appears to have done.
Nice touch at my road rage, it is spot on!

Point 4 yes life is messy! I was raised on a farm and e.g. helped to saw the cow in parts so it would fit in the freezer…
It does not mean that I have to participate in the shit when I have a choice to choose otherwise.
I stopped eating meat and get a lot of b.s. about that in daily life. What most people think it’s that I feel so much pity for the animals… there is some of that, not enough to stop me killing a wounded animal when it’s suffering and there’s no hope for it anymore. Not enough to stop me from clubbing a nice fish I want to eat. (I think the fish is so much further away from warm blooded animals, I treat it like spiders and mosquitos, but then nice to eat.)
My choice is simple and plain. I am convinced that people can do with a lot less of the amount of cattle they keep, it can be minimised enormously and that will provide a lot more space for nature land use to provide food to feed the population needs less than ⅒th of what it is now.
Thing is I don’t care for the planet. The planet will be fine. After total destruction humans are capable of it will only take s few million years and there will be a bounty of amazing nature again.
Nu humans to see it tho.:joy::joy::joy:
Only thing motivating meer is that I think that humans might with some luck het past stupidity enough to start carrying for the amazing planet we live on. Oh, touched that button too fast…

To start with the end…Disclaimer: this is my own personal hypothesis, extracted from my personal experience and from what I have learned by reading lots of stuff.

To learn anything at all, the brain has to store the information somehow. Being a huge network of nerve cells connected with each other by ways of long branches of the cells called dendrites, exchanging information by ways of transmitting chemicals and electrical currents over small gaps called synapses. How can such a collection of cells possibly remember and learn things? Well, there are (at least) two ways [1] relevant to mention here:

  1. They can make new connections and/or break old connections.
  2. They can alter their internal state by chemical means, in such a way as to prioritize signals from some nerve cells higher than signals from others.

Anyone who have learned something to the point where they know it by the fingertips know that this learning involves lots of repetition: making mistakes, feeling bad when you make the mistakes, correcting the mistakes, succeeding, feeling good about succeeding, go to the next level of difficulty. And then repeat ad nauseam. This process essentially programs or stores the knowledge and/or the mechanical movements involved somewhere in the huge network of nerve cells you have. Thus, succeeding and then feeling mastery and/or receiving positive feedback reinforces the information about what made it a success, reprogramming the relevant part of your nerve cell network by chemical means or by growing new connections or changing the wiring diagram.

Thus, to unlearn something, you have to again reprogram your network of nerve cells, in your brain and otherwise. Which takes a lot of work. To completely erase what you have already learned and committed to your long term memory is difficult or next to impossible (except perhaps by ways of brain trauma, leading to amnesia). Therefore, to shed “all remnants of <whatever>” is very hard. You essentially need to reprogram your brain to do that.

That being said, an alternative strategy might be to learn new stuff that will mostly override what you have already learned. If you, say, read and learn about science and how Nature is demonstrably working, you might eventually learn to override the instincts learned through religious indoctrination, essentially teaching your brain to downprioritize the signals from the learned behaviour of your previous religious self.

All learning happens best and most effective if you can associate desired results with something positive. Look at kids, for example. The way to teach kids what to do, what not to do, and how to do things is to encourage and reward them when they do things correctly or display the desired behaviour. The way to not do it is to scald them and punish them when they do things wrong. Positive feedback always works best, on the average and in the long term.

And this leads me to my final point. If you want to “unlearn” previously learned religious behaviour by pushing it to the background so it interferes less often, one strategy might be to learn new stuff (science, logic, mathematics, history, philosophy, ethics, languages, whatever) that in some way flies in the face of what you want to “forget”, and that triggers positive feedback in the form of a feeling of mastery of the subject. Eventually, you might discover that your new knowledge overrides what has previously been learned.

Disclaimer: This is my own personal hypothesis, derived from experience in other matters, and from “deprogramming” myself away from religious thoughts while at university, learning physics, mathematics, computational theory, and some basic geology, chemistry and biology+evolution as extra-curricular topics. It all flew right in the face of what I had previously learned about religion and the workings of supernatural shit. So religion slowly released its grip on me. And thus here I am.

[1] This is of course highly simplified, so apologies to any biologists out there that have more knowledge than me on the subject. My knowledge of these things comes from what little relevant biology I have picked up while reading up on the science/art/magic of artificial intelligence and the training of artificial neural networks.

Drive? WTF are you on about. If you are not driving your own fucking mind then who the fuck is? You still have a mommy and daddy telling you what to do? Grow up.

Who in the fuck put a nickle in your ear. I want you to start dressing in pink tutus and dancing instead of walking where ever you go. Now that you are speaking correct English you can see how fucking stupid your “Wants,” are. Now all you need to is stop wasting your mind on bullshit. Or … go out and buy a pink tutu.

“That’s bercause you are a black and white thinker.” All or nothing. You wander through life completely missing the shades of greys. The fact that you thought I was talking about ‘road rage’ is merely you being defensive and completely missing the real message. Everyone else on the site can see it… “Why can’t you?”

It’s not that you quit eating meat. It’s that you think you are right for quitting eating meat. More “all or nothing,” bullshit. That same bullshsit you got from religion which you have turned your life over to.

No. Your choice is not even your choice. Your choice is a display for all to see. Look at me. I don’t eat meat. I am an all or nothing thinker. You either do something 100% or you don’t do it 100% . You did not make a personal choice.

You are still trying to control the world around you… People could also do without toilets. They could shit in dry bags and save on water. People could stop having oral sex. Sex is for making babies. There is a fucking right way to do things in this world. Everyone should do things the right way. It’s just that fucking simple.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha … someone needs to drop your ass off in the middle of the Amazon. Who in the fuck talks that way but for some stooge who watched one too many discovery channel, ‘Save the Earth’ documentaries. Nature’s bounty! Ha ha ha ha ha … You are natures bounty. You are the result. (A few million years… Ha ha ha ha ha … Go watch a documentary on Chernobyl. )

This amazing planet that you don’t give a shit about? You are one confused puppy.

One confused little puppy!

Yeah exactly. Her motivations had nothing to do with god’s intention of what I would be good for me. Her motivation was keeping me clean so she herself or my mom would have less work keeping up appearances…

Wow! And you do not see yourself doing the exact same shit? So far, everything about you, all of your posts, have been about keeping up appearances. Doing the right thing the good thing. Your life is a struggle against the bad things. Now you have labeled religion as ‘BAD’ and are seeking to excape it. There is no escape. There is understanding. There is seeing the parts of yourslef that are still confined in religious suipposition and being amazed. Why don’t you take a chance and amaze yourself?

Yes, I think that’s s brilliant observation!

I do agree on that. That is something (especially)my dad didn’t get/understand. It became a pretty bad ingrained habit to me too. Almost emphasizing those things that went wrong… I am still reprogramming myself to emphasize on the good things…
Thank you for sharing your points!

1 Like

No, not more all or nothing. Didn’t I tell I eat fish?
It’s all about choices

[quote=“Cognostic, post:13, topic:2377”]
People could stop having oral sex.
[/quote] Wtf! Your brain is messed up dude!

I care for the world my and other children have to live in past my time. Is that so weird?

No I don’t see it jet, wtf is yourslef and suipposition, and where the fuck are the bananas?
Ah, supposition, got it. I should not emphasize on spelling, sorry…
Apart from that, you sound very resolute I do wonder though if you are not slightly barking up the wrong tree here…

Once you learn more about Cog you will realize he does care about you. But his technique is shock, to goad you into a hard examination of your beliefs and thoughts. It is a very effective technique because for a receptive ear, it forces one to immediately re-examine their positions.

Cog has you covering his back hasn’t he?
Thing is, when someone words interesting views he/she has my interest anyway. Why would someone who has interesting views to share feel obliged to shock?
If I apparently seem to have missed a particular point he’s made it’d be easier if he would point that out to me.

Good morning, Zo. How’s it goin’?
Just finished catching up on this thread. Dave is not covering Cog’s back. (Believe me, NOBODY here wants to cover that mangy, matted, greasy, flea-bitten carcass. Ewww… Well, expect for White, maybe. But that’s another story.) Anyway, Dave is simply explaining Cog’s methods to you. And like Dave said, they ARE effective to those who pay attention. I know this from personal experience, because that demented long-armed tree-swinger used that exact same method on ME to scold me for something I said in the very first post I made after joining the AR. Honestly, I was shocked, pissed, and amused (I have a warped humor) all at the same time. I was thinking, “Who the FUCK is this guy? Coming at me like that without knowing me? What an ASS!” However, once I got past the indignity of the perceived personal insult and actually thought about what he said, it turns out Cog was right in his comments and evaluation. It woke me up and made me start thinking more clearly.

In YOUR case (personal observation here), there is a language barrier that seems to be causing you to miss some of the points Cog is making. Your English is pretty good, no doubt. But there are some subtle nuances of sarcasm and idioms and tone that you might be missing. Rest assured, though, Cog is not saying these things just to be an asshole. (He has that title easily covered in other ways.) And he is not trying to insult you (yet). He is only trying to make you see things about yourself from a different perspective to help you evaluate yourself in a more objective and honest manner. Hope this helped.