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Anger at Religion

delusionsIt’s been more than 6 months since my full deconversion from believer to unbeliever. Before that day, I stood just outside the door of total unbelief for quite a while.

Religion can be quite a prison for the mind and escape can be terribly difficult. It appears that it’s even very remote and/or extremely unlikely for people to escape once they reach their later years.

If I’m honest, I still find myself angry but I’m not sure who to be angry at? I’m not angry at the pastors who served as shepherds at the churches I attended. Those with whom I came to know were sincere men who truly wanted to help people. However, they are still under the spell. And I’m still mad. Angry. Maybe a little bitter. I wasted a lot of time and money on this delusion. I’m certainly mad at myself for being so gullible, especially as a teenager when it all started, but I’m embarrassed too that I didn’t break free until my late 40’s.

Am I mad at religion in general? Perhaps. I’m angry at those who use religion as justification for hate and bigotry. I’m disgusted by those who use their faith to traumatize children into believing there’s a place called hell that they will anguish in flames for all eternity. I’m mad at those who destroy the frail human psyche with teachings that we are all worthless, wretched sinners who deserve eternal damnation. I am in pain for the children who could be receiving life-saving medical treatment but who don’t receive it because their parents and/or church family believe that doing so would be a lack of faith in God’s healing power. I am horrified that millions have died because of religious conflict, jihad, and holy wars. I am angry that scoundrels and crooks take advantage of people by giving them false hope and empty promises. One recent example is “John of god” in Australia.

I know that faith brings comfort to many people in the world. I sincerely wish it were true that we would see loved ones again after we die, and I wish it were true that we will live forever in a heavenly paradise. But I’d rather deal with reality than live in a false delusion.

What about you? Do you feel angry at religion? Or angry with certain people?


  1. Annie

    I didn’t break free until I was in my 50s. I questioned it though from the time I was in Jr. high school. Those bible stories just didn’t make sense to me. And, I couldn’t imagine that all the people on the planet had heard of the same god I had been taught of practically since birth. But, because I was surrounded by Pentecostal family, and friends I didn’t dare question it. It was sorta like if you can’t beat ’em join ’em. So, I shoved those doubts far back in my mind, and forgot about them for years. But, I was so exhausted of going with the flow so to speak all that time. I was tired of being ignorant. I knew it was curable. I had a very strong desire to lose the ignorance. So, after a lot of research I finally did. My religious chains have been broken. But, I don’t feel anger at religion, or anyone. I just feel very happy that I’m now free of those chains. Even if it took until I was 50 something!

    • Logan G

      Thank you for the reply Annie! I find it very encouraging to hear of others, like myself, who didn’t break free till their late 40’s or 50’s. And I like your perspective on it all! I initially felt very happy to be free of those chains too, but I seem to cycle back through some anger as well at times.

  2. ... Zoe ~

    I was 48 when I realized I could no longer in good conscience call myself a Christian. And it seemed such a weight, a relief off of my shoulders. I felt free, like a butterfly in jar let go into the world.

    But . . . and there is always a but; I was angry. I believe mostly at myself. You see, this “[…] I’m disgusted by those who use their faith to traumatize children into believing there’s a place called hell that they will anguish in flames for all eternity. I’m mad at those who destroy the frail human psyche with teachings that we are all worthless, wretched sinners who deserve eternal damnation.[…]” is me.

  3. charles

    I’m about 7 months out, realizing I no longer believed at age 43. Maybe we’re all just having a mid-life crisis? I’m only sort of kidding… I think part of this is reaching the point in life where I realized that deep down I knew life was finite and I was sick of continuing to play a silly game. Earlier in life, there was still hope that things would be different in the future. At some point I realized that my experience of Christianity was just getting worse, not better.

    “If I’m honest, I still find myself angry but I’m not sure who to be angry at?”
    I don’t feel angry. But I do feel a constant underlying stress. That makes me wonder if, in fact, I am angry and am just not coming to terms with it. I think I am upset with myself. It is hard to be really angry at me or at other people. We were all duped. I feel like one of these days I’m just going to break down and have a fit of anger and tears (probably alone) and then I’ll feel better.

    • Alice

      We were all duped. I feel like one of these days I’m just going to break down and have a fit of anger and tears (probably alone) and then I’ll feel better.

      I did have one defining moment when I became angry and then stayed that way for awhile, then depression, now acceptance…(sounds pretty textbook, doesn’t it:) )

      They say denial and barganing come first and I do think that went on without my acknowledging it. I was just trying to hold onto my faith.

    • ... Zoe ~

      If I may weigh in here about anger. For many of us we don’t realize sometimes that we are angry. There may be many reasons for this. Maybe we were raised in a home that squashed anger in the bud, never letting us take a close look at it and learning a healthy way to handle it. As Christians, many of us in our tradition were taught that anger was sin. That can linger after leaving the faith. Even admitting we are angry, we don’t know if we should and some of us are horrified that we might be. I think we to try to recognize that it’s okay if we have some anger. I know I wrote about it during my post-Christian confessional time. Denying it wasn’t helping and it does cause stress. For me I felt betrayed. Betrayed by whatever evolutionary process allowed humans “to go there.” Betrayed by believers who I realized didn’t believe but it was all about community and culture and appearances. Betrayed by church pastors that had no problem hammering us over the head all the while sinning up to their pant zippers, laying, cheating, and doing whatever unethical things they could think of to build “their” kingdom . . . in Jesus name of course. Betrayed by the Body of the church, Christian history, scholarly information about the Bible . . . all kept from the pew sitters.

      My main point about anger is that for many of us, we don’t know what anger “feels” like.

      My gentle advice is this: Please be gentle and patient with yourself. If private moments to mourn, grieve, &/or be angry are necessary, find those places to do so. A walk by a stream, a hike in the woods, writing it down, something that feeds your senses and allows you to feel. And by all means, cry. <3

    • charles

      Thank you, Alice and Zoe!
      It’s just so complicated. Married, 3 kids, all heavily involved in church, xian school, xian music in the house and car, few non-xian friends. It’s hard to find space to just be without triggers. They need me, and I need them.

      • ... Zoe ~

        It is complicated. You won’t know this likely but my first blog was titled A Complicated Salvation and I posted as the Menopausal Agnostic. I was pretty sure everybody would blame my de-conversion on a mid-life crisis.

        One of the reasons we get angry I think charles is because we are married, we have family, children, church related stuff, education, music . . . all of it and when our beliefs change were essentially are trapped, or it can feel like that. This is enough to make us angry. It shouldn’t be like this, yet it is and it just seems so helpless, especially at first.

        Maybe taking 15 minutes to walk would help. Don’t laugh at me but I use to go sit on the john. :blush

    • Logan G

      I hadn’t considered that element in my own deconversion – – I do recall that in my early 40’s I was thinking that I only had 2 or 3 good decades of life left! And that sentiment of “life is short” was always there too, so I wonder if that helped prod my thinking in some way… hmm, I’m sure it didn’t hurt!

    • Doug Wilson

      I’ve been a ex-christian a little more than a year now and just turned 40 a couple weeks ago. I have wondered time and time again if my “mid life crisis” was caused by my disbelief or if it’s the other way around.

      I’ve been struggling with depression for the past year (probably longer if I’m honest, but am now receiving treatment) and that certainly hasn’t helped. I keep wondering what role my belief has in the depression and vice versa.

      Whatever caused it, Mid-life crisis, depression, or anything else… it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. What’s important is that it’s my life and the time I have left is mine to spend however I choose.

      • Logan G

        Hey Doug, I’ve been wondering how you’re doing. I do hope you continue working with a good doctor. I don’t have personal experience with any meds, but I’ve had a lot of friends who shared their experiences. It’s always sounded like that it could take a long time to find the meds that fit a person best, along with the right dosage. It sounded like a difficult process but ultimately helpful.

        In any event, It’s good to hear from you. And I agree — it’s our life and our choices. I’m glad we’re not under a jealous, capricious, tyrant who dictates how we live.

  4. Alice

    I like what Zoe said about feeling trapped. Such a simple word, but really spot on for the way I felt right after “knowing”.

    Will my husband understand? Will my kids hate me? What if my family wants to argue with me everytime we get together? How do I tell the people at church?

    • ... Zoe ~

      A simple word with physical and mental/emotional consequences. Being trapped causes stress. And when it seems there is no escape from it the stress rises. When the stress is acute the anxiety goes up, depression can linger, we feel threatened and feeling threatened by those key relationships in our life, our spouse, our children, extended family and close friends . . . I don’t think we should ask ourselves if we are angry, it’s more why wouldn’t you be angry? No wonder.

      I think I could talk on this subject until the cows come home. 🙂

      • Logan G

        Thank you Zoe for all the great comments. “Trapped” is a powerful word. I have not written before about my failed marriage (perhaps in the future), but feeling trapped and all the stress and anxiety that comes with it can be applied to both our deconversion and to marriage. I admire those who have a strong healthy marriage relationship, and it’s wonderful when those relationships survive a crisis of lost faith by one spouse. That might sound like I’m implying that my loss of faith killed my marriage. I did not, but it was one of many factors. The good news is, I’m happier today than I’ve ever been – – due to no longer feeling trapped in a miserable marriage and no longer feeling crushed by an oppressive religion. I may one day write about the intersection of it all.

  5. Annie

    After giving it more thought I guess I am angry. It angers me when I see a 29 year old nurse on the news last night recently given a clean bill of health from Ebola say, “First and foremost I want to thank god.” And in that same news segment the reporter tells of a 2 year old child in Africa, along with the child’s family, who died of the disease. It angers me while watching Steve Harvey on Ellen’s show display disbelief that more people don’t thank god every day when they wake up that they’re alive. And, I as an unbeliever immediately think of all the innocent children who lost their lives the very day he spoke those words! Do believers not think before they speak? I think not because I’ve been around them for all of my 57 years. Chills would, and still run over me when I’d hear things that come out of their mouths. “We can’t know the mind of god,” or “You can’t question god!” Well, I can, and I did, and I’m a far better person now. It’s so OK to doubt what you were TAUGHT to believe!

  6. ... Zoe ~

    charles -> It is not a post on my Secular Wings blog. It was the title of my original blog that I started as a Christian, maybe around 2003. When I went to Secular Wings I imported most of those posts to SW.

    It was the name/title of my blog then. That blog is still intact but on private now. As I mentioned, most of it was imported to Secular Wings.

    If you look in my left sidebar on SW you’ll see some Pages listed. One looks like this -> … fka ~ That might give you a little background, not on anger but the transition I made to SW.

    Hope this explains it.

  7. lakishajohnson

    Well written and honest post. This world unfortunately doesn’t always make absolute sense to us, hence the need to believe ( have faith) in something powerful, good, always right, etc. Your mention of fake faith healer John of God is a good example.
    The news show 60 Minutes with Michael Usher, just did an scathing investigative report of John of God on 10/26/2014, prior to his arrival to Australia in Nov 2014. Calling John of God’s pretend medical treatment horrendous and barbaric! And grilling him about his sexual molestation charges and the great deal of money he makes(in the millions) by fooling sick and desperate people with absolutely no creditable records of healing treatments! A must see for all who consider going.
    But, will this change the opinion of ‘those who believe’?

  8. Ally

    I feel angry at both! For so long I tried to make religion work in my life and always felt guilty if I did something considered bad. People in church treated me like I didn’t exist for the most part and it was such a waste of my life trying to get my life straight on the fear of going to hell. Now that I finally broke free from those people and thinking, I’m finally feeling peace in my life.

  9. teachermarkthailand

    There are so many religious people in the world that they can’t all be de-programmed to think normally. So in our world, normal people have to suffer their lunacy. You would think that in this day and age, and with all of the available information out there, that people could take an objective and rational view about these dopey convictions, but every day there’s a new batch of fervent nuisances who insist that their vision is the right vision and woe-betide you if you don’t agree. Religious people have very little common sense and suffer from below average IQs as well as social disadvantages. It’s a sickness and unfortunately for normal people, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

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