Sent in by Mike Z
I have just recently come to my good senses concerning religion and god. Religion is horrible and there is no god.
I was raised the first 18 years of my life in a United Pentecostal Church, and those were the most awful years of my life. I am gay and going to church three times a week, sitting there listening to how I was going to hell unless I changed my ways, was the most unbelievably horrible mind fuck anyone could receive.
I was told that I was an abomination and a "stink in god's nostrils."
The thing was, I knew I was gay and I prayed and prayed to be "delivered." I had preachers try to "cast out the homosexual demon." Nothing worked. Nothing I ever did at church ever changed the feelings I had when I left the building.
After I got out of the South and moved on I knew I didn't prescribe to that brand of belief, but I thought I had to hold on to to some sort of belief. I remember visiting my older brother and him telling me that he was an atheist. Even though I didn't have the same old beliefs I had before, I was still taken aback at the thought that someone, especially a member of my own family, could just not believe in some sort of "higher power" or whatever you want to call it.
The past couple years I've been doing a lot of soul searching and trying to figure myself out and where I fit in. I came across Richard Dawkins book, "The God Delusion." After reading it, things just became clear. I can now say that I am an atheist. I do however catch myself from time to time saying things like, "Oh Lord, please don't let me be getting sick," or "Thank god I'm not sitting behind that crying baby."
Once in a while I will feel a pang of guilt because I don't believe all the mythology anymore. Does this get any easier, do those lingering feelings ever go away?