Help! I’m all alone in my enlightened bubble!

Enlightened writes on May 21, 2009 at 4:03 am:

I was raised knowing that I am Jewish, but had a very sparse religious education. That changed when I moved to Israel (long story) and met my future husband who came from a very traditional family. Somehow, despite my very rational and logical approach to just about everything, I became a full believer. Mind you, I NEVER practiced or admired orthodoxy, but I did believe in a supreme deity- or at least convinced myself that I did. Then, after a tragic wake-up call, I evolved! I was enlightened! In some ways it has been invigorating and–well, enlightening! Although most often it is a very sad and bitter realization. I feel angry that I wasted so much time, that I allowed myself to be oppressed-THAT I WAS PART OF MY OWN OPPRESSION! But the worst part is that I fed this stupid god/Santa Claus BS to my children. My husband still fears god (he’d do better to fear me a little!) and we even keep Kosher. I have no room in my life and absolutely no patience for religion- especially Judaism. (Somehow, I only pity the followers of other religions-but I have a growing animosity towards Judaism.) Most of my friends are believers as well. They just smile and change the subject when I start to rant (I am a good person and a good friend so they stick around). Those of my friends who are not believers just can’t understand what I am so worked up about. They sing holiday songs, enjoy holiday feasts and could care less about god, and all the ugly facets of religion that lie heavy on my heart.
So here I am on one hand relieved and excited. (I want to wake everyone up! “Hello! Guess what?! There is no god you idiots! There never was! Ok, let’s get to work! It is time to move on! There is a MUCH higher level of morality than religion. Let’s get busy and fix this world!)
On the other hand, I am depressed. I have god and religion all around me, all of the time. I married my heart’s choice 20 years ago and I feel that I can’t just change the rules on him. I began raising my children Jewish and feel that they are too young to turn around and say “oops, I didn’t really mean that.” The innocent part of celebrating Holidays is gone for me, and I just can’t bring myself to celebrate anything but birthdays. I am a real pain during the holidays!!
I admit that I have been prone to ranting and raving lately, but I just wish I could wake up tomorrow and find that the world has caught up to me. People think that I just hate god, because of the losses I have suffered. What they don’t understand is that I hate what the belief in god has done to humanity, what it has done to me, my parents, and my sweet peace-loving sister who was blown up beyond recognition while sleeping on the beach. I don’t hate god. THERE IS NO GOD! I hate bigotry, oppression, discrimination and ignorance- A.k.a. Religion!
So- besides anti-depressants, therapy, tolerance, patience and time, does anyone have some suggestions for the ‘woman in the bubble’?

8 Responses to Help! I’m all alone in my enlightened bubble!

  1. The Atheist says:

    Enlightened

    Thanks so much for sharing this very difficult story with me and others who read this blog. It moved me to tears when I read the part about your sister – I can’t even begin to imagine what you have been through.

    I personally know a woman who grew up in a mixed household – the father was Jewish (and became atheist) and her mother was Evangelical (and became atheist). They didn’t try to shelter their daughter from religion, but they didn’t make much effort to expose her either. They celebrated major Christian and Jewish holidays and that was pretty much it. This girl, the woman I know, grew up atheist. She’s quite happy being atheist, but she feels she missed out on her religious heritage. She has recently developed an insatiable appetite for learning all about it. Her current project is learning Biblical Hebrew. I guess my point in relating this story is that possibly it’s OK for the kids to get their dose of tradition. When they’re old enough, you can share your views with them, and in the end, they will decide for themselves what they believe.

    I completely understand your bitterness and resentment toward Judaism because Judaism happens to be the brand of religion that entrapped you and has caused you so much personal pain. Moreover, as a member of an orthodox household living in Israel, Judaism is an incessant affront to your intellect and sensibilities, and it won’t let the wounds heal.

    You’re in a very tough spot! It’s probably all you can do to avoid feeling that you are a helpless victim of your circumstance – I’m guessing that’s the reason you are as vocal as you are with your friends about religion, and being open and vocal about your beliefs probably does help some. I think if I were in your shoes, I’d seek some professional help or some sort of group support – as strong as you sound like you are, you would have to be absolutely super-human not to be worn down over time. Don’t beat yourself up for having been entrapped by religion. Most everyone has been and most still are – even most atheists were entrapped at one time or another. Quite the contrary! You have the right to feel proud that you are one of the few (20% or so?) of people who, in the middle of the delusion, has actually found your way out!

    It may look from your vantage point that the whole world is a pretty loony place – and maybe much of it is. But it’s probably not as loony as it looks from within the orthodox bubble you find yourself in. Stay online, reach out, talk to other free thinkers, and know that there are parts of the world “out there” that are as sane as you are!

  2. Xela777 says:

    While I respect your belief on this issue, and I sympathize with your lack of camaraderie may I ask what changed you? You only listed things on what religion has done wrong, not why it’s wrong.

  3. LapsedOptimist says:

    Enlightened, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. You obviously loved your sister a great deal, and to lose a loved one in the way you describe… I don’t know how I could hold myself together in that situation, much less hold myself together as well as you. Be strong for your family and friends, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, as well. I think A3’s suggestion of seeking professional help is a good idea. I know I’d have to myself.

    May I ask you, Xela, why it matters to you? This woman has been through a tremendously horrifying and emotional experience. In my opinion, asking this question is extremely rude. Would you go up to a stranger at a funeral, in the process of burying a loved one, and ask the same question, make the same statement? I hope not. I also hope that you would not expect a serious, logical, thought-out answer to such an emotionally charged question, at such an emotional time.

  4. Durzal says:

    LapsedOptimist
    I gotta defend Xela here, the point is this isnt a funeral, its a blog.
    People use this blog to find out about atheism and to debate views, so Xela asking questions about what changed someones belief isnt out of place here and from what i can see he made every attempt to do it in a polite way.
    If someone doesnt want(or can’t handle) people asking questions about their beliefs then they shouldn’t be posting it on a blog called ASK.. an atheist.

  5. The Atheist says:

    I agree, Durzal. Even if the answer seems obvious enough to me and possibly to others, I still think it’s a reasonable question – especially if Xela doesn’t see why the events that Enlightened related are wrong. Besides, based on Enlightened’s initial post, my guess is that she would be more than willing to share her perspective.

    That said, I also see why LapsedOptimist would perceive the post to be insensitive. Perhaps it’s a matter of separating the content of the post (i.e., the question) from the overall demeanor of the post.

  6. Dean says:

    Dear Enlightened;

    After being a conservative Christian for 27 years, I finally began to awaken (spiritually speaking)four and a half years ago. I wish that, somehow, I could just zap you and that you’d see the light because I truly do understand your pain. I can identify with much of what you have said.
    The road to self realization and/or spiritual enlightenment is never easy. To make a long story short, I have come to discover that the very core of every main religion of the world is speaking of the same thing. The answer to life is NOT “religion” but rather the science of the soul … which is seen, to a certain extent, in all of the religions. I have found countless examples of the words of Christ, for example, in the ancient hindu writings as well as in the Tao Teh Ching. I now fully realize that the “salvation” which the Old and New Testaments speak of is really simply “enlightenment”. It is known as “the end of suffering”; “awakening”; or “liberation” in various other “religions”. It is simply the awakening of the true self to its true nature.
    Please allow me to recommend two ancient Hindu books of wisdom to you. (Please remember that these are not ‘religious” … they are spiritual) These are #1- The Bhagavad Gita and #2- The Upanishads. (Better still if you can get them on audio. At least I learn faster that way)
    Also, “The Power of Now” by Eckarte Tolle is excellent because it brings out so much of what the ancient “religions” are really all about. EVERYTHING is about rising above the human ego and realizing that we are NOT our minds. You no longer have to be imprisoned within the pain of your thinking. We can all rise above our thinking minds and realize that we are not who we have thought we were. Rather, we are the observer of our minds … our true eternal Self. When this happens everything changes! The end of suffering indeed!! I truly wish you the very best.

  7. Hannah asbury says:

    I understand exactly how you feel. I came
    out a few years ago and it seems that my family rolls their eyes at me and I am alone inside my head. In this small town I have no one to talk to about my views. I feel that My loved one deserves to be free of this small world he lives in that revolves around god. He’s a simple man and it’s sooooo difficult to have an intellectual conversation with him. He was born and raised an apostolic. We’ve talked so many times about my views and about his but it seems I only hold his attention for about five minutes lol. This is the greatest passion in my life. God is the universe around us. I see no reason why Christians can’t broaden their love and their views a little more! Give thanks to the gravity an the air around you. Give thanks to the galaxy and the stars and the energy around us making us who an what we are. I think there is no more personal relationship than that of us as human beings and the invisible strings holding us together in the universe. I’ve begged him to try, to abandon his fear and step outside the box. We only have a short time to live and I wanna LIVE together. I feel so alone inside my head, please contact me. It’d be nice to hear from someone as passionate as I am.

  8. Dan says:

    I agree that there are more important things in life than organized religion; we do need to fix the world. But there is a God. Not a guy with a beard, but a collective consciousness that pervades (and exists as) the entire universe. We are just a small part of this collective whole called God, and life is just an illusion. We will die, go back to stardust, and become something else. Once we realize that life is only a dream, and that there’s so much more to existence than me or you, we really won’t have anything to worry about. All the things that troubled you don’t matter. All that matters is making this dream a good one, for the sake of, well, living the dream. That’s why we need to fix this planet. Not because there is no God.

    I completely agree that all the dogmas of organized religions are b.s.. God doesn’t want to deprive us of the joys of life, he wants us to experience them.

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