Cognitive Dissonance: What now?

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What now?

"To hear a religious parent say "You're an embarrassment to the family" is hurtful and is made no less painful by the confidence that your rejection of superstition was the necessary, healthy and right choice. I heard these words this morning, and while they cut deep, they serve as an example of how religion attempts to quell legitimate counter-arguments by attempting to shame those who present them. Even family."

This is a quote from "The Thinking Atheist" who is a guy named Seth that hosts a website, a podcast and of course Facebook and Twitter pages/accounts. I read this quote this morning, like 12 hours ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my head all day. After officially and publicly separating myself from Christianity I got a lot of comments like this, probably since I was even more (publicly) outspoken then, than I am now. Since then I've gone through some stages, sort of similar to the stages of grief actually, as odd as that might sound. Not having come out the other end of that I am stuck in a familiar pattern of frustration and anger and I cannot decide what to do about it. Literally removing all my Christian friends from my life would solve some of my problems, however the problems it would create are probably even worse. I could publicly ask people to leave me the fuck alone and keep their idiotic dithering to themselves, but that isn't practical either considering how much I use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. And it doesn't help me decide what to do about the members of my family who have been laying guilt trips on me so thick I feel like I'm being crushed. It's breaking my heart, and it's taking up way far too much of the space in my head. I had a friend who always told me I chose what thoughts I "rent" space out to in my head. But I can't kick this one, and I am confronted by this issue on nearly a daily basis.

I know I have nothing to feel guilty about, and I know that the fact they keep bringing up my shortcomings or mistakes I made in the past (some 2 decades ago) just shines a spotlight on their immaturity. But I can't help but feel like I'm a bad person! I spent YEARS of my life judging people for not blindly accepting the Christian faith, I mean, it was so "obvious" that it was the "truth". The truth was, I had never actually given it any real consideration, it was all I knew, it was how I was brought up and all these smart people around me that I respected so much seemed to genuinely believe these things. Now as I stand on the outside looking in I wonder HOW on earth ANYONE could possibly buy into such blatant bullshit. But, I digress, back to the point. I have nothing to feel guilty for, as much as I hate the sound of this term, I am the *shudder* victim here. Maybe I'm frustrated because now I am presenting these people with cold hard facts that are obviously in direct opposition to what they believe and their ears and eyes are closed. Why should I care? It's their problem not mine. Or is it? It seems it's constantly becoming my problem lately. I was hoping this would help me reach some conclusion, yet it has not.

So, I move forward hoping for some clarity and wondering how to obtain it. I miss North Idaho more than ever at times like this. There is a rock, high above a lake where I used to take these questions....

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