Nourishing Noggin Nosh for the Newly Non-Believing

And Other Resources for People Struggling in this Day and Age.

Unperson Pending
Happily Faithless
11 min readJun 4, 2022


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NOTE: This piece has been updated (edited/formatted/links verified) from the original which was published June 8th, 2021.

So…you’ve had it up to the moon with religion and have decided to leave it behind. Congratulations! You’re in a bit of a scary place. I assure you, however, that it is a very good place to be. You are at a turning point, in the midst of a new opportunity to consider better ways to live than were previously thought possible.

To give you a bit of background about me, I grew disenchanted with my birth religion quite early, around the time puberty hit. My religious tradition was an Evangelical one and the Pentecostal zealots who raised me were very fond of the disgustingly toxic ‘christian’ axiom “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”. In practical application, however, using the rod (usually a sturdy leather belt) so liberally did a good job of destroying the child I was, affecting deeply my ability to trust those in power over me; to the point that I eventually resisted their teachings at practically every turn.

This (ironically) might have insulated me from being susceptible to the virus of religion ever again, facilitating my early break and firm adherence to the ways of the Atheist. And I say that because I did try, legitimately, to embrace my Evangelical roots on my own terms for a time, but it was a fruitless effort.

For a time, I meandered through disparate belief systems, toying with New Age-y Druidism and Buddhism, grasping at straws to make sense of the world and my place in it, before I finally settle in as an Atheist in my late 20s (to the surprise of almost no one). I came out once I realized and accepted that I could no longer take as fact (read: take on faith) any proposition for which there was no tangible evidence, unequivocally and irrefutably demonstrating the veracity of a truth claim.

What do I mean by evidence? Well, christians like to claim that god is everywhere and in everything but they have never been able to demonstrate evidence for this assertion in any concrete way. On the other hand, no one can see wind or gravity, but we can observe the effect of both phenomenon on objects we CAN see. Pick up a ball and drop it on the ground, you’ve demonstrated the effect of gravity. Hold a piece of ribbon up to a fan to flutter, you’ve demonstrated the effect of air currents as it regards wind. That’s tangible evidence for things not directly observable.

The real trouble is that religious people claim to have all the answers, yet most religious traditions can only really tell you about the things people in the past believed about the world and what it meant to live a virtuous life. Some of it may be applicable in a modern context but let’s be honest, there were a lot of ‘virtuous’ things happening in the Bronze Age which are pretty fucking abhorrent in modern terms, if not outright criminal.

That’s not to say that you can’t derive wisdom from religion. Taken purely as philosophy, christianity is no more or less credible than Heidegger or Kant. It has no agency of it’s own, no more power than the ideas of your average modern philosopher because that is all religion is — a set of ideas. It takes people to apply those ideas in order to give them dominion over our lives.

As a predictive mechanism for the future of human existence, religion falls far short, which is to say that christianity hasn’t been updated as a religion in centuries. Some of the minor details have been modified to fit a contemporary sensibility (IE — demons no longer cause illness), and newer translations of the bible have been contrived to bring it in line with what is claimed to be the intent of original texts. It remains, however, that the basic tenets of the religion are not that much different from those in the age when Ecumenical councils were a necessary thing, held by the powerful in order to clarify vague doctrinal ambiguities.

By contrast, there is the Higgs-Boson concept from the field of particle physics. This erroneously labeled ‘god particle’ was postulated and predicted mathematically decades before it was even possible to measure for it; and then, few years ago, the researchers at CERN in Switzerland confirmed its existence…as predicted. No matter how credible a preacher may seem in his delusions (what believers like to call prophecies) religion can never, and I mean NEVER, aspire to the same level of predictive certainty about the future of human existence as that of science. Science may not have all the answers in the moment, and it may get things wrong from time to time, but at least scientists aren’t poking around in the dark trying to influence our behavior via mythologies out of date by at least two millennia.

One important thing to note here on science, religionists will try to sow doubt in the newly non-religious by asserting that science doesn’t have all the answers, as a justification for accepting religion as the superior model of thought. The fallacy here is that science will never have all the answers…because every new discovery raises more questions to explore. Religion, however, claims to have all the answers you need and doesn’t really encourage you to question if those answers are really what you ACTUALLY need.

So, in the interest of helping you cut through the fog of uncertainty, allow me to list a few things you should take into serious consideration now that you are exploring a life without religion.

1. Seek out community but avoid Activism.

Many who leave religion behind tend to fall into familiar patterns and seek out agreeable communities to replace the one they left, as a means to compensate for the discomfort of the newly formed social hole they’ve dug. This is not a bad thing; tribes do better than individuals wandering through the wilderness. Some, however, turn almost immediately to activism (IE — newly ‘born’ Atheists protesting religiously heavy political rallies) as a means of compensation, to try and make sense of their reality. They wind up developing a degree of anger over being kept in the dark/lied to/mistreated in the midst of their previous experience.

Naive, emotionally stunted people will likely want you to suppress this anger, however, being angry is not the problem. Reacting blindly in the midst of the anger is. Anger is a perfectly normal, healthy emotion to experience. It informs that something is wrong and that a solution must be devised to rectify the disparity. For people coming out of religion with this level of discontent, it is NOT beneficial to add more emotional volatility to an already shaky situation. You’ve lost the community upon which you were inculcated to trust and rely. That trust was betrayed/neglected/shattered. The best thing you can do right now is…

2. Cultivate wisdom and understanding.

Until you have a secure emotional and intellectual footing on which to stand, you are vulnerable to the attacks of doubt religionists will throw at you, should you choose to be open and honest about your new status among the de-converted. I wouldn’t exactly label it gas-lighting, but it remains that the last thing you need is for those you’ve left behind to abuse/neglect/mistreat you further as you’re sorting out how to travel your new path. The best cushion you can give yourself against these people and their assumptions is a robust intellect; become a minor academic on the issues before you.

You’ve been fed a limited narrative all your life by people with an agenda (usually one of power and control) and now you have to sort out the disparities between what you were told and what is fact. Learning about logical fallacies is a good place to start. If you have the courage, you might begin with the religious texts you were exposed to beforehand. Examine what you were told to think about the texts versus what academics and scholars say the texts actually represent.

If you prefer not to dive in that deep so soon, start by examining other belief systems. Compare and contrast them with your previous experience. Study their history and to discern the common threads between all religions, their basic doctrine and how they are used by adherents. Try always to discern the logical fallacies in play when adherents argue for their faith, such as what it is, logically, which makes the Noah story factual history, yet relegates the labors of Hercules to myth.

No one should be made to feel shame or endure emotional indignity for leaving behind what they could no longer tolerate, and the best way to take care of your weary mind and heart is to read and learn, to understand where you are by examining where you were and what was hidden from you. The important thing to remember, however, is to keep from falling back into the familiar patterns which trapped you in the bonds of religion in the first place. Which leads me to…

3. If you’re experiencing trauma, seek professional help.

Trauma roots us in the past and makes it more difficult to break the cycle of toxic thought grounding us there, thus it’s vital to avoid religion if religion is the cause of your pain. I wont deny that religion has inspired some good things, but it’s also inspired some horrendous shit as well.

I could list the genocide of the Cathars, the Crusades as a whole, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, or more modern indignities like the Albino Witchcraft Murders in Africa or the support the Mormon Church threw behind Proposition 8 in California years back, but it wouldn’t be enough to illustrate fully that religion seems to inspire a toxic kind of ‘othering’ unlike any other part of the human condition. Religious people will likely deny it but pain rooted in religious abuse causes unimaginable harm across the board.

On an individual level, this kind of harm manifests often as PTSD, due to varied forms of abuse inflicted on the innocent by trusted elders; whether clergy, parents, spouses, etc. The structures of power within Religion serve to break down individual will, inculcating adherents to be emotionally dependent on the community, and only the community. This is where the harm is rooted, because it allows the community broad latitude to ‘other’ anyone who doesn’t conform closely to the ideals of said community. If the inflicted inequity grows too severe, the ‘othered’ individual either falls in line with doctrine or makes a clean break. Win-Win for the toxic community.

That said, if you need help, here are some resources you can explore to aid in your quest to heal and find peace.

Recovering from Religion

The Secular Therapy Project

National Alliance on Mental Illness

I should note that the stigma associated with non-belief makes it difficult to find a therapist who is openly Secular. Therefore, if you can’t be sure just where a particular therapist stands on religion, make sure you point out that your trauma is rooted in religious influence and that you wish to keep religious ideas and ideals from entering the treatment plan. You’re the one in pain; you’ve had enough respect for your own well-being to leave religion behind and you deserve to have your boundaries respected and your trust validated. Which leads to…

4. Stand firm. This is your journey. It belongs to you and no one else.

Let me assert here that you owe nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to anyone who wont give to you what they would demand for themselves; not respect, not deference, not admiration, not trust, not consideration, not fidelity — NADA! If a religionist demands you offer proof that god isn’t real, you tell them that it’s THEIR duty to prove the greater claim, to produce evidence that god is real, or even a possibility. The burden of proof is on those with the more fantastic claim and anything that can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed just as easily.

If they give you shit about being an Atheist, that they can’t comprehend how you can NOT believe, you must tell them that EVERYONE is an Atheist in some respect. Does a christian believe Zeus/Thor/Hanuman/Quetzalcoatl is real? They will likely say no without qualification, which makes them an Atheist with respect to those gods. Therefore, it is quite easy for them to comprehend how you can be an Atheist with respect to their god.

If they refuse to see the light, shut them down. Tell them that they can’t demand proof from you if they continue to carve out special exemptions for their preferred myth. Never let believers sway you from your convictions if you know for a fact that their alternative is worse. The best way to do this is to simply not cooperate with them by not tolerating the games they’ll try to play with your mind.

I wont pile on much more here. There’s enough to consider as is. You must also keep in mind that my word is not the final authority here. Unlike religionists, I will not insist you accept what I offer as gospel truth. You have to sort out the details and decide for yourself if what I offer is worth of accepting. It’s your mind and your better life that is to be cultivated and you wont get there if you continue to place absolute trust in new external influences the same way you placed your faith in that which you’ve left behind.

I will finish with a list of various literature and media I find relevant to this discussion, that I’ve found meaningful over the years (or have been told is worthwhile) in my journey out of the swamps of religion, through the fog of mental illness and into the realm of the rational. May you find some wisdom and comfort in these things as well.

NOTE — If any of these links cease to function, please let me know and I will try to replace them. All links verified as working/accurate as of June 3, 2022.

1. Music -

Shelley Segal is a musician and singer from Australia who does a wonderful job of putting socially relevant ideas into a pleasing package of song and verse, not the least of which is non-belief. I have all of her music to date and highly encourage you to seek it out for yourself, particularly The Atheist Album.

Select Songs — House with No WallsSidelinedSomebody Like You Already Gone Background Noises

The Pierces are a music duo of sisters from SoCal. They don’t really have much to do with non-belief or religion but they do some pretty magical stuff with music. I’ve found it therapeutic over the years since I discovered them as I walked past the CD racks at my local library (I judged a CD by it’s cover and the result was fabulous) and I can’t resist promoting them.

Select Songs — TonightSecretYou’ll Be Mine Kings

2. Books

This is a list of authors and titles I think will be relevant as you explore your new perspective.


Skeptics Annotated Bible

One Nation Under God by Kevin M. Kruse

-The God Virus by Darrel W. Ray

-Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

-On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier

-Bart Ehrman

-Greta Christina‘How can you be moral?’: Here are 9 questions you don’t need to ask an atheist

-Sam HarrisEnd of FaithIslam and the Future of ToleranceLetter to a Christian Nation

-Christopher Hitchens

-Dan Barker

-Robert G. Ingersoll

-Penn Jillette


-The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon


-Daniel Dennett

-Bertrand Russell

-Lawrence Kraus

-Stephen Hawking

-Neil deGrasse Tyson

-Richard Dawkins

-Carl Sagan

3. Visual Media

These are some documentaries and other assorted bits of media I’ve found very useful and interesting over the years. Some tackle serious subject matter, some are of a lighter tone.


-Julia Sweeney — Letting Go of God


-Great Courses From Jesus to Constantine

-Terry Jones The Surprising History of Sex and Love


-A Better Life

-Andy Hamilton’s Search for Satan

-BBC How the Devil Got His Horns — Diabolical Tale

-BBC Divine Women Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3

-Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Maajid Nawaz — AH / JW3 Speaker Series

-Did Jesus Even Exist? | Richard Carrier


-Depression- The Misunderstood Epidemic

-BBC Stephen Fry — The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive — Part 1Part 2

-BBC Stephen Fry — The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

-Fires of the Mind — Depression and Manic (Bipolar)

-BBC The Truth About Depression

-PBS Depression Out of the Shadows


-NOVA Secrets of the Mind

-BBC The Creative Brain How Insight Works