Discussion by: petermead1
Like some of you, I was brought up in a religious household. In my childhood, I went to church, church camp, youth group, and participated in bible studies, among other church activities. I always had my doubts, but it wasn't until later in life that I finally became a free-thinking atheist.
With that being said, I have not escaped the clutches of christianity without enduring any harm. Into my adulthood, psychological repercussions that are the result of inculcated ideas about hell manifest themselves in the form of abject anxieties that plague me.
Despite the fact that my rational mind believes that there isn't a god and that hell is a fictitious place, I cannot seem to shake this case of the "what ifs." Sometimes, I lie in bed awake at night while horrifying fantasies of hell torment me. Questions like "What if I'm wrong?" and "What if god really is there and I'm going straight to hell to burn forever?" incessantly race through my mind. Most of the time, I can use my rationality to think it through (sanely) and calm myself down, but this doesn't seem to abolish them definitively. They always come back at a later date.
For those of you who may have experienced the same thing, what did you do to rid yourself of it? Should I seek professional help for these mental qualms? I am the only atheist that I know, and I have no one who could be empathetic to talk to.