But actually for me, it was very easy to break out of that thinking because I always had a healthy respect for science. I would go to the library and read about geology. Nothing more grounding than that for building up a logical framework. Being a loner also meant I was not inclined to develop into a social metaphysician with a collectivist sense of reality.
Upon reading philosophy at the age of 19yo I immediately dropped Christianity like a sack of potatoes. In Ayn Rand's arguments, as presented in her non-fiction and fiction, I had never read books so 'strictly correct' in their damnation of religion. Terms were defined, arguments were well-founded. No stone was left unturned. I had the certainty that people should come to expect. I didn't know everything to be sure, but I had the tools to expand my knowledge, and it made me very confident in myself. I wasn't pious. I was certain in my core knowledge because I understood the premises upon which those principles were founded. It gave me enormous pride. It did not give me a lot of friends because I was so keen to learn that I was challenging others at every turn. I am sure I was quite annoying because if you were not logical you were evil. My values have matured, but actually the core values remain.
The problem with Christianity is that people base their lives on it, and people are reluctant to change. I was 19yo when I changed. It would be far harder for a person to drop Christianity at 40yo, and still harder at 60yo. It does happen, as I know people who have studied Objectivism at 60yo and been changed. The more probable outcome is repudiation of what they know to be right, but vaguely threatening. Vaguely so because they will not fully identify their contradictions because they would feel guilty. Its like starting over. But really its not like you have to re-learn everything. You just have to correct ethical principles, and re-integrate.
The alternative is to become a bitter, cynical person. This is what happens to the repressors.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com