"It is a lot easier to shed the contents of Christian fundamentalism than its psychological structure." Valerie Tarico discusses ten ways that former participation in Christianity can still trip up atheists. These 10 thought processes trip up former Bible believers
In other words we might still rely habitually on mental tools that we acquired inside of a youthful, formative, theistic worldview.
"Christianity offers no mental model in which people are complicated and imperfect but basically decent..." "Since we are acutely aware of our own failings, it can be hard internally to stay out of the bad-guy box."
"... the practice of "confessing our sins one to another" turns believers into guilt-muscle body builders. We live in a world of shoulds and should-nots, and in the Protestant ethic, those daily failings are moral failings. A nagging sense of guilt can become baseline normal, with little bursts of extra guilt as we notice one thing or another that we have left undone or goals where we have fallen short."
"Biblical Christianity tells a story about us as individuals and about human history that is clear and simple." "Fiction from Western cultures often mirrors and reinforces older Christian templates and tropes and specific types of oversimplification. And it's all to easy to project these in turn onto the hard-to-parse and hard-to-solve challenges of the real world. We know deep down that things aren't so simple, but it's easy to act as if we live in a world of saints and sinners, elves and orcs."
We gave up watching superhero fiction because of that relentless hero vs villain over-simplification.
What you said about superhero fiction reminded me of the "persecutor-victim-rescuer triangle" where people get reduced to those three roles and nothing else.
And I found the full article worth reading; thanks! https://www.alternet.org/2021/07/former-christians/
"Many years ago I told a therapist that I didn't believe in the Christian god anymore, but I didn't talk to anyone about it because I didn't want to take them to hell with me. He laughed and I laughed at myself, but it also felt very real. The journey out is . . . a journey. [...] Years after quitting a former smoker may crave a cigarette. That doesn't mean they were wrong to quit. It just means those synaptic connections got hardwired, soldered in place, and some of them are still there."
And "Embracing uncertainty about the future and the big questions frees us to live more in the small delights of the near and present—a nest of blue jays, a hug, the smell of butter on toast. That may be as good as it gets."