Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:38 PM
I became a Christian in 1996 after emigrating to Canada with my wife and son. My wife started going to a church almost immediately on arriving here. She started bringing home these friendly Christian types, who seemed harmless enough. I would go upstairs and wait until they had left, and so it went on until one day I was too slow getting up, so I sat with them. I asked many questions, and it wasn’t long before I felt an emotional and intellectual attachment with their message. I fell in love with the ideas from my new found friends, and accepted Christ soon after. I became immersed in Christianity, and joined a church and felt a strong sense of belonging. We soon moved to a smaller, more community minded church, where the emphasis was not on the clothes you wore, or the car you drove. This was what I had been searching for, and we soon became members. Joining a life group with other Christians was soon to follow, and pretty soon the only friends we had were Christian’s. Don’t get me wrong, there was no elitism attached to our thinking, but deep inside quite a few Christians do sleep better at nights knowing their future is *secured*. I still had lots of questions though, which annoyed some people, but stimulated our pot luck conversations considerably! Eventually we were to co-lead a bible study group ourselves, but I felt out of my depth. Some of the new Christians knew their bible better than myself, and they seemed to have more faith than me. I really didn’t feel qualified to teach, but fudged my way along as best as I could with support from my wife. I would say last year (2004) has been difficult for me. I stumbled across this site and was blown away by the brutal honesty of the people here. Ordinary people who were able to freely voice their own struggles before consequently leaving their faith. This only strengthened my faith, since I thought they were weak, and had given up too easily. I really felt sorry for them. But the questions that were raised were valid and difficult to answer, even for my pastor, and a friend who was an elder. They thought I was spending too much time here (true), and suggested this was not a good idea. I still believed my faith was strong, but was still not satisfied with the answers from my peers. The ultimate one being, “Well only God knows the answer to that” Well he wasn’t saying very much at the time. I prayed but my prayers were becoming meaningless to me. I would start a prayer but never finish it. It was like talking to someone who is constantly looking out the window. At the beginning of this year our study group was falling apart, and we were fed up leading a group that seemed disinterested in attending it. During this time, our senior pastor had a breakdown and left the church. I started to attend church less and less, saying that I missed our pastor which was true. My weak excuses were starting to annoy my wife. I was fast becoming a *luke warm* Christian. My own depression was something I was also dealing with, and my meds were turning me into a zombie. (I have since changed them, and feel better now) I no longer cared about church. I still liked most of the people, but wondered if they would still like me if they knew what was going on in my mind.
I briefly described the events leading up to my decision in the “I was wrong” thread including reading only Christian books for 8 years. Loaning books from the library that discuss/criticize Christianity now feel like I am looking at porn, although I know this will pass with time. The relationship with my wife is a little strained. She is obviously disappointed with my decision, but is happy that I have found peace within myself. I know she would rather see me happy as an unbeliever, than unhappy as a Christian. In the mean time I continue to take each day at a time. As I get to know and like myself again, for who I really am.
Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:43 PM
It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak. --Neil Gaiman, Sandman 3:3:6
Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:45 PM
Posted 03 August 2005 - 10:39 PM
Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:38 PM
Deconversion is a hard process.
This is just too true for most people.
You seem to be one of the lucky ones who fall from "The Faith", into a world of peace and joy.
Best wishes to you and your family as you grow accustomed to your new outlook.
Edited by Fweethawt, 04 August 2005 - 01:35 AM.
I am a mouse who enjoys munching on cat food from time to time.
Does that make me a cannibal?
Posted 04 August 2005 - 02:23 AM
I hope that you'll keep the strength of having no-faith.
I'm not going to paint blue skies and sunny days for you. It's a struggle, sometimes with your feelings, sometimes with people around you who expects you to have some kind of faith (usually they expect you to have the wrong faith, but not no-faith)
By time, you get stronger and more confident that you made the right move, if you really can call it that, since many of us pretty much woke up one day and realized how wrong it was. Total shocker!
I'm glad you found your way out, and that you came back to the site.
Looking forward to many interesting discussions...
And behold, one came who in the form of a demon holding a beer, and he spake with a tongue of red. And when he spake, he said bye bye, and all listened, and watched as he smote the babbling troll with his +5 banhammer of fedupishness. And there was much rejoicing.
Book of Hans 3:16
Posted 04 August 2005 - 11:33 AM
(The Art of Noise, "The holy egoism of genius", from the CD "The seduction of Claude Debussy")
Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:21 PM
Kevin, I'm glad to read that your wife is giving you some breathing room.
The relationship with my wife is a little strained. She is obviously disappointed with my decision, but is happy that I have found peace within myself. I know she would rather see me happy as an unbeliever, than unhappy as a Christian. In the mean time I continue to take each day at a time. As I get to know and like myself again, for who I really am.
One day at a time for both of you.
If you really do the inner work, you will admire and probably come to love the man you become. It's labor intensive and emotionally difficult but you're worth it, aren't you?
All the best to you. I hope you'll both be able to tread softly around each other during any transition your questions push you through.
...another barefoot girl uncomfortable with man-made shoes.
Posted 04 August 2005 - 09:13 PM
I prayed but my prayers were becoming meaningless to me.
I can relate to this very well. I used to LOVE prayer. I normally prayed for an hour in the morning to start my day. Most of the time that meant getting up very early (4:30am or so) and driving about 20 miles to the church I was attending at the time to participate in the corporate prayer meetings. Those meetings were cool, and I usually enjoyed them. We prayed and praised and rebuked the Talking Snake and believed that we were magically calling people into our church from the North, South, East, and West. Glory! Many times our pastor (who was basically a good man) would say to local visitors, "You're not here by accident! We prayed you in here! Glory to GAWD!!" BUT, as I became less and less sure of my faith, my prayers also started meaning less. I loved the emotionalism of fervent prayer (the shouting/rebuking Charismatic kind), but I know now that really all that was going on was me talking to myself rather loudly while my emotions followed my beliefs. Absolutely NOTHING in relation to my prayers was happening in the Sky or anywhere else.
fell in love with the ideas from my new found friends, and accepted Christ soon after. I became immersed in Christianity, and joined a church and felt a strong sense of belonging.
I fell in love with Christian beliefs soon after my conversion as well, and I also became deeply immersed in the Faith - especially the more "out there" doctrines and beliefs of the Word Faith movement (um, cult, that is), which I discovered fairly soon after my Baptist conversion. The sense of belonging and community in church is really great and I honestly miss that, but I'm not sorry at all that I deconverted. Community and a sense of belonging can certainly be found elsewhere.
Loaning books from the library that discuss/criticize Christianity now feel like I am looking at porn,
Yeah, I know the feeling. I felt the same way when I started looking for skeptical material on the Net back in late 1999 and early 2000. I found some great stuff at http://www.infidels.org particularly, but it was "forbidden knowledge", if you know what I mean - stuff you are NOT supposed to look at! I honestly didn't expect to find much when I went looking for information that was critical of the Bible or the Christian religion. After all, what could unbelievers really have to say that could bring the TRUTH into doubt? Wow, was I in for a surprise! Glory!
although I know this will pass with time
Oh yeah, it will. Religious fears can take a long time to dissipate - even after you intellectually know that they are baseless, but it will happen!
Anyway, deconversion is indeed a very hard process for many people. I wish you all the best!
Posted 04 August 2005 - 11:07 PM
Posted 04 August 2005 - 11:24 PM
I was being lulled back by the innocent sweet smiling faces of all the kids, dancing and having fun. At that moment I wanted to carry on pretending for my kids and family.
Playing with children is NOT church!
Just because the church has it's magical story wrapped around the activities that take place in an environment such as the one you described does not in any way retract from the importance, and sometimes necessity, of doing things like that.
Just because you found yourself playing with children doesn't mean that you still have an imaginary deity waiting to fry your ass if you make a wrong move.
If the opportunity is there for you to play with children, and you wish to do so, then do so. Don't miss out on the opportunity or cheat yourself of the pleasure of it because the activity is somehow linked to church.
I am a mouse who enjoys munching on cat food from time to time.
Does that make me a cannibal?
Posted 06 August 2005 - 09:37 PM
[Klingon] nuq Daq yuch Dapol? (Translated: Where is the Chocolate?)
Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:31 PM
Your posts are direct and to the point emotionally. Just like in your "I was wrong" thread, your honesty and sense of integrity are really moving. Thanks for the input.
Sometimes I feel beaten down by the battles and alienation with christian friends and family...it's tough being on the "outside" of what is so important to many. Your words are very cool. Thanks.
Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:27 AM
If I had read Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" in my late teens when I first had doubts, I could have saved myself another 20 years of mind control (never mind that he wrote it later than that).
Learning about the history of Judaism and Christianity is imperative if you don't want to get lulled back in. The more I learn, the more I am convinced that Jesus was not a historical figure. Go through the early Christian writings in chronological order and you will see the myth unfolding for yourself. Early Christian Writings
Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:52 AM
Sometimes I feel beaten down by the battles and alienation with christian friends and family...it's tough being on the "outside" of what is so important to many.
I know exactly how you feel Curt. We are not part of the *club* anymore, eh? I listen to my wife on the phone, explaining to our friends what has happened. I feel like I have molested someone, and been interrogated by the police. When I told one of our friends at work (we both work at the hospital) she clutched her chest, and recoiled in horror. I started laughing because it all looked so dramatic! She was still clutching her face when I left her. I am currently reading Bob Ingersoll, so that is keeping me sane amidst all this madness. Take care.
Posted 09 August 2005 - 07:37 AM
Go through the early Christian writings in chronological order and you will see the myth unfolding for yourself. Early Christian Writings
That's quite a site Spamandham. Lots of books I've never heard of before. It will be interesting to read how christianity was influenced early on.
Posted 09 August 2005 - 01:36 PM
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I end up doing it if we hang out with old friends who are still fundies. My husband is still a believer, though I guess he would be called "lukewarm" and "backslidden" at this point. He doesn't want me to drive off our christian friends. Since we are in this marriage together, and our actions affect each other's lives, I feel obligated to oblige him in this.
I don't want to drive any of our christian pals off either, but I cannot see myself being quiet if the subject of religion were to come up. We would very soon be on the "no not them!" list. I am a bit of a loner, so most of the people we know are more friendly with my wife. The only thing we have in common with some of them is religion, so I expect to be treated like a leper pretty soon.
Posted 06 September 2005 - 02:50 AM
Well, being the resident confirmed bachelor of the forum, I can honestly tell you that as long as the girls are of legal age, looking at porn is a fairly innocent activity. In fact one of the reasons I'm able to keep my mind so focused on intellectual persuits is because I take a moment every day to... uh... wait, why am I telling you this?
I briefly described the events leading up to my decision in the “I was wrong” thread including reading only Christian books for 8 years. Loaning books from the library that discuss/criticize Christianity now feel like I am looking at porn, although I know this will pass with time.
Uh, anyway... Although there are some fairly obnoxious values expressed in the Bible, such as the stoning of homosexuals and the joyous tossing of children against rocks (everyone's favorite Bible passage), there are some things in the book that can be appreciated.
I bring this up every so often (not to toot my own horn or anything) but I happen to be somewhat of an ameteur writer. I'm fascinated by story-telling motifs that show up again and again in folk lore and mythology. The gospels are part of that. You see a lot of the same things in other mythical figures. Hercules is he most obvious, but believe it or not, a lot of the same architypes still exist in modern literature, such as Superman. You should look into Lord Raglan's "The Hero" to see what I mean.
The point here is that there are ways to appreciate the Bible that are non-religious, and I would suggest that you take that approach with it. In some cases, you literally can't appreciate the Bible unless you take a step back, remove the fundy-filter, and let the text speak for themselves. When you look at contradictory passages from a mythical point of view, you see that neither verse is the "correct" version, but each could individually convey some sort of expression that doesn't have to rely on canonical harmony.
Often what you find in apologetic "scholarship" is that they're so committed to the doctrine inerrancy that they have to warp the meaning of certain verses to maintain inerrancy. But when apologists do this, they also destroy the original context, and they end up completely missing the point of what the author was trying to say. The apologetic approach of Jason Gastrich is loaded with examples of this.
I mentioned this another recent topic, but you should check out the work of Robert M. Price. He's an atheist, but he's got a particular respect for the Bible that you might find appealing. He's got a couple books that you can find on Amazon. He also hosts an internet radio show on InfidelGuy.com every Sunday called "The Bible Geek". He's only done two shows so far, and the most recent episode is downloadable to anyone who visits the site.
Even though Price's approach abandons any importance of a literal historical Jesus, it does expand your understanding of why these stories existed in the first place and what was going on during the period of the writings. In my opinion, the enlightenment you gain from understanding ancient writings such as the Bible is far more fulfilling the the superficial security blanket of Christian faith.
But then again, I'm a writer, and I always geek out over literary devices and story-telling motifs.
Ray Comfort: "But you have heard of it."
Parrots of the Creationism - Coming to a theater near you!
Posted 23 September 2005 - 01:27 PM
I know exactly what you mean! I felt like that every day for 25 years... Seems crazy that I stayed for so long... but I was genuinly in fear of my soul!
It's great to feel freedom now eh! Phew!!!!!
"Born Ok The First Time"!
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