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The 'innocent' Christian


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#1 Margee

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:22 PM

I feel so bad. I have to get this out. It really hit me today that if I had stayed in my moms 'United church' and not wondered off into 'Fundyland', I may have never lost my faith. I might still have the innocent faith that I had as a child.... that yes, jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.........

Fundamentalism ruined my innocent faith in god.

In your opinion, is there such a thing as an innocent christian? This kind, gentle lady that I had a conversation with today, goes to the United church and knows 'dick' about the bible. All she knows is that we are born sinners and jesus died for our sins and she's so grateful for that. Her faith is huge.

She came right out and asked me today if I was still a Pentecostal. I told her of my non-belief and she was shocked, cause she has known me for years..

I have many friends and customers who attend churches that NEVER hear about 'being saved', satan, the 2nd coming, hell sermons and such........they just sing songs to jesus, hear a nice sermon, don't pay tithes and go once on Sunday for 1 hour.

When we got into the discussion about my 'non-belief', she stated to me that all it takes for one to believe in god is the miracle of babies. I could feel my blood starting to boil because of my own situation of never being able to have a child. So I said to her, (gently) ''What about the millions of babies that die before birth or are born with horrible human defects'? What about miscarriages and eptopic pregnacies like mine? She, of course, could not explain this. She just innocently believes that god has a plan for everything and will work everything out.

I was very gentle when I was speaking to her and I could see that my answers made sense to her. But, I could also tell it scared her to death because she has such a simple faith in god and didn't want to hear anymore. She even said.....'What you say makes sense and I have questioned different things myself.' I stopped the conversation and took it in a different direction.

I really felt bad. I am going to shut this topic down completely in my shop and not even let it arise anymore. If I have to lie and tell people that I believe in god to save their innocent faith - I will.

Today I almost ruined someone's 'innocent' faith' by declaring my non - belief. It's just not worth it for the bad feeling I have right now..........

Should we leave 'innocent' christians alone? I am sooooo pissed off at fundamentalism right now......
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#2 Overcame Faith

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:47 PM

Yes, Margee, I believe there are those whom you term "innocent" Christians. They are people like the lady you described who really didn't know her bible, accepts what is told to her from the pulpit, finds great comfort in it and the nice songs sung in her church, the companionship, the belonging, and the belief that there is a loving god who will always be there and who cares deeply and lovingly for her.

Ours is the much harder path. We are truth seekers and we have learned just how tough the truth can be (for some people, not all).

I have come to the conclusion that it is not my job nor mission to try and deconvert anyone. So, I believe we should leave people like that lady alone and let her live her life as she deems fit and appropriate. I hope that one day more Christians will give us the same courtesy and stop their lame attempts at reconverting us, thinking of us as dregs who are destined for the hell they preach, have been blinded by Satan, and that we seek nothing but evil. Maybe I ask too much!!!

As for your regretting that you ever went to a fundamentalist church, I can understand the desire to go back to the innocent belief in a loving and caring god. However, I don't think your deconversion had much to do with the church you attended. I think it had to do with your questioning mind and deep-down refusal to follow that which was not true. Though finding the truth may be tough, it has its advantages, too. I think leaving the religion behind has sharpened your mind, made you appreciate life even more, and allowed you to be good for goodness sake.

#3 CatholiKitty

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:55 PM

This isn't uncommon for me, but I can't help but think about The Matrix right now. You (or Morpheus) have the red pill, leading to truth and hardships, in one hand and the blue pill, bliss and ignorance of the illusion, in the other. The old lady (Keanu Reeves) has to make the choice herself which world she wants to live in; all you can fairly do is offer her the choice.
The issue gets muddled if her beliefs cause her to harm or hinder others, but she sounds like she's a nice woman that just happens to believe in Jesus on the weekends.
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#4 owen652

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:05 PM

yeah, i say leave those kind of christians alone.
as for fundies and pentecostals, smash them with reason, they deserve it.
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#5 NeverAgainV

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

Margee, I so get your anger at fundamentalism. I can say that I hate it, with a vengeance.

You raise a thought provoking question. Yes, I think there are "innocent" Christians. IMHO the ones that deny the bible is without error & hold that it is NOT the full inspired word of god. In denying the infallibility of the bible, they now have an "out" to dismiss the ugly passages of the bible & live out the peaceable & loving parts of the bible. ( though I'm not saying I agree with liberal christianity & they are enablers for the harsh christianity in some ways)
...OK..now I just confused myself. Posted Image I think that at least the "kind" christians aren't causing the damage that the zealots are, & it seems to me that the liberal christians are not as whacked out with their political views too.

Like yourself, fundamentalism is what caused my faith to completely crumble. The fear & judgment & horrific sermons. The cutting down of other christian denominations & the Catholics were one the pastor loved to put down. He called them "Mystery Babylon Mother of Harlots & Abominations..." I never ever heard the vile & inflammatory words or cut downs of other xian denominations from the Catholic pulpit. I had no idea of the religious competition while a Catholic. As a Catholic I thought, "hey we all love one another, we are all christians..." not realizing how the baptists & other sects viewed Catholics with hatred & distrust.

I have wondered the same, if I would have stayed the spiritual path of liberal Catholicism would I still be a christian?
I'm thinking probably....yes. There's the meeting god & spirituality, feeling that you are a part of something greater than yourself, there's the fellowship & fun (Catholics have way more fun than fundies because sex & alcohol is a-OK, just make sure you get to confession Posted Image ) & I'm pretty sure most liberal catholics do not take the bible as infallible "god's inspired word". so it's a whole different mentality than fundamentalism. (though I have heard there are very conservative Catholic sects that are just as whacked as fundies)

Anyhow, I haven't told my mom that I am not a christian....fuck, I broke her heart once when I told her I was leaving the Catholic church for the bible cult. Almost 2 decades later, she was thrilled & felt her prayers were answered when we told her we were leaving the bible cult...just to have me now break her heart that I have completely lost my faith in bible god or jeezus. I don't want to break my mom's heart, yet once again....so I'll probably stay mum on that as long as I can.Posted Image

I can definitely understand your wanting to just avoid the religious topic with the gentle christians...I guess you have to just go with what your gut is telling you.
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#6 ficino

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:12 PM

I would leave them alone, too - and in fact I do so. I don't try to argue my relatives out of their beliefs (although many of them are more up on evangelical doctrine than the woman in your OP, Margee).

I feel a little guilty about this in the abstract, but not too much. People have to find their own way. My main source of the guilt is the nagging thought that even the millions of nice, fairly laid-back and not super-aware Christians still give some support to a system that does a lot of harm, including promoting hatred and discrimination against atheists and gays (two groups I'm part of). But, probably a lot of those individuals do not promote such hatred and discrimation, so I don't try to convert them when they're not in my face.
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#7 jblueep

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:16 PM

My current stance is likely to change, but for now my policy is this: Keep my mouth shut around xtians and nod my head unless they ask my opinion directly. At that point, I will make a simple statement about my unbelief. If they press me beyond that demanding an answer, I will give it.

I will have a chance to test this method tomorrow as my former pastor has invited me to lunch "to catch up".

2Honest and I will have a chance to test this method on Saturday as our close friends (like second parents) invited us to lunch on Saturday to catch up.
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#8 jackbauer

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

Never again: I was in that boat. I was always raised with the idea of god loving everyone and people living on in Heaven. I never focused too much on the afterlife and just believed in a good god. It didn't take over my life like it did other people. I mean, why would god care about these stupid sins?

Then I discovered fundamentalism online (which I had some brief exposure to in the past) and holy shit! Hellfire and brimstone! Satan! The end times! God being pissed off at everyone! A god that gave me hope in the past had turned into a god that had given me terror and a very bleak outlook on life (though it did make sense of "Jesus dieing for our sins" which never made sense before). I did NOT want god to exist if this is what he had in store for us.

I think one of the key differences between an innocent Christian and a not so innocent Christian is that the innocent Christian has faith, the fundie has "the truth". Fundies can't tell the difference between the two. They just live in fear of something that they were afraid to question.

I wouldn't bother trying to deconvert them myself. They aren't really obnoxious about it and their beliefs aren't hurting anyone. It's the fundies who hurt people with their bigger badder god. Though I'd be more worried about some fundie trying to "correct" an unexpecting and unprepared liberal or moderate Christian than anything us Ex Christians can do.
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#9 NeverAgainV

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:00 PM

Jackbauer, I hear you. You said it so perfectly here:

"Hellfire and brimstone! Satan! The end times! God being pissed off at everyone! A god that gave me hope in the past had turned into a god that had given me terror and a very bleak outlook on life.... I did NOT want god to exist if this is what he had in store for us"

Yes! I remember thinking....this supposed "good news" is NOT so good anymore.Posted Image I remember often thinking that I wish I had never joined that Primitive Baptist/Calvinist church...because their truth
wasn't setting me free, it was keeping me in a prison.

What you wrote here,

"I think one of the key differences between an innocent Christian and a not so innocent Christian is that the innocent Christian has faith, the fundie has "the truth". Fundies can't tell the difference between the two. They just live in fear of something that they were afraid to question."

is so true. I got so damn sick of hearing "we've got the truth, those other churches don't!!" And during those years, instead of the pastor building bridges between his church & other believers, all he ever did was build up walls & make enemies of people he should have befriended. Over time it just seemed, as you said, that those religious folks were being so petty....I mean, does god really care about half of the shit they spend hours arguing about, when they could be seeing what we all have in common with one another has human beings. They could be doins something to actually HELP the hurting in this world... Fuck no...it was more important for him to put himself up on a pedestal & look down on others.
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That plain little turtle below in the stack, That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss

#10 pratt

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

hi margee,

i used to "follow-up" a recovering drug addict in my younger days, and he had stayed off drugs for 20+ years now, and jesus/christianity is his crutch. I have no intention of telling of my disbelief in god and he never asked for a long time. We do discuss church, but not God, and we have better topics other than God/Jesus/Church. Generally, I do let people believe what they believe as long as they don't step on my toes. For those I think will crumple without belief, I let their beliefs be.

cheers
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#11 JoeCoastie

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:30 PM

I feel a little guilty about this in the abstract, but not too much. People have to find their own way. My main source of the guilt is the nagging thought that even the millions of nice, fairly laid-back and not super-aware Christians still give some support to a system that does a lot of harm, including promoting hatred and discrimination against atheists and gays (two groups I'm part of). But, probably a lot of those individuals do not promote such hatred and discrimation, so I don't try to convert them when they're not in my face.

I totally understand Margee's point. I know some people need their faith, and they are harmless in it. I figure I was a harmless Christian. I never forced my views on anyone and just kinda lived the lax Catholic way. I just wish the moderates would stand up to the extremists more. Just about every American Catholic uses birth control, but they're quiet about it. It'd be nice if they stood up to the Pope and told him what they really think of those edicts.

Edited by JoeCoastie, 07 March 2012 - 11:34 PM.

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#12 BrotherJosh

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:43 PM

There's a reason I don't feel the need to go door to door preaching my beliefs. Because being a fundamentalist, in any belief or non-belief, is just that...a fundamentalist. I would prefer to live and let live. While the reality of the situation will deny that ideal, meaning there are theocrats out there who represent honest threats, I would prefer to let those who wish to believe what they believe alone, as long as it doesn't harm others.

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#13 blackpudd1n

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:47 AM

hi margee,

i used to "follow-up" a recovering drug addict in my younger days, and he had stayed off drugs for 20+ years now, and jesus/christianity is his crutch. I have no intention of telling of my disbelief in god and he never asked for a long time. We do discuss church, but not God, and we have better topics other than God/Jesus/Church. Generally, I do let people believe what they believe as long as they don't step on my toes. For those I think will crumple without belief, I let their beliefs be.

cheers


Oh, Pratt, I have a dilemma regarding a similar situation.

I have a friend, whom has been drug-free for about 10 years now. He went to rehab four times, and on the fourth go, got saved and became the sort of christian that you want to know. He does not attend church; he figured that it would honour god more if he went and mowed the old lady up the road's lawn while she was doing her shopping, and never told her that it was him who did it. He and his wife are the most beautiful couple, and have been so good to me.

It will come up at some stage, and I cannot lie to him that I no-longer believe. The problem is, I know this man's mind. I know how he thinks, I know how intelligent he is, and I know that the questions would lead to investigation. I know that he will want to know all the reasons for my apostasy, and I know that he will listen and think on them. In effect, he is a very real decoversion risk, and I fear him losing his faith, because I fear what would happen to him if he does. He will pick up on the lie if I try. He knows me just as well as I know him.

This man's faith hurts no-one. And he is the one person who I worry about the consequences of knowing about my own deconversion. It's awful, absolutely awful.
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#14 stryper

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

in economics we call this rational choice.

Given all the available information, the Pollyanna christian has made a rational choice to believe.

Given all the available information, the atheist has made a rational choice to not believe.

Ultimately, you have to make a rational choice in this situation given the available information. The choice is always yours to make.

In situations like this I usually choose honesty. I would tell them directly if asked.
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#15 Margee

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:29 AM

Still ranting this morning.....

My friend asked me yesterday, ''Margee, do you feel a loss without god?''
Does it hurt to lose one's faith?

It sure as hell has hurt me. I didn't wake up one morning and say, 'I don't think I'll believe in god anymore. I wanted there to be a god more than anything in the whole world. Any kind of god...just some kind of 'higher power' who gave you a little direction to your life....some kind of god that would make sense of the whole world.

I've lost a lot being a non-believer. Yeah, I got 'reality'. Fun. Real fun. Reality is such fun. Yeah..I'm real 'logical' now. Isn't that wonderful? Makes me real smart not believeing in fairy tales anymore. I miss those fucking fairy tales some days. They gave me hope. Hope for an afterlife....hope to see all my loved ones again...hope that life's hardships would cease a little..hope to meet this god face to face one day.

Maybe it dosen't hurt any of you and that's really great...but it sure has left a 'sting' on my life. A new type of 'sting'. A reality sting. Even if it did seem to take forever for this god to answer my prayers....I still had the hope that it was all going to be smoothed out in his time. Do I miss all the christmas songs I used to sing? Damn tootin I do. My good friend and mentor says, ''Life without god is no picnic either!''

It is god who gets a lot of people through this fucking world. I'm not going to steal their innocent faith away from them anymore...I actually envy them.

So fundy christians out there who read this - I hope you're happy that I can be a miserable, sad atheist also. Do I wish I could believe in god at times? Yep. Take that to your christian site and gloat if you have too. Go on and have a good laugh at the atheist who's heart is broken.

If there is any kind of god out there - I hope he can see how his invisability can fuck people's hearts up. Am I happier being an atheist? No. I've had the worst loss I ever experienced in my life and if any christain reading this can't have compassion for me - then you don't have the so-called love of god in your heart anyway..........

End of rant this morning........
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#16 Akheia

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:40 AM

I'm honest if someone asks, saying that my faith is intense but private, but most "innocent" believers don't really ask anyway. I think I've actually asked someone ONCE in the last few years if she was a Mormon, because the topic among a group of us had strayed to some rather anti-Mormon territory and I didn't want her to feel offended. When a fundie decided I was her project at work a few years ago, I never did find out what denomination she was in. Almost wish I had, because over time what few details I gleaned made it sound like one of the more genuinely batshit-crazy ones out there and you guys would probably get a kick out of hearing about it.

My concern would be that these sweet Pollyanna Christians (what a great phrase!) are using that faith to be dicks to other people. Is this sweet old lady who thinks babies are proof of God denying people the right to marry? Or is she demanding that schools pray during class? Or saying that the reason people are shooting people is because the country's growing so secular? Or... being inadvertently very hurtful to ladies who have experienced heartbreak around having babies? If she's not being a dick, there's no reason to crack her rose-tinted lenses. My MIL falls into this category: she's a completely dedicated and heartfelt Christian, but she leaves people alone about it and has never been a dick to anybody over it, so nobody bothers her. If someone IS being a dick, though, then the situation is a lot murkier.

Margee, I feel for you, you know that? I know what you mean. Life without an omni-all god is actually kind of scary sometimes. But it's what we've got, and I love walking in the truth even if it scares me a little sometimes. And you're totally allowed to sing whatever songs you want. Gospel music and holiday songs are designed to make people feel a certain way. There's nothing wrong with that. Kids love all sorts of music today that horrifies older folks because we actually know the lyrics, but they don't care about lyrics--maybe there's something to learn there. Hm, there's a thought: Most of those devotional songs and holiday songs are bastardizations of secular drinking songs--maybe you could find the words to those, and sing those instead? (I sing Carman in the shower. I admit it. I love the Lazarus song.)

I think it's probably a good idea to not talk about religion at the shop. Nowadays with the pluralism in our country (not a bad thing either), there's just about no way that can turn out well.
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#17 jblueep

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:43 AM

I've lost a lot being a non-believe


Margee,

When I look at you, I see an amazing, loving, compassionate person with a wealth to offer to her fellow man. My hope is that you come to the full realization that the goodness comes from you. You chose and choose to be who you are. No god helped you or made you do it. You have lost nothing in my view, and you have everything to gain.

Hugs!

Jason

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#18 stryper

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:47 AM

just a note.

Margee, you are the higher power that gives your life meaning. You create the meaning in your life. By making decisions about what to do you are creating your reality.

All stories are just that...stories. They are designed to allow you to escape reality for a time. Offer entertainment or a reprieve from the scathing of life.

The reality is we don't know what happens when we die. My views on the subject are documented on here somewhere. But think of it like this. Science knows that we are matter. We also are electrical. Since energy can neither be created or destroied and only change forms...where did the energy powering the body go? Since we don't know, it could go anywhere.

Even though I am pretty sure the bible god doesn't exist. I still like to think there is a place to go to after we die. For me that place would be a cabin in a mountain valley near a lake. It would be a place of rest and contemplation. And those that wish to see me would be welcome to come by for a chat.

So, If you can create your own reality through choices in the life, you should be able to in the afterlife too.

Another view is that since we don't know what happens after we die. Why worry about it?


Edit: Typos.

Edited by stryper, 08 March 2012 - 09:00 AM.

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Faith is Silly. It is blind acceptance in things you have every right to question. -Michael

#19 Margee

Margee

    'Madame Eve'

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    This is my 'Please Forgive Me' letter - It is my testimony and I hope it helps someone....You'll have to copy and paste.
    http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/
  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what? :Non-Believer

Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:54 AM

Thank you Akheia,JBlueep and Styper..... thank you ....a lot... this morning....
93% of the mass in our body is stardust. Just think.....long ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.
God may not work.....but you could try wishing upon a star! Posted Image

#20 Blue elephant

Blue elephant

    Apostate

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what? :Nah!

Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:28 AM

While we're on the topic!

Let the mystery be / Pie in the sky by Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Rob Harbron


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.c...bed/-huymMlbbtE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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