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  1. 4 points
    I was once very charismatic. When I spoke at woman's meetings with fervor and sang a lot at the church, I had people's attention. That's sounds vain to me right now...but the fact is, I believed so strongly that god was ''using me'' that it made me into an extremely charismatic person. I could lay hands on people and claim their healing and I believed it with all my heart. Someone actually thought I healed their eyes one time. Believing so strongly makes you into a kind of an actress or actor and it can be very convincing and intoxicating. Take your time with all of this. Go to the church if you have to experiment. Sit back and be an observer. That's what I did for about 3 years. I was beginning to doubt big time but I still went. I still followed and went through all the emotions but I watched everything like a hawk. This is part of deconverting. Your mind is split. Part of you wants to believe and the other part is doubting. It is cognitive dissonance and if you don't understand that your mind is doing this to you, it can drive you crazy. Don't allow it to. Just tell yourself you are in an experimental stage. Go easy on yourself. Keep posting and we will tell you our stories. You are going to be alright. Take a deep breathe and try to understand that time will show you. (Hug)
  2. 3 points
    Relaxation is in order. The Christian faith is based on scripture, authority and revelation. Rational thinking is based on evidence, reasonable skepticism and logic. It seems you have already made an intellectual decision to follow the later and decouple from the former. However, the years of religious indoctrination and peer pressure has created intense emotional reliance in you. Your post (and other posts) are convincing evidence of this. Be patient, relax, take a chill pill, enjoy a movie, or a book or a walk in nature. It would appear that you have significant emotional and psychological healing to do. For many, that is difficult. It takes time and effort. Regular meetings with a secular mental health professional of your choosing would help. Another step you can take is to avoid too many connections with the religion, or its adherents, including your religious friends and particularly the "ultra charismatic college missionary" you mention. No church, no praying, no talking with other indoctrinated theists and no charismatic snake oil salesmen. Put another way, do other things worthy of your time.
  3. 3 points
    It's OK. What you are dealing with is normal. You don't have to meet any standard, just be true to yourself. Take a few deep breaths and gather your senses. Try by experiencing some new things, formerly taboo activites. For me, I did some things like went and had a drink of alcohol in a bar, nothing heavy or dangerous, just different that you would be afraid to do before. Listen to music that would be a no no, look at some porn. Your eyes won't burn and your not going to go crazy. Just don't do anything that could get you killed or arrested. Meet some people who are not part of Christian circles. Go read some books that you never would have before. As for that guy, you don't need stories, you already know he is full of shit. You are dealing with conditioned responses from the indoctrination.
  4. 1 point
    Hello everyone, first time to post. You can call me Chuckles. First things first, I don’t know how long this post will be. My brain has a tendency to want to cover everything, no matter how insignificant the detail. Also, I am rather young (23) and have only been in the church for just over two years, so I know I can’t possibly understand the pain and frustration that so many of you who are older have experienced. I couldn’t imagine experiencing the stories I’ve heard since I started browsing this site four months ago (October 2016). I didn’t grow up in a Christian household. Throughout my school years, I never gave religion much thought. I was about the most relaxed agnostic you could meet. I figured that if you weren’t hurting anyone, you could believe whatever you wished. I realize now that pain caused by religion isn’t always obvious or newsworthy. In January 2015 (a timeline helps me organize my thoughts), I met the man who would introduce me to evangelical “non-denominational” Christianity. He’s a year older than me, and worked in the same building as me at the time. I’d dropped out of the local college, but he was still a student there. Almost immediately he asked me over to his dorms the next night, which I thought was weird considering we’d just met. But I never did much and my girlfriend lived two hours away at her college. Figured I could use an evening out. The next evening I went to his dorm and was startled by what I saw. Not that he appeared so popular that he could stuff his 4-man dorm with so many people, but by the large banner above the living room couches: “JESUS SAVES.” I immediately knew I was in the wrong place. Not because I had anything against Christianity, but because I figured it wouldn’t take long for these Jesus people to realize I wasn’t one of them. Only…that didn’t happen. I was approached by several of his friends who all wanted to know who I was and all about me. It made me feel good. I never had more than a few friends in school. I only spent about 20 minutes in the dorm before leaving. As I left, the guy I initially met (whom I’ll call Jamie for the rest of the post) asked if I knew anything about the Bible. I told him I didn’t, that I vaguely knew the names Noah, Jesus, and Moses from movies. Jamie asked me if I’d like to do a Bible study with him sometime. I cannot tell you what compelled me to say yes, but I said yes. I figured it’d be like any time in school when someone said we should hang out. That nothing would ever come of it. But Jamie made sure something came of it. I’m still in ruins over whether or not saying yes was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Over the next few months, Jamie and I pored over several Bible studies. In late January we went over the sinner’s prayer study and I followed the instructions to accept Christ as my savior. At the time it felt quite genuine. Nowadays I’m thinking that I felt pressured to follow through with it because it was the way to continue spending time with these people. And it felt so great to have so many new good friends. I was baptized in March 2015, and the church I joined that sponsored that college ministry group went crazy over it. It’s funny to me that up to this point, I’m telling you all the same story that I told them then at my baptism. Only now, there’s a twist to it that they wouldn’t approve of. May 2015: My girlfriend (whom I’ll call Rachel here) graduated from her college and moved to my city. We had long planned to move in with each other due to our financial circumstances. Jamie strongly urged me to do otherwise. He spoke of past experiences with women in his life and how God “changed his heart” about how to live with them. One of the pastors (who becomes important that I’ll call Adam) of a “sister church,” who also manages Jamie’s college ministry group, an hour down the interstate confronted me with the same general message: that God would greatly bless my relationship with Rachel if we honored what I was being told. So Rachel, who was now in as deep with the church as I was, moved in with some of the college girls while I was forced to move in with a thoroughly unlikable roommate who was one of the church’s young working singles. That summer, Rachel and I were also persuaded to take part in the summer leadership training program at Adam’s sister church. Considering my work hours, my Monday to Friday schedule that summer was: up at 4:00am to drive to my city for work, work from 6:00am to 12:/1:00pm, free time (that I felt guilty if I didn’t give it all to God in reading/prayer) until Rachel got off at 4:30pm, driving to the sister church by 6:30pm for a dinner and sermon/prayer/small group activity, chatting with guys until sometimes midnight, and repeat the next day. From 6/1/2015 to 7/31/2015. I’m surprised that I actually lived through that summer. I was also made to feel guilty whenever we went out for cold turkey evangelism downtown on Saturday nights. Being incredibly introverted, I always felt horrible that I was the only one who didn’t have it in them to talk to total strangers about the gospel. I now realize that I just don’t have what it takes to be a sleazy car salesman (no offense to any actual decent car salesmen). This is what first made me start doubting the legitimacy of the Bible. But those doubts went away for a while. Through fall 2015, Rachel and I continued with the college ministry group, even though we didn’t go to the college. It was around Labor Day that I had the conversation with Adam that made me begin to despise how utterly pushy yet “loving” these Christian people could be when they wanted to me. Adam had the brass balls to ask me why I was stringing Rachel along and where our relationship was going. Most marriages in the church were from brief courtships after years of “brother/sisterhood.” And you had to receive a pastor’s greenlight not just to propose to a woman, but to initiate a dating relationship, period. Being that Rachel and I had met and dated before we met the church, I thought we would avoid this. I was wrong. I wanted to tell him that it was none of his effing business and that we were perfectly happy on our own timeline, but of course I didn’t. I’ve hated Adam for this, but I don’t think he’d ever understand why. To be married in the church, you had to exemplify “a true Godly man.” So I fake prayed for several months to get Adam’s approval to propose (which he had jumpstarted like an a-hole instead of it being on our time, or even God’s time that you’d think they’d want). I proposed to Rachel in November 2015 and we married in July 2016. Our marriage so far has largely been happy. Until I came to the conclusion that I no longer believed what this church was telling me. Sometime in 2016, I can’t figure out what led to what exactly, I lost my faith. I stopped reading the Bible in May. I feel like I wanted to discover the legitimacy of the faith, and not just trust blindly in “God moments” that I now know are just select coincidences among dozens of unanswered prayers. So many people in this forum have made posts that more accurately convey my feelings that I could ever write or even try to repeat, so I’m going to begin wrapping up here. The “Confused” topic in the “Ex-Christian Life” forum particularly speaks to me. The evidence for the Bible is weak at best, and it makes me sad that grown men and women so readily believe in such obvious fantasy fiction. I feel sorry for their children that will grow up without a choice in whether or not to have the same belief system. My wife is not pushy thankfully, but it tears her apart that we are no longer on the same page regarding the faith. I just feel so angry during Sunday mornings at the lies the pastors are telling. I wanted so badly yesterday to tell her that I wasn’t going to go to church with her, but I couldn’t do it yet. But I’m reaching the breaking point with my frustration. I feel like I’ve lost her to this religion (or “relationship” as they condescendingly call it), and I’m lost on what to do (though not lost in the way they think they can fix). This conflict of faith has thrown the first major wrench into our relationship in the 3 ½ years we’ve been together now. I hate apologetics with a passion. They use them to no end. Just because you can’t thoroughly disprove something doesn’t automatically prove that something. Oh, and also: “freedom in Christ?” What a freaking joke. There isn’t freedom to do anything that isn’t pre-approved. Thank you for bearing through this lengthy post. I apologize for any typos. I wanted to post this as soon as my account was approved.
  5. 1 point
    @Joshpantera Early in this discussion we both came to the conclusion/agreement that it's unlikely that even with the sea level rise predicted, that humanity would face a catastrophic or existential threat. However we were thinking (Or I was) of just sea level rise, and an increase in the temperature of around 2-5 degrees. Assuming the ice caps do melt though, there could be a cascade effect on the entire climate system rendering what we know about current climate systems useless. This was a "what if" thought that popped in my head. We think of sea level rise, and yep areas get flooded, but if too much ice melts off the poles what effect could this have beside sea level rise and temperature rise?
  6. 1 point
    LB, good rant. I'm probably more 'sane' right now than I've ever been. (could also have to do with getting older). I made many mistakes during my life as a christian and I'll always be pissed off about the waste of time I spent trying to please the christian god. Some of those bad decisions were made trying to get gods' approval thinking I was following his direction. I have grown into, more or less, a nihilist with half decent morals. I do swing to wanting everything to be 'one' as in Pantheism, but I still really believe we are just animals. Just like skysoar said, once I saw that humans are just animals from evolving over millions of years, it answered every question I had. Good luck, bad luck, good days, bad days, rich days, poor days...... it's all about being a human animal and survival for me now. You could say that I've grown into a pessimist with a big smile on my face. I try really hard not to ruin anyone's day. I still like to be kind even behind my pessimism. And I still like a good laugh. But.....no more bullshit for me.
  7. 1 point
    ...or you could just go ahead and deconvert since you seem basically there half the time.
  8. 1 point
    LB I'd like to preface this post by saying I do agree with much of what you are saying, I don't however, agree with the manner in which it is said. Fair comment on the 'shredding" I chose my words poorly. I look on it more as an opportunity to challenge this Christians perspective, and perhaps change their mind. By saying "pretended" you are making the assuming that Jon is more informed and more intelligent than he makes out. This might be right, but as Jeff points out, when challenged Jon already backed down and asked for explanations. I prefer to look on the situation as a Christian, overconfident, and not as knowledgeable as they think, coming here, and we have an opportunity to change the way he thinks. If he simply goes away from here being able to hold an argument better then we have achieved something. He is only wasting your time IF you read his posts and IF you reply to them. You consider it a waste of time, I don't. You see it as an annoyance to be banned, I see it as an opportunity. If we are looking at convincing others of our position, I don't think launching personal attacks is the way to go about it. As far as logic goes, launching an ad hominem is a logical fallacy. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem
  9. 1 point
    But TRP, wouldn't it be fair to say, despite your post above, that you do have a belief or lack of belief on subject X, even if you don't give a shit about it? I think there is a conflating of caring about what one believes/doesn't believe and the belief itself? (For example on the subject of God I care about what others believe and that what I believe is true as possible) So you can have a belief and still not give a shit about the consequences of that belief. For example I don't give a shit about whether the FSM exists or not. It's irrelevant, but I don't believe it does exist. So I have both not caring and lack of belief. So you don't give a shit about God existing, but do you believe God exists? (My definition of God in this post is the Judeo/Christian God) PS, you might be ignostic, apatheist and atheist all at the same time?
  10. 1 point
    You are right in all way Insightful Very deep.
  11. 1 point
    That's it in a nutshell. I was unbelievably neurotic as a Christian. After a while, it rendered me unable to process anything anymore. I can't tell you enough how good it feels to take a walk outside and just enjoy the beautiful weather. None of that 'what soul can I win today?' stuff. What made me neurotic was the belief that the evils in the world were all apart of sin. I never grew up drinking or doing drugs. Pornography was the extent of it. Yet, I saw so much hedonism, self-absorption, and war growing up. To someone like me, it made sense that this world was doomed. It felt nice to have an answer to all the chaos I never understood. .
  12. 1 point
    Not giving a shit requires neither belief nor not belief. It is freedom from such encumbrances. I don't believe or not believe; I don't know or not know. I simply don't care. I agree that people ignore the meanings of the labels. That is what has caused each of them to end up meaning so many things to so many people that they ultimately mean nothing to anybody.
  13. 1 point
    I started reading the preview on google books. This looks very good. I like how Harris set forward the interpretation of spirit as "breathe" and hammers home from the outset that (1) meditation is precisely spiritual and (2) that most of the supernatural bagged attached itself in the middle ages. This speaks immediately to the same misunderstanding I've noticed both here at ex-C and abroad where people don't think meditation is spiritual. In fact it's the very hub of spiritual and that's because it involves breathing and consciousness. We face a large scale problem of misunderstanding what spirituality even is in the first place due to religions which have largely degraded human spirituality. And the new wave of the future, IMO, will involve the direction that Harris is going in. This will sweep through the ranks of atheism all in good time. And I think atheism will adapt to the changing landscape.
  14. 1 point
    Jon, you're not going to get banned for believing in Jesus, trust me. But you may end up being ignored if you say you want to debate but don't do so in any kind of coherent manner.
  15. 1 point
    1. Your experience, or lack thereof, carries just as much weight as anybody else's. And more weight than claims made by somebody who heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody else who said they were there and saw it. 2. If god loves children in Africa enough to raise them from the dead or heal their blinded eyes, why doesn't he feed them on a more consistent basis? Wouldn't that be a greater, and more practical, miracle?
  16. 1 point
    That's 5 answers, none of which is particularly robust, but let's see what we can do. Your God is... 1) Jesus Christ 2) God the father of the bible 3) The creator and sustainer of the universe 4) The life giving spirit 5) The father of lights I don't accept that these 5 can be seamlessly amalgamated into one, coherently defined notion of "God". Two of the five do not exactly make sense even of their own accord. What, precisely is meant by "the life giving spirit"? What on earth is meant by "the father of lights"? I understand that you are a Christian, but I'm afraid that I will need you to be a bit more specific. As the prof has suggested, there are multiple versions of Christianity, some of which directly contradict each other about the nature of God. My personal contention is that no one has ever been able to coherently and robustly define the Christian God. But this makes the statement "God exists" incomprehensible, and therefore, meaningless. So until what we mean by God is properly defined, Pascal's wager holds no meaning whatsoever. I understand that this may seem a touch disingenuous on my part. I used to be a Christian. I understand many of the different Christian notions of God very well. So for me to pretend that I don't may seem somehow evasive. But I don't think that this is truly the case. Christianity claims that God's ways are not our ways, and that his thoughts are not our thoughts. So we can't be expected to be able to understand him. Ergo, my contention regarding the definition of God meshes with the Christian message. But it follows, then, that we can't know how God will react to our believing in him. We can't know that salvation is to be gained and damnation avoided by such belief. So, once again, Pascal's wager loses it's potency. Florduh's objection is also very potent. I find myself in the position of actually not believing in God. I could pretend to believe, but surely God would see through that. I can't make myself think that Christianity is true. I sincerely don't believe it. And then there is the issue of which God to choose, which has already been discussed. It bears noting, though, that if I were to pretend to believe in a God in order to evade some hypothetically horrendous afterlife, I wouldn't choose the Christian God. I'd convert to Islam. Their heaven is better, and their hell is worse. But I still might choose to do that and find myself waking up on the shores of the river Styx, with no coin to pay to Charon. See the problem? I hope that by now you can see that Pascal's wager is troubling only to those non-believers who haven't really thought it through.
  17. 1 point
    What I found is that church people have a LOT of stories. Stories that cannot be verified and that they usually heard from someone else touting it as true, simply because it seems to indicate their faith is real. I even had a buddy of mine tell me he saw a Jamaican wizard appear in a bathroom at a Christian conference, and that he rebuked him in the name of Jesus and he disappeared. Believers are full of stories, but are any of them true? Believers used to tell me about how video games would ask kids to sign their souls over to the devil to get to the next round. EEEK! If such a game ever existed, no one could tell me the name. When I deconverted from Christianity, I first spent a year praying, fasting, seeking, trying hard to get real answers to real questions. After a year of silence and mounting evidence that the Bible was not at all historical, I left the faith and haven't looked back. It still has taken years to shake the remnants off and retrain my subconscious to a new way of viewing reality, but life makes a lot more sense now that I don't try to perceive an invisible war with invisible angels and demons. Just simple reality.
  18. 1 point
    All that haunts me is that they are worming their way into government and secular life.
  19. 1 point
    Oh really? Do you actually believe this? Does it make you feel better or sleep better at night thinking we just didn't get the full picture of God? Hmmm let me try n see if I got a full picture. While knowing that I was lost and in need of a sacrifice so that I could walk with him as he walked with Adam before they sinned in the garden of eden. He made a plan. A plan that would end up causing his own son to be beaten, tortured, and die on a cross. The ultimate plan of salvation for his lost children. Jesus willing to be the sacrifice for us was born of a Virgin. Lived his life without sin and In his 30s he was baptised by John (his cousin) and began his ministry and his journey to the cross preaching a new gospel of love and faith. In the Garden of Gethsemane he pleaded with his father knowing the end was near to let this cup pass from him but that not his will be done but the fathers. Having his answer the guards came to take him and he went willingly even tho at any point of time he could have called ten thousand of gods angels to vanquish his enemies. But he didn't. He loved us. He wanted us to be saved and he knew without his sacrifice we would be forever bound to an everlasting hell. He submitted and let these men beat him beyond recognition, revile, mock, and spit on him, Strip him of his cloths, nail him to a cross in the place of a murderer, place a crown of thorns upon his head whose thorns would have dug deep beneath the skin. In agony he hung from the cross held their by the love he had for us! His friends! And his sheep! Just so we could be saved. Someone as lowly as me! Even now I begin to cry when I think about this. This is what I believed. From the pulpit I would preach this message with tears streaming from my face just as they are now. Such love! Such sacrifice! For an unworthy man like me! Is this the practical picture your speaking of? A God of Love and mercy willing to do ANYTHING to redeem us? Even to sacrifice his own son? Is that what your talking about? Because if it is then I think I had a pretty good grasp of the concept. Maybe now you can understand the agony I felt when I realised it was just a very well crafted story meant to fill my heart with those emotions and the devotion to serve Jesus. Maybe you can imagine the disappointment when God stopped answering my prayers or when I stopped feeling his spirit. Something I never thought would happen after my salvation experience. I believe every word in that bible until the holes became to obvious for me to cover up with a simple excuse or an apologetic statement. Can you imagine the shock I had when I found out that the exodus never happened when I was genuinely trying to find proof for my son who had decided not to believe. Which also lead to me discovering the origins of my God and realising the systematic evolution of a polytheistic religion into a monotheistic. When your faith in the bible ends...... even a well crafted story like that of Jesus begins to fall apart. I do know what happens when material success crumbles. I lost a house, a wife, two cars, and had to file bankruptcy during the housing market crisis. But I kept the faith for 5 more years after that. I held onto Jesus when I went through the storm. So I can definitely tell you. Can you tell me what happens when the bible crumbles? Because I can. I stood strong during a material melt down. But buckled at the knees, (sometimes literally in prayer) when the bible began to crumble. He tried me and I kept the faith. I tried him and he failed. I'm just gonna leave ya with that Cuz well... living it over again gets a little depressing and it's time for me to sleep anyway as I work nights so I'm gonna stop here. Dark Bishop
  20. 1 point
    LB, Good rant. Once you get past religion, you will likely do as I have done, become cynical to all institutions. You find they are all about as phoney and full of narcissists as the Church was. The only difference is that the Church at least got you to give to them voluntarily, even if it is blatant manipulation. The others, well, they will attempt to use force of some kind at some point.
  21. 1 point
    ... I'm too sober for this shit.
  22. 1 point
    I can relate to SO much of what you just said. If there is anything that has been perceived as a miracle it was probably going to happen anyway. Like Pat on the 700 club holding hands with his head bowed and says. "There is a woman that found out that she had cervical cancer last year. God wants you to know you are healed." " Someone has lost their wife and is thinking about suicide. God wants you to know he loves you and is with you during this time." I mean seriously out of the millions of people watching how many might fit that criteria? Then they praise God their cancer didn't come back after they scraped her cervix and someone gets a feeling of reassurance during a time of grief. Then pat gets new donations to the 700 club. YAY! God is great. I also had friends and family who were good people but I knew they would go to hell if they didn't accept Jesus. Basically that's just a ploy so you will try your damndest to convert them. Because you've been brain washed to believe someone you love so much will be tortured for eternity if you don't witness to them. The best thing I can tell you to do to break your fears is to research. The more you know about the truth the easier it will be to reprogram your brain. Your loved ones are good people. Their isn't a hell for them to go to. And you are not a bad person for questioning. He says he will try us in the bible. He is a hypocrite if he expects us not to try him. From the sounds of it you have been trying him with your prayers and pleas for his devine intervention with no answer, that's because he is not there. I hope this helps, I know how you feel. Many of us here went through the same things. Don't think your alone in this. We will help anyway we can. Dark Bishop
  23. 1 point
    Hmm, I appreciate the thoughts. One thing I'll note is that I've discovered the reason why I've come to hate my church as much as I do. As for my wife, I love her. I really do. I'm glad I married her and our wedding was great. Everything is great except when I openly grumble about church. What pisses me off is that we didn't get to decide to get married for ourselves. The decision was forced upon us, as my pastor practically said I either needed to marry her or dump her that one day. It wasn't naturally our decision, even though it might/probably would have been. Just later in the future. Same goes for my friend and the pastor telling us not to move in with each other. My wife and I didn't get to make and discover these big relationship decisions for ourselves. Sure, the end result may have been the same, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the force and guilt the church (or merely two people) pressed on us/me to do it their way. What sucks also is that, for the most part, I like the people in my church. Our small group folk are fun to be around on game nights and such or anytime one of them isn't talking about Jesus or the gospel. It's Sunday mornings that get me. The preaching. I wanted to scream at the pastor speaking today (different from the other one). The judgmental prick. Telling people how to live their lives. Looking down on those who don't bow to the people and simply want to live their lives the best they can. Ugh. Sorry. I have no real place to rant except this site. Thank goodness I found it.
  24. 1 point
    Chuckles, That's a funny screen name. It makes me...well...chuckle. When I met Mrs. MOHO 20 years ago she informed me that she would not date anyone who was not an xitan. Of course I said that I was because who in the US was not? So, my initial concept of an xtian, and that religion in general, went largely unchallenged until we moved to Ore-Gun and got mixed up with some screem'n fundies. Mrs. MOHO took to them like long-lost family while I went completely in the opposite direction. Things were so tense on the home-front for 1.5 years after I proclaimed my deconversion that I eventually began going to church on Sunday again - just to smooth things over. I'm telling you this because I want to convey the absolute daily pain this arrangement causes me and that I am only doing this because we have been together for 20 years (no kids but we have 3 lovely grand-daughters from Mrs MOHO's son from a previous marriage) and leaving seems unthinkable at this point. I am trying to communicate to you what your life COULD become if you stay in the marriage and Mrs. Chuckles continues down the path of indoctrination and YOU continue towards enlightenment and freedom. It's tough. REALLY tough! You, Sir, are young enough, and married for such a short time, that changing your entire life will be relatively easy. Approach Mrs. Chuckles with honesty and frankness. Tell her your reasons, if she will listen, for not believing, and give it a few months. If nothing changes GET OUT! GET OUT! Don't look back! Run like the wind! Don't wind up like MOHO where there is nothing but PAIN in either direction!
  25. 1 point
    You found out quickly that some churches are especially into controlling the sheep. They take advantage of people's unwillingness to say NO and push all kinds of stuff on you quickly to keep you submerged emotionally, and thus easier to control. It is a common tactic in all cults. Questioning authority is automatically assumed to come from sin or demons instead of actual questions. And when you aren't willing to accept doubletalk as an answer, they label you "contentious". And they will be working overtime on your wife to convince her that you are under the influence of a "rebellious spirit" which was already there when you two wanted to live together. If she's pretty, they will work triple-time on her because pretty women draw in more potential converts, and pastors like to control pretty women. Pastors wank as much or more than the men they try to counsel. This is because nobody is born-again, there is no new creation, there is no holy spirit, there is no lamb of god, there is no god, no devil, no demons, just humans with unfortunately gullible minds. I was a believer for 30 years. I watched this shit for decades, especially in the more controlling congregations like Maranatha, Christian Center, and Foursquare. The first two had a rule where you must approach a pastor if you feel god is leading you to a particular woman, and they'd have to pray over you and rebuke spirits of lust before they could ever grant consent. Vile disgusting controlling little shits! None of that is even in the Bible, but they extrapolate it to CONTROL people. Control gets them more tithes, and obedient people are a lot easier to deal with than those who have minds. One of the last churches I visited didn't want to hear questions about tithing or the sermon, because that meant you were thinking. They literally said to me, "You'd be happier somewhere else." Meaning they'd be happier if I were somewhere else. They also pushed you into "leadership" training right away, so you could create more drones for them to control. Many cults do the long-hours and little-rest, some only letting you eat sugary foods. Tons of prayer sessions and spiritual warfare bullshit so you think you have invisible enemies trying to trick you into leaving the cult, but you are a mighty warrior of god blah blah blah. Religion like this should be illegal, but isn't. If your wife is willing to unplug from that congregation, move out of town and away from their influence. They'd far rather concentrate on new lackies than try and pursue you. Most of us who left church found out that they forget about you fairly quickly. The constant barrage of "praying for you" and such keeps her underwater emotionally and unwilling to question. I wish you well.