Hi everyone. It was intriguing to see that there are many others who also don't really have horror stories, but still just can't buy it anymore. I should clarify that my closeted agnosticism at the age of 10 has not been closeted since I was 21 or so. As far as I know i am still the only one from my childhood circle to have deconverted. Sure, there were a couple of partied- too-hard for a while but then came back types, but I don't see this as counting as a deconversion, and it seems to add fucking ammo to that irritating ass cliche that "you deny God to have an excuse to sin" bullshit. It is very offensive to hear this because I am pretty straightlaced...just like a lot of self-consciously secular people I've met more recently, and my unbelieving distant male relatives who I take after. I don't think Christians understand that the people most likely to get in trouble with drugs and alcohol or their other cliched hobbyhorse sins are not atheists and agnostics but rather people who don't have a fucking opinion...they are the ones that just get swept along in the moment like a keg-standing herpes-infected fratboy. Christians also don't understand that there is a difference between being a non-virgin on your wedding night and being a total slut or man-whore. They see sex in a loving adult relationship as just as sinful as a string of one-night stands. I think this is one of the shibboleths a young pew-warmer most easily sees through. Another source of occasional frustration for me, and another disconnect between my life and what I read on the net and elsewhere, is the fact that none of my christian friends or family adopt any "interesting" beliefs like preterism, annihilationism, or universal reconcilation*. These are all things that can be justified somewhat easily from the bible without quite being standard american evangelical horseshit, but all my christian friends and family just spew the standard stuff where hell means endless conscious torment and the Left Behind books are literal truth instead of novels. fucking amazing. I wish someone would at least buy into something interesting if not completely deconvert. Has anyone else been occasionally bothered by the possibility that maybe there was a RIGHT WAY to be saved that you never went through? One of the better tirades out there about this possibility can be found here: http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/salvation.shtml This guy's premise is that evangelical altar calls like "asking jesus into your heart" and "giving your life to Christ" do not do the trick like explicit "trust in the substitutionary atonement on the cross". Has anyone done something like what this guy says but it still didn't stick? *I do actually think that a pretty good case for annihilationism can be made from the bible, and maaaayyyyybe even some form of universalism. Eternal conscious punishment has been overblown at least somewhat. Preterism is the view that most of the book or Revelation was fulfilled in the Roman sacking of Jerusalem in AD 70. A sort of smoking gun for this is the fact that the numerical value of the emperor Nero's full name and title adds up to 666. Most likely John was doing some opium and started fuming about Rome and the Jewish leadership either shortly before during or after the Roman-Jewish war. The Gospel of Matthew also contains some pretty clear references to these events, but most fundies and evangelicals gloss over these, thinking that allllll eschatological statements are tooootally about TTTTTTHHHHHEEEEMMMMM!
I am 34 and have been a closet agnostic since the age of 10. I just never quite bought the things I was taught. And my gripe, strangely, is that I don't really have any horror stories to tell. No one molested me. I went to public school and in a lot of ways had a fairly normal childhood. The thing is, the rest of the Christian part of my childhood circle is pretty much bereft of horror stories, too. No fucked up homeschoolers, no molesting pastors, no girls got knocked up because they received no sex ed or were told that condoms were evil, no pastor's kids went off the rails with overt rebellion. From what I keep reading on various sites, and keep hearing about PKs I do not know, it seems like I must know the only 4 PKs in North America who were neither mindless conformist robots nor herpes-ridden drug addicts . They became real grown-ups. If there was more stuff going on underneath the surface, well I'm usually fairly good at picking up on stuff like that, so it just doesn't seem to be the case, at least not drastically. The reason the above is a gripe, is that it all the more easily lets my family and some old friends be comfortable in their exaggerated notions of how beneficial their faith is. I know that Christian faith is not very beneficial because of other things I have seen and know. I see the bloodshed in history it has enabled, I see the scary political shit they have pulled more recently. I hear consistently patterned horror stories and scandals on the web and in the media. But my circle...almost as clean as a fucking whistle by both Christian and secular standards. My parents and most of their evangelical friends even (gasp!) have somewhat reasonable political views! I seriously don't know what's going on here, but like I said, it makes them too damn comfortable in their faith. I was also the only one who ever had open doubts, which also seems statistically odd, doesn't it? Anyway, how's it goin?