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Salemite

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About Salemite

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Oregon
  • Interests
    Traveling the world, eating good food, trying new recipes, spending time with friends, playing tennis, having meaningful conversations, watching movies with my husband, and volunteering at my kids' schools!
  • More About Me
    I am a mom of 3 beautiful children. I was raised as a missionary kid and my father and brother are in full time ministry. I recently deconverted and am trying to navigate life as an agnostic.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    I am an agnostic
  1. I have struggled with similar regrets/anger over my past. I mainly feel screwed out of a childhood. So many things I was denied...a decent education, friends, music (no rock, any music with drums, ect), couldn't even wear my hair down (had to have it pulled back with a barrett b/c if not I was too sexy...yes you can laugh), couldn't hold hands with a guy till I got engaged (I broke that rule...geez!), no TV (so every time I went to a friends house I was transfixed by their television to the point that friends didn't want me to ever come over), and could never attend any parties (unless it was a party for Jesus or a birthday party) or dances. There is the whole philosophy of "we are all worms" also did some damage. My parents would tell me that there was nothing good about me but thanks to the Lord b/c he chose me and I can find my value in him. Then there was all the exclusivity of our conservative christianity that made loving even other Christians near impossible (they were all liberal and weren't following God's word like they should) or being part of the club that said only hymns were what God liked sung. I remember helping my dad white out all the words "jehovah" from hymnals and putting in "yahweh" b/c to call God Jehovah was wrong. Minutiae and pettiness! It is hard to look back and feel good about it all. So I understand where you are coming from. What is cool is that we have broken the cycle! We can apologize for the past and move on to make a better future. Don't let your past drag you down.....just let it serve as a reminder to be compassionate to those till trapped in it and why you don't want to go back to that. Thanks for sharing your story!
  2. You speak truth Fuego. Totally agree with you. I laughed out loud when you said "and of course Jesus never bothers to tell them." Sometimes keeping it real isn't always best. Although, I tend to lean towards hard core "tell it like it is" I have lived long enough to know that timing, how it is said, and when it is said are key when interacting with my fellow man. And maybe not saying anything at all can be wise as well. Thanks for sharing how you handle FB. Best wishes to you!
  3. Deva-- I agree. Not sure I can do the liberal thing. I feel like my parents completely screwed up that option for me. I see how some of my friends view religion and because they don't take it all to seriously and don't really read their Bibles much, church is just a great place to meet friends and hear a positive message. I guess I won't know unless I try it but I have a feeling that I will feel the same way you do. Margee--I read your extestimony and loved it! Feel the same way!! Postivist--Thank you for your kind words. What I meant by the "baby" is the morality, love, and fruits of the spirit part of the Bible (which you can also get from other religions honestly.) My husband and I have been reading the Bhagavad Gita and it has a lot of beautiful thoughts and ideas. We recently re-watched the Ghandi movie with our kids...great guy who really took forgiveness and love to a whole new level. He like Jesus' teachings but not Christians. So sad that Christianity has such a large volume of hateful, condescending, and fearful people....the greatest commandment has all but been but on the back burner for most. Imagine the world if we were all more like Ghandi. I feel less constrained now that I am no longer a Christian to love those around me and have my only agenda when meeting people be to enjoy them and help them! I'd love to hear your story of deconversion! Liwellyn--I wrote you back! There are so few MKs and we definitely have a unique twist to the whole indoctrination! Glad to have met you. Being in a foreign country, no internet, being homeschooled and having your entire life be about converting people and keep the "flock" safe makes deconverting surreal. Jeff, Ellinas, Geerer, and RedNeckProffesor--thanks for your encouragement and welcoming me into this forum. It feels at times like I am the only one with these thoughts and conclusions. This forum is helpful in debunking that! Cistonga--I read the letter to your parents. So eerily similar to mine to my folks. My dad was upset with me and wondered why I no longer spoke of what God was doing in my life and how I didn't respond to well to them telling me that God has a purpose for my suffering and it is all part of his plan (it seems like practical advice and empathy is hardly ever handed out by my parents because we are all suppose to just suck it up and color. Don't question; it all is part of His plan; the most we can do is pray). I felt like I could hardly have "real" conversations with them and I just refused to fake it. He asked me what was going on and I wrote a huge letter similar to yours (not 46 pages though--WOW! ). How did your parents respond? How are things now between you and them? I just wrote my letter to them in Oct so this is all kind of new and fresh. I am just relieved that when I go down to see them I am no longer asked to share my testimony with the church. It has been painful to be honest with them but such a huge relief on the other hand. I never faked it or lied but I avoided and kept my mouth shut a lot over the past 2 years. It is freeing to have everyone know where I stand....although sometimes I don't think it has totally sunk in for them. I have another question for all of you. Are you on FB? Did you change your religious status? I'm hesitant to "come out". Not because I am ashamed or really particularly afraid but because I don't want to deal with the enormous fall out or hurt anyone's feelings/faith. On the other hand, I think that my silence is not good for the world. I so appreciate the book by Thomas Pain Common Sense, Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on religion and many, many others. Ignorance is such an awful thing for humanity to perpetuate and education is the key to freedom and bettering our society. Then I think, FB isn't a great forum for good, solid intellectual discussions. Then the next second I think I should stand up and fight the good fight. Not sure how I should handle all of this....curious about your personal opinion on the matter.
  4. Thank you for your kind words! This is one of the only place I feel like I can openly share my thoughts without offending anyone. This past summer (2014) is when we decided to no longer attend church. I feel really fortunate that my husband and I have done this together instead of separately. I can't imagine the pain of not having your best friend walk this with you. He struggles with leaving the faith more than I do. He had a huge emotional attachment to it. I did as well but because my whole life was built around the faith I think I saw it more for what it was. Everything was about ministering...even my birthday was about sharing our faith so it felt all consuming and suffocating at times and therefore easier for me to let go. It has been a long time in coming. We were always the couple that was the most "open" and had friends of every faith. We were the Christians that never claimed to know God's will. We were the types to read the Koran and the Book of Mormon out of curiosity (which many told us we shouldn't expose ourselves to the Devil's lies). Church kept getting harder and harder to attend. I found myself always on the questioning side at Bible Studies and was super anti tea leaf reading (my pet peeve). When it came right down to it though, not attending church and letting my parents know was really hard. Their entire lives are based on saving people from Hell. My deconverting is probably the worst thing that they could imagine happening. I honestly don't regret taking the red pill now, although the fallout from changing is painful. There are times I wish we could just blend in and all of us could be on the same page when we get together for Christmas, you know? I think one of the things I have liked most about deconverting (and granted I am new to all of this) is that I don't feel the need to be judgmental. I can hear people out without constantly thinking I "know the way" or "you don't believe the exact right thing like I do." I feel free to love everyone and only pass judgement or feel condescension when someone is outright evil or unkind. I also have so much more free time on my hands because church seemed to consume a lot of time and energy. I am curious, do either of you attend a Unitarian church? I feel a bit of a void...wanting the community that church brought. I know a lot of people attend "liberal" churches and see it as cultural and hear a good message. I feel like I've been so indoctrinated and raised that the Bible was 100% God's word that doing the "liberal" thing might be impossible for me. Still trying to figure this one out...
  5. Why oh, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?-- My painful exodus from Christianity “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” ― Epicurus My deconversion has been painful and agonizing. It doesn’t seem like a choice that I have made. Truth dictates what you believe and if what you once believed to be true is exposed for untruth continuing to believe just isn’t an option. You either change your beliefs or you decide to fake it. I uphold being true to myself and being honest and so deconverting was my only real choice. I unfortunately had questions and I actually pushed to find answers never once really thinking that it would lead to me to no longer believing. I was a chemistry major in college so seeking truth, working hard to find answers, and analyzing information put before me came natural. If the Bible were 100% God’s word then I would find 100% truth and there was nothing to fear in questioning or searching for answers. I had patches that would keep me faithful and plugging away but little by little there were too many patches and the leaks were impossible to stop. I really struggled with God’s will, whether we were predestined or not, all the evil and sadness I saw (that seemed pointless), I got sick of all the excuses we would make for why God didn’t do this or that (He gets all the glory if something good happens but then when things go wrong it is just all our fault), and how few were actually going to go to heaven. The anguish of my deconversion has been compounded by the fact that my I was raised a missionary kid and that my brother and my parents are still in full time ministry. I am loosing the connection that I once had with all my childhood friends and a large majority of my friends made in my 20s and early 30s. My family looks down on me and I am a great source of sorrow. The Christian community thinks that I was a fake and my true colors are just now showing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I lived a sold out life for Christ. I lead Bible studies, served in Sunday school, did countless mission trips and read my Bible faithfully. No one in the Christian community can seem to come to terms with someone believing and then changing their mind. I have been shocked by how little my Christian friends want to know….not a single one has asked me why or want to hear my story. It is amazing how insular and cult like Christian groups are! This is how ignorance continues to be perpetuated. No one is even interested or curious and when one “steps out of the fold” everyone just says “she or he was never one of us to begin with.” Pride, money, or immorality often seem to be the reasons people think many “fall” away from the faith. They don’t allow themselves to consider that it would be for real doubts or legitimate reasons. My family always would say how being a follower of Christ is taking the narrow path and how you loose friendships and “the world” will hate you. I find the opposite to be true. The easy path is to be religious. The majority are religious. To become agnostic or atheist is to take the narrow path. My brother sent us this nice verse when he found out we were questioning things: Hebrews 10:26-39 “ If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Fun stuff! Reading your stories on thissite has been such a huge blessing. Knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts isamazingly comforting. I feel a bit lost and am craving a community of likemindedindividuals. I struggle with how to raise my kids. I am trying not tothrow the baby out with the bathwater. All of this is so new and sometimes I findmyself wishing I had never bothered to investigate (why can't I leave things alone and be happy withthe way things are? Why oh why did I not take the blue pill? ). I am hopingwith time that the dust will settle and I will come to terms with my past and find hope in myfuture. Please continue sharing your thoughts and stories as they are comforting and giveme strength and courage to push forward. Anyway…I took the red pill and now there is no going back! Below are some of the things I struggled with and reasons I deconverted: 1. The God of the Bible claims to love all but doesn’t seem all loving. Why would a loving God, who created all things, make creatures only to send them to hell (i.e. eternal suffering)?( Romans 9:20-22)[1] Eternal suffering for those who foolishly, ignorantly, or mistakenly did not believe in the knowledge of God’s saving grace and/or ask Him to be in their hearts, just can’t be construed as a loving act, no matter how you look at it. (Proverbs 16:4; Revelation 21:8)[2]. Would an all-loving God who is in control of everything create ETERNAL Hell (this sounds horribly malicious and very human)? (2 Thessalonians1:5-10)[3] A finite amount of sin in a human’s life deserves eternal suffering and torment? If love is the highest virtue that is to be held above all others then it would seem that God does not hold himself to the same standards he lays out in his text. 2. If God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 3:4)[4] then why are so many not believing (Mathew 7:14)[5]? It seems like a failed plan. First, there is evidence that God wills some hearts to be deceived (Exodus 9:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:40)[6] or He just makes them for the sole purpose of destruction (Romans 9:21-23; John 15:16)[7]. The idea that an all loving God would create beings just to use them for his purposes and then burn and torment them forever seems haneous. His plan doesn’t seem like a plan to save all even though he claims to want to do that. We would condemn parents for loving one child but choosing not to love another. Yet with God we say he doesn’t owe us anything and therefore it is okay to save some and cast a lot of His children into eternal hell. (Romans 9:13; Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24)[8] 3. We are held accountable for our actions and yet we don’t seem to be truly free to choose. The Bible claims we can’t even choose him freely because we are too wicked and need his spirit to “open our eyes” (Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 2:14)[9] He is obviously choosing so few to save and yet wants to blame humans for their unbelief. Some like to argue that God gave us free will and he would not want to impose salvation upon us and that is why not all are saved like he wishes. Does a good God not have the obligation to save us knowing that we are too foolish to make those decisions on our own or worse yet can’t make the decision because he hasn’t given us his spirit? If a parent knew their child had cancer and knew that their child needed surgery to save them from death would the parent not be obliged to force the surgery upon the child even though the child may not want the surgery? Would we leave the decision up to our 5 year old child? The child may see the surgery as too scary and not understand the consequences of inaction. Would it not be the parent’s moral obligation to force the child to undergo the surgery knowing that this will save them and that when the child is older will thank the parent for caring and violating their will? If we humans hold ourselves to this standard why would we not expect his and so much more from God? 4. The many ways to please God seem borrowed from other pagan religions and the God of the Old Testament is portrayed much like the gods of that time. A lot of the Old Testament is oddly similar to the stories that came before its’ time (Story of the Epic of Gilgamesh parallel to the story of Noah; the story of Sargon Akkad is similar to the account of Moses; Babylonian Sun god Shamash had handed stone tablets of the law to Hammurabi on a mountain much like Moses’ story; Tower of Babel echoes that of the Giant's staircase to Olympus; Samson slaying the lion echoes Hercules slaying the Nemean lion) and a lot of the New Testament seems to borrow/emulate a lot of Greek mythology and European religions/stories that preceeded the Bible. (Buddha, Krishna, Attis of Phrygia and Horus). The Old Testament seems to portray a vindictive God that requires sacrifices and enjoys the sacrifices (Gen 8:28; Leviticus 17:11)[10] much like all the other pagan gods and becomes angry and is okay with wiping out large sections of the population because his patience ran out or wishing calamity upon people who cross him. (Gen 7:1-24; Malachi 2:2-4; 1 Sam 15:3; Genesis 33:9)[11] 5. The Christian faith and Bible is riddled with contradictions. For instance, “we are predestined (Romans 8:29)[12] but we are held responsible for our choices (2 Cor 5:10)[13] or “Without the holy spirit we could not choose Him because man’s heart is evil (Ephesians 2:8; Matthew 11:27)[14] but we are told that our heart knows by merely looking at creation that God exists and we can believe in Him” (Romans 1:20)[15] or “It is God’s will that evil and sadness occur (Rom 11:22, Numb 11:1, 26:10, Proverbs 1:26-27, Book of Job[16]) but we are to fight evil and stand up for the poor (i.e. combat God’s will)” (Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9)[17] or “Man is wicked and unable to do good (Gen 6:5, Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Psalms 14:1)[18] and then in other verses He speaks of those who are pure in heart (Math 5:8, Jeremiah 29:13, Luke 6:45)[19].” Murder is wrong (Exodus 20:13, Leviticus 24:17)[20] but when people are sinning too much He commands that they be wiped out, take the women as wives, and loot with impunity (2 Chronicles 15:12-13; Genesis 33:9;)[21]. The account of Judas’ death seems different in Luke vs. Matthew. And so much more there isn’t time to go into all of the contradictions. 6. There is very little evidence to suggest that Christians live any differently than non-Christians. With a direct connection to God through His spirit it would seem that Christians should have a huge advantage and edge on the rest of the population. My husband and I have moved a lot and have traveled to many places. When you meet so many great people with so many differing opinions, religions and ideas you realize that Christianity does not have a monopoly on truth or morality. [1] For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? [2] The Lord works everything for its own ends—
even the wicked for the day of disaster.; But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death [3] This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. [4] "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" [5] How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it! [6] But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.; among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.; He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and understand with their heart,
and turn to me, and I would heal them. [7] Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory—; You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. [8] Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.; Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.; And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able [9] Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,; The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit [10] Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma.; For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life; [11] Account of the flood and wiping everyone out except Noah, his family and some animals.; I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants[a]; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty.; Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.; [12] For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. [13] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. [14] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—; no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him [15] For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. [16] Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.; Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.; The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign.; I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
 I will mock when calamity overtakes you--when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.; The story of Job [17] Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.; Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy. [18] The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.; Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
 no one who does what is right and never sins.; The fool[a] says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
 there is no one who does good. [19] Blessed are the pure in heart,
 for they will see God.; You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.; A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. [20] You shall not murder.; Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. [21] They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.; Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys
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