Hi all! I finally decided I had better introduce myself. I am 63 years old and am disabled (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia).
I was born to Christian parents, and raised in a conservative evangelical church – at least it wasn’t a fundamental church. When I was 8 years old I said the sinner’s prayer and became saved. I loved god so much! I loved going to church – my deconversion did not have anything to do with my experiences at church.
When I was a teenager the charismatic movement came to my church – which was absolutely wonderful. I started going to a charismatic church with all the woo woo – raising of hands, speaking in tongues, casting out demons, etc. I felt so close to god and loved him even more. I knew that I would never be one of those people who backslide and go away from god.
Eventually I went to a Christian college – but I never learned about the background of Christianity – they never taught me anything that would shake my faith. However, after college I hit a real rough spot in my life. I prayed and prayed to god to help me. I was so desperate, but I got no answers. I thought that god didn’t love me, that I had done something wrong. Then I met some non-christians and got to know them very well. They were such good and kind people that I didn’t know how god could send them to hell. That was the beginning of my deconversion – I stopped believing in hell.
This was all back before the internet and I didn’t know there were any books that would help me. So I lived in spiritual limbo for the next 25 or so years. I dabbled in the New Age movement – that gave me some relief from my cognitive dissonance. About 5 years ago I started searching for resources to help me and I discovered this site, among others. I’ve been lurking here off and on since then – but about a year ago I created a login and started spending regular time here.
I went through all the stages of feeling anger, fear, feeling like I was going crazy, and sadness. I have finally gotten to a point where I am at peace with myself and my beliefs (which I don't know what they are anymore). The only time I feel cognitive dissonance anymore is when I get a little bit into the New Age type stuff (I guess I need to find a website to help me deconvert from that!). Now my beliefs waver between being an atheist, an agnostic, and a deist. I can never be a theist again unless I find a good explanation why a god would not prevent all the truly horrible things that happen.
Anyway, I am now fully disabled – my health has crashed to the point that I am almost completely bedridden. You would think that would give me lots of time to study this stuff – but I sleep 14 hours a day. When I am awake I have only a small amount of time that I can study because mental concentration wears me out as quickly as physical activity. But despite that I am still at peace and content with my life.
I am focusing on trying to learn more about ancient religions and the history of the bible; mythology; and critical thinking. I wish I had time for science also (including cosmology and evolution), but I have to prioritize myself.
I also have a number of questions I would like to start threads about, but with my limited time I don’t know if I would have time to respond to others’ posts. But I’m going to at least start responding in others’ threads.
Anyway, that’s about it until I have time to do a full extimony.