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    Northeastern United States
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    Trying to figure it all out
  • More About Me
    Mom of 3 boys, mid 50's, previously identified as Catholic

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    No. I had my "Santa isn't real" moment

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  1. Hello Myrkhoos. Sounds like we have a lot in common. I was baptized and grew up in the Byzantine Catholic rite. There are a lot of people of Eastern European decent in my home town. Growing up, I thought that the Byzantine church was too ceremonial. I would go to Roman Catholic Mass with friends and loved the guitar music and the modern songs. It was funny though, the older I got I had a greater respect and admiration for all of the Eastern rite ritual - the chanting, the incense, the formality. But I settled into the Roman Catholic faith after my children were born. You completely nailed it with each and every contradiction you mentioned ! I could not longer handle the mental gymnastics I had to go through to keep all of my beliefs in a context that agreed with what the Catholic church was calling absolute truth. The word MYSTERY is definitely their trump card for everything that doesn't make sense. Same with me. I saw 2 Christian therapists in the 2000's, and more recently a therapist who was a former Catholic but in his 20's became a follower of Easter philosophies (Buddhist/Hindu). Prior to the pandemic, I had started seeing a reiki master who was helping me with some life coaching. I also started taking yoga classes a few years ago and in the right setting, I find that to be so relaxing and mind opening - hard to put into words. This is where I am now too. I'm a little more lazy about it in that I tend to listen to various "experts" talk about the subjects. I find good lectures on YouTube and listen to them while I'm walking my dog or while I'm in the car. My favorite so far in Alan Watts. Sometimes when I'm feeling anxious, I will listen to one of his lectures, even if I have heard it before. His voice just calms me. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts
  2. freedwoman, I'm new to this site - nice to meet you . Just read this thread. I can see you're in a lot of pain. I tend to ruminate about things that I can't figure out. I can't get them out of my mind. I'm getting better about not going down that path all the time. Yoga, meditation and breathing have helped a lot. And with this crazy pandemic, I've been feeling even more alone. But one thing I'll remember from the pandemic is that it gave me the push to finally join this site. I haven't had a chance to read all of your posts, but just wanted to share a book that I read. I actually listened to it on You Tube, and then read the book afterwards. The book is The Four Agreements. I don't promote any particular type of spirituality, I just keep searching for wisdom wherever I can find it. I think you might find it helpful
  3. Thanks Weezer ! There might be a genetic component, lol ! My father always identified as an agnostic. Don't know if my kids ever saw him in church. My husband tolerated my religion for over 25 yrs, but I could never convince him that it was real. I was always the spiritual head of the household. But I've let the older two to their own decisions about religion and the younger one would much rather sleep in on Sunday mornings. So day to day life is actually quite fine, it's just my anxious, people-pleasing personality that is dreading having to tell people and have to experience people rejecting me. I know, I'm trying to work on not punishing myself for this
  4. SarahJane, It's funny, one of the ways the Catholic churches can tell if you attend services on a regular basis is by whether you give a weekly donation. But the churches have also modernized and you can now do regular electronic donations. We decided to do that a little while ago. We continue to do so because the local churches contribute a certain amount of money to the schools and since my son still attends Catholic school, I still contribute. In general, I feel my church is a very good steward of the money they receive from the congregation. They do a lot to serve the community, so I am ok with still supporting it to an extent. But to your point, no one has been brave enough to ask me why they haven't seen me. Still not sure what I will do if someone does. I have a few responses lined up, but it will probably depend on where my mind is when it actually happens. The annoying part is that I am fairly certain that at least 1/2 of the people who consider themselves regular church goers DO NOT believe everything about Christianity and Catholicism. It is often just a club that they belong to. With the current pandemic. it is becoming more apparent that many people have difficulty thinking for themselves. (Sorry if that comes across as arrogant)
  5. Thanks ficino! It's great to also connect with someone who knows about the subtleties of having been a conservative Catholic. I know that all former Christians have a lot to sort through after walking away, but each denomination has their defining elements. And as you said in your post, you and I probably have things in common and things not in common with our exit experiences. When I sensed in my being that I was most likely getting close to the point of no return, I started quietly removing myself from positions of responsibility. I had been heavily involved with a Christian ministry called The Alpha Course. I was a small group discussion facilitator, I prayer over people during retreats, was pretty sure I had the gift of tongues.... So I quietly stopped volunteering with that ministry. Since I had gone back to work on a part time basis, I used that as an excuse. I had also been a lector at Church for many years. I actually continued being a lector, even when I knew I didn't believe it any more. I just looked at it as public speaking practice. But eventually knew it was time to excuse myself from that activity as well. I guess what I'm getting at is that there were many activities that I was involved with that gave me meaning and purpose in my life. I miss being a part of something , but I actually have more of a feeling of contempt for the faith at the moment. I know that religion has served a purpose in human history but I'm angry that people made up a lot of stuff and passed it off as something that actually happened -- and they continue to do it to this day. I guess I'm impatient about filling the void that has been left in my life. There are still churches in every town, and each one would welcome you if you walked in the door. It seems like more of a challenge to find the feeling of community outside of the church. Sorry I went on so long
  6. DanForsman, Thanks for all of the pearls of wisdom. The funny thing is that my son who is in Catholic School is not bothered in the least by not going to Church. At one point, I decided that we should at least go once a month so that he didn't feel like he was living a lie. When I told him that we were going to Church on a particular Sunday, he said he didn't want to go. My two younger boys are not good at sharing feelings and so I am just letting things play out as they will. As it is, our Catholic high school allows non-Catholics in the school. They just have to go along with whatever is taught at school and attend at-school services, but they are not bound to become Catholic. That being said, this is the third child to go to this school and when the first two were there I was all in, -- part of a weekly prayer group that met at the school chapel once a week, part of a group of women that did another special weekly devotion at the school, I organized a women's retreat during Advent (and on and on and on). So other parents, as well as the priest who is the principal know that I am an A+ disciple of the Catholic Church. Which is maybe why no one is brave enough to ask me why I've been avoiding them - because me leaving the faith is the last thing they would suspect. I also have not told my 85 yr old mother, although I think she suspects. I think she might be able to handle me not going to Church, but would have a hard time with me not believing in God. I appreciate your thoughts about not stressing about what I will tell people. I have no intentions of trying to convince anyone that what I believe is right/true. I took in so much information to get to where I am today and there is no way I could impart it all to anyone. But as I try to rehearse certain scenarios, I think I feel most comfortable telling people that I am the same person that they have always known and that Christianity did shape who I am today. But I just don't believe in it the same way I used to. I'm going to write that on a piece of paper and carry it around with me
  7. Thank you all for your comments. I will have to get busy reading posts on this site. My biggest challenge at the moment is figuring out how I fit into the life I currently have. My life had been all about being a Catholic Christian. I feel like I will have to live in both world's for a while, but I guess there are worse things I could have to endure.
  8. Hi! I just joined today and have a lot of the same interests that you mentioned. I look forward to seeing you in the forums.
  9. I’ve been wanting to post my story for over a year now. I start and then never finish. I don’t want to bore everyone with all of my details, but it’s hard to boil everything down - well, here goes My deconversion started about 3 years ago, I think. My belief system was ultra conservative Catholic. So much so that other Catholics didn’t necessarily know where I was coming from. I had what I believed to be a “born again moment” back in 2000. Prior to that, I was a run of the mill Catholic, checking my boxes of following the faith and trying to be a “good person”. The interesting twist is that my husband is not Catholic and does not identify with any religion. But when you’re young and in love, you think that love will conquer all and I was convinced, that given time, he would become Catholic (spoiler alert: he still does not identify with any religion). After my born again moment, I became very close with a group of Catholic women. We did everything together and they were my support system. My parents lived 4 hours from me and I had no family near me. I raised my kids in a fairly strict Catholic way and for almost 2 decades my main focuses in life were serving my family and serving the Church. With the advent of social media, I began to be exposed to many different viewpoints. Interestingly, I think it was me delving deeper into my Catholic faith that lead me to see that it wasn’t “true”. For many years I even had a “spiritual director”. I still have a high opinion of him. He is a very smart man, but when I allowed myself to explore outside the bounds of the Magesterium (the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church), I came up against things that could not be explained away any more – or at least I could not accept the explanations. My brother had stopped being a believer sometime in his 20’s. He never made fun of me for believing the way I did, and as my mind began to open up, we had some great conversations. Sadly, he passed away last year and I no longer have a place to ground myself with my evolving understanding of life. I know there are many influences that caused my belief system to unravel. I think what sealed the deal for me was when I came to accept that the Judeo/Christian story has been one of many stories that explains human existence. I always had a hard time accepting that there was true authority in the Bible. I was never satisfied with the fact that a bunch of people decided that everything in this book is God-inspired and holds the keys to all that we need to know. There’s a lot more I’d like to say about my deconversion and will certainly post more when it seems appropriate. What is more of a concern at the moment is that I am really struggling with staying afloat mentally. I had been trying to re-boot my life prior to the pandemic. I had previously been a stay at home mom and for the last 5 or so years had dabbled in finding a new career or at least something productive to call my own. So that has been put on hold and I am still struggling to find a direction for myself. I have also not come to terms with being “public” about not being a believer. There are about 4 people in my life who I have been able to share this with. My husband and oldest son know. I have not told my two younger sons. The youngest is a freshman at a Catholic high school. Before he started school there (having been in Catholic school since he was 3) I casually asked him about going to public school and he did not want to explore that option. So for the next 3 years, I will most likely have to keep this a secret because I fear how awkward it will be if my deconversion is public. And in the meantime, because of the pandemic, my Catholic friends are inviting me to Zoom prayer meetings and the like and I am just having to ignore their requests. I don’t know what else to do. So far, no one has confronted me about my lack of involvement in religious activities, but I would guess that they suspect something is going on with me. I have not figured out a way to connect with people in person who have similar stories as mine. Prior to the pandemic, I actually went to a Meet Up group of Secular people. It was ok, but obviously Meet Ups will not be the way to go for the near future. I have been reading many of the posts on this site for the last year and have found many of them helpful. I guess I’m finally ready to be part of a virtual community. I had hesitating about joining because I was hoping to find something in person to help me on this journey. Thanks to those who have taken the time to read this and I look forward to getting to know you better.
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