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Okay, Here's My Story


Guest cerebral
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Guest cerebral

Hi, everyone! I've been reading here for a few weeks. I'm thankful to find this place, if only so I can freely spill my guts without some Hysterical Christian Moderator banning me for spouting things contrary to "our Statement of Faith". :nono:

 

I grew up in a devout Christian family. Our church was "non-denominational", but was Pentacostal. As a little child, I definately always wanted to choose good - still do - (I guess that blows the "Total Depravity" notion, huh? :scratch: ) and made the Children's Version of the Sinners Prayer many times, just to be sure.

 

I really didn't have a happy family life; my parents were/are big Basic Youth Conflict and Dobson fans. When I was a teen, I was happy to be involved in our church's thriving youth group, but I wasn't naieve about some of the unholy things going on in the group. Our church was gradually becoming more like the televangelists; in fact this was just before the big Jim Baker scandals hit. I started to think I was in the middle of a charade as the pastor would say, "Don't you just FEEL the presence of the LORD????" and I would be :ugh: "Not really". I listened to people chattering their "tongues" and I thought, this is Emporer's New Clothes. Everyone wants everyone else to believe they are really Great Christians.

 

In my late teens, and almost all the way through my twenties, I was a total doubter; I really wasn't even pretending the Christian label much, except maybe to my parents. The usual questions ate away at me. I had been raised to believe in predeterminism (although I didn't know that was the name) and I could see that, not only was that total crap, it wasn't even something I wanted to believe. I remember a friend from youth group saying, "See, I think life is like a movie that God has already seen and he's watching it for the second time." I thought, " :eek: Who would even want to believe something so depressing! If this is true, then there's no point in anything! I was really interested in some New Age sort of ideas.

 

I started going to church when I had my first child, mainly on the intellectual grounds that I didn't want my children to be ignorant of the Christian faith. It was on Easter Sunday when I was 29 that I really felt "God turned me around". I had a problem that I had not been able to resolve - actually, it was a stalemate with my husband on an issue. On that day, I was thinking about the idea of God having a plan for our lives and his will standing firm forever, so I thought, "Why am I struggling over this problem? I will give it to God. If God's will is best, whatever happens will be best. I trust in him totally."

 

So, then I really got jazzed up about following God. It was so simple; how could I have missed it before? Just try to ascertain what was God's will and then do that. Whatever it was, it would either be good or God would "work it together for good", right? I applied this concept to practically everything and I embraced all the disciplines of the faith.

 

The one shadow in all of it was that I still questioned many aspects of the faith, but I had basically suspended judgement on all of them. I had troubles with almost every tenent. I doubted Biblical inerrancy and intentionally avoided investigating it, knowing full well what I might find. I thought the Trinity was a tidy lie created to try to reconcile monotheism with 3 apparent Biblical "gods". I never could evangelize anyone, even though I took a class at church. The idea of telling people they had to believe what I believed was instantly arrogant and presumptuous. And I definately found many aspects of Bible "stories" troubling.

 

So, anyway, Trust God was my line I tried to do it totally. My husband and I pursued having a third child. A long wait with fertility issues, but I was totally fine, because God would work it all together for good. Finally we were pregnant. Really, this was the high point of my entire life. We were building a beautiful new home, I was having my third child and my life was almost as good as it gets. I was sure that there was no better plan than God's Plan. I felt rewarded and loved by God for my trust in him.

 

Then, the bottom fell out. My beautiful daughter was born still at term. She died in labor of placental abruption.

 

My crisis of faith was not instant. Ever the perfectionist, I was even determined to grieve "correctly". I tried on the various theological models given to make sense of tragedy. None worked long. I kept up my Trust in God line, though, and felt again that he rewarded my faithfulness when I conceived again, six months after my daughter's death.

 

Then, I miscarried that little one.

 

Right at this time, I had a major fallout with my family of origin. (You know, the devout Christians. :Hmm: ) Soon after that, my relationships with two SILs, also Christians, went sour. In a way, my feelings of betrayal towards my "support system" just sort of meshed together with my feeling betrayed by God. None of it made any sense.

 

That was three years ago. Since then, I have limped along with the Christian label, but agonizing over many things.

 

Once, my mother sent me an e-mail. My sister's dog had Parvo; they didn't expect the dog would live. But my mother activated her "prayer chain" and VOILA! the dog was healed! Praise the Lord! :scratch: I was so hurt. Does God save dogs and let babies die? It did not make sense. Through my next pregnancy, I never prayed. I didn't dare to. I was afraid God might have more "tests" in mind and I frankly didn't want to attract the attention!

 

In the last few months, I've really examined all aspects of the Christian faith. Pretty much every tenent fails scrutiny. The Christian message boards often make it worse. Sometimes, they are hostile and behave in the same arrogant, judgmental way my parents do. They hardly ever really give a real answer. (Because there aren't any.) Often, they assume that I'm just an unbeliever and once I "really" give my life to Christ, it will all make sense. I wish that were true!

 

So, I guess right now I'm a Deist who retains some Christian beliefs. Although I think I probably wouldn't have them if I hadn't been trained so well.

 

Thanks for reading my sob-story; it's refreshing just to tell it without fear of banishment.

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Good to read your story Cerebral.

 

And welcome to our lovely site! :wave:

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Welcome! It takes a lot of courage to admit that one has doubts... I'm glad to hear you're pulling yourself out of it all.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your babies... I've had one miscarriage, and it was painful even though I didn't want a child.

 

So, does your hubby know about all this? Or did I miss something?

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Hello Cerebral, and welcome to Ex-Christian forums. Sorry for the losses that you have experienced. I am shocked that your Mom sent you the "Dog healed through prayer" email; didn't she think how it might sound to you? Oh, you did describe her as a "devout" Christian, so I assume that means fundamentalist. So, no, she wouldn't think. I have relatives like that too. :banghead: Are you still attending church? What about your husband?

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Guest cerebral

I'm sorry I neglected those last details about my husband and where my life stands now; I needed to put the kids to bed, so I rushed the ending a little.

 

I am still living as a nominal Christian and that is my plan for the moment. My husband is a Christian, but he has never been a real zealot. We have gone to church sporadically since our baby died. This doesn't bother him. Some of it is just logistical; our toddler won't separate well, so I know if we go I will have to be in the nursery or the hallway anyway; things like that. I haven't told him about my deconversion, but I did recently talk to him some about Bible "stories" and how I don't think they are true.

 

This aspect is agonizing, really. My children are 9, 6 and 1. My older two definately see themselves as Christians. I never was one to emphasize things like hell to them, so I guess theirs is a more "healthy" view of Christianity. (Is there such a thing?) My daughter has recently asked some Thinker questions, though. She asked "If God is protecting us, why do bad things still happen?" I told her that that is my own question, too. And she wants to know when the dinosaurs were here.

 

My whole life is heavily tied to Christian things. I homeschool and I belong to a co-op. I've been thinking about this a lot, because I signed a SOF to belong to it. I already know that "questioning" alienates people. Even when I totally called myself a Christian, I got into some arguments sometimes with my homeschool mom friends over things like "Jesus is the only way" or Biblical inerrancy. Not hostile arguments, really, but there was always this look in their eyes, you know that look of horror. The body language indictment of How-Can-You-Be-A-Christian-Yet-Reject -That! So, I don't know really what I'm going to do, but I expect I'm just going to being wearing Christian for a long while yet.

 

Oh, you did describe her as a "devout" Christian, so I assume that means fundamentalist. So, no, she wouldn't think.

 

:HaHa:

 

Yes, she is extremely fundy.

 

I would love to get inside my dad's mind, though. He's a serious thinker and he devours books on theological topics. I know he knows every aspect of the Bible backwards, forwards, in the original Greek, upside-down, etc. and he's an historian, too. Sometimes I wonder if all his reading and devouring reflects his angst. But his talk is pure fundy, and Calvin at that.

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Hi Cerebral,

 

Your story brought back some pain from my recent deconversion. My two miscarriages started the ball rolling toward my deconversion. Particularly, the way the christian people didn't want to hear about my pain. They would excuse themselves and say, "Just pray, dear. Just pray."

 

My husband is a lukewarm christian who has decided to stay a christian.

 

For years I was looked down upon by the ladies in church, because I dared to question things and expressed "weird" opinions during bible studies.

 

It is a hurtful experience, isn't it? People say it gets better. I can only hope.

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Welcome, Cerebral!

 

First off, my condolences for the miscarriages. I won't even pretend like I have the slightest idea of how painful that was/is, because that's beyond the worst I've ever experienced. I only hope that you're emotionally healing well.

 

Ah, the infamous "trust in God." I've tried that too, and it seemed to be working all while I was working on my BA. Then you get sucker punched by too many unanswered prayers and it goes downhill from there. How do you trust someone who seems to have broken that critical promise of "ask and you shall receive"? Hell if I know. It sounds like we're really in the same boat, where failed prayer/betrayed trust wakes up the intellectual doubts with a vengeance.

 

My family's pretty devout as well, so I can empathize with the relief of being able to speak freely somewhere without being whacked with the "heretic stick." Sometimes just talking sure helps - I tended to be kinda skeptical about the helpfulness of that, until I posted my own story on here. Anytime you need to talk, just let the words flow! :dumbo:

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Hi, Cerebral, and Welcome. Thanks for joining in.

 

Isn't it interesting, the way the theists explain naturally occurring events as somehow related to the machinations of their god? :Doh: Even to the point of a dog's recovery from a common virus illness, or, sadly, your tragic miscarriages.

 

I can also relate to being a "nominal" christian. That was my mother. Although raised as a baptist, by the time she had me she had stopped going to church, praying, bible study, and all of that, but still called herself a "christian" to the extent that she tried to be tolerant, forgiving, and caring for people. (My father was agnostic all of his life). I identified myself a "nominal" christian for a number of years, just to fit into a predominantly christian society I suppose, until I finally had to admit to myself that I was actually an atheist. That self-honesty was very rewarding.

 

May you continue to find satisfaction in your new beliefs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Cerebral,

Wow... Excellent writer...and you tell a story so well.

My thoughts go to your children. My deconversion didn't take place until two of my three had graduated high school...and the youngest was a Junior. I kept my two eldest abreast of the questions I was having, but my youngest always seemed to fade from the room. So, finally, one day, he and I were in the car, and I found a way to bring the topic up... He was kind of floored. Not that he'd ever been any kind of zealot...but he'd just always assumed "Dad woudn't tell me anything that's wrong." But, now it's "Dad's telling me that what we believed since I was born, is hogwash? What kind of idiot have I made of myself? My best friend is a Christian! We prayed together when his Mom died! I promised him that we would see her again in Heaven... WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME?!!!"... Hope you get the picture. (please excuse the drama)

As long as they are in church...and that is a regular part of their lives, I guess you don't want them to become outcasts for asking the wrong questions...but, it can grow more difficult, the older they get, to start raising these issues.

Then again... Who said life is supposed to be simple or easy?

Good Luck to you and yours.

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All though thankfully I can never relate to having lost a child, however I can definitely relate to some of the things you went through, particularly believing that God was blessing you and then discovering it was the opposite. One of the frustrating things for me as a christian and one of the reasons I struggle with belief in Christianity now is the way we have every excuse in the book for why things go wrong. We are forever sticking up for God, trying to come up with reasons to vindicate what he has done... or hasn't done. But yet that's what Christians do isn't it? Try to stick up for God. Try to argue in favour of him, when really all along he is doing nothing and our suffering has nothing to do with being tested and there is no bigger picture.

 

Hope things turn out well for you.

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