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ricky18

Attending Church

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Do some of you guys still attencd church?Unfortunately, I do because my whole family is actively involved in the church. My born again xtian best freinds aswell. Its a bit easier going to church then anouncing my deconversion to them and my family and staying away. I think it would destroy my Family. On the other side, attending church is not healthy for an deconvert, because u constantly reminded of the flames of hell and the I tend to think , maby they speaking the truth, altough we think god's wicked, a infant destroyer, who send people to hell for eternity. Maby HE IS THE EVIL GOD Which claims not to be evil,This question arrises sometimes at church in my mind. Is he false because the xtian god portrays a ruthless tyrant image, or because there is no evidence or manifestation that he exists according to us. So U think the only way for me to be free is to stop going to church?I How many of u still attend church???

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I stopped attending many, many years ago, but in my case most of my friends and family were either non-believers or lukewarm at best. In fact, most of them were relieved once I stopped going to 'that crazy church' and started becoming normal again.

 

As for my xtian 'friends' in the church, once I left I might as well have dropped off the face of the earth. Which was fine with me - I never wanted to see them again.

 

I don't know what to tell you, ricky18. It's clear that withdrawing from church is going to have a major impact on your family/friends, so I can't really say 'Just stop going to church'. I know it's not that simple.

 

But I would agree it's not exactly healthy or productive to keep going just to avoid conflict. It's like an alcoholic who keeps going to bars with his old drinking buddies and trying to stay sober. :ugh:

 

I think you already know what to do - it's just how and when that have you stymied.

 

Hang in there!

 

You too, walkon!

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Do you still live at home? Even if you don't, I understand why you feel compelled to go. Just hang in there, you'll get through it. I don't go to church simply because there is no reason for me to go, and my family doesn't attend either. If you don't believe then church can be hard, take your time telling your family and friends, you can't rush it. I hope things work out for you.

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Guest droskey

Hello there, ricky18.

 

As I said in my introduction, I no longer attend church. I was fairly lucky in that I had a large number of friends outside of the church at the time that I left. Also, my family wasn't very religious. So I probably had an easier time leaving that a lot of people do.

 

I can understand you wanting to attend to maintain relationships. I would say that there is no reason for you not to attend as long as you feel comfortable with that. However, you do still have a "residual fear of hell". It seems to me that that fear is very normal. I had it a little bit and I have heard of many people that have had it to varying degrees. I don't know whether or not attending church puts these fears in you. It doesn't hurt to look at all sides of the issue. I suspect that, with time, the fear of hell will diminish. I don't worry about it anymore and am kind of surprised that I ever had it. How long ago did you realize that you no longer believed? What was it that made you aware of your unbelief?

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You've always got us lads and lasses for support here on ex-Christian.net! Isn't that considerable comfort? :lmao:

 

Seriously though, I found there was nothing like talking to other ex-fundies while coming through the early stages of leaving church. I also found that ex-fundies can only do so much, I found only time and distance eventually helped me start to get past those decades of indoctrination.

 

With regard to your position, you know your situation and yourself far better than anyone here, that goes without saying. I think the best we can do is perhaps make some sensible suggestions for things to think about - perhaps. Any decision is ultimately your responsibility.

 

My blindingly-obvious suggestions for things to perhaps think about are as follows:

 

1) The chances are that your parents love you very much. If your relationship with your family is good (I'm making no assumptions here) then do not hold it against them for taking you to church, they just did what they thought was right. Any mistakes were honest ones.

 

2) Your choice not to go to church is your right. You cannot be forced to believe this ancient gibberish. So if you can, and you feel it's worth it, be honest with your parents, talk it through with them.

 

3) What is your social life like outside of church? Do you have a reasonable number of non-Christian friends? I'm not trying to scare you, many if not nearly all of my ex-fundie friends maintained strong friendships with their fundie friends. I was unlucky, nearly all my friends were from church and when I left church my 'friends' just couldn't be bothered. It was quite hard socially for a while, but I'm back on my feet now. If you don't have a lot of non-Christian friends then is going along to church as a closet non-believer/doubter intolerable, perhaps you could stick it out for a while you make some non-fundie friends?

 

As I said, this isn't an exhaustive list of immutable truths. Perhaps you already have decided all these questions in your own mind, perhaps you think these questions are irrelevant.

 

To finish, I can honestly say like so many others that once you leave church, especially after many years of it, it can leave a gaping mine-shaft in your life. This hole that is left was hard for many of us to deal with, but I can honestly say that now, more than two-years after I left church, I am a much better person for it. Basing your outlook on life, history and humanity on person-based morality, facts, critical-thinking and philosophy is so much nicer than having some gawd-on-high or ignorant preacher dictating your every move.

 

Best of luck with the decision!

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You've always got us lads and lasses for support here on ex-Christian.net! Isn't that considerable comfort? :lmao:

 

Seriously though, I found there was nothing like talking to other ex-fundies while coming through the early stages of leaving church. I also found that ex-fundies can only do so much, I found only time and distance eventually helped me start to get past those decades of indoctrination. My only recommendation to you if you do leave church is to read; I found I had really missed out a lot on the state of the world, the reasons for it and so on. Every person has their own philosophy in life, it's what shapes the decisions we make, the course of our lives, the way we interact with people. I found I had been in church for so long, having all my moral decisions and viewpoints dictated by a collection of scrolls from thousands of years ago that when I left I was just running on empty. Replace the fundie-dictats with your own thought-out viewpoints! It's a good start at least.

 

I'll admit that one ex-fundie who I don't keep in contact with any more became very nihilistic and so forth. For the vast majority of us that's not the case, we remain ordinary, nice people living our lives but who care about the world's poor and social justice not because God commands us to do so, but because we care about them.

 

With regard to your position, you know your situation and yourself far better than anyone here, that goes without saying. I think the best we can do is perhaps make some sensible suggestions for things to think about - perhaps. Any decision is ultimately your responsibility.

 

My blindingly-obvious suggestions for things to perhaps think about are as follows:

 

1) The chances are that your parents love you very much. If your relationship with your family is good (I'm making no assumptions here) then do not hold it against them for taking you to church, they just did what they thought was right. Any mistakes were honest ones.

 

2) Your choice not to go to church is your right. You cannot be forced to believe this ancient gibberish. So if you can, and you feel it's worth it, be honest with your parents, talk it through with them.

 

3) What is your social life like outside of church? Do you have a reasonable number of non-Christian friends? I'm not trying to scare you, many if not nearly all of my ex-fundie friends maintained strong friendships with their fundie friends. I was unlucky, nearly all my friends were from church and when I left church my 'friends' just couldn't be bothered. It was quite hard socially for a while, but I'm back on my feet now. If you don't have a lot of non-Christian friends then is going along to church as a closet non-believer/doubter intolerable, perhaps you could stick it out for a while you make some non-fundie friends?

 

As I said, this isn't an exhaustive list of immutable truths. Perhaps you already have decided all these questions in your own mind, perhaps you think these questions are irrelevant.

 

To finish, I can honestly say like so many others that once you leave church, especially after many years of it, it can leave a gaping mine-shaft in your life. This hole that is left was hard for many of us to deal with, but I can honestly say that now, more than two-years after I left church, I am a much better person for it. Basing your outlook on life, history and humanity on person-based morality, facts, critical-thinking and philosophy is so much nicer than having some gawd-on-high or ignorant preacher dictating your every move.

 

Best of luck with the decision!

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I personally don't attend anymore, and made it clear to my wife that I wouldn't ever again this past easter. She got mad at me for the example I was setting for our kids. She's been a lukewarm christian at best, and usually goes to church only on special occasions (sleeping in on sundays is a higher priority for her, some example eh?), so it's not like I'm pressured to attend regularly. I find it amusing how pious she acts when she does go, but thats some of the typical christian-ness thats pushed me away. She does elbow me pretty hard when I toss a "goddammit" into conversations. My mother still comes and gets my kids and takes them to church (when she feels up to it) and I do nothing to discourage that. I've held the philosophy that they should be raised like me, go to church and learn all the teachings and then grow up and make their own decisions, as I did. Lately tho, I'm beginning to change my mind on that. My 11 year old daughter voiced her amazement the other day about someone who didn't believe in god. She just couldn't fathom that someone could think that way. That has really got me thinking that I should step in and stop what I now percieve to be the poisoning of their young minds. We live deep in the heart of the bible belt, in Pensacola Fl, home of Dinosaur Adventure Land and the notorious Kent Hovind. My kids have visited there, before I ever knew what that assholes agenda was, and I swear they'll never go back. My problem is; how do I squelch their church going without upsetting their (and my) relationship with my mother? Thats where I stand...

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Hey Ricky18,

If you can't stop attending right away, go there with an open mind. Now that you see what's real--you'll be able to see why people in church act the way they do, say the things they do, etc...

 

Use this as an opportunity to learn about the mind control that takes place.

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When I left Christianity, I seldom went to church, but his probably wasn't wise since people started to think I still wanted to attend church. I didn't think it was right to lead them on like that so I never went to church again.

 

If I were you, I would stop. Believe me, you don't want to be in this situation. It's gets more and more uncomfortable. It may be easier for you to announce your deconversion.

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Do some of you guys still attencd church?Unfortunately, I do because my whole family is actively involved in the church. My born again xtian best freinds aswell. Its a bit easier going to church then anouncing my deconversion to them and my family and staying away. I think it would destroy my Family. On the other side, attending church is not healthy for an deconvert, because u constantly reminded of the flames of hell and the I tend to think , maby they speaking the truth, altough we think god's wicked, a infant destroyer, who send people to hell for eternity. Maby HE IS THE EVIL GOD Which claims not to be evil,This question arrises sometimes at church in my mind. Is he false because the xtian god portrays a ruthless tyrant image, or because there is no evidence or manifestation that he exists according to us. So U think the only way for me to be free is to stop going to church?I How many of u still attend church???

 

It depends on how old you are.

 

If you're not on your own, it may be worthwhile not to rock the boat.

 

If you're older, I think you'll have to look for best friends. Many people have found that their "good friends" are no longer friends after they stop going to church.

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Do some of you guys still attencd church?Unfortunately, I do because my whole family is actively involved in the church. My born again xtian best freinds aswell. Its a bit easier going to church then anouncing my deconversion to them and my family and staying away. I think it would destroy my Family. On the other side, attending church is not healthy for an deconvert, because u constantly reminded of the flames of hell and the I tend to think , maby they speaking the truth, altough we think god's wicked, a infant destroyer, who send people to hell for eternity. Maby HE IS THE EVIL GOD Which claims not to be evil,This question arrises sometimes at church in my mind. Is he false because the xtian god portrays a ruthless tyrant image, or because there is no evidence or manifestation that he exists according to us. So U think the only way for me to be free is to stop going to church?I How many of u still attend church???

 

Ricky18, based on your post and your online ID, you sound like a young person.

Well, as one old dude who hasn't attended a church in decades, and likely never will again, sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself, and take whatever comes of it. Although I have been an unbeliever for decades, you in your youth may decide that you need to "play along with the game" for a while, for your own needs. Or, if 18 is your age, and you consider yourself a man in your own right, perhaps it is time for you to assert yourself as such and make the break with family tradition.

 

It is not an easy decision. But only you can decide what is best for you, your life, and your family, if you are close to them. Whatever you do, Ricky18, the challenge is that you do what you believe is best, and then live with it, right or wrong. That is the adult way, Ricky. So whatever you do, may it bring you a sense of peace.

 

Piprus

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Guest BaylorBear

My fiancee and I rarely attend church. He doesn't like to go alone, and I'm always working on Sundays. I do attend a RC Mass occasionaly.

 

Diane

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The last time I attending church was in June, and that was the start of me realizing that I wouldn't go back again. I had been very spuratic with my church attendence over the last few yrs so no one really misses me from church...my friends bug me and my mother but that is about it. I also live on my own so I don't have anyone hounding me to get up and go to church.

 

I have come to realize though that I need more friends who are not christians. As others have suggusted to make some friends who are outside of the church maybe before you completly stop going. This is something that you have to decide what is best for you.

 

Baby steps, baby steps. I am trying to remember this myself, right now I have difficulty reading posts from liberal christians right now. It is just too fresh for me, and I find myself getting angry towards the church. Where I really don't want to waste energy. Nothing personal... it is just where I am at. Everyone is different and at a different place in their journey.

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I never got to church, never in awhile and everyone I know knows better than to even dare ask me to. Those that don't know I stay away from if they persist.

 

When I was living at home, my parents were RC. Devoutly Old School RC at that! Abusive. I started hanging out with some fundies from where I was working at the time and got drawn in, and tried a few churches. So Sundays I was going to fundy churches while my RC parents (who even though devout had "problems" with churches not being "Old Ways" and so they only went on special occasions) would sit home. Church went into dinner so I was left cold food to heat up from dinner and of course clean up all THEIR dishes and pots and pans (as was what I was apparently born to be doing for THEM). But they didn't stop me from going. They even stopped making *me* say 'grace' at the table due to my conversion to being a fundy and not wanting to say *their* grace. Amazing as they were strict on everything. But sometimes it was "do what you want" and I guess they were just glad I was even a devout christian at all.

 

Of course it was years after they both passed on from cancer before I had deconverted. I have very close devout Christian friends that help me out a lot. They know I don't get into Chrisianity. But they are *friends*. They seem to think friendship is just as important as God. To the point of knowing I don't want to hear about it and knowing I don't, won't and cannot attend ANY church. They are great people. We have an understanding that what we do is to benefit us and each has ways to get the best out of life. For them it's Christianity. For them it's not. I don't try to deconvert them and they don't try to convert me. Occasional conversations (rare ones) ensue but they are never an arguement of who's right and who's wrong.

 

If we still disagree, we agree to disagree and move on to more pleasant conversation.

 

All my friends are like that as is those in my family I still talk to. That's why they are still in my life. If they were pushy, they wouldn't be in my life.

 

I surround myself with people I am comfortable with. There aren't many, but what ones there are, they are cherished, because they are there. Still. :)

 

So I don't need to go to church if I don't want to. Nobody's going to say otherwise. Even when I was in Catholic School as a child, we didn't go to church sundays and there was no Sunday School for me. Some kind of ongoing rift between my parents or dad and the priests, etc. I dunno. It still all confuses me. But I was raised where we didn't go every Sunday. And even as I got older I stopped going altogether, or went to my own church (back in the fundy days).

 

Didn't matter what age I was. I kept fighting very hard for my rights. Fighting hard as if it were a war for my mind and my freedom. Because I believe it really was. I'm not sorry. I think I won.

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I went to church last night. It was a free choice. No pressure whatsoever from anyone because I live on my own. I went because I thought I wanted to sing the Christmas songs. We had some decent singing but I've heard better. I did not enjoy it as much as I expected. Somehow, since leaving the church I was born into I have been unable to feel the deep connection with the other people singing with me. Maybe this is because I have never stuck to one church long enough to really learn to know the people. I always clash with authority figures before I have a chance to get to really know the people. That is half the reason I don't go to church.

 

The way it started was many years ago when I was struggling with ill health. My health has improved but I got used to staying home Sunday mornings and reading interesting stuff as opposed to sermons that were so boring they made me want to scream. When I started going to new churches I would go regularly for a while until I learned all the new pespectives I could learn from that church.

 

Then I tried a church with a higher level of intellectual stimulation and found it really worth going for about a year and a half--until I learned all their perspectives. I have my private bit of entertainment for when I'm in church and don't get what I want out of it. I have some background in religious studies. I read about anthropologists who went into aboriginal tribal societies to learn about their religious ceremonies. Sometimes I like to put the church I'm in into perspective. It goes a bit like this:

 

Hmmm. Very interesting. Some really highly educated people here. Profs and the like. They are submitting their bodies and voices to ancient ritual exactly like their forebears for thousands of years past. They really believe this stuff. One of the "rituals" is hymn-singing. They will praise their deity for all kinds of things all the way from the beautiful planet we live on (which they believe the deity created) to a suffering, dying, and resurrecting saviour (without whom they think life would be meaningless and empty). Perhaps more importantly, they think they would be afraid to die if it weren't for the supposedly great deeds of this supposed saviour.

 

They will plead with their deity for mercy and forgiveness (I never understand this; it is as though they have forgotten the benevolence of their deity expressed earlier; besides, if they are so sinful a good antidote would be to make some basic changes in their lives and learn how to live without sinning so much. I've raised this idea but it seems they like to be sinful; in a way, I understand this; if they weren't so sinful they would not need a saviour; it seems they really value their relationship with this saviour). They profess before their deity how miserable and sinful they are (the best analogy I know for this is the medieval peasant asking his lord for a favour). They seem to believe the deity is real and likes this, just as a Medieval Lord liked his serfs to grovel when and if they dared ask for a favour.

 

The entire thing is very much based on the template of the medieval lord-serf relationship. Flowery speeches about the lord's greatness plus groveling about one's own nothingness, with a plea for mercy tacked on the end because the serf dared approach his lord for some survival need without which his life or the life of his loved ones would be shorter and more miserable. Such as enough food allowance to see the family through another winter.

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Hi Ricky18

 

If you're forced to go to church by your parents for a while longer yet... here is a suggestion. Take along something like a Filofax with a notepad, ostensibly to take notes, like a very keen Christian would.

 

BUT, use the sermon time to write notes for yourself such as study plans and "to do" lists... anything you want really.

 

I have been obliged to go to church a few times in the last few years for the sake of my children and this has prevented me from feeling like the time is wasted. Also stops me from chewing over the sermon contents.

 

Good luck with making a new life for yourself. The more non-Christian friends you have, the easier it will be.

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