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Do You Ever Reflect And Cringe?


LosingMyReligion
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Sometimes, I will reflect on the person that I was in the past. Needless to say I do not like what I remember.

 

I was very evangelical. Now, in hindsight, my overzealous Christianity was obnoxious.

 

I used to evangelize to people on the drop of a dime.

 

I think about all of the potential friends that I turned away because I was too busy judging them.

 

I had a severe persecution complex. Everyone was out to get me just because I was one of Christ's chosen. And I never let any of them forget about it.

It got to the place where I had no friends outside of the church, and the churchies were never great friends anyway. They were obsessed with being popular in church. Honestly, I hated the teens in youth group. They were so goddamned corny.

 

Anyway, I would totally apologize to all of those people I preached to and tried to convert if I ever had the chance. That was so wrong, but I could not help it. I had no sense of identity and was nothing but a brainwashed follower...

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I look back and hate how much I hated other groups. Gays, Catholics, Muslims, pretty much anybody but Baptists were wrong. Hate (the second time it's used in the previous sentence, not the first) may be too strong of a word, so let's just say I had "a strong dislike" for them. I grew up as a fairly accepting person, but when I was "born again" I began to dislike everybody that didn't agree with the way I believed.

 

On the other hand, during that phase of my life I looked back at my pre-Christian days and hated what I was then.

 

But, looking back on that, and hopefully it's true for you too LMR, helps me know that the decision to leave Christianity was the right one for me. Knowing how much I disliked the person I was, and specifically what I thought of other people, helps keep me from thinking that going back would be a good option.

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Certainly my attitudes towards other people, both non-Christians and Christians, who didn't match up to my oh-so-holy standards, was wrong. I think that partly stemmed from my old pastors holier than thou attitude.

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The thing I regret most is door-to-door evengelism that we engaged in every now and then when I was with a teen youth group. Specifially, the really hot girls we would invite to church just because they were hot. Man, we must have REALLY impressed them.

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I regret the anti-abortion stance I aquired during my youth in the catholic camp.

Looking back now I'm disgusted. I can't help the feeling that I might have caused damage by spreading the misinformation I was fed.

 

I try to make up for that now tho.

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I look back and cringe at how I behaved. I was preaching nonsense to kids and people whenever I had the chance. They would look to me like I was some kind of a Holy Man. I can't believe I thought I was in some kind of a spiritual war. I can't believe I used to judge so many people as being sinners and acted insecure towards them just because of that. I could've had so many good friends, but I shrugged them all off, because of this stupid religion. I regret having listened to Christians rather than to myself. They're attitude is so asinine and inappropriate.

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Those holier-than-thou attitudes...they didn't last for long, because I just couldn't stand the conflict acting that way toward people created within myself. So ironically, that "born again" crap became a factor in my exit from xianity. I felt much better afterward. I found out I was born just fine the first time.

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I have my regrets. Few of them are from when I honestly believed, although I did look back and wonder at how I had acted. I never blamed myself for acting in accordance with what I believed. . . that sort of hindsight it much to hard. If you believed it and acted in a manner like you would expect and honestly tried to avoid harm then you can't beat yourself up for it. Sure, if you did cause harm and have moved on, you should be glad that you have grown. But I never regret what I didn't know any better.

 

Still, I have my regrets but they come after I personally stopped believing. Thanks to my circumstances, I was still pretending to believe. I had also become well known for having gotten into apologetics pretty strongly -- as I was deconverting but they didn't know that. Even the 'ministers' of the church I was part of weren't great when it came to apologetics and the ministers that the youth could turn to, in particular, were terrible. Honestly they were no help at all. So sometimes people who had questions would be told to talk to me. It happened a few times and I spat out a typical answer, which I really knew wasn't an answer, and they went away satisfied. Those I feel a twinge of conscience about but they would have found that answer anyway if they had really looked.

 

But one kid, I will always remember. Unlike the others, he was really trying to find the truth. I remember that he approached me at a Royal Rangers camp-out. Royal Rangers is the Ass. of God's version of the Boy Scouts. I remember he was real quiet and discreet about it. He asked most of the big questions, the ones you have when you've really been thinking about it all. And I gave some of the "standard" answers to them. And he wasn't happy with them. He didn't say it outright but I could tell. And I should have stopped there. If I had then he would have probably "seen the light" soon enough. He was close to the end of the tunnel and all I really had to do was leave him alone and he would have walked right out when he was ready.

 

But I didn't. I knew Christianity was wrong and I knew that he was on the very edge of really knowing that but I didn't walk away. I started talking about the mystery of God and how we couldn't know his plan, of Pascal's Wager and hell, and basically gave a mini-sermon on how we shouldn't question or doubt. And while I was doing it, I knew it was wrong and I should have just let the kid be. And I looked into his eyes and saw him (and myself) being crushed like a bug under the shoe of guilt that I was bearing down on this kid. At the very end of our conversation he got up to leave and before he left he turned, one last time, and asked, "So I should just accept that God has a plan even if I don't understand?" And he was asking for permission, one last time, to doubt. . . to know it was okay to think it was not all correct. It was my last chance to redeem myself. "Yeah," I said, passing that chance for redemption like a speedboat passes a minnow. I had taught him to feel guilt for questioning and shut the door on him having any real person to talk to about it.

 

Years later, I saw him in that church still. Apparently committed to God and as "on fire" as they come. I couldn't talk to him. I was afraid he would try and look me in the eyes. I regret that. I can't even describe how much I regret that because I knew where that kid was that day and knew how deeply I cut him. I was wrong so very wrong. Sometimes I want to go tell him but I think he's moved now. The church fell apart a few years ago and his family left and besides, he's probably off in college or working somewhere and I'll never be able to undo that day.

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Like alot of you said about friends you turned down I wish I didn't.

I met a dude named mike in school who was Atheist he could shoot down my arguments good like how mary couldn't of had jesus being a virgin and who made god I wrote more about him in my testamonie.

Basicly the stuff I rant about against christianity now is what I remember him saying back then.

I wish I could find mike and say you was right it's all bullshit.

I knew it back then that's why I couldn't stand him because everything he was saying made so much damn sense and my puny little church mythologie seemed stupid.

I met alot of Atheists in school I wish I could find them now I'v found them to be more tolerant and accepting than any damn christian in town. I also found out later he was a hippy I'm like fuck!

I can't help but wonder if we'd of been really good friends had I of been more tolerant and deconverted.

All these people I fought with I think now damn! they were making so much sense why didn't I listen.

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Well here's a good question for self-examination and humility, eh? I think I look back and cringe the most at how I got to the point of feeling like I knew it all (or at least knew a lot!) about Christian doctrine and growing close to God and such. The more time I spent in Xtianity, the more narrow-minded I got, which in the faith is actually a good thing. You remember "Narrow is the road that leads to life and broad is the road to destruction"? So as I got more "narrow" in my scope of what was right and wrong and further who was right and wrong, the more intolerant I got of anyone with an opposing view. And at the time I thought I was growing more and more faithful to God. I certainly didn't see the intolerant, and sometimes judgemental person I was becoming. I don't think anyone means to become like that, but if you follow the bible literally and are trying to live up to it, then you do become this way to some extent or another. I have made declarations to family about my unswering confidence in the bible that now make me cringe. I am not having the easiest time "living it down" when around them.

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Oh, yeah.

 

I'd witness to my friends and SO's and I was a total asshat about it. I don't remember being overbearing, exactly, just desperate: I so desperately didn't want my loved ones to go to hell that I was willing to say all kinds of apologetics crap in an attempt to convert them. I learned later that a few of them found it very annoying, and I probably lost at least a couple of friendships because people just didn't want to deal with my naive, uninformed preaching. Can't say I blame 'em.

 

I also regret what a fucking hypocrite I was. I mean I followed this religion that said I shouldn't drink or fuck or listen to certain kinds of music or hang out with unbelievers, but I did all those things anyway. Then I just felt really really guilty about it and went into this whole self-shaming thing, like I was supposed to be better than everybody else but had failed. It was almost like whining about what a sinner I was and how sorry I was about it was some way of reminding everybody that I was spiritually supposed to be better.

 

And I just regret how incredibly dumb I was about it. I mean really, apologetics is stupid. It's a bunch of flimsy excuses for trying to patch the holes in a religion that claims sole truth about a deity nobody can really demonstrate exists in the first place. Some of the things that come out of the mouths of the most boneheaded apologeticists today came out of my mouth too when I was a believer. Valuing intellect as much as I do, I really hate that I was just a fucking idiot. It was like I just turned off my brain for ten years.

 

What I regret most acutely is arguing with my dad's parents about religion. It didn't happen often, because for the most part they were very mellow, nonreligious, accepting people; but when they debated or argued, they were honestly very stubborn people - and I inherited that stubbornness too. We never got into shouting matches - they weren't into that - but I can remember just answering a lot of their assertions with "No it isn't" or "Yes it is", kind of like that one Monty Python sketch about the Argument Clinic.

 

Sometimes I have to wonder what they might think, if they could know that they were centrally involved in the start of my deconversion.

 

So yeah, I was a preachy jerk to people, and I was stupid, and I regret that bigtime. And sometimes I'm really hard on myself about it, and sometimes I realize that I was probably exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be there - because a lot of my being Xian had to do with a very unhealthy relationship with my mother. It was just safer to be Xian than not.

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I am kinda embarassed about my days when I was a pushy jerk about Xianity. Usually online, too - easy to find arguments on online message boards. I thought I was impressing Jebus by being rude to non-Xians. Yeah, feel kinda dumb for that :unsure:

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Here, here! I didn't do much "witnessing", but for a long time I hung with the Baptist warnings about Satan being everywhere - trust no one. It cost me potential friendships. It's strange how long it took me to realize that people didn't like me because I was treating them badly. Even stranger, as it turns out, is how far that attitude is from my REAL personality.

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I found some blog entries I wrote back in 2004, when I was trying so very hard to stay in the Christian boat. The stuff I wrote was completely humiliating -- like waking up and finding you're covered in manure or something. It's terrible. A friend assures me I'll read it and laugh one day, but today I'm backing away in revulsion.

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I hate how I felt guilty over stupid things and repressed myself a lot in my younger years. Fortunately I'm not a believer in the adult and late teen years of my life.

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Ya it makes me cringe how I remember how I acted. I sometimes see how Christians hate gays and other religions and I feel terrible that I was of that breed.

 

I do not like what I see these days but I see hope and I see atheism is starting to be a bigger thing and it is loosing being in hid in the shadows.

 

Everytime a Christian nutjob says something on TV, I just have to laugh and my parenst (that are Christian still) know that they are idiots BUT WON'T ADMIT IT.

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