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shotsy

From High-flying Christian To Lonely Apostate

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My story? Okay! It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. Wait, wrong story...

 

I was raised in a Christian family. Due to my father's career, we moved a few times during my childhood and finally settled east of Sacramento the summer before I started fifth grade. Prior to that I had attended sunday school, sang in the Billy Graham Children's Choir at the Portland crusade, and gone to Trout Creek bible camp in northern Oregon. In many ways, I was the typical older brother: quiet, serious, perfectionistic, and rule-bound. I never dreamed of rebelling, and for most of my life Christianity was as much duty as pleasure.

 

Junior high was a "high point" for my faith. I loved my megachurch youth group, went to Hume Lake camp, and even started a Christian club at school (which failed due to lack of diligence... story of my life :loser: ). In high school, however, I was introduced to the theory of evolution, which I couldn't deny was a very elegant system. But I convinced myself that there was probably a way it worked with the story of Genesis (the six days might not be literal, etc.) and essentially shelved it with my other doubts.

 

I finally went away to college after an unhappy high school experience and promptly involved myself in a bible study through a local church (I didn't care to be a Campus Crusade sheep). I became acquainted with Calvinism, John Piper, and the Apostle Paul. My faith became a major comfort for me during difficult times--particularly diagnosis of my mother's brain cancer--since I was sure that "God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose." Well, most of the time I had trouble loving God, though I was sure I was called according to his purpose.

 

By my fourth year (of six!) I was training musicians for my college group's sunday night services and occasionally leading worship for crowds of 300+. I was even asked to lead worship for "big church" one sunday. With my innate musical talent I was on the fast track to becoming a worship pastor if I chose to do so, though I was determined to stay humble and let God lead me where he wanted.

 

But right around that in the Spring of 2006 time my doubts began resurfacing and I finally began to honestly examine the faith I had held for so long. I don't know exactly how it started, but there is one pivotal event that does stand out. During our spring retreat, which I had enthusiastically helped plan, one of the pastors spoke about animal sacrifices, and I caught a major contradiction in which the prophets railed against one of the central institutions of the old testament. I asked myself, "did God or men write the Levitical laws?"

 

It didn't take long to come across Jeremiah 7:21, in which the prophet claims that God "did not speak to [their] fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices." Then came the snowball.

 

I began reading such sites as www.religioustolerance.org and I saw how many contradictions there were in the bible, many of which I had known intuitively but had willingly ignored for the sake of preserving my faith (and my soul.) At first I told myself that I could still be a Christian without an inerrant bible. But it slowly began to fall apart, and by July 12, 2006 I officially renounced my faith and left the church after sending a lengthy email to the worship pastor.

 

I do wish I hadn't isolated myself. It was a lonely few months, since most of my friends were serious Christians from church. I was fortunate to have a good friend who was a liberal, sometimes shaky Christian who I could talk to, but as you all know, leaving a the Christian lifestyle is a very difficult process.

 

On top of that, my mom passed away at the end of the summer after a 2-year battle with brain cancer. I saw how much of a comfort the Christian faith was to my family and I didn't dare open my mouth about my apostasy.

 

So, in a nutshell, the last several months have been one of the most difficult and confusing times in my life. I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm happy yet, but I'm certainly free, and websites like this remind my that there are others who have gone through similar experiences and come out on the other side, happy and fulfilled. And I'm now free to read anything I wish, from Darwin, to Tom Robbins, to the Dalai Lama.

 

The next step for me is to find a close group of friends who I share a similar outlook with. I still enjoy the love and warmth of Christian family and friends, but I very much desire to have open, honest, and sympathetic conversations about the truth of life, and I'd rather not step on anyone's toes just to meet my own needs.

 

As far as my views now: I'm an athiest with an open mind.

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shotsy,

 

Welcome to ExC from an Eastern OrYgunnian..

 

Come on in, spend as much time as you'd like or need and hopefully find some of the answers and things needed for your new journey.

 

I'm fond of telling new folks here that you might not find people exactly where you are at, but "fellow travellers", people headed in directions that may share part of the journey.

 

Pull up a seat, best place on.line to spend on.ass..

 

kevinL

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Hi there and welcome. Thanks for sharing your story.

 

Yes it is hard leaving xianity... and starting fresh. I am trying to make a life for myself outside of xianity and make new friends.I know it will eventually happen but right now it is kind of frustrating and a bit lonley at times. I have found this forum to help a lot. It is very reassuring to know that there are others out there who have gone through the same thing or are going through it.

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Hi Shotsy, I know how you feel. Especially in light of hardships like the passing of a parent. You choose the more narrow road of disbelief and skepticism. Similar to unplugging from the Matrix, you choose the more non-fantasy world in which you admit the majority are in a delusion. It can be hard, but believe me, you are not alone. Although, online chatting and forums are no replacement for face-to-face relationships, it can soften the blow somewhat.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your mom. My dad died in October 1999 and I still can't believe he is gone. There are days I still miss him really bad, because I could always talk to him no matter what time of the day it was. He was more of an agnostic than a christian and he was very down to earth. I love my mom, but she prefers to choose her christian friends over me since I left christianity. She tries to push my buttons to make me angry and I still struggle not to get upset. When I was a christian, I oftentimes had violent rages and broke up shit. I have gotten better since becoming an atheist. However, I still struggle, because I have even more reasons to be pissed off. But, I try to be rational and focus on the good things in life like my wife.

 

There is something that can be very hard for us to deal with when we go from belief to unbelief. That is realizing our loved ones who died have died all over again. A period of mourning was natural for me. As a christian, I believed my dad and loved ones who died were in heaven enjoying eternal life. But, when I came to the realization that they were truly dead and I would never see them again, it truly hit me. It was like they died all over again. I think I said this before on the forum, but I think it rings true. It sucks because my dad was the voice of reason when my mom was going nuts with her "moral" dilemmas or religious faith and I could talk to him. I really need him now, being that my mom goes even more insane with her religious ideas, and he isn't there. He isn't coming back, he isn't in heaven, he is fucking dead. I try to imagine talking with him and figuring out how he used to be and perhaps using that type of psychology, I can talk to myself and know what he would advise me to do.

 

What is really hard for me is trying to explain to my mom why I can't go back to believing in Jesus even if I wanted to. I use the Wizard of Oz example. I use the "learning the magic trick" example. She still doesn't get it. What really hurt me is that she preferred to spend Thanksgiving with her christian friend instead of going with me and my wife to my wife's family. That really turned me off from wanting to have a relationship with her. My wife and I are moving 2 hours away near her mother (she is sick) and she wants to spend time with her. We are leaving in 2 months, and my mom knows this, and she is acting almost callous towards me even more now than before. That is christian hypocrisy for you.

 

Anyway, it is nice to see another ex-christian come on the forum. We could be a force to be reckoned with if we keep growing.

 

Have a good godless day.

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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. And Brad, I know exactly what you mean about losing a loved one. It is hard at times when I realize that I'll never see my mom again. Sometimes she'll pop into my dreams and I'll hear hear voice as clear as day, and of course we have photos and a few home videos, but that's it besides the legacy she left in her family and friends.

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Welcome Shotsy (my mother calls me that!)

 

I can sympathize with the hard road out of xtianity and just want to encourage you to learn grow and know you will find those friends!

 

--Susie

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so this site is to harbor such people so we can all feel like we are not the only one in this world who is going through this revolt against Christianity?

 

I practice shamanism so I can not relate to what it is like to go through a crossing over sega of one religion to the next or to give it up completely. I give you much courage to do such a thing.

 

What I don't get is them Christian be saying for those who are in doubt of the Christian religion is when one is being in doubt, he would leave room for the work of the devil to finish his deed.

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Sounds very similar to my story. Thankfully though, I was raised by british christians, who usually can't lobotomise themselves enough to beleive the genisis myth. Them both being teachers helped me with a healthy love of learning so I was able to get to the attempts at justifying an imperfect bible just before my teenage years and began focasing on physics at school when doing my GCSE's (14 to 16 years old), by which time I had pretty much given up any hope of the christian god as described in the bible and began wondering whether there was any god at all. It's been 8 years now and during school, sixth form, undergrad and masters (physics) I have yet to see any evidense in any field for there being a god. There are a few areas of advanced physics which still allow the possibility bhut these loopholes are being closed all the time and are never even brought up by the christian camp. The holes they try to pick in science are ludicrous when you know the subject and I have concluded that, without god showing up and claiming he rather rogueishly faked the properties in the universe, science almost completely rules out a god.

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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. And Brad, I know exactly what you mean about losing a loved one. It is hard at times when I realize that I'll never see my mom again. Sometimes she'll pop into my dreams and I'll hear hear voice as clear as day, and of course we have photos and a few home videos, but that's it besides the legacy she left in her family and friends.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine whose mother died a few years ago. She was upset that I was drifting away from the church and my old beliefs and really talking, but one thing she said stood out because it was about her mother. It seemed like she couldn't stand the thought of losing the hope of seeing her again in heaven. She also believes she somehow watches her from up there. It's a comfort to think that, and I haven't come to my own conclusions about it, but it strikes me as odd that I was merely questioning things about the Bible, not denying there is a God or a heaven. It's like one has to believe the Bible to believe in an afterlife.

 

Sparkyone

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leaving a the Christian lifestyle is a very difficult process.

 

I agree, I just left the cult a couple of months ago and it has been hard. Sometimes drifting back into fear of hell. It is getting better now. Eventually it will get easier.

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