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Has Anyone Been Supportive Of You?


mulls
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Hey, I'm new, you can find my initial posts in the Lion's Den.

 

 

I'm wondering....during your deconversion, or immediately after, or even long after....were there even any Christians who actually supported you? I don't mean support your decision, because I don't think a Christian could truly do that (I'm speaking personally), but were there believers who still loved you, looked out for you, wanted the best for you, would be there for you to talk about whatever, and did the best they could to not judge/think negatively about you?

 

And I'm sure many many people wanted to reel you back into the faith. With these attempts, were there those who at least were gentle about it, and kind, and not overly-aggressive?

 

Do you still have any genuine relationships with Christians?

 

 

I hope at least some of these questions are answered positively. And I'm testing myself here as well, hoping that I would react to a friend's deconversion with grace and humility.

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I have to say that, for the most part, I lucked out in the support department, as far as my deconversion went.

 

Over the course of my religious life I drifted from being a born-again, Bible-believing fundamentalist (of the Pentecostal variety), to more moderate Presbyterianism, to a nondenominational liberal Xianity, to neopaganism (Wicca first, then Greek Reconstructionism), until I finally ditched religion altogether and ended up an agnostic atheist. Most of my family and friends have taken all the changes in stride. Sometimes there have been some puzzled conversations, and I think that some of my family were shocked when I first came out as a neopagan after having been Xian for over a decade, but even though I sometimes get some weird questions from the Xian members of my family, nobody's shunned me or insulted me or treated me like a pariah because of it.

 

Generally my friends have been supportive, to one degree or another. My husband is very supportive as well. The only folks who I can think of off the top of my head who have been decidedly unsupportive of my apostasy were a particularly nasty, judgmental ex-SO, and various jerky believers on religious fora I visit. My ex-spouse wasn't too happy about it either, but then he wasn't happy with me overall, so I don't think that was religion-specific.

 

I have yet to meet anyone who was "gentle" about trying to reconvert me. This is one of the manifold reasons why I refuse to return. Hardcore believers are too willing to bludgeon nonbelievers over the head with their proselytizing. I do not bow to the will of zealots.

 

I've been far luckier than a lot of folks here. I still maintain good relationships with my Xian family members and have a few fairly liberal to moderate Xian friends here and there. What I value greatly is the ability of my loved ones to allow me the courtesy of figuring out my own position on religion. It demonstrates that they recognize that I am a sovereign adult in my own right, with the right and the ability to come to my own conclusions, and the right and ability to live under those conclusions as best I can. It also demonstrates a certain amount of trust or faith in my intelligence, which I highly appreciate.

 

I can recognize that a lot of believers feel that part of loving people requires telling them the Good News, and trying to win them back into the fold, but for me, respect is a tremendous part of love. If you're able to respect a deconvert's position, I'd say that would go a long way towards keeping it real with them. It would for me, anyway.

 

Hope that helps.

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Do you still have any genuine relationships with Christians?

 

A lot of the people I go dancing with are Christians. Though they are predominantly unitarian types. Not very hardcore for the most part.

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gwen,

 

That's great stuff, thanks for that. I agree with you so much about the respect. I'm glad you've had a good experience so far, I hope that the Christians will continue to treat you like they should be, with love and respect.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest lindaz6782

I have had a few friends who were supportive. My oldest friend, who was actually the person who introduced me to the whole born again thing in the first place, let me ask any questions that I had and talk to her about anything that was on my mind. She was and is very helpful. Of course, she did say that she would like to have me be a christian because she wants me in heaven with her but she was never overly pushy. In fact, she has told me that she likes me better now than when I was a fundie!

 

My mom and step-father, although not jumping for joy over my decision, have still been very loving and accepting. My husband was terrified at first but he decided the best way to support me was to actually look into things for himself... and now he's an xtian too.

 

However, those people all live 450 miles away from me. The people who I actually went to church with and interacted with on a daily basis were not supportive at all. They pretty much told me that everyone has doubts, they are obviously from the devil, and that I should pray them away and suppress them. They also said that the reason I had doubts was because of sin in my life. None of that stellar advice was very helpful since I was seriously looking for answers to my questions. They didn't seem to have any answers and after I stopped showing up as much no one really seemed that interested in initiating any contact with me. People who were supposed to be "leaders" in my life basically wrote me off. This wasn't a long process either. I was written off over a period of approximately one month. I am left only to assume that I am not worth saving in their eyes and that they never really cared about me except for in a very superficial way. When I was going to that church, I had a network of about 40 people through groups I was in and teams I served on that I supposedly "did life" with. Yet, only three of those people care enough to keep in any sort of contact with me now that I've changed my beliefs.

 

Interestingly, it has not been my experience that people have wanted to try and reconvert me in a forceful way. I'm sure I will come across this in time but as of now most people have just shut down and either cut me off or treat me in a polite but distant manner. I'm not sure which attitude I prefer. The saddest part is that my best friend, someone who I thought I would always be able to count on through all of my life's trials, looked at the ceiling and said, "Can we just not talk about this anymore? There are people who just have faith and don't need to question it or have solid reasons for it. Just having faith is enough. Our conversations are hurting my faith so I can't be there for you anymore." Subsequently, he has not once initiated contact with me in the last six months and has blown me off on other occasions where I've tried to see him. So very sad.

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