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Pagan To Pentecostal, And Back Again


Sophronia

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Hi folks, I have just joined this forum as I'm looking to get some perspective on the Christian religion now that I have left.

 

I was raised Atheist but became a Heathen Witch/Pagan in my early 20s. After a very bad experience with an abusive "magical partner", I embraced Christianity in the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ. This was partly owing to the influence of a good friend who was Christian, and partly because I blamed the Craft for my bad experience.

 

I tried hard to have faith in the Christian God and Bible but it just did not work for me. Ultimately I was very frustrated. After a tragic personal incident in July 2007, which to me illustrated the impotence of the Christian paradigm, I chucked it and have returned to Paganism.

 

Not having been raised Christian, I'm glad to say that I don't experience a lot of fear of hellfire, etc. Right now my biggest "Issue" is dealing with those people who knew me as a Christian, primarily the friend who helped to "Convert" me. I am not confrontational by nature (though somehow I seem to end up in a lot of weird situations), and don't know if it's best to have a Formal Conversation, to Tell Someone Via Email, or just to let them figure it out for themselves.

 

Thus far I have not made big announcements about my deconversion, as one of the things I hated about xtianity was the obligation to share your faith at all times. Right now I'm glad to be free of that, and keep my spiritual decisions to myself if I bloody well please.

 

In any event, thank you for having me at this forum and I will look forward to getting to know other x-christians!

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Welcome, welcome...

 

So now this friend of yours will just think you've back-slidden into your old ways because you've let this tragic incident discourage you.

 

Does the friend know you've been struggling? Have you been asking questions? Have you expressed your frustration at Xianity?

 

If so a deconversion announcement probably wouldn't be all that surprising.

 

If you haven't said much then now is the time. Go for coffee with the friend. Say you've been struggling with faith issues, ask some hard questions, express your frustration.

 

Depending how "fundy" the friend is you may get pat answers and platitudes. If you care for this friendship, show you are frustrated and say, "that doesn't help" without becoming angry or anything. Just express the sense of loss basically.

 

If the friend is more sympathetic and honest at least you'll get some "I don't know"s (which tend to be more comforting actually).

 

Either way, end the meeting without seeming to make any resolution for the night. (The friend will go home and pray for you)

 

Wait a week or two and arrange to meet for coffee again. (The friend may call first)

 

This time express all the same feelings/frustrations/etc. but now you also state your conclusion that you think Xianity is bullshit. You don't have to say you're returning to paganism or anything.

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What is a 'magical partner'? I don't know the jargon, sorry.

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Right now my biggest "Issue" is dealing with those people who knew me as a Christian, primarily the friend who helped to "Convert" me. I am not confrontational by nature (though somehow I seem to end up in a lot of weird situations), and don't know if it's best to have a Formal Conversation, to Tell Someone Via Email, or just to let them figure it out for themselves.

 

Thus far I have not made big announcements about my deconversion, as one of the things I hated about xtianity was the obligation to share your faith at all times. Right now I'm glad to be free of that, and keep my spiritual decisions to myself if I bloody well please.

 

Hi Sophronia and welcome!

 

My advice (if you can call it that, LOL) is to just let them figure it out for themselves. You really don't owe anyone an explanation. Deconversion is an extremely personal thing, and if you don't feel comfortable discussing it, I don't think you should feel obligated to do so. At any rate, I'm glad you're here - and welcome again!

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What is a 'magical partner'? I don't know the jargon, sorry.

 

In this case, it was someone who began as my student, and eventually progressed to doing ritual and other Craft work with me. Our work included Witchcraft, neo-Pagan, and pseudo-shamanic activities.

 

This person also become a romantic partner and this, along with his violent and psychopathic tendencies, was where the relationship went awry.

 

As I mentioned, I blamed the Craft for this. It took me quite a few years to realize that had I been following the guidelines I was given by my own teachers, I would not have become involved in that situation. But such is the folly of youth.

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So now this friend of yours will just think you've back-slidden into your old ways because you've let this tragic incident discourage you.

 

Actually, I don't think he realizes that I was a Pagan before. I think he just thought I didn't have any religion. I had not told him a lot about Paganism because I didn't want to frighten him... and knew it would not be understood.

 

Does the friend know you've been struggling? Have you been asking questions? Have you expressed your frustration at Xianity?

 

If so a deconversion announcement probably wouldn't be all that surprising.

 

If you haven't said much then now is the time. Go for coffee with the friend. Say you've been struggling with faith issues, ask some hard questions, express your frustration.

 

Depending how "fundy" the friend is you may get pat answers and platitudes. If you care for this friendship, show you are frustrated and say, "that doesn't help" without becoming angry or anything. Just express the sense of loss basically.

 

If the friend is more sympathetic and honest at least you'll get some "I don't know"s (which tend to be more comforting actually).

 

Either way, end the meeting without seeming to make any resolution for the night. (The friend will go home and pray for you)

 

Wait a week or two and arrange to meet for coffee again. (The friend may call first)

 

This time express all the same feelings/frustrations/etc. but now you also state your conclusion that you think Xianity is bullshit. You don't have to say you're returning to paganism or anything.

 

I appreciate these very thoughtful suggestions. If things were a little different, or perhaps if I were earlier along in the process, this kind of thing might indeed have been the way to go.

 

But I'm at a point where I really don't feel like engaging in protracted discussions about Jesus or God. Nor do I feel like "opening up" enough to talk about the specifics of my disillusionment and disgust with Christianity. It was not painless and while I feel like being open about the fact that I have changed paths, I don't really want to get into "why", except to say that it was right for me to do so. Unfortunately Christians, who are accustomed to pestering others with the gory details of their own conversions, typically want to "get into it".

 

Right now I'm being passive aggressive, I guess, and allowing my choices to be seen through signs and symbols (i.e., "What are those weird symbols on your MySpace page?" "Oh well, those are Pentagrams and Runes.") as opposed to making a Big Verbal Announcement Over Coffee.

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Hi Sophronia and welcome!

 

My advice (if you can call it that, LOL) is to just let them figure it out for themselves. You really don't owe anyone an explanation. Deconversion is an extremely personal thing, and if you don't feel comfortable discussing it, I don't think you should feel obligated to do so. At any rate, I'm glad you're here - and welcome again!

 

Thanks for your welcome and kind words!

 

Yes, it is a personal thing... there are parts I feel comfortable sharing, and parts I don't.

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Hei, Sophronia! :wave:

 

I would only release information on a need-to-know basis rather than making a broadcast announcement for the sake of making an announcement. A mob of acquaintances demanding debate time can add an awful lot of stress.

 

(And you could always boobytrap the perimeter of your personal space with some carefully chosen runes. That oughta slow 'em down...) :wicked:

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I appreciate these very thoughtful suggestions. If things were a little different, or perhaps if I were earlier along in the process, this kind of thing might indeed have been the way to go.

 

But I'm at a point where I really don't feel like engaging in protracted discussions about Jesus or God. Nor do I feel like "opening up" enough to talk about the specifics of my disillusionment and disgust with Christianity. It was not painless and while I feel like being open about the fact that I have changed paths, I don't really want to get into "why", except to say that it was right for me to do so. Unfortunately Christians, who are accustomed to pestering others with the gory details of their own conversions, typically want to "get into it".

 

Right now I'm being passive aggressive, I guess, and allowing my choices to be seen through signs and symbols (i.e., "What are those weird symbols on your MySpace page?" "Oh well, those are Pentagrams and Runes.") as opposed to making a Big Verbal Announcement Over Coffee.

 

Hail and welcome! :grin:

 

What variety of Pagan are you? Hellenic Pagan and Chaote, here.

 

True, they might want to get into it, but if at this piont you don't feel like opening up or discussing it with them, then you could simply say, "I'm not interested in talking about that right now, thanks." If they still pester you, you could follow up with, "I would appreciate it if you would respect me enough not to continue to ask me after I said I didn't want to talk about it. If I want to talk in the future, I'll let you know." If they keep it up, you could just excuse yourself and leave.

 

There's nothing wrong with beginning simply by posting meaningful symbols on your MySpace page. It should help to give them a clue without you needing to say anything.

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(And you could always boobytrap the perimeter of your personal space with some carefully chosen runes. That oughta slow 'em down...) :wicked:

 

A good idea... actually I was recently harassed via email by a psychotic Christian when I tried to unsubscribe from his mailing list. Hence I've already been taking some measures to protect my personal/psychic space.

 

Odd how people think that bugging the hell out of someone would make them want to convert. It has the opposite effect on me... guess I'm just contrary.

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What variety of Pagan are you? Hellenic Pagan and Chaote, here.

 

I would best be described as a Heathen hedge witch. I work largely, but not exclusively, with the Northern pantheon.

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But I'm at a point where I really don't feel like engaging in protracted discussions about Jesus or God. Nor do I feel like "opening up" enough to talk about the specifics of my disillusionment and disgust with Christianity.

 

Understood. That's basically where I am as well (when it comes to former Xian friends) so it makes perfect sense.

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