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my Xian story


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A Christian friend and coworker asked me at work today why/how I lost my faith. I was a little surprised at the question, but much obliged to answer. Here's how it goes


A little background:

I was born into the Church (of the Church of Christ persuasion) to two very loving, very devout parents. My dad was in the Air Force for 20 years (the whole time I was growing up and living with them), and we moved around a lot. So the church always played a pretty big role in my life as a child, as it offered some continuity to my life. Basically, everywhere we moved we would immediately plug into a church; in this way, I always felt at home in church (it was the only constant home I ever had).


Well, my parents are both college educated, and they enjoy reading about a great many things, such as history, science, religion, and are in general very intelligent, inquisitive people. This being the case, I was taught from a young age about how God works in the world and how he created the world, and when I got a little older, much of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God and apologetics normalizing our understanding of God to what we understand about science today. Or maybe it's harmonizing science to what the Bible says about God.


Well, that said about my family history (which is somewhat pertinent, as I'll get a little later in this post), now a little about my personal journey through the faith.


Growing up, I can't recall ever questioning my belief in God and the Bible, at least not until high school and even then it wasn't much. I was active in the youth group in high school and even led some bible studies at the high school I went to (it was a public school). Now I've always had a very strong sense of ethics, and I have a tendency to throw all of myself into something that I believe in. As I was getting close to graduating from high school, I needed to find something to do with my life. The Bible says we should go out into all of the world and spread the gospel; so, what better thing to do than just that. I wanted to be a missionary! So right after graduation (3 days) I was on a plane for the Dominican Republic where I would spend the summer. I didn't know anyone there and no one was going with me, but I had arranged ahead of time through the church I was a part of for a missionary there to find a place for me to stay. So I stayed with a local family, and after I had sufficient command of Spanish to communicate with people, I ventured out to meet some more of the locals and invite them to church and talk about God with them.


Ironically, it was this very experience that started my questioning of the Xian faith. In a nutshell, I noticed how the local Christians were not like their fellow non-Christian countrymen. The particulars of the faith I was trying to teach people were wiping out aspects of their culture and instilling in them how a North American Christian would think and act. They weren't big things, just a couple of little things that took me a while to notice. Anyway, something just wasn't quite right about that...


Well, once I finished up the summer in the DR, I headed off to Abilene Christian University in Texas to major in missions. Once I got there I promptly changed my major to physics, but not because I was questioning being a missionary, just that I feel I didn't need a degree to do it. After all, I had just done it for the previous three months without a degree. I figured I might as well get a degree I can use if I decide not to be a missionary someday. (good decision in hindsight)


Well, at the university I was introduced to philosophy and science at a deeper level than I had previously studied. I soaked it all up as much as I could. There were some things that started to bother me about the Bible, though. For instance


If the Bible is the Word of God, why wait until the last 6000 years of history to reveal it to us, when human history is indeed much older than this?


Or why does it take revelation to understand revelation (God's Word)? Here I was in a Christian University, taking Bible and theology classes under guys with PhDs in theology, and the level of thought and work that these men have put into understanding their faith (and indeed mine also) is astounding. Why would God's word be so complicated? The mental gymnastics required to rationalize the Christian faith with today's world are incredible.


There are many, many more questions that started to arise in my mind over the past few years (I'm currently a senior at ACU), too many to list here. It's hard for me to say exactly when I stopped believing the Myth, but I do remember thinking to myself this past winter of how much happier I would be if there were no God (which came as something of a shock to me at the time, actually). I just couldn't stand all of the apologetics I was hearing from every angle (including my parents) telling me that there was indeed a loving god looking out for the world. The physics I was studying gave me a much more satisfying view of the world than any of the god myth ever did (and explained a lot more, too). Then I started thinking such blasphemous things as “I'm nicer than God,” seeing as how he handles the world. If someone wrongs me, I don't require a sacrifice to forgive them. I don't torture them. I don't require anything to die in order to forgive them of any wrongs they commit against me. That's not called forgiveness anyway, it's called vengeance.


These thoughts started coming to me over a period of several months. Eventually I was thinking things like “God sure is a mean bastard!”, or “Fuck God!” when confronted with all of the evil in the world. I watched “Hotel Rwanda” and was so pissed off I wished God were real so I could kick his ass!


I finally started to come out of the closet about a month ago, and the first time I said “I'm not a Christian,” I had the most wonderful feeling! I felt like this huge burden had been lifted off of my shoulders! But I've only told a couple of people, so I still feel like I'm walking on eggshells around some of my other xian family, coworkers, and fellow students. I feel like I've started on a great journey of intellectual freedom, honesty, and integrity; and I'm fascinated by this new world (this sinning, rotting, fallen world). :HaHa:


So this is my story in a nutshell.


[EDIT]: I've actually started writing a little better version of my deconversion for myself, but it's pretty long, so I just highlighted a few points to put here. I hope it doesn't come off as too disjointed

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Guest Sybaris

Welcome aboard!


My daughter had a similar experience when she went to Malaysia as a nanny for a missionary family from her moms church. Thing is in Malaysia they kick out xian missionaries if they find them so everything was done kind of covertly. My daughter was amazed by the front this family put on and the misrepresentation of the locals and their own "work" in letters back to thier church in the US.

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Thanks Sybaris for the welcome. :)


This was the first time I tried to write out my story. I wish I was a better writer and maybe I could write out my testimony in a more coherent fashion. I guess all of my feelings on all of this are still pretty strong and confusing, and it's hard for me to write down what's going on in my mind in a very coherent manner, as I still haven't figured it all out myself.


I may post an updated anti-testimony in the future when I get some of this stuff more sorted out. Maybe I posted this one too early... :mellow:


Well, I'll just leave it up anyway, and maybe someone can find some kind of encouragement in it. :shrug:

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Then I started thinking such blasphemous things as “I'm nicer than God,” seeing as how he handles the world. If someone wrongs me, I don't require a sacrifice to forgive them. I don't torture them. I don't require anything to die in order to forgive them of any wrongs they commit against me. That's not called forgiveness anyway, it's called vengeance.

Welcome, highvoltage. Your point about the nature of forgiveness is heartening to me. I've tried several times to engage Christians on that very issue to no avail. I've never been able to make the basic problem understood to them enough to even start a discussion. I tried and tried. I waved it in front of their faces, I simplified it to the level of kindergarten, I shoved it up their noses and all they did was act baffled as to what my problem with it was.


What was so funny was that from their perspective, I was the confused one! They couldn't even see one of the problems, let alone all the ones I was raising.


They just sort of looked at me and shrugged, unable to understand what my problem is with the whole "Jesus' death buys our forgiveness" thing. They seem unable to grasp what a deeply important moral problem it is.


So it's great for me to see that you caught both the forgiveness-as-commodity issue and the fact that Christians worship a god that demands human sacrifice.


I've only known one other person that understood that whole set of forgiveness problems and that was Reach.



Again, welcome.



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Hi highvoltage!

Thanks for posting your antitestimony. The whole forgiveness thing didn't make sense to me either. After all, even in the old testament, how could a sacrifice be a sacrifice if they got to eat the animal afterwards? And if the animal is taking our place, not necessarily the actual sacrifice, how does bloodshed mediate the metaphysics of this strange forgiveness? And in the NT, how does Jesus' "sacrifice" actually become a sacrifice if Jesus is all fine and dandy now, seated with God and available to answer prayers?


You said it well. The mental gymnastics required to make Christianity work is absurd. I believe it was even absurd then, not just to our modern age. Ig God exists, God is not this petty.


I can relate to your discomfort around family, etc... for I just finished a conversation with my mother in law about all this. Her dear son has recently deconverted and she is hysterical. It is hard to know how much to reveal, for it is truly hard for them to hear someone they love is going to hell (in their eyes).



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Thanks pandora and Loren. It's been good for me to find others that see some of the same issues with xtianity as I've struggled with.


And thank you for the welcome; it's good to feel like I'm a part of something, especially when it comes to knowing that my struggles with religion are not faced alone. That there are others... :)

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