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LBW

Just Another Deconvert

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(This story got really long, so I decided to separate the, "nonessential" beginning part from the, "meaty" part of it. If you want to skip the less-important beginning portion, just don't read the text in red).

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was raised in a Christian home. I attended a private Christian school for kindergarten and first grade, and thereafter I was homeschooled. My parents were, and are, strong Christians who did their very best to raise me to believe in eternal salvation though Jesus. As a small child, I suppose that I believed mostly because I observed my parents' belief. I, "accepted Christ" at the tender age of 5. Then I attended a Christian camp at age 8, and the speakers there there made me fear for my soul (since I couldn't clearly remember my salvation experience, I was worried that it wouldn't count), so I pulled one of the counselors aside and asked her to help me be saved. She asked if I wanted to pray on my own, or just repeat after her. I figured, praying it myself makes it more real, right? So I prayed my own innocent, childish prayer. Apparently it wasn't sufficient, because the counselor then gently told me, "I just don't think you're saved yet." She proceeded to lead me in a, "proper" salvation prayer. Phew! Good thing I'd had her there to guide me. Wouldn't have wanted to slip into Hell for lack of the right words!

 

Even following this salvation experience, I spent many childhood nights fearing fiery torment for my misdeeds. I used to ask myself how I could be a Christian, when I continued to do such, "bad things?" After all, I still got angry, I yelled at my siblings, I didn't always obey my parents - how could a follower of Jesus do such things? Repentance meant turning AWAY from those worldly ways, and yet I continued to, "sin" regardless of my numerous prayers of repentance. I had a dreadful fear of, "accidentally" sending myself to Hell - of not having been, "correctly" saved, perhaps, and thereby condemning myself to eternal fire. I also used to cry myself to sleep worrying about those loved ones of mine who, I'd been told, were unsaved and would therefore go to Hell. The thought of my supposedly unsaved grandparents being burned alive for all eternity haunted me. Night after night I fervently re-prayed for salvation.

 

As I grew, the concepts of Christianity became very real to me personally, and I developed my own perceived relationship with God. My faith was no longer just because of my parents - I truly made it my own. I recall, even by the age of 11, that I was starting to develop Christian views different (mostly more rigid) than those of my parents. Around that age I was reading the Bible on my own, and beginning to see that most Christians were just not really obeying the Bible in their daily lives. I wanted to be a true follower of Christ. I began to wear a headcovering, and I would refuse to pray or to even sing hymns in church that contained prayerful lyrics, without my head covered. If I did not have a head covering of any sort with me, I would use my arms to cover my head. This was embarrassing, as obviously most Christian girls/women in modern churches did not observe this practice, but what choice did I have? God's Word demanded it! I also began to think that I should be more strict in my observation of the Sabbath. My parents were already fairly diligent in this area - our family usually would not conduct business on Sundays. But what of household work? Could washing dishes really be considered to be part of those, "necessary" tasks to be performed on the Sabbath day? I wasn't just a lazy preadolescent trying to shirk my chores, I earnestly worried that I was sinning. I didn't want to wear my hair in braids, because the Bible frowned upon it. I also took to heart 1 John 2:16, "For all that is in the world . . . is not of the Father but is of the world." ALL that is in the world - so that means anything not overtly Christian, right? I began feeling guilty for reading anything but the Bible. I recall once, after having an angry tiff with one of my younger brothers, retreating to my room and forcing myself to look up and write down every Bible verse I could find on the wickedness of the tongue, and the danger of anger. I kept those papers for a long time, reviewing them over and over, wondering why, oh why, couldn't I just STOP being so bad? I had a fear of my sexuality, of committing some sexual sin in my thoughts. I would not even investigate my own anatomy because I felt it was somehow wrong. Like most adolescents, I was fascinated by all things sexual, but I felt extreme guilt about for it at the same time.

 

My parents did not teach me all of these particularly strict principles - they were very fundamentalist Christians and did encourage strict adherence to the bible, but they at times tried to help and encourage me. I mostly imposed these feelings on myself, because of my intense desire to please God. As I entered my teenage years I began to shed some of those more rigid standards, rejecting some in the name of avoiding, "legalism," or sometimes simply getting out of the habit because I hadn't read those particular verses in awhile. But I remained fiercely Christian in my beliefs. I struggled intensely with the conflict of trying to honor God by being an obedient daughter to my parents, while trying to find my own way in life. This led me to serious depression & contemplation of suicide because I felt unable to measure up to the standards my parents desired of me. I wanted more than anything just to please them, and thereby please god.

 

At age 16 I began dating a guy I'd worked with at a fast-food restaurant. He and I were casual friends, who probably would have not pursued a serious relationship under normal circumstances. But we wanted to date one another, and in our families (his family being far more strictly fundamentalist than mine), one didn't date unless they were seriously pursuing marriage. So, that's what we did - we began, "courting," and a year or so later, at age 17, I was engaged to marry him. I had constant doubts about my relationship with him, but he had repeatedly threatened to kill himself if I ever left him, so I wouldn't even allow myself to entertain the thought for a long time. Many of my doubts centered around the fact that he was not a very committed Christian. I eventually left him shortly after I turned 18, citing among other things that I didn't feel it was God's will for us to be together, which I truly believed.

 

Meanwhile, I had begun working on my undergrad at age 16 at a private pentecostal university. My faith grew while I was there. I really FELT God in many of the chapel services I attended. I worshiped him, I cried out to him, I begged him for help with my struggles, and I felt that I received it. I always thought of things in terms of their Biblical significance - all truth was filtered through Scripture for me. In fact, here is an excerpt from the beginning of my college Business Ethics paper:

 

"Before discussing worldviews and ethics it is necessary to tell where all my beliefs are based. The key to all my personal views is the belief that the Bible is the one and only book that is completely truth and completely inspired by God without error and without contradiction. Should any personal view I hold ever contradict the Bible then my personal view must change. I take the Bible at face value and believe what it says no matter what. It is my primary advice giver and it is the only thing that can, through what it says, 'make' me change my mind because it is the true word of God."

 

I became best friends with a fellow student, a guy who was a devout Christian, intent on attending Seminary after graduation. Shortly after I had broken off my engagement with my first boyfriend, I realized that I was head over heels in love with this friend. We approached our parents to receive their blessing on our relationship, as we felt was Biblically mandated. My parents were thrilled that I'd found such a wonderful, Christian guy. I had gotten my own apartment as soon as I'd turned 18, and my fiance had moved to the university dorms at 19. He and I spent every waking moment together, so we began to think, in the interest of saving money, that we should move in together. We knew we were both devout enough to keep our relationship, "pure," even while living under the same roof. Even so, in order to avoid conflict with our parents (and being kicked out of our Christian school), we decided to be, "legally married" by the local J.P. before sharing a home. However, we still did not consider ourselves truly married, because we had not yet been joined, "in God's eyes." So we remained virgins until our real wedding 6 months later. I was 19, he was 20, when we graduated from college and were married the next day in December 2002.

 

We bought a house in the same home town as our parents. Our young marriage was quickly followed by the addition of little ones - I became pregnant 2 weeks after we were married, and our precious daughter was born in September. Our joy was multiplied when we conceived again 14 months later, and our sweet boy was born in August. During these years we encountered many of the struggles that face any young family, especially ones specific to the Christian faith. We particularly had many struggles attempting to fit into our rightful Christian roles within marriage. I wanted desperately to be a submissive wife, to live for my husband's happiness and to serve him without thought of myself. Trying to, "overcome" my naturally strong, leader's personality (I was always chosen to be the leader in any peer group I was a part of in college), led to one failure after another. I was not a feminist; while I sometimes bristled at the thought of my being, "inferior," I had come to happily accept my role as the weaker vessel. My husband also worked hard to be the, "leader" that he felt he was supposed to be, often feeling like I wouldn't let him be. There were very rough times, but we were deeply in love and our relationship grew.

 

During this time, my father-in-law died suddenly at age 59. We were shocked and deeply saddened to lose him. Following his dad's death, my husband seemed to start having doubt about his faith, occasionally raising issues such as, "What if all of this [belief in God, etc.] just isn't for real?" I was a little scared about his, "crisis of faith," and asked one of my close friends to please pray for him, as I continually did myself. I guessed that it had helped, because over time he seemed to stop having these doubts, and we went on about our Christian life.

 

Early in our relationship my now-husband and I had attended church together, but we slowly drifted away and finally stopped attending altogether, because we strongly believed that the modern church was falling woefully short of fulfilling the will of God. We found the, "corporate church" structure to be unbiblical and harmful to the cause of Christ. We found confirmation of these thoughts when we discovered the New Testament Restoration Fellowship (ntrf.org), and we even drove a couple of states away to attend one of their conferences about starting a Biblically-based home church. We tried desperately to find other similar-thinking believers with whom to enjoy fellowship, trying the take part in one home church for awhile, but we just never had a true connection with any of the Christians we met. It was as if no one else had actually read the Bible, or that they had, but had plugged their ears to anything that contradicted their long-held traditions. We desperately sought to be closer followers of Christ. We had left the church because of a very real commitment to Christ, not a lack thereof.

 

5 years into our marriage we moved to a new home, about 45 minutes from our hometown. Our third baby arrived a few months later, and we were busy raising our Children to be obedient Christians - we read the Bible to them at night, and we read Christian parenting books to try and help us raise them correctly. We taught them about Jesus' love and that God had created our beautiful world and all in it. We really, really wanted to get it right, to teach our children the truth so they could come to saving belief in Jesus at a young age, and I often prayed to that end. I was so happy whenever I heard our little girl repeat any of the Christian, "truths" we'd taught her. We continued to seek Christian fellowship with like-minded believers, but we continued to find none. We struggled with the fact that we felt we should be among fellow Christians in order to keep our faith strong, but we didn't seem to fit in with any of them.

 

In Summer 2007 we became involved in the Ron Paul primary presidential campaign. We found out about Dr. Paul by accident, and the more we read, the more we loved his stance on liberty and truth. He was a Christian man, but he did not believe in enforcing religious rule over any nation. His message rang so true with us that we became actively involved, via Meetup.com, in local efforts to get him elected. Ah, NOW we had found some people we could relate to! This was the first time in a long time that we'd felt that we, "belonged" anywhere. We made good friends during this campaign, most Christian and some secular. One couple with whom we became friendly were atheists. That concept was so foreign to us, we just shook our heads in sadness at their unbelief. The husband had come from a staunchly Christian background, a preacher's son, so I always figured he was just bitter at God (as many preacher's kids seem to become), and that's why he'd decided to deny his creator's existence. My husband had some debates with this guy, and though he could not always answer the skeptical questions that were raised, he still held to his Christian beliefs. He read Lee Strobel's, "The Case For Christ," and allowed himself to be comforted in his beliefs by the, "reassurance" that book offered. The key point of this portion of the story is that it was during this time that we began to be exposed to more logical, rational reasoning than we'd ever encountered. Many of Ron Paul's stances were not popular with mainstream America, because they weren't, "talking points," they were well-thought-out, reasoned positions that required some thinking and research to understand. We both loved the truth we unearthed during this time, and some of our political beliefs shifted from being, "Because the Bible says so, this should be law," to, "The Bible may say so, but that doesn't mean others should be forced to comply." We came to believe strongly that U.S. governmental legislation was intended only to protect the rights of others, not to coerce anyone into compliance with the tenents of any religion or lack thereof. We still firmly believed in Christian morality for ourselves, but we no longer held the traditional Conservative views that those beliefs should be forced on others. It was an exciting time of learning and personal growth for each of us.

 

A year and a half after we'd moved, My husband found a better job 3 hours away. I was 25 years old, and expecting our fourth child. We moved to this new area hopeful that we would now find some place now to be among our fellow Christians. We attended a local church a couple of times, a nondenominational congregation that was supposed to be very, "real," but we finally just couldn't stomach the pretension we felt there. But we continued to teach our children our faith, and I personally felt that I was growing closer to God than I'd been in awhile. I had fallen away for some time from reading the Bible and from a regular prayer life, but now I was enjoying the scriptures, I was keeping a prayer journal, and I felt God was revealing things to me as I asked him to do so. I wanted to believe that my prayers were being answered. Sure, often nothing seemed to happen in response to them. But on those occasions that there was a favorable result after I'd prayed, I held on to the hope that, "See, God does still listen." As do most Christians, I usually prayed in such a way that my faith was, "safe." Around Fall 2008, I recall telling my husband that I had finally realized my, "problem" - deep down, I was still trying to solve my own issues, when I should have been relinquishing them to God! I hadn't figured out yet how, but I was determined to do it. I wanted to be a better mother and a better wife, and I was going to allow God to make it happen for me. I had always believed in strongly in personal responsibility. I had a hard time, however, reconciling that belief with the concept of, "casting all of my cares upon Him." How can I take responsibility for changing the less-than-perfect aspects of my life if I'm supposed to let God do it for me? I didn't know, but I was going to figure it out.

 

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I have written a long chronicle above, detailing many of the events of my life which, "prove" what a strong Christian I was, how personal my, "relationship" with God really was to me. If you find the above portion superfluous, just suffice to say that, while I was raised in an ardently Christian home, my beliefs had become very much my own over the years, and I felt a strong personal commitment to Christ, and to bringing up my children so that they would become Christians at a very young age. My faith was very real to me - I had, "seen" God work in my life, "felt" His presence, and, "known" his love.

 

The beginning of my journey out of faith began when I sent my husband a link via e-mail one day to a website discussing logical fallacies. We both love to discuss reason and logical principals, and I thought he'd find the site interesting. Somehow in the course of reviewing that site he stumbled upon another site debunking some of the myths of Christianity. When I talked with him later that day, he shared with me some of what he'd read; the contradictions in the Gospels, the blatant deception tying the ancient, "prophecies" to New Testament events, etc. We were both a bit stunned. We both agreed that we needed to put these newfound doubts to rest by reviewing more evidence - surely there was proof refuting these arguments against God's inerrant word?

 

In the following weeks my dear husband spent countless hours of study (I stay home with our four young children, so I read his recommendations when I could, but there's not much room for that during my day). I have always known him to be a lover of truth, so I knew he would not be investigating his beliefs so seriously unless there was really something to what he was finding out. We've always relied upon one another in our research, allowing one of us to do research about the aspects of life that we're currently interested in and to report our findings back to the other. To keep his research balanced, he diligently pored over both Christian apologist websites, atheist sites, and any other informative site he could find. Each day we spent hours discussing these new discoveries. I simply couldn't ignore the facts anymore. All the doubts I'd ever had during my life slowly began to resurface, and I found that each one was valid. How is, "personal experience" an adequate argument for the, "truth" of Christianity? Don't believers of other religions have equally, "real," equally deep experiences? Yep. Could those answered prayers of mine really just be coincidences, or a product of my own efforts? Yep. Was it possible that there were contradictions in the Bible that could not be adequately explained, even by the most notable apologists? Big yep. How can Scripture be God's infallible word when the contents of the canonical Bible, as we know it, was decided upon by admittedly non-inspired, normal people, many of whom disagreed upon its contents? It can't. And perhaps one of the most eye-opening concepts for me, in reference to the effectiveness of prayer: Why, oh why, in all of the, "miraculous" healings anyone in the modern world has ever witnessed, has God never, ever healed an amputee?

 

It wasn't a sudden realization, but during those weeks of research and introspection, I finally came to the point that I simply could not believe it anymore. I didn't actively choose to leave my faith - it left me, through my discovery of truth. I sincerely hoped at first to find something to prove my doubts wrong, but it didn't exist. I keep hoping there would be that ONE really good apologist who could explain away even just one of my serious doubts - but there was none. I prayed earnestly that God would show me the truth. It wouldn't have taken much, in the beginning, to convince me to, "return to Christ." I desperately WANTED to be reassured that my lifelong faith had not been in vain. But once you've tasted truth, there can be no going back. Apologists are confined to directing all questions back to the Bible, even attempting to validate scripture with itself, and that sort of circular logic just didn't ring true with me.

 

I was intensely sad for a time . . . sort of like a child learning that Santa isn't real, only on a grander scale. On the one hand it's something that child really wants to believe, a fantasy he would rather hold on to, but after being faced with the facts he realizes it simply isn't plausible. And then he thinks, "I guess, if I'd really let myself think about it, I never would have believed it in the first place." (Those are assumptions on my part, since I never believed in Santa as a child. But hopefully you get the picture). Perhaps my most intense sadness was in the realization that I would not get to spend eternity with my beloved husband, as I'd always imagined I would after we died. Once the sadness had waned, I felt more peace and freedom than I'd ever known. The things that I'd learned through the years in my search for truth had been, unbeknownst to me, weakening my faith little by little. I had held on devoutly to my beliefs, never realizing what a thin shell they had become until they began to crumble. After this process it initially seemed to me that my faith had disappeared almost overnight, but when I look back now I see that it had been a slow process over the years of my tucking away my doubts in some far corner of my brain. But no matter how I fought them, they were always there, waiting to be heeded. I kept expecting to read something in my studies which would cause me to question my new lack of faith. However, everything I read (whether from Christian apologists, atheists, or otherwise) only solidified my findings. And again similar to a childhood fantasy, after awhile my previously held beliefs began to seem almost silly to me. The feeling I experienced when reviewing them was, "do grownups really believe this stuff?" I no longer believed in miracles not because I had stumbled across any particular reason NOT to - but because I'd realized that all along, there was no reason to believe in them. I could no longer pretend that there was any more reason to believe that Jesus came back to life than to believe that the seer down the street with the flashing neon sign could communicate with the dead. While I hadn't yet come across the expression that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", it became obvious to me intuitively.

 

A testament to my lifelong indoctrination is the fact that, even after my mind knew the truth, I still experienced a fear of Hell for awhile. But with time and study, that has largely passed. "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live" (Dorothy Thompson). And according to my previously-held Christian beliefs, God is the one who decides who goes to Heaven & who goes to Hell, anyway - so if I'm damned, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't change my knowledge of the truth, and I wouldn't want to.

 

The things that Christians attribute to God's doing are as random and contradictory as would be expected of the claims of anyone desperately trying to prove anything to themselves. In instances like that, one typically keeps an eye out (sometimes subconsciously) for any shred of evidence that seems to prove our point, while simply ignoring any evidence that seems to disprove it. So Christians see good things happen - the, "blessing" of some extra money, a narrow escape from injury, a, "miraculous" healing - and they're automatically attributed to God. The birth of a precious newborn baby is said by many to be, "proof" of God - after all, many conjecture, nothing so wonderful could exist without a Higher Power. But when bad things happen - especially REALLY bad things - those aren't God's fault, those are just, "trials," part of God's, "permissive" will, or attacks from Satan. That logic, or lack thereof, seem awfully convenient - accept those facts which validate your stance, reject those that don't. This is necessarily the position that all Christians are placed in.

 

I felt a freedom in my release from Christianity, as if a whole new world had opened up to me. Not of all the, "bad stuff" I hadn't, "gotten to do" as a Christian - but to discover things outside the realm of Christianity. For instance, I had never allowed myself to believe that it was acceptable for women to run for public office, because that would put a woman in a position of leadership above men. I've never understood why God gave me such a take-charge, leader-type of personality, if I was to spend my life humbly submitting. Fortunately I am married to a man who has never been a tyrant or tried to, "force" me into submission. Still, it was exciting when I began to realize that I had the right, as a human being, to my own personal pursuits, regardless of the role they placed me in with relation to men. That it wasn't, "wrong" for me to be a leader, as I feel compelled to be in many instances. I'd also never been able to reconcile the fact that the Bible does not allow for divorce in situations of spousal abuse. I wondered how I could ever encourage a woman in an abusive relationship to remain in it. I spent so much of my life attempting to rationalize all of my beliefs in light of Christianity - what a relief when I finally allowed myself to discover that my beliefs could be evaluated in their own right, not just based on what the Bible says I should believe! It has made me a better mother, a better spouse, a more moral person, and certainly much happier with life in general.

 

It's not that I directly, "blame" Christianity for anything in my life that was wrong before and is now better since my deconversion. I'm not sure why I allowed certain aspects of my life to be unsatisfactory before, but regardless of the, "Why," I know that they have been better since I left Christianity, and that my deconversion is the cause of the improvement. Perhaps the constant sense of guilt, of never measuring up to God's requirements, that I had probably become so accustomed to that I didn't even know it existed anymore, caused my emotional state to be less-than-optimal while I was a Christian. I realize that the fact that certain aspects of Christianity may have caused problems in my life is not a good enough basis for refuting the entire religion; but if the testimony of someone who was a no-good, cheatin' scoundrel before becoming a Christian, but then cleaned up their act once they, "got saved," is enough to affirm a Christian's belief in God, then the results of my leaving faith behind should certainly speak for themselves. Religion does not have the market cornered on morality or happiness.

 

My husband and I mostly hid our new beliefs, or lack thereof, for several months. We toyed with the idea of just never telling anyone close to us, since both of our families are staunch fundamentalist Christians, but we both recognized almost immediately that we could not indefinitely live that sort of lie. We wanted to be careful in how we presented it to our families and friends, however. We didn't want to hurt or offend them, but to be compassionately honest. So my husband crafted a thoughtful, loving letter explaining our position, and telling our families that this experience on our part in no way reflected on our feelings towards them. That we are, in most ways, the same people we've always been, just minus religion. We e-mailed this letter to our friends & families. The results were pretty bad. My mother sent us 16 belligerent e-mails over a period of 1 1/2 days, including as many disjointed accusations as she could muster, such as:

 

"You say God doesn't exist. You have called all people who are chosen idiots. You are the fools, and only time will tell. The blessings that have been bestowed on you are going away as we speak."

 

"You have brought such sorrow to our hearts. Your Father cannot speak of it he is so grieved. After we go through this grieving process, which I'm sure will take a while, I do not think we could take anything else. Please, just stay away from us . . . if you contact your Father and he gets upset, and hurt, I will come after you. You and your arrogant fat assed husband."

 

"Just think, now that you do not have to obey God, you could leave [your husband], and find a really good looking guy who is actually humble."

 

"You sit adoringly by allowing yourself and your children to be led straight into hell. You are not worth your salt!!! You don't even love your children enough to want them to know God. How pathatic!!!"

 

(To my husband:)"it pleasures me greatly to harass someone continually that has taken something very precious from me, misled her and my grandchildren, and laughed in my face while doing it. I plan to find

new ways to harass you daily in the pursuit of my on selfishness and personal pleasure. Nothing would give me more pleasure you arrogant reprobate."

 

I initially had decided not to dignify any of her nonsense with a response, but she became so threatening that I finally told her not to contact me or my family again. My father has said that he is grieving me as if I were dead. We've been told by another family member that we made this announcement, "just to get attention." I'm now forbidden contact with my younger adolescent siblings. It seems that most of our Christian friends have chosen to cut off contact with us. Thus far no one has tried to provide any evidence to refute our position, which I would be quite open to (although we obviously would not have come to the conclusions we've found unless we felt we had reviewed most of the pertinent evidence).

 

I have moments during which my hearts feels as if it's breaking over having lost many of my family and friends just because of this experience. I'm more grateful than ever for my husband's unfailing love and support - without him I would feel truly alone. Still, I feel clean, having finally shared the truth about myself. I cannot change what I've learned. Why are there those of us that are compelled to seek truth, while others seem content, even equally compelled, to reject truth in favor of their ingrained beliefs? "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." (Carl Sagan)

 

"Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces." - Sigmund Freud

 

So that's my story thus far.

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LBW, there is no such thing as "just another" deconvert. Free thinking individuals are still sadly a tiny minority in our society, and that alone makes you a "pearl amonst swine". You're among friends here, and be patient with yourself. De-conversion takes time and thought, but we're living proof it can be done.

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Welcome to the forums, LBW.

 

What a catastrophic result from such a kind, considered and loving outreach. It pains me to read those emails from your mother.

 

All I can say is that the strength and clear-mindedness you and your husband share will serve your children well, and that there will be others (like the atheist couple you met while campaigning) to bring friendship, support and love to the six of you, should the response of your mother, family and friends remain intractable. But my guess is that there will be a few among that group -- maybe your younger siblings -- to whom you will be a longed-for model of a better way to live the life of a human.

 

Be patient; share thoughts with us infidels at Ex-C; cuddle a lot with hubby and kids.

 

Again, a big welcome!

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I don't know what to say. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and providing so much detail. Those horrid emails were like a cold bucket of water in the face. I mean, I know many parents are upset but I have to say that's the most extreme, vile reaction I've ever read about a deconversion. I've heard of similar things when a child has told their parents they're gay but...wow...

 

Have you ever read that deconversion story about the Moody Bible translator, Ken Daniels? The reason I mention it is because he also went into a lot of detail like you so that people would know exactly why he left christianity....he'd gotten the typical responses too although his wife didn't deconvert and his family didn't react with the level of venom that your parents did.

 

What a horrible religion; I'm so glad you found your way out and that you two did it together. You are so fortunate to have each other and 4 children so you won't be alone.

 

-- I also had nightmares and a morbid, life consuming fear of hell...into my forties. And people say it's good for children!

 

Hang in there, you and your husband are good people. You're in the right, your folks are in the wrong.

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Welcome to freedom Lbw!

 

I'm so sorry you and your husband got all of those ugly e-mails from your family. You're braver than me, I still don't have the courage to tell my folks.

 

Hang in there, you'll get through all this.

Tab

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Thanks so much for all of the support. As for my siblings, I neglected to mention that I do still have the companionship of one of my younger sisters (I am the oldest of 6 kids). She and I, without meaning to, "outed" ourselves to our parents on the same day. She confessed to Mom her agnosticism, and received a similar response in person to what I did via e-mail. I gotta say, she's a stronger person than me; I don't think I could have done that face-to-face. She's only 17, and they've told her to get out of their house and not to contact our little sibs, either (she's the 4th of the 6 of us). I wish I lived closer to her.

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Welcome, LBW. It was painful to read some of those excerpts from your mom's e-mails, do remember that you have the option not to read them if they stress you out and cause you too much pain. I wish you, your family and your younger sister all the best.

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Wow, I am overwhelmed when I read stories like yours. You are obviously a very bright and thoughtful young woman. Though your family is unable to see it, you came to this place in a very thorough and thoughtful way. You are very fortunate to have come to this place at the same time as your husband, that will help you both so much.

 

It continues to amaze me that people who claim to love us can turn into such abusive monsters when we reject their religion. Didn't they love us for any other reason than our belief in Jesus? Shouldn't your mother be trying to love you back into the fold, rather than haranguing you with threats of hell? And the same with your friends. It's very sad.

 

I agree with everyone who said that hopefully you can be a beacon of hope for your younger siblings when they begin to doubt what they have been taught.

 

Welcome to Ex-C. I think you have a lot to offer here. I'm very pleased to have made your acquaintance.

 

Heather

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Reading those emails from your mother made me almost start crying. How hard that must be! I hope that you and your husband will be able to find new friends, or that your old ones will remember what it really means to be a friend. I think it is very brave of you and your husband to write to your families explaining your experience (I refuse to call decoversion a "decision" because that implies choice). I might copy that idea in a few years (when I no longer depend on my parents to fund my education). I am awed at your sister's bravery in telling your parents while still living in their house. I hope everything goes okay for her. Surely it is child abuse to kick out a teenager.

 

You truly have a talent for writing.

 

Good luck and welcome.

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LBW, there is no such thing as "just another" deconvert. Free thinking individuals are still sadly a tiny minority in our society, and that alone makes you a "pearl amonst swine". You're among friends here, and be patient with yourself. De-conversion takes time and thought, but we're living proof it can be done.

You're right, and thank you.

What a catastrophic result from such a kind, considered and loving outreach. It pains me to read those emails from your mother.

 

All I can say is that the strength and clear-mindedness you and your husband share will serve your children well, and that there will be others (like the atheist couple you met while campaigning) to bring friendship, support and love to the six of you, should the response of your mother, family and friends remain intractable. But my guess is that there will be a few among that group -- maybe your younger siblings -- to whom you will be a longed-for model of a better way to live the life of a human.

 

Be patient; share thoughts with us infidels at Ex-C; cuddle a lot with hubby and kids.

That's what provides me comfort - thinking that at least my children will never have to endure this sadness and rejection from us. Although I never, ever could have ostracized them this way, no matter what they'd done, even when I was a Christian.

Those horrid emails were like a cold bucket of water in the face. I mean, I know many parents are upset but I have to say that's the most extreme, vile reaction I've ever read about a deconversion. I've heard of similar things when a child has told their parents they're gay but...wow...

 

Have you ever read that deconversion story about the Moody Bible translator, Ken Daniels? The reason I mention it is because he also went into a lot of detail like you so that people would know exactly why he left christianity....he'd gotten the typical responses too although his wife didn't deconvert and his family didn't react with the level of venom that your parents did.

What a horrible religion; I'm so glad you found your way out and that you two did it together. You are so fortunate to have each other and 4 children so you won't be alone.

-- I also had nightmares and a morbid, life consuming fear of hell...into my forties. And people say it's good for children!

Hang in there, you and your husband are good people. You're in the right, your folks are in the wrong.

Thanks NaturalSelection. Thanks to your mentioning it, I'm in the midst of reading Ken Daniels's story (I'd never heard of him). It's a long one! Reading it recalls to my mind lots of details that I left out of my own story. I'm so glad to hear that you've managed to overcome your fear of Hell. Mine sort of comes and goes . . . it would help if I had more time for research to put my mind at rest.

What an amazing and inspiring story of personal and family growth!

You seem have a positive and realistic attitude in the face of a lot of rage (from loved ones) and pain (in yourself.)

(Those e-mails were, I've gotta say, hard to read. Wow...)

Really, the only rage has been from two relatives: my husband's aunt (she kinda made us laugh, saying she didn't want to, "read any of the drivel" that we included in our family letter, about why we'd quit being Christians. Sounds like somebody's scared of being proven wrong. ;) ), and my mom. She's the one who's really gone off the deep end, as you can tell from her e-mails. Everyone else has remained completely silent.

Welcome to freedom Lbw!

I'm so sorry you and your husband got all of those ugly e-mails from your family. You're braver than me, I still don't have the courage to tell my folks.

Hang in there, you'll get through all this.

Tab

Ah yes, freedom. And believe me, Tab, as difficult as it is, there's no real freedom like being yourself. I had spent several months mumbling awkwardly when people asked me to, "pray for" someone, and holding my breath hoping one of the kids wouldn't spill our secret while they were talking to the grandparents. That's no way to live. Even with all the hurt I've experienced over the last few days, I wouldn't trade it for the pretentious existence I was living before. And you're mom's probably not as psycho as mine. :)

Welcome, LBW. It was painful to read some of those excerpts from your mom's e-mails, do remember that you have the option not to read them if they stress you out and cause you too much pain. I wish you, your family and your younger sister all the best.

Yeah, I've considered just not reading them. The thing is, since she's been somewhat threatening these past few days, and I know her to be an unstable person, I kinda feel the need to keep reading them in case she announces her intention to do anything stupid, like showing up at my home (I'm so glad we live a few hours away, makes the likelihood of that a little less).

Wow. That is brave.

 

Does your sister know about emancipation? She might be eligible for state support until she is 18 if she formally divorces your parents.

 

It sounds like you are finding ways to support one another despite the distance. Your other siblings will see that they have support if they begin to doubt as well. They won't feel so alone.

 

Phanta

Oh yes, she knows about emancipation. I actually tried to become emancipated when I was around her age - living with my mom was a nightmare - and she heard all about that. But she's just 1 month away from being 18, and she graudates from high school this summer, so she's just trying to hang in there.

Wow, I am overwhelmed when I read stories like yours. You are obviously a very bright and thoughtful young woman. Though your family is unable to see it, you came to this place in a very thorough and thoughtful way. You are very fortunate to have come to this place at the same time as your husband, that will help you both so much.

 

It continues to amaze me that people who claim to love us can turn into such abusive monsters when we reject their religion. Didn't they love us for any other reason than our belief in Jesus? Shouldn't your mother be trying to love you back into the fold, rather than haranguing you with threats of hell? And the same with your friends. It's very sad.

 

I agree with everyone who said that hopefully you can be a beacon of hope for your younger siblings when they begin to doubt what they have been taught.

 

Welcome to Ex-C. I think you have a lot to offer here. I'm very pleased to have made your acquaintance.

 

Heather

Thanks Heather. I actually feel sorry for my family - their inability to even slightly understand or cope with this situation shows me just how pitifully small-minded they are.

Reading those emails from your mother made me almost start crying. How hard that must be! I hope that you and your husband will be able to find new friends, or that your old ones will remember what it really means to be a friend. I think it is very brave of you and your husband to write to your families explaining your experience (I refuse to call decoversion a "decision" because that implies choice). I might copy that idea in a few years (when I no longer depend on my parents to fund my education). I am awed at your sister's bravery in telling your parents while still living in their house. I hope everything goes okay for her. Surely it is child abuse to kick out a teenager.

I've tried to cut off my emotional connection to my mother for many years, but I guess it never completely goes away. Thanks for understanding how difficult those e-mails were for me to read. And you are SO correct - I need to stop calling it my, "decision," because it really isn't that. The only decision was choosing to admit what I already believed.

 

Yesterday was a rough day. After my mother told us not to contact them anymore, I wrote my dad a brief e-mail last week telling him that, before I stopped communicating with them, I just had to let him know one last time how much I loved him, and that I was sorry to have caused him hurt, but I had no choice but to tell him the truth. I've never been close to my mother (at least not since young childhood), but I've always adored my Daddy. He responded yesterday with a one-sentence kick in the teeth:

 

"PLEASE DO NOT PROLONG OUR GRIEF."

 

I guess even he has truly abandoned me. I am trying to wrap my mind around how anyone could treat their own child in such a way, much less give up contact with their grandchildren, but I just can't grasp it. I could get their being very sad, I could understand their saying they needed time, but this?

 

Anyhoo, I can't describe how grateful I've been for the support in this forum. When I'm really despairing, I get on here and read your responses again and again. I am constantly trying to remind myself that I did nothing wrong - it just doesn't compute that such a violent reaction could result unless I'd wronged them in some way (even though I know better). As one guy I know described it, the conversion to atheism takes place intellectually long before it sinks in emotionally. That's certainly proving true for me.

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LBW,

 

I found your post to be tragic and heart-breaking. I also found it to be more frightening than any Edgar Allen Poe or Stephen King story I've ever read. However, the way you and your family worked together to decide how to tell the family and "face the world" in the aftermath is heart-warming and inspiring.

 

The post was frightening because I have not told my spouse and our child (just about an adult) about my de-conversion and my new way of thinking about the world (materialistic, non-theist, agnostic - - whatever you want to call it). They are both Christians, my in-laws are devout Christians and what few associates I would like to consider friends are Christians too. I have very few people in the way of support in this. I would hate for my family to be shunned because of me. I hate the idea of causing my family any distress. I hate the notion of feeling more alone than I really do.

 

I hope for nothing but good things for you and your family. I will keep on the look out for your continuing saga.

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Their grief?!

 

What about your grief? That is such an absolutely horrible thing for your father to say.

 

*hugs*

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The post was frightening because I have not told my spouse and our child (just about an adult) about my de-conversion and my new way of thinking about the world (materialistic, non-theist, agnostic - - whatever you want to call it). They are both Christians, my in-laws are devout Christians and what few associates I would like to consider friends are Christians too. I have very few people in the way of support in this. I would hate for my family to be shunned because of me. I hate the idea of causing my family any distress. I hate the notion of feeling more alone than I really do.

 

Oh, oddbird . . . my heart goes out to you. My husband and I have expressed our reciprocal gratitude to so many times for the fact that we have been there for each other in this experience. We've both read awful stories of spouses being abandoned for deconverting. My extended family is certainly an exceptional case - as many here have noted, their reaction is outside the norm. My mother-in-law has remained totally silent on the topic, even though we have talked to her since our announcement, and she's an über-fundy whom I expected to call my husband bawling (I guess there's always the off-chance that she just hasn't read our letter yet, but it's highly unlikely). So please don't think my story is an indication of how anyone else would react. I'm pretty sure my mother is bi-polar or something similar.

 

I do understand that desire to shield your family from distress, which is why we waited several months. There's no telling how long I'd have ended up waiting if it had been my own spouse whose rejection I feared.

 

It's funny, the extent to which I still have my Christian habits hanging around, because ironically my first thought was to tell you that I'd pray for you! :ugh: But since THAT would be pointless, please know that my thoughts are with you. I'm sure that whatever time at which you do choose to reveal your new conclusions about life to your family will include some pain and sadness, but on the other side there will be freedom and happiness. I have to continually remind myself that if they don't love me minus my Christianity, they never really loved, "me" at all.

 

(You've probably heard of Dan Barker, preacher turned atheist? He raised his children to be Christian and, from what I understand, didn't deconvert until they were grown. They've turned out to mostly be freethinkers themselves, presumably as a partial result of his deconversion. Just a thought).

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It's funny, the extent to which I still have my Christian habits hanging around, because ironically my first thought was to tell you that I'd pray for you! :ugh: But since THAT would be pointless, please know that my thoughts are with you. I'm sure that whatever time at which you do choose to reveal your new conclusions about life to your family will include some pain and sadness, but on the other side there will be freedom and happiness. I have to continually remind myself that if they don't love me minus my Christianity, they never really loved, "me" at all.

. . .

(You've probably heard of Dan Barker, preacher turned atheist? He raised his children to be Christian and, from what I understand, didn't deconvert until they were grown. They've turned out to mostly be freethinkers themselves, presumably as a partial result of his deconversion. Just a thought).

 

That prayer remark was funny! I know what you mean though. Old attitdudes are hard to break away from. I still get miffed when people "mis-quote" scripture - - - in other words interpret them differently from the way I used to. I'm just going to wait and think about what the best time to discuss things with them.

 

I have read a little Dan Barker. I'm curious to look into the Ken Daniels deconversion. It sounds interesting.

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And I forgot to add - thanks very much NaturalSelection, for mentioning the Ken Daniels story to me!

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Here's Ken Daniels's story. I just finished it. Fantastic read - I recommend it.

 

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/tes...html#Section2.5

 

LBW,

 

I finally read the entire page. Ken daniel's coverage of his deconversion is thorough and well documented. A lot of what he went through parallels some of the intellectual crises I experienced as well.

 

Thank you again for sharing your story, as well as the link. Formerly, I would have said you are a blessing, ( :Doh: ) but I don't think that applies in agnosticism/atheism. Does it?

 

Anyway, suffice it to say I'm glad there are human beings like you out there and your personal story and the Ken Daniels reference made me feel uplifted today.

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LBW,

As a former pastor who recently left the ministry, my wife and I completely understand the frustration of being labeled as "untouchable" by the Christian community we were once a part of. We know the pain of having yet one more pleading request for answers turn up a "have faith" rebuke. We also know the shock of losing family over something like this. I am truly know what you are going through and I truly sympathize. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you feel as welcomed and cared for by the community here as we have.

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I finally read the entire page. Ken daniel's coverage of his deconversion is thorough and well documented. A lot of what he went through parallels some of the intellectual crises I experienced as well.

 

Thank you again for sharing your story, as well as the link. Formerly, I would have said you are a blessing, ( :Doh: ) but I don't think that applies in agnosticism/atheism. Does it?

 

Anyway, suffice it to say I'm glad there are human beings like you out there and your personal story and the Ken Daniels reference made me feel uplifted today.

Glad you got to read it oddbird! I thought of you while reading it, since he and his spouse have managed to enjoy a peaceful relationship while maintaining their very different worldviews.

 

I still start to use the, "blessing" terminology alot of times, too. It's been quite an eye-opener for me as to just how ingrained those thoughts and habits had become. The deconversion process is such a unique one . . . it's funny how, previously, I felt the need to keep my children clear of any non-Christian influences, and now I feel the need to protect them from Christian ones (particularly references to hell or, 'sin")!

LBW,

As a former pastor who recently left the ministry, my wife andl I completely understand the frustration of being labeled as "untouchable" by the Christian community we were once a part of. We know the pain of having yet one more pleading request for answers turn up a "have faith" rebuke. We also know the shock of losing family over something like this. I am truly know what you are going through and I truly sympathize. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you fee as welcomed and cared for by the community here as we have.

Thanks Jones. I can't imagine what brave and intelligent people you and your wife must be to have left the faith while being part of the ministry. I think alot more pastors would leave if they had the gumption, but after having devoted such time and effort to attaining that position, I'm sure it's extremely difficult to just give up one's livelihood, especially in the face of intense criticism. Is your story posted on these forums anywhere? I haven't gotten to search extensively, so I haven't noticed it, but I'd like to read it.

 

Speaking of losing Christian friends, I've been holding out hope that one of my friends who received my letter maybe just hadn't had time to respond, and would perhaps be accepting of the changes in my beliefs. But this morning I realized that's apparently not the case. She works for a crisis pregnancy center, and through her introduction I also have worked as a volunteer for the same CPC for a couple of years, just answering after-hours calls once a week on Tuesdays. When I woke up this morning I realized that yesterday was Tuesday, and I never got the call transferring the phone lines to me, so she's apparently passed along my news and I've been deemed unfit to counsel mothers in crises any longer (I remain staunchly pro-life, so I hadn't thought that my deconversion would necessarily be an issue). Oh well.

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I think alot more pastors would leave if they had the gumption, but after having devoted such time and effort to attaining that position, I'm sure it's extremely difficult to just give up one's livelihood, especially in the face of intense criticism

 

 

I've been blogging on WordPress.com about my ideas about God, religion, faith and science, as well as books I've been reading. I'm about to start doing a series of posts as to what "binds" people to thier faith in the face of continued absurdity and evidence to the contrary. I'd like to give you the link to it. It would be an honor, if you ( or anyone from this forum) would visit it and provide feedback.

However,

1) I don't know if the rules of this forum permit me to reference my blog, so, I'll wait for feedback about that. 2) I know it's not the most profound stuff in the world. Though I'm not very talented, I just feel the need for self expression and getting my thoughts out there as they develop. Evenentually I'll probably start raising issues here about different things. I just wanted to get a feel for things first since I have not frequented forums very much in the past.

 

Speaking of losing Christian friends, I've been holding out hope that one of my friends who received my letter maybe just hadn't had time to respond, and would perhaps be accepting of the changes in my beliefs. But this morning I realized that's apparently not the case. She works for a crisis pregnancy center, and through her introduction I also have worked as a volunteer for the same CPC for a couple of years, just answering after-hours calls once a week on Tuesdays. When I woke up this morning I realized that yesterday was Tuesday, and I never got the call transferring the phone lines to me, so she's apparently passed along my news and I've been deemed unfit to counsel mothers in crises any longer (I remain staunchly pro-life, so I hadn't thought that my deconversion would necessarily be an issue). Oh well.

 

 

I'm sad with you about the loss of your friend. Why don't the people who supposedly believe in "judge not that ye be not judged," respond by listening to you rather than judging you and turning away? I know why. They're acting like people and not some ramped up "holy" version of super adjusted people. Still, it hurts to lose people you love.

 

I'm hopeful there are other organizations in your area that do great work. I'm sure you can get involved with them. It's ironic that knowing now there is no "Holy Spirit" to propel me into some meaningful mission, I am actually more urgent about finding ways to help benefit humanity in some small way. I guess that's because I'm more conscious now that the future, to some extent, is in humanity's hands and not some [G|g]od.

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LBW, first off, welcome. I know how hard it is to find people in this part of the world who share our worldview. Thank goodness for the internet and more specifically, this website.

 

I applaud you on your courage to come "out". The emails from your parents are truly sad. My parents still don't know. I don't think I'll receive the venom that you did, but I do expect a lot of grief and guilt focussed toward me.

 

About your friends, one thing you will learn is that unbelievers are better friends. They are more genuine. They are good for the sake of good. Christian "friends"believe that they are entitled to drop friendships with unbelievers. So I ask, what was the basis of the friendship in the first place? Was it a true connection with another person or a convenience of being "part of the crowd?"

 

Glad to have ya hear. Hang around.

 

BTW...great sig. Disturbed kicks ass

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I've been blogging on WordPress.com about my ideas about God, religion, faith and science, as well as books I've been reading. I'm about to start doing a series of posts as to what "binds" people to thier faith in the face of continued absurdity and evidence to the contrary. I'd like to give you the link to it. It would be an honor, if you ( or anyone from this forum) would visit it and provide feedback.

However,

1) I don't know if the rules of this forum permit me to reference my blog, so, I'll wait for feedback about that. 2) I know it's not the most profound stuff in the world. Though I'm not very talented, I just feel the need for self expression and getting my thoughts out there as they develop. Evenentually I'll probably start raising issues here about different things. I just wanted to get a feel for things first since I have not frequented forums very much in the past.

Oddbird, I don't know the rules about that either, but you can send me a private message via this forum with your URL - I'd love to see & comment on your writings.

 

I'm sad with you about the loss of your friend. Why don't the people who supposedly believe in "judge not that ye be not judged," respond by listening to you rather than judging you and turning away? I know why. They're acting like people and not some ramped up "holy" version of super adjusted people. Still, it hurts to lose people you love.

 

I'm hopeful there are other organizations in your area that do great work. I'm sure you can get involved with them. It's ironic that knowing now there is no "Holy Spirit" to propel me into some meaningful mission, I am actually more urgent about finding ways to help benefit humanity in some small way. I guess that's because I'm more conscious now that the future, to some extent, is in humanity's hands and not some [G|g]od.

Well, as I mentioned previously, if they don't love me now, they apparently never really did - I certainly, as a Christian, would not have abandoned any of my friends simply for a change in their beliefs. So I don't consider it a huge loss to have revealed a fake, "friend" for what they really are.

 

I'm with you - amazing how much more compelling the drive to do good is when it comes from inside you, and not from the commands of some invisible being. Plus, since I had always been told that, since we're in the, "end times," the world is only going to get worse, it always seemed a little irrelevant for me to try and change anything.

 

LBW, first off, welcome. I know how hard it is to find people in this part of the world who share our worldview. Thank goodness for the internet and more specifically, this website.

 

I applaud you on your courage to come "out". The emails from your parents are truly sad. My parents still don't know. I don't think I'll receive the venom that you did, but I do expect a lot of grief and guilt focussed toward me.

 

About your friends, one thing you will learn is that unbelievers are better friends. They are more genuine. They are good for the sake of good. Christian "friends"believe that they are entitled to drop friendships with unbelievers. So I ask, what was the basis of the friendship in the first place? Was it a true connection with another person or a convenience of being "part of the crowd?"

 

Glad to have ya hear. Hang around.

 

BTW...great sig. Disturbed kicks ass

 

Thanks for the welcome, Kyle. Despite whatever unwarranted guilt I may have felt over my parents' sadness, I am ten times happier having told them the truth. I hate pretense, especially with someone who's supposed to be, "close" to me.

 

I've always loved Disturbed . . . it's nice that now I don't have to feel guilty for it. :)

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I've always loved Disturbed . . . it's nice that now I don't have to feel guilty for it. :)

 

:lmao: Ain't that the truth

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You're welcome for the link. I was really stunned when I deconverted and discovered how many ex ministers, priests and missionaries have also deconverted. I deonverted from within, if I'd read some of these people's ex-timonies it wouldn't have take me 5 yrs...but then, I'd have probably been too scared to read them before my deconversion. I do think a lot of Christians are afraid of their doubts and hunker down harder to hang onto their "faith" even if they secretly think Christianity isn't all that.

 

The reaction I've gotten from my immediate family has been more positive than most. My son (who was 12 when I told him) was elated and couldn't stop smiling for a week. He'd told me that he was "suspicious" when he was attending an evangelical Christian school at the age of 5 and they got the flood story. After that the teacher wanted the kids to pray and praise God and he refused....and got put in the corner for refusing. He told me that he said he wasn't going to worship a mass murderer who drowned a bunch of babies. He told me that I scared him to death with constant talk of hell and demons etc so he bought into it too for a while....but not too long. He said by 6th grade he was already pretty sure it was all made up but that when he was sitting in class (in public school) they were studying ancient civilizations and their gods and the light bulb "clicked on" and he thought....oh, that's where they got a bunch of those bible stories. He said it was so obvious he was sure everybody in the class "got it" too....but when he looked around he realized that he was the only one that made the conncection.

 

I remember telling him that "hell" thang still had me just a tab bit scared and he hugged me (which is unusual because he's not very expressive) and he said, "Mom, if I disapointed you would you dowse me with gasoline and light a match and tell me to burn?" Of course I said no, and he said, a good God wouldn't either and if there is a bad God that would do that then nobody should worship him anyway cause he's like a serial killer that can't be trusted....all the groveling in the world wouldn't matter". He also said, it's just not true mom and you know it so it's not even worth another minute of your time to think about it.

 

About a week after my deconversion my husband who is Prebysterian (he always hated fundamentalism) said, "It's awfully good to have you back; your eyes have cleared and you act normal again". My mother, who is a regular church goer, still is, wasn't phased cause she's a church going agnostic (in the closet) but my poor daddy was drunk when I told him and he lowered his voice to a whisper and said, "Don't say that honey, listen to me, He (God) murdered his own kid, he tortured his own child, that crazy SOB will squash you like a bug". When he's not drinking though, he's quite the skeptic himself. I think overall my parents are just relieved that I didn't become a Catholic (the area I come from is very anti-catholic) because as I started the deconversion process I was moving closer to becoming a Catholic (thinking I just hadn't found the "true" church and that was why I was doubting) because they were at least around in ancient times..... Anyway, like many people once I started finding out more about the historic roots of Christianity, coupled with the Bible itself, the whole darned thing just crumbled like a cookie.

 

I've been sporatically compiling a list of ancient quotations about "hell" or a scary afterlife from other ancient sources and it appears that the Greeks borrowed the idea from the ancient Egyptians to control the population and make it easier for the ruling classes to get everyone to do their bidding. Maybe I'll post them here at the forum sometime.

 

Here's another shorter decoversion story that I thought was interesting. It's from a former Chuch of Christ pastor named Ferrell Till:

 

http://vanallens.com/exchristian/fartil.htm

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?
You're welcome for the link. I was really stunned when I deconverted and discovered how many ex ministers, priests and missionaries have also deconverted. I deonverted from within, if I'd read some of these people's ex-timonies it wouldn't have take me 5 yrs...but then, I'd have probably been too scared to read them before my deconversion. I do think a lot of Christians are afraid of their doubts and hunker down harder to hang onto their "faith" even if they secretly think Christianity isn't all that.

 

The reaction I've gotten from my immediate family has been more positive than most. My son (who was 12 when I told him) was elated and couldn't stop smiling for a week. He'd told me that he was "suspicious" when he was attending an evangelical Christian school at the age of 5 and they got the flood story. After that the teacher wanted the kids to pray and praise God and he refused....and got put in the corner for refusing. He told me that he said he wasn't going to worship a mass murderer who drowned a bunch of babies. He told me that I scared him to death with constant talk of hell and demons etc so he bought into it too for a while....but not too long. He said by 6th grade he was already pretty sure it was all made up but that when he was sitting in class (in public school) they were studying ancient civilizations and their gods and the light bulb "clicked on" and he thought....oh, that's where they got a bunch of those bible stories. He said it was so obvious he was sure everybody in the class "got it" too....but when he looked around he realized that he was the only one that made the conncection.

 

I remember telling him that "hell" thang still had me just a tab bit scared and he hugged me (which is unusual because he's not very expressive) and he said, "Mom, if I disapointed you would you dowse me with gasoline and light a match and tell me to burn?" Of course I said no, and he said, a good God wouldn't either and if there is a bad God that would do that then nobody should worship him anyway cause he's like a serial killer that can't be trusted....all the groveling in the world wouldn't matter". He also said, it's just not true mom and you know it so it's not even worth another minute of your time to think about it.

 

About a week after my deconversion my husband who is Prebysterian (he always hated fundamentalism) said, "It's awfully good to have you back; your eyes have cleared and you act normal again". My mother, who is a regular church goer, still is, wasn't phased cause she's a church going agnostic (in the closet) but my poor daddy was drunk when I told him and he lowered his voice to a whisper and said, "Don't say that honey, listen to me, He (God) murdered his own kid, he tortured his own child, that crazy SOB will squash you like a bug". When he's not drinking though, he's quite the skeptic himself. I think overall my parents are just relieved that I didn't become a Catholic (the area I come from is very anti-catholic) because as I started the deconversion process I was moving closer to becoming a Catholic (thinking I just hadn't found the "true" church and that was why I was doubting) because they were at least around in ancient times..... Anyway, like many people once I started finding out more about the historic roots of Christianity, coupled with the Bible itself, the whole darned thing just crumbled like a cookie.

 

I've been sporatically compiling a list of ancient quotations about "hell" or a scary afterlife from other ancient sources and it appears that the Greeks borrowed the idea from the ancient Egyptians to control the population and make it easier for the ruling classes to get everyone to do their bidding. Maybe I'll post them here at the forum sometime.

 

Here's another shorter decoversion story that I thought was interesting. It's from a former Chuch of Christ pastor named Ferrell Till:

 

http://vanallens.com/exchristian/fartil.htm

 

 

Amazing.

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