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Seem To Have Gotten Myself Into A Little Predicament...


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I have known this girl for much of my life. Not really well, but we would hang out sometimes. We hung out a bit more when we went to the same university and lived in the same residence for a few years. We both went to our residence prayer group, had late night chats about God...

 

Anyway, even when I was still a Christian, I noticed that she seemed to be a bit upset about something. She seemed sort of down. It seemed like she struggled with her faith even though she never really said anything about it and was a leader in a bunch of Christian groups on campus and such.

 

I had a chat with her for the first time since my de-conversion about a month ago. She still seemed to have that anxiety, depression, and uncertainty about her.

 

Anyway, last week, I was thinking about her and thought that perhaps she really was having faith issues. I thought maybe she was doubting God, faith, God's will, or what have you. I figured that maybe she needed someone to talk with about everything....someone who she doesn't see on a regular basis who she would feel free to open up to.

 

So I sent her a PM on facebook letting her know that I had observed that she seemed upset and anxious over the past few years and that I suspected that it had to do with her faith in God and stuff.

 

Today she returned my message. She said that I was actually very right. Apparently she has been in deep depression for the past couple of years, struggling with God's will. She has been going to a Christian psychologist for a while, and recently met some dude who "lifted her up and helped her out of her depression". But this guy had to leave her life for some reason, and how she is all upset with how it could have been God's will for him to just enter her life and then leave again. She thinks that maybe we should indeed get together and talk sometime.

 

I was expecting her to say something like she was doubting God. I thought that if that was the case, I would be able to come out to her, and let her know that if she ever wanted to talk things through with me, I would listen. Most of her friends are xtian, so I don't think she would have many other people to talk to.

 

But now...she seems like she is in full Christian grip. She doesn't know of my de-conversion, but if i got together with her, I really believe that the only way to get her on the road to recovery for good would be to let her know that it is okay to question and doubt. But I question how she would take that? What if she thinks I am of the devil? On the other hand, I can't in good faith encourage her to continue down this destructive path that she is stuck on...

 

So, if she wants to get together, do you think I should just decline? If I talk with her, should I come out? Should I let her know it is okay to doubt? How can I help her without reinforcing the hell of xtianity in which she is suffering...without her thinking I am being influenced by the Devil.

 

She is of the Salvation Army if that influences your answer. She is also a physics major.

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She has been going to a Christian psychologist for a while,

 

Strike one-------

 

and recently met some dude who "lifted her up and helped her out of her depression". But this guy had to leave her life for some reason, and how she is all upset with how it could have been God's will for him to just enter her life and then leave again.

 

Strike two----------such a mensch

 

But now...she seems like she is in full Christian grip. She doesn't know of my de-conversion, but if i got together with her, I really believe that the only way to get her on the road to recovery for good would be to let her know that it is okay to question and doubt. But I question how she would take that? What if she thinks I am of the devil? On the other hand, I can't in good faith encourage her to continue down this destructive path that she is stuck on...

 

Her take on your deconversion is really not the issue. The issue is whether or not she is having serious doubts, and whether or not she is willing to do the research and self introspection to try and address her issues. If she asks you religiously loaded questions you will need to be blunt. Don't sugar coat it for her, because other people doing that is what caused part of the problem in the first place. Trying to help her with those issues while covering up your actual position is futile, and maybe even counter-productive.

 

So, if she wants to get together, do you think I should just decline? If I talk with her, should I come out? Should I let her know it is okay to doubt? How can I help her without reinforcing the hell of xtianity in which she is suffering...without her thinking I am being influenced by the Devil.

 

If she cannot accept the fact that you are no longer a believer, there is nothing you will say to her that will change her mind. She has to do the homework on her own or it will come to naught. You can answer questions honestly as you see fit---you can point her to resources---but she and she alone must do the work and take the steps. I'm not saying you should walk in with a bullhorn and announce that you are no longer a believer. But neither should you lie to her about your thoughts in the matter. You are not responsible for this person's choices in the matter of religious beliefs or the lack thereof. Only she is. So you need to understand that no matter what you do, there is the very real risk that she will reject you because you are no longer part of the collective.

 

The only other option I can see right now is to decline any further involvement. And I get the impression you don't want to do that.

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It is a typical Xian ailment to be happy when you feel that you are in God's will and if your are unhappy then you must be doing something wrong.

 

I pity your friend. I feel for her. You probably do too.

 

If it were me, I would tell her of my experience and that I am happy now. I don't have to worry about being in God's will because life isn't about God.

 

If she rejects that (and it's likely she will), then oh well. But, that's just me.

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It really is probably futile to try to have an open and honest conversation with this person unless they know already that you are no longer a believer and want to understand how you came to this, without being judgemental and trying to re-convert you. I have given up talking to all my old fundy friends and relatives about religion because if they aren't already open to the idea...regardless of how much harm it's doing in their life...there's just no point. I have let them know I'm not a Christian anymore and they can take that however they want...I think they know I'm here to discuss if they ever need to. Good luck!

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I think that unless you feel you have a good reason to stay in the closet with your deconversion, you should get together and talk with her.

 

The worst thing that could happen is that you explain that you're no longer a Christian and happy with your decision, and she doesn't want to be your friend anymore. She's not your best friend or someone you were talking to every day, so while this may be a bit sad for you, it won't be a life changing catastrophe. She doesn't sound like someone who would harass you about it; you'd just go your separate ways.

 

OTOH, it's possible that you can help her, widen her beliefs, or just be a friend to her- even if she stays a Christian.

 

I think it's unkind to call her choices as a Christian strikes against her, considering that almost all of us were in the same place in Christianity at one time. I'm glad that when I was a Christian, there were non-believers and people of other religions who were willing to befriend me. A lot of us have people in our lives who gave us things to think about that helped us rethink our beliefs. Why not be that person in someone else's life?

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I would absolutely come out to her. It's so easy for a doubter to fall back into the bullshit when they're only surrounded by people who are afraid to openly question their religion. Women use religion for social reasons more than men do, so having a friend who openly allows and encourages questioning her religion will be helpful. Just don't push it. Tell her your story and give her some of your best reasons why you don't believe, but after that, don't initiate things. If she wants your opinions on her doubts, feel free to validate them, but don't get aggressive. Tell her that she needs to see a therapist that isn't trying to push religion on her. They're mixing religion with science, which is always a disaster.

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