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What Kept You In?


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Oops, I forgot the Catholics. But you ex-Catholics should be able to pick from the options.

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Basically, we've talked a lot about why we left.

 

But the question here is this: what was it that kept you in it as long as you were in it? Particularly those things that kept you still "in" even though your faith, fervency, etc., was starting to wane. As in "Were it not for X, I would've deconverted Y amount of time earlier than I did."

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Every single selection listed for "what delayed/prevented your conversion" applied to me. I'm still at the stage where I question myself daily about whether it really is wrong or not.

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My (now ex) girlfriend kept me in. She was a pretty devout Christian, and when I started having serious questions and doubts about my faith, I kept them to myself and buried them for her sake. And partly for my sake too, but I believe that if I had not been dating her at the time I would have left a couple of years earlier than I did.

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Guest ephymeris

What kept me a christian for so long was how it made me feel. I felt connected to the univers. I loved feeling it was my mission to be kind and help people. I felt like I could become a better person and that hope made me happy. I liked the safe feeling like someone else had already figured out what was "right" and "wrong" in the world for me. I loved being connected to other people through my faith, I felt like I had another family that I cared about and who would care about me too.

 

When I really realized I could never go back to any church as a believer ever again (more out of disillusionment and disgust at the lie that is the church and not a true atheism at the time), I was angry but sad too. I grieved the loss of these things. I wished I could go back but since I knew the truth it would never be the same. Once I started thinking on my own, my atheism evolved and things got better. It took me time to realize I don't need someone to tell me what's right and wrong, I can decide that for myself and it's not arrogance. I realized I didn't need a religious lie to make me kind or better, I am responsible for my own behavior in this world. I had to reach outside the pseudo-safe social network of church to people who had no reason to like me (hard for me who has had a bit of a social phobia my whole life) and I found I could make friends regardless of religion.

 

I figured out there is life without god.

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I didn't stay in. I left the church a few years ago due to a conflict with the lead pastor, and with church in general. In some ways they wanted too much control, in other ways I thought they weren't really spiritual enough.

 

I didn't question the core beliefs until I was lied to by a trusted pastor (not the same one) and that started some deep introspection and research over a few months that culminated in my deconversion. Once I knew it wasn't true, I stopped.

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This may sound terrible, but I feared my relatives and other Xians. Still do. While I know the dictionary term of "freewill", I don't know what "freewill" is theologically. By some Xians' definition, I was never a Xian, because my baptism really wasn't a choice, but done out of fear of others- namely my relatives since it was all kept within the family- my mother asked my minister great uncle to baptize me when I was 14 and I was afraid to say no. My whole life in Xianity has been fear of others and what they would do and even KNOWING what they would do because I saw what they did to others. My step-cousin committed suicide in part, I truly believe, because they and their church friends were pushing him hard to "give turn his life over to Jesus", with the promise that Jesus would heal his back problems even after 3 surgeries. What happened was that he shot himself in the head. While brain dead, until the dr convinced his brother to pull life-support, their minister continued to get him "saved". :rolleyes: Thus, I can't bring myself to tell them that I am a humanist and all. I refuse to go down like that, but I know they will turn my life into pure hell, even if they ring my phone off the hook because I don't answer. I will not be harassed like that. Add to that, some might even come to my home because some of their friends can travel. So, I would probably not get a moments peace. Even my 20 y.o. son requested I not tell his grandmother he is a Buddhist. He too has seen and knows too much about them, as well as realizes now why I sheltered them from Evangelicalism for as long as I could and as much as I could.

 

BTW, there has been more suicides than my step-cousins too, which makes it even more horrid.

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Yup, I was one of those holy roller Pentecostal/Charismatic types! Speaking in tongues, laying on of hands, being "slain in the spirit"--the whole nine yards!

 

Fear of hell and fear that Christianity might just be true and I just didn't understand it (the wisdom of man is foolishness to God) were big factors that held me back from deconverting. Also important were thinking the Bible was inerrant, my liking of the fellowhip/community, and my fear that life would all become meaningless if not for my faith. Interestingly, I think genuine love of the Lord (or as I would call it now genuine love of the truth) only accelerated my deconversion.

 

I do still miss the feeling of unconditional love and that God was going to hold me in his arms and protect me from all harm. But eventually every child needs to grow up and learn to cope on his own. Having realized that what I once called "God" was really myself, I've replaced that with unconditional love for myself. If you can't love yourself then who can you love? My fear of hell has been replaced by anger that human beings could possibly invent something so cruel and use it to psychologically terrorize little children, together with the realization that if any god did that, he would have to be utterly evil and not the kind of god I could ever possibly enjoy heaven with either. The sad thing is that if you give a very young child a strong enough impression of hell, when they are young enough that their brain is still forming, it permanently affects them for the rest of their life. I'd say I've been one of the lucky ones. Serious hellfire didn't enter into my mind until I was an early teenager. I know enough about Christianity now that I am not the least bit worried that it might be true, but I do sometimes fear ever setting foot inside a church again because I might get emotionally attached and be tempted to lapse back into it. Some of the worship music was really quite beautiful and you can easily lose yourself in it. I miss the fellowship and the community, and for that reason I've joined a reason-based secular community here in Atlanta called "The Fellowship of Reason". I'm glad such organizations exist so secular people don't have to go without fellowship and community. I am not afraid of the unknown any more--I now embrace it and doing so gives me that same feeling of awe I used to have as a religious person (probably even more so). Dealing with my family and Christian friends from back then is still very much a struggle.

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I started to question religion, and even concluded that no xtian sect or religion could be the 'right' one logically(they all worship the same God unknowingly I suspected), but then a friend of mine died in a car crash and I didn't want to accept he wouldn't be in an afterlife, so I held on to the comfortable idea of a loving nonjudging supernatural Deity and the afterlife of some sort for a few more years.

 

By finally rejecting an afterlife I felt like I had 'put away my childish things' and accepted that those that pass away do not 'go out to the country where they will be happy' like we tell kids when their dog dies to ease their loss.

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Here we go again!

 

 

I came from a fundy family, and the only thing that kept me struggling to leave was the fear of hell. I pretty much hated the idea of the Christian god by the time I was 16/17 and was practically an Atheist. I was frustrated with how god never answered any sort of prayer; I thought he was an asshole for all of the shit in the OT and how he wanted to torture people for eternity for not believing in him. I was pretty much an Atheist, but I was still so brainwashed that I was scared by the "what if I'm wrong" aspect, thinking I could go to hell. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have struggled on and off with the religion for 5 or so years.

 

 

I don't miss anything on that list. I guess the only thing I miss is the idea that everything will turn out alright, but that's not how life works.

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Laziness and family were the only factors for me really. Once I got off of my ass and started researching Xtian history, I fell away from it like I had jumped off of a cliff. Learning that the Jesus story was complete bullshit was the first and main breaking point for me, and the rest came quickly.

 

Unfortunately for me, my family continues to be an issue in that they still don't know that I'm an atheist, and think that I don't attend because of my work schedule.

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Unfortunately for me, my family continues to be an issue in that they still don't know that I'm an atheist, and think that I don't attend because of my work schedule.

 

How far way from them do you live? Distance helps. A lot.

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Unfortunately for me, my family continues to be an issue in that they still don't know that I'm an atheist, and think that I don't attend because of my work schedule.

 

How far way from them do you live? Distance helps. A lot.

 

 

Only about 45min-hour away, but they're all cooped up in their own lives for the time being. My wife and I are planning on moving to North Carolina or something way far away once she finishes her doctorate, but by then I'm sure the cat will be out of the bag.

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