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My Story (In A Nutshell)


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Salutations.

 

This is me introducing myself and sharing a bit of my life.

 

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I stumbled on this site today. I was reading through a few topics (in the Testimonies section especially) and it felt like the electricity of witnessing in church again - only this time it made sense and I didn't have to give away 10% of my monthly earnings to participate.

 

I was brought up in a fundamentalist pentecostal (Apostolic Faith Mission) christian household. The reason I think of myself as having been agnostic before christian is that, even though Christianity was imposed on me since birth, I never really cared, up to the age of about 12, whether a god existed or not. After that age my family started really turning up the heat. My brother and sister got baptized in water ("willingly") and my 13th birthday was getting closer, so whenever our pastor extended the invitation for baptism my parents started giving me the eye - you know, the one that says "Why aren't you complying? Are you not saved?". Enough pressure from everyone in my life eventually led me to getting baptized.

 

Funny thing is, after that event I actually started caring about the destination of my soul and decided to pursue Christ in earnest. I figured that getting baptized and still not caring about Jesus would be an act of lying to the holy spirit, so my christian life thereafter quickly became sincere. I was eventually preaching the gospel to my peers at school and I started studying the Bible instead of just reading it, but, as most of you know, an in-depth investigation of the scriptures lead to more doubt than salvation.

 

These doubts and any questions surrounding them where of course met with scolding from my fellow Christians and dismissed as me "being blinded by Satan". I cannot put in words the amount of times I asked God to free me from being blinded so that I too could fully understand His Word and serve Him better. I had a tremendous hole in my soul, but no matter what I tried Jesus would not free me from doubt. I started worrying that because of my initial rejection of the holy spirit and God's obvious disinterest in me I would be left behind at the time of the rapture and that accepting "the mark of the beast" in order to make a living thereafter would result in my head being chopped off. I was fucking terrified!

 

It seemed like ages of bombardment with lectures and material on how "you are either for God or against Him" and how "God will not forgive you if you ever so much as considered the possibility that the holy spirit may not exist". I was now nearing the age of 17 and by that time my siblings had received the holy spirit (baptized in fire) and were speaking in tongues for about 4 years already. I to this day have not spoken in tongues and I assure you that it was not for a lack of trying... It was freaky and weird to say the least - not to mention disturbingly evil. If you want to experience weird cult shit I invite you to visit any pentecostal church when "the spirit is moving" and that's not even mentioning the Toronto Blessing crap where people howl like animals. I went through that shit!

 

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia: "The blessing has become known for ecstatic worship, including what is known as falling or resting in the Spirit, laughter, shaking, and crying.[1] "Holy laughter" was a hallmark manifestation and there were also instances of participants roaring like lions and making other animal noises.[2] Leaders and participants claim that these are physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit's presence and power."

 

How the fuck does that in any way differ from what Christians suppose demonic manifestations of Satan are!?

 

Anyway...

 

When my fellow Christians started pressuring me to be "baptized in fire" I realized that it was a make-or-break situation, so at around the age of 18 I took a step back and decided to cut the umbilical cord. I told my family and peers that I would be taking a break from religion (that was easier said than done) and from there the true healing process started. A new world of opportunity and learning was open to me.

 

It took a few more painful years to finally get over Jesus (or, at least, Christianity, because I have no issues with Jesus or what he stood for - his words, for the most part, are wise and kind). My family still remains fundamentalist, but they have since been easier on me. I still get the odd faith-inspired chain email, but they just pray for me, they don't really engage in open confrontation anymore. Every effort of theirs is met with questions they refuse to answer anyway.

 

I am 26 now and can honestly say that I feel free. I have a girlfriend who was brought up non-religious and we love life together.

 

It is my hope that this testimony serves someone for the greater good.

 

Namaste,

 

Vincent.

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Greetings and congratulations on breaking free from the shackles of religion.

 

I wish I had started questioning as young as you did.

 

Enjoy the journey ahead of you....

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I cannot put in words the amount of times I asked God to free me from being blinded so that I too could fully understand His Word and serve Him better. I had a tremendous hole in my soul, but no matter what I tried Jesus would not free me from doubt.

 

I had the exact same problem!

 

Welcome to the forums. :)

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I really enjoyed reading your testimony. I was not brought up charismatic, but I was able to leave religion at a fairly young age. Its a relief to be intellectually honest with yourself and your family. My spouse was sort of raised liberal christian but never was baptized and is a happy atheist. Raising rational free thinking children is a joy, if you ever procreate. I hope your relationship with your family hasn't suffered too much.

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Hi Vencent

 

Your story sounded much like mine.

We have also attended an Apastolic faith mission church (but only in South Africa)

 

Funny you mentioned the Toronto Blessing. My firs real in depth investigation into christian affairs was because of the toronto blessing. I was on fire at that stage and everyone accepted the "blessing" like candy from a stranger. I started to ask questions, becuase none was making sense - this didnt correspond to the bible; and as soon as I started asking questions I was branded as a doubter. Man it stretched my pre-conceived ideas of christianity. I also agree with you that what they were (are) doing is exactly the same as what the chruch stood against (as they called it : demon posseded).

 

Well I think I should thank the Toronto blessing folks as well - they also helped me to open my eyes to the christian circus.

 

All of the best with the future, and thanks for sharing.

 

Herman

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm almost crying, Vincent. Almost to a word, your story is my story. Glad you found your way out, too.

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Hi all.

 

Thank you for your replies. You are the people who make these testimonies possible and worthwhile.

 

Citsonga: I actually think that I started questioning at an early age due to an interesting shift in the collective consciousness that is taking my generation (and the next) into a new paradigm of thinking. You can only hide the truth for so long...

 

Seeking: Most ex-Christians I know actually lost God through trying to find Him. Its a sad irony, but a useful one.

 

Midnight-mindwanderings: My relationship with my family has always been quite subtle. I am "the black sheep" and though my parents won't admit it, they don't really care about my soul - as long as we love each other and can spend time together they are happy. They get more than enough "control stimulation" from my brother and sister who hang on their lips.

 

HermanNZ: I agree with you that we should actually thank churches like the AFM for "dropping us in the deep-end" so to speak. Once you're surround by people howling, crying, screaming and passing out by spiritual possession its much easier to see that you have to get the fuck out.

 

jlw1980: I'm almost crying just thinking about the huge amount of sheeple out there. Good people living an ingeniously crafted lie. People that could have otherwise contributed to a life with less anxiety.

 

Chat soon.

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Salutations.

 

I started studying the Bible instead of just reading it, but, as most of you know, an in-depth investigation of the scriptures lead to more doubt than salvation.

Namaste,

 

Vincent.

I'd say you hit the nail on the head.

 

Interestingly, although that was the biggest part of my deconversion, I found other explorations to be almost as influential. I wonder if science, ancient history, philosophy, or a study of other religions were helpful to you?

 

Or, was there another key that turned besides biblical study and the wierdness of the religious rituals?

 

I can see the pressure to "break" the umbilical cord, but I don't see how that necessarily led to a change in belief.

 

Do you have any religious beliefs left? Would you say that you are totally godless or is there some metaphysical doubt?

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Hi Shyone.

 

You have asked interesting questions that actually had me smiling as I ran through the plethora of external influences that indeed contributed to my exploration of, and ultimately, rejection of faith. Its funny how, when I wrote my testimony, I never thought of mentioning esoterica. There is so much information I have explored that, in an attempt to answer your questions briefly, I have decided to break up my fields of interest in short outlines:

 

Exploration of other religions? - Yes, I have explored other religions, though not nearly as in-depth as Christianity. My look into Buddhism, as an example, showed me that of the available religions Christianity is one of the less desirable. "Why would you trade enlightenment for egoism?" was a thought that regularly struck me. My initial exploration of other religions was actually triggered when my peers said "Christianity is the only religion that isn't centered around war", which is an outright lie.

 

Ancient history? - Indeed. The more you look into ancient civilizations you realize how Christianity may have plagiarized the attributes of it's doctrines and deities. The Jesus myth hypothesis popularized by writers such as Acharya S. (D.M. Murdock), for example, argues that the character, Jesus, is a plagiarism from Roman, Greek, Egyptian and other mythologies revolving around solar "savior" deities. I do not stand on authority to judge the validity of these facts or theories, but no man can disagree that these concepts deserve exploration. Simply dismissing them as "Satan copying what Jesus has done to confuse believers" is not only unscientific, but apologetic to say the least.

 

Science? - Definitely. Science is, and should be, probably the greatest contributor to my rejection of faith. It is a field too vast and connected so intricately to most (if not all) other fields of study that simply offering up the word "science" as leverage for justifying an absence of faith would be, well, unscientific. Having said that, as far as science in the realm of technology is concerned, some interesting thoughts were provoked as I started learning more about the paradigm we are moving in. Take a look at the advances made in visual neural prosthesis, for example, and it becomes exceedingly more difficult to adhere to beliefs in perfect intelligent design. A general argument is that God made us perfect (in His image) and that it is impossible for humans to exceed God's level of perfect creation. Now, before I say anything else on that topic, I understand that if a God exists in the way that Christians revere such a deity it is extremely difficult to explore such an entity due to His "omnipotence" and "omniscience", but the example that I propose is far more logical and tangible. It is becoming clear that, eventually, we will be able to make eyes that not only mimic those we inherit genetically, but actually improves on them. If you can manufacture eyes that sense on a wider spectrum of frequencies (infrared, night vision, etc.) and are able to zoom optically, have you then not improved on God's original design? I know, there are many questions and arguments that arise from this, but it steers the mind away from mainstream Christianity.

 

The Singularity and Transhumanism - Like most things I have and will mention here, these topics are also far too complex to approach in a single post, but exploration of transcendental concepts are paramount to answering more questions about life. The neural prosthesis example I mentioned earlier is but a drop in the bucket of what Transhumanism is all about. The spiritual questions revolving around topics like a possible Singularity causes immense reflection on concepts like "the self" and "consciousness". I will leave it at that for now.

 

Neuro-linguistic programming, Semiotics and Psychology - These fields are vast and are responsible for most of my questions surrounding religion. A (now) friend of mine and I actually approached an evangelist recently (it was supposed to be the baptizing of my sister's youngest) and, after explaining to him some of the techniques we observed him using (rapport, cold-reading, re-framing, etc.) in his sermon whilst "letting the spirit move", we asked him under whom he studied NLP. He looked around nervously and immediately started briskly walking away. Think its suspicious that a minister has knowledge of fields responsible for studies in mass-hypnosis? Let's talk about that some other time.

 

Astro-Theology and Shamanism - I don't even know what to say or where to begin as far as this field is concerned, but, whether you explore it in-depth or not, even it's basic principles are guaranteed to rattle your perspectives on life. I have looked into such works as those of Terrence McKenna, Andre Rutajit, Alex Grey, Timothy Leary and others. "Humanity is debilitated without this knowledge... ignorance is not bliss."

 

The Occult and Metaphysics - Interesting fields that definitely had major influences on decisions I've made in my life and, as far as metaphysics is concerned, probably always will. Too much to mention off the top of my head.

 

Conspiracy Theory and Extraterrestrial Intelligence - Good old conspiracies. What can I say? Whether you believe in certain or all conspiracies or reject them outright is, in my opinion, of no paramount consequence. The mere fact that you explore such things allow you to think and question on a different level. My meandering into these topics allowed me to ask questions far beyond mainstream concern; questions my peers refused to ask. Ironically, there seems to be this new Christian movement that believes in the existence of aliens, but approaches it as being the fallen angels (and good angels) that the Bible speaks of. Inter-dimensional beings. Interesting enough for me to have looked into the matter. I try not to dismiss information readily.

 

This has been a fair mouthful, I guess, but to answer your last question:

 

Religious beliefs are based on religion and necessitates some form of ritualistic approach or, at the least, some form of spiritual drive. Godlessness (if I understand your use of the word correctly) is atheism, but not even atheists can answer all the questions of the universe (nor do they suppose they can). I do not believe in the God that, for example, Christianity or Islam portrays, but even believing in yourself as a god begs too many questions relating to higher consciousness and the origin of all things. I have recently been occupying my time exploring in more depth concepts surrounding Christ consciousness and objective consciousness.

 

I could consider myself an ignostic.

 

Hope this paints a more vivid picture of my past and things that lead to my current interests.

 

Keep well.

 

Vincent.

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Hi Shyone.

 

I could consider myself an ignostic.

 

Hope this paints a more vivid picture of my past and things that lead to my current interests.

 

Keep well.

 

Vincent.

Your answer is more detailed that I could have asked for, but very interesting. Well done, and thorough. I wonder if you think that if other Christians had your knowledge and exposure to these fields that they too would become "ignostic"...

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