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Still Searching For The Truth


AcidRain
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It's amazing, how one simple thought can change an entire life. It's amazing how one thought can lead to another and then everything is confusing. There's not much more that I love in this world then my ability to think logically. Otherwise, I would still be chained to Christianity and all of it's corrupt features.

 

 

I am only fourteen years old. I feel very young, comparing myself to many other users on this site. But regardless, I am still going to recall every single event in my life up until now that made me de-convert from Christianity. I will also showcase the both positive and negative consequences of doing this.

 

 

Growing up, I was an easily deceived child. I believed with all of my heart and my soul that Jesus had died for my sins and that there was a God who was watching my every single move and loved me more then anything. I can still recall the conversation with my mother, in which she told me the wonders of being religious. She told me very clearly that Jesus died for my sins and that God loves me more then anything in the entire world. I was only a little kid at the time so hey, I accepted in a heartbeat. My own mother believed it and I was going to go to an amazing place when I die. What was there to lose!? Unfortunately, it would cost me a lot more then I realized at the time.

 

Everything went as normal from that day. I did everything a little kid would do. I went to church all the time and constantly praised Jesus and repented for my sins. I loved it. Although even in my childhood ignorance, a few things bothered me. I was always disturbed by the fact that Jesus loved me more then my own parents did. Aren't parents supposed to love their children more then anything? This always made me a little upset but of course, nothing came from this thought.

 

I can't remember the exact age I was when I first started having doubts about Christianity. I was probably ten or eleven. I don't know what caused my doubt. But one day, I felt strangely empty. And I can recall myself asking this very question:

 

Is God Even There?

 

I remember exactly how I felt when I thought that. It was like I had just broken an ultimate rule. I tried looking online for proof of God and was unable to find any. I actually broke down into tears that day because I was so scared of the idea that this God wasn't real at all. I eventually dropped all of my doubts and still professed to being an open Christian. But I knew that somewhere, deep inside, there was still a doubt dwindling deep within me.

 

I was twelve years old when I started looking at pornography. It was very softcore and most of it came from youtube. Eventually, softcore led to just sick and twisted and I had seen the worst things a child could possibly see at my age. I'm talking about snuff and rape porn. A lot of it was animated but it still has effected me very much. Of course, I didn't enjoy these things very much. A lot of it was found upon accident. So what does pornography have to do with me becoming an Atheist? Quite a lot, actually.

 

It's pretty funny how something that has mentally scarred me has also helped me get out of another mentally scarring thing: Christianity. I looked at that kind of stuff every single day and every single night before I went to sleep, I would repent and cry out to God to help and forgive me. Of course, I never got any kind of response. It got so intense for me once that I cried myself to sleep at night. I couldn't believe I was breaking a law of God, but I couldn't stop! Every time I went to church, whenever the word "porn" was mentioned, I turned completely red and got nervous.

 

But eventually, I just completely gave up on the idea of porn being a sin. I tried to block it out of my head. I tried to convince myself that there was nothing wrong with pornography. I still called myself a Christian and I still proudly declared my love for Jesus. Then one day, I stumbled upon a thread on a forum about one of my favorite online games at the time: club penguin.

 

It was questioning the existence of God and life itself. About a 150 pages were there at the time and I read through almost all of them. It opened up a completely new world for me. A world where people had different viewpoints. A world where people had different religions. And a world where people didn't believe in God at all.

 

When I was 13, I questioned my religion day and night. Trying to decide between God and the absence of one. I didn't know what to believe so I called myself a "theist". until I could figure out a solution to my quarrel with Christianity. I asked so many questions and got so little answers. I constantly prayed to God and never got anything in return. How could this be happening? I got so sad then that I called myself an Athiest. Then I called myself a Deist. Then I, once again called myself a Theist.

 

I am fourteen years old now and I don't know what to believe. But I am almost completely sure religion is not for me. So, happy ending, right? But wait! Don't stop reading yet.

 

So here I am. A completely different viewpoint and a completely different life. But there is one big, big problem:

 

My family and my friends. My brother is an un-confessed Agonstic. Every else is a hardcore, highly outspoken Christian that can't stand Atheists and other religions. They are mocked constantly.

 

I don't want to let my parents down. They will look at me as a failure if I denounce their religion. I don't want to be a failure to them, but what can I do? One day in a car ride to Church, they told me:

 

Going to Church is something we do as a family. If you do not go to Church, you are not a part of our family.

 

Then, there comes my friends. All of them come from from Christianity. There is not a single friend I have that is not a hardcore Christian. They would all hate me the moment they knew that I was anti-religion.

 

So, I'm left with two choices:

 

I'll have friends that love me for who I am and a family that is very proud of me. Everything will go fine in my bubble of happiness. But there is still one problem with this solution: I'll be bathed in ignorance. If I choose this path, there will always be a hole within me. This hole knows that what I'm doing is completely wrong and that I am being deceived, but I'm sure eventually I'll be able to ignore it.

 

My second choice is having my "friends" hate me and my parents think that I am a failure. Until I move out, nobody will like me and I will become an outcast to everybody that I know. My parents will scream at me, punish me and try to convert me again. Along with everybody else. But with all of this, I have the thing that I desire most:

 

Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom. The freedom to believe what I want and to live my life the way that I want it, rather then living to please a non-existent deity.

 

This story is almost coming to a close. It's almost over. But there is still a page to fill. So, I am going to ask you guys for advice to help fill in the empty spaces:

 

What should I do? Is it simply hormones running through my body that cause my to no longer believe in God? Or is there something else here? Is there really nothing else then me and myself?

 

I think I am going to like this site. I will keep you guys in tune with what's going on. Even if nobody responds to this, it's still my own personal ranting. It's my own personal journey through a corrupt system. I wish every other on the fence Atheist best of luck. I will be back soon enough.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Matthew.

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We talked a little in the chat room and it was nice to get to know you. I won't repeat what I said there but I do want to say one thing. Stop looking at the porn for now. I don't know where you're located but it's very likely that 14 is below the age for legally viewing porn. On top of that, it is likely to cause problems with your family if/when you are caught. And you don't need those sorts of problems on top of everything else. I'm a little hypocritical here because I was certainly as "interested" as any boy is at 14. Still, you should cut it out. Not because porn is wrong, evil, or dirty... but because of the legal and family issues it can cause at your age.

 

Everything else is complicated and we covered some of it. I find it very hard to offer advice to minors when it regards coming out of the closet about being an atheist. While I believe that everyone should feel safe to be open and honest about their beliefs, there are often issues when those charged with your care will not accept and tolerate those beliefs. If it is going to cause you problems or stress, I believe there is no shame in keeping quiet.

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Hi, Matthew, and welcome to ExC.

 

As I read your extimony, you are a fourteen year old young man who was raised in a Christian family, has Christian friends, is highly involved in church activities, but who has questioned the religion that surrounds you. In fact, your questions go right to the heart of the matter and that is whether there is a god or not. Your dilemma is whether: (1) to share your doubts with your family and friends and thus be free to express yourself but to suffer the consequences which you believe will befall you; or (2) to keep quiet about what you are finding which makes you believe there is no god and keep your relationships intact but live a lie by acting the part.

 

Let's take one thing at a time. The first issue is whether you believe in the Christian religion and specifically whether the god of the bible exists or not. You still seem to be uncertain about this, though I can tell you are leaning heavily toward believing that Christianity is a false religion and that the god of the bible does not exist. I will not even attempt to tell you how to believe because that is something that each one of us must determine for ourselves. But I can suggest that you continue doing the kind of research you are doing to help you make up your mind. There is a lot of material on this forum to read. Read the testimonies section because it contains a lot of good information from people, like you, who are doubting the truth of Christianity. There are also a number of books which are showcased on this website which would be good reading to help you make up your mind. And of course there is the web which contains a lot of information on the topic as well.

 

The next and probably the biggest issue is what do you do once you make up your mind. I'll assume for purposes of this discussion that you decide that Christianity is a false religion and that the god of the bible does not exist. If you make this determination, the first thing you should know is that, though you may feel alone, you are not. Almost every person who is a member of this forum is a former christian and the few christians who are here are clearly identified. So you always have a place to discuss these issues and say what is on your mind by posting here and being involved in the chat room (which I believe you have already done).

 

But the really tough question is whether you should tell your parents, friends, pastor and all the Christians in your life. It is, of course, your decision, but my advice is for you not to divulge your beliefs at this point in your life if, as you describe, it is going to cause you all the trouble you believe it will. Just go along with the program.

 

I remember when I was sixteen I told my mother that I no longer wanted to go to church because I didn't believe anymore and I wasn't getting anything out of it anyway. She looked at me and said, "As long as you live under my roof, you will go to church every time I tell you to. Once you are on your own and paying your own way, then you can do what you want. But until then, you'll do as I say and go to church." My response was, "Yes, Ma'am."

 

Even thinking back on that now at age 54, I must say that my mother had a good point. I was a minor and under her care and I had to live by the rules of the house. It's the same way for you. You should live by the rules of your house.

 

Having said that, I do not suggest that you allow your mind to be molded into a Christian figurine. Far from it. Keep studying and keep your mind actively questioning everything Christian. View going to church as an opportunity to hear what the Sunday school teacher and the preacher say about things and then go back home and put it to the test by really studying the issue. Make your mind strong and receptive to the truth. And when you become an adult and are on your own, then you can do things your own way and open up as fully as you feel is correct given your situation then.

 

Finally, I want to add my agreement that you should avoid the pornography. Just keep away from it and spend your online time doing something constructive like researching the issues related to Christianity.

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I'd say that you have a pretty damn good mind for a young teenager, and you are figuring out at an early age something that took many of us decades to realize. In church, people read the Bible loudly as if God were speaking, because no voice of God is there to speak. It makes it seem more real. Having others around that parrot the same words and beliefs also makes it seem real. But the threats of the Bible fall flat, as do the promises of healing and power. This is to be expected because it is a mythology, very similar to the Greek and Roman myths of old. They also had gods that threw temper-tantrums, demanded sacrifices, and got bent out of shape if people didn't love them enough. You have some years to go before you are able to become independent, but only you can really say what will happen in your family were you to be different. It sucks when those who are supposed to protect you are the bullies. But they also have an emotional investment in the myth being true, so any dissonance makes them nervous and defensive.

 

I've seen advice that says "keep a low profile while taking in as much freedom of thought and expression that you can get away with until you are on your own", others prefer to be real from the start and deal with the family as it comes, even if it means making their lives as much of a hell as they make of yours. That last one doesn't sound like much fun to me, and it takes a strong personality to pull it off. But asking hard questions in church, pointing out the fallacies, absurdities, abuse, genocide, and evil character of "God" are good ways to get kicked out of most churches (but you may take some with you). I have lost nearly all my friends that were Christians, because they say now that we have nothing in common. That isn't true, but if that is how they choose to see it, there is little I can do.

 

You'll have to decide what fits your own personality, what you are willing to live with for the next set of years, and move forward. We are always here to help as we can.

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Hi, Matthew.

 

What a tough situation.

 

Like the others, I recommend sticking with the program until you are out on your own. If you assess your support system as likely to be hostile and rejecting, I urge you to consider long and hard what that would look like for you for the next four years when you have no legal say over yourself. Is their likely response a better or worse prospect, in the long run (four years), than obedience?

 

I, personally, chose obedience. It was challenging, and I did it. I counted every day until I was legally free of my mother at 18 because I knew that if I explored what was true for me before then, she would make my life hell. I, personally, decided it was not worth the greater agony and I stuck with the program until I was 18. As soon as I was legally an adult, I asserted my choices. The situation between my mother (an adult) and myself (an adult) quickly became unworkable, and so I rightly left the family home and set boundaries around our communication so as to protect myself emotionally. Having a job before I moved out made this a solid transition.

 

My sister chose not to stick with the program right around age 14. First there was emotional abuse in reaction. In her case, things escalated to physical abuse, which triggered a very dicey State investigation. For a time it looked like she might go into foster care, which was a little scary for us. Fortunately, generous family members who are accepting and supportive took her in and helped her get early legal emancipation at age 16. The judge only granted it because my sister's stable relatives were willing to offer her a home and stability during her last two years of high school. Also, she had a steady job, so she was able to demonstrate an existing ability to take care of herself. In her case, too, being employable was key to moving forward in a healthy way.

 

Your situation is different, for sure, so you have to weigh pros and cons of your situation just as my sister and I did ours. I suggest you really take the long view of four years while doing this, and your sense of your family's reactions, remembering they legally own you. The benefit them being legally responsible for you is that the flip side of what they told you in the car-- that if you go to church, you are not family--well, the reality is that they are legally responsible for you until you are 18. So if you refuse to go to church or say you are no longer Christian and they stop feeding/sheltering you or physically abuse you, they will be in violation of law and you can get help for that. Unfortunately, there is little help for emotional abuse.

 

You wrote, "I'll have friends that love me for who I am and a family that is very proud of me. Everything will go fine in my bubble of happiness. But there is still one problem with this solution: I'll be bathed in ignorance. If I choose this path, there will always be a hole within me. This hole knows that what I'm doing is completely wrong and that I am being deceived, but I'm sure eventually I'll be able to ignore it."

 

What is actually true is that there will be a hole in you for less than 4 years, and then, if you have positioned yourself to sustain your life via employment, you can drop the lie and that hole will disappear.

 

Whatever path you take, you are nearing the age when you can legally work. Being employable will only serve you. Consider positioning yourself to gain formal employment by focusing on school and getting a job. Build a resume. Acquire skills. I believe, with parental permission, you can work limited hours at age 14 in some states.

 

Finally, yes, drop the porn right now. That could bring legal trouble that won't help your case, which is positioning yourself as best as possible for freedom and whatever faith or non-faith you decide in your own mind is true.

 

Good luck and stay strong!

 

Phanta

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My sister chose not to stick with the program right around age 14. First there was emotional abuse in reaction. In her case, things escalated to physical abuse, which triggered a very dicey State investigation. For a time it looked like she might go into foster care, which was a little scary for us. Fortunately, generous family members who are accepting and supportive took her in and helped her get early legal emancipation at age 16. The judge only granted it because my sister's stable relatives were willing to offer her a home and stability during her last two years of high school. Also, she had a steady job, so she was able to demonstrate an existing ability to take care of herself. In her case, too, being employable was key to moving forward in a healthy way.

 

PHYSICAL ABUSE? What the heck happened in your family? Scumbag Christians, thinking their "God" that refuses to prove its existence in an obvious-to-all way lets them do whatever the fuck they want. Glad your sister was able to get to generous family. Were they supportive of her non-belief? And did your parents end up in legal trouble? I sure hope they did, and hope they learned that being Christian isn't going to protect you from the laws of the real world.

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PHYSICAL ABUSE? What the heck happened in your family? Scumbag Christians, thinking their "God" that refuses to prove its existence in an obvious-to-all way lets them do whatever the fuck they want. Glad your sister was able to get to generous family. Were they supportive of her non-belief? And did your parents end up in legal trouble? I sure hope they did, and hope they learned that being Christian isn't going to protect you from the laws of the real world.

 

To be clear, my sister didn't rebel against my mother's lukewarm liberal Christianity. My sister actually remained a Christian through all of this...she got more fundamentalist, in fact. But she did go against my mother's very strict way of parenting in other ways. I'm relating to getting a bad reaction just for exploring who one is...the going against parent's rigid views. Rigid views are not restricted to fundamentalist Christianity. There is also family tradition/culture. There, too, the level of rejection for deviance can be hardcore.

 

The family my sister got involved with was fine with my sister's hardcore beliefs and were equally fine when those beliefs tapered into lukewarm Christianity and were fine all over again when her beliefs tapered even more into her current state of "not thinking about it". They seem to be Christianish...I think her uncle may actually be an atheist based on the books he had on the coffee table ("Misquoting Jesus" and "The DaVinci Code", etc.), and her aunt is involved with a very liberal church...especially with social outreach for the needy...but...I dunno what she actually believes. They seem to believe that each person's journey is their own business.

 

Phanta

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Hey Matthew(my name too ;) Welcome to freedom out of xtianity, but I want to warn you on the type of porn you have been viewing.

DO something about it. Prayer doesn't work, but other things will help. Others may disagree with me on this but violent images like that ARE going to majorly affect your life in a negative way.

Many sexual predators have said how much porn had a place in instilling a violent fantasy that eventually was acted out on. More begets more(usually).

Interestingly enough, whenever a christian mens group gets 'honest' with each other , they ALWAYS confess porn as the #1 hang-up! And yet they still pleads with god for more 'victory' ! Dummies

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Hello all. I'm very grateful for all the advice. It's greatly appreciated.

 

;Let me just clear one thing out of the way before I move on: I no longer look at such violent pornography and I've basically stopped watching it altogether. Although I highly, highly disagree with the law that you must be eighteen years of age to legally view it, I still am aware of the legal issues it could cause. But yes, it's no longer a real issue. I should have elaborated on that more in my post.

 

I've been reading these posts very carefully and have been weighing out my options. Just to clarify, I am completely sure that I do not believe in The Bible. There is nothing I'm on the fence of anymore that pertains to Christianity. The problem with waiting to tell others about my beliefs is that four years is actually a very long time. It would require a lot of self control and patience but I may be able to pull it off. I can't say that I've made any kind of choice yet, or that I know what to do. In fact, four years might pass before I even decide. I don't know what to do yet, but I just wanted to say that these posts are very helpful and they are greatly appreciated. Thank you. I'll update this thread later if anything significant happens.

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