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Just Some Thoughts..


unexpectedex
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So this is my first post on here..*waves to everyone* I've been reading articles on ex christian for a while but I've never been to this side of it till now.So anyway..Im a 21 year old woman and Im one those people thats in a strange after shock you get when you drop a life long religion.Im not totally new...I deconverted when I was 19 so its been to two since I made the decision to leave.But of course,as many of you know Im sure,deciding to leave is really just the first step and all your attachment and feelings about the religion dont just vanish the next morning.I sure wish they did..but 19 years of being raised in church outnumbers the two years I've been away so I guess my mind isnt totally adjusted like I wish it was.Im at the point where I know christianity is not the answer, there is no way I would go back to it in a million years,but I still feel confused sometimes.Like Im still trying to train my mind to think for itself..and not what the church told me.

This is probably because my experience was very very heavy.Actually so heavy Im really suprised I ever left in the first place.I was homeschooled for most of my school years.My mom taught us with books from a christian school so at home there was always a mention of christianity. The main place I went with my family mom and sister was to church.My dad didnt come..now I see why haha.But my dad was a christian even though he didnt like church..he encouraged us to go.My mom let me do other things like sports and other stuff but since I live in the bible belt..that ment I met lots of christians outside of church too.It was literally everywhere.I think there were some non religous people in the public schools but since I was in the homeschool community...I never saw that side of it.I did go to a public highschool when I was 14 and for the first time I met some atheists.It was interesting but by age 14,if you've been indoctrinated since birth,your trained to think they just need help.And thats what I thought..it was a mission to help the lost people in public school.I didnt dare show it that much,I mean no teenager wants to be the nerd,but I did invite them to church and prayed for them all the time.Then I felt guilty for having a crush on a gay guy haha.But I was still going to church with my family so their ideas were still pretty fresh in my mind.I eventually went back to homeschool the last year.Mostly due to bad teachers and a failing math grade.I was back in an intense christian homeschool community.I started getting ideas again like ''There is no reason to date because God already knows who you will need to marry.Go where God wants you to go and God will have that man walk in the door.Dont waste your time picking out your own man'' It was very bad for me to be reinvolved in that world..as I was getting older and needed to think for myself.But I couldnt get away from it quite yet..unless I wanted to stay home 24/7.

As you can see..its not suprising that it had an effect on me.I mean who can escape that unaffected right?My deconversion actually was very fast suprisingly.It just really hit me that people I loved were going to hell,acording to my religion.The church told me it was their fault and they would sit alone in eternal loneliness because they didnt love God.Nice huh?So that thought was just enough to make me sick...I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.But I couldnt even die cause I would go to hell.Geez that messed up haha..I figured I had to find out if they were really deserving or if something was wrong with my religion.I was lucky enough to meet some people,around the same time,who were not christian.With their encouragment it was much easier to be honest about myself.I started reading the whole bible,unfiltered this time,and three months later I decided I never wanted any part in religion again.I didnt miss it...I just wanted to go my own way.

So today after all that,I just try to think for myself.Im not sure if I would call myself an atheist but what I do know is that religion is man made.If there is any God...he's probably nothing like the petty ones that curse trees for having no figs in the wrong season.(A brilliant moment from Jesus haha.)But I do still wonder how to get their ideas out of my head all the way.Now I see how conniving,vicious,and powerful the techniques were that the church used to get me to stay there..for life! Like today...I went to work and felt guilty.I work at a christian school.Thankfully I am just a part time tutor and I dont have to be around a lot of it.But I got this strange feeling,just from walking in there, that Im just evil and cold and because I dont pray like they do.Or that Im just stubborn because I wont take the offer of heaven like they do and it must mean I dont really care about people when they die.Thats all rediculous,part of me knows that,but part of me still believes it .Its difficult not to believe anything you were taught as a child.You're wired to trust your parents and the school they put you in right?Sometimes I go on with my life and get a strange sudden feeling that I turned on God.That mabey he was reaching out to me and I gave up to soon.That he was so nice and Im just a punk who wanted to be ''bad.'' Like deep down my real alterior motive was to reject God so I could have more sex or some shallow reason .Obviously none of this true.I left because I dont think he exists and the bible is a mess.I also have an irrational fear that almost everyone in all of America will become a die hard Jesus freak and I will be the one single non believer left by myself while they go to church.Everytime I pass a church I have this nervous feeling that there wont be sole left who isnt a member of one. Again..rediculous..but I guess it an irrational fear that came from being so surrounded by christians for to long.I still have like a ''survival' instinct to reconvert for the sake of my social life.Soo...thanks if you read all of this and now my question is..how do you get all this programming out of your head?I must say its gotten better,I used to feel way more guilt.But its still there and I dont want to beat myself up because Im not ''one of them'.'

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Hi UE,

 

I'm new here too. I sure can understand the things you are saying. I'm sorry you had to go through all that (and are still going through it). My kids are your age, so I read your post from that angle. I raised my daughter mostly "in the church"....she wasn't allowed to wear pants or cut her hair, etc. I feel bad about that now, but we did our best at the time. I think the hardest part for you is you are doing these things alone. I was watching the Duggar's show last night and thought "Wouldn't it be nice if it was really as quaint as all that?" They do a great job with those kids, but I can't help but wonder about the lack of education they are getting.

 

Anyway, welcome. You are not alone on your journey.

 

freespirit

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Hi, unexpectedex and welcome to ExC.

 

What you describe is not at all unusual for people like you (and me and so many others of us on this site) who were involved in Christianity for so many years. In fact, I would call it the norm. But that doesn't make it any easier.

 

now my question is..how do you get all this programming out of your head?I must say its gotten better,I used to feel way more guilt.But its still there and I dont want to beat myself up because Im not ''one of them'.'

 

Your question is a really good one. I don't think there is any one correct answer to it. Each person must deal with it in their own way. What I have found that helps me is to think things through without the Christian blinders on. For example, you described a certain feeling of guilt that perhaps what you really did was to turn on god in an effort to seek pleasures. What I would do in this situation is to think about those "pleasures" and ask myself what is really wrong with them and why would an all-powerful god would really care if I engaged in them. What I have found is that these "pleasures" are not evil in and of themselves. Sex, for example, is part of who we are. Sure we have to use some degree of self-restraint and we may want to choose our partners carefully to avoid diseases and the like. But ultimately I ask the question of why would any all powerful being really care about my sex life and I come to the conclusion that he/she would not.

 

It is this kind of thinking and reasoning which has helped me get over my Christian way of thinking and frees me to live my life in a better, more responsible manner.

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Hi unexpectedex! Thank you so very much telling us your story. You have certainly come to the right place. I personally have spent every waking moment on this forum reading all the testimonies since I joined this group. I thought I was the only one who questioned the Bible God. I didn't tell for a long time.

 

Now that I have found this 'safe place', I feel so much better, although I find it so hard 'deconverting' because my whole belief system is gone and I feel a little lost right now. They keep reassuring me that I'll find my way.

 

I hope you keep posting all your questions because we have a large amount of wonderful people here, who have already done a lot of studying for us and they have many comforting answers. I sure hope you find comfort like I have. Good luck.

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Hi, unexpectedex and welcome to ExC.

 

What you describe is not at all unusual for people like you (and me and so many others of us on this site) who were involved in Christianity for so many years. In fact, I would call it the norm. But that doesn't make it any easier.

 

now my question is..how do you get all this programming out of your head?I must say its gotten better,I used to feel way more guilt.But its still there and I dont want to beat myself up because Im not ''one of them'.'

 

Your question is a really good one. I don't think there is any one correct answer to it. Each person must deal with it in their own way. What I have found that helps me is to think things through without the Christian blinders on. For example, you described a certain feeling of guilt that perhaps what you really did was to turn on god in an effort to seek pleasures. What I would do in this situation is to think about those "pleasures" and ask myself what is really wrong with them and why would an all-powerful god would really care if I engaged in them. What I have found is that these "pleasures" are not evil in and of themselves. Sex, for example, is part of who we are. Sure we have to use some degree of self-restraint and we may want to choose our partners carefully to avoid diseases and the like. But ultimately I ask the question of why would any all powerful being really care about my sex life and I come to the conclusion that he/she would not.

 

It is this kind of thinking and reasoning which has helped me get over my Christian way of thinking and frees me to live my life in a better, more responsible manner.

 

Thanks for the advice..thats true..still hadnt thought of it that way.Why would God care about those things?Of course they say he does it for your own saftey but thats a lie.Even if you are like 35 years old and have been engaged for five years or something,well old enough to take care of yourself,they still say you will pay the price for having sex before the wedding.And of course other things too..like that he is worried about what you watch on tv because you just cant handle a few cuss words.Guess you just have to make an effort to realize its silly and your not five years old.

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Hi Unexpected,

 

Leaving religion is a major life change and even a trauma. Be patient with yourself and continue to ask questions.

 

I would recommend trying to find a freethinkers group in your area so you can be around other people who have left religion, if possible. That has helped me tremendously.

 

Try not to let yourself get too cynical. Even though my experience with christianity wasn't a bad one, it's sometimes difficult for me to be around people who are still in religion. I try to remind myself that it's not the person that I feel cynical about, but what they are doing or saying that I don't agree with. I think it's important to make that distinction.

 

I'm not sure you ever get over being a christian completely. Our society is so wrapped up in it. There will probably be times where you feel secure in your realizations and times you will second guess yourself. Just let it happen and remember that maybe tomorrow something will happen and you'll be thrilled again with being able to say that you don't even think god is real. And with a god or without, the world is an awesome place.

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Welcome unexpectedex, I can relate to a lot of what you say...the guilt of not praying or believing. That maybe I deconverted so I can be a sinner. That I'm not a good person now. It's not true, of course. I have to remind myself of that regularly. I forget the exact quote but someone said that loosing our faith isn't a choice and once it's gone it's gone. You're not a bad person at all. Religion puts so many senseless limitations on our lives. It's like Overcame Faith pointed out...examine those limitations and ask if they make sense. I'm lucky to have a husband and a couple friends who don't believe to bounce stuff off of. Sometimes I want to scream out to all my friends and family that I don't believe so I can only imagine how you must feel to be stuck in your own little bubble. I've found this site to be very helpful and insightful. As far as feeling guilty for not praying...have you asked yourself why you don't pray? You don't pray (probably) because there's no god to hear you so it's pointless but it doesn't make you a bad or uncaring person. Some people believe that there's still power or energy released in prayer so they do so. Do what's right for you and don't apologize for it. Like Serendipity Rose said, a freethinkers group could help. And the people here are great.

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Thanks for the advice everyone..it really helps.Now that Im reading your posts some of those worries I had dont seem quite as bad as they did.I have found that my sister also wanted to deconvert so Im not totally alone now..but still, I dont have many people near me that share my veiw.So this helps a lot :)

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