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Did Your Faith Get Destroyed?


Margee
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I was thinking this morning of my whole life story. I can say that right from the beginning, in the divorced home I came from, I probable started wondering about this Jesus that we learned in Sunday school. Where was he when my mom and dad were fighting so bad, that they split up when I was only 11? Throughout my life, I have had so many 'nasty' things happen to me (which I will not get in to) when I was trying so hard to be a good Christian girl and I always asked the lord: ''Where were you when 'this' happened?'' And ''Why did you let this happen?''

 

It was these uncomfortable , nasty, shitty life 'things' that really brought me to the conclusion that the Bible god was not there. Only then, did I start to investigate the bible.

 

I didn't just wake up one morning and lose my faith. It was a whole chain of events that lead me to where I am today.

 

Was it 'life's nasty events for you that you questioned or were you just the type of person that started to question the bible?

 

I would be so interested in getting some response on this. Thanks friends!

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I started questioning with no nasty events in my life. I was around 10 years old and I started doubting the effectiveness of prayer - essentially the milk jug analogy (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/video8.htm).

 

However, the questioning caused emotional trouble, because at that age, I wasn't ready to deal with going against the beliefs of everyone I knew. My parents had ensured that there was no one close to me in my life who wasn't a Christian, so I had nowhere to get support. The emotional dissonance and the nasty events that started happening kept my questioning and doubt active.

 

If there'd been no emotional dissonance - that is, if it weren't this huge can of worms for me to walk away from Christianity and if I'd been allowed to make my own choices, I probably would have just left the church without giving it too much thought.

 

But if the nasty events hadn't started, I might have successfully stifled my doubts and stayed in Christianity without thinking about it much more, because of how much easier that would have been for my life.

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I was taught from childhood on that there was a purpose to all those "bad" things, so I didn't question god much about them...but there were things in the Bible that I questioned. It was a combination of both, but the real buzz kill came by way of knowledge, not emotions.

 

Then again, I almost never make an emotional decision, so it's pretty common for me to be entirely logical and factual when I finally decide something. This was no different.

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Once I found out about evolution and the history of the Christian Church, I got real smart. It was a gradual process.

 

I had my share of those "where are you God?" moments, but that was not by itself enough to finish my faith.

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My faith was slowly corroded away. I had a lot of bad things that happened, including my best friend dying but I just saw it all as a fulfillment of Romans 8:28. The reason I left was the answers to the doubts I was having were not sufficient enough. This grew and drew until it exploded :) The finale was me attempting to prove the historical existence of Christ and the apostles using only the NT books which are universally considered to be genuine (i.e. written by who it says it was written by, essentially leaving only a few Pauline epistles). While doing this it dawned on me that Paul could be lying and I wouldn't know. He could be trying to give himself greater credibility over his oponents by making this all up and neither his audience or myself would have known. All in all the process wasn't long, perhaps 12-18 months.

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Didn't get smart, got educated. That' what happens when one sincerely studies the Bible and the religions it has spawned.

 

"It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand."

- Mark Twain

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mine was really kinda "meh" but involved lots of sleepless nights where I just read read read everything I could find online til dawn. I wasn't intending to, or unable to sleep, I just couldn't tear my eyes away from all the info I was finding.

 

I thought of myself as a "strong" Christian, but my beliefs were internal and I didn't discuss them, since Jeebus stuff is totally uncool in my line of work. And I certainly didn't act like a Xtian, either. I screwed around and drank debbils brew just to keep up w/ my coworkers. After all, it was Calvin's Will that I was one of the elect as long as I didn't blaspheme the holy spook, so eat, drink and be merry until judgement day.

 

But all the youtubing I was doing night after night led me toward the realization that the religion stuff just doesn't make sense any way you slice it.

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Life's events didn't affect my faith at least in a fully conscious way. What caused me to leave was when I finally had the guts to research whether certain doctrines were true and whether Jesus really did fulfill the requirements as Messiah. Once I started to honestly doubt the doctrines I had been spoon-fed my whole life, then I realized that the events in my life supported my doubts.

For instance, I grew up in a pentecostal church which was big on healing and miracles. As a kid I'd have nightmares and minor injuries to which my parents would pray for me and then ask if I felt any better. No tangible miracle ever happened, and I'd still get nightmares from time to time. Of course, at the time it was all put down to "Well, we don't know God's timing, and it may not be His will for you to be healed right now".

Looking back now, it just showed me that the God that will "do anything you ask in the name of Jesus if you have a tiny bit of faith", and that "suffers not the little children that come to Him", had some serious explaining to do.

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I never had much faith, I am not very religious by nature but as most children I trusted my parents who are great and smart people so christianity should be true, shouldn't it? After all my dad was a protestant minister. A few things I noticed as a young child.

 

a) we lived just like our non religious relatives. We were not better or worse. the only difference was that we went to church and they would not. Oh and we prayed for dinner. I noticed non religious people were great people just as great as my parents.

 

B) some religious people were idiots. I noticed this around 10 years of age. In summer I often went to christian summer camps with all kinds of activities for all ages. Sometimes I encountered so called fundie christians, who are quite rare in my country. (I never encountered any of those at home) I noticed that at 10 years old I knew more about basic science than those people. That was the first time that I thought, ok maybe God and Jesus are ok, but some of their followers are just nuts. I should avoid those people.

 

c) my parents provided us with all means to discover the world in a normal secular way. As I grew older I felt less and less need for gods or other supernatural stuff as the universe seemed pretty logical and coherent without them. Oh and God never spoke back. So why did we need God? I never found the need as a child. Only much later I found the needs of my parents, their need came from tragedies their own childhood or young adult life. As my childhood was just great, I never had such a need. But we never talked about this.

 

d) At one point in my life I tried believing. This was when things went bad in my own life and because I still have a great admiration for my parents, who are just great people. So I thought, well it works for them, let's give it a try. (and I was pretty depressed at that time) Deep down I knew it wouldn't work as I am far too much a rational thinker to really believe in illogical undetectable entities.

 

e) fast forward into adulthood. I was always an avid reader, but as a child I read mostly adventure books, fantasy, and popular science. As an adult I read more liturature, books about people, about life. And philosophy, I read a lot about that too. Many of the thoughts in philosophy that I read were thought I had myself (in less eloquent and less refined form of course) And they all lead to atheism. When I read a book written by an atheist I would often nod at every page.. "yes yes, that's exactly what I think or feel." When I read a book written by an apologist I would constantly shake my head.

 

 

If the theism - atheism debate was a sport contest.... In the match I am viewing the atheism side scored 23,458 goals and the theism side scored 17 goals. Play might continue, but based on how it's running now, there is no way the game can turn around. For that to happen, the losing team must bring a a very special player on the field, superman himself, out in the open. For now they sometimes mention this great amazing player who will come soon (for 2000 years) but his is not registered by the officials and we know nothing about him. So the game goes on and on. And there will always be supporters for the losing club

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I think nasty events can cause you to start questioning your faith. I don't think they're the cause, they just destroy your perfect image of Christianity which causes you to listen to yourself and be allowed to ask questions.

 

When people started dying because of fundamentalism, I think I must have taken that as a sign something is wrong. I started questioning it and seeing serious problems. I opened my eyes to the people and events around me, and saw clearly how destructive and twisted it was. Then I pleaded with my Christian brothers, ESCAPE! and they just thought I was crazy. Then I posed the questions I had to the flock, forcing them to engage in logical dialogue. I actually rescued a couple of them that way. Their lives are slowly being rebuilt.

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Life events had no bearing on my deconversion. I think the deconversion process began at the same time as my actual conversion, or very shortly thereafter. As fired up as I was for the Lord at that time, there were even then things that make my brain go "tilt" (like the concept of hell, for example). As time went on, those nagging questions and doubts continued to accumulate until I could no longer just sweep them under the rug. The only "life" stuff that contributed to it was the fact that it seemed like God didn't answer my prayers like he apparently did for others, and I never heard his "voice", like others seemed to. That certainly didn't help.

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My "nasty" life experience was depression. I suffered for four years (all through high school). It led me to pray hard to god. I still didn't like church and stuff, but I believed that god would help me and god would make things all better. They told us that in church so I believed it. It wasn't until I started questioning my faith that things actually started getting better. When I finally realized I was an atheist I was done with my depression. Life feels pretty great right about now.

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I was thinking this morning of my whole life story. I can say that right from the beginning, in the divorced home I came from, I probable started wondering about this Jesus that we learned in Sunday school. Where was he when my mom and dad were fighting so bad, that they split up when I was only 11? Throughout my life, I have had so many 'nasty' things happen to me (which I will not get in to) when I was trying so hard to be a good Christian girl and I always asked the lord: ''Where were you when 'this' happened?'' And ''Why did you let this happen?''

 

It was these uncomfortable , nasty, shitty life 'things' that really brought me to the conclusion that the Bible god was not there. Only then, did I start to investigate the bible.

 

I didn't just wake up one morning and lose my faith. It was a whole chain of events that lead me to where I am today.

 

Was it 'life's nasty events for you that you questioned or were you just the type of person that started to question the bible?

 

I would be so interested in getting some response on this. Thanks friends!

My awakening was the story of Uzzah. Although I remained Christian, the biblical story did set back my faith a bit. However, once I started seriously looking at the bible in a historical-critical manner, I quickly began to doubt and soon left the faith.

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My decision to look beyond the theological and doctrinal beliefs I was exposed to destroyed my faith. My decision to examine other brands of theology, Church history, Church fathers, historicity of Jesus, textual criticism, Biblical hermeneutics, comparative mythology/religion, Ancient Near East religions, philosophy, and other disciplines and areas of study are what led to the renunciation of my faith. I had strong and unwavering convictions prior to my branching out of my brand of theology. I wasn't disillusioned or burned by anyone. I wasn't angry or bitter. I was actually very happy and fulfilled in my "walk with Christ." And then that cognitive dissonance snapped.

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So, I allowed myself to fall and I truly didlisten for some little voice or some sign or a word from a fellowbeliever. There was nothing. Absolutely nothing. I cannot say that I am an atheist or even anagnostic. Right now, I just classifymyself as a recovering evangelical.

 

This is pretty much something I went through and the irony of being led by the holy spook as they all claimed, coupled with my pleadings to send someone to me with a word, it never happened.

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I haven't had many nasty things happen to me thus far, thankfully. Though my faith was turned via many factors pertaining to an the ever growing knowledge of reality. I don't know if destroyed is a correct term for me. A complete redshift may be more to my definition. Cause for me the I had to look at my faith and turn it transparent to understand what it even was to begin with.

 

At the core of it all was my orientation. Growing up Church of Christ it was heavily implied both in the lessons, sermons, and overtone of everyone in church attendance that homosexuality was a terrible terrible thing to be. I had a great deal of faith. Enough faith I did the closest thing to a nonstop prayer that lasted I think 2 years. My prayer/begging was the same and never deviated from me begging to be changed.

 

As far as questioning... I did question things. Not always, but looking back it becomes more clear there was a great deal of things I noticed. Best example I remember when I had to of been near 5th or 6th grade... while dad was driving back from church I asked him "Dad, why doesn't God talk to us anymore like in the Bible?" Can't remember what his answer was, but I sure can't forget asking that.

 

Around Junior High and most of High School was when I was at my most religious. Attended Church, went to the Youth Group events, had the bible studies, ect. All the while internally I was loosing it cause at that point my whole mind set was on the life I was living was only going to be a speck and then the rest of eternity would be me burning in Hell. That alone cause me to mentally beat myself.

 

It wasn't till around community college I got around other people who at least expressed some form of pro-gay views which made me rethink about my views as well. The main view was seeing homosexuals as human beings, and thus looking at myself as human. I was still living at home at this point and was completely burned out on going to church. It didn't fill me with anything, I was empty, didn't feel really part of the group cause I knew what would happen when they found out about me. I wasn't growing. Sermons made me more internally depressed, more reclusive, more isolated. There was no real point to it all except that I had to go cause I had always gone.

 

Once I transferred to another college where I wasn't living with the parents is when I changed completely. First thing coming to a point where I had the choice to not to go church. (That was one hell of a habit to break) I saw gay couples walking on campus holding hands. Heard many different religious views on campus. Was exposed to diversity and knowledge. Around this point I was also finding tons of youtube atheist material that tore the bible apart in every form showing it's contradictions and history.

 

There was one class in particular that did the most damage. Anthropology 101. It was so much fun learning about culture and society. So much of that class opened my eyes, but the one section that was the devastating blow to me was the section on "Religion as a Control Device". Going through that section in class was a walk through of my whole church back home. The rules, the way it operated, the way it grew and stayed alive. There was so much to process mentally during this phase. It was a re awaking for me.

 

Things I've noted about myself that may have served me greatly for my deconversion is having an fondness for learning things and having empathy. Growing up I dealt with exclusion so I never really tried to be part of any cliques. Saw a lot of that in the church environment. The backstabbing, the lack of empathy for others of difference, the masks church members wore, specifically in the youth group. Even when I was little I was told my many people that I as very mature for an individual. Even developed a reputation in church for it cause no one else in youth group had any, and still don't currently. Sort of became the role model in some cases. I'm sure that has some back home puzzled that I don't go to church now.

 

Hope this post helps. I feel I've wrote way to much. This is just a condensed version of my thoughts on this. There are other aspects, but I've got to get some sleep at this point.

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Being gay must be 200% worse than for straight folk that come out of the delusion. I never really had an issue with gays although I did not "condone the lifestyle" at the time.

 

As time went on I realised that gay was not a choice and even though I still do not understand what makes one attracted to the same sex, I know I cannot choose to be anything but straight. I have defended gays on my way out and was really astounded how insensitive xians were/are to you folk.

 

Even using the bible as "gawd's word" what amazes me with all the sexual crimes in Leviticus, is that it appears that there was no discretion and everyone just simply pulled up the frock of the nearest male or female and fucked them in public, or there were sex police that went around like peeping toms peeking into the tents to see who was fucking who. With the death penalty for many of these sex crimes, how they even found guilty people in the first place amazes me.:shrug:

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My faith got destroyed first, I only got smart after it.

 

Xtianity never really made me happy. Looking back I think I only converted because my father and his wife did and "it was the right thing to do". But it gave me two decades of inner struggle. Don't get me wrong, I did believe in it, very much so and at times I was real devout. But it never gave me peace, instead it gave me fear and guilt all the time. To the extent that I almost went crazy. I think I would have if I hadn't one day made a conscious decision that I need to step back a little and ease the pressure on me. That's when I started to give myself some space and time away from church and I started to explore other things. In the hindsight I realize I only stayed in the fold for so long because of my fear of Hell and punishment. That's the only thing that kept me in and not that it made me happy and spiritually satisfied. As I started to explore science I started to realize there's probably nothing to fear.... So that gave me finally the courage to admit to myself that I don't believe in it any more and I'm out of it.

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My god (still that expression!) - this is helping me so much!

 

thanks for all your input! I feel so much comfort reading how all of you deconverted and it's always so good to know you're not the only one. All these years - I asked myself why did I seem to rebel against everything? I was always a 'free thinker' but I put that part of me on a shelf always thinking that I had to go along with the crowd and be who they were. Now I know I'm OK! You guys really do help me! :grin: .

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