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I was raised in a non-denominational church from the age of 5. My dad had just left and my mother was looking for some support. Church was the natural path for her to choose.

 

At first it was as expected. A boring building where the grown-ups listened to another grown-up. As I grew, though, I become more and more interested and eventually fully gave myself to the indoctrination. I questioned nothing, I agreed with everything. I believed it all and even preached it all to my friends. By the time I was in my teens, I was attending 3 or 4 days a week for church, bible studies, youth group meetings or whatever else was going on.

 

The full process of deconversion was a rather long and slow one, taking about 10 years or so for it to happen. I know it started with one negative interaction with Christians after another. I went to school in Texas and didn't have a single positive experience with any churches there. When I moved back to Alaska, I encountered the same issues. I even went as far as scheduling time speaking with church elders, telling them I want to participate in the church in any capacity, saying I wasn't content just sitting in a pew and paying tithe. Not one elder ever followed up with me.

 

The steps towards walking away from church started with just one question. "How can Christians be so flawed if the bible and God's message is supposed to be perfect?"

 

It was at this point I met a guy who would encourage me to ask the more difficult question and ultimately question everything I believed. I stopped attending church completely.

 

My first step away was picking up Buddhism. This wasn't a difficult step to take as it allowed me to still believe in Christ (Christ really was a good Buddhist). Eventually, though, I had to admit I was simply fooling myself. I didn't stop asking the questions. I didn't stop learning. I didn't stop reading and eventually came to understand I simply don't believe in god...in any god.

 

So, I became an atheist (read: finally admitted it to myself).

 

My mother took this change the hardest, especially as she still believes in the bible. Hundreds of hours spent in conversation and debate with her since first studying Buddhism and I believe my step dad and I have blunted the sharp edge of Christianity in her. She still tells me she hopes I'll come back around, but accepts the choices I've made. I think I'm incredibly fortunate to have a family that's been understanding, even if it took some effort at first.

 

I'm still adjusting to it all, to an extent. It's like a jacket that fits, but still needs to be broken in.

 

I will admit some lingering bitterness. I was lied to for 20 years. I was fed a stream of vacuous crap and wasn't allowed to think for myself or ask any questions. I don't blame them, necessarily, "for they know not what they do."

 

I'm certainly happier now. There's no more guilt. There's no wasted effort in fitting a mold that can't be filled. There's just nothing but the consequences of the choices I make. Exactly how it should be.

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Hey akatheist, welcome to the community!

I had a similar experience with my parents it can be scary to admit it. My mom was like in denial or something, she said she understood but she kept talking to me like i still believed at least somewhat. It was kind of weird, eventually she saw what it did to me and was fully supportive. With my dad on the other hand, it was harder, we used to be a lot closer, now i rarely talk to him because every thing's about jesus.

 

That's the most freeing feeling though, knowing there's nothing you have to conform to, after all isn't true love acceptance? If someone loves you they accept you and appreciate your uniqueness, not say they accept you but expect you to be someone else.

 

Knowing your free to live life. Happy for you, nothing better than living for the sake of living

 

again welcome to Ex-C!

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I'm certainly happier now. There's no more guilt. There's no wasted effort in fitting a mold that can't be filled. There's just nothing but the consequences of the choices I make. Exactly how it should be.

 

Well said akatheist. Welcome to the site!

 

 

 

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