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Leaving A Life Behind.


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So I don't know exactly what brought me to these forums. I want to pretend like I'm just curiously investigating my options, but it's a much bigger deal than that. I feel that I'm just a short way away from abandoning the faith that has guided me for all of my 23 years thus far. And I don't know exactly where to go, or how to process all of it.

 

Like most of you I'm sure, I grew up in a devout Christian home-- conservative, non-trinitarian Pentecostals. I was in church three times a week, my dad was youth pastor, my mom was a teacher at the little broke-ass Christian school that I went to (or should I say indoctrination center; who knew that Moses rode around on a T-Rex, or that scientists had dug so far into the earth that they could hear screams from hell? Gotta love science class in a Christian school). Anyways. I got saved at our church camp, and was soon the one guy that everyone just knew was gonna be a preacher. I was seriously the poster child for fundamentalist Pentecostalism during my teenage years.

 

Surprise surprise, I was/am also gay. That didn't go over too well for the folks. But by the time I came out to them last year, my journey out of the box of Christianity was already starting. I actually started going to a heathen secular state university and learning about real life. Then I started my study abroad program in Europe and was exposed to even more.

 

I guess I consider myself a Deist at the moment. I believe in God but I don't trust the Bible anymore. Which makes me sad to write, because I love the Bible... it has always been precious to me. Despite the anti-gay clobber passages and the wanton violence of the Old Testament, I do derive peace from reading it. I just no longer believe that it is what I was always told it is. And to think that I have "backslidden" to the point of actually questioning whether there is a God, and if Jehovah is that God, scares me and depresses me. I was always warned that "the fool says in his heart there is no god." But I can't help questioning. I can't help being a cynic. I've seen way too much crap, and had to realize way too late the futility of holding so tightly onto something that I had no proof of.

 

Part of me wonders if this is just the devil trying to tempt me, and snare me. But part of me says, what's wrong with living life, and with believing in myself and my own abilities, rather than constantly thinking I will never be good enough?

 

I dunno. I had a lot more to say, but I think this sums it up. I guess I just needed to finally bring some of these thoughts out into the open.

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Hi caleb! Wecome to EX-C! I loved your testimony! It's so familiar.. ... all the questions. I was a christian for 30 years. I have been on this site as a regular member for 6 months now and I don't think I would have made it without the group.

 

I'm just going to give you the link to a letter I wrote to god about 3 months ago so you will see that you are not alone. Keep posting my friend. Good to have you with us! Sincerely, Margee

 

I hope you can relate to my letter..........You will see my own pain at letting go............

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/

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Welcome! As I'm sure you know, many of us struggled (and some continue to struggle) with the transition. Even so, some of us don't become ardent atheists, but choose a variety of other spiritual paths.

 

For my own part, after studying the Bible for 3 decades and really looking at the barbaric nature of the Bible's god, and comparing it with what I observe in nature, I conclude that he is a mere myth that should have been discarded by humanity long ago. The only reason that he generates any fear in people today is indoctrination (and a misprogramed survival mechanism that would take too long to explain here). How many of us fear Zeus or Ra? There is no reason to fear them or Yahweh.

 

So stick around and don't be afraid to express yourself. It generally takes months to years to overcome a lot of the behavioral conditioning we received in church.

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Hi, Caleb. You sound as though you are in the same position as I was, just about 6 to 12 months ago. It's been a rough road at times, but it is definitely worth it. The "proof" thing was terribly hard for me to grasp. Perhaps you'll find this interesting. http://www.ex-christian.net/blog/150/entry-556-learning-to-live-without-proof/ It's hard to describe the convoluted mess that occurs when the religion a person had such belief in - just breaks into a million irreparable pieces. Anyway, best wishes as you learn to think for yourself, and welcome to Ex-C.

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Hi Caleb,

 

I'm guessing you were brought up UPC? My husband and I pastored in the UPC for 10 years. We brought our kids up in it. I know and understand it.

 

Welcome to the forum. We all (my husband, I and kids) left the UPC 6 years ago. It's not easy to leave. I'm kind of a deist myself now, I guess, but I don't really define myself in any way.

 

freepsirit

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Welcome to Ex-C! You'll find a variety of delicious viewpoints here, and enough information to compile many many books. Have fun reading and contributing!

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Hi caleb,

 

Talking about things that are on your mind can be the first step in addressing a burning question.

 

Keep talking and you'll work it out.

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Welcome;)

 

It takes time to process and for me it was rather gradual. I completely lost faith in the bible looking for answers which I found contradictory, pastors that certainly didn't practice what they preached and all the "dumb" christians that never looked beneath the phrase, "I am a born-again christian" (anyone who said that could fleece them out of everything they just never looked beneath the surface of anyone claiming it).

 

Towards the end of my walk in christianity I found out my son was gay. That was the final straw for me. The ever pat saying that you should love the sinner but not the sin was just incredibly painful. You can't love the "sinner" by pretending that part of their lives don't exist & the fact that they really didn't love the sinner at all anyways. I was not ever going to listen to any "good" christian talk about "the" gays like they were the scum of the earth, etc.

 

Oh well, just take one day at a time and everything will fall into place. I have never felt so free in all my life. I treat others as I hope they would treat me and I am a good person with or without god.

 

Good luck to you.

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your story is similar to mine in that i grew up in a fundamintalist christian home as well. the one thing that really sealed my decoversion from the faith was gods personality in the old testament. he often times orders the deaths of babies, women, children cattle and men and often participates in it as well such as in 2nd kings with elisha (or it might be first kings) where God uses bears to maul 42 kids for being kids.

 

i also to like the teachings of jesus but in reality it isnt jesus teaching it is mathew, mark, luke and john's inturpretation of what jesus said and how they write it down. and over time Jesus teachings of love have been corupted with a secondary attachment called religion witch quickly took over. of course if he ever even existed i nthe first place for not a single book of the bible is writen by god or by jesus.

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I also grew up in a very conservative christian home. It's interesting reading about your deconversion that is taking place right now. I started that process when I was in my teens, and never thought to look for a site like this to post on at that time. It's been 10 years and it feels like I've barely scratched the surface of the deconditioning/reprogramming process, though I've made progress in a few areas. I'm 25, so I'm finally mature enough to process everything that happened when I deconverted and didn't have the full capacity to cope with what I was going through. For the longest time I just completely shut off my brain whenever this topic came up (or more accurately, I wished I could shut it off).

 

So don't worry about processing it all now, because it takes a very very long time. It's easy to give in and feel vulnerable if you don't have a belief system, because we've been trained to believe that one needs a "belief system" in order to function as a moral individual. That nagging feeling in the back of your mind that this is satan trying to tempt you is difficult to shake off, but if you distract yourself enough than you'll be able to grow into a state where it may be easier to process.

 

Not that what works for me will necessarily work for you, but I definitely recommend taking this time to let loose, and think about enjoying yourself a little, because you've already taken a big step, and there's no need to go too far too quickly.

 

I also admire your courage to come out to your parents, something I can only seem to do with my mom. (I'm bisexual)

 

"what's wrong with living life, and with believing in myself and my own abilities, rather than constantly thinking I will never be good enough?"

 

This is a very inspiring comment, and relates to what I am going through right now. I'm glad I read this thread.

 

 

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