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DamnedSoul
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I used to post on these forums under a different name. I left on somewhat negative circumstances... or should I say, because people were telling me the truth, the truth that I didn't want to hear, and I angrily left, vowing to fix myself. I failed. I can't do this on my own. My mental state continues to get worse all the time.

 

I don't know what the hell I believe. The more I try to figure it out, the less sense it all makes. Worldview A doesn't make sense without an incompatible piece of the puzzle from worldview B, and vice versa. I originally started the process of "leaving" Christianity a few years ago. I don't know the exact timeline of how and when everything happened, it's all a blur to me now. Without getting into much detail, I was an obsessive fear ridden kid who decided to start living for Jesus. Over time I got more and more obsessive about it, living in so much fear, fear of the world around me, of my "self" being wicked and evil, never being good enough to please my savior. In retrospect, that much was true, I definitely wasn't good enough for Jesus. I was never a "good Christian", a soul winner, whatever else you want to call it. That was never me. I just wanted it to be. Obviously, nothing ever clicked. I was never close to "God", even though I wanted to be. After adopting that obsessive fear ridden mindset, it started to destroy my mind. Time went on and on, things got mentally worse and worse in ways I literally don't know how to explain, until I finally got sick of it. The idea of being a rebel started appealing to me. That idea didn't completely grab me at first, but as time went on and I started entertaining those thoughts more, I eventually started drifting towards that idea more. Definitely not overnight, but it started to happen. So my initial reason for leaving Christianity wasn't based on belief or disbelief, it was because I started to hate my perception of God. I wanted to sin. I was a typical, stupid, selfish, rebellious teenager. At least mentally, it wasn't necessarily apparent on the outside. That's not necessarily where I stand today. There's still some of that in me today, but it's a bit different. I don't want to be a "sinner", depending on what a person's definition of "sin" is. But Christianity angers me more today than it ever has. That fire has gotten bigger over time, for better or for worse. Reading the New Testament almost makes me sick. The letters of the apostles are full of so much hate. Hatred towards the "outsiders." In other words, anyone who isn't a part of their cult. Not only do they rant about how disgusting they are and slander them, they tell the Christians who they're writing to not to even associate with them. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.... Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.... That's only the tip of the iceberg. The modern church spouts love, love, love. Modern Christianity is bullshit. That kind of "love" that they claim God has towards everyone isn't found in the scriptures. But enough with that.

 

I'm obviously angry. I'm confused. I don't have any clue what I believe. I've read a good deal on both sides, and that has only added to the confusion. I need help. Every day is a battle that I cannot win. I'm falling apart, for many reasons. Religion is just one out of many factors. Can anyone offer me some advice? Book recommendations? Websites? Recommendations to affordable counselors who specialize in dealing with religious indoctrination and fear? Anything?

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Welcome to reality! The anger you are feeling will probably calm over time, at least it has for me. Though I still feel lots of anger towards the jesus cult its not as raging as it used to be. Now my anger is turning into passion, a passion that fuels my efforts to make people see the evils of organized religion.

 

I wish you well on your path of deconversion and I hope you eventually find the peace in this life that christianity failed to give you.

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Damned Soul, I understand how you feel. I've been going through the same thing. I want to tell you that we're in long, slow process. This shit takes time. Take a break from time to time. You've read both sides. Now give yourself days, weeks, or months to think about it. You don't need to decide anything now.

 

One thing that helped my out greatly has been a lot of physical activity. I go to intensive, hour-long, boot-camp-style exercise classes AT LEAST 3x/week. If you're stressed out, hell, do more :) - after clearing it with your physician, of course. The gym has become my sancuary, now. I can't imagine living without it.

 

There was an excellent post in the forums last night. Someone mentioned a practice called "maitri" by Pema Chodron: "When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. Maitri for yourself doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means you can still be crazy after all these years. You can still be angry after all these years. You can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to change yourself. Meditation practice is not about trying to throw yourself away and become something better. It's about befriending who you already are. The ground of practice is you - whoever you are right now, just as you are. That's the ground; that's what you study, that's what you come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

 

Good luck, soul

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First I want to say that I can identify with your story. I was in a very very bad place mentally as a Christian by the time I reached my breaking point. And then I was still in a pretty bad place during the first year or so of my deconversion.

 

Realize that it's OKAY to feel mixed up and falling apart. Don't put pressure on yourself to have life all figured out. Losing your faith, or even seriously questioning it, turns your whole life upside down. It's like a rug has been pulled out from under you and you no longer know which way is up. Think about how your life would be affected if your best friend died. You would be a mess, right? The death of your faith takes you through a grief process. A legitimate grief process. And it always lasts longer than you want it to, BUT...

 

it gets better. You have a life of freedom and peace of mind to look forward to. My deconversion started 4 years ago and I'm happier and more settled now than I've ever been in my life. When i was a christian, i lived in a constant state of guilt. Now, irrational guilt is rare for me. I have so much more self-confidence and I love my life.

 

You'll get there too. It just takes time.

 

I realize how this sounds, but reading my book might help you feel better, at least in the moment. It's free and you can download it by clicking the link on my signature. Movies have been theraputic for me. Reign Over Me is cathartic if you're grieving. The Invention of Lying is great if you need to laugh and get some perspective on Christianity. The book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey got me through part of my questioning phase. Seeing the school counselor helped me as well. Not knowing where you live, I can't recommend anyone.

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I appreciate all of your replies.

 

Decafaholic, I just started reading your book. It's good.

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Hi, Damnedsoul.

 

You will not truly leave Christianity until you are at the stage at which you realize deep within yourself that you are not rebelling against god. Rather, it will be when you come to terms with the fact that none of it is true and so there is nothing either holding you to it or pushing you away from it, it's just that the religion simply isn't real. It is in that mindset that freedom waits to welcome you to it.

 

The book I have found to be the best when it comes to learning that the religion is not real is the Bible, itself. Try reading the four gospels without anger and without faith. Do your best to read it objectively as an outside observer. Compare the stories that are in more than one of the gospels to each other and you will see how with each successive gospel, which were written in the following order: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and then John, the stories were changed much like an author of fiction changes his or her novel with each successive draft of that novel until the author is satisfied with it. You will see the very same thing in the four gospels and you will realize that history is not written like that. That's how fiction is written and that is what the four gospels are.

 

Once you have finished with the gospels, that may be enough. If not, then move on to the OT and read all about this so-called "loving" god who orders and condones genocide, including the killing of children and other atrocities and you will come to understand that you are reading fanciful stories from the bronze age mindset.

 

Best of luck on your journey.

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OMG.....this is almost exactly what i'm going through.....Neither do i know what to believe, and at times right now i realize my motivations is somewhat that i want to sin, Even if that's not how it started out. I too don't know where i am right now, i really have no idea. I am also on some uncertain terms with a lot of people on this forum.....being too obsessive and not being able to help myself very well, i don't know if that's what you're going through or have, i don't want to project onto you

 

Originally i took a break from christianity because i was tired of worrying if i was right with god. It consumed me, so i didn't really lose it i got rid of it for awhile. Then i went to college learned stuff, it became disbelief. However nowadays, it's more rebellion, thinking that is there was such a god, it would be better to go to hell. Although i know that emotions are fickle, and basing deconversion can turn into a "prodigal son" sort of mentality, and a return to "the faith". At least that is my fears, whether it has any basis i don't know. I will say that you will find other reasons, if you haven't already.

 

All i know is that there are plenty of people here who spent most of their short lives on earth trying to make christianity fit, but they couldn't, it didn't make sense, it wasn't internally consistent, it clashed with the mountains of information....How can i really believe that all these people just didnt' try? How can i really believe they're just fools who are deceived by satan? I don't know, it's all very confusing i'll admit i don't know where i'm going either, i just hope you will find that which makes you feel like it's ok to live life, whatever that is. It's all very scary and i'm hoping you are able to find the peace here (or anywhere) that you didn't before.

 

Good luck damned soul

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DamnedSoul,

 

THIS, you, is why we at ExC are here.

 

Peripheral opportunities to discuss and argue other issues and problems are open in other spots on boards.

 

Getting to a place where the exploded parts and parcels of your life are able to either be discarded as useless, or finding those parts you want and make life go forward in the direction(s) you desire and making headway is_the_thing_we_can_try_and_help_with.

 

There are many folks here who are fellow travelers who are headed in a similar if not exact direction as you are headed in.

They too are hurting, mixed up, simply screwed, and even switched around directionally on occasions.

 

With the Community and those who enjoy sharing and helping, you are not_alone_now.

 

My desire that you find those who will offer help, some guidance, words of moral comfort, and possibly some change in direction they may see that you headed in that "aint'a gonna work".

 

Blast away. Scream. Yell. Stay pissed as long as you need to get the bullshit removed from heart and blood stream.

THIS is the place where you are understood in major part, and will not be treated like a "nut", an "apostate idiot", "jerk", etc....

 

Hang on, life tends to suck as major things happen and your body and mind change with whats going on "upstairs".

 

kevin, keeper of lighthouse, oiler of same, L

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Hi, Damnedsoul.

 

You will not truly leave Christianity until you are at the stage at which you realize deep within yourself that you are not rebelling against god. Rather, it will be when you come to terms with the fact that none of it is true and so there is nothing either holding you to it or pushing you away from it, it's just that the religion simply isn't real. It is in that mindset that freedom waits to welcome you to it.

 

The book I have found to be the best when it comes to learning that the religion is not real is the Bible, itself. Try reading the four gospels without anger and without faith. Do your best to read it objectively as an outside observer. Compare the stories that are in more than one of the gospels to each other and you will see how with each successive gospel, which were written in the following order: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and then John, the stories were changed much like an author of fiction changes his or her novel with each successive draft of that novel until the author is satisfied with it. You will see the very same thing in the four gospels and you will realize that history is not written like that. That's how fiction is written and that is what the four gospels are.

 

Once you have finished with the gospels, that may be enough. If not, then move on to the OT and read all about this so-called "loving" god who orders and condones genocide, including the killing of children and other atrocities and you will come to understand that you are reading fanciful stories from the bronze age mindset.

 

Best of luck on your journey.

 

I can see what you're saying. It's hard for me to read the NT without anger or bias, and that anger leads to fear of it being true, whether it makes logical sense or not. When I read the OT, that's not as much of an issue, partly (I assume) because the NT concept of eternal punishment isn't found anywhere in the OT. When I read the OT, especially the parts that you would never hear in a church, it just makes me think "how could anyone ever believe in this?"

 

OMG.....this is almost exactly what i'm going through.....Neither do i know what to believe, and at times right now i realize my motivations is somewhat that i want to sin, Even if that's not how it started out. I too don't know where i am right now, i really have no idea. I am also on some uncertain terms with a lot of people on this forum.....being too obsessive and not being able to help myself very well, i don't know if that's what you're going through or have, i don't want to project onto you

 

Originally i took a break from christianity because i was tired of worrying if i was right with god. It consumed me, so i didn't really lose it i got rid of it for awhile. Then i went to college learned stuff, it became disbelief. However nowadays, it's more rebellion, thinking that is there was such a god, it would be better to go to hell. Although i know that emotions are fickle, and basing deconversion can turn into a "prodigal son" sort of mentality, and a return to "the faith". At least that is my fears, whether it has any basis i don't know. I will say that you will find other reasons, if you haven't already.

 

All i know is that there are plenty of people here who spent most of their short lives on earth trying to make christianity fit, but they couldn't, it didn't make sense, it wasn't internally consistent, it clashed with the mountains of information....How can i really believe that all these people just didnt' try? How can i really believe they're just fools who are deceived by satan? I don't know, it's all very confusing i'll admit i don't know where i'm going either, i just hope you will find that which makes you feel like it's ok to live life, whatever that is. It's all very scary and i'm hoping you are able to find the peace here (or anywhere) that you didn't before.

 

Good luck damned soul

 

I can definitely relate to that.

 

DamnedSoul,

 

THIS, you, is why we at ExC are here.

 

Peripheral opportunities to discuss and argue other issues and problems are open in other spots on boards.

 

Getting to a place where the exploded parts and parcels of your life are able to either be discarded as useless, or finding those parts you want and make life go forward in the direction(s) you desire and making headway is_the_thing_we_can_try_and_help_with.

 

There are many folks here who are fellow travelers who are headed in a similar if not exact direction as you are headed in.

They too are hurting, mixed up, simply screwed, and even switched around directionally on occasions.

 

With the Community and those who enjoy sharing and helping, you are not_alone_now.

 

My desire that you find those who will offer help, some guidance, words of moral comfort, and possibly some change in direction they may see that you headed in that "aint'a gonna work".

 

Blast away. Scream. Yell. Stay pissed as long as you need to get the bullshit removed from heart and blood stream.

THIS is the place where you are understood in major part, and will not be treated like a "nut", an "apostate idiot", "jerk", etc....

 

Hang on, life tends to suck as major things happen and your body and mind change with whats going on "upstairs".

 

kevin, keeper of lighthouse, oiler of same, L

 

This reminds me just how much more compassionate non-believers can be than Christians generally are. After I quit going to a certain youth group cold turkey, no one cared, no one said anything, no one invited me back, other than my best friend. Not that I care anything about being a part of that group, but it would have at least been nice to know I was missed. All it would have taken was one phone call, text message, a knock on the door. But apparently they didn't care enough to do that.

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I'm not sure I should even be calling myself an ex-Christian. I don't think I ever truly deconverted. I just backslid.... a lot. I don't know. All I know is I'm empty, and I want the peace that others seem to have. But I don't know whether I should run to Jesus or run from him. This anger isn't going away or getting better. Time has only made it worse. I'm raging with anger inside towards everyone, especially myself, to the point where I sometimes take a step back, see myself boiling with such hatred, and just say "what the fuck is wrong with me?" I want this to stop. If the answer is Jesus, I want Jesus. If not, I want nothing to do with him. I've never been able to find Jesus when searching for him in the past, so what makes now any different? Believing in Jesus now can only make things worse, because I know I can never find him. And even if I did come to some divine salvation experience, it wouldn't matter, because I know I can never truly condone some of the things in the Bible. I don't really know why I'm even typing this, it's not like I think people really are interested enough to want to know these things, but just getting these things off my chest and speaking my mind is very therapeutic.

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if you had a 'divine salvation experience' how would you know it was real? We are biological organisms-our 'reality' is a model of the 'real' world constructed from our sensory inputs.

 

I think it might have been David Hume who said 'There is no such thing as a self-authenticating religious experience'

 

I have a problem with 'Holy Spirit Epistemolgy' for this reason.

 

It's interesting to note that many religious movements have been started due to the religious experiences of key inividuals e.g. Paul, John Wesley, Ellen White, St Augustine, Martin Luther, Mohammed, The Buddha, Zoroaster etc, etc who for whatever reason had the charisma to persuade their followers that what they said was true.

 

When I first came into christianity via an altar call in a small 'Christian Fellowship' numbering no more than about 20 members, I remember thinking: 'how do I know that this group amongst all the others have the truth about the way of salvation?'

 

I now realise that the altar call was solely for my benefit because they new an unbeliever was in their midst.

 

When i said the Sinner's prayer I expected a 'divine salvation experience' to occur. I had said it in good faith. It never happened, leading me into a great deal of grief and confusion, trying to analyze what was wrong with me that prevented me from experience what the others seemed to have.

 

I kept trying to lean on the biblical promises, 'ask, seek, knock', 'come to me all you who are burdened, and heavy laden' but ultimately nothing good came of it. I genuinely did not want to be displeasing to God. After all, if he had created me and had provided a way of salvation, I wanted it.

 

I used to dream that there could be a church of like minded individuals who wanted to find Jesus, but couldn't.

 

This was before the advent of the internet. If it had existed then, it would have led me here to Ex-C.

 

I have tried again many times since then to find a 'Genuine Faith ' and have fancied on several occasions that I'd found it.

 

One time when I thought I had, I started reading the 'Left Behind' series and half way through the first book the thought popped into my head that Dispensationalism was a man-made crock

Of shit intended to eliminate the cognitive dissonance caused by biblical contradictions.

 

My new found 'faith' came crashing down.

 

I have caused myself immense psychological damage trying to find the answers to life's problems in the pursuit of Jesus. If God wants me, he can come and get me any time. After all faith is supposed to be a gift from God.

 

But then faith comes by 'hearing the word'

 

I guess I must just be barren soil.

 

Or maybe the simple truth is just that CHRISTIANITY IS NOT TRUE

 

Rant over.

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if you had a 'divine salvation experience' how would you know it was real? We are biological organisms-our 'reality' is a model of the 'real' world constructed from our sensory inputs.

 

I think it might have been David Hume who said 'There is no such thing as a self-authenticating religious experience'

 

I have a problem with 'Holy Spirit Epistemolgy' for this reason.

 

It's interesting to note that many religious movements have been started due to the religious experiences of key inividuals e.g. Paul, John Wesley, Ellen White, St Augustine, Martin Luther, Mohammed, The Buddha, Zoroaster etc, etc who for whatever reason had the charisma to persuade their followers that what they said was true.

 

When I first came into christianity via an altar call in a small 'Christian Fellowship' numbering no more than about 20 members, I remember thinking: 'how do I know that this group amongst all the others have the truth about the way of salvation?'

 

I now realise that the altar call was solely for my benefit because they new an unbeliever was in their midst.

 

When i said the Sinner's prayer I expected a 'divine salvation experience' to occur. I had said it in good faith. It never happened, leading me into a great deal of grief and confusion, trying to analyze what was wrong with me that prevented me from experience what the others seemed to have.

 

I kept trying to lean on the biblical promises, 'ask, seek, knock', 'come to me all you who are burdened, and heavy laden' but ultimately nothing good came of it. I genuinely did not want to be displeasing to God. After all, if he had created me and had provided a way of salvation, I wanted it.

 

I used to dream that there could be a church of like minded individuals who wanted to find Jesus, but couldn't.

 

This was before the advent of the internet. If it had existed then, it would have led me here to Ex-C.

 

I have tried again many times since then to find a 'Genuine Faith ™' and have fancied on several occasions that I'd found it.

 

One time when I thought I had, I started reading the 'Left Behind' series and half way through the first book the thought popped into my head that Dispensationalism was a man-made crock

Of shit intended to eliminate the cognitive dissonance caused by biblical contradictions.

 

My new found 'faith' came crashing down.

 

I have caused myself immense psychological damage trying to find the answers to life's problems in the pursuit of Jesus. If God wants me, he can come and get me any time. After all faith is supposed to be a gift from God.

 

But then faith comes by 'hearing the word'

 

I guess I must just be barren soil.

 

Or maybe the simple truth is just that CHRISTIANITY IS NOT TRUE

 

Rant over.

 

Hmm. For a long time, I've been in the position where I did not want Christianity to be true, but fear led me to believe it was. Now, I'm beginning to come to the place where deep down, I want Christianity to be true. Only, I know in my heart that it's not. Or is it? I'm too confused to make myself answer that.

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I forgot to actually answer your question. If I had a divine salvation experience, how would I know it was real? Well... I guess I wouldn't.

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I forgot to actually answer your question. If I had a divine salvation experience, how would I know it was real? Well... I guess I wouldn't.

 

I think you should read some of the testimonials. They are the best. I'll look through a few of them and try to find some of the ones that really helped me.

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http://new.exchristi...fairy-tale.html

 

http://new.exchristi...-christian.html

 

http://new.exchristi...h-in-jesus.html

 

There are a few others that are really good too, but there are some recent ones that really helped me.

 

Thank you, I'll check those out.

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I thought the Julia Sweeney "Letting Go of God" show was pretty good (a tad long but good). Lots of identifiable moments.

 

Someone probably has a link to it somewhere.

 

mwc

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I thought the Julia Sweeney "Letting Go of God" show was pretty good (a tad long but good). Lots of identifiable moments.

 

Someone probably has a link to it somewhere.

 

mwc

 

Just found it on YouTube. I'll watch it.

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Were you that one dude with the bad case of OCD? If you were no amount of forum posting is going to fix your condition, and as far as recommending counselors you need to ask people who live in your area. Have you tried reading the Koran and comparing it to the bible? It might take the sting out of being subjected to hard core christian brainwashing if you knew just how similar some religions are to christianity, same shit different wrapper ya'know?

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Start by relpacing the concept of Santa with "god" in your thought process and see how comical xianity sounds from that perspective :grin:

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Were you that one dude with the bad case of OCD?

 

Yeah, that's me.

 

If you were no amount of forum posting is going to fix your condition, and as far as recommending counselors you need to ask people who live in your area.

 

I agree. Not a lot of proper support around where I live though. For the most part, any time I go to any family or friends, I'll get Jesus shoved down my throat before they'll actually listen to what I'm saying. That's why I resort to the internet. I actually did some online counseling for a while, with a guy who happened to be an atheist. Didn't hurt, but didn't necessarily help either. Didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.

 

Have you tried reading the Koran and comparing it to the bible? It might take the sting out of being subjected to hard core christian brainwashing if you knew just how similar some religions are to christianity, same shit different wrapper ya'know?

 

I haven't, but that is a good idea.

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Start by relpacing the concept of Santa with "god" in your thought process and see how comical xianity sounds from that perspective :grin:

 

Christianity is already comical enough in my mind, so the Santa thing isn't even necessary in my mind to see things from that perspective.

 

^^ I always like to use Russel's teapot.

 

I've heard that argument before. Makes sense, for the most part.

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I just want to know what I actually believe. All this fence sitting is making my ass hurt. The day that I can take a stand for something and know why is the day I look forward to. I'm definitely nowhere near that point yet. I don't even know who I am as a person. The smallest details, how I should act, how I should talk, what kind of music I should listen to. I have no idea who I am or what I believe in. I'm wasting away trying to figure that out, only coming to more questions than I had in the first place. I have not yet begun living my life, as these questions are getting in the way.

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