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Citsonga

Letter To My Christian Parents

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Hey all,

 

I have attached a letter that I just finished writing to explain to my Christian parents why I no longer believe in Christianity. It is a long letter, clocking in at 46 pages, and it mostly deals with Bible problems (starting on the second page), so I definitely don't expect everyone to read it.

 

However, for those who would be interested in reading it, here it is. I have not put a date on it or sent it yet. I figured I would wait a few days, that way if you read it and notice a typo, unclear statement or factual error and bring it to my attention, then I can change it before sending it to my parents. I do plan to mail it later this week, though.

 

For a little background, I was raised in a conservative, evangelical Christian environment, and I thoroughly believed it for much of my life. I didn't start questioning until I was 29, and during the following year or so I came to the very difficult conclusion that I had believed a lie all those years.

 

Now I am 38, and until recently I had not told my parents that I no longer believe. I simply tried to avoid the issue when it came up, which was usually fairly easy since I live about 500 miles away from them.

 

However, I knew that it would eventually come to light, and sure enough, when we were visiting my parents over the July 4th holiday, on the 5th my Dad approached me and said that my daughter had mentioned that I hadn't been going to church. I tried to avoid having a debate by saying that I would write a letter of explanation, but he pushed the issue, so I told him that I hadn't believed that stuff in years. He said that he couldn't understand how someone who knows the Bible well couldn't believe it, so I rattled off a couple problems with the Bible, and the conversation stalled when he simply said that there are things in the Bible that he doesn't understand.

 

After getting back home, I set in to using my spare time to complete a letter of explanation. A week ago my Mom called to talk about this matter, so I told her that I was writing a letter that would be very detailed. Of course, I don't think that she has any clue how detailed I really meant, but they are expecting the letter.

 

Anyway, I hope this letter is of benefit to some here. Other than some opening and closing remarks, it is a thorough analysis of the Bible and Christian beliefs. And again, if you notice any typos, unclear statements or factual errors, please bring them to my attention.

 

(I should also clarify that, except where otherwise indicated, my Bible quotations are from the KJV. Therefore, there are archaic spellings and odd punctuation within the quotes, but I left them that way because that's how they are in the KJV.)

 

Thanks!

[EDIT : The final version is completed and I have attached it to post #13]

Letter to Parents.doc

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I read a good deal of your letter, and skimmed the rest, and found it to be excellent. I am currently compiling a similar list of biblical issues. Many of the points you made were part of the reasons for my own deconversion. The funny thing is (as you mentioned in your letter), there are so many other problems with Christianity and the Bible beyond the ones you touched upon, it would probably take several hundred pages to cover them all. The only typo I noticed (but I was reading pretty fast) was "Christianity" was spelled incorrectly three paragraphs up from the end. Great letter, I hope it all goes well.

 

Respectfully,

Franciscan Monkey

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Thanks, FM. I'll have to fix that when I get home.

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Citsonga, that was truly an outstanding piece of work you did with your letter. It was well organized and I think you made all your points in the very best way possible - by citing the Bible itself. As we know, the Bible is its own worst enemy.

 

I do not know your parents, but I suspect, given their conservative, evangelical background, they will not be convinced. And I know you were not trying to convince them but were letting them know you had well thought out reasons for your rejection of their beloved religion. What I do think you will have accomplished is to set aside what so many Christians claim. And that claim is that you are rejecting god so you can live a life of sin.

 

In their minds, their faith will trump everything you said. For Christians, the number one virtue is faith and faith overcomes all the logical reasoning which you so convincingly employ. I think of such verses as:

 

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.[a]

 

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

 

proverbs 3:5-8

 

And this from Paul:

 

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

 

1 Corinthians 3:18-20

 

One area in your letter that I think deserves special mention. And it is this:

 

I am also convinced that there are practicing Christian ministers who know it's not true.

 

Page 46

 

I think it is this area that may cause your parents the most trouble. If they think about it, who has the bigger stake in Christianity than ministers? It is from the religion that they gain power, control over people, respect, special privileges, and, most importantly, financial gain with their message of tithings and offerings. If I had just one suggestion it would be for you to place a little more emphasis on this issue, specifically spelling out that ministers are not unbiased observers but have a personal stake in the religion. I suggest this because I suspect that your parents may take your letter to their minister for help in understanding what you are saying. If you sew the seed of doubt about their minister's bias it just may help their understanding of your points.

 

Anyway, great job!!

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Wow, you spent a lot of time and effort on that letter. It's really a good body of work. I hope it does not go unnoticed to your parents (as you reinforced in your conclusion) that this is not something you decided on a whim. I also like how you stuck to the facts and distanced yourself from getting emotional. If I was making an argument I'd be highly tempted (as I've done before) to mention my disgust with the story of Abraham as one example. However, some Christians to this day have so utterly compartmentalized their allegiance to their god that they've convinced themselves that they would do the same thing (willingness to sacrifice their own child). Nevermind that the same people will call others crazy who say god told them to kill their children. I would also guess you made a concerted effort to stay away from any scientific discussions which they would simply ignore, again sticking just to the facts which they themselves should hopefully accept. Please update us with how it goes.

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Thanks, guys.

 

OvercameFaith, I had actually intended to address Proverbs 3:5 but it slipped my mind when I was writing. Maybe I should add it in, as well as taking your suggestion to expand on the unbelieving preachers.

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This is the first time I've posted on this site, but I just had to say your letter is fantastic!

 

I realise you have written it for your parents, but I'm sure it will benefit many people (including me!) who visit this site! You have addressed so many of this issues that I don't have the ability to research thoroughly enough, and put them in a coherent, clear manner.

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I loved the letter - just read the whole thing. You basically detailed a lot of things I "knew" but have been too lazy to actually detail out.

 

I did notice two additional spelling errors (minor ones) that I actually jotted down (there was another, but I forgot where it was):

Page 41, HIstory 1st Paragraph: "net" should be not

Page 40, Other Issues 3rd full paragraph: "if" should be it

 

Also, would you mind if I share and plagiarize your letter? I would like to give it to my sister to read - she's still in the Christian category (albeit has moved to the more liberal side of things), and I'd like her to read it in its entirety. We've been discussing a lot about "knowing what you believe" and I think this would be great for her in a quick, easy to read format that can be done in short period of time unlike full on books.

 

I'd also like to keep it around for the inevitable conversation/time when I'm going to need to spell out to my mother exactly why I don't believe. She's under the impression I don't believe because of "bad" things that happened in life and/or because of things "other christians" have done, which couldn't be further from the truth. I tried to tell her it was an intellectual thing, not an emotional tantrum, but she just refused to believe me. While something like this may not change what she wants to believe, on the other hand it would be useful to have this much information (taking out and changing the personal bits of course) that I could send her when she's finally willing/wanting to listen - which I'm sure will come at some point. May also be useful if/when our last church members decide to confront us about our lack of return to church once the DH is out of school (which I'm guessing is also likely to happen sometime this fall).

 

You've done a great job of summarizing a lot of information into a reader-friendly format, and I think it could have benefits that extend far beyond just your own situation...take out the personal bits and I think this would be a terrific resource for a LOT of people, whether they are like me and just don't feel like taking the time to compile all this information, or for others who are questioning where to even start looking into things.

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Thanks, everyone. I've fixed the typos on my end. I may even make a couple other minor alterations before sending it. I'll probably eventually attach the final version that I actually send.

 

 

 

Also, would you mind if I share and plagiarize your letter? I would like to give it to my sister to read - she's still in the Christian category (albeit has moved to the more liberal side of things), and I'd like her to read it in its entirety. We've been discussing a lot about "knowing what you believe" and I think this would be great for her in a quick, easy to read format that can be done in short period of time unlike full on books.

 

Hey, if it will help, feel free to use it.

 

I'd also like to keep it around for the inevitable conversation/time when I'm going to need to spell out to my mother exactly why I don't believe. She's under the impression I don't believe because of "bad" things that happened in life and/or because of things "other christians" have done, which couldn't be further from the truth. I tried to tell her it was an intellectual thing, not an emotional tantrum, but she just refused to believe me. While something like this may not change what she wants to believe, on the other hand it would be useful to have this much information (taking out and changing the personal bits of course) that I could send her when she's finally willing/wanting to listen - which I'm sure will come at some point. May also be useful if/when our last church members decide to confront us about our lack of return to church once the DH is out of school (which I'm guessing is also likely to happen sometime this fall).

 

Yep, that's the typical christian reaction. It's precisely because of such misunderstandings that I feel the need to go into such detail in the letter I wrote.

 

You've done a great job of summarizing a lot of information into a reader-friendly format, and I think it could have benefits that extend far beyond just your own situation...take out the personal bits and I think this would be a terrific resource for a LOT of people, whether they are like me and just don't feel like taking the time to compile all this information, or for others who are questioning where to even start looking into things.

 

Thanks. I'm involved with a group in Pennsylvania called PA Nonbelievers. I shared the letter on a discussion list, and there's already talk of using it in official literature for the organization.

 

As a side note, back in 2005 I wrote an 18 page letter to a friend explaining my loss of faith, and a lot of the material in that letter was revamped for this letter before adding the rest of the material. I have used several of this letter's arguments on ex-christian.net already, so some people may recognize my particular approach.

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I have made some more minor corrections to the letter based on information I've received from others who read it. Also, in the portion of the introduction where I mention the depressing time I went through years ago, I have added this statement: "For clarification, that depression was caused by the problems I was starting to see in the Bible and was not the source of my doubt."

 

I am also considering adding some comments about the misconception that religion is needed for morality. Also, as mentioned in this thread, I may address Proverbs 3:5 ("lean not unto thine own understanding") and expound on my comment about there being ministers who really don't believe. Whatever I do end up adding I will need to do soon, since I don't want to procrastinate too long on sending the letter.

 

Today will be a family day, though. We're taking the kiddos to an amusement park.

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You've done a great job of summarizing a lot of information into a reader-friendly format, and I think it could have benefits that extend far beyond just your own situation...take out the personal bits and I think this would be a terrific resource for a LOT of people, whether they are like me and just don't feel like taking the time to compile all this information, or for others who are questioning where to even start looking into things.

 

I agree with this statement completely. I think this thread should be pinned for the reasons expressed above. I'm not sure who's in charge of such things, but for what it's worth, my vote is for pinning, most especially if you attach your final version (not that the original isn't fantastic, because it is.....)

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Thank you for posting this letter. It was extremely detailed and I think you did very well writing it out. I do hope that it works wonders with your parents. The section that caught my interest the most was the christological prophecies. I always wondered about them before, realizing how random they seemed to have been plucked (especially the passage "out of egypt I have called my son") and to see them all now in a new light is amazing how one could ever accept them as real prophecies?

 

Keep us up to date, and may I suggest an apologetics career in your future? :P Hell, I think you could make a decent book out of this and I'd sure buy it.

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FINAL VERSION

 

OK, I have gotten some good feedback here and elsewhere, so I thank everyone for that. I have corrected a few typos and other minor flaws, but I have also added a little more material. The final version is 49 pages, which I have printed out and signed. I need to pick up a manilla envelope, and then I'll get it mailed. (Yes, I am using snail-mail for this.)

 

I have attached in this post the final version of "Letter to Parents" (I wanted to change the attachment in the initial post, but I didn't see any way to do that). For the sake of those who read the previous draft and are only interested in seeing what material I have added, I have also attached "Letter changes."

 

I will try to keep you informed regarding what happens between my parents and myself.

Letter to Parents.doc

Letter changes.doc

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Thank you for posting this letter. It was extremely detailed and I think you did very well writing it out. I do hope that it works wonders with your parents. The section that caught my interest the most was the christological prophecies. I always wondered about them before, realizing how random they seemed to have been plucked (especially the passage "out of egypt I have called my son") and to see them all now in a new light is amazing how one could ever accept them as real prophecies?

 

Keep us up to date, and may I suggest an apologetics career in your future? :P Hell, I think you could make a decent book out of this and I'd sure buy it.

 

Thanks. Indeed, it was the realization that the "christological" prophecies were taken out of context and completely misconstrued by NT authors that destroyed my faith. The basic contradictions came first and caused me to doubt, and the cruelties, injustices and absurdities came later and further solidified my loss of faith, but the fabricated prophetic fulfillments were what really made me realize that Christianity is a lie.

 

By the way, a friend of mine has suggested a couple times that I have the makings of a book with this letter. I'm not sure, though, since I have no credentials or anything to impress a publisher. Also, to expand it into a full book would be quite a task. I don't know what will happen, but I am thinking of keeping a separate file of the arguments from the letter and adding to it over time. Who knows what it will grow into?

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Wow! That was such a great read. I am going to print this out to use for future reference. Thanks for posting!

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I've gone through and read the first half of our letter, and WOW! You've really done a great job and put heaps of effort into this. I've only very recently deconverted myself and am yet to look into much of the Biblical contradicions for myself, although I had spotted some of the larger ones you mention. I also found your section on fabricated prophetic fulfilments to be very insightful. Heck I could be Jesus if your going to cherry pick the Old Testament like that!

 

As I was going through this, I was checking against scriptures to verify that everything is as you've stated. Is been very important for me to see the full story for myself in the Bible, reading portions before and after the listed verses. It helps me to collapse years of brain washing. I must be honest in that I started to feel depressed as I got half way though. I feel that so many years of my life have been wasted, and everything that I have been taught about the Bible is only partly true. I can't believe others around me taught me such rubbish! Part of me still can't believe that it's all a lie!

 

I'll definately keep this one around. I'm sure that when the time comes to tell my parents, that it'll be handy to have around, if you don't mind. That and a but load of other evidence I've collected! Great effort man!

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Guest wester

Superb - you worked your kiester off, mister...keep it coming...

 

You are obviously doing a good service to yourself and the world. Even so, "Denial" is the name of an ocean in America. I know my Rev. mother's reaction to this would be to lock herself in a dark room, cry and scream all night, and then pretend the next morning that she never saw it and nothing ever happened.

 

Remember that you have to live with yourself your whole life and your parents only have to live with themselves. Be careful out there.

 

Best of luck in all things.

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Thanks for the latest replies. I'm glad that the letter can be beneficial to some.

 

I mailed it on Monday, and I haven't heard anything about it from my parents yet. They are 500 miles away, though, and sometimes things can take up to a week to be delivered there, so I don't know if they've received it yet or not. If they haven't, then they should soon.

 

I must be honest in that I started to feel depressed as I got half way though. I feel that so many years of my life have been wasted, and everything that I have been taught about the Bible is only partly true. I can't believe others around me taught me such rubbish! Part of me still can't believe that it's all a lie!

 

I can certainly identify. The depressing period I went through (mentioned in the introduction of the letter) was basically a feeling that the foundation had been ripped out from under me and I had no place to get a foothold. I could see that what I had always perceived as truth was crumbling before me, but I wasn't sure where to go from there. Things have gotten much better over the years, though, so I can say with confidence that things will likely get better for you too.

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I just got an email that my mother sent last night, and in it she said:

 

Got your package Wed & was surprised at how long it is. You said it would be lengthy, didn't expect a book! LOL Haven't had time to read much of it yet, but plan to get more into it this weekend.

 

My mother is pretty smart and tends to be more reasonable than my father, so I think there's a better chance of her understanding than my dad. We'll see how it goes.

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I talked to my mother on the phone today and this subject didn't come up. However, I then got this email:

 

Dad wanted to make one request of you while we are reading the papers you sent. He is asking if you will read just one verse from Proverbs daily while we are reading your papers & trying to digest them.

 

Love you,

MOM

 

I just replied with this:

 

I suppose that a moment each day to read one verse isn't much to ask, so if it will humor Dad, I'll try to remember to do that. Just keep in mind that reading a verse of the Bible every day will have about the same effect on me as it would have on him to read a verse of the Koran every day.

 

I have read the entire book of Proverbs multiple times and I have heard the popular verses hundreds (maybe thousands) of times. What would it accomplish to read it again? I even address the "lean not unto thine own understanding" proverb toward the end of the letter, in case you're curious. As I said in the letter, I have heard the Christian side for 38 years, and there are enormous flaws with it. Just reading Proverbs again will not take those problems away. However, it wouldn't be a big deal for me to read a couple lines a day, so that's not a problem.

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Good luck with everything with your parents. I know it won't be easy on them or you. I as of yet, have not decided whether or not to tell my parents. It may damage my family relationships all too much, but I will see how things go with more time. I know that there is no way that they could possibly comprehend why I've left!

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Thanks for wishing me luck, and I wish you luck too.

 

I had contemplated for a long time whether or not to bring it up to my parents. I knew it would eventually surface anyway, and I didn't want to cause them any unnecessary strife, so I never did bother telling them. It was only after they found out about it and questioned me about it that I felt that I really needed to explain where I'm coming from. It's a lot to take in, so hopefully I haven't done the wrong thing by bombarding them with too much info all at once.

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I've been reading a little bit of your letter every day. I'm learning a lot.

 

Any updates? I hope all goes well for your family.

 

Phanta

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I've been reading a little bit of your letter every day. I'm learning a lot.

 

Any updates? I hope all goes well for your family.

 

Phanta

 

I'm glad that you're finding the letter informative. I hope you're reading the final version, since corrections were made and there is some additional material.

 

There aren't any new updates since the last I've given in this thread. I hope my parents aren't pulling their hair out, but I can imagine that the info I've shared with them is quite a challenge to them.

 

Take care....

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but I can imagine that the info I've shared with them is quite a challenge to them.

 

Oh, I'm sure if I showed my parents that letter, they would just palm it off saying "We are just mortal and can not understand God or his ways. Who are we to doubt God." But at least they could then understand my reasons for unbelief, even though I doubt it would change theirs. They simply have to much of there life invested in it, and don't forget that the Devil is always lurking around trying to deceive. (On a side note, I hate it when xians use the Devil as en escape goat; e.g. my parents said some very offensive things to me the other week, when I confronted them about it, they said that it was just the devil changing my perseption of what they actually said!)...!

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