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Starting My Extimony


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This is my first post, and I do apologize for the length. I really did try to keep it as concise as possible. I just wanted to start writing down what I am thinking before I forget it all.

 

Background

 

I started going toa Baptist church when I was about 13. Iwas the only one in my family that was there. My parents did not discourage me from going, if anything, quite theopposite. I “accepted Christ” about ayear later, became heavily involved in the youth group, went on mission trips,etc. and kept it up during high school. After graduation, I didnot go to college right away, and held on to helping out with the youthgroup. I believed that college would bea waste of time, since Jesus would be coming back soon. For a few years, I “slid away”, andthoroughly enjoyed my life – smoked, drank and had a good time. I had a revival of sorts and went back fullforce when I was 21 – I was on fire for God. Then I met my wife – she is a Christian and we were a great soulmatch.

 

That was almost 22 years ago. During that time, my wife and I stayedcommitted to the church – from teaching high school Sunday school, dramaministry, worship arts ministry, video services, my wife serving as an elderand now a paid bookkeeper for the church. I have 2 kids – a 20 year old son, and my daughter is 18 and both areheading to college this week.

 

Ever since I became a Christian, I have always had thislingering questioning about this idea of Hell. It did not mesh with this idea of a loving God in my life. Going to a Baptist church, I was constantlyreminded how all my unchurched friends and my family will be going to hell, andit will be my fault for not telling them. I just accepted what I read andwas told to believe.

 

About 17 years ago, my father was diagnosed with prostatecancer that eventually spread to a kidney and spine. Of course, my biggest concern was hisspiritual future and could not bring myself to talk to him about it. After struggling with it for close to 10years, he finally succumbed and died without me leading him to Jesus.

 

I have always dealt with depression since I was a teen –mostly a physical issue than mental. Butmy dad’s death and the idea that he is forever languishing in Hell due to myinaction, sent me into the depths. Itwas so bad, there were days I could not literally lift my head.

 

As I started to climb out of my depression, I was dealtanother blow about 3 years ago– my 46 year old sister suddenly died from aheart attack. Now, with her, there wasno doubt in my mind she would be in hell.

 

That was it – I could no longer believe in this Hell. I eventually landed on Christian universalistweb site that informed me that I could believe in everything I have beentaught, but take Hell out of the picture. That resolved quite a bit for me, but not everything.

 

I had always wondered what my “calling” was and I firmlybelieved I was destined to be in some ministry. With the revelation that there is no longer a Hell, I also realized thatthere really is no need to be in a ministry or evangelize. Doubts were starting to sink in.

 

I no longer want to waste my time at church. I feel no reason to go. Believe me, I have been trying to pray to seesome reason, ask for some kind of message or sign, but nothing is coming tome. I prayed to restore my faith andgive me reasons to believe. Nothing.

 

A few days ago, I googled “Losing my faith” and found aninteresting blog. That eventually led mehere. I finally told myself to seriously considerwhat it would be like to not believe. I used to believe that a “true” Christian wouldnot, or actually could not strayaway. If one did, they really neverbelieved. (The no true Scotsmanfallacy).

 

Where I am today

 

I don’t think I have been this happy in more than 15years. I mean, I really feel freer thanI have ever been. I am no longerobsessed with death. Seriously, it isno longer bothering me.

 

I no longer dwell on lost time, trying to reach my callingor figuring out what my meaning or purpose is to this life. There is none. And that is a good thing. I should be enjoying what little time I haveleft in life.

 

I just want to say, thanks to all who post here with all theencouragement. When I first opened upthis site, I braced myself for a load of hatred. Boy, was I wrong. As a Christian, I never would have expected thislevel of support and understanding.

 

I still have a way to go – I am having trouble letting gocompletely and I have to figure out a way to tell my wife what is going on. However, I am optimistic it will all work out for thebest.

 

Thanks for reading/listening. I am not done with this yet.

 

 

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Welcome RokMartian

 

Glad your 1st impressions were good of this site. We are here to support you and give advice.

 

I also exited out of the madness via Universalism as hell on its own did not answer all the questions but provided a reprieve stepping stone out.

 

When I realized that they were still woos, when I started to question the inerrancy claims and they came out as fundie as the ETers, I knew I had to force myself to dismiss even this "small" bastion of hope.

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Welcome Rok! Glad you found the site and happy to read that you are learning to let go.

 

You can still have a purpose and meaning in your life. Now, you determine what that will be for yourself.

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Welcome Rok! Glad you found the site and happy to read that you are learning to let go.

 

You can still have a purpose and meaning in your life. Now, you determine what that will be for yourself.

 

Thanks! That is exactly what I meant by not having a meaning or purpose was a good thing. I am no longer searching for one from god.

 

BTW, I originally wrote this in word and copied/pasted it -- I did not notice the words running into each other until after I posted. Sorry about that.

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Glad you are on board Rok. I have travelled down a similar road as you. I went to bible college (southwestern Assemblies of God) in 1986, had 2 youth pastorates, music ministry, was to big things for god (according to the prophecys and words of knowledge) and now at 44 I have finally released myself. The more I tried to grow close to God the greater the realization became that he was not there. Hang in there. My wife is not fully aware yet and that is ok. All things in good time. Take care. I am finding the process is not necessarily easy and us who are here did not ask for this process...I guess we can call it providence.

 

 

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Good to hear. Welcome.

 

I'd like to ask if you don't mind - how has your wife and children taken this? Have you told them?

 

No, I have not told them yet. I have been hinting at it for a while - telling her I want to take a break from church and get less involved. I am moving my daughter into her dorm this weekend and we will be in the car for 5 hours. That may be a good time to lay it all out.

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Nice to meet you. Freedom rocks! I am sorry to hear about your depression and guilt over your father and sister. It was more than enough that you loved them. What an evil thing it is to tell people that others will burn in hell forever and it will be THEIR fault. That can really only have one outcome for an emotionally sensitive person. I wonder why it never occurs to them what a horrible thing that is to do to anyone.

 

Very pleased that you are finding your way through the maze. It certainly is a process with interesting twists and turns. Hope all goes well with telling your family.

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Welcome Rok, and thanks for sharing your story. I hope that your family will be accepting when you do find a way to tell them. Just out of curiosity, how have your wife and children taken your hinting? That may be a good indication of how they would react to you telling them. I think your idea of laying this all out to your daughter while you are on the car ride to her college together is a good plan. I'd say just have a heart-to-heart with her, and explain your feelings on religion and whatnot. You obviously know your family best, but I'm close to your daughter's age, and if I had a father who trusted me enough to open up like that, I would be very touched, even if I didn't agree with him. And I would probably feel more comfortable opening up to him about my problems in the future. That all being said, best of luck to you! :)

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Thanks all! I have to say I am really blown away by all this support. I always had a harsh stereotype of atheism in my mind, but all I have read is really affirming the doubts I have.

 

Hickorygrove: It is nice to be in such good company.

 

Galien: I am amazed at how much a week of "doubting" has helped me in my depression. You said it best -- Freedom rocks!

 

Insaneloner: Your age belies your wisdom. Knowing this truth now will save years of regret.

My family hasn't caught on really just yet - I've been saying I need to take a break from church and maybe try something else. My wife actually agreed with me. It just so happens the pastor of the church I go to is taking a sabbatical in a few weeks. I am the one who is in charge of creating his sermon note slides, so I have an opportunity to make a clean break. I already told my wife I am planning on stopping my involvement.

 

Again thanks all!

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Thanks for the compliment Rok.

It's good that you're going to get to take a break from church at least...great timing on the pastor's sabbatical! :HaHa: I'm glad your wife agrees with you though, because I know there are a lot of christians out there who would put up a big stink about skipping or taking a break from church. Perhaps she is having some issues with the church as well? Or maybe she just really likes that pastor or something, who knows?

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Welcome, Rok! I also am new to the fold. It was interesting that you mentioned that, like me, you found universalism, but then that was also a stepping stone to your deconversion. I was and still am fully convinced that the Bible, properly interpreted, indicates in no uncertain terms that God will save everyone, but then Christianity throughout the ages hijacked the idea of "eternal conscious torment" from other sources and started threatening people with it. It does make me wonder though...how common is it for people to step from fundamentalism to universalism and then further to atheism? It seems that there are plenty of Christian universalists who just stop there, but I wonder if it really is more like a stepping stone to atheism or not...

 

Ah, but anyways, that's not the point of this thread. I encourage you in your endeavors and in your coming conversations with your children and family. Unfortunately, I have only encouragement and not advice, since this is something I still have to do as well, and I'm not sure how it's going to go.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, it has been over a month and I just told my wife tonight. She is devastated. I feel like shit for what I just put her through.

 

We were in the car to go out to dinner and somehow the subject came up about beliefs. I told her I was having a lot of doubts. I pulled over, and gave her everything - why I started doubting. I feel so horrible right now. We have been together for over 20 years and having Christ in our lives is what drew us together. She is my best friend and told her it wouldn't change how I feel about her.

 

She said she now feels so alone and has no one to talk to about this. She told me she makes a contingency plan for any kind of change, including divorce. She knew I was going through some tough times and thought I was going to leave her last year. But not this. She never thought anything like this would happen and she never wanted to be "that woman" at church whose husband would never come.

 

Hopefully this will get better.

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RokMartian, believe me when I tell you that I understand. I really, really understand. I can't help but wonder if the day will come that I will find myself doing the same thing, and typing the same text here later.

 

I hope it gets better for the two of you, too.

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  • Moderator

Welcome Rok, and thanks for sharing your story. You are finally home!:grin:And I am sorry that you had to suffer in your life because of what you were lead to believe.

 

When I stopped believing in the christian god - everything just started to make more sense to me in life, so a lot of my depression started to lift. I don't have to ask this god, ''why, why, why, would you allow this? and why is that like this god? Life is life and lots of unfair things happen and they have NOTHING to do with the invisable god in the sky. All my questions stopped. I have been slowly deconverting for about 5 years now. This site is what keeps me going. I have made so many friends! Even though I have not met them in person - they are here for me and I appreciate everyone of them.

 

Keep reading all the posts - there are hundreds that will help you. I am soooo glad you joined us - looking forward to more of your posts!!

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  • Moderator

 

 

New keyboards are about 10 bucks at walmart. You should invest in one with a better space bar.

 

 

 

Noggy, my darlin' - I want to suggest that FIRST you welcome the sincere newcomer....... and then, if you must.......say your criticisms...............

 

Even on 'forums', it's nice to have a few manners. :shrug:

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RokMartian, welcome to the site. I didn't find your thread till now so I read the entire story (so far) all in one sitting. I'm so sorry for the way your wife is taking it. The so-called loving Christ can and does break up families. Sometimes human feeling overcomes religious differences. I can only wish you the best; I can make no promises that it will get better but it could. Keep us posted.

 

How did it go with your daughter?

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