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Did You Leave In Stages?


MarieVerus
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I wanted to gauge other people's experiences. I grew up fundamentalist Baptist, became an evangelical Anglican, and now as a liberal Christian find myself struggling to continue to keep the pieces together.

 

Has anyone else done this in their "de-conversion" process? It reminds me of coming off an anti-depressant; you take off a little at a time as your mind and body adjust to the different levels, until one day you don't need it anymore.

 

I still find myself a theist, but a little bit leaves me each day.

 

Anyone else have a similar experience?

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I wanted to gauge other people's experiences. I grew up fundamentalist Baptist, became an evangelical Anglican, and now as a liberal Christian find myself struggling to continue to keep the pieces together.

 

Has anyone else done this in their "de-conversion" process? It reminds me of coming off an anti-depressant; you take off a little at a time as your mind and body adjust to the different levels, until one day you don't need it anymore.

 

I still find myself a theist, but a little bit leaves me each day.

 

Anyone else have a similar experience?

 

Welcome Marie! You are takin' to the queen of leaving and going back. Probably 10 times in 35 years. Different churches, doctrines and pastors.......... Everything just kept dying, bit by bit because they could not answer the questions I had all those years about the bible and god. They just kept telling me to have faith. Nope, not me, my faith was starting to die, bit by bit as I looked around the world and said to myself: ''Self, It doesn't look like there is a god out there and if there is - he doesn't seem to give a shit about what's going on. I couldn't 'drink the blood' or 'eat the body' anymore. I knew it was over for me, but it's been real hard deconverting. It was like discovering in my 50's that there is no Santa. Life makes way more sense to me now that I don't constantly have to scream out to god:' Why, Why, Why.............

 

I'll leave you with the letter I wrote to god - you'll understand what happened to me - sure hope it helps you. Looking forward to hearing more from you my friend!:grin:

 

http://www.ex-christ...ase-forgive-me/

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I left bit by bit because when I stopped believing, I was underage in a Christian family and had no choice about things like church attendance. First I substituted youth group for volunteer work. Then in college, I stopped going to church every week and eventually stopped going at all, although I still attended Intervarsity occasionally for social reasons. I tried out several different denominations, but none of them stuck. Like you, I definitely never went back to being a fundamentalist Baptist. I went back to evangelical Christianity for a few years after college, for family reasons, despite having no belief yet, and it was one of the worst times and worst decisions in my life, one that I feel taught me nothing I didn't already know, didn't make me stronger, wasn't for a purpose, didn't make me a better person or any of that bullshit. Skipped liberal Christianity, but briefly explored non-theistic religion, which also didn't stick.

 

I don't know if because of your fundamentalist Baptist upbringing, you still have family or friends in your life who believe that. Despite all the things I left in Christianity before acknowledging that I was an atheist, the last hurdle of coming out as a non-Christian was no easier than coming out as a nominal Christian. But I always felt crappy around my family as a nominal Christian, knowing that it was a disappointment to them and that they considered nominal/liberal/Christmas&Easter Christians barely better than non-Christians. I didn't really feel relief by leaving a little at a time. It wasn't better for me personally and emotionally until I ripped the bandage off.

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The realization that it was all horsey pucks came in stages. That took about six months. Then one night while studying Revelation at Moody, it hit me; none of this makes any sense!

 

After accepting that I had based my belief on a faulty premise, I just walked away and never looked back. I know a lot of people apparently have a difficult time leaving even though they don't believe anymore, but for me it was simple - this is wrong, I'm leaving now.

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Has anyone else done this in their "de-conversion" process? It reminds me of coming off an anti-depressant; you take off a little at a time as your mind and body adjust to the different levels, until one day you don't need it anymore.

 

I still find myself a theist, but a little bit leaves me each day.

 

Hi Marie! I was raised as a liberal Catholic, and became a Seventh Day Adventist. I try not to blame a certain member of my family for bringing those Pastors into the house when I was a vulnerable teen! A few years later I visited fundagelical churches of many stripes, which caused me to become a liberal churchless Christian. I observed the same mindset as the conservative SDA's had, only with differing doctrines. Then I studied and read everything I could about Christianity and became what I am today.

 

The key is to be honest with yourself and listen to all the arguments. That wasn't hard to do after I opened my mind.

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The realization that it was all horsey pucks came in stages. That took about six months. Then one night while studying Revelation at Moody, it hit me; none of this makes any sense!

 

After accepting that I had based my belief on a faulty premise, I just walked away and never looked back. I know a lot of people apparently have a difficult time leaving even though they don't believe anymore, but for me it was simple - this is wrong, I'm leaving now.

You attended Moody Bible Institute? I was across the lake at Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music (just the '74-75 school year; the place closed in the mid 80's). I didn't figure things out that quickly, alas, but I think GRSBM was the beginning of the end for me.

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The key is to be honest with yourself and listen to all the arguments. That wasn't hard to do after I opened my mind.

 

As ridiculous as this sounds, this is difficult for me. As an Anglican, instead of defining my faith on just the Bible alone I started using tradition as my barometer. After all, the bible needs a reliable interpreter, right? So I started accepting "orthodox Christian teaching" wholesale. It's hard to de-program and go, "No, I don't care if we've always thought that. It make no sense, and here are the logical reasons why." Some orthodox ideas I discovered were a balm to the fundamentalist crazy I encountered (I was told matter was evil, but the ancient idea of sacrament teaches that God uses/is present in/loves creation ever after the fall). So I figured if I accepted that orthodox idea (matter is good), I should accept them all wholesale. Now I'm deprogramming and going, "Wait." Especially on things like gender, sexuality and contraception.

 

Faulty reasoning? Of course. I could have discovered that matter is good/neutral simply from looking around me. Apparently I needed God to tell me it was so.

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It took me several months to admit to myself and others that I no longer believed in god. I had my “ah ha” moment in February of 2008 and over the next several months I puzzled over how I could so easily stop believing in something that had been a huge part of my life. In October I told my best friend who recommended this site. After joining I got a lot of support as I agonized over telling my mother and subsequently stopped attending church. Oddly enough, I never felt any angst over the “loss” of god. All of my angst was centered around disappointing mom. (And I was 53 years old at the time!) :shrug:

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The realization that it was all horsey pucks came in stages. That took about six months. Then one night while studying Revelation at Moody, it hit me; none of this makes any sense!

 

After accepting that I had based my belief on a faulty premise, I just walked away and never looked back. I know a lot of people apparently have a difficult time leaving even though they don't believe anymore, but for me it was simple - this is wrong, I'm leaving now.

You attended Moody Bible Institute? I was across the lake at Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music (just the '74-75 school year; the place closed in the mid 80's). I didn't figure things out that quickly, alas, but I think GRSBM was the beginning of the end for me.

 

Other bible college refugees! I attended Columbia International University, which is a lesser known Christian college in the bible belt dedicated to churning out missionaries. They shove it down your throat so much that a lot of the alumni joke that they wanted to be missionaries until they went to CIU.

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You attended Moody Bible Institute?

Night school in Florida. Just for my own satisfaction. I like to study the shit out of any subject I'm interested in, and once the shit was out of the Bible there was nothing left!

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Yes, although I didn't realize I was actually leaving until the final stage. Despite the drawn out process, however, finally leaving was still tough. I really feel for those who suddenly lose their faith in one devastating whollop.

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Yeah, definitely.

 

When I was young I believed because I was told. By 6-7th grade I attended church and practiced my faith because I was told. After I got confirmed I realized I felt nothing and got nothing out of religion. By high school I adopted the "I like god but not religion" thing. That stuck for a while until I actually looked at the existence of god in college. Thanks to a few good books, wonderful websites like this one, and powerful self-realization, I can confirm myself as an atheist.

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Only in the sense that jumping in the ocean gets you wet in stages.

 

Seriously, I dropped christianity like a hot potato at age 18, nearly 20 years ago. I explored other avenues for a decade, but nothing really rang true, so I decided I was a big A (Atheist, not asshole).

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So I figured if I accepted that orthodox idea (matter is good), I should accept them all wholesale. Now I'm deprogramming and going, "Wait." Especially on things like gender, sexuality and contraception.

 

Faulty reasoning? Of course. I could have discovered that matter is good/neutral simply from looking around me. Apparently I needed God to tell me it was so.

 

Christianity, in one form or another, is in the air everywhere in the bible belt. So it's difficult to think outside the Christian box. Even within the box, any change seems like a huge leap to somewhere else better, when it's really just a tiny baby step.

 

If you ever get a chance to travel to Southeast Asia, it will blow that box apart! We are so into ourselves here in the USA, that the rest of the world's ideas and ways of thinking seem wrong to our "superior" perspective of life. Fortunately, you've grown to be a seeker rather than a total conformist. Enjoy the journey!

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I went back and forth to church like a yo-yo, trying different denominations, studying different bibles, even started seminary school (Trinity) trying to run a ministry too. It took me a few years to get it all behind me, I had been in the cult of the cross for more than 40 years when I finally got out. After so many centuries of religious indoctrination drilled into our heads day and night, it's a wonder anyone can get out! I believe all of us who have made the split from religion have strong mental capacities, which may have once been clouded by faith are now open and functioning.

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I went through many stages of Christianity. I argued theology on these theological boards for years.

Someone mentioned Carm.org, in a thread, and it reminded me that when I was a Christain Universalist, I used to

go there and argue theology years ago.

 

I work with a fundamentalist Christain. He kept on bugging me about my beliefs. That is what sent me all the way over

to the exchristain side. I realized that my beliefs no longer qualify me as a Christian. I am still getting comforable with the Idea

that I can be a theist without being a Christian. Theism is a choice for me. I choose to believe for my reasons.

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I left once in my mid-twenties but was still a theist of some sort. Then was full swing back in Xianity for another twenty years before it unraveled for good the second time. This second crisis of faith took a few years. I hung on to my faith with white knuckled determination but reality stomped on my fingers and down I went. I am thankful for this site!

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It was in the course of probably a couple weeks that I realized the bible wasn't true (after 30 years growing up in church). I started honestly looking into whether Jesus was really the Messiah according to the prophecies. When I found out the so-called prophecies were rubbish, I jumped the fence in my mind almost instantly. If Jesus was never actually the messiah, then there's no reason to believe any form of christianity. After that I found more and more problems with christian doctrine. At the moment I still go to church occasionally, in order to catch up with friends (who currently don't know my status).

But sitting through a full service is getting really hard to stomach. smiley-bangheadonwall.gif

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