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Hi everyone,

 

I've been reading these message boards for over a year now and I finally decided to tell my story.

 

My story is very similar to many of the other stories I have read on here. I was raised in a Christian home where we went to church every Sunday morning and Sunday night (and sometimes Wednesdays). I went to Sunday School and learned all the Bible stories and had fun watching the puppet shows and skits that the staff put on.

 

In my pre-teen years I started to not enjoy church anymore. I can remember I wanted to go see a movie with a friend on a Sunday night and my parents were very disappointed in me that I didn't want to go to church and said no about going to the movie. Needless to say, I went to church that night.

 

In my teen years I went to church all the time and I did enjoy the youth group. However, I have now realized that my motivation for going to church at that age revolved mainly around being able to see my friends and guys I had crushes on and not church itself.

 

As I grew older I continued to go to church and do my best to grow, though to be honest I never really felt a true connection with God - I never really had a "spiritual experience" which convinced me that it was all true. I joined the worship team and stayed on for years. I met my husband at church and we happily got married. I never really enjoyed church but I did enjoy being on the worship team so I kept going. I got more and more bored with church (getting nothing out of the sermons, etc) and my husband knew this, so we started to not go every week. All this time, though, I did enjoy apologetics, though I now see that I never really did tackle the issues that I have with Christianity now...if I had tried I think it's possible that the journey I'm on now may have begun sooner.

 

Last year we moved and left the church we were at. We decided to take a break from church for the summer since we had been so involved at our last church. We would look for a new church in the fall. Around August of 2010, I read a book written by an atheist that got me thinking...thinking about all the problems and flaws with Christianity. I began to slowly realize that what I believed may not be true. At first I said to myself that I couldn't believe that God doesn't exist, just that there are problems with Christianity. But, over time, I have realized that I'm not even sure that God does exist.

 

I shared this with my husband and, thankfully, he has been very understanding. He is still very much involved with Christianity, but I'm just so glad that he is allowing me to be myself. I have found though that it's best not to discuss these topics with him because he is very set in his beliefs and all these problems I have with Christianity are not problems for him...just "mysteries" that we'll understand later. It's frustrating for me and about half the time tends to end in argument, so we have agreed to disagree and that works just fine. Although, recently, we have been able to have quite a few discussions about my beliefs, and as long as I'm not trying to actively convince him by what I say, then we're fine to discuss it. When he was younger, he had what he describes as a personal experience with God where he just had a strong feeling of the truth of it. He says he can't describe why it's true, he just "knows" it is. I can't fault him for that, but I've said that I can't just take that as absolute truth for me because people of other religions have these sorts of experiences too. He understands this and he's said that he will pray for me. I don't mind that because if it is all true, I'd like to know.

 

We do have a little son and I have agreed that he can be raised in the church. The church we go to now is not a total fundy church so I don't really mind. It will teach him good morals and values. But I have said that if our little guy asks me about theological stuff as he grows up I won't lie about what I think. My husband says that's OK with him and that our little guy can make up his own mind as he gets older.

 

Anyway, at the moment I'm calling myself an Agnostic Christian (to you guys at least). The only people who know about my questioning are my husband, and a few select people who aren't judgemental because they're either not Christians or are questioners themselves. My parents don't know and I'd rather keep it that way right now. I don't think they'd be mad but I think they'd be really disappointed and that's sometimes harder to take. I've always really liked to have the approval of my family. Plus, my brother is a pastor and I think I would end up looking like the bad one in the family. To be fair though, my brother doesn't seem like the judgemental type so I'd probably be more comfortable telling him than telling my parents. But for now, I'm keeping my Agnostic tendencies under my hat.

 

So, what's keeping me from completely being an Agnostic? Fear, plain and simple. Fear of being wrong. I completely agree with a thread I read on here regarding how Christianity is based on fear.. That's totally how I feel. So, I'm still labelling myself as Christian because I'm afraid of "losing my salvation" and I'm afraid of hell. We'll see what happens over time but that's where I am right now.

 

Over the past few months, I have narrowed down my problems with Christianty to three main points. I have many others, of course, but these are the main ones that I think strike a chord with me:

 

1. If Jesus truly was a sacrifice for us and liberated us from sin, then how is it even possible to accept it or not? Let me give two analogies. First, if someone sacrifices their life for another, like pushing someone out of the way of a car for instance, it's just plain done. The saved person has no choice as to whether to accept that sacrifice - it just is! Secondly, in World War 2, from what I understand from my husband (who knows a lot about WW2), Canada liberated the Netherlands. Now, it wouldn't matter if there were people in the Netherlands who didn't know they were under occupation (don't realize sinfulness at all), or didn't know the Canadians liberated them (didn't know Jesus saved them), or even who thought the Chinese liberated them (people of different religions) - they would still be liberated, plain and simple! They wouldn't have to accept it or not. So if Jesus truly was a sacrifice for the sins of the world, then we should all be saved by that, plain and simple.

 

2. If God truly loves us and wants us to be with him, then how can the question of whether or not he exists even be there? God should make sure everyone knows he's there and he loves us and then people could properly decide of their own free will whether or not to serve him. Some Christians would say that if God did that, then it wouldn't be free will or faith anymore to follow him. But of course it is. I have a husband who I know exists, but I can still choose whether to be faithful or not (I of course choose to be faithful smile.png ). Also, of course we'd need faith - we'd need faith that he's the right God who will lead us on the right path.

 

3. In the Bible, we are told to love our enemies. Not just tolerate them, but love them. Yet, Christianity tells us that if you simply do not KNOW God, he will throw you into the lake of fire? For just not knowing him? What happened to "a stranger is a friend you haven't met"? Even us lowly imperfect humans don't just throw people out because we don't know them. Yet a God who IS love is not only not going to love his enemies, but he's going to toss people away because he doesn't know them? What's up with that?

 

This Ex-C community has been a huge source of support for me over the past year and a half and I really appreciate you guys for that. Even though I've never posted before, I was getting so much support just by reading and seeing that there actually ARE people like me. Before I found Ex-C I didn't think that Ex-Christians actually existed. I figured that once you have "the truth" then that's it. So I was actually relieved to find this site.

 

I also really appreciate that you guys aren't judgemental. I believe I'm right (but correct me if I'm wrong) in assuming that if I ever did go back to Christianity, I wouldn't automatically get berated for it or be made to feel like I was launching a personal attack on you (as it tends to be when a Christian starts questioning their beliefs with other Christians). I believe that you would simply question me as to why (since many of you are still not sure what the truth is)..and of course if that happened I'd better have a good answer. I do, however, think it would be difficult at this point for me to go back to Christianity - the more I think about it, the more difficult it becomes to believe it. A LOT of things would have to be explained before I became a full non-doubting Christian again - either that or a very significant spiritual experience that I can't deny. But, barring that, it would be very difficult for me to just go back to believing the way I did before. As I've heard it said before, once you begin this journey, you can't just go back. Sometimes I wish I could as it was in once sense easier back then, but ultimately I'm on a quest for truth. I'm always open to hearing arguments for Christianity though. If I closed my heart and mind to that, then I'd be just as bad as the Christians who refuse to consider the problems we have with Christianity. So I think I'll be on a lifelong quest for truth.

 

Thanks for reading my story, and thanks for being there as a community of support.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Coconutz!

 

I'm fairly new here, too, and have also found it to be a great place to come. Many of us can relate to your story.

 

I shared this with my husband and, thankfully, he has been very understanding.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He says he can't describe why it's true, he just "knows" it is.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I'm still labelling myself as Christian because I'm afraid of "losing my salvation" and I'm afraid of hell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Canada liberated the Netherlands. Now, it wouldn't matter if there were people in the Netherlands who didn't know they were under occupation (don't realize sinfulness at all), or didn't know the Canadians liberated them (didn't know Jesus saved them), or even who thought the Chinese liberated them (people of different religions) - they would still be liberated, plain and simple!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I believe I'm right (but correct me if I'm wrong) in assuming that if I ever did go back to Christianity, I wouldn't automatically get berated for it or be made to feel like I was launching a personal attack on you (as it tends to be when a Christian starts questioning their beliefs with other Christians). I believe that you would simply question me as to why (since many of you are still not sure what the truth is)..and of course if that happened I'd better have a good answer.

 

I just had to comment on these!

  1. That is *great* that you have a supportive husband/partner. Not everyone here does (I do) and that is really a rough situation. Sounds like your man is gold!
  2. Your husband "just knows" it's true. For what it's worth, I had a chat with a Mormon friend a couple of years ago. He also "just knows" that *that* whacky religion is true. I believe that everyone whose brain works in a particular way that supports faith (belief without evidence) "just knows". However, being certain of something is not the same thing as being right. (There is actually a book that talks about this: "On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not". An easy and interesting read.)
  3. Hell was the big snag for me, too. I thought I was prepared to stick with Christianity just as fire insurance. However, like a bad case of the stomach flu, there was more to come and I could no longer hold onto that notion either.
  4. Great analogy about Canada liberating the Netherlands. While this view of salvation is not fundamental, there are some belief systems in Christianity that espouse this belief. So, all hope is not lost. :-)
  5. If you did return to your faith, you probably wouldn't want to hang out here anymore Wendyshrug.gif . People might ask you some hard questions; however, you would probably spout off the usual answers that we've all heard (and rejected) before.

Most of us did not want to end up here. Most of us never dreamed we'd find ourselves in this situation. Life's funny that way!

 

Anyhow, welcome to Ex-C! Great to have you on board.

 

Peace.

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Hey Coconutz :) It's lovely to have you here, thanks for sharing your story.

 

From my own experience, once I started questioning and thinking, with every step and every hole I found, I found that I couldn't go back. There is so much you CAN'T think about if you're going to remain a christian. Blind acceptance is a pre-requisite to remain in the religion. I didn't expect my questions to lead me here. But they did. That being said though, I have a peace now I never had before. The guilt I was burdened with for so long is gone. The fear is gone. When I suddenly realised it was all a load of hogwash, I thought, pfft, what am I feeling guilty for? Why do I bother being afraid? When it all came together, it happened amazingly fast, over the course of a weekend. And I feel as though, now it's all gone, I can get on with more pressing concerns, like enjoying my new-found freedom to just live in peace :)

 

Good luck with it all, I hope you stick around :)

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Enjoyed reading your story.

 

Your point about God saving us is pretty close to what Universalism teaches.

tentmaker.org is a good source of study for Biblical Christian Universalism.

 

I am like your husband. I have had to many experiences to not believe.

When I started calling the Christian doctrines of hell, rapture, blood sacrifice BS, I realized that God had not left me. I still had the same spiritual connection that I had when I held to those doctrines. I came to the conclusion that God does not care what avenue we take to embrace our own spirituality. God can be found in Christianity. God can not be found in Christianity. Both are true. There seems to be a large group of people who do not find God in Christianity.

 

Have a good one!

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Thanks for the kind welcome everyone - it's so nice to have people to talk to about this stuff who have been there before or are still going through the same thing.

 

Regarding my comment about going back to Christianity - I said that more as an appreciation that you guys don't take talking about differing beliefs or changing beliefs as a personal attack as some Christians do. I think I would find it next to impossible to go back to Christianity as I knew it before. As you said pudd1n, you just can't go back unless you unlearn or ignore what you've realized. And I agree with Positivist that I didn't think I would end up like this - going from a Christian to someone who's not even sure God exists is a big change. I just hope that if Christianity is true ane one day I end up being judged, I really hope that God will understand that I tried and searched, but just didn't find.

 

Regarding Christian Universalism - I like the idea that everyone will be saved, but Christian Universalism still supposes a belief in God and, as I mentioned above, I'm really not certain at all that there even is a God anymore - at least not the Christian God. I've prayed and asked if he exists, and have gotten no reply... If there is a higher power or a creator, I think it might be one that doesn't have a personal interest in each of us or care what we believe in spiritually and is maybe more of a "wind the world up and let it go" type of God. But to me, it really does make more sense for there not to be a God at all...but who knows...

 

Oooh, I have one more thing to add to my Canada liberating the Netherlands analogy. I said that if people didn't know they were liberated, they still would be. But guess what? If people are informed about it (so now they know) and don't believe it (ie - people who are told about Jesus and don't believe it) - they are still liberated. So, with this logic, then people who hear the story and don't believe are saved, and even people who don't care at all about any of it are still saved. I told this liberation analogy to my husband who said it was a good point and that he'd never thought of it that way before (he still holds on to his beliefs, but it was nice to hear him say that anyway) - I wonder what other "non-universal" Christians would say to this analogy?

 

Anyway, thanks again for the welcome. It's great to be here.

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Hi there, I love your analogies! I've had pretty much the same issue and couldn't really come up with a way to explain it. You hit the nail on the head! I guess the fact that some southerners don't believe that the north won the Civil War would be a good analogy too now that I think about it.

 

I'm only a recent deconvert, but I have to say you sound like your belief system is very close to mine. Perhaps you should take a look at Deism? That's more of the belief in the "wind the world up and let it go" God, as you said. You're very lucky to be in such a supportive environment. After I finally get out of the church I think my beliefs will be kept to myself unless my parents ask about it. Personally, I think I have better things to do with my weekends than be surrounded by people I can't relate with anymore.

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Hi Coconutz, welcom to ex-C!

 

I enjoyed reading your three points. I see no errors in your logic. Very nice. Christianity has more holes than swiss cheese. I'm sorry to hear about your fear. It took me months to get over my fear of hell. However I still can't get over the dream that there is a creator God. So I guess we all have little bits that take longer to shake loose. Thanks for sharing your story.

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I really enjoyed reading your story; it's such a relief to hear about a deconversion where the spouse is understanding and the child(ren) isn't a source of conflict. Thank you for sharing.

 

I completely agree with you on the Canada analogy (and my church would agree partly). I'd like to go a bit further and point out that most salvation theologies require some sort of flaw in humanity or a medieval sense of justice to make the sacrifice necessary. I can't reconcile a flaw with my other beliefs, and the justice theories are ridiculous by modern thinking. This brings me to your third point and the fact that being sent to Hell for any reason just doesn't seem to fit in with a good god. I'm leaning towards the empty and no hell theories, but I'm treating this issue with caution. for number two, the clockmaker-God has always appealed to me through my interest in science (particularly physics).

 

Those are my quick replies, but your points have giving me good stuff to think about, so thanks again for sharing!

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There was once a boy who had some kittens who were only a day old.

 

A priest from the local church visited his family and the boy proudly showed the kittens to him.

 

"Goodness, they are so beautiful!" said the priest.

 

"Yes, they are christian kittens," said the boy happily.

 

"I should think so," said the priest, not really knowing what to say to this.

 

Several weeks later, the priest returned to the boy's home and the boy showed him the kittens again.

 

"They're growing up fast," said the priest.

 

"Yes," said the boy. "They are now atheist kittens."

 

The priest's jaw dropped. "Why do you say that, young man?"

 

The boy's answer was final. "It's because their eyes are open!"

 

 

 

For me there was no turning back. I couldn't unlearn all the contradictions, all the immorality and all the unbelievable, far-fetched nonsense that is the Bible.

 

Glad you finally plucked up the courage to introduce yourself!

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  • 1 month later...

Well, looks like you made a fatal "mistake"...you tried to apply logic to your Christian beliefs. That's what got most of us into trouble! GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

 

Glad you found Ex-C and that you felt the freedom to introduce yourself. Good luck on your journey.

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Hi!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your testimony. Like you I was also raised in a Christian home and like you I'm sure I would have broken away sooner if I'd learnt a few things earlier.

 

I married a woman in the church, had two kids and indoctronated them as I was and as my parents were. When I lost my faith around 6 years ago, it worried me that my kids were still having crap rammed down their throats by their mother who was still a practising Christian. When my kids came to me talking about stuff they were taught in church or things that their mother and their step father insisted were true I have been able to challenge their thinking. I tell them, "Yes, that's what a lot of Christians believe, but on the other side of the coin..." And it's just been great encouraging them to think for themseves. I was "blessed" earlier this year to find out from them that they were coming to similar conclusions I had. My encouraging them to think for themselves has now resulted in them questioning and challenging Christian beliefs. And I didn't even have to twist their arm to do it! Just encouraged them to question.

 

Like you I have also opted to keep my deconversion from most of my family for pretty much the same reasons as you. I think the time will come... and I believe it will be very soon... where I will finally come out. It is getting harder and harder to bite my tongue when it comes to the Christian BS I often hear family members spout.

 

I really loved your Point 1. I'd never thought of that before, but you are correct! If we are saved by someone we are saved. There's no need to acknowledge it. So obviously we aren't saved are we? Salvation is only given once we acknowledge God. It's a conditional thing. It's like I've been arguing with Christians for some time now. Jesus's death on the cross was superfluous. If babies, children, the mentally handicapped and the ignorant can be saved without the need for Christ's sacrifice, then his sacrifice was arbitary. Your great thoughts there go even further in proving that it's arbitary. It all really comes down to God having mercy on who he feels like having mercy on.

 

Point 2. Once again you raise a perfectly valid argument. Of course if someone loves us they'll prove their love for us, otherwise they don't love us, plain and simple. Freewill is not violated by proof.

 

Point 3. Spot on again. The God of the bible is a God of double standards. God's love is conditional without a doubt.

 

You are also right about it being difficult to go back to Christianity. It would be like going back to belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. It just can't be done unless you were to go through some form of hypnosis or brainwashing.

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