Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

2Honest

Here's To You, Ex-christians....

Recommended Posts

I've just been thinking about how much non-believers must lay down our own sense of authenticity, honesty, and even integrity - for the sake of sparing people we love. We all know that if we really got into it with a Christian friend or family member, we could pretty easily tumble their house of cards. But we don't. We love them too much. We know that it is a personal journey each one of us must find on our own, and it is not to be forced on anyone.

 

Hi 2Honest...Thanks for your post...I was very fortunate to RELOCATE (away from abusive husband; now EX and church and "christian" friends) and work out my NEWlife with my Love, my son and 2 birds, a cat and an English Mastiff Puppy...

 

I think that solitude and detachment was necessary for me as I was VERY ACTIVE in "ministery" for all my "christian life". I refused to " lay down my sense of integrity" to be accepted by them and ward off their "attacks" of my "sinning life". I have just DETACHED from them and have started my LIFE over. I have tried to "spare their feelings" but I have been very clear in stating how rude or inconsiderate they are of me with THEIR beliefs (that I once held). I would not try to "deconvert" anyone but at the same time, like recovering from any abuse; I will not be abused while trying to have relatiionship with them; better to have none and my mind and heart are at peace that I have done ALL that I could do to TRY to continue relationship with them but they would not allow it; they needed to "preach" and disrespectfully and condenscendingly put me down in the "Name of Jesus"...

 

They don't know the struggles we have gone through and the damage that has been done to us by religion. And they don't know how much better off we are now...they may see a change in us...but they don't know why it's there. They may think it's because of all the prayers they've been praying for us. And we must let them believe that.

They have NOT been where we are but WE HAVE BEEN where they are; we have the advantage of wisdom and knowledge and they are "sitting on their thrones judging us"... I have determined that there is a Narcissistic Spirituality that has replaced any "true religion" and that is what we deal with today. It is a "shame to the Church" and they don't even know it. Disgusting.

 

It frustrates me that people view ex-c's so harshly. They have no idea the struggles we face and the lack of support we have.They have no idea what amazing, loving, caring, considerate people we are. They don't know that we live our lives being misunderstood.

 

They don't understand how someone who "doesn't have Jesus" can be SO loving. Of course, many of these "friends" of mine KNEW ME AS A CHRISTIAN and "minister"...It is the "God does ONLY good, the devil does all the bad stuff" arguement. HOW can they see us as "good" and "not with God" at the same time? They can't fathom the possibility. They are the narrow minded, hypocrites that they try to make us out to be.

 

I am a newbie; thanks for this place. I am not "put off" as much by Jesus jokes, etc...I am sensitive to the BLINDNESS of those who will sit in judgement of my life and am "working out my deconversion" carefully and thoughtfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its really nice to not have to live up to someone else's friggin expectations, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks NEWsong, and welcome to Ex-C! I'm glad you are recovering from the pain you've suffered. It's amazing how quickly the fog lifts once you really allow yourself to see the truth.

 

I agree with you about solitude. I have been in isolation (other than my family) since October when we left church. I just knew it was what I needed for my own health and well-being. We were really active in church, too. In fact when we left we were leading 2 small groups (the only successful/growing ones the church had). We felt really bad "abandoning" the groups, we genuinely loved the people there. But we just couldn't do it anymore. We had to be true to ourselves.

 

The pathetic thing is, very few people have "chased" us. The people we thought were our closest friends just let us walk away. In a way I'm glad. I didn't want to have to explain and have them try to help or re-convert me. But still it is sad that our friendship was that shallow. I had hoped that there was a friendship there apart from religion. But that isn't the case.

 

Yeah, I don't think any of our former friends could understand how we can be "away from God" and still be the same loving people. I think many of them have assumed we are bitter and angry at God, or had some problem with the church itself. Oh well. I'm just so relieved not to have to deal with any of it anymore! I agree w/Deva. It is so freeing to just live my life and enjoy my family without worrying about all that church shit! I'm sure you can relate! :)

 

Enjoy your time here, NEWsong. I look forward to getting to know you better.

 

2H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You wrote beautifully. thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks NEWsong, and welcome to Ex-C! I'm glad you are recovering from the pain you've suffered. It's amazing how quickly the fog lifts once you really allow yourself to see the truth.

 

 

Thanks 2H; I have read that there are some newbies here who "are not ready to admit it to themselves"...I can relate...once I said "I am an EX Christian", I felt the fog lift. We just have to be willing to SAY IT.

 

 

I agree with you about solitude. I have been in isolation (other than my family) since October when we left church. I just knew it was what I needed for my own health and well-being. We were really active in church, too. In fact when we left we were leading 2 small groups (the only successful/growing ones the church had). We felt really bad "abandoning" the groups, we genuinely loved the people there. But we just couldn't do it anymore. We had to be true to ourselves.

 

I really understand, it is like I "lost a huge family" but I still love them and keep in contact with some though they do not know "where I am at" with "faith" yet.

 

 

The pathetic thing is, very few people have "chased" us.
I don't think that they know WHAT to do or say to us. One LONG time friend, christian, more or less "showed me love" by saying that it did not sound that we "believed the same things" anymore. whatever. She didn't even bother to ASK. I understand.

 

But still it is sad that our friendship was that shallow. I had hoped that there was a friendship there apart from religion. But that isn't the case.

I realized that though I believed that the relationships WERE deep; they were actually VERY shallow; on their part anyways. I think that they "bond to us" rather than "be our friends"...friends respect each other.

 

I think many of them have assumed we are bitter and angry at God, or had some problem with the church itself.
I might have thought that before I understood also...my one friend also commented that I MUST be angry or bitter "at God"...and it is JUST NOT SO...

 

Oh well. I'm just so relieved not to have to deal with any of it anymore! I agree w/Deva. It is so freeing to just live my life and enjoy my family without worrying about all that church shit! I'm sure you can relate! smile.png
I surely can. biggrin.png I also have a personality disordered sister who is a "christian" and I really got religious crap from her so badly that while and during our mother's passing (beginning July 2011-present), I have had NO contact with her. wacko.pngRelocating has helped me though... cool.png

 

Enjoy your time here, NEWsong. I look forward to getting to know you better.

2H

 

Thanks hon...I need to continue to explore and understand and write out "what I believe" now...more than ever. Maybe write some songs????

Nice to meet you and all of ExC.net... smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2Honest,

what a beautiful and thoughtful post! Thank you for your words, caring and support, as well. For what it's worth, I beyond respect your honesty and authenticity and am inspired by you. Big hugs for the journey!

-K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone living the 'double life' right now, this post was encouraging. Thank you. 3.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my old friends (with only one or two exceptions) are still "inside the walls".

my newer friends were never "inside". they don't see what the fuss is.

I come here because the people here do understand what I am experiencing right now. I'm only about a month in and my entire world is upside down.

Non Christians who have never experienced the Christian life cannot empathize, I wouldn't expect them to understand why my body was wracked in anguished sobs the night I deconverted, they'd think I'd have lost my marbles.

The deconversion experience is profoundly solitary and lonely. My wife, although no fundie, is still a believer and it's a no-go area for the time being.

Having no one locally to communicate with about all this is very difficult. I am so very happy this website exists, it's been a life saver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been thinking about how much non-believers must lay down our own sense of authenticity, honesty, and even integrity - for the sake of sparing people we love. We all know that if we really got into it with a Christian friend or family member, we could pretty easily tumble their house of cards. But we don't. We love them too much.

 

Sometimes you have to tumble their house of cards- I wish I had, but I was too afraid. My sister is now constantly afraid of demons causing anxiety and illness (despite the fact that I told her that she has a poor diet). My nephew, once kind and loving, is now an arrogant, hateful bigot. I could try talking with them, but now I think it would be pointless. They're so stubborn and egotistical. I've thrown out "hints"- pointing out different things about Christianity that are wrong, and I just get the same excuses that other Christians make.

 

As for my mom, I feel more comfortable talking to her, but I can't. Her health isn't that great, and I'm afraid that if I tell her about me no longer being a Christian, she'll have a heart attack (she currently takes meds for this).

 

But our believing loved-ones don't know this. They don't know how many times we bite our tongues. They don't know how much of ourselves we must hide from them. They don't know how lonely we are. They don't know the struggles we have gone through and the damage that has been done to us by religion.

 

That is how I feel.

 

Well I just want to say today that I appreciate every one of you on this forum. I DO see what amazing people you are and I understand the shit you have to go through. I understand the sacrifices you make for the sake of the people you love (and even the ones you don't!). And I know what it will be like for some of you as you hang out with your family and friends this Christmas, hiding this huge part of yourself. Or maybe some of you have come out to people and you will be alone this Christmas...or even worse, spending time with people who are judging and ridiculing you.

 

Here's to all of you...you are beautiful people and I'm glad to have found this forum. clap.gif

 

Much love,

2H

 

Thank you smile.png . I'm also glad that I came across this place. This website has helped me so much when I was breaking away from Christianity and continues to encourage me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, 2Honest, many thanks for this OP.

 

Soaring Free, very sad about your sister and nephew. I hope they gain some wisdom with time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks ficino :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been thinking about how much non-believers must lay down our own sense of authenticity, honesty, and even integrity - for the sake of sparing people we love. We all know that if we really got into it with a Christian friend or family member, we could pretty easily tumble their house of cards. But we don't. We love them too much.

 

Sometimes you have to tumble their house of cards- I wish I had, but I was too afraid. My sister is now constantly afraid of demons causing anxiety and illness (despite the fact that I told her that she has a poor diet). My nephew, once kind and loving, is now an arrogant, hateful bigot. I could try talking with them, but now I think it would be pointless. They're so stubborn and egotistical. I've thrown out "hints"- pointing out different things about Christianity that are wrong, and I just get the same excuses that other Christians make.

 

As for my mom, I feel more comfortable talking to her, but I can't. Her health isn't that great, and I'm afraid that if I tell her about me no longer being a Christian, she'll have a heart attack (she currently takes meds for this).

 

But our believing loved-ones don't know this. They don't know how many times we bite our tongues. They don't know how much of ourselves we must hide from them. They don't know how lonely we are. They don't know the struggles we have gone through and the damage that has been done to us by religion.

 

That is how I feel.

 

Well I just want to say today that I appreciate every one of you on this forum. I DO see what amazing people you are and I understand the shit you have to go through. I understand the sacrifices you make for the sake of the people you love (and even the ones you don't!). And I know what it will be like for some of you as you hang out with your family and friends this Christmas, hiding this huge part of yourself. Or maybe some of you have come out to people and you will be alone this Christmas...or even worse, spending time with people who are judging and ridiculing you.

 

Here's to all of you...you are beautiful people and I'm glad to have found this forum. clap.gif

 

Much love,

2H

 

Thank you smile.png . I'm also glad that I came across this place. This website has helped me so much when I was breaking away from Christianity and continues to encourage me.

 

I'm sorry for the struggle you've been going through and for the pain in your family. I'm in a similar situation w/my family, though not as severe. I have only partially come out to my mom (she knows I've had very serious doubts about god's existence). But I hesitate to tell her the whole truth b/c she suffers from depression and anxiety.

 

I'm glad you found this forum, there are some very kind and supportive people here. :)

 

2H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful post 2H! I'm glad that it was pinned, and I was able to find it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks, that's great to hear, and resonates with how I feel too. Much love and respect back to you.

 

I haven't had any conversations with friends and people who are still Christians. I see their true selves behind all the religion and indoctrination that I have deconstructed and continue to deconstruct... and so I have a heart to try and respect their journey and like you say not seek to bring anything down like a house of cards.

 

I may do that at some time in the future... out of my own pain though... and I hope that I learn and find a way to have the love and perspective to either not do that... or if there is a way... to do it in a loving way, if at all.

 

I imagine a situation where I'm sat talking to someone who is a pastor or in some position of "leadership"... and I imagine a conversation starting off with some light comments of contradiction, and then developing into a conversation where that person is then resorting to subtle but profound rudeness of suggesting angles like, "You never really connected with God, like I do, because you were too fearful and never learned to embrace the loving arms of God, like I do"... (not in those words, but suggested like that)...

And then I turn around and just go, not word for word, but essentially saying out of my own pain: "Ok, let's do this... let's see these cards fall..."...

 

Either that... or I'm too intolerant and hurt from my own story and experiences, that I end up just telling them to go fuck themselves... perhaps in more words, highlighting their manipulative behavior..

 

And that's not going to do me any good or them any good..... so I want to avoid those conversations. Because I'm not ready for them.... right now, I'm just hurt... and all I will talk out of, is my hurt... especially if provoked by the same manipulation and fear that I am getting free from.

 

Even now, in such a positive and awesome post, I am defaulting into my hurt. I can definitely say again, it's great to be here and to be able to share parts of this journey with people who understand on such a profound and wave length, it's truly wonderful and awesome :)

 

I guess a key part of Christianity which I am facing is... to "believe" in Christianity, is to have self hatred and self loathing on some level in ones heart.... I am facing that self loathing and self hatred that is required and an essencial part of Christianity...... and like all acts and thoughts of intolerance and hatred, it is all projected from how we see our selves....... so I cannot seek to see others beliefs "fall like a house of cards"... because then I'm just behaving with the same strand of indoctrination and conditioning that is in Christianity. As long as I don't face my own self hatred and self loathing... which is part of this world... I won't get free from conditioning or Christianity.

 

I want to be free... I want to love and respect myself... so that love and respect will be in my thoughts and actions to others and the environment and world I'm in. I will do this by educating myself, thinking for myself and thinking critically about the conditioning within me and my surrounding world, to deconstruct it and rebuild an understanding from love and science. Even though the cognitive dissonance caused in my mind between science and my conditioning causes overwhelming apathy, from the weariness of its burden on my human mind... I want to move in the direction that comes from the square one place of love and science... accepting the unknown, the mystery.. and the fact that I don't know anything... but can only assume and explore.... and that this is a journey I can love and share, even in a profoundly sick society.

 

This place is a harbour I've docked in on my journey, and it's a fucking relief to find it :)

 

There's probably about 20% of sense in there, if you can pick that out of the nonsense :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's probably about 20% of sense in there, if you can pick that out of the nonsense smile.png

 

There's a LOT of sense in there! :D

 

I feel the same way about talking to Christians. I have a hard time w/confrontation anyway - so those kinds of conversations are not appealing to me. And I just really don't see the point. I have no interest in deconverting anyone, not that I could if I tried. If someone knows my views and comes to me b/c they have questions or need support I'll be there for them. But I'm definitely not up for debating anyone. And you're right, to take their faith from them would be cruel. People must "see the light" for themselves. I think the best thing we can do for them is show them that we are still the same loving, caring, generous people we've always been. Then maybe it will begin to erode the negative/inaccurate view that Christians have towards unbelievers.

 

I agree with you about the self-loathing. Even in our version of Christianity, which was all about "love and grace" and allowing people to "be themselves", there still HAD to be an element of that (self-loathing). It is the basis of belief in god, so it can't be removed, no matter how much Christians want to avoid talking about it. I believed I was utterly incapable of living without god. I believed he was the only thing holding me together. That was such an unhealthy way for me to live! It stunted my ability to think for myself and to simply live my life. I feel like I have so much growing up to do now.

 

Just know that it does get better, Jake! :) I know it's so easy to default into that painful place. I still find myself going there from time to time. But that's happening less and less often now. For me it's been 7 months and I've been getting stronger and stronger. I do still have my freak-out moments, but like I said they're happening less often. I'm glad you have your music, doing creative things that you love to do really helps...especially when what you're doing can be used to help others. And I think the music you create can be very helpful to people in their healing process.

 

I'm glad you found the forum and I hope you can stay for awhile. It's been so helpful to me (and to jblueep). There are some really sweet people here. Let us know if you need anything on the journey and we'll try to help!

 

2H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the best thing we can do for them is show them that we are still the same loving, caring, generous people we've always been. Then maybe it will begin to erode the negative/inaccurate view that Christians have towards unbelievers.

 

I like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post, I often want to say something to my religious family when they talk about god but beside a few remarks to get them to think I normally just listen to them ramble about God and his plan. I don't want to be the one to take away the thing in their life that they think they live for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We all know that if we really got into it with a Christian friend or family member, we could pretty easily tumble their house of cards. But we don't. We love them too much.

 

So am I a complete bitch because I actually enjoy pointing out the shortcomings of my former faith to those who are still in it? A large percentage of my FB friends are former church peers and some of their FB statuses deserve a reality check. Perhaps it's my evangelistic zeal still bubbling within me, but I really don't see how it's loving to let a grown adult continue to believe imaginary nonsense - especially if they are in the business of promoting the Christian faith and evangelizing others.

 

And still, we don't use our pain as motivation to try to de-convert those who abuse us.

 

I don't think it needs to be a vindictive thing. Sure there are a lot of arrogant Christians who have wounded me for years with their call for my repentance. I've spent years dealing with health problems from head to toe, all while suffering the aftereffects of physical and emotional child abuse, the loss of my fiance and the murder of my best friend, among other tragedies. All the while these Christians have thrown fire in my eye by trying to convince me that God was allowing suffering to get my attention (which he already had - I was a child convert!) or because he was trying to use it for some greater purpose. As far as I see it, taking their faith down a couple notches just might save someone else from being fed the god-loving bullshit that I was.

 

I would not compare a Christian's faith in God with a child's faith in Santa Claus. A child's faith doesn't cost us anymore than some misplaced gratitude for presents. If an adult's faith merely meant that they felt a sense of peace that the universe was ordered by a loving being who was taking care of them regardless of the ultimate end result, I would say "sure, why mess with that?". So they live with the hope of seeing uncle Bill again in their after-life? Harmless....

 

But much of what Christians do and say is NOT harmless. When they're out condemning my homosexual friends and fighting to prevent them from marrying, when they are voting for morons simply because the moron says "I love Jesus!", and when they look a dying person in the face and tell them that God wants them sick for his purposes and that they should be happy and praise God for their illness - that is not harmless, that is abusive.

 

So maybe I am a bubble-popping bitch. But the next time a friend posts a FB status like "God only allows us as much pain as he knows we can handle", damn right I'm going to speak up! Because as far as I see it, while I was asking questions and struggling silently with my own doubt, other atheists and agnostics were busy poking holes in what was left of my own bubble - and having now escaped the bubble, I am quite grateful to them for having spoken up. Our polite silence isn't necessarily a kind thing.

 

It's a fine line between letting others live their lives as they choose fit, and stepping in to smack the hell out of them when needed.

 

Neither way is "wrong".

 

Well, I guess it depends on the situation...if its Westboro Baptist fucktards, then you gotta step in. If they're not evangelizing traumatic bullshit and are just loving people, I say let em be. Every scenario is different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awww...if only I were that nice of a person. I keep trying to deconvert people, though it doesn't work. Given up on family by now. I feel unwilling to let anyone believe that garbage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awww...if only I were that nice of a person. I keep trying to deconvert people, though it doesn't work. Given up on family by now. I feel unwilling to let anyone believe that garbage.

atn

I can really AGREE with this point of view Lilith...yet, I "see myself" in them and pity them but I also see how RESISTANT they will likely tend to react to the provocation of "logical or critical thought" over "faith". I am feeling rather free to say "I know that USED TO work for me but now...." and then I share what I have learned.

 

Overall, to others who have deconverted, I say BRAVO and BRAVA...you made it through the maze of Myth and can see reality as it is. APPLAUSE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you 2Honest, that was such a lovely post! I resonated with so much. And thanks for pinning it, mods!

 

Yeah, I've said it before. Christians don't know what it's like to be persecuted, until they have walked in an Atheists shoes.

 

Cracked, you hit the nail right on the head.

 

2H, your words call to my mind something Abraham Maslow said:

 

"The exploration of the highest reaches of human nature and of its ultimate possibilities . . .

has involved for me the continuous destruction of cherished axioms,

the perpetual coping with seeming paradoxes,

contradictions,

and vagueness,

and the occasional collapse around my ears of long-established,

firmly believed in

and seemingly unassailable laws..."

 

 

I'll hopefully be coming out (facebook) publicly very soon, I might steal this quote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to say how much all of you and this forum means to me. I have been out of Christianity for 20-30 years, depending on when I define my "break" with it, but I learn a lot about life and about myself from all of you: stuff about human relationships, assessing whether to take something as true, perspectives on the things that make life worth living.... plus the occasional (too rare these days!) fun of sharpening teeth on Christian apologists in the Den. I had been off of here for maybe 5 years but am glad to be back. The freedom to call it as one sees it, as opposed to the censorship that prevails in many Christian forums, is a big part of what makes this place special.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

So am I a complete bitch because I actually enjoy pointing out the shortcomings of my former faith to those who are still in it? A large percentage of my FB friends are former church peers and some of their FB statuses deserve a reality check. Perhaps it's my evangelistic zeal still bubbling within me, but I really don't see how it's loving to let a grown adult continue to believe imaginary nonsense - especially if they are in the business of promoting the Christian faith and evangelizing others.

 

I'm going to have to agree with you here, and say I wish I could be more like you. I never evangalized when I was a Christian, and I'm no more comfortable de-evangalizing now that I'm not. Somehow, it seems more important now than it did then! But I'm too chicken to cause the disruption, and don't want to risk being alienated from my adult children. Good for you for speaking out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for posting that. Its been really rough heading into the holidays, feeling like a bad person because I can't live up to thirty expectations, knowing that I will likely be forced to come out soon, and how ridiculed I will be for it. Its been 4 years though. How long can I really keep putting it off? So thank you for the encouraging words

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MadameX

 

It's a fine line between letting others live their lives as they choose fit, and stepping in to smack the hell out of them when needed.

 

 

Guess I have tolerated the bs for so long but I also increasingly see the damage it does, psychologically as well in other very real, material ways such as passivity of turning one's life over to 'god', or the belief prayer will have an actual positive impact on the world outside of your own head, etc

 

Actually it was a post somewhere on this forum that asked about the difference between being tolerant and being enabling - an excellent question that we all who live with religious people have to answer. I've adopted the attitude towards religious addicts and alcohol addicts and other dishonest people: No More Enabling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.