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That Verrrrrry First Moment Of Doubt


MerryG
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In your de-conversion, what was the very, very first moment of doubt that you remember?

 

I'm not talking about the big "there is no god" moment, but the first tiny ?? -- the mustard seed of doubt, if you will. It might have been just a passing thing at the time, but later you looked back and realized that was the first moment when you suspected your religion wasn't true.

 

I know that many of you de-converted as adults and your first doubts were rational, intellectual, or ethical. Good for you. My first moment of questioning was actually pretty silly. When I was maybe 10 or 12 I got furious about something (nothing to do with religion, but probably to do with authority). A bible was lying nearby. I picked it up and flung it hard to the floor in my rage.

 

God failed to strike me dead with a lightning bolt.

 

I knew you could be pretty bad and still not get smited (smitten? smote?). But I figured if you attacked god directly -- and slamming his holy book on the floor was certainly in that category -- it was at the very least pillar of salt time. But no ...

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For me it was when we started having some discussions about homosexuality in the church youth group when I was about 18/19. I'd always accepted it was "wrong" as we'd been taught, and didn't (knowingly) know any gay people.

 

One girl said she thought homisexuality was a kind of birth defect, and the youth group leaders confirmed this, although they did warn against her ever saying this to a gay person. It got me thinking that if it's not a choice, it's rather like hair or eye colour, and how can that be a sin?

 

It was around this time that I met a couple of real-life gay people in my first job and found they did not try to persuade me to be gay too, as the church had warned they would, and it started the process of wondering about other teachings.

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I definitely had doubts when I was a Catholic, it all seemed so depressing with the crucifix & there was a bloody man on it....(((shudder)))

 

IMHO the bible thumpers are better at indoctrinating then the Catholics, from what I experienced anyhow. Because of the constant bible indoctrinations, sermons, bible studies, etc....it was a lot harder to

allow myself to think outside of that religious box than the Catholic religious box.

 

From what I recall, what cracked the fundamentalist indoctrination for me was looking around & seeing abounding & blatant hypocrisies.

We were supposed to be this higher level of "true believerstm" yet when I looked around me I remember thinking..."these people are no different than my Catholic & worldly friends..."

I eventually saw them as being worse because they were using deceptions to get people to think they were soo much more spiritual & loving. But that was a rouse to get people to join.

The pastor even mentioned in a sermon that what we did on Sundays was for show...

he said "we all put on our best on Sundays ..." I realized it was all IMAGE, PR....that was it...the crack happened & little by little the house of cards came down.

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I was trying to picture in my mind the idea of Trinity. I wanted to understand it. How did it work? I was curious. So I talked to my Bible study leader about an idea I had and he responded "That is heresy!". I found it deeply troubling that we were not allowed to think certain thoughts about Trinity. That started my quest to study Trinity in the Bible. That quest ended years later when I figured out that the Bible contradicts the Bible.

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hmm... now that i think of it I was quite young. I remember that I never believed in Santa, because I was always told he was a Myth. The reason my parents never told me to believe in Santa, was because they saw a show that said that if you tell a child Santa is real, and then tell them Santa isn't real, they will think you lied about God too. My mom told me this when I was young, so I would know why she never told me Santa was real.

 

Part of me at that time realized that those excuses wouldn't be needed if there was any evidence that God existed.

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religions-map.gif

 

Looking at a map like this in my 7th grade social studies text book. It put things into a whole new perspective. I realized how unfair it would be for a child to go to Hell just because he was born in China.

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silentknight -- Boy, that brings up memories. Ironically, the person who told me there was no Santa was a fundie child whose terrifying church I attended for two years. She and I were both only seven, so she had probably been told all along the same thing you were told about Santa.

 

I wasn't (yet) smart enough to make the Santa-god both being imaginary connection. But I ran weeping home and my mother confessed (though of course she wouldn't have seen it this way) that yes, she'd been lying to me all those years. Didn't make me stop believing in god. But I felt utterly betrayed.

 

Since then, having anyone lie to me "for my own good" or because the truth is less pleasant, has been one of my pet hates. Lying and claiming "it's good for you" is a terrible form of disrespect.

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mymistake -- Funny, my very first spiritual experience was contemplating how god could exist before anything existed (a dilemma almost, if not quite, as wacky as the trinity). At five years old, it just inspired awe. A few years later, I see how annoying it could be.

 

Then, learning that the trinity was established by a vote ... at a meeting ... after thousands of people had been killed and heaven knows how many books being burned in the dispute ... man, how anyone can believe after learning that, I do not know.

 

JoeCoastie ... yeah that going to hell because you were born in China or Borneo or wherever thing ... that was always a tough one to swallow. As was the "no matter how good a person you are, you're going to hell if you don't pray in Jesus' name because to god even the best person in the world disgusting and unworthy and he saves us only by his grace."

 

But the one that really pissed me off was when I was five and some visiting minister told me there would be no dogs in heaven. No dogs? Just a bunch of self-righteous jerks like you? No, thanks, pal. Of course, it took me decades to come to the point where I could actually say that. At the moment I just assumed he was a grownup and therefore knew what he was talking about.

 

Arrgh. Indoctrinating children in religion before they're old enough to think critically is horrible!

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The very first? Hearing the story of Job when I was about 8 years old. Surely such a nasty god could not be the god of love I'd heard so much about.

 

But, alas, I put it out of my mind for several years. As an adult, the bit of the Bible that finally ended any attempt or pretense on my part to be a christian was the conflicting genealogies for Jesus.

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Can't remember the first. It's more like I've always had the doubts...and believe me it made for an emotional hell. I remember being no more than 5 and thinking "hey what if some guy just made all this up?" Can't believe I was so close so long ago.

 

Oh, and I was like 3 the first time I got saved. But then nothing happened so I figured it didn't take, and I did it again. And then I wondered if maybe the second time had reversed the first, and I better do it again just to be sure. Then when I was six I did it for like the 20th time and this time I MEANT it, and got baptized.

 

I used to wonder why I had such a stressful adolescence (after all I wanted for nothing and did well in school) but looking back on it...it's hard to believe I'm not fucking insane.

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From what I recall, what cracked the fundamentalist indoctrination for me was looking around & seeing abounding & blatant hypocrisies.

 

 

Similar for me. When my pastors wanted me to do something, they'd invoke pastoral authority, their annointing, having the holy spirit in them, etc. But when they'd screw up, they'd play the other card: "I'm just human! I'm not perfect!"

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  • Super Moderator

I was about 4 or 5 when I first heard the Abraham/Isaac story. It scared the crap out of me. Would god demand my parents kill me? And if he did, would he provide a baby lamb at the last minute to kill instead of me? Poor lamb. How could that happen anyhow -- there were no lambs in the suburbs. .... ??? I spent months asking every adult* I came in contact with if they'd kill their kids if god demanded it. Fortunately for my own sanity, everyone answered with a very strong "No!" So then if all these human parents are more kind than god....................... hmmmmmmmm????????? silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

 

 

*I have distinct memories of asking this question of people in the grocery store on more than one occasion. Looking back, I'm sure my mother was mortified.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I'm glad I've written about it in the past on forums, because I've long forgotten. The religious half of my life seems to be everincreasingly fading memory. The lastlings of christianity left me when I was 15/16. I'm 22. Doubts started before my preteen years (almost into or probably into the first 1/4 of my life). I hardly even remember what it was like to be afraid of all the "what if's", I'm glad I reached this point. I went through alot of torment in this life over it.

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I think one of my first inclinations was while at a youth camp at the height of my desire to become a pastor. One evening after all the kids were experiencing all of these wonderful spiritual "gifts", slain or laughing in the spirit, I sat there experiencing nothing (thought not for lack of hunger). I wondered "why not me?" Later that night, 3 of the guys who had been up front and on the floor experiencing God's gifts snuck out of our room to go bang their girlfriends. I got fucked that night, too...mindfucked!!!

 

 

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I can't remember it, really. I think being a protestant, what eventually did it for me was realizing that the Bible was a product of the human mind, not divine. This undermined everything.

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Earliest ones I remember: 1) In 1980, I was 16. I'd grown up in a mainstream church, but had been hanging around fundagelicals for a few years. Suddenly, everyone was supposed to be a Republican and love Reagan, because he was somehow a better Christian than the Sunday-school-teaching Southern Baptist Carter, and "trickle-down" economics was better than helping the poor, the way Jesus clearly said to right there in my bible.

 

2) They told me that "secular" music was bad. [Why?] Because of the lyrics. [Okay, what about music without lyrics?] Ah...if it's not Christian music with Christian lyrics (here, buy some) it's not "of God" and therefore full of demons. [but you said it was the lyrics, and now you're saying there's some kind of bad magic that comes out of speakers?] "You think too much."* (*actual quote)

 

Strangely, it took 8 or 9 years after that before I finally chucked the last of it.

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My first objections to Xianity were about morality; I was heavily concerned with women's rights. The first tiny, doubting spark appeared when I read Ephesians 5:22-24, which I felt degrades women: "Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the house just as Christ is head of the Church, his body, of which he is the savior. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

 

I waved it off as people gave multiple justifications: husbands are commanded to love their wives, so women would not be mistreated. There

has to be a head of the house, or the family falls into chaos as the parents

cannot agree on anything. And--my favorite--because Gawd said so.

 

I wish I could have thought of answers to these as I do now, but I was only 12 then. 1) 1 Peter tells women to obey their husbands, regardless of whether the men are Xians or non-Xians (and kind or abusive, calling into question the idea that all men treated their wives well). Logically, non-Xian

men would disregard the bit about loving their wives, so the good pious

women would be under a divine decree that they submit to abuse. 2)

Naturally there would be a main decision-maker, but that would fall into

place depending on the spouses' personalities, not gender. Examples of

strong women: Empress Theodora, Elizabeth I, Harriet Tubman. Examples

of weak men: Louis XVI of France, Philip II of Spain, Henry VIII. The

women I mentioned would be suffocated by the Church's law, and the men would flail helplessly and wish their wives would take over (but probably be too proud and "manly" to admit it). 3) Xians also believed God told them to kill people in the Crusades. Radical Muslims think God tells them to commit mass murder and when they die, he will reward them with virgin concubines. It's stupid to do something because you think God commanded it.

 

After I read that, I went on to discover holy genocide, sanctioned rape and God's rightful narcissism are all in the Bible. But I remember the passage in Ephesians so well because it started me on the path towards rational thinking. Praise da lard!

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At around the age of ten i was realy trying to figure out if there were actualy a set of pearly gates in the sky.After thinking about this for some time, i concluded that it wasn't very likely, but decided to ask one of the nuns in my school anyway. I was told that " of course there were gates in the heavens". Somehow i didn't trust that answer, and decided it was a lie. After that I didn't trust the nuns to tell me the truth and that was the start of my disbelief in the bible.

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Guest wester

Mid 1970's. I am 8 years old.

TV reruns of the original Star Trek series are at 10am on Sunday. Church is also at 10am.

This was an imposition that I could never reconcile and the birth of my apostasy.

 

Cheers

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I wasn't fully immersed in biblical study right away (converted at 19 yrs from an agnostic non church going upbringing) I converted via personal testimony and selective analysis of bible verses, "end of days" talk, current events and being told about the loving shepherd and the calvary story being a true" myth (a la CS Lewis Surprised by Joy etc)...

It wasn't until a little later that I began my biblical education, fighting my way through Paul's epistles (for some reason I was advised to read John, Acts and Romans to begin with and to leave Matthew Mark and Luke for later (Plymouth Brethren Chapel initially). Predestination I think was the first snag. The whole blaspheming the holy spirit in Hebrews also got me thinking. I was (although I would probably have denied it at the time) dabbling in a hopeful universalism by my fifth year of Christianity, but it was over twenty four years more before I couldn't deal with it all any more.

So my first doubts to do with judgement, hell and predestination were dealt with by cognitive dissonance : "Even if this God doesn't exist, I will choose to believe he does" because:

a) the consequences of being wrong are dire in the extreme, and

B) The world and life in general is meaningless without god, and

c) there is no justice and evil is rewarded and good punished in this world

I'd have to say hell judgement and predestination were the crux of my first doubts that I managed to squash into a ludicrously small locked up box of troublesome things.. a box that grew to encompass most of xtianity for me by the time I was done, there was so little left at the end that it fell apart very quickly once the bible was no longer the world of cod, and if I had been at all honest with myself, that had occurred years ago but I couldn't deal with it. I would have been fine loving jesus if someone hadn't told me to study the bible.

hilariously pathetic really. I feel like a complete moron.

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One of the first times I really had any 'doubt' was when singing "Amazing Grace" in 2008 or 2009 and actually listened to some of the words. When we go to the part:

 

"

When we've been here ten thousand years

bright shining as the sun.

We've no less days to sing God's praise

then when we've first begun.

"

 

I had my first moment of existential terror at the thought of existing for all eternity performing the same action forever.

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When I was about 8 yo and my church told me Mormons were going to hell. My best friend was LDS and I knew for a fact his family was as sincere as mine and it didn't make sense to me that I, out of sheer luck of birth was born into a family that got it right while he was born into a family that pretty much destined him for eternal torture. My BS detector was unfortunately not strong at that age though and I accepted my dad's weak apologetic when I asked him about it.

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For me it was my first year in seminary. We were translating a passage in Thessalonians that I had always been taught was about the rapture. I raised my hand and said, "The word rapture doesn't exist in this passage." And my prof just casually said, "No, no it doesn't," and totally moved the conversation on.

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