Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
justbreathe

Leaving It All

Recommended Posts

I have a feeling any real testimony I could give would start out rambling and complicated, only to get worse. In a nutshell - I've been raised in a church in Northern Ireland by my single mother (parents divorced very young due to dads' infidelity - this is important, I think). The church was started by one of my uncle's, an Apostolic Pastor (and one of the few family members I'd feel vaguely comfortable debating religion with, funnily enough). The church is full of my family members, I'm from a very big, staunchly Protestant family. I left Northern Ireland and that lifestyle behind when I moved to England suddenly 7 years ago to live with my then boyfriend (now husband). I have only just told my mum, and ex-pastor, that I'm Agnostic. I have no idea if word has reached the rest of my family yet, I have a feeling my mum will try to keep it hush hush and get me back into the fold. I announced it because I'd brought my 7 month old son over there for a Dedication at my mum's church, really because I know she won't get to see him much, I don't believe the ceremony does or means anything, and it'll give my mum a nice memory. I regret doing it now, but was honest and asked for a Blessing instead of a Dedication. I don't want my son going through the same things I have.

 

I studied to become a missionary, leaving after the first year of my degree because I couldn't stand any of it anymore. I knew I was being lied to at every turn, and couldn't understand why these people were so angry and hateful of the truth. There were some who had no emotional investment in Creationism or anti-homosexuality, for example, but they were the minority and still are.

 

Christianity in Northern Ireland is a strange beast, it's mixed in with all the Old Religion pseudo-politics which have existed for hundreds of years. Even now, with The Troubles supposedly over, it's all hooked in there so you can't separate the "proper" Christianity in some ways from Unionism. It's hard to explain if you haven't been there, the religious atmosphere is stifling. You can't disagree, you can't be yourself. They hold everything back, abortion is still illegal even though it is legal in the rest of the UK.

 

See? I said I'd get rambling. I'll probably come back and post a bit more as I think of it.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Feel free to share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. I spent a week or so writing my ex-timony so it would all come out exactly as I intended. Take off your shoes and stay a while, feel free to read and learn. Welcome aboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Justbreathe,

 

Most of us here have dealt with the same kind of people. We know what it's like. You can't reason with faith, because faith doesn't need reason. I find your statement "I knew I was being lied to at every turn" interesting. We often feel that way when dealing with the religious, but I wouldn't call them liars. Liars don't believe what they say... most Christians do believe, or at least "think" they believe. It's more of a shared delusion.

 

We can attempt to make the information available to Christians, and answer their questions, but there's unfortunately nothing you can do to convince most of them. They have to choose to be reasonable.

 

Good luck, and welcome to Ex-C!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, and welcome.

 

The political/religious situation in Northern Ireland is unique, and I don't think we have many (if any) other Northern Irish here. However, I think you will find people here with whom you have experiences in common.

 

I have a relative who lives in Belfast and the only experience I have is from talking and visiting with him. It's difficult to get a true impression from him as he tends to hang out with outsiders/immigrants/asylum-seekers rather than locals. The impression I get though, is that religion in Northern Ireland has little to do with faith, and a lot to do with politics.

 

It's not so hard being an atheist here in England, but I can understand your concerns about your family's reaction. I hope it turns out better than you expect.

 

And in the mean time, I hope you will feel at home here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it interesting that in Ireland, you are not identified politically by your choice and nationality, but by your religion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome!

 

I live in a pretty religious part of the US, and while it probably isn't as stifling as the place you live in, it's kind of a downer when you're the only non-believer in your family. There's a lot of supportive people around here, so don't be afraid to ramble... whatever you have to say, there's probably at least a few people who can relate.

 

By the way, my brother=in-law is from Cork, Ireland (quite a ways from Northern Ireland, I know). His family is all Catholic. One time after he moved to Texas, he was visiting his brother and he (as a joke) asked his brother if he had "accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior". His brother looked at him like he'd joined some weird American cult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to reply, it's really honestly very encouraging. I've had what most would consider a bizarre upbringing, but I'm at least grateful that it wasn't as awful as some I've heard about. Once I can string a few sentences together I'll write a bit more to get it off my chest :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to reply, it's really honestly very encouraging. I've had what most would consider a bizarre upbringing, but I'm at least grateful that it wasn't as awful as some I've heard about. Once I can string a few sentences together I'll write a bit more to get it off my chest smile.png

 

Dont worry we certainly wont ostracize you for writing alot, in fact, my EX testimony was two pages in length.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Write as much as you need to or want to :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, JB! Feel free to share whatever you're comfortable with. It's great to have you here!

 

Peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm cheating as this isn't my writing, but I've just stumbled across an interesting article on life in Northern Ireland, it sums up my experience too. http://heresyclub.com/2012/08/the-casual-theocracy-understanding-ulster/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, justbreathe! Welcome! Ramble all you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you found us here. :)

 

Like you, I felt I couldn't let my kids be abused by "true religion" the way that I allowed myself to be abused. It was one of many reasons we decided to walk away from bible religion.

I don't have an ounce of Irish blood in me...about the closest to Irish i have in my family is my dad is half Welsh. I've heard the Welsh can be a bit overly religious, from what I recall my dad's relatives in Wales

were very religious & I think that may have exasperated some emotional problems....but a lot of time that stuff is swept under the rug by the family....

 

Anyhoo WELCOME! :D You are not alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome! I'm still very new here myself and very new to the entire de-conversion process so sometimes I feel out of sorts welcoming people to this side of the fence because I barely feel at home, myself. This website is however, great! So welcome here and I hope it's as medicinal for you as it's been for me.

 

I'm curious... You mention that it's important that your parents divorced early on... Surely, that is very true but are you saying it's important as it contributed to your questioning of the bigger-picture? I only ask this because I was raised fatherless as well. Just me and mom and I will certainly tell anyone that it has contributed significantly to my understanding of the world and a lack of belief in the Christian God.

 

Is that what you were getting at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

. You can't disagree, you can't be yourself. They hold everything back, abortion is still illegal even though it is legal in the rest of the UK.

 

See? I said I'd get rambling. I'll probably come back and post a bit more as I think of it.

 

Dear justbreathe,

 

Thank you for your message. I agree what you say. There is never freedom when you cant be yourself and say no when you disagree. That's why going out of all

this religion requires a fierce determination because you loose everything. Many christians could agree the stupid things in bible but they don't and prefer

to stay blind because doubting is the worst thing that could happen to them. If they start doubting, they can loose the husband or wife because all is built

on faith and they will have to admit they teached something wrong in their children, they will loose their friend. THIS CHRISTIAN WORLD IS BLACK OR WHITE. There

is no place for grey colour....that's why the mentality is really not good and if you are open mind at least you can't stay very longer with them. I travelled a lot in my

life, I like discovering different cultures and beliefs but when I was a christian it was a problem for me. Because for example when I was in India I visited some

hindu temple and felt guilty with thoughts like : "it is not ok for the Lord, will I loose His protection if I commit a sin ??"...when you are in christianity you are like

in a prison and the most difficult is to recover and to go out of this prison in your head. It takes time, patience. I remember when I left religion I dreamed several time

like crossing a river and swimming, I swam in peace and it reveals that there would be struggle to go out of religion but I would win...and today I am pleased to

tell you it is exactly what happenend. I am free after a lot of struggle like most ex christians :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome JB!

 

Take comfort in the fact that the majority of people here can relate to many aspects of your story. It is sad that your story is so common, but the good news is that many have walked the road you are walking now.

 

People here genuinely care about our fellow humans and are very willing to help as much as we can and as much as you want us to.

 

Stick around and make some friends :)

 

Jason

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious... You mention that it's important that your parents divorced early on... Surely, that is very true but are you saying it's important as it contributed to your questioning of the bigger-picture? I only ask this because I was raised fatherless as well. Just me and mom and I will certainly tell anyone that it has contributed significantly to my understanding of the world and a lack of belief in the Christian God.

 

Is that what you were getting at?

 

It's complicated, but I'm sure our stories are similar. I think it's important primarily because of how it made my mum. To this day she is very hurt over what happened, and I think that hurt and insecurity drives a lot of her dependence, which makes her feel threatened by me not being like her. My mum was an excellent parent, but as I've become older our relationship has fractured because we disagree on important things. I think my mum has been wanting "justice" all these years, and has always made me feel terrible for seeing my dad, sadly she still does. My mum needed a partner, someone to help (her parents died when I was very young too, and we were living with them after the divorce, and my grandmother had been a devout Christian).

 

Making any sense?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious... You mention that it's important that your parents divorced early on... Surely, that is very true but are you saying it's important as it contributed to your questioning of the bigger-picture? I only ask this because I was raised fatherless as well. Just me and mom and I will certainly tell anyone that it has contributed significantly to my understanding of the world and a lack of belief in the Christian God.

 

Is that what you were getting at?

 

It's complicated, but I'm sure our stories are similar. I think it's important primarily because of how it made my mum. To this day she is very hurt over what happened, and I think that hurt and insecurity drives a lot of her dependence, which makes her feel threatened by me not being like her. My mum was an excellent parent, but as I've become older our relationship has fractured because we disagree on important things. I think my mum has been wanting "justice" all these years, and has always made me feel terrible for seeing my dad, sadly she still does. My mum needed a partner, someone to help (her parents died when I was very young too, and we were living with them after the divorce, and my grandmother had been a devout Christian).

 

Making any sense?

 

I can relate to the mom being hurt about the past part and I think this drives a lot of people's belief in the faith... That one day those who were unjust will meet justice in the next life.

 

I haven't yet delivered the information to my mom that I'm no longer a believer and at this point I lean towards never doing so. Her life has been a struggle enough and I don't want her to experience anymore emotional turmoil if I can have anything to do with it.

Share this post


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

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.