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New To The Site, Here's My Anti-Testimony...

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I was raised as a devout, non-denominational Christian in Texas. I have always enjoyed a sense of community in the churches I belonged to. Sure I had doubts over the years, but I would usually either stuff them or talk to someone who was "more spiritually mature" than me about them until I got some sort of answer that pacified me (often times of the "God works in mysterious ways and we just have to trust him because he's so much more complex than we are" variety).

 

After grad school I moved my family to a small city in Texas where we did not know anyone. I struggled finding a church that I enjoyed, as the people were way more "country" than I was used to. Also, maybe it was a phase of life thing now that I had young kids and did not have the time to socialize that I once did. In any case, the sense of community was gone, even after we finally joined one that my wife liked but I didn't really love.

 

At that point I began listening to the doubts and noticing more and more inconsistencies in the Bible, specifically regarding God's character. How could God say he loved us and wanted none to perish, but send a bear to maul a bunch of teenagers who were making fun of Elisha's baldness? How could he turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt just for looking back? How could he have no comment on David's polygamy? How could he strike down Ananias and Sephira for swindling the church while turning a blind eye to all the child molestors today? The answers I had heard before no longer made sense. The ultimate question for me was why God would make it so difficult for us to have proof of his existence when there were eternal implications for those who did not believe? He is supposed to love us and want none to perish, so why not write it in the sky with a disembodied hand, or give the world an simultaneous vision of Jesus dying on the cross? If I could think of a hundred better ways to reach humanity than a book written by a bunch of humans two thousand years ago, then I knew God could think of these things too. I realized that I was holding on to my worldview instead of seeking truth. I started searching the internet and realizing I was not alone. I picked up the book "Why I believed" by Ken Daniels ($0.99 on Kindle!) and that was it for me.

 

So far I have only told a handful of people. My wife knows, and while she is not going to leave me or anything, I know this is hurting her. That's hard. I have tried to talk to her about my reasons, but she said she is not ready to go there yet so I am respecting her space right now. I have told my two closest Christian friends and they have agreed to look at some of the materials I've been reading. I'm lucky in that they have made it clear that we'll be friends no matter what I believe.

 

I have not told my extended family or any other friends yet. Part of this is because I just got a new job and am about to move to San Antonio, and I only need one stressful event going on at a time. I have not told my dad or my sister yet because my mom passed away a couple of years ago and I know that their faith is a big part of what has helped them get through it. The anniversary of her death is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I'm going to give it a month or two after that to tell them. But I do want to tell them.

 

I am not really sure what to tell my kids. They are 4 and 18 months. I am still going to church with my family since our move is still a couple of months away and I don't want to put my wife through a bunch of questions from other church members about where I am. Obviously my 18 month old is too young to understand anything, but my 4 year old knows about God and knows that we believe in him. I'll probably let her know that daddy doesn't think God is real anymore after we make the move and I stop going to church.

 

Parenting is obviously going to be a big issue, so if anyone has any suggestions on resources for interfaith parenting I am all ears right now. I feel bad for my wife because this is not what she signed up for and this was not our original vision for raising our kids, but we still love each other and want to try to make it work.

 

So that's it for now I guess. Thanks for reading.

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Welcome, Dr.

 

Lots of people here in the spouse/kid trap. I'm sure they will be happy to offer their experience and suggestions.

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Welcome to ex-C. I'm in a similar situation myself. I have told my mom. My wife is still Christian. My oldest kid is getting to that age where my unbelief will become an issue. However I have already stopped attending church. Where you go from there depends on what you want for your kids and family. Do you care if they are religious or Christian? I have been actively undermining my family's faith. I just don't want my kids wasting their lives in a cult. But your millage may varry so what do you see for their future? Mild liberal Christianity seems mostly harmless.

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Welcome, DrNo! That is a tough situation for sure, and one that many on this site are dealing with every day. I also wonder what I'm going to tell my kids. My oldest is 4 and is already asking questions (and we don't even bring him to church.) My husband told me yesterday that our son asked him "How do Santa Claus and God see what we're doing all the time?" My husband told him that he doesn't really know. I am glad to hear that my son is lumping the two in the same bucket... so when he finds out that Santa Claus is not real, he'll know that God belongs in the same category.

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DrNo, nice handle. One of the best Bond films. Welcome to the forum. I might purchase the Ken Daniels book myself. It looks like an interesting read.

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Thanks for sharing, DrNo. I started out in a similar situation to yours. It sounds like you are doing a great job in dealing with your conclusions. It will take time for things to sink in with your wife. Just remember to be patient with her and try to empathize.

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Welcome DrNo smile.png

 

Congratulations for reasoning into the truth. Unfortunately, you should know that your xian friends will likely not remain part of your life. Some will outright reject you. Most will just pull away simply because they don't know what to do or say. This is one of the hardest parts to deal with. Make some new friends here smile.png

 

Jason

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DrNo, It's a tough situation to be in - without a doubt. Christianity started falling apart several years ago for me, but have been mentally away from it for a couple of years now. Yes, the conversation with my wife was also a hard step to take. My boys are 18 and 16 now - so subtract two years and I was in the position of telling them that everything they had ever known about me was changing and that I was no longer going to be attending church anymore. I didn't really want to give them all kinds of details on why Christianity fell apart and they haven't asked questions, although my 18 year old has stopped attending now that he is 18. My mom is deceased and I don't know for sure what my dad and step-mom know - I've not said anything to them, although there are several times they have attempted to correct something I've said that didn't fit the Biblical mold.

 

As far as advice: I'd say the main thing is learning to listen to yourself. You'll be headed through some rough times and sometimes you'll simply have to take care of yourself. What Jason said in post #7 is absolutely true.

 

Feel free to post on here as needed. Sometimes this seems to be the only sane place there is. Welcome to Ex-C.

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Thanks for the love everyone. I look forward to getting to know everyone better.

 

@ mymistake, my wife has tried the "it's harmless" argument with me when we have discussed parenting. The only problem is that I'm not sure that it really is harmless. I realized that for me, it seriously hampered my ability to think critically. No doubt it also contributed to some good things, but overall I would say that good things I got out of religion could be found elsewhere (e.g. community, meditation/mindfulness, etc.), so the hampering of critical thinking skills is not worth whatever pros were there. If there is a branch of Christianity that essentially said, "Here are some things that a man from 2,000 years ago might have said. A lot of them are worth living out. Some of them are probably not true." then I would be cool with that. But I know of know such denomination.

 

I was looking at the resources listed on the website and saw Parenting Beyond Belief. That looks like a promising start, though not specifically aimed at interfaith parenting...

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A Unitarian congregation would probably meet your requirements but is likely to make your wife uncomfortable. You might want to research liberal Episcopalian or Methodist churches, or even "emerging" churches in your area.

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Welcome, DrNo!

 

You are among like minds here, so please make yourself at home. beer.gif There are many folks here in the same "unequally yoked" boat. I hope you find peace and healing here!

 

Peace.

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Welcome, DrNo. I don't have any words of wisdom, but I think you will find plenty of people in situations similar to yours. I'm sure if you hang around and read a few of the threads dealing with 'believing spouses' you will find lots of good advice and an abundance of support!

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Thanks for the love everyone. I look forward to getting to know everyone better.

 

@ mymistake, my wife has tried the "it's harmless" argument with me when we have discussed parenting. The only problem is that I'm not sure that it really is harmless. I realized that for me, it seriously hampered my ability to think critically. No doubt it also contributed to some good things, but overall I would say that good things I got out of religion could be found elsewhere (e.g. community, meditation/mindfulness, etc.), so the hampering of critical thinking skills is not worth whatever pros were there. If there is a branch of Christianity that essentially said, "Here are some things that a man from 2,000 years ago might have said. A lot of them are worth living out. Some of them are probably not true." then I would be cool with that. But I know of know such denomination.

 

I was looking at the resources listed on the website and saw Parenting Beyond Belief. That looks like a promising start, though not specifically aimed at interfaith parenting...

 

Personally I believe Christianity is very harmful to it's own followers. But what I was driving at is that each of us has to decide what they are willing to do to save their marriage. It sounds to me like you want to keep at it. I certainly do. My wife and I have talked about that and I have assured her that I won't try to change her beliefs about God. However I do draw her attention to the corruption and hypocrisy of humans running various churches. I have to play that one carefully so as to not offend. She wants our youngest to be dedicated and that presents a delicate problem for me since I can't make any promises like that and I consider the whole thing to be a scam. If my kids reject religion (which they are bound to do at some point) then I will support them as much as I can. Until that point I am working on my oldest's critical thinking skills. I'm quizzing him on the Great Pumpkin and unicorns and so on. I'm asking him how he knows they are not real. I don't take the next step. I will let him do that on his own. But if religion starts to harm him I might step in. It helps that we hardly ever attend church. I'm also giving him good info on science. Any time I can I tell him what we know about origins. Dinosaurs and volcanoes are cool.

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Welcome to the club. I know the feeling. At one point I thought about faking and saying "hey Im saved what was i thinking" just for things to go back to normal. but this is too important. Its not even mainly about me. Its mostly about my kids and the future of free-thought, then my sanity and integrity. I wish I could tell you what to do. Nothing seems to be working for me other than taking it day by day and remaining the same person you always were. I still go to church. I even took communion twice since being atheist (I was supposed to have died by the way according to the bible. LOL). I still wonder what my wife thinks about that. It was mainly to prove that its just a stupid stake cracker and I wont die for eating it. Kinda sounds like satan in the garden. LOL.

 

My oldest is 4 and is already asking questions (and we don't even bring him to church.) My husband told me yesterday that our son asked him "How do Santa Claus and God see what we're doing all the time?" My husband told him that he doesn't really know.......

 

LOL. I love it. My 4 year old is a critical thinker too. I hate to stifle a 4 year old's mind. they put so much faith in us as parents to point them in the right direction and tell them the truth when they dont know something. It pains me when that inquisitive mind is squashed by dogma and fear.

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LOL, I actually had the same temptation this morning to just "fake it," but knew that I couldn't do that. I feel like I've taken "the red pill." Even if I wanted to go back I couldn't now.

 

(side note: I think it's ironic that I used to see the Matrix analogy from a "spiritual" perspective, but now I realize it works just as well from a humanist one)

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Hello, DrNo, and welcome to Ex-C from another member of the Unequally Yoked Club.

 

You check out my profile for links to my extimony and how I came out to my wife. I'm working through a lot of the things you are right now, like how I'm going to deal with a believing spouse and two young kids (my son is almost 5 years old and my daughter is 2 years old). I just faked it for a long time, and it only drove me to frustration.

 

Ex-C is a great place to find support from people who have been through what you're going through now, and also a great place to just kvetch and vent about the stupidity of Christianity and the odd behavior of Christians.

 

I may not be too available in the near future due to fucking hurricane Sandy. The power has been out at my house since Monday, and they're not expecting it back on until next week. Maybe. It might actually be longer. Fucking hurricane.

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LOL, I actually had the same temptation this morning to just "fake it," but knew that I couldn't do that. I feel like I've taken "the red pill." Even if I wanted to go back I couldn't now.

 

(side note: I think it's ironic that I used to see the Matrix analogy from a "spiritual" perspective, but now I realize it works just as well from a humanist one)

My father in law gave me that whole matrix deal and I see it the opposite way. Its the norm to grab some religion in a country that is like 85% religious or whatever. The world is sleep and needs to take the pill to wake up not vice versa. Also I am reading why I believed based off your post and I love it.

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Awesome, I'm glad you like it. I think that this was the right book for me to start with because it was written by someone who used to be an incredibly devout believer, as opposed to someone who had always viewed faith from afar and had always seen the flaws. Ken goes to great lengths to be kind in his critique, but he also does not hold back in pointing out the logical and historical fallacies.

 

Similarly, I found a sort of documentary on YouTube by a guy who was a very devout believer and ended up seeing the flaws and leaving the faith. Again, very sensitive and not at all ridiculing of believers, but pulls no punches when it comes to the analysis itself. It's broken up into several 10 minute chapters (total is about 3 hours). Both the book and the video cover some of the same ground, but also a lot of different ground. I think you'll find both useful. I know I did. Here's the link if you're interested:

.

 

I think that there is something to be learned from the approach that these materials take. i would have never picked up Hitchens or Dawkins because of the reputation they have for skewering and ridiculing faith. But an approach that gently reveals that the emperor has no clothes could potentially reach a lot more people who have questions right now.

 

Also I am reading why I believed based off your post and I love it.

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Awesome, I'm glad you like it. I think that this was the right book for me to start with because it was written by someone who used to be an incredibly devout believer, as opposed to someone who had always viewed faith from afar and had always seen the flaws. Ken goes to great lengths to be kind in his critique, but he also does not hold back in pointing out the logical and historical fallacies.

 

Similarly, I found a sort of documentary on YouTube by a guy who was a very devout believer and ended up seeing the flaws and leaving the faith. Again, very sensitive and not at all ridiculing of believers, but pulls no punches when it comes to the analysis itself. It's broken up into several 10 minute chapters (total is about 3 hours). Both the book and the video cover some of the same ground, but also a lot of different ground. I think you'll find both useful. I know I did. Here's the link if you're interested:

.

 

I think that there is something to be learned from the approach that these materials take. i would have never picked up Hitchens or Dawkins because of the reputation they have for skewering and ridiculing faith. But an approach that gently reveals that the emperor has no clothes could potentially reach a lot more people who have questions right now.

 

Also I am reading why I believed based off your post and I love it.

 

Yes Ive posted 3vid3nc3's videos to help others as well before. I thought it was the fairest, most in-depth, justified, youtube video on deconversion that I've seen. This book is basically the same thing. The gentle approach is awesome. I think it takes a hitchens to slap you out of the trance and look deeper but then guys like Kenneth daniels hold your hand and lovingly show you that you are stupid. LOL

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Welcome to ExC, DrNo.

 

I enjoyed reading your extimony.

 

As for telling your family and friends, I do not think there is any "magic formula" for doing so nor any quick and easy guide for whether, whom, and how to tell. And at least as importantly, people's reactions to being told are as varied as the individuals involved. Some who are told take it rather well and others take it extremely poorly and there have been cases that the believers who are told put the deconverted through a sort of living hell (so to speak). My advice, if you decide to tell people, is not to tell them in a judgmental way. By that I mean, try to refrain from saying things that they may interpret as a suggestion that believers are stupid, gullible and the like (not that I think you would act that way). Also, until you are good and ready, try to avoid long, drawn out theological debates with entrenched Christians. Those sorts of "discussions" will get you nowhere.

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Also, until you are good and ready, try to avoid long, drawn out theological debates with entrenched Christians. Those sorts of "discussions" will get you nowhere.

 

Hi OF,

 

I actually had a few of these conversations recently and so far it has done nothing but firm up my deconversion so far. For every convoluted explanation they bring up to any of my objections, I just say, "Yeah, but isn't a much simpler solution to that problem that a) God isn't real/doesn't care and/or B) the Bible is a flawed document created by men worthy of the same level of scrutiny as any other historical text?" Ultimately I keep coming back to the same question: If our eternities really depended on us buying into his message and making him lord, and God says that he loves us all and wants none to perish, why would he entrust this critical message to flawed men and a flawed book that was clearly doctored over time and provide accounts in this book that conflict with reason and ethics? All he would have to do is send a bunch of angels once every few years or so, singing about his love and Jesus's sacrifice in a language that everyone on the planet mysteriously understands. He's God. What would be so hard about that? He did the whole pillar of fire/smoke thing before, right? This still allows people to have free will, but makes proof of his existence irrefutable. And yet, here we are, with no miracles to testify to his glory. He either does not exist, does not care what we believe, or has a completely fucked up sense of morality.

 

People compare God's love to a father's love. I have young kids. I spend time directly with them. Not on the phone, not through writing them letters, but directly with them. I also don't leave them unattended and toss them a book of rules and tell them to behave themselves because I'll be in the next room and at the end of the day if they broke any rules they're going to get a spanking for the rest of their lives. That is ludicrous. I can't believe it took me so long to realize it.

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I actually had a few of these conversations recently and so far it has done nothing but firm up my deconversion so far.

 

I'm glad these conversations went well for you. I have seen some instances when newly deconverted people had such conversations and the other party with whom they were talking brought up a point which the newly deconverted had not anticipated and it caused the person(s) to doubt whether they had made the right decision to leave the religion.

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I have seen some instances when newly deconverted people had such conversations and the other party with whom they were talking brought up a point which the newly deconverted had not anticipated and it caused the person(s) to doubt whether they had made the right decision to leave the religion.

 

Well it helps that I had already read a lot of apologetics before my doubts, so I already know most if not all of what they are going to bring up. I've visited some various sites that refute apologetics arguments and when I bring up these perspectives no one has any answer except the mystery of God. Not good enough for me. Not when our supposed eternities are on the line.

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I have seen some instances when newly deconverted people had such conversations and the other party with whom they were talking brought up a point which the newly deconverted had not anticipated and it caused the person(s) to doubt whether they had made the right decision to leave the religion.

 

Well it helps that I had already read a lot of apologetics before my doubts, so I already know most if not all of what they are going to bring up. I've visited some various sites that refute apologetics arguments and when I bring up these perspectives no one has any answer except the mystery of God. Not good enough for me. Not when our supposed eternities are on the line.

 

Quite true. The apologists don't seem to have anything new to bring to the table. I view their true role as to provide some kind of answer which pleases the true believers so they remain true believers.

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