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alpha centauri

Test-2-Mony?

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About a month ago, I washed up on the shores of this great messageboard after spending a few years adrift, back in the place I never wanted to go again ... christianity. WendyDoh.gif

 

It's why you can go back and read many posts I typed in early 2009, and then suddenly there's a four-year gap. It's time to come clean. I allowed myself -- due to a major life-changing crisis -- to flee back into the seemingly safe but very false security of an imaginary god and his fellowship.

 

It's been a long and winding road, an often painful and turbulent existence. There were many times when I experienced doubt, but I just kept soldiering on until finally -- all the good reasons why I stopped believing in christianity before came flooding back with a vengeance.

 

Sadly, it's true what Santayana said. Those who don't remember (and learn from) the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

 

The major crisis I had was the breakup of an 18 and a half year marriage. It wasn't one that I wanted, and although honestly, I had made some mistakes (definitely NOT MAJOR mistakes like infidelity or beating the wife/kids), but I worked with every ounce of my ability to save the marriage, and it was all in vain. At the same time, my 100-year-old great-grandmother, who was as loving, kind, nurturing and decent throughout my life (as my mother was NOT) died, and suddenly, the two major blows led me to embrace the crutch I had previously thrown away.

 

I started attending a couple of Christian based support groups called Divorce Care and Celebrate Recovery (but not for any addiction issues) and found myself back in the arms of a god who would never forsake me ... or so I deluded myself into thinking. And church and the people in it were all too ready to draw me into the fold.

 

I got married a second time way to soon to a christian woman who had been previously married to a man who was sterile. Her primary goal was to have a child, and way too quickly (within weeks of our marriage), she was pregnant before we'd even really had a chance to complete the foundation of our relationship. But that's OK right? After all, god was gonna take care of everything!

 

What a load of bull, and deep down, I think I knew it. Sometimes, you find yourself swept up in events that your rational brain would be telling you "wait, wait, wait, slow down, slow down, STOP" but somehow you let god lead the way, and all your christian friends are cheering you on and then the avalanche simply can't be stopped.

 

Fast forward to today. After once again being horrified by the verses of the bible, the terrible things and the hyprocrisy of the church (it's amazing what happens when the blinders come off), the pandering for money, the discrimination, the judgmental nature of christianity, I am once again an ex-christian. Unanswered prayers played a huge role, too, and the things I prayed for most -- including for people to be healed of disease -- were many of the things that just weren't going to happen. I can't believe I had this relapse.

 

I told my current wife of my doubts and she gave me a list of ultimatums in what she expects from a husband. Being a godly husband and father is at the top of the list. I asked her "what about a good husband" instead of a godly one and she asked me to explain. I told her that my great-grandmother was the best person I knew, and she wasn't a christian nor did she believe in hell. My wife said she'd have to get back to me on that. Meanwhile, I gave her a list of my own, and at the top was wanting a wife who would love and support me for who I am and accept me, and realize that there are good people who aren't christians and bad people who are, and she did agree with that. But she said if I'm not a christian any more, we were married under false pretenses, so who knows what will happen.

 

But our future together is very cloudy. I have worked, but I'm not willing to go along with this god delusion, and if that's a deal-breaker (because everything else is filtered through that issue), then there's not much I can do.

 

It's very embarrassing. I feel like someone who kicked a drug or alcohol addiction only to relapse. How could I have let this happen?

 

Anyway, I'm hopefully here to stay now. Maybe there are others with similar experiences?

 

I wanted to be honest with everyone. I wasn't ready to share all these details (and the details were still coming together and still are) a few weeks ago, but I thought it was important to do so now.

 

And if anyone else is going through -- or has endured -- something similar, maybe there's some advice or knowledge you have that will help me get through it.

 

Thanks for bearing with such a long post.

 

Unfaithfully yours,

 

Alpha Centauri -- a heathen once again -- and thankful for it!

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My guess is that you were welcomed back to Xtianity with open arms and god was praised for never leaving you. Am I right?  Xtians love for a former christian to come back to the fold; I think that is because of their deep seated doubts that they can't allow to surface. But I welcome you back to where you belong for your own sake alone. I know it must have been difficult for you. It must be particularly difficult for a Xtian who has returned from non--belief to unlearn  the solid reasons he left christianity in the first place. But the fairy tale life can be tempting- for a while. Once you've known the truth it must be very hard to forget.

 

In any event I am happy you are back to sanity.  bill

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It's not that I completely gave up on the doubts. I just repressed them and tried to use christianity as a band-aid to make the pain go away. I suspect a lot of people experiencing pain go through the same thing. The Stockholm Syndrome can be strong, and you start to sympathize with that which holds you captive. False hope is seen as better than no hope ... until you begin to understand that false hope is no hope, and freeing your mind is much, much better.

 

You get to the point where you realize it's all just a load of bull, and you just can't go through it anymore.

 

It is much more refreshing, intellectually honest and liberating to be free of superstition. Christianity offers a lot of false promises, but it never truly delivers on anything real.

 

I long for the day when it is swept aside and studied as mythology, along with the other Abrahamic religions, scientology, Mormonism, etc.

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Mate I feel great sadness for you and for the loss of your great grandmother. Have you had any counselling? I ask as I feel this would help you seal off any doubts etc that may come up and try to drive you back into xtianity yet again. Hope you see where I am coming from.

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I went through Christian counseling once, when I was going through my divorce. I went by myself because my soon to be ex refused counseling. The counselor was so messed up that she ended up confiding in me problems that she was having, and I ended up offering encouragement to her.

 

I went through secular counseling and the guy was kind of lame. He just wanted to talk about all sorts of topics after spending a few minutes focusing on my issues.

 

I'm sure there are some very good counselers out there, but my experience with both the christian and non-christian varieties were pretty useless to me. I guess I helped the poor struggling christian woman feel better about herself, and I'm sure the non-christian enjoyed shooting the breeze. But none of that helped me.

 

I was much better off just picking up good books with advice for overcoming grief.

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I hear you mate about the counselors. In fact the best one I had when my first marriage ended was a xtian and she was amazing. Not once did she push xtianity at me. She helped me rebuild myself in such an amazing way. I have really bad counselors too.

 

Reading books sure does help. Have done this and still do.

 

I still feel the pain you have when I read your OP. Hang in there.

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Hugs you.

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I remember you!   Glad to see you again.  Sorry to hear about your struggles, but we'll be here to offer support!

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That's rough, AC.  I hope that things get better for you.  Don't beat yourself up about what you went to for support.  It could have been worse (drugs, suicide...).  It sounds like you're doing your part to make things work.  Just be patient with your wife.  Try to see things from her perspective.  She may come around.

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We had a good day today. I baked her a cake for her birthday (a day early).

 

I think she is starting to realize that not everything is as black and white as theology so often teaches. Anyway, whatever happens I'm determined not to flee to religion ever again to seek refuge. I learned a painful lesson, but the key is that I learned.

 

I'm thankful to have others to share with who are refugees from so toxic an outlook.

 

My wife and 2-year-old son may or may not attend church on Sundays. But my wife has said I don't have to go. I wish there was a freethought fellowship in my area. The closest thing to that in my community that I'm aware of is the Unitarian Universalist fellowship. I'm not so sure about that.

 

Anyway, thanks for the empathy and support. It means a lot. I've also joined the website Secular Cafe, and it may sound silly, but I get a lot of encouragement from music, as well. It's amazing what words of wisdom Rush has to offer.

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My wife and 2-year-old son may or may not attend church on Sundays. But my wife has said I don't have to go.

While I would agree that it's good that your wife is not insisting that you go to church, the way you wrote this struck a nerve. She said you didn't have to go - as in she could have told you that you had to, but instead she is giving you permission not to?

 

It's not up to her if you go or not, or really anything else. You are an adult in your own right. YOU make these decisions. Do not allow her to dictate to you what you will and will not do. If you let that shit get started, you'll never get it stopped.

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We had a good day today. I baked her a cake for her birthday (a day early).

 

I think she is starting to realize that not everything is as black and white as theology so often teaches. Anyway, whatever happens I'm determined not to flee to religion ever again to seek refuge. I learned a painful lesson, but the key is that I learned.

 

I'm thankful to have others to share with who are refugees from so toxic an outlook.

 

My wife and 2-year-old son may or may not attend church on Sundays. But my wife has said I don't have to go. I wish there was a freethought fellowship in my area. The closest thing to that in my community that I'm aware of is the Unitarian Universalist fellowship. I'm not so sure about that.

 

Anyway, thanks for the empathy and support. It means a lot. I've also joined the website Secular Cafe, and it may sound silly, but I get a lot of encouragement from music, as well. It's amazing what words of wisdom Rush has to offer.

 

You might want to try the Unitarian on your own while your wife is at her church.  Maybe the Unitarian one would be enough of a compromise.  The big roadblock would be if your wife was raised in a family like mine.  While growing up I had constantly been told that Unitarians (and many other denominations my mother didn't care for) were "cults".

 

Sorry to hear about your wife and kid.  I hope things work out for all of you.  I'm married to a casual catholic.  She doesn't hold on to much of religion but what she has she clings to stubbornly.  So we do go to mass occasionally as a family.  For me the hardest part is not laughing during the service.  My son thinks he is a Christian but he is approaching the age of reason so we will see how that goes.  My plan (and hope) is to teach him to respect his mother's belief even if he doesn't share it.

 

If you don't mind I've been wondering something about belief itself and your experience might shed light.  I've been thinking that we really don't have direct control over our beliefs.  Would that fit what you went through with your reconversion and then re-de-conversion?  I think we use defense mechanism to try to protect our beliefs but once external pressure is too great we can't really stop the change.  Your thoughts?

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Strike two.  Hopefully, you can avoid strike three.

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HUGS

 

Wow, what a long road you've had to travel. I really do hope for the best with your wife. It's so beyond pathetic and sad that she'd rather have a Christian husband than a GOOD husband.

 

My experience probably doesn't count, but you asked if anyone had had a relapse. I kind of did. I converted at 16 or so over a Rapture scare, but drifted away after The Big Day came and went and no Jesus showed up to grab us before nuclear war broke out. A year later, I was dating a schmuck who got dramatically converted at a Pentecostal revival meeting, like demon-casting-out and everything, and I let his enthusiasm drag me back into the fold. I felt so ridiculous but the pull was so strong; I felt like I needed answers, and didn't know that I was more than capable of giving myself answers. Maybe I didn't trust myself enough. At the time I didn't realize that things that destroyed my dignity were not things I should be doing. And I didn't know enough science and real history to know that the fundies' claims were solid deep-fried bullshit. I know what you mean about feeling like it was some addiction you'd had a relapse over even though my relapse didn't quite get as bad as yours.

 

I can definitely sympathize and add my hopes to those of the others here that you and your wife find a way to stay together that honors both your true needs--not the stated ones, but the deeper ones beneath those exterior statements.

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Guest Pixie

alpha centauri, it is very easy to sit in church among all your friends, where everyone makes you feel secure with the prayers and the fellowship. As long as you sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday, even with all the doubts, there is the hope that one might finally receive the favors from God for even trying to remain a Christian. Even if the doctrine is untrue, there is a certain peace about belonging to the church with it's promises of Heaven.          

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Guest MadameX

All the best to you. It isn't easy, especially if you live in Texas.

 

And yes, to music. It can transport you away and give you space for healing. And yes to Unitarian Universalism. There you will find you are not alone in your experience.

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Thanks for your encouragement. Church wasn't any issue this week because my son was sick with a fever. He's doing better now. I did hear her tell her mom that maybe they could go to church next week. Here mom hasn't been to church with her in more than a year. But I guess she may be my substitute there.

 

Anyway, we'll see how things go. I'm proceeding with caution, because I can't allow myself to go off the deep in again in response to any crisis. After all, look where it got me last time.

 

If it comes down to needing fellowship with nonbelievers, the UU may be about the only option within two hours of home. There are some nice freethought fellowships in Dallas, and plenty of nonbeliever gatherings in Austin, but that's too far to drive on a regular basis.

 

The funny thing is, some christians say a crisis of faith is normal, and your faith returns stronger than ever. The opposite happened with me. It's too bad religion plays such a strong negative role in our world, and too bad that many people can't help and appreciate each other without some imaginary sky king's followers telling them how to behave (and who to discriminate against).

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