Jump to content

Proving You Actually Were A Real Christian


kruszer
 Share

Recommended Posts

"You never were a xian, it was a hollow facade. Real xians dont quit. And in case you arent getting the msg...since you're own xian faith ended miserably-we don't need a lecture from you on how to live."
 

This messaged was sent by one of my good Christian friends after a FB discussion that ensued from my posting a Bill Maher video on evangelicals and their view of war.     I thought that Bill had made some very valid points that were worth considering.   As a Christian I had been a pacifist and I still do beleive that this is what the Bible teaches.   I similarly believe that the Bible teaches a Calvinistic, predestination gospel.   I don't believe the Bible is authoritative and true anymore, but that doesn't mean that I don't know what it teaches.  

Back when I was a Christian I could post challenges to Christian peers and I'd get back and forth dialog and accusations at worse that I wasn't interpretting the passage correctly.   Now that I no longer believe the passages are universal and inerrant truth, I'm often dismissed flat-out with accusations that since I'm not a believer, my thoughts on the Bible are nullified since I couldn't possibly be in a position of correctly interpreting the Bible if I don't even believe in it and am not living it myself.  

This insulting line of reason is further magnified by people like my friend.   He actually knew me at the height of my faith when I was knee-deep in Bible study, theology, and evangelism, and when the guys in our peer group voted "Kristine's spiritual strength" into their imaginary "perfect Christian woman" made from an amalgamation of all of us.   It bothers me to hear people say that since I walked aways from the faith I must not really have been a True Believer in the first place.   Cause if you "REALLY" know Jesus you don't quit on your faith and walk away from Him, right?    I'm not even sure why it should bother or hurt me, since in reality I think that no one is a Christian since Christ (as a Messiah) did not even exist.  (I don't need to have faith my friends are there, I know they're there cause I can see and talk to them for real). 

But I nonetheless find myself trying to justify why I was a better and truer Christian than some of them (I wasn't having premarital sex, I was a lot more active in defense of the unborn and I still found time to work the soup kitchen every week!)  I even find myself trying to justify that as an atheist I'm still more moral than some of them - and I shouldn't even have to, because their system of morality is nothing that proves anything.  

Perhaps I'm trying to get credit for how hard I worked to have faith and maintain my faith, while others showed up to the Jesus Bless-me club and "got their blessing" and had an easy time knowing God was God and that God was good - even if they barely cracked open their Bibles.   I want to be able to demonstrate that I struggled to believe but I truly did believe as hard as I could and for years!  Pouring hours and hours every week into Bible study and Bible memorization and Christian service, and struggling with apologetics books even years after the question of suffering in my own life ceased to have any answers that truly could satisfy.   I want to be able to prove that I spent hours crying and wailing out to God to strengthen my faith and show himself real to me so that I could believe despite everything I was going through.  I want to be able to prove that I tried harder than many Christians ever have to, to be able to believe and follow Jesus before I finally gave up.   

I know it shouldn't matter that something that is quite evidently made up is taken less seriously by some than by others, but still it angers me to think that people upon seeing that I've left the faith, box me up with the social Christians who had a "shallow facade" of a faith.    

Has anyone else faced this in conversation with others and felt the same burning need to prove that they were indeed "the real deal" before they left the faith?   How have you dealt with the accusations?  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the way, anyone interested in the video, it was a good one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7XUebtJ_Jw

"Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced "loving his enemies"... There's interpreting and then there's just ignoring... If you ignore every single thing Jesus told you to do, you're not Christians - you're just auditing. You're not Christ's followers, you're just fans." ~ Bill Maher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it matters, then who are you trying to prove it to, them, or yourself?

 

Them.  I already know my sincerity for myself.   But I don't like being accused of having had a cheap and easy faith or of not knowing what I'm talking about.   I suffered to believe and I want to be taken seriously now that I no longer do. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Kruszer, I haven't seen you on here for a while.  I hope all is well.

 

I think it's probably not possible to prove to these folks that you were a "real" Christian unless their theology allows that "real" Christians can "fall away."  If they believe "once saved, always saved" they have to hold that you were never saved or that you are still saved and will return to the Lord eventually.

 

In my opinion, Calvinism sucks big time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was the first thing out of my 28 year old son's mouth to me when he heard. He is in seminary. To his credit he called me up the next day and said he was sorry for his anger and it would not happen again. He has kept his word.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what bothers us so much about the comment is that we see it as the believer shifting the reason for deconversion away from the facts and evidence that prove it valid and instead blame it on a weakness in us that does NOT exist. We want them to face reason and facts. They will go anywhere but that.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

How have you dealt with the accusations?

 

 

 

I don't feel the need to prove anything. However, once I did say, "God I hope you're right because I consider my dabbling in that religion to be my biggest mistake."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The text below is from a website I recently stumbled across:  https://sites.google.com/site/leavingxtianity/

(emphasis mine)

 

It is usually left to the personal research of the curious amongst us, or the chance discovery of a student of religion to stumble across the historical, psychological, philosophical, anthropological and sociological problems of Christianity. This research, although often very long and arduous, can still come as a shock to the highly religious.  <snip>

 

 

Also Christians seldom do justice to the possibility of what we have read, thought and discovered, merely claiming we can't have been "true Christians" or asking "where did you go wrong?"


It is a common misapprehension to claim that those who leave Christianity never understood what Christianity was "really about." The full range of Christian types leave Christianity, from all denominations, doctrines, and persuasions. From the most liberal to the most fundamentalist. The philosophical liberal, the conservative orthodox, the born-again and the hyper-charismatic fundie.

Christianity was once the centre of the universe for the many former Christians who lived it, thought it, felt it, preached it, discussed it, prayed privately and publicly, led religious groups and been thanked for encouraging other Christians and helping them in their "walk with Christ." Certainly if we were not "true Christians" then our fellow Christians were not able to judge a tree by its fruit. Ex-Christians have felt moved by religious experience and lost in numinous feeling of connection with God, taken communion, partaken of all kinds of fellowship, retreats, Christian college courses, study groups and missionary crusades. They have written many words of Christian thought, coming from all theological and doctrinal positions.

Nobody I have heard of chooses whilst they are a believing Christian to leave Christianity, neither do they think that they (a "real Christian") would ever deconvert. But they do leave. Indeed, the idea of choice does not describe what happens. Rather than choosing "I will not believe this now" (psychologically impossible to not believe something you do believe!) instead researches lead to the inescapable conclusion that Christianity is false. Not only that but contrary to former beliefs ex-Christians are so often surprised to find a better inner life after deconversion.

 

 

Your Christian friends will not understand.  They do not want to understand.  The only way for them to remain Christians is to remain ignorant of blatantly obvious facts that discredit their beliefs.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that you are not likely to change any Calvinists' minds. Their beliefs regarding salvation are based in circular logic, so good luck fighting that. That said, your only chance is probably if they hear your defended from a fellow believer. That's why I really appreciated this blog post from a xian blogger: http://alise-write.com/the-christian-guide-to-atheists-never-really-a-christian/

 

Seriously though, I think you're better off letting it go. You have nothing to prove to anyone.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That video was awesome by the way.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

 

If it matters, then who are you trying to prove it to, them, or yourself?

 

Them.  I already know my sincerity for myself.   But I don't like being accused of having had a cheap and easy faith or of not knowing what I'm talking about.   I suffered to believe and I want to be taken seriously now that I no longer do. 

 

 

kruszer, The greatest burden in the whole world that has been lifted off my shoulders is the gift of not needing people's approval anymore. Work towards that hon. Then you'll be free. You won't have to waste your precious energy trying to prove anything to anybody. You already know how hard you tried to live for the lord - you have nothing more to prove to anyone. You can still be nice, keep a smile on your lovely face and allow their opinions to slide right off you without even opening your mouth. Just smile..it will drive them crazy..........zDuivel7.gif .

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get the Real Christian™ routine about once a week since leaving the fold (So. Baptist and Pentacostal experiences). Most have learned to leave me alone. I point out that as Protestants they were also never Real Christians™. Catholics are Real Christians™ they invented the shit and the Protestants stole what they wanted when they left the Catholic church under Martin Luther. So if anyone are not Real Christians™ it's a Protestant. Protestants make a lot of noise because they like hearing themselves speak, sort of like shouting into an empty barrel. They get off on the echo. Part of leaving Christianity is finding out who we are, our true self, the person without Christianity. Protestants don't know who they are. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take it from someone who originates from the Calvinist cult - there is no way for you to 'win' this one. I agree with comments already posted. Your worth isn't going to come from anyone who is still in the cult - they can not see the truth because they are living in a lie.

 

Once again I find it so incredibly ironic that those of us ex-christians who actually TRIED to live for Jesus are the ones who end up leaving and dealing with all the crap that entails. Meanwhile the folks who don't take Jesus' words seriously are still considered "saved" and "true"...

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has been established that the deconversion process usually is experienced in stages. Eventually the process is completed and at that point the former believer no longer cares what present believers think or believe. Then whether or not the former believer was ever a "true" Christian becomes completely irrelevant.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the opposite problem with my mother! Because she knows that I was sincere about being "saved" when I was four years old, she refuses to believe that I'm no longer a Christian and insists on seeing me as backslidden or rebellious, because I can't possibly have become unsaved.

 

But it's kind of a moot point insofar as, no, you never "really knew Jesus"... not because you didn't try but because there was no Jesus to know. If there's no Jesus, EVERY Christian's Christianity is a facade.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nobody likes being called a liar and no one likes being told they were not a true Scotsman when you certainly felt like one. The problem is, as others have suggested, you'll never convince those people you were really a Christian because they've already decided that you couldn't have been. The only evidence they need is 1 John 2:19 and such. No evidence you present will refute that in their minds.

 

There's something else at work here. They're scared. If it happened to you it means that it could happen to them so they have to come up with some excuse; something they can point to about you that makes your experience different from theirs. That way they can somehow convince themselves that it won't happen to them. And they will always be able to find something. Just a couple of weeks ago my wife was told that she had head knowledge, not heart knowledge and that she never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, she just knew about Jesus Christ. Others have said it was Calvinism that opened the door to unbelief for us. One claimed it was because we weren't reading the right version of the Bible. No matter what, they will always find something.

 

What are we to do? I say, just put your experience out there, but without sounding like you're being defensive because you have nothing to defend.

 

This is how I put it on my blog:

Consider this: given the level of commitment my wife and I have exhibited throughout our time in the Christian faith and the genuineness we felt while engaged in it, how does that stack up to you and your faith? Perhaps you think much like we did that you are a genuine believer. Maybe you think you’d be willing to lay down your life for the cause of Christ without hesitation as I once thought I would. Perhaps you are heavily involved in the church and pray and read your Bible nearly every day as I did. Maybe you’ve even felt the peace and presence of God in your life and witnessed him answer your prayers as I thought I’d done.
 
Now consider that I have now departed from the faith and rejected Christianity. What’s to stop the same thing from happening to you five, ten or fifteen years down the road from now? If you could go back in time just a couple of years ago and tell me that I would turn my back on Christianity, I would’ve considered such a possibility unfathomable. You have no assurance that you will not reject Christ sometime in the future. You can hold all you want to some contrived doctrine of eternal security that some preacher reassured you of or cling to the day you first prayed a prayer and walked and aisle or when you went through confirmation or when you were baptized or even the time when you first babbled some gibberish that someone told you was holy spirit speaking through you; the fact is you could one day end up just like me.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is a good way to end a potentially confrontational encounter? Agree with the party that iniated the engagement. In other words, simply say, "Yeah, I think you're right. I don't think I ever was truly saved." End of discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You really hit a nerve here with your OP. I think it's because you're experience is so universal with

exchriatians. The responses here are really good, so I can't add anything. I'm posting this

anyway because it hit a nerve with me, too. I've got to vent. I went through this insulting routine

with my best friend. "Frustrating" doesn't even come close to expressing how it made me feel. I think

of that experience now in this way: It's true what was said here that Xtians CAN'T believe you were a

real Xtian because to do so threatens their ill-perceived security. They can't believe anything could

separate them from the love and forgiveness they think they receive from Jesus, can they? It is a good example of Xtianity causing its adherents to be cruel, while they think they are bravely following "Christ". These are people who have been deceived into believing they have become selfless, loving Xtians, when their true motives are exceedingly selfish, the exact opposite. I hope you work this out so you

can have the peace you deserve. bill

 

It is their fear they are trying to alleviate, pretending to themselves it love that moves them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

If it matters, then who are you trying to prove it to, them, or yourself?

 

Them.  I already know my sincerity for myself.   But I don't like being accused of having had a cheap and easy faith or of not knowing what I'm talking about.   I suffered to believe and I want to be taken seriously now that I no longer do. 

 

 

You left the Xian club so you must be shunned. Otherwise you may infect others with your *gasp* independent thinking. :-) Why not lower the level of importance you have given to their opinions? You know and they know that they are lying to themselves about your level of Christianliness. Do you want to keep company with morons like these? These are the kind of people who have to read a bible or have a preacher tell them what to think next. Robot friends suck. :-)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The text below is from a website I recently stumbled across:  https://sites.google.com/site/leavingxtianity/

(emphasis mine)

 

It is usually left to the personal research of the curious amongst us, or the chance discovery of a student of religion to stumble across the historical, psychological, philosophical, anthropological and sociological problems of Christianity. This research, although often very long and arduous, can still come as a shock to the highly religious.  <snip>

 

 

Also Christians seldom do justice to the possibility of what we have read, thought and discovered, merely claiming we can't have been "true Christians" or asking "where did you go wrong?"

It is a common misapprehension to claim that those who leave Christianity never understood what Christianity was "really about." The full range of Christian types leave Christianity, from all denominations, doctrines, and persuasions. From the most liberal to the most fundamentalist. The philosophical liberal, the conservative orthodox, the born-again and the hyper-charismatic fundie.

 

Christianity was once the centre of the universe for the many former Christians who lived it, thought it, felt it, preached it, discussed it, prayed privately and publicly, led religious groups and been thanked for encouraging other Christians and helping them in their "walk with Christ." Certainly if we were not "true Christians" then our fellow Christians were not able to judge a tree by its fruit. Ex-Christians have felt moved by religious experience and lost in numinous feeling of connection with God, taken communion, partaken of all kinds of fellowship, retreats, Christian college courses, study groups and missionary crusades. They have written many words of Christian thought, coming from all theological and doctrinal positions.

 

Nobody I have heard of chooses whilst they are a believing Christian to leave Christianity, neither do they think that they (a "real Christian") would ever deconvert. But they do leave. Indeed, the idea of choice does not describe what happens. Rather than choosing "I will not believe this now" (psychologically impossible to not believe something you do believe!) instead researches lead to the inescapable conclusion that Christianity is false. Not only that but contrary to former beliefs ex-Christians are so often surprised to find a better inner life after deconversion.

 

 

Your Christian friends will not understand.  They do not want to understand.  The only way for them to remain Christians is to remain ignorant of blatantly obvious facts that discredit their beliefs.

 

 

Certainly if we were not "true Christians" then our fellow Christians were not able to judge a tree by its fruit.

 

Ouch, what a great line to torpedo them with. Boom!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great responses guys!  That's has been helpful indeed.  Yeah, I guess I'm still living with the remnant of seeking aproval from these people since much of my life was spent trying to appear goldy and together.  Losing their respect does hurt.  Having them think I'm an idiot is insulting, and feeling like my entire life has been discredited in the eyes of people who used to point to me as a testimony of faith and godliness isn't easy.   To some degree it seems I still want my sacrifices and piety to count for something. 

But I guess nothing about deconverting is easy.   Which of course begs the question: why would anyone who deep down inside still believes, put themselves through this degree of shame and loss by walking away?   So we can sin freely before a God we still deep down believe will punish us?  That must be it...   :P 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great responses guys!  That's has been helpful indeed.  Yeah, I guess I'm still living with the remnant of seeking aproval from these people since much of my life was spent trying to appear goldy and together.  Losing their respect does hurt.  Having them think I'm an idiot is insulting, and feeling like my entire life has been discredited in the eyes of people who used to point to me as a testimony of faith and godliness isn't easy.   To some degree it seems I still want my sacrifices and piety to count for something. 

 

But I guess nothing about deconverting is easy.   Which of course begs the question: why would anyone who deep down inside still believes, put themselves through this degree of shame and loss by walking away?   So we can sin freely before a God we still deep down believe will punish us?  That must be it...   tongue.png

 

You will eventually reach the point where you have no interest in obtaining their respect because you will have come to the firm conviction they are but indoctrinated robots incapable of independent rational or logical thought. They are in reality to be pitied not admired. They live in a pretend world filed with supernatural deities, angels, and demons. They are living an adult version of a fairytale and are completely unaware of their predicament. They are living proof of how effective and dangerous brainwashing truly is.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

"You never were a xian, it was a hollow facade. Real xians dont quit. And in case you arent getting the msg...since you're own xian faith ended miserably-we don't need a lecture from you on how to live."
 
I don't think you can convince anybody, but my response to this is: 

 

"You have no power or ability to make such a statement and call it truth. You're not you're god. You are not all-knowing, and in particular you are not in any position to tell anybody what they think, feel, or experience. 

 

Making up some explanation for my experience is called LYING. Which is a sin, plus a very stupid thing to do since everybody else can tell that you have no position to stand on with this. Don't try lie for me and make up fairy tales about what I experienced. I will correct you every single time. Real Christians DO quit for very good reasons. 

 

It's not my problem you can't handle that Christ and Christianity fail miserably and glaringly shows off the fallibility of the religion. I will live my life how I see fit, and I AM going to talk about it. If you don't want to hear about it, feel free to fuck off."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You really hit a nerve here with your OP. I think it's because you're experience is so universal with

exchriatians. The responses here are really good, so I can't add anything. I'm posting this

anyway because it hit a nerve with me, too. I've got to vent. I went through this insulting routine

with my best friend. "Frustrating" doesn't even come close to expressing how it made me feel. I think

of that experience now in this way: It's true what was said here that Xtians CAN'T believe you were a

real Xtian because to do so threatens their ill-perceived security. They can't believe anything could

separate them from the love and forgiveness they think they receive from Jesus, can they? It is a good example of Xtianity causing its adherents to be cruel, while they think they are bravely following "Christ". These are people who have been deceived into believing they have become selfless, loving Xtians, when their true motives are exceedingly selfish, the exact opposite. I hope you work this out so you

can have the peace you deserve. bill

 

It is their fear they are trying to alleviate, pretending to themselves it love that moves them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.