Jump to content

Hello. :)


Recommended Posts

First and foremost, a heartfelt thank you to all involved in creating and keeping this site running. For several months now I've wanted a place to share my story without fear of reprimand, insult or struggle. Short of changing my 'religious status' on the about me section of Facebook, I've not been able to talk to anyone about my deconversion process with the Christian faith. It would most likely cause a lot of rifts and hurt feelings, bruised egos, and misunderstandings.

 

For starters, my name is Blake. I'm 26. I spent my youth in Sunday school, learning about the stories of Noah, Moses, and the other assorted patriarchs of the Christian faith. I carried my faith with me on through the years, despite a few years of rebellion in high school -- you know, alcohol, drugs, and other assorted means of sinfulness. As a late year teen I studied under a couple of pastors to gear me up towards preaching, I even had a little church lined up for me in Virginia to get started in once my training was finished. I thought my life was all figured out.

 

I studied the faith deeply, and became disillusioned with the more modern renditions of Christian faith, eventually leading me to the Orthodox Church. It was a more ancient, solemn, aesthetically pleasing form of worship that had a lot more backbone, and a lot more for me to delve into and learn. Lives of the Saints. Early Christian theology. Monasticism. I thought that I had found the greatest truth, and I became totally immersed in it.

 

I received a blessing from my parish priest and spiritual father to spend a week long retreat in a monastery in the mountains of West Virginia. This, by far, was the beginning of the end.

 

Some of it was good, some of it was bad. Being surrounded by an atmosphere of prayer and holiness in a secluded mountain top is as intellectually romantic as it would seem. I broke bread with the monks, prayed with them until the wee hours of the morning, made a couple of friends. We built fences, cooked meals, mopped floors, and I learned a little of how they kept themselves afloat financially -- crafting incense and religions iconography, soaps and candles, prayer ropes, et. al. Part of me thought of the monastic life, another part of me wasn't ready to leave the world behind.

 

What was tough for me, and what ultimately began my disillusionment, was meeting privately with the abbot of this particular monastery. Long story short, he crushed me. I suppose it was to be expected, Orthodox monastery and all -- basically the Christian spiritual marines -- but rather than setting me on a path of betterment, it put a foul taste in my mouth. Many Orthodox would say that I suffer from pridefulness in not accepting the good abbots word as gospel, but, I don't see it that way.

 

He told me that I was barely a spiritual infant, basically a result of the decaying modern Western world, and that my feet were barely on the first rung of the ladder of divine ascent. All of our works before God were as filthy rags. It bothered me, to say the least. Here these men were, having left the world behind them, to embrace a way of thinking that utterly debases them and renders them as filthy, useless and depraved. To me, they were saints in the flesh, to them, it seemed, far from it. I changed that night, and, around 3 or 4am, packed up my bags and left without a word. I stopped going to church.

 

My idea of a loving God had vanished. It seemed to me that regardless of ones spiritual vocation, God was just holding us all over the cauldron, waiting for us to make a wrong move so as to drop us into torment. I saw less of the love of Christ and more of the law of the Pharisees. If Jesus had come so that we may live life more abundantly, why the strict fasting, why the low sense of self? Don't get me wrong, I preferred the "depraved sinner" aspect to the "glory bound heavenly" pentecostal nonsense, but both of them, of course, were wrong. Whether the solemn, more monastic approach of the Christian East or the hyper-emotional, concert series type worship of the Christian West, I could no longer see God there.

 

I prayed and prayed. Where could I serve God best? What manner of worship was most acceptable? I looked here and there, consulted with people of various congregations and styles of worship -- there was no truth in any answer, only people servicing their own ego, biased in their favoritism. So many variables, so many schisms, so much... nonsense.

 

I lost the faith. Whether amid the "on fire" congregation or lifting up prayers on the mountain with the monastics, I could never truly find God. I finally accepted that. With more clarity of mind, I began to question the things that I had swept under the rug as a good and faithful servant -- as I'm sure you all did. I found that Christianity is backwards and hateful. A bronze age text which fits a culture and psychology from a couple of thousand years ago, and has no place in the modern world. To live as Jesus lived, sure, I see no fault in that... but to accept this Old Testament, Levitical realm of thought is completely errant and terrible. Christians got it wrong. Following in Christ's footsteps doesn't yield Westboro Baptist Church, doesn't discriminate against gays, doesn't prime religious war, doesn't...

 

... well, it seems, I suppose, that it does.

 

Maybe that statement is a little unfair. To take the words of Jesus alone and use them as a moral guideline, this is all good and well. What's wrong with loving your neighbor as yourself, being humble and loving? Nothing. I suppose the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are fair enough, in that context -- but the woman-debasing writings of Paul, the hyper-religious books of Moses, and so on... let's chalk them up to history, and leave them there. Aside from granting us a look into a time long forgotten, they serve no purpose, now.

 

Accepting this isn't even the hard part. It's letting the family know. But there is a time for everything.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. There was a time when I would have seen this forum as blasphemous and in need of great prayer, but, today I see it as something altogether different.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Note: All Regularly Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

Welcome to the forums, Blake. Every deconversion is different, but the common thread is thinking outside the Christian brainwashing. Tell those who need to know when you are good and ready, and come here for like-minded folks.

 

This is a good place to start: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/21830-phases-of-deconversion/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome!!!! and thanks for sharing. Nice testimony.. I really enjoyed reading it, you express yourself very well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Blake, welcome to ExC.

 

Your extimony is a great example of a person who was devoted to Christianity, and in your case even preparing for the ministry, but came to see major problems with which you had to deal.  You seem to have approached it quite well and I am glad you came to see the truth.

 

I wanted to comment on one thing in particular that you wrote.  It is this:

 

What was tough for me, and what ultimately began my disillusionment, was meeting privately with the abbot of this particular monastery. Long story short, he crushed me. I suppose it was to be expected, Orthodox monastery and all -- basically the Christian spiritual marines -- but rather than setting me on a path of betterment, it put a foul taste in my mouth. Many Orthodox would say that I suffer from pridefulness in not accepting the good abbots word as gospel, but, I don't see it that way.

 

He told me that I was barely a spiritual infant, basically a result of the decaying modern Western world, and that my feet were barely on the first rung of the ladder of divine ascent. All of our works before God were as filthy rags. It bothered me, to say the least. Here these men were, having left the world behind them, to embrace a way of thinking that utterly debases them and renders them as filthy, useless and depraved. To me, they were saints in the flesh, to them, it seemed, far from it. I changed that night, and, around 3 or 4am, packed up my bags and left without a word. I stopped going to church.

 

You were accused of "pridefulness."  How ironic because what I read is a prideful abbot.  His pride is that he and those who have joined him in the monastery have achieved some sort of spiritual level beyond what mere "people of the world" are able to achieve.  His pride is in his having supposedly given up worldly desires and in so doing is far advanced spiritually than you and the rest of us could hope to be.  His pride is that he claims a special relationship with God far beyond what anyone else is able to achieve.  To me that is the height of pridefulness and arrogance.

 

I don't blame you at all for packing up and leaving without a word.  Good for you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

Welcome to Ex-C, Blake, and thanks for sharing your story with us!   I always find it so encouraging each and every time another person escapes from christinsanity!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome, Blake!  Thanks for sharing your story.  This is a safe place to ask questions, express feelings, and vent.

 

Don't rush into telling your family.  Let the deconversion storm inside you calm down a bit before you subject yourself to outside scrutiny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Blake. Thank you for your story. I hope to write out my complete history with christianity when I have the time. Good luck in your search for the truth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forums, Blake. Every deconversion is different, but the common thread is thinking outside the Christian brainwashing. Tell those who need to know when you are good and ready, and come here for like-minded folks.

 

This is a good place to start: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/21830-phases-of-deconversion/

 

Thanks for the welcome. I appreciate it, and the link.

 

Welcome!!!! and thanks for sharing. Nice testimony.. I really enjoyed reading it, you express yourself very well.

 

Thank you. English/Humanities major. I once believed it was my Christian calling to write for God. Now, I accept that I just have a natural talent. :P

 

Hi, Blake, welcome to ExC.

 

Your extimony is a great example of a person who was devoted to Christianity, and in your case even preparing for the ministry, but came to see major problems with which you had to deal.  You seem to have approached it quite well and I am glad you came to see the truth.

 

I wanted to comment on one thing in particular that you wrote.  It is this:

 

What was tough for me, and what ultimately began my disillusionment, was meeting privately with the abbot of this particular monastery. Long story short, he crushed me. I suppose it was to be expected, Orthodox monastery and all -- basically the Christian spiritual marines -- but rather than setting me on a path of betterment, it put a foul taste in my mouth. Many Orthodox would say that I suffer from pridefulness in not accepting the good abbots word as gospel, but, I don't see it that way.

 

He told me that I was barely a spiritual infant, basically a result of the decaying modern Western world, and that my feet were barely on the first rung of the ladder of divine ascent. All of our works before God were as filthy rags. It bothered me, to say the least. Here these men were, having left the world behind them, to embrace a way of thinking that utterly debases them and renders them as filthy, useless and depraved. To me, they were saints in the flesh, to them, it seemed, far from it. I changed that night, and, around 3 or 4am, packed up my bags and left without a word. I stopped going to church.

 

You were accused of "pridefulness."  How ironic because what I read is a prideful abbot.  His pride is that he and those who have joined him in the monastery have achieved some sort of spiritual level beyond what mere "people of the world" are able to achieve.  His pride is in his having supposedly given up worldly desires and in so doing is far advanced spiritually than you and the rest of us could hope to be.  His pride is that he claims a special relationship with God far beyond what anyone else is able to achieve.  To me that is the height of pridefulness and arrogance.

 

I don't blame you at all for packing up and leaving without a word.  Good for you!

 

Overcame Faith, thanks for the reply. I appreciate your feedback! It was a tough call, but I realized it wasn't right for me to stay there.

 

Welcome to Ex-C, Blake, and thanks for sharing your story with us!   I always find it so encouraging each and every time another person escapes from christinsanity!

 

Thank you. I do, too, now -- but of course it wasn't always that way. I used to consider this "apostasy" a herald of the end times, and now I see it as an age of reason.

 

Welcome, Blake!  Thanks for sharing your story.  This is a safe place to ask questions, express feelings, and vent.

 

Don't rush into telling your family.  Let the deconversion storm inside you calm down a bit before you subject yourself to outside scrutiny.

 

Thank you. Great advice. I'll sit on it for awhile!

 

Hi Blake. Thank you for your story. I hope to write out my complete history with christianity when I have the time. Good luck in your search for the truth.

 

Thank you, DarthKoopa (great name)! It's therapeutic in a way to write it all out... I look forward to reading it sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-C, Blake!  I was also attracted to the Orthodox Church at one point. Unfortunately, I found that in their churches at least locally, they are pretty much unapproachable. Very UNwelcoming, just let me put it that way.

 

Anyway, I found out pretty easily that there was no way I could go that route.  Like all other forms of Christianity I know of, human beings are essentially sinners, and not good.  How can they not judge others?  Therefore, what you say doesn't really surprise me, but I am glad you got out of there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Blake: Thanks for you post. It is amazing how similar all our four stories are. The thing that

really impresses me about the similarity is that everyone here has had to really think in order to get

where they are. How different that is from Xtianity in which real thinking is the last thing they want

you to do.

 

As Overcame Faith said, how ironic it is they you were accused of pridefulness. That is the exact

opposite of what you were. You were seeking the truth. The abbot is the one with the false pride. He

actulally thinks he has the only true faith and everybody else is wrong...EVERYBODY. But he is humble and you are prideful. How upside down can one get?

 

You will find a safe home here. bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome, Blake! I appreciated your quest. I'm always torn between feeling happy that someone has escaped the gnarled clutches of religion, and feeling sad at the soul-crushing disappointment the person experienced as the gateway to their liberation.

 

Welcome!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-C, Blake!  I was also attracted to the Orthodox Church at one point. Unfortunately, I found that in their churches at least locally, they are pretty much unapproachable. Very UNwelcoming, just let me put it that way.

 

Anyway, I found out pretty easily that there was no way I could go that route.  Like all other forms of Christianity I know of, human beings are essentially sinners, and not good.  How can they not judge others?  Therefore, what you say doesn't really surprise me, but I am glad you got out of there.

 

The OC was pretty unwelcoming to me also in some regards, mostly full of "cradle" orthodox christians who were born into the faith and unsure of converts generally.

 

Glad I got out of there too. I miss the aesthetics of it all -- the "bells and whistles" of the services, sights and scents and the overall experience -- but pretty services don't validate anything.

 

Welcome Blake: Thanks for you post. It is amazing how similar all our four stories are. The thing that

really impresses me about the similarity is that everyone here has had to really think in order to get

where they are. How different that is from Xtianity in which real thinking is the last thing they want

you to do.

 

As Overcame Faith said, how ironic it is they you were accused of pridefulness. That is the exact

opposite of what you were. You were seeking the truth. The abbot is the one with the false pride. He

actulally thinks he has the only true faith and everybody else is wrong...EVERYBODY. But he is humble and you are prideful. How upside down can one get?

 

You will find a safe home here. bill

 

Thank you, Bill. This is one of the most welcoming and interactive forums I've ever been to. I was once a part of the massive(ly ignorant) christianforums, and also participated in a mental health community forum -- they suck in comparison. lol.

 

Welcome, Blake! I appreciated your quest. I'm always torn between feeling happy that someone has escaped the gnarled clutches of religion, and feeling sad at the soul-crushing disappointment the person experienced as the gateway to their liberation.

 

Welcome!

 

And I appreciate your post because it entirely relates. Inside I feel liberated, but also disappointed. Many years wasted. A lot of psychological damage. The feeling of what I thought was steady ground crumbling beneath my feet.

 

It's a rocky road, but it's the only road there is, so I'm glad my feet are on it. Thanks for the welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-C, Blake!  I was also attracted to the Orthodox Church at one point. Unfortunately, I found that in their churches at least locally, they are pretty much unapproachable. Very UNwelcoming, just let me put it that way.

 

Anyway, I found out pretty easily that there was no way I could go that route.  Like all other forms of Christianity I know of, human beings are essentially sinners, and not good.  How can they not judge others?  Therefore, what you say doesn't really surprise me, but I am glad you got out of there.

 

Being Greek Orthodox I can honestly say every church is unique, but they are also at extreme ends. Either very friendly or very snobbish/unapproachable.  If there is a big money in the church, they can be extremely snobbish.

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.