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Christianity Has Created A Mess For My Family


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Hey Good People,

 

I couldn't wait to get my account approved in order to post on this forum. Here's my story about what Christianity has done to my family and relationships:

 

I grew up in a home that wasn't particularly religious, with the exception of my grandmother who was a devout Roman Catholic. I went to sunday school in a Catholic church, got my first communion, and sporadically went to church. I wouldn't say i ever had any strong conviction about god, and generally found the catholic mass to be uninspiring and depressing.

 

I graduated college in the early 90's, and took many classes in college, including anthropology and geology that affirm my belief that the origin of life was most logically based on Darwinian principles. However, i didn't deny the existence of god, and would likely have considered myself agnostic.

 

Despite my general antipathy towards organized religion, i was fascinated by the afterlife and spirituality. I maintained an open mind, but beginning in adulthood, had a tendency towards paranoia when I would here street preachers or others preaching about hell fire. A little voice inside my head would ask, "what if this is true?" Usually the feelings would dissipate quickly and i'd snap out of it. Throughout my 30's, i gave no heed whatsoever to religion, and it was a glorious time. I met my wife, had children, travelled, etc..

 

Then something happened around the age 40, maybe it was a midlife crisis, maybe some repressed fears or whatever, but I started researching about the topic of hell. i found what i thought to be compelling evidence of its existence, and was convinced that me and everyone i knew was going there. I preached to everyone who would listen, started throwing out all secular stuff in my house, became a tryant to my family, telling them we need to be "good" or otherwise we would get thrown in hell. I tossed aside my otherwise rational beliefs about the universe and science, to be substituted by an irrational fear of eternal punishment from a cosmic dictator. I did all of this without even had read the bible. I didn't need to read the bible, there were plenty of convincing pastors and that was enough for me. I wasn't going to risk my eternal soul, so got on the straight and narrow path.

 

I then started reading the bible, and began to question the reliability of this belief system. There's just too many contradictions and tenets that are irreconcilable, and I don't think i can believe it anymore. I find myself becoming the happy, socially adapted creature, rather than the zombie walking around seeing devils and damned souls everywhere.

 

The problem is that my profession of faith has created a dilemma for me, in that people were impressed by my conviction, the seemingly righteous way i was living, my charity, etc. I feel like such a hypocrit to now tell those say people that I do not believe. I feel they'll will no longer have any confdence in anything I say from now on. So, any advice from you guys would be great. Should i just let my faith fade away, or should boldly claim that I believe i could very well have been gravely mistaken???

 

Thanks for listening to my long winded story, and look forward to hearing others stories..

 

DAZE

 

 

 

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Stop reading my posts and telling my parents. This site is supposed to be confidential. You're a jerk and a jack ass whoever you are. Thanks also for hurting my folks. Good Christian actions. NOT.

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Hey Burny,

 

Thanks for the warm welcome and your feedback! I really appreciate it!

 

DAZE

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Welcome to the forum!  You'll fit in great here! 

 

My approach has been to let it all just fade away.  I don't bring up religion, God, the Universe or anything that would prompt a status-check on my faith.  Prolonged behavior like this may lead to the questions anyway, but they are fewer and far between. 

 

Just slowly grow into your new self.  There's no rush.  :)

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We had a thread recently about whether atheists should be more evangelical. The general consensus was that being honest and open is good, but going out of your way to tell other people how wrong they are is annoying and unlikly to convince them anyway.

 

You said when you got obsessed over the fear of hell the rest of your family suffered - don't repeat that experience! You didn't give many details about your family, but I'd guess that if they were never as caught up in the whole thing as you were, they'll be relieved to know you're over it. I'd recommend starting with being honest with the people closest to you, getting those relationships cleared up, while being quieter with, say, church people. That way, when you do get to the point where you either decide to tell everyone or back away enough for them to start asking questions, you'll have the social support of the people closest to you if it gets ugly. You may find out that in your zeal you did some hurtful things that you'll now need to apologise for. If you're worried about people loosing respect for you, giving an honest, heartfelt apology and amends if possible will go a long way towards preserving those relationships for the future.

 

As others have said, continue with the charity thing and take some time to figure things out for yourself. If you're going to tell other people you were mistaken, you're going to want to be able to explain how you got caught up in it in the first place, why you changed your mind, and why you're more confident about it this time. Since you're worried about people respecting you, don't go around preaching non-christianity to everyone without knowing what you're talking about. If you decide to share, be calm about it, discuss it, and also listen to what other people have to say. Don't talk over them an insist that they're wrong and you have all the right answers now (unlike last time you had all the right answers). Sure, you can get respect for zeal and devotion, but you can also get respect for being thoughtful, humble, and honest about any uncertainty you have.

 

You may want to look into secular ways to redirect the energy you put into christian evangelism, like donating your time instead of just money. Maybe help out with Habitat for Humanity or something like that. It'll show you're still a good person, still care about the fate of others, just no longer believe than christianity is the best way to help out.

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Good advice above. Take things slowly. Read books about the history of Christianity which are very eye

opening.

 

While just taking the word of preachers without research is a mistake, it really is no different than

what almost all christians do. In my opinion that is their biggest mistake. They accept the faith on an

emotional basis and don't look deeper. They don't read the bible the way they would a book on any other

subject. They read it as a form of worship without ever having read it to find out what it is really

saying, to find out if it makes sense. Read it critically. By that I don't mean to assume is is wrong. Read it objectively, not emotionally as you would a nonfiction book. Then read books about the bible on both sides of the issue, by authors who believe it is the word of god and by those who do not.

 

Take you time. It's an interesting journey. And visit here often. I wish you the best of luck. bill

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Guest r3alchild

Post questions untill you have enough answers to make a informed choice about what you believe.

 

Facts are your friend :)

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Welcome, DAZE! I see it's been about a week since your first post, so I'm wondering if you have anything to report back? How are you feeling today? Any new insights or dilemmas you wish to discuss?

 

We've all been there, my friend, or we wouldn't be here. Your thoughts, questions and rants are always welcome.

 

I'm sorry for your struggle, but happy for what freedom lies ahead for you.

 

Congrats on taking the first steps out. 

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