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I posted this on another thread, but felt compelled to post it again here...seemed more appropriate.

Hi all, I'm new here.  I was looking for an introduction thread and couldn't find one so I suppose I will introduce myself here.  I am a recent non-believer.  I would suppose I am in either in Phase 3 or 4 of deconversion.  I have questioned christianity for many years and and just never had the courage to deny what I was taught to believe my whole life.  I had many negative experiences in the church, and eventually at the age of 16 (with much guilt) stopped going to church all together.  After the birth of my children, I was under a lot of pressure to have my kids in church so, after several years, I joined a church.  Once again, I ended up hurt and dissatisfied and left the church for the last time.  I am surrounded by a religious community, and a religious family who are constantly trying to guilt me into church.  I just cannot submit to christianity, and at this point I just don't know what I believe in.  I feel so guilty for not believing in what I was raised on, but it feels just ignorant.  I am extremely confused at this point, and I feel very alone due to the strong religious community in which I live.  I am also battling the whole "what if I'm wrong and now I'm damned to hell" issue.  I know I know, the whole idea is rediculous, but like someone said in a previous post, it's like I was brainwashed.  I don't know how to handle this whole ordeal and how it makes me feel right now, but I am glad I have found a group of people who have also been through it.  I hope I get the chance to get to know you all!  And thanks for letting me vent!

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Welcome to the forums! 

 

It's normal to feel what you're feeling.  Unfortunately, the news isn't going to be great when it comes to friends and family and retaining their friendship.  It's just not the same.  It might work-out but it the relationships become awkward at best.  Please don't guilt trip for not believing what you were raised to believe.  You're breaking free and using your mind as intended.  You're empowering yourself with knowledge and looking to make sense of this awesome world we live in.  Many simply cannot and will not attempt the same. 

 

You're not alone... What you now believe or lack belief in, is the fastest growing "religion" in the US.  Be free, don't guilt trip, be you and enjoy your life.  :)

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That's exactly what I want!!! That freedom!  I just don't know how to attain it within myself!  In a way I am afraid of the disappointment it will bring to my entire family.  But on the other hand I also feel bad for them that they have to live their lives focused on something I see as an ancient law used to scare people into behaving that eventually turned into this cult of giving your life to a god that is so contradicted and and can be so easily changed according to each persons liking.  None of it makes sense at all.  It's hard to go from believing to just...not.  I want to break past the point I am at and breathe!!! I want to erase all the BULL that has been ingrained in my brain!  Why must I live every day afraid that I am damned?  When does this part end?  It's like suffering a death of a loved one.  Part of my psyche is still clinging to that last dangling shred of fabric.  Ahhh I dream of the day I let that go!!!!  

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Welcome!

 

All I can say is it takes varying amounts of time to get over the indoctrination and manipulation attempts by family. You have a safe haven to vent here. Sometimes people even glean some useful information! Enjoy yourself on the forums, and try to ignore the trolls.

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Thanks!  I'm slowly but surely perusing the threads in between my studying.  I have absolutely found some very interesting and helpful stuff here and I'm very excited to have found this forum!

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Welcome to Ex-c.net. Well, you certainly don't need to feel guilty for not believing in stupid stuff. And when you talk to a baptist, a pentecostal and a catholic they won't even be able to agree on the stupid stuff they want you to believe in.

 

Here's something that may be helpful for you. It was a fun read anyway: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/05/10-reasons-you-should-never-have-a-religion/

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Welcome to Ex-c.net. Well, you certainly don't need to feel guilty for not believing in stupid stuff. And when you talk to a baptist, a pentecostal and a catholic they won't even be able to agree on the stupid stuff they want you to believe in.

 

Here's something that may be helpful for you. It was a fun read anyway: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/05/10-reasons-you-should-never-have-a-religion/

The differences in just the different ways in which christians believe was one of my big hangups with christianity.  My family is a mix of baptist, pentecostal, methodist, presbeterian, and catholic.  How can you be "christian" and ALL believe something entirely different??? 

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That's exactly what I want!!! That freedom!  I just don't know how to attain it within myself!  In a way I am afraid of the disappointment it will bring to my entire family.  But on the other hand I also feel bad for them that they have to live their lives focused on something I see as an ancient law used to scare people into behaving that eventually turned into this cult of giving your life to a god that is so contradicted and and can be so easily changed according to each persons liking.  None of it makes sense at all.  It's hard to go from believing to just...not.  I want to break past the point I am at and breathe!!! I want to erase all the BULL that has been ingrained in my brain!  Why must I live every day afraid that I am damned?  When does this part end?  It's like suffering a death of a loved one.  Part of my psyche is still clinging to that last dangling shred of fabric.  Ahhh I dream of the day I let that go!!!!  

It's liberating to know there isn't a supernatural thought police judging your every thought isn't it?  Nobody judges your thoughts but you.  This is the beginning of real human freedom and exploration.  Just be you and revel in defining who you are without the constraints of religion to block you in.  :)

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I am looking forward to this journey of reinventing myself.  I have been a non believer (or wanted to be) for so long but never truly allowed myself to live as one.  yellow.gif

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Thanks!  I'm slowly but surely perusing the threads in between my studying.  I have absolutely found some very interesting and helpful stuff here and I'm very excited to have found this forum!

I feel the same way... This place is full of thinkers who are also great at expressing their thoughts in written format.  I learn something new every day.

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Welcome to Ex-c.net. Well, you certainly don't need to feel guilty for not believing in stupid stuff. And when you talk to a baptist, a pentecostal and a catholic they won't even be able to agree on the stupid stuff they want you to believe in.

 

Here's something that may be helpful for you. It was a fun read anyway: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/05/10-reasons-you-should-never-have-a-religion/

The differences in just the different ways in which christians believe was one of my big hangups with christianity.  My family is a mix of baptist, pentecostal, methodist, presbeterian, and catholic.  How can you be "christian" and ALL believe something entirely different??? 

 

 

You could have some fun during family reunions. Bring up a theological point of contention between the Pentecostal and the Catholics and enjoy the argument. lol. I spent 10 years as a fundy Pentecostal. They think everything is evil. :-)

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They seriously do!  My grandparents thought the tv was of the devil for most of my life!  That conversation would be so much fun to be a part of!  I have similar conversations with my parents.  They don't realize I just don't believe in any of it, they just think I don't want to be a part of a church.  I guess you could say I'm in the closet.

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They seriously do!  My grandparents thought the tv was of the devil for most of my life!  That conversation would be so much fun to be a part of!  I have similar conversations with my parents.  They don't realize I just don't believe in any of it, they just think I don't want to be a part of a church.  I guess you could say I'm in the closet.

I'm still in the closet with my mom and rest of my family.  I don't like it but at this stage, I'm not sure it's worth it.  The problem with my family is I'm the cornerstone of faith that many of them have leaned on for biblical insight and prayer...  Me coming clean could cause a lot of people to become rather distraught and I don't know if putting them and myself on that emotional roller coaster ride is really worth it.

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I agree.  Although I have not been religious for nearly 20 years, my parents still cling to the belief or hope that I am a christian and am saved.  My mother is not in good health and I just don't feel like it's worth it.  As I see it, your spirituality is a personal thing anyway, so I'm cool with keeping it quiet around my family.  I don't mind playing the part to placate them.

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Welcome to Ex-C! Glad to see another survivor washed up on shore. 

 

Even if you don't come clean to your family I think it is important to be transparent with your kids. Teaching them critical thinking, skepticism and how to be good without the church or religious leaders telling them what to do is paramount...in my opinion. Hopefully, you can afford them a chance to grow intellectually outside of religious influence.

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Welcome to Ex-C! Glad to see another survivor washed up on shore. 

 

Even if you don't come clean to your family I think it is important to be transparent with your kids. Teaching them critical thinking, skepticism and how to be good without the church or religious leaders telling them what to do is paramount...in my opinion. Hopefully, you can afford them a chance to grow intellectually outside of religious influence.

I agree, when they were little I let them to go to church with my parents, and we actually went to a church for about a year and then quit.  They haven't been in church for the last 5 or 6 years at least. Although, my mother is constantly nagging me about it. So they have that background, and my parents teach them christian rituals.  I just go along, but I don't preach or put it in their lives any more than I have to under the circumstances.  I am very open and honest with my kids, and I am not afraid to discuss ANYTHING with them.  If they ask, I give them an honest and realistic, intelligent answer.  They aren't stupid, and they will figure it out on their own eventually, so why not?

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I also thought I would share this.  One of my past philosophy professors gave me this link to a lecture and I thought it was pretty great.

http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jksadegh/A%20Good%20Atheist%20Secularist%20Skeptical%20Book%20Collection/Why%20I%20am%20Not%20a%20Christian%20-%20Bertrand%20Russell.pdf

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Let us suppose that it is true that "the wages of sin is death" -- which faith should you adopt in order to be justified?  Christians say Christianity, but why not Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Judaism, or some other ancient extinct religion?  Even if hell is real, it is not clear which faith is going to pay-off in the next life.  Maybe each person will endure the curses of each different god except the god that they worshiped.  It seems to me that Allah's threatened curses are a lot more gruesome than Yahweh's threatened curses.

 

burning.jpg

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I've had several bad experiences in church, so you're not alone there. It was the same story, no matter where i went and no matter how hard i tried. It was part of why i walked away from religion in general, not just xtianity. I couldn't set foot in another church, even if i wanted to.

 

Sometimes i feel like maybe i'm wrong too, but that has lessened with time. Think of it like this: there are so many religions in this world, and each one claims they're the right one. They can't all be right, and when you stop to think about it, they all sound like the boy who cried wolf. Besides, life is too damn short to throw away by playing some cosmic guessing game fueled by superstitions from antiquity.

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Welcome Impickle!

 

Doesn't it seem wrong for a religion to use emotional leverage to force you to believe something?  How can you be forced to believe anything?  You either believe something or you don't.  Wishing you could believe something when you don't doesn't do any good.  Belief isn't something that can be forced.

 

I wish you the best of luck with your family.  Don't hesitate to rant about them if you need somebody to listen.  We will be here for you and many of us have been through the same thing.  It's nice to know somebody understands.

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Welcome impickle!  Relax and Research. Nothing like having proof to base your thinking on to make you feel at safe harbour in stormy seas. You're so sensible, you'll be fine.

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yellow.gif Welcome Impickle!  Thanks for sharing!

 

You are home sweet home!!! Welcome to ex-c with the rest of us 'sinners'!!!! zDuivel7.gif

 

Hope you find lots of peace on this site!

 

Margee

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Thanks y'all!  Just one day of perusing the threads and talking with you guys has made me feel so much better!  And I have quite often raised the same question about which religion is the correct one?  I got many answers, most of them were stupid.  My answer is none of them.  It's all just a form of civil law to keep people in line and never died out once we actually created a form of law enforcement and government to do the same job.  People just fail to realize that one was meant to take the other's place.  Instead they turned it into some mystical fantastical entity, that governs all.  

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impickle: Welcome to a place where your allowed fresh air and free thinking. It gets awfully oxygen deprived in church if you have gone for so many years. I, like you, have been a nonbeliever for many years, but I kept on giving Xtianity a "second" chance. I finally got fed up and said to myself," you can't be this stupid", So I started educating myself and discovered what Xtianity was really like for all those 2,000 years. It was an eye opener and I'm not going back to that narrow-minded, self righteous religion. (But it's not a religion: it's a relationship! Right.) Anyway, I'm glad you're here.  bill

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Welcome to Ex-C! Glad to see another survivor washed up on shore. 

 

Even if you don't come clean to your family I think it is important to be transparent with your kids. Teaching them critical thinking, skepticism and how to be good without the church or religious leaders telling them what to do is paramount...in my opinion. Hopefully, you can afford them a chance to grow intellectually outside of religious influence.

I agree, when they were little I let them to go to church with my parents, and we actually went to a church for about a year and then quit.  They haven't been in church for the last 5 or 6 years at least. Although, my mother is constantly nagging me about it. So they have that background, and my parents teach them christian rituals.  I just go along, but I don't preach or put it in their lives any more than I have to under the circumstances.  I am very open and honest with my kids, and I am not afraid to discuss ANYTHING with them.  If they ask, I give them an honest and realistic, intelligent answer.  They aren't stupid, and they will figure it out on their own eventually, so why not?

 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately with my own kid. I realize that it actually is pretty important they have some familiarity with Christian doctrine. When atheists/agnostics or in my wife's case Buddhists convert to Christianity it is largely due to a lack of knowledge on the subject and someone witnessed to them when they were vulnerable. Letting them get familiar with it is probably not a bad idea so long as you keep it within the proper context it could act as their strongest tool to protect them from Christianity. I may have heard of an agnostic converting to Christianity but I am still waiting for an ex-Christian to.

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