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Hello everyone

I’m officially ‘coming out’ after lurking on this site for about a year. I must say upfront how incredibly encouraging and helpful this resource is - I just wish I had come across it many years ago.  It is so comforting to see how many people are on this same journey as all too often, I have felt alone in my struggles.  I am now 14 years along in my post-deconversion journey and it’s still very much a journey.  I haven’t had a Bible in my house for that time but so many of the toxic verses and teachings remain entrenched in my psyche, a damage that simply can’t be undone, but hopefully which I can learn to harness someday.

 

I’m still controlled by my emotions, bounding between anger at how much my life was impacted by religious teachings and how much I’ve lost from that to a long entrenched familiar fear of being left behind, god’s judgment and eternal torment in the lake of fire where I gasp for water to cool my tongue.  It seems that no matter how much reading and logic I work through in my head, there are always times where my vulnerability takes over and that frantic fear builds again, the panic about hell.  Will I ever stop rebounding between both spectrums I wonder, will I ever be able to get rid of this toxic fear?

 

Unfortunately it runs deep from early childhood.  My memories around age 7/8 are of nightmares when I woke up fearing that I was left behind, that my parents had been taken up to be with god and I was all alone to face the day of judgment.  I recall having this dream on many occasions, coming out of sleep to a panic where I would fake illness by calling my mother in to see to me, or simply standing outside my parents’ bedroom trying to hear signs of life, to reassure my childish mind that I hadn’t been left behind.  That fear of hell was taught well obviously as here I am know at 39 years old, still struggling to move on without being paralyzed by this thinking for my whole life.

 

I don’t want this to have this root in my heart.  I don’t want to feel insecure, scared, and panicked when my mind gives rise to this thinking.  But I feel powerless to stop it at times.  I have actively been working on the logical end, devouring as much literature as possible that helps me look rationally at biblical teachings when I genuinely realize how ridiculous most of it sounds and how unlikely any of it is to actually be true. But getting that head thinking to flow through to the feeling side and innate consciousness is taking time - assuming of course that I will ever actually get there.  So I remain on this journey to find true peace and acceptance in myself. 

 

Thanks for reading – I’m very thankful to have found this community.  I look forward to getting involved. 

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Welcome and thank you for posting your story.  I can relate to the anger you feel.  I felt that way for a long time, too, and every once in a while, when I let it, that old anger rears its ugly head again still.  So much of my life was wasted trying to follow god's plan and find his will for my life.  It was supposed to be so amazing; I was supposed to do such great things for god.  I was utterly disillusioned and in despair to realize that god never did have a plan for my life.

 

I think the thing that helped me break through all that anger was realizing that although the first half of my life had been ruined by religion, the rest of my life was my own to do with as I saw fit.  Knowing this keeps me from wallowing in anger for too long, because I realize now that this is the only life I'm going to live and so I'd better get on with living it.

 

As to those terrifying dreams, I never had them, but my brother did all through childhood.

 

Anyway enjoy the journey and know that we are here for you when you need us.  I hope this helps.

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Hi Sharonmhanna! We have all been on different journeys that are all the same at the heart. Thank you for sharing about yourself. I know it can be hard to talk about personal or spiritual problems. But if you're ever struggling with something, feel free to post about it and a lot of us will pitch in ideas and advice. Or post a rant about god if you want. We like those too!

 

Sometimes my logic falls away and I feel vulnerable and powerless in the face of religion too. But I just push through it. I thought I would never be free of the anger and stuff that I had a few months ago, but I am finding healing every day as I accept my new identity without the Christian god. I know you will find peace in yourself eventually.

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Hi Sharon - Thank you so much for finally presenting yourself! Glad you're here.

 

Your journey is not dissimilar to mine. My earliest remembrance of indoctrination was at age 4. My dad was a wannabe pastor back then and every night we had family Bible lessons (with the felt board and everything!). He later became a Baptist preacher, Wesleyan preacher and eventually an Orthodox priest. We were fed god every day of our lives at home, in Christian schools, always being at church when the doors were open, church members constantly coming and going at our house, and some living with us for periods of months or years. 

 

Like you, I have not touched a Bible in years but I really don't need to. It's been drilled in pretty soundly.

 

All that to say this - I have found that contributing to this site, reading other people's stories of their journeys, and even reading the (now) weird ideas presented by Christians, my whole fear of hell, the apocalypse, etc has completely dissipated. 

 

So, I would encourage you to join the fray and let us know what's going on with you. When you have something to say in a discussion, say it. If you have questions or lingering doubts, don't keep them to yourself. We're here for you.

 

We are all going through this process and it's nice to be with people who understand it. I have also found that the members of this community are extremely compassionate, thoughtful, caring, and intelligent. You couldn't want a better bunch of friends.

 

You will find no condemnation or mockery in us (unless you are a Christian trying to reconvert us!). We know the reality of the struggle of deconversion too well for that.

 

Again, welcome. So glad to have you here!

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Welcome Sharonmhanna! I'm so glad you decided to join the board. Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to it on so many points. I think brainwashing is brainwashing and that's why we can all relate to each others stories. Like slave2six said, the more you read and learn, the easier it gets. When you read all the logical arguments against the horrible Christian god, it will get a little easier.

 

Brainwashing can be hard to get rid of. If I told you that the color 'blue' was really 'green', and you have been lied to your whole life - it would take a long time for you to get used to the ''green''. You stay here with us. We're a crazzzzzzyyy bunch and we help each other through 'thick and thin!!' Someone is always here for you. Post all your worries and fears.

 

So glad you have joined our little family. I personally wouldn't have made it with EX-c. Big *hug* and welcome to you!! biggrin.png

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Hello and welcome!

 

I do think you can completely get past the fear of hell 100%. 

 

I had bad dreams of hell or being left behind when I was still a Christian, but I had them less and less after de-converting. I never have them at all now and haven't for many years. 

 

Once I knew for sure that hell doesn't and couldn't exist, it stopped being even a latent fear. The more you know about hell as mythology, and how it evolved in mythology (first as a shadowy underworld, sometimes a place of riddles, and only later as a place of terrible torment), the more you realize it's a made up place. Once you study history, you can see that mankind existed long before the idea of hell did, and you can see how hell was used in various religions to control and scare people into living a moral life, giving to their church, and being too afraid to leave the religion. Once you learn more about science, you realize that the universe is so very, very old, so much older than the bible and even far, far older than humanity. You learn that hell simply makes no sense, and not only is there no evidence for it, it becomes physically impossible for it to exist.

 

I know with 100% certainty that hell is not real. I have not one shred of doubt on this. Now that I'm sure, I even feel a little embarrassed that I ever could have believed in such a far fetched idea, or that a God so sadistic could exist and still deserve to be worshipped. 

 

I remember long ago, the pastor at my church would ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes, then ask the congregation if they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were going to heaven, to raise their hands. Then he'd ask for those who weren't sure to raise their hands. Then he'd ask those who weren't sure to come forward during the invitational hymn and someone would pray with them. I remember thinking, But no one can KNOW they're going to heaven beyond the shadow of a doubt; they can only BELIEVE it, because that's what faith IS -- believing something without tangible evidence.

 

Now that I have a landslide of evidence to the contrary -- and I don't have to BELIEVE something is true, I can KNOW whether it's true or not -- I know for certain that hell is not real.  

 

You can find this kind of certainty too, even if you were once sure that hell was real. You never had any real proof it existed, but there is a lot of proof it doesn't. Once your mind truly grasps how absolutely impossible hell is, your emotions will catch up too, and you'll stop fearing it even a little tiny bit. This is what happened for me, and I have no doubt you can do it too. 

 

Best wishes on your journey, and I hope to read more posts from you on here in the future!

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Welcome sharonmhanna!

 

I wasn't indoctrinated in the faith as a child; I can't imagine how deep the hold must be for someone like you.  But breaking away was still pretty difficult; may you find peace in your journey, and may we be blessed to be of help to you in that end.

 
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Welcome! Doesn't feel better to finally tell your story and say that you're not a christian? I'm glad you found your way through Christianity! I can identify with the anger bit. It is completely understandable to come out of a vicious lie angry. Feel free to say anything that is on your mind. When you finally KNOW hell is not probable, all of your fear will go in time and the troubles of being anxious about will eternity eventually leave . ^_^

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Hello and welcome.

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I, too, spent some months lurking around here and reading everything I could!  I, too, found this place to be friendly and open and reasonable.  Above all -- reasonable!  I can ask a question and get answers that make sense.  Feel free to post whatever thoughts and questions you may have.  I have found it has really helped me.  When I used to ask things in the church setting (which wasn't often because I knew I wouldn't get a straightforward answer), the answers were always along the lines of "because god" or "it's a mystery that only god understands" or twenty minutes of babble that circled my question without ever answering it  Those aren't answers, and I always knew that, even as a child!  When I ask a question here, people take the time to answer reasonably and logically and say things that make sense, not just throw a bunch of big words and endless sentences at me.

 

Welcome!

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Hello everyone

I’m officially ‘coming out’ after lurking on this site for about a year. I must say upfront how incredibly encouraging and helpful this resource is - I just wish I had come across it many years ago.  It is so comforting to see how many people are on this same journey as all too often, I have felt alone in my struggles.  I am now 14 years along in my post-deconversion journey and it’s still very much a journey.  I haven’t had a Bible in my house for that time but so many of the toxic verses and teachings remain entrenched in my psyche, a damage that simply can’t be undone, but hopefully which I can learn to harness someday.

 

I’m still controlled by my emotions, bounding between anger at how much my life was impacted by religious teachings and how much I’ve lost from that to a long entrenched familiar fear of being left behind, god’s judgment and eternal torment in the lake of fire where I gasp for water to cool my tongue.  It seems that no matter how much reading and logic I work through in my head, there are always times where my vulnerability takes over and that frantic fear builds again, the panic about hell.  Will I ever stop rebounding between both spectrums I wonder, will I ever be able to get rid of this toxic fear?

 

Unfortunately it runs deep from early childhood.  My memories around age 7/8 are of nightmares when I woke up fearing that I was left behind, that my parents had been taken up to be with god and I was all alone to face the day of judgment.  I recall having this dream on many occasions, coming out of sleep to a panic where I would fake illness by calling my mother in to see to me, or simply standing outside my parents’ bedroom trying to hear signs of life, to reassure my childish mind that I hadn’t been left behind.  That fear of hell was taught well obviously as here I am know at 39 years old, still struggling to move on without being paralyzed by this thinking for my whole life.

 

I don’t want this to have this root in my heart.  I don’t want to feel insecure, scared, and panicked when my mind gives rise to this thinking.  But I feel powerless to stop it at times.  I have actively been working on the logical end, devouring as much literature as possible that helps me look rationally at biblical teachings when I genuinely realize how ridiculous most of it sounds and how unlikely any of it is to actually be true. But getting that head thinking to flow through to the feeling side and innate consciousness is taking time - assuming of course that I will ever actually get there.  So I remain on this journey to find true peace and acceptance in myself. 

 

Thanks for reading – I’m very thankful to have found this community.  I look forward to getting involved. 

Communicating with others can be instructive and fulfilling.  This is a good an excellent a superb website for that.

 

Your writing is clear and intelligent, and contains other positive attributes.

 

You have already been on the reconversion journey for 14 years.  If I may ask one question, "Why has it taken you that long to get where you are"?

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SO,,,,you've become a Lurking Atheist? Sounds like our kind of people! Welcome and please stay long!

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THANK YOU so much all…..I am truly encouraged.

 

I would be interested in reading more about the concept of hell and where that originated from.  If anyone has any books to recommend, please send me a note. 

 

As for why my deconversion has taken so long, that’s hard to pinpoint.  At the beginning of my journey, I hadn’t stopped believing in the bible message.  I simply knew that it wasn’t working for me.  Despite an unending cycle of repentance and recommitment, I simply didn’t manage to find god.  So I got off that hamster wheel.  Unfortunately back then, I did blame myself for this and with all the fear in my head, I simply wasn’t strong enough to explore too far.  My big fear was stepping over the line into apostasy where I had no way back. 

Then some time after having my first child, I realized that this limbo place with all the guilt and fear had drained any happiness away and I really had had mild chronic depression for years.  Not having any optimism for the future, not having any self esteem to change anything, I’d let this define my life and I didn’t even truly accept it!  Maybe it was the change of now being a parent to someone else that forced me to deal with my own issues to some extent.  So I decided to see my doctor and get some medication, and start exploring and reading and finally also found a counselor who herself had come out of religion.......and a few years on, I’ve got to a new place rationally where I never have been before, but am still working on the instinctive and sub-conscious side that goes back to the beginning.   But I am excited to be here, and am enjoying the various threads of discussions going on.  I look forward to ranting and sharing, having finally discovered that I can have a voice!  

Sorry answer was too long, got carried away……

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Welcome to Ex-C!

 

Don't worry, you'll work through the brainwashing. Hang in there.

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Here's a good summary of the original words that are translated as "hell" in the bible and what they really mean and where they came from:

 

http://hell-is-a-myth.webs.com/hellisamyth.htm

 

It's short and easy to read, and it's enough to get you started if you want to google each of the words later and dig up more reading material on the original Greek mythology they came from (or other earlier myths from other cultures that the bible borrowed from.)

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sharonmhanna: I also welcome you to this site. You are clearly headed in the right direction i.e., the search for Truth. When I was a Xtian I would have sort of a buzzer in my head which ever so often would ring, which meant: that a scripture or sermon or whatever did not ring true. My mind was always churning, either trying to justify Xtianity (pushing the boulder up hill) or asking myself serious questions about it.

 

When the buzzer went off saying that something is wrong, I would have a feeling of panic because, I would think, when I die that will be the end of me forever. So my thinking would jerk back into conformity with Xtian doctrine I had been taught. The fear was still there but covered up with platitudes from Xtianity. No questions about faith were ever satisfactorily answered by Xtians.

 

I finally got tired of this anxiety and said to myself that I was going to seek the real truth whereever it lead me. It took no time at all after that for me to realize that Xtianity is myth.

 

But (and this is my point) every now and then, usually at nighttime, I lie awake in a near panic, thinking that I have been lured by 

Satan into rejecting Christ, the worse sin of all. That still happens, but less and less and it doesn't last long. There are innumerable question I can ask myself to destroy that near panic. Does a person who has devoted his/her life to helping others really burn in hell for eternity for not believing that Jesus defied all natural laws and rose from the dead? Walked on water? Changed water into an alcoholic beverage? (Now that's a miracle that is practical, for once.) God created mankind knowing in advance that he would throw the vast majority into a burning lake of fire? Of course not. One has to be brainwashed to believe those things.

 

Two things are needed to finally eliminate the cruel fear left over from  the faith: Time and Knowledge. Time takes care of itself.

Knowledge is acquired by reading and observing. This is a great place for the latter. Good luck.    bill

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Hello everyone

I’m officially ‘coming out’ after lurking on this site for about a year. I must say upfront how incredibly encouraging and helpful this resource is - I just wish I had come across it many years ago.  It is so comforting to see how many people are on this same journey as all too often, I have felt alone in my struggles.  I am now 14 years along in my post-deconversion journey and it’s still very much a journey.  I haven’t had a Bible in my house for that time but so many of the toxic verses and teachings remain entrenched in my psyche, a damage that simply can’t be undone, but hopefully which I can learn to harness someday.

Welcome :)

Welcome :)

 

The more knowledge you gain the easyer it gets.

Can it be undone? well kind off. Did you ever belief in the tooth fairy?

Wasn't that undone by logic and knowledge :) ?

 

What im trying to say is that when you apply knowledge and logic to religion it starts to break down and becomes apparent for what it is "bull shit".

Currently things about religion in your brain are market as true or possibly true.

But true knowledge, logic and common sense these things will be automatically/instantly/effortlessly moved to the bullshit department (where data about the tooth fairy, easter bunny, pink flying unicorns is stored).

 

Heres a great quote from Richard Dawkins:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

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Hey sharonmhanna- Just want to welcome you, and encourage you in your flight!

 

My worst nightmare was hell.  Hell is what kept me in the church when I was beginning to detach from it all.  When I put the Bible down I never looked back, I forgot it all with burning intentionality.  

 

Full of anger and despair, I came to this site about 12 years ago.  I recently came back after a long hiatus because I am living among Christians again and need the fortification of like minded people I find here.   Christians can be so cruel and exclusive, cold and condescending. 

 

I have found that reading all sorts of other beliefs has taken the punch out of Bible babble.  I have come to see the Bible as another mythology, nothing more.  (I think science is giving us answers to origin that we intelligent humans searched for.)

 

I don't care if I don't have all the answers anymore.   Peace to you!

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I’m still controlled by my emotions, bounding between anger at how much my life was impacted by religious teachings and how much I’ve lost from that......

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My memories around age 7/8 are of nightmares when I woke up fearing that I was left behind, that my parents had been taken up to be with god and I was all alone to face the day of judgment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t want to feel insecure, scared, and panicked when my mind gives rise to this thinking.  

 

Hi!! Welcome to Ex-C.

 

I too struggle with anger at times; I'm trying to convert that anger into grief, so I can have a healthier process of dealing with it.

 

I also had nightmares about being left behind when I was a kid! Still, sometimes if I wake up in the night and my husband is not in bed beside me, the thought crosses my mind still....and I'm 45 now and 2 years out of Christianity.

 

At some point, I had to make up my mind about what I was going to believe. The evidence will always be rolling in and various directions and with various contradictory conclusions. We have to make a decision about our beliefs, so we can stop fretting and analyzing, and so we can get traction and move on.

 

Keep us posted on your journey. It's great ot have you on board!

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Welcome! I'm glad you're not lurking any more, but willing to join our little discussion group here. I will echo much of what has already been said... the people here have given me more encouragement, understanding, and -- dare I say -- love than I had ever found in my church life. I know we will all give you the same, so stick around! I hope you find peace and resolution in your heart.

 

You seem to be working through things in good order. The intellectual issues are (comparatively) easy to work through, but the emotional toll is always difficult to overcome. You will get there. Fear and indoctrination are powerful mind tools, but we will try to help you work through those too, if you desire.

 

I have a feeling there are some simple things you need to hear, and even though I don't know you, I am sure of a few things about you so far: You are a good person. You are doing the right thing. You have value in this world. You are deserving of love and peace.

 

Again I say, welcome!

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