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Woodsy

The Journey, So Far....

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Have you talked to those people who reached out to you since then? What's stopping the ones who sent you a card from calling you up and asking you if you wanna hang out or go to a movie sometime? Could the one who apologized and beat herself up over any wrongdoing not have apologized if and when she messed up, otherwise why wait until you left? The whole point was to make you feel bad and it was probably a way to try to guilt trip you into going back. I got silence as well, except for the phone calls I mentioned elsewhere. I was nothing to these people until they scrambled around trying to win me back. I got the guilt trips, the whole bit, with one exception, and that one was too busy being selfish and trying to recruit me for some stupid choir.

 

You won't ever hear from that pastor. To the church leaders, we're nothing but numbers to boost their attendance records so they can have something to brag about. Short and simple explanations are best, whether it's with a former congregation member or a church leader. You get to decide who to share your deconversion journey with. It isn't your job to make them happy and keep them happy. You don't owe any of those people an explanation. You don't owe them anything else for that matter. They promised you everything, and sold you a false bill of goods.

The funny thing is, I believe these few people really meant well.  They just don't know any better. They are brainwashed just as much as I was.  And I don't think, at this point, I could convince them otherwise.   You see, I live in a very rural community where the church is the center of everything.....all social functions besides Sunday services and bible studies.  It is a cultural thing.  When we first moved here from a more suburban setting, we could sense the cultural differences. I think that influences peoples thinking and they would never question their faith, publicly.  I am sure that they do so, privately, and suffer for it.  And no, I haven't spoken to any of them since. However, the first one who apologized said she would like to meet for lunch sometime.  We'll see.  Thanks, Milesaway!

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... You won't ever hear from that pastor. To the church leaders, we're nothing but numbers to boost their attendance records so they can have something to brag about. ...

 

Agreed. I actually was naive enough to think the new pastor at my old church would give a damn. I contacted him a few months ago via email, after he had been there about a year and some of my trauma had subsided (from about 1.5 years ago). I just felt like he should know what is going on there, so he can fix the damn place, and maybe, just maybe, elicit some regret from the people who emotionally and spiritually tormented me.

 

He had met me a few times, and before he actually took the job, he came to visit our church and happily spent about 20 minutes talking to me in the hallway about my family ties to the denomination (minister grandfather, two minister cousins, sister and aunt who are organists, uncles who are elders, cousins who are christian school teachers, my mother who attended the denomination's colleges, etc.) So... I waited about a year, and a few months ago we invited him to our house for dinner, which was quite common in my church growing up, especially with a new pastor; they went out of their way to visit every member gradually. (OK, I admit I had a bit of an ulterior motive, but still... I am technically still a member, and this is his freaking job.) The response from him was that he was not allowed to talk to me without the presence of the full board of elders, and not at my house but at a regular meeting at the church. Fuck that! Been there, done that!

 

You know what that is? It's FEAR. And it's control. The elders are basically his employers, so he has to bow to them. They don't give a shit that three of their most active members (me, my husband and my young daughter) have admitted to falling away from the faith because they are a bunch of shits.They obviously don't care about our "eternal souls" burning in hell. Fucking hypocrites! It's easier to move on to the people who are still there playing their games and paying their offerings.

 

My point is... don't bother looking back. No one cares. Not even the pastor. People like us are too hard to deal with. They have moved on to the next vulnerable, low-hanging fruit.

 

This is not a reflection of me or of you. This is how they are. Please feel no loss, guilt, shame, or anything else by their actions or inactions. They are what they are, and you are free of their nonsense.

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One of the problems you will face with many 'friends' from the church (mainly the ones who you know through the church) is that they will always have their relation to the church. They may have even had conversations with the pastor or other church members about trying to reach out to you and restore your faith.

 

Main thing is that there is always going to be that church dynamic that you can't escape. You may even find that friendships within the church are still centred around the church and without it may not have any real basis.

 

Apart from, of course, your friend who wants to have a meal. Perhaps they are a real friend.

 

From my church I have retained just two people. One was already a close friend and the other was a new member to the church, and I'm not necessarily close with him but I know he'll be around (plus he if friends with my cousin). The close friend though, his deconversion is overdue. When I was a christian I thought he was sure to deconvert, especially with how much he knew about the church and the fact that he doesn't follow the modern concepts and instead does his own thing :)

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Have you talked to those people who reached out to you since then? What's stopping the ones who sent you a card from calling you up and asking you if you wanna hang out or go to a movie sometime? Could the one who apologized and beat herself up over any wrongdoing not have apologized if and when she messed up, otherwise why wait until you left? The whole point was to make you feel bad and it was probably a way to try to guilt trip you into going back. I got silence as well, except for the phone calls I mentioned elsewhere. I was nothing to these people until they scrambled around trying to win me back. I got the guilt trips, the whole bit, with one exception, and that one was too busy being selfish and trying to recruit me for some stupid choir.

 

You won't ever hear from that pastor. To the church leaders, we're nothing but numbers to boost their attendance records so they can have something to brag about. Short and simple explanations are best, whether it's with a former congregation member or a church leader. You get to decide who to share your deconversion journey with. It isn't your job to make them happy and keep them happy. You don't owe any of those people an explanation. You don't owe them anything else for that matter. They promised you everything, and sold you a false bill of goods.

The funny thing is, I believe these few people really meant well.  They just don't know any better. They are brainwashed just as much as I was.  And I don't think, at this point, I could convince them otherwise.   You see, I live in a very rural community where the church is the center of everything.....all social functions besides Sunday services and bible studies.  It is a cultural thing.  When we first moved here from a more suburban setting, we could sense the cultural differences. I think that influences peoples thinking and they would never question their faith, publicly.  I am sure that they do so, privately, and suffer for it.  And no, I haven't spoken to any of them since. However, the first one who apologized said she would like to meet for lunch sometime.  We'll see.  Thanks, Milesaway!

 

 

I'm sure they did mean well. I don't doubt it. Brainwashing destroys any and all capacity they may have had for critical thinking, or at least the majority of it. If someone's already gullible, it's a recipe for disaster. Rural communities tend to be rather church oriented, whereas in the city, there's more variety and it's less of a big deal. I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of these churchies secretly have these doubts, and that's cool with me. When they take it out on others, that's where I draw the line. There's a difference between us and the ones like this. We had the courage and the integrity to deal with our doubts head on, and we were open to where those doubts led us. They don't, which is unfortunate.

 

Not surprised you haven't spoken to any of these people since. I wouldn't count on that lunch thing to happen anytime soon, if ever. This is how churchies are. We're living reflections of their own fears, so they want nothing to do with us. Any relationships you might have forged while still in church are highly unlikely to survive once you leave. It's sad to think about, but that's how it goes. None of the friendships I tried to make survived. If that lunch happens, then that's great. If she's a friend, then she'll be okay with you no longer being in the club and won't try to drag you back in. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

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I am little older than you and I was a Christian, the fundamentalist extremist version, for 40+ years. What you are experiencing now is a normal part of the process. I turned to Deism after walking away from Christianity, but that lasted less than a year.

 

 

Honestly, for me, and many others, the key is to continue to read and study material that confirms there is no such thing as a supernatural deity. There is no historical Jesus and if history is correct the gospels are myths.

 

 

Yahweh, according to history, was the son of El a Canaanite tribal war god. Eventually Yahweh was perceived as the head of all the other gods. In other words Yahweh is a myth.

 

 

I would recommend Karen Armstrong’s book “A History of God” as a must read for those who are in the process of de-converting.

 

 

It gets better and easier with the passing of time. Honestly, for me, leaving Christianity was like getting out of prison. No more fear of hell or being eternally tortured for simply being a human being. Once you conquer your fears, and I promise you that you will, you will begin to enjoy your new found freedom, but all of that doesn't happen over night. You are aware that you were brainwashed. It takes times to be de-programmed. De-converting is essentially the same thing as leaving a cult and make no mistake about it Christianity is a cult.

 

Hang in there, it will get better.

I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

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But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would end up an atheist; but it was not something I chose.  It was simply something that I realized was true at the end of a long and brutal deconversion.  You may come to the same realization or you may not; you may even have already come to the realization but are not yet ready to accept it.  Either way is okay.

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Woodsy ask, "Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?"

 

 

I tried a liberal version of Christianity first, but I was already convinced the bible wasn’t true and I doubted Jesus was a real person, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make any version of Christianity work.

 

I turned to Deism next because Deism rejects all sacred text as manmade and they don’t recognize Jesus divinity. So, I tried Deism for about a year or so. I attempted to become active on one of their support sites but there were so few members that posts would go unanswered for weeks and even months at a time. And the posts I encountered weren't really addressing my questions and concerns.

 

The more I researched Deism the more problematic it became for me. I eventually concluded that an absentee God was essentially no different than a non-existent God. At that point I acknowledged I had become agnostic.

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I was just having a lovely chat with a friend last night about that. I think the problem you may be having is in finding an answer to give to others about what you believe. Right now you may be in a somewhat agnostic stage veering towards atheism, but the struggle is in giving a definition of ones own beliefs. The inability to communicate ones perception creates a dissonance.

 

If that is so then perhaps the difficulty is in being able to give a digestible explanation for why we are here, or perhaps being able to define a greater purpose for our lives to aspire to. In which case I'd just suggest sharing whatever ideas come to your mind. The act alone of writing might provide you with everything you need.

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^We are in this together. Since nobody from our old churches could be bothered to help us when it all unraveled, it's up to us to help each other. Then again, they couldn't be bothered either way. I'm not sure if you've stumbled across any of these, or if someone else in this thread gave you a link, but here are some others you might like to have a look at.

 

http://loudsignal.com/

http://godisimaginary.com/index.htm

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

http://jdstone.org/cr/index.html

 

Unbelievable Milesaway, I just watched the 'child witch hunts'. Oh. My. Gawd. Wendytwitch.gif Those are some wonderful links. I'll watch some more later..(if I can!!)

 

Woodsy, It's stuff like this that sent me over the edge with religion. I hope you're doing well today hon. *hug*

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

 

 

You are wonderful woodsy - not a pain in the ass at all. If you are, then we all were!! Lol

 

What you are going through is completely normal. Learning that you may have believed in this Magic' your whole life is NOT easy to accept. I think pawn said it best for me today when he said the big bang is god and we don't know what that is. I was like a lot of the others. If you would have told me the night I joined this site that I would become an outright atheist...I would have ran as fast as I could because I already felt like the biggest sinner in the world!! Keep goin'  sweetie...The gang  here on Ex-c helped me right through it....

 

  Do something really nice for yourself today hon......*hug*

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But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would end up an atheist; but it was not something I chose.  It was simply something that I realized was true at the end of a long and brutal deconversion.  You may come to the same realization or you may not; you may even have already come to the realization but are not yet ready to accept it.  Either way is okay.

 

Thanks, Prof......It hurts me to hear you call your deconversion "brutal."  Sorry that it was so hard.  Now, let's both go and have a drink....

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Woodsy ask, "Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?"

 

 

I tried a liberal version of Christianity first, but I was already convinced the bible wasn’t true and I doubted Jesus was a real person, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make any version of Christianity work.

 

I turned to Deism next because Deism rejects all sacred text as manmade and they don’t recognize Jesus divinity. So, I tried Deism for about a year or so. I attempted to become active on one of their support sites but there were so few members that posts would go unanswered for weeks and even months at a time. And the posts I encountered weren't really addressing my questions and concerns.

 

The more I researched Deism the more problematic it became for me. I eventually concluded that an absentee God was essentially no different than a non-existent God. At that point I acknowledged I had become agnostic.

 

Yes, I read about progressive christianity and other forms but they just didn't sit right with me either. I realize I was trying to make those versions work for me and they didn't.  Right now I just don't know.  Thanks, Geezer.  You make perfect sense!

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But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would end up an atheist; but it was not something I chose.  It was simply something that I realized was true at the end of a long and brutal deconversion.  You may come to the same realization or you may not; you may even have already come to the realization but are not yet ready to accept it.  Either way is okay.

 

Thanks, Prof......It hurts me to hear you call your deconversion "brutal."  Sorry that it was so hard.  Now, let's both go and have a drink....

 

First round is on me!

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I was just having a lovely chat with a friend last night about that. I think the problem you may be having is in finding an answer to give to others about what you believe. Right now you may be in a somewhat agnostic stage veering towards atheism, but the struggle is in giving a definition of ones own beliefs. The inability to communicate ones perception creates a dissonance.

 

If that is so then perhaps the difficulty is in being able to give a digestible explanation for why we are here, or perhaps being able to define a greater purpose for our lives to aspire to. In which case I'd just suggest sharing whatever ideas come to your mind. The act alone of writing might provide you with everything you need.

 

I never thought of it that way.  Thanks, Falemon, for a different perspective.  I often wonder why I have to put labels on things/people/myself.  I'm trying to get away from that. I do have trouble explaining myself so that it is understandable.  Writing things down may be the key to all of this. 

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

 

 

You are wonderful woodsy - not a pain in the ass at all. If you are, then we all were!! Lol

 

What you are going through is completely normal. Learning that you may have believed in this Magic' your whole life is NOT easy to accept. I think pawn said it best for me today when he said the big bang is god and we don't know what that is. I was like a lot of the others. If you would have told me the night I joined this site that I would become an outright atheist...I would have ran as fast as I could because I already felt like the biggest sinner in the world!! Keep goin'  sweetie...The gang  here on Ex-c helped me right through it....

 

  Do something really nice for yourself today hon......*hug*

 

Margee, my dear, I was hoping you'd pop up with one of your fabulous hugs....just when I need it!  Yep, I never thought I'd ever consider atheism. That's why I keep reading and looking on the net for an alternative belief to xianity.  Looks like it is nowhere to be found.  I am so thankful for Ex-c, my other "family."  I'll keep going, darlin'!  Love you all!!

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

 

 

You are wonderful woodsy - not a pain in the ass at all. If you are, then we all were!! Lol

 

What you are going through is completely normal. Learning that you may have believed in this Magic' your whole life is NOT easy to accept. I think pawn said it best for me today when he said the big bang is god and we don't know what that is. I was like a lot of the others. If you would have told me the night I joined this site that I would become an outright atheist...I would have ran as fast as I could because I already felt like the biggest sinner in the world!! Keep goin'  sweetie...The gang  here on Ex-c helped me right through it....

 

  Do something really nice for yourself today hon......*hug*

 

Margee, my dear, I was hoping you'd pop up with one of your fabulous hugs....just when I need it!  Yep, I never thought I'd ever consider atheism. That's why I keep reading and looking on the net for an alternative belief to xianity.  Looks like it is nowhere to be found.  I am so thankful for Ex-c, my other "family."  I'll keep going, darlin'!  Love you all!!

 

Woodsy...you even sound like me........ darlin', sweetie pie, huggie bunch......lmao_99.gif I just had to have a giggle today.....I just got on the scales and I hate myself.....I'm a overweight atheist!!! jesus.gif   And now...I'm a fuckin' senior....Blah today...... *hug*

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But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would end up an atheist; but it was not something I chose.  It was simply something that I realized was true at the end of a long and brutal deconversion.  You may come to the same realization or you may not; you may even have already come to the realization but are not yet ready to accept it.  Either way is okay.

 

Thanks, Prof......It hurts me to hear you call your deconversion "brutal."  Sorry that it was so hard.  Now, let's both go and have a drink....

 

First round is on me!

 

yellow.gif Yippee!!

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I come back here on my bad days and read again all of your comments and they are such a big help.  Geezer, I have to ask you, what do you think of Deism?  I read alot about it right after I left christianity and am still wondering if it's right for me.  But, I have to admit, I think I'm just dodging atheism.  I guess I just can't see myself as one but it seems the only logical conclusion.  So, here I am again, looking to my "family" for some help.  Sorry if I'm such a pain in the ass.  

 

 

 

You are wonderful woodsy - not a pain in the ass at all. If you are, then we all were!! Lol

 

What you are going through is completely normal. Learning that you may have believed in this Magic' your whole life is NOT easy to accept. I think pawn said it best for me today when he said the big bang is god and we don't know what that is. I was like a lot of the others. If you would have told me the night I joined this site that I would become an outright atheist...I would have ran as fast as I could because I already felt like the biggest sinner in the world!! Keep goin'  sweetie...The gang  here on Ex-c helped me right through it....

 

  Do something really nice for yourself today hon......*hug*

 

Margee, my dear, I was hoping you'd pop up with one of your fabulous hugs....just when I need it!  Yep, I never thought I'd ever consider atheism. That's why I keep reading and looking on the net for an alternative belief to xianity.  Looks like it is nowhere to be found.  I am so thankful for Ex-c, my other "family."  I'll keep going, darlin'!  Love you all!!

 

Woodsy...you even sound like me........ darlin', sweetie pie, huggie bunch......lmao_99.gif I just had to have a giggle today.....I just got on the scales and I hate myself.....I'm a overweight atheist!!! jesus.gif   And now...I'm a fuckin' senior....Blah today...... *hug*

 

Let's just say that you are a well-seasoned, vintage dowager......like Downton Abbey (love that story!)  And let's face it, us old girls just age well, like fine wine/whiskey!  A little bit of padding is also good for keeping warm in these frigid temps.  Hell, it's downright, 

f--kin' COLD here in PA.  eek.gif

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