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How Exchristian.net Helped Me - How About You?

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When I deconverted some six years ago or so, I thought I was all alone.  It felt like I was the only person who made the decision to leave the Christian religion behind.  I felt totally alone.  I kept thinking of the word "apostate" and how that was what I had become.  I will confess to you now that it scared me in no small way.  There was not one single person IRL with whom I could speak about my thoughts, fears, concerns, and yes, the exhilaration I felt for having escaped the slavery that is Christianity.  The reason for that is that in my community, Christianity is central to everything and to speak out publicly means one is an outcast.

 

 

Now I realize that almost everybody here felt alone when they were in the earlier stages of deconverting. I know I felt alone. I used to type in 'ex-Mormon' or other non-trinitarian, fundamentalist religions (and compare them) that were well-known for having ex-members, but Christianity? No way. I couldn't even bring myself to type it in the search bar until one day, I did a little more digging. 

 

I found Ex-Christian and lurked around for a few minutes, then left it alone. The next time I'd come back, it would be October and I've been a part of the forum ever since. Ex-C is full of intelligent people who point you in the right direction towards learning how to think for yourself. 

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Margee told me the first time I posted here, "you are home."  And, indeed, I was.  Home among others who fought the fight and came through on the other side a new, whole person. I wanted that and with the help of many friends here, I'm getting there.  My deconversion came at a time in my life where you would think I had it all figured out.  At 65, it was the hardest thing I had to do in admitting that what I had believed all my life was just wrong. And, like so many here, I thought I was alone...until I found Ex-c.  This last month here has changed me dramatically and it's all because of the encouragement of this "family."  I've got much more to learn and many miles to go yet (I hope), but I can now say that I'm enjoying this new journey and I feel at peace. 

 

I want to thank everyone here on Ex-c for making me feel at home and for helping me when it was so dark. Love you all!!

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Wow. This website has helped me in so many ways I don't know where to start.  I was already de-converted well before I came here, but this place just seemed to fit me. There are a lot of good websites out there, but none that I've found are as good or as 'real' as ExC.

I hang out mostly in the forums, but in the past few days I've been checking out some of the blogs and other stuff, and I see that I haven't even scratched the surface of what this site has.

It has helped me through a lot of doubts and a lot of questions. It has helped smooth down some pretty rough edges in my communication skills, it has taught me that it's OK to stand up for myself when I know I'm right, and to do my homework if I'm going to take a stand or be prepared to  stand corrected.

 

Really though, when I talk about what the website has done for me, it's not the website itself, of course, but the people posting on it. Sometimes I feel pretty small because I don't have the knowledge that some people here have, or the common sense or even the empathy. But mom always told me to choose my friends with care, because in some ways I would become like them, and to do the best I can, because I can influence others too.

I haven't always lived up to that here, but as I mature as an extian, that advice becomes more and more pertinent to me.

 

One of the biggest things this site has done for me is make me be aware of what I say, and honestly, that also carries over into my daily life. Words are important, and to think that I can have a lasting impact on what someone believes or how someone feels or how they view all of Christendom or the world around them?  Yeah, that's a big deal to me even if I'm one small straw on the proverbial camel's back.

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Thanks for starting this thread OF--- it was really nice to hear how much you have been helped on this site. In turn, you have helped many others, including me. I think that this site is very helpful for those that may not be able to discuss de-converting with their friends, families, or even their spouses. It is a place to come to when you are afraid, and a place for people when they just want a friend. I come on the site a number of times a day--and I always seem to learn new things. It fills a void for a lot of us!

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Oh wow, where to start!?!   I can't even remember how many years ago (10 maybe?) when I was going through a really rough spell with my DFH (DearFundyHubby) and googled "atheist married to fundamentalist christian."    I actually found the main blog first and spent at least a couple of years there before I ventured into the forums.  Although I don't post a whole lot anymore, I still read all the new posts every day both here and on the main blog.  The support of meeting others who are unequally-yoked has been immeasurable for me.  But that was just the beginning.   I don't think I realized just how isolated I had become and how much I needed to find others who had left christianity.   

 

The help, advice, compassion, kindness, and camaraderie that members freely/lovingly/unconditionally give each other over many issues - big and small - is unlike any other group I've ever known.      

 

As an extra bonus, we have fun here too!   The jokes, goofy Facebook sharings, videos, funny one-liners--all that.   As Margee mentioned above -- just think about all the coffee-spewing laughs we've had!   (And in my case, beer/wine-spewing too!  GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif 68.gifGONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif )

 

I think for most of us, Ex-C has been the place where we finally realized we weren't alone. Personally for me living in the South where there are 3 churches at every intersection, Ex-C is my sanctuary.   There are many days when  Ex-C seems like the only safe, sane part of my bible-belt world.  

 

Thank you webmdave for the site and to you, OF, for this thought-provoking thread to give us the opportunity to "count our blessings"  10.gif  

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The people here have helped me put on both my thinking cap and BS detector. Actually I had a pretty good BS detector but the people here have shown me how to better articulate and identify BS and point out logical flaws in an argument.

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I can honestly say that this site has helped me immensely.  Perhaps it's not in the way that it has with most others, specifically giving people a community of individuals from a similar background (bear with me, I promise this is meant to be a positive post!).  I did indeed come here looking for people whose experience was like mine, and this has proven difficult.  For example, a large number of individuals here suffer from OCD or another mental disorder, and Christianity exacerbated their condition.  Since I'm mentally healthy to the best of my knowledge, this wasn't really something I could identify with.  And most here were raised Christian, whereas I was really looking for others like myself who converted from another religion, and then went back.  Admittedly, this is likely a small subset of people, so I shouldn't expect to find that many others like myself in this regard.

 

So what have I found that's so great on these forums?  Well, I've found people who know Christianity as well as I do, and who are willing to analyze it critically.  Like many others here, I regard Christianity as an enemy that threatens my very way of life.  Here in America we are constantly bombarded by evangelicals, and I am always concerned that these people will try to "share their faith" with my wife, my parents, my friends, etc., and thus harm these people as they harmed me.  Most critical views I read about Christianity come from either from my fellow Hindus or from atheists.  While I appreciate such critical studies of Christianity, I feel these people are lacking in their knowledge of Christianity with respect to me.  Sure, you can read the Bible, study early Christian writings, and understand the sociology of evangelical circles.  But since deconverting I've always felt that my experiential knowledge of Christianity went deeper than all this.  I didn't think this way from a position of arrogance (I find other ways to be an arrogant bastard).  Rather I felt that no one understood Christianity as I did; no one could, and therefore I didn't have anyone I could speak to at that level.

 

These forums have given me the opportunity to have the conversations about Christianity that I've always wanted to have since deconverting.  Many posters here have studied Christianity in depth, but these people also know what it's like to be a Christian, and why this religion is so insidious.  That's the difference between talking to someone who is merely opposed to Christianity, and talking to an ex-Christian.  Even most anti-Christian apologists that I speak with will express a token admiration for Jesus.  This is perfectly captured by Gandhi's statement, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."  Ex-Christians, on the other hand, rarely have good words reserved for Jesus.  We often recognize him as a purveyor of evil, a false prophet full of empty promises, and a hellhound whose teeth are eager to sink into mortal flesh and issue sentences of eternal conscious torment.  We know the damage that Christianity does to families, as many of us have experienced it firsthand.  These are topics for conversations that I could likely never have with other non-Christians.  Even though people here come from very different backgrounds from myself, I've found my discussions on ex-C to be highly beneficial.

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My experiences have been similar to everyone else's. One person I almost never see on here anymore but was very influential in helping me make some major decisions in my life, especially where my family was concerned, is Japedo. If you read this, Japedo, will you pop in to say hello? I miss you and think of you often.

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I discovered this site, or its earlier incarnation, around 2004. All I did was post my testimony. Then, I lurked and read a great deal here in 2005 before I finally signed on as a member in October, 2006. I had never thought or imagined I would be interested in posting my thoughts for all the world to see. There were then and still are so many interesting, intelligent and deeply thoughtful people here. I do miss some of the members who were here in the past and wish they would return and post again.

In the beginning, it was a shared experience of having been in an oppressive religion that was the attraction. It helped me a great deal to know that others struggled with the same situation I was in. I also engaged with Christians in the den and was able to express my frustrations.

I still clearly remember that I also posted about my difficult work situation and got an unexpected amount of feedback and I was just surprised that people cared. Indeed, in the years since then, I have written on other forums and its very unusual to find so many responses to my writing.

Internet communications can be difficult, but especially for an introvert, the internet is a great form of communication when otherwise there would be little or none at all.

 

Just being able to tell your own story to people who understand means so much!

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I've learned A LOT from the folks on this site, particularly with regards to the sciences. This usually comes up when refuting the Christians who come in here trying to save us. There are some really smart people in here.

 

But I think what has helped me most is that I have had an opportunity to encourage others who are going through the deconversion process. It is always heart warming when anyone is brave enough to admit that they are struggling and to see all the kindness poured fort by this community. 

 

Wow, kindness and genius. Where else are you gonna find both together?

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This site has made me much less productive at work, caused several arguments with my wife, and led to untold numbers of people un-friending me on facebook.  And I wouldn't trade it for all the blood on the cross!

 

Thank you so much, ex-christian.  :)

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I haven't been on here long or much, but it has helped me so much already. I had already de-converted but felt so alone that I googled "former Christian" and "ex-Christian" and up this came. I, too, was shocked there was a place with people going through all the same things I was and it was so helpful. I posted a bit, then didn't come back for awhile because I was going through some things, but here I am. It is a sanity check, a sounding board, and a psychiatrist all wrapped into one.

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This website-- especially the people in the forums-- helped save my life. From the posts that helped me understand my own deconversion experience to the kind words that so many new online friends shared, I found hope and a path to happiness here. Not on very often anymore- a sign of healing, I think- but so amazing to check back in and see more people finding the same hope and comfort here. Big hugs and warm thoughts to you all on your journey!

 

ps. also met my boyfriend of 2 years in the ex-c chat room!!! Why is no one in there anymore, guys? :)

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I'm not sure exactly when I first came to Ex-C, but I know i was a lurker for probably about a year. My mind is fuzzy because I was so traumatized by what the pastor and church had been putting me through. I was told that because of my doubts I "wasn't worthy" I'd get on God's shit list & could look for his "fiery indignation to devour the adversary =ME"- that I could count on the church disciplining me and to be shunned if I dared to leave...which eventually I did. I lived in total fear for at least a year, I literally couldn't feel and felt like I was floating, not me, in a fucking daze. I cried every day for about two years, I lost 20 lbs in less than a month, I couldn't sleep...the religious zealots put me through HELL. 

 

Even though I had left the church, the toxic dogma was still in my mind, I had to find others who understood!! Then I stumbled on this site. I spent hours just reading and reading more.

 

when I wrote my extimony I was trembling...I was so happy when it was put up because that was a pretty big step for me, to talk publicly about it! Even though I don't mention my  name or the name of the fundy church cult, it was HUGE to have it published here. Thanks Dave!!

 

Reading other people's stories was so so helpful! It was a sanity check, that YES, I'm NOT crazy, others have had similar experiences. So the extimonies were HUGE

to helping to get me to think, it was validating, which I needed terribly! Everyone in the cult church had absolutely NO validation for what I thought or experienced, & they basically told me I was being influenced by Satan...who would devour me, yet I knew what I experienced! They wanted me to just stuff it, sweep it all under the rug and play fucking Stepford Wife and I just couldn't do it anymore. This place and all of the people really helped me!! 

 

Thanks Dave and all here, you guys are awesome! I know I'm not always the most tactful person, probably because I was raised in a huge & loud family. LOL! My point: I'm thankful for you all who put up w/ me & my rants!

 

HI Wings!!! I've been real busy, I'll email or PM soon!

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Honestly, I was already past the 'lost and alone' part by the time I ended up here.

 

I found it to be an interesting place with a lot of stories to tell. I learned a lot of new things, lost some of my biases, and became a better debater.

 

I did find it to be a good place to vent and talk about frustrations with Christians and the swamp of religion that often surrounds me.

 

I have become less confrontational and I like offering what support I can in topics that I feel I can contribute to. Though, I do still enjoy driving the religious people unfortunate enough to be around me up the walls when I can. I'm less likely to seek out confrontation on my own. It comes to me often enough and even then I sometimes ignore it in favor of other more interesting things.

 

Mostly I hang around here because there are often fascinating conversations about topics that interest me. Being here has helped me in many small ways, but I find I am in less need of support than others. To me, my journey is more about educating myself and finding more rationality and sanity.

 

I do deal with the frustrations of religious family and friends, but I've always had at least something of a handle on things in that regard. This place has helped me with that, but not in as profound a way as some others here.

 

Probably the situation this place has done the most good for me in is in regard to dealing with my sexuality.

 

I'm not gay, but I was a virgin for a very long time. I'm pretty sure my mother thinks I'm gay, but it doesn't come up. I think there's something of a 'don't ask don't tell' policy between us. I'm fine with that.

 

I have a gay Uncle and a gay cousin. It's kind of funny because my family all thinks I'm gay, but no one suspects my cousin. He posts a lot of images on facebook and it's pretty obvious so I'm a bit confused about how no one has figured it out but me. He's a member of a singing group in California and...well he's pretty fabulous, and I don't mean 'metrosexual'. He also does some modeling and hangs around with a lot of cute guys. I've met a few of his partners [not all at once, over several years] when visiting him and he's confirmed that I'm the only one who has ever figured it out. Not even his sisters know. I kind of scared him when I did mention it to him, but he's figured out I'm not going to tattle on him like a fourth grader and don't really care as long as he and his partner don't start having sex on top of the breakfast table while I'm trying to eat when I visit. I also have gay friends and a few I'm not sure about but don't care either way. I see no reason to care unless I'm directly involved.

 

Sexuality was probably my biggest handicap from my days within the church. I tried to hard to be good and follow the 'teachings' about the church and ended up missing out on the things that would have taught me how to deal with the opposite sex as a result. The adults in my life were of no help and actively worked against my sexual maturing. I was seriously screwed up for decades. Now they have the nerve to bug me about why I'm not married and don't currently have a steady girlfriend.

 

At any rate, I eventually figured it out and I'm settling in to a somewhat normal lifestyle for a guy who is still single at my age. Which is pretty awesome. I'm at that point where I'm the one who has the upper hand in regard to dating. When you're 16-25 the woman controls everything and guys are stuck with the task of doing anything they can to impress them. However, once you hit 30+ the tables have definitely turned. wicked.gif

 

I wouldn't say that this place had a great deal to do with my getting over my deconversion though. I had already long since discarded my faith by the time I showed up and I was already over the impact of getting rid of it. It was nice to find a place with others like me and people who were going through that process themselves.
 

I like hearing that others found support for that sort of thing here, and it definitely helped me in other ways, but to me this place has been more a place to find a good conversation and learn new things than a support group. I've learned and grown a great deal by hanging around here.

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It is great to read the impact this site has had on people. I am so glad each and every one of us found ex-C, and thanks Dave for starting it up; what a brilliant idea!

 

After experiencing years of spiritual abuse as a christian, and the exacerbation of  mental illness it brought on, it has been so refreshing and healing to be able to vent, share and learn from others in the forum. Leaving christianity has isolated me somewhat so without this site I would be feeling much more lonelier and isolated. Even though it is 'only' virtual contact, so many of you here have encouraged, educated and downright amused me many times. Thanks everyone!

 

I agree with most of the points already brought up above. This place is helpful in so many different ways. The best for me is how it helped to validate my experience. Before I was on this site I thought I was losing my mind as no one around me had experienced what I had but within a few weeks posting on this site I felt much calmer and saner knowing I was not over-reacting; the damn church had screwed me over. Now 18 months on I am feeling much more stable and content with life. The support I have had on this site has been amazing, I said it before but I will say it again; thanks guys!! smile.png

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It's a great support group. 

 

It's helped me find and root out the last traces of Christian brainwashing. 

 

It's a chance to help others and share information. 

 

I like being reminded of how far I've come. It's a relief to be where I am, especially when I remember where I used to be. Talking about Christian stuff reminds me of what I used to believe, it brings it all right back, but this time without any pain, shame, or guilt attached. Only the joy of being free of it. 

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Basically the same thing. When I was raised Christian, I was literally told that not even one person that had converted to Christianity had ever regretted the experience or turned their backs. It was the epitome of perfect decision, or so the authority figures around me would have me believe.

 

This network completely shattered that illusion. You hear stories of doubting Christians who bravely manage to fight their way back, but rarely had I heard so many stories of doubting Christians that actually concluded that their doubts were well-grounded in reality. This was an enormous help to me. 

 

Furthermore, I like being able to get advice from people who have gone through the same thing, and in a sense it's nice to see other people struggling like me because it makes me realize that a. I'm not some freak and b. These people are sincere, not Satan's tricks. They were genuinely Christians and now they're not. So it builds trust.

 

This website has become my new cornerstone. 

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This is a good place.  It's helped me be able to logically explain why I'm an atheist to others because so many of you are so much smarter than I am and so much more logical!  It's simply wonderful getting factual answers to questions about xianity rather than the trite xianese "because God" answers.

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I'm very thankful for this forum.  I'm a closeted atheist, raised in the church, ordained as a minister, working at a church currently.  A good portion of my income is related to the church and faith based work I do.  I'm not in a clergy position, it's a fine arts/ tech type role.  I don't want to say too much about what I do, since its very specific and I'm paranoid about being outed.  

 

My husband is a believer, but has doubts and doesn't think I'm crazy at least.  Sometimes I feel very lonely, as I don't know any other atheists in person.  

 

So I've been obsessively reading the forums here over the past few months, and I don't feel so alone!  I bet there's a lot of people out there who have doubts or have lost their faith in Christianity and are just afraid like I am.

 

Luckily, it seems there's a change at the church that will allow me to reduce my time there without it looking suspicious.  I was already by far the most liberal member of our congregation even as a Christian.

 

I feel like this is a bit vague and rambling... I apologize, I'm just not used to talking about my lack of faith or feelings about church.

 

To sum it up, thanks everyone for this amazing place where I can feel less alone in the world.

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I'm very thankful for this forum.  I'm a closeted atheist, raised in the church, ordained as a minister, working at a church currently.  A good portion of my income is related to the church and faith based work I do.  I'm not in a clergy position, it's a fine arts/ tech type role.  I don't want to say too much about what I do, since its very specific and I'm paranoid about being outed.  

 

My husband is a believer, but has doubts and doesn't think I'm crazy at least.  Sometimes I feel very lonely, as I don't know any other atheists in person.  

 

So I've been obsessively reading the forums here over the past few months, and I don't feel so alone!  I bet there's a lot of people out there who have doubts or have lost their faith in Christianity and are just afraid like I am.

 

Luckily, it seems there's a change at the church that will allow me to reduce my time there without it looking suspicious.  I was already by far the most liberal member of our congregation even as a Christian.

 

I feel like this is a bit vague and rambling... I apologize, I'm just not used to talking about my lack of faith or feelings about church.

 

To sum it up, thanks everyone for this amazing place where I can feel less alone in the world.

 

Lucynia, Welcome to Ex-c!! I'm so glad you posted today. How many of us 'lurked' on Ex-c before we made our first post!! I did for months. I couldn't help it...there were sooo many people who felt the way I did. It is so wonderful to not feel so alone in this!!

 

It's just awful to be caught in the dilemma you are in. I faked it so bad in the last year of church. I couldn't even take communion anymore because I felt like I truly belonged to a cult at that time. I just couldn't drink the blood of jesus anymore.

 

You are very lucky to have a husband that supports you in this. Many don't. It's so hard to talk to people because most of the world believes in some kind of god. I have 2 friends now in my community who I can talk openly to and it's wonderful. Ex-c is my second home. This is where I come to get all the support that keeps me from going bonkers!! LOL 

 

You come here and post with us whenever you need to. We're all here for you to support you. It's the most wonderful site for us doubters. I hope to see more of you!!  *hug*

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Thank you for the warm welcome!

 

I'm glad my husband is supportive, and even open to my positions. It makes church more enjoyable when we can giggle at the absurdities together!

 

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone here, and providing support for others.

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I'm very thankful for this forum.  I'm a closeted atheist, raised in the church, ordained as a minister, working at a church currently.  A good portion of my income is related to the church and faith based work I do.  I'm not in a clergy position, it's a fine arts/ tech type role.  I don't want to say too much about what I do, since its very specific and I'm paranoid about being outed.  

 

My husband is a believer, but has doubts and doesn't think I'm crazy at least.  Sometimes I feel very lonely, as I don't know any other atheists in person.  

 

So I've been obsessively reading the forums here over the past few months, and I don't feel so alone!  I bet there's a lot of people out there who have doubts or have lost their faith in Christianity and are just afraid like I am.

 

Luckily, it seems there's a change at the church that will allow me to reduce my time there without it looking suspicious.  I was already by far the most liberal member of our congregation even as a Christian.

 

I feel like this is a bit vague and rambling... I apologize, I'm just not used to talking about my lack of faith or feelings about church.

 

To sum it up, thanks everyone for this amazing place where I can feel less alone in the world.

 

A warm welcome to Lucynia! I'm sure you will find ex-christian.net only gets better the more you're on it. That's my experience. I look forward to catching up on the latest posts at the end of the day - it feels like I'm returning home to family. You are certainly not alone, and it's wonderful to have you. :-)

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