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Answering The Question "what Happened?!"


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Hi guys, about a year ago you were very supportive as i took my first steps out of religion. well, i finally had the talk with a good friend (she lives in malaysia and i'm in the uk! she was sheltered from my deconversion til now!) 

 

Anyhoo, she emailed and asked the big question, What happened? so i took a week and sent her this...

 

Hello lovely,
I feel like I might be ready to address some of the questions smile.png 
Firstly, it was a surprise to me to hear that I had been avoiding using the name Jesus, or God generally, but on reflection, yes, i have. perhaps because I'm working through some emotions that are difficult and at times painful. I hadn't been aware of the avoidance til you mentioned it!

 
Honestly, here's how it went: About this time last year i was getting stuck into university level study for the first time, doing it for myself, for my own satisfaction, and they taught me critical thinking skills, how to read a text with a critical eye, (in this case that does not have the negative overtones we generally assume, you know what i mean! questioning skills etc) 
But i found that development seeping into my spiritual life: 
first i began to question the 'We are right, this is God; you are wrong, that's not God' especially when it came to believers of different nationalities and languages, the word for God in different languages still means the same God right? 
not necessarily - how do i know the concept you describe as God is the same as the understanding I have? I'm not inside your head! 

second - the fact that as human beings, tribes and cultures have always searched for a description, a personification of the world around us, the natural phenomena. Obviously as a believer, i assume that they were describing the same God as i describe now in my own language.
So how does one name for Him becomes right and the others are wrong? 

thirdly-i looked at the development of the bible, since all evidence i asked for is in there! it's assembly from original texts and translations, then through the history of it's compilation through various councils and popes and committees and felt an unravelling begin. If there was ever any risk of any part of this bible being manipulated by man, it would bring the whole body of work into question. I simply began to feel that i could not trust that there was no possibility of that happening. Especially given that there are so many editions, translations, authorised versions etc. 
 
This i took to*eldership*, i found the answers a bit wishy washy and (understandably) a little bit defensive. 
I talked to other friends, some were a bit baffled as they had known me, as you have, completely immersed in my love for God.
Some were able to get on my wavelength and still accepted me as a friend who is essentially the same person, if a bit troubled! 
 
It took til the end of June for me to realise that I could not believe what i had previously believed with all my heart. I could not understand the need for a sin/redemption sacrifice, could not understand the creator described in the Bible, all i could see were contradictions and gaps where once i had seen explanations and encouragement. 
 
The death knell was knowing that i didn't have any faith that the version of Jesus' life had actually happened as recorded, nor the resurrection and ascension. I turned to my christianmums forum for help in answering the question "at what point am i no longer a Christian? I value the teaching and the message, but the literal truth is not something i can accept"
 
the minimum requirement that came back to me was not (as i had hoped) following the teachings of Jesus, but a clear message that heartfelt belief in the sacrificial transaction, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus were the essentials.  saying a particular prayer got me into heaven scot free. all those poor souls unfortunate enough to never hear the message, say the prayer, or incapable of mentally comprehending it - i don't know. i was given more unbiblical, unsupported explanations. But no, simply 'loving thy neighbour' was not enough.
 
so there it was, I felt i needed to take that hat off. take the label off. I am not a christian.
 
And it hurts so much to write that to you. i know how deeply i felt my love for God and how deeply you do.
I respect your faith, your relationship with God. 
I love you very dearly, and i miss my faith very much sometimes.
 
I still pray, out loud, i still say thankyou when i am grateful (very often!) 
i still say please when i am desperate and stricken, i still have a spiritual fellowship with Creation, whether that a personification because i'm a human being and that's what we do i don't know! 
 
but it's okay to not know right now - if God is waiting for me, excellent! If not, i am living a good life and doing the best i can. The God i loved would not condemn me for misunderstanding small print. 
 
i hope this is okay and not hurting or offending you. it's really honest and i'm a bit shaky and emotional realising it's all in black and white smile.png
but i thank you for asking xxxx
 
How did i do? biggrin.png
i feel good about it, it feels honest, accurate to what happened and respectful (mostly!) 
 
Pops xxx
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"so there it was, I felt i needed to take that hat off. take the label off. I am not a christian." - pops

 

So there it is indeed! Does that make you an evil person? No!

 

It simply means that you are being honest with yourself and that is always a Good Thing. May you enjoy continuing to explore what you are.

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How did you do?

 

Very well. You've explained your position in some detail without being confrontational or seeming to challenge the beliefs of the other person.  That's quite an achievement.

 

I hope the response is equally measured.

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Thanks :)

She actually asked a lot of questions but the cohesive truth was more relevant than bitty specific answers!

 

It was cathartic writing it and I wanted to share it here ^_^

Hopefully someone finds it helpful/reassuring that they are not alone in having their faith dissolved under the glare of simple questions ;)

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Bill I know the answer would be 'personal experience' :/

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I can relate to the original post where you said the line about Study and Critical Thinking.

 

At Uni, I took a Christian Studies Unit and they taught us about exegesis (reading scripture from the point of view of the original intended meaning and it's context).

 

This changed my whole perspective on the bible and the more I read of it, the more I couldn't grasp certain things. That lead to my thirst for knowledge and wanting to get to the heart of it all, and then ultimately, I have now turned away from the faith.

 

Thank You for sharing Pops :)

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I agree, it helped me to see the process from the outside and reassured me it was no spur of the moment decision.

thanks all x

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I admire your letter. As said, it was descriptive and honest without being confrontational. I feel I was as calm and non-confrontational as I could have been when I came out to my wife as a non-Christian. I wish I could have articulated my realizations in as sensitive a maner as you did in your letter, though. I suppose it is easier to do so in a letter, having the time to compose and edit one's words. I say, well done! When the discussion with my wife comes up again, my aim will be to take the tone of your letter. I feel it will help us work through how to proceed in iur lives with conflicting beliefs.

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