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Luggage


odintim
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I'm curious if there are others out there experiencing the same sort of emotional "luggage" that I am after leaving Christianity - even if it's been 10, 15, 20 years or longer.

 

I don't obsess over such things, however there are parts of that former life I miss, which is something I cannot explain. I understand the psychology behind it, and I also understand the logic and reasoning that overwhelms the biblical outlook of life, but I'm referring to my christian friendships and fellowships in general.

 

Since becoming an atheist, I've lost so many friends that I have lost count. A few of them were quite close, and even after all this time, it's something I find difficult to deal with. I've heard all the phrases such as, "Well, if they were true friends . . ." - but I can't help but look at this somewhat differently. They are blinded to their faith, but I nor anyone else can convince them otherwise, which I suppose is what hurts more than them turning their backs on me.

 

I think it is this which frustrates me and angers me most about christianity. Christians speak of losing friends and family when they stand strong in their faith, and even Christ mentions it. But they have no idea what it does to those that are in the reverse situation.

 

OT

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It's part of the reason this site can be so addictive.

 

You never realize just how many "religious" friends you've actually got until you choose to be open about your de-conversion.

 

It's so hypocritical when friends you KNOW cuss, drink, fuck, and don't go to church at all, have the unmitigated nerve to shun you and treat you like a total pariah when you choose to be open about giving religion the big kiss-off.

 

It's the hypocracy (sp?) that creates even MORE anger, than the disappointment in friends who are truly and actually religious. At least their reaction is comprehendable.

 

It's EVERYONE ELSE suddenly pulling the god-blanket around their shoulders that just makes you want to scream, and makes the need for folks who understand and accept more intense.

 

Many smooches to the webmaster for this site!

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Odintim--I had a lot of conflicting thoughts upon reading your post, but I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to say about it. (So please bear with me as I try to boil it down.)

 

It's pretty natural that when your interests change, your friendships do as well... not just where Christianity is concerned. For example, I don't keep in touch with any friends from my wild single days, either. ;-)

 

I've been out of Christianity since '94 myself, and no friends from that time are still in my life today. I think I have a tendency to romanticize my "pre-awake" days as a time of innocence, and part of me wants to figure out a way to "make" my old friends take responsibility for enabling me and then rejecting me... the reality is, I shouldn't have been so heavily invested in other peoples' beliefs. I was always taught *what* to think--but nobody taught me *how* to think. The fact is, I've got about 30 years of Fundamentalist conditioning to train out of myself and I know that's not going to be accomplished overnight. Ultimately, the illogic and the inconsistency of it all just weren't working for me.

 

Maybe I'm just a cold person, but I can't say I feel sorry about my former Christian friends being "blinded." They choose their lives every day, just like I do. I woke up one morning and made a different choice (admittedly, there was a lot of "prelude" to that moment). I've learned that many people around me are quite comfortable and happy being told *what* to think. Keep in mind that "they" put enormous energy and effort into framing themselves as a persecuted minority, and when you point out your shared human experience, they'll hate you for robbing them of their victimhood. People will fight like hell to preserve their illusions--I did/do it myself, as I journey/ed away from Christianity.

 

I find there is something very cleansing and honest about the solitude I've experienced since "leaving God" and parting ways with the "old" friends. I have the space now to discover and reinforce my own beliefs and values. Actually, I'm having lunch with some folks later this week in my town (not a "group" per se, just a gathering comprised of "a friend of a friend of a friend, etc.") who I discovered are trying puzzle out some of the same stuff as I am.

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It's funny - people who were raised xtian or converted at an early age seem to have much more of a problem with this than people who got snagged later in life. Me, I hope I never see any of my 'friends' from my old church again. What a bunch of stiffs they were! :ugh:

 

And way too touchy-feely - I don't enjoy hugging men, and my old church felt like a gay gropefest at times. Plus you couldn't hug women unless they were related to you.

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AGF, I agree with you. I was raised Catholic but converted in my teenage years to non-denom. xtianity. I didn't have too hard of a time leaving the fold at the ND church. I came to a point where I wanted to puke every time some pimply dork pulled out his guitar and started rocking out Jesus songs :jerkit:

 

Atheism took a little more guts though.

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The main baggage I carry is passionate hatred, a hatred refined and continuously rekindled by the memory of the first twenty years of my life all of which were wasted uttering cobblers to thin air. Boy do I feel dumb sometimes. :vent:

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What I feel the worst about are not the friends that I lost when I left xianity, but the friends I could've had back when I was a xtian but shunned because they weren't.

 

I had a terrible time in high school. I was the outcast, and I had one friend who was also an outcast. I turned to xianity as comfort and a way to make myself feel better than everyone else. I can't help but wonder how much fun I might've had if I had loosened up and not thought of everyone as heathens and come across as a completely religious moronic intolerant bigot.

 

But that's the past. I cut the cord around my 2nd year of college, and I met some wonderful friends that I still keep in touch with regularly. I'm so much happier being free to make my own moral decisions.

 

Of course, you can't please everyone, so now I'm not as close with my family (who are methodists), but it's ok that we dont' share that aspect of our lives anymore.

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It's funny - people who were raised xtian or converted at an early age seem to have much more of a problem with this than people who got snagged later in life. Me, I hope I never see any of my 'friends' from my old church again. What a bunch of stiffs they were! :ugh:

 

And way too touchy-feely - I don't enjoy hugging men, and my old church felt like a gay gropefest at times. Plus you couldn't hug women unless they were related to you.

 

 

I had the same experience. I converted in my teens, left in my 20s,

and don't miss the christian knuckleheads that I associated myself

with during that time at all. None of the close friends that I have

now are christians.

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I miss being prayed for. Really. I wish I were a Christian right now, it would be easier to deal with the rejection the pharmacy school is giving me. I also miss that feeling you have when you think the big sky daddy is listening... I understand why my MIL asks us "why would you ever leave Jesus?" Having a ready made job-finding network at church was cool, too.

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