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Hi guys, its awesome having a place to share my story. I'm 21 years old, and having just made the decision to leave the church, understandably still struggling with my new path as an ex. It is absolutely worth the price however.

 

It has been amazing reading the different stories here. Some of the stories really hit home ( especially those from Christian families like myself ).

 

I was raised as an evangelical in a devoted Christian household. I was homeschooled exclusively from a Christian perspective - topics such as evolution and science were consistently presented within a Biblical and sheltered environment.

 

I almost want to laugh at my situation though, because in the end, it was my unfounded refusal to abandon "God's way" that led to my deconversion. My father is a former pastor and part time missionary to India. I was brought up believing that a path with God was the "purest" path one could follow. I was determined to be a soldier for Christ and give everything I had to save this world. 

 

My journey away from my faith started with when I was 15. I hadn't really understood what it meant to be "damned" at this point. I felt sympathy for the lost, and wanted to help, but it was from an arrogance that I didn't understand, nor did I care to.

 

Call it karma or whatever, but I eventually became aware that Christians could also be "damned" from the unforgivable sin ( blaspheming the Holy Spirit ). Considering that Christians teach that the thought is as bad as the action ( and being ridiculously self conscious of this ), I knew I was in trouble. I believed in the Bible literally, and quite literally, fell to pieces.

 

What followed was three months of certainty in my own mind that I was damned. Unfortunately, atheism and science were not successful in breaking through to me - as far as I was concerned, science couldn't give a moral framework for life, and thus only God could be trusted. I couldn't sleep, and my studies just stopped. My parents were understandably both worried about me, but even they couldn't tell me I was wrong. I would wake up in a sweat, crying, reading my Bible for hours, often days on end, trying to find hope, and falling apart again. Looking back on it, I am glad it happened sooner, rather than later.

 

Too scared to take my own life, I started "evangelizing", hoping that somehow, I could persuade God to reconsider. I did everything and anything I could imagine of to escape. However, my interpretation of the Word of God was crystal clear. I was damned, with no hope of salvation.

 

Writing about this is difficult for me. There are a lot of emotions bundled up here. I was a mess, with my life being smothered between my faith, and a crushing hopelessness. Anyway, I eventually decided to end it. 

 

It was here that I had a spiritual experience that completely changed my life. As I was staring at the knife in front of me, I felt an immense feeling of tenderness and love wash over me; an analogy would be it felt like being held in the sun's embrace. I think I started crying uncontrollably.

 

My parents and I were not close, and I was insecure in myself, on top of everything that had happened. So it was the first time I felt like I knew what it was to be truly "loved", unconditionally. I don't know, nor care, to attribute the experience to any one explanation, it just doesn't feel appropriate. What matters is it stopped me, and remains the single most precious thing to have happened to me. 

 

Originally I attributed my experience to Jesus - I didn't have another explanation for it at the time. I felt very much like I had been taught what it truly means to be forgiven, and so for the next six years, this period was very much about finding myself. I talked about the experience often when I entered the church again later, as I felt it was what the story of Jesus was all about.

 

As I set out to understand what it meant to be a real "Christian", I started to experiment for the first time with my own beliefs. And like so many, I began to see the inconsistencies, and problems with the faith. I made a promise to myself though to not leave Christianity unless it was based on something more than just facts - I held that anything can be interpreted to match any situation, given enough time and commitment, so truth requires more than just an interpretation of what we see as reality. More than anything, I wanted to understand what it meant to be "human".

 

I started reading about near death experiences recently, and noticed many of them end with "God" telling the individual that we need to learn about forgiveness and love, both for others, and ourselves. This is a perspective I have come to admire and adopt personally.

 

As I explored the waters of Christian faith and outside beliefs, one thing that became apparent was that faith doesn't work. As Ecclesiastes puts it, good and evil occur to both the righteous and evil. The world is a hard place, and religion doesn't protect you any more than faith in the pink fairy. 

 

Coupled with disappointment in the church, my brother's depression ( I am not alone in my family it appears, he told his teacher recently he wanted to commit suicide ), and the divorce of my parents, the failures in Christianity became readily apparent.

 

In the end, it became a decision between my fear of hell, and my moral dilemmas with Christianity. It was extremely difficult for me to leave my faith, as my perspectives are quite similar to postmodernism ( nothing can be taken as certainty ). Science and evidence were not enough for me, as I feel, even now, that they are only a part of the full "truth".

 

In the end, and with support from my brother, the moral dilemma of self sacrifice  and salvation decided it for me. It follows if man has free will ( Calvinism never really seemed to fit ), we are responsible for choosing the right course of action. I would say if hell exists, every one of should aspire to be willing to take the blow for someone else, and ultimately, even if we are in heaven, to never cease in our efforts to deliver even the worst of people from such a fate, even at the cost of salvation.

 

This perspective allowed me to finally voice my opposition to Christianity and Yahweh. I don't believe it matters if God is real or not, good or bad. Some things, like love for others, are choices that humanity must make on its own, even if it goes against "God". 

 

But it is somewhat ironic, that the very virtues of self-sacrifice and forgiveness that Christianity claims are unique to its creeds, are what freed me from its hold. Christianity can never be truly selfless, and I doubt forgiveness, self-sacrifice, or love for others could ever come about through such a system. What I despise more than anything about it though, is how it teaches nothing bad should ever happen to people, and then blames its followers for its own failures.. 

 

I have never so alive in my life. I know now that each of us has the ability to be truly good. We CAN do this. To feel, and love others, to actually be willing to give everything for another. I want to be willing to go to hell for someone. And it feels awesome to finally acknowledge that I am choosing my own path.

 

I am still working out how I can leave my church gracefully. Its a work in progress. However, I have never felt so free or happy in my life. Beyond the fact I exist, I have absolutely no idea what is true or real. I am learning to enjoy myself for who I am.

 

Life is truly wondrous smile.png

 

 

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Welcome to e-C, Sparky.  Thank you for sharing your story.  I hope your brother is okay.  Please keep us posted how things work out.  I'm so glad to hear you got out at such a young age.  You still have your whole life in front of you.

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Welcome, Sparky!

 

"But it is somewhat ironic, that the very virtues of self-sacrifice and forgiveness that Christianity claims are unique to its creeds, are what freed me from its hold."

 

Well said.  I think that many ex-christians were once true believers.  It seems like it is easier to remain christian if you are luke warm and don't take it so seriously.  The "ask and it will be given, seek and ye shall find" stuff that jesus suggests is complete rubbish.  The only way to get an answer to prayer is to answer yourself, which is like purposely developing a mental illness.  

 

How terrible that the literal interpretation of the bible caused you all that anguish with worrying about the unforgiveable sin.  Your young mind must have been terrorized by that stupid threat.  I personally went through this myself, and so I can relate to your story.  It is such a pointless terror, considering you were young and you should have been focussed on developing your self-identity, and getting good grades.  To add that extra layer of terror for no reason is such cruelty.  I hate that about the bible.  It really is a repulsive book.  I wish you all the best in your search for what is true.  

 

A suggestion for something that might help you is a youtube series by evid3nc3:  

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSy1-Q_BEtQ&list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A

It has been suggested several times on this site, I know, but it really does a good job of covering the emotional side of deconverting.  All the best!

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Christianity was a constant carrot on the stick faith for me and all the others I knew in the church. Here are a list of promises from god, and yet when they continually fail to work, well I must be in sin or god had a better plan or I didn't bind the demons or I should have anointed something with oil or or or. There were many excuses for why his promises fall flat. Except he's really good at finding parking spots or helping the barber do a great job on our haircuts.

 

Then there was wanking... Oh the years of guilt for feeling lust (eeek!). The carrot of being "born again" was held out as a truth, and yet we all continually demonstrated that we are simply humans with normal desires that aren't broken, bent, or wrong in themselves.

 

Now I see that I can choose to become just about anything I like. I can look at centuries of ethical and philosophical thought, combine that with studies of the mind and how it work (and the many way it can break or malfunction), and choose what I really want to do and be. It's all up to me now and without guilt or condemnation. I find that I'm far happier without the constant mental battle of demons and angels (none of whom ever existed), the quoting of Bible verses, and clinging to a god who wasn't there.

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 Beyond the fact I exist, I have absolutely no idea what is true or real. 

 I have been an atheist now for almost 11 years and in that time my entire life philosophy has become nothing more than "My consciousness exists; everything else is just window dressing."

 

Welcome to the forums and congratulations on gaining your freedom at such a young age.

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Thank guys for the warm welcome :) Its great being here. 

 

@mymistake Thanks! As I said earlier, I'm glad it happened sooner rather than later!

 

@xtify So true - far from seek and you will find, how about "truth comes to the deserving"? It seems to fit :) And thank you!

 

@Fuego hahaha - yep xD that about sums it up! I've got a mate who's in the church - he was in a car crash 6 months ago and went into a coma. He only woke up a few weeks ago.

It made my blood boil though when he started saying it was his fault, and that God was using it to keep on track. he deserves better than this crap

 

@TheRedneckProfessor: That's kind of epic :D I've forgotten if postmodernism also advocates presence as an absolute truth, but it works for me :) aiyy it sends my head into a spin sometimes....

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@TheRedneckProfessor: That's kind of epic biggrin.png I've forgotten if postmodernism also advocates presence as an absolute truth, but it works for me smile.png aiyy it sends my head into a spin sometimes....

 That's precisely why I am content with cogito ergo sum.

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 Beyond the fact I exist, I have absolutely no idea what is true or real.

 

Existence is sufficient. Truth and reality may just be philosophical wild goose chases. :-)

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Welcome to Ex-c!

 

I'm glad you were able to break out of the cycle.  You're 21, just starting to build your life, and you're free to take control and make the most of it.  Congratulations man!

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Welcome, Sparky.  Interesting story.

 

 

It was extremely difficult for me to leave my faith, as my perspectives are quite similar to postmodernism ( nothing can be taken as certainty ). Science and evidence were not enough for me, as I feel, even now, that they are only a part of the full "truth".
 

 

I rather like Charles Fort's approach.  "I conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while".

 

Congratulations on finding the freedom to explore.  I hope you never lose the sense that life is wondrous.

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Hey, Welcome to the club – Each one of us here as walked your path – sometimes many of us have ran back to the fold only to go back with so much knowledge that staying in that fold is just Childish.

 

Just know that although this feels ‘Right’ now you will go through the various stages of De-conversion.

 

Understand believing in God often comes from Parents – You grow up trusting your folks so when they say that a God is real – You believe it.

 

I had this exact same story myself – The Unforgivable sin from various sources looks like it was a later addition that was eventually transferred to the other versions.

 

Heck in Hebrew / Aramaic the language of Jesus there was no concept of ‘Eternal’ so how the heck can someone commit an Eternal sin – That has to be a translational error at least.

 

See in my early stages – I thought reading books from Atheist’s were the things that worked,  So I read dawkins and boy that book is a pile of trash.  His arguments are extremely weak and it’s filled with hate.

 

I then decided to instead of hear an Atheist view point – Find out the sources of evidence they used to hold their view.  E.g. Find the stuff that atheists read that makes them atheist rather than hearing the evidence second hand through someone like dawkins.

 

I did the same thing, I watched videos – asked Christians on forums, Heck I even asked atheists.

 

See this is the most hurtful sin of all sins, I spoke to my Girlfriend about this and she turned round and said – God would forgive a Paedophile for everything they do, Even Hitler but a devout Christian he would cast out.  Heck a Christian is the only person likely to commit this sin as in theory we cannot do it in ignorance.

 

Feeling that Suicide is an interesting output – I would never have considered suicide however knowing that taking that path would lead me to be damned was horrible.

 

The underlying problem that you told me is that you felt this Love experience,  Yes we can say that was Jesus but was he not a bit late-  Like what did that accomplish by bringing you to near death.  Sounds like God was fucking with you!

 

What I find interesting about a near death experience is that it is not ‘DEATH’ so it’s no different than a dream and why would God wait until someone is on the fringe of life before telling them this,  why can he not be a physical person or a cloud as he was in the past.  Funny enough God also waits until these people are about to supposedly die before coming to them how fucked up is that.  Jews at the Holocaust prayed to Yahweh but he wasn’t there – But for some 90 year old nobody had an NDE and that’s suddenly God.

 

 

I myself would brand myself as an Agnostic – however the evidence I have I am entirely open to becoming a Deist however if you are honestly telling me that the Christian Bible and Its God are the true ones – That’s a very far cry.  I ask please Get God to show me directly.

 

Good luck on your path.

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Hi guys, its awesome having a place to share my story. I'm 21 years old, and having just made the decision to leave the church, understandably still struggling with my new path as an ex. It is absolutely worth the price however.
 
It has been amazing reading the different stories here. Some of the stories really hit home ( especially those from Christian families like myself ).
 
I was raised as an evangelical in a devoted Christian household. I was homeschooled exclusively from a Christian perspective - topics such as evolution and science were consistently presented within a Biblical and sheltered environment.
 
I almost want to laugh at my situation though, because in the end, it was my unfounded refusal to abandon "God's way" that led to my deconversion. My father is a former pastor and part time missionary to India. I was brought up believing that a path with God was the "purest" path one could follow. I was determined to be a soldier for Christ and give everything I had to save this world. 
 
My journey away from my faith started with when I was 15. I hadn't really understood what it meant to be "damned" at this point. I felt sympathy for the lost, and wanted to help, but it was from an arrogance that I didn't understand, nor did I care to.
 
Call it karma or whatever, but I eventually became aware that Christians could also be "damned" from the unforgivable sin ( blaspheming the Holy Spirit ). Considering that Christians teach that the thought is as bad as the action ( and being ridiculously self conscious of this ), I knew I was in trouble. I believed in the Bible literally, and quite literally, fell to pieces.
 
What followed was three months of certainty in my own mind that I was damned. Unfortunately, atheism and science were not successful in breaking through to me - as far as I was concerned, science couldn't give a moral framework for life, and thus only God could be trusted. I couldn't sleep, and my studies just stopped. My parents were understandably both worried about me, but even they couldn't tell me I was wrong. I would wake up in a sweat, crying, reading my Bible for hours, often days on end, trying to find hope, and falling apart again. Looking back on it, I am glad it happened sooner, rather than later.
 
Too scared to take my own life, I started "evangelizing", hoping that somehow, I could persuade God to reconsider. I did everything and anything I could imagine of to escape. However, my interpretation of the Word of God was crystal clear. I was damned, with no hope of salvation.
 
Writing about this is difficult for me. There are a lot of emotions bundled up here. I was a mess, with my life being smothered between my faith, and a crushing hopelessness. Anyway, I eventually decided to end it. 
 
It was here that I had a spiritual experience that completely changed my life. As I was staring at the knife in front of me, I felt an immense feeling of tenderness and love wash over me; an analogy would be it felt like being held in the sun's embrace. I think I started crying uncontrollably.
 
My parents and I were not close, and I was insecure in myself, on top of everything that had happened. So it was the first time I felt like I knew what it was to be truly "loved", unconditionally. I don't know, nor care, to attribute the experience to any one explanation, it just doesn't feel appropriate. What matters is it stopped me, and remains the single most precious thing to have happened to me. 
 
Originally I attributed my experience to Jesus - I didn't have another explanation for it at the time. I felt very much like I had been taught what it truly means to be forgiven, and so for the next six years, this period was very much about finding myself. I talked about the experience often when I entered the church again later, as I felt it was what the story of Jesus was all about.
 
As I set out to understand what it meant to be a real "Christian", I started to experiment for the first time with my own beliefs. And like so many, I began to see the inconsistencies, and problems with the faith. I made a promise to myself though to not leave Christianity unless it was based on something more than just facts - I held that anything can be interpreted to match any situation, given enough time and commitment, so truth requires more than just an interpretation of what we see as reality. More than anything, I wanted to understand what it meant to be "human".
 
I started reading about near death experiences recently, and noticed many of them end with "God" telling the individual that we need to learn about forgiveness and love, both for others, and ourselves. This is a perspective I have come to admire and adopt personally.
 
As I explored the waters of Christian faith and outside beliefs, one thing that became apparent was that faith doesn't work. As Ecclesiastes puts it, good and evil occur to both the righteous and evil. The world is a hard place, and religion doesn't protect you any more than faith in the pink fairy. 
 
Coupled with disappointment in the church, my brother's depression ( I am not alone in my family it appears, he told his teacher recently he wanted to commit suicide ), and the divorce of my parents, the failures in Christianity became readily apparent.
 
In the end, it became a decision between my fear of hell, and my moral dilemmas with Christianity. It was extremely difficult for me to leave my faith, as my perspectives are quite similar to postmodernism ( nothing can be taken as certainty ). Science and evidence were not enough for me, as I feel, even now, that they are only a part of the full "truth".
 
In the end, and with support from my brother, the moral dilemma of self sacrifice  and salvation decided it for me. It follows if man has free will ( Calvinism never really seemed to fit ), we are responsible for choosing the right course of action. I would say if hell exists, every one of should aspire to be willing to take the blow for someone else, and ultimately, even if we are in heaven, to never cease in our efforts to deliver even the worst of people from such a fate, even at the cost of salvation.
 
This perspective allowed me to finally voice my opposition to Christianity and Yahweh. I don't believe it matters if God is real or not, good or bad. Some things, like love for others, are choices that humanity must make on its own, even if it goes against "God". 
 
But it is somewhat ironic, that the very virtues of self-sacrifice and forgiveness that Christianity claims are unique to its creeds, are what freed me from its hold. Christianity can never be truly selfless, and I doubt forgiveness, self-sacrifice, or love for others could ever come about through such a system. What I despise more than anything about it though, is how it teaches nothing bad should ever happen to people, and then blames its followers for its own failures.. 
 
I have never so alive in my life. I know now that each of us has the ability to be truly good. We CAN do this. To feel, and love others, to actually be willing to give everything for another. I want to be willing to go to hell for someone. And it feels awesome to finally acknowledge that I am choosing my own path.
 
I am still working out how I can leave my church gracefully. Its a work in progress. However, I have never felt so free or happy in my life. Beyond the fact I exist, I have absolutely no idea what is true or real. I am learning to enjoy myself for who I am.
 
Life is truly wondrous smile.png

 

Good story.  You'll do fine.

 

I do have an answer to your title question.

 

Question:  God Or Hell?

 

Answer:  Neither, there are other choices.

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Too scared to take my own life, I started "evangelizing", hoping that somehow, I could persuade God to reconsider.

 

SEVEN DAYS...

 

In the horror movie "The Ring," Anyone who watches the cursed tape has a week to copy the tape and show it to someone else, otherwise they will be killed by Samara's ghost.  The only way to not be murdered after watching the haunted video is to run a copy and show it to the next victim who will then stand in the same position you did.  Seems like a pretty good analogy to Christianity where you must preach the message of damnation or be damned yourself:   "I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"  1 Corinthians 9:16.  Sick.

 

Make sure you look into the symptoms and features of OCD and scrupulosity.  Find out how your experiences line up.

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Existence is sufficient. Truth and reality may just be philosophical wild goose chases. :-)

That's precisely why I am content with cogito ergo sum.

 

Heh, its enough to make me think the universe has a rather twisted sense of humor :-) 

Agreed - and meeting others here who happen to share this perspective is really awesome.

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Welcome to Ex-c!

 

I'm glad you were able to break out of the cycle.  You're 21, just starting to build your life, and you're free to take control and make the most of it.  Congratulations man!

 

Thanks mate! That's pretty much exactly how I feel right now :)
 
 

 

I rather like Charles Fort's approach.  "I conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while".

 

 Totally. Its a beautiful, albeit, interesting way of looking at it.
 
 
 
 

The underlying problem that you told me is that you felt this Love experience,  Yes we can say that was Jesus but was he not a bit late-  Like what did that accomplish by bringing you to near death.  Sounds like God was fucking with you!

 

Exactly! Attributing it to Jesus is and was incredibly naive. And its frustrating, because in general I think religion is a major block to whatever spirituality we might find. I'm wary about exploring this area though.

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I do have an answer to your title question.

 

Question:  God Or Hell?

 

Answer:  Neither, there are other choices.

 

Agreed mate - if anything I was trying to be sarcastic.

 
 
 

 

SEVEN DAYS...

 

In the horror movie "The Ring," Anyone who watches the cursed tape has a week to copy the tape and show it to someone else, otherwise they will be killed by Samara's ghost.  The only way to not be murdered after watching the haunted video is to run a copy and show it to the next victim who will then stand in the same position you did.  Seems like a pretty good analogy to Christianity where you must preach the message of damnation or be damned yourself:   "I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"  1 Corinthians 9:16.  Sick.

 

Make sure you look into the symptoms and features of OCD and scrupulosity.  Find out how your experiences line up.

 

 

That sounds sick. But I can't disagree with the analogy :/

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Precisely. Its the weak spot in the armor I think.

 

Part of it is just being practical. Most Christians I know accept that the evidence points towards evolution and atheism, so they ( as I did ) need to use the moral argument as a foundation for believing in God. Abstract concepts like hope and love in particular are favorites, because they aren't evidence based per se. Once you take that away from them, its game over.

 

Truly though, Christianity is one of the most selfish and bigoted concepts I've experienced. There is no selflessness there, and I despise it utterly. But it is a hard system to leave.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Truly though, Christianity is one of the most selfish and bigoted concepts I've experienced. There is no selflessness there, and I despise it utterly. But it is a hard system to leave.."

 

Indeed, Sparky.  LOL.

 

But back to your post...I can relate to that whole holy spirit issue.  I was mentally terrorized by that verse for years, as well as being in torment regarding my same sex attractions.  Then, in 2002, I accepted my homosexuality and that's when the proverbial thread let loose.  Slowly but surely, everything came tumbling down, finalized by me leaving the Catholic Church on April 14 of this year.

 

Embrace  yourself.  Love yourself for ALL that you are.  The hypocrites in the "Church" have no say over that.

 

Hope to see more of your posts on here. :0

 

Andrew

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