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I was born in Junction City, Kansas, and spent my first 3 1/2 years in Chapman, Kansas. My mother, who had grown up in a protestant/Momon family was Catholic, and she had me baptized as an infant (as is standard procedure). When I was 3 1/2 we moved to Bradford, Arkansas, and started going to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Batesville. We didn't end up staying there very long, however, because my step-father was not a fan of the ceremonial nature of the Catholic Mass. He told my mother that we were leaving the Catholic Church, and that she would have to find someplace else to worship.

 

This was a mistake.

 

You see, my mother was happy as a Catholic. I was too, and I probably never would have left Christianity if we had remained at St. Mary's, since many of the issues that eventually forced me to leave don't exist or aren't as prevalent in the Catholic Church. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, we started attending protestant churches. Nazarene. Church of God. Church of Christ. Nondenominational. Pentecostal. Several varieties of Baptist. We never stayed in one church more than a year, and usually not even that long. It was rarely for a doctrinal reason that we left. Instead, it was the people. The people in all of these churches were, to be kind, not very Christian.

 

So we searched, and searched. While my mother was leaving because of people, I was, even at a young age, having difficulty with the anti-science stance that many of these churches were taking. I remember when I was 11 or 12, my Sunday school teacher saw me reading a book on dinosaurs before class. She stopped me and said that dinosaurs weren't real, that scientists had faked them in order to prove evolution. Well, I may have been young, but I wasn't stupid. That was the most insane thing I had ever heard in my life! And then I started hearing similar statements that really made no sense from others. My mother was a fan of the Swaggarts (in large part of their anti-Catholic stance, I believe. When she was forced to leave the Catholic Church, she developed a desire to believe she was doing the right thing. The Swaggarts gave her that), and she would play them on the radio every day. Once, while we were listening to one of their talk shows, they said that dinosaurs, other extinct animals, and all archeological finds that dated back any reasonable time were in fact part of a pre-Adamic world that God had originally created and then destroyed.

Say what now? Pre-Adamic? What the heck? Now they weren't just being anti-science, they were saying things they had zero evidence for, even in the Bible!

Moving on. Eventually we did settle down at a church, if only because we had already gone to all the others. It was Allen Chappel Free Will Baptist Church, in Batesville. We spent the next few years there, and, in fact, my brothers still go to church there. I, on the other hand, wasn't finding much to agree with at this church either. Especially as I started learning more about science, history, and, more importantly, the Bible itself. The people here didn't seem to care about truth, nor about what the Bible said, they only seemed to care about being holier than everyone else (especially Catholics, which they concluded were a cult out to take over the world. Oh yes, and the Pope's the anti-Christ. --_--).

When I was 17 I told my mother that I wasn't going to Allen Chappel anymore. I didn't like their behavior, and I didn't like their beliefs. I stayed at home on Sundays and read my Bible. I probably learned more that way than I would have in Church. I was also doing a lot of reading on evolution (a forbidden subject in my home), and on other religions. I found that the Buddha's teachings in particular seemed to have a lot of similarities with Christ's. Then I began to read the Bhagavad Gita, and realized that the same thing was going on here. I forgot, for a moment, that I wasn't reading the Bible!

I was also learning at this time about the contradictions in the Bible. This confused me, because I had been raised to believe that the Bible was the literal Word of God, whispered into the ears of the people that wrote it. I began to lose my faith.

I decided I wanted to try other religions, and some irreligion too. Perhaps I would find one that I felt was closer to the truth. So I started seeking. I tried Buddhism, Hinduism, different sects of Christianity, Judaism, Gnosticism, Paganism, Deism, and I spent a while not believing in anything, an Atheist. I found, though, that I wasn't satisfied with any of these, not even Atheism which so many had lauded as the most logical choice. But I had tried everything, so what was I to do? It was then that I remembered about a religion I had read about and dismissed while I was still part of the Christian church: the Baha'i Faith. I figured, what the heck, it's not like I've got anything to lose. So I started reading about the Baha'i Faith, about its Founder, His son, their Writings, the things they taught. It all made sense to me. It explained why I had found so many similarities between Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus: according to the Baha'i Faith they were all Messengers for the same God! And 'Abdu'l-Baha (son of Baha'u'llah, Who is the Founder of the Baha'i Faith) was even quoted as saying that if religion and science disagree, religion is wrong! They taught racial unity, gender equality, the need for a world government, and one universal auxiliary language. I had found something I could agree with. I started saying the Baha'i prayers, reading the Writings every day, living my life as if I were a Baha'i. On March 4th, 2012, I officially declared my belief in Baha'u'llah, and became a Baha'i. I had found my home.

Well, it's June 29th, 2014, and I'm still a Baha'i. My mother has returned to the Catholic Church, where she was happiest, and my step-dad is even being supportive of her choice. My brothers are active in their church, and they seem pretty happy. And I'm currently performing a year of religious service. It seems like everything worked out.

Alright, that was my story. That's how I left the Christian church, and eventually became a Baha'i. Any thoughts?

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Welcome to the forums.  I'm glad that you have found something that works for you.  Are your family members supportive of your shift in faith?  Or have you not told them yet?

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Welcome, zan.  I was attracted to the idea of Baha'i at one time.  It still appears to be much better than fundamentalist sects of Christianity and Islam.

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Glad that you've found something better than Christianity, as you judge better.  When I was looking for a humanistic, rational and progressive alternative to Christianity I also investigated the Bahai Faith.  Everything was on the table.  I remembered that there was a very sweet family in my community when I was a child, and they were Bahai.  Of course, at that time I told them, in all my knowledge as a 6-year-old, that they were going to hell because they were not saved by Jesus.

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Welcome to the forums.  I'm glad that you have found something that works for you.  Are your family members supportive of your shift in faith?  Or have you not told them yet?

Thanks. Yes, I've told them. And no, they weren't initially. In fact, they basically told me that I was going to hell. They've become more accepting since then, but not fully. They're willing to accept I can make my own choices, which they weren't before (my dad actually considered kicking me out if I didn't convert back to Christianity), but they still strongly disagree with that choice.

 

 

Welcome, zan.  I was attracted to the idea of Baha'i at one time.  It still appears to be much better than fundamentalist sects of Christianity and Islam.

Thank you. I would definitely agree that it is better than any form of fundamentalism.

 

 

Glad that you've found something better than Christianity, as you judge better.  When I was looking for a humanistic, rational and progressive alternative to Christianity I also investigated the Bahai Faith.  Everything was on the table.  I remembered that there was a very sweet family in my community when I was a child, and they were Bahai.  Of course, at that time I told them, in all my knowledge as a 6-year-old, that they were going to hell because they were not saved by Jesus.

I've been told that several times, haha.

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Welcome to the forums.  I'm glad that you have found something that works for you.  Are your family members supportive of your shift in faith?  Or have you not told them yet?

Thanks. Yes, I've told them. And no, they weren't initially. In fact, they basically told me that I was going to hell. They've become more accepting since then, but not fully. They're willing to accept I can make my own choices, which they weren't before (my dad actually considered kicking me out if I didn't convert back to Christianity), but they still strongly disagree with that choice. 

 It's good that they are willing to accept you for who you are, even if not fully.  That will spare you some of the toxicity of walking your own path.

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Welcome to Ex-C. And, as I have found out also, being an ex-Christian doesn't necessarily mean atheism, so don't allow the evangelical antitheists go to work on you either. They're just as insecure as the evangelical Christians.

I myself am an atheist, but I understand not all would be. Most importantly, you have foujnd what makes the most sense to you. I don't know anything about the BahaI, except what I saw on TV from the Sandy Hook Memorial Service.

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Welcome.

 

I've only ever met one Baha'i previously and have never looked at the faith in detail, though it has struck me as being spectacularly equitable in its' general inclusiveness and its' social consciousness.

 

I'm glad you've found your home.  That you have done so is far more important than the name that your home bears - which your parents, hopefully, will come to understand.

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Welcome to Ex-c! Glad to see you have found what works for ya! yellow.gif

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Thanks all! Sorry that it took me so long to respond, I've been visiting my family back home and have not had access to the internet until today.

I appreciate how welcome everyone here is making me feel. I believe I will enjoy being here at the Ex-Christian forums.

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As others have already stated far more eloquently than I could, I am glad you've found a place to hang your soul. Welcome!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ah, Seals and Crofts... Love their music.

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Thanks, Doubter. You probably won't see a whole lot, since I don't get on very often. But when I do, I usually get on Chat. So look for me there!

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