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New Beliefs, New Problems, New Joys


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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and I thought I'd introduce myself.

 

I was raised in a pretty typical "christian home." My father was raised catholic and my mother lutheran. By the time my parents had me they were both strong non-denominational christians. I grew up attending sunday school and small groups and everything. My parents (especially my mother) constantly encouraged me to find ways to "plug in" to the church. I never really enjoyed church but I made a handful of really good friends there, so I was not bothered by attendance. I learned to play guitar and started playing music with the "worship" team. I enjoyed playing music with my friends/pastors.

 

I took my faith very seriously; especially as I got older. In college I met a friend who was leading a bible study. One of the books we read was Shane Claiborne's "Irresistable Revolution." I found this book to be incredibly challenging as I had never really given much thought to the idea of jesus as a non-violent leader and his message as primarily one about peace and lover. My faith had previously been much more focused on right living and salvation from sin and by extention hell. My friend and I had many heated discussions until finally I realized that he had made better points than I. I started to get really interested in the story of jesus and his radical message of peace and love. My friend and I then left the church we both were attending at the time (an EV free church) to start our own "house church."

 

At first it was great. We read scripture and discussed it over food and drinks and I felt like a real christian, living how I imagined jesus and the early church lived.

 

I got married around this time, as well, which meant that my wife also began to get involved with this small church.

 

About a year into our marriage, we moved to British Columbia. My wife was going to a private christian college there. We tried to "get plugged in" to a church in the area but with no luck. Neither of us really enjoyed the large church experience after having spent over a year in a small house church. We attended church only a handful of times that year. I tried to keep in touch with friends from home, but found it difficult.

 

Eventually, the company I was working for to pay our bills started to go under and I wasn't making enough money to support us both. We moved back home and started attending our old home church. However, they had now gotten connected with a larger network of other house churches. Neither my wife or I really knew much about the new church network we were now a part of but we welcomed it thinking it would give us structure and guidance.

 

However, as I started hearing the teaching coming from some other pastors in the network, I began to have a lot of questions. I would ask my questions and challenge the pastors as I had done before but these pastors were older and didn't view me so much as a peer. My questions tended to be answered with a pretty simple, "well, actually you're wrong." or something like that.

 

My questions grew bigger and I bought an expensive textbook and signed up to take a course on Acts with a bunch of other peole from the network hoping I would have more opportunities to get my questions answered in order to strengthen my faith and ameliorate my confusion. Unfortunately this course turned out to be yet another place where my questions were not welcome. The right questions and comments were fine, but I wanted to as difficult and challenging questions like, "how do we know who wrote this?" Also, I didn't think the teachers were trustworthy and I was very skeptical of their teachings.

 

So I realized I could start doing my own research. My primary questions were ones about the bible. How do we know who wrote what? Where are the original documents? Why are there so many contradictions? Why does god kill babies and all that crazy shit in the OT? Those sorts of things.

 

I discovered the bible was a bunch of myths compiled by people long ago who I was pretty sure were not trustworthy. At that point pretty much everything unraveled. I was deeply saddened by my loss of faith and I instantly began looking for rebuttles. Unfortunately (or fortunately...) I found the christian rebuttles only strengthened my new lack of faith in the bible and god.

 

That was a bit less than a year ago.

 

After a month or two of my beliefs changing I told my wife. I tried to be gentle because I knew the weight of what I was going to tell her. I told her that I wasn't sure that I could believe in christianity as truth and I wasn't sure that the god described in the bible existed. It was not easy for her to hear. She encouraged me to tell my good friend at church (the one with whom I had read the Shane Claiborne book). I told her I really didn't want to tell people because I felt like it would only damage friendships. After a month or two I ended up telling him in private that I had lost my faith in god and now considered myself either an atheist or agnostic.

 

So far I have still only told a handful of people. Mostly just close friends. My twin brother (who recently became Eastern orthodox christian) took it the best and was very understanding. However most people have been incredibly saddened and encouraged me to try to keep believing, which is difficult.  Even though I'm 25 now and married, I am still terrified of telling my parents. My mother and in-laws especially.

 

Since becoming an atheist I have found life to be even more wonderful and amazing. Unfortunately I have also felt very lost and depressed at times. It is hard for my wife to know that we don't share the beliefs we both held when we got married. It is hard for me to feel that I have somehow betrayed my wife (I know this is untrue, but it is how it feels at times). Thankfully she has been incredibly understanding and encouraging to me. She doesn't mind me not going to church and she has even stopped as well (for now) but I think it is still difficult for her. I talk with her about religion sometimes (I have a hard time keeping my big mouth shut sometimes) but that tends to frustrate both of us so I try not to. She doesn't tend to bring up religious topics, but she didn't when we were both christians either.

 

I think the most difficult thing has been dealing with our understanding of marriage. In her mind marriage is an illustration of god and the trinity and that relationship. It's also an illustration of god's relationship with the church. I now obviously cannot view marriage in that way. I love my wife very much and have every intention of making our marriage work but this new dynamic has caused some turbulence. It's getting better though, which is encouraging to me.

 

I've also found great encouragement on these forums, and I look forward to being a part of them!

 

thanks for reading,

andrew

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Welcome to the forums androo! It is quite common for deco version to be the result of delving deeper in to the writings of Christianity.

 

Others on these forums will usually have experience with the various problems that confront you after deconversion.

 

stick around and ask questions. Lots of kind and gentle people on these forums.

 

Me? I deconverted in the early 80s. Long time ago.

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Good to have you Angroo! Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. I related to a lot of it.  You are not alone. Welcome to the world of 'Doubting Thomas's!!  

 

Keep loving your wife the exact same way as always and eventually she will see that it is a sincere love. Her biggest fear is that you will change and become a 'worldly man'. The stigma around the worldly man is that he is not near as good as the christian husband. Pile if bull but that's the way the world thinks. If you love 'god', you'll be a good boy and won't violate her in any way. That's what she is worried about. There is lot's of information on here about what we all go through when we come out of the closet to our mates. Keep reading and posting. The friends here on EX-c will help you to have a smooth transition.

 

Big hug to you as you continue on this new journey!

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Thanks for the welcome!

 

... It is quite common for deco version to be the result of delving deeper in to the writings of Christianity.

 

Yes this is something I am beginning to discover...

 

One question: when I first registered there was a forum for ex christian sexuality. I was not able to view it without a password but now it seems to be gone entirely. Is that still there or am I looking in the wrong place maybe?

 

Thanks,

andrew

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Welcome Androo.  I attended a couple of home churches during my sojourn in christendom; but found that they eventually became more cult of personality centered around the leader.  Still, I found them more enjoyable than the organized church scene.

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Welcome! Many pastors do not like real questions or real doubts. I've had a range of reaction, from chagrined "Well, you know what you've experienced so far. Is that not real?" (which can be convincing for a young believer who is enchanted with his or her new-found faith and friends), to a cold stare and murmured "Well, there are books on the subject if you'd like to learn more". I had more than 30 years of solid belief, and deconverted about 7 years ago. As you say, "Since becoming an atheist I have found life to be even more wonderful and amazing." This is quite the opposite from what believers think will happen, and they have a hard time believing that their propaganda (several scriptures) isn't true.

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Welcome Androo. I attended a couple of home churches during my sojourn in christendom; but found that they eventually became more cult of personality centered around the leader. Still, I found them more enjoyable than the organized church scene.

.

 

Even my wife felt like it was becoming a cultish, which is part of the reason neither of us attends anymore. They would do fun beach trips or weekend getaways to "strengthen the church family" or something like that. The cult of personality is right on. My wife and I are much more introverted than most people in the church. Often due to work or whatnot were not able to attend and we felt pressure from the church that we SHOULD be going for the good of the church "family." We started getting really uncomfortable with the use of the term family. We spent more time with then than with our real biological families!

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Welcome Androo. I attended a couple of home churches during my sojourn in christendom; but found that they eventually became more cult of personality centered around the leader. Still, I found them more enjoyable than the organized church scene.

.

 

Even my wife felt like it was becoming a cultish, which is part of the reason neither of us attends anymore. They would do fun beach trips or weekend getaways to "strengthen the church family" or something like that. The cult of personality is right on. My wife and I are much more introverted than most people in the church. Often due to work or whatnot were not able to attend and we felt pressure from the church that we SHOULD be going for the good of the church "family." We started getting really uncomfortable with the use of the term family. We spent more time with then than with our real biological families!

 

Good thing none of them offered you any Kool-Aid.

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Welcome, Androo!! It's great to have you here. This community has been instrumental in my healing from religion. Hope to see you around!

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Welcome, Androo!! It's great to have you here. This community has been instrumental in my healing from religion. Hope to see you around!

Thanks!

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Just realized I've omitted to leave a greeting on this thread.  Most ignorant of me.

 

"Welcome".

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