Jump to content

Wasted Time Or Time Well Spent?


Deidre
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have an entry in my blog on here, talking about how I can never recover the 'lost time' I spent on religion. On Christianity. But, maybe it wasn't all wasted? Maybe I learned a lot about myself, about life, about truth, through my journey in and out of Christianity.

 

A poster commented in the blog, suggesting that starting a thread about the topic might be a good idea, as we can all discuss how it's impacted us, the 'time spent' on Christianity.

 

So, do you feel that you've wasted time during your days as a practicing Christian? Or was it time ...well spent?

 

smile.png Thanks for contributing, in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, from a liberal denomination, I didn't have to deal with dogma being pushed down my throat, so it wasn't as damaging as it was for others. Church really didn't play any part in my life after junior high, but the Bible, theology, and comparative religion and mythology were almost an obsession. I have Christianity to thank for that, and I've not regretted my years of studying comparative religion, the esoteric, Eastern religions, secret societies and all the rest. What does bother me was the years of never feeling "good enough" to have found the "answer" to the contradictions of Christianity--I could have done without that frustration. I think on the whole I feel that Bible study made me culturally literate--I don't think of it as a waste in the past---I do think of it as a waste of effort now, though.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if I would have ever learned to socialize outside of church. I was SUPER-shy, and barely spoke to anyone outside of my family (from birth to around sophomore high-school). Going to church was a big scary step for me, but I felt it was commanded, so I went and got baptized (eventually). Had my first friends there and slowly came out of my shell. The older college crowd liked me because I was gung-ho for Jesus, unlike the other high-school kids. I learned a lot being there, and fit in well because I had been raised to be respectful of older folks. I eventually grew to be able to challenge pastoral teachings, and even went out on my own with the "Operation Rescue" people at abortion clinics (something I cringe about now, but then it made sense given my view of things). I learned to think critically, and that helped when it came time to deconvert.

 

All in all, I think church was a good place for me, though there were times things were creepy, ugly, wrong, manipulative, etc. But I took joy in pointing these things out to others that were too ready to submit to them. From one perspective, it was a fabulous waste of time and energy. From another, it gives me very valuable insights from the inside that others don't have, and I am trying to put that into book form, not so much to make money, but to peel back the default respect that our culture gives the church.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

I wasted my bachelors studies on fundamentalist Christianity and based all of my major life decisions on it.  I regret it and feel that I wasted my most valuable time and resources on it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel it was a waste of time for me. It also led me to make some choices in life that if I had been the me of "now" then I would't have made. Such as marrying who I married and allowing my parents to be such control.freaks over my life for so long.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I consider my fundamentalist christian years time that was spent being sick with a virus.  I went through things with the virus and so the time wasn't entirely wasted.  But the virus clouded my judgement, made me give up opportunities and made me believe lies.

 

I probably would have enjoyed that time period more without being sick like that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone asked this a while back and I responded that it was wasted time only, but you're right, we've grown as a result of the experience and are bigger now.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These replies are amazing, so insightful and I want to reply to them tomorrow when I'm not relegated to using my phone. Lol

Wasted time. That's a tough thing and maybe the toughest hurdle for me to get over right now. After all this time, I'm still hung up on wasted time? :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time you enjoyed wasting wasn't wasted.

 

There were many youth group events I went to when I was much younger from just-for-fun snowboarding trips to the more serious visiting third world countries to help build orphanages/hand out food. I don't consider any of this time I spent to have been wasted. I may not believe in their God but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy their company, nor does it mean I disagree with everything they did. The church does do good from time to time, even if it's misguided.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been over 20 years for me now and I don't tend to dwell on the past, but I've never been able to find any positives in my religious upbringing. It left me sexually repressed and I spent my youth in fear I or people I love would fuck up and end up in hell.

 

I had some good times in youth group and such, but none of the spiritual doctrinal aspects of my experience had any type of positive impact on my life and I'm convinced I'd be better off even today if I'd been spared all that nonsense.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still a new deconvert. While I wish I knew things and had critical thinking skills earlier in life, I'm not sure how I feel about my years as a Christian. Clearly, for the past 15 years or so of it, I was not very convincing. Frequently, the Wife would refer to "how things were," meaning when I had "strong convictions" in my early 20s. I regret a lot of things I did in those days. Even as a Christian, I regretted those 3 or so fiery years.

But the latter 15, trying to be one of those moderate, reasonable Christians? I sure wasn't convincing. Many coworkers thought I was atheist, church people found me in need of doctrinal reform. And ultimately when I failed the Intelligent Design and biblical inerrancy tests, I caused tears on the home front, and set out to settle the issue for myself. She already knew of my moral objections to the terrorist god of the bible.

For all this, I have personal regrets, but I resent no one. I did my best to raise my daughter with critical thinking skills.

I'm glad that now I don't have to feel guilty for humanitarian leanings that don't come with a religious ulterior motive.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Christian belief stuff probably kept me from a few unwise potential decisions like unsafe sex and drugs during my late teens and early twenties. deconverted finally at age 25, just about the time when the common sense becomes fully mature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having only left Christianity recently, this is a tough question for me for two reasons:

 

1. Since I'm still figuring out how to live life as a non-Christian, I often feel my life would be better even now if I just "faked it" and headed back to church.

2. It's hard for me to imagine what the 20+ years of my life as a non-Christian would have looked like given that I'm still trying to figure out what one day of life as a non-Christian looks like. I do wish I could look at a parallel universe where I was not a Christian.

 

That said, at this point, I can't honestly say I regret much of it. Church and youth group growing up was mostly a safe place away from being bullied where I could be myself without worrying (other than a few instances) of being bullied. Who knows if there'd have been a safe place for me to be myself outside of the church?

 

Probably the closest parallel universe moment came in my first year of college when I didn't go to church or any other Christian events (other than when I went home to visit parents). That was a very depressing year for me. I failed to make friends with fellow first years and I went from being top of my high school in academics to barely passing. I didn't make friends until I joined campus ministry that next year where I started having the most successful social life of my life.

 

In terms of other things, my morals probably would have been close to those of my parents no matter what they were so it's hard to say if I'd have been morally "better". Christianity does bring the brokenness of the world to the forefront (poverty, abuse, etc.) so I'm probably more motivated to help (even if for the time being it's just by cutting a cheque). Also, having my budget factor in a tithe has since allowed my to donate what was formerly my tithe to random charities and better the world - I don't think I'd be nearly as generous with my money if it weren't for Christianity.

 

The fact that I never went "all in" for Christ probably helps the fact that I don't really have any regrets. I never went on a missions trip. I never went to seminary or any Christian school/college (I took a few Christian courses at a secular college, but those probably helped me move away from Christianity more than anything else). I never gave any more money than was comfortable. I never took a ministry job.

 

Overall, if you gave me a choice to trade my current life with one where I was never a Christian without me knowing about what the alternate life would be like, there's no way I'd trade.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I consider my xian years time wasted.  The only redeeming feature is that I get to be an ex-c with firsthand knowledge that will always enable me to have a special kind of empathy for other ex-cs.  The worst part is having believed in things that aren't true, I really regret that.  I could have been getting better from depression much sooner.  I could have had a lot more sex, lol.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Much time wasted.

 

Of course I have grown in certain aspects but...as I have not gone any other path I don't know if I would have grown in those aspects anyways or not.

 

Then the question remains if deconverting earlier would have brought me the benefits of seeing my issues without the religious sight and getting help or if it would have lead me into more despair to the point I would have said goodbye to this world and life. 

 

The question remains as well if my parents would have done better without religion or if they actually would have done worse in parenting because religion at least gave them some boundaries and morals to hold on to. I say this because it becomes more clear to me these days they are disordered and when you are disordered and might not be the good persons they at least try to be with Jeebus. Who knows. Again, I don't know because the experiment has not been done.

 

Sure I feel like there has been much time wasted when it comes to having a career and all. Maybe I would have understood who I was and what I wanted to and that I actually was not as dumb as they always said...and could have become a scientist or whatever. And I might have gone to university in my twenties instead of now in my thirties and maybe into my forties...

But again...it could also have been that I ended up being such a psychological wreck and giving up on myself...doing drugs etc.

 

So yes I feel like it is time wasted but if it really is, is another question. One I can't answer because I have only this one life and can't relive it to see if it had turned out differently.

 

I do grieve over past events but I don't dwell on them.

 

If you feel like you wasted your time in Christianity there is no need to find reasons to devalue those feelings. They are there and you should grieve about it as long as you want to.

In my experience the grieving helps to let go and move on because I acknowledge my feelings instead of trying to see the good and whatever. I fall in that trap once in a while because it was the way Christianity does it...like the mantra of everything serves for the good in the end...or you have to see the good in everything. No I don't. I can accept everything for what it is. And my feelings matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25yrs wasted.

25yrs of guilt and shame.

25yrs of not planning for the future because Jesus was coming back any minute now.

 

The only positive is that I met my wonderful wife in church.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

I found it an enjoyable and fascinating time. After all, I was doing magic and talking to the creator of the universe on a daily basis! I learned a lot about people, psychology and religion. As I came to understand it was a sham I was briefly mad at myself for being gullible, but I can now understand how sane people can come to believe some insane shit.

 

Believing in Santa as a child was an incorrect belief, but hardly a waste of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a waste of time for me. The culture where I live is Christian at its core. Therefore, my many years as a Christian helped me learn a lot about the culture in which I live and with whose members I must interact both personally and professionally each and every day. When someone comes to my office crying over some terrible problem and through tears says, "I have faith that God will see me through this," I understand where they are coming from. I know they are hurting and are reaching out for their ultimate hope in what may be a desperate situation. Understanding such things on an experiential level has helped me be a more productive and empathetic part of this culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed a lot of it. I did not enjoy the guilt and the pressure to conform to some of the crazy things that Christians try to get you to do. But I had a lot of good times with people. I never had any harm done to me by any Christians. So, I would say that christianity was a generally good experience for me.

 

I am still somewhat involved in it, as I still regularly attend church and play in the worship band. I am content at this point to fake it. I never cared for my pastor's preaching before I deconverted, but now its kind of fun to break down his arguments and see if I can come up with good counterarguments. I play the game pretty well, apparently, because, outside of my wife, no one on the outside has said anything or made any comments regarding my changes in my life. I have been pretty vocal on facebook regarding a few questionable Christian doctrines regarding evolution and gay marriage, and no one has said anything to me that would make me think they see me as a threat.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't even know where to begin, with replying. Each reply is so unique and fascinating. Really. The way some of you have felt it was time well spent, and your reasons behind that. I'm blown away, and have much to think over. This thread, your input, might just get me 'unstuck' and away from obsessing over 'time wasted.' Or perceived time wasted.

 

I think why I feel that way sometimes over Christianity, is Christianity negatively shaped my views towards people who treated me poorly in life. Let me explain. I allowed many people from family members, to guys I've dated...to friends...to coworkers...to step on me. I've wasted a lot of time trying to be a 'good Christian' to others, so much so, that I forgot about being true to me.

True to my own dignity.

 

That is why I get upset sometimes, over the whole thing. I feel that if I hadn't been raised in Christiniaty, maybe I would have been tougher. Less of a doormat. The Bible promotes 'turning the other cheek,' and I think it caused me to accept toxic behaviors in my life, that I no longer feel guilty for NOT ACCEPTING, now. smile.png

 

Can't thank you all enough for helping me, by contributing your experiences here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if I would have ever learned to socialize outside of church. I was SUPER-shy, and barely spoke to anyone outside of my family (from birth to around sophomore high-school). Going to church was a big scary step for me, but I felt it was commanded, so I went and got baptized (eventually). Had my first friends there and slowly came out of my shell. The older college crowd liked me because I was gung-ho for Jesus, unlike the other high-school kids. I learned a lot being there, and fit in well because I had been raised to be respectful of older folks. I eventually grew to be able to challenge pastoral teachings, and even went out on my own with the "Operation Rescue" people at abortion clinics (something I cringe about now, but then it made sense given my view of things). I learned to think critically, and that helped when it came time to deconvert.

 

All in all, I think church was a good place for me, though there were times things were creepy, ugly, wrong, manipulative, etc. But I took joy in pointing these things out to others that were too ready to submit to them. From one perspective, it was a fabulous waste of time and energy. From another, it gives me very valuable insights from the inside that others don't have, and I am trying to put that into book form, not so much to make money, but to peel back the default respect that our culture gives the church.

I read this earlier today, but just now finding time to reply. Remarkable self reflection.

 

Was it very hard for you to leave Christianity?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel it was a waste of time for me. It also led me to make some choices in life that if I had been the me of "now" then I would't have made.

This this this...

 

I feel so much this. sad.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Deidre32, in post # 8:

 

"These replies are amazing, so insightful..."

 

Ah, see what a good idea it was to start this thread. I'll reiterate some here what I posted on your blog. I lost a lot of resources during those decades. But the biggest impact is probably the choices I made and didn't make, and the missed opportunities, some of which do not come back around.

 

Hopefully, I can use what I've learned to my benefit now.

 

+ Human

Glad I listened to you, and posted this thread. wink.png I'm amazed at what I've taken away from the replies, and I think this is going to really help me get past this, put it to rest, and move forward. Thank you.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, from a liberal denomination, I didn't have to deal with dogma being pushed down my throat, so it wasn't as damaging as it was for others. Church really didn't play any part in my life after junior high, but the Bible, theology, and comparative religion and mythology were almost an obsession. I have Christianity to thank for that, and I've not regretted my years of studying comparative religion, the esoteric, Eastern religions, secret societies and all the rest. What does bother me was the years of never feeling "good enough" to have found the "answer" to the contradictions of Christianity--I could have done without that frustration. I think on the whole I feel that Bible study made me culturally literate--I don't think of it as a waste in the past---I do think of it as a waste of effort now, though.

that's interesting, why did it become an 'obsession' for you? do you think perhaps you were seeking the 'truth' through something outside of Christianity? (at that time, I mean)

 

(thank you for sharing btw) smile.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.