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My Story (Chi Ex-Christian)


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I grew up in a Christian family and went an Evangelical church in the Chicagoland area. I’m a male in my mid twenties and up until a few months ago I had been regularly attending the same church I had grown up in, along with my parents and sister. Over the course of the last year I had begun to experience “doubt” about what I truly believed in and started to question the things that I was hearing in church.

I have always been involved in music at church and once I started to notice that what I was singing about wasn’t true, I was no longer interested in being up in front of all these people on a Sunday morning, playing music about God and acting like I believed or even cared about the content of the songs we were singing. I dropped out of the worship team rotation. I was done. It made me mad to even be up front singing mushy lyrics about a God that I was becoming increasingly more confident didn’t exist.

Naturally, my parents, and more specifically my mom, started to freak out that I was suddenly sleeping in on Sunday mornings and not playing guitar up front during the service. She approached me about it and began to explain her point of view. She said, “We believe that Jesus is our lord and savior and…..I just can’t believe this is happening. You’re the last person in the world I thought this would happen to. You know this is just the devil trying to trick you and mess with your head. I’m so very disappointed in the choices you are making”. I went on to tell her that I didn’t mean for any of my choices to be received as a personal attack on her or any of my family members. But her tearful response was, “Well, it’s too late for that! You already did hurt our feelings by telling us this.”

Much more was said and most of it coming from her while in tears. She also went on to talk about how Jesus really helped her when her mother passed away when she was younger. I honestly believe that the idea of “jesus” did help her through some difficult times when she was younger but I’m not convinced that any of it is real. How am I supposed to say that to her face? “Mom, that’s great that it worked for you and got you through some hard times but the same thing doesn’t work for me and I don’t believe the same things you do”. Maybe that would work, but I still worry about my relationship with her after saying something like this.

It also doesn’t help that I am living at home with my parents. My older sister is always getting on my case about this “phase, or whatever you’re going through right now” and making me feel horrible because I don’t go to church with them, when she is the one person I had hoped would at least understand where I’m coming from in this situation. I don’t expect her to “support” me necessarily, because she is too engulfed in the Christian belief system to let her brother fall away from God and go to hell, but at least if she can hear me out and still be my sister.

AND on top of this I have my mom telling me to set up meetings with the pastor and/or other older, wiser men from the church who can help me out. She also sends me texts, emails, FB messages with bible verses, articles, blogs etc about Christian things to try and “fix me”.

I’m at the point where I don’t ever want to go back to the church because I do think that it’s all BS but I don’t know how to find a balance with my family and I’m not sure that they’ll ever understand how I’m feeling.

Thanks for reading and any advice would be much appreciated! I need it!

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Welcome to ex-C!

 

There are quite a number of young people on the the Ex-C forums who have decided that they no longer believe, but are still living under their parents roof. You will find a variety of posts about their experiences and the strategies they use to cope with pressure from the family.

 

Once again, welcome! The folks here are generally kind and supportive, so feel free to speak up about whatever is on your mind.

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Afternoon.

 

You are living at your parents' home.  That makes this awkward.

 

You are in your mid 20's.  That limits the level of their influence.

 

Your mother's approach strikes me as one of emotional blackmail.  I'm not saying that it does not have its' root in a sincerely held belief and concern.  But it is still emotional blackmail.  Your sister sounds more direct.  She simply dismisses anything that is not in accordance with her belief system - maybe hoping to belittle you into a change of heart.

 

The bottom line here is that it is up to you whether you engage in these conversations.  I accept that you need to be careful not to so upset the apple cart (to coin a phrase that makes sense this side of then Atlantic - you get the idea even if it isn't a standard American idiom) that you no longer have a bed to sleep in.  But there is nothing wrong in simply telling your family members that you do not intend to be pressurized, and you will decide for yourself if and with whom you wish to discuss religious issues.

 

To be honest, though, you are unlikely to be free of such pressure until you find your own accommodation.

 

By all means use this website to shout out your frustrations - I've a nasty feeling there might be a fair amount you'll be wanting to shout about.

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It's difficult when those closest to us can't relate to us. While they may never understand how or why you are feeling what you are, since Christians love blinders. It's probably something incomprehensible to them and abandons their tradition and "comfort". It will just take time. I guess the best thing to do may be to just say "listen I wanted to be honest with you, and so I told you my beliefs. Now I just want to be left alone about what I believe, any actions you take however well intended, are not going to benefit our relationship. I'm not asking you to believe what I believe, or even understand or respect it (because lets be honest they won't respect it). I would like those things, since I do understand and respect your beliefs. Instead I will just ask you to respect me and the fact that I do not want you to push your prayers and beliefs on me." None of us want to be preached to or evangelized to. That's one baby step that you can get them to take. Welcome to the forums! 

 

PS - I am also from Chicagoland. :)

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Welcome to ex-c tO2198 !!

 

 Thanks for sharing your story with us. We sure understand what you are going through. You do not have to feel alone anymore!! I wrote this letter a couple of years ago for the young people who would end up here on EX-c. Maybe it might help you a bit? I hope it does!!

 

Here's the link...http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/50092-a-letter-to-the-young-people-on-ex-c/#.U96-TPldXOg

 

Best to you on this new journey. I'm glad, as confusing as it can be, that you have discovered the lie of christianity so early in your life. You will save yourself a whole bunch  guilt and shame as you discover that you were not born in sin!! 

 

Hug

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t02198: Welcome.  2 things:  1) Since you came over to the "dark side", you probably found out your morals improved and 2) unlike Christian message boards, you can say anything you want on these boards. We are here for your support, not to make you goose step to a viewpoint.

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Thanks for all the support, it means a lot to me and it helps knowing that there are lots of other people out there going through similiar experiences. It's really amazing how blinded I was before when I was a christian and how my family still is today. I definitely understand that they will mostly likely never fully understand what I'm going through and why I believe what I believe but hopefully we can make some steps of progress and I can put all of your advice to good use. Still have to say....I'm glad I'm not in the vicious christian cycle anymore!!!

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Hey mate, just a big hug, best of luck with your parents. They might mean well, but it sucks that they took it like that. When I was leaving the faith a few weeks back, I at least had my brother supporting me, which really helped. I can't imagine how it would have been without that, mega kudos to you mate for doing it anyway.

 

It does get better - life outside of Christianity is great, even though its a bit scary xD And congratz on getting out! 

 

 

Thanks for all the support, it means a lot to me and it helps knowing that there are lots of other people out there going through similiar experiences. It's really amazing how blinded I was before when I was a christian and how my family still is today. I definitely understand that they will mostly likely never fully understand what I'm going through and why I believe what I believe but hopefully we can make some steps of progress and I can put all of your advice to good use. Still have to say....I'm glad I'm not in the vicious christian cycle anymore!!!

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i also live with my family. my advice: tell them that you are not intending to purposely find loop holes in the bible or are intentionally being hard headed. but that you find it uncomfortable to be intellectually dishonest. that honestly you are not able to make sense of it all. that you see no difference between feeling emotionally moved by the star wars or brave heart soundtrack and "the holy spirit moving" during sunday morning worship. and that life learning life lessons from the bible is no different then learning life lessons from DR. Phil. (this may not be your case but this is the vibe im getting) and that God WOULD KNOW whether or not you ACTUALLY believe al of it. and that during your questioning he is sitting there and doing nothing.

 

i know it is hard to hear that "jesus helped me through hard times." i dread the day i have to point out that a diety did not have to exist the entire time... so in my attempts... i have tried to point out OTHER circumstances and situations that god is given credit where it isn't needed. such as, nice weather during an outing. and that there is war and famine in the world yet he made getting through YOUR day bearable.

 

i have to live with the condemnation by loved ones too. i hear "i am going through a phase" too.

 

you are not alone.

 

*hug*

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Pretty brave coming out like that, to your family. Your story is very inspiring, and I'm glad you've shared it with us. Welcome to the forums!

 

Continue to stay true to you. :)

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Thanks for all the support, it means a lot to me and it helps knowing that there are lots of other people out there going through similiar experiences. It's really amazing how blinded I was before when I was a christian and how my family still is today. I definitely understand that they will mostly likely never fully understand what I'm going through and why I believe what I believe but hopefully we can make some steps of progress and I can put all of your advice to good use. Still have to say....I'm glad I'm not in the vicious christian cycle anymore!!

 

Everyone here is great and very supportive! I like the way you described it, "the vicious christian cycle". So true. 

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t02198,

 

First, I'd like to say "congratulations". I'm glad that you figured this out while you're young. I was 52, and my life and family are so deeply involved that I haven't figured out how to get out of it.

 

You've made a big step in that you aren't even going along with it. I would expect the resistance to eventually die down. And even if not, you won't live there forever. Even if you don't feel free yet, you will.

 

The only real advice I'd give you is that if you're going to be living there for a long time, and if the resistance doesn't subside, you can always just go along to get along for awhile. But since you've already quit, I would wait on that until you're sure they aren't going to give up.

 

Hope it all goes well. And I'm seriously happy for you, and for anyone who realizes while there still young that there are no such things as gods and spirits and such.

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Wow! I'm really ecstatic about how supportive you guys all are and it is so reassuring to me. In the past, talking about any of these ideas meant being shut down and I was too scared to even mention it. So thank you so much for the enouragement!

 

I am still going strong (not going to church) but it gets hard for me when I feel like my family is judging me and sometimes it feels like there is this tension between us.....but they have not brought up the church conversation again recently which is nice.

 

Also, the pastor from my old church has tried to contact me a few times. I politely told him in an email months ago that I needed space to figure out what I believed in and felt like a lot of what I'd learned was force fed to me growing up. I saw him again randomly around town and he said we should meet up for lunch.....and that we could talk about everything else in my life, other than God stuff. I still don't want to meet up with him.

 

And another nutjob guy from church texted me saying "I haven't seen you in awhile, are you ok? What's going on brother?". People need to back off sometimes.

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