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bolianbob
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I am in a position where I can't stop contemplating, watching youtubes, and doing any kind of research about the christian faith--the resources I am looking at are predominatly if not entirely from people who have left the faith, or never were believers. Right now, I am really liking Mike Aus' stuff. This, however, makes me wonder if I should read Apologist's arguments more in depth...but that bothers me. Part of me is like, well maybe they will make a good arguement, therefore X is true. Another part of me questions, do I really have to read their arguments? Why don't I feel like I have to explore the Islamic practice, or Judiasm, or even Mormonism. Why the need to focus on what I was born into? Childhood indoctrination?

 

Still I have this nagging feeling I have to do more.

 

When I first deconverted it was more from a point of: my day to day life is not lived in the experience of supernatural outcomes. I came to understand that life, as grand and as perplexing as it is, is also just so very practical. I was becoming aware that my christian way of thinking was just illogical, and unobjective when it came to daily experience. It just did not jive. I was already at a point where I was trying to live my life as objectively as possible, taking things as they are, not as what I thought they should be; and it dawned on me, one day at work - - I remember this feeling, this aha moment very well - - I had to extend that objective way of thinking, to my belief in the christian god as well. (At this point I had already left my evangelical denomination; I was more interested in the somber worship experience of Anglicanism, I had already decided evolution was true; I did not believe the end times as put forward by today's evangelicals...in fact I flirted with preterism a bit. Hell was still a place where people went if they rejected Christ, but I was very leary of considering it a place of external torture; it became more of a place of internal contemplation and seperation from god's love.)

 

So, I continued in the practice of veiwing life as 'A' is 'A'--yes I know that type of thinking has its drawbacks; however, when putting it in the context of coming out of christianty, it was such a drastically different way of viewing my environment - -  it made so much more sense. Evolution could explain life. A star in the sky was not evidence for a personal god (creator? mmmaybe), but it was evidence for a star, and all the knowledge we can derive from stars as to how they are made, to the light it gives off, to the possibility of other planets orbiting it.

 

Yes, at that time I could suggest a couple of inconsistensies in the bible; I could argue, albeit very amaturishly about christain theology, stuff like, "Would a good god do A? Why taking the bible literally, in light of scientific evidence and inquiry, was stupid.

 

It was exiting because I was opening my mind to a new realistic way of thinking...however, I think I let my excitement get the best of me. Maybe I came to the decision of, there probably being no god, to quickly? Maybe I didn't let my emotional mind catch up with my logical one?

 

I did, and still very much do, listen to Hitchens, Dawkins, The Atheist Experience etc. I love the way they argue; I love the logic. But I never delved into the hardcore theological debates...I just didn't feel like I had to...

 

...but now its a completely different story. Six years later, I am feeling very simliar to the 'crisis of faith moment' I had when I decided that I didn't believe in the christian god, or any god for that matter. I think it is very probable that me coming off of my old anti-depressants (which my therapist is good with) is bringing me back to those moments I had all those years ago. The mood is slightly different, back then the 'crisis' feeling, was of life being meaningless with no god. Now the 'crisis' feeling is, what if I didn't do a good enough job of getting to the bottom of it, and now my eternal life is at stake.

 

The part that just breaks my heart, is that in between these two points in my life, I have blossomed. I have been able to fight past fears, I am finding my own way in life, I am truly becoming my own person. I have been with my partner for almost 5 years, and I love him, we have built a good life (goodness I kill myself sometimes, instead of typing 'life' I type 'lie', fucking mind games) together, a good home. I've had to fight a lot of internal battles to be with him. I don't want to loose him. Its been really hard on him as well, but he is supportive and understanding.

 

My theory is that coming off of the pills, my mind has to make these neural connections itself, without the aid of medication. (Yes, I am in consultation with my therapist. She is supportive in my decision to come off the meds. We both agree to give it some time, its only been 2.5 months that I have been off of them. I have been on anti-depressents for over 16 years).

 

This is where I am right now. On one hand I have the life I have lived since deconversion: it hasn't been easy, but it has been my life, my freedom to be an individual. On the other hand I have this old self, this faith bug from my childhood that I have to once again deal with. I'm not sure I would have come off my meds if I knew it would bring me back to this place. Regardless, it is a new battle I have to fight.

 

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I can relate. Sometimes, we like to be around what's familiar or once was familiar to us, that once provided us comfort, even though deep down, we know it's not "good" for us, anymore.

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I can sympathize with you. I've been on some form of antidepressants for 20 years, and I know the turmoil it can cause to adjust/change/go off meds. I was on Effexor for about 13 years and when I went off I literally thought I was going crazy. I'm glad you are doing it with the aid of a therapist, too many people do it cold turkey or by themselves, which makes things 10x harder, IMO.

 

If what you're feeling right now is a result of the change in meds then I would think you just need to endure/get thru it until you get to a more stable place, and then try to sort out your beliefs. I know it's not easy to not pay attention to the turmoil in your brain, but you might find that if/when you get to wherever your new normal is, that you don't have to fight so hard to figure out where you're at with the God question.

 

If you think that this is something you actually need to deal with (not a result of the meds change), then I don't think there's anything wrong with NOT looking at apologist/Christian resources. If you think about it, that's what you've been fed your whole life (assuming you grew up Christian), do you really need to read/learn more? I can understand the need to read both sides if you were a newcomer to the faith and were trying to decide if it was really for you, but I don't think that's the case here.

 

I can relate to the obsessive reading/etc, though. I'm the same way. I feel like if I just research enough, I'll find the "answer" I'm looking for. If you figure out a way to derail that particular train of thought let me know! :D

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Christianity was a big part of your life.  It tends to dominate, to take over and to leave a sort of psychological scar.  Sounds like the scar is itching and you need to scratch it for a bit.

 

I suspect it's worth keeping your therapist apprised of this in case you end up needing a return to some medication; hopefully, it's just something that will wear off when the itching - so to speak - subsides.

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-- one of the ways you can get them to listen to you and take you seriously is to be versed in Christian apologetics.   Then Any Theist will have more respect for you and know that you aren't just some ignoramus who hasn't been informed or doesn't give a shit!

I think this may be worth pursuing to an extent, but I dare say it is more important to demand basic respect as a grown-up regardless of how well you are versed in any particular thing. Your worth in the eyes of, say, a devout muslim shouldn't depend on how deeply you are involved in Islam, now should it? I'm aware that it probably does depend on just that and that's why you probably should understand at least the basics in some situations.

 

If you tolerate shit treatment because you think that being understanding requires such tolerance, then you will be treated disrespectfully. If you are not literally powerless (say, institutionalised and rights revoked, dependent of the goodwill of your caretakers) or in a threatening situation, you probably should not compromise any of your demands for basic respect.

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Thanks for your replies friends. I appreciate this forum very much, it creates community and an area to express my mind's trouble.

 

Currently trying to watch some apologetics, or atheist turned christian youtubes.

 

Its interesting in regards to the atheists turned christian people; from those I have viewed - - even the ones who are academic in nature - - they base it generally first on some sense of  moralty. The whole 'how can we be good without god' type stuff. Or, they seem to be at a bad spot in their life, and then they believe in Christ, read C.S. Lewis, go to church, find that sense of community...and so on. Quite frankly I have to stop watching some of them because there are no arguements...at least in the ones that I have watched. Trying to work my way through a Holly Ordway testimony. She basically said what brought her around to listening to christain argument, as an atheist, was the beauty of christain literature and art, and patient mentoring. The youtube is almost 50 mins long, so I am skimming through it. Her aim  is to use how she came to a rational conclusion based on evidence, for her faith.

 

I also watched a bit of Lee Stroble, and his talk for a Case for Christ. I could only listen for a bit, because he started his talk with how he was an atheist, and a really bad person - - again starting with moral arguments. I'm going to look at a critique of his work on infidels.org.

 

This is really hard to do. But, I can sense my self, while watching these videos, making critiques reagarding what I am seeing.

 

Comparing christian to atheist, with atheist to christian testimonies is interesting. The do follow the same path: This is what I believed, this is what began to change my mind, here are the old things I did, here is the evidence for what I believe now. And that leaves us with the weighscale weighing the evidence.

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I've noticed lately that my old adherence to authority has played a big part of my mood. I think that's why I have been leary to listen or watch apologists speak. It is quite easy to get back into that sense of closing off your mind and just believing what they say. It has also felt extremly oppressive; yesterday was a really low point in my week. It just felt so wrong that I would have to live according to what my childhood indoctrination taught me.

 

Another issue I have is: am I doing anything different, appealing to authority, when I am listening to people former christains speak, or read their material...like a Mike Aus, or Dewitt, or Barker. Am I being biased?

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The thing about Dewitt and Barker (and maybe Mike Aus, I'm not familiar with him) is that they are former Pastors, so they have the potential to sound like the authority figures of our childhood.  If you want to listen to ex-c atheists who aren't like that, maybe watch a few episodes of The Atheist Experience.  Their structure is flat - they are essentially a collective of hosts who have regular day jobs and fill a roster.  Another good thing about TAE is that as a live call-in show they are thinking on their feet, which is a great leveller too.  Time and again watching this show I am reminded that xian apologists have no satisfactory arguments, and ordinary people can learn how to respond to them with logic and evidence.

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I 2nd the recommendation to watch The Atheist Experience. They also have a wiki HERE that has some GREAT info if you're up for reading and thinking a bit.

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Thanks all,

 

I am very familiar with TAE; when I first deconverted they were a big part in bringing me out of faith-based living.

 

I have managed to find a therapist who has a lot of experience with people recovering from religion. I'll get to see him tomorrow.

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