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Why Oh, Oh Why Didn't I Take The Blue Pill?-- My Painful Exodus From Christianity


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Why oh, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?-- My painful exodus from Christianity

 

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

 

Epicurus

 

My deconversion has been painful and agonizing.  It doesn’t seem like a choice that I have made. Truth dictates what you believe and if what you once believed to be true is exposed for untruth continuing to believe just isn’t an option.  You either change your beliefs or you decide to fake it.  I uphold being true to myself and being honest and so deconverting was my only real choice. I unfortunately had questions and I actually pushed to find answers never once really thinking that it would lead to me to no longer believing.  I was a chemistry major in college so seeking truth, working hard to find answers, and analyzing information put before me came natural.  If the Bible were 100% God’s word then I would find 100% truth and there was nothing to fear in questioning or searching for answers. I had patches that would keep me faithful and plugging away but little by little there were too many patches and the leaks were impossible to stop.  I really struggled with God’s will, whether we were predestined or not, all the evil and sadness I saw (that seemed pointless), I got sick of all the excuses we would make for why God didn’t do this or that (He gets all the glory if something good happens but then when things go wrong it is just all our fault), and how few were actually going to go to heaven.

 

 The anguish of my deconversion has been compounded by the fact that my I was raised a missionary kid and that my brother and my parents are still in full time ministry.  I am loosing the connection that I once had with all my childhood friends and a large majority of my friends made in my 20s and early 30s.  My family looks down on me and I am a great source of sorrow.  The Christian community thinks that I was a fake and my true colors are just now showing.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I lived a sold out life for Christ.  I lead Bible studies, served in Sunday school, did countless mission trips and read my Bible faithfully.  No one in the Christian community can seem to come to terms with someone believing and then changing their mind.  I have been shocked by how little my Christian friends want to know….not a single one has asked me why or want to hear my story.  It is amazing how insular and cult like Christian groups are!  This is how ignorance continues to be perpetuated.  No one is even interested or curious and when one “steps out of the fold” everyone just says “she or he was never one of us to begin with.”  Pride, money, or immorality often seem to be the reasons people think many “fall” away from the faith.  They don’t allow themselves to consider that it would be for real doubts or legitimate reasons.  My family always would say how being a follower of Christ is taking the narrow path and how you loose friendships and “the world” will hate you.  I find the opposite to be true.  The easy path is to be religious.  The majority are religious.  To become agnostic or atheist is to take the narrow path. My brother sent us this nice verse when he found out we were questioning things: Hebrews 10:26-39 “ If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Fun stuff!

 

Reading your stories on thissite has been such a huge blessing.  Knowing that I am not alone in my thoughts isamazingly comforting.  I feel a bit lost and am craving a community of likemindedindividuals.  I struggle with how to raise my kids.  I am trying not tothrow the baby out with the bathwater.  All of this is so new and sometimes I findmyself wishing I had never bothered to investigate (why can't I leave things alone and be happy withthe way things are?  Why oh why did I not take the blue pill? ).  I am hopingwith time that the dust will settle and I will come to terms with my past and find hope in myfuture.  Please continue sharing your thoughts and stories as they are comforting and giveme strength and courage to push forward.

 

Anyway…I took the red pill and now there is no going back!  Below are some of the things I struggled with and reasons I deconverted:

 

 

 

 

1.   The God of the Bible claims to love all but doesn’t seem all loving.  Why would a loving God, who created all things, make creatures only to send them to hell (i.e. eternal suffering)?( Romans 9:20-22)[1] Eternal suffering for those who foolishly, ignorantly, or mistakenly did not believe in the knowledge of God’s saving grace and/or ask Him to be in their hearts, just can’t be construed as a loving act, no matter how you look at it.  (Proverbs 16:4; Revelation 21:8)[2].  Would an all-loving God who is in control of everything create ETERNAL Hell (this sounds horribly malicious and very human)? (2 Thessalonians1:5-10)[3] A finite amount of sin in a human’s life deserves eternal suffering and torment?  If love is the highest virtue that is to be held above all others then it would seem that God does not hold himself to the same standards he lays out in his text.

 

2.   If God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 3:4)[4] then why are so many not believing (Mathew 7:14)[5]?  It seems like a failed plan.  First, there is evidence that God wills some hearts to be deceived (Exodus 9:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:40)[6] or He just makes them for the sole purpose of destruction (Romans 9:21-23; John 15:16)[7]. The idea that an all loving God would create beings just to use them for his purposes and then burn and torment them forever seems haneous. His plan doesn’t seem like a plan to save all even though he claims to want to do that.  We would condemn parents for loving one child but choosing not to love another. Yet with God we say he doesn’t owe us anything and therefore it is okay to save some and cast a lot of His children into eternal hell.  (Romans 9:13; Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24)[8]

 

 

3.   We are held accountable for our actions and yet we don’t seem to be truly free to choose.  The Bible claims we can’t even choose him freely because we are too wicked and need his spirit to “open our eyes” (Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 2:14)[9] He is obviously choosing so few to save and yet wants to blame humans for their unbelief.  Some like to argue that God gave us free will and he would not want to impose salvation upon us and that is why not all are saved like he wishes. Does a good God not have the obligation to save us knowing that we are too foolish to make those decisions on our own or worse yet can’t make the decision because he hasn’t given us his spirit?  If a parent knew their child had cancer and knew that their child needed surgery to save them from death would the parent not be obliged to force the surgery upon the child even though the child may not want the surgery?  Would we leave the decision up to our 5 year old child?  The child may see the surgery as too scary and not understand the consequences of inaction.  Would it not be the parent’s moral obligation to force the child to undergo the surgery knowing that this will save them and that when the child is older will thank the parent for caring and violating their will?  If we humans hold ourselves to this standard why would we not expect his and so much more from God?

 

4.   The many ways to please God seem borrowed from other pagan religions and the God of the Old Testament is portrayed much like the gods of that time.  A lot of the Old Testament is oddly similar to the stories that came before its’ time (Story of the Epic of Gilgamesh parallel to the story of Noah; the story of Sargon Akkad is similar to the account of Moses; Babylonian Sun god Shamash had handed stone tablets of the law to Hammurabi on a mountain much like Moses’ story; Tower of Babel echoes that of the Giant's staircase to Olympus; Samson slaying the lion echoes Hercules slaying the Nemean lion) and a lot of the New Testament seems to borrow/emulate a lot of Greek mythology and European religions/stories that preceeded the Bible. (Buddha, Krishna, Attis of Phrygia and Horus).  The Old Testament seems to portray a vindictive God that requires sacrifices and enjoys the sacrifices (Gen 8:28; Leviticus 17:11)[10] much like all the other pagan gods and becomes angry and is okay with wiping out large sections of the population because his patience ran out or wishing calamity upon people who cross him. (Gen 7:1-24; Malachi 2:2-4; 1 Sam 15:3; Genesis 33:9)[11]

 

5.   The Christian faith and Bible is riddled with contradictions. For instance, “we are predestined (Romans 8:29)[12] but we are held responsible for our choices (2 Cor 5:10)[13] or “Without the holy spirit we could not choose Him because man’s heart is evil (Ephesians 2:8; Matthew 11:27)[14] but we are told that our heart knows by merely looking at creation that God exists and we can believe in Him” (Romans 1:20)[15] or “It is God’s will that evil and sadness occur (Rom 11:22, Numb 11:1, 26:10, Proverbs 1:26-27, Book of Job[16]) but we are to fight evil and stand up for the poor (i.e. combat God’s will)” (Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9)[17] or “Man is wicked and unable to do good (Gen 6:5, Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Psalms 14:1)[18] and then in other verses He speaks of those who are pure in heart (Math 5:8, Jeremiah 29:13, Luke 6:45)[19].”  Murder is wrong (Exodus 20:13, Leviticus 24:17)[20] but when people are sinning too much He commands that they be wiped out, take the women as wives, and loot with impunity (2 Chronicles 15:12-13; Genesis 33:9;)[21].  The account of Judas’ death seems different in Luke vs. Matthew.  And so much more there isn’t time to go into all of the contradictions.

 

6.   There is very little evidence to suggest that Christians live any differently than non-Christians.  With a direct connection to God through His spirit it would seem that Christians should have a huge advantage and edge on the rest of the population.  My husband and I have moved a lot and have traveled to many places.  When you meet so many great people with so many differing opinions, religions and ideas you realize that Christianity does not have a monopoly on truth or morality. 

 

 


[1] For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?

[2] The Lord works everything for its own ends—
even the wicked for the day of disaster.; But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death

[3] This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

[4] "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth"

[5] How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!

[6] But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted to Moses.; among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.; He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and understand with their heart,
and turn to me, and I would heal them.

[7] Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?  But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?  And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for glory—; You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

[8] Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.; Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.; And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able

[9] Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,; The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit

[10]  Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.  The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma.; For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life;

 

[11] Account of the flood and wiping everyone out except Noah, his family and some animals.; I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants[a]; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty.; Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.;

[12] For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

[13] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

[14] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—; no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him

[15] For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

[16] Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.; Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.; The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign.; I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
    I will mock when calamity overtakes you--when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.; The story of Job

[17] Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.; Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

[18]  The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.; Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins.; The fool[a] says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

[19] Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.; You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.; A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

[20] You shall not murder.; Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.

[21] They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.; Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys

 

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I'm sorry to hear it's been a bumpy road.  That is a common experience.  May I ask how long has it been since your faith left you?  For me the first seven months were the hardest but it got better.  I can't make any promises about your family or previous friends.  Sadly, the typical Christian will reject a loved one who loses faith.  However there are exceptions.  You just have to wait and see what kind of character your family members have.  You will see it by their actions.

 

Personally I don't think we really have a direct choice on what we believe.  Those of use brainwashed from birth into the Christianity cult will put up defenses and cling to fallacies.  But if events in life are too different than what Christianity promises then deconversion is inevitable.  Once you see through the illusion there is no going back.  It's not that you wanted to see through the illusion.  Rather the illusion failed.  Christianity has too many flaws and cracks.  

 

The best thing about being an ex-Christians is that I get to make good decisions.  Take charge of your life and make informed decisions.  You will want to go and make new friends.  It feels intimidating at first but you will be fine.

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Welcome to ExC, Salemite.

 

You're right that once you take the red pill there is no going back. The thing about the truth is that it promises nothing but itself. It can be easy to take or its revelation can be life changing, as was the truth you (and all of us ExChristians) learned. Here's a question that is impossible to answer when asked to a person to whom a then unknown truth is about to be revealed: "Are you ready to hear the truth?" So it was with me and many others. Was I ready to learn the truth about Christianity when i did? Of course not because I had no idea what that truth was and how it would impact my life. That is why so many of us, like you, have such a terribly difficult time in our deconversion. The truth can be harsh and painful.

 

You are not alone with people saying you were never a true Christian. That accusation is very common - and hurtful. What the one who makes that hurtful statement does not understand is that the gut wrenching pain of deconversion proves how sincere we were in our now lost faith. Our anger at the lies of the Bible is a testament to our lost faith. The tears we shed are the mourning for the death to us of a lost and non-existent savior on whom we mistakenly relied. But try and explain this to Christians and they will say something else that is hurtful like it is God punishing you for abandoning him.

 

The reaction of your Christian family and friends is, unfortunately, all too common. I have thought a lot about such reactions. At this point, I believe that these reactions are due to several possible reasons. One reason is that they feel true love and concern that their loved one is now lost and destined for hell. They, too, are confused and do not understand how their formerly Christian loved one could lose their faith. They sincerely want you to "come back to Chrust" so their "lost sheep" will not go to hell.

 

The other reason may be related to their own deep-seated doubts about the truth of Christianity. I have never met a Christian who, when being honest and open, does not harbor some measure of doubt. This or these doubts are brushed aside in favor of faith- the "great" Christian virtue. However, when they meet someone who didn't just brush the doubt aside, but who diligently investigated and, in so doing, determined that Christianity is a great lie, their faith is challenged in a very strong way. To keep their faith, they must reject what their "lost sheep" says no matter how much sense it may make.

 

I am glad you found your way to ExC. Here you are not alone. This is an oasis for those of us who took the red pill.

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Thank you for your kind words!  This is one of the only place I feel like I can openly share my thoughts without offending anyone.

 

This past summer (2014) is when we decided to no longer attend church.  I feel really fortunate that my husband and I have done this together instead of separately.  I can't imagine the pain of not having your best friend walk this with you.  He struggles with leaving the faith more than I do.  He had a huge emotional attachment to it.  I did as well but because my whole life was built around the faith I think I saw it more for what it was.  Everything was about ministering...even my birthday was about sharing our faith so it felt all consuming and suffocating at times and therefore easier for me to let go.  

 

It has been a long time in coming.  We were always the couple that was the most "open" and had friends of every faith.  We were the Christians that never claimed to know God's will.  We were the types to read the Koran and the Book of Mormon out of curiosity (which many told us we shouldn't expose ourselves to the Devil's lies).  Church kept getting harder and harder to attend.  I found myself always on the questioning side at Bible Studies and was super anti tea leaf reading (my pet peeve).  When it came right down to it though, not attending church and letting my parents know was really hard.  Their entire lives are based on saving people from Hell.  My deconverting is probably the worst thing that they could imagine happening.

 

I honestly don't regret taking the red pill now, although the fallout from changing is painful.  There are times I wish we could just blend in and all of us could be on the same page when we get together for Christmas, you know?  I think one of the things I have liked most about deconverting (and granted I am new to all of this) is that I don't feel the need to be judgmental.  I can hear people out without constantly thinking I "know the way" or "you don't believe the exact right thing like I do." I feel free to love everyone and only pass judgement or feel condescension when someone is outright evil or unkind.  I also have so much more free time on my hands because church seemed to consume a lot of time and energy.

 

I am curious, do either of you attend a Unitarian church?  I feel a bit of a void...wanting the community that church brought.  I know a lot of people attend "liberal" churches and see it as cultural and hear a good message.  I feel like I've been so indoctrinated and raised that the Bible was 100% God's word that doing the "liberal" thing might be impossible for me.  Still trying to figure this one out...

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We all understand how difficult it is to be an outcast from your former community as well as the desire to replace those lost friendships. You have already noted the problem with liberal versions of Christianity, they are just as false as the conservative versions.

 

I tried liberal versions of Christianity too. I also gave Deism a try but I knew none of those other options was any more true than what I'd walked away from. Some people can make the symbolism work, but I couldn't.

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Welcome Salemite.

 

You know, it strikes me that Christians expect - often, apparently, even hope - to suffer for their faith.  In fact, they have refuge in their support networks, and it's those who see through the religion for what it is and who walk away who suffer.  Your experience does not surprise me.  Sadden, yes, but not surprise.  You have experienced practically the only reaction open to the bible-thumping believer.

 

At least you have your husband going the same way with you.  It may be, to be brutally honest, that you will have to walk away from other family and friends, or at least see them walk away from you.  It's another way for the Christian community to exert pressure in seeking to force you back into conformity.  I cannot pretend that it is a pleasant path to walk - but, ultimately, it is to yourself that you have to be true.Your household rather than religion is now the foundation for your way of life - you can build on that in finding new contacts.  If former friends and Christian family come round to acceptance, that will be a bonus for you.

 

All the best.

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Omg. Your first mistake was talking about "no-longer-a-believer" club. The first rule of...

 

Seriously, I feel for you. You may suffer fear, regret, loneliness and many other unpleasant emotions due to this awakening.

I feel so foolish now for my previous beliefs and wonder how I wasted so much time with them.

But you're going to see xtians for what they really are now. They're fearful, spiteful, arrogant, condescending, and downright hateful. They don't even see it, but you will. And, it will sicken you. The lack of logical thought will drive you crazy trying to talk to them, and all the while hearing how happy, loving, and accepting they are... Bullshit!

But on the up-side, you will feel a freedom and happiness that will surprise you I bet. You are now free to actually enjoy this beautiful life and all of the great things it has to offer. Your marriage may even see some pleasant benefits; mine has.

 

I wish you well on the real "narrow path" as stated above. It's amazing how even completely obvious "sinners" and people who are so ungodly will swear what great xtians they are and be offended by someone who just flat doesn't believe. It's crazy.

 

I'm not sure I just made any sense, but welcome.

Good luck to you.

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Welcome.  Please check your private messages, as I just sent you one.  I am an MK too!  I don't think there are a lot of us here, but a few.  Deconversion for me was a hugely traumatic experience, but I've never looked back.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Salemite!! I am also from the coast.

 

I'm sorry to hear it's been rough for you. I too was pretty embedded in Christian life. I grieve all those years, relationships, opportunities, experiences, and things that I cast into god's fire.

 

My family looks down on me and I am a great source of sorrow.

 

I hope that one day your narrative will change. *You* are not a source of sorrow--that's impossible. You are a kind, compassionate, honest person. Rather, your "family is unable to understand perspectives other than their own, and this inhibits their relationship" with you. I hope this situation changes for you. How incredibly painful!

 

I am trying not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

 

I'll bet you are a good person with a heart of wisdom and compassion. There is no baby to throw out with the bathwater. The good you bring to your parenting is you. 

 

I hope you will find peace as you slay the dragons of cognitive dissonance. It took me a few years to really settle in to my new life. 

 

Keep us posted!

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Welcome to ExC, Salemite! You are so not alone in this!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I could relate to you on so many points. Deconverting from the brainwashing of christianity can be very simple for some people. As soon as they see the truth, they shrug and can't believe that they were so fooled. But not for me. Letting go of this doctrine has been agony for me. It was the final lie and it hit me like a ton of bricks. What do you mean the bible might not be true?? The whole world (just about) believes in it. How dare I question the authority of the bible!! It just can't be a lie. jesus can't be a lie??? I went through hell trying to figure it all out.

 

I'm so glad you are here with us now. You are safe and sound with people who will understand every worry, concern and fear you have. I personally couldn't have made it without Ex-c. The teachers on this site are amazing. Just keep reading and reading and reading. It might take some time, but you will eventually come to terms with the whole lie of christianity.

 

This was my testimony when I joined four years ago. You will see that we all share this common denominator of grief when we wake up to the fact that the christian god  does not exist.  http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/#.VKlBmCvF_y0

 

I give you a big hug today as you journey on to find what will become your new worldview.

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Salemite: Welcome to Ex-C!  All of us who were raised in Christian families with strong Christian upbringings have had something of a tough time.  It took me about 15 years to completely kick Christianity out the door and without truth or any value whatsoever. 

 

I tried the Unitarian and liberal church route along the way.  I would say that the only way to find out for sure if you can do this, is to try it.  It did not work for me, and I think it was the type of Christianity I was raised in (fundamentalist Baptist) was so black and white that it is really tough to think about this religion in any other way. Is it true or not true? In what ways could it still be true, if any? If its all false at the core, would I want the trappings of it? These questions were a part of my thought process.

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Salemite, welcome!

 

Thanks for sharing your story. I can definitely identify with most of what you've written.

 

I'm glad to see that you and your husband are pretty much on the same page here. That's one difference from my experience. After 12 years as a nonbeliever, my wife is still a believer.

 

You mentioned needing a community. One suggestion I received on this board that helped me a lot was to go to www.meetup.com and look for freethinker and atheist groups in the area. My experience from that has been pretty good, so I recommend that you check it out as well.

 

Good luck, and enjoy the journey ahead of you!

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Deva-- I agree.  Not sure I can do the liberal thing.  I feel like my parents completely screwed up that option for me.  I see how some of my friends view religion and because they don't take it all to seriously and don't really read their Bibles much, church is just a great place to meet friends and hear a positive message.  I guess I won't know unless I try it but I have a feeling that I will feel the same way you do.

 

Margee--I read your extestimony and loved it!  Feel the same way!!

 

Postivist--Thank you for your kind words.  What I meant by the "baby" is the morality, love, and fruits of the spirit part of the Bible (which you can also get from other religions honestly.)  My husband and I have been reading the Bhagavad Gita and it has a lot of beautiful thoughts and ideas.  We recently re-watched the Ghandi movie with our kids...great guy who really took forgiveness and love to a whole new level. He like Jesus' teachings but not Christians.  So sad that Christianity has such a large volume of hateful, condescending, and fearful people....the greatest commandment has all but been but on the back burner for most. Imagine the world if we were all more like Ghandi.  I feel less constrained now that I am no longer a Christian to love those around me and have my only agenda when meeting people be to enjoy them and help them!  I'd love to hear your story of deconversion!

 

Liwellyn--I wrote you back!  There are so few MKs and we definitely have a unique twist to the whole indoctrination!  Glad to have met you.  Being in a foreign country, no internet, being homeschooled and having your entire life be about converting people and keep the "flock" safe makes deconverting surreal.

 

Jeff, Ellinas, Geerer, and RedNeckProffesor--thanks for your encouragement and welcoming me into this forum.  It feels at times like I am the only one with these thoughts and conclusions.  This forum is helpful in debunking that!

 

Cistonga--I read the letter to your parents.  So eerily similar to mine to my folks.  My dad was upset with me and wondered why I no longer spoke of what God was doing in my life and how I didn't respond to well to them telling me that God has a purpose for my suffering and it is all part of his plan (it seems like practical advice and empathy is hardly ever handed out by my parents because we are all suppose to just suck it up and color.  Don't question; it all is part of His plan; the most we can do is pray).  I felt like I could hardly have "real" conversations with them and I just refused to fake it.  He asked me what was going on and I wrote a huge letter similar to yours (not 46 pages though--WOW! :)).  How did your parents respond?  How are things now between you and them?  I just wrote my letter to them in Oct so this is all kind of new and fresh.  I am just relieved that when I go down to see them I am no longer asked to share my testimony with the church.  It has been painful to be honest with them but such a huge relief on the other hand.  I never faked it or lied but I avoided and kept my mouth shut a lot over the past 2 years.  It is freeing to have everyone know where I stand....although sometimes I don't think it has totally sunk in for them.

 

I have another question for all of you.  Are you on FB?  Did you change your religious status?  I'm hesitant to "come out".  Not because I am ashamed or really particularly afraid but because I don't want to deal with the enormous fall out or hurt anyone's feelings/faith.  On the other hand, I think that my silence is not good for the world.  I so appreciate the book by Thomas Pain Common Sense, Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on religion and many, many others.    Ignorance is such an awful thing for humanity to perpetuate and education is the key to freedom and bettering our society.  Then I think, FB isn't a great forum for good, solid intellectual discussions.  Then the next second I think I should stand up and fight the good fight.  Not sure how I should handle all of this....curious about your personal opinion on the matter.

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"The other reason may be related to their own deep-seated doubts about the truth of Christianity. I have never met a Christian who, when being honest and open, does not harbor some measure of doubt. This or these doubts are brushed aside in favor of faith- the "great" Christian virtue. However, when they meet someone who didn't just brush the doubt aside, but who diligently investigated and, in so doing, determined that Christianity is a great lie, their faith is challenged in a very strong way. To keep their faith, they must reject what their "lost sheep" says no matter how much sense it may make."

 

Yes, fear is the number one reason believers don't express their feelings of doubt or frustration with the faith to those outside the faith. They will simply lie to make it all seem wonderful. We all lived it and saw it repeatedly, but because others seemed to "have it", we assumed it was real, assumed it was our own sin blocking it, and kept pursuing it until the next emotional high when it all seemed real again (like an abused wife blaming herself and waiting for the next honeymoon phase).

 

I did come out on FB for a while, but when my sister-in-law started an account, I wiped all traces of my pagan leanings and such. I want to be an influence on them, and won't be allowed near them if they know about the change. It's easy to pretend, and of course Jesus never bothers to tell them... When they post obviously flawed bible teachings, I try to inject some reality, but that's about it.

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You speak truth Fuego.  Totally agree with you.    I laughed out loud when you said "and of course Jesus never bothers to tell them."

 

Sometimes keeping it real isn't always best. Although, I tend to lean towards hard core "tell it like it is" I have lived long enough to know that timing, how it is said, and when it is said are key when interacting with my fellow man.  And maybe not saying anything at all can be wise as well.  Thanks for sharing how you handle FB.  Best wishes to you!

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Cistonga--I read the letter to your parents.  So eerily similar to mine to my folks.  My dad was upset with me and wondered why I no longer spoke of what God was doing in my life and how I didn't respond to well to them telling me that God has a purpose for my suffering and it is all part of his plan (it seems like practical advice and empathy is hardly ever handed out by my parents because we are all suppose to just suck it up and color.  Don't question; it all is part of His plan; the most we can do is pray).  I felt like I could hardly have "real" conversations with them and I just refused to fake it.  He asked me what was going on and I wrote a huge letter similar to yours (not 46 pages though--WOW! smile.png).  How did your parents respond?  How are things now between you and them?  I just wrote my letter to them in Oct so this is all kind of new and fresh.  I am just relieved that when I go down to see them I am no longer asked to share my testimony with the church.  It has been painful to be honest with them but such a huge relief on the other hand.  I never faked it or lied but I avoided and kept my mouth shut a lot over the past 2 years.  It is freeing to have everyone know where I stand....although sometimes I don't think it has totally sunk in for them.

 

I have another question for all of you.  Are you on FB?

 

I did the same thing. I didn't fake it, but I avoided the subject as much as possible for several years.

 

Things are going fairly well. Not much has happened in the religion department since what I described in that thread. Although, I did have to laugh under my breath this past summer when we were out for a visit and my dad asked if I was going to go to church and "be sociable." That's hilarious coming from him. He's always one of the first people to dart out the door when the service is over. I remember as a child being reprimanded on different occasions for taking a minute or two after church to talk to someone. He was upset that I didn't come to the car immediately after church. He definitely doesn't go for the social aspect.

 

I am not on FB, partly because I already have enough things vying for my time (work, family, email and keeping up with a couple message boards) and partly because I don't want to have to deal with any unnecessary religious crap.

 

Good luck, and I still recommend checking out www.meetup.com for groups in your area.

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I have never met a Christian who, when being honest and open, does not harbor some measure of doubt.

 

You obviously didn't meet me when I was a Christian. I certainly wish I hadn't been so brainwashed, but I was. I had absolutely zero doubt about the truth of Christianity until I was 29. There are Christians in my life who also don't show any signs of doubting. I think there are more unquestioning believers than you may realize (which obviously is not a good thing, of course).

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To answer your specific question, I am not on Facebook or any other social media site.  Partly because my professional position means that I value my anonymity and have no intention of advertizing myself.  Partly because I don't understand the concept anyway - there are forums for people who have similar interests or issues (like this one).  Why would I want otherwise to talk about my life online, or pretend to be interested in the lives of others?  Partly because I wouldn't have the time anyway.

 

Won't say I'd never use such sites, but I'd need a lot of persuading and certainly not in the foreseeable future.

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I have never met a Christian who, when being honest and open, does not harbor some measure of doubt.

 

 

You obviously didn't meet me when I was a Christian. I certainly wish I hadn't been so brainwashed, but I was. I had absolutely zero doubt about the truth of Christianity until I was 29. There are Christians in my life who also don't show any signs of doubting. I think there are more unquestioning believers than you may realize (which obviously is not a good thing, of course).

I guess there are many types of Christians. In my circles, it showed the strength of faith for a Christian to admit doubts and then to declare that their faith was stronger than their doubts. But you are right, clearly, there must be those who harbor no doubts at all. As you point out, you were one.

 

I appreciate your bringing this to my attention. It is worth knowing.

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Welcome. I'm glad you found us. I spent 3 years in religion, and while it's peanuts compared to the time you spent in it, leaving was painful all the same. If it were up to me, I would have stayed. But I couldn't. I couldn't go through with joining a religion so morally bankrupt. I didn't choose this, instead it chose me. There were people I talked to at the last church I visited, and I really liked them. I considered them friends. I looked up to them. I admired them and wished I could be like them. I thought there was something wrong with me. Of course they only came around when it was convenient for them, and couldn't be bothered otherwise, and sometimes they were outright rude and disrespectful to me. I still liked them, though. When I left that church once and for all, they all vanished into thin air. A couple of them called me a month later, trying to guilt trip me into coming back. I ran into another one at the store about a year or so ago, and she looked at me like I wasn't even there, or like I was so beneath her. This was the same one who called me her friend the first time we met! 

 

Be prepared for the possibility that you may lose most, if not all the friendships you made while you were attending that church. Some people here lucked out, but a lot of us found this out the hard way. Church relationships seldom last, because church does the dirty work for you when finding and creating relationships, and they tend to be very shallow ones at that. Hard times and upheavals like this have an ugly way of showing us who our true friends are. It will hurt a lot, but in the long run, their loss is your gain. They gave up on a true friend who would never have given up on them. 

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Welcome!

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Welcome to Ex-C, Salemite. I relate to much of your experience. I don't attend a UU church, but I know a few Ex-Cs who enjoy being a part of one. I don't have a religious status on FB, and I don't post many statuses related to religion or politics, but I do join religious discussions on occasion, and I belong to closed groups related to ex-Christian life. I hope that you are able to make new friends and enjoy your new found freedom!

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The incredible irony of 2 billion people all thinking they are walking the "narrow", "untravelled" road while they are the majority of the brainwashed!!

 

Welcome to ex-c and a new life. It's not the easy path, but it IS the enlightened one.

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I bravely started my journey out about ten years ago.  Remarkably, my journey out began with a journey straight inwards, throwing myself right into the heart of Christianity.  A compulsion about "going to hell" came over me and I reacted by going as deep into Christianity as anybody can ever get.  I walked past the teachers and preachers and went straight to the source, the Bible.  It was there I got my information on living right.  It was in that scary place where I first began to experience the fruits of Christianity.  I had expected the love, the peace, the acceptance into my new Christian family of believers, I had expected answered prayers and I had expected to meet Jesus just the way the teary-eyed white people at church gave their emotional testimonies about how they met Jesus, and how he overwhelmed them with love and gifts.  I was in awe!  Here it was that I, a lowly impoverished Native toilet-bowl scrubber, was to meet the man-on-fire himself, the king of the universe with eyes aflame, Jesus Christ.  He would transform my lowly existence!  He would make me like the whites with their clean, loving families and McMansions.

 

But the reality of what happened was shocking, mentally damaging, and emotionally traumatizing.  I did not meet the king.  Tensions and frustrations built up as time and again I came back empty-handed without the answered prayers and granted promises I had been assured.  I became a monster of a person trying to be like Christ, trying to love and serve everyone all the time just led to being taken for granted and increasing resentment of others.  Christianity taught me not to plan for the future, and not to work too hard because God will always provide.  Poverty increased.  Self-reliance and self-esteem went down.  Worst of all, my new "Christian family" at church rejected me no matter how hard I tried to be just like them.  People at church didn't love me.  Didn't even like me.  I had been rejected by the church people all my life but I thought it's because I wasn't really really saved back then.  I was a child of the devil and they sensed that and they rightfully abused and rejected me back then.  But now that I'm SAVED! they will love me as their own.  I couldn't wait to get to church that first Sunday after making my commitment prayer to salvation.  Surely now they would welcome me now with open arms, and they would invite me over for dinners and they would be fighting over who gets to sit next to me and talk to me.  Surely now I will finally be good enough to be one of them! 

 

Now, the Star-belly Sneetches had bellies with stars, but the plain-belly Sneetches had none upon thars. 

 

You just don't know how I looked at those people when I was eight-years old in my bug-eyed glasses squished between the big white people in the church pew, their arms around each other, their fancy hair and beautiful faces, their sparkling clothes, how I dreamed of being one of them. 

 

But, because they had stars, all the Star-belly Sneetches would brag, "W'e're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches!" With their snoots in the air they would sniff and they'd snort "We'll have nothing to do with the plain-belly sort!" 

 

When the new SAVED! Rachel showed back up at church-shock- it was all the same as before.  For a people that preaches love and puts themselves on a pedestal that they and they alone have the sacred love- all I got was ignored, despised, and at best, pitied.  My Christian adoptive family tolerated me.  Never once did I find the love and family that was promised.  That was the most gut-wrenching part for this orphan. 

 

A great lesson was learnt, that I thought I knew before but didn't- if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Now I really know what that means.  And instead of listening to Jesus I should have listened to the other great master, Dr. Seuss. 

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