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Need Advice From Fellow Ex'ers


Gobbler
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Hey everyone (Ex'ers Only Please), I am looking for a little advice regarding my niece to whom I kind of let the cat out of the bag regarding my deconversion. I was home over the holidays and had to endure fundyism to the extreme. They know I don't go to church any longer, yet they probably think I'm going through a hard time(recent divorce) and/or backslidden. I live in another state so I only have to endure fundyism a few times a year. Anyway, I hinted at my deconversion in an email to my niece and I have a few excerpts from her response as follows:

 

"You are seriously freaking me out. Are you trying to tell me that you are no longer a Christian? Are you trying to tell me that you've gone atheistic or something? Tell me that's not the truth...but tell me the truth. My faith is not easily offended but I must say that I will be shocked if my guess is right. You made it sound like you were trying to sell me something."

 

"I've been abundantly blessed! God blesses those who persevere after Him in the midst of really difficult times(hint hint). The anti-depressants helped to take the edge off, but I can testify that only God makes life worth living. Whenever you want to get your head out of your butt, He'll be waiting to hear from you. Trust me. He'll be there.

I love you so much and wait(on pins and needles) for your answer."

 

She has experienced bouts of depression(haven't we all) so please be sensitive in your response to that. I am not trying to "sell" her something, I just said I would relate my thoughts on christianity and other religions. I was thinking to start out with "Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine. I would not consider myself an atheist at this point, probably more like an apathetic agnostic. Also, I am really not sure how far to go with this. I appreciate serious responses! Thanks!

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A good thing would be to explain how leaving Jesus does not mean you're leaving (a) God. You've read Paine; use him as a guide in expressing how you're coming to view God. You could tie that into how you cannot reconcile that with the type of god presented in the Babble, but be careful with that at the moment because that could be argument-causing. A good way to start is by explaining how you feel about God and your outlook on God and save the assault on Xian stupidity for later.

 

Lead off with the positives; that's always the absolute best thing to do when talking to loved ones about this sort of thing. To them, Jesus is essential for your spiritual well-being. You just have to show them that your spirit is just fine without him. Later on, you can tell them why it would be worse with Jesus.

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Whatever response you send, you need to think about what your end aim is. In other words, is your goal to justify yourself, or is it simply to get them to leave you alone? Also, how old is this girl? If she is your niece, you need to also think about what your bro or sis would think of you "indoctrinating" their child. If she is less than 18 years old, I would strongly suggest running it by the girl's parents, simply informing them that she is asking you questions, and you would like to answer her, but didn't want to start a family feud or anything.

 

Now...to the content. Like I said...think about your end goal here...and what led you away from Christianity in the first place. You could simply say something like, "You know, I just learned a bunch of things that made me doubt the accuracy of scriptures, and if I don't trust the accuracy of the scriptures, I have a hard time accepting that they are true and binding for me." Or, you could say that you disagree with the way the church has historically twisted the faith into something you think is not positive. I also like Wolf's idea of simply saying that you don't feel like your spirit is in anyway suffering as a result of your deconversion. I would also state that you are questioning things right now (you said you are an agnostic) and that you think it is a good and healthy thing for people to think about and understand something that they say they believe in.

 

Hope that helps.

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Thanks Wolfheart and Loves_Learning, this is why I love this site so much! The sage advice and wisdom is beyond compare from anything I received when I was a christian. My niece is 25 so I feel I do not necessarily need to use kid gloves. But then again.....I don't want to cause a bunch of hate and discontent within the family. Which is why I initially asked her to keep this to herself. My intent is to justify my current beliefs. They don't really bring up the subject with me personnally. It is just when I am home I have to sit and cringe whenever the most benign conversations have christianity interjected into them. Once again, they probably think I am just backslidden. Yet they never come out and straight up ask me about my spiritual state. So, I am sure when I respond back to my niece of what I actually believe I will get the tired old christian cliches' and "I'm praying for you" ad nauseam. I want to nip this in the bud. I will start with the reference of Hebrews 6:4 to hopefully let her know she is off the hook to pray for me. I tried this with another christian friend of mine, didn't work so well. They tend not to take their own buybull's advice!

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Gobbler, this is a tough situation.

 

From what I gather from your post, your niece is your typical run-of-the-mill Christian™. Very emotionally driven, believes EVERYTHING she's told in church "by faith", and she has probably NEVER read more of the bible than her pastor has told her to read. Her "knowledge" is most assuredly summed up with "Jesus loves me, this I know, because the bible tells me so." She also has been trained to believe that the ONLY people who reject Christ are defacto "evil". Wicked people who WANT to "sin", and so they turn their backs on "God". "Backsliders" who "return to their own vomit." In her mind there are NO good reasons for leaving Christ, only emotional/sinful excuses. Why would ANYONE want to deny "Jesus"? After all, "God is love", right?

 

Now here YOU come. Her wonderful uncle, whom she KNOWS to be a good and decent person, is now rejecting Christ. She is understandably thrown for a loop. Cognative dissonance is hitting her hard. She has been told that only "evil" people leave Christ, but she KNOWS that YOU are not "evil." She can't put the two ideas into context, and therefore she needs an explanation, and her "easy answer jar" is empty.

 

(Unfortunately, MY "easy answer jar" is empty also!)

 

I can't and won't tell you HOW to explain to your niece (or any subsequent persons) the Truth. I will, however, warn you of the dynamics involved, and what traps to watch out for.

 

Christians, as I explained earlier, have their "Pat Answers" for Why People Leave The Faith. 1) You love Sin, 2) You hate God, 3) Someone in the church hurt you, and 4) You're deceived by Satan and merely "backslidden". In the Christian mind, NO ONE could EVER have a rational explanation for non-belief. To them Emotionalism is both reason for belief and NON-belief. Christians prepare themselves to deal with Emotional Apostates. THIS they can handle.

 

What they CAN'T handle are intelligent, well thought out, reasonable CRITICISMS of the Bible and Christianity. Most Christians are not aware of what we unbelievers know.

 

And when they LEARN from YOU these heretofore unknown reasons, it hits them like a punch in the face. As you rattle off critique after critique of things they NEVER once before considered, debunking all of their cherished apologetic arguments, the Christian listener will come to believe that THEY are now under "attack". Your scholarship and truthful candor will be viewed as "evangelism". An attempt to destroy your niece's faith. When in reality all you are doing is answering her questions.

 

THIS cannot be helped, nor avoided.

 

But what you CAN do is establish some ground rules.

 

Before you get into ANY explanation, remind your listener(s) that you are merely giving an ANSWER to their questions. Remind them that you are NOT seeking to threaten their faith, nor is it your goal to change their precious world view. Warn them: IF you can't handle the Truth, then maybe they shouldn't ask questions. Also remind them that it was THEY who demanded the answers. YOU did not seek them out. Don't shoot the messenger.

 

That is IF you are forced into this confrontation of defending your apostasy. You might want to hold all questioners at bay for a season or two, and I'll explain why.

 

Considering how new and raw this all is for all concerned, I would wait, if I were you. In my estimation, giving Truthful Answers at this juncture is merely going to cause grief overload. You'd be better off consoling and reassuring them that you are doing fine. Allow them to observe your life. Let them see that "sin" and "the devil" have not adversely affected your life/mind. After the initial shock wears off, then you'll be able to broach the subject without terrifying the Christians in your life.

 

So I say, just wait a while before you give detailed explanations. (Unfortunately, in the interim, your niece and others will allow their minds to Fill In The Blank with THEIR Reasons You Left. Can't be helped. They'll probably do that anyway. Be prepared to ignore the condescension.)

 

This probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but it's the best that I can do. EVERY situation with humans is unique. Toss in religious beliefs and you've got a veritable powder keg of trouble. Ye olde "Easy Answer Jar" just can't cope with this one.

 

My 2 cents.

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Mr. Grinch, I think you really hit it on the head. Most christians cannot or will not fathom the apostacy in ex-christians. The cliche "they weren't really christians" comes to mind. Yet I know she will not be able to use that excuse when it comes to me. She knows better! You are also right about bringing this about in a gradual manner. Spoonfeeding to be more exact.

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Mr. Grinch, I think you really hit it on the head. Most christians cannot or will not fathom the apostacy in ex-christians. The cliche "they weren't really christians" comes to mind. Yet I know she will not be able to use that excuse when it comes to me. She knows better! You are also right about bringing this about in a gradual manner. Spoonfeeding to be more exact.

 

The most important thing to me when dealing with friends/family who are still Christians is taking the high road on everything. Be as magnanimous as you can, you can't use any negative tones, or connotations. The more that they see you are coming from an honest, studied, level-headed, and positive place, the more they will realize that this isn't a reactionary change you made and one that was done for good reasons. And that should make them stop & think, if only a little.

 

Sure it will take time, but the more you caring & open you can be about every built in negative reaction that she throws at you, the less she'll be able to continue throwing any hate or venom that may come out .

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By opening up (even slowly) to her, I hope you realize you will be opening up to the whole family too. It is very unlikely she will keep this to herself.

 

This is an "opportunity" for her to be viewed as a "real" adult by the rest of the family. So I hope you are ready for the whole family to know. Don't get mad at anyone over it though.

 

Wait at least 2 days before responding to any correspondance. They will send you stuff that is very ignorant and highly inconsiderate. Resist the temptation to fire off a response.

 

Keep cool.

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By opening up (even slowly) to her, I hope you realize you will be opening up to the whole family too. It is very unlikely she will keep this to herself.

 

This is an "opportunity" for her to be viewed as a "real" adult by the rest of the family. So I hope you are ready for the whole family to know. Don't get mad at anyone over it though.

 

Wait at least 2 days before responding to any correspondance. They will send you stuff that is very ignorant and highly inconsiderate. Resist the temptation to fire off a response.

 

Keep cool.

 

 

You are probably right about the whole family eventually finding out. My step-father is a minister with their own small church so she may take this "situation" to him for advice. My parents are strictly biblical inerrantists. I can't count how many times I've heard the bible is totally inerrant, "every dot and tittle!" Or, "I know He's real, I feel Him in my heart. I know that I know that I know!" How can you fight that? Eponymic is right, I must take the highroad.

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I've read everyones responses, and virtually all of them cover well some good skills in making youself clear, based on a profile of what to expect out of your niece. But I come closer to agreeing with Mr. Grinch in saying that ultimately, once you begin covering these emotional topics, that you don't know what to expect. I think his suggestion to lay out ground rules for a discussion is good, but ultimately only for trying to later piece together all of the distortions, deletions, generalizations, and other artifacts of bullshit that will be thrown your way. The unpredictable contents of certain chaos. I want to emphasize what you can be certain of and control with confidence before you may enter into a conflict of which the nature and outcome is uncertain.

So, to point out anything that you can hang on to and use to prevail (not against your neice, but the ideas that threaten to harm your relationship with her), I suggest that you have a clear sense of your priorities and goals. The only thing that you can control is what you are willing to risk by the choices you make. For instance, realize that if you want to have the kind of relationship with your neice in which she knows all of these unchristian beliefs you have, that you may be sacraficing any good terms with her at all. It takes two in any relationship, she may be unwilling or unable to accept you. So, to have all of the control that you can have, you must be willing to accept that before opening up that discussion. If you can't accept that, avoid discussing it, lie, and be happy with whatever you can share truthfully, letting the rest go.

You see, when you make a bet that you're prepared to lose, you can't really lose, and you aren't really gambling.

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Hi Gobbler,

 

I can't add anything to everyone's wonderful posts, but I wanted to say good luck.

 

Taph

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"You are seriously freaking me out. Are you trying to tell me that you are no longer a Christian? Are you trying to tell me that you've gone atheistic or something? Tell me that's not the truth...but tell me the truth. My faith is not easily offended but I must say that I will be shocked if my guess is right. You made it sound like you were trying to sell me something."

 

"I've been abundantly blessed! God blesses those who persevere after Him in the midst of really difficult times(hint hint). The anti-depressants helped to take the edge off, but I can testify that only God makes life worth living. Whenever you want to get your head out of your butt, He'll be waiting to hear from you. Trust me. He'll be there.

I love you so much and wait(on pins and needles) for your answer."

 

Wow. If I recieved this letter, I'd have to wait a week before I answered, or I might be too snappish with her! I also have a Christian niece who would probably react in this same manner if she thought I wasn't a Christian any more. I understand you don't want to send her into a depressive state, but most definitely stand up for what you no longer believe in. And as you said in one of your posts, she is 25 so you don't need to use kid gloves. With her making comments like "Whenever you want to get your head out of your butt" she's not wearing them, either. Your comments have obviously thrown her for a loop; someone she is close to is bailing out of the gospel ship. You've seen that the ship has leaks and must go down at some point; she insists it is watertight and can't believe anyone would leave the safety of the deck for the presumably cold waters below. That's where she thinks you are, bobbing about in the sea of disbelief, when really you are secure in the lifeboat, taking you to the shore of freedom.

 

I think everyone so far has given some pretty good advice. Just go slow and be gentle, and hopefully you have a thick skin for "head up your butt" comments. And be prepared for more emails from other family members, as the word gets around. Keep us updated; I, too, need to come clean with my family, and am interested to see how it goes for you. Good luck!

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I agree with Mr. Grinch about making time work for you. Whatever you do attempting to shock or impress your family with your newfound understanding seems likely to casue the worst outcome. One source of some great quotes I've found is the Einstein page at scientificgod.com. Basically make clear that you don't reject the idea of evil in the world. Explain that you still have values, care about people, are not looking for an excuse to run away from God etc. Still they are going to be incredulus. Most Christians simply cannot fathom what could possibly turn a good non-rebellious person away from their precious God. If they are sufficiently accomodating in their views, they will continue to accept you no matter what discoveries you have made.

 

If they really want to understand why you have made the decision you have come to, I recommend having them check out the book linked in my signature. However judging from the tone displayed in the message you quoted, I'm guessing that your niece is more likely to jump to the conclusion that you are evil rather than seriously question the absolute rightness of what she has always been told. Finally the idea of the supernatural is an innate part of humanity. We have been subject to the whims of gods and demons since the dawn of ancient antiquity. Sometimes it is better to just accept the delusions of the majority as yet another necessary evil of our far from perfect world.

 

Best wishes.

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Perhaps... Ask her if she feels that you have to be a Christian just to make her happy. Then ask her if she feels that it would be dishonest of you to be a Christiain just to appease her.

 

 

 

That's all for now... I am a bit under the weather.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey everyone, I thought it would be a good idea to show you an update of the shit hitting the proverbial fan since I told my two nieces about my deconversion. Her responses are in red. It is kind of long but I would be interested in hearing your responses. I haven't heard from my one niece for over two weeks now since my last email to her. I tried to be gentle in my response, especially the last one.

 

"I am not angry with you, I am concerned for you. I love you so very much and I want you to know that I will accept you no matter what. I just wish I knew what caused you to leave the faith with such reckless abandon. What hurt you so badly to make you think that Jesus had orchestrated any of it? I hate email. I can't express how fully I love you. I also can't express my regret in making you feel as though you'd been left in the cold by me. It was not my intention. Granted, I do not agree with your decision, but that goes without saying. However, I still love you. You're still my uncle."

 

 

"If I were to leave the christian faith because of being hurt, trust me I would have left a long time ago! Let's just say I find many of the doctrines and dogmas of the christian faith untenable. Remember, I used to teach this stuff, so I am fairly well versed in how the bible came about. The Council of Nicea in 325 CE and subsequently in 787 CE. All the canons and doctrines were voted on by men. These were very political councils and each bishop had his own agenda to accomplish. Now on to the KJV. You ever wonder why it says "authorized" on like the first page of the KJV? Because that is who authorized it, King James, for release to justify his kingship and to promote his authority. It was a highly edited version finalized by King James and Sir Francis Bacon. So I am sorry, I am not going to follow anything "edited" by a man. A lot of things bother me about the bible, the atrocities of the OT which God directed and authorized, the story of Job, the subjugation of women in general as subhuman throughout the whole bible, condoning of slavery, etc. That is how the Southern Baptists came about in 1845 because of their pro-slavery views and they used the bible to justify their beliefs in slavery! All this info is readily available on christian and non-christian sites. What I find most absurd is the doctrine of hell. Infinite punishment for finite crimes!. You wouldn't even wish your worst enemy that type of fate. According to that doctrine, Hitler is in hell along with the majority of six million jews he had exterminated! And that included Anne Frank! It was reported that Jeffrey Dalhmer and Ted Bundy made professions of faith before there deaths. These two are among the worst serial killers in American history. Yet they are in heaven while probably most of their victims are in hell? Sorry, I don't buy that! I remember when I was back there in December and talking briefly with the little red-haired girl at the hub. I noticed she had one those christian t-shirts which said something to the effect, "Eternity, Smoking or Non-Smoking? Well, if she really believed there was such a place, she would be telling everyone she meets about jesus and that without him they would go to hell! In fact all christians should be doing that if they really believed it. The problem is, even within the christian denominations there are differing views. I started questioning a couple of years ago with the main question being, "Why does it have to be this way?" Specifically, why would a creator who supposedly created this vast universe require worship? Or the question of original sin coming into the world because a woman ate a piece of fruit? According to Isaiah 45:7 KJV, God created evil, not satan. Satan doesn't rule over hell, God does. He is according to doctrine omnipresent. So, I have not come to my present state with reckless abandon, because I want to "sin" or something like that. Or satan is deceiving me. This has been a long process and very painful. I have not arrived at this decision easily, yet now I know without a doubt I'll never go back with what I know. I refer you to the "Age of Reason" written by Thomas Paine, one of our founding fathers. He also wrote "Common Sense" right before the Revolutionary War. Anyway, you can access "Age of Reason" online. Then you will get the jest of what I believe about the bible and God in general. It is because of the bible I am no longer a christian. Also I would suggest reading Hebrews 6:4 regarding the impossibility of returning to the faith once enlightened and then abandoning it. Therefore, I implore you not to pray for me. According to your own bible, it is not a requirement. Pearls before swine, as it were. Just your love and understanding is all that is required. What if you were born in Iraq? You would be a Muslim. Asia? You would be a Buddhist, Shintoist, Taoist, or a myriad of other religions. India? A Hindu. And those people believe you have it wrong. That you are the infidel. They all have had religious experiences such as ours, seen supposed prayers answered, miracles performed. It is highly egotistical to discount their experiences as invalid and chalk it up to the work of satan when christianity has no more or less validity to it. So based on where you are born in the world you have a 99% chance of going to hell? My main question though, if salvation from our "sins" were so important to a creator so as to reconcile us to him, because he can't stand "sin" in this supposed "heaven", why would you leave that up to man to get your message out? Especially to ancient nomadic people who only could explain the unknown with a deity. Religion is based on fear, pure and simple. I hear people refer to christianity as "fire insurance". Or I believe "just in case". Or Blaise Pascal's (1623-1663), "Pascal's Wager". Which basically states, "If I believe and then it turns out to be true I get to enjoy heavenly bliss; but if my belief turns out to be false, and there is no God, then when I die, I lose nothing. An atheist, the religious person may continue, if he turns out to be wrong will suffer an eternity of torment. If the atheist turns out to be right then it is only equal to the believer's "worst case." This thinking is a fallacy. Wouldn't a deity know your true motives for believing? Christianity's supposed "free will" also is a fallacy. It would be like a rapist holding a gun to your head and telling you "love me or I'll kill you!" What choice is that? Based on a non-belief in the biblegod, you'll fry in hell for eternity? Remember, millions of people are at a greater disadvantage based on where they are born whether they hear the "gospel" or not. Now I realize this pronouncement on my part is a cognitive dissonance for you. No one in our family has ever come out and stated specifically their non-belief. Not as far as I know anyway. I could relate much more, but I will save that for another time if you wish."

 

"I smell something...and it stinks.

So basically, the age of reason is saying that all religions are negated because it's all word of mouth and we can't see any of it. However, a divine being is present because none of this stuff (i.e. the world) would be around without intelligent design. FANTASTIC! What a perfect existence for you! You get to have your cake and eat it too. Under this "enlightenment", you live, do whatever you want under this divine being who made the whole world for you, but doesn't want you to acknowledge his existence. (After all, why would you desire a relationship with something you've created?) He/she just thinks it's fun to watch us shuffle around aimlessly down here (or is it up here?). Then, when you're done doing whatever it is you do, you die. There is no consequence for any wrongdoing. You just lay under the dirt and rot into a pile of dust. Nice, but I'm not buying.

You've fallen victim to one of the devil's classic plunders. What is the classic trick? Making you think there is no devil or hell, especially making you think that Jesus is of no consequence. I know, you're sitting there at your desk as you read this, and let me just say, you can "hrrumph" about the devil comment all you want. Just because you and Thomas Paine don't think he or the "bibleGod" exist doesn't make it true.

You also negate the bible because it's all here say. Well, uh, what about U.S. history that you love so much? How much of that is here say. Slavery is here say because you weren't there to see it. How do I know it actually happened? How do I know that the Southern Baptist denomination used slavery as it's platform? I don't know, so I'm not going to believe it ever happened. The holocaust? Just some sad story that someone made up and creatively made pictures. After all, I wasn't there so it's all here say. What's my point? History is always going to be passed down from person to person. Why should the legitimacy of the bible be different than your history book? In fact, it should be relied upon even more. Have you ever been able to discount something from the bible? I mean, act like a mythbuster with this thing. God tells us to try Him and see what we find out. Don't take Thomas Paine's word for it. Do the work yourself. God is not afraid of what you'll find. I have a feeling though that you are. You say that all the jews in the holocaust are in hell. Who says? How do you know that someone didn't witness to them? Have you ever read "The Hiding Place"? Written by Corrie Ten Boom, she gives a first hand account of miracles she saw performed while in concentration camps. Although, you probably wouldn't believe her because it's all here say. History was passed down before we were able to have a writing system. I never saw many historical things, but I believe they happened because there were others who did see it and they tell me what happened. Yes, I even believe that God inspired the writings of the bible. It backs itself up in every respect. It answers every question you'll ever have in your entire life. It also never contradicts itself. What human could have written that? If everything is here say, then why do you give Thomas Paine's writings any significant value anyway?

Please know that I love you and I'm not trying to make fun of you. This is like a computer slap because you are not at arms length and you need something to pull the cramp out of your brain. I'm going to tell you what I think and it might hurt a little, but remember that I love you and wouldn't tell you this if I didn't.

You are being a huge baby. When I hear you say that you are no longer a Christian, it reminds me of my kids at daycare. You're basically telling me you don't like God so you're not going to play with Him anymore. Your life sucks. Your wife left you, you're getting older and the girl you like now is playing with you like a cat with string. You have no money, a job that a monkey could do and you're all alone. On top of that you don't even have a car anymore. You told me the other day you were so lonely you could hardly breathe. Things are just spiraling down the drain for you. Hmmm...I wonder if there is a correlation here? God's just turning you over to the life which you desire. Sorry, but life without God sucks. Not because He's glory hungry and narcissistic (as you claim) and that if we don't get all googly about Him, He's going to make us pay, but because He's given us guidelines in life to follow for our well-being. God has never "put a gun" to our heads. You made a decision to not follow Him and you're still breathing I believe. We have a choice to worship Him and it's only if we want to do it that He'll accept it.

You're thinking "who does He think He is?" I'm sorry, but is He not worthy of all praise?? Can you make a tree? Can you make a giant orb and fill it with little creatures? Not only that, but He created the earth and everything in it for us. He's not wanting us to blow up His self-esteem, He's asking us to say thank you and to show gratitude for the things He's done for us. No different than any other father who bends over backwards for his children. Not only does He ASK us to follow Him, but He makes it worth our while. He promises to be there no matter what. To make all problems turn out good in the end. He also promises to take care of our every struggle and need. We'll never be without. On top of that, He promises a home with none of those horrible things if we take Him up on His offer. The hitch? Trust Him no matter what. He made it a no brainer. The question is not "Why does He not give me other options?" but rather, "Why don't I want to take Him up on His offer?"

Lets say you were stuck in a prison and someone says, "I can help you out of here." You respond, "Ok, lead me out." The other guy says that there's a condition. What is it? To listen to him when he tells you to turn left or right and to always stay close because there are guards that are looking for you and will kill you if they find you. It's a no brainer. You follow every command he gives and you find yourself out of prison running across the plains and what is your first instinct? To profusely thank the guy who helped you out. You see, praising God is not a command. It's a direct result of salvation. I don't praise God because it's like a spiritual wage I must pay. I can't help myself. I love the lord. I have no reason not to praise him. I've had incredible struggles, and some were so bad I thought I'd die before making it out. However, I clung helplessly to God and now I look back and see why the bad things were necessary. D**** equated struggles in Christian life like a mother taking her child to get shots. It's horrible for the child and it causes him to question his mother why he deserves such a horrible thing, but the mother knows it will keep him from possible death in the long run.

To sum it all up. You're hurt and you're angry. You have every right to be. God knows that you're mad at Him and that's ok. But don't let the devil use it to further his agenda. It'll only hurt you more and cause God grief ( I mean the suffering kind. Not the irritation kind). God says to come to him and present your problems and then you two can reason together. I bet through all the time you were questioning Him up to this point, you never consulted Him. If you did, you weren't listening to His answers.

Don't tell me not to pray for you. That's like telling me not to breathe. I will pray for you because the bible promises that "The prayers of a righteous man availeth much." Not my righteousness, but the righteousness that Christ affords me. The bible also says that if you raise a child up in the way that he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it. That's good news for you. It means you're not old yet! he he. I will pray for you because I know that down deep you don't believe one ounce of the dribble you just sent me. You have a long road ahead of you, but I know that when you're past it and you look back, you'll be glad S**** and I prayed for you. Not to mention your parents are praying for you too. Not because they know what you've been saying, but because they love you and do it anyway. God's going to intervene at some point and I wait anxiously to see again the uncle that I have known and loved. Not this counterfeit that wrote me a few days ago. I love you very much( although it's tough love) and hope to hear from you soon."

 

 

"Let me preface, yes, I still love you! Thanks! I guess you feel you have me pegged! Angry at god, the devil deceiving you, wanting to sin, life is pathetic. No one could possibly have any rational reason to leave your loving biblegod! Please come up with something besides typical christianese cliches. Well, from what I gather, you at least read in part or the whole of "Age of Reason". I give you props for that! I don't remember there being no consequences. Of course there is! In this life. Yes, I've read Corrie Ten Boom. Hmmmm…. How many of those six million jews accepted christ? That's still required right? Your are not buying? So infinite punishment for finite crimes? So what could possibly justify…..NEVERMIND! This is pointless! I might as well be a good little sheep and start bleating! To equate slavery and the holocaust with being hearsay because you weren't there is an argument beyond ignorance. It's offensive! It's called having contemporaneous evidence. Anyway, If you are trying to witness to someone, you may want to lay off the personal attacks. I'm sure the ladies I work with will be glad to know that a monkey could replace them! My divorce is because I asked for one and it was mutually agreed upon. And we are still friends. I don't have another car because I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail beginning in July and there is no sense to get another one until after I am finished. I make around $40,000 a year, although not much money, it is some. If I wanted, I could live on my pension. And I will after the upcoming hike. As far as M****, she has told me in no uncertain terms that she can't handle a relationship now. You have no idea what she has gone through, and I only an inkling. So it is on me if I have been the cat following the string. We are good friends and I enjoy being in her presence. Isn't that what a friendship should be? Yes, I have been miserable over her. But again, that is my own choosing to put myself through that. Plus I don't get out enough to meet new people. So I have no one to blame but myself. I am in no way miserable about my CHOICE to leave christianity. It is a freedom I haven't felt in years. Of course, you will never believe that because you, like I, were brought up in the christian meme. And you will never accept me for what I've become because you think I could never be possibly right about what I believe. I just gave you miniscule examples of why I no longer believe your biblegod. "Just because you and Thomas Paine don't think he or the "bibleGod" exist doesn't make it true." And because you say it is true or have faith in it makes it true? The "I know it's true because I feel it in my heart" no longer holds validity with me. Or because you have a text written by, and voted on by men, it's true? What about the Koran? Or hundreds of other religious texts way before christianity existed? Maybe they were inspired? No contradictions in the bible? You're not serious are you? Don't even go there. If you choose to argue this tidbit, I'll fire back full blast with hundreds of examples, and not just copyist type errors. What hurts the most is that I never thought I would be on the receiving end of the most mean-spirited vitriol from a family member. To personally attack me and what I may have gone through is beyond comprehension! I have done my own research. That's what I have been trying to tell you. Maybe god is not afraid of what I've found out, but you certainly are. Do you think I just woke up one morning and felt like not believing anymore? And no, I don't just take one persons' word for it. But oh, I forgot, I just want to sin! Christians "sin" everyday, so what's the point? Oh yes, you're forgiven. I find it odd that you follow the bible, every "dot and tittle" yet you won't regard Hebrews 6:4 when it comes to me and my denying "the christ". Is there some sort of exemption? Like I said to S****, I'll be in your biblegod's hell while you're in heaven and you will have no memory of me because your biblegod "wipes the tears from your eyes" and erases your memory of this lifetime. At least those of us in hell burning eternally for our crimes. So, I am glad you find comfort in your god and what he's done for you (I'm not being facetious here). I would never belittle you for that. But to berate me and calling me nothing but a "huge baby" for what I believe is not being constructive. I've heard all the arguments before. I too once used them on non-believers. I have been all over this world and experienced many different cultures and classes of people. Let me tell you, the vast majority of people did not and do not believe the same way I did(when I was a christian). I have run across many strange belief systems and even stranger ones among the christians I have been affiliated with. During all that time I never let those things sway me. Oh to be sure I "backslid" every now and then. But I always came back. This time is different. I have no reason to be angry at something I no longer believe in. A small part of my research did include my own brother's book, Magic, Mystery, and Science. It goes into the origination of "satan" and also other "christ" myths. Way before jesus came along. There are numerous saviour godmen that read identical to the biblical account of jesus, including the virgin birth, dying for mankind, and the resurrection, and the coming back part. So the jesus account is not the first to come down the pipeline. When I tell D**** or your Mom and Dad, do you think they will respond in like manner as you have? I don't think so. I don't think even Grandma and Grandpa would respond that way. In fact they know I don't go to church anymore. They only brought it up once, christmas before last, when they asked if I had found a church here in Rhode Island. I said that I did not because I felt they were pretty liberal in this area. They said, "I suppose you're right". And that was it. I did feel that way at the time. That was before my deconversion. When I sang "The Old Rugged Cross" this past christmas, it was out of respect for you and Grandma and Grandpa. Not to any god. And not because I believe in it. Out of respect. Which is what you have shown me little of since I informed you of my deconversion. Yes, I know it's a shock. But I expected more from you. All I'm getting is virulent preaching and rhetoric. You will never win any converts if you act that way toward non-believers. We will agree to disagree. That is the end of my discussion of the subject. I should have never told you."

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Oh, yeah...advice.

 

I think you did the right thing in cutting this discussion off. She is coming on REAL strong, and she might provoke you into getting snappish. The whole thing could escalate and damage the relatiionship.

 

My dad and I have a detente with regard to politics; we both get too worked up, and I love him more than speaking my mind at all times.

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You are being a huge baby. When I hear you say that you are no longer a Christian, it reminds me of my kids at daycare. You're basically telling me you don't like God so you're not going to play with Him anymore. Your life sucks. Your wife left you, you're getting older and the girl you like now is playing with you like a cat with string. You have no money, a job that a monkey could do and you're all alone. On top of that you don't even have a car anymore. You told me the other day you were so lonely you could hardly breathe. Things are just spiraling down the drain for you. Hmmm...I wonder if there is a correlation here? God's just turning you over to the life which you desire. Sorry, but life without God sucks. Not because He's glory hungry and narcissistic (as you claim) and that if we don't get all googly about Him, He's going to make us pay, but because He's given us guidelines in life to follow for our well-being. God has never "put a gun" to our heads. You made a decision to not follow Him and you're still breathing I believe. We have a choice to worship Him and it's only if we want to do it that He'll accept it.

You're thinking "who does He think He is?" I'm sorry, but is He not worthy of all praise?? Can you make a tree? Can you make a giant orb and fill it with little creatures? Not only that, but He created the earth and everything in it for us. He's not wanting us to blow up His self-esteem, He's asking us to say thank you and to show gratitude for the things He's done for us. color]

 

Obviously your niece isn't very old. You can tell from the rudimentary logic. And it's a shame she's being so cold with you & using all this backwards thinking.

 

I did think you were a touch harsh with her in your last retort. Though it's so supremely difficult not to be whenever you're dealing with ignorance to this level. I mean, slavery is heresay? Oy! Yeah, that's the sum of the level where she's stuck at right now. And the stronger you are, the more she's going to realize its not hurt, stupidity, the devil or blindness that led you away from the Bible.

 

Best wishes eh.

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You are being a huge baby. When I hear you say that you are no longer a Christian, it reminds me of my kids at daycare. You're basically telling me you don't like God so you're not going to play with Him anymore. Your life sucks. Your wife left you, you're getting older and the girl you like now is playing with you like a cat with string. You have no money, a job that a monkey could do and you're all alone. On top of that you don't even have a car anymore. You told me the other day you were so lonely you could hardly breathe. Things are just spiraling down the drain for you. Hmmm...I wonder if there is a correlation here? God's just turning you over to the life which you desire. Sorry, but life without God sucks. Not because He's glory hungry and narcissistic (as you claim) and that if we don't get all googly about Him, He's going to make us pay, but because He's given us guidelines in life to follow for our well-being. God has never "put a gun" to our heads. You made a decision to not follow Him and you're still breathing I believe. We have a choice to worship Him and it's only if we want to do it that He'll accept it.

You're thinking "who does He think He is?" I'm sorry, but is He not worthy of all praise?? Can you make a tree? Can you make a giant orb and fill it with little creatures? Not only that, but He created the earth and everything in it for us. He's not wanting us to blow up His self-esteem, He's asking us to say thank you and to show gratitude for the things He's done for us. color]

 

Obviously your niece isn't very old. You can tell from the rudimentary logic. And it's a shame she's being so cold with you & using all this backwards thinking.

 

I did think you were a touch harsh with her in your last retort. Though it's so supremely difficult not to be whenever you're dealing with ignorance to this level. I mean, slavery is heresay? Oy! Yeah, that's the sum of the level where she's stuck at right now. And the stronger you are, the more she's going to realize its not hurt, stupidity, the devil or blindness that led you away from the Bible.

 

Best wishes eh.

 

She is an adult, so I will treat her like one. But you're right, it is mind-numbing logic to be sure. Actually, I toned my response down considerably. Because I wanted to scream! :vent:

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She is an adult, so I will treat her like one. But you're right, it is mind-numbing logic to be sure. Actually, I toned my response down considerably. Because I wanted to scream! :vent:

 

Adult, but not a very seasoned one. And probably still in her early/mid 20's yes?

 

Good for you on the toning down. It's definitely the better road to take.

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Wow. :blink:

 

I don't think your final response to her was inappropriate at all. She crossed some serious respect boundaries in her own reply and I'm glad to see that you called her on her shit.

 

But I'm also of the mind that we shouldn't accept from family members what we wouldn't accept from strangers. If some random stranger was that rude, that close-minded, and that willfully ignorant, a smackdown would be in order. Same here.

 

At the same time I also think it's good that you toned it down, if the ultimate goal is to be honest with her yet assure her that you still love and care for her. Calling loved ones on their bullshit doesn't have to entail not loving them anymore, fortunately.

 

Man, though. What an exchange! :wacko:

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Ouch. That must have been tough for you...I wouldn't have enjoyed doing it. But, I gotta say, I think you did a good job. One thing that added to my own deconversion process is learning how arrogant I was. I honestly (and naively) never knew that witnessing to someone that aggressively was rude! Just goes to show ya how brainnumbing the faith can be. But, perhaps this will wake her up to how rude she is being, and that *GASP!* not everyone thinks the same way she does.

 

Hang in there...but don't be afraid to continue the conversation with her if she promises to calm down...and you're confident in your own ability to stay cool.

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Wow.. :twitch:

 

You did do well, though. I think I would have lost it totally though. I felt frustrated for you at the pat answers and statements.."You didn't get what you want and now you are mad at god."

 

I hate that one the most! Well..second most. I hate the "you don't want to believe so you can sin."

 

Uhm..yeah..sinnin' up a storm here. :Hmm:

 

I would personally back away at this point. Let the dust settle a bit before approaching again.

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