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Goodbye Jesus

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Hi, I'm a new member and it's the first time I've ever posted on any forum, so I hope I'm doing it correctly.


Over the past few weeks I've read posts from people who have gone through all sorts of difficulties when leaving christianity, and I'm glad that there are places like this one where they can get help and support. Fortunately, I never had to face such problems.


I've been an atheist for many years, despite a religious upbringing. Most of my extended family are christians, and I come into contact with many older people who are christians. What I often find difficult, when it comes to discussions about religion, is the unimpeachable niceness of these people!


They are the sort of people who are appalled at the fanaticism and barbarity of overseas "sects", who frown at the delusions and excesses of homegrown "sects", who chuckle indulgently at the quaint oddities of other local denominations (oh yes, they're the ones who wear hats / speak in tongues / baptise babies / won't eat prawns).


They are mostly really lovely people, who knit bootees for premature babies, take food hampers to needy families, and sponsor children in other countries. Of course, they feel that they have the correct christian viewpoint, and don't see any need to change it.


Any allusion to the bible's more embarrassing pronouncements is usually met with: yes, well, that was how things were back then! Any enquiry as to having evidence for their beliefs brings the smiling, triumphant "because I have faith!"


So, on religious matters, we just live and let live. I feel very grateful to be part of a loving family who all manage to get along despite the differences.



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Welcome Pickwick.

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Welcome aboard!


Most of the religious people that I deal with on a regular basis are pretty nice, as well. I guess I've been lucky...

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From your description, your family may really have the "correct" Christian viewpoint.


It's not your job to change them, so don't. smile.png


Welcome to the forum!

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In my experience, Christian "niceness" tends to last until you put forward a view that challenges them.  Maybe you are lucky to be in contact with "genuine" nice people.


Not that I've ever really regarded "niceness" as much of a virtue anyway...  Pardon my cynicism.

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Welcome Pickwick.  I grew up a different religion than most of my extended family.  Like yours they are really great, compassionate people.  They don't know I am an atheist now, but I don't think it would change much.  We just don't debate religion and get along just fine.


I can see how it must be frustrating when you try to have a discussion with them and they refuse to argue.  That peaceful faith just isn't something you can argue with.

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Sounds like they are liberal protestants? Im not too sure if its right or not, but I was reading a while back that "modernist" theologies, that liberal denominations base their teachings on, arose because of the renaissance. Modernist theologians decided to embrace modern technological change and place reality first and base their faith/bible teachings/traditions/church on day to day reality. In response, fundamentalist theology arose that did the opposite, namely place faith/bible teachings/traditions/church first and reality second, explaining away discrepancies with ideas of human sinfulness or Satanic deception. From what I have seen, most of the people who post here are from churches that place emphasis on fundamentalist theologies. You really have to suppress your better self in order to go along with these teachings and suppressing your better self really fucks you up.


Of course it isn't so clear cut. There are 30-40k denominations after all. And people will shift from one to another. I came from a Presbytarian church which was sort of mid ground but my mom and therefore myself (was only a kid at the time) starting developing a more fundamentalist viewpoint within it. I left the church and faith in my mid 20's but she now attends an Evangelical Church. She considers liberal Christians as being weak of faith, and doesn't consider them to be "real" Christians.


So these Christian people who are nice, who explain away portions of the Bible saying it was wierd shit they did / thought in the past that doesn't have relevance today. My mom and her Church would say that they are being deceived by Satan and are therefore sinning. If they don't repent, and acknowledge that ALL parts of the Bible are the inerrant, ever valid word of God, they will damned along with all the other unbelievers.


She didn't start out this way. She was a nominal "Jesus is about love" Christian in the beginning. But the shock of my fathers death pushed her into attending a more "serious" church. And in that church, deciding she would wait to be reunited with him in the afterlife and stay single in this life pushed her towards fundamentalism.


A series of stressful events, or some sort of trauma could skew any liberal Christians perception and lead them down a more fundamentalist path. I don't think there is ever a safe dose of Christianity, and am peturbed by anyone of faith, no matter what their bent.


Another story:


One of my aunts was also "nice" Christian until she went through a messy divorce. She then turned to Pentecostalism and kept talking about influencing her husband through supernatural intervention, the proof of which, was the power that God gave her to speak in tongues. Honestly for someone to get into a state that would make that sort of thinking possible... it royally fucked up my cousins who were teenagers at the time. One of them ran away to Canada. Another only just graduated University at almost 30 years of age, because he spent his late teens and early 20's in some sort of fundamentalist stupor.


I think the only antidote is real education about Christian history, the ins and outs of it, the good and the bad, knowledge forged from a desire not just to believe but to get to the truth using all the different ways of knowing available, including modern archaelogical techniques.



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Welcome to Ex-c Pickwick. Good to have you here with us! Thanks for sharing with us! Ex-c is a good place to hang out with other non believers. Looking forward to hearing more from you!! 



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Welcome, Pickwick!  I, too, had a nice family. I was raised by agnostics.  We went to church, but my parents didn't take the church part of things very seriously, and they were incredibly nice people.  The church I went to as a child was liberal and very much the loving Jesus type church.


I've never had issues with people over religion, but I do respect people on this site who were raised in fundamentalist families and who have to deal with things I've never dealt with.  When I worked as a caretaker of elderly people, I got to see first-hand some really depressing family dynamics, with parents still trying to control fully-adult children (people in their 40's, 50's, 60's) and grown grandchildren, not always over religion but often with heavy-handed "concern" over church attendance, religious attitudes, etc.  I had to listen to the elderly parent go on and on about how their "kids" just didn't listen to them, and didn't call them, and wouldn't visit them.  But when I'd hear them on the phone or if they did visit, the "kid" would be beat over the head with everything they "should" be doing.  I could understand the "kids" not visiting or calling often, if that was the majority of the conversation, and it was more of a verbal assault than a conversation.


Once at a client's home, a grandson came to visit, quickly running in and out as quickly a possible, while grandma told him what he should be doing, what he should wear (seriously, the grandson was about 25), and other demands of what she wanted from him.  The grandson turned to me as he was on his way out, and away from his grandma, and said, "You're a saint for putting up with this!"  I replied, quite honestly, "It's easier for me because I'm not related!"


Loving, caring, gentle, listening people of any age or religious background are awesome.


Demanding, pushy, opinionated, non-stop-talking people of any age or religious background are tedious to endure.

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Hi everyone, thanks for your comments.


You're right Ellinas, sometimes a bit of a poke will bring surprising reactions. We have a community noticeboard where I live, usually full of things for sale, lost dogs, upcoming events etc, and plenty of church notices and religious odds + ends. One day, out of curiosity and tired of all the religious stuff, I put up my own notice, headed "Thought for the Day", with that Epicurus quote about whether god is willing/not able, able/not willing etc. I expected either no reaction, or to find comments scrawled on it. But what happened was that my notice was simply removed within hours. I tried again a few weeks later with a different message - same result. I felt like I'd poked a kitten and gotten my finger gently bitten off.


Like Amateur has done, I work with elderly people in their homes, and there are quite a few elderly christian ladies. These ladies, who often find themselves suddenly - and not altogether inconsolably - widowed in their 80's, will almost immediately go on a cruise, then come home and buy a computer so that they can join in the whole christian email thing. You know the sort of thing: sickly-sweet stories of ragged urchins being turned away from the doors of wealthy churches, who later turn out to be angels in disguise, or who grow up to be a famous and wealthy philanthropist. Or tales of lost keys, or god's hand protecting a baby found under the rubble of an earthquake.


But some of these same people cause huge family rifts because of their religion. Disinheritance, bitterness, no-shows at funerals.


Blest be the ties that bind! :-)

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