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Goodbye Jesus

I Feel Like Two Different People


MoonHuntress

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I've been struggling on my journey for years. Something that struck me when I first came to this site was noticing how I distanced myself from the term Christian. So, while I'm technically an ex-christian (I practiced Christianity in one form or another in the past but am no longer a practitioner or believer), I've never actually voiced this. 

 

I grew up in a nominally Christian home. We attended a non-denomination church when I was about 7 - 13 years of age. Speaking in tongues, fainting when touched by the pastor, the whole she-bang. I convinced my parents to let me stop attending once I was 13, and my father stopped soon after. My mother still attended here and there. Non-religious until I was 16 or so, when I began to look into other denominations of Christianity. Briefly considered Orthodoxy, but withdrew. Wondered some more, dabbling in paganism, buddhism, etc. 

 

At 19/20, I began attending two churches, alternating Sundays -- Catholic and Orthodox. I ultimately chose the Orthodox Church and was confirmed about a year later. 

 

Throughout all of this, I clung to the idea of Christianity. I would dig around, start to feel uncomfortable when my beliefs unraveled, and stepped back to fully embrace Christianity with barely-there enthusiasm. I WANTED it to be true, because I found a community that I loved. But, I cannot deny anymore. 

 

I don't know how (or if) I'll tell the community at my church. For the past few months, I've been without transportation so haven't been able to attend. That should be fixed within a month or two, and I'm not going back. I thought maybe I could return and enjoy the community and the people there, but I know it'd all be a lie and I'd regret returning when I'd already been away for so long. Plus, I fear falling back into belief -- not because I actually *believe* it's true, but because I WANT it to be and I can rationalize anything if I want it to be true. 

 

So, that's where I'm at. I feel like two different people. 

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Goodbye Jesus
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Hi moonhuntress, and welcome to Ex-C. You will eventually have to choose one or the other. Trying to put on a christian face while not actually being a christian will eventually catch up to you. You're not alone as far as digging for the truth only to have your faith fall apart. That's how my deconversion began. I was going to try and prove the unbelievers wrong, only to find out that i was the one who was wrong. Not only was there no evidence for christianity, but the mountains of evidence i did find actually disproved christianity. I understand you want to be a part of a community. That is one of the only positives i can remember about being a christian and going to church. I had a built in family and support system. I hope you can come to a place of peace and are able to move forward with your life without returning to the christian community you were once a part of. The community here is a great one. There is plenty of support here for you and there are very intelligent, kind, and caring people who will accept you for you and not your system of beliefs. You are very courageous. I wish you all the best. Again....welcome. -Cat

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Hi, I really relate to the desire for it to be true.... it's not the bad things you want, but the good god, the afterlife, the community, the love. Once I studied enough, I realized that their god isn't even the one portrayed by the OT, or by Jesus. Which... is also a little depressing. *sigh* Or maybe I'm just in the depressed stage right now, lol. Anyway, I relate, that's all I'm saying. Hopefully these feelings get better! :)

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Welcome, we are so glad you;re here!

 

I really relate to your story, it was similar for me.  I left christianity at 15, went back at 25 until 30, then back at 41 for 6 months or so!  At 41 I finally left it for good. I'm 42 now.  I facepalm when I think about how I went back, twice, but I guess they have a way of drawing people in when they are vulnerable (I was depressed both times and sought comfort from an imaginary friend).

 

This is a great community, stick around and ask questions about anything.  There is no such thing as a dumb question and most of us have been where you are or somewhere similar.

 

There is also a chat room, which is great for asking questions and just hanging out with likeminded people who sometimes laugh about the things we used to do.

 

Enjoy!

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MoonHuntress, what is it that you wish was true about Christianity? Maybe that thing is affirmed in some other religion or philosophy that isn't so obviously malarkey? I can definitely relate to the need for something that my faith used to provide. I've been feeling odd the past few weeks. Like I've been wishnig I could attend one of those born-again-style non-denominational churches - even though I was brought up in the more liturgical style (Episcopal and Orthodox). I've been reading Chick cartoons too. In my case, I think I am under too much stress and I want to escape into verities of childhood maybe. It's weird. I sympathize with your predicament. smile.png

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Hi moonhuntress, and welcome to Ex-C. You will eventually have to choose one or the other. Trying to put on a christian face while not actually being a christian will eventually catch up to you. You're not alone as far as digging for the truth only to have your faith fall apart. That's how my deconversion began. I was going to try and prove the unbelievers wrong, only to find out that i was the one who was wrong. Not only was there no evidence for christianity, but the mountains of evidence i did find actually disproved christianity. I understand you want to be a part of a community. That is one of the only positives i can remember about being a christian and going to church. I had a built in family and support system. I hope you can come to a place of peace and are able to move forward with your life without returning to the christian community you were once a part of. The community here is a great one. There is plenty of support here for you and there are very intelligent, kind, and caring people who will accept you for you and not your system of beliefs. You are very courageous. I wish you all the best. Again....welcome. -Cat

 

Thanks CoolCat :) 

 

I know that I can never return to the Christian faith, because over my months of research, I've learned more about the psychology of belief and indoctrination and it makes me ill. 

 

I think the breaking point for me was thinking about any future children I may have. I will NOT put them through this -- this pain and confusion. I feel like I'm clawing my way out of a hole, and every time I get to the surface I fall back in. 

 

I cannot wait to come to a place of peace outside of Christianity. I cling to this everyday that I struggle. 

 

Hi, I really relate to the desire for it to be true.... it's not the bad things you want, but the good god, the afterlife, the community, the love. Once I studied enough, I realized that their god isn't even the one portrayed by the OT, or by Jesus. Which... is also a little depressing. *sigh* Or maybe I'm just in the depressed stage right now, lol. Anyway, I relate, that's all I'm saying. Hopefully these feelings get better! smile.png

 

(((Becky)))

 

I know those feelings all too well. 

 

I think that it's important that we're gentle with ourselves. Allow ourselves to grieve for whatever losses we experienced during this transition. It's hard. 

 

Welcome, we are so glad you;re here!

 

I really relate to your story, it was similar for me.  I left christianity at 15, went back at 25 until 30, then back at 41 for 6 months or so!  At 41 I finally left it for good. I'm 42 now.  I facepalm when I think about how I went back, twice, but I guess they have a way of drawing people in when they are vulnerable (I was depressed both times and sought comfort from an imaginary friend).

 

This is a great community, stick around and ask questions about anything.  There is no such thing as a dumb question and most of us have been where you are or somewhere similar.

 

There is also a chat room, which is great for asking questions and just hanging out with likeminded people who sometimes laugh about the things we used to do.

 

Enjoy!

 

Thanks FreeThinkerNZ :) 

 

I'm so glad that there's such a community. 

 

MoonHuntress, what is it that you wish was true about Christianity? Maybe that thing is affirmed in some other religion or philosophy that isn't so obviously malarkey? I can definitely relate to the need for something that my faith used to provide. I've been feeling odd the past few weeks. Like I've been wishnig I could attend one of those born-again-style non-denominational churches - even though I was brought up in the more liturgical style (Episcopal and Orthodox). I've been reading Chick cartoons too. In my case, I think I am under too much stress and I want to escape into verities of childhood maybe. It's weird. I sympathize with your predicament. smile.png

 

I really like the Jesus portrayed in the Orthodox faith. And the saints. And the sensory overload of each service -- the bells, the choir, the incense, the kissing of the icons, crossing oneself, etc. But, not the beliefs. I don't believe in God and even if I did believe in one, I *know* why Christianity is all bunk. 

 

I've considered looking into other world philosophies once I feel a little less battle-worn LOL. 

 

Thanks so much for the warm welcome everyone! 

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(((MoonHuntress))) !!! :)

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MoonHuntress, welcome!  smile.png  I really relate to your journey and the comments made by the others.  You mention a place of peace outside of Christianity.  It's taken me a while to reach that place myself, but there is a peace that you will surely find.  Best wishes on your journey to truth and peace. biggrin.png

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As BlackCat pointed out, there is a place of peace outside Christianity, just takes a while to find because it is your journey, but you'll find it. Christianity was very much drilled into my head from birth, some of my earliest memories ate of a church, my parents attended faithfully- my parents also cleaned one of the churches we went to for about four years, lol, so we were there often. I also feel like two different people-just several years ago, I couldn't imagine life without God, now I can't imagine life believing God again, it's very weird feeling at times. 

 

I also feared falling back into belief for awhile, too.  Not really sure why, but after a couple years the fear just vanished.  I read a lot books and could just not envision myself ever practicing Christianity again. 

 

Welcome to the forums! 

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As BlackCat pointed out, there is a place of peace outside Christianity, just takes a while to find because it is your journey, but you'll find it. Christianity was very much drilled into my head from birth, some of my earliest memories ate of a church, my parents attended faithfully- my parents also cleaned one of the churches we went to for about four years, lol, so we were there often. I also feel like two different people-just several years ago, I couldn't imagine life without God, now I can't imagine life believing God again, it's very weird feeling at times. 

 

I also feared falling back into belief for awhile, too.  Not really sure why, but after a couple years the fear just vanished.  I read a lot books and could just not envision myself ever practicing Christianity again. 

 

Welcome to the forums! 

 

My family cleaned at our church, too! Ha! 

 

Thanks, kolaida :) 

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Welcome.

 

You will eventually find some alternative to the community and belief structure of Christianity that will fill the void that it has left.  Take your time.

 

As to the church community to which you have been most recently connected - if you are not currently attending, why put yourself through the stress of telling them anything?  Staying away is a perfectly valid alternative.  Certainly better than keeping up a pretence that you don't actually need to maintain.

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Welcome.

 

You will eventually find some alternative to the community and belief structure of Christianity that will fill the void that it has left.  Take your time.

 

As to the church community to which you have been most recently connected - if you are not currently attending, why put yourself through the stress of telling them anything?  Staying away is a perfectly valid alternative.  Certainly better than keeping up a pretence that you don't actually need to maintain.

 

They know my transportation situation, but I told them I'd have a car by the end of the Summer most likely. This was when I was still planning to return. 

 

I know I'll soon be getting texts and emails asking about transportation and when I'll be back, etc., etc. 

 

Some of the people there really did do so much for me. I feel bad leaving them in the lurch, but at the same time, I know saying anything about my beliefs/feelings will only cause pain. 

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I could understand not wanting to hurt them if you had a close family relationship there - that is my situation.  Not otherwise.  They have no right to hurt you by forcing you to follow that which you do not believe.

 

Personally, I'd just tell them I'm not coming back and, whilst accepting anyone who wants to continue an acquaintance, do so only on the basis that I did not wish to be the subject of evangelism or persuasion.

 

Of course, you may have connections there which do make this a difficult approach.  In my case, it's the person to whom I'm married.

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Welcome, MoonHuntress.  Leaving a community is always a challenge.  I've had a hard time maintaining the friendships that I made in church since I stopped attending.  I've thought about asking them to invite me to the outreach events when they invite their unbelieving friends, but it would probably be awkward.  Even silence says something when you stop attending.  I prefer to just be honest with them and wait for the fallout.

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Hey check out your local unitarian universalist church.its filled with exchristians, skeptics,pagans,academics and tolerant religous people

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Don't go back. You've crossed the threshold into reality and any relapse into magical thinking will eventually backfire psychologically. 

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Thanks Ellinas, TrueFreedom, darthcool, and Blood. 

 

I'm definitely not going back. I'm just trying to figure out how to tell everyone. I'd rather fall off the face of the earth. Luckily, I don't have any familial connections. 

 

I know I'll be told my leaving the faith is due to not attending church for so long, or I just need to have faith, or I just need to study the Scriptures and Church Fathers more, etc. 

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Studing the scriptures to them means listen to what they say they mean and not what is actually written. I agree with don't go back.

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There are truths found in the bible, such as "the beginning of wisdom is knowledge" continue your journey and be patient with yourself. Becareful with the pissed off athiest...and search out objective free thinkers. Healing will come in time.

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Thanks Ellinas, TrueFreedom, darthcool, and Blood. 

 

I'm definitely not going back. I'm just trying to figure out how to tell everyone. I'd rather fall off the face of the earth. Luckily, I don't have any familial connections. 

 

I know I'll be told my leaving the faith is due to not attending church for so long, or I just need to have faith, or I just need to study the Scriptures and Church Fathers more, etc. 

Besides childhood religious indoctrination from trusted adults, religious peer pressure is a force that can takes significant effort, courage and resolve to overcome.  It's one thing to defeat the indoctrination.  That's internal and personal and does not usually affect anyone else.  However, defeating the religious peer pressure requires dealing with many other persons, telling them of your rejection of the indoctrination, standing your ground by drawing boundaries and dealing with the irrational emotional nonsense and abuse that the peers dish out.

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