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What Made You Quit?


Guest sawitch
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Guest sawitch

Hi,

 

I hope this is the right place for this topic. If not maybe somebody could redirect me please.

 

I'm not an ex-christian yet, just a confused one.

 

I still attend church regularly and I'm an elder. Over the past 2-3 years I've started to question and it's got to the point where the services are pretty meaningless and I don't really join in. However, I may be cowardly, but I can't bring myself to actually leave for all sorts of reasons.

 

My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take? I may well be asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm interested in your answers. :unsure:

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For me it was all of the unanswered prayers. I don't mean that I was asking for things and not getting them, but I no longer felt like there was a connection to god or that I was really sure that god was real. I also started to admit to myself that although the church preached that god was watching out for everyone who believed that people attending church had the same number of issues and problems as those who didn't. They also spent allot of time and energy finding reasons or constructing excuses as to why that is.

 

For answers I dove into the bible and came out an atheist. I was having some doubts, but I still believed and was honestly looking for answers... I guess I found them.

 

As for how long it took, probably a year or so to really get over the doubt that I might be wrong and the fear that I had condemned myself to a horrible fate. Christianity does a pretty good job of ingraining fear over leaving (religious FDIC insurance?) so it does take some time. I still get the occasional "relapse" where I wonder if I am right but they don't last as long and I know that there is little evidence to support a belief in the biblical god.

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Hi,

 

I hope this is the right place for this topic. If not maybe somebody could redirect me please.

 

I'm not an ex-christian yet, just a confused one.

 

I still attend church regularly and I'm an elder. Over the past 2-3 years I've started to question and it's got to the point where the services are pretty meaningless and I don't really join in. However, I may be cowardly, but I can't bring myself to actually leave for all sorts of reasons.

 

My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take? I may well be asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm interested in your answers. :unsure:

Hello, sawitch

 

How long did it take? Well, that's difficult to say exactly. During my final two years of active Christian service (i.e. actually attending services, preaching, teaching and tithing, etc.) I was questioning and doubting myself and the religion. But it wasn't until I quit attending church services to pursue my independent study of church history that my apostasy gained momentum.

 

So depending on when you actually want to date my deconversion process it was either 2 or 4 YEARS of study, doubting, questioning and finally hasta la bye-bye!

 

I will say that once I divorced myself from Christian influence (brainwashing and indoctrination) the apostasy came easier and the process went quicker. I was no longer afraid to think and make reasonable judgments. Since there were no pastors and Christian "friends" around to intimidate and scare me from "testing God" (read: think for myself), it was really easy to spot the errors, contradictions and outright lies of the bible/church.

 

I feel for you, sawitch. You have a DOUBLE burden since you're in leadership. I had to cope with the same thing. I, too, was an elder and I quit going to church CHRISTMAS week! (Boy was my pastor mad at me!) It was rough, but I had to choose between being an honest doubter, and being a lying hypocrite for "Jesus".

 

On the one hand you want to be "loyal", but on the other you don't want to deceive anyone. In the end I decided that honesty was indeed the best policy. There was no way in "hell" that I was going to minister to people--telling them to believe crap that even I didn't believe. I'd rather be dead than make my living deceiving naive people.

 

So, there it is. How long will it take you? Unknown. It depends on your situation, your desire to learn, your strength of character and your willingness to live with your choices. Weeks, months, years, or DECADES. It's all up to you.

 

Good luck!

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Time wise it took about 6 months from the point of realising I needed to seriously test my faith to the point where I realised it had fizzled away. I stopped receiving communion about a month before I left, because it just didn't seem right that I should do so in such a state of doubt. Once I ceased to believe, I stopped going. I had to tell people because I didn't feel I could carry on teaching the children or my other church based activities and I just didn't see any purpose to going anymore when it meant absolutely nothing to me.

I did contemplate not saying anything and just "playing along." I couldn't really do that in the end because of my view that it would be dishonest and secondly, my view that religion can do an awful lot of harm too. This decision to leave has had (and continues to have) a major impact on my family life and my social life so I empathise with you in the difficulties you are facing. But in the end, I felt had no choice and I guess that propelled me. That was the point when I really had to tell people and go.

But I guess you are the only one that can balance the consequences of leaving against those of staying, both for you and for others. It's an uncomfortable process that brings disadvantages whatever you do, but looking back, I still think I made the right one at the right time.

Cat

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Hi, Sawitch. For me the first issues were:

unanswered prayers - disprove biblical promises

injustice of antigay stance of bible - shows God is not who he is said to be

general problem of Evil arose from these

then I started noticing all the contradictions, unfulfilled prophecies, etc. in the bible

then I realized there is no reason to mentally divide the human race into the saved and the damned - we're all just doing the best we can in this world (and some who aren't doing their best in fact are christian leaders making money off it)

then the overall flaws of the whole system became apparent, such as predestination to hell and lots of other stuff

 

In general I guess I'd say that when I realized one or two things couldn't be true, the whole edifice came crashing down.

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Hi Sawitch,

 

Welcome! It sounds like you are in a very difficult position. We've all been where you are, so we understand what you are going through.

 

For me it took a good couple of years to finally eradicate all of Christianity out of my psyche. I went around for a while thinking I was going to hell because I was no longer able to accept Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

 

I didn't have the problem with quitting church though. I'd been asked to leave (long story, it's in my testamony.) When I started questioning my faith, I wasn't going to church.

 

Taph

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My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take? I may well be asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm interested in your answers. :unsure:

 

I stopped going to church when I accepted the fact that I had never ‘met’ god. Yes, I had some spiritual experiences, but nothing that would indicate the Christian god was behind it, for that I let other people take over and interpret those spiritual experiences for me. My entire concept of god was based on the testimony of others. When I began to see that everyone’s concept of god was different, the entire house of cards fell to the floor. The only rational explanation was that everything to do with god took place within the skull of each individual.

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Although there were several factors involved in my decision to stop being a christian, the predominant reason is that I stopped believing that biblegod exists.

 

That happened when I decided to honestly study and investigate the bible, which I had always believed was the infallible word of god. I stopped automatically defending the problems with the bible (errors, contradictions, unknown authors, no original manuscripts and textual disagreements on the early copies that still exist, etc.) And I decided to demand that the bible meet the same standards that christians use to discredit the holy books they don't approve of, such as the Koran and Book of Mormon. When I did that, my entire world view began to crumble.

 

As for the timeframe, I spent probably 10 years knowing of problems with christianity but ignoring them (on the surface at least). Once I decided to really investigate the bible my full deconversion took less than two years.

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My experience was a bit different from a lot of X-C's here. I was raised in a pretty secular home, and church was strictly a social experience. My parents were not devout at all, and when my sister and I wanted to stop going when we got older there was not much of a problem.

 

But later, as an adult, a personal crisis got me mixed up in a fundie/charismatic sect, and my indoctrination was relatively brief. But it was still intense - speaking in tongues, belief in demons, denying evolution, etc.

 

What finally got me was a lot of different things, but the main catalyst was trying to figure out the whole faith vs. works conundrum. I honestly couldn't figure out how exactly you got saved. So I started some intense bible study trying to decipher the mystery. Obviously, xtians (myself included) sinned all the time, so good works seemed irrelevant. But on the other hand, you obviously weren't a xtian if you kept sinning and and just prayed for forgiveness to cover your ass. That was wasting the blood of christ, and was probably the unpardonable sin. :twitch:

 

Suffice to say, I never found an answer because the NT wasn't designed to give you an answer - it was designed to keep you in the fold, eternally trying to get in god's good graces. The whole bit about salvation was ill-prepared because a succinct, definitive answer would not be in the best interests of the church.

 

Long story short, the more I studied the more I was confused: I was trying to find a non-existent answer in a book of riddles. That led to another huge personal crisis, and I bailed on the church. It still took me many years to understand what had exactly happened to me, and eventually I realized the bible was not a mystical book of truth but a man-made attempt to negate death based on ignorance and fear. :ugh:

 

The scales finally fell from my eyes, and I've been enjoying life ever since. :woohoo:

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What made me leave? Bible inconsistencies, the realization it isn't even inspired by a worthwhile God, problems with the historical Jesus and early church history (and heresies), learning about other religions and how paradoxically similar and different they all are, and not being able to find a church with people that were willing to seriously engage my questions beyond the "we don't know God's mind" answer. Hell bothered me and so did the notion of blood atonement. Even the liberal churches, like Episcopalian and Methodist, didn't want to entertain serious doubt if it threatened the foundation of their establishment. I still read a lot, however, trying to find sort of Christian-based spirituality... I tried Christian universalism, read Tillich and Buber and Spong and Borg, etc etc... but I couldn't get past the fact that whatever I was drawn to was just me wishing Christianity and God was like what I wanted it to be. I found that nearly any belief system could be supported by the Bible if one found the right verses to cling to and ignore.

 

How long did it take? My first major doubts (resurrection, virgin birth) began about six years ago (I had always chuckled at such nonsense, but the difference here was that I knew that they didn't happen). My participation in church and private devotions started to wane then too... but I still considered myself a liberal Christian for about three years before I was honest with myself enough to say out loud that I didn't believe or connect to Christianity in any way. It wasn't so much as a conscious decision... it was more the realization that the messages of Christianity didn't give me strength anymore. I found more strength in myself.

 

Take your time... there's no hurry to leave or compromise yet. Although be prepared to be kicked out of your elder position if you voice any of your doubts. :) I think it is very brave of you to even admit you have doubts, so I applaud you. I wish you the best in your journey... and it is that, a journey. One that took most of us years. Coming to terms with all this requires a total evaluation of one's worldview, psychology, everything. It isn't easy... but the process makes dealing with the end realization that much easier because you realize you can trust yourself... contrary to what the churches teach.

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I finally just got tired of it. Tired of all the illogic, tired of the unnatural moral requirements, tired of trying to justify accepting a religion that was forced on my ancestors and fails to offer one tenth of the real-world blessings it claims to.

 

It was getting ugly, also. After I left my ex, I began to really hate myself. Standard, right? But Xianity complicated it bigtime; I thought I was doomed because I was not "faithful" like my ex was, blah blah blah. Also, I thought I was a hellbound turd because I had certain things I enjoyed and didn't feel like infringing on my time and schedule to jump through all the hoops of church attendance and the mindless mumbling of prayers that I was once so fond of doing. I liked porn, I saw no ill in premarital sex or in Heathen religions. I saw no point in obeying Xianity like it was the end-all and be-all of everything, and I was sick of how evil I appeared when judged by the unnatural and impossible standards of Xianity.

 

I also just couldn't pretend anymore. I couldn't pretend to be a believer when I was at heart no longer Xian. I had to admit to myself, if to no one else, that Xianity isn't the big deal it was made out to be, and I really didn't need it. I couldn't pretend to accept a religion that teaches eternal damnation for the most finite sins, especially some which are necessary (like divorce or masturbation, in the correct contexts). I couldn't accept a religion that was so full of crap, basically, and centered around the placation of an angry god who hates us for making mistakes that he basically allowed to happen.

 

I am something without the Xian god. I don't need their Jesus™ to feel good or to like myself. I don't need to wash myself in the bloooooooood, oh the precious blooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood of Jesus™ and exchange reason for emotionalism in order to make myself feel like I have a meaning on this earth. I have meaning simply because I am alive, and don't need some whacked-out 2000 year old cult to provide it for me.

 

I left because I wanted to get on with my life, and Xianity simply doesn't allow for that.

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Your question is mistitled. Instead of "what made you quit" , it should be "what enabled you to escape".

 

Big difference.

 

 

That's a good point. I stopped going to church and stopped seeking out answers from within Christianity... that is what enabled my full deconversion. I started to listen to my own heart and mind and no longer believed that the church had answers... yet I was still open to a Christian answer if it was reasonable. Spending time reading on your own away from the filter of the church is a great enabling activity. Of course, the churches warn that you can't do this or you will fall away... they want us to think that we need their guidance to help us interpret modern Biblical scholarship and the like. In reality, they know that common sense is not on their side and if one who has enough of this common sense is not dependent on the church to interpret life, that person will soon leave.

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I was about 12 years old, sitting in Sunday school, listening to a lesson on temple marriage or something equally ridiculous (I was raised Mormon), and I recall sitting there thinking "This is a load of crap! They actually expect me to believe this?" It was just the last in a long line of questions I asked and got bullshit answers for, and things I was taught that I knew to be wrong. I was still forced to go to church a few times a year after that, and every time there was more offensive, stupid shit being taught. Like the lesson about how having sex before marriage makes you just like a used piece of gum, or a board with a nail through it. Every time I had to go, I came home with one more reason to think it was all a load of shit.

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My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take?

The bible. I studied myself out of it. Life events helped me swallow the fear. The diminishing

of the fear the more open I was to what I was reading in the bible. As far as church attendance

went, it got to the point that during a sermon I would sit there and squirm in my seat.

By familiarizing myself with the bible I was able to listen to the preacher and see how he

pulled verses out of context to support his "message". I would lean over to my sister and

tell her about how the meanings changed if he would just add the verses before or after.

I can't think of any examples right now, I just don't remember. Honestly it doesn't matter

to me anymore. I just had to be true to myself.

How long? The process takes time. I've been away from church for about 3 or 4 years.

The seeds were sown well before that. The process takes on different forms also.

I've called myself different things since then. After leaving I still tried to hold on to

my idea of god. I've only recently got to the point of calling myself atheist. However, I'm

more open now than I ever was as christian. I'm open to change. What I feel today may

not be the same tomorrow.

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The process of deconversion for me took both a matter of seconds and a few months at the same time. Let me explain. In 1999, I was going through some rough times and attending my cousin's fundamentalist Baptist church while I was staying with him. I had been a Christian since 1985. I had my doubts and they were ever building more and more, but I had remained a Christian. Anyway, the preacher was going on about the holiness of god, and I just suddenly realized right there in church that it was all BULLSHIT! The light came on! Glory! My full deconversion took a matter of months as I did a lot of research on the Bible and the Christian religion. I officially deconverted in early 2000, and I am now a happily free atheist. Glory!

 

I can relate to where you are, and I can relate to your emotions. I wish you all the best!

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As a child, my parents were regular church-goers(United Methodist)...and I, of course attended Sunday school. However, I was fortunate enough that my parents never pushed religious dogma down my throat while at home.

 

There was a time during my early teens where we had moved and attended a "Wesleyan Methodist Church", which was quite a bit more conservative than United Methodist. Sunday School teachings were more along the lines of "take JC as your personal Savior..or else". Sometimes I used to tell my parents these teaching but they never took it very seriously. It wasn't until many years later that they had told me other doctrines of this particular denomination. In junior-high school I had a friend who was very much evangelical. Since my parents liked her , they had allowed me to go with her and her mother to a "revival". I had taken some of what was mentioned in the revivial rather seriously and upon arriving home I had told my parents who then reacted with light amusement.

 

In a nutshell, even though I had been exposed to a bit of fundamentalist dogma outside of my home growing up, there was always a part of me that was still curious and not quite content. Although I wanted to accept most of what I was told of the Bible...I never did become the dyed-in-the-wool Christian that many others had mentioned within their testimonies. My big turning point was when I had visited my grandmother's house at age 15. She had quite a book collection and I was an avid reader. I had begun to read some of her books put out by the Unitarians...and the floodgates of questioning began..and the rest is history.

 

In college, I would still go to church with my parents just to go through the motions (I was pretty bored). But after I left home for grad school till present day, I have never stepped foot into a church again (except for weddings or funerals). To this day, I really don't know where my parents stand on a lot of religious doctrine as it is not discussed much in the home. Sometimes I think that they go to church purely for fellowship purposes. (I get my fellowship from hanging out with my rollerskating buddies on Mission Beach during Saturdays :lmao: )

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My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take? I may well be asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm interested in your answers. :unsure:

 

Hello again, sawitch!

 

To answer your question, I think it varies quite a lot. My deconversion is not fully complete, but it almost is (let's say about 80-85%). I have lost a *ton* of faith in the past four weeks alone (not happy about this!) :( I have been seriously doubting the whole thing for about a year and a half now.

 

What would make me totally quit? Hmmm...I sometimes wonder if I may have already (haven't been able to attend Mass for a month). But I don't think that counts as "quitting", b/c I still entertain thoughts of reversing the bloody process (aside: this really sucks!). I guess for me to apostasize fully, I'd have to be 100% convinced that my religion was false. And I think I would only achieve such a conclusion after more seeking (how much more, I have no idea).

 

Does that answer your question?

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My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take?
Once I realized that my dog is more "faithful" and "true to his Word" than the god of the bible, something in my head sort of 'clicked' and I haven't looked back since.

 

There is no set time on the length of a person's deconversion process.

It's different for everyone. That's because everyone on the "outside" is in reality, an individual, and not part of the herd. :phew:

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Hi Sawitch,

 

When I quit church I was still a believer. I had been struggling with feelings of doubt for several months and each week I noticed that the preacher would inspire more and more anger in me as I found myself increasingly in disagreement with him. Eventually I just asked myself if I wasn't doing myself and the church more damage to sit there each week with animosity in my heart.

 

Unfortunately it still took about three or four years before I woke up one day and thought "hey, I'm an atheist." The process would have surely gone much faster if I had known about this site. This is why I support the site now. It is my hope that it saves others a lot of pain and frustration and time.

 

I predict that you are going to experience a lot of "ah ha!" moments in the coming months and years. The process is a lot scarier with everything out in front of you.

 

Best of luck to you.

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My question is - what was it that finally made you quit church and how long did the whole process of deconversion take?

 

Before you read on, note that I never was a fundie - German Lutherans are pretty liberal compared with what I know about the 4th reich cults...

 

 

 

...still with me? Okay:

 

What made me quit church? Honesty. I was never much of a churchgoer anyway, and some 6 months after my deconversion to Asatru I decided that dammit, if I'm no longer one of them I should officially part ways with them! So off I went into the city hall and signed the "Yup I leave the church" document, presto.

(Remember, in Germany you automatically pay church tax if you are in one of the two big ones - it's not much but it is money for a huge organization so your leaving must be confirmed in writing)

 

How long did my deconversion take? Some three days if memory serves. Three days from starting to read the Poetic Edda to buying my first Mjolnir amulet. :wicked:

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For a few years during my most intense interactions with bible gawd I began to notice the church had a form of godliness but lacked the power thereof as described in the NT.

I left the church environment about 3 years ago knowing they are decieving themselves. The church was just a fake copy of what I read of the NT church, they were clothing themsleves with godliness but it never came from within. Sso I increased my own personal relationship with gawd.

 

During that time as I questioned all the things that didn't add up and one morning I just sat there and reasoned, "Holy fuck he never existed, it was all in my head."

 

The movie the Matrix and the studies on water responding to thought were definate catalysts that pushed me over to make that final leap of my view of reality.

 

Now everything in life is seen anew, scary but exciting at the same time.

No firm footing as of yet but I've always dreamed of flying so now I'm flying checking it all out.

 

An interesting thing happened in my dreams too. I have shit loads of flying dreams but I was always getting caught in powerlines, even when I try to avoid them, now I don't.

I used to believe the powerlines were symbolic of satan and his power.

Now I see that powerines were my own perceptive restrictions.

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I do not think I ever really liked church I just did not know was any other option.

I used too look out side thinking it’s a beautiful day I could be doing something fun besides listening to this preacher yell at me and make me feel like shit. I never really felt like I fit in im a questioner I question and I just could not figure out why we had a heavenly father but not a mother? Why we go to hell when god made us sinners in the first place? Why was the snake and tree in the garden? I could go on and on and no one had an answer also people at school questioned me with stuff like who made god and how did Mary have a baby all by herself. I decided to read the bible and see if I could figure this on my own the Old Testament made me think badly of god he seemed mean and unfair. When I moved out and got the internet I found out were other options out their other religions and other gods. I just wanted something I could believe in and feel comfortable with I found paganism. Concerned friends have lured me back into church many times and family but I keep feeling like I did not belong. I thought I left bible god im with pagan god now I should not be here I do not want to be here. Being on this group has helped a lot and it will help you finally leave. I am becoming agnostic now I think I mean im still pagan and believe in it but I do not think theirs any proof it is right or wrong. Their no proof of god, a true religion or anything really, when it comes to religion I accept that.

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It was a gradual proces. I didn't study or read books pro and con regarding x-tianity. I went back and forth between believing and not believing for years. I went from fundy Assembly of God to fundy non-denominational to non-believer to fundy Pentacostal to liberal Episcopalian to non-believer. I finally decided to be honest with myself and say I'm not a xtian any more. It could be said that I gave in to my doubts.

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I left church because I was just a lazy bum and wanted to sleep in on Sundays.

 

Why I stopped believing in Xianity is another matter entirely. It took a number of years and involved a gradual process with a number of significant turning points. It started with questioning the Hell Doctrine when my father's parents died, and ended with getting spiritually raped by a fundie wackjob ex-boyfiend. When my g-parents died I started asking questions; when the ex left I gave Xianity the finger and never looked back.

 

I am constantly reminded, by this site and others (*cough*CF.com*cough*), why I never will go back again. The list of reasons is huge. In the end it just boils down to a sheer inability to believe it all again, even if I wanted to.

 

And that's it, in a nutshell.

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