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DontLookBack

38 years later

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I was born into Christianity and grew up into an extremely pentecostal church. At one point I was a worship leader in a church and believed that I was called by God to be a missionary.

 

After 38 years, I began to deconstruct my faith. When I tried to put it back together, it felt like puzzle pieces that just didn't fit together. Eventually I came to the conclusion that either God is a mean spirit (by hiding himself and threatening hell) or he doesn't exist. I overwhelmingly think it must be the latter. 

After about 7 months, I told my family (parents and siblings). My mom is devastated. She believes I'm now going to hell and taking my wife and two children with me. I'm sad that she now has to suffer because of this, which is why I almost didn't tell her. My wife and I decided that it was necessary since my mom had been questioning why we hadn't found a new church and expressing how important it is to have young children in church. "You have to teach them while they're young,"  she said, "or when they're older they won't be interested." Well we've decided we don't want our children exposed to the fear and guilt of evangelical Christianity. 

 

I now want to help others who might be doubting. I want them to know that they're normal and that it's okay to doubt a belief system that doesn't make sense. I've written a lot of short, I don't know what you call them, essays. I don't consider myself a writer and I'm looking for a place where I can get feedback from others before I share any of it with skeptics who are still believers or who are on the fence about God. Is this a good safe place to do that?

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Welcome to our community, DLB!  Your background and obvious ability to express yourself should serve you well here, as well as making you an asset to the rest of us.  

 

It sounds like your wife is on board with raising your kids without religious indoctrination. This is a big deal, because in my opinion the cycle of indoctrination is the biggest thing Christianity and other faith systems have going for them.  Even people who are minimally religious themselves contribute to the cycle by thinking that their kids need God to be good.  I wrote a post about this a couple of months ago: 

I think that we can make a big contribution by helping the majority of minimally religious folks to let go of the fig-leaf of a god-belief.  The more they see people who are good and happy without a deity, the more they can give themselves permission to count themselves among us.  I hope this makes sense...

 

Anyway, Welcome!  I look forward to hearing more from you.  By all means share some of what you've written.

 

 

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You sound like a good addition to the family ? will be looking forward to hearing get more from ya.

 

DB

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Welcome DontLookBack! I'm quite new to this place myself. Even though I haven't been as deeply entrenched in Christianity as you were once, your story still resonated with me, especially when it comes to how strongly I used to believe something that is, in hindsight, patently false–and often ridiculous.

 

I'm sorry your family hasn't been taking the news well. My relatives currently don't know about my deconversion process either, although I plan to tell them eventually. I'll probably do it in a year or so, once I've been able to garner enough knowledge and experience to consistently break down all the typical apologetic arguments that I know they'll try to use. My only concern is how emotionally-charged that conversation is sure to be, when I do finally get around to it. My parents are both believers, but as in your case my mother is probably the one who will be affected the most. Since she spent so much time teaching me about God and the Bible as a child and into young adulthood, I expect that she'll feel like a failure, in addition to the typical fear of hell. To be completely honest, I probably would be content to let everyone I currently know in the Church go to their graves without knowing about how I've changed. Of course, that would mean that I'd have to live a lie whenever I'm around them, which would ultimately poison my friendships with other nonbelievers, my romantic relationships (probably won't be dating too many believers), and the upbringing of my children, if I have any (without church or religious indoctrination). If this life is all I've got–as human experience would suggest it is–I refuse to spend it all in an effort to make other people happy with me. 

 

In any case, thanks for sharing your experiences, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future!

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Welcome my good sir. To express and even read points proven from another would be great as an addition. The newness alone brings further exposure to the nonsensical so very much would I love to read what you have to bring eventually. Who wouldn't welcome an awesome writer? Much thanks in the future. 

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@ThereAndBackAgain thanks for the encouragement! I feel that I was definitely indoctrinated as a small child. My mom lead me in the "sinner's prayer" when I was 2 years old. WTF? Why? All I want now is to help my brother see that he was indoctrinated too. But none of the conversations I've had have been productive. 

 

I've gone back and forth with my mom over the past few days. It's been a little frustrating. I had no idea how crazy my parents beliefs had become. She mentioned the "overwhelming evidence of God." When I asked her about that evidence she said, "all the healing, visions, prophetic messages, miracles and angel appearances, plus the people who have died, gone to heaven and come back to tell us about it, including grandma's dad (her grandfather), you have decided you know better than anyone else." I immediately responded, "Well, I don't believe a single one of those things has ever actually happened." Her response, "Why do you think none of those things ever happened? Why would  people make it up?" OMG, seriously? Why would people make it up? I said, "I can't infer motive on anyone specifically but I can say that there are a lot of reason to make stuff like that up. Things like attention, power, and money to state a few. Sometimes people will make up a story just to try to make their point of view seem more valid in the eyes of others. Stories often get embellished and exaggerated. Someone hears one of these stories, believes it to be true and repeats is to others as "truth". There are endless possibilities for the questions of why these stories exist. That's why we should require proof. It's like the story I was told once of a guy eating a steak from Outback that someone peed on. I believed it without proof and a private investigator showed up at my door asking me where I heard the story. He wanted proof. He had spent months tracking this story just trying to get to the bottom of it. Why would someone make up a story about someone peeing on their steak at Outback?  I have no idea! When we stop thinking critically about the things we are told and we stop asking for proof, we can start to believe many things that aren't true. There are still people who genuinely believe the earth is flat!" (The private investigator from Outback is a true story. Taught me a serious lesson about not just believing everything you hear, even when you think you have a reliable source.) 

 

She replied with, "I was healed once and I didn't make it up. I'll tell you about it if you ever want to know." 

 

I'm not going to respond anymore. I think both she and my dad are to entrenched in their beliefs. I'm not sure about my kids. I never want them to tell my kids that they deserve hell unless they believe. I'm ending the indoctrination of children that has spanned my blood line for generations. I'd be okay without my parents in my life but I don't want my kids feeling like they missed out on knowing their grandparents. 

 

I keep thinking about all the crazy things my parents do. They just bought a new house and yes, God told them to buy it. They're in their mid 60's. All their kids are gone and they upsized from a 3 bedroom house to a 4 bedroom house on a lake. They seriously said that God told them to do it. Who upsizes in their mid 60s?

 

I could go on all night with all the crazy shit they say and do. OMG it feels so good to get this all out. I've only had my wife to talk to about it before now. 

 

@DarkBishop thanks for reading and the warm welcome. 

 

@SkepticsApprentice I'm glad my story connected with you. I agree wholeheartedly that we can't live the only life we get just trying to please others. That's the reason I'm out with my family as being agnostic/atheist (I'm not sure what to call myself). Take your time though. Don't feel rushed but certainly don't feel like you have to live a lie just to please them. 

 

@DarkFlash so glad to meet you. 

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DLB, I think probably the best approach to take with your parents and your brother is firstly to answer whatever questions they have about why you no longer believe; you seem well able to do that.  Secondly, the more they see you as somebody who is increasingly comfortable in his unbelief and who is happy and still in possession of a moral compass while not believing in or having a relationship with their god, the better.  That realization will be unsettling to them, since letting go of God is supposed to be a recipe for misery and all things bad.  Your parents may be in too deep for too long to be able to change, but your brother may be different.  You may be impatient for him to see how much he was indoctrinated, but patience and a policy of taking care of yourself and growing your confidence in and comfort with your deconversion may well pay off over time.

 

All the Best,

TABA

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@ThereAndBackAgain great points. I've always been so eager to share my thoughts on life and sometimes I forget that other people aren't in the same place I am. I was quickly brought back to reality when trying to talk to my mom. My dad hasn't said much. He said that it's not religion to him, it's a relationship with his creator. But he didn't ask me a single question. I really think they just assume I'll be back. They just think I'm in a season of doubt. 

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For hours on end can you have a serious duel with such ritualistic beliefs between themselves and what is literally credited and in visiting that is their lives completely, though should you use that term against both they and their supposed walks of faith will you be viewed as someone that's lost it when really it's their delusions as to why you're here and you're in front of them discussing things hence, why I don't position myself to these type of conversations though instead do I listen. With time are you able to envision what could have been and you're able to see on broader scales than they between realism and what a true christian actually hates that you either bring into their home or even discuss and it's witchcraft--possibly one of the most hypocritical traits about their chosen walk of shame. Ridiculous is it really, when you're often countered with their free will being taken while you're asking serious questions such as where he is when the person is at their last knee on an instance and not with a falsified bible scripture further giving you those notions on how deep they've sunken. Another that i've wondered about my father's side of the family is that. .prophesy is a strength with them all as well alongside tongues, jumping about when the assumed anointing overwhelms them, the holy ghost also doing the same and often is that requested but you're told to seek him first before succumbing to what i've always thought it to be magic.

 

Offense would be taken of course should I go that far, but similarities are so strong that even they don't understand though quickly are you deemed an atheist if it's at all questioned. Guys, i'm not dubbing myself as such but gladly will I call myself and all of us here Rational People. We've awoken with some serious sense not only to ourselves but those who're generational because honestly, do they matter. The disbelief that i've taken a look at in terms of how much they've put their lives on hold I won't exactly call an eye opener too much? But saddening due to these lifelong restrictions such as casinos, seeing films, selective with bowling alleys, a certain haircut are also 'fight or flight' choices. Need I go on? The ridiculousness as you all know, is relatable. When it comes to your parents can I also see things in strong similarity concerning them since clearly their lives are strict on eggshells over a fictitious being who runs them but so much they've said puts you in serious thought yes? They mention free will as i'm sure with you when you're facing them with 'but what free will when already are you walking about in fears and if things aren't done with your emotions losing their touch does guilt play that sudden role? why does Jesus need your money? why is it that this being won't show himself before those concerns are called out when. .if he created us all would awareness show itself instantly? why is prayer a requirement before and after your storm? why suffer and this promise to reign with him never comes about?' and of course my favorite is easily why people cannot credit themselves for their own achievements such as the home your parents now have, but the nonexistent instead.

 

It's questioned for sure as to why they've decided to get something new, and i'm sure it's beautiful but really DLB. .it's really where a person's thoughts settle be it their beliefs or something more, which is obviously heaven and hell. My father's wife told me quite a bit that I was going and always did I tell myself how deluded she was on even using such things as weaponry when those two places were a means of reassurance for both she and my father on where they're all going if they 'walked this christ-like path'. Those whom are rational already have that hit confirm on knowledge that once you're gone, you're gone and how you live is all the more motivating once that is grasped. It's another reason i'm happy to have woken up because well DLB? Not only do you chuckle at the apologetics and point-lacking claims of a false deity, but also are you able to place a much, much higher value on life, your family, and so on. I consider that, beyond their delusions to be special versus what always deserves an eyebrow with them. When they lose things and you ask them why, it has something to do with the Lord. SOMEHOW is it him and after a much broadened mindset was it them using that powerful excuse. Just years of succumbing to the same 'walk with Jesus' have I digested how permanent this is with some and as a result will I suggest that you live with that original smile you have now. You can walk into a movie theater without thoughts of satanic spirits roaming about, or how you're used by christ to make things known toward another and them having that impression of guilt, shame, but threatening order to no longer be themselves because of a newfound everyday influence. My question still remains to this day however. Where's Noah's Ark?

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I was born into Christianity and grew up into an extremely pentecostal church. At one point I was a worship leader in a church and believed that I was called by God to be a missionary.

 

After 38 years, I began to deconstruct my faith. When I tried to put it back together, it felt like puzzle pieces that just didn't fit together. Eventually I came to the conclusion that either God is a mean spirit (by hiding himself and threatening hell) or he doesn't exist. I overwhelmingly think it must be the latter. 

After about 7 months, I told my family (parents and siblings). My mom is devastated. She believes I'm now going to hell and taking my wife and two children with me. I'm sad that she now has to suffer because of this, which is why I almost didn't tell her. My wife and I decided that it was necessary since my mom had been questioning why we hadn't found a new church and expressing how important it is to have young children in church. "You have to teach them while they're young,"  she said, "or when they're older they won't be interested." Well we've decided we don't want our children exposed to the fear and guilt of evangelical Christianity. 

 

I now want to help others who might be doubting. I want them to know that they're normal and that it's okay to doubt a belief system that doesn't make sense. I've written a lot of short, I don't know what you call them, essays. I don't consider myself a writer and I'm looking for a place where I can get feedback from others before I share any of it with skeptics who are still believers or who are on the fence about God. Is this a good safe place to do that?

Hi, I loved your username DontLookBack. I didn't to go back into same hellhole of religion. Actually,there are no hell but being a part of religion itself already a hell that we didn't need another.

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