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"Ex"-Christian vs. "Post"-Christian

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I've been thinking about which label fits me best.  For many reasons I prefer to identify as "Post"-Christian rather than "Ex".  

 

The main reason this resonates with me is that I feel like I "moved through" Christianity and on to something more advanced - a comfort and acceptance of uncertainty.  It's like growing up emotionally and psychologically - my understanding of the universe, of myself,  and my fellow humans has evolved,  moving from a primitive superstitious denial of reality into a more mature embrace of reality.

 

Yes, there is a "rejection" of former beliefs, but it feels more like a graduation of sorts.  An ex-college student dropped out; a post-grad moved on to further studies.

 

"Post"-Christian also gives me the space and freedom to retain things that are important to me from my time as an evangelical believer.  The many values I still hold to, the experiences that formed me.  "Post" also honors the deep wrestling and sleepless nights, the anguish of the soul.  

 

"Ex" seems too dismissive - it sounds like a wholesale rejection of everything prior to the moment of deconversion - including everything about oneself prior to unbelief.  "Ex" misses the growth that happened... the journey.  And it sounds like a mistake was made rather than a necessary step in self-actualization. 

 

Maybe "Ex"-Christian is a valid and accurate term for some of us, but for me, I like "Post"-Christian more.

 

What about you all?

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You seem to have given this a lot of thought.  I haven't given it any thought until now.  I am an ex Christian.  Christianity wasn't part of my graduation.  It was a waste of time.  It was a lie.  It made me believe in fantastical untruths.  It scared the shit out of me and caused me to keep my mind busy with superstitious ideas.  A waste of 20 years.

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Either works, but I like the feeling of Ex as more final and a definite reversal. Post-Christian seems more like a cultural shift, like post-modern. I've had some say that it should properly be called another conversion instead of a de-conversion, but having been through it I'd say that it is more accurate to see it as a return to normality instead of following a new system of thought.

 

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I prefer to identify myself, if asked, as not being a religious person. That responce seems to settle the issue. I haven't had anyone ask me why I'm not religious. 

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I'm not big on labels or semantics. Ex-Christian, Post-Christian or Former Christian all convey the same thing to most people.

 

Rather than satisfy the curiosity of others by labeling myself according to what I used to do, used to believe, don't believe, and provide them explanations, I just will say, if it comes up, "I'm not religious." I may just say I'm an atheist, depending on my mood and who is asking. I defend none of those answers.

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Most of those who were curious about my experience were not believers or atheists, but more of the New Age crowd simply curious about someone that used to be a fundamentalist.

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I remember one time I asked this guy what type of christian he was and he replied, "non." I shot back, "non-denominational?" He said, "non, non." I laughed and moved on. The guy was visiting my grandparents house so I figured he was some type of religious person they'd invited over. 

 

Non-christian...

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I like the term post-christian as well. Even though I no longer believe, I do know that my years of being a Christian, and my 22 years of being a pastor, has shaped me for better or for worse who I am. I have shut the door on belief in a deity and an adherence to a religion, but I acknowledge that it's part of my past and some good things have come out of it.

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