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dirwid

How and Why I Left Christianity

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3 hours ago, dirwid said:

"Faith was like a currency that only had value in my little Christian bubble, and outside it, it was worthless… Logic was superior to faith and it made no sense to make faith superior to logic in special cases."

 

I remember as a teenager being in awe of the Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)  My pastor preached that this verse is what Christianity hinged on. Of course, I had no clue what it actually meant, but I thought it was the most beautiful and profound words I had ever heard and read. This, I had decided was the foundation of my belief in the whole ball of Fundie wax! However, when I turned 50, doubts began to work their way  into my mind  and I finally took the plunge 4 years ago. I refused to suffer a minute more of abuse from the pulpit about how fucking bad, evil, disobedient and sinful I was. I refused to take communion, walked out of the church, never to return again.  It took  me decades to work out that the whole thing was a delusion. "The Truman Show" movie did it for me!

 

I like Ex Pastor Dan's (fellow Xtian member)  interpretation of Hebrews 11:1 Now Faith is the ABSENCE of things hoped for, the RECOMPENSE of things not seen.”

"Faith is not evidence; it is what you use when you don’t have evidence. Hebrews 11:1 is evidence of nothing more than delusion." said Ex Pastor Dan.

 

Well thought out article, Dirwid! I enjoyed reading it.

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4 hours ago, dirwid said:

   Now to me, Christians were always the last people on earth who would try to justify sin. But when asked questions about hell or God’s terrible atrocities in the Old Testament, you could watch even a sweet old Christian lady transform before your eyes into an apologist for murder, torture, hate, rape, slavery, and abuse.

 

@dirwid,

 

The entire post was well thought out and you obviously put a great deal of time and effort into it - over a period of time. The questions in the bullet points were so spot on that I copied them and squirreled them away for later use. Not to plagiarize but to present to those who question my deconversion - whatever may be their intent. They reflect everything I have asked myself and others, over the years, and are organized in a useful manor.

 

Regarding the part of your post that I quoted above: I have often heard people refer to xianity and the three (one ?) gods/men/super-humans (whatever) as kind, loving, all-knowing beings who's only purpose is to love their creation. Mrs. MOHO,  a scream'n fundy in her own right, will contradict them in a manor that leaves no grey area regarding her feelings. She has often said that god/jesus is more vengeful and hell bent on punishing "those sinners" than worrying about being loving or forgiving or showing grace or compassion.

 

So, welcome to Ex-C and I hope to "hear" more from you...

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

 

She will say this with a gleam in her eyes which conveys that she has a direct line to god and will tell him EXACTLY who to punish and that he/they will vanquish her entire list of enemies - especially those who question xianity, criticize The Donald, or have done ANYTHING to her personally.

 

 

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Mrs. MOHO is somethin' else! LOL

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I was a member of the Church of Christ. They are extreme fundamentalist & they take Bible literalism to absurd levels & that makes them extremely legalistic.

 

Therefore, my faith was dependent upon the Bible being totally inerrant & fully inspired. In other words for me to retain my faith the Bible has to be literally true & historically accurate.

 

I discovered there are two fields of religious scholarship. One being apologetics & the other one being the historical critical approach to scripture. Apologist interpret scripture but historical scholars fact check the Bible for accuracy.

 

Reading historical scholars such as Bart Ehrman, Robert M Price,  Richard Carrier, & David Fitzgerald among others convinced me the Bible is neither historically accurate or literally true. It is a collection of myths, legends, folklore & Jewish midrash.

 

There is no historical Jesus & Marcion rather than Paul probably wrote the Epistles. And if  Constantine has not made Christianity the official religion of the Roman  Empire, for political reasons not religious ones,  Christianity would not likely have survived.

 

Bart Ehrman noted that he Bible has been edited, redacted, & portions completely rewritten more times than there are even words in it. The authors of the Bible are unknown, there are no eyewitness to anything written about in the Bible. The names Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John were simply names the emerging Catholic Church assigned to 4 of the more popular but unnamed manuscripts of the 50 or so being considered. The list of biblical problems is quite lengthy &  I've only noted a few.

 

I found Karen Armstrong's book A History of God to be most informative. 

 

I firmly believe education is a must for anyone considering leaving their religion. Those leaving their religion need to know exactly why they are leaving or they will never be certain they made the right choice.

 

Oh yeah, welcome aboard. 

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@JenniferG

Thanks for reading and for the kind words! 

 

I didn't think of Hebrews 11:1 while writing my post... Should've included it because that verse is a doozy!

 

 

@MOHO

Thank you!

 

I'm glad that you found the bullet points useful. Feel free to use them however you'd like! 

For the record, everyone is free to use whatever I post on this site in whatever way they want.

 

Also, I'm sorry to hear about Mrs. MOHO. Does she know you are not a Christian anymore?

 

@Geezer

Interesting!

I didn't know there were that many gospels being considered originally. But somehow I'm not really surprised.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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That was quite the story Dirwid. And it was so well said that I hope you don't mind if I also copy and paste a few notes for myself to use when or if people ask my why I abandoned my beliefs. My deconversion happened a lot quicker as Richard Dawkins did all the thinking for me and all I had to do was read his book and have my mind blown apart, lol. 

Welcome to ex-c, it's a good place to be. 

-TS

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@dirwid,

 

Also, I'm sorry to hear about Mrs. MOHO. Does she know you are not a Christian anymore?

 

I came out back in 2014 but "ducked back in" due to the incredible family pressure and tension. It's just me and Mrs. MOHO in the house but you wouldn't believe the pressure!

 

Anyway, based on the comments I make, refusal to pray at meals and personal moratorium on entering the sanctuary when I do attend Mrs. MOHO's church, I'd say there is little room for doubt that I am not "on fire for Jesus".

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Excellent and fascinating post!  Welcome aboard!

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This is a very well thought out post, and it is obvious you spent a lot of time and effort exploring your options and questions throughout your deconversion process. I understand what you are saying - the concept of salvation/hell was the point that troubled me the most but made it most difficult to leave fundamentalist Christianity. My rational side said it did not make sense, while my emotional side was terrified of eternal damnation in hell - and worse, of damning my children to an eternity in hell when I chose to leave religion and take them with me.

 

 

"I began to see that Christianity essentially blackmails a person into making a low-information decision to follow Christ."  This is a statement that resonates with me completely. I grew up in a Southern Baptist home, and I probably would have gotten through that less scathed and would have had less emotional torment leaving religion, but I was tremendously indoctrinated in a Christian school (founded under the template of Bob Jones University - many of the teachers had attended BJU or Pensacola Christian College and our Science and Religion curricula were from BJU Press). Students were thoroughly indoctrinated with young earth creationism, the doctrines of salvation/sin/grace/hell/etc. I must have prayed the salvation prayer dozens of times, just to make sure I was "saved". When I went to college at a secular university, I took a history of Christian thought course which shook my world, learning how the Bible was written, canonized, etc. I wasn't willing to leave Christianity yet but chose a kinder, gentler version that did not focus on salvation and hell - it was mainly about being a good person, helping others, social justice, etc. In college, I avoided any courses that would expose my lack of knowledge about evolution (I had none, only young earth creationism doctrine) - I was embarrassed enough that it took me a decade of marriage to finally admit to my husband that I had never learned about evolution, and I learned it on my own. He was shocked and asked how with all the science courses I had taken (and working in science) I had avoided learning about it, and I told him that I had avoided biology courses (which I loved the most) so that my ignorance would not be exposed. Anyway, my agnostic atheist husband went to church with the kids and me because it was non-threatening - no religious indoctrination - until on a trip to Mexico while touring Chichen Itza ruins, it struck me that the ancient Mayans throwing a bunch of virgins and athletes into a pit to drown as sacrifice to the gods was no different from Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Basically, god(s) is/are mad and blood must be shed for atonement. I was sick to my stomach, and at that point I started a 10 year "break from religion". After a decade break, I was watching science shows with my husband who is passionate about physics, astronomy, etc., and decided to start reading more about skepticism, science, etc. Fear of hell still lurked in the background, but finally I decided that fear of hell is no rational reason for ignoring legitimate questions about a religion (or any other topic for that matter). So now I am an agonistic atheist (but still in the closet to my fundamentalist family members though they know I'm not a hardcore fundamentalist and haven't been for some time). My "coming out" needs to be natural and organic so that I can preserve my relationship with people that I love. I won't try to convert them as each person needs to have their own journey. But I will be there to answer questions if asked.

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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I can only imagine that Mrs MOHO must be one incredibly beautiful woman! Now that I have that out of the way I want to say that this is a terrific and heart felt piece dirwid. As you indicate there are so many problems with Christianity and just one lifetime to discover (let alone write about) them all. If we had been born in a Muslim country we would have focused all this energy on noting similar problems with Islam. How crazy is that? I'm so happy to hear that you were able to free yourself using your (God given) mine. I think you'll find that you've just begun the best part of your life. To me it's at least as amazing that the human mind (including our own mind) is not what we thought it was, as it is that our religion is not what we thought it was. Anyhow congratulations; clearly you have found the fire you lacked as a christian.

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"A few years ago, I used to be a Christian. Now I am sort of agnostic/deistic. And also antireligious."

 

You threw out the ridiculous Christian death cult. Congratulations.

 

Anti-religious. That's wonderful.

 

Deistic: Not good.

 

Agnostic: Not good.

 

We know things these days. We know a magic god fairy was never necessary for anything. The god of the gaps has run out of hiding places. There is no excuse to pretend a god fairy might be real or a god fairy was required to magically start the universe.

 

Hardcore atheist is the way to go. 100% certain magical beings (Easter Bunny, Zeus, Allah, God) are childish and totally impossible fantasies.

 

I explain why magical beings are impossible at http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com

 

If you ever decide to completely throw out the god bullshit that's a good thing. It's an acceptance of reality. I like reality because it's interesting and because it's real.

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@BobCu

 

12 hours ago, BobCu said:

Hardcore atheist is the way to go. 100% certain magical beings (Easter Bunny, Zeus, Allah, God) are childish and totally impossible fantasies.

 

If we are fair, I don't think anyone can be "100% certain" that some type of powerful immaterial being (a "god") does not exist. I'm not sure that we can be 100% certain of anything for that matter. I just think an individual should choose the most reasonable/probable explanation for what they observe and when they don't know what the most reasonable explanation is, admit that they don't know and then strive to find out.

 

I am not perfect in this aspect and I don't claim to be. Currently, I have doubts about whether evolution could be unguided. When I was a Christian, I researched the topic and came to the conclusion that life was too spectacular to be a product of unguided evolution. These doubts about evolution still linger from my Christian days, and I still need to thoroughly research the subject again without the blinders of religion. Similarly, I also have doubts that human consciousness and abiogenesis could be convincingly explained without some kind of intelligence involved. Right now I don't believe in any god from any organized religion, but based on my previous conclusions about these topics, I somewhat grudging am forced to admit that I have to believe in some sort of impersonal higher power. But I don't claim to know for sure that this higher power exists. That is why I said I am "agnostic/deistic". These doubts are the only things preventing me from going all the way to atheism.

 

The way things are going for me, I can see myself becoming a complete atheist in the future. This will not happen until I thoroughly research evolution, consciousness, abiogenesis, and other topics again from a naturalistic perspective and ask myself if the arguments I hear in support of these propositions are reasonable. I strive to not accept any belief just because of the social pressure of many other people believing it (after all, many people believe Christianity is true, but as we know, it is not). I want to apply reason to everything, and naturalistic explanations for the world should go through the same test.

 

So sometime I need to get around to seriously researching these things. 

 

12 hours ago, BobCu said:

We know things these days. We know a magic god fairy was never necessary for anything. The god of the gaps has run out of hiding places. There is no excuse to pretend a god fairy might be real or a god fairy was required to magically start the universe

 

Yes, there is an overwhelming trend throughout history that people believe a god is behind something they don't understand... only until science shows that a god is not needed as an explanation. If you extrapolate this trend, you will arrive at atheism. But I don't accept this as a valid argument for atheism, because an extrapolation is based on the assumption that the trend will continue. Given the track record of religion vs science, I'd say it is reasonable to expect the trend to continue, but this is still an assumption, not firm, conclusive evidence.

 

But I guess you wouldn't consider it to be an extrapolation, but rather as something that you know from conclusive evidence. And again, I need to research things myself and see the conclusive evidence. I don't want to take anyone's word for it.

 

12 hours ago, BobCu said:

I explain why magical beings are impossible at http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com

 

From what I can tell of that website, it is full of edgy one-liners and quotes, name calling, anger/emotion, and very little real, meaty logic. It's the kind of site that completely turns me off, even if the gist of what is being argued is something that I agree with.

 

I would say always evaluate individual claims individually. Try to stay away from blanket statements - tempting though they may be. 

 

12 hours ago, BobCu said:

 

If you ever decide to completely throw out the god bullshit that's a good thing. It's an acceptance of reality. I like reality because it's interesting and because it's real.

 

You are very condescendingly implying that I do not care about reality.

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@TruthSeeker0

Thank you, and feel free to use my post in any way you'd like! 

 

@Tsathoggua9

Thanks! :)

 

@MOHO

I wish I could say that I'll pray for Mrs. MOHO, but that wouldn't make much sense, haha. I hope she changes her mind about things though.

 

@ObstacleChick

Thanks! And thank you for sharing your story as well. I wish I could give you advice about coming out to your family, but I am in the same boat as well. We'll make it through!

 

@DanForsman

On 8/23/2017 at 10:24 PM, DanForsman said:

clearly you have found the fire you lacked as a christian

That is actually very accurate now that I think about it!

Thanks!

 

 

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I used to make people reborn by them praying out loud for the baptism of the holy ghost upon themselves. I did alot of christian works if God did not accept you to be saved, as it is in the bible that he isn't willing that any should perish but all would come to repentance, and then he rejects you when he said he shall in no wise cast out who comes to him, then understand why I'm leaving christianity because it's jesus that doesn't seem ever to have the holy characteristics as described about him in the bible, and being with jesus was getting a bit dangerous to me, and i live surrounded by christianity, but they don't love their neighbor as they love themself the whole thing all together made me sick. So if jesus is conditional unconditional love religion of almighty God when his love is to be unconditional, not based on brain washing and obedience (If you read the definition of Agapeo love it is supposed to be your dad for crying out loud not great king of condemnation.

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On 8/31/2017 at 0:56 AM, dirwid said:

@BobCu

 

 

If we are fair, I don't think anyone can be "100% certain" that some type of powerful immaterial being (a "god") does not exist. I'm not sure that we can be 100% certain of anything for that matter. I just think an individual should choose the most reasonable/probable explanation for what they observe and when they don't know what the most reasonable explanation is, admit that they don't know and then strive to find out.

 

I am not perfect in this aspect and I don't claim to be. Currently, I have doubts about whether evolution could be unguided. When I was a Christian, I researched the topic and came to the conclusion that life was too spectacular to be a product of unguided evolution. These doubts about evolution still linger from my Christian days, and I still need to thoroughly research the subject again without the blinders of religion. Similarly, I also have doubts that human consciousness and abiogenesis could be convincingly explained without some kind of intelligence involved. Right now I don't believe in any god from any organized religion, but based on my previous conclusions about these topics, I somewhat grudging am forced to admit that I have to believe in some sort of impersonal higher power. But I don't claim to know for sure that this higher power exists. That is why I said I am "agnostic/deistic". These doubts are the only things preventing me from going all the way to atheism.

 

The way things are going for me, I can see myself becoming a complete atheist in the future. This will not happen until I thoroughly research evolution, consciousness, abiogenesis, and other topics again from a naturalistic perspective and ask myself if the arguments I hear in support of these propositions are reasonable. I strive to not accept any belief just because of the social pressure of many other people believing it (after all, many people believe Christianity is true, but as we know, it is not). I want to apply reason to everything, and naturalistic explanations for the world should go through the same test.

 

So sometime I need to get around to seriously researching these things. 

 

 

Yes, there is an overwhelming trend throughout history that people believe a god is behind something they don't understand... only until science shows that a god is not needed as an explanation. If you extrapolate this trend, you will arrive at atheism. But I don't accept this as a valid argument for atheism, because an extrapolation is based on the assumption that the trend will continue. Given the track record of religion vs science, I'd say it is reasonable to expect the trend to continue, but this is still an assumption, not firm, conclusive evidence.

 

But I guess you wouldn't consider it to be an extrapolation, but rather as something that you know from conclusive evidence. And again, I need to research things myself and see the conclusive evidence. I don't want to take anyone's word for it.

 

 

From what I can tell of that website, it is full of edgy one-liners and quotes, name calling, anger/emotion, and very little real, meaty logic. It's the kind of site that completely turns me off, even if the gist of what is being argued is something that I agree with.

 

I would say always evaluate individual claims individually. Try to stay away from blanket statements - tempting though they may be. 

 

 

You are very condescendingly implying that I do not care about reality.

 

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"If we are fair, I don't think anyone can be "100% certain" that some type of powerful immaterial being (a "god") does not exist."

 

Would  you say that about the Easter Bunny? I'm 100% certain magical beings (magic rabbits and magic god fairies) are not real. This is not rocket science. Anyone who has a brain and knows how to think can figure out these things out.

 

"Currently, I have doubts about whether evolution could be unguided."

 

Sorry but that's worse than ridiculous. You obviously need to study evolution as do several million other people. Supernatural magic is not a mechanism of evolution or any other natural process.

 

"You are very condescendingly implying that I do not care about reality."

 

Sorry but I don't think you understand what reality is. Your "guided" nonsense is not reality.

 

"Similarly, I also have doubts that human consciousness and abiogenesis could be convincingly explained without some kind of intelligence involved."

 

Why do you call your Magic Man "intelligence"? Why not be honest and write this instead: "Similarly, I also have doubts that human consciousness and abiogenesis could be convincingly explained without the Magic Man."

 

There is no magic in the universe therefore magical beings are impossible. If everyone understood this obvious fact then the world would be a much better place.

 

One more thing: abiogenesis has been figured out. It's still a research opportunity but scientists know it wasn't a magical event. Of course they never did think it was magical. Scientists do not invoke your Magic Man (or what you call intelligence) for anything. They find out what really happened. It's childish not to mention ridiculous to invoke the Magic Man for anything.

 

"human consciousness" Evolution by natural selection. It works and the world's biologists knows it works.

 

"From what I can tell of that website"

 

You don't like my blog? Fine with me. I did not write my posts to suck up to superstitious people. The place is free. If you don't like it then don't come back. If you don't want to educate yourself nobody cares.

 

Religious fantasies deserve ridicule. After the 9/11 religious atrocities the time for being nice is over with. I have zero tolerance for theists and agnostics. There is no excuse for this bull stuff. This is the 21st century FFS.

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I like Dr. Richard Carrier's response to a believer that said, "You can't prove God doesn't exist." Dr. Carrier replied, "That is true, but I can prove the God you worship is manmade." :o:P

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Wow, 

On 8/21/2017 at 0:28 PM, dirwid said:

Because there is no God directing my fate, I am fully responsible for making this world a better place.

 

Wow, dirwid, Awesome for you that you discovered the truth at such a young age. Many are much older. And most never realize it at all.

I really enjoyed your post and can relate to a lot of it. We are all on a journey.....mostly individual. Our own set of circumstances, environment, etc that defines who we are. But it's great to cross paths with someone at a common ground. 

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I too had that fear of going to hell after i stopped believing in jesus. I wrote about that in my first testimony in this website and some sweet person replied saying that you cannot really control what you believe- you cannot believe in the tooth fairy even if your salvation depended on it. That cheered me up and also erased my fear of hell little by little. 

You are lucky that when you were a Christian that you didn't need God constantly like others did. Because guess what needing God constantly is a recipe for crazy, irrational and weird behaviour- I used to be a crazy Pentecostal Christian who 'heard' Jesus talk and followed the teachings of crazy Joyce Meyer. 

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On 8/31/2017 at 12:56 AM, dirwid said:

@BobCu

If we are fair, I don't think anyone can be "100% certain" that some type of powerful immaterial being (a "god") does not exist. I'm not sure that we can be 100% certain of anything for that matter.

Can we be 100% certain the Easter Bunny is not real? Of course the Easter Bunny is impossible, not to mention childish. There is absolutely no difference between magic rabbits and magic god fairies. I am 100% certain magical creatures are not real including the moronic ridiculous god fairy fantasy. Some people can't figure these things out including Christian bible thumpers, Muslim terrorists, and apparently you. Fine with me. Nobody cares.

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On 11/1/2017 at 9:00 PM, BobCu said:

Can we be 100% certain the Easter Bunny is not real? Of course the Easter Bunny is impossible, not to mention childish. There is absolutely no difference between magic rabbits and magic god fairies. I am 100% certain magical creatures are not real including the moronic ridiculous god fairy fantasy. Some people can't figure these things out including Christian bible thumpers, Muslim terrorists, and apparently you. Fine with me. Nobody cares.

 

Your 100% certainty seems less than 100% certain, at least to me, but perhaps you have special access to information and knowledge that I, or anyone else, do not have.  That would be, ironically, quite magical.

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Oh man, I'm brand new to this site - and your experience reflects my own almost to a tee. It's almost as if I was reading about myself. Those bullet points - I couldn't have said it better. The bible is it's own worst enemy. It sets itself up only to refute itself.  Christianity was the most genius religion man ever came up with, but unfortunately it wasn't genius enough..........  

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Wow :) A Wonderful post dirwid :) 

 

Especially, this line: "I’m still not quite sure why I never became “on fire for Jesus”. I couldn't make it either :/

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