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aila

How deal with guilt of not returning to church?

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How did you all deal with guilt of not returning to church? How did you deal with pressure from former church members about not returning? 

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Guilt? Why? Did you harm anyone?

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Of course not. I am in the process though of leaving so I feel guilt. I grew up in a half agnostic, half Catholic family, but my family is primarily athiest and agnostic. You would think it would be easy for me to revert back to my roots, but I live far from my family and where I live, most people I know are from church.

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You don't owe them anything other than a polite "goodbye." Every day people leave college, move to a new city or join the military and they all make new friends in their new surroundings. There should be no guilt felt for living your life.

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That is true (I have moved a LOT in my life). 

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The social factor in religion is a strong one — there are people who, deep down, don't buy into the dogma but go for the social aspects. So breaking away also includes finding new friends. Consider hobby or political clubs, night classes, exercise classes, etc.

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Very true :) Thanks for the replies, everyone :)

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Leaving your church is similar to moving to another city in another state. You have a clean slate. You have to build a new social structure. If you can't do that you will likely end up back at your former church. 

 

Leaving your faith is usually a difficult & lengthy process that often takes years to complete. I personally believe it is imperative that you know why religion is not true. If you have not studied the historical evidence that exposes Christianity as just another man made religion & the Bible as a collection of fictional stories with fictional characters I would suggest you do that.

 

Dr. Bart Ehrman is a good historical scholar to read. He has a lot of books on Amazon & many YouTube videos too. I encourage you to check him out. 

 

 

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THanks for your reply. Yeah, I actually grew up in an agnostic family so I fortunately do not have any pressure from my side of the family. However, I live in a foreign country with my husband and most of my community here is from church so it is hard to think I will have to branch out/start over (again - I have moved so many times in my life so it gets exhausting to start over). I like my friends from church, but I know the relationship will change, especially if they believe in not "yoking with unbelievers" even though I am not technically an unbelievier, just not the same beliefs they hold (you know how it is). My husband's mom is very evangelical so that will be another struggle.  I will look up that historian. Thanks. 

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@Geezer Hi, any particular book of Dr. Bart Ehrman you recommend to start with? I see he has a lot :)

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5 hours ago, aila said:

@Geezer Hi, any particular book of Dr. Bart Ehrman you recommend to start with? I see he has a lot :)

 

 

Forged, Jesus Interrupted, Misquoting Jesus, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture

 

Just google Bart Ehrman's books and you'll get his entire library. Also, just put in Bart Ehrman in the youtube search box and you'll get lots of choices and you get to listen for free. I know you will find this information helpful. 

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The longer one remains away from church the easier it is to stay away. I got over feelings of guilt once I realized I had nothing to feel guilty about. I put away childish things.

 

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You know what, you only feel pressure if you let them have some power over you. My life was simplified ten times over when I decided nobody gets to tell me what to do besides me, and what I do is for my own benefit and nobody else's. It's called self care, we humans are terrible at it, always trying to please other people. So take care of yourself. Find hobbies to replace church, do something you like or don't otherwise have time for on Sundays. I had no trouble finding things to fill my Sunday with. And most of all, you don't owe them any explanations. You can tell them you simply don't go and that's that, and when questioned, become the broken record, just repeat it.

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18 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

You know what, you only feel pressure if you let them have some power over you. My life was simplified ten times over when I decided nobody gets to tell me what to do besides me, and what I do is for my own benefit and nobody else's. It's called self care, we humans are terrible at it, always trying to please other people. So take care of yourself. Find hobbies to replace church, do something you like or don't otherwise have time for on Sundays. I had no trouble finding things to fill my Sunday with. And most of all, you don't owe them any explanations. You can tell them you simply don't go and that's that, and when questioned, become the broken record, just repeat it.

 

^ ^ ^  Wish I could up-vote this one twice. Great advice.

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Christianity does guilt better than it does anything else. Especially Churchianity (Church = God). Christianity has had 2000 years of creating this social network that it can plug people into to find instant community. So it can be difficult to leave that community, especially if one has friends or family there. But I think it is healthy to recognize that 1) we are social beings and 2) as TruthSeeker0 has said, we need to find alternatives to "going to church." There are other clubs and communities out there to get plugged into. I like my local UU church. It is only about 10% Christian, so I don't get Christianity shoved down my throat when I attend. There are a lot of humanists, agnostics, and atheists there. And it goes to demonstrate that the Christian claim that it's only the Christians who are good people is blatantly false.

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