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superbrady

Jesus lead me to reject him

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Hey superbrady, welcome to our community!  Your ‘ex-timony’ is terrific - reading it with my morning coffee got my day off to a good start!  Thank you for taking the time to write it: it will be an encouragement to others whether they’re active members or lurkers.  Most of all I’m sure it felt good for you to describe your journey and to express your unbelief to people who ‘get it’.  

 

You know how difficult the deconversion process can be, but I think you’re also seeing how rewarding it is.  I’m happy for you - and I’m happy that we’ve gained a new member who does such a damn good job at expressing himself.  Yes, those Evid3nc3 videos are great, aren’t they!  I hope you were able to let him know how much they helped you. I wish stuff like that had been available when I was your age! 

 

Anyways, welcome again.  I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more from you!

 

All the Best

TABA

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Welcome, I'm certain you will find this site helpful. Our journeys out of religion are different but we ultimately end up in the same place. 

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Wow, thank you for sharing!!  I am newly deconverted & love reading everyone's ex-timony.  Its very helpful to know that I am not alone!

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Hi, superbrady :) Glad you made it here to Ex-c.net.

 

Others here have mentioned that the best way to become an atheist is to read the bible from start to finish. LoL. I think most people who try reading the whole bible probably make a half-assed attempt but falter along the way because it is incredibly boring.  The others (like you) with a passion for Jesus who open their heart to the scripture make the discovery that you did.

 

Regarding deconverting parents, once you've raised a child you tend to take offense at the child trying to teach you. The other problem is adults get set in their ways and of course their way is the right way (or so they think). Not just religion but with most concepts. I tried teaching my parents something once, swaying their long held opinion...it was not well-received.

 

I did not really care for Christianity and Christians trying to control my thoughts while I was a believer so these days I try to stay balanced when talking with other people. They can believe whatever they want. Other people aren't my job.

 

I'm glad you are punching out of religion before having put in decades of service to the non-existent one.

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Welcome! Wow it's comforting to hear that listening to other people's deconversion stories during the early stages of the deconversion process helps so much! Thank you for sharing!

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Superbrady, you did invite questions, so I do have a couple about your deconversion experience...

 

You’ve made the journey from being a devout Christian to being an agnostic atheist.  Was there a time when you no longer thought of yourself as a Christian but did not yet consider yourself an atheist?  Many of us, myself included, passed through a phase like that so I was wondering about your experience with that. 

 

Also, how did your prayer-life make the transition? Presumably you don’t pray at all now, but did you stop praying abruptly, or gradually, or did you pray more intensely  for a while as your doubts grew?  In my case, I stopped praying rather abruptly as I started questioning.  It’s almost as if a switch in my brain flipped from Faith to Reason, and I stopped praying because I felt like it would ‘muddy the waters’ and make it harder for me to come to a conclusion.  Later on, I did pray maybe once or twice for God to somehow reveal himself to me if he was really there. I didn’t expect that he would, and of course he didn’t.

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Hey ThereAndBackAgain,

I'd be happy to answer some questions!

 

4 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

You’ve made the journey from being a devout Christian to being an agnostic atheist.  Was there a time when you no longer thought of yourself as a Christian but did not yet consider yourself an atheist?  Many of us, myself included, passed through a phase like that so I was wondering about your experience with that. 

 

Yes, there was a brief period of time where I considered myself a Christian but not an atheist. It did not last very a very long time, but it is important as it got me to look into and read works by a lot of thinkers I would not have considered otherwise - John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, David Hume, and others. It is hard to describe, but what I believed was an eclectic mix of Unitarianism, liberal Christianity, and deism. I rejected the idea that a supreme being acted in the world and performed miracles and what not, but the idea of a "divine watchmaker" type of deity was appealing to me. I think this time in my life was a transitional stage for me before I identified as a full-blown agnostic atheist... especially since the word "atheist" has such a negative connotation in this region of the United States. I was kind of scared to call myself an atheist... it was kind of like calling myself the bogeyman. I also think it was difficult for me to think of a universe without some kind of Aristotelian uncaused cause since I was so entrenched in that line of thinking for most of my life. In addition, I had a sense at the time that every religion had some element of the "divine truth" correct and other elements incorrect - that Taoism, Hinduism, the Abrahamic religions, Baha'i, and the rest seemed to have a sense of this unknowable beings but ultimately fail in fully understanding it because it does not involve itself in the world. I didn't consider the problem here: how anyone can have any reliable knowledge of a god even superficially if it does not make any effort reveal itself in the world in any way. The last part of my weird temporary religion was the Christian part. I did not believe Jesus was Yahweh, but a really great man in human history that we can use as a model for a life well lived. I saw Jesus as an iconoclastic revolutionary, not a higher being deserving of worship, who battled the religious establishment to reveal important truths in life that they were missing. I got my hands on some of the less supernatural Gnostic gospels and the Jefferson Bible (in which Thomas Jefferson took the supernatural elements out of the synoptic gospels and John) and tried to apply some of its moral truths to my life without the filler. Eventually, however, I realized the cosmological argument had some fallacies and that there are many philosophers out there that are better than Jesus was.

 

4 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Also, how did your prayer-life make the transition? Presumably you don’t pray at all now, but did you stop praying abruptly, or gradually, or did you pray more intensely  for a while as your doubts grew?  In my case, I stopped praying rather abruptly as I started questioning.  It’s almost as if a switch in my brain flipped from Faith to Reason, and I stopped praying because I felt like it would ‘muddy the waters’ and make it harder for me to come to a conclusion.  Later on, I did pray maybe once or twice for God to somehow reveal himself to me if he was really there. I didn’t expect that he would, and of course he didn’t.

 

After I realized that a god probably doesn't act in the world immediately following my faith crisis, I stopped praying. You put it nicely when you said it was like a switch flipped in your brain. I would say that the same thing happened to me. And, like you, in a stressful time in my life I prayed a couple while I attempted to relapse and reconvert to Christianity, hoping it would help me find a solution to a number of distressing situations going on in my life at the time. But it was very different. It never felt the same and I never felt the endorphins I got when I told myself that I must be feeling the Holy Spirit, even though I tried really hard to reach it again. And the way I prayed was different too... I didn't think God would influence the world we lived in, so I did not ask for favors. However, I thought it would be good to thank God for the present moment and all the things that I had. Another thing I should mention here is that I had a brief bout with Theravadan Buddhism, though I never completely took the supernatural claims about rebirth and karma seriously. I mostly just liked the way meditation made me feel and enjoyed reading Eastern philosophy in my first year at my university. I eventually found that I had a difficult time reconciling secularism and a genuine Buddhist practice, so I stopped reading about and practicing Buddhism (though I occasionally meditate). Eventually, I came to my senses about these things and realized I was just falling back into previous habit loops I had formed in the past that previously helped me cope with demanding and tense situations. I have since developed coping mechanisms that actually work and are non-religious, thank goodness.

 

I also wanted to say thank you very much to everyone else who has commented and read my ex-timony. It is very encouraging to me and it makes me very happy to hear that this post might be giving others comfort.

 

I'll be happy to answer any additional questions or follow up on my answers as soon as possible as they come! :D

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Superbrady, your ex-timony has really resonated with me and I think it's because you figured things out while you were still so young, just on the threshold of your adult life, and because I think to myself "That could have been me!".  Because I have always been a rational guy (I'm an engineer) and came close in my 20's to rejecting the religion I had been raised/indoctrinated into.  Close - but no cigar. 

 

In my mid-20s I thought of myself as agnostic.  Not an agnostic atheist as I am today, or even an agnostic theist, just an agnostic: a shoulder-shrugging, not-interested-in-religion agnostic like so many people are.  I neither embraced Christianity nor rejected it.   I had no 'relationship' with God, I rarely prayed and - because my job involved traveling around the world - going to Church was usually inconvenient and often impossible.   I like to think that if the information that is so widely available today - atheist or agnostic books and blogs, and communities like this one - had been available then, that I would have firmly turned my back on Christianity and theism before I was 30.  Instead, the faith virus was lying dormant in my system and when the conditions were right it emerged, took over part of my mind, and sent me on a 25-year detour before I finally shook it off just past the age of 50.  The 'conditions' were my settling down in a new city where I knew nobody and made friends with a really nice family who invited me to Church with them.  I was swept up in the friendliness of these people, the feeling that I suddenly had access to a community of good, friendly, trustworthy, hospitable people.  They welcomed me and fed me home-cooked meals, and there were even some nice-looking young ladies that got my attention.  I started a Bible study (I had been raised Catholic and didn't know much at all about scripture) and although I started to see some problems with the whole thing, and started to cause concern among some that I would never 'make a commitment', I finally stopped resisting, set my doubts aside and asked to be baptized.  I have fantasized recently about calling the minister the way I did, but instead of telling him I was ready to be baptized, I say instead that I've concluded that Christianity doesn't make sense and that I can't believe in or serve the god of the Bible.  And never to darken the door of a church again. 

 

The twenty-five years that followed were by no means unhappy.  My faith lived inside a walled-off section of my mind, mostly immune to the reason I applied to all other areas of life.  I eventually met a wonderful woman at Church and married her.  We've been together twenty years now and we are still happy, maybe more so than ever.  But just within the past five years, the doubts that had always been there came back to the surface somehow, and to make a long story short, I eventually took a deep breath and accepted that I was no longer a Christian and no longer believed in God.  The relief that comes from no longer having to pretend to believe, no longer making excuses for God's failure to show up - that relief is huge.  I finally feel like I've come home to my true self, who was never cut out to be a believer.  I've used this analogy before:  I feel like a guy who for decades wore only a suit and tie and dress-shoes that were a half-size too small - and now I'm hangin' out in shorts, tank-top and flip-flops, finally comfortable!

 

Well this has been more About Me than I intended, but I wanted to say why I am so happy that you have done the deep thinking and examining of what you were taught while you are still so young.  You can go forward as yourself: you had false 'knowledge' planted in your mind through childhood religious indoctrination, but you've reversed it already, with your whole life ahead of you!  And most importantly, unlike me and many of us when we were your age, you know what you believe and don't believe and WHY you don't believe it.  That is so important, whether it comes to religion, politics or whatever.  It may be good to see more and more people, especially younger folk, living without religion, but anybody who hasn't thought about it enough is vulnerable to be either sucked back into their original religion or into some other religious or quasi-religious belief system or cult.  There are plenty of young people who reject Christianity but then embrace some other nonsense that is equally irrational. 

 

So congratulations my friend.  I'm really happy for you.  You know that it's not all a bed of roses, but you clearly have a smart, open, questioning mind that will serve you well.  I've appreciated your various posts since you introduced yourself, and I hope you'll be a regular contributor to our community.

 

All the Best,

TABA

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2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Superbrady, your ex-timony has really resonated with me and I think it's because you figured things out while you were still so young, just on the threshold of your adult life, and because I think to myself "That could have been me!".  Because I have always been a rational guy (I'm an engineer) and came close in my 20's to rejecting the religion I had been raised/indoctrinated into.  Close - but no cigar.

 

I am so happy to hear that my story has resonated with you so much. I want to tell you that in my life, I have observed this "coming close" phenomenon to be somewhat common. I have seen many become more open-minded for a couple years, only to revert back to Christianity shortly after. I'm not entirely sure why, but it's very interesting to me. My best friend (an agnostic atheist like me) had a really bad breakup fairly recently. His ex-girlfriend was always Christian, but she started having fairly liberal beliefs in college and even started to believe in some form universal reconciliation. However, one day out of the blue, she decided she wanted to revert back to her Christian fundamentalism, and she felt that dating my friend was interfering with her "reconnecting with God", though he never pushed his beliefs onto her. He was absolutely crushed, especially since she started cozying up with a Presbyterian grad student within two days of their break up. Also, like I have said before, I attempted to revert back to Christianity a couple times to no avail, throwing out my rationality for a couple days for purely emotional reasons instead of finding stronger, more reliable solutions for my problems. Of course, your story is very different, but hopefully these examples help you to rest assured that you're certainly not alone. It's incredibly tempting to be a part of a group of people that is really kind, seems really happy, and is the largest religious group in America. Still to this day, some days I feel like I'm missing out on something and that maybe ignorance is bliss.

 

2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

In my mid-20s I thought of myself as agnostic.  Not an agnostic atheist as I am today, or even an agnostic theist, just an agnostic: a shoulder-shrugging, not-interested-in-religion agnostic like so many people are.  I neither embraced Christianity nor rejected it.   I had no 'relationship' with God, I rarely prayed and - because my job involved traveling around the world - going to Church was usually inconvenient and often impossible.   I like to think that if the information that is so widely available today - atheist or agnostic books and blogs, and communities like this one - had been available then, that I would have firmly turned my back on Christianity and theism before I was 30.  Instead, the faith virus was lying dormant in my system and when the conditions were right it emerged, took over part of my mind, and sent me on a 25-year detour before I finally shook it off just past the age of 50.  The 'conditions' were my settling down in a new city where I knew nobody and made friends with a really nice family who invited me to Church with them.  I was swept up in the friendliness of these people, the feeling that I suddenly had access to a community of good, friendly, trustworthy, hospitable people.  They welcomed me and fed me home-cooked meals, and there were even some nice-looking young ladies that got my attention.  I started a Bible study (I had been raised Catholic and didn't know much at all about scripture) and although I started to see some problems with the whole thing, and started to cause concern among some that I would never 'make a commitment', I finally stopped resisting, set my doubts aside and asked to be baptized.  I have fantasized recently about calling the minister the way I did, but instead of telling him I was ready to be baptized, I say instead that I've concluded that Christianity doesn't make sense and that I can't believe in or serve the god of the Bible.  And never to darken the door of a church again. 

 

The twenty-five years that followed were by no means unhappy.  My faith lived inside a walled-off section of my mind, mostly immune to the reason I applied to all other areas of life.  I eventually met a wonderful woman at Church and married her.  We've been together twenty years now and we are still happy, maybe more so than ever.  But just within the past five years, the doubts that had always been there came back to the surface somehow, and to make a long story short, I eventually took a deep breath and accepted that I was no longer a Christian and no longer believed in God.  The relief that comes from no longer having to pretend to believe, no longer making excuses for God's failure to show up - that relief is huge.  I finally feel like I've come home to my true self, who was never cut out to be a believer.  I've used this analogy before:  I feel like a guy who for decades wore only a suit and tie and dress-shoes that were a half-size too small - and now I'm hangin' out in shorts, tank-top and flip-flops, finally comfortable!

 

It's interesting to consider that those doubts you had at the very beginning before you took a leap of faith and became a baptized member of the church reemerged at a later date. I really enjoyed reading this and it brought me a lot of comfort as I was reading. I'm also really happy to hear that you still found joy in those twenty-five years after baptism. I hope that I do not give the impression that my life was dull and dim before becoming an agnostic atheist. I have had a very good life and am very fortunate to have been born in these circumstances. And, though Christianity caused a lot of anxiety and created incredible amounts of tension within me, I was quite happy most of the time.

 

Deconversion certainly yields to a lot of contentment when you realize how much pressure is taken off of your back and how much less dishonest you are with yourself afterward. So much more tranquility than I ever had with God. Like you, finally feel like I can be me, as I truly am... and I don't have to obsess about an afterlife that probably isn't there. I can live for today and make this life great. I don't have to hyper-analyze all the media I consume, questioning if it is somehow poisoning my thoughts and predisposing me to sin. I don't have to try to model the impossible ideal that is Christ. I don't have to worry about pleasing any church groups or religious mentors, telling them what they want to hear. I love your analogy... I can say the exact same thing about myself. Like any major change in life and routine, it was scary to come to this conclusion at first, but now, it brings me so much inner peace in countless ways.

 

2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Well this has been more About Me than I intended, but I wanted to say why I am so happy that you have done the deep thinking and examining of what you were taught while you are still so young.  You can go forward as yourself: you had false 'knowledge' planted in your mind through childhood religious indoctrination, but you've reversed it already, with your whole life ahead of you!  And most importantly, unlike me and many of us when we were your age, you know what you believe and don't believe and WHY you don't believe it.  That is so important, whether it comes to religion, politics or whatever.  It may be good to see more and more people, especially younger folk, living without religion, but anybody who hasn't thought about it enough is vulnerable to be either sucked back into their original religion or into some other religious or quasi-religious belief system or cult.  There are plenty of young people who reject Christianity but then embrace some other nonsense that is equally irrational. 

 

So congratulations my friend.  I'm really happy for you.  You know that it's not all a bed of roses, but you clearly have a smart, open, questioning mind that will serve you well.  I've appreciated your various posts since you introduced yourself, and I hope you'll be a regular contributor to our community.

 

I'm really lucky to have been born into a time where there are so many great resources on atheism and science available on the web and in print to help me deprogram. We were born in different times and in different circumstances, I'm incredibly glad that despite these differences, we both eradicated the faith virus and inoculated ourselves so it will not reemerge in the future. I'm excited for both of us that we can look forward to the rest of our lives with fresh eyes, without any of the unnecessary frills and guilt associated with the Christian belief system. And I'm glad we both care so much about the truth, evidence, and living the good life. I hope to become someone as wise and warmhearted as you someday. I have enjoyed communicating with you, answering your questions, and hearing your story in the short amount of time that I've been on this forum. Thank you! :grin:

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On 3/5/2018 at 11:09 PM, superbrady said:

   And the universe, physics, and biology were instantly way more interesting than God to me because it’s actually substantial, demonstrable, and not paradoxical. The universe does not have to sacrifice itself to itself to save us from itself. The universe does not have three consubstantial persons somehow wrapped up into one. The universe is a benign, indifferent machine. This thinking was so comforting to me… no more judgement, no more worry about an afterlife? I couldn’t have dreamed of a better universe to live in. In a sweeping motion, like a chalkboard being wiped clean, the earth and the cosmos were no longer depraved, evil, or soulless… they were beautiful and marvelous in their vastness and mystery.

 

 

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I Religion is not about reason... it's about emotions. And when you attack religion, you attack feeling and passion, not a cleverly designed intellectual argument. I sometimes talk to people about my beliefs if they seem open or ask questions about my religion over lunch or something, but I don't try to randomly debate my friends and family anymore. And, to this day, I have never followed up with my parents or told them exactly how I feel. I do not feel like it is advantageous to "come out" until I graduate college and live completely on my own.     Now, a couple years later, I still read a lot and I am still pretty angry about the harm religious beliefs can cause, but not nearly as much as I was in high school when I was a baby atheist and tried to deconvert my parents. I found that I still have a lot of emotional problems as a result of my religious upbringing, but I am working on it. I think a lot of my normal development was stifled by my religious upbringing. As a result, I used to struggle with severe self-esteem issues, I continue to struggle with sexual expression, I regularly feel an incredible amount of guilt about trivial things among many other things. tried to reconvert back to Christianity a couple times, trying out the Episcopal Church and Eastern Orthodoxy on for size in an attempt to be "open-minded", but I just can't swallow Christianity's basic assumptions anymore. I think my attempts were more so to feel like I fit-in with the dominant culture and connect with my parents rather than from an actual conviction that Christianity might have some kind of mystical validity that needs to be reexamined. I follow what seems to be true where it lies, based on all the available evidence... and God, Christianity, and spirituality do not seem to follow from this path of inquiry. I still have a lot of questions about life and my purpose, but I now know that in my life, Christianity is a dead end road that for me only lead to emotional anguish, self-doubt, guilt, and a never ending sense of inadequacy beneath the eyes of a wrathful God. And that’s more than okay. In fact, it’s great that I am comfortable being as intellectually honest as possible.

This is how it was for me too.  When I was a Christian I used to marvel and be really perplexed about how god could have created something as wonderful as the natural world. But it's immeasurably more wonderful and interesting without creationism. And best of all has been throwing out all the anxiety over judgement and the afterlife.

 

The emotional anguish, self-doubt, and low self esteem are all too familiar. This kind of religious upbringing really does a number on you, and whether I like it or not, it continues to influence me even after I've left the church. I decided to go to therapy to work on it, and that helps. I'm not willing to let my past influence the future to that extent, and I'm determined to overcome the negative ways in which it hampered my development.

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If you have reached this point, thank you so much for reading this very long story. I am interested in hearing your thoughts or answering any questions if you may have them. I hope that this is helpful or comforting to anyone who may share my background. It’s not the craziest, most dramatic, or most action-packed deconversion story out there, but it’s mine and I’m very happy with who I have become. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There was a lot of growing pains involved, but deprogramming after years of religious indoctrination happens very gradually. I am a much more happy person without a religious faith and am way less anxious about life in general. If you just now started having doubts, please know that you will make it through this, no matter how hard it feels. You are stronger than the religion that binds you and any of its representatives. And for people that are out, please know that you are not alone. Many of us in your community are in hiding.

 

I often wonder how many in the religious community remain there, but don't hold the same beliefs. Stories like this could give them the courage to let go and live free. It's a sacrifice, when it involves relationships, but for me, it was impossible to remain in hiding.

 

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20 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

This is how it was for me too.  When I was a Christian I used to marvel and be really perplexed about how god could have created something as wonderful as the natural world. But it's immeasurably more wonderful and interesting without creationism. And best of all has been throwing out all the anxiety over judgement and the afterlife.

 

The emotional anguish, self-doubt, and low self esteem are all too familiar. This kind of religious upbringing really does a number on you, and whether I like it or not, it continues to influence me even after I've left the church. I decided to go to therapy to work on it, and that helps. I'm not willing to let my past influence the future to that extent, and I'm determined to overcome the negative ways in which it hampered my development.

 

The negative emotions haunt me too, following behind me like a shadow. Day by day, gradually, the shadow seems to shrink, but it has taken a long time. It certainly has left a wound on me... on almost all of us, really. Even a few years after deconverting, I am still incredibly hard on myself, I still take little things way too seriously, and I still set unrealistically high standards for myself. I believe it all stems from my religious upbringing. It basically taught me at a young, vulnerable age that I need to be as perfect as possible and I need to repent of my imperfections. It's really messed up. Between age 8 and 18, when the religious indoctrination seems to take its toll for most, nobody needs to be told that they're not good enough and that key elements of normal human development are a part of some kind of sinful, fallen nature contrary to holiness and Godliness. I was essentially told to shut up and repress my feelings about these things and a lot of that remains today.

 

It's really great that you have gone to therapy to get help. It is also wonderful that you are chipping away at the negative effects of religious trauma every day... I try to do the same. I'm very, very happy that you have made so much progress and will continue to make progress each day. I'm also glad that you made it out.

 

28 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I often wonder how many in the religious community remain there, but don't hold the same beliefs. Stories like this could give them the courage to let go and live free. It's a sacrifice, when it involves relationships, but for me, it was impossible to remain in hiding.

 

It certainly was a sacrifice. I lost a ton of close friends after I lost my faith, and it stung for months afterward. What they didn't get is that I did not choose this... none of us chose to come to this conclusion. And the conclusion is inescapable. I am very grateful that everyone in my current friend group is aware that I am not a Christian and they accept me unconditionally. However, I fear the same falling out that happened with my high school friends from church might happen with my parents if I tell them everything sometime soon. When it comes to my parents and immediate family, I am still in hiding. I love my parents a ton and I do not want to lose my relationship with them... but my spirituality seems to be a grave matter to them. When I had that long-winded argument with them regarding my skepticism years ago, my stepdad threatened to kick me out of the house because he saw himself as the "spiritual leader of the house" (in his own words) and my skepticism interfered with the spiritual unity of the home. I'm not sure if he meant it or if he just said it because he was angry, but it still worries me that they might cut me out of their lives if they know that I'm an atheist. They already know I have a lot of differing opinions with them about religion, politics, and the like, but they don't know the complete truth. In fact, I still occasionally attend church with them. I'm unsure about when I will tell them if I tell them at all. What do you think I should do?

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14 minutes ago, superbrady said:

It certainly was a sacrifice. I lost a ton of close friends after I lost my faith, and it stung for months afterward. What they didn't get is that I did not choose this... none of us chose to come to this conclusion. And the conclusion is inescapable. I am very grateful that everyone in my current friend group is aware that I am not a Christian and they accept me unconditionally. However, I fear the same falling out that happened with my high school friends from church might happen with my parents if I tell them everything sometime soon. When it comes to my parents and immediate family, I am still in hiding. I love my parents a ton and I do not want to lose my relationship with them... but my spirituality seems to be a grave matter to them. When I had that long-winded argument with them regarding my skepticism years ago, my stepdad threatened to kick me out of the house because he saw himself as the "spiritual leader of the house" (in his own words) and my skepticism interfered with the spiritual unity of the home. I'm not sure if he meant it or if he just said it because he was angry, but it still worries me that they might cut me out of their lives if they know that I'm an atheist. They already know I have a lot of differing opinions with them about religion, politics, and the like, but they don't know the complete truth. In fact, I still occasionally attend church with them. I'm unsure about when I will tell them if I tell them at all. What do you think I should do?

I have yet to find out exactly how much I will sacrifice, I just came out to my parents and have yet to deal with the fallout, or any response from them. I am lucky in that I have distance and I chose not to reveal my beliefs in an actual conversation, I wrote them a letter. If you're interested you can read my letter, I just posted it in the Ex-C life thread.

 

I will lose all my christian friends, this is largely inevitable. Even with the ones who may accept me, it's almost impossible to bridge a gap where you aren't free to talk about your life, because you "live in sin" and it makes them so uncomfortable. I am starting again, when it comes to gaining friends. I want to have the kind who accept me unconditionally. It's a lonely place to be, but the air is clear here where I am, there's no more fog :) This ex-c community is great, and I also hang out in the chat room with the crowd there. It will take time, but I'm sure I can gain friends.

 

If it has met with such a negative response, I would be careful. I didn't break the news until I wasn't willing to llive under the same roof with religious relatives, especially with the fallout of revealing my beliefs. It's a huge adjustment for them, and we all need space.

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11 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I have yet to find out exactly how much I will sacrifice, I just came out to my parents and have yet to deal with the fallout, or any response from them. I am lucky in that I have distance and I chose not to reveal my beliefs in an actual conversation, I wrote them a letter. If you're interested you can read my letter, I just posted it in the Ex-C life thread.

 

I will lose all my christian friends, this is largely inevitable. Even with the ones who may accept me, it's almost impossible to bridge a gap where you aren't free to talk about your life, because you "live in sin" and it makes them so uncomfortable. I am starting again, when it comes to gaining friends. I want to have the kind who accept me unconditionally. It's a lonely place to be, but the air is clear here where I am, there's no more fog :) This ex-c community is great, and I also hang out in the chat room with the crowd there. It will take time, but I'm sure I can gain friends.

 

If it has met with such a negative response, I would be careful. I didn't break the news until I wasn't willing to llive under the same roof with religious relatives, especially with the fallout of revealing my beliefs. It's a huge adjustment for them, and we all need space.

 

I just read your letter a few minutes ago! It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. I wish you the best when your parents get back to you.

 

I lost pretty much all of my friends at the church, but it's okay - since they didn't like me for me and only liked me under the condition that I am a Christian, they weren't really a true friend to me anyways. Likewise, if your Christian friends change their opinion of you as a result of your lack of faith, you're probably better off without them. It's incredibly shallow for Christian people to only associate themselves with follow Christians... and I also find it kind of concerning that so many wall themselves off from opinions differing from their own. It's why they have so much cognitive dissonance! It's never good to live in an echo chamber.

 

I was not aware that there is a chat room! I'll have to check it out sometime. I think the Ex-C community is great too. :D

 

Thank you for the advice, by the way. I really appreciate your input. I will probably go with my original plan and wait until I graduate college considering that I live with my parents over the summer and on breaks. I only have about a year to go until I graduate, though. It will be a better time when I live on my own full time and am completely self-sufficient and, like you said, when we have some space.

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It's always fun to get new peeps in the chat room, instructions on signing up can be found here:

 You can do it if it's a year, it's tough to have to pretend you're something your not, but in the meanwhile it could make your life less conflict prone. Not living with family full-time is a great deal easier in that situation, you have some freedom of your own. It's a tough road but do-able. And if you have resources on campus you could look into therapy. There's a great book written by psychologist Marlene Winell regarding all of these problems you have mentioned (anxiety etc) and it could help you process some of this stuff further, if you want to check it out it's called Leaving the Fold. I believe she also runs an online support-group for those recovering from religion.

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4 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

You can do it if it's a year, it's tough to have to pretend you're something your not, but in the meanwhile it could make your life less conflict prone. Not living with family full-time is a great deal easier in that situation, you have some freedom of your own. It's a tough road but do-able. And if you have resources on campus you could look into therapy. There's a great book written by psychologist Marlene Winell regarding all of these problems you have mentioned (anxiety etc) and it could help you process some of this stuff further, if you want to check it out it's called Leaving the Fold. I believe she also runs an online support-group for those recovering from religion.

 

I feel like it would take a lot of weight off of my shoulders if they knew. I don't like being dishonest. I mean, I don't lie and say that I believe things that I don't believe, but I also kind of hide the truth from them. And it's really hard for me to bite my tongue sometimes when my parents say silly things about non-Christians. My mom recently signed a petition online that proposed a national holiday in remembrance of Billy Graham. I informed her that it would probably never pass because it kind of goes against the separation of church and state and she said that people in the United States who don't think that this should be a national holiday should just "move somewhere else". Sigh.

 

My university actually has counseling services that are included in the cost of tuition. They're a good resource and I have talked to some of the counselors before about academic stress. "Leaving the Fold" sounds like a really great read! I just added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks a bunch for the suggestion.

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