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DeadTOm

Left it all behind in my mid-twenties

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I enjoyed reading your story, I can relate to a lot of it. Fundamentalism is sheer craziness, and when I look back at how I judged other people I also feel a great deal of shame, but I also try to be kind to myself. You can't blame children indoctrinated from a very young age for not having the ability to know truth from fiction. 

I know what you're talking about in regards to having the ability to be critical of your opinions and think about why you have them. I am still trying to analyze why I sometimes feel something is right or wrong without really having any basis anywhere other than my religious upbringing. And when this is the case I do my best to form opinions that are well informed and yet open to change. It helps that I've gained a degree of disdain for rigid, uncompromising and inflexible views as a result of my involvement with fundamentalism. 

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Very well thought out and written extimony, @DeadTOm.

 

Welcome to Ex-C and congratulations on thinking your way out of the mind control. 

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Aww..it was really nice reading your story....

 

You are right... Christianity is hatred disguised as love... I have experienced this myself and see right now Christians ruining the life of other Christians for the sake of power and authority in the Church.😠

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Your story is well-written. I regret having raised my children in the Baptist church and taking the to Sunday school and VBS.

You see I was indoctrinated in Fundamentalist Christianity since childhood. My father was a pastor in the AOG church.

My upbringing was extremely hypocritical,  abusive, misguided and harmful. I thank my brain for THINKING my way out of the stupid bible and religion.

My two children are married now with families of their own. I have asked their forgiveness for exposing them to all the crap

ideas they were raised with. Luckily, they suffered no harm. Although, my daughter adopted her husband's Liberal Catholicism.

And my son is not religious. At least I have a chance to influence my grandchildren toward reason and evidence.

I love Maya Angelou's quote "If you know better, you do better."  I'm glad you know better than to have your mind controlled

by nonsense. 

 

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Cheers! And yes, it's a hard journey but it can be quite blissful on the other side... and the irony of watching people boasting about heaven but with shifty eyes, gnashing teeth, and clawing hands~

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On 5/4/2018 at 2:53 PM, DeadTOm said:

I wanted to know how we knew that so many other civilizations existed in the world, at the time of “the flood”, and yet they were not wiped out, and apparently failed to even notice the raining for forty days and forty nights, and the subsequent flooding. Egypt was a perfect example. They kept impeccable records of everything they did, and yet somehow this flood is never mentioned, and their civilization was untouched by it. 

 

Seriously! And not only that, the Bible itself mentions the Nephilim both before and after the flood! The original ones were the children of the sons of God (that's El, not Yahweh) who had married human women (making them Jehovah's nephews, I suppose), and after the flood their descendants were still around as the giants living in Canaan that 10 of the 12 spies were afraid of. I guess if you're half deity, the flood doesn't drown you!

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18 hours ago, Lerk said:

 

Seriously! And not only that, the Bible itself mentions the Nephilim both before and after the flood! The original ones were the children of the sons of God (that's El, not Yahweh) who had married human women (making them Jehovah's nephews, I suppose), and after the flood their descendants were still around as the giants living in Canaan that 10 of the 12 spies were afraid of. I guess if you're half deity, the flood doesn't drown you!

 

 

I figure that some of the cleverest nephilim used their jumping skills during the flood, leaping sky-high and then hanging on to the goldang'd firmament, until the rain subsided.

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On 5/4/2018 at 12:53 PM, DeadTOm said:

I've been a member of these forums for a few years, mostly just lurking and very occasionally commenting. I've never actually dropped my story in here. 

 

Like most white Americans, I was born into christianity. My dad was never what you would call steadfast, or devout, but he claimed to be a Christian and as far as I know, still does. My mother on the other hand, was a christian fundamentalist, through and through. She was fanatic about her faith, and tried to instill that fanaticism in my brother and I. When we were little, it worked. It was easy. Why wouldn’t it be? We were little kids and we believed anything our mother told us.

 

We grew up right in the thick of the satanic panic, and man, that shit had me and my brother terrified. I can remember, very clearly, the fear that any talk about “the devil” invoked at the time. We were afraid of everything. Cartoons, toys, movies, games, you name it. It all had the power of satan behind it.

 

When mom told us the smurfs were satanic because there was magic in the show, we believed her and we became afraid of the smurfs. When she told us He-man was satanic, the same went there, enough that when I would see a He-man toy at a friend’s house, I would be afraid to touch it or even be near it. The same went for Dungeons and Dragons (kind of a given), rock music, MTV, you name it. If someone at church, or on the 700 club, said something was satanic, my mother was all over it, and it was banned from the household.

 

My brother and I saw the movie “E.T” in the theater when we were kids, and of course we loved it. We had the books, the toys, the story cassettes, the stuffed animals, the posters, the t-shirts… E.T. was huge to us. Then one day, I believe in the third grade, it all just went away. I never saw what happened to it all but the murmur about the church was that it had all been burned.

 

When I was four or five years old, we lived in a little trailer park on the outskirts of Casper, Wyoming. My parents had somehow decided to take in a foster child. She was a teenager and her name was Claudia. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a permanent situation or if she was just staying with us for a while, but the situation was volatile right from the start. Somehow, my mother had become convinced that Claudia was practicing witchcraft. My mom claimed to have seen a demon in the living room, and that Claudia had made the vacuum cleaner move on it’s own. Again, being a small child, I believed all of this without question. I would go on to repeat the stories my mother told me about Claudia, to my friends growing up. At some point, Claudia packed up her things and ran away in the middle of the night. I never did find out what happened to her. Looking back, I feel sorry for her. I have no idea what kind of family situation she came from, or how she ended up in foster care, but to get dropped into our family… that had to be awful. I haven’t thought about her since I was a kid.

 

The rest of my childhood, up until high school, was a parade of incidents like this. Not knowing anything any different, I never really thought much about it all. It was the world I knew. Demons, witches and satanists were every where. The devil was constantly trying to influence us, and he had followers sacrificing kids, and raping babies in day care center basements, in his name. God was around, but you had to spend a lot of time looking for him. Or rather, you had to spend a lot of time looking REALLY HARD for signs of him, but you’d never actually see him. He worked in mysterious ways and such.

 

The turning point for me started in high school. I got a job, a car, and started making friends and having a life away from the church, something that didn’t go unnoticed by my mother, and by the church. It wasn’t as if my friends and I sat around picking apart christianity, quite the opposite in fact. My friends all thought of themselves as christians. The difference was that their christianity was not the focal point of their lives. It was peripheral. It was something they believed, but that belief did not occupy every waking moment of their lives.

 

This did create enough distance for me to start seeing things just a little bit differently. I had time to start actively contemplating some of the things in the bible that just didn’t add up, and to take a step back and actually, critically think about some of the things I was being taught in church and at youth group. I started to notice patterns of behavior in the church that bothered me. I remember standing in the church one day after a sermon, looking around the room and listening to what people were saying about homosexuality, and thinking to myself “This is not love, this is hatred disguised as love, and no one here can tell the difference”.

 

At some point I went out and bought myself a Strong’s Concordance. I was then able to cross reference things, look for other places that certain things were mentioned, and instead of revealing more godly wisdom to me, it cast a glaring spotlight on all of the cracks and inconsistencies in the bible. Shit didn’t add up, and no one in the church wanted to address those things. It was a collective willful ignorance, and I was chastised for speaking up about it.

 

Pretty soon I was asking who Adam and Eve’s children married, and what people was Cain worried about so much that god marked him to tell them to leave him alone, if there were no other people around? I wanted to know how we knew that so many other civilizations existed in the world, at the time of “the flood”, and yet they were not wiped out, and apparently failed to even notice the raining for forty days and forty nights, and the subsequent flooding. Egypt was a perfect example. They kept impeccable records of everything they did, and yet somehow this flood is never mentioned, and their civilization was untouched by it.

 

I had a lot of questions. The answers were usually something along the lines of “I don’t know, but god does”, an answer which somehow satisfied everyone else in the room, all of whom were more than happy with the non-answer, and who felt comfortable with the idea that god knowing the answer was good enough. It wasn’t good enough for me though. Eventually my questions were brought to my parents’ attention, and what I was told by them and the church elders, was that I should spend more time meditating on god’s word, and less time asking questions. They didn’t put it like that, of course, but that’s what they were saying.

 

It wasn’t just the unanswered questions, it was my increasing awareness that all of these people, not just in my church but every other church I had dealings with, were incredibly judgmental. They were spiteful, and hateful, and yet utterly convinced that they were the exact opposite of those things. By the time I hit college, what was left of my faith was hanging by a thread. The only thing that kept me calling myself a christian, was fear of the unknown. Christianity was all I had known, all my life.

 

I was twenty five when I was finally comfortable saying out loud that I was not a christian. Nothing monumental happened that lead up to this, just more little experiences. Lots of little life lessons that showed more and more, that everything I’d learned growing up, was wrong. Not simply factually incorrect, but often morally wrong, and even harmful. I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.

 

To say that I have some lingering anger at christianity doesn’t really describe it. Yes, I am angry. It’s an internal struggle that I deal with every day. I’ll admit that when I learn that someone is a christian, it colors my view of them immediately, and they have to work harder to earn my respect. I know this is wrong. It’s difficult to shake.

 

The de-conversion process was mostly about learning to recognize old behaviors, and eventually to see them coming so that I could choose to behave differently. Things like attributing every good event to god, and whispering a prayer of thanks under my breath, or a prayer of forgiveness when I did something I thought I shouldn’t have been doing. It took a while to shake attitudes toward women who behaved, or dressed in ways that the church taught me were unacceptable. It became this game of asking myself why I felt the way I did about certain things, and boiling it down to one simple question.

 

Is a behavior harmful?

 

That simple question became the litmus test by which I judged everything I did, and everything I saw other people doing. If I couldn’t find some harm in an action or behavior, then I could begin to see it differently, and think about it more critically. This was quite different from what I’d grown up with, which was simply “because god” or “because the bible”. It took years to change my thinking. I still look back at old behaviors, I look at the way I judged people, and I feel utterly foolish, even ashamed sometimes.

 

I’m now forty-two years old. I no longer look at anything through the lens of christianity. I also no longer have to consciously play that mental tug of war with my old, christian beliefs. I don’t live in constant fear of the devil and satanists anymore. I no longer spend all of my time wondering what god thinks of what I’m doing at any given moment. In general, I’m a much happier person, and to be honest, much less of a judgmental ass.

I left in a very similar way to you. 

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sounds exactly like my life. I'm 51yo now. I firmly believe that those who NEED such rigid rules are simply too weak to go thru life on their own. That they need it as a crutch & moral compass. 

 

As a female, the rules, I felt, were much more rigid simply because of my gender. I had competed for & won piano scholarships, but because of my gender, needed to instead get a secretarial job & start breeding... With the perfect christian husband, of course. 

And the clothing rules... And make-up rules... And the "I'm second to males" rules... 🖕

 

My family still believes I'll "come back to god"..."I'm still saved because they claimed me"...."I know what the truth really is".......makes me f'ing CRAZY!!! 

 

So... I refuse to be around them more than a few times a year...

 

And it's sad, but necessary for my sanity, and to protect my children from their harsh, outspoken judgements. 

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