Jace

Do you ever feel stupid about how long it took?

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I’m struggling with this right now. Today, I was teaching Roman mythology to my students. I teach at a Christian school and will until the summer. We were talking about similarities and differences between mythology and Christianity, when one of my students shouted, “If God is good and kind, and Jesus is alive and can do anything, why is there killing, and pain, and hunger?! I no longer believe!”

 

This led to an awesome conversation, of which I’ll spare the details. But man, that, plus what’s going on in Jerusalem right now, has me feeling like an utter moron.

 

Why did it take so long to come out of Christianity? Deep within, I KNEW better—I knew it didn’t add up! My student wasn’t asking trick questions, and his questions have simple answers! I’m not stupid. I’m very independent and have an impeccable bs meter, but damn, indoctrination is real, and I feel like I missed out on so much because of it. 😖

 

At the same time, it was over 30 years of my life, and I feel like I’m on the tail end of a breakup. Ugh. Dammit. 

 

My mantra, lately, has been, “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know when you didn’t know it,” and that’s where I’ll sit, until I get past this. 

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I never really believed, but I do feel that I was a bit nuts to continue attending church for so long. Just stopped going a few years ago. Silly me!

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Childhood indoctrination is a terrible thing.  It's rare for Christians to ensnare somebody who had an atheist childhood.  But when Christians look to convert an adult they look for somebody who's life has fallen apart so they are desperate.  Christianity is a successful religion that has indoctrinated millions of people over the course of millennia.  They know how to trap people.

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Don't be so hard on yourself. You couldn't change until you were ready to change. And while the signs were there, and the feelings about the bs were there, your brain may not have been there.

 

We respond to our situations based on who we are at that moment.

 

I have always been an outside the box thinker and now that I look back on my christian life, I see moments when things just didn't add up and that I questioned things back then, but I was comfortable where I was and the cognitive dissonance I felt wasn't strong enough to cause major issues with me then. Eventually, I started to see the cracks in the foundation of my belief and I found this site and then all the sudden I am taking a sledge hammer to my beliefs and ripping those cracks open. I wasn't ready in the past, but I was at a place in my life that I had the ability to take action on the things that caused the dissonance.

 

You can't change the past. You can only live in the present. Being upset that you fell into the trap of essentially being human is nothing to beat yourself up for. It was basically inevitable and thankfully you were able to work your way out of it. Enjoy what you've found and keep being yourself. I wish you the best going forward.

 

 

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There is absolutely no reason to feel stupid, @Jace.

Like you said - indoctrination is real. I have a pretty strong BS meter too and I got sucked in. 

Addiction to religion is real too.  I've watched Mrs. MOHO progress (degress?) from a lukewarm xitan to having an insatiable need for a fix over a span of 3~4 years. 

 

Just be happy that you found your way out.

Don't look back.

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If I were inclined to dwell on it, I too might feel stupid for taking so long to get out.  When I read the ex-timony of somebody who rejected Christianity as a young adult, I think "that could have been me - but it wasn't";  I started to question things in my twenties too, but I got sucked back in and was past fifty years old when I finally "scratched the itch" with a vengeance and became an Ex-Christian.  To some extent, I was never really "all-in" and some Christians would say I was never truly a Christian at all.  But I don't care.  What matters to me is that I am not one now. 

 

As others here have said, the indoctrination of children into religious belief is a terrible and powerful thing.  Most victims never break free,  so @Jace, you and I can be very glad to be among those who did! 

 

2 hours ago, MOHO said:

 

Addiction to religion is real too.  I've watched Mrs. MOHO progress (degress?) from a lukewarm xitan to having an insatiable need for a fix over a span of 3~4 years. 

 

This is a good example of why I believe there is no truly safe or harmless version of Christianity.  Even moderate Christianity involves acquiring the Faith Virus.  Combine that with access to the Bible and all kinds of craziness are possible.  Only by fully deconverting and becoming immune to Christianity and theism can we be safe from its clutches.  Oh and @MOHO, I believe the word is "regress"...

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It took me 47 years to figure it out. Like other's have noted, we can't change the past. I'm just glad to be free from it. 

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6 hours ago, Tsathoggua9 said:

I never really believed, but I do feel that I was a bit nuts to continue attending church for so long. Just stopped going a few years ago. Silly me!

Stopped going two months ago (ironically, my Xtian husband is the one who halted it), and found out this weekend that we’re on the prayer list to come back. 😄

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You guys are right. @Storm, I think I’ve narrowed it down to pure fear. I’m from Mississippi, and since hell is hotter than that, I wanted no parts of it!

 

Also, I’d seen so many answered prayers that, at the time, I couldn’t attribute to anything else. 

 

I tell myself that my experience was for the help of someone else; someone will walk away and need somebody to help them out, and I’ll be there. In fact, it’s already happening. But you know how many people I led to Christ and helped mold into godly young women? A bunch. 

 

@MOHO not looking back is key. Everyday I’m reminded of ways in which that lifestyle was my default. I’ll bow my head to bless my food or react to pray in a bind, etc. We’re creatures of habit, so I’m working on mindfulness. 

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I often wonder the same thing. Why did it take so long?

 

I think I sometimes get more annoyed with myself rather than feeling stupid.

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Definitely annoyed, lots of regret and wondering what routes I’d have taken otherwise. Sometimes I wish I’d have had the course to explore those nagging questions instead of relenting and having “faith.” I push the envelope in every single other area of my life, but I didn’t with this.

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Courage, not course. 

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I am with you Jace.  25 years not fully lived.   25 years I can not get back.

 

BUT, I found my way out 8 years ago.  I have been living every day to its fullest.  The journey is not without its difficulties, but so worth it.  Would love to share coffee and talk you through it, but it is not likely you live near Oregon.

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Sometimes you are so busy with life you may have doubts, but time and motivation just are not there.  Throw into that mix for family and cultural expectations that it may take a real crisis to come along and smack you in the face.  Besides all the BS, there are some good character building elements that happened I am sure for most.  Don't get me wrong, not defending the BULLSHIT, just pointing out that with every bad situation there can be a silver lining, even if it is what is embodied in the saying, "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger".  Think of it like boot camp in the military of a sort except with more mind fuck.

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From where I'm standing, and looking back, I conclude:

  1. However long it takes, it's seeing past the bullshit that counts;
  2. I am what I am because I was what I was;
  3. It is pointless regretting my past beliefs because that would make me a different person then and now;
  4. Either way, I have no idea what sort of person I will be tomorrow - I only know that today will be the stepping stone that gets me there.

So, accept you made mistakes by all means, but move on and don't agonise over it.  We've all done a lot of stupid things in hindsight - as long as we learn from that, so what?

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On 5/14/2018 at 6:06 AM, Jace said:

At the same time, it was over 30 years of my life, and I feel like I’m on the tail end of a breakup. Ugh. Dammit. 

 

My mantra, lately, has been, “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know when you didn’t know it,” and that’s where I’ll sit, until I get past this. 

 

I don't think I feel stupid for becoming a Christian. It was good for a while. Then it became not good and I quit. I wasn't indoctrinated till age 30 though, and only believed for 10 years.

 

Cut yourself some slack. What's done is done. Was life always horrible as a Christian? Mine wasn't. I might equate Christianity to eating fatty foods. Back then I needed to cut out the unhealthy Jesus stuff. Today I need to cut out the Oreos. No need to beat yourself up over it. :)

 

 

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On 5/19/2018 at 1:15 PM, ConsiderTheSource said:

I am with you Jace.  25 years not fully lived.   25 years I can not get back.

 

BUT, I found my way out 8 years ago.  I have been living every day to its fullest.  The journey is not without its difficulties, but so worth it.  Would love to share coffee and talk you through it, but it is not likely you live near Oregon.

Exactly this. I mourn what could have been. I know what I would have done that I didn’t and what I absolutely wouldn’t have done, but did. My best friend actually lives in Oregon, but I live in China, so it would take me a while to get there. 😄

 

@Burnedout, mind fuck, indeed. 

 

@Ellinas, #2 is where I find a great amount of comfort. I like very much who I am, and already I’ve been a source for others who are coming out of the fog. I guess I’ll chalk that up to my purpose and detach from what I should or could have been. 

 

Lol @midniterider lol

No, it wasn’t all bad. It was actually great, until it wasn’t. 

 

@Ann, acceptance. Shouldn’t it be easier than this? Haha

 

 

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@Jace, in a word.....yes lol. You described exactly how I feel, I feel that deep deeeeeeep, waaaaaay down I knew better. But I had somehow confused that knowledge with a sinful doubt. I was indoctrinated from childhood, it's QUITE a feat to have somewhat overcome it. 

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7 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

@Jace, in a word.....yes lol. You described exactly how I feel, I feel that deep deeeeeeep, waaaaaay down I knew better. But I had somehow confused that knowledge with a sinful doubt. I was indoctrinated from childhood, it's QUITE a feat to have somewhat overcome it. 

Me too, since I came out the womb. 

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On 5/23/2018 at 2:31 PM, Jace said:

Me too, since I came out the womb. 

 

Word.

 

One of my earliest memories was the night I became a Christian.  I was only six years old.  We were at a Jimmy Swagger revival and when Swagger made the alter call at the end I thought to myself "This is something I was planning to do anyway".  Then I told my family several times "This is something I was planning to do anyway".  All of us were all so proud of ourselves.  

 

What kind of six year old plans to become a Christian someday?

 

 

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@Jace Great question. I ask myself why it took me 25 years to get out. I stayed for a long, long time, having so many questions. I don't feel stupid, but I do want to know why. Why did the message of Jesus "work" on me? Why didn't I get out when I started seeing things I didn't agree with? For me, I think part of it was that the longer I was in that culture, the more stuck in I was. I didn't have friends from my formerly (sinful) life anymore. I was so indoctrinated into the culture and way of thinking, that I couldn't imagine starting all over again. The older I got, the more stuck I felt. Also, for me, I think there was a strong need to please my family. I was the successful missionary, worship leader, singer, ministry leader, etc., that my family could point to and say, "that's our daughter!" I didn't want to disappoint.

 

In the end, I had to get out to save my sanity, and my own life. I do regret how long it took, but I guess I'm looking more for tendencies in myself (or weaknesses) that kept me hooked. I felt more weak than stupid. But I'm getting stronger all the time. Baby steps.

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On 5/28/2018 at 1:02 AM, mymistake said:

 

Word.

 

One of my earliest memories was the night I became a Christian.  I was only six years old.  We were at a Jimmy Swagger revival and when Swagger made the alter call at the end I thought to myself "This is something I was planning to do anyway".  Then I told my family several times "This is something I was planning to do anyway".  All of us were all so proud of ourselves.  

 

What kind of six year old plans to become a Christian someday?

 

 

 

The kind who gets that kill-aid served at every meal since birth. I was young like that, too. What’s funny though is I innately believed other things, until I was told they were evil. I’m currently exploring those other thoughts. 

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Kool-aid*

 

Man, I had to battle auto correct for that. 

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On 5/28/2018 at 4:45 AM, Riven said:

@Jace Great question. I ask myself why it took me 25 years to get out. I stayed for a long, long time, having so many questions. I don't feel stupid, but I do want to know why. Why did the message of Jesus "work" on me? Why didn't I get out when I started seeing things I didn't agree with? For me, I think part of it was that the longer I was in that culture, the more stuck in I was. I didn't have friends from my formerly (sinful) life anymore. I was so indoctrinated into the culture and way of thinking, that I couldn't imagine starting all over again. The older I got, the more stuck I felt. Also, for me, I think there was a strong need to please my family. I was the successful missionary, worship leader, singer, ministry leader, etc., that my family could point to and say, "that's our daughter!" I didn't want to disappoint.

 

In the end, I had to get out to save my sanity, and my own life. I do regret how long it took, but I guess I'm looking more for tendencies in myself (or weaknesses) that kept me hooked. I felt more weak than stupid. But I'm getting stronger all the time. Baby steps.

Thanks for sharing this. Family influence/expectations play a big role. I know for me, part of it is my extreme, zealous personality. It’s balanced out over the years, but it didn’t serve me in any way other than athletics, which I see now. 

 

I don’t want that for my kids, but I see so much of myself in them. My husband and I are working out how to raise them, now that I’m no longer a believer. 

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I feel angry about how long it took. So many wasted opportunities when I could have been happy. Instead I lived for an imaginary God.

 

This might sound crazy but I actually right now wish Jesus was real. Because I loved him. Yesterday night, we were having a family prayer and I suddenly felt/remembered how real Jesus was to me. I lived for him, believed he was there for me. But, now I realize Jesus does not exist.

 

Believing in Jesus led me to controlling and negative friendships and made me stay.

 

I think humans are wired that way- it is not easy to overcome your conditioning.

Think about the crazy people who kill in the name of religion- at least you didn't do anything like that.

 

You are out now..and you have a whole new life in front of you..to live as you wish...

 

As they say...better late than never.

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