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justaskingquestions

Advice for Leaving the Church Culture

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Hi everyone,

 

The part of this entire process - leaving Christianity and the church - that has been the most difficult for me thus far has been abandoning the cultural aspects of the church. I was raised Baptist, and so I was raised with many luncheons. I still believe in the spiritual and social power of food, and sharing meals with those you love, but I'm not sure how to share that part of my religious past now that I'm not in the church.

 

Also, one aspect of Christianity that I always loved was the music. I first learned about music, and first became a musician, in the church. I genuinely loved the hymns. I loved gospel. I loved contemporary Christian music. Hell, I've sang O Holy Night many times during Christmas.

 

Another thing - Christmas. One of the hardest things I'm letting go of is Christmas. Not because of presents - in fact, that's really simple. I can buy myself what I want. No, instead its the culture. The carols, the decorations, the spirit of giving, the dinners, the togetherness, the birth of a Savior. Christmas was genuinely my favorite time - the most wonderful time of the year, it says. 

 

Anyone have insight on how to deal with this?

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I see no reason to fear or avoid music you like, and a secular Christmas is a fine thing. After all, we can be entertained by songs, books and movies about fairies, ghosts and genies and there is no requirement to believe those things actually exist. Christian music, holidays and traditions are part of our culture. It doesn't have to be spooky.

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Speaking as someone who also loves food and music, I'm hopeful that you might be able to find some new social groups that enjoy eating and music without all the religious baggage. :)

 

I don't know if I have any particular insight, but it does seem to me that the changes in social networks are a real issue for a lot of people. It's not just that you change your beliefs, you have to disentangle yourself from a bunch of problematic relationships, and it can be hard to find new relationships to replace them with. Even when you don't lose relationships, their character is altered in a way that can feel like a big loss. My only advice is that I think it takes time, and you have to hang in there. I think sites like this one can be useful to people as they work through all of those changes. Or at least that's the goal.

 

Also, this is just my opinion, but I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with continuing to appreciate some of the cultural elements of religion. I myself am still pretty enamored of some eastern orthodox church music. I do think that deconversion can be traumatic and that music can be something of a trigger, so I understand why some people feel like they need to make a clean break from stuff like that, lest they get sucked back in emotionally in ways that they feel are detrimental to them. That's something you'll have to figure out yourself, I think, but if you enjoy the music and it doesn't stress you out than by all means enjoy it imo.

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

I see no reason to fear or avoid music you like, and a secular Christmas is a fine thing. After all, we can be entertained by songs, books and movies about fairies, ghosts and genies and there is no requirement to believe those things actually exist. Christian music, holidays and traditions are part of our culture. It doesn't have to be spooky.

I guess this is true. I guess that I just feel that I don't like to appropriate a holiday that I'm not genuinely celebrating. 

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1 hour ago, wellnamed said:

Also, this is just my opinion, but I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with continuing to appreciate some of the cultural elements of religion. I myself am still pretty enamored of some eastern orthodox church music. I do think that deconversion can be traumatic and that music can be something of a trigger, so I understand why some people feel like they need to make a clean break from stuff like that, lest they get sucked back in emotionally in ways that they feel are detrimental to them. That's something you'll have to figure out yourself, I think, but if you enjoy the music and it doesn't stress you out than by all means enjoy it imo.

Thank you ❤️

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2 minutes ago, justaskingquestions said:

I guess this is true. I guess that I just feel that I don't like to appropriate a holiday that I'm not genuinely celebrating. 

 

Nobody cares if you ‘appropriate’  Christmas.  There is no Christmas-enforcement body that ensures you sign on to every aspect of the season.  To paraphrase, you can throw out the baby and keep the bath water. That’s what I do. I still enjoy Christmas. 

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10 minutes ago, justaskingquestions said:

I guess this is true. I guess that I just feel that I don't like to appropriate a holiday that I'm not genuinely celebrating. 

The Christians appropriated all their holidays from elsewhere. The Winter Solstice was celebrated long before anybody called it "Christmas." Easter? Don't even go there! Relax and enjoy the festivities!

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12 minutes ago, florduh said:

The Christians appropriated all their holidays from elsewhere. The Winter Solstice was celebrated long before anybody called it "Christmas." Easter? Don't even go there! Relax and enjoy the festivities!

Good point!

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18 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Nobody cares if you ‘appropriate’  Christmas.  There is no Christmas-enforcement body that ensures you sign on to every aspect of the season.  To paraphrase, you can throw out the baby and keep the bath water. That’s what I do. I still enjoy Christmas. 

That's true. I just remember as a Christian being really annoyed with my atheist friends who celebrated Christmas haha

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Annoying Christians is just one of the many perks that atheists enjoy :P

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8 minutes ago, justaskingquestions said:

I guess this is true. I guess that I just feel that I don't like to appropriate a holiday that I'm not genuinely celebrating. 

 

'Genuine' is in the eye of the beholder. My agnostic/atheist family celebrated Christmas for years. The reason for the season was family and presents and decorations. We even sang Christmas songs. :) We just didnt worship Jesus.

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The social aspect is tough for me because I'm a scream'n introvert and all of Mrs. MOHO's friends in OR are fundies. My plan is to actually make new friends so when the Critty Bitties are over I can run off to the local pub with my trusty ES-137 and try my hand at the blues competition.

 

As far as Chrsitmass...call it X-mass and have yourself a merry little one...:dance::jesus::68:

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