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Guest Dude

From Fissure To Abyss

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Guest Dude

I was born-again at 10 years of age (asked Jesus into my heart). I have been in many gospel groups. I have been on many praise & worship teams. I have been a choir director, have served on 2 church elder/deacon boards.

 

I very recently realized that the Biblical foundation on which I have stood has flaws. I very recently realized that the unanswered prayers and random events of prayers answered (coincidences) were just that: randomness. I am numb right now. Most of my life has been involved in religion and serving a non-existent God.

 

I love Jesus. I love Christianity. Yes, still. I love what it stands for and what it represents. But it is untrue.

 

My wife is a born-again Pentecostal. Her mother is also.

 

I'll tell you where I started doubting...

 

I prayed for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit according to the Book of Acts and my (Pentecostal) Church with evidence in speaking in tongues for about 25 years. It never happened. My prayer was never answered. So I figured that may be speaking in tongues was mis-interpreted by the Pentecostals. OK, so maybe the church had misunderstood about the infilling of the Holy Spirit in Acts...maybe the other denominations were right about the infilling. There were other prayers that were answered and others that weren't throughout the years.

 

However, it was during my second iteration of serving on a board of directors of a church (I had served before about 11 years ago in another church in another area) that I started having problems with Christians (the problems were the same, I just thought this time it would be different). The problem was that the Christians in leadership and making the decisions and running things were for whatever reason unable to do the things that Jesus said to do. I'm not talking about sins, I'm talking about ethics*, and injustices that were the antithesis of what Jesus' "ethics" were as portrayed in the Bible. You know, the whole "WWJD" thing. What do you think all those "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets were about? They were about reminding us of keeping our eyes on Jesus and doing what he would have us to do ethically. I found it strange that these people in power in the church were least able to do what Jesus said to do ethically.

 

How could that be? Here were VERY learned people, not only leaders in the community but also in the church, extremely knowledgeable in Bible studies, prayer warriors, etc. Yet they were unable to muster the power of our risen Saviour and ethically execute like Him. How could that be? Here were people who were born-again of the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, filled with the very Holy Spirit of God and yet they were utterly helpless in acting according to the simple ethics given to them by our Lord. How could that be? Here were people who were in prayer more than any other people I have seen, who read their Bible more than others, had faith the size of Texas, were rooted and grounded in Christ, yet they were absolutely helpless in abiding by SIMPLE Christian ethics. How could that be?

 

I had started doubting God by seeing how others (and myself) in leadership, and the most biblically studied, treated the common Christian contrary to Christian ethics put forth by Jesus Himself. We ushered in and praised the Physicians and prominent businessmen with all the honor worthy of a Sadducee or Pharisee. I was in Christian leadership in many facets. In many places, in many denominations. Same non-Christian (and basically evolutionary) ethics** prevailed everywhere in every Christian based system. Don't you imagine there could be one Christian in leadership who could understand the simple Christian ethics from the Sermon on the Mount by mustering the power of the Holy Spirit? One? just one? I never saw it. Never.

 

Well, of coarse, the first stuff I heard (and had said before myself) was "Get your eyes off man and onto God" just because they cry "Lord!, Lord!" does not necessarily mean they are of Christ. But, all of them?!?! [i later realized that this "Get your eyes off man and onto God" stuff was a blatant attempt to eschew personal responsibility]

 

This is where the problem started. I could not sit on the Board of Directors again and be a part of the decision making executive process that defied the very teachings of my Lord and Saviour. The level of hypocrisy is unbearable...and it wasn't purposeful, but it was willful. I can understand mistakes. People are human and make mistakes. I can understand that. But calculated injustices were tearing at my heart. Again, this was not an isolated incident. I was in many forms of leadership in many different Churches and even several different denominations over the years. Since I sang and traveled, I have experienced much more than the average Christian even does. This was not an isolated incident but a continuing parade of injustices and ethical inequities perpetrated by Christian leaders everywhere I had ever been close enough to observe them.

 

Anyway, that is where the crack started. How could people empowered by prayer, salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit willfully be unjust having full knowledge of Christ? Was God not strong enough? I know man is not strong enough but can't man access a tiny bit of Godly power through prayer or something to act Christlike?

 

I was not stupid. I recognized the fissure as a possible way of Satan getting my eyes off God. My past prayers were answered randomly. Nothing trustworthy. So I prayed more, I read more (bible), I studied more (Christian Apologetics), I focused more on God and I cried out to God saying" Please, Lord, help me! This is hurting me spiritually and I beg and cry out for your help!" I continued to pray and seek the face of God. But nothing happened. Why didn't God help me? Why? I am begging for spiritual help...I am not begging for a car, or food, or anything material...i'm begging for SPIRITUAL help. It did not come.

 

Now, this isn't over a couple of weeks or something...this went on for months and even several years as I weakened yet still cried out to God to help me spiritually. I can accept God not answering physical prayer, but spiritual was another matter. I realized that I did not have it in me spiritually, so I asked for some simple assistance from God. Spiritual assistance. It didn't come. I did not remain idle during these times. I prayed more, read more, sought God more. Yet, nothing. I delved much more deeply into Christian apologetics and Christian Science (as opposed to evolutionary science;not the religion). Some hope but more confusion as to why Jesus, who came to tell simple things to simple people, couldn't answer these new problems simply but with a twisting, spinning, excuse making, apologetics. This is where the simplicity of Christs message starts to fail.

 

I have always believed that God would not allow Satan to give you more than you can bear. But that is exactly what happened. The spiritual crack widened but I still turned to God and cried out for help. I still do to this day. But nothing has happened...what am I to believe? It was more than I can bear. Why would God allow his servant more than he could bear? I have had trials before. I have even had spiritual "deserts" before. This was raw abandonment.

 

I have seen God fail other faithfuls also. People who I had known very well. Knew their hearts, their works, etc. As leaders we promoted and talked about the ones who said that they succeeded spiritually. But from the platform, I always saw the utter despair in the eyes of the ones sitting in the pews out there that did NOT have a spiritual movement, yet asked in humble desperation. While the others were celebrating the awesomeness of God and ignoring the ones whom God didn't answer, I did the opposite.

 

I started looking for Christians who were experiencing what i was for some form of support. I came across something by a Christian who started asking some hard questions to leadership and they ignored him, snubbed him, or treated him as a heathen simply because he had questions. He finally got upset and wrote his questions down on one paper but no Christians would address them without putting a "spin" on things (here is his page http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/buckner/tough.html)

 

I understand spiritual deserts. But this was more than i could bear. How could the God I served most of my teenage years and adult life allow this to happen to me? My faith had been rock solid, far larger than a grain of mustard seed. My faith was strong even though God wasn't answering my spiritual prayers. I knew that it took strong faith to continue as a Christian. But eventually, it wears on your faith. Faith only lasts so long. I was a spiritually strong individual but not infinitely strong. For infinite strength, I relied on an infinite God. I served and prayed and did works and did spiritual things...everyting that was asked. I was clean, didn't have ill in my heart...nothing. The only place I ever really needed His help was with this spiritual fissure. It never came, it was more than I could bear as a mere mortal, humble human. I needed a God, and He was not answering.

 

I still hope and pray and have some faith that there is a God and He will pull through. Until then, I have to face some facts: My past prayers were never answered faithfully...they were random and haphazard at best; there are flaws in the very foundation that I stood on...the Bible. There are verses that are presented by the author of http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/ that can not be ignored, excused, or spun. I found this site by asking why God wouldn't answer my simple spiritual prayer. I do find flaws in some of the logic used in the amputees site and in some of the items presented...but many are unavoidably strong.

 

I still pray to the God I have loved and served for over 25 years. I still pray for a change in my spirit. I don't want to be an un-believer. I abhor the crumbling of my every truth. But the real truth doesn't care. It can be ignored and whitewashed but it is still there whether you or I consider it or not. I still pray and have a fading hope that God is using me to fall away and come back for a more powerful message and glorification to his works. But in all honesty, once the magic of finding out that Santa Claus is not a real entity, a innocence has been lost. And it can never really come back.

 

Strange...as we are young and innocent that we strive and crave to reach the truth of adulthood, yet once we find out the real truth we want that innocence and idealism back.

 

Even if Christianity is a facade, I want it back. I want to believe again. I want the wonder of God back in my soul. Even if Christianity is whitewash over reality, I want it back again. The truth is you can't go back, and if you do it is never the same and you regret you have gone back.

 

I am not happy about this phase of my life. I love Christianity. My whole life has been spent as a Christian. I still love Jesus and the God I have served most of my life. But I am afraid that love is just leftover emotions from a lifetime of servitude. I still believe in the Christian ethic. I still love my neighbor. But all God had to do was to strengthen my spiritual weakness and I would not have been here. It was a simple prayer that a God who created the universe and had millions of angels at His call would be more than capable of actuating. He either didn't because he didn't care, was incapable, or was never there to begin with.

 

take care,

Dude

 

 

*SOME Christian ethics from thread: http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/forum/in...php?topic=280.0

 

Breaking it down we have:

 

1) Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

 

2) Sacrifice yourself for your community.

 

3) Give yourself, every single day, to making humanity better, and building the bonds of your community.

 

4) Forgive totally

 

** For simplification I personally defined two ethical constructs 1 was evolutionary/worldy/survival-of-the-fittest. This you see in everyday life and in business. It is primarily dog-eat-dog style of ethics. Use the weak to profit...climb the ladder by putting others down etc. Complete opposite of my definition of Christian ethics listed above.

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Hey Dude. Welcome here. I think, even if you don't find the answers to your questions, you will find some comfort here, being amongst those who have experienced what you are feeling.

Here is my journal, should you be interested. I think I can relate to some of what you are going through, but from the other side of the Christian denominational spectrum.

Can I say that, the overriding factor in leaving my Christian faith was...the behavior and attitudes of my fellow Christians.

Dude, as I look back now, my only regret was that I spent so many years believing.

Keep your mind open. Think for your self. That is the only way to get answers.

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Guest Dude

Hey Dude. Welcome here. I think, even if you don't find the answers to your questions, you will find some comfort here, being amongst those who have experienced what you are feeling.

Here is my journal, should you be interested. I think I can relate to some of what you are going through, but from the other side of the Christian denominational spectrum.

Can I say that, the overriding factor in leaving my Christian faith was...the behavior and attitudes of my fellow Christians.

Dude, as I look back now, my only regret was that I spent so many years believing.

Keep your mind open. Think for your self. That is the only way to get answers.

 

Thank you for the welcome. I wrote the above a couple of months ago and am slighlty farther along now. I do not know what the stages of deconversion are (are they similar to grieving? (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)), or even if there are stages. However, I am in a slightly better state of mind now.

 

Thanks for the link to your journal. I have read it and it is awesome. I can relate in many ways. You sound like a great guy and I am glad you have resolved most of the heady issues.

 

 

from your journal:

I began to get disillusioned with organized religion. I felt that the church was going in the wrong direction. Not enough emphasis was on total surrender to Christ. There was too much talk of increasing membership and participation. I felt that the direction should be on brokenness before Christ. People were not open and honest.

 

I know of nobody who is living in the manner that is spoke of in the scriptures, especially myself. In considering Matthew chapter 5, 6, and 7, the attitudes spoken of by Jesus the Christ are nonexistent in the lives of professing Christians that I have encountered.

 

 

Those quotes resonate very succinctly with what I have gone through. It is funny to me that over the years as a Christian, I had been exposed to atheistic or antitheistic thought hundreds of times and it did not effect my position or my faith. It was fellow Christians and more importantly Christian leadership that started the small crack in the foundations.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading my long post and your kind comments.

 

take care,

Dude

 

Ack! What happened to my post? The quoted text dedn't take.

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Welcome to Ex-C dude. I hope you can find the answers you are seeking. As bob said, open your mind and think for yourself, as this is the only way to find the truth you are seeking.

 

...

Thank you for the welcome. I wrote the above a couple of months ago and am slighlty farther along now. I do not know what the stages of deconversion are (are they similar to grieving? (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)), or even if there are stages. However, I am in a slightly better state of mind now.

...

 

I would say so. My experience with the deconversion process was very much like the grieving process. I have described it as such to others who've asked. I went through the whole range of emotions, but in the end I accepted who I had become and believe I am better for it.

 

Again, welcome to Ex-C and I wish you the best in your search for the truth.

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Welcome Dude,

 

Your search for spiritual help sounds much like mine was.

 

It was hard for me to come out because I wanted to be in.

 

But that was long ago in a galaxey far away. You get over it after awhile. The scar fades but it doesn't dissappear altogether.

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Dude,

 

Your post is positively, heartbreakingly wrenching. Your pain is evident in your every word. I am so, so sorry that this has been so rough on you.

 

I can understanding "wanting it back". Even though I don't want it back for myself (unless it's honest, which I don't think it is).

 

If there's anyway I can help, feel free to pm me. I just hate seeing you suffer. :(

 

*Hugs*,

Rosa

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Guest Fallen Angel

In my case, deconversion was gradual. I never had the awful moment when you realise none of it makes sense. And I imagine that when it does come suddenly, it must be like losing a lover. I mean - nuns call themselves brides of christ and I think many ardent christians 'feel' Jesus as almost a sexual partner - male and female. I can only assure you that you will make it, and that you will find meaningful, charitable, challenging things to fill the hole left in your life by the loss of faith. If you can see in yourself the things for which you love Jesus - you'll be fine. Just as with a lost love, time heals. All the best.

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Dude! Sweeet! :HaHa: (if anyone gets the joke)

 

Welcome, I hope to see more from you as you progress in your walk in new territories. I can relate to several things. I also felt heartbroken for how many "True" Christians behaved same (or even worse) than people of the "world". I spent several years in a cultic church, and only worked for a christian company etc. So I didn't meet many non-Christian, and when I first went out and started to work for a regular company, I discovered that these atheists, paganists, agnostics actually *gasp* very kind, gentle, helpful and loving!!! And in some cases more than I'd seen in Church! it was just one of many surprises that was part of my questioning the teachings I'd listened to.

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Dude I also can relate. Thanks so much for sharing, and good luck to you on the path you are on.

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Dude, thanks for taking the time and spending the effort to write that out. I've never been a Christian, so I can't relate to your story in the same close way that many here can, but that doesn't mean I can't relate at all; after all, we're all humans. Good luck in finding the answers you seek, even if those answers turn out to be of the form, "I don't know and neither does anybody else." Just be honest with yourself about what you really think; nobody can reasonably ask any more of you, and I suspect you wouldn't be happy asking any less of yourself.

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I don't really have any advice to help you get through this, other than promising that it gets better.

Sometimes it hurts worse before it gets better, but when you're through it, it really is a happier life not having to lie to yourself each and every day.

 

Really, IMO, this is how it goes:

You start noticing things you can't unnotice. The "Christian" in you refuses to be intellectually dishonest. You trust that god will see you through it. You're sure there's some good answer that god will provide you with.

That' when god quits talking to you. The well runs dry.

No answer...just silence...

And somewhere deep inside you know that if you just accept the traditional answer you know is bullshit, coz it feels like a lie when you tell it to yourself...but if you'll just make yourself believe it, maybe god will speak with you again.

But if you're going to insist on intellectual honesty, then god remains silent.

That's how our brains work.

 

On the bright side, atheism is happy and liberating. Being able to think without fearing the devil is wonderful.

And the day does come where you absolutely accept that all of your thoughts are truly your own. No insights from god, no temptations from satan...you are, for the first time, just you.

And it feels almost like it did when you thought god was talking to you.

Only, you know you're not perfect...so if you're wrong, you can just move on, and the consequence is just eating the fact that your thinking was off...no cosmic significance demanding that you continue to accept an untrue thing as true.

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Guest Dude

Thank you so much for all the kind words. I am sure I will be on here asking for advice. I appreciate your kindness more than you know.

 

take care,

Dude

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Guest GrewUpFundie

Dude,

 

What a powerful post. I can empathize with the pain you've felt.

 

I just wanted to add one thing. Sometimes I envy the true believers that I know. They never seem to have any moral anguish about anything; their path is clear. For them, every question has a simple solution - everything is an absolute. I wonder about the rightness and wrongness of many things, but they have already decided the answer before they even know the question.

 

It would be a happier way to go through life, if we didn't know better. Are things easier when you have no faith? I don't think so; losing my faith has made my life much more difficult. But I also think that it's better to have unclouded vision, even if it causes you to see unpleasant things that you wouldn't have seen before.

 

Best of luck to you!

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Dude,

 

I almost cried reading your post. You are clearly in pain, as I was for the last three years I went to church. I decided in the end to believe that there is a God, one that didn't want me to torture myself like that.

 

I took a break from attending church and slowly but surely, things became clear to me.

 

I have written a few short articles about my times of reflection, on my blog, perhaps reading about my past anguish and misery will give you some hope.

 

Take care,

 

Lorena

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