Aaron81

A Marine’s Story

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4 hours ago, Aaron81 said:

I’ve shared my xtestimony briefly on the introduction forum but I wanted to share a visual aid of my story. The reason being, watching watching ex Christians share their stories on video was extremely powerful for me. Especially in the early stages of my pre and post deconversion. I remeber

watching a video on deconversion by a former pastor named Joshua Tongul. Had I just read it, I don’t  believe it would have had the same impact that it did on me. Seeing his facial expressions and listening to his tone of voice was extremely helpful to me. The video experience felt very personal. It also generated all the same emotions I used to mistake for the holy deceiver (opps I meant Holy Spirit). Now I understand that it’s my ability to empathize with human emotion and not the holy deceiver (damn, did it again) touching my heart. The point I am making is, these “deconversion  videos” were extremely encouraging to me during my pre and post deconversion experience. 

 

I hope this video will encourage you on your journey out of Christianity and into reality. If you think it would be helpful to someone, share the hell out of it. I don’t have a social media account so I have only uploaded onto YouTube. We have to get the word out! There should be thousands of extestimonies out there by now but I’ve found very few myself. We really need to get the word out! 

 

I thank all of you who invest so much time and energy into this website and community. You have truly helped me grow. 

 

Worth spreading around.

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A-eight-one stated in part:

 

Quote

I thank all of you who invest so much time and energy into this website and community. You have truly helped me grow. 

 

 

This place exists for folks of all kinds.  YOU grow 'cause the need to do so, and that in major part to help others hear your life and times which helps others.... Kind of damn good functioning circular argument. :)

 

Thanks kindly for posting vid, your story and of course having determination when listening in to those whispers who may have said something like "..hey man, this shit 'taint right!"

 

Keep passing on the good.

 

kevinL

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Hey man, thanks for sharing this!  You’re a valuable member of our community!  I don’t know if it’s the only video ex-timony by one of our members, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  It’s hard for many of us to go public even to the extent that you have here, but it’s valuable when it happens.  Non-believers are growing in number and the more visible we become, the more likely Christians are to start questioning their own faith, and those who have already deconverted will gain the courage and strength to be open about it.  That in time will create a powerful snowball effect...

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On 9/28/2018 at 3:49 AM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Hey man, thanks for sharing this!  You’re a valuable member of our community!  I don’t know if it’s the only video ex-timony by one of our members, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  It’s hard for many of us to go public even to the extent that you have here, but it’s valuable when it happens.  Non-believers are growing in number and the more visible we become, the more likely Christians are to start questioning their own faith, and those who have already deconverted will gain the courage and strength to be open about it.  That in time will create a powerful snowball effect...

Thank you I appreciate that. This site is such a great idea. So thankful I typed the words “deconversion” and “former Christian” into google. 

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I really enjoyed that, everything you said resonates with me (I'm sure all of us).  How did your family react to your deconversion?  You said your marriage got better, was your wife not Christian?  How about your parents?  My husband is still Christian, and although we're ok and he doesn't think I'm going to hell (his reasoning is wrong though) I know it has upset him that he has lost that connection with me.

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On 10/3/2018 at 6:05 AM, MamaCaz said:

I really enjoyed that, everything you said resonates with me (I'm sure all of us).  How did your family react to your deconversion?  You said your marriage got better, was your wife not Christian?  How about your parents?  My husband is still Christian, and although we're ok and he doesn't think I'm going to hell (his reasoning is wrong though) I know it has upset him that he has lost that connection with me.

I’m so glad that my story reached and touched you. 

I received mixed reaction from the family that I shared with. My sister didn’t really say much other than she loved me and was “praying for me.” Mind you she in no way lives the Christian code of conduct. I didn’t share with anyone else because it’s rare religion comes up and I’m in a different state than my family. Some things like religion and politics are best to keep to yourself. At least that’s what I have learned. My family is pretty much content with their life and I don’t feel the responsibility or need to “convert” them so to speak. I don’t believe certain people are ready for this type of awakening. It’s something that they need to find out on their own. If they ask I would share. 

My wife didn’t have the same type of intense faith that I had. She is very liberal in her beliefs and rarely reads the Bible. She has slowly started to be herself again as well. The best way to explain how our marriage improved is that we are more free to be ourselves without having to suppress our true self. I take the blame for that because I would judge her for certain activities or actions that I considered “ungodly.” Now we don’t have that problem. I would encourage you to just be yourself and let things play out naturally. She doesn’t ask me questions about it so I don’t bring it up. Prior to my deconversion we were going to church like a few times a year so there wasn’t too big of a change. We had been separated and she had begun to “seek God” for our marriage to be restored. Lol...Honey I’m back and I’m no longer a Christian! God is good amen! 

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On 9/23/2018 at 5:08 PM, Aaron81 said:

I’ve shared my xtestimony briefly on the introduction forum but I wanted to share a visual aid of my story. The reason being, watching watching ex Christians share their stories on video was extremely powerful for me. Especially in the early stages of my pre and post deconversion.

 

Thank you for sharing! As my deconversion was pretty recent things like this really help me. I often look for these testimonies on youtube as they make me feel I am not alone in this quest. 

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@jenstar That’s awesome! To my amazement there are several others who have told me it helped them out as well. On my way to work this morning I listened to a deconversion video that I’ve seen many times already. There is nothing extraordinary about it. I just know it helps when I watch it. It’s ironic that someone else might be doing the same thing with my story. It is so enjoyable to share. Praise God Amen lol! 

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Excellent link/video! It really spoke to me! It really adds a punch to the criticism of old testament cruelty, coming from the perspective of a former marine!

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Great video! Also as an aside, I'm sitting here thinking "man there's no way I'd be so chill talking about my crazy fundie background at work, let alone recording it" lol. 

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@TruthSeeker0 It was awkward and incredibly ironic finding myself speaking out against my former religion. Thanks for the feedback! I have another one I just uploaded today that conveys the emotional aspect of leaving. It’s funny that you mentioned me being chill in this one because the one I uploaded today got me all choked up in the middle of it 🙄. Guess I’m not so chill after all lol. 

 

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7 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

Excellent link/video! It really spoke to me! It really adds a punch to the criticism of old testament cruelty, coming from the perspective of a former marine!

Thank you! Apparently Marines are ultra sensitive, who knew?! Have a great day. 

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17 minutes ago, Aaron81 said:

@TruthSeeker0 It was awkward and incredibly ironic finding myself speaking out against my former religion. Thanks for the feedback! I have another one I just uploaded today that conveys the emotional aspect of leaving. It’s funny that you mentioned me being chill in this one because the one I uploaded today got me all choked up in the middle of it 🙄. Guess I’m not so chill after all lol. 

 

Yeah this one hits home, damn you actually made me cry too, I remember how hard it all was. Mostly it's just frustration with me now, I don't have a lot of patience with dealing with fundie family etc or Christians in general, so props to all you guys who have the patience to approach Christians and talk through things. I know if someone had seriously discussed things openly with me many years ago perhaps I would have started the process of leaving much sooner. 

This reminded me of one quote I always come back to, which really sums up how damaging Christianity and particularly fundamentalism can be. It's from Women Beyond Religion by Karen Garst. 

9F7C7078-D1E5-447C-A883-0E638D9CBDA9.jpeg

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@TruthSeeker0 That damn Lynyrd Skynard song is what did it! As soon as I started talking and heard it playing I was like, “well shit, now you done got in your feelings you idiot.” 

 

I didn’t realize how destructive the concept of needing to be saved was until I had stepped away. The idea that you are broken and need to be fixed; it robs you of everything. I have so many regrets and thoughts about what could have been. Even though I’ve had a great life compared to a lot of people, I would have liked the opportunity to have taken different life paths that I likely would’ve taken before getting caught up in that shit. I’m just so glad I made it out before I wasted my entire life believing in a lie. 

 

Great quote you shared! She sums it up perfectly. 

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It was interesting to read the various comments on your deconversion video on YouTube. While evangelizing, believers always say that coming to Jesus is easy. But when dealing with someone who has deconverted, belief always becomes something that you didn't do just right, or didn't "get the Holy Spirit" just the way they think you should, or the more wacky ones think you didn't pronounce the name of god or Jesus the right way so had the wrong one.

 

Like you, the whole world opened up for me when I let go of 30 years of ardent faith. All of the imaginary spiritual warfare went silent. My mind didn't have to pretend anymore to be the voice of god, and I didn't have to fear demons everywhere. Reality didn't change, but my perception of it changed dramatically. Music that I had shunned became enjoyable, sex became a natural thing, and I could hang out with people without having an agenda to make them like me.

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@Fuego I knew that someone was going to insinuate that I was never a Christian. That’s why at the very start of the video I attempt to establish my authenticity as a true believer. It’s literally cognitive dissonance at its finest. To see a former Marine and combat veteran to boot, express a lack of belief probably scrambles their brains.

 

I don’t fit their narrative and it’s confusing for them. 

 

One guy basically said that since I was saved, I’m always saved regardless if I’m professing to be a non believer or not. I guarantee you that if I was an asshole he wouldn’t have felt the need to give me that exception. I almost want to inform them that making special exceptions outside of what the Bible teaches is a baby step to deconversion. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Aaron81 said:

 

One guy basically said that since I was saved, I’m always saved regardless if I’m professing to be a non believer or not.

Ask him if he's a Calvinist, because he's going by that doctrine.

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@TruthSeeker0 Hell he could be a southern baptist because I was taught “once saved always saved” as well. Yea Calvanists Love predestination. I used to be a big fan of John Mcarther, a Calvinist preacher always on the radio when I lived in Texas. I know that when I was a Christian I began to do this as I got older; make an exception for good people or group of people. I think I had to because I would have gone crazy. It was like every goddamn person I met I was analyzing whether they we’re going to hell or not. My head was really fucked up. So I tend to think when people do that it’s their way of relieving the stress of it all. 

 

The doctirne of hell is some serious psychological shit! 

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20 minutes ago, Aaron81 said:

@TruthSeeker0 Hell he could be a southern baptist because I was taught “once saved always saved” as well. Yea Calvanists Love predestination. I used to be a big fan of John Mcarther, a Calvinist preacher always on the radio when I lived in Texas. I know that when I was a Christian I began to do this as I got older; make an exception for good people or group of people. I think I had to because I would have gone crazy. It was like every goddamn person I met I was analyzing whether they we’re going to hell or not. My head was really fucked up. So I tend to think when people do that it’s their way of relieving the stress of it all. 

 

The doctirne of hell is some serious psychological shit! 

I have this theory. People who empathize easily with others have a really really shitty time with religion, particularly those of the Calvinist/predestination/fundie versions. The discomfort this causes easily leads them to questioning. That was the case for me..first it was discomfort over friends going to hell. Then it was discomfort with extended family. Last of all, it was sheer grief because I thought my BFF was going to hell...that and some other stuff really started the process that has lead to today. 

 

It's also this that causes some people incredible mental stress and grief and drives them a bit crazy, due to their beliefs, when fear of hell continues to control them and they stay in the church. 

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On 12/6/2018 at 9:40 PM, Aaron81 said:

I know that when I was a Christian I began to do this as I got older; make an exception for good people or group of people. I think I had to because I would have gone crazy. It was like every goddamn person I met I was analyzing whether they we’re going to hell or not. My head was really fucked up. So I tend to think when people do that it’s their way of relieving the stress of it all. 

 

The doctirne of hell is some serious psychological shit! 

 

 

I think most Christians go through some kind of mental gymnastics to cope with the idea that decent people they meet every day are headed to Hell.  They find different ways to deal with it: some convince themselves that somehow most people aren’t actually going to Hell, or that maybe only those who “choose Hell” are going there.  Many quit trying to think about it and go with the “God is Good” escape route.  Some of us become ex-Christians and are happily done with tying ourselves in knots over this and so many other issues.  

 

Oh and one other thing . . . GO ARMY!  BEAT NAVY!!!!

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2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

I think most Christians go through some kind of mental gymnastics to cope with the idea that decent people they meet every day are headed to Hell.  They find different ways to deal with it: some convince themselves that somehow most people aren’t actually going to Hell, or that maybe only those who “choose Hell” are going there.  Many quit trying to think about it and go with the “God is Good” escape route.  

I know a lot of the fundamentalist variety who sincerely believe what they're taught about hell. Therefore most in my family now believe not only I but 99.9% of the Earth's population are bound for hell. They seem to blame people themselves due to free will - somehow it's their own fault for not finding the "correct" church and joining it. Rationalizing this issue is a sin for them. 

It's the ultimate mindfuck. It results in mental health issues for more than a few of them. 

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1 hour ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

It's the ultimate mindfuck. It results in mental health issues for more than a few of them.

 

I know a few from my church days that like to say how utterly clear and logical it all is, one old friend in particular. He will go through the most intricate mental gymnastics to make it all work, and I think that he never sees through it because of feeling specially chosen. He's been rejected his entire life, never fit in at all because of his weird nature, his odd appearance, and his insistence on evangelizing everyone. He said that Jesus let his eye be damaged when he was a child (his sister tossed a toy gun back to him and hit his eye) because of pride "I wanted to be like the cowboys I saw on TV. Jesus knew that pride would only grow and keep me from him." As you said, it is the ultimate mindfuck. It keeps us from learning much about real life while being devoted to pleasing a psychotic god who isn't even there. It is like a form of madness. The computer geek side of me sees it as a mind-hack, exploiting our desires to live forever, find a paradise where everything is great, where we are loved, or any other promise to sucker us into the deal. It is well documented that people who get scammed over fake prize winnings will keep sending money to the scammers, holding out for the big payout they were promised so all their dreams will come true. It is sad that our minds can be exploited this way, but good that some of us are able to see through it in time to have a real life.

 

 

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This is a really good thread. I’ve really enjoyed getting everyone’s perspective on the doctrine of hell. I remember when I had the moment of clarity; it all made sense in one instance. At that moment, I deconverted.  Everything was clear to me about Christianity. This is a system of control. It all boiled down to Adam and Eve, heaven and hell, and Jesus. They fucked up, Jesus came to unfuck it, believe the story or you’re going to hell.

 

When you’re taught the god virus as a child, you really don’t have a chance at life. It like the gun went off, all the sprinters bolted out of the box, and your ass got left behind. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Aaron81 said:

This is a really good thread. I’ve really enjoyed getting everyone’s perspective on the doctrine of hell. I remember when I had the moment of clarity; it all made sense in one instance. At that moment, I deconverted.  Everything was clear to me about Christianity. This is a system of control. It all boiled down to Adam and Eve, heaven and hell, and Jesus. They fucked up, Jesus came to unfuck it, believe the story or you’re going to hell.

 

When you’re taught the god virus as a child, you really don’t have a chance at life. It like the gun went off, all the sprinters bolted out of the box, and your ass got left behind. 

 

 

521228AE-B1FD-4BC6-86AF-8BD71454F459.png

I remember, when I was younger, attending christenings, I was always puzzled by the teaching that we are born with sin. If only I had dug a little deeper then, but no, that's what indoctrination and fear of hell is for, to prevent you from doing that.

I was so angry when I read the God Delusion, and the clarity with which Dawkins revealed the sheer idiocy of original sin and hell, and what he thought about the nature of god. I dont think I'll ever forget what a strange mixture of anger and exhilaration that was.

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