godisthedice

Been Lurkin'

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I made my account almost a year ago, but social anxiety is real even on the internet. It's been comforting for me to even just know that this community is out here, and that I can come and read testimonies of other people who've left Christianity and feel less alone. I've started to realize recently how very damaging religion was and how much my mental health has suffered because of something directly related to religion; late's better than never, right? It seems like the right time to try to join a community of people who understand and have been through similar traumas.

 

The first time I went to church was when I was two weeks old, and missing a Sunday between then and when I left for college was extremely rare. I was raised General Baptist in a very small town, and I'm not sure exactly when I was pushed to start singing for the church but I was doing it before I really have any solid, conscious memories--one of my first is my mother asking me if I was going to sing "Jesus Loves Me" or "Whisper a Prayer" that week. By the time I was ten I was leading the singing. By the time I was twelve I was the church piano player. My father is a deacon and my mother is the church secretary. Church was my entire life until I got old enough to start asking questions that no one could give me a good enough answer to. Obviously I was punished for asking them in the first place and I learned to keep my mouth shut, but I never learned to stop wondering.

 

My issues with Christianity and the ways that I still struggle because of it could probably fill a whole novel, so I won't get into it here. I've been happily free for over a decade at this point, but it still impacts me every time I look down and keep my mouth closed when someone starts talking about church instead of being unashamed of the fact that I don't believe. Then, of course, there's the fact that church is still my parents' entire life... it's amazing how hard it is to actually escape.

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Welcome. We hope you'll feel comfortable contributing in the future. In your year of lurking you've certainly discovered that some of the folks here argue with each other stridently but still remain friends. Jump in, the water's fine.

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@godisthedice

 

It's great to have you here. Yes it is hard to escape it in some areas of life for some of us. Especially when our lives were built around the religion. We are glad to have you here and as Older says we may argue with one another at times like a couple of grumpy old men set in their ways but we all share a kinship here. Politics is where it really gets hot LOL. I've always heard that ya shouldn't talk about religion or politics because it always starts a fight....... Well we got rid of the religion part. But the politics are still there. :-) . Welcome to ExC Dice it's great to have another soul free from the oppressive bonds of Christianity here with us.

 

DB.

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9 hours ago, godisthedice said:

it still impacts me every time I look down and keep my mouth closed when someone starts talking about church instead of being unashamed of the fact that I don't believe. 

 

Welcome to Ex-C Dice.  I/we "get" you.

 

Based on what you have said. I sincerely doubt you are ashamed of your non belief.  Afterall, you have been free from it all for over ten years.  I am just completing my ninth year.  More likely, you are just simply concerned with the consequences, social, family, or otherwise.  For as long as you value these realtionships more than unfiltered discourse limiting your responses seems like simply an intelligent thing to do.

 

Yet, your feelings are still very real, and valid in these situations.  Religion, especially the Abrahamic religions, are the grestest mindfuck ever invented by man.  What your church family and friends are unable to grasp is empathy.  Instead of gaining empathy they consider others "less than" simply because their life experience does not match their own. 

 

Everyone deserves the unfettered space and respect to express their life.  You understand this.  They likely never will.

 

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Scholars often refer to Christianity as a cult and for good reason. Consider the traits normally associated with cults and then think about how many of those same traits can be found in Christianity.

 

That is why leaving Christianity is so difficult. True freedom is freedom from religion. Glad you found this site, I’m certain you will find it helpful.,

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Welcome to freedom :)

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Thanks for the warm welcome, y'all. I'm still not so great at conflict (still unlearning that conditioning that disagreement results in punishment), so I'll probably stay away from the politics part of things for a while!

 

Being afraid of the consequences sounds accurate, and I think that facing that fear is something I'm going to have to come to terms with before I can finish unfucking my mind. Those hooks are still in pretty deep, but I'm looking forward to getting to know you all while I'm getting to know myself better!

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Welcome godisthedice. Just wade in according to what you think you can bare. It'll be ok. 

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2 hours ago, godisthedice said:

Being afraid of the consequences sounds accurate, and I think that facing that fear is something I'm going to have to come to terms with before I can finish unfucking my mind.

 

When you reach that point you will feel a great weight lift from your shoulders and you'll find a freedom you didn't know existed.

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On 2/15/2019 at 11:33 PM, godisthedice said:

Obviously I was punished for asking them in the first place and I learned to keep my mouth shut, but I never learned to stop wondering.

Similar experience here. Much later I realized that that attitude of anger and fear towards my questions were themselves proof that they themselves didn't really believe. Anyways, glad you're here and hope the community here helps! Welcome to X-Xian!

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Welcome!  Your story is very similar to mine.  I have been out almost 30 years, and still have to bite my tongue at times to keep quiet around many people. My patience was tested again just a few minutes ago while writing this.  My wife asked what I was doing, and when I told her I was posting on this site, I got a snide remark about thinking I have all the answers.  A path we have been down numerous times, and I won't go into details here, but maybe this will help you in your situation. 

 

 She will not read the essay I wrote explaining step by step how I "studied" my way out of religion over 20 years.  She never reads her Bible, or goes to church, but for some reason is too insecure to even look at the issue.   I guess I am telling you this to show that some people are too insecure(?)  Hard headed(??)  To even consider other viewpoints.  We have been married almost 51 years, and overall she is a very good person, but there are some quirks.  She would tell you the same about me (having quirks)  We look at some things very differently, and at 75 and 77 years of age, it likely will not change.  HA!  With senility it may get worse!

 

 Being agnostic can be lonely at times, but I could never go back. I have to be true to myself.

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On 2/24/2019 at 6:20 AM, Weezer said:

 

 

 She will not read the essay I wrote explaining step by step how I "studied" my way out of religion over 20 years.  She never reads her Bible, or goes to church, but for some reason is too insecure to even look at the issue.  

 Being agnostic can be lonely at times, but I could never go back. I have to be true to myself.

You know, this thing about insecurity really got me thinking about some issues. Thanks. 

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On 3/2/2019 at 9:42 AM, Myrkhoos said:
On 2/23/2019 at 8:20 PM, Weezer said:

She will not read the essay I wrote explaining step by step how I "studied" my way out of religion over 20 years.  She never reads her Bible, or goes to church, but for some reason is too insecure to even look at the issue.  

 Being agnostic can be lonely at times, but I could never go back. I have to be true to myself.

You know, this thing about insecurity really got me thinking about some issues. Thanks. 

 

I've said this before but it all comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of things over which we have no control, fear of being punished for being a normal human being. Once someone realizes that there are no gods, all that fear lifts and a new sense of freedom arrives.

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The brain and it's functioning is a very complicated and complex phenomenon. Some fears (and other emotions) are there due to unconscious reasons, and may never be understood or vacated.  So i don't believe ALL fears will be lifted by realizing there is no God.  

 

I hope I'm not reading more into your statement than you meant.

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For me, I admit, there is this great fear of punishment. Even if want I really want is just enough distance to better study and understand and put all the questions. "leaving God" seems so frightening. It is really weird that we humans are in charge of pleasing God. I mean am I so powerful as to make this being change itself according to my every thought ? It's like a weird parent-child relationship, fueled by a lot of strange things. And it is even weirder that GOD himself does NOT get his hands dirty, he sends the devil, or lets him anyway to the dirty job. Like some kind of politician who would not appeal to the police, but to a the mob to make a hit. For me, this religion does feel or is about love (I really don't know what that is actually anymore) but I do know it is A LOT about fear, about guilt and about pain. I really, really REALLY cannot believe the Lord of the Universe is in anyway like this. If this God exists, he cannot be a child with extreme superpowers. For the first time I felt how weird it is the idea of EATING his blood and flesh really is. What? Really, there is no other way to receive communion than some kind of symbolic cannibalism? O real cannibalism if you go by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. Every fiber of my being screams THIS IS NOT GOD and CANNOT BE! I mean some forms of Buddhism actually make sens, but this.... Maybe I am not enlightened enough, but even the idea that God loves the world so much he gave his Only son...what? Really, couldn't he just destroy the devil? Or destroy posibillity for sin. Or just cleanse the human will of all illusion. I mean...what? You know, I am trying to be civil but more and more Christianity looks to me like just a form unhealthy psychological issues projected into the absolute. Sorry, maybe I went a little overboard but I felt the need to say this. With pain, I say that things just look more and more demented, not better. and I wish they were better. If there some kind of understanding that eludes me, so be it, BUT for the moment, I CANNOT believe these things even if I really do try. I sincerely think that God, whoever and however he is, values truth, personal and absolute truth above all else, even comfortable illusions.  I he did value illusions, then HE is the devil, because Jesus said that the devil is the king of lies. As of a long time ago, but only now can I say it , I am agnostic, as I do not know yet what to think, even about my "religious experiences" , especially considering that having been thorough psychotherapy, I can see that a lot of the "insights" and strange, unbelievable emotions can be just about the normal functions of the soul, be they about trauma and pain and crying, or joy and that kind of stuff. It is the position I feel most comfortable in, a kind of skeptic. The weird thing is that the first teachings about questioning your thoughts and experiences and really checking them out came FROM the Chuch Mystics and ascetics. It is hard, but is freeing. One quote, from a Christian Orthodox bishop preacher, Anthony Bloom really helped here. He said, in a discussion with an atheist, that God values sincere unbelief more than false belief. So yeah.

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13 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

 

 Sorry, maybe I went a little overboard but I felt the need to say this. With pain, I say that things just look more and more demented, not better. and I wish they were better. If there some kind of understanding that eludes me, so be it, BUT for the moment, I CANNOT believe these things even if I really do try. I sincerely think that God, whoever and however he is, values truth, personal and absolute truth above all else, even comfortable illusions.

 

 

You have not gone overboard, and you are not alone!

I definitely understand what you are going through.  I've "been there, done that."  It is almost overwhelming when it occurs to you just how large the illusions are, and such a large % of the population have believed so many different versions of them.  But as you learn to trust yourself,  and your abilities, it will feel more manageable. 

 

 

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On 2/15/2019 at 10:33 PM, godisthedice said:

Then, of course, there's the fact that church is still my parents' entire life... it's amazing how hard it is to actually escape.

 

No kidding! I can't escape because one of my sons is a minister and it would cause serious problems in our relationship. He knows his brother isn't a believer and he just avoids him. They live near each other, and last week some other family was visiting so the non-believing son went to church with them. My wife listened to part of the sermon online and she felt like preacher-son was preaching at his brother.

 

Maybe someday I'll be honest with him, but I tested the waters once and the water seemed too hot. Kind of a "don't ask -- don't tell" situation at the moment.

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Definitely not a comfortable position to be in. 

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