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Bardia

Faith: How it all came apart

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Theists often assume about non-theists, like me, that giving up our faithour belief in the usefulness of the Bible, in the divinity of Jesus, in the very existence of Godwas the direct result of some profound personal hurt or deep disappointment. Having been raised Christian, of course I turned to faith and prayer in hard times, as we were taught to do. And of course, it accomplished nothing. When I discovered that faith and prayer plus $1.50 would get me a Kit Kat out of the vending machine, yeah, sure, my disappointment and hurt were components of why I gave up faith and prayer. But these weren't the only, or indeed even the most critical, reasons. I think I mostly still tried to pray until about age 31 or 32I'm  49 now—and that was mainly a second attempt at faith in order to appease a Christian now-ex-girlfriend, who was/is one of those “I’m not religious; I have a personal relationship with Jesus” types.

 

I was raised from about age 8 in a non-denominational, “Bible-based” evangelical Christian church. Why my faith in Christianity came apart was for me actually several things coming together, amidst steadily improving self-awareness and realization. Things started to break somewhere in the middle of my high school years; eventually you notice lies, falsehoods, and inconsistencies, and if you start to pull at the little threads, it all comes undone. Ultimately, there was no way I could accept the illogic and mendacity of Christianity and the Bible.

More or less, in order of my personal discovery, I came to notice:

  • The utter, pathetic futility of prayer.
  • The overwhelming evidence for an old universe, an old Earth, and evolution. My church taught young-Earth creationism; looking back, I now feel ashamed that I thought any of those ridiculous arguments were at all persuasive, but of course I didn’t know any better.
  • The absurdity of so many events in the Bible that I was instructed to take as literally true and historically accurate.
  • So very many people calling themselves Christians but not even trying to walk the walk, especially “leaders” in the Christian community. Sacrificing to help the needy, loving enemies, not being egotistical materialistic jerks, etc. “The Fruits of the Spirit,” “you will know them by their love”: forget it. Utter nonsense.
  • The staggering degree of judgmental and hypocritical attitudes among Christians towards other “sinners.”
  • The reeking repulsiveness of commercialized Christianity.
  • That the most kind, moral, and consistently ethical people I met have generally been non-theists.
  • The colossally immoral, vindictive, and capricious behavior of Yahweh and his “prophets,” as described in both Testaments.
  • The uncountable inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible.
  • The frankly illogical concepts of original sin, sacrificial atonement, “God become flesh,” etc.
  • My growing advocacy of feminism.
  • And at last my realization that, in the purported words of Pierre-Simon Laplace, “Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là”: “I had no need for that hypothesis.” If there is a God, or gods, there is no apparent requirement for their existence or intervention in the universe. This is not to say science has revealed all mysteries; only that the universe just works, without them.
     

Leaving my faith behind was a long process for me, lasting about 15 years, and definitely not easy. But I am much more content and in a much better place mentally and philosophically than I was when I believed. The church I grew up in was as wacky as you would expect, although it took me awhile to admit it. I tried to believe; I really did. That was a choice. I would say in the end giving up faith for me was not a choice; it was an inevitability.

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Well written!  Welcome 😃

 

1 hour ago, Bardia said:

faith and prayer plus $1.50 would get me a Kit Kat out of the vending machine

 

I love this line!  Permission to steal it? 

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1 hour ago, Insightful said:

Well written!  Welcome 😃

 

 

I love this line!  Permission to steal it? 

By all means!
(It's not 100% original to me anyway, although, I adapted it and changed it a bit for my purposes.)

 

And thanks for your kind words!

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Welcome! I can relate to much of what you say, a similar story for me.

I think this " amidst steadily improving self-awareness" is a key for me, too.

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       Good to know your testimony. I can truly testify to the not easy part in religious strughles, to keep, have, gain or lose faith in various degrees.

        

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Hey, it is nice to have you on board! Enjoyed reading your post.

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Welcome aboard, @Bardia

 

That's a well thought-out and detailed but brief extimoney you wrote there.

 

15 years is a long time imhop to shake of the grip of xanity. I recon the length of time required is proportionate to time spent in the mind-control and how affected by it you were. Took me 2 years but I was never passionate. I supposed that's due to already having been exposed to Mormonism at a young age and giving up on that.  Also the singing and praising always gave me the creeps.

 

Welcome again and I hope to read more from you.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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Thanks , everyone, for the kind words of welcome!

 

43 minutes ago, MOHO said:

15 years is a long time imhop to shake of the grip of xanity. I recon the length of time required is proportionate to time spent in the mind-control and how affected by it you were.

I can't say I disagree. Basically, the timeline for me works something as follows:

Age 8-17 definitely Xian
Age 17-21 wavering but nominally Xian

Age 21-26 generally but not explicitly non-theist

Age 26-31 tried to be an Xian again for a girlfriend

Age 32-now fuck that shit

 

I think your hypothesis that it takes about as long to get out of Xianity as you were in it applies in my case. I count about 18 years in in the definitely, trying, or wavering categories. Yikes!

 

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Quote: MOHO .... I recon the length of time required is proportionate to time spent in the mind-control and how affected by it you were.
 
Arrgghh!!!! I was in it from aged 8 to 68. Please, I don't want to live 'til I'm 128!
Not that I'm completely free yet, you understand, but I'm happily getting there.

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52 minutes ago, nontheistpilgrim said:
Quote: MOHO .... I recon the length of time required is proportionate to time spent in the mind-control and how affected by it you were.
 
Arrgghh!!!! I was in it from aged 8 to 68. Please, I don't want to live 'til I'm 128!
Not that I'm completely free yet, you understand, but I'm happily getting there.

 

WOW!

That would have an unusually high suck-factor.

 

What I meant to say is not that the time to heal is EXACTLY the same as the time in the faith. Just that the longer you were in it may be a factor in how long it takes to heal from the mind-control.

 

I am not a mental health professional. That opinion is a reflection of reading people's extimonies here.

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Life circumstances can also effect how long it takes.  I began to question our church doctrine at 13, the inerrancy of the Bible between 35 and 40, and literally walked out the door in middle of a sermon at 50 years of age. 

 

As I look back, I think there were periods of time where I unconsciously, and at times consciously, shoved things to the back burner due to my employment situation, which was church related.

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Weezer, I can relate to that, though I still believe that I was not being hypocritical when preaching and pastoring.

What I would say is that when I stopped believing I had a quite overwhelming sense of joy, of escape. So I suppose I had had doubts. The joy has 'shortened' the escape period, I think. Still working on it, but then the whole of life is a 'pilgrimage' it seems to me. (But never walking backwards!:fdevil:)

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