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Unafraid

New writer here, introducing myself

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Ex Christian Forum

 

Dear friends,

 

My name is Danny and I’ve been reading your forum for some time now.  I was never a Christian but was a believer in God for most of my life. In fact, I’m Jewish, and for a few years up until recently I was a practicing, orthodox Jew.  Even though I was never a Christian, Christianity profoundly changed my life. You see, almost four years ago I met the the love of my life. My neighbor set us up.  She knew my girlfriend from church, and knew me since we lived a few doors down from each other. Our first date was magical. Things flowed and we connected.  We fell in love and I was the happiest I’d ever been.  I thought finally I had found the one.  I always dreamed of this relationship with this girl. Being 35 at the time, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get a chance at such a relationship. We couldn’t see each other enough. We could talk, and we could hold each other in silence for hours on end. It didn’t matter. We did everything together. I couldn’t love her more than I did. She became the center of my world.  

 

I knew she was a devout, evangelical Christian from very early on. And she knew I wasn’t.  I told her that I was a strong believer in God, and that seemed to be enough at the beginning. The night I told her this, we were on a date, and as we walked she reached out and held my hand for the first time. I’d never experienced this before in life.  No girl had ever done such a thing to me. Everything felt so right. I told her I thought her faith was beautiful. I was open to changing my religious beliefs, as I’m an open minded person and really didn’t know anything about Judaism or Christianity at the time. I also realized quickly that I wanted to marry her, and in order to do so had to become a Christian like her. So my journey began. I dived into the Christian faith with all my heart. Together with her and on my own. We attended church together and prayed together, and I read countless books and articles about Christianity. I kept getting close to finding Christianity to be true, but would backslide with small doubts. As a Jew, I had this pull to hear why Jews over the millennia didn’t accept Christian beliefs.  Were we missing something, I thought?  Surely we were, as there were billions of Christians in the world. How could they all be wrong.  How could my love be wrong?  She had lived her entire life with Christianity at the center, loving Jesus in the deepest recesses of her existence.  Needing him more than anything for all the reasons Christians do. 

 

Over the course of our relationship, I continued my studies and devotion to prayer, asking God to make things click so I could marry the girl of my dreams, have kids, and live this amazing life we all dream of with our person.  But the doubts swirled, becoming stronger and stronger. Was hell real?  Was my non-Christian family all going to hell?   My grandfather, a pediatrician who saved thousands of childrens’ lives during his life, was he in hell?  Did I really need Jesus to die for my sins?  Were the authors of the New Testament being honest in their writings?  Did history support the Christian faith?  Did the Hebrew Bible support the claims of Christianity when studied from the Jewish perspective?  

 

During time alone, my feelings overwhelmed me as I knew things were unraveling. I had to drink to calm my nerves knowing that I was soon going to lose my girlfriend. I kept the relationship going for a time, hoping maybe she would examine her beliefs critically, but it wasn’t happening. Finally one day as we held each other on my couch, 8 months into our relationship, I broke down.  I began to weep uncontrollably, telling her about the lies in the New Testament. There were so many. I don’t remember much more from that day, other than telling her I’d walk away with no questions asked, so she could find a Christian guy and be happy. That’s all I wanted was for her to be happy. She didn’t want that, she wanted me she said. She wanted to understand what I had learned. I thought there may be hope that she would see what I did, that Christianity wasn’t true.  

 

We kept going another month, but we fought. We tore each other to pieces. She couldn’t doubt Jesus. It became Jesus or me. And eventually I told her it was over, that we had to end our relationship. I fell to my knees and sobbed. We both did, holding each other sobbing for hours. Leaving her that night felt like the Universe was imploding, and forever changed our lives. I’ve never been so crushed emotionally.  In the wake of all this, I was angry. I left books at her door, such as “Why Jews Rejected Jesus” and others. I wrote her letters saying how much I despised Christianity and that she was living a lie. How the NT was full of hate towards me, a Jew, that it was responsible for so much hate, death and suffering over the last 2000 years. I had become unglued. I hurt her more than I can imagine. Who had I become?

 

I dived into Judaism, becoming an orthodox Jew. It gave me some respite from the inner turmoil I was experiencing, a drug that lessened the pain. I felt Judaism was the best antidote to Christianity. Jews could destroy the Christian faith and New Testament. I still believe this. I had to prove to the world that Christianity was false by living out Judaism. Maybe somehow that would bring her back.  But it didn’t. She wasn’t coming back. She shut me out of her life completely. Blocking my texts and calls.  I couldn’t see me when I looked in the mirror anymore. Who was this person, full of anger and rage?  My innocence was gone, my kindness and gentleness gone.  Only anger remained.

 

It’s been three years since the end of my relationship and a year since leaving orthodox Jewish practice. I needed to get back to being me. The person who loves people, smiles, loves adventure and the outdoors.  The person who wants the most out of life and to make a positive difference for others, and who lives with joy.  And a person who can love again, as I know how important it is to love and be loved. I decided to write this finally because the truth is, I’m still struggling. I’m still heartbroken that I lost her over a huge lie, the biggest in history. I miss my ex so much. I love her so much despite everything that happened. I know nothing is her fault. Everything the result of her upbringing that makes her who she is. I recently saw her unexpectedly, and it was hard. I told her I missed her and thought about her alot, and that I was so sorry. I cried.   

 

I want to move on, I want to stop dwelling on everything, and move forward. It’s been hard to find people to talk to, since most of my friends are Christians or believers in God, or just have their own lives. The forum has provided me with some comfort, a knowledge that others understand. I needed to write this to someone in order to continue to heal, and let things out. I’m an atheist now, I don’t see any reason to believe any of it, especially with the suffering in the world. I like being a secularist, following evidence in search for truth and doing my best to reduce suffering in this world. I know it’s the right thing for the future.  Any words of encouragement or ideas to get over my lost love would be great. I’ve dated some, but it hasn’t been the same. I’ll keep working at it.  Thanks for taking the time to read this it has helped to get it all down on paper.

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I'm sorry to hear about all that you've gone through. It's sad that mythology has such a grip on people. I wish you the best as you try to move forward. 

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Hi Danny,

 

Welcome to our community: I'm glad you introduced yourself.  I'm so sorry for the anguish and heartbreak you've been through.  It breaks my heart when I see two people, who by all rights should be together, forced apart by religious dogma.  I see it again and again, and it's all so unnecessary.  

 

You've seen how being immersed in religious faith can make a person resistant to reason and evidence.  We've often referred to the Faith Virus: it really does take over part of the mind and keep a person from evaluating religious claims the same way they would evaluate other things.  As well as the emotional ordeal you've been through, you've also been on quite a journey intellectually.  Your arrival at atheism (most of us consider ourselves agnostic atheists) is very typical, and I'm convinced it is almost always the eventual outcome when religious claims are evaluated with an open mind.  I know it will be a good while before you are over the pain, but I think your life will be better for having made this journey.

 

I hope you feel at least a bit better after having shared your story here.  You are certainly among friends: this is a very supportive group of people.  Again, I'm so sorry for what you've been through.  We're here for you, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

 

All the Best,

TABA

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Welcome Danny! 

 

BTW, I often argue with christians as to why the jews would not have fallen for the nonsense christians were proselytizing. Christianity is just plain ridiculous when looking at it from the perspective of how jews would have and still do look at it. 

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Welcome Danny. Im so sorry for you as i have experienced the loss of someone who i should have been with through the faith virus.

 

Its made harder by the fact its based on the biggest con in history.

 

Hang in there buddy. It gets easier.

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    I am sorry for your pain.  

Well, I do not know your opinions about profesional secular therapy but it does really seem the right one could help you. Maybe you have already been there.

     On the other hand it is quite obvious that people with such different worldviews cannot have real deep intimate relationships. I am not talking about marriage. People can be married and with children and be very distant.

      Actually was too in a relationship that ended mainly because of religious differences. Should have not gone there from the beggining but was naive. It was pretty bad.

      And my opinion is worldviews are more important than romantic love. You do too otherwise you would have just went on and become christian and marry the girl but chose to remain faithful to your views as did she.

       

       

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17 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

And my opinion is worldviews are more important than romantic love.

An interesting observation. Love at first includes passion, but the passion does subside over time. I'm not saying it goes away, but the heat is reduced; love can remain but in a different form. Yet it is difficult when deep in passion to see beyond that and to search for those connections that will last a lifetime.

 

You are fortunate that, although painful, you discovered your disconnect before your entanglement became the complicated nightmare that marriage and family could bring. That thought doesn't make it hurt less, though.

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@Unafraid,

Thank-you for posting and welcome to Ex-C!

 

Your story illustrates how damaging religion can be. Those who are in positions of power that is gained from religion seek to maintain and grow their hold over their flock. One of their tools is to mitigate any interaction between their flock and any potential counter doctrines or philosophies. Naturally most of them devote a good deal of effort attempting to destroy relationships between their subjects and the "outside world".

 

How many intimate relationships have been destroyed? How many potential marriages have been quashed? How many who would have been happy and content are now in pain like you because of religion. And many religions are to blame - not just Christianity. I myself am in a relationship with a woman who is devout and brought me into the religion 20 years ago. I too had my doubts and did the leg work attempting to find the truth. Did I find it? I don't know but I do know that Christianity ain't it! This is causing untold stress between Mrs. MOHO and I but, your know after 20+ years it would take quite a bit to destroy the union. I don't know what she feels about the whole non-believers burning in Hell forever but she seems content with the marriage. Perhaps she thinks that since she prayed that I would not wind up there that it won't happen. I've tried to bring her around just as you did but anyone on this site who has experiences in this area will tell you that the person must first have their own doubts and/or motivations to investigate with an open mind. We cannot, and should not, pursue the devout and try to de-convert them.

 

Thanx again for posting your story and I hope to read more from you.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

 

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Welcome Danny,

I'm sorry for your loss. It illustrates well why I think religion is poison. It's poison because it separates and alienates us from each other, even results in hatred, war and genocide. 

I know this is probably hard to hear but you're one of the lucky ones. You weren't 10 years or more into a marriage after which one partner "wakes up" and disaster ensues. For you though, I think it's made harder by the fact you were in the passionately in love phase. Yeah, it's a phase, even that cools off after a couple years and we start seeing our partners in a more realistic light. 

You can go forward now wiser and stronger knowing that one of the most important questions if you date is, do you share a similar worldview and values. For a lot of us, that's a basic necessity to avoid precisely these types of problems. 

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Friends,

 

Thank you so much.  I can't tell you how much your words have helped me.  I read and re-read all of your comments.  I know intellectually that separating was the right decision.  I looked towards the future at how hard it would have been to keep trying to believe as she does.  I can only imagine having kids and her wanting them in church.  I can only imagine how my life would have been consumed by Christianity.  Being surrounded by Christians all the time, and knowing all well I didn't believe any of it.  Having to live a lie every day, and try to pretend that everything was ok.  But my emotional side knows she will marry someone else.  Someone else will get to see her every day, and be able to talk to her and hold her and build a life with her.  This is the difficult part.  Almost 3 years into all this, and this is the first time I feel like others have been able to relate to what I'm saying.  I really can't thank you enough.  I really hope I can be myself again, and find the right person who shares those values that are so dear.  Looking forward to reading more of your words and reading more of your journeys which I've been doing for quite some time now.  -Danny

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Nice to hear you feel helped.

 

Again , I do not think religion per say destroys relationships. I would use the broader terms of too conflicting worldviews. Pretty sure a radical leftist and a radical rightwinger would have a hard time connecting. Worldviews also unite people and it is obvious that communities are built and survive, be it families , countries or larger entities on common values and practices.

 

There are interfaith marriages which can work but their specific personal worldviews have to be sufficiently similar/ complementary.

 

Heck I would not and could not date an active pornstar or any kind of sex worker for example. I mean to be honest I would not date an actress who does any erotic scene beyond hugs. But that is my limitations.

 

I will say something that might sound cliche but I am pondering a lot lately so for me it is not. Birth and death, gain and loss, unity and separation, joy and grief even love and hate are all part of this existence. 

 

So your grief, your anger, your loss, your pain is both natural healthy and impermanent. Processing it can be hard and you might require help or could use some support. Even some herbal remedies can help a little. And I am not kidding. Relaxing and feeding the body through things like teas and scented baths and supplements can really help. We in the European culture, and by that I mean also the US Australia etc any culture with roots in Europe, often forget that our body also feels the grief and needs soothing.

 

Myrrkhoos

 

 

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Unafraid, about 50 years ago I also lost an intense relationship like you described.  I thought of her and had dreams about her for years.  But after 30 years we made contact again by phone.  The first call was great, and the feelings came flowing back, which was not good for my marriage!  The second call was less great.  2 or 3 more calls, and a couple of letters, I saw what she had become with her beliefs and life style.  To make a long story short, I eventually was glad we had split.  Although the chemistry was great, and had lasted for 2 years, we had very different directions in life which would have clashed, and kept both of us becoming the persons we had the potential to be.  I hope this helps.

 

WELCOME!

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On 9/30/2019 at 11:10 PM, Myrkhoos said:

 We in the European culture, and by that I mean also the US Australia etc any culture with roots in Europe, often forget that our body also feels the grief and needs soothing.

 

Myrrkhoos

 

 

 

Taking care of your body is great, but I do not recommend using anything that could become addictive.  Drinking, or taking something to "relax" is the beginning of many addictions.  Including religion!!

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44 minutes ago, Weezer said:

Unafraid, about 50 years ago I also lost an intense relationship like you described.  I thought of her and had dreams about her for years.  But after 30 years we made contact again by phone.  The first call was great, and the feelings came flowing back, which was not good for my marriage!  The second call was less great.  2 or 3 more calls, and a couple of letters, I saw what she had become with her beliefs and life style.  To make a long story short, I eventually was glad we had split.  Although the chemistry was great, and had lasted for 2 years, we had very different directions in life which would have clashed, and kept both of us becoming the persons we had the potential to be.  I hope this helps.

 

WELCOME!

30 years is a long time! What made you re-connect after all those years? Or why did you wait 30 years to reconnect?

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1 hour ago, Weezer said:

 

Taking care of your body is great, but I do not recommend using anything that could become addictive.  Drinking, or taking something to "relax" is the beginning of many addictions.  Including religion!!

Correct. Herbal teas or scented baths like I gave examples are low risk IMHO.:) Also many types of massages, goid nutrition, body exercises like qi qong, even hugging a fluffy cat. :)

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Hi Danny

 

Welcome to Ex-C. Your story expresses a lot of pain and suffering that can come from religion.

 

It's good that you have begun your journey of recovering from religion. This can take some time - a life of religion is not washed away in a single moment of clarity.

 

All the best and I hope to see you posting in the forums.

 

LF

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9 hours ago, Karna said:

30 years is a long time! What made you re-connect after all those years? Or why did you wait 30 years to reconnect?

 

It was a strange coincidence thing.  She had moved out of state, was married to her 2nd husband, and I needed to talk to him about a business deal. She answered the phone which set things off.  We were both going through rough times in our marriages, and I think we were both intrigued, but we kept things above board. We grew up in a small town and had a lot of common friends, which we mostly discussed, along with some of the business deal.  I think the conversations lead both of us to believe that going our separate ways had been in our best interests.  At least it helped me to get closure on the old fantasy.

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12 hours ago, Weezer said:

Unafraid, about 50 years ago I also lost an intense relationship like you described.  I thought of her and had dreams about her for years.  But after 30 years we made contact again by phone.  The first call was great, and the feelings came flowing back, which was not good for my marriage!  The second call was less great.  2 or 3 more calls, and a couple of letters, I saw what she had become with her beliefs and life style.  To make a long story short, I eventually was glad we had split.  Although the chemistry was great, and had lasted for 2 years, we had very different directions in life which would have clashed, and kept both of us becoming the persons we had the potential to be.  I hope this helps.

 

WELCOME!

Weezer thank you.  I hope some day to reconnect with her also.  I don't know what that will look like.  I imagine she will be married with kids.  But maybe all of her pain will be subsided and she'll feel ok to call or text.  That being said, it may never happen.  Just too painful.  I hope to move forward too.  But I still have conversations with her in my mind.  Still talk to her and then I snap out of it.  How did it end if you don't mind me asking?  Where you a Christian ever?  Or did you simply tell her you couldn't believe as she did and left?  

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I’m so sorry for your heartbreak.

My 22 year marriage did not survive my deconversion. In the final years we fought constantly, mostly about how to raise our 3 kids. He insisted on what I consider to be religious indoctrination. Someday our kids will probably be explaining the divorce to psychiatrists.

It’s painful for you now but truly you have been spared an enormous amount of future suffering. Best of luck.

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1 hour ago, LostinParis said:

I’m so sorry for your heartbreak.

My 22 year marriage did not survive my deconversion. In the final years we fought constantly, mostly about how to raise our 3 kids. He insisted on what I consider to be religious indoctrination. Someday our kids will probably be explaining the divorce to psychiatrists.

It’s painful for you now but truly you have been spared an enormous amount of future suffering. Best of luck.

I'm so sorry for everything you have been through LostinParis.  I truly hope the best for your kids.  I can't imagine what you have been through.  

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On 10/3/2019 at 1:35 AM, Unafraid said:

Weezer thank you.  I hope some day to reconnect with her also.  I don't know what that will look like.  I imagine she will be married with kids.  But maybe all of her pain will be subsided and she'll feel ok to call or text.  That being said, it may never happen.  Just too painful.  I hope to move forward too.  But I still have conversations with her in my mind.  Still talk to her and then I snap out of it.  How did it end if you don't mind me asking?  Where you a Christian ever?  Or did you simply tell her you couldn't believe as she did and left?  

 

We were both Christians at the time.  I had converted her to the Church of Christ, for which which her parents were NOT happy, and they thought I was beneath her, and drove a wedge between us.  In their eyes I was not ambitious enough for their daughter.  She remained in the CofC, and I deconverted years later.  She did live up to her parents expectations and became fairly wealthy, while I paid the bills by being a Social Worker.  She did have more expensive tastes than I did.  

 

I told you the story to show that often times we may not like the way things are going for us at the time, but things happen for a reason, and often times it is better for us in the long run.  It took me 30 years to realize that if we had gotten married, we would have had problems.  I held onto the fantasy for too long.  Don't let a fantasy keep you captive in your future.  Try to get some closure, or it will likely create distance in any new relationships you get into.

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Well, it seems to me that we are not properly taught to grieve or assisted/ supported in general in current society. Grieving I think is one of the most important emotional processes for humans, be it simple like losing a jey or a house or a religion or a relationship or high hopes. I am also just starting to pay attention to this and hope to learn. Grief and gratitude come hand in hand and one cannot function without the other in this world. Loss and love. Attachment detachment. So, if you can my humble idea is learn to and than grieve properly. This is especially hard for men as there is some kind of exaggerated value in resisting/ deniening/ rapidly overcoming pain placed upon men in most western societies. A comedian Bill Burr has a bit about this saying that is why men die of heart attacks when they are fifty, from denieing all their lives stuff like a baby is cute.

     However that is conpletely viceversa. Living and confronting and then letting go of pain is virtuous, as per each s possibility of course.

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