Jump to content

From an ex-fundy, why give up on "God" altogether?


Recommended Posts

Sure, I get wanting to throw your hands up and give up religion. I'm one of those guys who begged for years to be healed of my mental health issues and speak in tongues, or otherwise have a major conversion experience, but that never happened. However, I just don't understand why people completely give up on God because they've had bad experiences in the church. Why is the only option atheism when you don't get what you want from God? Why can't the options be:

 

1) Atheism

2) Maybe Christians are wrong/have only part of the truth...so I'll make it my life mission to figure this out for myself.

 

Sure, I gave up on going to fundamental Christian churches myself. However, I still believe in a higher power/source/God. Why can't your disillusionment with God/church lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 57
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Most people who leave Christianity (or other religions for that matter) do investigate alternative beliefs. What often happens, though, is people leave Christianity because there is no evidence that i

Hi faithevolved, and welcome to our community!   Not all of us here are atheists, although most of us do not have a belief in any god.  We’re not certain no god exists, but we don’t find any of the cl

In my first response, I kind of skipped over the process of going from fundamentalist Christian to exiting Christianity altogether. Once I stopped believing in the Fall of Adam and Eve, much of Christ

  • Moderator

Hi faithevolved, and welcome to our community!   Not all of us here are atheists, although most of us do not have a belief in any god.  We’re not certain no god exists, but we don’t find any of the claims convincing, and we see insufficient evidence to believe in any deity.  We mostly call ourselves agnostic atheists.  
 

But we didn’t go from being Christians to where we are today in one step.  For most of us the process took many months or even years.  Once we stopped believing the Bible as historical fact, and then stopped considering ourselves to be Christians, we typically continued with some kind of god-belief.  It might have been because we weren’t ready for the idea that there is nobody ‘in charge’ of the universe, or because we hadn’t learned enough about how the universe progressed from the Big Bang to the existence of stars and planets, or of how complex life evolved.  Or maybe we had a preconceived idea of what atheists were like and didn’t want to become like that.

 

But for so many of us, those conditions changed and not only did we we eventually come to see that there was not enough reason to believe in any god, but we become more and more comfortable with the idea, and came to enjoy the benefits of not having our minds bound by theology or trying to understand the will of a deity.  But it does take time.  Not saying that you will go down the same path that so many of us took, but I do think that having a sufficiently open mind does tend to lead to agnostic atheism. 
 

Welcome again, and I hope we’ll learn more about you!

 

- TABA

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

In my first response, I kind of skipped over the process of going from fundamentalist Christian to exiting Christianity altogether. Once I stopped believing in the Fall of Adam and Eve, much of Christianity seemed to become pointless.  If there was no Fall, no Original Sin, why did Jesus need to be sacrificed?  Once I stopped believing that all non-Christians go to Hell, what did I need to be saved from?  Liberal Christianity or mere theism becomes reduced to pretty much the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others.  And given all the terrible things that the god of the Bible did to human beings, and all the things he allowed to happen, well I just realized I was better off without any theology.  From there, it was just a matter of time before I became fully comfortable as an agnostic atheist.  I should stress that being a member of this community helped a great deal on that journey. 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
2 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Sure, I gave up on going to fundamental Christian churches myself. However, I still believe in a higher power/source/God.

Good for you.

 

2 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Why can't your disillusionment with God/church lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

Most of us find what works for us, as individuals.  For some, it may be another form of spirituality; for others, it might be a more scientific, skeptical approach to life.  Some might even discover that a proper diet and exercise is all they need to center their chi.  Ultimately, though, it is not for us to critique the path another takes.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

"Why give up on God altogether?"

 

You have evidence for this God? If so please present. If not congratulations you've answered your question. :D

 

Hi and welcome to Ex-C

 

Why not do new age spirituality etc? Well because in my opinion its all the same bullshit repackaged. *Ducks the rotten tomatoes*

 

Ultimately though we each work out what's best for us, and I find I tend very strongly to an evidential methodological naturalism.

 

I haven't given up on God, in much the same way I haven't given up on Zeus. There's just no evidence they exist. You can insert any number of other claims in that sentence - the 1,000s of gods, ghosts, various woo claims, aliens, and so on. When there is good evidence I'll believe it.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good question by OP.

 

Moving out of organized religion, in my opinion, is a sign of evolution. I would like to attribute this claim to Spiral Dynamics. If you are not aware of it, please study Spiral Dynamics. It is not only applicable in the context of religion, but also in other aspects of life - both personal and social.

 

In particular, study the Blue Spiral, then Orange, then Green and then Yellow. And you might find out how relatable all these are to the question posed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator
5 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Sure, I get wanting to throw your hands up and give up religion. I'm one of those guys who begged for years to be healed of my mental health issues and speak in tongues, or otherwise have a major conversion experience, but that never happened. However, I just don't understand why people completely give up on God because they've had bad experiences in the church. Why is the only option atheism when you don't get what you want from God? Why can't the options be:

 

1) Atheism

2) Maybe Christians are wrong/have only part of the truth...so I'll make it my life mission to figure this out for myself.

 

Sure, I gave up on going to fundamental Christian churches myself. However, I still believe in a higher power/source/God. Why can't your disillusionment with God/church lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

 

 

 

These are good questions, faithevolved. Welcome. 

 

Experience is the best answer. People who continue questioning gain more and more experience with questioning in and of itself. They explore further, and further, and further along. During that questioning some people do go through all of the available options. Other religions, new age, occult, magick, neo paganism, and even customized, make it up yourself kind of stuff. But even then, a lot of people keep moving as they discover and identify contradictions and various inconsistencies in those areas as well. By the time they've gone through it all they land lacking positive belief in gods. 

 

So it's not just that people up and get pissed off at church, slam their bible shut, and go atheist. It's usually not that simple. But it can be that simple in some cases. 

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Why can't your disillusionment with God/church lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

 

Been there, done that.  Still do.  I am open to the idea.  But as I have posted before, there is no universal human religion.  If there were some sort of real god or spiritual world that was accessible to man, there would be some universality to religion. We all see the same moon; why don’t we all see the same god?  Anyone in the world doing simple experiments would come up with the same acceleration due to gravity, or the same pythagorean theorem.  Kids peeking through knotholes at a baseball game may see it from different angles, but they would all describe the same game.  But religions are as diverse as mankind, because they are the products of man’s mind, not the result of divine revelation or spiritual discovery.  If I saw something that convinced me otherwise, I really would change my mind.

 

(I am talking about finding a religion that is really “true.”  If what you are looking for is a church, religion, new age philosophy, etc. that just feels good, by all means do it.)

 

p.s.  That was my 100th post; I am now a “Thinker.”  :58:

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

 

Maybe Christians are wrong/have only part of the truth...so I'll make it my life mission to figure this out for myself.

 

 

 

I was at that point about 3/4 way through my spiritual journey.  Keep on traveling with an open mind and you will likely come to where most of us are.

 

Read our testimonials in the TESTIMONY section.  I will "toot my own horn."   Mine is called, TRUTH: A GRADUAL AWAKENING, and basically goes step by step from fundamentalism to agnosticism.  I wasn't mad at the church, or God.  Some things just didn't add up, so I started an off and on decades long search.

 

WELCOME!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Sure, I gave up on going to fundamental Christian churches myself. However, I still believe in a higher power/source/God. Why can't your disillusionment with God/church lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

 

I've already been through that exploration process, investigating occultism, Buddhism and Asatru over a period of several decades.  My epiphany came when I realized that I had never in all that time wholeheartedly believed in any of it.  I seem to have been born with a brain that has the "Yeah, riiight..." circuit stuck in the "on" position.  The best I can do is pretend to believe, and knowing what I know now I would feel awful even attempting to do that.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I see a distinct split between anti-church and non-religious, which I think is where the different levels of unbelief mentioned fit in. It is perfectly reasonable for someone to say the church is wrong, their teachings are wrong, they are too focused on money, they are anti-science, they are full of child molesters or whatever, and not have that real world problem effect their belief in the supernatural. Those kinds of people would still describe themselves as Christian but not belonging to a church, and as this website is ex-christian that position is less likely to be common here. 

 

Atheism can occur the opposite way, in that the church you belong to can be great, supportive, friendly with no problems at all, and its the religion and the teaching of the bible which breaks your faith. It is estimated 20-25% of church goers don't have a belief in god. They go for community, they go because they are forced to, they go for tradition or other reasons not related to belief. These people are atheists but would often declare themselves Christian due to church attendance. 

It really is a wide ranging scale. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Wertbag said:

It is estimated 20-25% of church goers don't have a belief in god.

 

A lot of clergy don’t believe in god.

 

One in 50 Anglican clergy in the UK believes God is merely a human construct, according to a new survey today. Just eight in ten believe there is a personal God and a further three in 100 believe there is some spirit or life force.

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/one-in-50-clergy-dont-believe-in-god/42082.htm

 

Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/18/archbishop-canterbury-doubt-god-existence-welby

 

Are you a religious professional who no longer believes in the supernatural? 

Have you remained in vocational ministry, secretly hiding away your non-belief?

http://clergyproject.org/

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for all the replies. I appreciate the points of view and the candid yet respectful manner in how you all answered me.

 

It seems to come down to lack of evidence in God that makes someone come to the conclusion there is no God. Ok, yes...I'm captain obvious.

 

Here's my best evidence:

 

Recently, I discovered a guy named Tommy who is blind from birth who has a YouTube channel called "The Tommy Edison Experience". Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC56zsfl0M

 

After watching that, I thought to myself...how in the world could I EVER convince this guy that seeing is real. We all know seeing is real, but this guy has no reference point because his brain is not capable of processing sight. Then I related this to the idea of God...what if we as humans just don't have the capacity to prove God's existence anymore than Tommy can prove sight exists EXCEPT by some outside source that he must have faith to believe in? He essentially has to take our word for it that seeing is real even though he may never experience it himself.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
5 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Wow, thanks for all the replies. I appreciate the points of view and the candid yet respectful manner in how you all answered me.

 

It seems to come down to lack of evidence in God that makes someone come to the conclusion there is no God. Ok, yes...I'm captain obvious.

 

Here's my best evidence:

 

Recently, I discovered a guy named Tommy who is blind from birth who has a YouTube channel called "The Tommy Edison Experience". Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC56zsfl0M

 

After watching that, I thought to myself...how in the world could I EVER convince this guy that seeing is real. We all know seeing is real, but this guy has no reference point because his brain is not capable of processing sight. Then I related this to the idea of God...what if we as humans just don't have the capacity to prove God's existence anymore than Tommy can prove sight exists EXCEPT by some outside source that he must have faith to believe in? He essentially has to take our word for it that seeing is real even though he may never experience it himself.

Sighted people can demonstrate sight to him. "Tommy, let me stand over here and tell you what you're wearing and how many fingers you're holding up." Sight exists and can be proven to exist.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator
On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 10:36 AM, faithevoloved said:

However, I just don't understand why people completely give up on God because they've had bad experiences in the church.

 

I just wanted to make a point about this line in your first post.

 

Upon asking this group in my early days here why intelligent people believed God with no evidence Florduh replied "Some very intelligent and educated people fall for this crap because believing it is not an intellectual decision, but rather an emotional hook." I'm also willing to concede the opposite is true - some people leave religion because of emotional reasons.

 

However most people don't leave religion because of "bad experience" but rather after a (usually) long and difficult search for truth. I certainly didn't have any bad experiences that made me stop believing. What stopped me believing was the gaping hole between the claims of the bible and believers, and reality.

 

IMO if you believe or disbelieve something for emotional reasons you are on shaky epistemological grounds.

 

5 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Here's my best evidence:

 

Recently, I discovered a guy named Tommy who is blind from birth who has a YouTube channel called "The Tommy Edison Experience". Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC56zsfl0M

 

After watching that, I thought to myself...how in the world could I EVER convince this guy that seeing is real. We all know seeing is real, but this guy has no reference point because his brain is not capable of processing sight. Then I related this to the idea of God...what if we as humans just don't have the capacity to prove God's existence anymore than Tommy can prove sight exists EXCEPT by some outside source that he must have faith to believe in? He essentially has to take our word for it that seeing is real even though he may never experience it himself.

 

I'm confused - how is that evidence for God?

 

You are essentially saying that we cannot prove God exists because we lack the ability to. So why accept that any god/s exist? If you cant demonstrate any god exists you are not justified in believing that any exist.

 

Also you might find his brain is capable of processing sight, but the eyes don't function normally. In the future we might be able to give someone artificial eyes that connect to the sight centre in the brain and then he's be able to see.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

Then I related this to the idea of God...what if we as humans just don't have the capacity to prove God's existence

Firstly you need to clearly define god.  Some people use a very loose definition that is little more than a force of nature, but if your definition can apply to gravity as much as god then it isn't really a supernatural being we are talking about.  The more common idea is a personal god, one who interacts with the physical world, one who wants us to know Him and one who is a powerful, loving, father figure.  Once you start attaching such real world characteristics to the being, then we can absolutely look to test those claims.  Would suffering exist if god was loving and powerful?  Would prayers be answered?  Would the followers of one particular religion show divine protection from real world problems?  Would a global flood leave tell-tale signs of its passing?  Would we be able to communicate with god/angels/demons or other supernatural beings?  Would people be lead by unseen powers to the correct answers so that we had one world wide religion with no debate?

 

While we can't see god directly, we should be able to see His actions and changes to the world.  We don't.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, faithevoloved said:

 

Recently, I discovered a guy named Tommy who is blind from birth who has a YouTube channel called "The Tommy Edison Experience". Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJC56zsfl0M

 

After watching that, I thought to myself...how in the world could I EVER convince this guy that seeing is real. We all know seeing is real, but this guy has no reference point because his brain is not capable of processing sight. Then I related this to the idea of God...what if we as humans just don't have the capacity to prove God's existence anymore than Tommy can prove sight exists EXCEPT by some outside source that he must have faith to believe in? He essentially has to take our word for it that seeing is real even though he may never experience it himself.

 

I actually get what you're saying here. Perhaps we have to trust that there is something out there that cannot be described in a way that we can understand. I certainly allow for that. But I also allow that my preconceived ideas about what/who "God" is are likely very primative and so, not to be trusted.  I am open to possibilities that there exists a "higher power," but I have to trust that, if it exists, that higher power will somehow figure out a way to communicate with me. If we want a dog to learn algebra, it is not up to the dog to figure out how to do that.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
3 minutes ago, freshstart said:

Perhaps we have to trust that there is something out there that cannot be described in a way that we can understand.

 

Why? How could such a "something" be relevant in any way?

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/12/2019 at 4:36 PM, faithevoloved said:

Sure, I get wanting to throw your hands up and give up religion. I'm one of those guys who begged for years to be healed of my mental health issues and speak in tongues, or otherwise have a major conversion experience, but that never happened. However, I just don't understand why people completely give up on God because they've had bad experiences in the church.

^^assumption re bad experiences. Please, do not insult the intelligence of people here this way. 

Quote

Why is the only option atheism when you don't get what you want from God?

Second assumption re not getting what we want from god. Again, please don't insult the intelligence and critical thinking ability of people here. 

Quote

Why can't the options be:

 

1) Atheism

2) Maybe Christians are wrong/have only part of the truth...so I'll make it my life mission to figure this out for myself.

 

Sure, I gave up on going to fundamental Christian churches myself. However, I still believe in a higher power/source/God. Why can't your disillusionment with God/church

Yet another assumption re disillusionment with god

Quote

 

 

lead you into a least exploring other options e.g. new age or something?

 

 

It's called asking for evidence and when you don't get it, not believing it. You need to get over the assumptions you just made. 

 

Edit: apologies, you're new here and I didn't say welcome. Also my response hopefully isn't rude but yeah I'm a bit tired of answering the question because the onus isn't on non believers to state why they don't believe in God(s) it's on the believers to explain why they do or what the evidence is for such existence. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, florduh said:

 

Why? How could such a "something" be relevant in any way?

 

Why not? Why not be open to the possibility of something more? If we don't dare to imagine that something (currently) inconceivable exists, then we won't pursue it in earnest. That's how discoveries start. . .with a hunch.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Weezer said:

I wanted to believe in God.  That is one reason it took so long to completely leave religion.

 

I still want to believe in . . . something.  I grew up expecting eternal life, heaven, etc. and it was depressing to realize that this is it.  But wanting something doesn’t make it true.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, TEG said:

 

I still want to believe in . . . something.  I grew up expecting eternal life, heaven, etc. and it was depressing to realize that this is it.  But wanting something doesn’t make it true.

 

I know what you mean.  But I finally realized there is a lot in life we will never know, and nothing is totally guaranteed, HA! except taxes and death.  I'll just live life the best I know how, try not to hurt anyone along the way, and take whatever comes at the end.  LOL, If there is a life after this one, I'll do my best to come back and tell everyone!  Anyone care to make any bets about me coming back?   (excuse me for being in a funky mood tonight)

 

Heck, why am I asking anyone to excuse me?  I'M IN A FUNKY MOOD TONIGHT!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator
11 hours ago, freshstart said:

Why not? Why not be open to the possibility of something more? If we don't dare to imagine that something (currently) inconceivable exists, then we won't pursue it in earnest. That's how discoveries start. . .with a hunch.

 

 

Here is what my response was directed at: 

Perhaps we have to trust that there is something out there that cannot be described in a way that we can understand.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.