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Deconverted, Still Transitioning Out


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I was raised by a Christian family, but was mostly neutral on the topic until my dad sent me to a Christian summer camp when I was a freshman in highschool. I came back from that camp a born-again fundy!

 

My conversion happened 10 years ago, and marked the beginning of a very religious phase of life. Evangelism was common throughout this time frame, since I genuinely believed Christianity was true, and people would go to hell if I didn't preach the Gospel. Most people at church saw me as "on fire".

 

As I made my way through college and joining the professional workplace, this fire started dwindling. I wasn't afraid to let people know that I was a Christian, but stopped shoving my beliefs down others' throats. In hindsight, I think this was because I didn't want being a Jesus-freak to poorly impact my relationships at school or work.

 

As time went on, I learned that two of my closest Christian friends from highschool began to doubt Christianity. One of them left Christianity entirely, the other was doubting.

 

Their doubts made me think that I should examine my own beliefs, and for the first time, I turned the apologetics "defend the bible at all costs" switch off, and began looking into the history of the Bible and Christianity.

 

I didn't like what I saw! I quickly threw the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy out the window and started investigating progressive Christianity. A couple of months later, I realized I was just trying to hold on to some semblance of faith. Progressive Christianity is definitely less falsifiable, but I couldn't find anything there convincing me that I should dedicate my life to it. So, a few months ago I stopped considering myself a Christian.

 

Now, I'm facing the fallout of that change. I've kept my wife in the loop from the very first day I doubted, and she is well aware that I'm no longer a believer. However, she still presses me to attend church and small groups with her. So far I've obliged out of guilt, but it's incredibly uncomfortable being at church now. As I'm sure you understand, sermons at church can be hard to put up with once you've changed your outlook. That, and I feel estranged from the community now--like a black sheep of sorts.

 

More recently, I've told her about my issues, and that I don't know how much longer I can put up with going to church. Saying this made her emotional, almost as emotional as when I told her I didn't believe anymore. She said that me not wanting to go to church anymore made my deconversion feel even more real, which I understand.

 

So here I am, still going to church (primarily to keep the peace with my wife), but I'm on the brink of leaving. I suppose I'm posting here because I'm looking for support for this next stage, which is perhaps the scariest step of my deconversion.

 

It signifies leaving years of my life behind, my church community behind, my Christian parents behind, and part of my relationship with my wife behind. It's scary because I don't know that all the changes to come will be good ones. But at this point, I think leaving is necessary for my own sanity.

 

With that said, I'm thinking I'll go through the motions for another month or so. My Christian dad is visiting me in a month, and I want one more peaceful visit with him before I leave the church. 

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Welcome @Jaywatt and thanx for posting.

 

As the self-proclaimed VP of the unequally yoked club here at Ex-C I feel I might be in a good position to provide some emotional support. I don't portend to be acting in any way, shape, or form as any kind of a counselor but I've been where your are and feel compelled to reach out to you.

 

I announced my unbelief of xanity a few years ago (actually I did this twice after having a relapse) and prepared for a divorce. I went so far as to seek legal council. This may sound like an over-reaction to anyone except those of us who live with scream'n fundies. They are told we are evil, listening to satan, sinning, retched etc. I can see where pastor asshat is coming from here because, as Mrs. MOHO is retired, he knows where that big, fat, fucking check comes from each year. 

 

Well anyway, the divorce did not happen. I made it clear that was OK with that and I think my self confidence in that helped mitigate any negative reaction on my wife's part - at least in terms of attempting to use religion and people from church to real me back in. She knew I'd bail. And I still might and she knows this. Every so often she pushes, I push back, she bluffs, I stand my ground,  we recover after a day or two.

 

And so it goes. I cannot go to church because I might just soil the carpet in the sanctuary when the bullshit from the pulpit begins. I cannot seem to suppress my eye rolling and general look of disdain on my face. 

 

My advice: Come clean at all costs. OK, if you have young-uns at home and really feel a divorce is immanent, then play it cautiously. Of course the rug-rats also have a right to know the truth. They have a right to hear both sides of the churchy, religious dialog.

 

I understand your problem with hearing, seeing, being emersed in the religion ...or...so it would feel when you develop a sort of contempt for the crap. Mrs. MOHO, being retired, is really throwing herself into this garbage and this is testing my cool. I want to rip the bible, bible books, study guides, etc right out from under her and go on about how she is indoctrinated. That, of course, will just make me look like a psycho and not benefit anyone. It would push her farther into the self-indoctrination.

 

In closing I encourage you to stop placating the fundies as soon as you are comfortable. You owe it to them just as much as to yourself. As I found out things did not go as badly as I thought they would.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me/us as needed.

Hope to hear more from you.

     - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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10 minutes ago, MOHO said:

My advice: Come clean at all costs. OK, if you have young-uns at home and really feel a divorce is immanent, then play it cautiously. Of course the rug-rats also have a right to know the truth. They have a right to hear both sides of the churchy, religious dialog.

Thanks for reaching out @MOHO. We do have two girls which complicates things. (one is 1 month, the other 2 years). But, I'm willing to concede that my wife take them to church every week, so long as I'm free to state my mind with them as well.

 

Frankly, I think I have the advantage in the long run, since I have logic, and (eventually) Sunday fundays! When they're old enough to make their own decisions, I'm guessing there's a high probability they'd rather hang with dad than go to church.

 

And I know I don't want divorce, I'm just hopeful my wife will hold that position as well. It's going to be hard regardless, I anticipate there will be a lot of fallout to work through after I leave the church.

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2 hours ago, Jaywatt said:

Thanks for reaching out @MOHO.  It's going to be hard regardless, I anticipate there will be a lot of fallout to work through after I leave the church.

 

WELCOME!  Yes, there will be fallout.  My wife stayed with me, but the marriage isn't the same, and after a couple of years she and my grown kids have also quit going to church.  No one disowned us, but don't treat us the same, and some relatives didn't want me influencing  their children.  But like you, I could no longer fake belief, and even with the problems, I feel a peace inside I had never felt before.  If you are interested in the whole story, my testimonial is in this section, named, TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING.   You will find lots of support here!

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4 hours ago, Jaywatt said:

I realized I was just trying to hold on to some semblance of faith. Progressive Christianity is definitely less falsifiable, but I couldn't find anything there convincing me that I should dedicate my life to it. So, a few months ago I stopped considering myself a Christian.

 

I can very much relate to this. I started listening to progressive Christian podcasts somewhat religiously. I didn't recognize it at the time as holding on, but in retrospect it's very obvious that's what I was doing. Congratulations on recognizing it and making the change.

 

Un unequally yoked marriage must be difficult. I hope things work out without much difficulty for you two. 

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What are her thoughts about why you no longer believe? For some women, they feel tricked after having the "perfect Christian family" propaganda pushed on them for years, and can't fathom why hubby doesn't love Jesus anymore. Does she care if Jesus is real, or is she more plugged into the social network of church (hard not to be in TX, from what I hear)?

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50 minutes ago, AcrobaticDetective said:

 

I can very much relate to this. I started listening to progressive Christian podcasts somewhat religiously. I didn't recognize it at the time as holding on, but in retrospect it's very obvious that's what I was doing. Congratulations on recognizing it and making the change. 

Hah. Yes I’m a big podcast listener myself. I made my way through Peter Enns “The Bible for Normal People” podcast, and “The Liturgists”.

 

They were both helpful at that time.

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38 minutes ago, Fuego said:

What are her thoughts about why you no longer believe?
Does she care if Jesus is real, or is she more plugged into the social network of church (hard not to be in TX, from what I hear)?

Well it’s definitely been hard on her, as it would have been for me in the same position.

 

We were both very involved with church, and very firm believers. She still is.

 

She still tows the party line that I’m following Satan’s lies, unfortunately. But that’s just what she/we were programmed to think.

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5 hours ago, Jaywatt said:

It signifies leaving years of my life behind, my church community behind, my Christian parents behind, and part of my relationship with my wife behind. It's scary because I don't know that all the changes to come will be good ones. But at this point, I think leaving is necessary for my own sanity.

 

They may not be good ones. You never know. I think it boils down to you doing what you need to do, regardless of whatever fall out may transpire. And hoping for the best as it happens.

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On 3/3/2020 at 4:52 PM, Jaywatt said:

I didn't like what I saw! I quickly threw the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy out the window and started investigating progressive Christianity. A couple of months later, I realized I was just trying to hold on to some semblance of faith. Progressive Christianity is definitely less falsifiable, but I couldn't find anything there convincing me that I should dedicate my life to it. So, a few months ago I stopped considering myself a Christian.

 

This was me! It actually started in church one morning when I realized that nobody in the building believed what Genesis 3 said. (Hint: It's an ordinary snake!)

 

I knew, like you, that liberal Christianity didn't treat the fables as facts, but also like you, I couldn't find anything that made me think I should believe anything in the New Testament. If the Bible starts out as myths, transitions to legends, and then to embellished history, at what point am I supposed to start believing that the magic is real?

 

That was 8 years ago. I'm 60 years old now. Unfortunately, I'm still going to church and keeping my mouth mostly shut. But I'm going less and less often, and hoping to see a way to quit altogether.

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On 3/6/2020 at 12:18 PM, Lerk said:

Unfortunately, I'm still going to church and keeping my mouth mostly shut. But I'm going less and less often, and hoping to see a way to quit altogether.

  

Ignore this if you think I'm being too nosey, but what draws you back? Why don't you just walk away?

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On 3/7/2020 at 6:44 PM, older said:

  

Ignore this if you think I'm being too nosey, but what draws you back? Why don't you just walk away?

 

Long story. It boils down to being in a "don't ask -- don't tell" situation with one son. Maybe not for too much longer.

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6 hours ago, Lerk said:

 

Long story. It boils down to being in a "don't ask -- don't tell" situation with one son. Maybe not for too much longer.

  

Well, I hope it works out in a satisfactory way.

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On 3/3/2020 at 7:43 PM, Fuego said:

Does she care if Jesus is real, or is she more plugged into the social network of church

 

^This!!  At least for me.  I'm married to a believer as well and for the first 2 years, i thought she was angry because of my BELIEFS, but it was the impact on her social life that was the main issue...  It's awkward/shameful in that world being the one married to the unbeliever...

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On 3/3/2020 at 11:20 PM, Jaywatt said:

Hah. Yes I’m a big podcast listener myself. I made my way through Peter Enns “The Bible for Normal People” podcast, and “The Liturgists”.

 

They were both helpful at that time.

 

Yep 😁. Two of my favorites. Nomad as well. 

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  • 1 month later...

I live your reality!!! Even a bit worse, sort of, because I am a well-known minister in the community and in two other countries. I'm 67, I' ve been around many interesting Christian blocks, and I still go to church because my wife still does. She knows I have questioned things on and off and she does not realize how deeply I feel about the mistakes in Christianity. Ultimately it is OK for me to go to church because being tied to another human being for whom church is super important, the only kind thing is to go. So what. I don't have to agree with any of it. As a matter of fact, as I sit there and listen, it just reinforces my resolve to no longer be stuck in that way of erroneous thinking. It's a rough road to haul, but it's a real one and it's OK. No skin off my teeth. I can sit somewhere for an hour or two per week if that brings comfort to the one person I have chosen to live with for the rest of my life, right? A small sacrifice of love. Trust me when I tell you, divorce is far worse!!! Don't go there. It's not worth it. Blessings and stay FREE.

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