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A couple years ago I left the fundamentalist church I was attending. For a time after leaving I labeled myself as progressive christian but after a while that wasn’t satisfactory. It was me clinging desperately to whatever shred of “I am a christian” I had left. When I study the bible I come away of the opinion that either fundamentalism is the “right” way or I need to reject the bible outright. So now I’m scared of going to a hell I don’t fully believe exists but that scares me anyway and I’m becoming a huge fan of various atheists who are all on their way to hell like I am. 
 

My best friend still believes I’m a devout christian. My circumstances are such that me not attending church is completely understandable to her but I think about the future when my circumstances change and I could attend Sunday services if I wanted to. 
 

The further I get from fundamentalism the more absurd the bible seems, especially the old testament. The more I learn about evolution the more absurd the old testament becomes. 
 

I still struggle with “what if it’s true after all,” even though at this point I’ve lost any faith I had so a “what if” can’t bring it back so why even bother wasting time on the “what if’s,” because even if it is true, without faith I’m bound for hell anyway. 
 

My cousin recommended reading anything by Bart Ehrman so I picked up “How Jesus Became Gos” and am slowly reading it. 

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1 hour ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

. . . I’m becoming a huge fan of various atheists who are all on their way to hell like I am.

 

Thank you for your support; it means a lot to me.  😇

 

1 hour ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

I still struggle with “what if it’s true after all,”

 

What if the Koran is true after all?  What if the Bhagavad Gita is true after all?  What Odin or Zeus was true after all?  Step back and look at planet earth.  What in the world would make a person believe in that hideous bible?  At some point the blinders will fall off and you will see things differently.

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Welcome to Ex-C...there are approximately 30000 different christian denominations out there...each one convinced that they're right and all others are wrong....not to mention the myriad other religions who believe they know the true god(s). It's a mass delusion. You're not going to hell. You'll be fine :)

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Welcome. I agree with Derek.

As a bit of an aside. You say 'especially the Old Testament' and I think I can understand that. For me, however, the Old Testament is just a series of stories and poetry etc. But the New Testament, on which christians base so much importance, teaches that god gave his (!) son to die for the sins of the world - that is bizarre and revolting and I want nothing to do with such a concept (even though I preached it for years).

Keep searching SarahJaneSmith and all the best.

You could have a look at my story in the Testimonies section - named 'Watering Holes'.

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3 minutes ago, nontheistpilgrim said:

 

You could have a look at my story in the Testimonies section - named 'Watering Holes'.

Thanks! I’ve been camped in the testimonies section for a couple days. I’ll search for yours. ☺️

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There is a thread currently in the Lion's Den that may be of some relevance.  

 

 

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SJS, I wonder if you’re aware that the concept of Hell as most Christians know it today did not exist in the Old Testament.   It evolved as Christianity emerged and only reached its final form with the publication of Dante’s “Inferno” in the Middle Ages.  Here’s a new video from the great Bart Ehrman on the topics of Heaven and Hell:

 

 

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It may be of some comfort to you to know that there are more options than just christian or atheist.  Many of us move on to find other forms of spirituality, some of which include belief in god or god's.  The most important thing is to find what works best for you.  If the journey leads you to ultimately reject the idea of god, that is perfectly okay.  Personally, I think that if there is a god, he/she/it would prefer honest doubt to dishonest belief.

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Hi @SarahJaneSmith.

 

Welcome to Ex-C and thank you for your post.

 

For several months after realizing that all religions are man-made B.S. I continued to have fear of hell. That is normal as we were under the spell of the doctrine for years. To put it less professionally - we were brain washed. It takes time to UN-indoctirinate and you are doing what helped me. Stay away from church and read from the works of Ehrman, Carrier, Dawkins, et al.

 

It is quite clear to me now that the concept of hell was created by jackastical scum-sucking dirt-bags, long after the original collection of fictional works that comprise the bible were first introduced, in order to scare the crack out of those of he flock who were beginning to question.

 

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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10 hours ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

A couple years ago I left the fundamentalist church I was attending. For a time after leaving I labeled myself as progressive christian but after a while that wasn’t satisfactory. It was me clinging desperately to whatever shred of “I am a christian” I had left. When I study the bible I come away of the opinion that either fundamentalism is the “right” way or I need to reject the bible outright. So now I’m scared of going to a hell I don’t fully believe exists but that scares me anyway and I’m becoming a huge fan of various atheists who are all on their way to hell like I am. 
 

My best friend still believes I’m a devout christian. My circumstances are such that me not attending church is completely understandable to her but I think about the future when my circumstances change and I could attend Sunday services if I wanted to. 
 

The further I get from fundamentalism the more absurd the bible seems, especially the old testament. The more I learn about evolution the more absurd the old testament becomes. 
 

I still struggle with “what if it’s true after all,” even though at this point I’ve lost any faith I had so a “what if” can’t bring it back so why even bother wasting time on the “what if’s,” because even if it is true, without faith I’m bound for hell anyway. 
 

My cousin recommended reading anything by Bart Ehrman so I picked up “How Jesus Became Gos” and am slowly reading it. 

I suggest being honest with friends and family I did recently with mix results. At least you get to see peoples true colors.  I also recommend you not give up on spirituality, there may be another faith that can give you far more fullfilment than Christianity ever did. I left a fundamentalist cult (I am ex-NIFB) and I found Wicca. I am proud to be a witch and it has given me everything Christianity promised but failed to deliver.

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11 hours ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

A couple years ago I left the fundamentalist church I was attending. For a time after leaving I labeled myself as progressive christian but after a while that wasn’t satisfactory. It was me clinging desperately to whatever shred of “I am a christian” I had left. When I study the bible I come away of the opinion that either fundamentalism is the “right” way or I need to reject the bible outright. So now I’m scared of going to a hell I don’t fully believe exists but that scares me anyway and I’m becoming a huge fan of various atheists who are all on their way to hell like I am. 
 

My best friend still believes I’m a devout christian. My circumstances are such that me not attending church is completely understandable to her but I think about the future when my circumstances change and I could attend Sunday services if I wanted to. 
 

The further I get from fundamentalism the more absurd the bible seems, especially the old testament. The more I learn about evolution the more absurd the old testament becomes. 
 

I still struggle with “what if it’s true after all,” even though at this point I’ve lost any faith I had so a “what if” can’t bring it back so why even bother wasting time on the “what if’s,” because even if it is true, without faith I’m bound for hell anyway. 
 

My cousin recommended reading anything by Bart Ehrman so I picked up “How Jesus Became Gos” and am slowly reading it. 

 

Hi Sarah. Welcome to Ex-c.

 

If you're afraid to be an atheist, be something else. Once you start to think outside of Christianity there is really no requirement by anyone to have any particular belief. There is no requirement to make a decision to believe or not believe. 

 

Regarding the remnants of faith, it looks like you have been asking yourself why you ought to believe in absurd bible ideas. Why does God have senseless policies? Why is the best answer a devout believer can come up with is: "His ways are mysterious?" or "We can't know the mind of God." 

 

If God really existed and were all powerful he ought to be able to give us understanding so the absurd would no longer be absurd. 

 

Hell fear lingers after people stop believing in Jesus and Christianity. Fear isnt' something you can think yourself out of, necessarily. You may be able to emotion your way out of Hell fear by becoming more powerful (in your head) than Satan and all these other bible characters until the fear fades. Laughter is also a banishment of fear. Watch a funny youtube video. Laugh your butt off and see if doesnt destroy fear ...at least for a while. 

 

With time, fear will melt away ... as you begin to think of new things and new ways to live life. 

 

Consider that all the religious baloney has been nothing more than words (and threats) in a bible. Words (and threats) from people. It's nothing more than people and a book. Reality seems to be missing an actual physical Jesus Christ. I suspect there never was one. 

 

Enjoy your day. :)

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"What if it's true , after all?"

 

Well if it is, and there's a Jesus that loves you, why the heck isnt he contacting you? Guess he doesn't care. We're supposed to lean on him? Yet, he keeps hiding? Absurd, imo :)

 

According to Christianity, we are weak human beings.... nothing without Jesus....yet  at the same time, us weak humans are supposed to have this unfailing faith superpower .... so Jesus can continue to be lazy and absent? Faith or lack of faith does not justify (or replace) Jesus' chronic absence from reality.

 

Jesus, why dont you ever show up?  

 

 

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28 minutes ago, midniterider said:

Consider that all the religious baloney has been nothing more than words (and threats) in a bible. Words (and threats) from people. It's nothing more than people and a book. Reality seems to be missing an actual physical Jesus Christ. I suspect there never was one. 

 

I'm out of LIKES for the day, @midniterider, but I have to give that two snaps up! :58:

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4 minutes ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

For some reason I can’t react to anyone’s posts, but I really appreciate everyone’s responses!

Like most other things in life, that ability will come in time.  Or, in this case, after 25 posts.

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1 hour ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Like most other things in life, that ability will come in time.  Or, in this case, after 25 posts.

Ah! Hahaha, thanks.

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8 hours ago, midniterider said:

Consider that all the religious baloney has been nothing more than words (and threats) in a bible. Words (and threats) from people.

  

I like that. "Words and threats." Great description.

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WELCOME!   Many of us had a gradual deconverting process --- trying to hang on to SOMETHING.   But if you are like a lot of us, after time you will look back and things will look so clear, you will ask yourself why you ever believed.  And a peace like you never knew as a believer will come over you.  The conditioning can run so deep, it is hard to get rid of it. At least that is what happened to me.  My testimonial is, TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING.

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1 hour ago, Weezer said:

WELCOME!   Many of us had a gradual deconverting process --- trying to hang on to SOMETHING.   But if you are like a lot of us, after time you will look back and things will look so clear, you will ask yourself why you ever believed.  And a peace like you never knew as a believer will come over you.  The conditioning can run so deep, it is hard to get rid of it. At least that is what happened to me.  My testimonial is, TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING.

Good to know I’m experiencing a normal thing. I didn’t wake up one day and say “aha! There is no god!” It’s been a gradual process over many months culminating in me reaching a place of saying I don’t believe anymore (which still feels blasphemous to type!) after many years of considering myself a devout christian.
 

Yet looking back even years ago there were things I struggled with and questions I had that were never answered in a way that felt “right right.” I had the correct answers according to the churches I attended but - again, even when I was devout - the answers were never satisfying. They always left me with a feeing of “that’s al you’ve got?” and now as I read heretical books by authors who are most definitely hell-bound, (/s) I’m finding a place of “wow! Everything’s starting to make sense!” Except heaven. I’m still clinging onto the thought of seeing loved ones & pets again. But I don’t see going back to christianity. 

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2 minutes ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

Good to know I’m experiencing a normal thing. I didn’t wake up one day and say “aha! There is no god!” It’s been a gradual process over many months culminating in me reaching a place of saying I don’t believe anymore (which still feels blasphemous to type!) after many years of considering myself a devout christian.
 

Yet looking back even years ago there were things I struggled with and questions I had that were never answered in a way that felt “right right.” I had the correct answers according to the churches I attended but - again, even when I was devout - the answers were never satisfying. They always left me with a feeing of “that’s al you’ve got?” and now as I read heretical books by authors who are most definitely hell-bound, (/s) I’m finding a place of “wow! Everything’s starting to make sense!” Except heaven. I’m still clinging onto the thought of seeing loved ones & pets again. But I don’t see going back to christianity. 

Witches have something called the summerland it is like the Christian heaven but you can choose to get reincarnated if you want to. I recommend looking into my religion Wicca.

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Hi Sarah

 

Welcome to Ex-C

 

On 3/13/2020 at 7:21 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

I’m becoming a huge fan of various atheists who are all on their way to hell like I am.

 

Welcome to the Highway to Hell :D (Cue ACDC)

 

On 3/13/2020 at 7:21 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

My best friend still believes I’m a devout christian. My circumstances are such that me not attending church is completely understandable to her but I think about the future when my circumstances change and I could attend Sunday services if I wanted to.

 

A true friend will still be your friend even if you don't believe the same things. My fundie christian friends stayed good friends with me after I told them I didn't believe in God. If your friend drops you in the event that you tell them that you are having doubts, or don't believe then sadly they were not a true friend. They were a friend only so long as you both believe the same thing.

 

On 3/13/2020 at 7:21 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

The further I get from fundamentalism the more absurd the bible seems, especially the old testament. The more I learn about evolution the more absurd the old testament becomes.

 

I would caution not to lean on evolution too much, as awesome as it is. However evolution only really puts a hole in a literal interpretation of Genesis the first 8 or so chapters, and also the concept of original sin... still that's a big hole in fundamental Christian doctrine.

 

On 3/13/2020 at 7:21 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

 I still struggle with “what if it’s true after all,” even though at this point I’ve lost any faith I had so a “what if” can’t bring it back so why even bother wasting time on the “what if’s,” because even if it is true, without faith I’m bound for hell anyway.

 

I tend to look at it this way, if God is truly just, and you've honestly searched for the truth and come to the conclusion that God doesn't exist, then such a just God wouldn't condemn a person who honestly searched and didn't find anything that convinced them. It's of course possible that there is a God that is a complete a***hole but there is nothing we can do about that, and why would you want to worship such a God anyway?

 

On 3/13/2020 at 7:21 PM, SarahJaneSmith said:

My cousin recommended reading anything by Bart Ehrman so I picked up “How Jesus Became Gos” and am slowly reading it. 

 

I wholeheartedly agree with your cousin. Bart Ehrman is one of the several authors I'll recommend out of the gate to anyone with questions. Another is "Why I believed" by Kenneth Daniels. I highly recommend the read. https://www.amazon.com/Why-Believed-Reflections-Former-Missionary/dp/0578003880 

 

All the best on your journey. Feel free to ask questions and post away!

 

LF

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Welcome, @SarahJaneSmith! It took me many years to get over the fear of hell after deconversion, but I did get passed it eventually. I think it's important to remember that it's not a rational feeling and is a residual of all the brainwashing/abuse. I recall how I felt when I was a devout fundamentalist Xian, and I was plagued with the fear of hell even then (the whole point is to make sure you're never secure enough that you feel safe about the afterlife). With that in mind, the fear of hell after deconversion isn't a new fear - but an old fear that you are now facing head-on, bravely.

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Hi. I think you should dig deeper. Why are you scared of being an athiest? It's likely not that at all, it's likely fear of social ostracization and social consequences of the label or something else. Once you figure out what it is you actually fear you can come up with a plan as to how you will handle that. 

For example with my own family, when I "came out", I avoided the athiest word and used agnostic simply so that I could avoid the worst of their judgement. 

 

Edit: I think your cousin has given you really good advice. Reading about the origins of hell and a historical perspective on the Bible helps with the fear that it may be true afterall. Your mind simply needs time to process all the info for your beliefs to "gel". 

 

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When I came out of the atheist closet, my two closest friends stayed with me.  One of them is now agnostic and maybe atheist.  The other is quasi-religious but I am not sure if that's for the sake of his kids or not.  In either case, it wasn't the end of the world.  I did lose some friends, but I can now see that our friendship was based around being Christians in the same church and little else.

 

I'm an atheist.  I wear my flair here with pride.  I spent a long time hiding who I was and investigating whether or not I could find another belief system (not really).  We're here for you.  This is something that many of us have faced.  It doesn't mean you won't overcome it.

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When I finally left Christianity behind, I was left with an important lesson; always use critical thinking and never believe anything without evidence. Many people would rather just believe one fantastic tale or other than to ever know if there's any factual basis for it. I don't understand that, but I guess to each his own.

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