Jump to content
Jenni

"Perfect Christian"

Recommended Posts

I lived about 20-years of my life as the "perfect christian". I followed ALL of the rules, I taught Bible Study, I was a counselor for teens at a christian camp for many years, I oversaw the junior high youth group, I was on the worship team, I helped lead retreats, I baptized some of those junior high students, I went on mission trips, I did, I did, I did, in order to please god, follow his plan, be an example, earn his favor. I just realized yesterday that I was probably attracted to Christianity, at 16-years-old, because I was a rule follower - I strived for perfection - in everything I did. And having that set of rules aligned with who I had already become. But what happens when you do all of that and god doesn't show up when you need him the most? When you've seen some of the worst of humanity, when you've lost everything, when you can't believe anymore that he is a "good, loving" god? I became very angry... I have been angry for probably a dozen years or more. I am working through this with a therapist, and as I do that, I'm on here just looking, trying to find answers, seeking to figure out what I need now. I am clear that I am not perfect, and that is okay, but what I'm not clear about is that there are all kinds of promises in the bible that require us to essentially be in a transactional relationship with god but where do turn when you figure out that you're the only one participating in the transactions?  

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your support
Buy Ex-C a cup of coffee!
Costs have significantly risen and we need your support! Click the coffee cup to give a one-time donation, or choose one of the recurrent patron options.
Note: All Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

Welcome, Jenni and the dog!

 

I'm glad you're figuring your way out of the cult. 

 

I didn't care that prayers weren't answered as much as I cared that, after much study at Moody and elsewhere, the Bible turned out to be at odds with astronomy, biology, archaeology, history and oftentimes itself. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jenni said:

but what I'm not clear about is that there are all kinds of promises in the bible that require us to essentially be in a transactional relationship with god but where do turn when you figure out that you're the only one participating in the transactions? 

  

I think it's like a friendship. What do you do when someone who was a friend stops reciprocating? You realize that it has ended and you find new friends. Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge that what you had is gone but that's the way it is. And sometimes it's hard to make new friends. It takes work but it can be done.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome, Jenni :)

One of my biggest reasons for leaving the cult was a lack of any type of real communication on god's part...including the answering of prayers. I never conclusively saw any prayer answered...EVER. The realization that we were all in a building just talking to the walls was a big motivator for me to head out the church doors. It will actually come as a relief to you when you see that all the strength and fortitude you need to face life doesn't come from some spooky, invisible father figure but it comes from yourself. :)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard, Jenni!

 

It is a good thing to come out of the delusion. Therapy should help with dealing with the anger. At the same time, I'm sure that you will experience relief for escaping from all the "God stuff".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most believers convince themselves at first that God is responding. When disappointment is expressed, other believers teach you to make excuses to fill in the blank of silence. I'm sure you've heard them: 

"Oh, he answered, but it looks different than what you expect. He's always faithful, all the time!"

"He can say no. You don't give your kid everything she asks for."

"He's not a cosmic vending machine, ya know!"

"Who are you to question God?!" 

 

But it's only ever them doing the speaking. Some churches have turned the silence into doctrine. The Baptist church I attended for a while insists that God must be silent and not answer prayers for healing or the Bible wouldn't be finished, and that would be a catastrophe for some reason. I always thought that essentially made god dead, so I left (as did a lot of others, but a lot of others stayed). When I finally got a shock discovering a trusted pastor lying and making up long detailed stories about miracles (which brought in a lot of money and followers) I had to start asking hard questions that needed actual answers. That was when the silence became very apparent. Silence brought a lot more questions I had shelved over the years about why is god such a colossal jerk in the Bible? Why does he want blood? Earth is a planet floating in a vast cosmos in all directions, yet Jesus ascended "up" into the clouds. There is no "up", heaven isn't just above the clouds, we fly planes there all the time. We have spacecraft that go outside the solar system. Same with the tower of Babel, god was threatened by a building project? Then there are the talking snake ("more clever than the other wild animals", not Satan), the talking donkey, the odd witchcraft stories about mating sheep in front of striped branches, floating axe heads, rubbing mud in a blind man's eyes to make him see, and an Old Testament filled with god blessing mass rape and genocide.

 

It is a primitive cult, nothing more. We were tricked, we believed, then we saw through. Sadly, millions are still in the cult and many of them are in political positions and military. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jenni, welcome to our community!  
 

This is a place where you can ask the questions that were unwelcome when you were in the Church.  You’ll find they’ve generally been asked before by people here and many who came before us.  

 

Above all it’s a community where you are welcomed with open arms.  As you read around, you’ll learn things that were never mentioned in Church: how the God of the Old Testament can be seen to evolve in its pages, from a petty tribal god to the one and only God Almighty; how the figure of Satan developed from a tester of humans to the mighty and almost invincible evil figure Christianity rolled out; how the concept of Hell evolved from a dusky underworld to the Inferno of Dante.  And more.  There’s a lot of knowledge here, a good bit of wisdom, and a whole lot of Welcome!


Looking forward to hearing more from you!

 

-TABA

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello @Jenni! Welcome to X-Xian! I get what you're saying. I feel robbed for all the efforts I put into being a good christian in my youth. It's ok to be angry, I think, if you're not hurting someone by being so. I think it's important to feel and process that energy because the truth is, in fact, really infuriating, and it does a dishonor and a disgrace to ourselves to lie about it.

 

And yeah, the bible does in fact present everything as transactional. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Ex-C, @Jenni,

Glad you found us.

 

Your story sounds very familiar.

I began questioning due to the incredible stories in the Bible and how the authors sounded more like unsophisticated ancient control freaks than any all-knowing, loving being. So I put that aside and spent months on end praying for something...crickets. One night after my ritual I raised my head and allowed myself to admit there ain't nobody listening. Then I felt incredibly stupid, totally duped, and unconsolably embarrassed.

 

You can see now how religions, and especially xanity, create unobtainable goals so you never quit working towards them. And who does THAT benefit? Not you, obviously.

 

Well then keep in mind that, for most of us, this realization begins a journey that might bring a number of emotions, realizations, epiphanies, and relief.

 

Welcome again and I hope you stick around and read/post.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you ALL so much for your responses to me. They all resonate in different ways with me and are really helpful as I think through all of this. I am here because I'm trying to work it all out. I'm not at an end, I don't have any finality in this, but I do know that at this point, I can't go back to a god who can't fulfill a promise. I know my problems are first-world problems but I feel like if he really was there, he should care about me just as much as he cares about someone else who has it much worse. And it sure doesn't seems like he cares about them either. So much to process... I am working on my story to share in more depth and I so much appreciate a place like this where I can share and ask questions and clearly you all care about the folks here. Thank you for that! It matters so much to me. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

christians aren't perfect; they just think they are.

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's good to have you here, Jenni. I feel bad that you went through all of that. I am a newer ex-Christian myself. I miss the ritual, friendships, etc., but by and large I feel like a renewed person. Most of my life long anxiety vanished with my beliefs. I hope you find similar relief.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2020 at 7:39 PM, Jenni said:

I lived about 20-years of my life as the "perfect christian". I followed ALL of the rules, I taught Bible Study, I was a counselor for teens at a christian camp for many years, I oversaw the junior high youth group, I was on the worship team, I helped lead retreats, I baptized some of those junior high students, I went on mission trips, I did, I did, I did, in order to please god, follow his plan, be an example, earn his favor.

 

Salvation through works? I'm sure that's what christians would say. Just pointing it out. But that's neither here nor there now at this point. Let's move on. 

 

On 5/20/2020 at 7:39 PM, Jenni said:

I am working through this with a therapist, and as I do that, I'm on here just looking, trying to find answers, seeking to figure out what I need now. I am clear that I am not perfect, and that is okay, but what I'm not clear about is that there are all kinds of promises in the bible that require us to essentially be in a transactional relationship with god but where do turn when you figure out that you're the only one participating in the transactions?  

 

I figured this out while I was off at christian boarding academy my freshman year. Praying one evening and having a stroke of clarity that the whole thing was simply inner dialogue, and had been the whole time. I felt a wave of shame and embarrassment for having been so gullible all my life up to that point. I was confused about the whole thing for years. But I never went back to believing it. There were times that I wondered about it. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it is real but the church just has it all wrong. I went through as many scenarios as came to mind. Granted this started some 30 years ago. I've never gone back to believing though, despite looking in to alternative scenarios. I have never found a credible sounding one. Or any scenario that doesn't come with various holes in the logic or how it plays out. 

 

So I'm content to remain non-theistic. 

 

Once you understand that it's all you, I've found it difficult to impossible to return to pretending that it isn't. And over time that just becomes normal and reality. And by this point I'm so far removed from theistic thinking that I don't see it as anything different than believing in Santa or any similar myth. Seeing a christian majority to me is like looking around and seeing a majority of grown adults sternly rallying around belief in Santa Claus. It's no less silly. Politician's pandering to voters about the reality of Santa Claus. Pure foolishness. But there can be time involved in getting from point A to point Z.

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

christians aren't perfect; they just think they are.

 

To be fair, most Christians don't think they're perfect. I certainly never thought of myself as perfect. I strove to be the best I could be, of course, bot only "God" was perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Citsonga said:

 

To be fair, most Christians don't think they're perfect. I certainly never thought of myself as perfect. I strove to be the best I could be, of course, bot only "God" was perfect.

Yes.  I was being facetious. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Jenni, I'm Katie. It's good to have you here. The "yes, no, maybe" of answered prayers certainly gets old eventually.  

 

I started wondering what the difference was between prayer and superstition. I got tired of praying for, say, a job, or a new apartment and then to have to still go out and do all the legwork! That didn't hit me until I attended a church where the prayer times went on for hours and hours and people would treat me as less than sincere when I needed to leave before it was over because of whatever reason it was that they decided wasn't legitimate. And then, after all those hours spent in prayer, having to still spend tons of time looking for the job or the relationship or the house or whatever it is! I stopped attending prayer sessions because it felt like such a waste of time! That was a mindtrip itself, because I knew how dedicated I was and how firmly I believed in prayer, and yet I felt so guilty about having a "bad attitude" about a 4 or 5 hour prayer session. 

 

Aron Ra talks about prayer never seeming to work until the chemo starts flowing. I saw that so clearly when this one pastor talked about his dad being "miraculously" cured of cancer. I was on my way out of that church at the time and was really suspicious so I asked a few questions.  Turns out his father was being treated for cancer at one of the top oncology centers in the world! Suddenly the miraculous didn't seem so random any more and it gave more weight to me wondering what the point of praying was. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, SarahJaneSmith said:

Suddenly the miraculous didn't seem so random any more and it gave more weight to me wondering what the point of praying was. 

 

Yes, I went through these stages, too. Toward the end of my time as a Christian, I had stopped praying "for" things. I dimly recall that the last thing I prayed for was for a 28 yr old guy in our Christian group to be healed of cancer. EVERYONE was praying, even little children. Rod died anyway. So eventually I got to the point where I would either just pray praise-type prayers or else "thy will be done" prayers. That faded away. Later I read on some online boards like this that a lot of people "learn" as mature Christians that prayer basically isn't answered. A good number of them wind up concluding there is no warrant for believing in the religion.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My sincere thanks to those of you that responded after I last wrote. It is so incredibly helpful to hear your stories and know that I'm not alone. I did just submit my testimonial. I wasn't sure if I would because I don't have finality yet but a friend encouraged me to because of the things that led me to today. Thank you ALL again! I have found tremendous value in this space. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


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.