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did your sense of morality or what you expect of yourself change when you left Christianity?


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Personally I don't find since I no longer live with Christian belief that my sense of right and wrong, my personal values changed really at all.

 

You?

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They changed in the sense that I am no longer motivated by pleasing an imaginary pissed-off god. His morality says it is ok for him to torture me forever if it pleases him. He has the excuse that he's "holy". Except when we call people holy, they tend to be extremely kind and don't burn people alive for eating some of their garden produce. 

 

I now see my own choices as the most powerful ability I have. I can be swayed this way and that by drives and emotions, but ultimately I choose what my action and mindset will be. That is where ethical behavior comes from. None of the promises of scriptures ever had any power to change me, only to disappoint and then pour blame all over me. Useless cult. Much better off now. 

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I don't know if it was leaving religion, or just getting older and more mature, but if anything I think my morality got better.

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I'd say my sense of morality went from being a series of theoretical concepts to a concatenation of practical behaviors.  As an example, when I was a christian, I knew, in theory, that lying was wrong; but I still lied all the time.  Over the past decade and a half, though, my personal integrity has become paramount to me; and I have worked very hard to build and maintain a character of trust and honesty.  At first, I was surprised at how difficult it is to not lie out of habit.  I find it more difficult now to shade the truth.

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Let's see -- I swear more, I drink, I have weird deviant sexual fantasies, I go on long bouts of rapin' an' pillagin'....

 

So, No! Nuthin's changed.

 

Seriously, though -- I did the odd sexual stuff since I hit puberty. I swore a lot during high school, then stopped fer decades. Started back with cussin' when I left the church. No lightning bolts so far!

 

I started drinking -- not too much, never been "drunk" -- after I stopped church.

 

The weird paraphiliac desires have always been with me. I have always realized that I can't just go out and do whatever I want with whomever I want, so that hasn't changed. Just keep the goldang'd thing on a fantasy level, an' nobody gets hurt. I'm fine with that.

 

Being truthful, honest with myself, and not harming others -- pretty much the same as always. "Don't steal, be kind to others, etc." is just my default setting.

I have always had my major doubts about the veracity of religious claims, so I'm actually doing better with the "honest to myself" since leavin' the fold. I don't have to pretend, anymore! That feels pretty damm good!  (Oh dear, there I go, cussin' again...)

 

It is nice when your morality comes from your true inward expression, and not from a "I gotta do / not do all these things, or my deity willl mess me up!" attitude.

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I think my morals got better and more coherent after deconversion. I started seeing things in terms of choices and responsibilities, rather than a weird cosmic cycle of helplessness and depravity. Christianity often teaches people to cope with mistakes or bad choices by wallowing in self-flagellation rather than actually changing anything and trying to make things better. Even if God existed, what is the sense in that? I think there's also a tendency in Christianity to make morals meaningless by excessive abstraction, which I believe is the entire purpose of the field of theology.

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2 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

...I think there's also a tendency in Christianity to make morals meaningless by excessive abstraction, which I believe is the entire purpose of the field of theology.

I can't think of a better way to say...

 

wow.

 

 

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Most folks solidify the morals and ethics to which they adhere as they age.

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What has changed for me is, I no longer need be the least hesitant to admit that I don't love my brother as myself. No how, no way.

 

I believe as strongly as ever, more so with age and perspective, that I should treat others as I wish to be treated. And to try to commit at least small acts of kindness and respect, just because.

 

But to say I'm a misanthrope is a gross understatement.

7x70 will get you used, abused, and mistreated with deliberation and guile... by your "brother".

 

A 12-gage shotgun is one of the most absolutely essential implements available to a human.

 

 

 

 

 

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Did my sense of morality change when I left Christianity?  In some ways yes, in some ways no.

 

As a non-theist I no longer accept the concept of Sin, which might be defined as anything that is offensive to God.   When I was a Christian if something was sinful it was wrong and if it was wrong it was sinful.  Now I no longer regard as wrong many things that are generally regarded as sinful by Christians.  Chief among these would be what I’d call Victimless Sins:  any sexual activity involving one or more consenting adults, for example.  Straight, gay or bi.  To be honest, some things like this never truly struck me as wrong in themselves, but the stigma of sin associated with them kept me from thinking about them on a strictly moral scale.  

My views on some issues involving human life have shifted.  Regarding abortion I was more-or-less strictly pro-life, while hoping that I would never have to deal with the issue personally.  Now I’m inclined to think it should be a legal option through the first trimester at least.  That doesn’t mean the taxpayer should have to pay for it though. 
 

I’m also more sympathetic to euthanasia or assisted suicide.  Again this is a difficult moral issue and I’m not sure where the legal lines should be drawn, and I worry about a slippery slope.  But there are certainly situations where I would be willing to help somebody end their life.  
 

So yes my views have shifted in some areas.  I don’t hate or shun people who have different views, which seems to be almost the norm these days.  In some respects, like my commitment to my personal honest and integrity, I haven’t changed at all.  These things were central to me as a Christian and they still are to me as a non-believer.  
 

Good question!

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This has actually come up a lot over the years. Many people find themselves more moral after backing out of christianity. And that makes a lot of sense. Because we don't have a sense of feeling like repenting to an imaginary being washes away transgressions anymore. You're stuck with what you do. It doesn't wash away. You have to live with yourself. And live with how others perceive you and your actions. 

 

The other issue is that much of what christians think of as immoral, really isn't. And what they failed to perceive as immoral, actually is immoral. We could be talking about consenting adults having sex and slavery as the two examples. The morality of the bible is largely irrelevant against contemporary society and the morals of here and now.

 

Back then, sure, they'd go off and stone the gays to death and then later round up some slaves from other nations. Even little girls. All sanctioned by god. It's ass backwards against the morals of today.

 

So it's not hard to see why the bible can make one's sense of morality out of step with society today. You become more moral in the process of letting it go almost by default of distancing from the immoral concepts in the bible. And also not feeling like lying and everything else is ok because you'll just ask forgiveness, rinse, and repeat again the following day....

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On 1/16/2021 at 8:25 AM, TABA said:

I’m also more sympathetic to euthanasia or assisted suicide.  Again this is a difficult moral issue and I’m not sure where the legal lines should be drawn, and I worry about a slippery slope.  But there are certainly situations where I would be willing to help somebody end their life.  

 

 

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I became far less judgmental as my faith waned.  My personal dealings with people have not changed, and I no longer find the need to judge the decisions of others against an imaginary framework of right and wrong.

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On 1/19/2021 at 8:49 PM, Joshpantera said:

This has actually come up a lot over the years. Many people find themselves more moral after backing out of christianity. And that makes a lot of sense. Because we don't have a sense of feeling like repenting to an imaginary being washes away transgressions anymore. You're stuck with what you do. It doesn't wash away. You have to live with yourself. And live with how others perceive you and your actions....

 

This is wisdom.

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Good topic, 🙂

 

In a way yes. I no longer felt that certain things were a sin any longer. Like the music I listened to, gay rights, abortion, drinking or even smoking a lil weed from time to time. But my morals as far as how to treat others is still the same. Basically the whole Golden rule still stands. Do unto others and all. Just seems like a good rule of thumb. I haven't ruled out karma yet lol. 🙂

 

DB 

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  • 1 month later...

In matters of ethics such as lying cheating killing etc., no my ethics have not changed. I dont kick kittens or steal little kids toys. 😉 Sexually yes I have changed.. e.g. fornication is not wrong to me. Actually, I dont think in terms of sin anymore, I think in terms of an ethic of love of others and self. Therefore fornication, lust, not praying, not attending church, leaning on my own understanding vs. trcusting God, not tithing, cursing, avenging evil against my family or me, are all no longer wrong to me. It feels very natural.  I see my 21 years as an evangelical as time wasted in a cult. Nietzsche is a philosopher I read as well as Heidegger, whereas previously, I regarded them as lost souls, satanically inspired and devoid of insight.  I think the ultimate nature of reality and this life will always be mysterious to mankind and that's okay.  I dont require simplistic, unscholarly answers to the imponderables. I do however, cling to basic ethics of love and caring although I dont believe the creator judges or condemns those who violate these precepts, because that would create a moralistic world of condemned people just as in Christianity. I'm not an atheist, but I'm certain the Hebrew or Mohammedan Gods are atrocious creations. I follow no religion or philosophy although I do respect the natural order regarding sexuality and gender relations. Thus many things I formerly saw as sin, I now see as foolish, hurtful or self destructive. For example, heroin addiction isn't sinful, its just self destructive and hurtful to those who love the addict. 

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There was no change in my morals, which are essentially "don't be an asshole".

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  • 3 weeks later...

I became a better person since losing my Christianity.  I no longer hate and abhore myself for small things done wrong.  I have a more realistic view over what is truly wrong and what is bullshit.  For example, lusting is not the same thing as commiting adultery.  Integrity comes from within, not from obeying what is ridiculously written on stone tablets.  I don't constantly fear judgement and punishment from a being that disguises itself so well, that I dare say cannot be found by any human.  Occams razor tells me something about why God cannot be found or seen.  I no longer fear retribution and am filled with innate integrity.  Thank god, god is not such an asshole as the bible says he is.  Thank god that god orobably does not exist.

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I think part of the reason I left christianity is because the church didn't live up to the morals it seemed to preach. Some of the most memorable things my mom would say would be "well that part of the bible doesn't matter anymore" or "that's the bad part of the bible." She used to worry I was becoming too religious in high school, and she's afraid of evangelicals being cultists (she's old-school ELCA Lutheran religiously). My parents would've rather I become Jewish like my uncle versus more fundamentalist christianity, and my parents both made it clear I had to learn evolution even though the school didn't teach it. So going to more fundamentalist churches in Florida over time grated on what I grew up with, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Plus the whole quoting the same passages and using it differently. And learning how passages were altered for particular messages. In fact, I watched a video the other day going into the grammar of leviticus and how it condones homosexuality (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBx3EXg2ypk) - and then seeing how a christian is disfellowhipped at the old pentecostal church because they came out. If anything, I took the morality of the religion I was raised in seriously, and by taking it seriously it helped me leave it for the sake of personal intellectual/emotional honesty. 

 

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Interesting topic...Growing up I always thought the worst things you could do were drink, smoke, so drugs and the absolute worst of all was have sex before you were married. In my mind premarital sex was up there with murder and armed robbery. Now that seems so ridiculous to me. I wonder at what the hyper focus on sex was about. My family was fairly “normal” I was taught that pre marital sex was wrong and I fully bought into that belief, but I was allowed to date and my family wasn’t super strict on dress or things like that. I look at some of the families where the entire focus is on purity and it absolutely creeps me out!  I was also always taught that homosexuality was wrong but never in a hateful way, always in a “love the sinner, hate the sin” way. Since leaving Christianity all of my beliefs about sex have completely changed. I see nothing wrong with any consenting adults doing whatever they want to with whoever they want (other than I do think it’s a pretty crappy thing to cheat on your spouse/significant other).  Now I see intolerance as being a much bigger “wrong” thing.  Maybe it’s from my years spent in the atheist closet afraid of not being accepted if I came out, but I have a huge soft spot for anyone in any situation where they face rejection by their family and friends for being who they are. 

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  • 3 months later...

"Love your enemy." I haven't given up on the concept yet (it is deeply ingrained in me), but I am questioning it. Does it actually make sense from a humanistic or secular point of view? Taoist?

 

P.S. I know it's not followed by most Christians, but I really tried to when I was a Christian.

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2 hours ago, AcrobaticDetective said:

"Love your enemy." I haven't given up on the concept yet (it is deeply ingrained in me), but I am questioning it. Does it actually make sense from a humanistic or secular point of view? Taoist?

I can't make any sense of that concept in the Christian setting. If you subscribe to Eastern thought, though, it becomes perfectly logical. In practice it's the best thing you can do for yourself.

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13 hours ago, florduh said:

I can't make any sense of that concept in the Christian setting. If you subscribe to Eastern thought, though, it becomes perfectly logical. In practice it's the best thing you can do for yourself.

 

I can see it making sense in a dharmic way. It's good for our own well being right?

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/1/2021 at 4:24 PM, AcrobaticDetective said:

 

I can see it making sense in a dharmic way. It's good for our own well being right?

It really depends what you mean by love and enemy. I mean God loves his enemies so much he sends them to eternal conscious torture. :))

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