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A reluctant agnostic


Bavinck
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Finally admitted this week to myself and to my church that I can no longer call myself a Christian. Been a few years in the making and was a huge sense of relief when I just admitted it to myself; daunting to admit it to others though.

 

The lockdown here in the UK during covid and the separation from going to church gave me the space I needed to see what is important to me. Seems the answer after two years of not praying and only reading the Bible where it crosses my interests is that what is important to me isn’t God. More a case of being interested in religion rather than being religious. Any attendance at church has been more about peer pressure for a few years now than actually a desire to be there. 

 

 

Feels somewhat like breaking up a relationship though when thinking of the people I know. Not exactly bouncing with joy about it, but convinced it is the right decision
Currently tutoring some people on the Greek of the New Testament. Luckily both groups decided to stick it out when I told them and gave them the chance to drop me. 

All friends have been really good so far, so that is a relief. Family aren’t religious so no issues on that front. 

Anyway, I hope the use of a reformed theologians name as my username isn’t a sign of apostasy from my reluctant agnosticism

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It can be scary, because it is a huge step to admit that what you have based much of your world view on is not true. 
anyway, welcome. 

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Found myself at the weekend listening to some things on humanism. Think I need to ban myself from looking into any systems of thought for a while. Danger might be jumping from a Christianity to something else to just fill the gap

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2 hours ago, Bavinck said:

Found myself at the weekend listening to some things on humanism. Think I need to ban myself from looking into any systems of thought for a while. Danger might be jumping from a Christianity to something else to just fill the gap

 

Welcome aboard! 

 

Yes, humanism is often used as a make-shift replacement for religion. With religious attitudes going around and all. Better leave it be. The concept makes sense, but the religious attitudes of many humanist's go the direction of group think and crowd control. In short, another version of the very thing you just got out of. 

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On 9/25/2021 at 2:47 PM, Bavinck said:

 

Finally admitted this week to myself and to my church that I can no longer call myself a Christian. Been a few years in the making and was a huge sense of relief when I just admitted it to myself; daunting to admit it to others though.

 


Hi Bavinck and welcome to the community!  The relief you’ve felt at admitting you don’t believe is very familiar to us here: we’re all familiar with that cognitive dissonance - processing to believe but realizing it doesn’t really add up.  Being rid of that, and having the weight of all the dogma and theology lifted from your shoulders, is huge. 
 

You’re under no obligation to share your deconverison with anybody, and most of us here would advise you to proceed cautiously in that regard.  What feels like a relief to you will be regarded as a tragedy to some, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes.   It is a big bonus that your family members are not religious.  
 

Anyway, I’m glad you decided to share your deconversion with US!  Leaving Christianity behind can be unsettling and it meant a lot to me, five years ago, to be welcomed into a community of fellow-travelers.  It helped me to gain confidence in and comfort with my non-belief.  I trust you will get the same benefits!

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2 minutes ago, TABA said:

we’re all familiar with that cognitive dissonance - processing to believe but realizing it doesn’t really add up

 

Thanks for your comments


interestingly I still feel that a lot of what Christianity says makes sense. For example, I don’t believe it teaches an eternal conscious torment view of Hell, nor do I believe it even attempted to teach about science. I just realised that I don’t actually truly believe it, even if it makes sense to me. That is likely to be an interesting part of this process as I look back over time. 
I recall discussing my changing view of Hell with my dad and cheerily saying I don’t believe in eternal conscious torment, but that it is really the death penalty. I said this with no hint of concern for him, just a happy assertion of what I now think the text says. That was a big catalyst for change for me… if I really believe in it, then how could I not feel a joy of concern about it.

 

Hugo Mercier’s book on gullibility also was a key factor - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Born-Yesterday-Hugo-Mercier/dp/0691178704/ref=nodl_

it highlighted different levels of belief, and showed that what we claim to believe is often not accompanied by a deep down commitment to that belief. He gave examples of people who feel that a business is supporting atrocities and just leaving a bad trip-advisor review. Rather than actually going out and making change, people just say they believe something and leave it there. That was basically me in a nutshell

 

I expect plenty of cognitive dissonance going forward, and intend to  keep reading on Christianity.

 

 

11 minutes ago, TABA said:

You’re under no obligation to share your deconverison with anybody, and most of us here would advise you to proceed cautiously in that regard.  What feels like a relief to you will be regarded as a tragedy to some, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes.   It is a big bonus that your family members are not religious.  

The tragedy aspect is something I have been acutely aware of being a possibility. I have asked those I have told to keep it private, and was largely absent from church for quite some time before this.

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4 hours ago, Bavinck said:

interestingly I still feel that a lot of what Christianity says makes sense. For example, I don’t believe it teaches an eternal conscious torment view of Hell, nor do I believe it even attempted to teach about science.


But that’s the problem, isn’t it: what does Christianity “say”?  Does it say salvation was necessary because the Fall was a literal, historic event where Adam and Eve disobeyed God and thereby ruined it for all their descendants?  Or does it say that salvation is needed because everybody sins?  Does it say that the death and resurrection of Jesus saved every human, or does it say that only those who believe are saved? And what exactly must they believe?  Must they be baptized also?  Does it say that nonbelievers endure eternal punishment or are they simply annihilated?  Or is it only Satan and his angels who experience the ultimate punishment?

 

All these questions had definitive answers during the millennium when  the Catholic Church was synonymous with Christianity. They controlled the narrative, the interpretation.  All the questions were answered in the Catechism.  But once Rome lost control, once the Bible became accessible to the many, from them on the answers were in the eye of the beholder.  That Pandora’s box can’t be closed again.  It’s clear that Christianity has few unambiguous  answers.  It speaks with the many voices of men, not the authoritative voice of a deity.  

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22 hours ago, Bavinck said:

interestingly I still feel that a lot of what Christianity says makes sense. ,,,,

 

Welcome Bavinck!

I have been here only one year now.

The members here have been very supportive and helpful in what is often a difficult and sometimes frightening transition.

 

I believe that the Christian faith and the bible contain a lot of truth. Human truth, embedded there by humans. But if it were not so, no one would ever have believed any of it.

That truth was then used to weave a fabric of legend and myth, most of which cannot be true.

 

We have discussed here more than once how one's values and morality often change very little when leaving former Christian belief behind.

 

I believe that treating others as you wish to be treated is rational and intelligent.

To not do so is to devalue peace and harmony in society.

I don't believe I can rationally expect to live a peaceful pleasant life if I infringe on the life and well-being of others.

 

I hope you find peace and happiness with your decision.

 

 

 

 

 

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"interestingly I still feel that a lot of what Christianity says makes sense. For example, I don’t believe it teaches an eternal conscious torment view of Hell, nor do I believe it even attempted to teach about science. I just realised that I don’t actually truly believe it, even if it makes sense to me. That is likely to be an interesting part of this process as I look back over time. 
I recall discussing my changing view of Hell with my dad and cheerily saying I don’t believe in eternal conscious torment, but that it is really the death penalty. I said this with no hint of concern for him, just a happy assertion of what I now think the text says. That was a big catalyst for change for me… if I really believe in it, then how could I not feel a joy of concern about it."

 

The "nuggets of wisdom" (e.g. Golden Rule) people can find in the Bible are not original concepts, and believers of every degree and dogmatic bent always cherry pick the hell out of that old book to make it say something they're comfortable with. Not really a useful book, IMO.

 

A Humanist is just an atheist who doesn't want to offend anybody. Humanism says, "I don't believe in a god, but I believe in you!" 😘

 

Kinda puts a positive spin on the negatively perceived lack of belief in everyone else's God.

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Hi Bavinck and welcome to Ex-C

 

On 9/26/2021 at 7:47 AM, Bavinck said:

Finally admitted this week to myself and to my church that I can no longer call myself a Christian. Been a few years in the making and was a huge sense of relief when I just admitted it to myself; daunting to admit it to others though.

 

Yep, I've been there, I think most of us have on one way or another. Wishing you al the best on your journey out of religion and freeing yourself of the God virus which seems to have inflicted so many of us for pretty much most of our written history.

 

Hope to see you around.

 

LF

 

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For me, the most salient aspect of the deconversion process has been the discovery, and subsequent acceptance, that my life truly is my own.  I was taught from a very young age that god had a plan and if I didn't follow it bad things would ensue.  It had a lot of negative effects on both my youth and my adulthood.  From the constant anxiety of making mistakes outside of the divine destiny to the ease with which I could be manipulated with the idea that such was god's will, I think this idea, foisted upon innocent children, borders on abuse.  Never knowing that had a choice led to years, even post-church, of bad decision-making.  Living my own life has been a skill I've had to learn on-the-fly, as it were.  I have no regrets; but I think it would be more accurate to say that I've come to accept that living without regrets is simply easier than living with them.  Welcome to our humble home, friend.

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On 9/25/2021 at 11:47 AM, Bavinck said:

Finally admitted this week to myself and to my church that I can no longer call myself a Christian. Been a few years in the making and was a huge sense of relief when I just admitted it to myself; daunting to admit it to others though.

 

The lockdown here in the UK during covid and the separation from going to church gave me the space I needed to see what is important to me. Seems the answer after two years of not praying and only reading the Bible where it crosses my interests is that what is important to me isn’t God. More a case of being interested in religion rather than being religious. Any attendance at church has been more about peer pressure for a few years now than actually a desire to be there. 

 

 

Feels somewhat like breaking up a relationship though when thinking of the people I know. Not exactly bouncing with joy about it, but convinced it is the right decision
Currently tutoring some people on the Greek of the New Testament. Luckily both groups decided to stick it out when I told them and gave them the chance to drop me. 

All friends have been really good so far, so that is a relief. Family aren’t religious so no issues on that front. 

Anyway, I hope the use of a reformed theologians name as my username isn’t a sign of apostasy from my reluctant agnosticism

 

My experience was that you can still be friends with many Christians as an agnostic. Just avoid region in your conversations if you do not want to say that you are an agnostic, and don't want to lie to them. For those who won't stop talking religion, you can tell them that you are now an agnostic, that you like them as a friend, but don't want to talk about religion anymore. That will tell you whether they still want to remain your friend. In time you may want to tell yourself that you are a proud agnostic, one who thinks and not just follows.

 

Welcome to our group sir :)

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