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What am I now?


Jem
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I have had depression for many years, and it has only worsened. Depression has eaten away at my faith as I realized that holding on to God only helps for a while but does not solve the root issues. And I struggle with the conflict that God would give me issues while calling me to do good to others. The desire to live a godly life only became a bigger burden over time and it tears me apart.

 

Cut the long story short. I still believe in God's existence, and I see some value in the teachings of the bible. Just that this life is not for me, so now I respectfully bow out and want to walk on my own path.

 

What am I now?

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17 minutes ago, Jem said:

What am I now?

You are enough, simply put; and that should be a sufficient foundation for rebuilding your life as you see fit.  

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21 minutes ago, Jem said:

What am I now?

Perhaps you are simply a human being using your reasoning ability to live a satisfying life that is based on reality instead of  some religious myth.

 

I generally think of people like that as  philosophical.  

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Hi Jem, and welcome to our community!

 

You ask “What am I now?”  Your profile says you “used to be a Christian” so you could certainly say you’re an Ex-Christian - one of us - if you want a label like that.   It’s an honorable title, by the way.  But maybe you’re looking for label that says what you ARE rather than what you are no longer?   That’s understandable, but you shouldn’t feel any pressure - from yourself or anybody else - to label yourself.   If you’d feel more comfortable with a label, how about “skeptic”?  Or how about “theist”, somebody who believes in a god but does not follow any particular religion?

 

Leaving Christianity is a process, not just a discrete event like leaving your home.  Like the others here, I went through various stages along the way.  It’s a journey I’m glad I took, for sure.  I’ve learned so much in the process.  


When did you realize you were no longer a Christian?   The early stages of deconversion can be confusing and a bit lonely but now you’re part of this community, where I hope you will feel welcome and more and more at home.  
 

Feel free to send me a private message if you’d prefer to chat one-on-one.  
 

Again: Welcome!

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Welcome to Ex-Christ Jem,  Your first posting :). I think you'll like it here and fit in well. You'll also get a lot of good advice here if that's what your looking for. Best of luck.

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Thank you for all your replies. Yes I am probably a skeptic or theist at this stage.

 

12 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

You are enough, simply put; and that should be a sufficient foundation for rebuilding your life as you see fit. 

 

Thank you for encouraging words : ) There is a lot to rebuild, as a lot of my mind and life used to be built around God and the bible and as much as I have not been practising christianity for a while now, its hard to simply forget and replace all those bible principles and ideas - especially when they can be quite general and not necessary "christian". I am quite new to philosophy and am trying to get more perspectives through reading some popular works and listening to podcasts. I think the bigger issue right now is the lack of community as many of my friends are christian, and I did not have many friends to begin with.

 

10 hours ago, TABA said:

When did you realize you were no longer a Christian?

 

I think years of dealing with depression and other issues have exposed me a side of life and existence that is unfair and broken (and if God created all this, he is not perfect as we understand, or this world is probably a rough draft at best). As much as we try to understand it, I think nobody really knows and we are just dragged along in this uncertain journey. And everyone who seems to know or have it together - christian or not - simply has been fortunate enough to not encounter situations where their beliefs and values have been brought to the test. Christianity does offer hope (and you could say christianity shines in giving hope to the hopeless) but if you look into it, you will see that it is not a hope in this world, and christians who claim hope in God means things will get better here, have put their hope in other things or have other forms of foundation and reliance more than just faith in God.

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5 hours ago, Jem said:

its hard to simply forget and replace all those bible principles and ideas - especially when they can be quite general and not necessary "christian".

It's not necessary.  This is your journey; you're free to pack your bags as you see fit.  Keep the items you'd like to carry with you.  Loving-kindness, forgiveness, compassion, patience, peacemaking, even prayer and meditation, are all useful and will serve you well on the path ahead.

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9 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

It's not necessary.  This is your journey; you're free to pack your bags as you see fit.  Keep the items you'd like to carry with you.  Loving-kindness, forgiveness, compassion, patience, peacemaking, even prayer and meditation, are all useful and will serve you well on the path ahead.


Exactly.  Leaving Christianity doesn’t mean rejecting EVERYTHING the religion stands for.   Keeping principles  like those mentioned by Redneck but letting go of the tortuous dogma and theology of the Bible could be the key to a better life.  

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7 hours ago, Jem said:

the bigger issue right now is the lack of community as many of my friends are christian, and I did not have many friends to begin with...

I think years of dealing with depression and other issues have exposed me a side of life and existence that is unfair and broken (and if God created all this, he is not perfect as we understand, or this world is probably a rough draft at best).

 

I hear that! Church was where I first had friends and learned to be sociable. But church really wants people to streamline into their expectations. Those who don't fit in are at best tolerated. In my old Nazarene church, they were not well equipped to deal with mental illness, always preferring a magic answer that god will somehow make it all fine. That was the official line, and they felt they had done their job if they delivered that line. When you don't get better via belief, they really have no other answer but that somehow the problem is with you. Pentecostals would tend to lay the blame on sin or demons, when it was a matter of brain chemistry. But they have no tolerance for god failing to make things perfect, so that could never be the cause in their view of things. Even when the pastor's wife went manic and did some awful things, blame was placed on demons and witches (somehow sneaking past god being all-mighty), and praise was lavished on Jesus instead of doctors when she was put on lithium pills. 

 

As a fellow broken human, I welcome you here! Once I began to see through the lies of the fairy tale world in which I spent 30 years, the world began to make a lot more sense, and a ton of fear dropped away. Then anxiety and panic hit more recently, and I began to see how our view of reality is shaped by tiny fluctuations in brain chemistry. Science helps with that, but can't seem to resolve the underlying causes at this point. Perhaps some day. 

 

I found a new group of friends when I began doing things outside of church, like singing lessons and dance lessons. Getting out where I could begin doing things I simply enjoyed along with others that enjoyed them was key to replacing the social circle. I find that my mental programming still tends to drift towards church-learned things like speaking in tongues when I get stressed, or having songs intrude into my mind with lyrics I now find horribly groveling to an imaginary friend (who really wants to punish me). I'm far happier being out of church than in, even with the new mental issues I'm fighting. At least I'm not looking for magic answers now, answers that are fables on pages that always escape becoming real for those that need help. 

 

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Thank you everyone, and thank you Fuego for sharing your experiences as it resonates with me. 

 

Something I keep seeing, you don't need God to have a good head on your shoulders, and so far the people that offered the most sound or encouraging words to me just spoke good sense out of their own knowledge and experiences

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