Jump to content

Hello from a new member


Henndigo
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am from Australia and am happy to join here.  
 

I think I lost my faith a long time ago but the fear of losing my community and disappointing family and friends kept me going every week, even though I felt out of place every Sunday.  I would enjoy the social side of it but find the sermons left me shaking my head with disbelief.
 

We had quite strict Covid 19 lockdowns in Australia which meant churches could no longer gather and this gave me a taste of what life would be like with no church and I found that I was happier.  So when things returned to normal I just did not go back.

 

I am a prolific reader and the book I loved the most was “Leaving your religion” by James Mulholland.  He comes across almost like a preacher with his compassion and empathy for the previous committed but now non-religious. I feel that he outlines a very mentally healthy way of leaving religion behind.

 

I am in the process of telling friends and family, so am still in the journey out of religion.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Henndigo!  Welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Henndigo 👋

 

If you haven't heard about it, I recommend a podcast called I was a Teenage Fundamentalist (should be on spotify and most major platforms). The two main speakers are Australian ex-christians who speak about their experiences serving in church and how they came to the point of unbelief. I found it helpful as although my experiences were not as extreme as theirs, I could relate to the level of seriousness and sincerity I had in my journey with God and my efforts to have God's work as number one priority in my life. And the dissonance, the internal tug of war when scripture, experiences of God and the conduct of the church did not add up.

 

15 hours ago, Henndigo said:

I am a prolific reader and the book I loved the most was “Leaving your religion” by James Mulholland.  He comes across almost like a preacher with his compassion and empathy for the previous committed but now non-religious. I feel that he outlines a very mentally healthy way of leaving religion behind.

 

Any book recommendations for me? I want to increase my reading, although this period I find myself listen to podcasts a lot more (while I work heh)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/19/2022 at 6:30 AM, Henndigo said:

 

I felt out of place every Sunday.  I would enjoy the social side of it but find the sermons left me shaking my head with disbelief.
 

WELCOME!  Same here.  I would get restless leg syndrome (they wanted to get the heck out of there) during the sermon and I had a very hard time staying awake.  We lost several friends and the relationship with several relatives has never been the same since leaving church, but I was able to stop taking antidepressants and have never felt as at peace with life and myself as I am now, 30 years after walking out the door in the middle of a sermon.

 

I hope you will post a short story of your experience in the Testimonial section.

 

On 6/19/2022 at 6:30 AM, Henndigo said:

 

 So when things returned to normal I just did not go back.

 

I think there were probably several in the world that made the same decision!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Henndigo

It's not an easy road, to be frank. But it is exciting and challenging. I have said many times that I was surprised by joy when I decided there is no god. That was about 15years ago - but I'm still not through the grieving process, partly because the church community has not been replaced (there's other family reasons for that). Believe it or not I still read all sorts of stuff, mostly from an atheistic standpoint although my present reading is in New Testament texual criticism which I was never taught in Bible College.

I too found sermons difficult although my main problem is the hymns and songs and the creeds. I was slightly immunised from the theology of the hymns because I played the organ - on the argument that I wanted to foster 'community' in the congregation (this was after I had left the ministry): I sometimes wonder if I should have bothered.

At the moment I also am reading 'Goodbye Jesus' by Tim Sledge and am looking forward to where he starts getting doubts (a bit long-winded, I am finding).

Peace and Joy to you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome!  It is interesting to see the points about how your own departures became an exciting opportunity for growth.  I definitely have noticed how my own anxiety has markedly decreased, it is hard work living a double life.  
 

It is also exciting to now be able to action the moral values that I had started developing for some years now.  In religion, morality is primarily about obedience to God, whereas having to actually think about the situation and ask what is the right thing to do as a human being is quite different.  This is why certain stories in the Bible bothered me so much, even as a child when we would read as a family.

 

@Jem Thanks so much for the Teenage Fundamentalist podcast link, I will check it out.  It looks like it is part of a series.  As for book recommendations - one book that I think a lot about is The Law of Power by Robert Greene.  It made me think a lot about churches from a social point of view.  I read it not as someone who wanted to manipulate, but as someone who wanted to avoid being manipulated. It was quite eye opening.  

 

@nontheistpilgrim I have read the Tim Sledge book as well.  It was a good account of how mega churches in America work.  We have Hillsong here, which sounds similar but in general Australia is a far less religious country.  As you sound interested in the theological side of the faith loss process, I would suggest “Why I believed” by Kenneth W Daniels as well.  He was a former preacher too and I feel he went into more detail about the questions he had than Tim Sledge did.  I plan to reread it at some stage!

 

I also have The God Delusion and other similar New Atheist books in my “to read” pile but to be honest I relate more to people who spent a lot of time in the church and gradually left.  It is hard for those who have been atheists from the start to understand why we had a faith in the first place.  I loved Richard Dawkins other book The Greatest Show on Earth, which is where his speciality really came to life.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Henndigo, I am so glad you are out of the cult! I am someone who was wholeheartedly in the faith and gradually left. I loved the Jesus in my head. Eventually I came to conclude that the Christian system had no solid basis. Big things for me were the Problem of Evil and Bible contradictions. Later on I came to realize how the supposed proofs of classical natural theology rest on "begged" premises. 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Henndigo said:

 

It is also exciting to now be able to action the moral values that I had started developing for some years now.  In religion, morality is primarily about obedience to God, whereas having to actually think about the situation and ask what is the right thing to do as a human being is quite different.  This is why certain stories in the Bible bothered me so much, even as a child when we would read as a family.

 

 

👍 👍

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Henndigo said:

@nontheistpilgrim I have read the Tim Sledge book as well.  It was a good account of how mega churches in America work.  We have Hillsong here, which sounds similar but in general Australia is a far less religious country.  As you sound interested in the theological side of the faith loss process, I would suggest “Why I believed” by Kenneth W Daniels as well.  He was a former preacher too and I feel he went into more detail about the questions he had than Tim Sledge did.  I plan to reread it at some stage!

 

I am halfway through the Tim Sledge book and fed-up. It's all about how successful he was (in evangelical terms) and no mention of his change of faith (maybe glimpses but nothing significant that I can see). I didn't buy the book to learn about such delusion. Maybe it will get better soon! But I won't be recommending it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/26/2022 at 6:55 PM, nontheistpilgrim said:

I am halfway through the Tim Sledge book and fed-up. It's all about how successful he was (in evangelical terms) and no mention of his change of faith (maybe glimpses but nothing significant that I can see). I didn't buy the book to learn about such delusion. Maybe it will get better soon! But I won't be recommending it.

I agree with your thoughts about the book so far.  I remember feeling disappointed when it came to the point where he broke away, because it was mainly as a result of his personal life choices, rather than significant questions or doubts (although I think that came later on).  I got the feeling he was resentful he had lost his success in the mega church, that he wanted to have his cake and eat it.

 

This is why I preferred the Kenneth W Daniels book, he came across a much more likeable person both when he was religious and when not.  He spends a lot more time expanding on his theological doubts, which I appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Welcome Henndigo! So glad you found Ex-x. One of the first books I read that was such a wonderful, simple to read was, ''Farewell to God. My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith." by Charles Templeton.  He was Billy Grahams best friend and his platforms were as big as Billy's.  And his story is quite amazing. It gave me great comfort. I was very lucky to talk to him on the phone 3 times before he died.

 

You are in the right place. We understand. It was a rocky road for me. Some go through the deconversion more smoothly. But we all understand. You're going to be OK.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Farewell-God-Reasons-Rejecting-Christian/dp/0771085087

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
On 6/19/2022 at 7:30 AM, Henndigo said:

We had quite strict Covid 19 lockdowns in Australia which meant churches could no longer gather and this gave me a taste of what life would be like with no church and I found that I was happier.  So when things returned to normal I just did not go back.

 

Hi Henndigo! Welcome! 

 

This may be a thing. People getting a feel for what post church life is really like. And going, "meh," why return? 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Joshpantera yes it may be a thing.  We had our 10 year Australian census at a time when half the country was in lockdown and one of the findings that has just come out is that those who identify as “non-religious” surged to nearly 40% (was 30% ten years ago).  So perhaps lockdown has accelerated the process.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
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...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.