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Chicken0Life
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Hi! I recently discovered that I do not believe in God anymore. I was born and raised in a very Southern Baptist home and went to church regularly all my life. 

 

About five or six years ago, I began having doubts. They started small. Little flashes of thoughts and feelings about issues and doctrines. Like women preaching (they are not allowed to in southern Baptist churches), gay marriage (our closest friends at the time are gay, my wife's brother and sister are gay), and a general lack of care and empathy from the Christians around me to name a few. 

 

I guess I've always had some doubts. I never felt God's presence, despite doing everything I was supposed to. I constantly had questions, but when I would ask, the teachers and leaders would write them off as me just being facetious. Or tell me I just needed to have faith and God would reveal the answers. He never did.

 

I haven't told anyone in my family yet. I dread confrontation in general. I don't know the future, of course, but I know my family well enough to suspect there will likely be some tears and arguing. I don't want that. But I'm not sure I can keep this all to myself anymore. It hurts too much to pretend.

 

I have a lot of questions that I don't want to get into right now. I'm just looking for some friendly, like minded people to talk to about this. 

 

Thanks for taking a couple minutes to read this! I hope to talk to you soon! 

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Hi @Chicken0Life ! You are very welcome to our community of ex-christians!  You’ve found that group of friendly, like minded people you were looking for.  Well mostly friendly: @TheRedneckProfessor has been doing better lately though 🙂

 

You’ve taken an important step by announcing that you are no longer a christian.  You’ve gained a community, but more importantly you’ve said it out loud, and that’s for YOUR benefit.  There are plenty of people who say they are christian believers but who deep down don’t actually believe key parts of it.  They don’t live like they believe in Hell or Satan, they don’t live like they believe God sees all, even though they say they do.  Then there are people who might admit they don’t believe but who won’t say it out loud, not to anybody.  Then there’s us:  people who don’t believe it and who make no pretense of believing it.  You have now joined this latter group, and for that, congratulations!  Because the best way to live your live requires being honest with yourself above all.

 

I’m sure it was both a bit scary and a big relief to make your first post and to announce yourself as an ex-christian, as a non-believer.  Now that you’ve done it, give yourself some time to get used to it.  I would say do NOT be in any hurry to break the news to your nearest and dearest - except maybe to those you know are non-believers also and who will appreciate having you in their camp.  You don’t owe it to anybody right now. 

 

You may already realize that while accepting that you are no longer a believer is a huge step, it is just a step on the deconversion journey.  For me, I took that step in 2014 and over the years that followed I gained a lot of knowledge – much of it from this community – and continually gained confidence in my deconversion.  Like many others here, it seems a bit unreal that I ever believed something that now makes no sense at all.  

 

This is a good place to hang your hat.  It’s filled with knowledge, wisdom, and  - not least - support and encouragement.  Welcome on board!  I hope we will hear more from you as you feel comfortable participating.

 

All the Best

‘TABA’

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7 hours ago, Chicken0Life said:

Hi! I recently discovered that I do not believe in God anymore. I was born and raised in a very Southern Baptist home and went to church regularly all my life. 

 

About five or six years ago, I began having doubts. They started small. Little flashes of thoughts and feelings about issues and doctrines. Like women preaching (they are not allowed to in southern Baptist churches), gay marriage (our closest friends at the time are gay, my wife's brother and sister are gay), and a general lack of care and empathy from the Christians around me to name a few. 

 

I guess I've always had some doubts. I never felt God's presence, despite doing everything I was supposed to. I constantly had questions, but when I would ask, the teachers and leaders would write them off as me just being facetious. Or tell me I just needed to have faith and God would reveal the answers. He never did.

 

I haven't told anyone in my family yet. I dread confrontation in general. I don't know the future, of course, but I know my family well enough to suspect there will likely be some tears and arguing. I don't want that. But I'm not sure I can keep this all to myself anymore. It hurts too much to pretend.

 

I have a lot of questions that I don't want to get into right now. I'm just looking for some friendly, like minded people to talk to about this. 

 

Thanks for taking a couple minutes to read this! I hope to talk to you soon! 

 

Welcome aboard, COL! 

 

There's a pretty common series of steps involved in going belief to not belief, to be quite honest. It's not the same for everyone. But your example is pretty common among a lot of ex christians. It's similar to mine. I just sort of realized that the whole thing was make believe, praying is just inner dialogue and back and forth in my own mind, and most importantly, how obvious it was all of a sudden that people who are afraid of death and the unknown made up the god concept. There's years and years of places it can go after losing faith and believe in the bible as true. Big world out there! Lots to take in. Without the blinders on. 

 

 

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WELCOME!  I echo TABA's advice about taking it slow and easy in reveling yourself.  I was Church of Christ which has similar chararacteristics with Baptists, and I had similar questions about the faith I lived with for years.  But finally got to the point I couldn't fake it anymore.

 

Tell us more about yourself, your age, family and living situation, etc.  That will help us know what you are dealing with.  Is your family very devout?  My family's life revolved around church with Dad being an elder and a one of the founders of our congregation.   The repercussion I hated most about leaving was that both parents felt like they had failed me in some way, even though I was almost 50 years old. 

 

I could go on and on, but want you to know that we here as a whole have had about every type of experience you can think of in leaving the faith, and will be glad to help you through it.  It's not easy, and is very lonely at times.  But I could never go back.

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1 hour ago, Weezer said:

WELCOME!  I echo TABA's advice about taking it slow and easy in reveling yourself.  I was Church of Christ which has similar chararacteristics with Baptists, and I had similar questions about the faith I lived with for years.  But finally got to the point I couldn't fake it anymore.

 

Tell us more about yourself, your age, family and living situation, etc.  That will help us know what you are dealing with.  Is your family very devout?  My family's life revolved around church with Dad being an elder and a one of the founders of our congregation.   The repercussion I hated most about leaving was that both parents felt like they had failed me in some way, even though I was almost 50 years old. 

 

I could go on and on, but want you to know that we here as a whole have had about every type of experience you can think of in leaving the faith, and will be glad to help you through it.  It's not easy, and is very lonely at times.  But I could never go back.

Hey thanks @Weezer! So far, this feels like the right place. 

 

Let's see here. I'm 33. I live with my wife and cats. We don't plan on having any kids. We went through some tough stuff over the last 5 years or so and my wife went deeper into her faith to find comfort. I started to, as well, and that's when the doubts I had became too much to ignore. I tried reading the Bible, b/c that's what I was taught to do in times of trouble. It just made things more confusing. The morals I had devoloped didn't seem to line up with what God was doing in the Bible.

 

My parents were, and still are, very devout. My mom moreso than my dad. My dad was a deacon for most of my childhood, but I think he got burnt out a few years ago and took on less roles in the church. We grew up going to church every Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday night. We spent A LOT of time at church. I worry about my parents' reactions the most. It sounds your parents are a lot like mine. I don't even know if I should tell them.

 

I will tell my wife eventually. It may disappoint her, but I don't worry about it tearing our relationship apart. My church "friends and family" didn't approve of her much when we started dating because she was going through a divorce at the time. They made me feel bad about it because I was "causing her to sin" or something like that. The divorce was mostly finalized when we started dating, so it's not like I was tearing apart a family or anything. The church basically stopped caring about me because of all this. At the time, I thought they were right to. At the time I somewhat agreed with their criticisms. I guess this is just one more red flag I wish I would have seen. 

 

I love her with all my heart, and respect her too much to try and force my beliefs on her. Also, she can't drive, so I will likely be her ride to church for the foreseeable future. I don't mind. I'll support whatever she feels is best for her. I'm learning that religious belief, or the lack thereof, is deeply personal. I don't like going and the sermons and Bible teachings trigger mostly negative emotions, but we are in this together. I'm sure we'll reach some sort of agreement for this. Any thoughts on how to handle this? I guess I can sit out in the lobby and read a book, but she probably wants me with her. Idk. 

 

Anyway, sorry if this meandered a bit too much. My thoughts are still all over the place and I've hardly ever talked to anyone about any of this. 

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Welcome to the Family @Chicken0Life!! This is a great community to be a part of. I completely understand your hesitancy to tell the family. It took me about 5 years to tell my parents and they still don't know the extent to which I've "lost my faith". But I'm not hiding it anymore. That has been a huge step for me. 

 

Questions are great! There are a lot of knowledgeable members here that can point you in the right direction. I didn't take it very well when I first figured it all out and this community was instrumental helping me overcome and completely free my mind from biblical indoctrination. 

 

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3 hours ago, Chicken0Life said:

I will tell my wife eventually. It may disappoint her, but I don't worry about it tearing our relationship apart

I really hope your right on this point. I wasn't so lucky. When I deconverted I ran my mouth about everything I was seeing. Not realizing that she was having a very different experience with what I was finding. It drove her back into the church feeling that her family needed God because even her husband was not believing anymore. We eventually divorced after marriage therapy failed and a very bad alcohol Induced argument. (That was my bad.) But we are still together. Just not married. She still loves me and I still love her. I really feel sorry for her sometimes because now she's the only one in our 5 person family that believes. Each decided it wasn't for them for their own reasons. But I'm sure my deconversion was a big part of the whole family leaving the church. I like to think it gave them the courage to question the narrative themselves. 

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12 minutes ago, DarkBishop said:

I really hope your right on this point. I wasn't so lucky. When I deconverted I ran my mouth about everything I was seeing. Not realizing that she was having a very different experience with what I was finding. It drove her back into the church feeling that her family needed God because even her husband was not believing anymore. We eventually divorced after marriage therapy failed and a very bad alcohol Induced argument. (That was my bad.) But we are still together. Just not married. She still loves me and I still love her. I really feel sorry for her sometimes because now she's the only one in our 5 person family that believes. Each decided it wasn't for them for their own reasons. But I'm sure my deconversion was a big part of the whole family leaving the church. I like to think it gave them the courage to question the narrative themselves. 

I'm sorry it's been rough for you. I definitely appreciate your words of caution. 

 

I'm going to take it slow. I'm testing the waters a bit. Subtly raising some concerns I've had. Just reading through the forum and getting some reading recommendations has already been a huge help to me emotionally. I'm glad this little community exists. 

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4 hours ago, Chicken0Life said:

 

Anyway, sorry if this meandered a bit too much. My thoughts are still all over the place and I've hardly ever talked to anyone about any of this. 

 

Heck, no.  you have not meandered too much.  That's what we do here!  Just the process of talking or writing about this stuff can bring insights, along with the replies you get.  Also look at the TESTIMONIES forum for more examples of leaving the faith.  If you want to read a long one, my story is an essay of my whole religious experience from childhood until recent years.  It is called,  TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING.  I think you can identify with a lot of it.  You are in for an interesting and sometimes lonely "ride".  But if your experience is like mine, you will have an inner peace you never had before.

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41 minutes ago, Weezer said:

Heck, no.  you have not meandered too much.  That's what we do here!  Just the process of talking or writing about this stuff can bring insights, along with the replies you get.  Also look at the TESTIMONIES forum for more examples of leaving the faith.  If you want to read a long one, my story is an essay of my whole religious experience from childhood until recent years.  It is called,  TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING.  I think you can identify with a lot of it.  You are in for an interesting and sometimes lonely "ride".  But if your experience is like mine, you will have an inner peace you never had before.

I will check that out! 

 

It's kind of funny. The church always taught me that our testimony was our most powerful tool for convincing people to accept christ into their heart. I always had trouble writing or telling mine. I think deep down I knew i didn't really believe any of it. Telling my deconversion testimony feels like what I always imagined telling my conversion testimony should feel. 

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Welcome.  I am fairly new too.  I recently told my elderly mother and it went better than I thought it would.  I think she had already noticed that I wasn’t the same as I used to be.  I lost my faith progressively over many years.  The whole how to extract yourself from the only upbringing you have ever known is very stressful and anxiety provoking and I am relieved I am out on the other side as more authentic, not the fake person I felt.  

 

I personally think there are huge numbers of people in congregations who don’t believe any more but who are just going along with it for the sake of family and social structures.  I think this is partly why church leaders are becoming so political  - they know they are losing their congregations.

 

You are in a difficult situation though being married to a devout person as well.  
 

I think when it just seems too overwhelming, you could just start small.  Develop new hobbies that you will enjoy after when (and if) you have pulled away.  I started running, gardening, writing and expanding my reading.  And of course chat on here or write in a journal.  It helps with the stress as you try and find your way forward.

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Welcome, Chicken.  I was about your age when my deconversion, a brutal four-year-long hurricane of despair and disillusionment, finally came to an end.  I decided to tell my family almost immediately.  I felt like I had lived behind lies and masks my entire life up to that point,  and I simply was not willing to do so anymore.  My dad respected my decision (he might have even been secretly proud that I was finally thinking for myself).  My mother, as I suspected, ran the full gamut of christian manipulation from self-blame to guilt to frothy emotional appeals--tactics by which she had successfully coerced me and kept me in line for over 3 decades.  I stood my ground until, eventually, a wary truce was unofficially declared.  For me, integrity is the most important part of my character since leaving religion; so it was without question that I had to live my truth and bear whatever consequences may come.  I still choose to live this way, even in the Deep South, regardless of what effect it might have on friendships, employment, family... whatever.  It's my truth; and no one else is qualified to question it or hold an opinion on the matter.  Sure, they have the right to; but their rights end where mine begin.  

 

My ex-timony can be found here:

 

https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/58465-set-aside-at-least-an-hour-for-this

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3 hours ago, Henndigo said:

Welcome.  I am fairly new too.  I recently told my elderly mother and it went better than I thought it would.  I think she had already noticed that I wasn’t the same as I used to be.  I lost my faith progressively over many years.  The whole how to extract yourself from the only upbringing you have ever known is very stressful and anxiety provoking and I am relieved I am out on the other side as more authentic, not the fake person I felt.  

 

I personally think there are huge numbers of people in congregations who don’t believe any more but who are just going along with it for the sake of family and social structures.  I think this is partly why church leaders are becoming so political  - they know they are losing their congregations.

 

You are in a difficult situation though being married to a devout person as well.  
 

I think when it just seems too overwhelming, you could just start small.  Develop new hobbies that you will enjoy after when (and if) you have pulled away.  I started running, gardening, writing and expanding my reading.  And of course chat on here or write in a journal.  It helps with the stress as you try and find your way forward.

I definitely feel a bit dishonest. Especially when I'm asked to pray for our meal before we eat. I've never liked to pray out loud, but now it just feels icky. Like I shouldn't be doing it. 

 

We're in an odd place right now when it comes to our church involvement. We moved a couple years ago and hadn't been going very regularly. We've been playing board games together since we got married 12 years ago and recently found a group of people to play with on a weekly basis. Right now, they are our social structure outside of family. We haven't really met anyone at the church we've been attending.

 

We went to lunch with a couple ladies my wife met, thinking they just wanted hang out and get to know us. Instead, they gave my wife the entire salvation sales pitch (I grew up in church with one of the ladies and she assumed I knew all of that and was still a believer.) My wife was so let down. She hasn't had a good friend in years and to find these two were just there to try and convert her, left her confused. She wanted to set up another day to hang out. She just wanted a friend and they just wanted another notch on their belt. She hasn't talked to them since and they haven't even bothered trying to talk to her inside or out of church. She's been burned a lot by people at churches (I won't get into all that here), and it's wearing on her (and me). 

 

I know she has seen me pull away from God and the church, I'm sure she suspects my major doubts, because she has had her own. 

 

I'm not sure how devout she is. She holds onto it because prayer and the comforting sections of the Bible helped her through a tough time. That, and I think she really likes singing with everyone (which I get. It feels good to sing with a bunch of strangers!).

 

Anyway! I say all that because our only friends right now are out of church in a place where religion is pretty much avoided as a topic of discussion. Board games, books, and video games are my hobbies outside of church. I'm at a place in my life where I know I'll be fine without it. I feel like I'm finally at a place where I'll be fine without it. 

 

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3 hours ago, Chicken0Life said:

I definitely feel a bit dishonest. Especially when I'm asked to pray for our meal before we eat. I've never liked to pray out loud, but now it just feels icky. Like I shouldn't be doing it. 


I understand how you feel: it’s not ideal when we deceive either ourselves or our nearest and dearest. But I would urge you to resist the temptation to fully come clean at this stage.  Revealing that you don’t believe in god at all could be very traumatic for your wife.  Suddenly you would no longer be the man she married.  For her sake and that of your marriage, much better to only reveal your non-belief gradually.  Maybe start mentioning that you’ve started questioning aspects of christianity.  This is less dramatic and it could allow her to give voice to any doubts she may be having herself.  You’d be a safe place for her to express them.  And you may give her food for thought that would move her further along the same path.  Ideally she would end up either exiting christianity completely or at least moving to a more liberal version that can handle her husband’s unbelief.  Even if her belief stayed firm, at least you would have let her down more gently and gradually and you could arrive at a new accommodation between her belief and your unbelief.  A number of us here followed that path, myself included, and it was definitely for the best.  
 

I like that you’ve got friendships that don’t revolve around religion!  This is big.  Plenty of people stay in religion beyond the point of truly believing it because they have no friendships that are not church-based.  The more you can expand - or move - your circle of friends away from church, the better.  
 

Meanwhile, assuming your wife still wants to go to church, maybe you could move to one that is less conservative, less dogmatic.  Maybe mainline Protestant.  It might be more palatable for you and might encourage  her to broaden her mind about dogma.  Plus you might make friends that, while nominally christian, might not be overly religious, or especially concerned about your lack of belief.  
 

 

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On 8/24/2022 at 6:46 AM, Chicken0Life said:

Hi! I recently discovered that I do not believe in God anymore. I was born and raised in a very Southern Baptist home and went to church regularly all my life. 

 

About five or six years ago, I began having doubts. They started small. Little flashes of thoughts and feelings about issues and doctrines. Like women preaching (they are not allowed to in southern Baptist churches), gay marriage (our closest friends at the time are gay, my wife's brother and sister are gay), and a general lack of care and empathy from the Christians around me to name a few. 

 

I guess I've always had some doubts. I never felt God's presence, despite doing everything I was supposed to. I constantly had questions, but when I would ask, the teachers and leaders would write them off as me just being facetious. Or tell me I just needed to have faith and God would reveal the answers. He never did.

 

I haven't told anyone in my family yet. I dread confrontation in general. I don't know the future, of course, but I know my family well enough to suspect there will likely be some tears and arguing. I don't want that. But I'm not sure I can keep this all to myself anymore. It hurts too much to pretend.

 

I have a lot of questions that I don't want to get into right now. I'm just looking for some friendly, like minded people to talk to about this. 

 

Thanks for taking a couple minutes to read this! I hope to talk to you soon! 

 

Welcome to Ex-Christ ChickenOLife.   There are many here who have had similar feelings, and came to similar conclusions than you have.  So cheers and have a good time here. regards,   pantheory

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