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Goodbye Jesus

Future Mom


FreeWillFreeFries

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Hello everyone, 👋🏻

 

I’m new here and have been deconstructing for months now. I was forced to attend church growing up, and I think a lot of those experiences are coming up because I’m expecting my first child, a girl too, this October. 🎃👶🏼

 

I cannot handle a lot of the Bible. I’d like to be an Episcopalian-type and focus on God’s love, but I can’t grasp onto said love. Why would I have to submit to my husband in 2024? Be a keeper of the home? I cannot and will not teach my daughter these things because it’s the “Word of God.” 
 

My point and real struggle lately is that I don’t know what to teach her if not Jesus. When one of our pets inevitably passes, I know questions will come. And I want to answer them honestly, (depending on her age…rainbow bridge???) I kind of feel weak not really believing in anything anymore when I’m the one who’s supposed to give her guidance. I realize I don’t truly have my shit together and never will, but religion is so comforting. Without those morning worship sessions, communions, what do we have? It scares me.

 

Thanks for reading!

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I don’t have time to write much at this moment, but you have come to a good place for support in finding your way.   Many here grew up with church attendance mandatory, became Christians, and later decided things did not “add up.”  Meanwhile, read the stories in the TESTIMONY forum.  And surf the other forums for items of interest to you.  WELCOME!  
 

also check the BLOGS section. 

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Of course you are struggling with the things that every parent thinks about as a new life for which they are responsible begins to form. But know that love does not require Jesus. Approximately 70 percent of the world is not Christian and those folks love their children and teach them love, honesty, kindness and all that makes us human. You will too.

 

I am reminded of a native American tribe whose culture before being spoiled by Christianity included the belief that it took more than one man to get a woman pregnant. A visitor asked, "But how do you know who the father is?" The native replied, "We all love all of the children." Oh that we all could love all of the children. 

 

A lifetime ago my son came home from first grade with a copy of a poem by Margaret Cousins. I've saved it and given it to folks such as yourself when they were where you are now. I hope you will get as much from it as we did.


______________

What shall we give the children?
 
It seems certain that they will travel roads we never thought of, navigate strange seas, cross unimagined boundaries, and glimpse horizons beyond our power to visualize. What can we give them to take along? For the wild shores of Beyond, no toy or bauble will do. It must be something more; constructed of stouter fabric discovered among the cluttered aisles and tinseled bargain counters of experience, winnowed from what little we have learned. It must be devised out of responsibility and profound caring — a home-made present of selfless love. Everything changes but the landscape of the heart.
 
What shall we give the children?
 
Attention, for one day it will be too late.
 
A sense of value, the inalienable place of the individual in the scheme of things, with all that accrues to the individual — self-reliance, courage, conviction, self-respect, and respect for others.
 
A sense of humor. Laughter leavens life.
 
The meaning of discipline. If we falter at discipline, life will do it for us.

The will to work. Satisfying work is the lasting joy.
 
The talent for sharing, for it is not so much what we give as what we share.
 
The love of justice. Justice is the bulwark against violence and oppression and the repository of human dignity.
 
The passion for truth, founded on precept and example. Truth is the beginning of every good thing.
 
The beacon of hope, which lights all darkness.
 
The knowledge of being loved beyond demand or reciprocity, praise or blame, for those so loved are never lost.
 
What shall we give the children?
 
The open sky, the brown earth, the leafy tree, the golden sand, the blue water, the stars in their courses, and the awareness of these. Birdsong, butterflies, clouds, and rainbows. Sunlight, moonlight, firelight.
 
A large hand reaching down for a small hand, impromptu praise, an unexpected kiss, a straight answer. The glisten of enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. Long days to be merry in and nights without fear.

 

The memory of a good home.

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2 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

I’m new here and have been deconstructing for months now. I was forced to attend church growing up, and I think a lot of those experiences are coming up because I’m expecting my first child, a girl too, this October. 🎃👶🏼

 

Hello and welcome Free!! Weezer is right; you've come to the right place. Dig in and feel free to speak your mind. Having your first child is a wild ride in itself but in addition to deconstructing you'll probably be an emotional mess unless you have lots of support or an extraordinary constitution (and never underestimate either!). 

2 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

My point and real struggle lately is that I don’t know what to teach her if not Jesus.

I have two kids, now grown. I deconstructed while they were children but never dragged them into a church. My son had a horrible, traumatic summer one year as an adolescent while my mom and her husband took him to their church and pressured him into asking to go to their church-based school in Alaska. 

By a miracle he didn't end up going, but it was the first and only religious experience he had. My daughter didn't have any. 

It never seemed to be a problem with either of them growing up. If an animal passed away I simply said I didn't know what happened and that people have lots of ideas about what happens after someone or something dies. It's your attitude that affects kids most. And that NOT KNOWING is ok too! Give them plenty of room to find out for themselves, while you do too. Meanwhile take them to nature to commune. It's a lot healthier than church! 😉

 

Again, welcome, thank you for joining and see you around the forum!

Moxie 

 

 

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2 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

 

I kind of feel weak not really believing in anything anymore when I’m the one who’s supposed to give her guidance.

 

You seem to believe in doing what is best for your daughter, and that is the foundation for being a great mother.  It will come if you are seeking.  

 

2 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

 

My point and real struggle lately is that I don’t know what to teach her if not Jesus.

 

The core of the teaching attributed to him is to "love" (respect) your neighbor as yourself.  That is valid psychological and social advice, whether he actually existed , or not.  You don't need to leave the essence of "him" behind.  As I considerd the overall story and teachings of Jesus, it occured to me that it was primarily about the wellbing of human beings.  Not getting everyone into heaven, and making sure wifes were in subject to their husbands, and dozens of other "commandments."

 

3 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

 

I realize I don’t truly have my shit together and never will, but religion is so comforting. Without those morning worship sessions, communions, what do we have? It scares me.

 

Being responsible for a new iife is scary, and I felt overwhelmed those last few days before the birth of our first child.  It was 1977 and I assure you I did not have my shit together.  But it came together. Well,,,,, for the most part!  😁   I now have great grandchildren and they all have survived me.  YOU ARE GOING TO DO JUST FINE!

 

You and your husband can develope sessions, communions, rituals that are meaningful for you.  And they can evolve and change through the years.  Ours started out Christian based, but evolved as we slowly left the church behind. 

 

Release the creation and imagination the church stifled.

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14 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

I kind of feel weak not really believing in anything anymore when I’m the one who’s supposed to give her guidance.

Ms. Professor and I had a daughter born last year.  We have two teenage boys from previous relationships.  Now we have a little girl.  I've always been honest with my sons.  Admitted when I was wrong, apologized for my mistakes, often told them, "I don't know; I have no experience with that."  I don't think it's my job to guide them so much as it is to just walk alongside them as they start out their journey in life.  Sure, some things I can point out to them with the certainty of "Been there, done that."  But there's still plenty of things I still don't know, never experienced.  Even at my age, which is far too old to be having a toddler running around the house, there's still so much to learn.  Use your unbelief as a teachable skill, and your comfortability with not-knowing as a positive attribute.  It may seem like you're letting the kids down in the moment; but they will eventually respect the attitude of openness toward learning much more than the facade of always having the answers.

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With a child, the #1 requisite for a parent is giving your child a lot of love. When they receive a lot of love they also learn how to give love, friendship, to have empathy, sympathy, caring for others etc,  since all have a common thread. Morals are also important for non-believers as well but you decide your own, no book or no one will need to tell you what they are. You simply teach your new daughter what you think she needs to know for her age. You can also read about it in a number of child raising books separate from religion. You sound like you're going to be a really good mother because of your concern for your daughter's future. Welcome to our forum.

 

Free, once you have time to look and ask around here a bit I'm sure you will get a lot of good advice about how to raise your future little girl :)

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Wow, such good and thoughtful answers. Thank you, all!

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2 hours ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

Wow, such good and thoughtful answers. Thank you, all!

You are welcome.  Having been in your shoes, some of us for a much longer time before leaving, we know how difficult it can be to abandon a belief that is so ingrained in our society.  It can be a lonely experience.  If you don't mind answering, what denomination were you in, and where are you in your deconstruction?  I, and several others, went through several phases, trying to hold onto the "divinity" of the Biblical God.   

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2 hours ago, Weezer said:

You are welcome.  Having been in your shoes, some of us for a much longer time before leaving, we know how difficult it can be to abandon a belief that is so ingrained in our society.  It can be a lonely experience.  If you don't mind answering, what denomination were you in, and where are you in your deconstruction?  I, and several others, went through several phases, trying to hold onto the "divinity" of the Biblical God.   

I grew up in a nondenominational church, which was basically undercover Baptist. I’m holding onto the Jesus that I thought I knew to make sense of things and give me comfort. However, when I read the Gospels in an intellectual light…He’s not exactly what I had in mind. 
 

My deconstruction started maybe 6 months ago now? I studied the Bible daily with my husband and noticed contradictions. Questions with insufficient answers. The whole concept of hell.(God invented sin. We sin. We need to accept Jesus or we burn…?) My husband gets stumped with my questions but still believes. I wish it were that easy for me. I try to look at the Jesus that laid down his life as an example on how to live selflessly, but the more I deconstruct the more I think “well shit this is a new religion at this point…” I white knuckle my faith.

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1 hour ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

I grew up in a nondenominational church, which was basically undercover Baptist. I’m holding onto the Jesus that I thought I knew to make sense of things and give me comfort. However, when I read the Gospels in an intellectual light…He’s not exactly what I had in mind. 
 

My deconstruction started maybe 6 months ago now? I studied the Bible daily with my husband and noticed contradictions. Questions with insufficient answers. The whole concept of hell.(God invented sin. We sin. We need to accept Jesus or we burn…?) My husband gets stumped with my questions but still believes. I wish it were that easy for me. I try to look at the Jesus that laid down his life as an example on how to live selflessly, but the more I deconstruct the more I think “well shit this is a new religion at this point…” I white knuckle my faith.

  

Hi Free:

This reads like much of what others have gone through on this site; you are not alone with this. I think many folks start seeing the contradictions and implausibilities of it and realize that it just doesn't add up. It defies logic, denies the facts, and ignores reality. The struggle for many is the early indoctrination of shame, guilt and fear that gets imbedded into one's mind. At some point you will suddenly feel a weight lift from your shoulders and you will enjoy a sense of freedom. 

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This may be tmi, but I remember being told to be abstinent in middle school and my pastor would brag about how good the sex was with his wife???????

 

I told my husband I would freak the fuck out if that happened to our daughter. So much happens under the radar.

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1 hour ago, FreeWillFreeFries said:

This may be tmi, but I remember being told to be abstinent in middle school and my pastor would brag about how good the sex was with his wife???????

.Some pastors have no common sense, and my observation is that the more religious a person is, the more inconsistant they can be about some things.   A book I recommend is LEAVING THE FOLD, by Marlene Winell.  It is available on Amazon.  It has good suggestions for dealing with family.

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21 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

I have a five year old daughter and a three year old son. We recently lost our dog. We say "she is up in the stars".

 

My kids' questions about death really started after they watched The Lion King. My wife's sister died when my daughter was quite young,  so she had heard about her aunt who had died, but the idea of what it means to die did not really seem to resonate with her until she watched that movie. It was easy at the time to say "auntie is up in the stars, like Simba's dad".

 

Later, she started to ask if her auntie was *really* in the stars. And I told her "no, not really, but it makes mummy happy to think that she is in the stars. And she's in our hearts."

 

When we lost our dog a couple months ago, my daughter easily understood that she was going in the stars to be with auntie, but also that she isn't *really* in the stars, she's in our hearts. Later, one day, I'll teach her about how actually we're all in the stars, how we came from the stars, and how that's where we all end up. But that will come in time.

 

In the meantime,  I try to tell them to be nice to each other, and to everyone they meet, and to remember that if you wouldn't like it if someone did it to you, you probably shouldn't do it to them. I tell them that I love them a lot, and that love is the best thing in the world. To be honest, I don't lose any sleep thinking about what I should teach them. "Be kind" is a pretty good start. The thought of having to explain the actual state of the world to them when they eventually realize that most people *aren't* kind is more daunting, but we'll get there in time. 

  

^ ^ ^

This deserves three likes and a gold star.

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On 6/6/2024 at 7:36 PM, FreeWillFreeFries said:

Hello everyone, 👋🏻

 

I’m new here and have been deconstructing for months now. I was forced to attend church growing up, and I think a lot of those experiences are coming up because I’m expecting my first child, a girl too, this October. 🎃👶🏼

 

I cannot handle a lot of the Bible. I’d like to be an Episcopalian-type and focus on God’s love, but I can’t grasp onto said love. Why would I have to submit to my husband in 2024? Be a keeper of the home? I cannot and will not teach my daughter these things because it’s the “Word of God.” 
 

My point and real struggle lately is that I don’t know what to teach her if not Jesus. When one of our pets inevitably passes, I know questions will come. And I want to answer them honestly, (depending on her age…rainbow bridge???) I kind of feel weak not really believing in anything anymore when I’m the one who’s supposed to give her guidance. I realize I don’t truly have my shit together and never will, but religion is so comforting. Without those morning worship sessions, communions, what do we have? It scares me.

 

Thanks for reading!

Welcome to Ex-C! As others have already said, this is a great resource when working out your beliefs. 

I have raised four children (all adults now), first as a non-practicing Christian from 19 to 23, and then as an atheist and humanist the last 24 years.  One of the things I did when dealing with the issue of god was leave it up to my kids and tailor my own message accordingly. When my girls believed in Jesus and wanted to buckle him up in the middle seat with them, I went along with it. When my eldest son started asking why his aunt was so ill if she believed in god (he was 12), we had the hard discussion of belief systems and faith. When pets died and the kids were young, I left it vague, "they're in a better place", "they're sleeping", "doggie heaven", etc. WHatever fit their current belief mode. My kids were aware of my own beliefs but because I supported their own, they never felt pressured by me or felt in the middle of a conflict. That's really all you can do. Just go with the moments, use facts as appropriate, and share the many different options out there. My kids loved discussing other mythical figures, their versions of heaven and more. I shared allll the options out there instead of just rejecting. It seemed to help. Three of my four are atheists/humanists and only one is a believer (and she deals with a lot of mental health issues, so I'm not surprised).

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16 hours ago, disillusioned said:

When we lost our dog a couple months ago, my daughter easily understood that she was going in the stars to be with auntie, but also that she isn't *really* in the stars, she's in our hearts. Later, one day, I'll teach her about how actually we're all in the stars, how we came from the stars, and how that's where we all end up. But that will come in time.

 

Hey @disillusioned, it's nice to hear from you!  My sympathy to you on the loss of your dog, as a dog-lover myself.

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5 hours ago, TABA said:

 

Hey @disillusioned, it's nice to hear from you!  My sympathy to you on the loss of your dog, as a dog-lover myself.

 

Thanks TABA. Hope you're doing well. 

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13 hours ago, TABA said:

 

Hey @disillusioned, it's nice to hear from you!  My sympathy to you on the loss of your dog, as a dog-lover myself.

Yes, losing a good pooch is almost like losing family.  

And it is great to see your handsome icon again.

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