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Misterspock1

My Escape From Southern Baptist Fundamentalism

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Where do I begin? I had my Christian testimony all nice and neatly packaged, and I had it all well-rehearsed. I've been free for about a year-and-a-half now, and while I have shared my story with many people, it is still not nearly as nice and neat as my sixteen years as a Christian.

 

I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. My mom has been a staunch conservative from the day she was born, though my dad had a period of time when he was a liberal (now he strongly refutes any liberal ideas, going out of his way to attack liberalism sometimes). My parents took me to church, read me stories from the Bible, and even had me memorize Bible passages starting at a very young age. I have always been seen as intelligent and gifted, and could memorize Bible passages pretty easily. When I was seven, our church had a revival the week before Easter. It was during that time that I felt "the tug of the Holy Spirit," and though I came forward Thursday night at the revival, the preacher wanted to make sure that my feelings were genuine. That night after the service my mom sat down with me and talked with me about it, and I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart. I came forward for my public profession of faith on Easter Sunday itself, and was baptized by immersion two weeks later. My parents were so happy.

 

We lived in Utah when I was saved, and a couple of years later we moved to Missouri so my dad could pursue his doctorate. We quickly got involved in a church in the city we lived in. My mom is a pianist, and the church just happened to be looking for a pianist. She accepted the position and would end up being the church pianist until we moved away eleven years later. My dad started teaching Sunday School. By this time his political beliefs were already starting to change. He had voted for Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis, but was finally starting to turn conservative. In the 1992 election he voted for Perot, and for Republicans every election after that. As his turn to conservative became more apparent, so did his teaching material. It didn't take long before other church members came to view him as the resident fundamentalist.

 

I was in their shadow for many years until I was old enough to join the youth group. During the summer after eighth grade, our youth group went on a mission trip around the state, performing a series of dramatic sketches designed to be a witnessing tool. While on that trip, I underwent some radical changes (for many years I would label them as God working in my life), even going so far as to telling the youth minister that I felt called into some kind of ministry. I was a completely different person after that trip. As I grew older, many parents of other kids in the youth group saw me as a role model, always complimenting my maturity and confessing that they wish their kids acted more like me. I was starting to become very active in youth activities and around the church in general, and everyone in the church liked me.

 

When I was a senior in high school, there was a guy from a ministry organization who came to our church and told us about an idea called cell groups. A "cell group" was a group of teenagers who got together and talked about issues affecting their lives. These groups were led by the teens themselves, and were designed to be a comfortable setting in which we could share the Gospel. When the groups reached a consistent fifteen members in size, they would split into two groups and continue to grow. This would ensure the group was never too large to fit in a person's home. I jumped at the opportunity, and told my youth minister that I wanted to be a cell group leader. The guy who presented it to us overheard me, and he said that I was the kind of person he had in mind when he thought of a good leader. For that year, I literally devoted my life to leading that group. I would pore over material for hours thinking of a good topic to present to the group, as well as how to present it. I diligently called the members of our group every week to see how they were doing and remind them of that week's meeting. I had a buddy that I had known ever since he had moved to Missouri, and I knew he wasn't a Christian. Neither one of us had a brother, so he and I had basically become brothers, and I was concerned for his salvation. I persuaded him to come to a group meeting, and during that meeting he prayed to accept Jesus into his life. I was so excited that I couldn't even sleep at all that night.

 

Eventually I graduated from high school, and that summer I went to a Christian camp and "surrendered" to the pastoral ministry, planning to devote my life to the spreading of their poison. I had also been accepted to a Christian college, and so after that summer I moved away to the Bible Belt. My very first year of college was extremely rough. During the fall semester I lost one grandfather to bone cancer, and during the spring semester I lost the other to leukemia. I was on antidepressants and was seeing a counselor for a few months, and it took me awhile before I was finally able to move on. In the spring semester I met an attractive young woman who was a music major (the same degree my mom had) and she and I hit it off. We ended up having several classes together before she decided to major in nursing instead and transferred out of the college. We were still dating and saw each other on a regular basis, though. My father was offered a teaching position in the history department in that college starting the next fall and he decided to take it. This was a great event for me, as I no longer had to pay any tuition (which was nice considering I ended up being in college for a total of five years). However, it did mean that I was back under his shadow.

 

I don't know exactly when my doubts started. I know I had had questions when I was in high school, but I just pushed them away because I was comfortable with my Christianity and didn't like where they were taking me. I do know that I started to have some serious struggles with my faith during my first three semesters in college, which were the semesters I lived in the dorm. After my first semester sophomore year, I decided that living at home would be a much better deal for my pocket book. While I lived there I became more active in church and also more active in college activities, and my doubts were pushed back down for a little while. It was also during this time that I proposed to my girlfriend and she accepted, and we set a date to get married after I was out of college. I lived with my parents for two-and-a-half years, and then I moved into an apartment with three of my college friends. All of a sudden my doubts came screaming back to the surface, and a few months later I realized I no longer believed any of it.

 

I stopped going to church, except when my fiancee came to town to visit because I didn't want to scare her. I started to withdraw from many activities at the Baptist college, and I just become much more reserved all around. I had no idea how to break the news to them, because I knew it would cause some serious ripples. Plus, since I was also under my father's shadow, it was only going to make the situation even worse. I finally got to the point when I couldn't take it anymore. The wedding was six months away, and I knew it would be a mistake to marry a staunch Christian when I no longer believed any of it. She came up to visit one weekend, and I decided I could no longer act like the Christian I was not, so I didn't go to church. When she asked me why, I told her the truth. She ran off and cried for over an hour, and my mom came in and yelled at me for making her cry. When it came time to take her home, she told me that she knew I was confused, but I needed to continue going to church because that was where the answers were. When I asked about us, she said that she wanted to give me some time to sort things out (in other words, she was just going to wait until I came around).

 

A couple of weeks later she called me in the middle of my busiest and most stressful day of the week. When I answered, she said she needed to know if I still wanted to get married or not (not the conversation I wanted to have right at that moment). We cried on the phone together for about an hour, after which we mutually decided it would be best to call off the wedding. I broke the news to my mom, and she basically just shrugged me off (she was still bitter about my deconversion). I went home, pulled out my pocket knife and wrote a suicide letter. If it hadn't been for one of my roommates coming home right then, I probably would have killed myself. Throughout the next year my life proceeded to get even worse. Many of my friends from the Christian school now shunned me, and my mom pleaded with me many times to "come back to the fold." During that semester I also had a lady in a big truck cause $1,000 in damage to my car, I had to quit a job, and I had to drop the accounting major I had been working on for my entire college tenure. Upon graduation, it took me two months before I could find a job because I didn't have much experience other than a college degree. I also started drinking and using a very large library of profanity.

 

I wish I could tell you that everything is all fine and dandy right now, but the truth is that I have wanted to kill myself every day since I came out in the open. It is not because I think it was a wrong decision (in fact, quite to the contrary), it is because of the way my life went to shit right after it happened. My mom still takes every opportunity she can to try and re-convert me, often using condescension and manipulation to try and win me back. I have lost several more friends since then, as I have become very open about my beliefs. I have a blog where I post anti-Christian arguments all the time, and some of them just can't take the heat. Yet in the midst of all of this, I have never regretted my decision to leave Christianity. While life has been miserable since then, it is much better than the life I had as a Christian, when I was being suffocated by Christian dogma.

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wow, you sure have had to struggle hard to be your true self. You will find friends and girlfriends who share your view in time. The ones whose mad now will probally get over it and talk to you again if they don't then it wasn't a real friendship. Hang in there.

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Guest Yams What I Yams

Hi Spock,

 

Thanks for sharing your story. I think many of us have similar 'testimonies' of being brainwashed from an early age to put your trust in God, and then having trouble coping with a world that doesn't include him. One of the things that most irritated me about the entire Christian experience was the fact that I was never encouraged to believe in myself or to have faith in my ability to handle things because I was supposed to be doing all things 'through Christ who strengthens me.' It sucks that so many things went wrong as you were de-converting. It's tough enough trying to keep your head on just dealing with losing your faith, let alone having to deal with all of the other emotional things that happened to you. The fact that you're getting through it is also a type of 'testimony' - this one to your personal strength and character. Hang in there.

 

I'm curious to know what some of your doubts were and what finally tipped the balance for you. For me it was a whole pile of things, not the least of which was the fact that my religion condemned innocent people to Hell. What about you?

 

Yams

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Welcome to Ex-C Misterspock! Thank you for sharing your heart wrenching experience. You are stronger then you realize.

 

I'm worried for you that you still think about suicide everyday since you decided to tell loved ones, and hope those thoughts leave you soon. Are you still on the anti-depressants ?

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Welcome Mr. Spock. You will make friendships here. I am sure that you know that humans can be illogical at times.

 

Hang in there, and live long and prosper.

 

 

 

 

Now..... off to go find James Kirk.....

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I want to thank you all for your encouragement. This site has definitely been a blessing (to use a Christian term :-P ). I live right in the buckle of the Bible Belt, which makes it hard for me to find anyone who understands and accepts what I am going through.

 

Depression has been a big thing in my life, and while I haven't been on antidepressants, my counselor just recently recommended that I take them. He keeps telling me it would be such a waste to emancipate myself the way I did just to kill myself. Part of it is just that I feel so guilty about what I did, because I was raised to believe that leaving my faith was the unpardonable sin. Many Christians have tried to use my depression as evidence that I need to come back to God, because obviously that is the whole reason why I am depressed now. I have that "God-shaped hole" that is now suddenly vacant, and because of that my life seems empty. A few years ago I was saying the same thing to people, and was so convinced that God was the answer to every problem. I now see Christianity for what it really is: self-delusion.

 

I had three major doubts that ended up "tipping the scale." First, I could never understand why a supposedly loving God, who created all things, would send people He created to a Hell that He created, all because of some arbitrary rule that He created. The answer I always came back with for that question was, "He doesn't send us to Hell; we choose to go there." Such naive nonsense. The second question I had was regarding witnessing. What I could never understand is how someone could have a real encounter with God just because some missionary or evangelist banged them over the head with a Bible and told them they were. Every Christian believes what they believe because someone told them that it is the truth, and they "feel" that it is true just because they have been conditioned to feel that way. This is not faith; it is just illogical assumption. The final question that finally forced me out was regarding the Bible. I will never be able to understand how a collection of letters and historical narratives written by men is the Word of God just because other men have said that it is. If God wanted to speak to us, why would He limit himself to a book? If He really wanted to have dialogue with us, I think He would use different means depending on the person. Most importantly, why would He create a brain in us capable of rational thought and interpreting right from wrong, but then turn around and give us a rule book to overrule any free thought? I started having these questions for awhile, and nobody ever wanted to answer them. All they told me was that I needed to have faith and all of the answers would come to me. *cough* bull shit *cough* But at the time I believed them, seeing my doubts as a lack of faith and as a sign of being a weak Christian.

 

I would classify myself as an agnostic now. I think some kind of intelligent creator exists, but I am very open to the possibility that one doesn't. If God does exist, I think He exists as in the Watchmaker analogy, just creating the universe, setting everything in motion, and then stepping back to let us have freedom. I have often compared it to Star Trek's prime directive, where He does not reach out to us until we have the ability to reach out to Him. One thing is for sure: I hate fundamentalist Christianity with a passion, especially their churches, and I will NEVER go back to that.

 

A note to any Christians that might be reading this and wanting to attempt to re-convert me: I have read and studied C. S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and Josh McDowell. I used to be a Christian apologist, and I know their arguments very well.

 

Welcome Mr. Spock. You will make friendships here. I am sure that you know that humans can be illogical at times.

 

Hang in there, and live long and prosper.

 

 

 

 

Now..... off to go find James Kirk.....

 

You and I would get along quite well! I am a big TOS fan, and my favorite movie of all of them is The Wrath of Khan. I love watching space battles, and that one had the best battle scenes of all of them. Plus, the plot is filled with all sorts of interesting twists. Too bad that Spock had to die in that one. If only Kirk had followed regulations and raised the shields when Saavik first suggested...

 

 

Kirk: Khan, you blood-sucker! You're going to have to do your own dirty work now, do you hear me? DO YOU?!

 

Khan: Kirk, you're still alive, my old friend.

 

Kirk: Still! Old friend... You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman you keep missing the target!

 

 

And then my absolute favorite scene:

 

Kirk: This is Admiral Kirk. We tried it once your way Khan. Are you game for a rematch? *Pause* Khan, I'm laughing at the superior intellect.

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Guest revpo

Interesting mr. spock, glad you joined us and thanks daily you are alive.

Life is great and don't let the fundies spoil or take advantage of you for it, time moves on and the fundies usually drift off.

Look at the space and nature around you, look at the earth and its surroundings, it is different everyday and you are part of it, enjoy the earth and nature daily and let your mind relax with it, the fundies can't their minds are always filled with hate and fear toward others<the fear is not flowing with the fundie crowd if they discover the truth>, look away from revealed religion, it is only made from fables of man giving fear to others, and that isn't the way to live...

Enjoy what I have said, and look at a bright future.

 

revpo

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Interesting mr. spock, glad you joined us and thanks daily you are alive.

Life is great and don't let the fundies spoil or take advantage of you for it, time moves on and the fundies usually drift off.

Look at the space and nature around you, look at the earth and its surroundings, it is different everyday and you are part of it, enjoy the earth and nature daily and let your mind relax with it, the fundies can't their minds are always filled with hate and fear toward others<the fear is not flowing with the fundie crowd if they discover the truth>, look away from revealed religion, it is only made from fables of man giving fear to others, and that isn't the way to live...

Enjoy what I have said, and look at a bright future.

 

revpo

 

Christianity has had thousands of years to refine and tweak its agenda into this nice little pill for us to swallow. They have had generation after generation to improve their methods for convincing people to convert, and have settled upon fear as one of the primary methods because it works so very well. I still fear that I am doomed for Hell, and that is probably one of the only reasons I have not killed myself, to be honest.

 

And about the freedom part:

 

I love being able to do whatever I want without fear that it goes against my religion or is in some way disappointing to God. I love to be able to come home and drink a beer, have a Jack and Coke, and even get totally wasted without worrying about my witness or reputation. I also feel so much more relieved knowing that I no longer have any stupid boundaries when it comes to dating relationships. If I am dating a girl and we want to have sex, then we can have sex. True freedom. Interesting that the Bible says in John, "If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed." I didn't experience true freedom until I left the Son.

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"I have that "God-shaped hole" that is now suddenly vacant, and because of that my life seems empty. A few years ago I was saying the same thing to people, and was so convinced that God was the answer to every problem. I now see Christianity for what it really is: self-delusion."

 

 

It is an addiction, not a god-shaped hole. I have it too. I was so addicted to being in church and to having the security of a social group that I miss it a lot, even though I hated the church people. Much like an alcoholic hates what the drug does to her but still needs it.

 

I have replaced the addiction with other stuff: walking everyday, joining groups in www.meetup.com, etc. But it is still difficult.

 

Hang in there and rest assured that you are not the only one having a difficult time with it. I, for one, have good, great, and bad days. But in general, I am much happier. I also have a blog, but I use a fake name. Heavens! I don't know what would happen in the people from my former churches and my relatives read the stuff I write there. :phew:

 

Good luck to you.

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MS1,

 

Welcome aboard. I, too, have Fundie-ness in my background (with additional Catholicism and cultism thrown in for good measure).

 

It takes time to work through these issues. In my case, it's been 30-odd years of religious indoctrination. That isn't going to be undone in a day, or a year, etc. I'm still "detoxing" after 12 years (well, the really bad stuff only took about 7 years). You have a complicating factor, the depression. I think your counselor is right... I say, "living well is the best revenge." Please take good care of yourself. You matter. Hang in there.

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Hello Misterspock1.....

 

Welcome aboard! I think all the ex-fundies on this board can relate

to your story. Kudos for using your brain to escape the Death Cult;

there aren't that many who can!

 

Sorry to hear that things aren't going so well for you. Bad times

come and go through life; it sometimes gets really, really hard to

believe that they will never end, but eventually, they always do.

A shame about your fundy mom; that kind of constant haranguing

would be enough to get me to leave the state (or at least move to

a different area and get an unlisted phone number)!

 

Hope things get better for you. We're here to listen if you need

someone to listen. ;)

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MS1,

 

Welcome aboard. I, too, have Fundie-ness in my background (with additional Catholicism and cultism thrown in for good measure).

 

It takes time to work through these issues. In my case, it's been 30-odd years of religious indoctrination. That isn't going to be undone in a day, or a year, etc. I'm still "detoxing" after 12 years (well, the really bad stuff only took about 7 years). You have a complicating factor, the depression. I think your counselor is right... I say, "living well is the best revenge." Please take good care of yourself. You matter. Hang in there.

 

That's what I think will help with my parents the most. If I show them I am satisfied and am enjoying life with this new lifestyle, then maybe they will get off my back and let me go. Then again, it might just piss them off further to see me enjoying life while going along the complete wrong path.

 

Hello Misterspock1.....

 

Welcome aboard! I think all the ex-fundies on this board can relate

to your story. Kudos for using your brain to escape the Death Cult;

there aren't that many who can!

 

Sorry to hear that things aren't going so well for you. Bad times

come and go through life; it sometimes gets really, really hard to

believe that they will never end, but eventually, they always do.

A shame about your fundy mom; that kind of constant haranguing

would be enough to get me to leave the state (or at least move to

a different area and get an unlisted phone number)!

 

Hope things get better for you. We're here to listen if you need

someone to listen. ;)

 

Thank you for your kind words. I hate fundamentalism with a passion, not only because of what it does to its followers, but also what it causes its followers to do to other people. I don't really blame my mom for what she is doing. She is the embodiment of everything I hate about fundamentalist Christianity, but I don't hate her. In fact, I kind of have some pity for her, because she is a product of a long-lived, well-established, man-made corruption of our society.

 

My mom is the director of Vacation Bible School at church, and she has been really busy planning for it. One of the things they do in VBS is have skits for the kids every day. She says they have been looking for a guy to fill one of the parts, and suggested that I do it. I don't know what went through her head to make her suggest that, since she already knows full-well that I don't believe it anymore. In fact, I think the very idea of Vacation Bible School is wrong, because you are filling the minds of kids with lies at an early age. She doesn't see it that way, of course, but then again Nazi soldiers didn't see anything wrong with what they were doing, either.

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Welcome MrSpock1,

 

I appreciate your brutal honesty about being depressed, having christians tell you this is "evidence" that god needs to be back in your life and all the rest of their crap. I must admit I've been feeling like that lately myself. Not suicidal, but bitter that all of the conditioning that the church did to us now has left us rather limping along emotionally at times. Not fully prepared to cope with the ups and downs of life.

 

We always had "tha Lard" to look to. But all it was (to me at least) was lots of support from fellow believers and lots of brainwashing to keep us all "happy in god".

 

My family sometimes says to me: "you're so bitter against religion - it's not fair to blame the lord for your letdowns." But they haven't been on the other side, where the brainwashing falls away and you're left with just existence.

 

Anyways, guess I'm sorta rambling, but thanks again for your story. You sound like you'll be okay.

 

;)

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Welcome MrSpock1,

 

I appreciate your brutal honesty about being depressed, having christians tell you this is "evidence" that god needs to be back in your life and all the rest of their crap. I must admit I've been feeling like that lately myself. Not suicidal, but bitter that all of the conditioning that the church did to us now has left us rather limping along emotionally at times. Not fully prepared to cope with the ups and downs of life.

 

We always had "tha Lard" to look to. But all it was (to me at least) was lots of support from fellow believers and lots of brainwashing to keep us all "happy in god".

 

My family sometimes says to me: "you're so bitter against religion - it's not fair to blame the lord for your letdowns." But they haven't been on the other side, where the brainwashing falls away and you're left with just existence.

 

Anyways, guess I'm sorta rambling, but thanks again for your story. You sound like you'll be okay.

 

;)

 

Your family sounds just like my family, except for my sister. My sister, while still professing to be a Christian, is at the stage where she too is questioning what she believes. She has been all for my deconversion and has never shown disapproval at my decision. In some respects, she even seems to admire me. So many of my Christian friends have made comments telling me how much they hate how anti-Christian I have become. All I have to say is that they have seemed to become increasingly anti-agnostic. It's just all of those guilt complexes. They have been trained to do them, so it is not their fault, yet it doesn't make me feel any better. I just wish some of them would wake up and smell what they're shoveling.

 

And I know exactly what you mean about limping along. Our whole lives we were trained to talk to God about our problems and lean on Him whenever we needed help. Now that He is no longer there for us to lean on, we feel like we're constantly limping and falling down. The truth is that He was never there, yet we acted like he was anyway.

 

I feel a lot like one of Pavlov's dogs. Ring a bell and I'll salivate. Tell me I am lost without God and I will feel depressed. Conditioned response.

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I like that, Misterspock, "I'm like Pavlov's dogs...Tell me I'm lost without God and I will feel depressed. Conditioned response." That is so true! We are so programmed to think that way that even when we break free of the fundy cult, that program still plays in heads, whether it is depression or fear of hell or whatever. Depression can be more than programming so do consider taking anti-depressants, though finding the right one and the right dosage can be a long process. I occasionally suffer from depression but have not taken meds but this is what I have heard from other people.

 

Hang in there, Misterspock! There can be bumps on the road of deconversion and deprogramming. There will be bad days and good days.

 

Spock is actually one of my heroes, as I wish I were more like him, logical and rational, then like I am most of the time, emotional and moody. :crazy:

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I just wanted everyone to know that I am back. After a two-year hiatus, which consisted of three hospitalizations for depression, counselors, and various psychological drugs, I feel I am finally back on my feet.

 

I have finally been able to start moving on from the past, realizing (and finally starting to believe) that I do not have to be a slave to fear anymore. The fear of Hell was driving me insane, and whenever I tried to make progress it would just blindside me and remind me that the Bible tells me I am damned. It has been a very hard-fought battle, one that I believe I have finally started to win. Just because there is a possibility that I might be wrong and going to Hell, just because somebody tells me that I am doomed, doesn't mean I have to give in to the fear. It is just another form of terrorism, getting people to do or believe what you want by scaring them, and I am finally starting to see through it. I don't have to let that fear keep me from pursuing my dreams and heart's desires.

 

It has given me a newfound sense of freedom, feeling that now I can get on with my life. Without the fear paralyzing me anymore I have been able to start shaking off the depression. For the first time in a long time (really ever, to be honest), I am finally starting to enjoy life and all of the pleasure that comes with it. A couple of weeks ago I was able to do something that I have not been able to do in almost seven years: ask a girl out. The last time I had done it was when I asked out the girl who became my fiancee, and ever since our breakup I have not had the desire (or the courage) to. I felt that my baggage was something that would be too much for someone else, and I didn't want to be hurt again. But I finally got to the point where I was willing to at least take the risk in the hope that something good would come out of it. We're not in a relationship or anything; I don't know if we ever will be. However, this is still a huge step for me, and I feel I have something to be proud of.

 

Anyway, I just thought that positive news is always welcome. I know firsthand the struggles that can come from leaving behind a lifetime of Christian indoctrination, so for anyone out there who may be dealing with a similar situation, I can tell you that there is hope.

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Welcome back, Misterspock.

 

:welcome:

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Welcome back also from someone newer here than you. I'm sorry to hear it's been such a rough journey. I hope you find support here and elsewhere that's been lacking.

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Good to see you here, Misterspock. I've only been around since after last Christmas. I'm 16 and I can relate to a LOT of what you've gone through, particularly in your pre-teen years. My parents aren't fundies (though my mom can be at times) but the church experience... I can relate to that. A lot of people often commented on my maturity and good behavior. I was fairly well-liked at church. I went to the camps, sang with the youth group, did those little skits at Christmas, went to the youth groups, did everything. (And yes, I'm former Baptist. Not Southern Baptist, but just Baptist in the loosest sense of the term). I rejected Creationism early on (around 10 or 11) but at 12 became a fundie. At 13 I was a very liberal Christian, and kept having to bend in all sorts of interesting ways to stay Christian, since at the time atheism seemed like a scary viewpoint to me. At 14 (June 2006) I finally deconverted after learning about something called the Council of Nicaea... yeah, I couldn't believe in a religion whose Lord and Saviour's divinity was voted on. I considered Paganism for a while but then went agnostic. Last yearI dabbled in Wicca... bad idea.

 

I've dealt with anxiety for a lot of my life. It just so happens that all my life that I was taught that Gawd could see any action, any word, and thought that was against him. For a long time I pushed doubts away, thinking that if I thought on them I'd go to hell. I still feel a tad guilty from time to time when I think thoughts that aren't nice about Christianity. But... I'm free from one less retard supposedly watching my every move and waiting to punish me for it.

 

It's good to know that you're better now. And hopefully you'll stick around :) Living a life of fear and pessimism is not living at all. It's painful to be a Christian and at the same time have so many unanswered questions and constantly have to watch your back for the silliest things. It's just as painful being a non-Christian when everyone else is Christian and having to pretend, or else.

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I just wanted everyone to know that I am back. After a two-year hiatus, which consisted of three hospitalizations for depression, counselors, and various psychological drugs, I feel I am finally back on my feet.

 

I have finally been able to start moving on from the past, realizing (and finally starting to believe) that I do not have to be a slave to fear anymore. The fear of Hell was driving me insane...

 

Anyway, I just thought that positive news is always welcome. I know firsthand the struggles that can come from leaving behind a lifetime of Christian indoctrination, so for anyone out there who may be dealing with a similar situation, I can tell you that there is hope.

 

Hey misterspock - after re-reading the original string, I was glad to hear that you are better, and receiving care for your problems.

 

We are all pretty fragile sometimes, especially after years of brainwashing. The cult has evolved well into keeping people psychologically enslaved to the dogma, using base fear of hell as a prime motivator.

 

Take care, man. I hope you continue to find that life is, indeed, worth stickin' 'round for. :sunny:

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Good to see you here, Misterspock. I've only been around since after last Christmas. I'm 16 and I can relate to a LOT of what you've gone through, particularly in your pre-teen years. My parents aren't fundies (though my mom can be at times) but the church experience... I can relate to that. A lot of people often commented on my maturity and good behavior. I was fairly well-liked at church. I went to the camps, sang with the youth group, did those little skits at Christmas, went to the youth groups, did everything. (And yes, I'm former Baptist. Not Southern Baptist, but just Baptist in the loosest sense of the term). I rejected Creationism early on (around 10 or 11) but at 12 became a fundie. At 13 I was a very liberal Christian, and kept having to bend in all sorts of interesting ways to stay Christian, since at the time atheism seemed like a scary viewpoint to me. At 14 (June 2006) I finally deconverted after learning about something called the Council of Nicaea... yeah, I couldn't believe in a religion whose Lord and Saviour's divinity was voted on. I considered Paganism for a while but then went agnostic. Last yearI dabbled in Wicca... bad idea.

 

I've dealt with anxiety for a lot of my life. It just so happens that all my life that I was taught that Gawd could see any action, any word, and thought that was against him. For a long time I pushed doubts away, thinking that if I thought on them I'd go to hell. I still feel a tad guilty from time to time when I think thoughts that aren't nice about Christianity. But... I'm free from one less retard supposedly watching my every move and waiting to punish me for it.

 

It's good to know that you're better now. And hopefully you'll stick around :) Living a life of fear and pessimism is not living at all. It's painful to be a Christian and at the same time have so many unanswered questions and constantly have to watch your back for the silliest things. It's just as painful being a non-Christian when everyone else is Christian and having to pretend, or else.

 

Thank you for your encouragement. I still remain firmly entrenched in Christian circles, in regards to both family and geography. I am finally getting to the point where I can move past it and live my life. After all, I am free now. Free from the dogma, free from the indoctrination, and free from a life of suffocation. Like you said, I realized that living a life of fear, fearing what is around every corner, is not really living at all. I want to live a full life, and for the first time in a long time (really ever) I now feel I can do that.

 

Yes, and while I didn't hear specifically about the Council of Nicaea until after I had deconverted (and watched The DaVinci Code), I was very familiar with the concept. I wondered how I could put full faith in a book that was written by humans, translated by humans, adapted by humans, and labeled by other humans as the Word of God. Why would God need a book to communicate with us, anyway? If humans are so flawed, how do I know they got it right? God is all-powerful, so if he really wanted to give us a book of rules, couldn't he just breathe it into existence or something? Why would he want to go through humans who are just going to mess it up? Besides, the god of the Bible doesn't really seem like someone I could entrust my life and my eternity to. If he is willing to torture his own people just to prove a point, or commit genocide just because he doesn't like somebody, how can I trust that he will truly save me when I die?

 

It is questions like these, among others, that eventually prompted me to leave Christianity.

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Hey misterspock - after re-reading the original string, I was glad to hear that you are better, and receiving care for your problems.

 

We are all pretty fragile sometimes, especially after years of brainwashing. The cult has evolved well into keeping people psychologically enslaved to the dogma, using base fear of hell as a prime motivator.

 

Take care, man. I hope you continue to find that life is, indeed, worth stickin' 'round for. :sunny:

 

Thanks! It hasn't been an easy road, and I am still working through a lot of stuff, but I am optimistic. I feel I have the strength to get through it, and I actually WANT to get through it now. Before, I was just wishy-washy about it, not really caring about living or dying, and was really just waiting for something to push me over the edge. Now, I actually want to squeeze all the joy I can out of life, and I feel free to do that now that I have left Christianity behind.

 

And I am sure you have an idea about the torment I have been through, living every day fearing that I will be hit by a truck or something and be damned to hell for all eternity. I am still seeking psychological help on a regular basis, and it will probably be a long time before those scars have fully healed. The church knows all the little tricks and gimmicks for getting you to believe and keep believing. I have been saying ever since I left that Christianity has had two thousand years to work all this teaching, all this psychological manipulation, all this brainwashing, into a nice little pill that is easy to swallow, and they will even shove it down your throat for you!

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I skimmed the majority of this string, but suffice it to say that I was much slower in coming around. It took me a year away from it in Iraq to open my eyes and look around. I had left Southern Baptist and moved to Catholicism in college based on a lot of the poor fundamentalist arguments. It took me six years to shoot the same number of holes in the Catholic arguments. My problem now is that I have a wife and two kids--and my wife is a youth minister at the local parish. . .makes home life pretty hard sometimes.

 

I went to S(MSU) in Springfield, so I know the area very well, and I still have friends there (going there next weekend for a wedding as a matter of fact). Anyway, just hang in there. It's odd that once you leave the fold of "loving kindness", that all of a sudden, you don't feel the love anymore.

 

I don't have much advice, since I'm still surrounded by it everyday and to date have only found a way to stay married--though that has been decidedly difficult at times. All I know is, the arguments get tiresome, but I thoroughly relish in my logical stance on life these days.

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I skimmed the majority of this string, but suffice it to say that I was much slower in coming around. It took me a year away from it in Iraq to open my eyes and look around. I had left Southern Baptist and moved to Catholicism in college based on a lot of the poor fundamentalist arguments. It took me six years to shoot the same number of holes in the Catholic arguments. My problem now is that I have a wife and two kids--and my wife is a youth minister at the local parish. . .makes home life pretty hard sometimes.

 

I went to S(MSU) in Springfield, so I know the area very well, and I still have friends there (going there next weekend for a wedding as a matter of fact). Anyway, just hang in there. It's odd that once you leave the fold of "loving kindness", that all of a sudden, you don't feel the love anymore.

 

I don't have much advice, since I'm still surrounded by it everyday and to date have only found a way to stay married--though that has been decidedly difficult at times. All I know is, the arguments get tiresome, but I thoroughly relish in my logical stance on life these days.

 

I hear you. Fortunately, I got away before I got married (just barely), but it still hasn't been easy. I can only imagine what life would be like if I had actually gone through with the wedding! I would be dying a slow, torturous death right now, in the name of Christ. :phew:

 

And my sister and brother-in-law both went to MSU. I have thought about taking some classes there, but I am ultimately thinking about getting a degree in philosophy and they don't offer a Master's in Philosophy at MSU. If that is truly what I want to do, I will have to move away from here. Damn. :lmao:

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Along with the others in this thread, I wanted to express my thanks to you, Mr Spock, for sharing your journey (and your update) with us. I think the biggest fear for those of us who have or are deconverting is the overwhelming sense of being truly alone, of having no one to talk or share with. After all, the myths of hell often include isolation (especially from God) and the prospect of being alone for eternity (odd considering the Christian assertion that God is omnipresent).

 

I am fortunate that my wife, though still a Southern Baptist, is a gracious and kind woman. I "came out" with her two years ago about my conviction that I was no longer a Christian or the kind of Christian that I used to be. Her response was that as long as I didn't try to stop her from going to church or taking our children there, that we would have no inordinate problems. And she has kept to that agreement. I love her dearly and, oddly, I can talk about my doubts with her and she never judges me. A rare woman. My in-laws, however, are not so gracious, being deacons in a Southern Baptist church. They feel that I was "faking it" when I married their daughter almost 20 years ago. Yeah, right.

 

Anyway, I wanted to tell you how brave you are and that it will get better. Christianity relies on a "magic bullet" (believing in the Bible) that, supposedly, instantaneously changes everything about a person -- their destination, their identity, their character, their new family, their new culture, etc. But their "magic bullet" is an illusion. Once you are on the inside, you discover that hardly any two Christians know for absolute certainty that they know their destination is secure; they have to create labels to describe what kinds of Christians they are; they have the same character (they are just "sinners" who happen to be forgiven); their family fuses and fights like any other; and their culture is exclusionary and closed-minded.

 

I've found, in my experience, that there is no "magic bullet" for deconversion either. It is a long, hard, painful process. It involves alot of deconstruction with reconstruction of...what?...we don't really know if we've been in Christianity all of our lives. It is maybe like trying to rebuild a house that has been hit by a tornado...trying to decide what is worth salvaging and what is fit only for the trash heap.

 

When I look at the very best of what Jesus taught - helping the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, justice for the oppressed - I still find value there. These things line up, as far as I can tell, with the best of humanism. But I discard alot of the mystical mumbo-jumbo found in the package.

 

Keep on keeping on. Keep "going where you have not gone before." :) It is only through exploration that we grow to be the best we can be.

 

I think the best thing Kirk ever said about Spock (other than calling him his friend) was, "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most...human." What a compliment!

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