My story...

sent in by Mike

Cross post from "Breaking the Bad News.."

I wish I'd run across this site about 4 months ago!

My parents were involved in the Methodist church when I was young. I went through the confirmation thing and all, but to me it was just words and I never really bought into it. After I was about 13 - 14 we just stopped going to church. Nothing was said, just stopped. I think my parents became agnostic/athiest at that time, though they just recently made if very clear.

I'm much older (42) and married to a YEC, BAC. My wife was a Baptist when we met and I, being blindly in lust and love, did the whole baptism, decleration of faith. I really wanted to believe....

However, since that time (about 17 years ago). I "drifted" too and from trying to be "religious". I had many objections and was never comfortable with religion. Something just seemed "wrong".... My wife, on the other hand, went the other direction and is full force fundy everything is evil, end is near, gotta save all the souls kinda B.S.

Then, about 6 months ago I stumbled across the Flying Spaghetti Monster site. I laughed my arse off, and my eyes started to open.

I attend a fundy charismatic church with my wife and kids here in Austin. One day, during the "alter call", this lady comes over, crying and the whole bit, and says "Mike, don't you want what they have??". Meaning the folks with the arms in the air and swaying and chanting. Inside the answer was instant. "NO!, you'll are nuts!". However, I politely dodged the question and gave vague answers. My wife is sitting next to me and said something about "God was telling to ask you the same thing..."

At that point I made a decision. I would do my "due diligence" and let the facts speack for themselves. Lets just say the house of cards came tumbling down. I quit pretending to like church, or to pray. I told my wife in using "Rip the BandAid" method, she took it OK. Then I came home with some books from Michael Shermer, Carl Sagan and few others. That's when poop hit the fan. She wouldn't speak to me for about a day. I actually thought we were headed for rapid divorce. I did almost tell her the two main reasons for my decision was looking at her beliefs now vs. when we met and the current church we attend. I think I did the right thing by erring to caution.

Things have calmed down now, but it's a very sore subject and I know I'm on everybody's prayer list

I don't know how I would break the news differently, there isn't a good way.

Being "out" wow... I feel better now than I have in years!

The problem is all of our (read "her") friends are die hard fundy's. Blaahhh

Sorry to unload on you guys in my first post, but to be honest, I got no one to talk about this....

Thanks for reading...

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
It's great you have found out the truth. Hopefully your wife can accept your decision without fighting over it. My only advice is for you to keep it cool on the home front.(if you want to save your marriage)
I was seeing a girl for two years when I saw the the light. I tried to show her the truth and she couldn't accept it. All we did was fight about it all the time (my fault). Your free and that is all that matters right now. She may never be, some people can't live without this magical hope.

Interested Atheist said...

Hi there Mike. I'm very sorry you're going through trouble. Good luck with everything!
If it's any help, here's a website I ran across - some writings by a man who quit being a Christian on how he dealt with family and friends.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/buckner/no.html

All the best!

hoof_amd_horn30 said...

Thanks for that testimony..Ia having to be a closet agnostic because of family.So I can relate.How wonderful to have a site like this one for support.

J.T. Finally Christianity Free said...

Mike great post!! I'm laughing my ass off. It's funny because we can all relate to that type of manipulation that you are currently experiencing. I just finished reading all the new testimonies and they are great. I love the question that crazy Fundy lady asked you "Do you want they have"? Trust me my christian experience was a big waste of time and TRUST ME YOU DO NOT WANT WHAT THEY HAVE!! I wasted 10 years in the church AND CAN REASSURE THAT IT IS ALL FAKE AND PURE MANIPULATION. I think I got caught up in it because I'm basically a very emotional caring person and I just let my emotions get the best of me. I just hope your wife and you are able to work things out!! Relationships can be very hard and mixing religion into it does not help. And also please Be very careful!! It is getting real SICK out there and some of these Evangelical churches are almost encouraging divorces if they see that one spouse is married to an unbeliever. I read an article about a year ago where this church in the bible belt was actually having a date night with people whose divorces were not even final yet. Some of these Pastors and churches are becoming so finatical that they are losing sight of reality. I would just encourage you to explore every option beofore you even mention the word divorce. Do not let these finatics drive you two apart because years from now when you two look back hopefully this will be just a little blip on the radar!! Hope it all works out!! Take Care Mike!!

Melissa said...

Dear Mike,

I commend your courage and honesty.
Those are two things this world needs more of right now.

Independent thought and honest inquiry is the enemy of most faith's and the churches will do everything they can to keep their blind sheep from leaving the flock.

It is not easy to stand before a condemning crowd while being naked of their faith. (metaphor there) It is especially tough when it involves a personal relationship with a member of that "crowd" that is staring back at you.

It can make you feel vulnerable to their misguided accusations, but more importantly, it also gives you the opportunity to grow beyond their myths and misery.

Be strong and be true to yourself. You have been navigating the waters of life all on your own for your entire life. Trust your own instincts and intuitions; your life will be better off for it.

You have my support and if you ever need to talk to someone, just give me a holler. I really do wish that honesty and love rules in the end so that it all works out for everyone in your family. I look forward to hearing more from you, so please keep us updated on how it is going.

Welcome to the oasis of reason!

Take care,

Bill Dearmore said...

Congratulations on your newfound freedom, Mike.

Jesus said SOME things right, assuming he was quoted correctly. (Big assumption, of course.) "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32. However, as somebody else later said, "The truth can make you free, but it can cause you a lot of problems, too."

I was about your age when I left my fundamentalist Xtian sect, after realizing the truth: that it is all nonsense. I'm 66 now, and more convinced all the time.

The truth can be dangerous to one's social life and intimate relationships. It is ofen difficult; but it can get better sometimes.

It's still amazing to me how many of our stories here are so similar. We can empathize with you, becausae so many of us have gone through pretty much the same things.

I sincerely hope you and your wife are able to maintain a loving, respectful, and satisfying relationship.

Dano said...

Mike,
It's a wonderful thing, when you can watch people spouting the Christian (Or any religious), bullshit, and know that you are free from it. You are no different now, except that now you will learn to love your new found ability to think rationally. You will no longer need regular doses of schizophrenic reinforcement from imaginary beings, dead rabbis, and saints.

You will gradually replace the time that you previously spent talking to imaginary people, with rational constructive thought. You will have grown up!

Don't worry though Mike, you will be in good company. Since the advent of the age of enlightenment, most of the greatest thinkers have come to the same conclusions that we have.
Dan

freedy said...

Welcome Mike,...I too lost all my fundie freinds of 20yrs.,but it is worth it!!
There are all kinds of books and sites dealing with the....
"The Myth Of Christianity"
Halfprice books has a whole section,.."The Jesus Mysteries" is a good one"(by Tim Freke & Peter Gandy).

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, that was an interesting and revealing post. I was really feeling you for a while, but then you dropped this...

"Then I came home with some books from Michael Shermer, Carl Sagan and few others"

That's where you lost me. Why did you need the books? I thought you already disbelieved. In fact, from what I read, you never had a shred of faith to begin with. As a child with your parents, and later as a self-confessed lustlorn suitor of your eventual wife's affections. So why the need to discount the Christian faith when you never 'bought' into any of to begin with?

Maybe there's some truth in the claim that man needs someone or something to worship: since for you, it wasn't going to be God, I guess it became Sagan, Schwimmer and the others. Welcome aboard.

Dan said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Maybe there's some truth in the claim that man needs someone or something to worship: since for you, it wasn't going to be God, I guess it became Sagan, Schwimmer and the others. Welcome aboard"
posted: 2/22/2006 4:06 AM EST  

Anonymous. Do you really think that God created us simply for the purpose of worshiping it? Don't you think that is an insult to God? Do you really think that a force capable of creating a billion galaxies in an instant needs to be worshiped?

Do you really think that the trillions of living things that our ancestors captured, killed, and ate in order for us to emerge at the top of the food chain, felt any love for their creator as the teeth of our ancestors clamped down on their jugulars?

Is it possible that we created God in our image, and we are the ones who desire to be worshiped?
Dan (Dano) (Rationalist)

lothartx said...

"Hi Mike, that was an interesting and revealing post. I was really feeling you for a while, but then you dropped this...

"Then I came home with some books from Michael Shermer, Carl Sagan and few others"

That's where you lost me. Why did you need the books? I thought you already disbelieved. In fact, from what I read, you never had a shred of faith to begin with. As a child with your parents, and later as a self-confessed lustlorn suitor of your eventual wife's affections. So why the need to discount the Christian faith when you never 'bought' into any of to begin with?

Maybe there's some truth in the claim that man needs someone or something to worship: since for you, it wasn't going to be God, I guess it became Sagan, Schwimmer and the others. Welcome aboard."

Nice troll, but I'll bite anyway. BTW... it's Shermer, not Schwimmer. You lose credibility resorting to sarcasm and degradation. If you can't attack the data, ridicule the source. I will assume your a christian, based on the context of your post

Yes, I never went as far as to be classified a "fundamentalist". But I used to pray seriously early on and studied the bible and tried to take it seriously. But it never truly stuck. I just couldn't, with a clear conscience, believe the bible is inerrant etc. It just isn't true. The top four things that steered me away from christianity, in no particular order.

Watching the changes in my wife over the last 5 years as she became more "fundamental".

The church we attend.
Reading the bible.
Talking to christians.

I bought the books because I needed something help me clarify what I was feeling. I wanted to contrast secular to theistic. I also read several christian creationist books. I found them to be false (I'm sorry, I'm truly drawing a blank on the names). One was by some "investigative reporter athiest turned christian". I went to the quoted sources and and did my own research and getting the full context of some of the claims made in several christian book. I'm sorry, but the christian authors lied, plain and simple, lied. That ended what little shred christian belief I had...

I have always been a fan of Sagan and James Randi. I've heard your sarcastic christian comments from a lot folks. If you don't worship god, you must worship "XXXX" fill in the blank. To that I say B.S. I don't worship anything. I don't blindly follow secular science, I question a lot conclusions. I look at the sources and attemp to use critical thinking and my talents and knowledge to discern what I beleive to be true. Sometimes I rely on trusted sources to help draw my conclusion. I "respect" Michael Shermer, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, James Randi and others. I do not think these guys are inerrant, I trust them to present a more honest oppinion. When in doubt, I look at the data where ever possible. To be honest, very few christians do this, they blindly follow what the pastor du-jour spins out in the weekly sermon.

Sorry, I find your coment to cheap and typical of christian B.S. Try harder, lets debate the data, not name calling.
You can email me at mmeyer@austin.rr.com. I have no need to remain anonymous, anonymous.

jim earl said...

Hello Mike. Thanks for your honesty. Our lives are so much alike. I grew up Nazarene and was very involved in the church. I sincerely believed I was doing my best to serve "God." Then my wife of 11 years plus left me for another man. How could this happen? That was way back in the late 70's. Slowly I began to think for myself and over a period of 25 years I became a non-believer, or atheist if you will. I'm not afraid of that name. My present wife of almost 25 years is also a member of a local Southern Baptist Church but recently she has begun to question the things taught in church. She is a teacher and recently told me to help her find the truth about religion and I am stunned to say the least. This happened just last Sunday after she visited a local Nazarene church and heard the preacher spew his venom about the end times. I was so glad that she had chosen to go to that church that day and can't wait to get into some serious dicussions about religion with her. It has been a long struggle but now the tide seems to have changed. Faith is a very powerful thing but once you lose faith, the beginning of logic and reason is near. My wife and I have fought many long battles over the religious issue and I guess we both must love each other or we would not have made it this far. I wish you the same outcome and offer this advice: Be patient, loving and kind. Good things will happen if she truly loves you. BTW, I live in South Carolina right smack dab in the middle of the bible belt. The cretins here are as thick as the sands on our beaches. However, I have never been as happy as I am right now with the new prospect of having a wife that thinks as I do. Good luck to you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

Time does change things Mike. After a while the fundies give up on you, thanks "god." :) Just hang in there, and try to make some friends for yourself outside of the "Kingdom."

Good luck buddy, see on here often I hope.

Onanite

George said...

Wow, great to find this site. I haven't been that open about my loss of faith but glad I'm not the only who who just can't seem to reconcile critical thinking and being open minded with having an unquestioning view that my sacred text (Bible, Koran, etc) has all the answers. By the way, I actually saw Carl Sagan speak in person during my undergraduate studies.

erika said...

mike,
It may seem strange that I never stopped to think that sites like this existed, but I am pleased to find that they do. My immediate family (mum, dad, sister) are the black sheep of my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles) becasue although we observe christian holidays (christmas, easter), we do not go to church,and we consider ourselves agnostic humanists. Sometimes I get so tired of those people who don't understand how we can have a moral compass that is not mandated by a church. I can be ( and am) a good person with strong morals without the fear of god or church. Why is this so hard for some to understand? I have some great christian friends, though, who have really taken the time to understand my beliefs and respect them as I do theirs.
Keep on discussing these issues- you're doing great!

.:webmaster:. said...

Mike, your testimony ended up linked to Salon.Com.

Here's the link: Salon.Com

Chris said...

Dear Mike,
I just found this site and like it. I am an atheist and have been for 50-years. My wife of 35 years doesn't believe in all of the doctrinal crap and stupidity but does fundamentally believe in the divinity of Jesus...just that his message has been corrupted. We get along fine because we're in love and are both intelligent. We attend a UMC church in a small community with 40 churches, and I use the time there for reflection. I like the minister and have told him I'm an atheist and we get along fine. One final thought: we have communion once a month which I usually try to miss because it reduces the time for the sermons, which I usually like. When I do take communion I do it for my wife's sake but wonder just how many people standing in line actually believe this crap. I suspect a lot of them really don't if you pinned them down, but they find it easier to do so than to not do so.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike. I know it may seem like people don't care sometimes, but they do. I used to be agnostic, but then Jesus changed my life. I know that phrase seems very trite, but it's the truth. If you truly sought Him with your heart, He would never let you down. You don't have to like the Baptist-style of worship to be a good Christian. As long as you show your love to God in the way your most comfortable, that's what is important. Some things in the Bible are hard to swallow, but I personally think that because many of the historical statements have been proven true through archaeology, you can logically trust the rest. The Bible's full of wisdom. Just think about it Mike. One day, you will die. Then what? What if Christianity is true? What if God really did DIE for your bad deeds? You've rejected His sacrifice for you, so wouldn't it be fair then for you to be judged by your deeds? Most likely, he'd use the 10 commandments, amongst other things. Have you ever lusted, or lied, or disobeyed your parents, or stolen anything? Everyone has broken at least one of the above. Wouldn't it be fair then, for God to punish you for breaking His rules, just as a judge would punish you for breaking the law? Even if Jesus paid your fine so that you wouldn't have to be punished, would it matter if you decide not to accept His gift? I'm just saying Mike, that it's not about having a religion, it's about finding out what the truth of life is.

freethinker05 said...

Heh,the way anonymous is spewing his "being judged for breaking god's 10 commandments" to Mike,sounds like by-god it's either Kirk Camaron, or his fucking side-kick Ray Comfort.Come on now,give it up,which one are you?

Astreja said...

Anonymous said: "What if God really did DIE for your bad deeds?"

Well, if your god is actually dead, then it isn't in any position to do much of anything.

"You've rejected His sacrifice for you, so wouldn't it be fair then for you to be judged by your deeds? Most likely, he'd use the 10 commandments, amongst other things. Have you ever lusted, or lied, or disobeyed your parents, or stolen anything?"

(scratches head) You seem to be of the opinion that the actions of a mortal can somehow injure an omnipotent being. "Sin" does not compute.

eel_shepherd said...

interested atheist gave the following URL, which chronicles the way one de-convert dealt with friends, family and others:

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/buckner/no.html

What a dynamite site that is. I visited it just to get the gist of it, and was 2-1/2 hours at it before returning here. The guy out-classed his correspondents in every way; he didn't have to expose them. He exposed the belief system, and then they exposed their shallowness and (lack of) character all by themselves. Thanks for the URL.

Anonymous said...

Dear Atheist,
If you have noone to answer to, and nowhere to go when you die....what exactly are you "free" from? If there's no punishment for believing in "God", then what have you been freed from?

Anonymous said...

No professing former Christian on this board has ever really been a Christian if they were willing to give up their relationship with God just because the road got a little bumpy.
It takes more faith to be an "atheist" than it does a Christian.
And, if you all really knew what you were talking about you probably wouldnt be so verbal with the word "atheist"....youre agnostic, because you dont know everything and cant disprove the existence of God absolutely. God isnt dead, he passed from death to LIFE and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. If there's one chance in a million that that is true than you should probably make it a matter of earnest prayer.

Dave8 said...

Anony: "Dear Atheist, If you have noone to answer to, and nowhere to go when you die....what exactly are you "free" from? If there's no punishment for believing in "God", then what have you been freed from?"

Well, there is the freedom from actually giving a person that believes in a "God" immediate credibility for what they say; because they say they hold a platinum God credit card.

boomSLANG said...

Gosh, so many pop' Christian soundbites lately; so little time.

Anony-mouse: No professing former Christian on this board has ever really been a Christian if they were willing to give up their relationship with God just because the road got a little bumpy.

You are missing the point. And if you'd take the time to read some of the testimonies here, you'd see that no one here is claiming that they gave up "their relationship" with "God". However, you will see that there are many here, myself included, who claim to have believed that they were "in a relationship" with "God", yet, we now know that we were DELUSIONAL, the same way that YOU are delsuional.

Here's why: To "know" that you have a "relationship" with some "thing", you'd have to "KNOW" that said "thing" exists. Common sense. Well, no one, including you, "KNOWS" that a "God" exists. There is not one shred of objective empirical evidence for the existance of any "God", thus, we/you must take it on "Faith" if we choose to believe.

*Now, I beg of you---please don't retort with "well, well yeah....but, but, you can't prove that God doesn't exist!"

***No, we cannot---just like you cannot "prove" that Poseiden does NOT exist. SO? Does Poseiden, then, "exist"?...because no one can prove He doesn't exist? Exactly. See?..now you're actually learning something. This thing called "the burden of proof". The onus of proof is in the lap of the one MAKING the positive fantastic claim. That'd be you.

Anony-mouse: It takes more faith to be an "atheist" than it does a Christian.

"Faith". Um, if you "KNOW" that a "God" exists, then 1) you've just rendered your "Faith" pointless/useless, and 2) please submit your objective empircal evidence for your "God" at this time. Waiting.

Continuing---Annoynomous, it doesn't take "Faith" to lack belief in something..m'kay? Using the "Poseiden" example again, I'll take that you're a reasonable adult(with the exception of believing in "Christ") and that you don't believe that Poseiden currently sits in the ocean with his trusty trident. Right? Okay....so, does it require "Faith" to nOT believe such a thing? Do you have to make weekly affirmations such as, "Poseiden does not exist..he does not! he does not! he does not exist!.... PRAISE the non-existance of Poseiden!"

Sounds silly, right? Yes, in fact, retarded, and thus, it doesn't require "Faith" to LACK belief in something. Stick it in your memory bank.

Anony-non continued: And, if you all really knew what you were talking about you probably wouldnt be so verbal with the word "atheist"....youre agnostic, because you dont know everything and cant disprove the existence of God absolutely.

Agnosticism for beginners:

Annoynomous, yes, "agnosticism" is about knowledge. And yes, no one "KNOWS", absolutely, if a "God" exists, or does not exist. I've already covered this in the above statements.

However, "Atheism" is not about knowledge, but about "belief". It is perfectly possible, by definition, to be an "Agnostic Atheist"--to NOT "know" if God exists, but to LACK belief that one does. You've simply made a false statement in an attempt to do what? Riiiiight.....to shift the burden of proof. See here*** above.

Annoynomous: God isnt dead, he passed from death to LIFE and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

...::yawn::

How do you "KNOW" this? Evidence please. If the Holy Bible is "evidence" for Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spook, then the Q'ran is evidence for "Allah".

If there's one chance in a million that that is true than you should probably make it a matter of earnest prayer.

So we should believe "just in case". What a stupid reason to believe something. Okay, then you "should probably" get down to your local library and figure out which religion has the hottest "hell", and then convert to that religion since there's a "chance in a million" that it's true. Don't dawdle! SCOOT!

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous said " If there's one chance in a million that that is true than you should probably make it a matter of earnest prayer."

Do you, poster-without-a-name (and who, for some reason, does not wish to use the "Other" button), do YOU pray to Krishna or Mithra on the chance that they may be real? In any case, what advice would you give to a person who is trying to determine which, if any, of the purported gods is the real one? Would it be advisable to earnestly pray to each, or perhaps make offerings, and see which, if any, responds? If not, what would you suggest?

eel_shepherd said...

An anonymous Xtian wrote:
"...If you have noone to answer to, and nowhere to go when you die....what exactly are you "free" from?..."

Um, free from feeling like there's someone to answer to, and free from feeling like there's somewhere to go after dying. It's its own reward. Must be a virtue...

"...If there's no punishment for believing in "God", then what have you been freed from?..."

I don't know if "punishment" is the word, but labouring under the gratuitous burden of packing around the energy-and-intelligence-sapping god concept/tumor is sort of its own consequence. An instant karma.

Old song:
"Last night I met upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today;
Oh how I wish he'd go away."

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