Another Ex-christian Testimony

sent in by cj

Hello unmet friends at exchristian.net.

I’ve been a quiet visitor here for over a year now. Many times wanting to comment or post, but wanting to enter appropriately with my testimony first.

It’s interesting isn’t it that we all need to put into words our deconversion testimony. I actually did that before I found this site, for my own piece of mind... to validate that I really had thought it through and to remember that journey. That testimony is on an old computer that will take some time to recover, but with the holiday season upon us I felt the need to post now.

The gist of my story is that I was a conservative United Methodist all my life. Then a newly ordained liberal UM pastor opened my eyes to the humanness of the bible. This is a condensation of what he convinced me of... “The bible is oral stories told and retold, written and rewritten, edited and reedited, voted on and compiled by men with agendas. It was written by premodern, superstitious men with exaggerations and myths. We don’t know who the actual authors were. It didn’t literally happen. No literal devil or angels, creation story, Noah, Jonah, virgin birth, miracles, Jesus didn’t die for our sins, no bodily resurrection, no hell.” It took a while to understand what he was taught in seminary, I was surprised at the evasiveness and dishonesty when I eventually figured it out. After much research I came to the conclusion that he could be right, but he couldn’t then explain to me what his faith was based on. I wonder to this day if he believes his liberal faith or if he’s a good actor that has to pay for his seminary training. He’s one of the few that know of my deconversion. He now avoids me. We were good friends, or so I thought. That still hurts. (If anyone can tell me about liberal seminaries, I would love to hear about them. I can understand the fundies who believe the bible and try to live by it, but I don’t understand not believing the bible and calling yourself a Christian. What’s the point? Are there a lot of drop outs in these seminaries? Is there something I’m not getting? Are they brain washed?)

I would say most all my friends and family consider themselves Christian. It leaves me in a lonely spot. The few that know of my lack of faith, think I’m lost and going to hell. It’s tough to talk with them, to defend myself would mean attacking their faith. I am a smart, strong person and yet this has been very difficult for me and I don’t want to do that to my friends. I feel dishonest with those who don’t know of my change of heart, yet if I tell them it puts them in the category of those above. Basically, it has put a barrier between myself and all my old friends.

If I had support in my immediate family maybe it would be easier to deal with, but I’ve raised my three children as bible believing Christians and my husband has been afraid, close-minded, or something, so that I’ve had to go through this alone. I intend to deprogram my kids (ages 14, 11, 7), and I fear for their happiness and worry about whether my marriage will survive. I’m not looking forward to this Easter Sunday reunion when my extended family will find out that I’ve not been attending church.

For those Christians who visit this website and don’t understand the value in it, let me say that I think I would have gone crazy without the support of those that post here and have been through much of the same as me. To see that I’m not alone in the pain and loneliness I experience is reassuring, and I look forward to the freedom and peace that others say will come with time. I need to find some new thinking friends and am having a hard time knowing how to do that. It seems easy to make friends as a child in school and church, but how does one do that as an adult without those communities, especially in a country that claims such a high percentage of religious folks. We really do need to organize get-togethers. I’m very lonely.

Ohio
USA
Joined: Born into it.
Left: 40... yes, I feel stupid. What a waste.
Was: Conservative United Methodist
Now: Agnostic/Atheist/Humanist/Realist
Converted because: I really believed it. Looking at other religions, it seemed the most probable.
De-converted because: Was convinced of its human origin. Fraud in the churches.

34 comments:

Bentley said...

Please go to:

http://www.nomorefakegods.blogspot.com

For my answer, Thanks! Ben

Hisservant said...

The problem with "Christianity" as the term is used in these United
States today is that it is for the most part NOT "Christian" in the
Biblical sense of being 'Christ-like' or even striving to be 'Christ-
like'. There are many structures and organizations which while
confessing themselves to be "Christian" have muddied the waters to
the point where sincere people are often disallusioned and presume
that the fault lies with Christ and/or God. The fault lies where it
has always been: WITH MAN GOING HIS OWN WAY AND DOING HIS OWN THING.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you" Matt 6:33

This verse does not refer to only the material needs of our natural
bodies, but to all of our needs. We do not know all of our needs.
Only God does and, unfortunately, the teaching of most men
in 'churches' also does not reflect 'our needs' nor begin to fill
them because God is not in those men. Only God can satisfy all of
our needs. Seek Him!

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
God." Matt 4:4

If the 'word' does not come out of the mouth of God, then it will
not satisfy. This not mean simply read the Bible! But it can! The
Word must come to life inside of us. If it does not then we will not
live. We will will remain dead.

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63

For those not familiar with the English of King James, the
word "quickeneth" means 'make alive' or 'give life'.

The written Bible alone, (any version, language, or translation) is
dead. It alone will kill us...


"...but our sufficiency is of God;
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of
the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the
spirit giveth life. " II Cor 3:5-6

Albert said...

Hi Cj!
Thanks for your story. After leaving evangelical christianity I had a look at more liberal versions of christianity but in the end, although they were less irrational, they nevertheless came across as vacuous. In some ways I think they are actually more dishonest than the conservative traditions. They strip away everything that is "other worldly" about religion and then claim they still have a functional version of christianity. It ends up more like a social club with some good ethics. Inoffensive but hardly compelling. I think they stick with it because they have no other marketable job skills. Ministry doesn't exactly train you for much outside the profession.
As far as relationships go when you no longer believe in christianity I have no quick fix for that either. Hopefully your marriage is otherwise on solid ground and VERY slowly over time you can reveal to your family your new found beliefs. It's not a risk free approach obviously but pretending to wholeheartedly believe something when you don't is a guarantee of unending mental stress. Hopefully your spouse values you more than his religious beliefs. Take care and good luck!

Dave8 said...

hisservant: "The fault lies where it has always been: WITH MAN GOING HIS OWN WAY AND DOING HIS OWN THING."

However, "you" believe "you" aren't misled, and everyone else must be. You believe "you" are doing the right thing, and not your "own" thing. But, then you make a post, pointing the finger at others who claim to be christians...

If you read your bible, Jesus refused to keep the sabbath day holy, and many other "his own way" actions. If you followed your own bible, you'd not find "one" word written by a Jesus, therefore, it appears, that "everyone" is on their own, unless they are willing to follow people who "claim to be thr right ones". Like you...

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you" Matt 6:33

Anonymous said...

Hi cj, I'm also a "CJ" & a former Fundamentalist Charismatic (or maniac) Christian. I was born-again, baptised (in water) & baptized in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues (which I can still do even though I'm NO longer a Christian). I had all the required spiritual "stuff", but it was reading the entire Bible from front to back several times which did it for me. It caused me to question & doubt & when I finally stepped out of my over-protected christian cocoon & started searching for answers, my Fundy-maniac (along with Christian) beliefs slowly fell apart. In many ways (Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, & even Spiritually, to name a few) I'm happier than I've ever been, but people wise it's tough. Most of my friends & family are Christian & a high percentage Fundamentalist & Charismaniac. As an Ex-christian (Hebrews 6:4-6) I feel at peace & freer than I ever have. Unfortunately, when it comes to the brainwashed American christian society (who most don't even read their entire Bible), I don't feel free to express my disbelief. And Americans are suppose to have "freedom of expression". I express myself here, but even here you may have to put up with christian crap! Hang in there. Try to stay calm. I've gotten to where I laugh at the overly melodramatic talk of Christians. I use to get angry, now it's funny. Guess, laughing is my way of dealing with the frustration of soo many brainwashed people, but I use to be one, so I know there's hope for them to change too. That's probably what scares the Fundy X-tians soo much, that they could be next to become an Ex-X-tian. That's probably why some come in here to preach at us 'cause it scares them to think they could be next, so they have to proof their faith to themselves by preaching (& in some cases threatening) people here.

I wish you well in your continued journey.

CJ-R

cholebear said...

CJ

You pose a lot of good questions. I cannot respond to the questions about ministers - hopefully some ex-ministers will help you with those questions here. I do feel your pain with regards to your children. Mine are nearly the same age as yours, however, a few years younger when I deconverted. I was very fundie and taught that the Bible was the absolute truth - which I still believe is much more noble than those who want to water down what they don't want to follow - yet we had our own watering down, too.

My oldest child still suffers from the confusion of my deconversion. I guess a better way of doing it would have been to gradually stop going - not so abruptly like I did. However, once I knew it was fraud - I could not endure one more sermon - I have the same problem with the Christian Holidays - I want to spend time with family - but I do not believe it and it disgusts me sometimes.

I say - let your chidren continue to go if they want to. They need to find the truth for themselves - otherwise they will start all over again as adults because you didn't let them - or you were agnostic (atheist or whatever) and it wasn't their choice. We are in a very religious area and teachers tell my kids their stupid for not believing in God. It's really hard for them - mostly the oldest who was really into it. Just love your kids and let them make their decisions - apologize if you have to. It took my husband a while to come around, also, however - I think he still believes a little because of his Catholic Guilt background.

Stay strong and continue to seek out true wisdom. You will not be able to change anyone unless they want to change - be there with knowledge for when they do.

I feel for you - but thank-you for sharing.

cholebear

Eric Back said...

I empathize with your pain. From where I sit however, I only see it deepening in proportion to the distance you remove yourself from God.

There are many views of the Bible. One must form their own view of the Bible allowing for phenomenological descriptions, literary devices, ancient worldviews, and cultures. A healthy outlook might suspend judgment on certain issues and await understanding.

I trained for ministry at a Southern Baptist Seminary and served as a Lutheran minister. I'm in healthcare management right now but expect to return to ministry once my children are through college. In or out of the ministry I've found that a day in realtionship with the Lord is better than a thousand without.

Best of luck (providence) to you.

Jim Lee said...

From a biblical point of view there would be very few people who would be true Christians.Most of the ones that you generally see are no more that sunday session gossipers. Mostly Christians are hypocrites. You said and I quote.
("but I don’t understand not believing the bible and calling yourself a Christian. What’s the point?") The answer is simple really. Money and power. I had a four hour conversation in my home with an elderly Minister of the Uniting church here in Australia, a few years ago now, when he wanted to discuss one of my letters that I had printed in the local newspaper regarding belief systems. During the course of discussion I was astounded to find out that he didn't believe most of the Christian teachings. I asked him why he lied to his congregation on a regular basis, when he didn't believe what he preached. He told me that he only had a few more years to go until he retired on a very good superanuation package. I could hardly believ my ears. I assume there would be many more in the same situation. To be quite frank and put it all in a nutshell, the Religions of the world including Christianity are all bullshit It's as simple as that.

freedy said...

Pain is a reality of life.We ex-christians are not afraid of a little pain.Belief in a fairy tale and belonging to a cult are not worth the easing of a little pain.
Grow up man!(message to Eric Back)

Perry said...

CJ makes one point that escapes attention. (Or so it seems, to me.) Why don't we have something ??? that enables people to connect, off-list? Nay, something that *encourages* the lonely-in-deconversion to be able to get a little closer, via personal e-mail? Call it a buddy list, a support net, whatever. I dismays me that CJ feels so alone.

Dave - any ideas?

CJ - would it help? (What I've suggested?)

Albert said...

Here's a good critique of liberal theologies http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/liberal.html

Eric Back wrote "There are many views of the Bible. One must form their own view of the Bible allowing for phenomenological descriptions, literary devices, ancient worldviews, and cultures. A healthy outlook might suspend judgment on certain issues and await understanding."

Yes there are many views of the Bible. That's why there a zillion denominations who often teach contradictory doctrines. If we all simply stick to our own views of the Bible we would end up with "make it up as you go along" Christianity. Bottom line is the Bible is a confusing mess, representing the theological musings of fallible men.

IHM said...

"One must form their own view of the Bible allowing for phenomenological descriptions, literary devices, ancient worldviews, and cultures."

The ex's who come here have formed their own view, and discovered that following directions and making such allowances requires suspending subjective reality. That's not "healthy."

In other words, forming one's own views by making such allowances is NOT necessary, and there is no "must" to it.



"A healthy outlook might suspend judgment on certain issues and await understanding."

In other words, await having your church leader explain it to you from "other sources", maybe or wait for the next version of the Bible to come out.

OR

In other words, don't question authority.

emptycan said...

Hei, Eric Beck,

You said that "There are many views of the Bible. One must form their own view of the Bible allowing for phenomenological descriptions, literary devices, ancient worldviews, and cultures."

You talked a lot of words. So what is your view of the bible?

.:webmaster:. said...

"CJ makes one point that escapes attention."

The forums provide a way for people to get to know each other more personally and connect. Some people in the forums have become fast friends, or closer. Those within a comfortable driving distance have gotten together socially.

Check it out: Ex-Christian.Net

steve said...

"CJ makes one point that escapes attention."

CJ,

The stat that I often hear is 85-90% of Americans are self-identified Christians. I have also heard it said that following the truth can be a lonely road.

If you are like me, and others here I presume, you could not live with yourself if you had to bullshit yourself 24/7. That would wear me down and eventually make me crazy.

So those would seem to be the choices, as you have discovered:

1) to live with bullshit and acceptance by the loose-minded 85-90%, or

2) seeking truth and doing without the fellowship of the bullshitters and bullshittees.

Your kids are lucky to have such a great mom.

Steve

slingshot said...

cj,

It's interesting to me, too, that we need to put into words our deconversion testimony. It's like breathing a breath of fresh air to admit that christianity is nonsense to me.

If one does not address ones doubts about ones religion, those doubts will only remain deep inside, denied. They will disturb ones inner peace until they are addressed. For me, it's a relief to come here and express those doubts and disbeliefs. I live in the bible belt of the USA and it's very christian here. I don't believe in it, and I'm not going to lie to myself.

Perry said...

Dave

The forums have a limitation in that they are public. That's not a criticism, just an observation. I'm sure you're not looking for things to do, but the idea of a buddy list-cum-support net appeals to me.

Could a moderator[s] be involved? Off-list contact can get personal - in the nicest way - providing a way to help, support, suggest, compare, etc.

This isn't a substitute for the blogs or forums, but an extra. A range of people, from all over, different ages and genders, etc, may be a big help to people like CJ. And it’s possible that she's not alone; she may have just expressed something that many born-again realists feel very keenly.

And yes, I’ll be a volunteer.

Dano said...

cj,
Keep reading what people have to say on this site.

Before I started reading testimonies and articles about the veracity of the Bible and the Christian religion and all religions in general I thought I was the only one to whom none of it made any sense.

By reading just about every day on the net I have come to realize that most people with a functioning brain, see all religion as childish simi irrational, or totally irrational mythology, worthy only of study into how completely deluded people can get when they surrender all common sense, so they can pursue an all purpose feel good mentality.

They are willing to join a religious cult (And they are all cults), go through all the motions, put their hard earned money into the collection plate, suspend all rational thought processes, and start the endless cycle of circular reasoning by attempting to answer all of the big questions about life with some bible verse or other.

What they don't realize is that the writers of most religions have installed all kinds of escape barriers. When people try to escape a religions there are many verses in their books that warn them about fiery hells and worse, if they leave. So it becomes like the roach motel. It is easy to get in, but impossible to get out. There is a verse to cover everything including trying to reason your way out. IT eventually gets down to: "Believe this crap or you are going to hell"

I would also instruct you to look closely at the "Borned Agains" that post on this site, who think that they have that "special skill" or knowledge that will make us heathens believe in their fairy tales again. The pastors, seminary students, and the young and dumb "On fire for Christ " types. The ones who have so much invested in their cults, that it will be very difficult for them to escape.
Dan (Who feels blessed to be free of superstition)

Dano said...

cj,
Keep reading what people have to say on this site.

Before I started reading testimonies and articles about the veracity of the Bible and the Christian religion and all religions in general I thought I was the only one to whom none of it made any sense.

By reading just about every day on the net I have come to realize that most people with a functioning brain, see all religion as childish simi irrational, or totally irrational mythology, worthy only of study into how completely deluded people can get when they surrender all common sense, so they can pursue an all purpose feel good mentality.

They are willing to join a religious cult (And they are all cults), go through all the motions, put their hard earned money into the collection plate, suspend all rational thought processes, and start the endless cycle of circular reasoning by attempting to answer all of the big questions about life with some bible verse or other.

What they don't realize is that the writers of most religions have installed all kinds of escape barriers. When people try to escape a religions there are many verses in their books that warn them about fiery hells and worse, if they leave. So it becomes like the roach motel. It is easy to get in, but impossible to get out. There is a verse to cover everything including trying to reason your way out. IT eventually gets down to: "Believe this crap or you are going to hell"

I would also instruct you to look closely at the "Borned Agains" that post on this site, who think that they have that "special skill" or knowledge that will make us heathens believe in their fairy tales again. The pastors, seminary students, and the young and dumb "On fire for Christ " types. The ones who have so much invested in their cults, that it will be very difficult for them to escape.
Dan (Who feels blessed to be free of superstition)

cj said...

I had to leave for my family gathering at Easter before my testimony came on the site. It was an awful weekend, my bible illiterate Christian father was very angry and preachy when he found out I’m not going to church, and I’m sure I haven’t heard the end of it. My grandmother died on Good Friday, so my stay away was longer than I anticipated. I was anxious to get home and read your responses. I didn’t get back to check and correspond till late Monday and then I couldn’t access the site. I kept getting this “Error 403 Forbidden” response. Finally today I can respond, although it looks like there have been so many new posts that mine is old news.

I do want to thank you for your responses...
I did check out your site, Ben, and will be back. I’ve had a lot of reading to catch up on with the responses, new posts, and links.

Thanks Albert for your insights. I agree with your thoughts. Time will tell with the marriage and family... it’s not looking good, but cholebear gives me hope. I’ve visited the site you shared. It seems perfect for some of my questions. I’ve read conservative authors and in my searching became more familiar with liberal authors, but I kept thinking I must be missing something. It was nice to see the detailed information on liberal thought and get the critique of it that validates my feeling regarding it. Do you have a deconversion story posted?

CJ, it feels good to be validated with the trouble connecting with others even though my comfort with the lack of faith is coming along. I also find the melodramatic talk funny... and sad. It is frustrating that I can understand where people are, and yet know that I can’t convince them of what is now so obvious to me.

cholebear, it was so good to hear your response. Our situations sound very similar. My two oldest are girls are so indoctrinated that I’m sure they will see me as lost when I explain to them my thoughts. I stopped going fairly abruptly like you when I recognized the fraud, but they have continued to go with their father. I will take your advise and let them continue to go if they want to, which I’m sure they will. It was encouraging to hear that your husband is coming around. That is an uplifting thought... maybe just hearing my unpushy, loving, rational side will eventually help them think it through. Patience, I just need patience.

Eric Back, it’s good to have a minister visiting this site so you will know both sides. You’ll also know you’re not alone if your excuses for the bible’s uncertainties start to fail you.

Jim Lee, it hurts so much to know that the people we look to for honesty and truth are so deceitful. How do they live with themselves? I applaud all the professed ex-ministers for their strength of character to denounce and take the consequences instead of selling out.

Perry, I appreciate your idea. Although I think if there was someone posting that I really wanted to email, it could happen either through the forums (which I’m not that familiar with yet) or the comments. It’s hard to get to know people by email. I want to meet real live people (okay, I miss my churchy hugs), hear people talking without always thanking God, joking, playing games and cards, honest real discussions instead of Christian perspectives and agendas. Maybe I don’t realize what you’re suggesting and where it could lead.

Steve, It is a lonely road that like you, I have no choice but to follow. Honesty and integrity seem so much more valuable than deceit and lies, even if it is lonely. At least I can live with myself. I appreciate your comment that I’m a good mom very much, it somewhat offsets the comments I’ve heard that I’m hellbound and better that I have a millstone around my neck than lead my little ones astray.

Thanks slingshot. Hearing you mention the bible belt made me realize that I wish I had put Cincinnati on my testimony so that if anyone is close we might cross paths sometime.

Amen Dan.
It’s late and this is long, so I’ll close. Thank you all for your comments and your support over the last year. I don’t know what I’d have done without you. -cj

Albert said...

CJ,
My story http://www.exchristian.net/testimonies/2006/01/emperor-is-naked.html

cj said...

Thanks Albert. Nice to meet you. Doesn't look like our paths will be crossing much in real life, but it's good to know you're out there.

Albert said...

CJ,
A couple more (or so) articles you might find interesting
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/anonymous/advicefromanagnosticbaptistminister.html
http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_apost.htm
http://myhome.iolfree.ie/~andrewfurlong/

Perry said...

Sounded like a strained Easter.

Now, despite the opposite gender, there are a few surprising common denominators. CJ - my grand daughter (who lives here), also a fundie, has just gone to bed after a day at work. Rolling off my PC’s printer are brochures and posters for a Church Seminar, organised by my fundie wife. I designed, produced and printed them. She’s a speaker and is listed as married to an infidel. (hoot!)

Both our children were subject to the same pressures as (our) CJ was. But both woke up to the fantasy, in their own good time. So we are a mixed bunch. We all “rub along together,” with love, co-operation, care and consideration. And without condemnation or judgement. And that’s the crunch. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Perhaps you might quote it to your accusers, when the moment’s right?

If you want to have something not as huggy as you’d like, but perhaps a little more personal than the open and generous support here, let me know. I can post a cryptic-to-robots e-mail address here, if you ask. (I’m in New Zealand, BTW, a long way from Ohio!)

I wish every success and happiness to you, in your present dilemma. You’re obviously a special person in rather special circumstances.

cj said...

Thanks Albert. I’ve been reading the links you sent. I still really like the liberal theologies link you sent first. Most conservative articles promote conservative beliefs, which I understand. Most liberal articles promote liberal beliefs, which just seem illogical and puzzling to me. I kept thinking I must be missing something. That link told the liberal perspective and validated that I wasn’t missing something... it is irrational.

The baptist minister link hit too close to home. Everyday he pretends to be something he’s not. People are paying him money and taking his advice thinking he believes the Baptist doctrine that they believe. It’s fraud. He sold out. If what he’s believes is okay, he should be honest with them and give them the choice to support him or not. When you trust someone like that, it’s hard to figure out their deception. And even though he says he would gladly express his views when asked, he’s lying to them and himself. He’d backpedal to whatever doctrine he had to project to keep his superiors and congregation happy and keep his position of power. Why else is his site anonymous?!

It did make me feel for the position my liberal pastor was in. What a sad situation to live a lie like that. I contacted him and told him that I didn’t hold his deception with me against him, and shared that ex-christian.net address with him. To my surprise, he actually apologized for the deception. That felt good. It was his first acknowledgment of the deception. It still hurts that he let our friendship end and avoided me for months rather than apologize when confronted initially, but it’s something.

cj said...

Perry, good to hear from you. I call my easter weekend, “The Easter From Hell”. You can imagine the religious sentiment not just on easter, but with the death of a believer in a believing family, plus the confrontation with my father...

It would be poetic justice to quote to my father “judge not, lest ye be judged”, as he quoted that to us kids when, after being biblically raised, we disliked him sleeping around immediately after his divorce from mom. That’s what’s so funny. Most Christians just take this ‘warm and fuzzy god loves me no matter what’ view of Christianity, well, as long as you believe it. It’s so childish and naive. I understand that they just care about me and think I’m stupid for putting my eternal salvation in jeopardy, but because it is such a serious issue to them it will continue to impact our relationship from now on. I’m sure if they could, they’d take my kids from me to protect them.

Friends in Canada and New Zealand... the Internet is a fascinating thing isn’t it?! I’d prefer a chat over coffee or walk in the woods, but this is nice. Maybe with Bush as president and the evangelical bent this nation is in right now, I have to look that far for non-christians. So were you a fundie when you married and then deconverted, or did she marry an infidel? Is your story here? You designed, produced and printed the posters, now that’s a hoot! I’m not sure what you mean by a cryptic-to-robots e-mail address.

Perry said...

I have a philosophical fellow-traveller in Canada and went to visit her, last August. We met via the Internet and her husband’s similarly inclined. I’ve got a soft spot for Canada. I spent some time growing up in Halifax, NS.

You’re not the first to (obliquely) inquire about NZ’s immigration policies, driven by a loathing for Gorge WubbleU Push.

I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler. Got dunked in a local river, nearby, quite a few years ago. My wife’s been a fundie for many years, but that happened 5-8 years after we were married (1965). I tried to go along with it, diligently, briefly, but it offended my reasoning powers. And her Minister didn’t like my questioning.

Her Seminar is called Woman In Tune. I have to concede that some people can do the right things for the wrong reasons. She extends “pastoral care” to many people and I think that’s great. She’s one heck of a lady. Doing the “right” thing should be religiously-neutral, morally and ethically driven, instead - in my view. But in this case, I’ll go with the ends justifying the means.

No, I don’t have a story here. Never considered it really. Possibly because I’ve been divorced from religion for many, many years.

A cryptic-to-robots e-mail address is like this: spillerp-AT-free-DOT-net-DOT-nz Get it?

G'night.

Albert said...

CJ,
A couple more links for you,
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/vincent_runyon/left_ministry.html

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

NaLalina said...

"not believing the bible and calling yourself a Christian. What’s the point?"

The point is to retain a social identity and cultural practices without committing to dogma, as in secular Judaism and secular Islam. You can live a Christian lifestyle without the Christian dogmas and call yourself Christian, albeit a secular Christian. My family is Buddhist, and although I've practically always been an naturalist, I've participated in Buddhist/spiritual traditions, like burning paper as money for ancestors, just for enjoyment and interaction with family. You can enjoy Christian traditions if you view them as cultural and social experiences (and as spending that boosts the economy), instead of as commitments to religious beliefs.

"We really do need to organize get-togethers."
Some gatherings in/near Cincinnati:
for humanists
for atheists
or organize your own! :)

"I intend to deprogram my kids (ages 14, 11, 7), and I fear for their happiness"

Never fear, the secular movement is here! There are more non-religious people among younger generations. Your children will probably find student orgs for the non-religious at college, if not in high school. If none exist at their school and the school allows, they can start their own student club. Resources for student groups:
secularstudents.org/node/63
campusfreethought.org/leaders.htm

Empowering & enlightening reading for recent deconverts:
*Bible of the Good and Moral Atheist
*Sam Harris' writings, like "An Atheist Manifesto"
*John Stuart Mill's writings, esp. his moral philosophy Utilitarianism

Albert said...

One more link http://eklhad.net/nonrel.html

beloved said...

Agape (love) is the consistent theme of the bible. I would imagine that every single person that has posted a comment loves someone. Ask yourself where did this (Agape) come from... Are we as humans so great in ourselves that we can create the concept of Agape? I would like to back that up with a scripture from the bible, but because you don't believe it would be pointless. Obviously, most of you who are deconverts are thinkers relying on your own understanding, and maybe-just maybe, that is the problem. Are you willing to accept that our human minds are finite as opposed to infinite. Surely you could look at the wonders of this world and understand that there is a God. I must admit that many people have taken Christianity and placed their own spin on it, but God forbid if that caused everyone to stop believing. I pose this final question to you. What if those who seek to be Christ-like are right? Seek to Gain Spiritual understanding from the Creator not the created. (Humans)

Shannon said...

Beloved,

Love is a consistent theme in the bible – um, so is hatred, jealousy, and cruelty. It’s a horrible example of what love should be – love me my way or go to hell? How beautiful is that?

Really, do you people read anything but the bloody bible? We (or I) have asked ourselves where love came from but have you? Don’t you think that just perhaps that we as social animals who have long depended infancies that without empathy, pair bonding, and imprinting that we would have completely failed as an evolutionary path? Or maybe we’ve succeeded because we could never kill more people than we could make? Evolution is not done. We may yet become an evolutionary dead end or we may become something else entirely. And love may have nothing to do with it.

Adrian and Erin said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not perfect by any means. Even when I try to make good choices, I still sometimes end up making wrong ones or just bad choices all together. If we all acknowledge that we are not perfect (not the people in the bible stories, not the people who wrote the bible, not the church-goers or anyone else), then how can we rely on our own instincts to determine what is true and what isn't?

We can't. No human strength or good will can bring us to determine truth on our own if we are not perfect. That is why we have to rely on Someone who is. I've never heard that Buddha was perfect and sinless, or Joseph Smith (Mormon founder) or any other religion for that matter except the God in Christianity.

Satan loves it when people go their own way because he knows that he can corner and manipulate someone's thoughts much easier than when they have a community to grow, make mistakes and learn together.

The biggest reason to follow God shouldn't be because others say so, and in that reason, I don't think you should feel wrong to be questioning. Every one does it...even in the Bible Job questioned God if such bad things could be happening to him when God is supposed to be good and fair to him. But I do believe that you should try seeking God on your own. Every Christian (at some point or another) has to take a step beyond what they are used to and make it not just a head thing but connecting what they believe with their heart. I grew up a Christian, but it wasn't until I hit rock bottom at 17 that the faith I grew up all around in my family became my own faith as I sought God on a personal level rather than relying completely on others to tell me who God was.

It's all about a personal relationship. I can promise my life on it that He is more real than any news "fact" or statistic. Seek Him personally...cry out to Him...and He will most definately answer. Sometimes we are not willing to wait for His timing to reveal things but it is worth it if you do.

Astreja said...

Adrian and Erin, listen up.

"I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not perfect by any means. Even when I try to make good choices, I still sometimes end up making wrong ones or just bad choices all together."

Perfection is not required in order to have a satisfying life. Period. Don't worry about it; just do your best.

"...how can we rely on our own instincts to determine what is true and what isn't?"

Unless you're doing math, "absolute truth" is a waste of time and energy. Our instincts are the distillation of millions of generations of things that worked for our ancestors. Ignore them at your peril.

"I've never heard that Buddha was perfect and sinless..."

Again, not necessary. If Buddhist teachings reflect a real historical person named Siddhartha Gautama (and I think it to be at least slightly possible), this gentleman was above average in intelligence; compassionate; a master of self-discipline; insightful; a superb public speaker; and possessed of an extraordinary sense of humour.

I have a theory that the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree is actually a symbol for Christianity disowning and obfuscating its own Buddhist roots. (Siddhartha allegedly attained his enlightenment after intense meditation under a fig tree in Budh Gaya, India.)

"Satan loves it when people go their own way..."

Enough with the imaginary bogeyman. I deeply pity you if you can't see the paradox of a "loving" god that lets its worst enemy run the show.

"It's all about a personal relationship. I can promise my life on it that He is more real than any news "fact" or statistic."

First: Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of a "personal relationship". That's a modern interpretation unsupported by scripture.

Secondly, please rescind that "promise" before it comes back to bite you in the ass. Martyrdom for imaginary beings is so passé.

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