A very happy heathen

sent in by Lisa

I grew up Catholic, following what my parents taught me, thinking
Christianity was normal and universal to everyone. But even though I didn’t
know anyone of a different religion (or none at all), when I was very
young, probably around 7 or so, I started questioning religion. My
parents always told me that one must know Jesus to gain entrance to the
kingdom of heaven. I didn’t think that was very fair. I remember asking,
“What if there was some remote tribe in the jungle somewhere that didn’t
know about Jesus.. would they go to hell?” My mom said, “Well, that’s
why we have missionaries, to tell them about Jesus.”

But I would ask the question again, insisting that there must be some
extremely remote tribe that missionaries couldn’t get to. My mom’s
answer was, “No, they had no way of knowing about Jesus so God would
probably be merciful with them and judge them on their character instead.” At
first, it made sense to me but then I said, “Then WHY do we send
missionaries out to tell them about Jesus? I mean, if you tell them about
Jesus and they decide that Christianity isn’t for them, you’ve doomed all
those people to hell! Why can they just leave people alone and don’t
tell them about Jesus and then they’ll just go to heaven?” My parents
never could reply directly to my answers. To questions such as this one, I
always wound up with an answer that wasn’t an answer. And in this
particular situation, they would say, “Life is better if you know about God
and Jesus. I can’t imagine what life would be without Jesus.”

My life continued this way. Even at a young age, I always questioned
God and religion and church. I hated it. I am hard of hearing (severe to
profound hearing loss) and my parent made me go to Catholic mass every
Sunday morning. It was the same damn service every time except for the
sermon and a few gospels thrown in. I could never hear a damn thing
anyway, with the echoing and the crappy sound system. I fell asleep
constantly and would get punished for it or dragged outside the church for a
spanking. I’d try to sneak in books to read instead. Sometimes my mom
would let me read books as long as it was religious-themed book. Heh. I
even read “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” because it had “God” in
the title and my mother was completely oblivious of popular culture so
she accepted it as a religious book.

Growing up, I’ve never had this “feeling”, this “god-high” feeling
about religion EVER! I never quite got what everyone was crazy about. My
parents were ok with other denominations so, as a teen, I went on youth
group trips with my friends (Church of Christ) for the free ski-trips,
to meet boys and to go camping without my parents’ supervision. On these
trips, these normal every day teens would turn into Jesus freaks around
the campfire, filled with the Holy Spirit. They’d cry and sob and weep
and moan and praise god. I tried. I really did. I wanted to feel what
they were feeling. I even faked it to fit in. But I never understood why
they would be weeping and would lose all bodily control like the people
you’d see on TBN when Benny Hinn would throw his coat or push people
down with the holy spirit. To me, all that drama felt too… fake.

I think there are people who truly believe in it and let their emotions
overpower them. In fact, the only time I had ever gotten close to that
feeling was the feeling I’d get at Christmas and not because of Jesus
but because of Santa.. waaaaay back when I thought he was real. I was so
excited, practically “high” every Christmas morning just knowing that
Santa was in our house only a few hours ago! It felt.. magical,
wonderful, mystical… I imagine it was very similar to the feelings that these
teens were experiencing by the campfire at church camp.

Fast forward to college. By this time, I had abandoned Church, knowing
that I’d never get anything out of it. Additionally, I got engaged to a
great guy but he wasn’t religious, or a practicing Christian. I don’t
think my mother quite understood why I was so happy to spend time with a
“god-less” man. I also met more people with different faiths and
different sexualities. I never quite understood why being gay, lesbian or
bisexual was wrong.. two wonderful people of the same sex love each other
and they’re doomed to hell for it? Or if you’re a jew, you’re also
doomed to hell because you refuse to accept Christ? (those exact words
actually came out of my “loving, Christian” uncle’s mouth).

I became more independent, studied Buddhism and Wicca. My mother didn’t
like the change in me, my constant questioning of religion and my
secular “World Religion” courses in college. She would tell me I was
possessed by the devil and even tried to drive a “demon” out of me. At that
moment, when she was trying to “exorcise me”, I looked at my mother in
utter disbelief and horror and told her, “This is me, not a demon. If you
don’t like the way I am and my beliefs or lack thereof, you don’t have
to speak to me again.” She continued to pray over me and I walked out
of the room.

I moved out shortly afterward and never looked back. It’s been over ten
years since that ridiculous “possession” experience. My “god-less”
husband and I are married with two wonderful children and are far happier
than most of our religious friends and family members (many of whom are
in unhappy marriages or are divorced now). I firmly believe it’s
because we are true to ourselves and actually solve our problems rather than
praying about it or believing that Jesus will take care of it. We are
realists and are not uptight about sex issues; we are just honest, real
people not afraid of questions or new ideas.

After further soul searching and coming to realize that Adam & Eve,
Noah’s Ark, walking on water, The Tower of Babel, Immaculate Conception,
etcetera, etcetera are a bunch of fairytales that existed in other pagan
religions years and years ago (not to mention all of the “Christian”
holidays) I finally absolutely put the idea of Christianity to rest. I’m
actually proud to say I’m not a Christian and am no longer scared of
being doomed to hell.

Where am I now? I’m not an atheist but I have utmost respect and am
friends with several atheists. I hate labels but I would have to say I’m
pretty agnostic. I think there is a god or at least souls or a higher
power beyond this flesh, blood and bone that we all have in us. I’ve had
too many strange occurrences happen to me: ghost sightings, voices, out
of body experiences, etcetera to think that we are flesh and that is
it. But I’m extremely open-minded. If there is a god/gods, I don’t think
we have to believe in him/her/it. We need to just be the best person we
can be and think independently. Far too many wars, jihads, holocausts,
murders, etc have been waged in the name of religion. If a god exists,
I highly doubt he/she/it would be proud. People need to stop with this
“pack mentality” and start thinking for themselves and what is truly
best for the world.

Joined: Since Birth
Left: About 18 but finally gave it up for good at 29
Was: Used to be Catholic
Now: Agnostic
Converted because: I was born and raised Catholic
De-converted because: I began thinking for myself and stopped being scared of the truth.

A New Hope

sent in by Trudy

My journey is like many of yours. I grew up in Christianity.

I was born into a Baptist family. When I was young, my mom and dad taught Sunday school and six of us kids trailed behind. One of my sisters played the piano in church and the others I think sang in the choir. My brother and I were younger, so we just sat quietly in the pews with our parents. Our family was a mess, and as we grew older, our parents no longer attended church.

When my brother was about 11 and I, 12 and our older siblings gone or at least one-foot-out-the-door, my brother and I were on our own, our parents only coming home to sleep for the night.

I clung to the church. The pastor became a lifeline to me. While he wasn't perfect, I suspect that I would have killed myself had there not been someone who cared.

Life was very difficult. To feel abandoned by my parents, and then having been sexually attacked by a friend's brother - I had no one to tell. (I never told anyone for about 20 years later).

Throughout my high school years this pastor continued to take my calls or see me day or night. I can not tell you how much that meant to me - and still does. In my school there were many Christian teachers, one from my church and others whom I met. They became a real support to me through my remaining years.

My Jr year I began visiting a charismatic Baptist church which one of the teachers referred me to. Having a bit of a musical background I fell in love with this kind of worship. The Baptist Church I had grown up in was in the middle of firing the senior pastor (not the one I was close to), and I found it a good time to exit.

The pastor to whom I was close to, did not want me to leave; but was very gracious and said that he was afraid there would not be anyone there to catch me if I fell.

So, a new journey began, I became "spirit-filled". I met my husband that year and his family was very devoted to this "spirit-filled" life. His uncle was the pastor of his church, his cousin the asst pastor, his brother the youth pastor, his other cousin the music minister, his sister married a pastor from a similar denomination, his oldest brother a Baptist pastor...etc, you get the picture. I joined his church. He went a year to bible school, and we married.

The family didn't like me. I wasn't the quiet, submissive kind of woman they would have chosen. They didn't even know me (although I'm not quiet and blindly submissive), yet they judged me harshly. Three months before our wedding, they called it off - only to recant when they found out that we would elope if they did. Looking back now, my husband says we should have eloped and just left.

After we married I tried to fit into my husband's family church. It was a group of about 50-70 people. Mostly family. I went to every prayer meeting, every bible study. I think I needed them to accept me in order to believe that God could accept me.

The music minister/cousin seemed to care about me. He encouraged me in music and his wife taught me how to play the piano by ear. Playing the piano and singing, I began to write songs. I wanted to please and love God. Music and prayer seemed fulfilling but I think it was an escape from the reality of not feeling accepted.

Five years and two kids later, we heard about a couple in another state who needed help with there church. We thought maybe we could go...long story short - we went, but didn't end up at that church.

We ended up in a new state at a new church which was just like the "family" church we left behind.

We were very poor, my husband finishing college while I worked - and we poured our life into this church. Again, I'm sure out of a need to belong and be accepted; we made all the same mistakes. My views and opinions weren't kept in check and I wasn't received with open arms...until...the pastor found out about my musical abilities.

I accepted the invitation to become a part of the "music team" and while a part of me truly enjoyed my time there - I felt a check that something wasn't quite right.

Upon my husband's graduation we both came on staff at the church.

We wanted so desperately to be in the "ministry". After all, it is the highest of all calls in christiandom. To feel that we, the least of the family, could be accepted by this new family, was a gift to us.

After many years of service to this church the pastor called my husband and I before the elders and said that they felt that I "needed a rest" from leadership. My husband didn't know what was going on and told the pastor that he was an angry man; the pastor swung at him, but his son stopped his arm. Later, I angrily questioned the decision and was reprimanded.

We had tried to leave the church a year earlier and I was told that if we left the church we would "loose our children". Those of you in the know, know what that means. That scared the shit out of us so we stayed. Until this last incident.

My husband and I agreed that we needed to leave. Leaving while under church discipline is a serious matter. Knowing we could be denounced (like others had), we left. A few weeks later some friends at the church told us that we were publicly rebuked and I was accused of making sexual allegations against the pastor. Our former friends did go to him and tell him that that was not true, but he said that a "pastor" had told him that I alleged that. Can't imagine who that "pastor" was. I guess if a "pastor" says it, it must be true. Well, it never happened in my reality.

Looking back, the only thing I can imagine that I would be singled out for was being proud. I think I became/was/am very proud. But no one ever came and talked to be about it. I also was very needy, needy to the point that I needed outside help, but outside help was never encouraged — and if that was true, I was not the only "needy" staff member. Perhaps it was because I was controlling, and again, I was not the only controlling staff member. I just don't know.

After we left the church, we eventually left the state, found a Christian therapist who helped us, then we moved on again.

Ours are not the only scars, but our children were deeply wounded. This was the only "family" they had.

We moved to a new state, got involved in a few more churches - even went on staff at another one, only to get burned again.

We've had some good experiences and some terribly bad ones in the church.

I have come to the place in my journey to find that religion fails. I don't believe that God has been revealed in person or in written form. I am reading Payne's "Age of Reason".

I do believe in God; however, I don't know to what extent God is or isn?t involved in our lives. Maybe I don't need to know. Good people pray, and bad things still happen. Bad people don't pray and good things happen. There is no logic to it. There is a place in my heart that believes in goodness - believes in a God that is good - that we were created and made to reflect goodness, that could be our purpose?

I have told my husband and children of my ex-ing. My children are proud of me, and my husband supportive. I have not told my family or my husband's family. It doesn't really seem necessary since we live our own lives many states away from them.

I told a Christian friend of mine that I am no longer a Christian and she offered the conclusion that I am angry and unforgiving of the churches/people that have wounded us.

As I mentioned, I do believe in a loving God. A God that loves us so much that he/she understands our journey and even if we?ve got the whole thing wrong, wouldn't hold that against us.

Joined: 6
Left: 45
Was: Baptist, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational/Carrismatic, Free Evangelical, Episcipal, Catholic, Covenant
Now: Deist
Converted because: Wanted to please God.
De-converted because: Found religion to not be true.

Questioning Everything

sent in by Harry M

Hi everyone. My name is Harry. I've posted on here a couple of times before. At this stage in my life I am very confused and feel like I'm in a paradox. Currently, I attend a United Church (you know, that church that some evangelists consider a church of the devil because we accept all people). Anyways, I'm involved in some activities there and even chair a committee. But lately I've been questioning my faith altogether. So what I'm doing now, I guess, is just writing out my thoughts so that I can get more clarity to figure out what exactly I believe.

I am 26 years old. I've been a Christian since I was five. Went through some difficult times with addictions at the age of 19 and when I was 20 I attended a local Bible College where I became indoctrinated every day about Salvation and Hell and Evil this and Evil that, etc. I graduated with a diploma but after graduation I began questioning my faith and explored other religions (became a Muslim briefly). Didn't know what to believe anymore and finally came back to the United Church.

In my recovery progam I have often sensed my higher power more than I do at church. I have so many unanswered questions when it comes to religion in general and the Bible in particular. And yet, when I think about it more and more, I do have the answers. I'm just too afraid to acknowledge them. It feels like the truth is staring me in the face but something is holding me back.

I consider myself to be a spiritual person. I believe in a higher power, but I am beginning to wonder if maybe this being is simply the creator and is the source of all of us humans. When we die, we return to that source. Did he/she/it really intend for all this hypocricy in religion and for people to kill each other in God's name?

The doctrine that I have the biggest problem with, is the concept of hell. How God could make various peoples, knowing they would have various beliefs and religions, and then condemning them to hell because they were born into the wrong religion. Also, Pre-Destination. God creates us and then Pre-Destines us to heaven or hell and rather than not creating us at all, he makes us and then says.... sorry you can't enter my kingdom because I already pre-destined you to burn in hell for all eternity. It kind of contradicts the notion of free will.

Anyways, I recently finished reading "The Davinci Code". It was a good book and it got me thinking about the church and hypocricy and stuff like that. A lot of evangilists and right wingers are scared of this book because they know that if people start thinking for themselves, they won't need religion anymore. The church will crumble, but not just church, other religions as well. If there is a God, wouldn't he want us to love and respect one another and to do good works to benefit humanity? Eat, Drink and be Merry, for today we LIVE!!!!

Life is short. I believe there are still things for me to discover that I don't quite understand. Maybe I need a vacation from church to clear my head. I don't know. Any suggestions any of you reading this may have, feel free to e-mail me. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for letting me vent briefly.

Joined: 5
Left: 26?
Was: Many, currently United.
Now: Seeker of Truth
Converted because: local group converted me
De-converted because: Questioned everything
email: spare at accesscomm dot ca

Couldn't Bring Myself To Believe Anymore

sent in by Don

Grab a snack and a beverage and settle in. This might take awhile.

I was baptized and brought up as a Roman Catholic. My first three years of education were spent in parochial school. Here I first learned about Christian behavior when the nuns thought they had a right to administer corporal punishment.

We moved to the suburbs and I started attending public school. This meant I had to attend Catechism, or CCD, we just called it "catecrap". The curriculum was heavily influenced by what I call the "1970's Folk Mass Crowd". I was b-o-r-e-d. At home, I was given the Baltimore Catechism to study.

This of course, showed me that anything I may enjoy is a sin; and lead to feelings of guilt over the human emotions and drives that "God" gave me. That I was to avoid all the books and movies and "immoral associations" where I could encounter differing ideas.

I took all the sacraments, (except marriage) for the laity: baptized as an infant, first communion, and was confirmed.

I was also an altar boy.

I would like to stress very strongly that I was *never* sexually abused by any member of the clergy. I dated a woman who thought she was at times possessed by evil spirits. While I didn't believe it, I thought having her talk to a priest would help. This priest dismissed both the idea and us. (Even if he didn't believe in a case of demonic possession, couldn't he have tried to help a distressed and troubled young woman?)

I went on religious retreats and on one occasion a deacon of our church revealed that one of the priests was an alcoholic.

Whoa! Didn't Jesus help the troubled? Isn't there something about not being a talebearer? I was in my late teens, and for the first time, my eyes began to open to the hypocrisy present in our church. If "A good tree does not bear bad fruit...." where was this coming from?

I tried to keep myself in a state of grace, fearing to go to hell. I went to confession regularly, but never seemed to be able to certain desires. If the sacraments didn't strengthen my ability to resist sin, what good were they? I was beginning to fall away, but tried desperately to hold on to my faith.

Then, in my early twenties, my father died. My mother said the priest at the hospital told her that it was St. Joseph's day as a means of comfort. How inept could you be? After the funeral, there were no visits from clergy, there were no parishioners stopping to comfort her. Just collection envelopes the Parish never bothered to remove my father's name from. I saw how the church took our money and gave nothing in return.

I looked for solace at the church where I attended college and found only emptiness. I read the bible and found atrocity. I studied history and found that the cruelest forms of torture were inflicted in the name of a "Loving God". The neatly packaged message, couched in pious talk, was becoming unraveled. I stopped going to church, but still struggled to reconcile what I knew from the bible and history with the idea of a perfect, loving and merciful God.

As the years passed my mother's health declined and she stopped attending church. Again, no call or visit from clergy, no interest on the part of parishioners. When she died a eulogy was delivered by a priest who knew her not at all.

I also met a man who was turned away when seeking charity at the rectory. These same priests that mulct the congregation for their hard earned money so the "Princes of The Church" can live in luxury, could not help Simone in need.

After reading the bible, and seeing how the Christianity operates, I cannot believe in Christianity, or in Christianity's god. Like many who have posted here before me, I cannot reconcile the doctrine of hell with a perfect Deity. This character of Christ contradicts himself in the gospels. A church who marginalizes women, who denies birth control as a means of population growth, who sets itself up as inerrant when speaking "Ex-Cathedra" on faith and morals while priests abuse innocent children is not worthy of my belief and respect.

The protestant faiths are no better. Saddling their flock with guilt, threatening them with hellfire, sowing, at the least, condescension and at the worst hatred in the minds of their congregations for other faiths, and growing rich in the process.

I am thankful that I have few scars from being a Christian. I still have insomnia from being told that the day of the lord was coming like a thief in the night, and that I was going to burn in hell forever if I was not in a state of grace when that happened. I know now that it is an irrational fear, but I still have trouble sleeping nights. It's gotten better since I abandoned my beliefs - but I don't know if I'll ever be able to shake it altogether.

At this point, I am seriously thinking of writing the Archbishop in my area outlining my beliefs on the church and asking for ferendae sententiae excommunication. Having a formal acknowledgment from the church that I no longer belong to them in any part of my mind and body could well give me the healing I need. To know that I will not be listed as a member of an organization that has wrought so much evil in the world.

Joined at: About 3 Months
Left at: Twenty-seven
Was: Roman Catholic
Now: Pagan
Joined because: My Parents baptised me into it.
Left because: Hypocrisy of the members and the doctrine of Hell

A righteous anger

sent in by Alan

This is going to be slightly different from other testimonies, as I would like to talk about my experiences long after deconversion, rather than during deconversion. What really interests me is the change in my feelings towards Christianity since abandoning the faith.

The actual loss-of-faith bit is similar to most other people's, anyway, in that it was driven by a realisation that Christianity simply doesn't work on an intellectual level: I read some Plato, and some Aristotle, and some Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, and I saw that human thought is far deeper and broader and richer than what passes for Christian "thinking," indeed far richer than what the deity himself is supposed to think. It all unravelled for me after that.

When I first gave it up, I didn't really have any feelings one way or the other. If other people thought Christianity made intellectual sense, well that was ok, let them carry on, why not?

That was about ten years ago. Since then however I have found my attitudes have hardened, in such a way that I feel a real burning anger against the faith and its doctrines. This anger has clearly been slow to get going, but it is genuine, and the only way to describe it is like a "righteous anger," if I can use a biblical term.

I think I know why I feel it, but does anyone else agree? My guess is that my emotions have taken a long time to catch up with my brain. Of course, this turns the usual Christian explanation of deconversion on its head - Christians like to think that we drop away because of our feelings or morals, and that we then hide under a sham of intellectualism, but in my experience I left the religion for intellectual reasons, and the emotional stuff only started to kick in a decade or so later.

So it is only recently that I have begun to feel a passionate anger against Christianity. Anger that I wasted ten years of my life on its oppressive and petty moralities and its feeble theologies. Anger that I gave it so much of my time through prayer groups, bible study, services etc, time which I never will get back again, no matter how long the universe endures. Anger that even today it still spouts medieval attitudes. Anger that it responds to reasoned criticism with mindless faith and threats of hell. And it is a deeply embedded anger, one which feels part of who I now am.

Most people I guess feel this anger very soon after deconversion, and their anger then evaporates over time, but in my case it seems to be reversed. I wonder if anyone else is going through, or has gone through, the same?

I don't get to a computer very often and probably won't be able to respond to any comments until next week but any comments you have would be great, cheers.

Joined: 17
Left: 28 ish
Was: Evangelical, Anglican, Greenbelter
Now: Atheist
Converted because: The emotional pull of the Gospel
De-converted because: The true human wisdom of this world makes foolish the so-called wisdom of God

Think for yourself

sent in by Barb

I went away to a Christian college when I was seventeen. It didn't take long to see that there were many types of Christians. I was most comfortable with people like me: people who didn't smoke, drink, dance,play cards, watch movies, listen to rock music or fraternize with the opposite sex.

I was least comfortable with the Catholics I met-- my church had told me after all that papists worshipped Mary and therefore would be spending eternity in hell. But these Catholics, some of whom smoked, drank, and regularly had sex, were also involved in the community, working at soup kitchens and pantries, tutoring low-income children, etc, things that my church had never encouraged or emphasized. My church was comprised of middle- and upper-middle class people who were comfortably sedentary in the knowledge that they were saved, and except for the occasional "outreach" to save more souls, they felt no burden toward disadvantaged people. What was required was obedience to a long list of "no-no's." What was discouraged was thinking for yourself.

There had been many things that struck me as wrong (the singular derision saved for gay people, for example), but I tried to pray away my concerns. And, like others here, when I dared ask for help, I was told that every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before-- and that Satan was causing my doubt. Praying all the harder did nothing except make all the clearer the fact that the silence was deafening. It was heartbreaking.

This behemoth of religion that had promised me safety and security began to go ass-up-- it was the Titanic, and if I truly could save myself, it would be BY myself. So, I swam to the shore of reason.

So, I spent twenty years pointedly not going to church.

Then, I found the UU church-- a place that requires nothing of me but to think for myself. Pagans and athiests are welcomed. Gay people are embraced. I have found a community of "believers:" people who believe in the goodness of all people, who don't require answers, who are OK with not knowing.

I don't know either, and that's OK with me. Christianity was safe, like straitjackets are safe. I am free from the ties that had me bound and gagged. I pity the people who remain in bondage.

Joined at 7, then 10, then 13, then 16....
Left at 18
Was: Bible Presbyterian, fundy, evangelical, born-again
Now: Unitarian Universalist
Converted because: I was told the earth was round, and that Jesus was the way
De-converted because: Christian college showed me the many faces of X-ianity

The Lonely Discourse of a Frustrated Agnostic (I Think)

sent in by Smaugfrost

I am a recent deconvert (last day or so) but have been in the transition for years. I will not bore everyone with the years of unquestioning servitude to this religion. I am not erudite in writing out my feelings yet, but suffice it to say, I was driven from the teachings of my faith by the teachings of my faith.

My case is simple:

Christianity presents the following dogma.

1.The path to destruction is wide according to the bible.

2.Paganism is an anathema to god and admonished as evil.

3.No-one comes to the father except through the son.

4.Hell awaits the sinner and Heaven the believer.

5.God is constant and unchanging.

6.Sin requires a blood sacrifice to be made for attonement.

7.Graven images are sinful.

8.No man is to be called father except god.

My dilemma started years ago and grew until I could no longer accept the faith. My doubts stemmed from the following issues among countless others: (check these in reference to the above doctrines)

1.the exclusive nature of the gospels states most humans will perish rather then be saved. Survival of the eternal soul is virtually impossible according to the bible. Stated then the bible is not a guarantee of safety, right?

2.the church accepts Christmas, Easter and Lent as well as the Catholic church acceptance of All Saints Day. These are all ancient pagan holidays adopted by Christendom to aid the conversion of heathens.

3.no other religions or denomination can be saved except the "proper" one. Minor doctrinal differences exist between denominations such as once saved always saved and the necessity of water baptism for salvation. Which ones are right?

4.the doctrine of the grave of the old testament was supplanted by the fiery furnace of hell. Was hell constructed when god decided to burn sinners rather then simply annihilate them in the grave?

5.how is the modern god able to stand the sinners of this day in the church who have accepted all manner of pagan roots and beliefs. False prophets are unquestionable and church leaders are beyond reproach and the fear of wrath is laid upon any who would question them. But god stated his people should not persish fo lack of knowledge and should use discernment in all things to test its validity.

6.Jesus died, spilling blood for all sin but the wages of sin is still death. What changed exactly? Jesus forgives. God forgives. We sin and fail and die in eternal torment still. "Yeah, It is hot down here in perdition, but at least I was forgiven."

7.Again, what about the Jesus Fish, the Cross, and Virgin Mary. No images of heavenly or wordly things was to be crafted. Or fish for that matter.

8.Churches have adopted the following titles:

Padre(Father), Pope(papa), and Father in dealing specifically with their leaders.

My personal dilemma of doubt resulted from this viscious circle of circumlocutionary dogma.

me: I want to understand god and have read the bible several times but I have only contradictions and questions.

christian: You will only understand the bible with the gifts of discernment from the holy spirit.

me: How do I receive that? I have been baptised in water and have asked for the spirit as well.

christian: You must pursue god with all your heart and soul and you will recieve these things.

me: Pursue god how?

christian: You need to read the bible of course!


Thanks for hearing my rambles and god bless! (Kidding)


Joined at: 10
Left at: 36
Was: Charismatic Protestant
Now: Ethical Realist, Radical Cynicist
Converted because: Fire Prevention Insurance
De-converted because: Impossible to afford the premiums on the fire insurance
email: smaugfrost1 at yahoo dot com

A Christian in doubt

sent in by SomeoneWithProblems

I'm a Christian in lots of Doubt and Confusion.

I believe God for quite a while now, but the churches, the people... are pissing me off everyday.

Whenever I have problems, I talk to the pastor, and the believers there, and they all say the same shit "It's God's Will" "It's a Trial" "Pray about it".....and I'm not talking about just 1 church, but ALL the ones I've been to(11 different churches).

Honestly those responses from them aren't good enough....

And I don't read the bible much honestly(yes, I'm terrible at being a christian), because the other christians happily read it to me anyway.

I don't know....it seems like Brainwashing, and the bible was constructed and put together by a council who VOTED which verses and books will ultimately go in the Bible.

Theres verses like

"don't associate with non-believers(2nd cor 6:14-18)".

Theres "Humbling(matthew something : something)"

"turn the other cheek(forgot, too lazy to look at my bible)" and those are one of the things that confuses me about christianity

"don't associate with nonbelievers"

That Says to me: "close your mind to the people with different views and beliefs, and only listen to Christ believers"

"Humbling, and Turn the other cheek"

what? so if a pastor was tells me shit, I should humble myself and listen, learn, and not reply? and be like him?

I'm not gonna say all churches are like that, but the ones I've been to, are "Humble yourself, you don't know better, so listen to WHAT I HAVE TO SAY!"

those verses together to me, look like this:

Being Humble + Christians ideals - Anything outside of christian ideas = brainwashing

(it's a bit vague, I know)

The Church tells me I should be a good Christian this, and good Christian that, and at the same time I should come as I am.

Tells me God loves me for who I am, but he or she will like it MORE If I'm this way or that

I see mostly Hypocrites within the Church,

I see Pastors, Deacons buy themselves a Brand new Lexus and/or Benz with the Offerings and says it's from God.....

The People In The Churches are filled with Fearmongers("the End time is coming!"), Arrogant Goody-2-shoes, People who talk like their Shit don't stink, and etc...

They bitch about me Smoking cigarettes and shit, says "it's god's temple, don't ruin it, blah blah blah blah!"

But what about them?

They eat hamburgers, burritos, foods that have LOTS of fat, clogs ateries, and shit.

They eat candy bars and drink lots of coffee which are bad for your health too.

And they talk shit about my habit, how much of a BAD person I am for smoking...

To me! If you Eat lots of food that might risk you of heart failure and/or could give you diabetes, If you drink coffee by the gallons.

Then me smoking cigarettes isn't a problem!!!

I talked about these matters and subjects to other christians and pastors, and they all tell me something different thats not relevant to what I say, they change the subject or get offended and/or don't speak to me...

I'm not saying "I'm the better man"

infact I'm a bad person myself, or in christian terms: "a evil sinner".

But shit I don't try change people or evangelize.

And if I was to become this "good person"

I would never even try to change a person into what I became, because I'm human, I error... ALOT

I think Tracts are ignorant Bullshit to me(Halloween Evil? are you serious!?).

I have LOTS animosity for Fundy Christians, Because of the shit they pull, like they try to ban Marilyn Manson, They burned Harry Potter books, They tried Ban Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering Card game, and the other the freedom-hating shit they do. And they say "it's for the GOOD of the people."

You know, Freedom is also GOOD for The People, as long as The People don't PHySiCaLLy harm others.

This "christianity" I believe in:

The Morals, the self-righteousness, The Corruption, etc.. in this religion of "Good", it raises my left eye brow and leaves me a "What The Fuck?" face expression.

The Ex-Christian Bible Quiz Trips me out, but it's true....

The Bible Advocates Slavery and Racism

I know Evolution theory is WAY LOGICAL more than Creationism.

Even with these Subjects...

I still believe in God, I still have faith.

but I don't know...


And If I say "I'm Confused and Doubtful of my belief"


The Christian(s) will tell me "The Devil is Tempting you! and The Devil putting those thoughts in your head."

And They'll Rebuke the shit out of me

So no use in asking a christian about this shit

Please comment and Know

I am Open-minded about this

On the way out

sent in by J.S.

I have to say I made peace with my past, at this point. I was very angry with feelings of being deceived for the longest time. But now, I think I have come to believe error is truly human. And a genuine spirituality can and does exist. However, most people are not ready for that. And so, the masses tend to need a more directive, nurturing, organized, and infantile means of attaining partial spiritual awareness (ironically, a reality acknowledged by philosophical Hinduism).

By genuine spirituality I mean a non-theistic belief in transcendant value (though to be sure, I hold to some minimalist notion of a naturalistic "god," the Tao or essential nature, present throughout the cosmos). A belief that certain values and principles beyond our moment to moment existence should guide our lives. Thus for me, it is important to leave the world better than I found it, making a better for future generations. Thus, political activity, charitable work, and providing direction and education for coming generations are essential to my life.

Also, I find it is important to be true to myself and my path. And, to love those important to me as fully and deeply as I can. To support their enjoyment of life and the various contributions they make to our common existience as human beings, as well. The sad thing is, this view of spirituality was not present at all, or at least to the same degree, when I was a Christian.

Joined: 13
Left: 36
Was: Conservative Evangelical then Liberal Christian Pastor
Now: Process Philosopher incorporating secular Buddhism & Taoism
Converted because: Inspired by tradition and revivalism
De-converted because: Could no longer use experience, reason, or bible to validate faith

Recovering from Christianity

sent in by Jess

My earliest memories are of being in church. I remember being about three years old and looking through the hymn books at the pictures of birds. I thought that the priest was actually God and thought that "sins" were tangible...things. My other memories are of falling asleep on the pew being as old as six. After that, my dad always made me kneel with my back completely straight when the time came, etc.

Being Catholic I had my first communion when I was seven. I hardly understood what was going on; it felt awkward being in a poofy white dress and having all these relatives so excited about me taking a wafer for the first time. That same year I remember wondering if heaven really existed and if we actually lived many lives on earth.

Then I became fascinated with astronomy. I read everything I could about the planets, the galaxies, and the Big Bang Theory. Of course, the latter resulted in conflict. I was in the third grade when I was spouting off to my parents what I had just learned, and a few days later my mom had my much-older cousin sit down and explain to me that God had really created us and that the Big Bang Theory never happened.

I obviously never got very into Christianity. It was the worst when I entered high school. But I felt pretty confident about it until my history class freshman year. I'd been part of Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) for a few years. That meant a lot of fundamentalist Christians, and a lot of melodramatic worshipping. That's what made me think I was happy being Christian. The passion, the family feeling...it really was beautiful. But what wasn't beautiful, and had been pushing me away for a long time, was that they believed non-Christians go to hell. Then in history we read about all these philosophers that denied the existance of God, and Christianity's running track of discouragement and war. These were confusing, to say the least. Why would my parents teach me something that wasn't true? So I decided upon atheism. That worked, but only for awhile.

I needed something to get me through the year. I had several friends who were suffering from depression and acting upon it. It affected me that way as well. I started going out with this Ultra Christian CYT friend of mine, and he knew I wasn't Christian, but I had decided for his sake (and for my own, at the time) that I'd give Christianity another shot. Not a month later, my grandmother died. The next time I saw my boyfriend was a week later, and he broke up with me for not being Christian. His excuses were that God had been "telling" him from the start that our relationship had been wrong, and that the Bible says Christians shouldn't be "unequally yoked to those of different faiths." Christianity had let me down again. To top it off, this theatre group had a lock-in for teenagers, and at the end of the night we were separated boys and girls. They took that opportunity to lecture us on dressing modestly because we cause boys to sin by making them want us. It says in the Bible that if a man looks at a woman and wants her, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. Similarly, if you cause a person to sin, you might as well tie a millstone around your neck and throw yourself in a river. So then they give us bracelets/necklaces with little clay millstones!

That was it, and I'm pagan now. I've come to embrace what I naturally am. Ever since my decision I've gotten numerous compliments from almost complete strangers about how pretty I am, as well as random good luck. I don't have to pretend anymore. But there's a sad part to this. I don't trust Christians anymore. You know they're thinking you're going to hell. Though I don't believe in hell, the magnitude of what that belief entails is bad enough. I wonder if I'll ever recover, or if it's even wise to.

Lake Villa
Joined because I was raised so
Left at 14 or 15
Was: Catholic
Now: If I have to choose, pagan
Converted because: I was forced into it by family
De-converted because: I didn't realize until I was a teenager that it was okay to stray away from what your parents taught you. I ended up submitting to my natural beliefs. (A rather long story, described in body.)

Have I believed a lie?

sent in by Mark

Have I believed a lie for 20 years?

I’ve been debating with my Christian friends for months now, about the bucket-load of inconsistencies, contradictions and atrocities I continue to find when I read the bible. After 20 years as a Christian, I can’t pretend any longer and ignore all the stuff that I’m finding.

I’ve spent hours on apologetics websites, spent pounds on books. I’ve gone to my friends to find out how they dealt with all this stuff. What’s the answer I’ve been met with? “Ignore all the inconsistencies and believe anyway”.

WTF? I thought that Christianity trumpeted itself as the truth, as a belief system with weighty evidence. Yet no-one seems able to tell me why the bible disagrees with itself on literally dozens and dozens of instances. (E.g. Dt 24:16 & 2 Sam 12:14). I even posted a challenge on this website, twice, asking Christians to explain it all. Yet no-one could.

I’m getting really frustrated with the glassy-eyed responses I’m receiving from my friends, when they look at me as if I’m talking a foreign language. I feel like I want to shake them, to get them to see what’s in front of their eyes.

Last night, I showed them a whole bunch of old testament atrocities, and despite all the evidence they refused to call it genocide when God slaughters a whole race, yet they will condemn a human being for the slightest ‘sin’. It seems that God can be called ‘good’ no matter what evil he performs or allows, yet I am a filthy sinner just because of who I am.

I have explored my doubts with honesty and integrity and I feel like I’m on the verge of walking away because the evidence from the bible has come up short. However, I fear that if I do walk away, they’ll rationalise my decision by saying that ‘I left because I wanted to sin/be in the world’ or that ‘I left because someone offended me’. How do you get them to acknowledge the fact that you’re walking away because you explored the evidence and found it lacking?

Joined: 18
Left: 40
Was: Evangelical, Fundamentalist
Now: Seriously Doubting
Believed because: Thought it was the truth
Doubting because: Realised it isn't

What if the Prodigal Son wasn't a washout? What if he went on to be...happy?

sent in by Tim

Imagine for a moment, if you will, the following:

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

(The Gospel of Luke 15:11-13)

What if the son didn't squander his money? What if he went to college and gained his own reasoning? His own ideas? And realized he'd always had questions that had been tidely swept under the rug by those that were supposed to be his spiritual teachers?

I grew up in church, from the time I was about 2. Around the age of 11 I began to take it quite seriously, and the more time that passed the more serious about being a Christian I became.

I didn't date for most of high school, not that I didn't want to, but I didn't want to be tempted, and after all, the Lord would show me to my future wife when the timing was right wouldn't he?

I intended on going to a secular college, finishing my general education requirements, then transfering to a Chirstian college so that I could become an ordained minister, and eventually a missionary to Japan (after all, I had been to Chicago, Atlanta, and Caracas, Venezuela on mission trips as a teen to help save "the poor lost souls").

I originally signed up as a Religious Studies Major (at a secular college this consisted of studying the formation of, history, and cultural impact of various religions, without ever teaching one or the other to be "right" or "wrong").

My very first college class ever was Introduction to the New Testament. I figured it would be great, after all, the instructor was a former minister. Key word: former, I would find out why soon enough.

I learned a lot in that class, specifically that almost everything I had been taught as a Christian could not have been further from the factual truth.

Crisis of Faith, Step 1) The four Gospels were not written by the actual disciples of those names. In the biblical time period it was quite common to use someone else's name as a pseudonym to give your text more relevancy. Under the best of circumstances only Mark has the most weight...and it was more than likely written by a disciple of Jesus' disciple Peter.

Crisis of Faith, Step 2) The Gospel of John, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...yadda yadda yadda" What could quite possibly considered the most recognizable verse in all of Christianity is actually from a book that is socio-historical commentary (translation: "John" wasn't there...in fact none of the book was written anywhere near the time period Jesus lived).

My personal favorite example of this comes from John 9. Christ heals a blind guy on the Sabbath, is therefore working on the Sabbath, and people proceed to lose their shit over the whole ordeal.

John 9- 20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ[a] would be put out of the synagogue.

Here's the major problem with that little section, yes the Jews did in fact threaten to more or less disown those Jews who proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah...and it was written down when this decree was made...circa 80 AD. How is it that the parents are afraid of a law that wouldn't be made for at least 50 years? But...I digress.

I proceeded to go through college finding all sorts of other problems within Christianity, and it didn't help that 90% of the Christian scholars (i.e. my professors) had been asked to leave their pulpits, churchs, what have you, due to work they had done, or were doing, that opened up a brand new fallacy in the divinity or Jesus or exposed a hole, called "logic" in the belief that the Bible is inerrant.

When all was said and done I knew that there was no way I could consider myself Christian ever again...there are jut too many questions that they as a religion refuse to even acknowledge.

I did meet some people who I consider to be true Christians throughout my college years, two individuals who knew that I had been raised Christian, and had turned away from Christianity. They respected my decision, they showed me Christian love BECAUSE I had walked away from Christianity instead of living a double life and becoming just another hypocritical "Christian", not in spite of my leaving Chrisitanity.

I also realized that the religions that even attempt to answer any questions one has against that religion does so by openly admitting that they don't have all of the answers.

Even Judaism, which I converted to for a short while, openly admits 1) That there is no Satan (which means there is nothing to be saved from, which is why Jews don't try to convert you), and 2) Therefore, the story of Job is just that...a story, a parable...nothing more.

Joined at 11
Left at 19
Was: I was hardcore Assembly of God
Now: Spiritual Seeker
Converted because: Raised by choice.
De-converted because: I realized there were more questions in Christianity than Answers

Jesus is the Sun

sent in by Pablo

I was born into a non religious family my father was raised catholic and my mother Church of England, her mother was and still is a scripture teacher, but we only attended church for weddings, baptisms and funerals.

If Christianity was ever discussed my father always had the same catch phrase "it's all based on pagan myth" , I had no idea what he was talking about and continued to ignore him as it was blissful.

When I was 16 my friends and I joined a church group as we saw it as being an opportunity to meet girls our age. The church group had pulled the chairs out of the top level of a double-decker bus and replaced them with bean bags. Every Thursday night it would fill up with teenage boys and girls. They would drive us around the streets and take us to parks to play games, take us to see Christian rock groups and even away camping for weekends.

But at the end of every night the fun would come to an end

we where asked to come inside and listen to an elder read from the bible and on camps we where asked to fill in books to make sure we where listening.

Many times during these sermons a group of us would sneak off and sit under the church and smoke cigarettes and make out.

I believed at the time that it was all just harmless fun and didn’t think it would have any long term effect on me I was totally unaware that these people where actually getting inside my head...

I began praying every night that my father would convert to Christianity I was absolutely terrified that he would die before converting and that I would never see him again in heaven. I was really, really scared that he was going to HELL.

But gradually over many years things started to unravel and the truth was finally exposed.

It began when I came across a book on Greek mythology I learned of “Hades" who was the Greek lord of the dead and the ruler of the nether world. I remember thinking how interesting this was that the term is so similar to the Christian hell and Satan.

So I concluded that as this story was older then Christianity the Christians must have borrowed this concept for their story on hell and the devil.

I could live with this as even I was guilty of little plagiarism every now and then in my school assignments no problems..

A few years later I came across a book on Sumerian mythology and read of a flood which was similar to the story of Noah, however this story predated the Noah by thousands of years. I then learned that Hindu and many other cultures had similar stories of a deluge and all of these stories predated the Christian version by thousands of years.

So I concluded as any rational person could only do that the Noah story had to have been made up based on one of these older stories of the deluge and that the Christians had borrowed one more thing from much older myths.

I could live with this no problems.

Then one day I came across an article about the true origins of Easter and how it was originally celebrated by pagans and was called “Eastre/Ishtar/ostara " where a woman runs into the forest and turns into a hare and then she mates, it is basically a fertility rite welcoming spring.(There are various versions of this story however they all are based on the fact that it is spring)

When I learned about this it really took the wind out of me as I had whole heartedly believed that Easter was an original Christian celebration the time Christ had died and resurrected.

I concluded that yes us Christians had borrowed again from pagans and made this spring ritual the time of Christ’s death and resurrection , maybe he died and resurrected later in the year but these pagans are use to having a holiday at this time of year so we will slot in here...

I could live with this and I did...

One day I read about "Mithraism" this was a pagan religion which was big in Rome at the same time as Christianity, it's followers lived in the rural areas and where known as "Paganus"

Hold the fort what paganus (pagans) where country dwellers I thought they worshippers of the devil, not farmers.

What was interesting to learn was Mithra's birthday was 25 December, hey isn’t that the same date as Jesus? Probably just a coincidence, I suspected.

I could live with this...

I went on to learn about 28 sons of a god who celebrated their birthday's on 25 December who walked on water, performed miracles, born of virgins, 12 disciples , etc all with the same or very similar narratives to the story of Jesus...

So now I finally understood what my father meant when he said that Christianity is based on pagan myths.

From that day on there could have only been one way I could continue being a Christian and that would have been for me to rationalize this way.

All 28 godmen with the same or similar narrative to Jesus from various cultures who where all sons of god, born a virgin birth, performed miracles, walked on water , 12 disciples, 25 Dec. birthday, the light of the world, died and resurrected, these must all be just myths and not real.

But the exact same story of Jesus is literal truth...

It's like Christianity being replaced today by a new religion and this new religion just takes the stories from Christianity it makes them their own by changing the names of characters , in 2 thousand years people start questioning why there son of god has the same story as this Jesus guy from the old Christian religion. But believers of this new religion don’t want to know about this Jesus guy because he was not the real son of god our new guy he is the real deal he's the son of god... It's really quite ridiculous.

I still pray to a god /universe/ higher force but no longer am I afraid of my father going to a Christian hell as this is all it is a fictional place created by Christians to scare it's own members, my dad was never part of the club so he had nothing to worry about to begin with.

Joined at 16
Left at 25
Converted to meet girls
De-converted because I read the truth

Forced to believe

sent in by David

I’d been with the church for so long I still dream about it. Every Sunday, the same routine. But in the beginning I was all for it. As a kid it was easier to believe I suppose. I remember being a very devoted Santa myth believer as well, something I think should be shutdown right along with religion for what it’s doing to children! But back to my story.

I believed it. I honestly believed it all. I was baptized and made a member of my church. I was a missionary at a (sorry about this) children’s summer camp. I followed all the steps, devoted all my time, and I always felt like I was the good Christian. But at the very same time, doubt was always lingering at the back of my mind. I’m an intelligent and rational person. I skepticize and nitpick everything. The further I got into the whole thing, the further I was driven away from it in my mind. Rationality kept asking the fundamental question, why? To what end? The more I asked questions, the more I came up empty, until it came to the point where I could no longer stand attending church. But my parents would have nothing for it and forced me to attend at the risk of punishment. Eventually I was allowed to stay home, when it was clear forcing me was not having the desired effect.

So here I sit, completely free of my bindings to Christianity, and the happiest I been in my life.

Joined: From day one (Raised in the church)
Left: 18
Was: Baptist
Now: Free
Converted because: My parents wanted me to be a christian.
De-converted because: I wanted to decide who I was for myself.

Not Your Typical Ex-Timony

sent in by Gary

This isn’t an extimony in the usual sense that you normally see here on this website. I have been a lurker here for a few months now. I have read many of the extimonies written by former Christians. With out a doubt I believe these folks are very sincere in there contributions here. As you can read from their posts you can see how sincerely they sought out the God of the Bible and failed to find this very elusive being.

Of course we have a very diverse community of people who come to this website. I suppose most folks have become agnostics or atheists since their deconversion from Christianity. But we do have a sprinkling of pagan, wiccan, or similar types of beliefs. Nothing wrong with that either. Personally I don’t put any more credence to their claims that I would the Christian claims.

But if a Non-Christian belief system works for you I will not argue with your results. Non-Christians seem to be much less annoying in that I haven’t been pestered by any to convert to their particular belief system. Plus they seem to be much happier in general.

I am not particularly religious myself. I have held a number of spiritual views over the years. My parents were not very steady church goers. Occasionally we went to a Baptist church about a mile or so up the road. It didn’t make much of a believer out of me at the time. I had more fun reading science books and learning as much as I could about things at the time.

When I got of high school I flirted for awhile with some New Age ideas such as astrology, oujia boards, automatic writing and so forth. I was rather disappointed by the results. Then I came across an ad in Fate Magazine for a Rosicrucian Society. I joined that for awhile. This proved to be a little more interesting. I guess I stayed a member for a couple of years or so.

Then I got caught up into a popular Bible Cult of the 1970’s. No it wasn’t the Moonies. It was something called The Way. Fortunately, I got invited to leave their cult because I kept asking too many questions.

After that I studied ceremonial magick and dabbled in the teachings of The Golden Dawn. The results were rather mixed but the material is fascinating to study.

Lately I have discovered the works of Ayn Rand and her wonderful philosophy called Objectivism. Never have I discovered a more practical philosophy. I wish I had encountered it years ago.

Occasionally some Christian troll comes here and spews forth their propaganda. What I have enjoyed the most though is all of the wonderful comments their drive by posts generate. It is great to see many folks who have woke up to the hoaxes of religion.

One of the problems with religious teachings are they are very seductive. What do I mean by this comment? Religious teachings hold out the promise of wisdom. Who wouldn’t want that? If you are experiencing major problems in your life religious teachings become even more enticing.

You go in expecting to gain something extremely important and mysterious. People just love to solve a mystery. Most folks who decide to follow a spiritual path do so because they are seeking honesty, enlightenment, truths, or a desire to give their live some kind of meaning. They are seeking an ideal way to live an deal with others.

Unfortunately they will find none of these things. More often it will be years later before they will realize that the wisdom that they sought was in reality nothing but a hoax. The true enlightenment comes when you realize that religious teachings are totally false. It makes me wonder how many ministers and pastors are “closet atheists?”

In a future post I will offer some possible origins for why people seek out spiritual paths.

How old were you when you became a christian? 20
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 22
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? FreeThinker Skeptic
Why did you become a christian? Because of the false guilt and the threat of hell.
Why did you de-convert? Many reasons! Further research into the origins of the Bible and Christianity itself raised doubts. Plus really reading the Bible was an eye opener!
email: harcortm at yahoo dot com

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