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.

USA
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.

45 comments:

Albert said...

Here's a good site about Deism,
http://www.sullivan-county.com/deism.htm

brigid said...

The Age of Reason is a strack piece of work. Good American stuff. Also check out Tom Jefferson's writings. Good, sound writing; no religion; no idealistic horseshit.

Hi albert.

To all my friends here: I am going away with Mistress for about a week and I hope you all will be well and don't let the bastards wear you down. Illigitimi non carborundum.

Realist said...

That is a very hard to read story and I am sorry you went through all you did. I have to ask if you know. Were they calvinist Baptists? They believe, that some are predisitended to hell and Gods wrath while others are not to make it simple?

I wish you well in your journey. Believe in yourself and you will be ok.
Tim

Albert said...

From the German poet Rilke,

"Be patient with all that is unresolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given. For you wouldn't be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything, live the questions now, and perhaps without knowing it, you will live along some day into the answers."

Jaku said...

Dear Trudy,

I feel sorry to hear what you and your family have gone through. I find it extremely disgusting to hear that the "church" has the guts to publicly rebuked and accused you of sexual allegations against a "pastor". I think that "pastor" is trying to portray himself as a "holy, righteous, God-loving, innocent victim" by spreading rumors so as to cover up his disgusting deeds. Otherwise why is that "pastor" so concern about sexual allegations that he has to ask the church to do this to you? If he is in fact innocent I believe he would let you know who he is and sincerely try to solve any conflicts and/or misunderstanding with you peacefully. Otherwise he does not deserve to be a "pastor" at all...

I also find it beyond my understanding that a "pastor" would not hestitate to physically "swung" at your husband, and refused to assign a reason for their decisions to ask you all to "rest". I think those "pastors" have already becoming like Pharisees as they probably will simply use God's name and excuses like "it's God's will", "It's God's command" to justify their control over the masses by ask you to "do this do that don't do this don't do that blah blah blah....""If you are asking for a reason why I ask you to do this...YOU ARE DOUBTING AND QUESTIONING GOD'S WILL AND COMMANDs AND THUS IT SHOWS YOUR LACK OF FAITH IN GOD!!! BECAREFUL NOT TO GO AGAINST GOD OR ELSE YOU WILL BACKSLIDE (or whatever....)"
I think they don't deserve to be pastors at all too.

Finally, for that "Christian friend" of your, ask her to put herself into your position and think. It is easier to nag at others to forgive, be a good person, love one another etc. but is definitely much harder to put them into actions. So I hope that "Christian friend" will not just jump to her conclusion and did not back up her conclusion with actions. she should also acknowlegde that as a human being sometimes to forgive others can be extremely difficult and deep emotional wounds will need a long time to heal. She will indeed be a good Christian if she is willing to spend time with you regardless your belief in Christianity, help you heal your emotional wounds and forgive those who have hurt you in the past regardless of how long it may take.

I wish you, your husband and your kids all the best and I pray that God will continue to shine on you and your family. Please pardon me if you find it hard to understand my writing as English is not my native language.

Jim said...

I think you should really question if a God exists. No one on this planet knows with any certainity that there is a creative God out there. However creation began, it will alway remain a mystery, but one thing is certain. This creative force does not hand out instructions as to how you should conduct your life. Cheers Jim Lee

Jim said...

Jaku, I have news for you. Prayer is a useless commodity. It changes nothing

mq59 said...

My apologies for that jerk's behavior.

Anonymous said...

Was it really your fault mq59?

mq59 said...

No, but this man's behavior seriously hurt her and her family and is symptomatic of a major problem.

Tim Simmons said...

"that we were created and made to reflect goodness, that could be our purpose?"

If so, we're failing miserably.


There are no gods. Just accept it and move on. I did.

Good luck!


Tim

freedy said...

Trudy,..unfortunately your story is very common.I was a music minister for 20 yrs. and I could write a book on those who burned me. These people were mentally ill and were treating (unsuccessfully), their illness with fundamentalism.
Look up the various mental disabilities and compare them to your pastors,t.v. evangelists etc.,you'll be amazed!

Jeff said...

Hello, I am sorry for what you went through and now you realize the lies and contradictory in christianity. The people on this site will respect and treat you better than these jackass christians.

trudy said...

Thank you for your encouraging, helpful, and supportive comments. I am so grateful to have found a place for support - we've been alone for quite a while.

-Trudy

Jim said...

Most Christians suffer from schizophrenia. They imagine they hear voices and they have a habit of talking to themselves. Pentecostals also seem to go into trance like states that have become a form of addiction. They also cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that a real world exists outside of their own little cacoon of brainwash. Cheers Jim Lee

Marion Doerflinger said...

Dear Trudy -

I thought about you all day. I'm a writer with a lot of different projects going on, (doing research on my first non-fic book and it is really hard!) and my time on the computer is very limited so I think all nite while I work at the factory about what I am going to write when I get home and have my little bit of time. But tonight all I could think of was your story which I read this morning and I knew I just had to spend my time writing to you - nobody was going to buy my book anyhow! :)

Here's what I want to tell you - you are more of a Christian now than you ever were when you were trying to please all those awful church people. You are on the road to being alright.

Let me tell you a little bit about me - I am going to a wonderful non-denom church where the people are nice and the music is good. It just feels good to go to that church and be with those people. I have been in a lot of those awful churches like you talked about too - like the one where the preacher tried to hit your husband - and this new church is just great.

But here's the rub; God showed me one day that there are five alcoholics/drug addicts/ ex-cons where I work and nobody is talking to them about God - so why not me?

Now my church is awfully "Comfortable" the same 100 people (PLus their kids and their kids) have been going there since 1977. I'm one of about five new people. They really helped me when I was confused about some things but now I'm ready to do something other then sit on my backside every sunday and feel good. I'm ready to work.

MY church just doesn't seem to have the wherewithall to handle these five men God has pointed out to me. So I just, by golly, have started matching up churches that fit my guys and now I am wooing them, one by one, into church.

And my church keeps saying, "You're not ready for this. You're the guy in the ditch who the Good Samaritan is helping, you need to get fit. Someday you'll be ready to help somebody else but not now."

And I say, "No, I AM the good samaritan. I'm the only guy who's going to help these five guys. If I don't do this at least one of them is going to drink himself to death."

So they don't approve and that's too bad. I'm going to help who needs me. Those five guys - they're my new church. The Church of the RESUP (Really Screwed Up People).

And that's where you almost are Trudy. You've walked away from church physically and that's a healthy thing at this particular point in time given what you've been through and soon you'll stop needing the approval of all those awful (but God still loves em) people. That's when you'll walk away from all that clutter mentally as well.

And the next step is so liberating- you're religion will be so simple - find and help. That's your job, find and help. That's your church - people who need you.

I read this book - "Whose Child Is This?" by Bill Wilson (Published by Charisma House). It's about a guy who was a young Christian who walked into the ghettos of New York thirty yeras ago and saw a desperate need, he saw kids of prostitutes and drug addicts growing up to become prosttitures and drug addicts. There were no nice clean church people down there. The church had run like hell. Bill said he never felt the "Call" of God to start an inner city ministry. He just saw a need and he said, "If I don't do something about this, who will?" Now 22,000 ghetto kids a week attend services in NYC ghettos. 300 other cities in the USA have started missions like Bill's and now it's catching on all over the world in places like the Orient and the garbage dumps of the Phillipieans and in South America.

That little church I go to started in the same year Bill started his inner-city ministry and trhose same 100 people are stuill sitting there singing those songs and feeling good and being nice and wishing I would settle down (God bless em).

You and me, Trudy, we're the Bill Wilsons - we're going to find somebody who needs us and we';re gonna help 'em. You're life is going to get very very good. Don't be sad - just lift your head and look for somebody who needs you.

Of course, you'll still need the felowship of other Believers - just not the pompus asses who stand behind a pulpit and say, "Look at me. Ain't I great." So, let me invite you and your husband to do the church thing with my wife, Becky, and me over the internet until you find a "Church Home" (I'm not exactly sure what that means - I just like the sound of it - "Church Home"). You can write to us every sunday and we'll write back every wednesday. WE're the kind of Christians who sit in a circle where everybody is on the same lebel to talk, not the kind who sit in long straight lines and look up at one man who pretends to ,somehow, be superior to the rest of us. That's why my people in my poor little old church are shaking their heads and looking sad over me - they just don't get it. But you get it. You're ready to become a circle Christian.

I am praying and praying and praying for you. I am feeling so good because you are about to experince a breakthrough. My name is Marion Doerflinger, my e-mail address is mdd1957@yahoo.com and my only question is, "What can I do for you?"

GBY
MD

doug said...

Trudy,

My heart goes out to you and your family. Hang in there and be at peace with where you are right now. I'll be thinking of you and praying. Maybe prayer is a waste of time, but I have time to waste on you.

Doug

Marion Doerflinger said...

Trudy -

Something big happened after I wrote you in the early AM today and then woke up at about 10:30. My best buddy (from the church where the music is so good and the people are so nice but where i felt like I wasn't helping anyone), the one who had been trying so hard to convince me that I wasn't ready to help other people called and he was crying! He said something like, "Marion, I don't know what it is but after I talked to you I got to feeling like something big is getting ready to happen in my life."

And I said, "You and me need to go out and find some people to help together." He kind of froze up. I could feel the fear. But he's getting ready to break loose. After 30 years of not really reaching out I'll bet that little church is finally gonna start doing what churches are suppossed to do - find someone who needs a cup of cold water.

Writing to you this morning solidified everything in my mind, made me ready to hear what my friend had to say and to be there for him and that feels good! So, thanks!

I've got a feeling I'll have one more thing to tell you when I get home from the factory tonight and, after that, I'll leave you alone unless and until I hear from you.

Md

mdd1957@yahoo.com

God Bless You (GBY).

Bentley said...

Pahleeze you two, take your brainwashed GARBAGE somewhere else!!!

You guy's really suck!!!

Doug there was a NYFD priest giving last rights to a fellow comrade during 9-11, and as he bent over to give last rights, another person come down that had jumped out of a window above and cut the priests head clear off, nice God you got there!!!


Now we got another one here that God reveals things to him.

Marion said; God showed me one day that there are five alcoholics/drug addicts/ ex-cons where I work.

What freaking bullshit!!!

Who do you think you're conning?

Ok ask God to reveal something about me that only I would know about, no religious bullshit either!!!


There was this little girl in Florida, her name was Jessica Lumsford, 9 years old, without a "sin" and this old transient raped and buried her alive.

Millions of christians and non-christians were praying for her safety, if any two agree in prayer then it shall be.

Why did not your stinking imaginary God cause this old man to have a stroke, or a heart attack, or get rabies, or a tree fall on him, or a million other possibilities?

Why did your oh so loving god not interfere?

Ya know why? Huh? Huh? Noo you don't! Because there is no stinking God, you jerks are pretending to believe something written down over 2000 years ago, by insane drug addicts, wino's, mentally insane IDIOTS!!!! And you two are just as INSANE as the insane FOOLS that wrote the bible!!

Whether you know it or not, it's 2006, not 32 A.D. Get a GRIP on REALITY you two, Marion and Doug!!!


You're making us all want to PUKE!!!!

Wade said...

Marion ,

No one here shares your delusion, including Trudy. Being a typical Xian you came here and didn’t bother reading this site. It wasn’t that she didn’t attend the “right “church, Trudy discovered that christianity is a sham. It is make believe. It is nothing more than a cult built on lies.

Since no one here shares in your delusion you sound quite silly. You equate assimilating in to the xtian borg with “helping” them. The mind virus needs more victims to thrive and reproduce.

This is an EX-christian site. We have been where you are but we escaped. We saw Christianity for what is really is, a myth. Once you get unplugged from the matrix, you can never go back.

south2003 said...

Yea I've been reading slick willie Doug's comments and was tempted to bring him a box of kleenex. *sniffes* Now there's another jackass in the mist.

Damn! I guess donkeys do talk

Bentley said...

Damn south, just where that hell ya been? I've missed your preaching as only you can deliver the true inspired word of glog.

south2003 said...

Ben, I've been here just reading the threads enjoying that a few more came out of that bloodthirsty cult.

But of course, it's never a dull moment with these fundies.

Bentley said...

Yea, maybe you were not really a TRUE xtian, or if you would just read the bible forward and backwards a couple of times and if you will pray REAL Hard this time and ask god to tell you what the bible REALLY says this time, and dig and pray and ask your pastor just what the bible really says, you may just some day become a TRUE xtian like them...ROFLMAO

Marion Doerflinger said...

Trudy -

as promised I wanted to say one more thing to you but it's no big revelation - only a suggestion - why don't you start a blog and publish some of your great poetry and thoughts? You handle the language so well! You are gifted! And creating makes you feel so good. Blogging is free, easy, fun and, if I read the contract properly, your stuff is copyrighted as soon as it is posted. If you do this send me a link.

If you'd like to visit my humble blog it's www.sweetsweetsurrender.blogspot.com

regarding the last two really vicious comments - you'd know if you read my back pages that nothing anyone can say to me even comes close to the awful things that I could say to myself, but if Ben and Wade speak for you then I can only humbly bow out and hope I have caused you no pain.

GBY

Marion Doerflinger
mdd1957@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Trudy,

you have dealt with some seriously strange people. I am glad you realise that God does exist and loves you to bits no matter what has happened, what you do or even don't do.

Please also keep in mind that although you have had some negative experiences not all Christians are terrible, human yes, but no more so than your average Joe off the street.

Forgiveness takes a while and is possible but trust is earned, even God knows that. Have you ever asked your friend to not be so judgmental? Trust me sometimes us Christians need a gentle nudge from our friends to tell us when we are out of line in the things we say and do. She might not realise she was/is being insensitive. She may be like my mother who has a strong personality and has a tendency to voice her strong opinions undiplomatically at times although her intentions are good.

Wade said...

"vicious comments " ????...LOL

I think xtians read this site the same way they read the bible...they see what they want to see and ignore the things they don't want to deal with.....

Marion Doerflinger said...

Ben

I can answer your question posted 6-1.

The reason why God let this horrible old man do this horrible thing is because somebody didn’t do his job. Somewhere back there in the history of this old man God put it in the heart of someone to do something right and decent and that person did not rise to the task. Maybe he saw someone abusing the little boy who would become the horrible old man and he turned away. Maybe he felt like reaching out to five alcoholics and he let them go by.

And that set in motion a chain of events that culminated in this old man doing this horrible thing. God tried to stop it years ago but someone didn’t listen. God tries to answer every prayer but, and I don’t know why, he chooses to do it though us and when we don’t respond to the promptings of the spirit within bad things happen. Our actions, and inactions, have eternal consequences.

And now you will ask me, “So what kind of fool is God to entrust that kind of power to us fallible human beings?”

And I will answer, “I don’t know. But let me ask you a question: if you really feel that way why aren’t you looking for someone to turn control of your life over to?”


Thanks

md

doug said...

Ben,

Your hatred is intriguing but your insults are boring me already. Maybe you're right, maybe I'm insane because I believe in Jesus and you've got it together because you don't. Bottom line is this Ben, I'm happy and have peace within my insanity; your hatred of Christians is your driving force in life and you're overcome with negativity that's eating away at you. Quit puking so much and maybe you'll stop choking on your hatred.

south2003 said...

Marion,

What the hell are you smoking dude?

I wonder how old this Marion is? He doesn't sound so bright...gezzze.

freedy said...

Duh'-g;(Doug).....yeah the moonie and krishna followers look peaceful and happy too,..so what!
We believe in keeping it real here.Most of us were just like you,
brainwashed and numbed by fundamentalism.Thanks for reminding us what it was like to be a robot drone of churchianity!
(sorry bout my hostility, but I spent 23 yrs around guys like you and I just can't help but be a little..... PISSED OFF!)

Bentley said...

It totally amazes me how people can take such offence when someone steps on their childhood fantasy or the mythical jeezus.

I mean here we have (hopefully Adults, mentally matured) that have accepted a doctrine that was written over 2000 years ago, by whom? Oh Apostles maybe! diciples maybe! Saints maybe! that was written on papyrus, found half rotten, written in a language that has to be translated over 1600 times and is taught today as being absolutely true, without a single shred of evidence, and now it is taught from a third or fourth party, a man usually a money grubbing preacher, that he believes that the bible is true based on what he has accepted as being true, not because of any evidence ever, but because he wants to believe that the nonsense fairytale is true.

Now we have people like Doug, that take on a role, a self-elected role, so that he can get recognition, so that he may convence others of the same lie that he has acceppted as being true, if he can convence one other person on this planet to agree with his silly childhood belief, then his mission has been accomplished, now, he's not alone in his insanity, finally he has convenced another poor unsuspecting nut to believe as him, now he himself is convenced that the mental insanity self-righteous mind game that he is pretending to play is totally based on truth. Just because christianity is so prevailent in the world, now the mind disease is totally out of control, as long as we have people like Doug and Marion and Justin and mq59 the world and US will be living in a mental mind disease.

I heard today on the radio by a fundy idiot, that 666, June 6, 06 is the end of the world, and the anti-christ will begin to reign.

So women due to have babies on that day are planing to have
caesarian sections the day before so that their babies will not be born on that day 666.

Why can't you religious nutjobs see how pathetic your silly beliefs have led you to believe such stupid nonsense, it's because you do not want to see or admit how foolish you all are and have been!

Enough lies, enough excuses, try Intellectual Honesty for once, you do not even know what that means, you're all so brainwashed into your self-serving religious cult.

.:webmaster:. said...

Doug said: "I'm happy and have peace within my insanity."

Well, that about sums it up.

doug said...

Freedy,
You're not PISSED OFF because you don't believe in God, in fact, you do believe in God regardless of what you write on this site. You're PISSED OFF because you were rejected by so called Christians who don't walk the walk and treated you badly and unfairly for 23 years. What the fuck? I'd be PISSED OFF too!

Many people on this site are atheists and I respect that. I write to one everyday and an honest, open, respectful friendship has been born. You're different. You're on this site because you have found a group that has accepted you for being so PISSED OFF at Christians. But in the quiet depths of your soul you long to be accepted by those in whom you share the faith. You can't con a conman my Christian brother. I see right through you. Say what you will about me on this site, but unlike those who have hurt you in the past, my arms will always be open to you my brother. Everyone on this site is my witness.

PS. I like how you spelled my name. I have to admit that was pretty good:) Duh'-g

trudy said...

Marion,
It seems you've missunderstood. I am not looking for "Christian Fellowship". I am an ex-christian.

I am not "called" and don't beleive in "callings". People do not need me to save them and I don't need saving. I appreciate this site as a place for working through our de-coversion.

-Trudy

Just trying to being kind to people I work with and live with everyday is mission(impossible?) enough.

doug said...

Ben:
Why were you listening to fundy radio? That's like an alcoholic hanging out at a bar. Mmmmm.
Love, Doug

barb said...

Doug,

Why are you here? Isn't one reason that you want to prove to yourself that you've made the right choice, and that we all are mistaken and going down the wrong path?

When I listen to fundy radio,(and it's fairly often, though more often, for contentment, I listen to NPR), I do it to remind myself of why I left. I still deal with a lot of debilitating guilt. I would liken it unto a terrible falling out with one's parents-- the parents are at fault, clearly, but you can't help calling them once in a while-- partly with hopes of reconciliation, which never happens, and partly to remind yourself that you're better off with no contact. I avoid my christian siblings for this reason--the relationship is toxic, and I always end up bruised.

As to the alcoholic analogy, it doesn't work because alcoholics know they're putting themselves into a danger zone by visiting a bar. EVERY time I've listened to christian radio in the 23 yrs since I left I have been in no danger of returning to the fold. None. It only reinforces my many reasons for leaving.

I will admit-- I was in the choir at (christian) college and at my church, and I do miss the music. I love the old hymns, even though the lyrics tend to make my blood pressure rise.

-Barb

Michelle said...

Hi Trudy,

I also felt alone after I walked away from christianity. I honestly believed that there was no such thing as an ex-christian. The only one I knew that could possibly be one was the late comedian Sam Kinison (in his youth he had been a preacher). I tried to search for information about him as a preacher, but didn't find much.

Even after I "fell away," I still believed in hell. I would just try to push it to the back of my mind whenever I thought about it. I did some serious damage to my sanity by doing that. Despite my belief in hell, there was no way I was going back to church because I HATED IT! I told myself I would rather burn than ever sit through a stifling, claustraphobic, overly-emotional church service again.

For many years I tried to deal with this schizophrenic attitude towards christianity by myself. I had no one to talk to about any of it. My christian relatives would have just told me that god was trying to call me back, and my non-christian friends wouldn't have understood because they had never been christians.

Then, several months ago, I finally got it in my head to search for "ex-christians" on the web. I first checked out one site that had dozens and dozens of testimonies about people leaving christianity. I was amazed that there were so many (as before I had thought there might only be two--me and Sam Kinison!). I read for hours and hours straight. I was no longer alone, there were others. There were ex-ministers, people who had spoken in tounges, people who had been in the church for 20-30 years, and so on. And the best part? These people went on to live happy, fulfilling lives. They didn't turn into degenerates and start glutting themselves on what christians would call "sin." They actually became happier after they left--sanity does seem to have that affect on people.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am glad you have finally found others who have been in your shoes. I am sure christians would like us to shut up and go away. We're proof that people walk away from christianity every day, and are better off for it.

- Michelle

trudy said...

Thanks Michelle.

Yes, we are living proof that life goes on (and thrives) after christianity.

doug said...

Hi Barb,

It was a pleasure to read your message. You didn't attack me and that says a lot about you and I thank you. You asked why I am on this site. Two weeks ago I was looking up information on Rev. Tewell from NYC and I stumbled upon this site by total accident. I was caught like a deer in headlights as to the hostile passion so many people have about the faith; mostly from what I've read because of their horrible experiences in their church; others because of the blood-stained history of the Church and so on.

I introduced myself as wanting to learn more about life, my faith and how I can become a better person through others' testimonies (not believers' testimonies, but rather former believers or testimonies from people who have never believed.) I am not afraid to be challenged about the faith. Some people have already brought up good points and have caused me to take a lot of time to reflect. Yet, there are those who attack. In two weeks I have been called names unlike anything I have experienced since jr. high. How sad.

I humbly respect why you listen to fundy radio, it makes sense to me; It's like the old saying, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. But I must share this with you. I am Christian yet I don't listen to fundy radio because of all the negativity and the lack of grace. Some people on this site think I am a fundy but nothing could be further from the truth.

I don't judge people as to whether correct choices have been made and whose on the right path. If I am wrong, I wish people would share it with me in a more loving, gentle manner as you have. Isn't that what friends are all about?Thank you for your message Barb.

.:webmaster:. said...

Doug said: Why were you listening to fundy radio? That's like an alcoholic hanging out at a bar. Mmmmm.

Doug said: I'll be thinking of you and praying. Maybe prayer is a waste of time, but I have time to waste on you.

Doug said: in the quiet depths of your soul you long to be accepted by those in whom you share the faith. You can't con a conman my Christian brother. I see right through you.


Then Duh'-g wonders why people call him names.

Doug, you're here to preach, teach, lead, witness, whatever you want to call it. If you really wanted to "learn" you'd read, listen and keep the religious rhetoric to yourself. If it isn't completely obvious to you yet, people on this site have left Christianity for MANY DIFFERENT REASONS, not just because of some bad ole' fundie.

trudy said...

I suspect that some christian bloggers on our site have not been accepted by mainstream christianity so they create their own "Call" by trying to save us.

doug said...

Webmaster, your words are very insightful and you've got me to thinking. I've been thinking a lot about the people on this site, more than you know, and in my reflection I have come to realize that I am like an intruder invading your "home" and I am sorry. I will stick around and learn from everyone, and do so a little more quietly -- for now:)

You did however mention the name calling and the snide remarks by a few individuals, in which you are one. The name calling is because when individuals cannot debate the issues at hand, they attack the person rather than concede that a good point has been made. How sad. You my friend have made some good points however and I am grateful. But remember, I am true to my word and I will hang out a little more quietly and continue to learn.

Trudy, sadly you also are correct about many people on this site not being accepted by mainstream Christianity, and some are witnessing and for them it's a "call". I'm not getting nasting, please understand that, I'm just saying that perhaps if your Christian experience was better you would not be on this site yourself. Like I previously mentioned, I stumbled on this site by pure accident two weeks ago and now I'm hanging out.

Think of it this way: I am a big Pittsburgh sportsfan. Since I can remember I have never liked the Cleveland Browns -- no self-respecting Steelers fan would. In the 90's, the owner of the Browns moved the team to Baltimore and for three years the NFL did not have a Cleveland franchise. It was then that I realized I actually liked the Browns, for they make life so much more interesting. So it is with having Christians on this site. Many people on this site would be truly bored if it were not for some Christians hanging around and making life interesting. All the best!!!

trudy said...

Doug wrote: "I will stick around and learn from everyone, and do so a little more quietly -- for now:)"

But you didn't Doug, you continued with...

Doug wrote: "Trudy, sadly you also are correct about many people on this site not being accepted by mainstream Christianity, and some are witnessing and for them it's a "call". I'm not getting nasting, please understand that, I'm just saying that perhaps if your Christian experience was better you would not be on this site yourself."

What the hell...if my christian experience was better? There is no such thing. Christianity is abusive in it's foundation, there is no "better" abuse.

I'm on this site because there are people like me who live in reality.

Doug wrote: "Like I previously mentioned, I stumbled on this site by pure accident two weeks ago and now I'm hanging out."

Why don't you hang out with your own kind? You're obviously not here to recover from christianity, your here to spread the abuse.

-Trudy

doug said...

Shhh, I'm being quiet.

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