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.


Cambridge
England
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

34 comments:

ThinkSmart said...

Alan:
We each have over 60,000 miles of wiring in our little brains and each wiring pattern is some what different than the other person's. These differences is what brings about creativity as well as conflict, and in a group, can contribute to significant problem solving processes. The danger is that we often find differences to be an opportunity to "fight". You experience with the delayed anger compared to the one who left the "faith" in anger are due to not only neurological wiring, your own experiences in life, and other factors, but where you are/were in life at that point in time.

Believing in a god is not a strange thing, particularly if you were "uneducated" and living in the Stone Age. How do you explain all of these phenomena we experience in life? Recently I listened to a strong believing person exhort that the Katrina event in New Orleans (USA) was due to Jesus – setting the disadvantaged free to recover with new homes. We know that the right to kill people, whether it is in Iraq or other places, is the order of god – whether you are Islamic or Christian. And, what can we do if god told us to do it? You can’t argue with god.

Anger comes from being “duped” – being led to believe something that is not only incomplete or “not fact”, but taking the position of certainty. “I know this is right!” It is hard to have a conversation with someone who is “right” because “god told me!” You have no place to go. That makes me, and many others furious! Now, you may be correct in your assumption or judgment about something, but maybe it is because you are astute, study the situation carefully, have significant experience in the subject, or know more than I know about the subject – but are you right because the deity informed you?

Personally I think there is a lot of anger in people who believe in the religious beliefs, but it is not an anger that they are aware of. But, it does erupt in ways that are not “friendly” to human collaboration or working together. Unfortunately religious belief and the certainty that often goes with it create arrogance, such as we have seen in the United States in recent years (not all people, but the presentation of our positions to others). We don’t need to have a conversation with an Iranian leader because we are “certain”. We know we should have gone to war and “killed” as well as be “killed”. We are proud of that! At the same time when you listen to the fundamentalist Islamic believer you will hear that they have a right and an order to kill those who don’t believe or work with them. Of course not all Christians or all Islam followers have this attitude. We are in a time, however, of fundamentalism that is pervading the world and the different belief systems. It is the despair struggle to be “right”, “certain”, have the truth, and to “hold on” to the certainty of their heritages.

What is so interesting in all of this, of course, is the big question: if there is a god who made this world and created its members, why does god want them to kill each other off? And, as the Christina community says, if god “loves” one could note that god’s love does some very strange things.

Anger can be healthy or destructive. Anger can be informative. Anger can be a fear driven experience – possibly a fear that you are wrong in “not-believing”. Or, anger could be a sense of “shame” or “embarrassment” that you at one time “believed that shit!” Anger could come from the sense of the destructiveness you see around you from such a belief system.

One interesting factor about religion that does contribute to a positive side is the ability of a shared belief system in establishing a community. It is not the only way to establish a community, of course, but the Totem Pole of the religious community carries values and characteristics that are cherish – such as fellowship, responsibility, sharing, caring, etc. Some people may need that, I suppose. It is sad, however, that the only way that some can see a way to establish that is through the absurdity of the religious belief systems. And, the most absurd is the idea that “my religious beliefs are right and yours are totally wrong!” Is this our need for power and control?

Hope you continue your journey and are able to help others with this important struggle. Religion is not going to go away in my time or yours – or maybe never, who knows. Hopefully it will be more “tame” if we are to continue to keep our global community healthy and alive.

JIM

Anonymous said...

Alan,

I mirror you in the way that I've gotten angrier against Christianity as time has gone on... and I think it's because I see how they live now... duped into believing what they believe, living their lives according to the rules of this book... a book that was written at a time when superstition, a lack of scientific understanding, and belief in the supernatural were all running rampant. You would think that today, in this day and age, we would have reached some point of enlightenment... but sadly, it is clear to me that isn't the case.

I see it in examples all over the place. Like the Dover case where the "new" and "scientific" theory of Intelligent Design was being mentioned to high school students. The board members single out evolution as a theory with gaps and that alternative theories should be considered... never mind that ALL scientific theories have gaps. Are we going to explore the alternative possibilities to a heliocentric solar system? Are we going to insist that stickers declaring that, "the idea that the earth revolves around the sun is a theory, not a fact, and should be critically considered?"

I see it when people speak out against gay marriage and claim they are merely trying to "protect the sanctity of marriage". What a crock.

I see it when stem cell research is curbed by our government.

And it doesn't just center around Christianity. I see it in Iraq when suicide bombers blow themselves up in the middle of a crowd in the name of Allah.

Over and over and over I see how Christianity and religion in general is the source of all evil. And it angers me that the world just goes on that way, doing things the way they think their god wants things to be done. It is absolutely infuriating.

Now that my blood pressure is up, I think I'll go have a drink. :) If what I've said makes some sense to you, then at the very least, know that you're not alone!

Alex

Jim said...

Hi Alan. You are not alone. My deconversion from Christianity was not an easy one as "My Testimony" reveals on my web page. However as time passes on I now loath and detest Christianity for the way it controls the human psyche. This religion like most others manipulates people with its lies and fraudulent attitudes. It manipulates governments, as many government leaders have been conned into this belief system since childhood. It instills hatred and bigotry and is the root cause of most of the wars that have been and still are in progress. If one looks at current events in war torn countries today you will find "Aid Workers." These aid workers fullfill another role as well as providing aid and that role is to Christianise others, so the brainwash continues. In my opinion all religions on the face of the earth need to be abolished for peace to ever have a chance of acheiving success. Cheers All. Jim Lee

xrayman said...

Hey Alan Chrisianity has fueled serious anger within me aslo. I was never gullable enough to completely fall for it myself(I once believed in God but never the organized bullshit), but I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends to the Jesus cult. I fucking hate the fact that his mind is totally controled by the church and he is now pretty much dead to me, because he won't speak to me unless I too convert. We were friends since we were seven and came of age together like brothers. I can't believe this very intellegent college educated man fell for it hook line and sinker. How does this shit happen?

barb said...

Hey Alan,

Thanks for sharing. I agree, that once you get a perspective on what X-insanity actually is capable of doing, you get angry.

I remember being 13, 14 years old, crying and praying for my mother's salvation. She would be doomed to hell because she had not said the sinner's prayer. Meanwhile, she, at close to 60 years of age, worked from early morning until 11 pm with little or no help from her "Christian" kids.

So I'm pissed on two levels, that the church taught me that mom was going to hell, and, that the church neglected the specifics on how to "honor" your parents. If I'd folded a couple loads of laundry or helped make dinner, I would have done a much greater service to Mom than my praying ever did. (She's gone now, 15 years, and I still miss her every day. Wonderful woman. Agnostic. Raised 8 kids on very little money with a less-than-adequate husband. But, she did see me marry happily, and she saw me free of the cult.)

Sorry, too big a tangent I think.

In one thread of the forums I'd asked if people's "politix" had gone way left after leaving, and it seemed that many had gone lefty. To me, the most disturbing things the church perpetuates is the demonization of gays and lesbians, and the control they want to have over wombs. To a lesser extent, the notion that X-ians have a right to be wealthy and ignore the needs of the poor (those NASTY mega-churches generally the chief drug-pushers of that vile odiousness- is that a word, don't know).

The more I know, the more I see politicians give virtual blowjobs to the X-ian right (and vice-versa, of course), and that makes me angry. Together, they are leading many many many sheep to believe in a future of 1950, the "good old days."

Which is fine, if you're not non-white, gay, poor, under-educated, mentally ill or retarded, or a woman (sure I left out someone but you get the gist).

So, yes, Alan, I'm angry too. I volunteered last year for the anti-gay-discrimination referendum here in Maine (US), and the Christian Civic league worked hard to repeal the legislation. Christians working hard to make sure that it's ok to deny a gay person a job? All I can say, quietly, is, "what would jesus do," and there is no answer. Pathetic. I'm a better christian than the Christians.

Thanks again,
-Barb

Mike said...

I often get angry at how stupid xians can be. It's as though reality is staring them in the face, but they can't--or won't--acknowledge it. I'm amazed when I hear otherwise intelligent people start a sentence with, "Well, because of my religious beliefs, I think..." No! Because of your religious beliefs, you don't think!

At best, I feel like an anthopologist living among some backward tribe. Their primitive belief system amuses me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan, Jim, et. al.,

I so agree!! I have worked in the church for 15 years as a musician. I grew up Catholic, sort of, I've never been really religious and my family is cool. But I recently started playing in a conservative church, and it's very difficult. I've gotten angrier and angrier and angrier at Christians, since my eyes are being opened at just how damaging their beliefs and actions can be. I can't think about gay rights, environmentalism, sexual liberty, abortion, creationism, without starting to hyperventilate, so I'm going to stop now. Keep up the good fight!

Jim had such a thoughtful response, I have nothing else to add.

Smokey (the lone atheist in a fundie church)

Edward T. Babinski said...

Al,
I'm not a big fan of religion any more than you are, but since you mentioned your blood pressure rising, I just thought I'd add that I view my experiences as a young fundamentalist as a learning experience, and something I have built upon as I continue to read and study and learn more about life the universe and everything.

And though the beliefs I
suckled-on in the past may not have been the best, things might have turned out far worse, either religiously (if someone had, say, convinced me to bomb abortion clinics, or fly planes into towers) or even secularly speaking (if someone had convinced me to never convert in the first place but instead get psychologically or physically addicted to virtual reality games, drugs, alcohol or strip clubs). So things could have been worse.

I also view my former addiction to religious certitude as part of a broader gain in understanding who all human beings are, namely, the walking wounded. Everybody's got wounds from their childhood and youth that they have to learn to carry with them, everybody.

It also helps me to keep any anger in perspective by noting that there are far more problems and troubles with the world that could make your bloodpressure rise (if you contemplated them all) than just organized creedal religions. Just read the latest edition of When Corporations Rule the World, or study the way females are treated world-wide, when compared with how males are treated in both religious and secular socieites. If anyone has the most to gripe about in the world today it's females. Or study dangers to the environment or to the entire planet from cosmic close shaves. So one could obessess about a heap of matters, all with the potential of raising a person's bloodpressure. And I'm not even including all of the mundane secular personal individual psychologically devastating dissappointments that each person is prone to suffer in their lives.

Have you watched much stand-up comedy? Turning anger into healing laughter and wisdom is a form of alchemy that only the finest comedians can perform of course. Eddie Izzard's Glorious concert on DVD is worth a peek in that regard, as is Ricky Gervais' Animals concert on DVD since it has a great bit about the Garden of Eden and the snake in it. There's also Twain, Voltaire, Vonnegut, and even the "Freethunk" cartoons on the web that you can google by name. And there's full length satirical or comic movies like Dogma, or, Saved, or, even a video version of "Kissing Hank's Ass" online.

Also there's the calming effect of reading philosophy, both western and eastern like Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching. It's terrific.

Or the fun little book of playful dark wisdom, titled, Daily Afflictions (a play on the "Daily Affirmations" types of books).

Or how about the following bits of wisdom:

Do not return evil to your adversary; Requite with kindness the one who does evil to you,
Maintain justice for your enemy, Be friendly to your enemy.

Akkadian Councils of Wisdom (from the ancient Babylonian civilization that existed two millennia before Jesus was born) in Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts
____________________________

May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I never devise evil against any man; if any devise evil against me, may I escape without the need of hurting him.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none.
When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are wroth with one another.
May I, to the extent of my power, give all needful help to all who are in want.
May I never fail a friend in danger.
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.

The Prayer of Eusebius, written by a 1st-century pagan, as quoted in Gilbert Murray, Five Stages of Greek Religion. (Incorrectly attributed on the web to a 3rd-century Christian also named “Eusebius,” but this was a 1st-century pagan philosopher’s prayer. See Professor Murray’s book.)
____________________________

I will be as careful for you as I should be for myself in the same need.

Calypso, to Odysseus, in Homer, The Odyssey, Book 5, verses 184-91. (Roughly late 8th century BCE.)
____________________________

Shame on him who strikes, greater shame on him who strikes back. Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us. Let us therefore overcome anger by kindness, evil by good, falsehood by truth. Do not hurt others in ways that would be hurtful to yourself.

Buddhist wisdom (written centuries before Jesus was born)
____________________________

MORE BUDDHIST WISDOM

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

The Dhammapada
____________________________

It is forbidden to decry other [religious] sects; the true believer gives honor to whatever in them is worthy of honor.

Decree of Asoka, famed Buddhist king of India
____________________________

Return love for hatred. Otherwise, when a great hatred is reconciled, some of it will surely remain. How can this end in goodness? Therefore the sage holds to the left hand of an agreement but does not expect what the other holder ought to do. Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Whoever is self-centered cannot have the love of others.

Taoist wisdom (written centuries before Jesus was born)
____________________________

That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.

Islamic holy teaching (Sukhanan-i-Muhammad, 63)
____________________________

People were Christian before Christ ever existed. People were humanistic before humanism was ever organized. People were loving before LSD was ever discovered.

Timothy Leary, as quoted by Paul Krassner, “The Cynic Route from Crazy SANE to Loving Haight,” The Realist, 1967

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lastly, even among religious believers there's two kinds, those who strive primarily to "keep people out of hell," and, those who strive primarily to "keep hell out of people." The latter group ain't so bad.

barb said...

Just remembering too the nasty sort of nationalism that preceded WWII.

Isn't that the same as X-ianity?

It isn't enough that we think we're better-- we must either convert or crush you. A sort of political fundamentalism.

WTF is wrong with live and let live...

Finally, a short rant.

barb said...

Beg pardon, I meant (short rant) from ME--since my rants can be long and rambling. Not meant to be pejorative toward other rants, which, though long, are much more coherent and on-topic than mine. Thanks.

Dave said...

I deconverted 36 years ago. I also was more or less fairly calm about my experience and the wasted time, maybe because I was more into the whole thing because that's where the hot girls were when I was that age.

Later in life, maybe 10 years ago I started to feel some anger about the Christian movement. The first time I remember feeling that anger, I was in Lisbon, Portugal on vacation. My wife, who is still Christian, dragged me to various churches for the "historical" value. At one of the churches, there was a carving of Jesus. Some poor slob (slave) spent the better part of his life carving this stupid thing out of wood at the urging of the stupid priests. All the Christians thought this was absolutely wonderful that this poor slob dedicated his life to this. All I could feel was outrage that these blood sucking priests got this poor bastard to waste his life on this carving of Christ.

Over the last several years, I've feel more and more disgust at the way this religion sucks the life out of people and tries to keep people ignorant of anything other than their "reality".

Perry said...

If I nurture any anger, it's more directed towards the waste and screwed up lives of those embroiled in religious bigotry & phantasy.

Organised religion is the most widespread, longest-running and most successful confidence trick in the history of humanity.

freedy said...

Hows this for anger,....In 1983 when I was "SAVED!!",.. I was told to destroy my demonic rock albums,.
many were collectors additions. I also destroyed all the music of all the rock bands I played in.
I then spent 20 years playing sappy / crappy worship music in the church.
I am very angry of the time talent and effort wasted on a bigoted self-rigtheous cult called christianity!
Just keeping it real,..freedy

Ian said...

If I have any anger towards christianity, it's towards how it divides the world into "us and them" categories.

"We're saved and you're not!"
"We're going to heaven and you're not!"
"Christ will save us and you will be condemmned!"

I don't approve of how christianity categorizes peope into saved and unsaved, christian and damned.

I work at a library and there are many books out there to help christians in dating, lifestyles, what's good for christians in mass media, etc. that all reinforce the idea of "us and them".

Plus, the sayings of how i'm damned to hell for not accepting Christ add to it as well.

I am personally trying to heal my anger towards religion, but it takes time.

tigg13 said...

One of my biggest hot-buttons is the way some christians will casually dismiss me or my point of view with a simple "Well, you weren't really a christian.", or "You should have tried harder - you gave up too soon.", or "You should read the bible again and this time REALLY think about what it says".

Their arrogance and disrespect for me is only amplified by their obvious ignorance. Add to this the frustration of trying to communicate with someone who absolutely refuses to hear anything but what they want to hear (because to do otherwise would be an unpardonable sin) and both my volume and my blood pressure reach unhealthy levels.

But, then I remind myself (and everyone else in the room) that these people are brainless sheep clinging cowardessly to a hateful and oppressive religion born of bigotry, violence and guilt.

Then I feel much better:).

Dano said...

tigg13 wrote:
".....Their arrogance and disrespect for me is only amplified by their obvious ignorance......"

They are arrogant because they believe their emotional attachment to their mystical belief system, makes them superior to you.

We (Non believers) tend to be arrogant because our rational minds won't let us believe in such. We, with the superior thinking ability, should be the ones to take the high road, and feel pity for them, not anger!, because: "But for the grace of God, there go I"

...or to put it another way; IF it weren't for the fact that my fathers DNA, combined with my mothers DNA, produced me, with a superior thinking ability, and a more developed sense of skepticism, I could be a simple minded fool also.

Dan (Skepticalrationalisthumanistagnostic)

xrayman said...
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xrayman said...

Freedy, I mentioned losing a great friend to the Jesus cult earlier. He too was convinced it was best to destroy his vast music collection. I was just fucking beside myself when he told me he did that. His album collection was very dear to him before the brainwashing occurred. It makes me so mad that mortal men can control the minds and actions of other mortal men through religion. Once my friend was convinced the Bible was the truth. It was all over. Of course where does it say that rock music is the work of the devil?

Another thing that pissed me off so much about my friend when we were still speaking is the way he would arrogantly say "Christ" is the "ONLY" way to salvation. All other religions on earth were damned. When I would ask him how he knew this for sure, he would always qoute the babble.

5/27/2006 7:50 AM

Anonymous said...

I get angry at the 13 years that I spent being "saved" and the increasing bizzare things I did to prove to God/Jesus how commited I was to loving and serving him as I had been brainwashed to do including:
- giving so much of my money to tax-exempt and non-tax paying pastors as I was a full tither.
- throwing away all my Steely Dan albums becuase they were "worldly"
- getting rid of my tv becuase that too was being too attached to the world
- quitting my nice, high paying job to go to seminary to serve God
(only to last 1 week figuring out that even they were not teaching the bible anymore)
- not dating becuase that would be selfish and misleading. I was told to wait for the first kiss on the altar to really please God.

I am sure there are more but I am realizing just how much seperating myself from the world turned me into a crackpot and only hurt myself - not the friends and family I was trying to save through my personal testimony of holiness.
Yes, I am angry and bitter.
These are years I cannot get back and decisions I cannot undo.
I gave up so many things I enjoyed doing because "christians dont do that" like going to the casino with my dad. Just yesterday he and I went and I bet for the first time in 13 years and God didnt strike me dead for my rebellious sin.
I know I can only move forward
but its not so easy.
I am sure only more of this will come to mind over time.
Thanks for listening

GoneNsane said...

What burns me up is their arrogance coupled with hypocrisy. "We are better than you because we know the Absolute Truth of the universe and you don't." Then they go off and nurse their internet porn addiction or spread rumors to hurt someone or molest children. Yeah, Christianity sure makes people morally superior.

Piprus said...

Alan,

I can well understand why your anger seems to well up now. In the decades since I abandoned xtianity, I've seen the emergence of so-called "Christian reconstructionists", the move of evangelicals to highjack the Republican party, the promulgation of pseudoscience like "creation science" and "young earth" proponents, and Christians in America playing pell-mell into the hands of right-wing fascists. That's what angers me, that America, built on libertarian principles, is in danger of morphing into a pseudo-theocracy like Iran. If the Xtians would be content to huddle in their churches and stay to themselves, I wouldn't care. But when they feel compelled to impose their silly superstitions on rational people in the belief that that would somehow please their giant hobgoblin of a god, that makes me want to fight them. I'm not angry at Xtianity, that's just a nonsensical belief system. I'm angry at the arrogance of believers.

LadySidhe said...

I too, deconverted because of an intellectual reason, and I, too, have found that, while I wasn't angry at the beginning, I am beginning to get more and more annoyed with christianity as time goes by.

However, for me, I think it's because of the fundamentalist furor that's been spreading, especially with Bush in office. It seems like every time I turn around, some fundamentalist group is trying to ban this or that lifestyle because they don't agree with it, or trying to get laws passed to criminalize behavior that is harmless, but with which they don't agree.

Religion is getting more and more involved with politics, as if it has a right to be there, and quite frankly, it's pissing me off.

I'm a live-and-let-live kind of person. I'll argue religion all day if someone wants to, but I don't take it personally, and when it's done, I don't care whether the person I've been arguing with agrees with me or not. I don't try to force my beliefs on anyone, and the fact that the Crazy Christians(tm) are trying to legislate their brand of morality, I think, is at the root of my anger.

So, while our reasoning is different, I kinda know how you feel with regards to the loss of freedom and the waste of time.

LadySidhe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FaceBat said...

Same here. I was a born-again Christian from age 12 to 15 & a half (I attended a Christian Private School for grades 7-9). I think those three years (the beginning of my adolescence, no less) spent absorbed in Christianity, stunted me for life. I'm 42 now & though I've tried to release it & put it all behind me, I still feel resentment (largely towards myself) that I gave those years to Christianity. When I entered public school for 10th grade, I gave a speech for English class in which I persuaded people who had previously been pro-choice to become anti-abortion (it's a long story); within two years, I was pro-choice & have been ever since...I still haven't lived it down that I swayed people in the opposite direction just before the spell of Christianity wore off. And I still get really pissed when confronted with Christian morality these days. I'm particularly upset that Christian morality is so pervasive in our society, even among non-religious people (who, I suppose, simply consider it "being normal"). Your anger IS righteous: The pervasiveness of Christianity in our society is evil & unfair; I'm angry about it too & I consider myself "a good guy".

Marie said...

As long as life's breath resides in man, we are always moving in some direction.

It is no suprise that years after deconversion you have grown in anger against "churchianity".

We are ever changing and becoming, as it were, more like the images we behold.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alan,
All I can tell you is that I was raised in Calvinism, that my deconversion has taken a long gradual path, and that my anger has not gone away. I am angry because christianity breaks so many hearts, because kids are threatened with hell, because the church looks the other way when men abuse women and children. If there was a non-religious organization that did the same things, the outrage would be front page news. My anger is a sign that I am a thinking feeling human being who possesses a conscience. So far as I can tell, christianity has no conscience. And christian leaders train members of the flock to beat their consciences into submission. So welcome to humanity. I have managed to learn to direct my anger in healthy ways. I think that a conscious human cannot help but be outraged at the abuse done in the name of god. Good luck on your journey.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the annoyance at the complicitly willful ignorance, palpable hyprocrisy as well as the pervasiveness and infiltration into politics. Yep, these all piss me off big-time.

One area that really has my attention is the fact that my partner and I have been contemplating a move to a more rural/'country' area of California and had our eyes opened to what appears to be a religious 'player' who may very well be taking advantage of 'faith based' government support in the form of new property developments as well as a rural population who 'looks up to' religious 'leaders' in their community.

Well, we went on an exploratory visit and what we found was that this area mimicked a place where a good friend of ours happens to live in Virginia that is equally rural. The real estate broker was a professing Christian and while neither of us said anything one way or the other upon responding to him through a Yahoo.com link and eventually met, the most appalling thing about touring property with him in an area we knew little about and which to us 'city folk' appeared to have some really 'seedy' characters was we shortly began to feel that we were being screened by this agent for 'membership' in his Christian town because everything about his presentation was about Jesus and finding the right property(following our meeting our emails from him contained more property information along with Bible quotes. Almost a form of putting up a sign that says 'Move Here Only If Fundamentalist Seventh Day Adventist or Charismatic Christian') A neighboring town is larger and definitely more developed complete with city offices but he kept on dissuading us about considering that town and his reasons had to do with religion! I'm sure the California Department of Real Estate would have had a field day and suspended his license for several of his comments (some racial too) as well as his failure to disclose some information that we uncovered about city planning for the area that would have and will add substantially to the costs of living there. When we brought it up, he got rather angry and quickly catching himself, went on to gloss over it that he had in fact recently heard about it. I wonder if his real estate company has much of a clue as to his behavior since it is a moderately sized company with offices all over California and he lives about a couple of hours drive from what would be his home office. None of his fellow real estate agents or brokers have a hint of religiosity about them on their personal link page from the main site and what's really peculiar, he has all of the listings for three cities in that area of northern California! I truly doubt that the California Department of Real Estate http://www.dre.ca.gov will ever shop him because he is in a rather remote area of the state. The other thing is, my sense is that he is capitalizing on the whole Jesus thing to the tune of several million dollars in real estate and new housing development projects for that area because the folks in that area, at least the majority of them seem to be a close community of church people and he has a prior background working as a counseling psychologist for the State. Also, he probably has more than enough government support, he even boasted that his partnership up there has hired all Christian contractors (hint:likely faith based funding for the projects.)

We went home, we did more research, we have found that rural areas according to census and demographers based on zip code 'match' in terms of the types of populations who live in them. We feel the more rural the area, the more fundamentalists there will be so all cityfolk considering a move 'to the country' realize that what you are trading in terms of culture will be from a city where most folks are college educated to a rural and 'poorer' area where the main 'education' is church and where the alpha-business male person will be an obvious hypocrite playing to the choir while 'stealing' from the collection plate in more ways than one!

Alan said...

Thank you to everyone who has made the time to comment on my original testimony. It is reassuring that I am not the only one to have had a delayed emotional reaction to the whole Christianity thing. I suspect that some of my anger may well be anger at myself for being gullible enough to fall for it. But at least I am not alone.

One thing I was intending to say in my original post (but forgot) was to comment on the whole "Christianity is a relationship not a religion" thing. If Christianity really was a relationship then we would miss it when we left. After all, we get upset when friendships fail, or when family members lose touch with us. But leaving Christianity was not like that. The part of the brain which creates feelings of relational emotion and attachment simply didn't register that anything had changed. Therefore, it could not have been a real relationship at all.

There is a better term for it, and it is the term "religion."

TruthSeeker said...

Perhaps these are also some off the reasons yr pissed-off!

Consequences of blind faith
What has this dogmatism led to ?
· Burning of early Christian literature for not supporting trumped up dogma's. Original biblical (gnostic) texts which did not substantiate Christian sectarian viewpoints, have so thoroughly been destroyed in the early centuries after the death of Jesus that we have hardly any record left. Moreover the great library of Alexandria, said to have contained half a million volumes, was destroyed by Christian fanatics in 397 AD - one of the severest losses to history ever encountered.
· Persecution of the Jews, who are supposed to have been responsible for the alleged crucifixion of Christ leading up to the holocaust, following Paulinian accusations: ...the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, the Jews who are heedless of God's will and enemies of their fellow-men.... (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). After the reign of emperor Constantine it was considered a crime for a Christian to marry a Jew.
· Persecution of homosexuals, mainly based on St. Paul's condemnation (although it has been speculated that he was a closet one himself. He never married, which was unusual at that time!). Homosexuals have been tortured, castrated and murdered throughout the ages, being condemned by God's supposed word. 'Homosexuals are filled with every kind of injustice, mischief, rapacity, and malice; they are one mass of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and malevolence .., etc. etc. (Romans 1:26-32).
Whereas homosexuals are believed to have contributed as no other sex to the advancement of civilisation percentagewise.
· Condoning of slavery on the basis of some biblical texts (Ephesians 6:5: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling....)
In Leviticus 25:44 Yahweh recommends buying slaves.
· Subordination of women. (1 Corinthians 11:9 For neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.). But in fact until its 14th week all embryos are female. Only in a later stage the male characteritics develop.
· Persecution of heretics, supposed witches and other lamentable members of the community who did not support church dogmatism. Eric Hoffer: "true believers of various hues ....view each other with mortal hatred and are ready to fly at each other's throat...". Heretics were tortured and slaughtered like cattle. Burning at the stake was justified by Matthew 3:10: ...every tree that fails to produce good food is cut down and thrown on the fire.
In 415 AD Hypathia, one of the last scholars to work in the famous library of Alexandria, was seized by Christians who scraped with shells the flesh from his bones and burnt the spillings!
In 1553 the Spanish physician Michael Servetus, who discovered the circulation of blood, was burned at the stake, by order of Calvin, for not believing in the trinity (albeit nowhere mentioned in the gospels).
· Obstructing advancement of science and culture. Great men who made amazing discoveries in science and medicine which might have benefited mankind, were being persecuted and forbidden to make their findings known. Nature need not to be examined as all explanations could be found in the Bible. Inventions were often considered the work of the devil. Discoveries by Leonardo da Vinci remained unknown for centuries. The creativity and constructional skills in building the pyramids were not matched until the 18th century A.D.
Philosopher Bruno was burnt at the stake, Galilei escaped it by lying. The theory of evolution was rejected as it contradicted the book of Genesis. Fossils were argued away as being from satanical creatures from antedelluvian times.
Christianity has so held Western civilization in its grip from the Dark Ages onward, obstructing advancement of liberal thought.
· Teachings of other religions were suppressed. Buddhism, preaching compassion, was practically unknown till the nineteenth century. (See the Oriental Renaissance).
· Blocking development of understanding life based on latest insight and advances in science. In some universities in the Southern states of the USA the theory of evolution may still not be taught. Many of their students believe that the earth was created some six thousand years ago in spite of the huge body of evidence to the contrary.
· Imposing backward biblical notions on themes that could better human living conditions such as birth control and euthanasia. Not to speak of instilling fears for blood and natural bodily outlets as masturbation.
· Disrespect of living beings. Animals, are supposed to have been created to support men. They have been slaughtered as sacrifice to god Yahweh.
· Instilling a perpetual fear of an imminent end of the world. All gospels, epistles of St. Paul and specifically the Apocalypse herald the endtime and the Coming of Christ. This mistaken belief has cost the lives of countless Christians up to this day (Crusades, Jonestown, Heaven's Gate).
· Brainwashing its believers that salvation depends on accepting on faith its incredible myth.
· Belief in original sin instilling a traumatising fear in Christians from childhood onwards. This concept was thought up to account for almighty God making man's life a hell at times. But factually man pays a price for having been evolved from the animal kingdom to his present status. He is the one species capable of self-reflection. Endowed with creative powers and a vision of the Divine, his mind is yet incapable of grasping the why of it all.

Lorena said...

Dear Alan,

If my anger were to materilize as a bomb, I could blow up a whole residential block. That's what a psychologist told me. He also said that my depression was anger based. But, currently, I am more angry at myself for having believed the bullshit that I am at the christian church itself. Perhaps in ten years I will actually hate christianity like you do today.

But I am somewhat angry at the church. I am particularly angry at the self-righteous hypocrites that thought they had the right to tell me how to feel, how to behave,what to do, and what to believe. Boy, do I ever hate them.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,

I am a student who reads Kant, Descartes, and Plato etc. so i can understand to a some extent why their literature is intriguing. They are profound men and their thinking is incredible. Why is it that people assume that God is logical? We don't really understand the way God does things a lot of the time but what is it that makes us think that God can be explained and categorized the way we try to do with everything?

The interesting thing about Jesus is that he can give the most hecticly theological sermon on Christianity but he doesn't? Why? Jesus is not interested in helping just the higher classes, intellectual and clever people in the world. His parables are easy to understand so that even a young child can grasp its meaning and learn from them as well as the uneducated and wise philosophers and teachers. The stories are truly profound in their simplicity.

As for Christians thinking that you 'dropped away' because of moral issues or lack of faith, well i am sorry you came across Christians that behaved offensively and were possibly judgemental. We should not be taking any moral high ground because clearly we make mistakes too. I came across 'a righteous anger' by accident and don't think i will find this site again to see you reply but good luck for the future.

Michelle said...

Truthseeker,

Thanks for your post. You have summarized in a nutshell why christianity is illogical and inherently hateful. My particular pet peeves about christianity include the whole concept of hell and how we are brainwashed into believing and fearing it. Since the time my belief in hell evaporated, I have been a much happier, calmer, and saner person. I think christianity is designed to always keep its followers a little insecure about their own salvation so that they will have a guaranteed lifetime membership. We are living proof that there is life after christianity--and that life is the best its ever been.

Michelle

DH said...

This is an amazing recital of thoughts and emotions;I enjoyed every word. My testimony is elsewhere on this site (February of 2006) and I guess when I wrote it I brushed over my anger issues. Like many others who commented here, I am royally ticked off at the evangelical-Republican liaison that is threatening not only freedom in the U.S. but worldwide. But on a personal level, like some of you, I felt taken advantage of and, frankly, deceived. Nowadays it’s embarrassing to admit that I was hoodwinked by the church, its leaders, its sacred book and silly doctrines. Although I feel I’m a much better person for having worked my way through that, in reality it was all needless and time-wasting. Believe me, there is a much better way to create people of character who examine life with reason. Finally, I was thrilled to see a post above submitted by Edward Babinski. We corresponded many years ago, right after his amazing book was published – “Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists” (Prometheus Books, 1995). I recommend this title to anyone willing to looking into the varieties of ex-christians out there. It’s 462 pages are eye-opening.

GoneNsane said...

"Christianity is a relationship not a religion"

It sure is a relationship--an abusive one. You never know when God is going to get pissed and smack you, so you walk on eggshells trying to be perfect and you beg for mercy when you're not. And the worst part is everybody around you urges you to stay in such an unhealthy situation because they're too scared of life outside their abuser. It's a vicious trap and most of them are not even aware of the dangers of their "relationship" because they can't see outside of it.

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