Never Going Back

sent in by Nvrgoingbk

I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God. I was adopted at three months old into a Catholic family and I remember watching the story of Jesus on television at Christmas time. It broke my heart that he was crucified and treated so poorly when all he did was love us. Catholic statues were common around my home as were the repetitive prayers we said every night but never understood. My parents were not particularly religious. They were what I would consider soft secularists. They believed what they believed, but they didn't force it down our throats. They were hypocrites when it served them. We didn't frequent mass too often. We attended on Christmas and Easter and there was a brief period we attended regularly, but it was short lived. Sitting through mass was agonizing for me: All of the kneeling and standing, all of the prearranged services. Still, as I said before, my family was not particularly religious, so it was easy to not give Jesus and God much thought throughout my childhood years.

I was the only adopted family member. My older brother and younger sister were both the biological children of my adoptive parents. My brother liked to play with my pee-pee. He was five years older than me. I was about nine when it began and thirteen when I ended it by confessing to my school counselor and resource officer. I had never enjoyed a close relationship with my adoptive mother. She was a very controlling and abusive woman. My behavior had been adversely affected by the sexual abuse of my brother so by the time my parents found out about the abuse I had already established myself as a lying, thieving, whore. My family refused to believe my accusations and made sure to inform Child Protective Services that I was nothing but a trouble maker who had a history of compulsive lying. CPS wrote me off as a storyteller and left me in the home. I was thirteen. By the time I was fourteen I started running away. My parents decided to drop me off at a Christian children's home hoping that an Xtian influence would change me.

This was my first experience with "born again" Christians. The house parents were thirty years old with three children of their own. I was fourteen and beautiful and the house mother was very insecure. She hated me and made me know it. I recall an incident where she screamed in my face and spewed all kinds of venomous, religious poison at me and warned me of the horrors of Hell. I was at church with them one Sunday and listened to a sermon preached about how the world was supposed to end on Sept. 13. Well, it was the Sunday before Sept. 13 and the pastor gave the usual alter call and I ran up there sobbing. I sure didn't want to go that horrible place! My house parents were thrilled and gave me my first Bible. Reading it was like reading another language altogether. It was pointless. I only lived there three months before I was successful at getting my heathen self expelled from that loving Christian group home.

I continued to have discipline problems. I landed myself in Indiana Girls School Department of Corrections. I spent a long time there and was the only resident there who never received a visit from family or anyone else for that matter the whole time I was there. That was okay since I didn't like them much anyway. The only people from the outside world that I saw were the missionaries that would come and conduct Bible studies with us. Those ladies were so nice, I thought. Somehow, I don't remember when or how, I just came to believe their testimony of Jesus and how he could save me from my sins. I came to believe that the Bible was the word of God and I began to attend Chapel and pray and love Jesus with all my heart. Born-agains think it important to be able to cite the day of one's conversion, but I don't have a monumental "aha!" moment to rehash here. I just somehow came to believe and that was good enough for me.

For years I held on to those beliefs. I was a constant "backslider" ,but I never let go of my belief that Jesus was the perfect son of God that died for the sins of the world and was the only way to be saved. I would only marry someone I knew to be a believer and so I did. We had my son from a previous relationship and had two daughters of our own. We had a happy family and attended church often. My husband and I tried to have couple's devotionals and I have raised my children to love and fear God all their lives. My marriage did not survive and I attributed it to the fact that we hadn't been living Godly enough lives and that now God was punishing me. Oh how I would beg God to bring my husband back! Oh how I would beg God to change me into a good enough wife! For two years I kept the door open to reconciliation with him. I saw other people, but my husband knew that I would welcome him home if he were to decide to leave his mistress. Eventually I let go of that dream and I met another Christian man. My husband and I were legally divorced and I could love again without guilt. While my husband and I were married, a friend of mine had opened my eyes to the fact that Christians are guilty of paganism and she exposed the lie of the "rapture". I studied it exhaustively and came to the same conclusion, but it wasn't enough to make me leave my Christian roots. It wasn't until I met this new man that the foundation of my faith really began to crumble.

Nick was serious about God. For two years I sacrificed everything I could to show him how much I was willing to come under the authority of God and him as the head of our relationship. I was betrothed to him and considered myself as good as married without the paper. We never had sex; I gave up friends, smoking pot, etc. I allowed my children to love him and he even called them his own. I soon began to feel convicted about loving him and our impending marriage. I searched the scriptures and many other sources for freedom to remarry but could find no such freedom. The more I read the scriptures, the more strict I found the rule of no remarriage to be. I couldn't understand why God would send me to Hell for loving Nick when my first husband didn't want me and had abandoned me and his children for another woman. Why would he want a thirty-year-old mother of three to wait around for her ex-husband who has shown no desire to ever reconcile? I couldn't imagine how a love so beautiful as the one I knew with Nicolas could ever be considered "sin". I was tormented night and day by this and at times felt I would have a nervous breakdown. I entertained thoughts of suicide often. I would torment Nick. There was no relief until I finally just had to ignore Jesus' warning in Matthew and find happiness with Nick. The more I tried to go on though, the less I could ignore other troublesome scriptures in the Bible. I began to question things more and more. I had been a Christian a lot longer than Nick. He was very zealous for the Lord and had not yet begun to scrutinize his beliefs and the Bible. I had passed the stage of childlike faith that he had and could not ignore the inaccuracies, atrocities, etc., that seemed to plague the Bible. It was devastating for him. He wanted a good Christian girl, but I couldn't play the part. He was convinced that Atheist means A-moral and would not let me come between him and God. I wasn't even an Atheist yet! I still believed that Jesus was the savior and all; I just questioned all the other shit. It wasn't until Nicolas broke up with me for the zillionth time and it was really over for us that I began a diligent search for the truth into the origins of the Hebrews, the Christian faith, and the Bible. I already knew of Constantine and the changes that came to the Xtian religion through the Roman govt., but I knew nothing of the Zoroastrians and how much they influenced the Hebrew way of thinking. I knew nothing of the other "gods" who had supposedly been born of virgins, performed miracles, were crucified and raised three days later. I had never heard of Mithras. I knew nothing of the Epic of Gilgamesh and how its story of a world wide flood was almost 500 years older than that of Noah's flood. I had no idea that the Hebrews weren't monotheistic before they were influenced by the Zoroastrians nor did they believe in Satan, a hierarchy of angels and demons, heaven or hell. I had always wondered why Hell was even taught in the church when the Old Testament said little to nothing about it and God had told Adam and Eve that the punishment for their sin in the garden was DEATH not HELL, but I was so damned indoctrinated with fear that I was too afraid to leave Christianity.

I started college at thirty two (Jan of this year). I began to learn so much through the Humanities, World Religion and Ethics. It fed my hunger for knowledge and truth even more and continued to validate my doubts about the Christian faith and the beliefs I had held so dear but had systematically kept me in bondage at the same time. I wrote a ten page paper for my World Religion class this last summer semester. It was on why so many people were leaving the Christian faith. The three reasons I cited were, hypocrisy, the denominational splits, and biblical inaccuracies. My professor was Catholic. I got a 100 on the paper!

I wish that I could say I have found peace in my new found "unbelief". I have not found freedom in that regard. My de-conversion is fairly new compared to my years of brainwashed Christianity. It's a very lonely road to trod. All of my friends were Christians. I have told my ex-husband of my de-conversion and my sister. My best friend also knows and is devastated for me. My sister will continue to pray for me. Her and my best friend is convinced I will come back around and that this is just a phase. My thirteen-year-old son is superior in intelligence and so I have begun to reveal some of the problems in the Bible and with the Christian faith. It is sad for him to lose faith, but he told me that because I have established a foundation of trust with him he knows that I would not tell him something that were a lie and that if I have come to this conclusion, I have obviously studied a lot and come to it through much thought and research and would not knowingly lead him astray. I asked him why he had believed me about Jesus before and he said for the same reason. He knew I would never lie to him and if I had told him that Jesus was the son of God that it must be true. I told him at three years old that there was no Santa Claus. I never wanted him believing in fairy tales and I still don't. I don't tell my daughters. They are only six and seven years old. Their paternal grandmother and her husband are charismatic Christians. They are very involved grandparents and I don't want to cause dissention for them and my daughters. They love their grandparents. Right now I fear they are too young to deal with this earth shattering truth. I don't lie to them about Jesus or God. I just allow them to believe for now, because I don't know how to approach this with them.

I wish that someone would wake me up and tell me that it's all been a bad dream. I wish they'd prove to me that Christianity is real, but Christians can't even agree to the tenets of their own faith. The interdenominational wars continue and the arguing is so loud that they can't hear those of us screaming at the top of our lungs asking for answers. You'd think that if the salvation of one's soul was dependent upon the tenets of the Christian faith that Christians would agree upon what it really takes to be saved. You'd think that if serving God was so important and the Bible was the inerrant, God inspired book it is claimed to be that Christians would agree as to how best serve this God.

I am trying to redefine myself, but it's hard. That's human nature, ya know? We all want to belong to a group of people who believe the way we do even if that group of people have negative connotations attached to a name such as Atheist. I can't really call myself an atheist though. I think that to make a claim such as "There is no God" is just as audacious as to claim that there is only one way to God. As long as we are attached to these mortal frames we will not know what, if any, god exists. The Bible claims that for now we see dimly but that one day we will all see clearly. That is a morsel of truth my mind can accept. Thank you all for listening to me

Port Richey
FL
Pasco Co.
USA
How old were you when you became a Christian? :16
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian?: 32
Was: Baptist, Pentecostal, assemblies of God, non-denominational...
Now: Agnostic
Converted because: I became a Christian because I loved the idea of Jesus, a perfect, loving, man-god that would die for me
De-converted because: Because I honor truth above all
email: Tiffanieradcliffe AT yahoo DOT com

32 comments:

BoyGod666 said...

NvrGoingBk,

Great conversion story and welcome to the ranks of non believers.

I would like to straighten out a misconception that you and many others have.

"Theism" is a belief in god or gods of any sort. "A-theism" is the opposite of that, or a lack of belief in god or gods. That's it. Anyone who has no belief (or is witholding judgement) waiting for a proof of god(s), is an atheist. Under this definition, children before indoctrination, "agnostics", and people who simply have no belief are atheists. David Eller discusses this quite well in his book, "Natural Atheism"

Now, to be sure, there are really two arguments for atheism. The one above is called the "weak" argument. Under it, a nonreligious person can be an atheist without calling themselves one.

The second one is called the "strong" argument. This argument holds that any "god" with characteristics cannot exist. This means once you give a god concept characteristics (like omnipotence, omniscience, etc) it can be proven false. It is important to say that you must first define the characteristics of a god or gods before they can be disproven. As you point out in your essay, one cannot just claim knowledge that there is definitively no god any more than one can claim that there are no unicorns, leprechans, or Santa Claus. These things could exist, we just haven't seen proof yet. However, once you start giving these imaginary things characteristics it becomes easier and easier to disprove their existance. For example, once you claim that Santa Claus travels the world in one night giving billions of gifts to Christian boys and girls who have been "good" and that he goes up and down chimnies and that he lives at the north pole and that he has flying reindeer, and on and on, it serves up a belief that can be logically deconstructed fairly easily. On the other hand, if you just say, "God exists" and you refuse to further define "God" no one can disprove that statement any more than one could disprove the statment that "Igglesnorts exist." There must be a definition before it can be disproven. George Smith in his excellent book "A Critique of God" gives the logic needed to blast out any meaningful definition of God. Dan Barker in his easy-to-read book "Losing Faith in Faith" gives a well focused argument against the possibility of the Bible God existing.

Finally, the simplest method of argument for an atheist is the two word, "prove it" argument. If I claim there are unicorns, the onus of proof is on me to prove that these fantastic creatures exist, not on you to prove that they don't exist.

SOrry for the long post, but I have been running into a lot of people who have this view of atheists and I thought it worth defining.

Again, welcome to the ranks of non believers.

Anonymous said...

If you still believe in the possibility of a "God", perhaps Deism might suit you better. Deists believe in a creator based on reason through the evidence of creation, not on religion through the God of the bible or any other so called holy book. Deists do not believe in a personal relationship with a "God" who interacts in the lives of humanity, but rather an acknowledgement of an impersonal creator who stepped back and allows the universe and everything in it to function naturally.

Dano said...

Sent in by Nvrgoingbk.
"I am trying to redefine myself, but it's hard. That's human nature, ya know? We all want to belong to a group of people who believe the way we do even if that group of people have negative connotations attached to a name such as Atheist. I can't really call myself an atheist though. I think that to make a claim such as "There is no God" is just as audacious as to claim that there is only one way to God. As long as we are attached to these mortal frames we will not know what, if any, god exists. The Bible claims that for now we see dimly but that one day we will all see clearly. That is a morsel of truth my mind can accept. Thank you all for listening to me"

Dan says,
The strangest thing that has occurred to me is that we don't need to call ourselves anything. It isn't necessary to put any labels on our selves except Homo Sapiens, and the problem with trying to be scientific about it is this: We are always changing. Some of us are Thinking men and women, some of us are not, and a few think more than the others, and some think very little.

The best thing is to just face each new day with a determination that you are going to be the best, happiest, strongest, healthiest, sexiest, smartest, "NVRGOINGBK" that you can be each day, and realize that some days you will succeed and some days you won't.

Those days that you do get better, will give you the "Joy of life" you will need to try again the next day.

Dan (Agnosticrationalisthumanisthedonist)

Lee said...

Never,

your story is brimming with sadness and pathos. I read it with a tremendously saddeded heart, seeing the victimization of yet another person by the psychologically damaging christian ideals: fear breeds control, control breeds faith.

Your story is not the only one, though that is probably no consolation for you. There are, indeed, MANY people such as yourself, caught in the rut of guilt and fear that christianity so purposefully and effectively places you in...you can't move forward because of the fear and guilt, and going back is barely an option. There will be moments when the desperation seems so intense, that going back to that life may seem a comforting option. Think of that last sentence: going back to a life of uncertainty, fear, guilt and hypocrisy seems COMFORTING...anything to be part of a group of caring, feeling human beings again.

But, please, for your own sake and sanity, resist the temptation, for lack of a better phrase, to re-engage yourself. There are plenty of people out there who find no guilt or shame in shedding the skin of religion. In fact, as college may teach you, there are even people there, who (GASP!) may not have EVER had the burden of religion upon them. College was, for MANY people, the first diverse atmosphere they may have had, and it behooves you to stay there and TAKE IT ALL IN :)

I think you will, in the future, be able to lift that pall of guilt and the feeling of being lost. Getting out there and seeing what the world has to offer, including the wonderful new path you've chosen at a university, is the beginnings of loosening the bonds.

Good luck with everything, and remember, you're NOT alone...we're a website away!

Lee

Anonymous said...

Nvrgoingbk:

what a brave post, I congratulate you on you honesty and quest for the truth and dedication to it. You are eloquent and moving; and I feel for you and understand the conflict in your soul. I had the opposite pull! I went from being a home-grown atheist to a questioning one, and attended church at 40, and read all the books I could read at Barnes and Noble, and dated a wonderful evangelist man. We all have to soul-search, it seems. It's part of being human and becoming fulfilled, and understanding your true self.

I know how lonely it is because unlike Christians there are very few baby atheists, and when I was growing up, it was a taboo subject. I was very very lonely.

I'm wondering if there is an email board at your university where you could post anonymously to find like-minded x-tian's. Maybe you could start a group, because it's so much better to meet people in person who have your mindset than to discuss it online with strangers, even if we are compassionate and supportive.

Naomi

Ian said...

Nvrgoingbk,

I went through something similar to what you're going through right now where you feel lonely, uncertian and don't know what to do. You can read about it here (http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2006/06/its-like-cancer.html).

You are not alone in feeling low after leaving christianity. It took me two years to fully de-convert and get on my new path in life! It takes time to adjust, but it IS possible to do it! If I can do it, you can do it too!

I am one of the regular readers at this site that still believes in God, just not bible-god, who I see to be a construction of humans. Just because you're an ex-christian doesn't mean you can't believe in God. I'm more spiritual now then I ever was when I was a christian, and my life is better in all aspects as well.

If I can get through the fear, uncertianty and all around ickyness of leaving christianity, you can as well! Yes, the road is hard, very hard at time, but when you get through it, you'll feel better then you ever have before. The important thing is to just keep going, don't stop, and know that you'll get through it!

Lorena said...

Wow Nvrgoingbk, you have a very touching story! And you are a very strong person, too.

I wish we lived close by. I am pretty sure we could be friends.

I also found my loss of faith difficult. Good luck on re-making your life--it takes a while but it can be done, or so I've been told.

FreeMax said...

Greetings NVR!

What a moving and courageous story. I applaud your strength and congatulate you on your endeavors to continue your education and liberate yourself from the shackles of christian dogma.

As time goes by and you progress with your enlightening research, you will continue to feel less guilty and you will luxuriate in your feeling of freeness.

I consider myself a secular humanist (atheist, of course) and we secular humanists believe that we conduct our lives with the idea that we do so in ways that minimize harm to our fellow human beings. Now that to me is moral...not the absolute morality espoused by bible god of the christians.

Just knowing this and realizing that this is the only life we get empowers me every day to enjoy life and to try to treat people with respect and kindness. Not an easy task sometimes but well worth the effort in order to make this world a more habitable place.

Again, I applaud your strength and wish for you much happiness and peace in your newfound freedom

Cheers, Max

emptycan said...

Hi, NvrGoingBk.

I would like to suggest to explore the Zen Buddhism although I never suggest you to become a buddhist.

I am not a buddhist, but i have a little knowlege of it. It seems to me humane, logical, peaceful and enlightening, which are much different from xnity. Above all, there is no god in (Zen)Buddhism who wants endlessly people's recognition and worship. There is only yourself.

Please don't misunderstand that I am trying to make any person buddhist (I am emphasizing this to avoid being misunderstood). No. That is never my intention. I just guess it is worthwhile for you to know some of it and may give you the peace of mind you are seriously looking for.

I frankly think buddhism is a more than good, if not best, religion although I have no intention of becoming a buddhism believer because I don't like any relgion. I just like some of the zen buddhist teachings and meditations. I guess you also maybe like it because you look like having a restless mind for truth.


("Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity" A widely cited, but spurious quotation attributed to Albert Einstein http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism.htm)

nvrgoingbk said...

Thankyou all for your kind words and warm welcomes. It's true that i don't know how to define myself at this point, but i am willing to humble myself to the point of saying that i don't know what i don't know. As i said before, i don't know what, if any, God exists, but i'm damned certain that if one does, it is not the Christian God.

I still feel like my toes are dangling over the abyss of Hell. Brain washing takes a long time to overcome. My rational mind rejects such atrocious thinking as what the Bible demands we adhere to, but my emotional side is wrought with fear and that ole familiar: "What if it's true?"

Still, I can never go back. My search for truth may be a life long endeavor, but through the process of elimination I can say with near confidence that the truth is not to be found within the covers of a Bible. I no longer have to account for all of the errors in it. I no longer have to defend in my mind such atrocitities as the slaughter of infants, women, and the elderly. I no longer have to torment over just what it takes to be saved and compare Pauline doctrine to that of the book of James. I no longer have to sit in the pew of a church on the Constantines Sabbath Day (Sun.) trying to ignore that sick feeling in my stomach everytime i hear a preaching on the "rapture" or "Hell", and I no longer have to watch the hypocrisy of Christians who take the "Word of God" literally and yet still erect those damned pine trees every December despite what the book of Jeremiah says about it. I no longer have to go around with a shit eating grin on my face, pretending to "have the victory" when inside I'm dying. I no longer have to wonder why all those other Christians seem to get it except me.

What i find comical is that Christians think they have the monopoly on truth; they think that the teachings of Jesus are somehow unique to them when the teachings of Buddha and Confucious are almost identical and much older. Why is it that people can't do the right thing JUST BECAUSE? Why is it that Christians can't show good will toward others just because we are all fellow voyagers on this ship bound to Somewhere and need eachother's help? Why is it that they can't love others without being forced to by some make-believe God? Why do they need the motivation of Heavenly reward to show compassion?

I have to keep myself from vomitting in my mouth everytime i hear a Christian talk about "the love of God." I have to keep myself from riotous laughing everytime I hear a Christian talk about themselves being non-judgmental, and most of all, I have to keep myself from knocking their block off everytime I hear them tell me that they love me. The very fact that they teach a doctrine of Hell negates "the love of God", nonjudgmentalism, and the illusion that they love me. The very fact that their Bible tells me that they will one day rejoice in my being burned in Hell forever plus infinity, plus eternity negates anything they say before or after the word Hell!

I know you can all detect my anger and resentment with Christianity. I'm angry that for so many years I begged God to come talk to me even if it was only in my dreams. I am angry that I tormented myself for so long wondering for sixteen years if God really loved me and if i was really saved (since the Bible makes it so f*cking clear, of course!) I am angry, because I was once one of those self righteous Christians who wagged my finger at those dirty birdie heathens who were all going to Hell with Ghandi, Buddha, Mother Theresa (she's Catholic so of course she's going to Hell, right?) and all the people of the world who just couldn't accept the bullshit the Bible tried to force them to accept. What the hell is the difference between a Muslim holding a gun to someones head with the threat of death or torture if they don't convert and a Christian holding a Bible to someone's head telling them that if they don't convert they will burn in a fiery abyss? The Christians go on and on about the love of God and yet as Jesus proclaimed: they go out to make converts of others and make them more children of Hell then themselves!

Christianity and the Bible just don't stand up to scrutiny. If something doesn't smell right we don't eat it, but we all continued to digest the foulness of Christianity until it nearly killed us. The doctrine of Hell alone should be the expired label on the Biblical food warning us to chuck it, but millions still force it down and what's worse is that they feed it to others! Sure, i know that most of them don't realize they are perpetuating a lie. I realize that they think they are doing a service to others by warning them of the dangers of Hell.

There are things that i miss about Christianity. I miss being able to thank a particular God for His creation. I miss being able to ask Him for help and thinking that if things worked out the way I asked that He answered my prayers and if they didn't...well, He must have a good reason for it. I miss the Contemporary Christian songs on the radio. I still listen to them sometimes in the car mostly for my daughters' sake and especially when the popular radio station is playing inappropriate lyrics. I miss songs like: "I Can Only Imagine" and "Cry Out to Jesus" I miss the old Irish hymn, "Be Thou My Vision". There are always comforting things about a cult or else we wouldn't stay in them so long. There are always elements of peace and fear in cults. They are what keeps us coming back for so long.

As always, i have rambled on. Thankyou all for tolerating my rantings. I look forward to much more stimulating dialouge between myself and my new friends. I wish we could all get together with pillows, bunny slippers, mud masks and a fat doobie (some would prefer coffee or a shot. I'm an equal oppurtunist so make believe what ever you want) Anyway, as I was saying...I wish we could all get together and just exhale. Many of you have already had the chance to exhale. I'm still holding my breath. -------Thank you all for once again for tolerating my musings. "God bless you" or whatever. ;-)

jim earl said...

Nvrgoingbk, thanks for a wonderful read of your life. Wow. You picked a perfect name. Stay true to it and you will have no regrets. Like many here, I walked in your shoes with the nagging thought of "what if the church is right?" With a need for truth in my life, I prodded on until I could say as Carl Sagen did: "Why believe when you can KNOW." Today I am happier than I ever was in my 30+ years of church going and believing. Today I KNOW and have no need for belief. Continue the search for truth and one day you will walk in my shoes. BTW, they are very comfortable. Cheers!

emptycan said...

Hi, nvrgoingbk,

The below comment of you seems amazingly well written, expressive, and powerful.

My respect to your journey and courage for the real truth.

Be the REAL peace with you.



Below:

nvrgoingbk wrote:

Thankyou all for your kind words and warm welcomes. It's true that i don't know how to define myself at this point, but i am willing to humble myself to the point of saying that i don't know what i don't know. As i said before, i don't know what, if any, God exists, but i'm damned certain that if one does, it is not the Christian God.

I still feel like my toes are dangling over the abyss of Hell. Brain washing takes a long time to overcome. My rational mind rejects such atrocious thinking as what the Bible demands we adhere to, but my emotional side is wrought with fear and that ole familiar: "What if it's true?"

Still, I can never go back. My search for truth may be a life long endeavor, but through the process of elimination I can say with near confidence that the truth is not to be found within the covers of a Bible. I no longer have to account for all of the errors in it. I no longer have to defend in my mind such atrocitities as the slaughter of infants, women, and the elderly. I no longer have to torment over just what it takes to be saved and compare Pauline doctrine to that of the book of James. I no longer have to sit in the pew of a church on the Constantines Sabbath Day (Sun.) trying to ignore that sick feeling in my stomach everytime i hear a preaching on the "rapture" or "Hell", and I no longer have to watch the hypocrisy of Christians who take the "Word of God" literally and yet still erect those damned pine trees every December despite what the book of Jeremiah says about it. I no longer have to go around with a shit eating grin on my face, pretending to "have the victory" when inside I'm dying. I no longer have to wonder why all those other Christians seem to get it except me.

What i find comical is that Christians think they have the monopoly on truth; they think that the teachings of Jesus are somehow unique to them when the teachings of Buddha and Confucious are almost identical and much older. Why is it that people can't do the right thing JUST BECAUSE? Why is it that Christians can't show good will toward others just because we are all fellow voyagers on this ship bound to Somewhere and need eachother's help? Why is it that they can't love others without being forced to by some make-believe God? Why do they need the motivation of Heavenly reward to show compassion?

I have to keep myself from vomitting in my mouth everytime i hear a Christian talk about "the love of God." I have to keep myself from riotous laughing everytime I hear a Christian talk about themselves being non-judgmental, and most of all, I have to keep myself from knocking their block off everytime I hear them tell me that they love me. The very fact that they teach a doctrine of Hell negates "the love of God", nonjudgmentalism, and the illusion that they love me. The very fact that their Bible tells me that they will one day rejoice in my being burned in Hell forever plus infinity, plus eternity negates anything they say before or after the word Hell!

I know you can all detect my anger and resentment with Christianity. I'm angry that for so many years I begged God to come talk to me even if it was only in my dreams. I am angry that I tormented myself for so long wondering for sixteen years if God really loved me and if i was really saved (since the Bible makes it so f*cking clear, of course!) I am angry, because I was once one of those self righteous Christians who wagged my finger at those dirty birdie heathens who were all going to Hell with Ghandi, Buddha, Mother Theresa (she's Catholic so of course she's going to Hell, right?) and all the people of the world who just couldn't accept the bullshit the Bible tried to force them to accept. What the hell is the difference between a Muslim holding a gun to someones head with the threat of death or torture if they don't convert and a Christian holding a Bible to someone's head telling them that if they don't convert they will burn in a fiery abyss? The Christians go on and on about the love of God and yet as Jesus proclaimed: they go out to make converts of others and make them more children of Hell then themselves!

Christianity and the Bible just don't stand up to scrutiny. If something doesn't smell right we don't eat it, but we all continued to digest the foulness of Christianity until it nearly killed us. The doctrine of Hell alone should be the expired label on the Biblical food warning us to chuck it, but millions still force it down and what's worse is that they feed it to others! Sure, i know that most of them don't realize they are perpetuating a lie. I realize that they think they are doing a service to others by warning them of the dangers of Hell.

There are things that i miss about Christianity. I miss being able to thank a particular God for His creation. I miss being able to ask Him for help and thinking that if things worked out the way I asked that He answered my prayers and if they didn't...well, He must have a good reason for it. I miss the Contemporary Christian songs on the radio. I still listen to them sometimes in the car mostly for my daughters' sake and especially when the popular radio station is playing inappropriate lyrics. I miss songs like: "I Can Only Imagine" and "Cry Out to Jesus" I miss the old Irish hymn, "Be Thou My Vision". There are always comforting things about a cult or else we wouldn't stay in them so long. There are always elements of peace and fear in cults. They are what keeps us coming back for so long.

As always, i have rambled on. Thankyou all for tolerating my rantings. I look forward to much more stimulating dialouge between myself and my new friends. I wish we could all get together with pillows, bunny slippers, mud masks and a fat doobie (some would prefer coffee or a shot. I'm an equal oppurtunist so make believe what ever you want) Anyway, as I was saying...I wish we could all get together and just exhale. Many of you have already had the chance to exhale. I'm still holding my breath. -------Thank you all for once again for tolerating my musings. "God bless you" or whatever. ;-)

muttmutt1978 said...

I hate to be rude but if you honor the truth above all, then you whould tell your children christianity is a lie and stop using grandparents as an excuse not to.

freedy said...

I was thinking last night about how much I spent yearly on tithes and offerings, gas to church and back,(6 to 8 times a week,..I was involved in lay ministery for 20 years). I came to a strange,but true conclusion,..it was about the same amount I spent on drugs,alcohol,cigarettes etc.,...
about 8 to 10 thousand yearly!
I no longer drink hard,smoke or do drugs,..nor do I involve myself in any religious activity,...I am saving around $10,000 a year.
WOW, This money I can spend on my four children !

By the way has anyone been watching Doyle Davidson lately(Water of Life Ministry)?This guy is totally losing it on the air,..he's going freakin nuts right on t.v..It is very entertaining,...you got to see it! Channel 55 at 9:00 every night in Dallas, Texas area. (I am watching him on d.v.r. right now,...it's freakin great!),.this guy is definately seriously mentally ill!
He said last night"that god was getting ready to kill all wicked believers,(backsliders and doubters),...another words,.."US".
I guess this site won't be here much longer,...sorry webmaster!l.o.l.

Stager said...

NvrGoingBk:

I feel your pain - I am of the deconverted myself. I was so angry with the Church for its lies that I started writing a book about it... this process has helped significantly in the healing process, and I hope, when it is published, that it will do the same for millions (14% of American, baby!).

I, like the previous poster, have an issue with you not telling your daughter that it is all bunk. There are, of course, better ways to say this, but do you want her to go through the same pain that you did? I think that's the ultimate question - would you rather bring her up in a caring, intelligent environment, or have to discover the truth by herself... truth that she may resent you for later down the line? If you love her, care for her, show her that you are fair and reasonable, then her loss in faith now will be far less pain than in the future. It is obviously a difficult position, because you are still hurting from the revelation, but it is something I would give a great deal of thought to.

Yours in compassionate brotherhood,
Josh

(Also an atheist... but, as a previous poster said, there are some GREAT Buddhist tenants out there).

Lorena said...

I am with the buddhist proponents.In fact, I haven't even studied the religion at all. But I do yoga and meditation, which are buddhist things. I find the stuff is religion-independent and good for my health and my emotions.

I didn't do any of that when I was a fundy christian, for as you know, that stuff is suppossed to be "satanic."

Bentley said...

Freedy the air waves are full of the quacks around here. We have one that calls him and his wife Prophet and Prophetess and he'll stop talking and suddenly get interupted by a messeage from God and then keep going and suddenly get another messege, like god is spurting out messeges to him....lol this fool is funnier than hee haw.

Then we have another that calls himself Apostle Bill something another, I can't stand about 1/2 sec of that idiot, as long as these fools keep it up, religion will be laughed out of the US maybe in about ten years. I hope, human sickness at it's best....lol
TC, Ben

Bentley said...

Lorena, My meditation practices brought me out of religion, made me start to see reality, you may want to reconsider meditation, since I'm one of the most disliked posters by christians on here...lol
Love you girl!!! TC Ben

Lorena said...

Ben,

They say marijuana produces the same effect as meditation. Yet another non-religious practice available to us. Ha!

Just kidding.

Never Going Back said...

Okay Muggs: i understand why it would seem hypocritical of me to not tell my daughters the truth, but this new revelation of mine is only a couple of months old. It was a slow process that took a period of years. I didn't just wake up one day and have the rug pulled out from under me. My children deserve the same opportunity to become slowly used to it. We ex-christians can not be so insensitive as to run around now making the Xtians our enemy and assuming it's our job to "tell it like it is". In the spirit of gentleness we should approach the issue. There are many Xtians out there who genuinely try to follow Jesus and hold dear to their beliefs. Certainly there is a time to get our boxing gloves on, but we can't go around giving everyone a black eye from our right hook of "truth". This is the proper forum for us to vent to eachother, but we have to proceed with caution when it comes to debating or debunking religion with people. This site is a sort of support group for exchristians, but what happens in ExChristians Anonymous should stay in ExChristians Anonymous in a sense. I am the one who has listened to my seven year old so many times pray to a God she loves when she didn't know I was listening. For her, she has no religion. She just knows that Jesus loves her and she loves him back. She believes that she has a relationship with him and it's VERY important for me to step back and try to get used to the idea myself. I am still trying to digest this inescapable truth myself. For me, leaving my religion has been emotionally and psychologically violent. For my daughter Olivia, it would be the same. When I brought up their grandparents it was to explain that this is not something i can take lightly when there are other people involved who have a profound influence on my daughters and are the only extended family they have on a regular basis. Ex-christians must take care not to become as the cult we have come out of.

Thank you Jim Earl and EmptyCan for your compliments. I suppose minoring in journalism and majoring in law is the right path for me. You have validated me. Thank you again.

AS for looking into Buddhism: I am familiar with their beliefs and practices and do find some of them attractive, but for now, I think I'll give myself some time to absorb all of this. Marijuana is all the religion I need for now. Wink wink ;-)

Lorena said...

NvrGoingBk,

I like your last post, as well as the others. It shows that you are ready to do things in your way and on your time.

Doing things when "it feels right" has worked really well for me, as it seems to be working for you.

The facts that you won't be preaching to your daughters any more or reinforcing any beliefs they may have seems plenty for now.

Good luck!

Ian said...

NvrGoingBk

I see myself in your lengthy response that basically bashed fundamentalist christianity. I have been there myself and as the others are saying, you CAN fully break away and adjust to a non-christian lifestyle.

I also liked your comment about "why can't christians go out and help?" Today when driving home I saw a man with a flat tire driving painfully slow down the street. I parked my car, hopped out and jogged over to ask if he needed help. I diddn't do it to try and please God. I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do, and that it is a good thing to try and help your fellow humans.

If you're having a lot of difficulty, I would recommend the book "Leaving the fold", which is a guide for those leaving thier religion. I read it recently and could not put it down! It has so much useful information and advice on helping you adapt to a non-religious lifestyle that it has helped me out greatly, especially with the inner child method. You can get it at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1879237512/sr=8-2/qid=1154151267/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-9552210-2821462?ie=UTF8), or at a library. Either way, it is well worth it.

As a last note, I want to mention near death experiences. While other readers have commented that they believe NDE's are meerly hallucinations (and they have the right to believe that), I have found them to be the most useful things i've ever read. NDE's are most responsible for my deconversion from christianity to a more simple, spiritual life that is better then my old christian lifestyle. While there may be many different NDE's, the most common points they give are:

1. Life is about improving yourself.
2. Life is about learning to love yourself and others unconditionally.
3. Life is about helping others.

You may also find this page helpful (http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research06.html). I am a moderator of the near-death forum (http://neardeath.ipbhost.com/) and we may be able to help you out, as we've done with other members. Even if you don't believe in NDE's, I think the messages they give are more simple and more profound then the ones found in christian dogma.

By the way, sorry if I sound like an NDE salesman, but they helped me out greatly and they may be able to help you. I like to try and pass on what works for me in life.

Either way, you do have resources at your disposal. Seek them and use them! You CAN and you WILL get through this! We've done it, and so can you!

nvrgoingbk said...

To Ian:

Yes, I would have to agree with you that NDE's are worth giving a thoughtful glance at. My best friend (the one who is devestated for me) is 62 years old. It's a strange relationship. We are thirty years apart and i am a woman but it has worked for years. Anyway, he loves Jesus with all of his heart, but what i find interesting is that he had a near death experience some thirty years ago. It was profound for him and i've grilled him about details, because it's such an amazing concept to me. I don't for a minute think that he's lying or that anyone else is when they describe their near death experiences. I'm sure there are some, but most people who report NDE's are shaken and moved forever by their NDE. Now the reason i bring up my friend's NDE is because, interestingly enough, Jesus was not there nor Buddha nor Yahweh. There was an entity that spoke to him but that he did not see whom he recognized as a Supreme Being, but it never identified Itself.

Another point to note is that people all around the world report having these NDE's and do not all see Jesus. People in the East tend to see what they have been brought up to believe. Now i don't know if that would make NDE's just a Psychological Illusion. It could be that at death we are shown what we believed in life, because Whoever or Whatever is out there wants to make the transition easier for us and reveals Itself in a familiar way to us so as not to shock us to death (pun intended).

Now here's something worth considering as well:
What do you have to say about the NDE's that report of going to Hell and are given a warning for the rest of us and scare the shit out of the patient forever? I would love to hear your opinion on this since you have obviously studied this topic alot more than I.

Thanks for the website. I was surfing the net the other day looking for good sites but didn't come across any. I'll check it out. I'd love to read that book as well.

I can't express my gratitude for all of you and for this site enough. I can't tell you how many times i cried out to "God" begging for answers or the times i have cried myself to sleep in the dark begging him to visit me in my dreams. I remember laying in the bathtub one day sobbing and telling Him that Christianity just didn't make sense. I just kept saying that over and over. Dave offers us an invaluable service. Thank Whomever that we have a place to go for support. The world is mostly a religious place. Most Americans claim to be Christians even if they don't consider themselves Evangelical. The Bible claims that many will say in that day "Lord, Lord" but that he will respond: "Away from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you" I find it ironic that so many profess to be Christians when Jesus claimed it was a small minority that would even make it. According to the statistics though, we Atheists are the ones in the minority. Narrow is the road right? Christians claim they are hated and persecuted in this country. ARe they serious? Have they never read the book "Jesus Freaks?" by DC Talk and Voice of the Martyrs? They don't know what persecution is. That's the reason for their make believe "rapture". No one wants to suffer and their loving God sure wouldn't leave them here during end times to suffer all of those horrible things, right? Yet how do they explain women in Sudan having their breast cut off so that their baby will starve simply because they wont bow down to Allah? That is persecution! American Christians are pathetic. Not all of them but most of them. At least Christians around the world know real persecution and have a right to talk about it. Americans have a "Christian" president, Christian programming, freedom of speech, Churches on every friggen corner......I actually saw a priest and a pastor on Fox News yesterday via satellite discussing whether or not the current crisis in Israel is indicitive of the End Times. It's "imminent" they say. They've been saying that for 2000 years. Shucks, Jesus even thought it would happen during his disciples' lifetime. Ah well, I'll stop there for now. No more ranting for this morning. My anger is with the lie not with those who are unknowingly perpetuating it.

Tootles for now. Love ya all --- Never Going Back (By the way, my real name is Tiffanie)

Piprus said...

Hi, Tiffanie/nvrgoingbk:

I'm a little late getting in here, but welcome to the community, and thanks for sharing your experience. It must be difficult to recount the painful experiences. I think you'll find a lot of support here as you explore new ways to look at life, outside of the xian domain. There are oodles of links to resources in the library here, and lots of places elsewhere on the net. Enjoy the journey. Check out the forums here, too. Always interesting. As a new escapee from the bonds of xianity, you'll want to reinforce that. As you do, you will become stronger and more grounded in your freedom. All the best to you.

nvrgoingbk said...

Just a note to say that I checked out the website on NDE's that Ian suggested and it's very interesting on both an intellectual and emotional level. Others should check it out. They have stories of Athiests like Carl Jung, the world renoun Psychiatrist, having NDE's. There are too many stories to count. Thanks Ian

boomSLANG said...

Ian: "While there may be many different NDE's, the most common points they give are:

1. Life is about improving yourself.
2. Life is about learning to love yourself and others unconditionally.
3. Life is about helping others."

First, I'll say that it's great if an "NDE" helped someone, anyone, to realize points 1-3, above. On the other hand, one needn't be *almost* dead, nor do they need to foster the notion that life "goes on" after death, to learn these key points. Yes, for some, all one needs is some "life experience".

Another observation: Things like "cause" and "experience" are things that take place temporally. To have self-awareness atemporally(infinitely...i.e. "forever in the clouds with God") is not only a contradiction, but it would serve zero purpose. The notion that death means the complete cessation of the "self"..i.e. "thought; self-awareness" is the simplest and most logical explanation for a good reason. Occam's razor comes to mind.


Sadly, for many, there's a life-time of fuss, worry, and logic-suspending all for something they won't even experience. "Death".

Take care.

xrayman said...

Hey Nvrgoingback,
I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends to Christianity last year. He will no longer speak to me because I am not a member of his cult. I figured I owed it to myself to find the truth. I was one who rode the fence right down the middle between belief and non belief. I tried so hard to find God so many times, but it just never happened. Part of me was very scared because I never could truly find God, and therefore was doomed. Well fortunately I stummbled upon the real truth by coming to the web site often and also reading some great books. I now feel so fucking free. I think my subconscious mind knew all along religion was bullshit.
I have two kids 12 and 16. I tell them it is up to them to discover their own truth about religion. I am completely honest with my non belief to them, but I would welcome them to go to church if they so desire(but they are not getting a ride from me LOL). Hopefully I can fully convince them of the truth, so as adults they are free from the burdon of any religion. Then they can live their lives for themselves and other humans, not some imaginary man in the sky.

Never Going Back said...

Yep Xray, I know what it feels like to lose someone to religion. My friend Kess is already a Christian and a comforting aspect of our friendship has always been our shared faith in Jesus and God. Now that I am free, he is convinced that I am lost unless I come back to the fold. He said the other day that I am making it hard for him to continue to be my friend. I told him that it is a sad fact since he would be the one ostracizing me and not the other way around. I'm not the one putting ultimatums on the table. My exboyfriend Nick had warned me that if I even tried to contact him he would call the police and this was comming from an ex-felon! I've never been to prison! I've never had Child Protective Services take my children from me. I've never assaulted anyone. I try and abide by the laws of the land and raised my children to know God. I waited for Nicolas for two years and was faithful even though I wasn't "getting any." I was still a Christian the whole time we were together, but i was just never good enough no matter what sacrifices i was willing to make. A real Christian woman wouldn't do this or that or wear this or that or act like this or that or do this or that or believe this or that. F*ck that! It was that relationship that helped free me from the shackles of religion. That relationship was like mental rape and although I didn't know it at the time, it was the beginning of enlightenment for me. I am still angry with Christianity because Nick was only doing and believing what he was programmed to do. He believed we were "unequally yoked." He felt he had to choose between me and God. I can't compete with a make-believe God.

xrayman said...

Yes it is unbelievable to me that our friends can do this in the name of the religion of "Uncondititonal Love." Gary and I were friends since we were seven. In adulthood we shared the bond of both being recovering alcoholics. We were like brothers. He still maintained our friendship many years after his born again experience, but something happened a couple of years ago that took his beliefs and behavior to the next level. He married a lady from his church who decided he wasn't to associate with any of his old friends if they weren't followers of their particualr Jesus cult. I find it ironic since the woman is supposed to obey the man, not the other way around. It still just blows me away that we are no longer friends because of the Christian religion. I just doesn't make sense. Religion has fried my friend's brain worse than the drugs or alcohol ever did. I am still angered and saddend at times by the loss of a great friendship. From someone who could never find religion, I just don't get how seemingly normal non-religious guy could ever get sucked in so far.

Never Going Back said...

Good for you Xray for giving up the bottle, shot glass, or whatever! I'm an ex-alot of things! I am not however, nor do I ever suspect I will be, an ex-pot head. Old habits die hard. I figure, it's the old doobie or the "good" drugs that my doctor prescribes me. Anything that comes in pill form scares me. Now give me something home grown, and I'm good to go.

I'm sorry you have had to lose a dear friend to Christianity. What had you ever done but love your friend? What did you do to deserve to be abandoned? Nothing other than not believe the way he did! That is our crime. That is our sin. The sin of UNBELIEF. What a crock of dung!

Anonymous said...

Wow what an invigorating thread. Tiffanie, congratulations a million times over and you should write a book. I have to say I'm blown away by this conversation, it's keeping me up on a Sunday night when I should be in bed. As I've already said before, I'm an atheist home-bred, and to face christianity and the obsessive crowd control massiveness of it when I was the only one who didn't believe was scary as hell. Took me a long long time to figure out that it was okay to be me (I'm still figuring it out. Why are so many of my close friends fundamentalists?? Did they sense my ambivalence and move in for the kill?) I second on the slumber party with the bunny slippers and whatever else. I'd be up for a nice horror movie myself!
Naomi

Never Going Back said...

To Naomi:
Yep,yep! I'm up for a good horror flick too. I love em! I've been told that I should write a book before. The Bible claims that God will confirm things through two or three witnesses. I guess you are about my twentieth. I don't need a Bible to fall on my head to get my attention. Nope. I can take a hint! I'm going to call my book, "A Little Off" What do you think? I'm sure it's what most of thinkers felt like growing up.

I'm sorry that you grew up feeling so afraid to be yourself. I am only now experiencing what you did your whole life. It is most certainly a lonely road. It's ironic that it's only now, after coming out of a religion that talks so much about love, that I am finally beginning to like myself. I used to feel guilty for liking myself. Christians are taught to self hate but then are taught to "love your neighbor as you love yourself" Christians aren't taught how to love themselves so how can they love anyone else? We aren't allowed to take ANY of the credit for our accomplishments. We must give ALL of the glory to God! If we are a star athlete we gotta make sure we give the glory to God for our hard work on the field. If we are a R&B Artist who sings about "Bitches and Hoes" we gotta make sure we give glory to God when we win that Grammy. Shucks we aren't even allowed to take credit for our faith since that comes from God too. If a Christian does something kind, it is because of God. If they have stopped using drugs, it is because of God. BUT if they do something bad, it is because of that WHASKLY DEVIL!

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