Untroubled self

Sent in by an agnosto-ette

I’ve never joined an online community or posted to a forum before. I am a good lurker and have been lurking for several months. But this is important enough for me to come out and make my first post…so here goes!

I was raised as a Conservative Baptist and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 7. I would have done it earlier—not because I believed I was a sinner but for a more innocent motivation. I felt sorry for our pastor. At the end of every sermon, with a soft, droning and pleading voice he would ask for someone, anyone, to just “raise their hand”. I was more than happy to comply and raised my hand as often as I could while my mother calmly kept pulling my hand back down. Eventually I reached the ‘age of accountability’, my raised hand was deemed (finally!) acceptable, I was saved and promptly baptized. I did love Jesus (for Yes, Jesus loves me) and so it was.

My young life was a happy one. My happy home life merged seamlessly with my Christian beliefs. My wonderful parents were born-again Christians--devout but not extreme. We attended church every Sunday morning, many Sunday evenings, Tuesday night visitation, Wednesday prayer meeting, VBS etc. (I guess I don’t need to spell out the acronyms here). My mom made the communion bread for the church (it was her homemade pie crust). I remember very clearly at age 8, sitting up in our apple tree overlooking our garden and contemplating my beautiful life and the beautiful world and the reality of God and Jesus who loved me—just as real as my parents who loved me.

So I learned to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. I worked hard on my ‘memory verses’ and enjoyed the felt-board Bible stories of the patriarchs and the adventures of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts—and most importantly—the stories of Jesus. I believed in a literal heaven and a literal hell—but didn’t worry too much about hell because I was a happy and nice and loved little girl. I was a bit of a geeky girl in that I loved science (having become totally smitten with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space program) and had an innate intellectual curiosity and an analytical mind.

At age 13, I developed teenage angst and stopped attending church as frequently. I felt it was boring (remember—our pastor had a soft droning voice). At age 14—after being witnessed to by two cute guys---I rededicated my life to Christ and truly meant it. The two cute guys were Jesus Freaks which was just too cool to me—guys my age, with long hair and ripped bellbottoms who listened to rock and roll and were Christian?! In search of more, I went to a coffee house downtown that was a Jesus People center. So I became a Jesus Freak and pursued my faith with an intensity and passion that was quite real and lasting.

I played gospel piano at the Jesus People center five nights a week. I witnessed my little heart out—to friends, family and complete strangers. In witnessing to a biker, I laid hands on and prayed for a Harley that wouldn’t start—with success! I even ‘witnessed’ to Madelyn Murray O’Hare during a brief elevator ride. The best I could summon was a pointed “Jesus Loves You!” She was unaffected. I attended many, many Bible studies and conferences and read volumes of Christian literature. I sat next to a young man during a prayer circle who was so caught up in the spirit that a big snotty booger blew out his nose and hung there (seemed like an eternity) while he continued to sway and pray. While this has nothing to do with my Christian street-cred, it is one of those things you don’t forget! I was anointed with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues…alot. I prayed fervently for God to heal the sick—though I never really saw anything truly miraculous (I think I was too analytical too see what others saw). I was ‘slain in the spirit’ at a Kathryn Kuhlman revival. My fiancĂ© was coerced into playing the part of Jesus in a ‘street theater’ presentation. On Good Friday, he dragged an 8-foot cross back and forth in front of the department stores downtown. I along with the other ‘sisters’ handed out ‘bloody nails’ (red spray paint) to the shoppers while informing them that “You crucified him”. That one made the front page (after the police let us go).

So I married the man who played Jesus—and we went off to a Christian liberal arts college for a time and for no evil reason except that we were so very young—we divorced. During the same time, my wonderful mother became seriously ill—and died. My wonderful father—lost in grief and loneliness--.married the pastor’s wife (The pastor and his wife had divorced several years before due to his infidelity).

While my mother’s death and my father’s remarriage threw me for a loop (I was only 21), I wasn’t bitter and never even considered blaming God. I had good relationships with my fellow Christians. I did not reject my beliefs—but I slowly stopped attending services, stopped praying and stopped reading the Bible. In my core, I was still the happy, nice and well-loved girl. And I was still a Christian—but not a practicing one.

In a college history of religion class I recognized myself in a chapter about salvation. It discussed the ‘troubled self’—the person with an “ontological sickness, a crisis of identity and meaning”. But further along in the chapter it described me—the “untroubled self”.

“Untroubled personalities….do not endure intense crises of the spirit…Untroubled selves find little in themselves to reject; they do not see themselves as seriously, inescapably flawed. They are optimistic and happy. Life is not experienced as a problem but as an opportunity for celebration. The healthy-minded accept themselves and know that they are accepted by the sacred as well.”

For years I struggled with a simple yet maddening barrier that froze my ability to ask doubting questions about Christianity. My thought barrier went like this: I am intelligent, and that intelligence causes me to ask questions. But if I question the foundations of my faith, I am told to believe that the source of those questions is Satan. I knew it was ridiculous bunk—but it was hard to shake. And I was pretty pissed that I had that bit of “reasoning” about Satan running around in my otherwise clearing head.

I knew I was still saved—though probably backslidden. I was pretty sure I could reject literalism and still be safe. But then, if I read the ‘miracles’ as metaphor then what about the virgin birth—and that is mere pages away from the granddaddy of them all--the death and resurrection of Christ. I knew full well that if I rejected the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible that there was great danger of my rejecting everything.

Often it was easier to just set it all aside and not think about these things—for fear of where it would lead.

It’s so very hard to fathom not being a Christian. One of my friends labeled me a ‘rogue Christian’. Not sure what she meant—other than I don’t attend Church-- but I adopted the label. It let me hang onto being a ‘Christian’ in a way that was palatable to me.

This past year I started homeschooling my teenage sons for good wholesome intellectual reasons. However the homeschool community is largely fundamentalist Christian—especially here in the Bible Belt. I knew I’d need to interact with them to get homeschool support and information. So to prepare myself, I Googled things like ‘backslider’ and ‘unbeliever’ to see what the Christian’s were thinking these days. I skipped right over the Christian fare because I immediately found sites like ‘Losing my Religion.com and ‘Questioning: An Examination of Christian Belief’ and you wonderful people at Ex-Christian.net. I didn’t come up for air for weeks. I read every article and testimony I could. I looked up all the Bible references and...aw shit! There it all was. So I started reading the Bible from Genesis—both in the KJV and the Living Bible to make it easier--and oh, no! God! This is awful! Yahweh is a take-off of a bronze-age warrior King! No wonder he likes glory and worship and judgment and blood lust so much! Ok, ok, but what about Jesus? He fulfilled the law—right? So we can just focus on the New Testament—its much more peaceful and loving there. Shit. I know better. You can’t have Christianity without Yahweh.

So here I am—about 6 months down the road and no longer freaking out, somewhat less angry, rarely still throwing up a prayer (look God! I’m serious! This is it! Are you real or NOT!…..silence) and bouncing somewhere between my sweet, smart, rational self and the demon dogma still lurking in my head. Grrrrrr.

So thanks be to you dear ex-christians—your words are encouraging and help settle my aching head.

Kind regards to you all!

How old were you when you became a christian? 7 then re-dedicated at 14
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 50
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Conservative Baptist, Assemblies of God, Jesus Freak
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? agnosto-ette
Why did you become a christian? Sincere desire to do so
Why did you de-convert? Logic and reason and reading the Bible

Finally! at peace

Sent in by Alexandra

I just wanted to say how wonderful I think this site is, and all others akin to it. It's great that there is a place for those who need support, who might be suffering from traumatic effects caused by spiritual abuse (whether done purposefully or unwittingly).

While I was still in the Christian/religious mind-set, I couldn't have made it past a few sentences on this site as it would've meant that I was entertaining evil. (I had to abstain from all appearances of evil, ya know!? And then there was dividing the word rightly, and having the Holy Spirit, and all that. Well, back then I thought I was well qualified in discerning what was and wasn't evil, in the sight of "my God".)

A bit about my lengthy mental illness (Christian neurosis):

I was born into a very poor, backwoods, uneducated family — immediate and extended — on both sides. So, you see, I knew true evil (ignorance) from the get-go, and was made to "believe" in superstitions — all sorts of superstitions. One, in fact, was that if I committed a particular "wrong" action, then it might mean I'd be responsible for someone's death. That frightened the hell out of me!

I learned things from the Baptist church, from to my father's upbringing, (he was also a member of the local Mason's lodge) and by attending several different varieties of Baptist churches. I also learned some things about the 7th Day Adventists from my mother's earlier life that she’d chosen for herself, along with some witchcraft (of the white magic variety). Now, why on earth should a little one be so confused?! I was told not to ask questions ('cuz you can go to hell and burn for using your brain/mind/logic/reason), and that I wasn't supposed to doubt. For the life of me, now, I don't understand how you can obtain wisdom without doubt.

I didn't have to suffer going to church every time the doors opened. The last time I went, I was around the age of 12. I remember always being very afraid of what I thought, because I knew that the judge in the sky knew my every thought, and that every thought and action I had on earth would be played back on some gigantic movie screen for all the souls in heaven and earth to view. I knew that the judge, my "Father", wouldn't be pleased, and I'd be punished, much, much worse than my biological father had ever punished me. And that was pretty harsh. Throughout all of my childhood and on into my younger adulthood, I was always in fear of being punished. This fear later grew into a panic disorder, which caused me great harm, not only to my mind, but in the minds of those closest to me, and it led to disease in my body, in my opinion. Not that I'm not taking responsibility for this disease, but I see it as that crazy thing called cause and effect.

About the age of 23 or so, I decided to "get right with God.” I read the entire Bible, watched certain TV preachers, but didn't care to ever step foot in a church again. I got lonely being the only kind in our little family of three, so I went in search of a "like-minded in Christ," only to meet more of the same type of people that I'd experienced in those earlier church-goin' days. After several years, I decided to disassociate myself with what was called "Christianity," thinking I understood what the "true word of God" was all about. I turned to Yahwehism. I couldn't be heaped into the category as all the rest of the so-called Christian! What with all the study I put into the literal meanings of certain Greek and Hebrew words, and with all the readings of certain "hidden" "sacred" books, and with wanting to come out of dogma, and with living in and by the spirit of the word — I had acquired some Knowledge (supernatural, that is! wink, wink) — knowledge that led me out of the "wilderness.” I could still have Jesus, my "saviour, my messiah, whose "real" name I came to know as Yahshua. Things changed, prophecies meant something else. I could "see" they meant something else. I had only exchanged one pair of lenses for another pair, and saw things wholly different, of course.

I began to keep the "true" Sabbath (but not as strict as orthodox Jews...I "reasoned" that I didn't have to because of, well, lets just say "special" circumstances), followed certain dietary "laws", worked on making myself "worthy" to keep the Pass-over, learned all the O.T. holy days, had prayer cloths, wore head dresses, etc. All the while, since I first stepped out on my own to "serve" God, I "loved" "HIM" with all my heart, mind and soul — “loved", is the extreme emotional feeling that I had. The way I understood/understand love, is that it is an action, and through such loving action (from the mind/heart), it produces the "feeling/emotion/sensation" of love: the feeling is a byproduct. But oh! that emotion in it's extremeness was delicious (I can kind of taste it now, if I try to put myself back there, but I don't wanna get sucked back in). I always referred to it as a "sweet heartache".

All this "service/devotion/love," this time around, wasn't out of fear of hell. (I'd "reasoned" that one can't die an earthly death and feel "hell fire.” You'd have to have senses to feel anything, and the "loving God" that I came to know wouldn't send ANY soul to eternal torment.) Yes! I "reasoned" that the warring, murdering God of Abraham and David, had a great plan for eternal peace, and it would all come out in the wash. Oh, and I didn't believe in the heaven most frequently depicted in the imaginations of certain believers. I thought that upon death we would just go back to the Source of All peace, and be at peace, for eternity.

I studied to show myself worthy/approved, and my husband told me that I'd study so much, that I'd study myself right out of the faith. (My husband was right!) The questions that rose with my increased knowledge of church history, the deceptions, the doubting of Paul, the tearing apart scriptures, just to make sense of something that was nonsensical… I had breakdown after breakdown… My God was a myth.

I loved God and Jesus/Yahshua so much, that when it came time to part, it felt like a living death. I had signed the divorce papers, and the gates of heaven were shut up against me.

I was depressed to the point of suicide. A lot of my depression was due to the idea of the meaninglessness of life, and I terribly regretted influencing my husband and child. Out of my extreme emotion, they wanted to believe me. They believed the lie I told them.

Since then, I’ve looked more deeply into other things that I wasn't "allowed" to look into, such as the philosophy (not religion) of Buddha and the Tao. And I enjoy peeking into quantum mechanics, and other sciences that pertain to how the brain works, physiologically and psychologically. These things I undertook, when I still had many concerns about death, and I guess I was looking for some comfort since I’d lost my "Comforter" (which was extremely traumatic...I can't stress that, enough). Then, one day, I remembered something that I’d read written by Poe, and I recalled it just before becoming fully conscious/aware from a nights sleep: death (to me) must be like the times in between dreams, that deep sleep I think is called Delta sleep, in which we do not dream. We aren't aware of anything at all, not the wind that's blowing through the trees outside, not the one who might be lying next to us, not even aware that our hearts are beating in our chests.

I don't have a bone to pick with any one of any faith, but I do see the harm done by extremism. It's poison to a person, a family, a community, a nation, a world. I wanted to blame someone or something for the horrible pain I had to go through to get to this point. I'll just blame good ol’ fashion ignorance, but I am glad I made it here, even though my travel was through hell and high water.

The one thing that I found in my "walk" with Jesus (if He ever truly lived, and if His true words were written down regarding love/compassion/charity, etc.), is that the thing was already inside me. No one had to teach me the things that just came "naturally" to me.

I'm at relative peace, now. In peace I know what bliss is, and I don't "think" that there's ever gonna be a time or place to experience this peace/bliss except right here, right now, on earth, with all its wonderful opposites. And this peace is not known by extreme emotion. It's without "feelings." It's a nice level/balance of… indifference.

We make our lives heaven or hell, here on earth. Our minds are our own adversary and our highest power. We get to choose what serves us best, as well as the betterment of mankind. Whatever is better for the evolution of the entire human race.

When I think of the word "god," it still conjures images and feelings I once entertained. And I don't much like using the word "god" when communicating with others, so as not to confuse them with any particular belief system. But I'll use that word now, in saying this: maybe we are becoming (as a whole) the God (not in a mythical, nor magical sense) that we searched for, but didn't realize was simply our own potential.

I've put down "beliefs" (limitation) in exchange for thinking (unbounded), and have some good laughs at my own expense, now. But I do still feel pain for the one who binds their own thoughts with the limitation of belief.

Thank you for letting me air this, it's been a long time coming. And I also thank you for accommodating this lengthy post.



Schizophrenic Faith

Sent in by Kristina

I had the kind of faith that was coined as "childlike." My mom (a Christian) would remark on it often, saying she wished she had my kind of faith. That is funny, considering where I am now. I started going to church at the age of 10. I actually enjoyed it, and I used to beg my parents to go. Why? I don't know. I didn't even really have a relationship with God.

Then all of a sudden things got very serious.

I made a vow to read the entire Bible (almost succeeded too). I was only 11 then. From what I'd read about God, I had gathered he was a pretty angry guy, so I would pray EVERY single night without fail. I was afraid that if I didn't pray, God would get very angry at me and cause bad things to happen.

My prayers were "answered" on a few occasions. So, I thought, "Hey, this works," and continued to pray.

I don't remember ever questioning my faith. I didn't have the questions that kids usually have, like where did the dinosaurs go? or anything like that. I just accepted it as it was given to me. My life was pretty chaotic back then too. I lived with a dying grandmother, three alcoholics, and a bipolar mother who was unpredictable and often angry. I made up for my family's dysfunctions by being a very "good" girl. I vowed never to get angry at anyone. I made mom's lunch, cleaned her room, was nice to everyone. I was rarely noticed as a child. Some people would call it neglect, but it was only emotional. I was taken care of in every other way. I later learned I'd been molested as a toddler. My life was actually pretty screwed up. Having God helped me at times, even if He was "angry."

Mom decided it was time to pick up everything and leave. No shock, we'd moved a few times before, and I actually enjoyed it at times. There was a sense of adventure.

Things changed when we moved to Minnesota. The family moved on and got better, somehow, but I got worse. Mom had finally gotten meds, but my illness was just beginning. I lost faith very quickly in high school; all it took was a few friends with open minds. But I had gotten crazier and crazier as the days went on. I was diagnosed: depressed, histrionic, agoraphobia, social anxiety, general anxiety, bipolar, and schizoaffective, then bipolar again, all within the course of five years.

I had even attempted suicide a few times.

After high school I became hard to live with. My mom sent me to live with my grandmother. And it was there that I started hallucinating.

I had tactile hallucinations, not only that I was delusional, I felt things that weren’t there. I thought they were ghosts, then demons. These hallucinations would rape me at night — sometimes they would hurt me. I did a ritual about fifty times (I counted on a piece of paper) to try and get rid of them.

Then, finally, I turned to God.

Still didn't get rid of them.

My mom came and took me to a psychiatrist, and they gave me anti-psychotics, but that didn't work.

NOTHING gets rid of these hallucinations.

They sent me away to a three-month residential treatment center. I got a little better; they went a way for awhile. When I came home, that's when I started to get more involved with God. I went to church as an experiment.

I listened to Christian music even though I hated it. At first I felt nothing at all, but gradually I got more into it, and then I became a dedicated Christian.

At first, things got better for me. Faith seemed to be working out. I started coming out of the house, I wasn’t as moody, my hallucinations had died down for a while. My mom attributes all of this to God and not the fact that I worked with therapists for five years and took my meds, and went all the way to New York just to get cured. She says I'm the reason she knows that God exists, because nothing short of God could have cured me.

Hallucinations came back.

I sobbed endlessly... wouldn’t come out of my room... prayed. I was miserable.

People told me that the reason the hallucinations didn't go away was because I didn't have enough faith. That's like telling a cancer patient their cancer will go away if only they believe.


It's funny, because I told myself the very same thing. And not only that I didn’t have enough faith, but I also that didn't deserve to have them taken away.

The fact is, I prayed and nothing happened. This whole time I convinced myself that I loved God, and I would do anything for Him, etc., but every time I prayed, I cried.

I seemed to mourn my faith.

I hated it.

I studied all the apologist books, because I wanted to be able to defend my faith. But NO matter how much I learned, nothing seemed adequate. There was always something to knock down my faith somehow. I wanted to die. Every night I prayed for a car wreck, just to get me out of my miserable life. The Gospel should have set me free, but it did the exact opposite, I was imprisoned. I felt like I was in some sort of co dependent relationship where God smacks us all around, and I'm supposed to make excuses for Him.

I finally began to question my "child-like" faith. I researched the arguments against God. (I'd already read all the ones for God).

I gave up on God.

I have never had so much clarity, happiness, and independence — ever.

I went out shopping, something I never do. I drove, and was lost, and I didn't care,

I opened a new bank account. I talked to strangers. I WAS FREE.

These are things I’ve never done even under God's own dominion.

I didn't really make my separation from God complete until today.

This is the event that triggered it:

I told Mom that I didn't believe anymore. She said that Satan had gotten to me.


She also told me a story about something that had happened to her.

She said that she was sitting in her room depressed, and how usually when she's depressed she tells herself how dumb and worthless she is, and so on. And then she said she heard a voice that wasn’t hers and it said "stupid bitch," and she rebuked it and then prayed. And then she said she felt so much lighter. She says this voice is Satan.

I get very quiet and she asks me what's wrong.

I reply "Well, whenever I say I hear voices that aren't mine — in MY head — or that I feel things that aren’t there, people call me crazy. But somehow when it happens to YOU, it's Satan. Sorry, I just don’t quite get that."

Then she tells me that she prays for me all of the time. (She knows I've somewhat strayed, but she doesn’t know to what extent).

All of a sudden I had this irrational fear that the Christian God was real. And He was going to hear her prayers (and the Bible study, and her evangelism class, because they are all praying for me too) and then make me miserable again so I would come crawling back to Him.

Oh yes, He does that all the time. Just read Hosea.

And I told her to do me a favor and not pray for me. Then I said my own little prayer to this non-existent God... for closure.

"God I hate you, you bastard" Don't you dare take away my happiness — you don't have the right. You're just an asshole that can’t stand the sight of his creation. I don't want you."

I'm not going to look back.

Joined: 10
Left: 20
Was: Lutheran, non-denominational and Baptist
Now: Agnostic pagan
Converted: because SOMEONE said it was a good idea
De-converted: because I realized that it was really a horrible idea
sendkristinagifts AT gmail dot com

My story beyond Christianity

Sent in by Jennifer

I'm not real sure how to start this. I will apologize now for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur.

My grandparents raised me to be the model Christian. They had me in church from the time I was 15 months old all the way up to the time I left home. I was involved in all the youth groups, but I never felt comfortable enough to tell others how to get "saved". I felt that it was a personal choice for a person to make. I started noticing all the hypocrisy in the church when I was around 12 years old. Our church broke up because of some things that were said. It never got back to normal. We were one of the largest churches in that town and then we went to having a total of maybe 20 members.

I had a member of that church criticize me for, of all things, having yellow teeth. That was the start of me really not liking the people in that church.

By the time I was 17, I had stopped going to church altogether. It just wasn't that important to me. I felt that religion was hypocritical and that the bible was my link to God, not what a preacher told me. I held this view all the way up to when I was 21. Then the worst thing possible happened to me. I lost my first son to a stillbirth. I carried him to full-term. I had the so-called Christians tell me that God had a reason, or that I was not the Christian I should have been and I was being punished. That made me turn my back on Christianity altogether-- no Bible, no church, nothing. I wanted nothing to do with any of it if God was that mean-spirited as to punish an innocent baby for the sins of it's mother.

As if that wasn't bad enough, when I was 25, something happened again. My grandmother passed away. She was a charter member of the church I grew up in. She and three other couples started that church in someone's living room. You would think that as such a pillar of their church, they would have some respect for her. She was sick from October until February when she passed away. I can count on one hand all the church members that came to visit her. The preacher himself only came twice. That was pretty pathetic. As a result, I am so pissed off at those people. They didn't take into account that a lot of those people she had known for 40+ years and it had nothing to do with whether or not she went to church with them. Just a little respect, please.

Starting a few years ago, I began questioning my philosophy on life. I figured that there had to be something more out there because not all things can be explained by science. I started on a personal journey to explore all religions and to try to make sense of what they teach. I have studied Judaism, Muslim, and even into the occult, and witchcraft, paganism, Wicca. None of those hold the answer for me. When I told my family that I was studying Wicca, I was told that I was going to Hell because the Bible condemns witchcraft. My aunt told me this, the one who has not picked up a Bible or been to church since she, herself, was a teenager. The typical hypocritical Christian response to gaining knowledge.

I do not believe in the Bible or that there is this one all-powerful deity. He seems pretty mean-spirited to me. I don't believe that Jesus was divine. I think that, if he even existed at all, he was just a man, a rebel who caused a lot of problems. I don't have all the answers, but I do just roll my eyes at the fundamental Christians. I have read too much and watched too many documentaries to believe anything in the Bible.

Anyway, this is my take on it. I don't know everything, but that is why am studying things. I believe in solid, verifiable historical fact. Now, any suggestions as to how I can make my search better would be greatly appreciated.

Ft. Hood
Joined: Really young
Left: 25
Was: Christian (non-denominational)
Now: Agnostic, at best
Converted because: My grandparents took me to church as a child, so I was raised in the faith.
De-converted because: too many reasons to count
email: jen2192000 AT yahoo DOT com

I think for myself now!

Sent in by John

Where do I begin? I guess at the beginning...

My mother raised me in a Christian environment. We went to church, and I heard all the scare-stories of Satan and hell, and being so young and impressionable (this was around 3rd grade), I saw other children crying and scared at the altar, so I decided I needed to be 'saved' also. I think I was saved around 3 times, and even as so young a child I remember wondering what all the hoop-la was about, because although I was sincere, I felt absolutely nothing. I remember praying to God many times for hours and hours, and bawling my head off, because I didn't understand why God wasn't talking back to me. No 'Christian' can tell me my heart wasn't sincere or I wasn't praying hard enough, or the rest of the garbage they fed me over the years. I developed issues at a young age because I felt I was somehow unworthy of God and I didn't understand why. We lived our lives as Christians, where anything that was considered bad by the church was a sin, thus we had no television, none smoked, none cursed (or instead they used other words like 'dang', as if that wasn't cursing either)...etc etc. We lived with a female preacher who frequently called other women she didn't like (Christians or no) witches. One night this woman played a game where we kissed each other, but instead of normal kisses we used tongues. Being too young to feel sexual excitement, I just thought it was fun, and I really liked that lady, never realizing until much later in life that she was one of those complete fundie nut cases you hear about daily, and she had basically molested me.

As I grew older, I became more interested in the worlds religions and I studied everything voraciously, from one spectrum of the 'good' side to the other 'dark' side. When my mother got mixed up in spiritualism, we ended up at a place called Camp Chesterfield, a spiritualist camp in Chestfield, Indiana. Like everyone else there, I dabbled in the occult, reading tarot cards, numerology...etc. But once we were thick among these people, it became apparent that they were mostly composed of charlatans who only have one goal there... to make money off the gullible and naive. The tricks, such as billets (channeling spirits to read questions off pieces of paper), became obvious, and I swore off all those phonies and have never looked back.

In the back of my mind, however, I always wondered if I shouldn't have turned my back on Christianity. I had that guilt thing going on, that fear that if I was wrong I was going to fry for eternity, because those bastards drilled it in my head when I was so young. So as I got older, here and there I allowed a Christian friend or three into my heart and mind, and I tried here and there to become a Christian again. I never felt anything. I prayed and prayed and prayed, hours and hours and hours at times, and I felt nothing, except that glow you feel after you grieve, such as when a loved one dies. Thats it. I had Christian friends tell me I wasn't 'opening my heart', I wasn't 'trying hard enough', I wasn't praying 'long enough to develop a relationship with God' (ie: brainwashing yourself). There was a couple of times I prayed hard for miracles in my life, because I have suffered from depression most of my life. There was a couple of times something happened that would appear that my prayers would be answered, but it was always the worst possible things that couple happen, and catapulted me into worse depressions. My Christians friend convinced me that these things were meant to happen because God works in 'mysterious ways and sometimes the bad things are good'. Well, no good ever came out of it. My life and my depressions got worse and drove me to the brink of suicide.

In my 30's, after one Christian friend wouldn't be my friend anymore because I supposedly 'attacked him spiritually' and 'you are evil'. This guy was the joke among all our friends; they ridiculed him behind his back for being a fruitcake. But I supported him, even protected him from people who wanted to kick his ass, and in the end, because I play 'heavy metal' in bands, I was 'evil', although I have spent my whole life being the 'good guy' who always tried to do the 'right thing', and I am proud of that to this day and have no regrets about it; it was how I was raised. Because I was more and more opening my mind to a life beyond spiritual slavery, I was 'the enemy'. I told this guy I loved him and needed him in my life as a friend, with tears in my eyes, and he told me 'Jesus loves you' and walked out the door. I prayed to God, and I told him, 'if this is your way of helping me, I can't do it anymore'.

However, because of the guilt-trip laid on my years earlier, I didn't give up on God. I just kept praying and telling him and Jesus: 'my heart will always be open, my path is whatever you want my path to be. I don't understand why you won't help me or ease some of my pain, but I won't give up.' blah blah

Then, FINALLY, I began educating myself on the history of Christianity. I began reading the bible so no Christian could ever tell me I don't know what I'm talking about or I took something out of context. I studied the history of religions.

And I was appalled...

So many contradictions. So much bloodshed and torture and persecution. None of these Christians could answer my questions anymore. The answers became 'you just have to have faith'. What were some of my questions?

If God's love is unconditional, how could he order the Israelites to kill children or send the angel to kill children (innocents)?

Why does God never show a kind side in the bible... or better yet, how can anyone believe in a God of Love who never laughs, never shows a sense a humor?!? Instead, you have a God that would instantly kill people in the most hideous of ways for disobeying him in even the smallest ways. He would even torture his own subjects to prove their 'faith'. Nice guy, God, huh?

If God gave us freewill, why is the consequence for using our freewill and not choosing God to be burned for eternity in a pit of fire? That isn't freedom. Thats being given a choice. Do what I say, or I will hurt you brutally in the most sadistic way possible!

If Jesus was about loving the enemy, why did he say he 'come to bring a sword and divide'? Because you can love your enemy and still burn them alive at the stake? Hogwash. Millions of people weren't staked out of love. They were staked because they were heretics and the 'enemy', plain and simple, and history shows how millions of innocents died in the 'cause'. I guess God forgave them because their hearts were in the right place, huh? Right.

There were races (such as native Americans here in the Americas) who had never heard of Jesus Christ after he 'died for our sins'. Where did they go when they died because they had no concept of Jesus? (My nut-case friend explained that all people had been made aware of Jesus by God, and thus were given a choice... complete fundie hogwash made up because they are running out of answers).

Who pays the price of our creation? God? No, WE DO! WE DO!

If we are too stupid to understand God's plan (which is believable if you picture this alien humanoid with a brain 10x larger than ours who created us genetically in 'his image' lol), why would he send a supernatural being who can apparently deceive us by messing with our thoughts and minds and tempts us? Why throw the wolves in with the sheep if they can't defend themselves against it? Ridiculous. Oh the answer is even worse, we can pray and be protected, but the devil is still free to tempt us more of course. A never-ending circle of bullshit that was originally designed to keep the people subjugated.

Could you throw your child into a lake a fire to roast for eternity? No! But there have been some religious nut cases who claim God ordered them to kill their children. Of course, nowadays even the Christians call those people nut cases, but why aren't they being taken seriously?! The bible has lots of stories just like this that are taken seriously as articles of faith, but if someone claims it nowadays they are 'evil'. Wake up, use your brains! Hello!!

Why are women treated with bias throughout the whole bible? This one is easy. Because God didn't come up with all that stuff about women! Man did! Any fool can read right into that and see right through it... unless your a fundie, of course! I never knew Eve! Stop holding women responsible for something some woman supposedly did ages ago. Fairy tales. Myths.

How can you love something that doesn't affect your life at all more than you can your mother, your father, your siblings, or your own children? You can if your a nut case, absolutely. My mother has always been there for me. God has yet to answer. I know where my love will lie!

'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the rest of your life', yet there are many Christian children who are tortured and killed daily. Where is their mercy? Where are their miracles? Tell that to the early Christians who were tortured and thrown to the lions.

Why did the Israelites sin against God over and over after they had seen miracle after miracle? Why were those people so stupid? Answer, because there was no miracles. The priests had to keep them in line with FEAR and GUILT and superstitious nonsense. When you study other religions you see the exact same pattern, yet Christians are too blind to see it themselves.

If God is an unconditionally loving God, why is his love -conditional-?! My mother is more unconditionally loving that any God portrayed in the bible. She is much more forgiving, and she would help anyone... the kindest old woman you would ever meet in your life. And she is going to hell because she doesn't believe in Jesus? Right.

'Judge not lest ye be judged', yet Christians have been judging and persecuting people since the dawn of their religion.

Again, who pays the price in this battle that makes no sense whatsoever between supernatural beings that can destroy us with a thought? The little peons who aren't smart enough to understand his plan, the humans, thats who! Without us, God and Satan would have nothing to fight over. We live through the pain of this world, they don't. We are the pawns in the great chess match, they aren't. It is time to wake up, and end these fairy tales that have caused more human suffering in the world than anything else. Religion is a crutch for weak-minded, superstitious people that have never been able to think for themselves. They are brainwashed to believe if they use their minds whatsoever beyond looking for God, Satan is whispering in their ear and influencing them and they will burn. Wake up, people! World peace and religion will never happen because these fools are too busy trying to convert people. I'm right, you're wrong. No, I'm right, and you're wrong. You're all wrong! None of you can even agree with each other (look at all the Christan comments on this site and others.. it is always the same 'I think other Christians are lost, but I am a true Christian...' blah blah). You're all lost!

Since I educated myself, and I understand the origins of Christianity and the superstitious nonsense surrounding it, I feel liberated!! There is no Satan whispering in my ear, no guilt-trips... my gut, my instincts have honed in on the truth, and it feels right, baby! I feel self-empowered again, and my depressions are easing away finally after 30 years. Now I understand the power of belief! Trust me, Christians... pray to Odin every night for weeks, and you will believe Odin has saved you also. Brainwashing is a proven fact, and anyone can brainwash themselves into believing -anything-. You can heal yourself with the same power of the mind, or you can delude yourself with it also. Open your eyes! Christianity is one of the true causes of greed and evil in this world! Organized religion isn't helping anyone in this world, it is persecuting people, taking their money, and controlling people through GUILT and FEAR!

Educate yourself and if your gut tells you something is wrong with Christianity, listen to it! It isn't Satan, I assure you!

Leaving the "saints"

Sent in by Kelsie

I grappled for years over whether or not I was living the "Christian life" or if I was even saved at all! I grew up in a highly aristocratic Baptist church that seemed busy teaching the perils of alcohol while allowing members of the Sunday School class to underage drink with rare abandon. From there, the myth of the "Christian life" just began unraveling. I am finishing up a degree in history on a Christian university campus (I was a Christian for most of my time here), where the "believers" around me are caught up in an endless charade of saying and PREACHING one thing while doing the exact opposite. I've had several run-ins with angry, self-righteous "believers" who've thrown the "well you're not any better than us" card at me, and I've also been told that it is only a matter of time before I "lapse back."

Christians themselves, however, have been largely successful in keeping me away from their religion. Theirs is the greatest and most insidious contradiction of all: that one can preach all day and live another way. I feel like Christianity is filled with self-righteous, bigoted, intolerant individuals who only "love" and "minister" to the parts of the world ready to swallow their lie. I've seen and felt firsthand just how hateful the "religion and god of love" can be when its belief system is challenged in any way. It seems to me that Christians don't like asking questions--that smacks of free thinking. In the end, I simply couldn't live in such willing and endorsed ignorance, and the vast majority of Christians I know have cut me off because of that inability. So much for the myth of Christian tolerance.

United States
Joined: 7
Left: 22
Was: Baptist, Roman Catholic
Now: Agnostic
Converted because: I became a Christian at a very early age because it was what I was taught to believe.
De-converted because: I left Christianity for a variety of reasons: primarily because it makes absolutely no sense, when held up to the lense of the Real, Rational World

An Ex-Christian suffering from guilt

Sent in by J.G.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist home. Always fearing the "fire and brimstone" I was warned of, I - as you can imagine a young scared child would do - accepted Christ as my personal savior, albeit I hadn't the entire idea of what that meant. So I grew up calling myself a Christian cuz I felt like I had to because of pressure to go to church or to be a good Christian from church and family.

Now I have left the Christian faith and begin my spiritual journey fresh, if there is a spiritual journey to be had. My problem is, though, that I suffer from extreme guilt and confusion. I kinda miss the idea of talking to an unseen protector, but I can't logically believe it. Is there anyone out there who can relate to my "withdrawals" out of the addiction of Jesus Freakiness?

Joined at 8
Left at 20
Was: I was a Baptist
Now: Agnostic/Mystic
Converted because: I was "led to Christ" by my fundamentalist father.
De-converted because: I couldn't whole-heartedly believe that Jesus was the "Son of God"

A burden is lifted

Sent in by Warin

Well, my name is Warin and I've been raised Christian from birth. Every Sunday we went to church, we learned about how God is in heaven and he's always watching us, protecting us, and loving us. And some day when we die, we go to a golden city of light. But if you're bad, you go to hell and burn for all eternity. It made me feel good as a young child about the Heaven aspect of religion, but the hell part always left me a bit uneasy. I wondered why a God who loves his children would send the naughty ones to a bit of fire and brimstone.

There were also other things that made me uneasy, like how Abraham had to kill his son. The Bible always taught that no man was to take another’s life, but God ordered him to do just that. Now I've always been a bright young man, and it didn't take long for me to see that the Bible has many gaps in logic. When I entered junior high, I took an interest in the rest of the world, and saw that while we here in America have it pretty good, the rest of the world was slowly slipping into the jaws of decay. I wondered why God would let his children suffer like this; why He wouldn't save them. Still in the grip of religion, I went to the church for answers. Much to my dismay, they quoted the Bible for me and prayed. With no answers, no relief, and no one to turn to, I began to stray away from the church.

The church had been my crutch for so long, I never knew how to walk on my own. I felt alone and ashamed. I was always taught that God was the only way and light, and now my world felt dark — like I was a bad person for my lack of faith. I finally confessed my atheist beliefs to a close friend. I expected shock and a hoard of questions, but instead he started laughing. He told me that just because I didn't believe in God, that doesn’t mean I have no direction.

He was right. In fact, without the restraints of my religious beliefs, my mind was free to explore the rest of the world around me. It allowed me to accept people for who they are, and not judge them about their religion, sexual preference, race, or lifestyle.

This all took place between 7th grade and junior year of high school.

Although all my friends now know, my mother still doesn’t know I don't believe in her God. I was sitting with her a while back and during our conversation she mentioned that atheism was spreading like a disease across the world. I disagree. It's not a disease, because there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't need to be cured or quelled. It's nothing more than a world of scared little people finally trying to walk without the help of a non-existent God. We are like children with training wheels on our bikes; we balance, but eventually fall down on the helpful wheels on either side of us. But we're learning, and soon we won't need training wheels at all.

And we'll only keep growing and learning from there...

With my mind set loose, I see that atheism isn't the only option I had to choose from. I'm only 17, so my journey is far from over. I still believe that humans have a presence in them that cannot be explained or killed, that all things have a certain oneness, and that we are all linked somehow. But I will not believe that if you don't live your life a certain way, or believe in a certain concept, you will be sent to a place like hell.

Don't be afraid to believe in what you believe in. If you must have faith, have faith not in God or the afterlife, but in your fellow man. That's who we are, and that's who we need to help.

Joined: Born Into It
Left: 17
Was: Christian
Now: Idealist/Agnostic
Converted because: Born into it
De-converted because: Common sense and reality sunk in

Atheist after reading the Bible

Sent in by Susan

I was raised Catholic. My whole family still believes in the Church. My dad is even a "Knight of Columbus."

As a child, I was afraid there was no God. I was always doubting. But since my parents believed, I assumed there must be a god, even though I couldn't see him. I sometimes felt uplifted at church.

When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who was a born-again Christian. I liked his friends and the church activities. So I tried to buy into it. It's actually very simple: You just follow the rules.

After a while, I realized the rules were stupid. I stopped going and went to college. At college, I continued to be scared of dying. What if there was no God? No Heaven? That was very scary to me.

After a year at college, my mother died of cancer. I was angry at God and turned away from him. I said I was an atheist because god would not let things like that happen to my mom.

This went on for awhile. I would say now, that I didn't have a true atheism. I still believed in God because I was angry at him. I suffered from anxiety attacks when I thought about death. The anxiety attacks were very scary.

After college, I met my first husband. He was a manipulative jerk, but I was so depressed at the time, I was just glad to have someone in my life. It was a very sad, pathetic time in my life that I'm not proud of. My first husband was a born-again Christian and converted me back. The anxiety attacks mostly stopped because I could believe in something.

After awhile, I divorced my husband and met someone new. He had always been searching for the truth in life himself. We got married.

I began to really read the Bible and research what others said about different religions. I met some Mormons and learned about what they thought, too.

Reading the Bible showed me that the Bible is contradictory, mean-spirited and anti-family. As a mother of 2 kids, I would never choose God over my kids, but the Bible expects a person to do that.

After all of this research, I realized that there is no way that there is a God. People want to believe because it makes them feel better. It made me feel better, too. But believing in something that isn't real isn't very satisfying to me. I'd rather that there was a Heaven. I'd love to see my mom when I die. But I know that's not true. It's wishful thinking.

At this point, I became a true atheist. I started taking medication for my anxiety and depression. It turns out that I have a chemical imbalance that I probably inherited from my parents. The medicine balances me. I am able to think more clearly.

I discovered the writings of Epicurus. It helped me deal with death. There is nothing to fear.

I have am raising my kids to be free-thinkers. I hope they will choose atheism. My husband is not an atheist, but neither is he religious. He is moderately "spiritual." I hope more people can learn to turn away from religion. It is a pipe-dream, a wishful desire that leads to nothing. Appreciating life and celebrating it every day is what is most important.

El Paso
Joined: born into it
Left: 28
Was: Catholic, Christian (Born again)
Now: atheist
Converted because: Born into it
De-converted because: Read the Bible

Putting away Christianity

Sent in by Ellis

I grew up in a Christian home and at a young age always believed in God and Jesus. I always loved the Bible stories that they told at Sunday school and loved to pray. I was always on and off from church-going and its activities, but gradually faded away from it once I was close to graduating from Elementary school. Prior to graduation, I went on some church retreats and attended Bible studies from time to time, but none of it really meant anything to me. No one even bothered to explain why we believed what we did.

Anyway, when I entered high school, I completely quit going to church and claimed to be an atheist telling these Christians that they were brainwashed. It wasn't until 2004 that I was "convicted of my sins" through the ten commandments. I returned to my old church and for the rest of that year, I went on to preach, witness and spread the "good news" through many different outlets such as audio recordings and classes. Unfortunately, none of the people seemed to really care about my "conviction" and I was still treated with subliminal contempt like I had always been. They failed to notice me as one of their brethren, yet I worked through the discouragement all alone. By the end of the year, I decided to leave the church. I wasn't growing spiritually as a Christian. Someone told me that church wasn't for social interaction, but they strongly misunderstood my intentions. I wasn't going there for social interaction, I was going there to "grow" like the rest of them. I wondered if they even knew what fellowship was and not just going there to sit around for an hour listening to a sermon and then splitting up.

Once I left the church, I felt so discouraged that I didn't want to return again. I never did. In 2005, I tried my best to follow God and obey him like what a Christian would do. However, it started interfering with the way I did daily activities and routines. It was always about that conscience thing and whether I should stay clear from something if it even had the bit of evil in it. I was also accused of being a legalist from hypocritical Christians that continuously claimed to "repent from sins." I was only trying to do what was right. It didn't make any sense to me. Also, the fact that so many people stressed the importance of church made me feel like they didn't appreciate my own experiences or feelings and just cared about church over God. The fact that all of these hotshot Christian preachers and writers were selling their books felt like they were only in it for the money. The fact that all of these people were so forceful was also a major turn-off. I began to realize that the only truth was reality.

It was also in the middle of 2005 that I split away from one of my best friends and I regret that. The reason for this was that the Bible said to not yoke with unbelievers. My life as it is was difficult enough. I didn't need all of this constant fear and alertness for "deceptive" religions and foolishness. I didn't want to listen to those on-going debates about which religion was correct and which religion was wrong. It was a total brainwash. Nevertheless, I still tried to cling to the faith and seek the supposed truth, but it was almost as if Christians didn't exist. Then, there were the internet Christians who were by far the worst people that I have ever met. They were constantly forceful and nosey. It was like they wanted to know everything about me. They were all hypocrites too. It was around 2006 that I started to believe that these people were all wrong. I hated the religious superiority that they held against other people as if they had all authority. I hated the way they treated people like they were lower than them. I also hated the way the Christians were so snobby and egotistical, thinking they knew all the answers to life.

In the middle of 2006, I left the faith. Now, according to Christians, they would argue that "true" Christians are always Christians or some nonsense like that. It's just a heavy addiction to mythical teachings, that's all. The further you get into it, the further you're "enlightened" or fascinated, just like with anything else. I personally think it's the epitome of complicating a person psychologically with its forceful antics and contradicting lies. It was unhealthy. I couldn't understand how a person could follow some story so profoundly when there was very little evidence to the "deity's" existence. Also, the fact that Christians are called to be "witnesses" didn't make sense. To be a witness, you'd have to personally witness something (in this case, JESUS). The whole religion felt like a feel-good self-help therapy cult. Ever since leaving the faith, I felt free from restrictions and slavery. I felt free to once again do what I did best and focus mentally on the things that did matter in my life. I also felt like a normal human being and not the constant Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with this whole divine intervention thing. Praise God? How about praise luck.

Joined: 21
Left: 23
Now: Atheist

Left Christianity

Sent in by Yolanda

I have decided to leave Christianity, alone.

As you can guess that doesn't sit to well with my family. I was on the phone today talking to my cousin, who was basically trying to convince me that I have made some sort of mistake. She is telling me that I have a spirit of confusion because I let some books change the way I used to think. She all but cussed me out and called me a demon. She did nothing but yell and scream at me.

I told her, "well no one has ever seen GOD so how can you apply attributes of any kind to something you have never seen?" Then she replies, "Well, have you seen your brain? Have you seen your heart? Have you seen your kidney? Well, it's the same thing."

OK, correct me if I am wrong, but this seems a bit absurd, to the say the least.

I could have sworn it had already been proven that humans have a brain, heart, etc. But anyway, as you can see, this isn't going over to well with the church and family. I told her that I have been looking into the background and the beginnings of Christianity. Of course she doesn't accept this. She then proceeded to tell me that I have to be careful with what I put in my spirit because it can lead to confusion.

This has been a work in progress for months. Had this been a year ago, no one could have told me I would be where I am right now. It has been a hard decision for me to make, and harder still to actually tell people what I am going through. In the Black community even those that aren't "saved" still say they believe in Jesus. You don't hear of too many black people heavily invested in the belief and then turning around to say they don't believe anymore.

This has been hard for me, to say the least, but it is my decision, and everyone can take it or leave it.

St. Louis
8 yrs. old
24 yrs. old
Was: Apostolic faith, C.O.G.I.C.
Now: no label yet
Converted because: I felt I had a need.
De-converted because: researching the history of Christianity
email: yolanda_jimerson2000 AT yahoo DOT com

My Life as a Christian and How I Got Over It

sent in by twincats

I was born into a Lutheran family, an only child. I grew up in a Southern California congregation with Midwestern values. My first memory of church is probably around age four, sitting in the pew in awe and wonder because God was up there, speaking to us. I believed that the pastor was actually God who’d come down from heaven. My mother didn’t work and since I was the only child, she had plenty of time to coach me about sitting quietly in church and listening to the word of God and who else but God is going to give His word? Time went on, I started going to Sunday school and learned about God and Jesus and the pastor, who really did the preaching. It was a letdown, sure, but everyone else seemed okay with it, so I went with the flow.

My first problem with the faith was around age 6 when they wanted us to bring our friends to Sunday school and church with us. We lived in a neighborhood where we, the Lutherans, were the only Protestants on the block. All of my little friends were Jewish or Catholic and they seemed happy with what they had and I saw no reason why I should try to change their minds! But they offered us a gold fishhook pin if we did and I really wanted one of those, but I still couldn’t bring myself to drag my friends to my church. I really didn’t believe in my heart that mine was better than theirs! I never lost that feeling and always inwardly rolled my eyes every year on Evangelism Sunday.

My next crisis started just before confirmation. I was filled with anxiety that I would not be worthy to take my first communion at age 14. I prayed for guidance and got none, so I talked to the pastor who managed to assuage my fears in time for confirmation.

The next four years were happy ones; I loved singing praises to God in the church choir, I was active in Youth Group and even taught Vacation Bible School. I felt safe and secure in the love of God and my congregation.

Like many, I fell away as a young adult; 10 years in the military, then another four away from home for college. I went to church only sporadically, but never lost my faith. In college, I took Western Civilization and learned about how religion (as in, Catholicism) was used to control the masses and how Luther’s Reformation only succeeded because he had the backing of the German nobility (who were tired of tithing to Rome and seeing no local benefit) and was far enough away from Rome to pull it off. This was the beginning of my long split from faith; Reformation Day (a biggie for Lutherans!) was never the same for me after that.

The biggest blow, however, came when I finally returned home to my childhood congregation. A new pastor had just been installed and he wanted to ‘shake things up’ as it were. He clashed with my beloved music director and she quit. Officially, she retired, but word in the pews was she got tired of his micro-managing the music after having had nearly complete autonomy for over 20 years. It was the first time I had witnessed such politicking in church and I was shocked and devastated! The next music director they hired was a joke, so I made sure that I wasn’t available for choir anymore.

Not long after that, I started seeing a man who was a Pagan. After he proposed, I began learning about Pagan religions and found that (lo and behold!) they have nothing at all to do with devil worship as I had been taught in the church. They had either lied to me outright or not bothered themselves with finding and telling the truth (and they’re supposedly all about the truth, right?) Either way, I had been grievously misled by my faith! That was the last straw! Like Saul, the scales had fallen from my eyes, only in reverse, and I saw Christianity for what it is; a lying, scheming, political and entirely human enterprise much like any other on this earth.

I am happy and at peace now. I have a lovely home and a loving husband. When we lost my husband’s oldest brother last week, the family comforted each other and I did not feel the absence of Jesus’ comfort one bit. I’ve found that all we have in this life is each other, but if you play your cards right, that’s more than enough!

How old were you when you became a christian? from birth
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 37
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Lutheran
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Pagan
Why did you become a christian? my parents were (no choice)
Why did you de-convert? Christianity stopped making sense

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