Sent in by Lance K
So I'm done with Christianity, but I have a question that I need your help with. I could give you all my reasons, but as I read the other testimonies here, my own issues resonate well with them. And really, my reasons for leaving are not why I need help. A quick but not complete summary of my reasons would be that I find atheists can have more integrity, tolerance and love than Bible believing Christians, that the search for truth has shown me that Christianity does not have it, that the god of the Old Testament is quite an A-hole, the ugly history of the church - especially the support of slavery in the US, the Christian right-wing and their hatred of gays, and of course that listening to the creation/evolution debate made me realize these people are simply not honest with themselves.
So now for my question. I am 45 years old and have a great wife and three kids who are not quite with me on this whole adventure. I'm in the middle of pulling the family from the the Evangelical Church we now attend, and moving to a more liberal church as a bit of a compromise. I don't really buy the stuff at the new church, but at least I can listen to this pastor without wanting to vomit. I love my wife and kids and don't want something as unimportant as doctrine to fuck that up. Have any of you gone through this? Is moving to a more liberal church enough? Is is possible to slowly undo the damage the old church has done to my kids (ages 6, 9 & 11)? Will the new church keep messing up my kids? I feel I can't stay home on Sunday morning because I need to do damage control on the kids after Sunday school.
Luckily my wife is a thinking person, and is not dogmatic, but this is a stretch for her, as she grew up in the church. There is tension but she is not completely freaking out.
One last piece of history. We had been in a large diverse church in California that could tolerate my free-thinking and questions, but we moved to a rural area and ended up in a more fundamentalist church. It was here that I was confronted with the "inerrant word of god" crap and slowly started to realize that my questions did not have answers. And worse was the the answers these people gave made my head spin with the number of logical fallacies, and just plain screwy reasoning. As I dug deeper, the whole thing came tumbling down. I finally realized that I could be a more whole and loving person by being a ex-Christian.
My mind is still too twisted by the many years of Christianity to completely shake myself yet from a belief in God, but the odd thing is that the love thy neighbor stuff of my Christian up-brining actually helped me see what a load of crap the industrial Christianity of America is and helped me find my way out.
I'll end with a quote from Margaret Mead. She said "The best thing one can do for oneself is to have a religious experience and then get over it."
Thanks for listening. Any ideas would be appreciated. Unless you are going to quote scripture at me and tell me to go back, which will just piss me off. And if you are a Christian that sees this and wants to "help" me, please rest assured that there are lots of people praying for me now. Please let God work through them. This is an ex-Christian web site and I want the perspective of the folks here, not you. Thanks for understanding.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)