I was a pastoral worker

Sent in by Alan

Back in 1993 I was a pastoral worker in a church overseas. My then wife and I decided that we should return to the UK. The day after we returned she left me. I have not seen her since. As I was in my home town I looked for support from the church I had previously attended there. When none was forthcoming I looked to other churches and found none there either.

This situation continued until February '94. During this time I started to analyze my Christian experience. The more I looked the more I realised that the I could not truthfully quote one instance when one of the promises of the gospel had happened directly to me. I decided then to clear my life of things that where holding me back. Part of this excess baggage was Christianity. Appropriately enough this was on the 24th February. 10 years to the day since my "conversion".

Of course the reaction of the Christians I knew at that time was that I had become the Devil incarnate. Really I didn't feel any different, but I had a lot more free time to myself! Having left Christianity I had effectively divested myself of all my "friends" and some of my family.

Since then I have met no ex Christians, I have not heard expressed by anyone the problems I have encountered. What a relief it has been to find your web site today. Having experienced much of the hurt and problems of leaving my faith behind, I have, several times, in recent years tried to rekindle it. My most recent experience has only highlighted that Christianity does not seem to work for me.

I find myself uninterested in Bible contradictions etc. What my question has always been, “What return will I see on the investment I make?” I am not even bothered if the return is to the benefit of others not me. There should be some demonstrable return.

If I donate £10 to a charity because I believe the charity is doing some good then the charity is £10 better off. If I donate £10 because I am a Christian then the charity is £10 better off. What has the Christianity added?

The church I have most recently has deliberately started a clique within itself. For those people who give £15 000 pa above "normal tithes and offerings". Every week they go on and on wanting more money but when I was almost homeless their help was minimal to say the least.

If something is not working I may try to fix it before throwing it away. I'm not up to fixing Christianity, so I'm outta there. For the first time in 13 years I am finding that I'm not alone in this. Thank you.

Regards,

Alan.

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20 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are right to wonder about the return you get on your investment. In Christianity, you usually just get a promise of heaven. This would be great if it were true, but it isn't. Most of the churches here in the US squander money on material things. This wouldn't be so bad, but when I give 10 dollars to a church, I would like to think that most of it would go to help people who need it, instead of fueling a pastor's salary or building a new gym in order to compete with another church.

A. Ford

Anonymous said...

I've long been puzzled by the attitude of "what's in it for me?" when it comes to religion. It seems to be the first question should be, "is it true?" For one to "get a return" on something, it has to be true first. Would you invest in a business that was really a scam, and you knew they'd take your money and run? No, you'd check it out first, and make sure they were legitimate. It's great, I suppose, if churches do some good with their money, but honestly I've never seen such efforts without strings attached, and of course, those strings are usually the chance to promote their beliefs. I might add, to promote their beliefs to people who are down and out and therefore vulnerable to propaganda. Anyway, I'm glad for you that you made it out of the Christian woods. My experience is that freethinkers are far more generous and concerned about our fellow beings than the Xians tend to be.

DUG853 said...

I was also 'struck' by the lack of support from a 'church' that both my mother and I had been 'tithing-members' for many years.
(Mega-Church)

I'd had some 'mental-problems' (likely exacerbated by the ridiculous contradictions of the 'religious-mindset/s')

I'd also run into some monetary problems, with imminent-homelessness as a result.

I was told that they "couldn't do anything for me",..so, I asked them if they could please direct me to a 'church' that actually CARES about their parishioners.

They directed me to a smaller church that had a 'community-outreach program'.

I was also told that I "didn't fit the 'image' of their church", and that if I didn't leave immediately (and never come back) that the police would be called..... ("lovely"-"people"...eh-?)

In any case, my de-conversion-process/es had started before that time,...however, the COMPLETE disregard of many things that I'd be taught/told from an early age certainly cemented my resolve to remove this CRAP from my life/thoughts.

Good on You for realizing the falsity/ies of the "christian" faith-!

dano said...

Alan.
Loosing your faith in a magic Deity, is like loosing your virginity. You might wish you could have that blissful ignorance back, but you can't. Once you have exposed the obvious "human invention" of the Bible to the bright light of reason, and logic, there is no going back.

As you become more and more fearless about the biggest scam ever perpetrated on human society, you will begin to wonder how people can departmentalize their brains to maintain a belief in such nonsense, and still function normally in society. As "Valerie Tarico, author and Psychologist" explained to me on this site: Sometimes it's the smartest of us, who are the best at trying to pull that hat trick off.

You will see people on this web site who say they went back to a "relationship with Jesus" but the cumbersome lie, that they must maintain, becomes, "oh so obvious," after they start to witness to us about it.
Dan

mike said...

Hello Alan,

Sorry to hear about your wife. That hurts. There are many here that have found out that Christ does not deliver on his promesis. When the chips are down there is no real comfort. The only way christianity works is if one is easy in the art of self delusion.

I wish the best for you in all you do.

Joe said...

I've shared the experience of choosing between friends and family and personal integrity. It isn't easy and I do miss many of them for the connections that we had outside of the church.

One more fault I lay at the door of the church is the non-sense of needing to keep the bubble around the flock so that they can't get an honest look at a departed member who has not been afflicted by some pestilence or led to ruin by the lusts of his flesh.

I suppose in their world it makes sense. No point building relationships with people with whom they will only associate for a brief blink of eternity. But then why do they put so much into their dwellings, urban and suburban? Never mind. They're just whacked.

Lorena said...

Dano said:
"you will begin to wonder how people can departmentalize their brains to maintain a belief in such nonsense, and still function normally in society."

Lorena says:

I don't know Dano. The only normal-functioning Christians I know are the lukewarm ones.

Most of the "good" Christians I know are pretty weird. I was weird when I was a Christian. The having to preach to everybody and having to appear perfect makes Christians so obnoxious.

I know what you mean, though. As Christians, we still held jobs, got married, and some had children. Some sort of normality, I suppose.

eel_shepherd said...

Alan, the topic poster, wrote:
"...`What return will I see on the investment I make?' I am not even bothered if the return is to the benefit of others not me. There should be some demonstrable return..."

Yeah, this is a good point. And, a bit off-topic, it got me started on a related question, one that some of you might actually have an answer to:

If a member of the congregation, a stockholder if you like, wants to inspect the books, (i.e. the financial accounts for the year) the way an auditor would, are the church managers and executive obliged to allow the member a chance to do that? Are the rank-and-file members in a position to demand to see the scope and nature of the church's good works and charity?

Joe said...

Eel_Shepherd: Are the rank-and-file members in a position to demand to see the scope and nature of the church's good works and charity?

In the churches I attended, by and large, the books were open. The problem is how one assesses the merits of the spending. The argument can be made from an xian perspective that the money spent on salaries, guest speakers, travel, seminars, children's programs, etc. are all fully justified. Who can argue? What is the worth, they may ask, of equipping the saints and saving the lost?

Go look at some of the mission statements for the church of your choice. It seems to be a current trend for every church to have one. Then try to tell me how our hypothetical auditors could assess whether or not the money from the tithe is being effectively spent. Here are two typical examples:

"Mission: becoming friends of Christ, friends in Christ, friends for Christ."

"...to build a local church committed to exalting God in all things, training believers in sound doctrine and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people."

Q: how much will the church need to spend on objectives like these?

A: every penny they can get their hands on.

Nvrgoingbk said...

My best friend Angela gave up a very successful career and salary to work for the LAWD. She offered her services to a HUGE church in Tampa, you all might have heard of it. It's called Without Walls, which is headed by the famous Paula and Randy White. I, too was a member.

Anyway, she worked as an aid to the homeless ministry that was a part of the church. That is how I met her. I was homeless at the time with my four-year-old son. She answered the phone at the ministry, and it was ANGELA who took me in. She had never met me, but considered my plight, and as a single mother herself, was delighted to take my son and I in. The church itself did nothing for me.

A few months later, the tables were turned, and it was Angela that was homeless. What did the church do for her after leaving a substantial salary to work for virtually NOTHING? She became homeless herself, and had to sleep in the car with her daughter. Luckily, my roomate and I at the time were able to return the favor, and she stayed with us for a few days until she found a place of her own.

I have to admit however, that the church has been a substantial aid to me during times of homelessness. The Salvation Army, Metropolitan Ministries, Catholic Charities, local churches, etc. have all served to keep my children and I fed, clothed and sheltered during times of need. I can't complain there, but it's true that the church spends FAR LESS on the physical needs of their congregation and the community than they do on building and ministry. Ever in competition for 10% of Christians' incomes, they devise all sorts of new and expensive forms of entertainment and conveniences to attract ever increasing materialistic Christians. Pastors live more and more luxurious lives driving Lexuses, Hummers and Mercedes. Their lifestyles are supported all because they perpetuate many thousand centuries lie about a war god who likes blood, but then changes his mind, has sex with a virgin and delivers his half human son to the world to die for the sins that they just can't help committing, because they are imperfect due to the fall of the first humans on earth who defied this war god and ate a piece of FUCKING FRUIT!

Lorena said...

The Salvation Army is the exception, not the rule.

Anonymous said...

Thanks one and all. The biggest relif is in finding I'm not alone in this. It has been 13 very lonely years. I now have a few friends but none who have any idea how big all this was for me.

Thanks
Cheers
Alan.

Telmi said...

Alan,

Anyone who has seriously read the Bible will not wish to be a follower of the Bible God. The Bible is brimming with evil allegedly committed by the Bible God himself and/or by his human supporters in his name or as a result of his commands.

Christianity is a pack of lies and to believe in the Bible God is to believe in an insane God.

God's Child said...

Hey Alan you only Left Religion

Jesus Christ inst about Going to Church and donating money, I'm glad your faith was shattered because what you had before what getting in the way of something that real and true and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't bring Religion, he brought back a possible relationship with God and Hope of salvation people who didn't want take the effort for relationships with God invented Religion, so people they can control people and get paid doing it ... you don't need another religious experience you need a REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD ...

God's Child said...

STOP SEEKING religion and SEEK RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

GOD ISN'T ABOUT religion BUT ABOUT RELATIONSHIP

Joe said...

God's Child,

There is no evidence of God, and tons of rational evidence suggests that the Bible is a confabulation that grew up from a germ of philosophy that grew into a massive and oppressive religion. They made Jesus up or at a minimum turned some ordinary Joe into a super hero.

You're proposing a relationship with an invisible friend. That's crazy.

Anonymous said...

God's Child, you write stupid. -Wes.

keziah said...

dear Alan,

i am sorry to hear that you feel so, i gess, abandoned by god. and it really makes me upset to hear about churches who have not offered support to their members who are going through hard times. christianity is supposed to be about relationships, and it is a real shame when churches are not focused on building their members up in faith and engouraging them and spending time with them. i know this is a site for people who have abandoned their faith, and i really hope i'm not being too rude putting my two cents in as a christian, but i'd just like to respond to some of the things you said in your testimony.

firstly, there is no promise in the gospel which tells a christian that their life is going to be easy. the bible promises hardships, not a walk in the park. and it is hard being a christian, i think everyone who truly has faith in God knows and has experienced this. the ultimate promise God makes is eternity spent in heaven with Him, which I know he will fulfill for every single christian. since i've only been around for less than 20 years, and i've had a blessed life so far, the hardships you have experienced i'm guessing have been one hundred times worse than those i've been through. it sucks that life has to be that way. It comes down to living in a fallen world, i guess, a world which is spiralling towards a disastrous end. But i know that, although sometimes it doesnt seem like it, God is in control and he will always always come through with His promises. The other thing about the fallen world we live in is that we are sinful humans, not even close to being perfect and holy as God is. Humans screw up all the time. Please dont blame God for the churches which didnt give you support in difficult times. A church is made up of Christians, and Christians are humans, and humans are not perfect. It was these sinful humans who "abandoned" you, not God.

okay, so, second, you said, "what return will i see on the investment i make?". i know this is hard, and even more difficult when your life seems to be falling apart, but being a christian really isnt about yourself. We should not being doing good works to get something for ourselves - this should not be the motivation. i always remember J.O.Y - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. As a Christian i strive every day (and usually fail miserably!) to serve God and the people around me. even if i dont recieve anything material or any visible rewards from this, I know it is what God wants me to do. And God knows best for me. and to tell the truth, i actually do gain something from serving others and serving God. i gain great joy in serving others, knowing that it is making me more like God's perfect son Jesus, which is God's purpose for me in life.

Alan, I hope that I have not forced anything i've said onto you, or offended you in any way. I totally respect what you believe and I want you to know that. I just want to suggest that you give God another chance. Think about the hope a Christian has of eternal life, where hardships cease to exist. This lifetime is like one tiny brick in a wall that is infinitely high and long. This world can cloud a Christian's vision so much, I see that and struggle with it personally every day. for example, the attitude that each person should look out for number one. the attitude of self gratification, getting everything you want instantly. and how much the world promotes image=self worth, which as a young woman is what i continually find so difficult. but i persevere in my faith, knowing that God is the only thing that will last when this world is gone, and that His promises will stand. Although you can't always see it, He cares about you sooo much, just as he cares about every single person he has lovingly created. So please, reconsider, i promise you that it will be absolutely worth it in the end.

all the best!

God's Child said...

I said what i said

Anonymous said...

Hey, leaving Christianity is not some easy thing. I didn't leave it because I was pissed. My experience didn't match up with my beliefs and I spent considerable time in Bible college and seminary. Leaving a church and all the people that you once associated with is not easy. Even if you want to keep the relationships alive most Christians don't find much in common with you anymore. They drift away. When I used the Bible and church to know God and found out later that neither made a lot of sense when you really question it...what is left. God does not come sit with you and tell you about himself/herself. I applaude all the people who take their time working through these issues.

Bill J.

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