I feared hell with a nearly paralyzing fear

Sent in by libertarianchick

I am a born and bred Southern Baptist, with six preachers as grandfathers and great-grandfathers (also one Nazi, but I digress). I was bathed in church from birth. I got saved at six and baptized. I went to camps, choir, GAs, Acteens, VBS, etc¡ I fully believed in God until about age 12. Unlike many other ex-Christians, I did start to de-convert because I wanted to sin. I desperately wanted to have sex, and I had an extremely high drive (especially for a girl). I often feared that I would not have the courage to have premarital sex and that I would have to wait a long time to get married. Needless to say, I found the courage.

I feared (and still do, a little) hell with a nearly paralyzing fear. I had elaborate plans to pray and get saved upon knowing that I was going to die. I still fear sudden death even as an atheist, all the logic in the world cannot overcome this. I read this site and others "religiously," convincing myself of the utter stupidity of hell and Christian doctrine, but it never seems to replace the Chick tracts deep in my mind.

As a college student in microbiology, I fell in love with evolution and its wonderful science and logic and ideas. I began to see and study logical reasons for not believing in Christianity. I feel that spiritual things are not for me, but I am not a militant atheist. One minute, I consider my atheism a deficiency in spirituality because these other people seem to get so much out of their religion, but on the other hand, it is mostly my kind that keeps this world from slipping back into the dark ages.

I have not and will not tell my parents. I do not understand the compulsion to tell them. They are intellectually stunted. They do not have the capacity to not believe in God. My de-conversion would only bring them extreme pain. I enjoy going places with my family, but I do not look to them for an honest, highly emotional relationship. I live far away and can hide not going to church at this time. I may have to tell them something one day, but I'm going to string it out as long as possible.

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Joe B said...

I understand the fear, especially when the paradigm of human wickedness and divine goodness is implanted in the mind of a child. That paradigm colors everything; breeds indifference to suffering, personal and otherwise. After all, what would you expect in the "vale of tears."

Sounds like your fear motivated goodness is being supplanted by the genuine article. I think the "Three Rs" are all we need. Respect for yourself, respect for others, and responsibility for your own actions. Doesn't take fear of hell to empower that. Just requires a healthy mind.

Anonymous said...

You deconverted because you wanted to have sex?

Thats so shallow it laughable.

Frankly, I don't believe it. But if true, you are a moron.

Comix said...

It would seem to me that "shallow" is the person that lurks on a website for EX-CHRISTIANS and makes hateful comments. Please go away.

Spirula said...

You deconverted because you wanted to have sex?

To the shallow "anonymice", the sexually repressive nature of conservative christianity (and Islam for that matter), produces unhealthy and unnatural attitudes about sex and ones sexuality. The result is guilt, sexual frustration, sexual denial, and a warped view about sexual attraction (e.g. the sin of "lust).

This person, no doubt, sensed that suppressing a strong sex drive is impossible over time (because it is biologically unnatural to do so).

So how does this unnatural and distorted view of sexuality play out? Well, recent interviews have shown that the vast majority of the recruits for (Islamic) suicide bombers are young and (self-admittedly) sexually repressed men. What I observed in Christianity is that it often resulted in teenage pregnancy or marriage at a very young age. In addition it fostered and an attitude that women are "temptresses" (something it shares with Islam by the way).

In other words, the sexually repressive environment of the conservative christian community, which is biologically and psychologically unnatural, is certainly a legitimate reason for one to start questioning their religion.

Spirula said...

"sexually repressed men"

that should read "sexually frustrated men"

Joe B said...

Have to jump in again after that bit of hate speech that was entered anonymously above. As I said, the 3 Rs are a better guide than the mess of a guide book called the Bible.

A 12 year old can't be expected to have any idea about how to deal with her emerging sexual feelings in a way that responsible way that respects herself and others.

The church's silence on important elements of that dilemma and bullshit on others leaves kids with no reliable guide. Hence we get the guilt, hurt and all of the consequences of teen pregnancy.

Do they take responsibility? Nope. Dump it all at the door of the individual. Their entire posture on the subject is a sin.

Alright, I'll go work on bringing my blood pressure back down now.

Anonymous said...

Hey libertarianchick - I understand your emotions. I guess what has been helpful to me is that for all the time needed to learn the Christian doctrines about heaven/hell, life/death, abstinence/sex, you need time to unlearn them as well. It was a pretty quick process to the "vibe" of the teaching when everyone around you was affirming, reminding and preaching to you. It might seem longer to you, if your support network is small - please try to hook up with other intelligent deconverts .. I found this really helpful: even if it takes some time. Give yourself lots of space and time to detach from the "ties that bind". I think ultimately you'll know when it's the right moment to share with family and friends.

And ya, I admit that my sex drive was wild as a church teen too (even though I'm a guy). Funny thing though - it actually spiced up my interest in sex way more than if the church had played it cool on the subject. Nothing like pruning a rose to make it explode! ..

Allthebest - keep reading and connecting!

Anonymous said...

I have a co-worker who deconverted from Islam, because he wanted to have sex. At least sex is real. Anonymous, you are the true moron , not Libertarianchick.
People de-converted for many various reasons. Anonymouse, just go away and leave us alone!

Anonymous said...

I think most of us at one time or
another still feel some guilt or
apprehension. When you've spent
such a large part of your life
letting the church and the Bible
dictate your actions..well, I wonder if it ever completely leaves
you, since "born-againism" thrives
so much on fear and despair. Ever
noticed at a funeral the minister
always reminds everyone that death
could be coming for them any minute, and they'd better get saved
like the dearly departed?

Your sexual feelings were perfectly
natural. Once you head into your
teens, your hormones come on line
big time. Mine certainly did, but
because of church brainwashing, I
thought there must be something
vaugely shameful about sexuality.
I even thought dating was questionable, and never asked a girl out while I was in high school. (I'm sure some of my classmates to this day think I'm

So remember, you're in good company
here. The sharing of our experiences has been a big help to me, and I'm sure it will be to you, too.

Micah Cowan said...

My 7-year-old daughter is frequently very distressed by the concept that I, or sometimes she, will go to Hell.

Having been a Christian through more of her childhood than I have been an ex-Christian, she of course got a grounding in the concept, from her parents, and from church. However, it was never used as a scare tactic against her; she was told matter-of-factly about it, and typically only in answer to questions she had about it. It was not a place where "bad people go", but where people who "don't love Jesus" go.

Of course, now I "don't love Jesus" (though I'm sure he would have been a pretty nice guy to know if I'd met him). So, naturally, my daughter is wracked with fear that I will go to Hell when I die. Whenever she feels she's done something bad, she also starts to cry and says that she's going to go to Hell (despite her mother's and my protests to the contrary, and our previous insistence that you don't go to Hell just for doing bad things).

My daughter has a mood disorder, which from one perspective can be used to wave away her emotional distress (she also gets distressed for other fantastic reasons [Note: I often use fantastic to mean "of or to do with fantasy", which usage is less common these days; but what other word can I use for that?], such as last night, when she was terrified that an alien she saw in her bedroom was going to eat her). From another perspective, it's shameful that such a fantastic notion should so completely prey upon the emotions of those who are vulnerable to it.

And it's not just children, and it's not just people who have mood disorders. The attack that the concept of Hell carries out upon every emotional vulnerability we possess, is quite effective. Why else would the "but what if I'm wrong? I don't want to go to Hell!" argument be so incredibly effective against those of us who aren't 100% convinced that we're right (and such conviction can be difficult to come by, considering that such things are by nature, unfalsifiable).

Anonymous said...

Hey, my problems with the Christian restrictions on sex were one reason I began to question the religion as a whole. It wasn't the ultimate reason I left- I found the whole religion to be untrue, as you probably did too- but it was definitely a part of it! I recognized the unnaturalness of the Christian teachings (not to mention, the contradictions and hypocrisy!) Interestingly enough, I still haven't had intercourse, but I feel free to do it if I decide that it's right for me, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. (It's the fear of pregnancy that keeps me at bay these days... no birth control seems effective enough to reassure me, at least until I get out of college and get a decent job. But that's quite another story! And don't worry, I still manage to have quite a bit of fun in the bedroom... and other rooms ;)

nm156 said...

Anony said:

"You deconverted because you wanted to have sex?

Thats so shallow it laughable.

Frankly, I don't believe it. But if true, you are a moron."

Exactly what trouble do you have in believing this? What would she have to gain by lying about it? If it is so, what makes her a moron? Please explain yourself; your comments make no sense.

What do you call a Christian who clings to their beliefs and must live in denial of a very natural human desire?
How about a Christian who unashamedly has sex behind the scenes?

Bill B said...

I think it was my lifelong love of porn that kept me from ever becoming a Christian in the first place :D The God I once believed in was a staunch proponent of girl/girl scenes.


twincats said...

That was very honest bravery on your part, libertarianchick. I felt the same way, but had little trouble rationalizing it to myself and this is why:

When I was a child, we lived in an area that was probably 40% Jewish, so I knew a lot about their dietary laws through friends and acquaintances. I asked my mom once why we (as Lutherans) didn't adhere to the dietary laws. She told me that it was because we now know how to avoid getting sick from certain foods (she used the specific example of trichinosis and the prohibition of pork) and those laws were no longer needed.

Forward ten years or so, when the hormones began to rage, and I extrapolated that conversation about dietary laws to sexual prohibitions; we now know how to avoid unwanted pregnancy, so those laws aren't so relevant anymore. Well, not for me, anyway (and no, I wasn't so naive or glib as to try to reason them away completely; I knew that wasn't going to happen.) And viola! I had an active and happy sex life as a young, unmarried Christian gal.

Of course, I knew my particular views wouldn't be accepted or appreciated by family or congregation, so I was always careful and discrete.

On the subject of discretion, I also agree with libchick that informing family of one's apostasy isn't always necessary or desirable.

SpaceMonk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SpaceMonk said...

"I have not and will not tell my parents. I do not understand the compulsion to tell them. They are intellectually stunted. They do not have the capacity to not believe in God. My de-conversion would only bring them extreme pain..."

Five years too late I would now have to agree with you.
My compulsion to tell my parents was that I didn't want such secrets between us.
I still believed in our family and had always thought we were all honest in our beliefs.

I naively thought that if I told them what I had now learned that they would have to come to the same conclusion, and we'd all leave christianity together.
But you're right, they are too intellectually stunted, and now they do go through pain over my lost soul.

Matthew 10: 35
"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Sorry Jesus, but I do love my faily more than I love you.
You are not worthy of me.

So I say christianity is to blame.
It sets up cleverly crafted barriers to bamboozle at every logical turn, all playing on that fear of hell.

Don't worry, now you've taken the first steps against fear and smashed through those pathetic barriers it will only get easier.

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