I received a double dose of cognitive dissonance

Sent in by Jack E

I was raised in the SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) church as far back as I can remember. Baptized into their belief system at the age of 9, I did the church thing until I left the church when I was 18 years of age.

As with most who have been raised in the sheltered environment of religion, when released I ran amok for a few years. Then I finally settled in a church named Calvary Chapel (CC), where I felt at liberty as opposed to the legalistic confines of Adventism and their prophet Ellen G. White.

After a few years at CC, I married and continued my spiritual quest by attending a Baptist church. I even became ordained and helped start a local church. While attending the Baptist Church a study group was going through Rick Warrens' book "The Purpose Driven Life," and as the 40 days wound down I began to question God and his character as espoused by Warren and his ilk.

Like, why does God need our constant attention and worship? Why does he get jealous, angry, sad etc. Why does he condone killing of men women and children because they do not believe the way he wants? Why would God effectively force one to become a believer while the gun of hell fire is held to their head and yet claim we have free will? (Stockholm Syndrome) Why does God prohibit the very thing he instructs us not to do?

It took two years for me to leave my belief in religion, i.e., Christianity. I am presently a deist and am struggling with any belief in a supreme being. I can't begin to express how much pain, confusion and anger I went through those two years. The same thing occurred when I left the SDA church. So, in essence, I received a double dose of cognitive dissonance.

My spouse has been extremely supportive and the scales have fallen from her eyes, so to speak. She is starting to reason and ask the hard questions of her Christian friends, which drives them nuts.

It's been a long hard fought road, but worth every tear, frustration and sleepless nights. I have a few close friends who are supportive of what I believe and I cannot stress how important that is to anyone who has left the fold. It is also extremely important to keep reading material that questions Christianity and it's dogma. Education is a constant process since believers will use every trick in the book to bring one back to church.

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Joe B said...

It is also extremely important to keep reading material that questions Christianity and it's dogma.

I'd add that it also helps to read material that simply makes a mockery of Xianity. In many instances formulating logical proofs against the faith is pointless. What logical argument is there against an absurdity? Laughing at it is often the most appropriate response for a healthy mind.

Jamie said...

Welcome Jack.

It's good to have another former "Sevy" on board. I wish I knew myself enough at 18 to leave, but for me it took until I was 37 (at which time my beliefs fell more quickly than I could imagine).

Anonymous said...

Welcome Jack! Glad to have you here. I would like to point out the your are extremely fortunate with regards to your spouse. In reading the testomonies posted here I know that is so not often the case.

Micah Cowan said...

Hi Jack, thanks for your testimony. :)

I, too, come from a Calvary Chapel environment. My dad was a Calvary Chapel senior pastor in Sacramento, CA for nearly all of my life (he is now an associate pastor in Salt Lake City, UT). I was in various leadership positions (mainly worship) in California Calvaries before I left Christianity.

Obviously, it's a big blow to my dad, though it may have helped that I wasn't the first in my family. But the other has “regained his faith,” so I'm now alone in my disbelief (this fact also probably gives my family a false hope for my own return to faith). It may have been harder, honestly, for it to be me rather than my brother, as I'm the oldest, the “reliable role-model” (though the fact that I had premarital sexual relations probably dampened that considerably), and was always very firm and (apparently) unshakably committed in my beliefs until quite recently.

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