I am proud to call myself an atheist

Sent in by Thomas M

This has to be one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my Life. With each keystroke my heart pounds a little harder. My ascent into an ex-Christian has been a painful and liberating journey. I may be young (25) but I have a lot to tell.

My Dad was born again when I was five years old. He felt the call of god and moved out to Springfield, Mo to attend Bible College when I was 12. He was an old-time pentecostal full of the spirit. He pastored 2 churches and currently is a minister for a jail. I was home schooled from 3rd grade till 10th grade due to sin in schools. The only people I knew were pentecostal people. When I graduated from High School I had a dream of becoming an inner city pastor doing what Jesus wanted: Giving up everything and helping the poor.

I went to my Dad's bible college where I fell into sin and was booted for a year. In that year I studied the Bible diligently wanting to become the most concrete christian I could so I would not stumble into Satan's attacks again. I went back to bible college and was married to a wonderful wife. We both shared the call of god on us.

Something changed in me a short while later. I met a youth pastor and interned underneath him. He was the first person that I seen truly characterize what I felt Jesus was. He told me to question everything and not have any stone unturned. I bought an incredible book (The Jesus Mysteries) that showed the flaws of the Bible. I was determined to defeat the books claims and prove Jesus and his religion. I mean I was 2 semesters away from graduating bible college. The strangest thing happened....

I couldn't do it. This book was spot on. I bought other books to make sure this book was correct. Could I have been brainwashed all my life into believing in Jesus.

I told my wife about this plight of mine. She said she was weary and felt the same way I did. We questioned the foundation of Christianity and it crumbled

We both have been on this journey of rejection and development for about a year now. It has been painful emotionally because we are in the Bible Belt and only .1 percent of people here believe differently. (It might be exaggerated a bit)

I say all that to say this. This site has been the biggest help I have seen. I used to Google atheist and agnostic for days to find people going through the same things. We all need support and reading others anti-testimonies are the boost I need to get through the week sometimes.

Tears stream down as I write this. Just one more step in liberating my life and moving on. I find it hard at times to live a life where my comfort blanket has been removed by truth. I find it hard to trust people and even harder to trust myself. Most all my friends have abandoned me. Maybe even sometimes I abandoned them. I feel broken and hurt by my previous life, but I am dealing with it every day. I understand when someone says they are angry with the church. I understand when they say support is needed. When someone feels they can do it alone they are just fooling themselves again. I am proud to call myself an atheist. I am happy for support when I find it. It is like a glimmer of hope in a crowded world. As I learn more I hope to become more confident in my stance and continue on my journey now as a stronger and smarter person through the help of this and other communities.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

60 comments:

Astreja said...

Welcome, Thomas!

For many of us at Ex-C, the pain of deconversion is exacerbated by the loss of the associated social network.

It does get better. But, in the meantime, we're here for you.

Caleb said...

Hell yeah Bro! Welcome to the fold. I recently deconverted myself, after years of trying to ignore and repress reason. I have slowly but surely been sharing my new atheist belief system with my Christian friends (all of my friends are btw...). Some have been accepting and still hang out with me. Others however, have distanced themselves. It is painful at times, but more often than not... liberating to finally be at peace with the truth! You oughtta check out the website below. It is a good primer. Investigating research of this sort has really been mind-blowing!

http://www.medmalexperts.com/POCM/index.html

Anyway, again... welcome. I look forward to future posts from you!

Chucky Jesus said...

Congratulations on shedding the veil of lies which is Christianity.

Ironically, it was Pentecostalism which set me on the road to also becoming an ex-Christian. I never became a Pentecostal, but it was someone trying to convert me to that which made me see that all religions, denominations and sects all claim to be right, but obviously, there is only one reality and they can't be all right. None of them are right.

Don't worry, you will find many fellow travelers in your new rationalist life.

Lynn said...

Dear Thomas, welcome to the unfold. You will find kind, smart people of integrity here, which is so much more than I can say for any christian organizations I ever participated in. If there is a god, she does not need us to turn our brains off.
Wishing you well, Lynn

freethinker05 said...

Thomas, trust me, when my faith came crumbling down,(aprox.about a yr. ago now) along with other issues in my life, I went into such a depression that I thought I would loose my mind,(what little I had left,ha ha), or have a nervous breakdown. I am a hell-of-lot more at ease since I found this site. I'm sure if you continue to stay with this site, your fear and anger will subside. Welcome to the group. Peace, Roger

Huey said...

Thomas welcome! I myself want to say to you that friendship, true friendship, has nothing to do with religion. I am an atheist and like you, proud of it, yet my best friends, people who I have known for over 20 years, are very devout christians. They have no problem with my beliefs. They feel that my beliefs are mine. I have been to their churches over the years (had to, was the best man at their wedding!), and have never been villified by the congregations. I say this to show that it is not necessary to have only atheist friends.

She will ask me questions from time to time but not because she is trying to convert me but rather trying to gain a greater understanding of the man who is so much a part of the life of her and her husband and their four boys. He stopped asking years ago but that is because he had the answers he wanted from me and that was it, but I have known him longer.

I am glad to read that your wife is on the same journey as you. So many testimonies here relate the opposite. You were very fortunate in you choice of spouses and I think that she was as well. I hope that you both treasure that!

Please stop by now and then and comment on what you read from time to time. Contrary to what christians believe, we are not all the same. Differing viewpoints are valued here. (Even fundie viewpoints are valued, but for radically different reasons.) I love reading the testomonials and the responses (comments) of my peers (and others). I learn so much and am able to further refine myself as a result.

I wish good fortune to the both of you in the seeking of your future.

bud said...

Imagine what America might be like if we (freethinkers) held the majority. I "believe" this nation could then truly be a great country, and regarded as such by many countries. Thomas, I live in the bible belt (MS), too, and I think your 1% estimate is pretty accurate. Don't worry too much. You're not alone. This is a great site, with many wonderful people. Best wishes, Greg

George Davis said...

Having just gone through a painful renunciation of christianity myself this year, I can share your grief. It's like a death, leaving everything you once held so precious. You feel betrayed. You miss having Jesus as your best friend. Your whole identity is now wrecked: your plans to serve god are up in smoke. But in spite of the emotions, please know you have escaped magical thinking. That is an amazing, bold, life-changing step millions of people will never make. Have courage, my friend!

jfraysse said...

Hello Brother Thomas and Welcome! So you have pierced the veil of myth and deception – Wonderful! I know I ain’t your Daddy, but I have a few things for you to consider, if you haven’t already.

First, count you blessings: You have a wife that shares you “religious views”. I’m sure your pain is strong right now. Many here have been through this phase and many are still doing so - you are not alone. But it would be so, so much worse if your wife was a dyed-in-the-wool fundy. At least you can confide in her. This fact is HUGE!

Second: Ok, the Bible is not “God’s Word” and Christianity is a convoluted joke. However, if there was anything positive that you learned from your studies and time spent, hold fast to it. Don’t discard it because of the other crap or what Christianity “did to you”. It’s like Romans 12:9 says, so keep on abhorring that which is evil and cleaving to that which is good and nurturing the good person are – we are all in the process of “becoming!”

Third: The idea that this consciousness is all we get is most troubling. The promise of an afterlife is one of the main selling points of the Abrahamic (Big Three) Religions at least for the “Godly”. Whether there really is some sort of a “life” after this one, I am not wise enough to say but, no matter, we all must (or should) deal with this reality! As a consequence, I have tried to teach my kids, and now my grandkids, that we should live “thankful lives” and try to be grateful for what we have in every moment. Why? Well, for the simple reason that it might be all we are going to get!

You are on a grand adventure, Thomas - you and your most excellent lady! Your pain will not last and your confidence will build daily. Purpose in you heart to make the most of it, everyday! You can and will do it!

stronger now said...

to Thomas,

Congrats on your overcoming the big lie. I know It wasn't and still isn't easy to deal with all the changes. But if you were strong enough to take the big step then you're strong enough for the rest. So welcome. This site has a lot to offer and it helped me a great deal. It's still helping me, I learn something new every time I visit here.

I don't mean to change the course of this conversation but I have one little question.

To anyone that can answer,

One thing I would like to ask, How long does it usually take to stop kicking yourself for believeing the stupid things that you believed as a christian?

Anonymous said...

I think Caleb said it best:

liberating to finally be at peace with the truth!

Michael said...

Hi Thomas. It must a incredibly hard time for you, and I hope you'll be surrounded by friends to support you, whether Christian or not.

Hi everyone. I have to admit, being a Christian, it's pretty scary posting on this site. I will try to treat you all with respect (firstly by not posting anonymously). If I offend anyone, please try to rebuke me gently.

Thomas, you mentioned that you couldn't defeat the claims of "The Jesus Mysteries". From your testimony, I got the impression that you tried to do that on your own. I was wondering if you read any sites or books that try to refute the claims in "The Jesus Mysteries"?

Thackerie said...

@[b]Thomas[/b] -

Welcome! I remember when it first dawned on me that christianity, like all other religions, is absolutely man-made and so we have no need to fear a wrathful god torturing us for eternity just for being humans with doubts. It was during my freshman year of college when I took a course on the History of the Bible. It was an incredibly uplifting and liberating moment – perhaps akin to what Paul felt on the road to Damascus, except this was real and lasting ([i]31 years and counting[/i]).

I wish you every happiness in your new, free life and hope you enjoy hanging around this site.


@[b]Michael[/b] -

Hope you don't think I'm being mean to you, but I can't help but wonder, have YOU ever read The Jesus Mysteries, The God Delusion, The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read, The Darkside of Christian History, Losing Faith In Faith … or anything else that refutes christianity? I mean the actual books, all the way through, and not just what christian apologists say about such books?

We have a lot of christians drop in and recommend something intended to boost belief. (Honestly, that seems rather condescending to me in light of the fact that so many of the regulars at this site struggled with their deconversion for months or years and read those same apologetics in a futile attempt to hold on to a worn-out faith.)

However, I have yet to meet an evangelical christian visitor to this site who has actually read anything from the “other side,” given it deep thought, and who can refute it rationally – in their own words, not by cutting-and-pasting something from an apologist. Now, THAT would be interesting.

.:webmaster:. said...

Thakerie,

Use HTML tags, not BB code.

"You can use some HTML tags, such as..."

Heretic Chick said...

Hang in there Thomas. At least you AND your wife share the same views at this moment. You can support one another through this painful period of adjustment. I'm lucky that my husband shares my views and my parents aren't religious either. Welcome to the group!

Michael said...

Hi Thackerie. I haven't read any of those books you mentioned. It's probably not helpful for me to read apologetics without reading the actual book, so I will read "The Jesus Mysteries".

I've seen where posts have been treated as "cut and paste" answers (I started reading exchristian.net on friday). This is why, instead of posting a rebuttal or a link to one, I asked if Thomas had read any apologetics, since I couldn't tell from his testimony if he had.

For me, this is like seeing a mechanic who has a broken car, and it seems like he has tried to work out the problem and fix it on his own. So I ask him if he's talked with any mechanics that specialise in that type of car. Maybe Thomas has already read many apologetics for "The Jesus Mysteries", I'd like to find out if he has. (I realise that this analogy assumes the car can be fixed. However, I guess from your point of view, the natural and permanent state of the car is to be broken?)

michael said...

(I also realise, the actual situation is a lot more devastating than a broken car. I hope no-one is offended by the analogy)

Thackerie said...

Michael - I have other things to do right now, so I'll butt out and let Thomas respond for himself if he chooses to. However, I just read a post entitled "I Didn't Have a Choice" which was posted at the top of the main blog page on exchristian just a few minutes ago and I was struck by the closing paragraph. The author, Telesmith, expresses it better than I did:

"as a Christian I was quite the apologetics buff. I realize now that I had never given Christianity a hard look. I had given the answers a hard look but never the questions. I poured over Lewis, Chesterton, McDowell, Craig, McGrath and a dozen others. I avoided however, those who they were attempting to answer. I want to charge those out there who are defenders of the faith lurking around on this website to really dig in and learn the critics. If Christianity is true then you have nothing to fear."

Quinton said...

Hi Thomas C,

Glad to see you seeking the truth and knowledge. What were some of the claims that you were not able to fight?

Thanks,
Quinton

DoesItFlow said...

Jfraysse:

"As a consequence, I have tried to teach my kids, and now my grandkids, that we should live “thankful lives” and try to be grateful for what we have in every moment. Why? Well, for the simple reason that it might be all we are going to get!"

What is THIS all about? Being "thankful" for something acknowledges that that thing must have been provided by an object or person with whom you are somehow acquainted (either conceptually, physically, spiritually, or otherwise).

Who GAVE us this life? To whom/what do we OWE "thanks?"

Shouldn't we just be "happy" about life, or something akin to that?

Do you expect me to believe that I OWE my life to someone/something else, and should live my life in some kind of "thankful" and "grateful" mode of homage to this benevolent benefactor?

This seems like a very strange and curious departure from the rest of your post.

Please explain!

Thank you,

Peace...

- DoesItFlow

DoesItFlow said...

Thackerie,

Thank you for the reading list! :) Out of those that you listed, I've only read "Losing Faith in Faith."

Peace...

- DoesItFlow

DrJim1940 said...

Dear Thomas,
I became an ex-Christian in 1969. I began my career as a Southern Baptist minister and had been molded by and led in that direction by my mother. I graduated from a Baptist college as a ministerial student and had majored in philosophy. I completed my BD degree at a seminary, then went to graduate school to pursue my Ph.D. in philosophy in preparation to seek a teaching position at a religious college.
During seminary I had begun to have lots of questions and doubts about mainstream Christian doctrines.

My intellectual questioning continued throughout graduate school. All of this was extremely unnerving to my wife at the time, someone whom I had met in college. by the time I took my first full-time teaching position in 1969, I had reached the point that I could no longer in good conscience call myself a Christian.

I left Christianity for many, many reasons; some of them were the ones which you expressed. But, for me, one of the premier issues stemmed from my study of world religions and my investigations into the foundations of the Christian faith in its inception.
I realized that had I been born in another place at another time I could just as easily have been reared as a Muslim, a Taoist, a Jew, a Hindu or a Buddhist. Members of those religions believe that they, too, have the truth about the nature of reality, the meaning of human existence and the ultimate destiny of the human self.
Once I took an objective perspective and recognized the fact that religious persons are usually disposed to accept the religion in which they were reared, I could acknowledge that I had been a Christian by mere chance. I also realized that there is no objective way to establish the truth of any particular religion. It is clearly the case that not ALL of the religions can be true because they are incompatible with one another. But, on the other hand, it is also possible that none of them is true. I accept the fact that no one of us is in any position to validate any specific religious stance. Commitment to a particular religion is an existential commitment of oneself to a "way of life" which is based on faith, not one based on verifiable, hard evidence.

I don't call myself an atheist; instead, I tell those who ask that I am an agnostic. I don't claim to know whether there is or is not a god or any gods. It is logically possible, but I don't have any evidence to justify believing that there is.

I have commented at length because I want you to realize that there are many like yourself who have gone before you and who have reached your position after many years of careful deliberation and study and have been able to continue to endure what you have only recently experienced. Therefore, take consolation in the fact that you are not alone.

Have I lost friends because of my religious changes? Yes, I have. But I am able to go to sleep at night and sleep in peace in full recognition that I reached the decision that I did after having given it all of my intellectual energy in considering all of the alternative possibilities.

I want to leave you with an anecdote which I have sometimes used in reply to those who ask me why I don't believe any longer.
Bertrand Russell was a famous British mathematician and philosopher who was reared as an Anglican, who later in life became an agnostic and who, in his final years, professed to being an atheist. In his final days of life, being the famous person that he was, he was visited by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Russell's close acquaintances called him "Bertie." During his visit, the Archbishop asked: "Tell me, Bertie, what are you going to say on judgment day when God asks you why you didn't believe?" Russell replied, "I'll tell him what I tell everyone. There just wasn't enough evidence." I recommend to you an article by Russell I used in my introductory philosophy classes: it is entitled "Why I Am Not a Christian." It is not the strongest or best piece of writing on the issue, but it provides sufficient food for thought.
http://www.classicreader.com/read.php/bookid.1736/sec./


Hang in there and "Keep the (new) faith."

.:webmaster:. said...

Dr. Jim,

If you would grace me with a direct communication, I'd greatly appreciate it.

You can contact me by clicking here.

Thanks.

WM

BlackSun said...

Bravo, Thomas M!! I'm very happy for you.

Anonymous said...

Just another log(atheist) for the fire...the eternal fire, that is.

.:webmaster:. said...

Yes, yes...

Jesus loves you more than you can possibly imagine, but if you don't happen to believe in him, then HE will make sure you regret it BIG TIME by confining you to horrific torture and agony for all eternity.

That, my dear, is Agape Love!

What a maroon.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing, you silly ninnies...if you are now atheist, please stop breathing the air God created, cease eating and drinking the food and water He created, and shut it with the stories of my great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-great-great-great-great-
great-great-great-great-great-great
grandpa who was a monkey.

Best of 'luck' to you, for 'luck' is now all you have!

All of you will have excuses in The End, but there will be no excuses(Matt. 7:21-23)

stronger now said...

Well, that did it. after reading the last anonymous post I can no longer deny that the bible gods' existence. I can no longer be a "ninny" and wonder how I could have ever missed such well thought out argument. It was so persuasive I can hardly imagine it came from a human mind at all. Yes friends, it was god speaking through anony. Read it again, how could it not be of divine origin?

On second thought...NAAA!

boomSLANG said...

Annoynomous: Oh, and one more thing, you silly ninnies...if you are now atheist, please stop breathing the air God created...

...oh, and stop drinking Poseiden's water, too!...you, you,....you stupid deity-denying people!!!

lol!

.:webmaster:. said...

I don't know about my great, great, great... grandparents, but I think I can fairly well state that your ancestors, anonymous, were complete asses.

madison said...

im sorry that you feel this way about the bible & about OUR lord, thomas, and that your wife has followed you in your beliefs, or unbeliefs, but how can you feel that everything you have trusted for your life are lies? i do sincerly feel sorry for you, because you must feel extremely lost right now, i will pray for you, God Bless, and hopefully, you will find your way back to him.

.:webmaster:. said...

Madison,

I, for one, pity you and those like you who have surrendered your reasoning abilities in order to follow mythology.

I wish the best for you, and the best is that you regain your ability to reason.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Anony,
Which is a better choice?
A) My ancestors were monkeys.
B) My ancestors were a pile of dirt.

Farris

DoesItFlow said...

Webmaster,

I thought you were just going to delete the posts from these "anonymous" clowns! What's up?

It seems like every time someone jumps in like that it distracts everyone from the topic at hand... Please just erase these jokers!

Thanks! :)

Peace...

- DoesItFlow

Anonymous said...

Alright, enough of this frigging mental masturbation...you all are tiring me.
There are three principles of truth. This posting will deal with the first principle, which says, "What we believe to be true does not in any way change what is actually true." In other words, truths about God, His Son, salvation, heaven, hell, and a host of other spiritual subjects are not effected by what one believes. If a person could persuade every single person in the world to accept his beliefs, it would not make those beliefs correct. Nor would it change what is actually true.

I think we all would claim to recognize this principle. In fact, probably no professing Christian/Atheist/Agnostic/Self-absorbed solipsist-schmuck-fathead would claim that he can change eternal truths by what he believes- well, maybe the solipsist-shmuck-fathead would. But actions show otherwise. The fact is many do purposefully ignore those passages that opposes their beliefs. Theologians tend to slant their interpretation of Scriptures to fit their own preconceptions. Many tend to even read Bible commentaries and "religious" books that favor their belief system, or those of their preachers or denomination or congregation. In fact, many do tend to refuse to look at evidence that may prove their beliefs to be incorrect.
So, by action, many believe that they can change eternal truths simply by picking and choosing passages that seem to favor their beliefs, while ignoring those that oppose what they believe. The Bible says in Psalm 119:160 (ESV), "The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever." In other words, everything that God says is true. Therefore, if one is to be honest, they must accept all what God says.
Until a person truly believes in the depths of his soul that he cannot change eternal truths, he will never come to the proper understanding of Scripture. And until he believes that without question that he has nothing to fear from the truth, he will not want to make an honest search for the truth.

This is why we must allow the Scripture and the Scripture alone to teach us and correct us. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV), "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." The Scriptures alone will enlighten us, teach us, correct us, and train us- not the webmaster and posters in ex-christian.net, not George W. Bush, not Hillary Clinton, not Ron Paul, not Ralph Nader, not Fidel Castro, not Vladimir Putin, not John Ratzinger, not Billy Graham, not Joel Osteen, not Joyce Meyer, not Charles Stanley, not Creflo Dollar, not Richard Dawkins, not William F. Buckley, not Newt Gingrich, not Rush Limbaugh, not Sean Hannity, not Mark Levin, not Al Franken, not Bill O'Reilly, not Hugh Hefner, not Bill Maher, not Chris Matthews, not Keith Olbermann, not Stephen Colbert, not John Stewart, not Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, not Tony Robbins, not Donald Trump, not Oprah Winfrey, not Ellen DeGeneres, not Steven Spielberg, not Martin Scorcese, not Francis Ford Coppola, not Bob Dylan, not Neil Young, not Van Morrison, not Tori Amos, not Diana Krall, not your mother-in-law, not your college professor, not your boyfriend/girlfriend, not your transsexual hairdresser, not your shrink, not your financial planner, not your doctor/dentist/plastic surgeon, not one damn other human being on this DAMN planet, not your pets, not your plants, not your hobbies. For in God's Word, lies eternal truths: truths that cannot be altered.

BoyGod666 said...

...not Paul, not Matthew, not Mark, not Luke, not John, not Jesus, not Noah, not Adam, not Moses, not Joseph Smith, not Mohammad, not you. No, no wait, no one but you knows the answer. Does that mean I need to listen to you?

Astreja said...

(nods in weary patience) Yes, Anonymouse, "eternal truths" like:

- The earth is flat.

- Bats are birds.

- Snakes and donkeys can talk.

- If you rape a woman, pay 50 shekels of silver to her father and you can marry her.

- It's bad to wear a linen-wool blend.

- It's bad to have more than one type of plant in your garden.

And, if you're physically handicapped, don't you dare go to church.

Neeeeext!

.:webmaster:. said...

And we know the Bible is the last word on truth, is authoritative, was written by a god, and is something that all men and women should acknowledge and submit to in every area of their lives, because...

because, because, because, because, because..........!

Because of the wonderful things it does.

Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da..,, da, da.

Dear anonymous-too-lazy-to-type-out-a pseudonym-Christian-parrot:

Quoting a compiled heap of mythology is meaningless. Until you can present some evidence that a god exists, you sound no different than someone peddling Islam, Mormonism, or some other cult.

G'bye now.

jfraysse said...

Hi DoesItFlow:

Yes! I think we should also attempt to be “happy” about life as you suggest. This does NOT require a deity!

To me, the idea of being “grateful” is an admonishment to make the most of every situation and to be thankful to others for your present “good fortune”. I’m grateful for my family and friends and those I work with (mostly). I’m also grateful for some of the benefits that were out of my control at birth, such as the “age” in which I live, my parents and this country. I am grateful for the many modern conveniences that I enjoy and for most of the sciences and technologies that made them possible. These are just a few examples.

The grateful life also avoids the “I’m a victim” mindset and is more likely to produce useful solutions. Like the old adage states, “when life hands you are Lemon - make Lemonade”. It is, admittedly, an optimistic outlook and I don’t expect this approach to life to work for everyone, but it has worked for me.

Grace & Peace, John

fjell said...

Dear Anonymous,

You're wrong on the Tori Amos thing.

fjell

Max said...

You make me feel like a late bloomer! I had the same sort of falling away when I was your age, but I didn't admit it to myself until I was in my 40's. Trust me, you've greatly simplified your life!

boomSLANG said...

Can anyone tell me what it means when a non-Theist uses the word "Grace", when it's obviously not intended to mean "charm", or "ease of movement"? 'Just curious.

boomSLANG said...

Annoy-nomous: The Bible says in Psalm 119:160 (ESV), "The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever." In other words, everything that God says is true

In the Text of Pepi I we read(line 390), “All the gods give thee their flesh and their blood…. Thou shalt not die.” In other words, if we should find jesus satay on the Oriental buffet, we can partake of him, and live forever! Yay!

Thomas M said...

Thanks for posting. You see I love this site! To the claims of the Jesus Mysteries I have read that I cannot refute, are claims like Jesus was just based off of pagan religions, superstition, and Paul. I can write down every one but it would be better for others to see the light in them by reading the book.
The only refutes I have seen in christian works, is that satan knew aforehand to doubt the "fragile" minds of atheists and others. I have asked professors and pastors these questions and none have had an answer. They skirt around the issue with christian mumble jumble.
I didn't say this in my original post but another major reason for leaving was the scripture where saul the king was punished for not killing all the women and children of the enemy. This gracious, loving, and understanding god punished the king of Israel for being compassionate. awww, what a nice God. When I ask other christians about this story the answer is always god knows best and he knew their hearts would not turn to him later in their life. I cannot find one good answer why God allowed genocide to wipe out an entire race. I don't know any sane christian that would recommend wiping out the Buddhist population because god commanded them.
There are thousands of other stories in the Bible that are like this and we see god turning from a mean angry force to this compassionate loving god we have now due to human perception of a fairy tale.
There are stories of people that kill their kids because god said so and we deem them crazy but abraham was considered the greatest person to walk the earth.
Thanks again for the encouragement and to the christians responding, I hope you read books by intellectuals against christianity and search out truth. Trust me when I say this, I have pondered and searched the questions deeply I have come across because my life depends on it.

stronger now said...

To boomslang,

Grace is the name of a Woman who happens to have a fine ass. So when someone says "Grace to you"... well... I think you can figure it out.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Thomas, you are fortunate to have your wife follow along beside you on your path to enlightenment. I have been as fortunate as you. I left the faith first and only a month or two later, my husband did as well. It is precious to not feel so alone, but I would have walked the road alone anyway and did so regardless of what he or anyone else would think, because I could never live contrary to my intellectual integrity.

To Michael: Many of us here gave ourselves over to intense study of BOTH sides of the faith issue before making the decision to leave Christianity. When I was a Christian, I owned some of the best apologetic books. I was a sponge for C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity", for Lee Strobel's "The Case for a Creator", and "The Case for Christ". I read Dowell and when it came to various doctrinal disputes, I would scour the Bible and otuside resources for the answers to my questions and confusion. For example, when it came to the issue of a "rapture", I gave both sides of the argument a chance reading apologists for either view before I came to the conclusion that the "rapture" was not a Biblical or early church teaching. I gave Hal Lindsay and others a chance, but I could not deny the evidence to the contrary of such a ridiculous doctrine.

The point is, few of here took our decision lightly and would not have toyed with our "eternal souls" after years of being indoctrinated with a fear of Hell should we one day fail to believe. It isn't as though we read one text and threw out the baby with the bathwater. Some of us, myself included, wrestled with doubts and confusion for years to a point of near mental breakdown just to hang on to our precious "faith".

There are some of us here however that did not need to experience such emotional trauma and with the introduction of a few simple facts or a few simple doubts were able to chuck the Bible where it belongs - in the garbage heap. I wish that I had been one of them. My friend Xrayman (a regular to this site) was one who could never swallow the claims of Christianity and never needed the evidence that I and many of us did to leave the whole getup for good. Have you read all of the apologetics for Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism before rejecting those religions? Are you sure you've made an educated decison before taking so lightly the threat of Allah's Hell? If not, perhaps you should read the apologistic aruments in favor of the Quran's truth.

jfraysse said...

Hello BoomSLANG:

I love your postings and I concede that Stronger Now is probably right about good ole Grace! But assuming that your question was directed to me, well, I kinda like the Christian idea of “unmerited favor” but without the attribution to a deity.

One of the “de-deified” definitions of “Grace” is as follows: “a cheerful, obliging, disposition given to kindness, compassion and benign good will”. So when someone first meets you and gives you the benefit of honor, respect, consideration and even empathy without you first having to prove to them that you actually “deserve it”, that is “Grace”.

I fully realize that “wishing” anything is irrational, nevertheless, wishing someone “Grace” is better (to me) than just saying “good luck” which has a serendipitous connotation to it. Many live by the motto that “respect is earned” and that’s ok, but some choose to give that respect or deference without a rational cause. It is these folks that I prefer and I would be flattered if someone described me in these terms. Wishing someone this kind of received benevolence in their lives and relationships seems to be an altogether pleasant consideration.

But if “Grace” offends you, then all you get is “peace”. Ain’t this fun?

Peace, John

JackieM said...

Hi! This is Thomas' wife. I'm so proud of my husband and what he has accomplished. I wanted to respond to Madison who made a comment how I would have followed my husband footsteps in becoming an atheist. You might want to get to know someone a little better before you start judging them... oh wait! Isn't that what most of the Christian community does? I did not follow my husbands footsteps. In fact, I was loosing faith while he was still in bible college and planning to be a pastor. I just couldn't get passed the idea that the bible (that was written by people, put together and published by people) could possible be holy. God didn't write it... period. So it's fallible. Therefore I couldn't be a bible believing Christian, which then made being a Christian kinda pointless. It just started to seem "made up" to me. It was about 9 months after he quit bible college that Tommy admitted that he had completely lost faith. What a freakin' relief that was!! You see, I'm surrounded my believers so it wasn't going to be easy for me to come out. A few months later we decided together that we had no reason to believe in god or devote any part of our lives to him. We now are focused raising our son (now 2) to think for himself, question everything, and not believe something b/c somebody says so. Research... find out for yourself. We're Americans and damnit.. we have the right to do it!!
thank you...

ps. I love this sight. All of you "regulars" have been such a support for me and ya don't even know it.

Michael said...

Hi Thomas, it's the same Michael as before, just with a blogger name now. Thanks for replying. I haven't read "The Jesus Mysteries", so I'm not sure if you'd find it appropriate for me to comment on that. But with king Saul, did you mean 1 Samuel 15 with the Amelikites? How would you feel about discussing this passage with me? I realise that your view of the new testament has changed. I'm wondering, what is your view on the old testament, since it points to a King and suffering servant?

Hi Nvrgoingbk. I should probably read more views from non-Christian authors. I've read a bit about all those religions, but more so into Islam, where I've looked at both the "answering Christianity" and the "answering Islam" websites. With the other religions, I might have only read material from Christian authors.

boomSLANG said...

jfraysse,

I'm glad you see some kind of value in what I post, whether it be something thought-provoking, or even just a good belly-laugh. I readily admit that I'm probably seen more as a "junkyard dog" than an "intellectual", when it comes to the fundies---possibly even coming across as too dogmatic at times. I can assure you, however, I adhere to no dogma; my Atheism is not a conviction, and I fully admit being Agnostic on the existence of a deistic type of "god", especially when this alleged "thing" has no objective definition. Really now, why would I technically deny something, absolutely, when I don't even know what said "thing" is? But of course, the other side of the coin is, why hope for, consider, think about, ruminate on, defend, worry about something, when likewise, I don't even know what said "thing" is? In others words, why NOT deny it? 'Works both ways, I suppose.

Notwithstanding, if we say that there's only "one true way" to "not believe", then we become like "them". That said, if you feel better ending your posts with "Grace", then you should keep right on doing it. I was just inquiring about it's use because the word is so prevalent in circles of fundies, and it doesn't help the matter when it has an upper-case "G", BTW, as that kind of leaves the impression that it's "Divine" in nature---either that, or you're talking about a new TV pilot called "Peace & Grace".

Toodles

jfraysse said...

Toodles (BoomSLANG): I hear you man and agree. When I find myself getting too upset about fundy dogma and the like, I tell myself, “what, can’t I take a joke?” Unfortunately, Religious Fascism is no Joke and this troubles me – a lot!

Good conversing with you! Later, John

Nvrgoingbk said...

JackieM - it's so refreshing to see you back your husband. In Nick and I's case, I was stopped believing first, but we were seperated at the time (due to the fact that he was convinced that we were "unequally yoked"), so he had no idea of my decision. When he came back, I told him of my deconversion and gave him many of the reasons why. He, like you, was relieved that I had taken the first step and the very next day stepped out as well. He too had been doubting for some time, but my courage influenced his own.

You are both very fortunate to have eachother. There are many on this site who are not as lucky as we are but stay with their spouses anyway out of commitment, but secretly long to have their spouse wake up to the truth, while their Christian spouse is busy praying for their "lost" soul.

I'd love to email you and your husband from time to time. My email address is Tiffanieradcliffe@yahoo.com. I am 33-years-old with three heathen children and a little heathen baby girl due in 6 weeks. I too am focused on raising my children free of superstitious fear. I'd love to hear from you.

-Tiffanie a.k.a Never Going Back

r4d20 said...

I found "The Jesus Mysteries" in a Catholic church in Brisbane - not many Catholic churchs would sell such a book.

I'm not sure I like their explanation of the victory of "literalist" Christianity, but their general thesis - that Jesus is a reconfiguring of Osiris-Dionysius into a Jewish context by Hellenized Jews who wanted to introduce "advanced" Hellenistic Pagan spirituality and Philosophy to the very traditional, bordering on xenophobic, Jewish culture of the time - is rock solid and supported by a mountain of evidence.

Ironically, the book made me more sympathetic to Christianity because what once looked like a eccentric, nonsensical, Jewish heresy that came out of nowhere now appeared to be a natural continuation of thousands of Pagan spiritual and philosophical development. Jesus is much more interesting as Osiris-Dinonysius than he ever was as "real" person.


Read it twice. The first time just read it, but the second time put in the effort to explore the footnotes - dont just read them notes but check out the cited text as well. You can find most of the ancient sources online for free w8ith a Google search.

DoesItFlow said...

Jfraysse,

Gotcha!

Thanks, you had me confused on that one! Makes much more sense now... :)

Peace...

- DoesItFlow

Edward T. Babinski said...

You said you googled atheist and agnostic, but have you googled

"left Christianity"
"leaving Christianity

"left pentecostalism"
"leaving pentecostalism"

"left the fold"
"leaving the fold"

"left fundamentalism"
"leaving fundamentalism"

Keep the quotation marks for exact matches.

Also try variations like

"former..."

"ex-..."

Happy searching!

"Leaving Christianity" will bring up Steve Locks's website with lots of links online testimonies.

"Debunking Christianity" will bring up a blog that lists former Christians (some ex-ministers as well), most of which have websites or who have composed books about their experiences.

twincats said...

Anony christobot said: “...blah, blah, blah, no professing Christian/Atheist/Agnostic/Self-absorbed solipsist-schmuck-fathead yadda, yadda, yadda- well, maybe the solipsist-shmuck-fathead would.”

And we’ll know they are Christians by their love, by their loooove…

C’mon, everybody sing!

Yes, we’ll kno-ow they are Christians by their loooove!

And, anony? If we’re tiring you, GO AWAY! Run along and take a nap, whydontcha?

As for the rest of your long post (zzzzZZZzz,) we’ve HEARD IT ALL BEFORE! You are by no means original, convincing or vaguely interesting.

Thomas and Jackie, welcome! Get used to our friends, Anony and madison; we get a lot of this and they personify the two most common species of troll we get here.

Michael is one of the very rare polite and respectful types and could even be one of the insightful Christian folks who come for genuine discourse, but that remains to be seen. We here have all seen examples of “Michaels” who, at some point, turn into Anonys and madisons.

Now, if y’all will excuse me, I needs me a nap. Anony made me tired.

royalty said...

I have a question, if any of you had proof that there was a God, would you believe in him?

Astreja said...

Royalty, if there were proof of a god I would indeed acknowledge that it existed. To do otherwise would be ridiculous.

However, just because I acknowledge the existence of something does not make me a worshipper.

There may indeed be gods out there. They may be kind, intelligent, and generally wonderful to have around. Unfortunately, the Biblical god is *not* one of those gods. Its behaviour, as described in the Old and New Testaments, is despicable.

I suspect that the Bible is an accurate portrayal of the vices and prejudices of its many human authors, not of any god-like being.

.:webmaster:. said...

If there were "proof" of a god, there would be no need to "believe" in it. I do not "believe" in the Sun, my children, my computer, that beer makes you drunk, or a million other things that are obviously real. I am only asked to "believe" in things that have absolutely no evidence of existing at all.

imaginary sky daddy said...

George Davis said:

"But in spite of the emotions, please know you have escaped magical thinking. That is an amazing, bold, life-changing step millions of people will never make."

ISD says:

"So true and yet so sad for all those people." :-(

Welcome to the real world, Thomas. And peace and joy to you and your wife on your journey together in your new life. :-)

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days