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Featured Former Christians: How’d you do it?

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by Xavier Graham, Apr 20, 2022.

  1. Xavier Graham

    Xavier Graham Your local anarchist. God is Love is Love is Love

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    For the first time in my life, I am considering abandoning my Christianity. I am considering becoming a deist / auto theist.
    Perhaps Christ was a great philosopher, and a religion was made out of a simple man.
    I doubt I was lucky enough to be born into the right religion, while most other people were not. In fact I want to refuse to believe that. When I joined RF, I identified as a syncretist, because I was trying to find a way to synchronize all religions. This pursuit burnt me out when I found it to be a silly impossible task.
    I believe there to be a higher power, I know this. I’ve been a young earther intelligent design believer all my life, I’m thinking of letting that go.
    I have been proud to use God as my crutch all my life. I thought that this is what God is for. But God doesn’t hear our prayers, does He? He doesn’t hear our begging. Those in Ukraine cry out to Him every day I’m sure, yet they die every day. Does God hear them?
    I’m fearful of the Christian God as I type this, because if He is real, I am sure He is sorely displeased by my betrayal. But I accepted Christianity all of my life because I’ve hoped it to be true. I’ve gone through all the apologetics and have let myself be convinced that Christianity is the right religion. By doing this, I have given up the power of independent thought from an early age. I was never afforded the chance to decide for myself if Christianity was true. Salvation was brought to me at an early age thanks to my environment.
    I have a religion of one. That being what I’ve come to understand through the power of my own independent thought. I am tired of looking to religions to spoon feed me the truth.
    former Christian, did you ever fear God? I fear Him, I’ve trained myself to. I rely on this fear. But fear is bad! Were you not afraid of being wrong? I want to claim my freedom and be an auto theist, and through my own power change the world positively. Scared of Hell though. Yet, most of those who I know and associate with, including many of this site, are supposedly going to burn for eternity. To hell with it, if I abandon Christianity and am wrong, I’ll have plenty of company in hell.
    I feel abandoning my Christianity and relying on my own power is the only way to change my life around. Through definiteness of purpose, I will achieve all of my aims. I do not need a theistic God to submit to. I should submit to no one but myself.
    As I type this, I’m sure God is going to have me hit by a car next week and send me straight to hell. I’m scared of this God. More the reason to break free?
    I would like to hear from former Christians. Did you get struck by a lightning bolt or something shortly after disowning Christianity?
     
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  2. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    The opposite happened to me. The moment I accepted christianity, I got seriously depressed and paranoid.
     
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  3. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Unknown Member
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    Well, I stepped away from Christianity about 20 years ago...

    I think I'm doing pretty good. Sure, sometimes I catch a cold, or my car breaks down, or the hot sauce falls out of the cupboard and spills all over the kitchen floor, but I feel I've got it pretty good.
     
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  4. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Perhaps even in Christianity you were being taught religion?

    I ask because I don't "fear God" no more than I feared my natural father. It was a love relationship.

    Are you sure you have asked enough questions?
     
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  5. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    I'm still standing, unscathed for going on ten years apostate. Feels fine.
     
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  6. RayofLight

    RayofLight Pronouns: they/them/their thon/thons/thonself

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    I ain't got hit by a lightening bolt lol

    But I did almost get disowned by my grandma. She changed her mind about disowning me we just don't talk on religion

    Other then that I feel fine
     
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  7. Xavier Graham

    Xavier Graham Your local anarchist. God is Love is Love is Love

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    I can only imagine my family's reaction if I came out as a gay auto theistic satanist. Not positive. Probably wouldn't be able to talk religion after that without hands of prayer being laid on me. lol
     
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  8. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    It took quite a few years for me and it was not a conscious decision. I knew for quite some time that one could not read the Bible literally, even in eighth grade I knew this. I was very irritated with creationists in college because I could tell that they were lying to support their beliefs. People that had to know better were willing to openly distort the facts and articles to support their failed beliefs. If you have ever heard of Gish of the Gish Gallop infamy I saw one of his debates live.

    I did some dabbling but nothing struck home. And over the years my belief level just faded until it was gone. The last time I remember covering up my beliefs was when I had a UPS shipment and the driver recognized Matt Dillahunty of the Atheist Experience. (he was on with Jeff Dee at the time) for some odd reason I panicked and denied watching it. Right after that I though "why did I react that way?" And could see that there were remnants of an artificial fear. Since then I have not hidden my lack of belief.
     
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  9. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    My journey was likely different from what yours will be because the biggest tipping point was realizing I was trying to convince myself I believed in a god when I didn't. So I never feared god, even when I was questioning. The fear was all communal. Fear of losing the friends and family who accepted me as part of the church, fear of losing my support networks, fear of not knowing what to do with myself once Christian was no longer part of my identity.

    So for me the most helpful thing I could do was get busy making new ties, new friends, new community activities.
    It didn't replace those few (and it was few) who couldn't accept me as anything but Christian but it did give me support while I rediscovered myself.
     
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  10. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Other people made Christianity real for me. Everything inside of me was telling me that this is far removed from reality. Not given enough time to think for one's self, and being constantly subjected to Christianity makes it seem more real. The fear of God did stay with me for awhile. However over time it became less and less as I was able to use my own mind more and more.

    Today I can laugh about it more and more when I think of all the absurd judgments and claims of the religion.

    The misery of hell and losing loved ones because they didn't carefully subscribe to stringent belief was tearing at me early on.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about how miserable Christianity made me feel as a person.

    What won out in the end was I thought it was infinitely more fair and reasonable to admit to myself that reality is a lot of unknowns, and a lot to discover. It was far more reasonable to me that I should live life independent minded instead of being in constant subjection.

    At one time I imagined a God to be far more fair, and just then the one I experienced in Christianity.

    I think the healthiest thing I did was open up to and broaden my experiences of the natural world. I realized that Christianity did not encourage anyone to think for themselves. And if God truly doesn't want me to think for myself about reality, and life then that's abysmal.

    I absolutely had to admit to myself that the greatest challenge in life was to know reality. I had to admit that there are no easy answers spelled out in a book.

    And if there is a God out there to damn me for the crimes of being independent minded then chances are that such a God is not worth my trouble.

    Another factor in leaving that religion was I wanted to know the real truth. I didn't want to believe in a lie. I figured if the Bible is faulty even in the slightest bit, then the whole thing fails utterly. I wasn't going to romanticize Christianity, nor sweeten it up. I decided to be critical of it.
     
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  11. The Hammer

    The Hammer Lord of Animals
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    Losing the "God fearing" part has been my biggest challenge. I still struggle with it. I'm a henotheist so I don't disbelieve in Yahweh, but I don't think he is the Creator.
     
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  12. The Hammer

    The Hammer Lord of Animals
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    Some of us grew up fearing both.
     
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  13. Wildswanderer

    Wildswanderer Well-Known Member

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    He certainly does. And he's been answering those prayers I'm some amazing ways. Russia should have run over Ukraine by now but for God's help.
     
  14. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein I'm not deaf, I'm just a real bad listener
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    You know, there's other, healthier, forms of Christianity besides that. You don't have to go from one extreme to the other.

    You like anarchism, right, why not read about Christian anarchism? Maybe read the Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy.

    Your relationship with God doesn't have to be based around fear. When the Bible uses the word "fear", it really means to be in awe of, to give great reverence, respect and obedience. It's natural to feel a certain amount of shame over sin and to fear the consequences for it, but God doesn't want you to run from Him in fear. You can even argue with Him! Most of the great patriarchs in the OT had arguments with Him and doubted. It's not a sin to doubt and question. He is our Father and the Bible even says that God is love. Jesus didn't condemn Thomas for doubting. He didn't cast him to hell. He gave Thomas the evidence he wanted. Christianity is supposed to be about love, mercy, redemption and salvation. I'm sorry you were given a negative view of it.
     
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  15. Sgt. Pepper

    Sgt. Pepper RF's resident Beatlemaniac. ☮ and ❤

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    My exodus from Christianity was very difficult for me, but I still believe that disavowing my faith in God was the best decision I've ever made for myself and for my mental health. I disavowed my Christian faith a little over a year ago, and my only regret is holding onto the false hope I had in God for more than thirty years. I feel like I'm an ideal example of how deeply a person can be ensnared by Christianity or by another cult-like religion. Honestly, I feel foolish whenever I think of the years I wasted holding onto my faith in God. It caused me relentless anguish and sadness while I was growing up and for 30 years as a Christian, but now I feel peace and contentment in my life, and that's something I never felt in all the years I was a Christian. I don't regret my decision to forsake my Christian faith, but I wish I had done this years ago because I would have spared myself several years of anguish, heartache, and depression. If I've learned anything from my own exodus from Christianity, it's that I need to be sympathetic and not be judgmental towards someone who's trapped in a cult-like religion and can't see the forest for the trees. Speaking from my own experience, I know that it can be very difficult and even traumatic to leave the only religion that you've ever known in your life. It's really hard.
     
    #15 Sgt. Pepper, Apr 20, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
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  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I was not raised as a Christian and never became a Christian so I am not afraid of the Christian God. I became a Baha'i during my first year of college and the rest is history. However, I never loved God like I am supposed to so I do fear Hell, since Hell is supposed to be distance from God, according to my beliefs.
    I feel the same way since I do not like religion and religion never took even after I joined the Baha'i Faith, but I am in between a rock and a hard place because I am sure that Baha'u'llah is who He claimed to be, the Messenger of God for this age.
    I do not think fear of God is necessarily bad, if one believes that God is just and merciful. If course, I do not believe in the Christian Hell. I think fear of God means reverence and respect for God who is so much greater than us, not fear of what God will do to us.
    I don't think you have anything to worry about because you are sincere and you just want to do the right thing rather than pretending you believe. I am sure God knows that and respects your choice.

    Sometimes, because of the way I feel about God, I have thought of leaving the Baha'i Faith but If I left the Baha'i Faith I would know I am wrong, and I would still believe in Baha'u'llah so what would be the point? This problem I have is not between me and Baha'u'llah, it is between me and God, as Baha'u'llah did not create this world of suffering, God did.
    I am also afraid of what God might do if I become a nonbeliever, but it is a moot point because I cannot disbelieve in what I believe exists, even though I often wish I could. I don't really believe God would punish me but the punishment would be distance from God which is the Baha'i version of Hell. But I am already distant from God, or at least that is the way I feel. For now I have decided to struggle with this and try to come to terms with God.
     
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  17. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Student People Stabber

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    20 years later and my life is vastly better. I did fear Jehovah, and I feared him greatly. So much I was constantly tormented with how much my inner being offended him and I had vivid nightmares of being sent to Hell.
    Leaving wasn't easy to do, and it was a process. Up to that point it was all I had known and I was especially involved in the Church.
    Some chips in the foundation in my faith happened when I went from home schooling to public schooling. There I learned many things just were not as I was taught. The world didn't hate christians, people weren't out to get me over it, and I even found science was rather apathetic and disinterested towards the idea of god and religion. Real history courses were also a blow, because the real history books presented better claims, better evidence and could support all the claims.
    I was also tormented in my youth. Amd Jehovah just never seemed to be there, and was utterly absent when I was on the breaking point.
    I remember sitting in church, ignoring the sermons and reading the Bible trying desperately to find the guidance I very much needed. But even in god's house it just wasn't there. Instead I found many stories that I now knew just weren't possible and largely based on the stories of others, and instead of love, kindness and mercy I found hatred, violence and barbaric cruelty.
    At first I basically quit believing the OT and instead held on to the NT and Jesus. But eventually I realized and just accepted that without the OT there isn't and NT, and there isn't a Jesus.
    It was a conscious effort to let go of it. From what I've heard from many I was lucky. Once I renounced it and was done with it I was done with it. No more fear of Jehovah and Hell, no more Shame and Guilt, no remorse, no looking back, no second guessing. And 20 years later I still haven't looked back.
    And, seriously, wicked bad things happen when I go to church now. For example, the last time I went to church, a couple years ago with my mom, shortly after America got hit by a nasty plague. So for everyone's sake I just won't take the chance anymore or ever again.:smilingimp:
     
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  18. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Student People Stabber

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    Don't. We all do things we wish we hadn't. But it does us no good to focus on them and beat our selves up over it. You learned better, you moved on, and things are looking up. It's not easy to give up, with the social and psychological factors behind it all, but you made it with life left to enjoy.
    What's foolish about that?
     
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  19. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    For me, fear of God was the big problem because, at least in Catholicism, I felt that the buttons of the "(Almighty) Father" and "Mother (Mary)" were always pushed and I didn't have a very good relationship with my father. So, I can understand your feelings about that. Also, I once sat in church during Mass, and felt that the way the church described God was not the true nature of God. I believe that God is positive and kind and does not require us to mortify ourselves for Him. I felt the way the church described was "ineffective" because you have to bring a whole lot of prerequisites (baptism, confirmation, confession) and always remain dependent on the church.
    In Hinduism, one can have different kinds of relationships with God, for example, "friendly neutrality" (shanti-rasa) or "friendship" (sakhya-rasa). I found this helpful. My "denomination" also believes that the Hindu mystic Chaitanya taught communal mantra chanting as the "most effective" way to free from sins, which requires no preconditions. This is a matter of faith, of course, but for me it was the right way.
     
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  20. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    At first I didn't think I'd disowned Christianity as I became a Baha'i, and no I didn't get struck by a lightening bolt.

    Later on independent investigation of truth would lead me away from the Baha'i faith as well.

    Since then I've been diagnosed with pschitsophrenia, but mental illness seems to run in my family and my Christian cousin has had his fair share of mental illness, so I doubt it had anything to do with leaving Christianity or Baha'i faith.

    I rate my overall experience leaving religion as positive.
     
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