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not a recent deconversion
#1
not a recent deconversion
I was born in 1941. When I was little, my single-parent mother took me to Sunday School at a fundamentalist Baptist church. She was not herself a fundamentalist nor even very knowledgeable about Christian doctrine, just thought that one should go to church and send kids to Sunday School. I was much affected by these earnest Baptists, but eventually at around 11 I quit going. My mom no longer attended church, and she didn't force me to go.

In university I guess I missed the old certainties and sense of mission. I started reading a number of apologists and theologians: C.S. Lewis, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Kierkegaard, and I became a relatively liberal Christian. When I was getting married at age 23, it seemed simplest to join my fiancee's church, which was a conservative branch of the Lutherans, although back then I didn't know much about the divisions among Lutherans.

My original goal was to be a university professor in English Lit, and I completed my M.A. (University of Toronto) after which I took off a few years to teach as a junior instructor, and then I did my Ph.D. course work (USC), but at that point I ran into a demographic wall. The baby boomers (5 years younger than me) had also emerged from grad school, and entry positions were few and far between. I ended up teaching English as a Second Language to French-speaking recruits in the Canadian Armed Forces. Nice kids, but after a few years the work was insanely boring.

As my handle indicates, I was a pastor briefly. I had been very involved in my local church, was an elder, was asked to preach when the pastor was away, and I decided to go to seminary at the age of 36. I had also become religiously more conservative over the years, felt that the Bible must be the ultimate authority on all religious matters.

Big mistake. I was pretty good at most pastoral duties: preaching, teaching, and counseling. However, neither I nor my wife were suited to the constrained lifestyle, up on a pedestal and every move scrutinized.

Moreover, I soon began to question what I had always believed. My denomination (Lutheran Church - Canada, in the USA Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod) upheld the inerrancy of the Bible. You had to go with that if you were a pastor.

In some ways, I feel very stupid about what I had done in the past. I had no problem with biblical inerrancy when I entered seminary, and I had read the whole damn thing, probably twice over, but much of it did not register. As I express it now, I must have read the dreary bloody parts of the Old Testament with my mind on cruise control. It was no longer possible when I studied it carefully for my sermons, sometimes read the text in the original languages.

The Old Testament is a horrid book, written by barbarians for barbarians about barbarians. Lots of genocide and the treatment of women makes the Taliban look ultra-liberal. So my livelihood depended on believing what I could no longer except, and to make things worse the stresses were tearing my marriage apart.

After only two years as a minister I resigned. My marriage was to finally crumble 3 years later.

There was no work for an unemployed clergyman. Fortunately I was good with my hands (did lots of home reno) so I worked in construction for a couple of years and then switched over to factory work in the interests of avoiding a winter layoff. I was in my mid-40s when this happened and it carried me through to retirement.

Religiously, I thought of myself as a pantheist for many years because I liked to believe that there was a power behind the beauty and majesty of the universe. However, the more I studied evolution, the more apparent it became to me that we are here by haphazard chance.

For the last 4 years I have participated heavily in the Friendly Atheist Forums. I enjoyed the discussions there and made many friends. I also became one of the moderators.Sadly, however, that Forum seems to be dying off. It can go weeks without a single post, far different from what it was when I joined. I also am a member of the Central Ontario Humanist Association and attend the monthly meetings in Barrie, Ontario.

I live in the country near Barrie with my second wife and two dogs and two cats and a large number of horses as my wife is an expert equestrienne. She was the proprietor of a riding stable (lessons & board) until this year, when she sold the business to a younger woman who still operates it on our property. My wife and I help out a bit as the new owner has always been extremely helpful to us, really as close as a daughter.
If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people — House
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#2
RE: not a recent deconversion
Hello and welcome to AF! ^_^
When I was young, there was a god with infinite power protecting me. Is there anyone else who felt that way? And was sure about it? but the first time I fell in love, I was thrown down - or maybe I broke free - and I bade farewell to God and became human. Now I don't have God's protection, and I walk on the ground without wings, but I don't regret this hardship. I want to live as a person. -Arina Tanemura

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#3
RE: not a recent deconversion
Welcome

We're mostly harmless here Wink Shades
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#4
RE: not a recent deconversion
Welcome Big Grin

My parents were pastors. Welcome to the other side. Big Grin
Pointing around: "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, fuck you, I'm out!"
Half Baked

"Let the atheists come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom of heathens belongs to people like these." -Saint Bacon
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#5
RE: not a recent deconversion
[Image: j7pbh.jpg]

Dang that's big... how do you resize an image link on here?
Christian apologetics is the art of rolling a dog turd in sugar and selling it as a donut.
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#6
RE: not a recent deconversion
(September 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm)Doubting Thomas Wrote: Dang that's big...

I would ask if you hear that a lot,
but I don't want to jack new dude's
intro thread...Big Grin
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#7
RE: not a recent deconversion
Welcome!
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#8
RE: not a recent deconversion
I appreciated your story. I'm pretty new too, but welcome
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#9
RE: not a recent deconversion
Bon Jour, XP. I'm glad not to be the oldest guy on the block anymore.
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#10
RE: not a recent deconversion
(September 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm)Ivy Wrote: My parents were pastors. Welcome to the other side. Big Grin

That explains SOOOO much.

(September 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm)xpastor Wrote: I was born in 1941.

The Silent Generation.

Welcome, xpastor!
Everything I needed to know about life I learned on Dagobah.
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