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Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
#1
Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
Hey All,

I'm reasonably new on my travels down atheist lane. You could say I'm still working things out.

I'm in my late 20s and until recently was very involved in the church - leadership, lots of commitment time and money. My folks were semi religious - believed but weren't active & just had a lot of religiously inspired self hate. I went into church to escape home dysfunction and that community is what made me stay. I actively sought books that would help me argue my faith & spent a lot of time converting my friends, which is now a deep regret. I work in sales & I could liken a lot of my time to product research to strengthen the sales pitch.

Anyway - when you grow up in the church as a young girl your entire life mission is to find a nice man of god, get married, have kids. I never wanted that and never knew why - I'm sure I did at a deep level - but it wasn't until recent years I started to face my sexuality. My internal acknowledgement first sparked research into why being gay is wrong, is a choice etc,  and a little self hate. Then I rejected religion, watched all of cosmos, started reading god is not great and watching the four horsemen debates on youtube & here I am.

I don't think religion makes any sense for a number of reasons - but I am not particularly educated so can't argue that point too well just yet. There is still an internal conflict - I'm not "out" as a lesbian or an atheist to the wider world just yet even though I've been living with my partner for 2 years. My family know about my sexuality but I think that one is easier to digest for them. I find myself missing my community, missing that place of "home" and being generally sentimental about my religious passed, but I also acknowledge that pattern of belief is one of the most toxic things I've ever experienced.

Would love to hear from anybody who has been through something similar - or anybody who's come from a Christian background & managed to successfully throw off that indoctrination.

Cheers,
Sarah
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#2
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
Welcome!

I came from a very Christian background. I just never really believed. I'm sure there is someone here who has an experience closer to yours.
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
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#3
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
Welcome. Welcome

You might want to check out ex-christians.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein
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#4
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
No kidding?  Welcome.

Which one are you?







Relax.... very little dancing goes on around here!
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#5
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
I went to a Pentecostal service when my sister's boyfriend when I was a kid. It was in a strip mall in Dr. Phillips, FL. We got there at 8am and didn't leave until 3pm.

I think I became an atheist that day. If only so I didn't have to do that again.

Welcome OP!

I love the fact that step one was watching all of Cosmos. That says so much about how insular religion makes you.
"There remain four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking." ~Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great

PM me your email address to join the Slack chat! I'll give you a taco(or five) if you join! --->There's an app and everything!<---
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#6
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
It's true. You avoid things that might make you less convinced of the belief you're holding onto so tightly.
I regret my "this is such crap" attitude towards ALL science growing up. I wish I'd been open to learning more of science, physics & history - I would potentially have been free of all the rubbish much sooner. Such a shame I spent so long hating myself due to archaic models of morality.
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#7
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
I was raised a Southern Baptist.  As a young child, I believed the stuff I was told by my parents.  Growing up, I had questions and doubts.  I very gradually, over the course of several years, became an agnostic, not knowing what to believe, and a bit later, a strong atheist.

The transition was painful and difficult, but after a couple of years I settled into atheism quite comfortably.  I have been an atheist now for many years, and am much happier than I ever was as a believer.  I don't worry about displeasing god and going to hell, just like I don't worry about upsetting Santa or the Tooth Fairy.

You have an extra issue that may upset those around you that I never had to deal with.  As you know, many people are bigoted about lesbians, particularly religious people.  (On the plus side, you don't have to worry about birth control, so you have some advantages as well.  Don't forget what is good in your life.)

Anyway, you are quite right that religion does not make sense, for quite a few reasons.  One being that people are often telling you to believe stuff without evidence.  They like to call that "faith" and pretend it is a virtue.  However, when someone judges something prior to the evidence, one is prejudging things, or, in other words, one is prejudiced.  That is not a virtue at all; it is a vice.  Religion perverts morality and all sorts of other things, so, yes, it is senseless in many ways.  But enough of this for now.

Welcome to the site!

"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence."
— David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section X, Part I.
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#8
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
Thanks for sharing Pyrrho - good to know it's possible to get to that 'god is the tooth fairy' space. Right now as much as I logically oppose the idea of heaven and hell there's still a level of fear and doubt.

I had a chat with an old church friend this week - one of the very few who knows about my personal life - He no longer attends church and said he only believed in god still because he's afraid of hell. Was very honest about that and acknowledged how silly that was but isn't armed with enough info to throw off the lifetime of tradition and indoctrination. He might be ok with that space, but I'm not.
 
(May 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm)Pyrrho Wrote: I was raised a Southern Baptist.  As a young child, I believed the stuff I was told by my parents.  Growing up, I had questions and doubts.  I very gradually, over the course of several years, became an agnostic, not knowing what to believe, and a bit later, a strong atheist.

The transition was painful and difficult, but after a couple of years I settled into atheism quite comfortably.  I have been an atheist now for many years, and am much happier than I ever was as a believer.  I don't worry about displeasing god and going to hell, just like I don't worry about upsetting Santa or the Tooth Fairy.

You have an extra issue that may upset those around you that I never had to deal with.  As you know, many people are bigoted about lesbians, particularly religious people.  (On the plus side, you don't have to worry about birth control, so you have some advantages as well.  Don't forget what is good in your life.)

Anyway, you are quite right that religion does not make sense, for quite a few reasons.  One being that people are often telling you to believe stuff without evidence.  They like to call that "faith" and pretend it is a virtue.  However, when someone judges something prior to the evidence, one is prejudging things, or, in other words, one is prejudiced.  That is not a virtue at all; it is a vice.  Religion perverts morality and all sorts of other things, so, yes, it is senseless in many ways.  But enough of this for now.

Welcome to the site!
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#9
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
(May 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm)sarahqc1 Wrote: Thanks for sharing Pyrrho - good to know it's possible to get to that 'god is the tooth fairy' space.


You are welcome.  I am very far from being an unusual case for this.  Many exChristians report being happier as atheists than they were as Christians, and many of us regard God as being the equivalent of other nonexistent things, like the Tooth Fairy.  Santa, though, is the more common comparison that you are likely to hear from people, but it does not matter, as they are all imaginary things.


(May 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm)sarahqc1 Wrote: Right now as much as I logically oppose the idea of heaven and hell there's still a level of fear and doubt.

I had a chat with an old church friend this week - one of the very few who knows about my personal life - He no longer attends church and said he only believed in god still because he's afraid of hell. Was very honest about that and acknowledged how silly that was but isn't armed with enough info to throw off the lifetime of tradition and indoctrination. He might be ok with that space, but I'm not.
 


You might want to look at arguments for the existence of god, as well as the critiques of those arguments.  Here is a resource for this, but you can find the same sorts of arguments in other places:

http://infidels.org/library/modern/theis...ments.html

Note that when you click on one of the arguments, on the page of the argument, you should find links to analyses of the argument.  I hope this is not too much of a spoiler for you, but all of the traditional arguments for the existence of God are drivel, which is pretty universally acknowledged by most philosophers, even the ones who are religious.  (In fact, Kant, who was a Christian, argued against several of the traditional arguments for the existence of God, because he was smart enough to see that they were crap.)  But you should look into the matter for yourself, and think carefully about it all.  That way, you will be able to be convinced, as I am sure that just hearing some random stranger online tell you they are drivel is not very compelling and will not dispel your concerns.

Basically, the more research you do on the subject, while thinking carefully about it all, the more sure you will be, and the more comfortable you will be with your atheism.  Of course, it is always possible that you will be convinced by one of the arguments for the existence of God, but I rather doubt it, as they are all very poor, such that one would be unlikely to believe anything else with an analogous argument.  However, for a believer who is having some doubts, if the believer is not too careful and avoids being exposed to good critiques of the arguments, then the believer might be convinced by them.  You see, it is easier to convince someone of something they already believe, than to convince them of something they don't.  Many times, people are very careless about analyzing arguments that have a conclusion that they want to believe.

So, I recommend thinking and reading on the subject.  And take your time on this; there is no deadline that you have to meet.

And, of course, you can ask people questions at this site.  Many will be willing to try to help you.  Since pretty much anyone can join, naturally, the quality of the answers you will get may be variable.  Just think about whatever you read, and if something does not make sense to you, don't believe it.

As for hell, I am quite certain that such a place does not exist.  The best evidence we have suggests that one's consciousness is a matter of brain activity, and once the activity in the brain completely stops, one is no more.  If that idea bothers you, we can discuss it, but the short thing to say about that is that the year 1800 was not bad for you.  That is what it is like to not exist.  And that is what the year 2200 will be for you.  There are no more problems for people once they are dead.

"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence."
— David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section X, Part I.
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#10
RE: Ex penticostal christian... kind of athiest
Welcome Sarah!

I don't have any of that experience, my upbringing was basically "faking it enough to get into heaven" Lutheran. Well, that isn't fair. We just weren't super churchers. It didn't take much to let go of it, as I never really believed. When I started actually addressing my beliefs it was very clear that I am an atheist. I just wanted to welcome you and give you support, it must be a very difficult situation. I hope things become easier for you and most of all that you are happy.

Kitty
[Image: dc52deee8e6b07186c04ff66a45fd204.jpg]
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