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Ask a Cult Survivor
RE: Ask a Cult Survivor
I have birthday parties. My kids have birthday parties.
We participate in Halloween festivities and we exchange gifts on Christmas.

Did I ever feel strange trying to convert people? Not at all. I genuinely believed I was doing the right thing, and I did my best to bring people to what I believed was a closer relationship to God.

When I started to have doubts, I stopped trying to convert. My conversations became much more about trying to understand what the Bible teaches, without a goal of convincing the other person to agree with me. I was more into figuring out the right answers together. Never made a lot of progress. Smile
RE: Ask a Cult Survivor
Ok then.
RE: Ask a Cult Survivor
(October 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote: Becoming an atheist is a whole other story.

Do tell if it's worth telling. Did your experience with cults inform your decision to reject religion entirely?
RE: Ask a Cult Survivor
Sorry for the delay.

Ok, so... Actually, I'm inclined to believe my cult experience kept me involved in religion longer than I otherwise would have been.

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, I never questioned the authority of the Bible. It was, at most, a matter of who has it right. And the answer was easy: we did. And you could tell we had it right because the whole world hated us.

The Way, being a little more (what's the word) fun, made what I thought was a stronger Biblical case and backed it up with a demonstration of power that Jehovah's Witnesses couldn't match. I refer, of course, to speaking in tongues. We could do it, and Jehovah's Witnesses could not. So THERE! (Years later, I realized the truth: we were taught to fake it, while Jehovah's Witnesses were taught it was demonic).

Anyway, after I left The Way, I remained with an offshoot for a bunch of years, then finally left them and just attended mainstream evangelical churches. You know, when you cut the right wing stuff out of them, those churches can be interesting and fun on their own. To me, the best aspect of it was my anonymity. No one knew my business. No one tried to rope me into one class or another. It was liberating.

But I never abandoned some of my more cultic beliefs. Not fully. I never believed Jesus was God, for example, though I did come to realize that evangelicals had a better handle on Jesus' lordship than my former cults.

I don't count my evangelical experience as cult involvement for two reasons. One, the privacy they afforded me. Cults really get all up in your business. These guys did not. And two, I always felt like an outsider among their number.

Anyway, getting back to your question, I think the search for a single consistent Bible message, free of error and contradiction, is what put me on the path to atheism. Who's right? And the more I tried to figure it out, the more it all unraveled.

It is, of course, impossible to tell what would have happened if I had not encountered the cults first. But I think it impeded my exit. A lot of the evangelical way of thinking is easily disprovable, in my view, but I spent decades of my life "disproving" evangelicalism from the Bible, which is like curing thirst by eating saltine crackers.

The turn to reason -- the notion that the BIBLE was the main problem -- didn't happen for years. I don't hear a lot about evangelicals who turn to a cult before becoming atheist. But I hear plenty about cultists who become mainstream before abandoning faith.

It's all hooey, anyway.
RE: Ask a Cult Survivor
Quote: And you could tell we had it right because the whole world hated us.

It seems that muslims feel the same way!

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