Hello Kim and welcome: nice to meet you. If you don't mind me asking, what factors convinced you to renounce Christianity and abandon God belief? For me it started with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchral in Jerusalem while I was in the Navy. The ship tied up in Haifa Israel and the command let the crew have shore liberty where I took a bus tour that dropped us off at the Church for a brief visit. After paying the admission fee and waiting through the line of tourists, a priest ushered me into The Empty Tomb. There I prayed and asked Jesus to reveal himself to me. Over the next 15 years, I remained a nominal Christian despite that Heaven was brass. Finally, I started reading pop science books and then it dawned on me that I no longer believed any of it. Although strangely, I can still preform glossolalia, a remnant of my early pre-navy religious experience. A link to my detailed deconversion story is on my profile page if you've any interest in that sort of thing. Best Wishes and Regards.
Hi Robert. Since I have left Christianity, I find it helpful to talk with others who have done the same thing, so I am happy to reply. By your first sentence, I thought you were a rogue Christian on this site to try and save me!! But I see you aren't. So anyway, I was raised Presbyterian, where they are not very emotional about faith, and don't evangelize much. As a teenager, I joined Youth for Christ which is very evangelical and I followed suit. I married an evangelical, and we were in whole hog. I believed in hell, satan, salvation by faith alone, everything. We even raised money from all our Christian friends, family, and churches to go as quasi "missionaries" to work for the evangelical ministry Kingdom Building Ministries. I was a writer for them. Thank goodness they never published anything I wrote. We ran out of support money and had to move home to Indianapolis. My husband had gone into very liberal Christianity, and I feared for his salvation. Then, quite out of the blue one day, I started to think about hell. Did I really believe all these people weren't going to heaven? Was I really walking by people all day long who were unsaved and would spend eternity burning? I started to read online everything I could about the subject, and I think for many people, that is where it ends---reading. Actually taking in other viewpoints besides Christians viewpoints. I read and read. I have a boring job, so I read all day online. I progressed to reading about the Bible, and learned (even though I had gone to a Christian college and taken Bible classes) how the Bible was actually put together. I saw that the synoptic gospels were very different than John, and it is only in John where Jesus claims to be God, and our salvation, and John isn't respected by many. I had no idea! Then the dam just broke. Everything fell to pieces. I stopped believing that Jesus was God, which was devastating to me, I had lost my imaginary friend who was supposedly protecting me from the scary world. I remember saying to my husband, "So Jesus loves me this I know, isn't true?" That brought a lot of tears. Then I lost faith that there was even a God at all, of any type. Now it has been a year, and I am relieved of the guilt associated with letting people go to hell, of trying to pray right and read the Bible enough, and from the weirdness of a God who can read your thoughts and punish you for your thoughts. So, here I am. Not a child of God anymore, but very happy. It is just a matter of coming out of the closet with evangelical family and friends. Not sure how that will all work out. I hope I didn't go on too long. Thanks for asking about my experience. I will read yours.
Hello Kim and good morning. Thank you for your well written and thoughtful reply. I assure you that your response was not too long, and one point in particular jogged my mind. When you wrote " I believed in ... salvation by faith alone...", I was immediately reminded that Evangelical Christianity holds just what you wrote. It, however, fails to acknowledge that faith is a cognitive work. So actually, Evangelical Protestantism teaches salvation by works, albeit cognitive works. Its just another of those little things that help awaken the mind. But ignore my drivel and celebrate your life and new found intellectual freedom. Cheers! and Best Wishes Too.
I'm curious I imagine you get lots of chain emails and newsletters about god how have you handled them so far?
Do you mean from Christian friends and family? I actually don't get a lot of that. It is more their Facebook posts that I just ignore. I had said something about my husband being sweet on Valentine's Day, and my friends posted "You were a match made in Heaven." I wanted to reply, but she sincerely believes that, and I wouldn't know what to say anyway. I am pretty closeted, my parents are atheists now (which is great) but not my grandparents and some friends. They all still think I am a raging Christian. It's awkward. I'll have to tell them sometime soon, and then maybe they will stop with the religious birthday cards and stuff. We'll see. Do you have a problem with that?
Hello, welcome and WOW! that was interesting. Can't say I had any sort of crisis that brought me around. I was 12 maybe even 11 attending Catholic Schools and I just knew it was mostly nonsense. It literally did not make sense. It wasn't logical, just or believable. I had attended public schools for K-3. Fourth grade was a mild transition to inferior education and bible stories all morning. In 5th grade, the teacher had a surprise quiz on the 10 commandments. I didn't know them and she made a point of saying to the rest of the class that I was an example of what you miss in public schools. Truth be told, I doubt either of my parents were religious. My sister isn't and my kids aren't. I'd say it was genetics but I have some cousins that are over the top with it. How they believe what they do is a mystery to me.
I find this site to be a breath of fresh air and I find myself thanking Morgan Matthew before every meal. :-)
Hi Evan, Thanks for the note! Kim
Hello Kim, I'm Dennis also somewhat new here. What topics are you looking for to discuss? Do you have favorites like evolution, science, christianity islam etc?
Hello, Dennis. I seem to be fixated on Christianity, since I came from that and it is all around me. I don't feel the need to challenge Christians on their beliefs, so I am not exactly boning up on my atheist apologetics. However, I do like reading about how and why other people left Christianity, and what other people think about Christianity. I am not interested in negativity, so sometimes that is hard to find! I like to talk about what it is like to be an atheist, share reading suggestions, stuff like that.
Thanks for asking! Kim
Hi Kim, welcome and I hope you enjoy your time here. I am lucky, I come from a largely atheist country, and was raised to think for myself while viewing religions as a rather sad relic of a miss spent past. As a result I find myself often both amazed and enraged at the accounts of those in what should be enlightened countries who face intolerance and even discrimination simply because they dare to think for themselves and be atheist.
Judith vd R.
Hello Kim...Welcome to Think Atheist... It's great to have you here :)
Hi Hope, I appreciate the kind note!! Kim