My Story

[I wrote this page in December of 2010. I’ve more recently written a post (February 2014) that you’ll also want to read right after this one: What Led Me to Leave Christianity?]

First off, let me say that I did not leave Christianity due to Christians.  The Christians I have been privileged to know have been wonderful, sincere and nothing but supportive of me.  There were some in particular who made themselves available to me as I went through this intensely difficult struggle with my faith.  They were available night and day and did not condemn me in any way.  I have nothing but respect for Christians themselves.  My journey out of Christianity was an intellectual one.  I just could no longer accept the authority of the Bible as a perfect and true book and I could no longer accept the basic message of the faith.

Before I continue, let me direct you to someone who had a similar intellectual deconversion.  After I read the book I felt like he had explained a lot of the same journey I had taken, but much better than I could.  It is a full online book but you can skip around to the parts that interest you.

Why I Believed by Kenneth W. Daniels

Anyway – onto my story.  My experience into and then out of Christianity is bookmarked by two deaths.  The first was the suicide of my 21 year old brother when I was only 10 years old.  His death forced me to think about some tough issues like life, death, God … and what happens to us when we die.  Around the same time I was invited to a Jr.High group at a church where one of my good friends attended.  Wow!  They had all the answers to the questions I’d been grappling with.  I’d believed in God up to this point, but now I found out that wasn’t enough.  I was going to hell unless I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour.  What 10 year old would turn Jesus down when presented with those options?  I gladly jumped in and took the plunge.  For the next 20 years I lived a happy Christian life, never wavering in my beliefs.  Well – maybe that isn’t completely true.  LIke many Christians, my views mellowed over time.  Did God really send people to hell just for not being Christians?  The God of love I’d been taught about wouldn’t really do that would He?  I certainly hoped not, but at least I was safe.  Besides, maybe hell wasn’t eternal torment but just a separation from God that unbelievers willingly chose.

In case anyone is wondering how committed and sincere a Christian I was, let me reassure you that I was.  I was a stay-at-home mom of five who chose to homeschool her children so she could raise them as proper Christians, untarnished by the secular school system.  After six years of homeschooling it became too much for me so I enrolled them in public school, still committed as ever to raising them to be model Christians.  I read Christian books, prayed, followed the Bible’s teachings (or at least what I was taught were the Bible’s teachings), marked up my Bible like crazy while I read, listened to Christian music …. the list goes on.  I was completely convinced I was following the truth.

The second death, which ultimately led to my exit from Christianity, was that of my father-in-law.  After battling cancer for many years he passed away in November of 2008.  Little did I know what an impact his death would have on my life.  I immediately started questioning all the big questions.  Did my father-in-law go to hell?  How do we know what happens when people die?  How do we know the Bible is a perfect book?  How do we even know it’s true at all?  I remember one of the first books I read was “How Jesus Became Christian” by Barrie Wilson.  It rocked my world.  Maybe the Christianity I’d been following wasn’t what I’d been taught.  I started reading everything I could find on Christianity.  I desperately needed reassurance that it was all true.  My whole world was being shaken.  Everything I’d believed about the universe was up for questioning and I didn’t like where it was leading me.  By Christmas Eve of 2008 I was a complete mess.  I believed I had committed an unpardonable sin (Mark 3:28-29Hebrews 6:4-6) by rejecting Christ and I was condemned to hell with no chance of redemption.

What followed was a two year journey out of Christianity.  I often wondered how everyone could go about their lives and not obsess about all the big life questions.  I certainly couldn’t.  I was barely functional.  I lived with the fear of hell every day and yet I couldn’t go back in time either.  My whole world had been shattered and I was left with trying to pick up the pieces.

I’m finally at a place of peace as an atheist.  I have carefully thought through my position on issues of faith.  My views on Christianity are now made from the outside.  This video sums up my views of Christianity:

I was thinking the other day about what has or hasn’t changed in my life since leaving Christianity.  Here is a short list:

STAYED THE SAME:

My love for my family and others.  I still behave morally even without a belief in god.  I still love my kids up one side and down the other.  I still love my husband and appreciate what an amazing man he is (he stuck with me through all of this with unwavering support).  I still appreciate all the good things in my life and love enjoying nature and the universe.

CHANGED:

My views on the meaning of life.  My views on the afterlife.  My views on morality, homosexuality, sex.  My acceptance of myself and others – I don’t have to constantly feel like I’m not living up to god’s expectations.  I have fewer reasons to judge others because I don’t have to view them in light of the Bible.  I see suffering differently now.

As much as we want answers to the big questions in life I don’t think a god, if he exists, has chosen to communicate them to us.  Watch this short video:  God or Nothing? If he does exist I don’t think he is dependant on our believing in him.  But what if I’m wrong?  Good question.  I have two answers to that.  One is found here:

My other answer is what if Christians are wrong about the god of Islam?  Or any other god that people have believed in.  How do they know they have the right god?

“We are all atheists about most of the gods humanity has ever believed in.  Some of us just go one god further.”  Richard Dawkins

You may also we wondering what it would take to convince me that Christianity is true.  Here is a link.

That’s my story.  If you want more details about why I felt I had to leave Christianity, check out some of my other pages.  You can access my blog through several options on the right side of the screen: you can click on one of my recent posts, search through the archives, or choose a category that interests you.

[People seem to read my story and see only sadness and tragedy.  Please see the Atheist Life page or the Atheist Life category on my blog for insight into what my life is like post Christianity.]

Oct 15, 2011:  Here’s a link to one of my posts that gives some insight into why I became a Christian in the first place and what made it so difficult to get out:

A Personal Response to a talk by The Thinking Atheist

February 2014: If you want to hear more about my story, you’ll definitely want to read this post: What Led Me to Leave Christianity?

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177 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Were you just following a religion at the time of your Christianity or did you have a relationship with Jesus in which you prayed and read the Bible in regards to all of your questions? Its sounds like you were going through a spiritual warfare in which you gave up. You can’t come up with all those answers yourself or you’ll hurt yourself trying. You must instead humbly seek God’s understanding. I know I want to know so much as well, but the Word says it is the fear of the Lord that brings understanding (and He gives us a little more everyday). We must therefore be like little children knowing we are broken people living in a broken world; all we have to do is have faith that God is good. Earth is such a mess because it is devoid of God (suffering=lack of God=sin). Accepting Jesus means we will be reconnecting spiritually to God. God then gathers those who choose HIM to live in goodness eternally (so you have a choice). Unfortunately, the devil manipulates our emotions and lives when we need to make this most important eternal choice. Ask God to open your heart and eyes so that you can make a firm choice for yourself and eventually for all the other ones you love still living. May God’s love reach you.

    • I wish I had more time to give you a proper response, but I’ll do what I can in short form.

      1 – Was I just following a religion? Absolutely not. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were my best friends and the focus of my life. I used to spend the entire afternoon working systematically through the Bible, learning and making endless notes in the margins. I prayed. I listened to Christian music. I homeschooled so that I could raise five wonderful Christian children. I attended church regularly, taught sunday school … the list goes on. I was a true blue Jesus Freak 🙂

      It’s funny to me that this is a question I get often. Christians don’t want to know or can’t believe that someone who was a devoted Jesus follower could decide it wasn’t real. It doesn’t fit into their world view. But I did.

      2 – I no longer see any value in turning off my questioning. I don’t see how faith is more valuable than well thought out conclusions.

      3 – ‘Broken people living in a broken world.’ – Yes – I agree. But while Christianity teaches us that this is all our fault – over time I realized that if there is a god – then he made us human and bears the responsibility for how we turned out.

      4 – ‘Suffering=lack of God=sin’ – Why is there a lack of God? We assume that if there is a god then he must remain hidden – but why?

      5 – Pain I’ve suffered. I really need to do an update on My Story. It must sound really tragic because people keep mentioning my awful suffering. The death of my brother and the death of my father-in-law were events (sad as they were) that triggered some intense questioning on my part. And then during the roughly 2 years when I slowly left Christianity – that was pretty rough. But I haven’t suffered any more than anyone else and I’ve since found a place of great peace in my life. I look back now and don’t regret much because it all made me the person I am now.

      I hope this answers some of your questions!

      • I really appreciate how well you’ve thought all the questions out. I was a theology major and reading through this explanation, I can clearly see your careful and complete examination. Though you and I didn’t end up in the same place, we both took the same road. Every religious person should ask themselves the questions you did and have answers, just my opinion.

      • Brenda, i have never ever commented anyone on the web but seeing your story and conclusions, i felt compelled to write.
        Let me first thank you for giving a lot of thought about your position. You labeled yourself as an ex-believer, I label myself as an ex-unbeliever. Using the very same logic you used to come out of faith, I found mine.

        ” I no longer see any value in turning off my questioning. I don’t see how faith is more valuable than well thought out conclusions.”

        Faith for me is the result of questioning and drawing out conclusions in the authority of the Word of God – the bible. It’s a very peculiar book, it seems to produce an answer to every question you could think of, when you need it most. This obviously happens when we pray for God to open our eyes in Jesus’s name to find from bible the comforting knowledge were seeking for our situation.

        It is however almost too easy to forget keeping our hearts open and turn the search from bible into a ‘crusade’ for answers and truth. This can become quite burdensome and mind numbing. What we often fail to realize that if we try to read the bible on our own strength, it’s just words. The scripture only becomes alive through The Holy Spirit, that opens the bible for us like a translator between God and man. Only in this way, The Word becomes alive and can reveal answer to every question about God and his will for you.

        In your case it would seem to me, heartbroken loss for loved ones was a catalyst for your conclusions. However fear and doubt as the bible teaches are from the enemy of the soul. All things good such as peace among tribulation, calmness, clarity of mind, comes from God.

        The bible does give an answer to your questions and loss: We are told that our faith will be tested in a purifying fire, time and time again the world around us will produce pain and discomfort in our lives, one shock more severe than the other. This is normal for everybody, for the one without faith, and for the one with faith. An atheist or Buddhist or Taoist or Christian or Muslim etc. cannot escape from death and tribulation in this world. Therefore you being an atheist will not save you from losing another loved one in your life. The difference is, the one having faith and seeking God, has assurance that it’s not the end of everything and that hope is not lost, even in midst of most dire circumstances.
        The life of Christ testifies this. Do you not think he would have not being tempted, and tested, like you were in your tribulation, when he was tortured and left hanging, bleeding, mocked, scoffed and dying in horrendous agony? He even cried ” O father! Why have you forsaken me?” This is a sign of deep stress of faith, more so than with us because this was Jesus, the Son Of the Living God, who had ALL faith and knowledge of the Father. Yet he prevailed in faith because it was the only thing keeping him in hope and separating from death. He trusted The Father knowing that he will deliver, that all that horrible pain and suffering would be wiped away in a blink of an eye. You can almost imagine the devil whispering to him “do you see what your faith has brought you? Did your faith deliver you from your situation? The Father has forsaken you, left you hanging for vultures to eat!”
        We hear those same words when we are hanging on our cross.
        When a believer is faced with his tribulation, the only difference we have from those who don’t believe, is the hope and trust in God, that it’s not the end of the whole story, no matter how gruesome the circumstances are. He will keep his word for his Glory, otherwise he wouldn’t be God and would lower himself to our fallen standards.

        You can’t trust on man’s promise. If I promised you cross my heart, I would take you to work tomorrow on my car, you can’t trust me on my word no matter how solemnly I would give an oath. Because tomorrow my child might happen to be in a life threatening situation and you can bet that would take precedence over my oath to you.
        This is not the case with God, as we can see in case of his only son, who he let die over his promise to us, that we would have hope and salvation. He keeps his every word always!
        That’s why Jesus was raised from dead as a sign, and you can trust God is faithful to you, even now he is longing for you.

        It sounds to me with everything you were doing Christian wise, became burdensome to you, feeling you need to do things for your salvation. Like in your comment below:

        “Christianity teaches us that this is all our fault – over time I realized that if there is a god – then he made us human and bears the responsibility for how we turned out.”

        This is not OUR fault, the deceiver is the one who bears responsibility over the deceived. God would not want to save us if we were like the devil. God truly is the superior parent. I’ll give you an example. If your child was to do something stupid because one of his friends, an evil one, would deceive him into doing. Which one you would be more mad to? Your child, who being deceived and lacking knowledge did not entirely understand the consequences of his actions, or to the one who purposely, out of spite, fully understanding the consequences for your child, lied to him and tricked him into doing something stupid? How can you say Christianity teaches us it’s OUR fault? That is not the teaching of Christianity. Christianity teaches us being lost and ignorant children like sheep, looking for our shepherd, because sheep don’t know how to take care of themselves when they have no one to take care of them. They are susceptible to wolves and danger and error that leads to death if they follow the wrong trail. Truly a sheep will follow another unto death. If one leaps from a cliff, the whole pack will follow suit. This is why we needed and received our shepherd in Jesus Christ.

        The second statement your making that God is the one to blame for our being is also shortsighted in biblical sense. This is because before God made man, he made the Devil. Now from your perspective you could say, how come God created a being which he saw would fall and create such a havoc, the whole creation would suffer for it? If you want the biblical answer, you pray for understanding and then read it from bible, it’s all there. I can supply a quick answer for you here however. I’ll give it for you again in an example: Suppose you wanted to have children to love and wanted them to love you back, this is all natural for a parent yes? Which way would you proceed in obtaining their love and respect? Would you rather beat them into submission and deny their free will in order to force them to love you out of simply having no choice over the matter, or would you give them free will, to choose on their own, full well knowing they also could choose to hate you and do other nasty stuff? Which love is more true and satisfying for a parent? A forced love or True Love, earned in good parenting and freely without force? Sure a parent needs to discipline their children from time to time, some children take offence at this, while others still love you, understanding sometimes only as adults why you disciplined them, out of love as a parent.

        We are given free choice of will out of Love! If you abuse that will it’s your perogative and your own choice and you have no one else to blame except your own and the person, the deceiver who you choose to let deceive you into thinking it’s the parents fault your choosing the way you are.

        “‘Suffering=lack of God=sin’ – Why is there a lack of God? We assume that if there is a god then he must remain hidden – but why?”

        Again the bible answers your question. There is partial answer also in above. One thing we don’t see God in our lives is because of our choices as described above. That’s not the only one though. Bible tells us we cannot see God because he is SPIRIT. Jesus himself asserts this for the Samaritan woman at the well. He says” God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” He is not made of substance we could see him in a material universe. The only way for us to see God is in spirit. When we depart this world. Those who saw Jesus in his time asked him to show them just a glimpse of The Father and Jesus replied if they see him, they also have seen The Father. Now Jesus was a man in the flesh just like you and me. Do you suppose he was referring to his physical being? Of course not. He was saying if you see what he is doing, serving, loving, teaching, being just, gentle, kind. Then you also see the spirit that is dwelling IN him, The Holy Spirit of the Father. That’s how Jesus could have been both fully man and God at the same time. Because he had the Spirit of God in him, through which he was performing the miracles and everything he did.

        That same Spirit can reside in you, if you open the door for it and ask it in. There is no room in your body and soul for two spirits. So when you invite The Holy Spirit in, it will kick the spirit of the devil out of you. They are mutually exclusive spirits and cannot dwell in the same place.
        That however does not free you from temptation to sin. Your body has all kinds of cravings that all are a doorway to sin, the world around you will do its best to confuse you and tempt to sin, even when you think your doing good. Even Hitler considered he was doing good for the German people and look at the outcome.
        If you’re humble enough and willing to quiet yourself down in prayer and just pause for a minute to hear what that famous little voice inside you is telling you, you will be following The Spirit, not forgetting to read the bible through The Spirit, asking for eyes to see and ears to hear..

        Most of us battle with hidden pride, telling ourselves not to listen to that little sting we feel every time we choose opposite of what The Spirit is telling us. It could be as simple as seeing an old man struggling with his groceries and thinking he looks like he needs help, but then thinking, oh well, I’m in a hurry and someone else will turn up and help him. That’s when our pride kicks in and stops us listening what the Spirit is telling us. We start making excuses not to help, and rationalize why it’s ok not to help another person in need. Trying to justify ourselves why we are good and gentle people, because last week I helped another elderly person, so now I can afford not to help this time. We all know it’s true. Even the person who does not believe can know that. It’s because God implanted that in us from the beginning. We all have the ability to discern what is good and just and seek him who created us for this purpose.

        “Pain I’ve suffered. I really need to do an update on My Story. It must sound really tragic because people keep mentioning my awful suffering. The death of my brother and the death of my father-in-law were events (sad as they were) that triggered some intense questioning on my part. And then during the roughly 2 years when I slowly left Christianity – that was pretty rough. But I haven’t suffered any more than anyone else and I’ve since found a place of great peace in my life. I look back now and don’t regret much because it all made me the person I am now.”

        If you had the chance of meeting Jesus, and you asked him what he thought about the horrible sufferings he went through for ALL the sake of humanity, for our sins, so you could live without condemnation, which is what is evident from your writing that you were doing to yourself. What do you think he would answer? Do you suppose he would tell you it wasn’t worth it or that he wouldn’t do it all again? What happened to your loved ones after their death I cannot say, not even of the loved ones I have lost in my life. All I have is the promise of hope and faith, but that’s enough, because it’s more than I had when I wasn’t a believer. If someone points a gun at me, my heart jumps and starts beating in fear just like yours if it happens, but my fear is different, because I know that The Son of The Heavenly Father has promised me something that gun cannot hurt. And while my physical being can be killed, who cares, we will ALL die someday, believer and unbeliever alike. My soul and spirit, the one who I really am, trapped in this body that’s made if dust and will return to dust, will be safe from all the bullets in the world.

        I’m not judging or blaming you. I can’t even say I know what you’ve gone through to lose your faith. However from your writing it’s evident that somewhere along the line you let fear and desperation over suffering, quiet The Spirit in you and opted to question everything, which is not a bad thing when you’re doing it not over fear and doubt, but with sober judgement and humble heart, not in panic and despair, but with eyes open and ears to hear. I pray for The Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son Of The Living God, that you would come to see that you can have faith without it being a burden for you and that you can have God in your life without being condemned or feeling inadequate and that you can have the same kind of peace you describe you’re having now, with the exception it will be different peace in that it’s an everlasting peace. Amen Amen. I pray this same prayer to everyone who might read this, that it would make them search their hearts and have humility to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear. Amen Amen. God Bless you all, For Jesus did not offer himself up in vain.

        Romans 8:18:
        Future Glory
        For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us..
        Rom8:26
        Likewise The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit..
        And we know all those who love God all things work together for good.

        Sorry for a really long post! I felt this deep in my heart. Good life for you, which ever way you choose to go!

      • I found your blog while searching for reasons people abandon faith in Jesus.

        I think I understand most of your stated reasons, but fail to understand thIs: presumably, in your intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you had vital personal communication with them, asking questions and receiving answers, joy in dialogue, being caught up in worship, answered prayer, gaining understanding that only the Spirit can give, etc. Denying them after that kind of relationship must be something like denying the existence of your mother and father after interacting with them for a number of years. From your perspective, how can that happen?

      • This reply is to Niko, you may never read this, but I have to say this in case you do: thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I have always loved Jesus and was raised a Christian. My parents weren’t super Christians, they sinned, failed, fell etc., but I think that’s what led me to love Jesus more. Was that he showed forgiveness. Even to sinners like my mom and dad. My dad stressed that we all fall short. But my point was meant to be a thank you, because I googled tonight “Christian to atheist”, why? I don’t know. I had a few doubts, I wanted to hear a logical explanation for my doubts as well, like how and why God would allow Satan to even exsist, when He knew the havoc he would cause, or why Eve even saw the fruit? Why did God allow her to?? And you nailed it, by using the example of a parents love. You changed my mind, my world tonight. By your letting God speak through you. Of course we want true love, like God wants with us. I never saw it that way. I cried reading your answer, because God showed me He cares about my questions. Like if someone I love questioned me about my love for them I would gladly answer…anyway. Thank you stranger, brother or sister in Christ, for touching my spiritual life, for answering this post with love. You are a true follower, a believer, A soldier for Him. I hope you read this, because you may have intended to change this non-believers perspective, but you strengthened an old believers faith in ways that are truly awesome. God bless you. I am praying for you that you continue to share your gift of communication through Jesus. See you in heaven my friend.

      • Hi Leastofthese (and Niko),

        I commented on this blog long ago, so I still get updates whenever someone leaves a new comment. Somehow, I missed it when Niko left his/her comment, but today, I saw the one from Leastofthese. I have a few thoughts.

        While I appreciate the passion of Niko’s comment, I can’t help but feel that it’s all speculation presented as fact. Niko definitely paints a beautiful picture of Christianity and its god, but the Bible is not so straightforward in its depiction.

        Niko wondered why Brenda thought the Bible taught that mankind’s “sinfulness” is our own fault — but there’s scriptural basis for her thinking that. The New Testament in particular is very clear that the saved will be rewarded, while those who aren’t saved will be condemned. Whether one believes the reward is Heaven and the punishment is Hell, or whether one believes those are symbolic for something else, the general message is clear: unless you become a Christian, you’re going to pay a very real and unpleasant price.

        Niko’s comment also completely ignores so many of the terrible things in the Bible, especially the Old Testament: God allows Satan to destroy Job’s life, which includes the deaths of Job’s servants and his ten children; God tells Moses and Joshua that the Israelites should commit genocide, down to murdering even the youngest children; on one occasion, God tells Moses to kill all the inhabitants of a particular nation except the virgin girls, whom they could keep for themselves; and of course the “inspired” writer of Psalm 137:9, who talks against Babylon by saying “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

        At one point, Niko said this:

        When a believer is faced with his tribulation, the only difference we have from those who don’t believe, is the hope and trust in God, that it’s not the end of the whole story, no matter how gruesome the circumstances are. He will keep his word for his Glory, otherwise he wouldn’t be God and would lower himself to our fallen standards.

        I used to be a Christian, so I can identify with what Niko is saying here. But I actually think a belief in God causes more problems when things are going badly. For instance, I have a friend whose daughter fell off the back of a tractor a few years ago, and the tractor was pulling a Bush Hog. If you don’t know what that is, it essentially turns a tractor into a large lawn mower. His daughter fell underneath the Bush Hog, and it killed her. Any one of us reading this comment thread right now would have stopped that from happening, if we’d been able. Even if we didn’t know the girl. If I were a Christian, I would have to reconcile this girl’s death with the belief that there’s a loving, kind, benevolent, all-powerful God who watched that happen and didn’t stop it. It wouldn’t have violated anyone’s free will if he had prevented it, because no one wanted this to happen. He could have caused the girl to land on top of the Bush Hog instead of under it. He could have made it so that she simply slipped or stumbled, but didn’t fall — teaching her and her parents a lesson they’d never forget. He could have caused the Bush Hog to “malfunction” at that moment so that the damage would have been minimal. There are so many things that could have happened, even things that wouldn’t have “shown his hand” if he wanted to remain hidden. But none of those things happened. Instead, this little girl was chewed up by the blades of a Bush Hog while God watched.

        But I’m not a Christian. So I don’t have to wonder why God would allow such a thing to happen. Instead, I think this was just one of the horrible tragedies that sometimes happens in life. It was an unforeseen accident, and that’s all. While that’s still difficult to accept, and the whole situation is heartbreaking, her death makes far more sense to me in a universe without god than in a universe with him.

        Leastofthese, you said this:

        wanted to hear a logical explanation for my doubts as well, like how and why God would allow Satan to even exsist, when He knew the havoc he would cause, or why Eve even saw the fruit? Why did God allow her to?? And you nailed it, by using the example of a parents love.

        See, I don’t feel like Niko really did answer these questions. Here’s Niko’s statement:

        We are given free choice of will out of Love! If you abuse that will it’s your perogative and your own choice and you have no one else to blame except your own and the person, the deceiver who you choose to let deceive you into thinking it’s the parents fault your choosing the way you are.

        Sorry, but that’s not how I view child-rearing. I have 3 children, whom I love dearly. And I do think they should be allowed to make their own decisions within reason. When my children were younger, if they told me they wanted to play in the middle of a highway, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I would have limited their free will. Why? Because at those ages, they wouldn’t have understood the ramifications of their choice. If I had allowed them to do something that dangerous, then I most definitely would have been guilty, even if they had escaped unharmed. I am the responsible individual when it comes to my children, until they reach a high enough level of maturity that they can take over all of that responsibility.

        In the story of Adam and Eve, they’re told not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We later find out that there’s also a Tree of Life that God doesn’t want them to eat from — why wasn’t that part of the initial instruction, too? Another curiosity: does it really seem believable that knowledge and long (or eternal) life could come from a fruit? Doesn’t this sound more like a fable than anything historical?

        Anyway, in the story, Eve is deceived by the serpent and eats the fruit. She then shares some with Adam. But according to the story, Adam and Eve were innocent. How could they have really known the consequences of what they were doing? Furthermore, if eating the fruit is what gave them the knowledge of good and evil, how could God hold them accountable for something beyond their ability? This is much closer to my example of my children wanting to play in the street. Even if I’ve told them not to do it, they don’t fully understand why when they’re that young. And if I expect them to avoid it simply because I once told them not to do it, then I’m an idiot and entirely culpable for anything that happens to them as a result.

        Your questions about why God would allow Satan to exist or allow Eve to be so tempted by the fruit are exactly the right kinds of questions you should be asking. Ask yourself this as well: how do you really know the Bible is inspired anyway? For a moment, let’s assume that God exists. How do you know he’s the Christian one? What if he didn’t inspire any specific religion at all? What if he created everything, instilled us with a conscience, and just decided to watch it all unfold? How do you know that the beliefs you were raised with are true? What kinds of evidence would you expect to see in a true religion, and does your particular religion actually possess that kind of evidence?

        Christian apologists claim that the Bible was inspired, that it contains true prophecies that have been fulfilled, that it is verified by history and archaeology, etc. Some even claim that the Bible is completely perfect, without error. But have you ever investigated any of these claims for yourself?

        Sorry for the length of this comment. Good luck to you as you continue your search for truth, and feel free to reach out to me if you think I can help in any way.

        Take care. 🙂

    • Brenda, I must agree with you regarding leaving your religion because even I suffered a tragic fate on my own without any reassurance. Although I do mourn for your family’s loss but I chose not to because it doesn’t help, I agreed by the fact that faith and well-thought conclusions must go hand-in-hand (because that’s what makes a wisdom that couldn’t be changed or destroyed and therefore could be relied upon), blind devotion to a God that I don’t know is very dangerous (which I personally did myself have moments of endangering others with it and saw this the same with people in other religions like Islam), and suffering neither equals to God nor sin. Here’s my story of how I am today as an atheist, then a Unitarian Universalist, and then a mystical Vajrayana Buddhist (follower of the Dalai Lama).

      I was a child that actually survived through a supposed-premature birth that destined to take my life when my mother finally went through a hospital process that finally allow me to be insider her till I’m fully born. Because of what she believed in, I believed that there is a God that protected me and that I was special to him (but don’t know how or why). However, what happened afterwards makes her shakened. I didn’t start talking when I was 4 and started speaking full conversation when I was 3 (before then, I didn’t even speak a single word or just crawl) when in reality I just have problems understanding why I’m here in this Earth, why I have to speak languages when animals don’t need languages to speak, and much more. I was the most obnoxious and destructive kid in the family where I tend to take things from my cousin alot and get into big troubles for it when in reality I felt I was neglected like those animals they slaughter mercilessly when I was back in my old country and just want to be like everybody else (in fact, I deserve to be like everybody else and want to know myself first since nobody have seeked to answer my questions). The problem kept going as I experience domestic violence in the house and saw animal cruelty outside of my comfort zone. The worst was to come when….

      I was diagnosed with ADHD 5 years ago, later on with 2 additional disorder: Asperger and Tic Disorder, and was considered disabled and immature for life. The reason why I was diagnosed for ADHD is because school wasn’t keeping up with my expectation and that I want more from myself than just lousy board games and other boring activities that teachers think it will increase my intellectualism and I ended up going wild in class, and the reason I was diagnosed with Asperger is because of my history of delayed speech communication and that I was closed-off from the rest of the family during my early year when in reality I felt something terrible inside my parent and others that I can’t describe but can sense it through sensing their “vibe” and that I tend to be an animal lover who loves to talk to animal all the time and never to others. Doing the medication didn’t work because I ended up like a terrorist in the classroom because the medication I took for my ADHD was Adderall. Later, when I was diagnosed with Asperger and other things, I was a drunkard that keep sleeping in class because I couldn’t handle the anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medicine and have to withdraw all of those after 14 total months of medication. I was at my dead end where I couldn’t believe that why would a God who said that because I’m a special creation of his, why would he not give me a cure to my problem and get it over with so that I could do things to benefit others and why is that if I accepted him, why would he give me a disability that he knows that I will live for life with and wouldn’t allow me be free. Because I tried asking that to my friends and others but got nothing helpful, I secretly sneaked out of the Christian church to find what other religions have to offer.

      Then I found Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism where it finally helped me not only overcome the symptoms but finally cure the problem through meditation and other useful methods. I practice and read those books about meditation for 3hours per day and practice total of 8 hours per day for the whole high school years. During the time when I finally felt I got better and I felt that something in me has changed and illuminated because I gained wisdom from what I learned after the experience, I decided to share that to my friends. However, when I did, I was dismissed as insane, stupid and other labels when in reality I know what I was thinking when I told them about God and our human race. From my appreciation for animals as a human equal to seeing God as myself, I was seen as a herectic.

      They exorcised me with holy water thinking I was possessed and tried to stop me from going there through talking with my parents and nothing works. Then, they start treating me like an outcast and some of them physically and emotionally abused me for not believing in God: “you will commit suicide if you leave the church or God. when I say this, I’m 100% sure”. Because of what they did, I fell deep into depression and did think I deserved it until I met a friend who lost 2 people in her family just like you Brenda from accidents who help show me the way. From then on, I left Christianity for good and became Buddhist 4 years ago.

      After studying under Buddhism and going to school, I finally reached Enlightenment 2 years ago and found that the universe is very beautiful and that everyone is a born-good person and that everyone has inherent wisdom hidden within them. In studying in depth bout my mental health, Christianity, Buddhism and other things, I found that what Christianity was a fraud and that most of the things they said about mental illness came from their cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry to get money and to cover up the problem. From then on, I became who I am today: an entrepreneur that overcame ADHD and is currently running a business that help debunked the myth about ADHD and cure people with ADHD using esoteric Buddhism’s meditation techniques.

      • It’s not much, but I am really sorry they did that to you. It pulled my heart strings because I used to have a similar problem but it was my mother who would tell me I wasn’t her son but a demon. That traumatized me and put up a permanent wall between her and I. I’m sorry again. I hope the experience has help build you into a wonderful person.

      • It does Navix. Sorry if I have not replied to you for a long time since I was actually working on my school website. I personally am building a school just like the Waldorf School but much better and more scientific so that one day I can personally help more children like myself unlearn more of the wrongdoing of all religions, especially Christianity.

  2. Also, my heart goes out to all the pain you have suffered. Just know we are all the same as far as suffering that is why I reached out to you. But Jesus Christ is the only answer, He suffered like us already and He wants you to know you can let HIM carry all your burdens. The devil doesn’t want you to know that. You seem like a nice person; I will pray for you. Love and peace.

  3. I just found your blog because I am a Tim Minchin fan, and googled “Thank You God lyrics”. I spent many years being a Christian and am now atheist (and Unitarian Universalist). Love your blog. Of course you have given your beliefs a lot of thought and consideration. I ope your family and friends or whomever you were speaking to with this site, have come to understand or at least respect your decision. I think that is the hardest part, when people you love are Christian, and are distraught by you choice of a different path.

    • Thanks for dropping me a note! I love when people stumble across my blog and get something/anything from it.

      The important people in my life stuck by me and that’s all that really matters to me. I was very lucky that way.

      Thanks again!

    • Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from people.

      I can only talk minimally about my family in respect of their privacy but I think the following is ok to state:

      My hubby has been amazingly supportive throughout this whole thing. I would call him an agnostic although I don’t think he even likes that title. We still discuss religouis/atheist issues (among a million other things!) and we are closer than ever as a couple.

      My 14 yr old is a committed born-again Christian. It was very tough for him but I’m pleased to say that he has come to terms with my new views. I have never tried to deconvert him and in return he gives me the same respect.

      My 12 yr old grew up going to church but I don’t know where she really stands right now. We’ve had a few discussions and I’m sure we’ll have more in the years to come.

      My younger three (ages 8, 6, and 4) were young enough that it hasn’t affected them. They will grow up in a secular home.

      Our extended families have been wonderful. None of them were bible thumpers like we were so no issues there 🙂

  4. I went through the very same thing. Home schooling fundy mom of 3 deconverted (deconstructed, rather) in 2008-2010, a 2 year struggle, one year of which was spent on the floor sobbing. Not an easy transition. Ironically, it was education (schooling my kids on Egyptian history, Atlantis vs Noah, etc) and my own education from a Christian university that set me free from Christianity. That and begging “God” to show me the “truth.” I found it in the bible. Rev 2:2 and 2 Tim 1:18–set me free from Pauline Christianity, explored gnosticism and everything the church teaches is heretical. Now, still spritual, but would describe myself as a non-theist. To me, it’s all quantum physics: we are infinite energy with creative intention and abundant power. Maybe “Jesus” was right after all and Christians can’t see past the brainwashing” ye are gods.

    • It’s interesting reading how difficult your journey out of christianity was – most people I know found leaving their faith much easier than I did – so it’s sort of nice knowing there is someone else out there who understands how difficult it all was for me.

      I’ll admit that I went down the humanist/atheist path as opposed to any type of spirituality but I’m glad that both of us have found beliefs that we can feel content with and that aim us in a new direction.

  5. Essence of Christian faith is simple belief in the sovereignity of God (Revelation 4:11(b); Jeremiah 18:3-10)
    There is no place for mortal man’s puny intelligence (Einstein says we use less than 5% of our heads) to think why & how God does things. Having tasted of God’s salvation & personal relationship with Christ, the person has only 1 purpose in life – to tell this Good news to others, that they may also enjoy God’s wonderful relationship & eternal life.

    Essence of Living the Christian life is ‘handing over your reins’ to Christ. He lives through you. Stop “trying” to live – it only makes a mess.
    From your description, it is doubtful you ever had a submissive relationship to the Savior. With good sense, you would not mislead others who search for Christ…..But his arms are still outstretched to you.

    Godspeed.

    Isaiah. 29:16 “You turn things around!
    Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,
    That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
    Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?”

    • If man’s intelligence is so puny then how can you claim to know so many things about your god and how he thinks and what he wants? Christians claim to have so much knowledge beyond the rest of us while at the same time claiming that we can’t rely on our own intelligence.

      And I certainly did have a submissive relationship with Christ, but I love how Christians immediately deny that I did (especially coming from someone who didn’t know me as a Christian – how could you possibly know????) I don’t think there is any way to prove that I did (which shows what a vague and subjective thing it is to begin with) but if you ask people who knew me when I was a Christian they would say that at least in the ways that they could observe – I was indeed a true Christian.

      As far as me turning around – not likely. Your god would have to pull a miracle out of his hat 😉

  6. Really fascinating blog – it comes up top of the Google search for the ‘Thank You God’ lyrics – as someone else said previously. The bots are doing their job well!! I am so impressed with your responses to the religious folks who seem to want to ‘save you’ from your new path! I’m not sure I would treat their comments with as much respect as you have managed to. At the end of the day they seem to be pitying you for your ‘wrong choice’ in becoming atheist – one of the biggest issues I (as a hardcore completely content atheist) find most aggravating about religious folk of any ‘particular God’ (as TM would say!) So pleased you have found peace and are experiencing for yourself that us atheists are as morally sound as anyone else!!

    • Thanks so much for your positive comments! I really appreciate when someone takes the time to say something encouraging 🙂

      I don’t post as often as I used to but I’m glad my blog is out there for those that are interested in my journey out of christianity.

      Thanks so much!

  7. Percy – I have known Brenda very well for going on twenty years now, and can assure you that from what I observed I would say that Brenda’s relationship with Christ was genuine. I don’t think that anyone has the right or ability to judge the sincerity of such an intimate and personal choice/relationship. If you believe that God has given everyone free will this does mean that anyone can walk away from a relationship with Christ, EVEN if they have experienced him in his entirety. I think that often time when someone who knows and loves Christ hears of someone walking away from that very relationship that they are experiencing it can be frightening and cast doubt so it is natural to throw up defensive walls and to try to ‘explain’ what has happened. I am not saying this was the case with your response or observation, but rather asking you to be careful. While you may have been trying to encourage, I trust that if you go back and read that particular statement, even within the context of everything else that you said, it is not one of encouragement (maybe take a closer look at the motive?). While I may understand the want to try to encourage someone to embrace Christ, in most cases it should be left to those that have a personal and vested interest in the person that is being shared with, otherwise it comes off as preachy and elitist. I do sincerely hope that this does not hurt or offend you but I do have a personal and vested interest in Brenda, and love she and her family very much so will always stand by and support them. We just aren’t meant to judge, even that is biblical and without an inside and very close, personal view of someone’s life that is just far too presumptuous.

    Just so you know, I love Christ with all my heart and believe in his word and teachings with all my heart.

    • Thanks for your comments Dave! I do realize that someone like me just doesn’t exist in a Christian’s world view. I’m someone who had a genuine relationship with Christ and then turned my back on it – and not so I could rebel and sin, but because I truly didn’t believe any of it anymore. You’re so right that Christians try to come up with some other explanation – and that explanation is normally that I couldn’t have been a true Christian. So I try to be understanding of where that is coming from even though it drives me a bit crazy.

  8. Hi Brenda, well written blog. Glad to hear you’ve managed to escape religion.
    I’m chatting with a guy from Austin Texas at the mo ( on youtube), he’s a devout born again Christian, he casually mentioned to me how much he and his daughter love the singer Adele ( me too, she is unbelievable.. how can you not love that voice!!). It got me to thinking, .. I’m pretty sure she is an atheist, .. now, according to his beliefs, unless she accepts Jesus, she’s going to burn in hell!! Can he not see a problem here, .. her voice has brought joy to millions of people, what kind of sick god would send her to hell?. I looked on google to try and find out more about her beliefs or where she stood on god, I typed in “Adele Christianity”, and it sent me here. I’ve enjoyed reading your story ,and reading the comments from devout christians, ..they really seem in a bubble to me, unable to reason with.
    Anyhoo, let me know if you know Adele’s stance on religion, I’ve got a sneaky feeling she’s an atheist.
    Bonnie43uk ( thats my youtube name)
    in sunny Swindon England.

    • Sorry – I have no idea what her stance on religion is. Wish I could be of more help.

      Thanks for visiting my site and having a look around. You’re right about the comments from Christians. They’d probably agree with you. They are proud of the fact that they have faith and don’t rely on mere human reason. It makes discussing things difficiult but if someone like me can change her mind then there’s always hope 🙂

  9. I have always been sooooo consfused over the issue of how people that say that they don’t believe in God hold Him responsible for “sending people to hell”. i have always had the understanding and belief that to acknowledge and accept the we are created in the image of God, believing that He came Himself to earth to take responsibility for His creation and the mistakes (or sins) that we make BECAUSE He created us and Loves us beyond our understanding, not holding us responsible because He KNOWS HE created us, and would never expect us to take responsiblity for what He created. asking only that we BELIEVE in Him, not our own understanding. Those of us that accept this, that believe this, have the joy of eternity with Him where those that deny Him choose to take responsibiltiy for themselves and they CHOOSE to NOT spend eternity with Him, choosing instead to make a well informed decision to spend eternity instead without Him which is hell. He has made it very clear that we have that choice and has also made it very clear that He desires but never forces us to do anything, that includes Him never “forcing” us into hell. His Judegement will be a time of truth for those that trust, believe and accept as well as for those that refuse, deny and doubt. He will simply say, as they have said, that He doesn’t know them, which is what they agree to while living here…they don’t even believe He exists let alone know Him.

    • I am having trouble linking to it, but I turned my response into a blog post. So check out the blog post entitled, ‘Question/Comment About Hell’ for my response to your question.

      Thanks.

  10. I love hearing stories about their de-conversion. Or to better to put it no longer believed their was sufficient evidence of a God.

    It reassures me that I’m not the only one, and I’m not going crazy.

    • You are definitely NOT crazy! I know I thought I was for awhile. Christians didn’t have the doubts that I did and non-believers couldn’t understand how fundamental my faith was to my life and how my loss of faith shook me to my core. No one could understand what I was going through and finding other deconversion stories online helped me too.

      I’m thrilled if my blog helps you in any way and please let me know if I can be of any more assistance.

  11. In my case it was ironic, because I used to believe that those who weren’t saved would be thrown into hell and be tortured for day and night forever and ever. Yet it was my belief in this that was torturing ME day and night forever and ever. And there were so many things that never made sense. How many failed prayers can we ask until we realize it doesn’t work? Why would God allow an invisible being (Satan) to “trick” us to following him, while God watches? How can we ever trust ourselves if that was the case? Why does Jesus seem so different than the God of the Old Testament? I also got tired of the hypocrisy of Christian beliefs and sayings. Every time something good happened, praise God! Every time something bad happens, blame Satan! Yet we have no proof of any of this! How can you assign blame when you can’t prove it? Can you imagine if our justice system worked like this?
    I tell you that without the belief in Christianity, I am a much happier person. I no longer look at the world as for or against my religion. I no longer view people as doomed to a place of eternal torture. I no longer feel guilty for being born a human being and not being perfect.
    BTW…I was born and raised a Catholic and was “Born Again” in college. I realized after a while that my preachers were lying and what they said didn’t make sense. I’m so glad to be free. Please don’t worry about these Christians who question your sincerity as to how “Christian” you were. Most of them probably haven’t read the whole bible because once I did, I realized how barbaric it really was. Again, ironic that the one thing they want you to do is what also helped to turn me away.

    • Thanks so much for sharing some of what led you out of Christianity! It encourages me and I hope it encourages others who have left or are thinking of leaving.

      Sounds like you dealt with many of the same questions I had. It’s interesting that you mentioned no longer feeling quilty about being human and not being perfect. I wrote a post about that. Here’s the link:

      https://leftchristianity.com/2011/11/25/being-human/

      Now that I’ve been out of Christianity for a while I do shake my head in wonder that people don’t see the glaring problems with the bible – contradictions, immoral things being accepted and encouraged, impossible and implausable things happening all over the place … and just a weird story that makes no sense. It just screams having been written by people from that time period – no hint of anything coming from a being that is all-knowing. It’s amazing what your mind can twist to make sense when the god glasses are on.

      You’re right – reading the bible can be the nail in the coffin if you don’t try to rationalize everything in it. I recommend people read it with the online Skeptic’s Annotated Bible:

      http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

      I also bought one of my children The Atheist’s Bible Companion to the New Testament (amazon.com link):

      http://www.amazon.com/Atheists-Bible-Companion-Testament-Contradictions/dp/1432748645/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331574122&sr=8-2

      It’s the most comprehensive book out there dealing with the contradictions – unfortunately it is only for the New Testament.

      Thanks for your comments! I really appreciate them!

      • Brenda,
        You’re very welcome. I think any Christian who tells you they don’t struggle with these questions is a liar. It’s just that some of us realize why it doesn’t make sense, while others will fight to live that lie because it’s all they know or want to believe.
        I just read your article about “Being Human.” You’re right. It’s the exact thing I’m talking about. Thought crime is a perfect example too. All things that make us human, we’re just supposed to turn off because well, we’re just bad. Thanks God. You’d think he would have created us destined for heaven and then allowed us to fall, instead of being born doomed to hell and having us fight our way back. That part NEVER made sense to me and I now see it for what it is…a lie.
        The problem is, Christianity affects everything you think. The whole “What Would Jesus Do” makes you filter everything through Christianity. Every time I liked a song, I wondered “Would God support this?” What about any TV shows you watch? Or the video games you play? Or every time you get angry? Ask anyone about these things and you’ll get completely different answers, especially when it comes to specifics. Take music for example. Some Christians will say listening to anything that doesn’t follow your beliefs is a sin. Some, if it’s not Christian based it’s sin. Some if it’s profane it’s sin. Some if it’s rock-based, it’s a sin. Others think it doesn’t matter at all. It’s not just grey, it’s every color of the rainbow and all the shades in-between.
        The bible does come off as written by ignorant men. Genesis is obviously written by men trying to figure out what is going on with our world while having no clue how it really works. Reading it without god glasses makes that very evident. Noah’s ark was actually the first story I really couldn’t reconcile with logic no matter how much I tried. If God really did write the bible, it should blow us away. Instead, I read it always wondering “Why is God killing children? Why is God saying to kill everyone but the virgins? Why is the Old Testament such a bloodbath?”
        Just keep strong in what you believe. My whole family and almost everyone I know are Catholic. My family almost went crazy when I left that to go more fundamental, but if they found out about this I don’t know what they’d think. Luckily for me, I’m a very strong-willed person. Nobody is going to make me feel bad for this because it was a process, not a hasty decision. We have nothing to be ashamed for because we’re searching for the truth. If anything, I feel sorry for them because with their god glasses, they may never find it.

      • “while others will fight to live that lie because it’s all they know or want to believe.”

        I remember years ago having a moment during the night where I truly considered the idea that maybe god didn’t exist. I can’t remember what was going on at the time – I just remember feeling the magnitude of the idea – it overwhelmed me. It shook me to my core. But I guess it was too much for me at the time and I pushed it aside and went on with my life. Probably chalked it up to a dark night of the soul. For some reason – the second time it happened I couldn’t go back … and the rest is history. So I do understand how Christians can just choose to stay in their box – it’s safer.

        Fortunately my extended family is not strongly religious. They are more ‘be a good person’ type of religious people. So everyone was very supportive of me whichever way I went. I lost most of my christian circle of friends – but not the ones that mattered – they stuck with me – which I’m really grateful for.

        Again – thanks for your comments.

  12. I think it’s important to realize that leaving Christianity doesn’t mean that you have to abandoned your notion of God …. My problem with Christianity is that by definition it discounts any other path to spiritual enlightenment or spiritual fulfillment. You are either a Christian or you are destined to burn in the lake of fire for all eternity, and that being a principled,loving, caring Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc … didn’t count for much of anything and in fact put you on a fast track to hell.

    There are people, I being one of them, who believe that there is a common thread that binds all living things together … that we humans are not on sentient beings but spiritual beings. That all of us have a right to live in dignity and a responsibility to treat others with respect and compassion. I reject the idea that those who ignore these responsibilities, spew hatred and deprive others of their right to love, to live in peace to celebrate life in the name of their religion someone get a free pass because they do so in Jesus’ name.

    If, in fact, there was a rabbi named Yeshua who taught,love, forgiveness, peace, and understanding in Judea 2000 years ago (and there might have been given how common the name was), It is inconceivable that he would sanction the barbarity of modern Christianity being practiced in Churches all across America today.

    A friend of mine asked me a while back, “What if you’re wrong?”. My answer was and continues to be that if I am wrong, then it is my hope and prayer that God sees the state of Religion in the time that I living, sees the damage that it is inflicting on the planet and on humanity and will shrug his shoulders and say, “I understand, come on in”.

    • Thanks for your comments. You’re right that there are more choices than just Christian or atheist. My journey led pretty quickly from one to the other. When I realized that Christianity couldn’t back up anything it was claiming, it didn’t take long for me to reach the same conclusion about other religions. It just seemed pointless spending time and energy on trying to figure out things that were unknowable. I decided to just toss it all and focus on my life here and now. But I can appreciate that this isn’t going to be the path for everyone and I would love to see all religious people (who choose to stay religious) be open-minded and accepting of others.

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation. I love a good discussion!

  13. I love the way you’ve written your story. It’s funny how many similarities there are in your journey and mine. Looking forward to following your blog!

    • Thanks Nate – I’m following your blog too. While I don’t post as often anymore – I still consider this blog an important expression of my journey as a person and who I am today. I also hope blogs like yours and mine will help people out there who are having the same doubts we did.

  14. Hi Brenda,

    I chanced upon your blog via Lorena’s ‘Leaving Fundamentalist Christianity’ blog.

    I too am an ex-Christian and some of the issues you raise in this article and elsewhere I touch upon in the following two-part article:

    http://new.exchristian.net/2011/08/14-problems-with-christianity-part-i.html

    http://new.exchristian.net/2011/09/14-problems-with-christianity-part-ii.html

    I also recommend the exchristian.net blog and forum if you don’t know of it already. The blog in particular is a great little community full of people just like us. I think you’ll fit in well there. 🙂

  15. OMG! I’m so happy that Nate posted your link on his blog! I love your story. (I was also a dedicated and active member of a fundamentalist church — for 15+ years!)

    While I didn’t follow exactly the same path, I’ve ended up in pretty much the same place … except I don’t call myself an atheist. I definitely don’t believe in the Christian (Abrahamic) God, but I’m not totally convinced there isn’t some kind of energy/force/presence in the Universe. It probably goes along with the fact that I believe (as Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks about) we are part of the universe and the universe is part of us.

    In any case, I appreciate your website and have bookmarked it for future visits.

  16. Really enjoyed reading your blog, watching the videos (and I thought I had seen every single atheist video out there!) and reading the related blogs. Looking forward to reading the book you recommended. I’ve also enjoyed reading the responses here and your patient explanations. Well done, great writing and thanks for sharing your story.

      • In your “My Story” Section: Why I Believed by Kenneth W. Daniels. Still slogging my way through Walt Whitman, but I’m looking forward to reading it next:)

      • Great! I haven’t read through that book in a long time but I have clicked to certain sections. A recent example is his discussion on Pascal’s Wager which I thought was great. Let me know if you end up with any sections that are your favourites.

  17. This is a really powerful story. It must have been a very difficult journey and I’m glad you’ve found peace. I think our ability to look around and question the world is very important, and I identify strongly with the idea that one can behave morally without basing that morality on the Bible. Also, the quote from Richard Dawkins is great.

  18. Hi Brenda, I know exactly the feelings you talk about. The fear is particularly difficult to get rid of, especially when it is ingrained from such a young age…Even now, I feel awkward vocalising how I think about religion, apart from when I am arguing with someone, because there is always that little bit in the back of your head going “But what if they were right”, or even worse, being worried that something is going to happen to you now because you have said something bad.
    It was so bad at one point for me when I started looking at other options that I was scared of even reading anything non-christian, which to me, as a rational, scientific, independent, confident adult was completely strange.

    I mostly get round it these days by looking at all the other people who think similar things to me and haven’t had terrible things happen to them, but I am angry that I can’t get rid of those ingrained thoughts from when I was a child..

    • Thanks for sharing!

      I never had the fear that something bad might happen to me now (always figured I might just roast in the afterlife). I definitely remember the fear of reading anti-Christian books/blogs/online articles, etc. I thought I was committing some horrible sin just by having them around at all. Looking back now, it’s amazing I ever continued on – the fear was so great.

      The odd time that I think, ‘What if I’m wrong?’ I just remember that everyone else has an equal chance of being wrong as well. If there is a god then he’s placed us in a grand guessing game and he’d be a pretty awful god to expect us to figure out the answers to the universe in order to not burn in a torture chamber.

      Frankly I think Christians (who profess to love god) have a pretty awful view of what type of god he is. I think if there is a god, I view him as being a more moral god than the Christian version of him. I don’t think any type of all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving god would do the things the Christians say he has or will do.

      But then again – who says a god (if it exists) is all-powerful or all-knowing or all-loving? We have no way of knowing any of that. Again – a grand guessing game.

      • This exchange between you, Brenda, and skepticalsquirrel is great. I just happened upon your blog and have been reading through the comments (which you are so active in — greatly appreciated!) and have found this exchange to be the most relevant. But generally, I’m looking forward to reading through your archives.

  19. It looks like you’re finding out how desperately people want us to stay in the fold. As a former evangelical and former protestant minister let me just say first, you are courageous in leaving the faith, and second, it’s really not worth it, in my experience, to play the “bible game” and try to reason with unreasonable people. As we know, folks just need to find their own way out. All the best with your life and writing.

    • Thanks for stopping by! My biggest hope is that my blog is there for anyone who is already struggling with doubts. I think it can be helpful for them to connect up with someone who has been down the same road and come out the other side. That is my main target audience. If others get something from my site then that’s an added bonus. You’re right – I’m probably not going to have much impact on people who aren’t already doubting and it’s not worth my time (or theirs) to try to convince them of anything.

    • I’m glad if my story and my site can help you in any way. My main goal for the site is to be an encouragement and resource for anyone having doubts about their faith (like I did). It was a tough road and I want people who find themselves on a similar journey to know that others have been where they are and come out the other side.

  20. Hi Brenda! I’ve read your story, but I haven’t read any of the comments on it, so please forgive me if this has already been asked: Are your children still Christians, or have they left Christianity too?

    Also, how hard was it to leave your church community?

    I’m just curious. I was raised a non-theist, and I’ve become interested in what people go through when leaving their religions.

    • Hi Paul – thanks for your questions.

      I don’t mention my children much out of respect for their privacy – but I can tell you that my oldest (who is a teen) is still a fundamentalist Christian – the rest are not. The three youngest don’t even really remember much about church at all. It’s been quite liberating raising them without the fear of hell and without the notion that there is some invisible being watching their every move and reading their every thought – and who is ready to judge them at every turn. They are free to be children – they don’t have to worry about the fate of their soul or of the souls of everyone around them!

      Leaving our church community – hmmm. Good question. There was no official shunning of us (which I know some people do go through) – but here we are a few years later and there are only a couple Christians left in our life and mostly on a superficial level. Everyone else just kind of faded away. Having said that – it was probably on our end as well as theirs. There just isn’t much left in common anymore when we’ve rejected something that shapes every aspect and decision in their lives. It’s hard for people outside the fundamentalist community to truly understand how much their relationship with god permeates every waking moment and every interaction. And I honestly think they just didn’t know what to make of me. For many fundamentalists it’s impossible for a true Christian to reject Christ. So they think I either wasn’t a true Christian in the first place (which is the accusation most ex-Christians get) – or I’ve chosen to rebel in the worst way possible and will suffer eternally for it. Who wants to hang around me now when I fall into one of those two categories?

      We are extremely busy so we haven’t gone out of our way to build a new circle of friends but we are slowly working on it.

      Thanks for stopping by! Your blog looks interesting!

      • Thank you for your kind words about my blog!

        I agree with you that it’s very hard for a non-Christian such as myself to understand the fundamentalist community. I’ve been struggling to do so for years. It is easy to dismiss fundamentalists as freaks and idiots — and I see that done all the time. But I don’t believe that’s justified. Too many fundamentalists are well-adjusted, intelligent people. And that just adds to the mystery of why anyone would be a fundamentalist. It’s all very interesting!

        From what I’ve been able to figure out, it usually takes a special kind of person to leave fundamentalism. Most people are not able to do it. It impresses me that the people who are able to do it seem to usually be the very same people who once tried the hardest of all to be good Christians. I know that the people they leave behind often say of them, “They weren’t true Christians in the first place.” But from what I can see, it’s actually the other way around. At least it usually is. The people who leave were the ones who tried the hardest to make Christianity work for them.

        At any rate, I’m finding your story and posts helpful to me in understanding fundamentalism — which is something I’ve been trying to do for a while.

      • Paul

        People on both sides tend to dismiss each other. It’s unusual to find someone who looks deeper and really wants to understand what’s going on behind all the obvious disagreements – so I applaud you for that. I’m definitely in a unique position to be able to understand both sides. It actually felt nice to have someone acknowledge that I was likely a true Christian – even likely someone who took it more seriously than most – because I was. But since I left I’ve mostly had to work at convincing people that I was even a true Christian at all. As an outsider, I’m impressed that you picked up on that aspect of exChristians because you’re absolutely right – we took it very seriously and gave it our all. In fact – if we hadn’t taken it so seriously we’d probably still be in it – but we craved truth in every area of our life and Christianity crumbled upon closer inspection.

        If you click on the Deconversion Stories category in my blog’s category cloud you’ll come across some other people with deconversion blogs – most of them I’ve interacted with personally (online anyway). Just if you’re looking for other stories like mine.

      • Here’s the blog of someone I ‘know’ online. He just recently deconverted. It’s an interesting blog because he started the blog when he was just beginning to have doubts and blogged throughout his journey. He just recently ‘came out’ to people in his life. You might find his blog interesting.

        http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/

  21. Thanks for sharing your story Brenda. I,m glad I stumbled across your blog while looking for something else. I can relate to parts of your story – doubt, fears etc. I went to a couple of fundamentalist churches as a teen and adult over the years. However, I grew up occasionally attending Anglican churches with grandparents, had hippy parents with strong hindu yoga philosophies, an atheist mother and step father and step siblings – a real mix!. I found fundamentalist Christianity in its extremes to be stressful and eventually moved to less fundy position.

    I have always and continue to read books, articles and blogs about different philosophies and religions including atheism. Fundamentalism in its extremes may discourage doing so but I think it’s beneficial to not live in a bubble so we can FREELY choose our path. Although we both have done the work of reading, thinking, picking apart, wrestling etc. we have arrived at different positions. Having read your post helps me understand and respect more the journey of those for whom the travels lead to unbelief and the bravery to get there. I wanted to respond so that people would see there is no danger in thoughful, considered examination of Christianity. It may lead one person away from faith and yet another to a deeper understanding, yet another to a different understanding. I am currently in a place of peace with my christian faith which is not fundamentalist (Found N T Wrights works helpful). I am content to not know all the answers (christian, atheist or other) and to respect other’s right to beliefs / unbelief which differ from my own.

    While I’m raising my children in a Christian home, they too will journey for themselves: questioning, researching etc. For this I have little fear, for how else will they freely choose? They are surrounded by so many in their lives with differing or no belief there will be no shortage of choice, regardless of teaching (faith or atheist based). Our friends and relatives are a mix of Christian and non Christian (my best friend is a strong atheist) so we are certainly not living in a fundamentalist bubble which I wonder may be more cultural than about the christian faith. In my opinion listening to christian music, highlighting passages throughout the Bible, watching Christian tv, and doing fundamentalist Christian culture is not necessarily living the Christian faith. I have burned myself out before and seen others do the same doing this church culture stuff. The early church didn’t have individual Bibles, highlighter pens, Christian bookshops with ‘how to live’ books etc. They met for prayer, teaching and aiding one another. I just had to sift through to the basics…..I have seen so many people convert or deconvert and back again that I do not believe in extremes any more – rather journeys.

    Wishing you all the best on your journey in life. Cheers.

    • Thanks for commenting Melanie!

      I can appreciate that your searching led to a different place than mine did and I applaud your view that we are on our own individual journeys.

      I find it hard to describe my Christian life. Many Christians assume that I couldn’t have been a true Christian and then left the faith. So when I try to describe how real my relationship with God and Christ were, I stumble trying to find a way to convey that. I mention some externals in my story, but it was much more than that to me. I don’t feel I burned out at all. I believed the god of the universe lived in my heart and was guiding me through every decision and moment in my life and then within a very short time span I realized that he likely didn’t even exist. I didn’t search for atheism because I was dissatisfied or burned out by Christianity. I didn’t search for it at all – it hit me like a ton of bricks.

      I’m glad your life is filled with people of many different beliefs. I’m guessing that you have a more liberal view of hell (although you can correct me if I’m wrong.) I find that Christians who don’t believe non-Christians are going to hell are much more able to be accepting that everyone is on their own journey.

      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time to share a bit about your own journey.

  22. I know that we have many queries in this world and that at we may come to a point where we are compelled stop believing in the a “god”, but I just wanted to share to you that there are also inexplicable things that only an All-knowing God can answer. An example is the creation of everything. Up til now, I don’t think anybody can still explain how everything came to existence. This is why God is called the Alpha and the Omega. Hmmm… And I don’t think hell should be feared because if you simply believe that God exists and you live a Christian life following His rules, everything will fall into place according to God’s plans for us and that is a place in heaven after death on earth. 🙂

  23. Hi Brenda,
    My name is Shane Turner and after 10 years of Christianity I left the church. The aftershock of leaving Christianity has haunted me for the past 14 years. Worrying I am going to burn in an eternal lake of fire. Over the past month I really started looking into the Bible and how corrupted it really is. It has taken me years to recover from the damage Christianity did to me. I am now 32 years old and am slowly to come to terms that the Bible is not true. Also I was a true Christian and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. While I am no atheist I believe something created the Universe but I dont see it like Christians do in the Bible. At age 8 I asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins and was baptized. Dont tell me that I never had a true relationship with Christ. Why would God ignore the prayers of a child asking him for forgiveness? As a child (9-15) I felt tormented and was still extremely scared I was going to die to burn in an eternal lake of fire forever. I prayed hardto Jesus and asked for forgiveness and heal me of all my bad feelings. I tried as a child hard as I could to seek Jesus and still felt scared inside. One time I was 10 years old and could not find my dad in a trailer where we lived. I started screaming bawling,and was throwing a fit thinking the rapture had happened and I had been left behind. I had many episodes like this from 10-15 and would even circle my block seeing if there were christian people I knew or little children that were still here. I was always terrifiedI went to youth group a lot in my pre teen teen years. At 14 when I was in youth group I had a nervous breakdown over a guy who I had a crush on and did not want to realize it. I was literally worrying myself to death and this breakdown nearly ended my life. This breakdown lasted 6-12 months for a year. I had to go to this guys because I always wanted to be around him and did not realize how mentally ill and sick it was making me. I could eat very little to nothing and sometimes would throw up nothing because I may not have wanted to accept the fact I might be gay. I have had gay tendencies since I was 4 but coming to terms with it takes a lot of years. I was always taught homosexuality was an abomination to the Lord and would burn in hell for eternity. I completely left church and Christianity by the time I was 17. Soon after I finally came out of the closet. I was chastised by people and even my own mother told me some of the most harshest things I could ever imagine. Even 14-15 years later after this happened I still had fear of burning in an eternal lake of fire. I am getting better but the scars Christianity left me was unimaginable. I feel like for a change I can finally reject Christianity and live my life for who I am.

    • Shane

      I’m so glad you commented here. Thanks for sharing your story. My heart breaks for you a bit because it sounds like you are/were stuck in that in-between place where you didn’t believe Christianity but you still feared being punished for your disbelief. I was there for quite a while and it’s an awful place to be. Do you still fear hell? Please click on the Heaven/Hell link in my category cloud on the right side. It will have some of my posts on that topic. You can type keywords into the search box as well if you want to pull up posts of mine on different topics or areas of concern for you.

      I hope my blog can be of some help to you and please feel free to comment again.

  24. Brenda,
    Thank You for the reading and video. I did the reading but have not watched the video yet. The Thief In The Night Series(Patty,Diane, Jerry,Wenda, Sandy, Kathy, David, Leslie, Linda, and many others) you mention I have watched several times and it scared the living hell out of me. I hear the music and voices from those movies that goes through my mind everytime I think about it. I want to a Baptist Christian School and when I was 11 they showed all four of these films in chapel. In fact there were about 20 kids in the entire school ranging from 5-17 that watched all four of these videos. There are quite a few of these kids from childhood who stil attend this church These videos really started the spark of worrying of being left behind and would stay around other Christians and my parents and would try to always keep them in eyesight as much as possible. If I did not I would sometimes start shaking,worrying, screaming and thinking the rapture had happened and I had been left behind. Like, I said I had many of these terrifying experiences. One time when visting Los Angeles at 15 my parents left were going to leave me in the room alone and I started screaming and crying because I thought the rapture would happen while they were gone and I would get left behind in LA. I graduated from this school at 16. My mom and dad did give me options to where I could go to school. I felt like there is no way I would have succeded at Emporia High School in Kansas because I have higher end autism and on top of it I am gay. Like you said this is like a form of intense and very damaging, psychologically, emotionally, and I feel teaching children this stuff is a form of child abuse. It may ruin people for a long time and possibly even the rest of their life. I cant live like that in constant fear. They would tell me fear is of the Devil BS. In the Bible it says the fearful (followed by other things in that verse stated) will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven and that would just terrify me even more. I do believe in something in this universe bigger than me but not the God of the Holy Bible. Just wanted to let you know it does not bother me if you are an atheist at all. The Bible is so wretched and terrible I cant see how anybody can follow it. I bet if the word Hell, Eternal Lake of Fire, Eternal Damnation and other mentions of Hell were not in the Bible I doubt very few people people would even follow it.

    • Shane

      Do you feel you are over the fear of hell now? I’m not clear about that after reading your responses. Also, I truly hope you don’t struggle at all with your homosexuality anymore. I can’t stand the thought that people are made to feel bad in any way about loving another human being.

  25. Brenda,
    I am sometimes a little bit scared of there being a literal Hell or Eternal Lake of Fire. I dont know though because my life has been based on fear because of being taught this. My homosexuality is as far back as I can remember and have cursed the God of the Bible many times for this happening to me. I have went as far as saying if the God of the Bible really does exist he should be the one that burns in an eternal lake of fire or be completely destroyed. It is Gods fault for giving Satan dominion over the earth and deliberately letting humanity get deceived. The God of the Bible is a murderer, a liar, and a deceiver. Christians always defend this by saying it was Satan. God made Satan and knew everything from the beginning to the end. That is not free will as far as I am concerned. Strange how he doesnt give animals free will to choose between right and wrong or have a soul. They basically can do as they please. We on the other hand were given so called free will and we must accept Christ as our Saviour and turn from our ways or burn in hell for eternity. God picked on humanity and he should pay the ultimate price himself. If I ever had a kid I would never let him/her read anything in that damned Holy Bible or would never allow them to go to church. I would rather have never been born or never taught any of this BS. I do in ways struggle with it and have severely emotional and mental scars from it. My dad and uncle claimed to experience miracles from the Lord and some people who died claim they have seen Heaven and Hell. It is hard to really say what I feel anymore and wonder what my dad and uncle experienced was somerthing else, and people made up stories about dying and seeing Heaven and Hell just to make money. I feel like writing a story about this and on leaving Christianity.

  26. Brenda,
    Thank You, I will stay in contact with you. I am in AA and the people there are very honest and whether someone believes in God or not does not matter. They just say see God as you would understand him or what you think he might be. A lot of people in AA turned away from fundamentalist Christianity. A lot of them believe the Bible is BS. There is more spirituality, peace, and serenity in AA than any church I have ever been. Most of them are accepting and I feel more acceptance in there than the hypocritical and judgmental fundamentalists of Christianity.

    • I am glad you have people who support you and accept you for who you are and where you’re at. I wish you the best – and yes – you’re welcome to stay in touch.

  27. Excellent post. Stumbled across it from Nate’s blog.
    Always amazes me the replies from Christians who seem to think you must have had a breakdown to leave Christianity, not realising that in many cases it is a breakdown or severe emotional trauma that causes people to take up Christianity in the first place.
    Your tale is little different from many I have read or the few I have nteracted with personally.
    The inculcation of the fearful 10 year old and the threat of Hell is the truly destructive part of religion and should be equated with child abuse.
    I am happy you have emerged relatively unscathed.
    As I wrote on Nate’s blog, stories like this should be compulsory reading for everyone.
    Good for you. Best of luck.

  28. I do accept myself for being gay. Watch “Prayers For Bobby” it will make you ball. All the gay preteen and teen suicides have changed my mind on fundamentalist christianity. A seven year old boy 7 months ago committed suicide for being bullied for being accused of being gay and other derogative names. SEVEN YEARS OLD. It is hard to say if the poor child was gay for who knows when their that age, There have also been a number of 10-15 year old gay youth who have committed suicide because of fundamentalist and bullying. In some senses you can say I am a Christian but not fundamentalist. In fact I would support an atheist anyday over a fundamentalist. I believe in God and Jesus but defenitely far from the fire and brimstone preaching of fundamentalists see them. Eternal torment is evil no matter what way you look at it. I do not believe that will happen. Deconversion from fundamentalists is changing my life spiritually. My mom who highly condemned me with fundamentalism 10-15 years ago for being gay actually told me yesterday that no matter if I am gay or straight she believes I will go to Heaven. That is the best Christmas present ever. I think men made up the BS on the rapture and in the last days BS to scare people to death. Some of them actually believe the wrath of God will fall on this country for allowing gay marriage. That is utter BS. Canada allows gay marriage and has so for years and there is a lot less disasters than in the US. God loves everyone and will not eternally torment someone for not believing. If it is anything I believe it would be eternal seperation not a bloodthirsty God who likes to watch people burn in flames forever.

  29. Hi Brenda. I can not believe that you would give up a faith because 2 people close to you died. I find death interesting. I do not fear dying but my desire is to die gracefully in my old age. Death does not seem to echo a whole lot of emotions from me. When my mother died not long ago I took it all gracefully. Death is the end of all the struggles in this life. No more physical or mental struggle. My father is 91 years old and he will exit this life soon but I have no fear bout his death. Death has to come, it is very natural to die. True dying early in life leaves a spot in people’s hearts but if the person dying was a righteous person than the hope is that the person would rise rather than go down. In my later life I have found my life living more for reason than for feelings. I know when I was younger feelings dominated my life lots. Reason gives us that edge makes us strong and teaches us. I have no scruples of Jesus Christ be a reasonable God Son. My scruples inform me that Jesus is about reason not feelings. Feelings are more for immature people. I will welcome death in my old age, I do not want to live too long where my age is too much to bear. Jesus died at 33 yeas old, he was young, but he saw death as no bearer of bad tidings. Trying to stay physically young is vanity of the flesh. In my ageing I have kept my youthful looks I look much younger than my age and I give this over to God’s wisdom. To join with God (in spirit and soul-mind) is to be faithful, just as I keep faithful with my wife. To be faithful to me is a very much needed virtue to be close to God. How can you say live with a spouse and at the same time be unfaithful to them. To be unfaithful means one is in darkness, they don’t want to be in the light, in the light people who discern will see their unfaithfulness and this is a no no to them, their spouse will see their sins. To leave God because of an intellectual issue to me is lame. First there are the 2 deaths then there is the intellectual issue. God is the brains; God is not just Spirit. God has a head and rules from the head. The head is above, please let the head rule. You are a spirit and it takes a lot if time to educate the human spirit in the true ways of God. It is best to be honest to everyone, keep your conscience clear between you and everyone and between you and God. Speak the truth “Why did you leave God”. Was it unfaithfulness?

    • And I can’t believe how terrible you are at reading comprehension. She did not leave Christianity directly because of the deaths, but because of the questions she started asking because of those deaths.
      And you have the audacity to say feelings are for immature people? Then you say you live more for reason than feelings, and then say leaving God because of an “intellectual issue” is lame? I’m sorry, but that’s being hypocritical.
      I don’t get people like you who come here and start preaching as if someone who LEFT CHRISTIANITY hasn’t heard these things in all the years they were a Christian. You’re wasting your time and just proving how insensitive Christians can be with their feeling of god-given superiority.

      • I always believe people who do not accept the invitation of Christ have reasons for not doing so. It is not like I don’t feel like being a disciple of Christ. But I do not want to follow Christ because of “this or that”. There are reasons behind everything. Now I do not go around willy nilly inviting people to accept Christ as their Lord. Hey I might be screamed at, I might be stoned, and it goes on. Christ is real to me but it is a faith. Without faith I am nothing. I am faithful to God as I am faithful to my wife. I do not stray from God or my wife. So what are your reasons to not believe in my God?

      • You didn’t address any of my points.
        1) You were wrong in accusing her of leaving Christianity directly because of those deaths. We all know everyone dies, so it’s deeper than that.
        2) How can you say feelings are for immature people and then say leaving for reason is lame?
        3) Why would you preach to an ex-Christian, telling them the same things they’ve already heard while they were a Christian as if that will make a difference?

        Even though you ignored my points, I will address yours.
        You start out with a flawed premise: that those who are not Christians did so because they didn’t “accept” the invitation of Christ. This is bogus for Brenda and me as we both accepted “Christ” but realized through our life experience that Christianity was false. Again, this site is LEFT CHRISTIANITY so we WERE Christians.
        This has been said many times before, but faith is believing in something without evidence. Muslims have faith, and they believe just as much as you do that Allah is real to them, so how can faith be any path to understanding which god is right?
        My reasons for leaving Christianity are outlined in my story that I sent to Brenda:
        https://leftchristianity.com/2012/07/16/speeds-deconversion-story/

  30. This might sound silly, but like the host of this blog it took years for me to figure out I was an atheist. Once I did, I felt free. I immediately saw through all the lies, and foggy answers the religions provide. You can visit my blog for more of my background. My remarks sound pointed and mean, but sometimes plain simple facts come out that way. The religion don’t like the fact that thousands of years of believe and control and be destroyed in a few direct questions of evidence. Noah as 950 years old? Come on. Jesus born on December 25 to a virgin mother?

  31. That was a problem I had with Fundamentalist Christianity. Even when I was a child I could not accept the fact of being in Heaven and believing that some of my family members were burning in an eternal lake of fire. I don’t ever want to forget any of my family members who have been good to me. I would gladly burn in this eternal lake of fire if it truly exists so my family members could go to Heaven. If I love my family that much and God’s love is much greater than mine, then why wouldn’t God do it for us? I believe I am becoming a chronic Agnostic.

    • I recently rejected Christianity and do not believe anything in the Bible. It has taken me years to say that the Bible is one big fat lie. If there is a God or whatever, I do not believe me or anyone else could prove their existence. Would this belief make me a strong agnostic or weak atheist? I also read a book by CJ Werleman, ” God Hates You, Hate Him Back.” It was a pretty good book that exposes the bible to be a crock

      • Shane

        I wouldn’t worry about titles. Why not just call yourself a Freethinker or a Humanist? There’s no rush or real need to put a label on your thoughts and current worldview. Think of yourself as being on a journey in life and journeys don’t lend themselves well to once-and-for-all titles.

  32. I appreciate your story. Mine is similar, and like you, I blogged the how and why – just recently. Just coming out of it all. Its nice to hear from folks like yourself; my wife is not as far along this path, but she has appreciated your blog as well (she found it!).

    I’m sad for some of the “diagnoses” that people levy to explain our decisions. And I’m still talking to folks and dealing with those.

    Interesting note: my wife and I were both homeschooled. And we homeschool our four kids. And we just put our firstborn in public school for the first time this year. Very eery. 🙂

    Cheers, and thanks,
    Matt

    • Matt

      Thanks for stopping by. I read a bit of your story. It does sound like we traveled very similar paths in our journeys. Actually – you may want to check out the blog of a good online friend of mine, Nate. His blog is at http://findingtruth.wordpress.com/ He had a very similar deconversion story and also came from a very conservative and strict religious family. I think you’d find his blog very helpful as well.

      I homeschooled my kids until I put the older ones in when my firstborn was going into grade 5. He’s going into grade 11 this year! They all did fine so don’t worry about it 🙂

      Feel free to look around my blog and ask any questions or comment whenever you like. I love interacting with people and I blog for the sole purpose of helping others who might benefit from reading about my journey or from reading my rambling thoughts 🙂

      You’re in good company. There are tons of people like us on the internet who understand exactly the journey you took and how difficult it is. We’re all glad to help each other out and it’s so nice knowing we’re not alone in our experiences and our struggles.

      I look forward to hearing from you or your wife again.

      Brenda

  33. Hi Brenda,

    I was just curious as to why you turned to atheism as opposed to exploring other religions that may have a different philosophy (i.e. Buddhism.)

    Veronica

  34. I’m a 25 year old who has been going through deconversion for the last couple of years. My mom turned me on to your blog and I’ve just skimmed the surface but am really looking forward to reading more as I’ve been in search of something like this for a while now. Thanks for documenting all of this… it’s easy to feel alone in this process.

    • Kayla

      I’m glad you found my blog! There are many more people (and blogs) like mine out there. There is a great online community of people who have deconverted from Christianity and I know how much it helps to know that others have gone through a very similar experience. If you look on my Links page there are some “Blogs From Other Ex-Christians” – that should be a good start for you 🙂

      Please feel free to comment on any of my posts and to ask any questions. If there are any areas in particular that you struggle with, let me know and I’ll point you to the posts that I think would be most helpful. You can also browse through different categories or type a word in the search bar. If I can be of any more help, let me know.

      Brenda

      ps As a start, I’d recommend watching the entire second video in this post:

      https://leftchristianity.com/2011/10/15/a-personal-response-to-a-talk-by-the-thinking-atheist/

      • I love all the videos I’ve watched that you’ve posted. Especially thankful that you turned me on to TheoreticalBullshit’s youtube channel.
        I think the biggest struggle for me has been missing the feeling of community that I got through youth/young adults/small groups. I can’t seem to find anything in the secular world that’s similar… to gather with a group of like-minded people and share about your life and talk about things that are deeper than just surface level. (A huge part of this may be that when I left the church I lost ALL of my friends and have been rebuilding for the last couple of years so I only have a few close girl friends, but I think the cause of the void I feel is more than just that).
        If you struggled with anything similar, I’d love for you to direct me to any posts you’ve made about it.
        Thanks again! 🙂

      • Hi again Kayla

        I’m glad you’re finding the blog helpful 🙂

        I did lose pretty much all of my friends in my town when I deconverted so I completely understand about that part of it. My closest friends who happened to live out of town actually stuck by me so I was fortunate there. I definitely had to rebuild that part of my life. There isn’t a great non-believer’s alternative to church but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. In church you are forced together with people that you may or may not have hung around with otherwise. As a non-believer I would just encourage you to really discover who you are as an individual and then seek out people who have similar interests. It forces us out of our comfort zone whereas church kept us in a social bubble. Use this discomfort you’re feeling as something to spur you on to more self-discovery. Find out who you are and share that with the world in whatever ways make sense and friends will come your way. Get out there and meet people. It may take some work to find the people you will click with, but it’s worth the effort!

  35. I find your story interesting, especially since I made the opposite journey. It has often occurred to me that people who were once fundamentalist (you) swing much further to the opposite side that those who were never exposed to anything else than a much milder form of religion (which made me and many others start their adult life as agnostics).

    What clinched the deal for me, is that I find atheism not a tenable position from an intellectual point of view. If you don’t have faith and want to rely on reason only, then dualist agnosticism is a respectable position; but there are just too many arguments against atheism (especially materialist atheism which is what at least 95% of atheists subscribe to).

    I’m a Catholic, btw, so “hell” is not really such a problem for me, since it’s not a place of torture, but “exclusion from God”. This is hardly a punishment for atheists since they don’t believe that such a thing exists in the first place. Suffering is trickier, but I don’t think it is ultimately incompatible with the Christian God.

    Anyway, I wish you all the best. You made your choice in all sincerity and it sounds like you actually are following Jesus even if you don’t believe in what he claimed to be! According to our new pope you could still end up in heaven 🙂

    • I was raised Catholic and stayed Catholic until I was 18. I went more fundamental (non-denominational though not crazy about it) for another 12. Once I realized my faith didn’t stand up, I went straight to atheism, even faster than Brenda. I don’t think your assessment of being exposed to milder forms of religions causing a different path would stand up. Also, what is “much further to the opposite side?” Is that what you consider atheism? Atheism just says you don’t believe in a god. A lot of atheists are also agnostic, meaning they can’t prove it one way or the other, they just don’t believe in god based on the evidence. Is that swinging too far to one side? Not to me. That’s the logical conclusion when deciding your faith doesn’t hold up for your religion, or any other religion.
      And as Mike mentioned, I’d like to see some arguments against atheism, because to me the opposite is true. There are so many problems with religion and god and the arguments I’ve heard that are pro-god / creation don’t hold up.
      And how is she following Jesus if she doesn’t believe he’s god? What if she acts like me? Is she following me as well? Acting like someone doesn’t imply following them.

      • Hello Speed …

        for me atheism represents the belief that there is no God. Agnosticism means that you just can’t know so therefore you take a neutral position.

        You do suggest yourself that you went more fundamental before you realized that your faith didn’t hold up. I suspect that this is less likely to happen with more a moderate form of faith. For example, I was never told during my Catholic school years that hell is a place where you are tortured. We were even told (explicitly) that you could easily go to heaven by being a good person without believing in God, that Adam and Eve were not actual people, and that Purgatory was not a real thing. That was back in the 80’s, and interestingly, the Vatican’s view is quite similar nowadays. Anyway, what I mean to say is that this is quite a reasonable form of religion. It’s not like Creationism which doesn’t hold up if you think about it for more than 20 seconds.

        Brenda could be following Jesus’ teachings without believing he was the son of God. I suspect that she is, although that’s just a hunch. After all, he said some wise things, so why not follow them. (His teachings may seem like common sense now, but that’s with the benefit of two millennia of Christian culture. When he (allegedly) spoke these words, it was during a time where infanticide was acceptable and public torture was a main source for public entertainment. I have tried to imagine how a 21th century equivalent of Jesus would sound but I always fail miserably.)

        Arguments against atheism are trivially easy to find. Why is there something than nothing? How come the universe appears so fine-tuned? What foundation is there for the objective morals that we all recognize, if there is no God? Surely there are just relative values without God.

        What I absolutely don’t buy for a second is materialist atheism. Things like “being right” or “the number 7” or any other abstract concept don’t exist in a pure materialist world view. In fact, even “knowledge” doesn’t exist in a material world view. Sure, each individual brain is materially capable of approximating “knowledge” to some extent, but true knowledge is just an illusion. (Which makes you wonder where material atheists get the knowledge that there is no God).

      • guy,
        If you’re implying that I was a part of some extreme Catholicism, I was not. I went more fundamental because I could tell that every Catholic I personally knew was a hypocrite. They acted holy in church, and went home and acted completely different. I felt that kind of religion was worthless if we should act a certain way when in a church but we could do whatever we wanted when we weren’t in church, as if we thought god quit watching. I know not all Catholics are like that, but I felt if the religion didn’t move enough people to really follow it then it didn’t seem to be from god. Plus, the Catholic Church has changed its position on many things, which really makes you wonder if it comes from a non-changing god.
        Jesus may have said some wise things (if he even existed) but he also said some non-wise things. Just because some things were wise does not imply that he is completely wise and we should trust what he says. If I say we should save money (wise) but we should kill our children if they disobey us, is the latter a good position because the former was?
        Arguments against atheism may be trivial to find, but that doesn’t make it right. My point was just because you find an argument for atheism or for god, does not imply their truth, nor does the quantity of them. That’s a fallacy. If everyone argued that the flying spaghetti monster was god, would that make it right? No. Plus your questions could have counter questions that make the atheist point just as strong. Why is there a god instead of nothing? You may find the universe fine tuned, but we can also find examples of chaos and places where your definition of “fine tuned” may not hold up. If god gives us objective morals, then why don’t all Christians agree on a single moral system and agree on all issues?
        I’m not sure where you get this materialist atheist thing and your number of 95% subscribing to it. And what does the number 7 have to do with anything? It’s just a term we’ve used to describe a quantity. How does that apply to atheism? Because seven isn’t a physical object? Please explain where you got that statistic and what the term means to you because the number 7 surely doesn’t affect my position as an atheist.
        Also, knowledge is a hotly debated topic as well. I’ve never heard of an atheist saying they know it all and that one thing we think holds today may not apply with what we find tomorrow. Again, not sure how this applies to atheism. If religion had the ultimate knowledge, then why was sickness attributed to demons when now we know it’s a biological process?

      • hey man sorry about catholicism that is bad stuf for sure. i was raised catholic 18 year and dry as a bone and a torment. however iwent baptist route and i received Christ at 18 and afterabout 2 yeas when i started actually preaching Christ then i began to walk in power of Spirit. whenever i didnt preach Christ is when i felt dry as a bone. yeah some of religious perseuction can happen even from Christians…..but it cant make you fall away you got to pray to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, understanding sin, which catholic church never taught me, you got to understand sin is break of Gods commandments and that puishment for sin is hell but that God wishes no man to go to hell in fact He never even created hell for humans itw as origianlly for demons but because of mans choice to rebel and serve satan we now have what we have but that why we have chance to receive Christ to be an overcomer of sin and devil if we receive HIm and choose to walk in Him preaching HIs name and preaching salvatio to other people. i just came to understand deep sin nature i had and i cae to understand my need for Christ and i just asked hIm to be my SAvior i needed forgiveness and wanted it and then you have to walk in pwoer of Christ but if your going to receive hIm understand its not about bible reading it about obeying Lord, confessing sins, and preaching Christ nonstop walking in HIs power to preach HIs name like book of Acts.

  36. Guy, I appreciate your generosity, though your view flies in the face of many religious believers who say I have a eternity of hellish torture ahead of me. Does this mean the Pope is wrong? What did previous Popes say? If they said something different, or for that matter if other Christian leaders said something different how is that possible? Doesn’t God have the ability to make his points clear to everyone, especially the religious leaders who believe and have a strong connection? Apparently not. I’m also curious about your rebuttal to materialistic atheism, and why this is not a supportable position. Please provide counter arguments.

    • Hi Mike, if you check the Vatican’s position on hell, you will see that hell is not a place of torture. In fact, it’s not even a place, but the state of being separated from God. This has been a commonly accepted view for over a century.

      Catholicism has never claimed that the only source of knowledge about God is the Bible. It has always left room for its own changing interpretations (you need some flexibility if you are going to survive for 2000 years!).

      (I have explained some of my problems with materialist atheism in my previous post – to Speed)

      • Is Catholicism the only Christian religion? Your interpretation is in wild disagreement from other Christian religions and for that matter other Catholics. Do you agree with the Mormons, and Jesus visiting North America and God waiting at a planet called Kolob? Jimmy Swaggert is sure I’m doomed to Hell and Damnation. How can all these Christian interpretations be so different? It’s like God can’t make up his/her mind.

  37. Hi Mike,

    I don’t as much about other denominations. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that hell doesn’t have to be such a big stumbling block. (Also remember that Catholicism is the biggest Christian denomination so this applies to the the majority of Christians).

    Mormons … as far as I know, 11 of the “witnesses” admitted that it was all a big fraud? That seems pretty conclusive to me.

    I know what you mean about God apparently not being able to make his mind up. It doesn’t really bother too much to be honest. Maybe humanity will be able to harmonize it all into one message at some point in the future. If not, we’ll just have to respect each other’s beliefs.

  38. @Speed

    I agree that hypocrisy and religion are common bed fellows, but you have to look at the larger picture. For example, Christianity did away with infanticide in large parts of the Roman Empire, advocated taking care of the poor and sick, etc etc. This didn’t happen in one year, not in a decade, not even in a century – but it planted a seed and that resulted in a mental revolution that is probably still not finished. Of course horrendous crimes still happen but I’m pretty sure that removing religion from society would NOT be a good thing. I just don’t have that kind of faith in humanity.

    Not sure where Jesus tells us to kill disobedient children?? There’s something in Revelations, but that’s a vision that someone else has, and children probably means “followers” there.

    Morality … I’m not suggesting that the Bible gives us morality, but that the existence of God provides a foundation for objective morality. I can’t see how anything can be objectively good or bad without a God. For example, rape may be unacceptable to us as a species, but that doesn’t make it objectively bad. On a naturalistic level, rape is neutral. It’s only against God that it becomes OBJECTIVELY bad (Not meaning to offend anyone with this btw).

    95% of atheists ae materialists … that’s a guess based on conversations with atheists (I’m the token Christian both at work and among friends/family). I could be wrong, but I think it’s even more than 95%.

    Knowledge … I think there’s a misunderstanding here. I’m only saying that “knowledge” doesn’t even exist from a materialistic perspective. What would it be made of?

    • I wasn’t trying to start a debate about Christian hypocrisy. I was stating that’s why I left the Catholic Church, not because I believed it was extreme, which was what you were trying to say probably leads people to atheism. My Catholicism was not extreme, yet I analyzed it and found it to not hold up, so I left it. I went more fundamental (but I use that term loosely as it was not that extreme) and after a while I questioned that and it didn’t hold up. Is it that hard to believe that most people who leave religion is because they analyze it and find it to be false? I can’t say for sure if most people leave because the teachings of their church are extreme and I doubt you can say that either. That was my point.

      I was only using the killing children as an example to say that just because one person says something wise does not make them wise and mean everything they say is wise. You missed the point by worrying about the detail. However, there are verses in the bible about killing unruly children if you want to go there, like Deuteronomy 21:18-21 and Leviticus 20:9.
      For morality, I think you’re way off course. First off, you admit that the Bible doesn’t give us morality. That’s a good start. But after that you lose track of something. You make it seem as if the only things we can define as immoral are things that are “against” god. Have you looked at society and the laws around us? The things we consider immoral are the things that we believe harm OTHER humans (and sometimes animals but I’m not going to get into that here). For instance, rape harms the individual being raped. Do we need a god to say rape is bad? If you think we do then I think you need to really analyze where your morals come from. As a matter of fact most people think they get their morals from their holy books but they really get it from the PARENTS. Isn’t that why they raise us, to teach us right and wrong? If you followed the morals and laws of the bible you would probably be locked up because it endorses plenty of things that we consider immoral and are illegal today like slavery and genocide. We don’t need a third party to exist just for these things to be bad. We should be smart enough to figure that out yet people like you think we’re too inept to do so.

      And you still didn’t clarify what you mean by material atheism?

      And knowledge is just a term we use to define what we know. Why do you keep getting hung up on certain nouns that don’t define a physical object? Assigning a word to a concept that we have is not that big of a deal.

  39. @Speed … no disrespect to you but I feel like I’m hijacking someone else’s story, so I will try to be brief.

    My impression is that it’s a smaller step from a fundamental version of religion to atheism than from moderate religion to atheism. It’s just an impression – although your own story seems to confirm this, if I may say so.

    You did say that Jesus taught us to kill disobedient children. You can’t use books from the O.T. as evidence for this. As far as I know, Jesus never said anything like this. (Also remember that Jesus established a new covenant.)

    You are not explaining why rape is OBJECTIVELY wrong. Remember, you only have naturalism at your disposal to explain things. As far as I can see, nature does not care one iota about rape. Genes are propagated and that’s all matters. You can invoke social rules, but again, these are just a spin-off from biological evolution, If we redo the “experiment” of human evolution, “social rules” could easily be entirely different. There really isn’t anything objective about rape being wrong from the naturalist’s point of view, just neutrality at best.

    Materialism = the world view that everything that exists is physical. Hence my question, how do you define “knowledge” or “truth” in such a world? With which material it “truth” actually made? Which particles? How much does it weigh? As far as I know, this question can’t be answered, so you are stuck with the conclusion that truth and knowledge (and any other abstract object) can’t exist. That is problematic in my opinion.

    • guy,
      I think it is best that we end the discussion. It seems obvious to me you’re have trouble following the points I’m making because you’re too focused on the details, and continue to struggle with concepts that shouldn’t be that difficult, like how truth or knowledge have to somehow be particles for them to exist. We use things we learn every day, yet because we live in a material world, those things we learn don’t exist?
      However, I do find that you coming here and pushing a pro-Catholic agenda while trying to claim that Brenda follows Jesus (even though she doesn’t) very perplexing. Perhaps you thought you’d execute a hit-and-run, but when I see a bad argument, I feel it should be challenged.

  40. Guy do you have your own blog? You should start one, though I think your logic does not hold together. Just because we do not know the cause of something, or how it came to be does not mean God did it. It means we do not know and we need to continue searching for an answer. People are remarkably creative with reinventing religion when science proves it wrong. Evolution? Now we have this thing called Intelligent Design.

  41. Brenda,
    I appreciate your site and your sharing. I spent 20 years of my life thinking that sharing my Christian faith took courage (and it did to a certain degree), but within the last 4-5 years of leaving Christian faith I have faced attacks and utter rejection for which I have been so unprepared. I thought “religious persecution” was difficult as a Christian, but my experiences of “un-religious persecution” have been much more painful. Perhaps it is because those closest to me are hurling stones too this time around.
    I’ve contemplated sharing my experience by writing a book, but I’m much discouraged after reading the comments people have posted. When can one person’s thoughts be just that? Why are we (many of us) so unwilling to appreciate another’s point of view or even just accept the fact that others have a different point of view without labeling it as “right” or “wrong”? I think I’m much too deep in resentment right now to tolerate as gracefully as you have the comments/loaded questions that some feel compelled to leave. I think that anger is part of the process for me right now, and I’ll need time to grow through this stage before I’m ready to share something so intimate.
    I thank you, in the meantime, for your courage to share your journey. Although our journeys are a little different in both travel and destination, I appreciate your perspective, your willingness to open your heart (even among those who will venture to poke at it… hell, I may have done the same thing 5 years back “out of love”), and your desire to provide support/comfort to those in similar situations. You keep doing you, sister. It’s truly an inspiration and a validation.

    • Jennifer

      Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean more to me than you likely realize. Thank you for taking the time to write them. I never know what kind of comments await me when I see that a new one has come in – so thank you for putting a smile on my face and in my heart today. 🙂 I wish you the best on your own journey.

  42. Thank you my friend for your enlightening story, I am 17 and i went through very much every religion i know, except Islam, I’ve been a Taoist, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Pagan, a Satanist, and even an atheist. But now I truly know that I cannot become either one, i have faith in nature but i do not believe in the teachings of those gods, I do not fear hell or death, for what I see, if heaven was a place where ignorant people go, then a knowledgeable hell would be much more suited for me. I love my Christian friends, but some Christians are very ignorant and insolent that they try to force you into Christianity and threaten that you would go to hell if you don’t follow the words of god, and all i said was :”So be it then, if i were to go to hell, maybe the devil would explain things god wouldn’t”. But then, there is no evil or devils in this world, its just people, they tend to blame everything bad they do on the beings called DEVILS, but still doing it afterwards. I wish i could see more and know more about humanity and this world. (P.S. I’m still struggling to know whether i’m a theist or not, haha)

    Hope i’m not confusing you with what i’m writing =)

    May the stars watch over you,
    Fautus

    • Faustus

      Thank you so much for leaving your comments and sharing a bit of your own story. I love when people give me a glimpse into their own life journeys – the variety and diversity is amazing.

      I love this line you wrote about how you respond when threatened with hell: “So be it then, if i were to go to hell, maybe the devil would explain things god wouldn’t” – I just love that! I really don’t give a possible afterlife any thought anymore – I think of my death as just going to sleep. But I love your take on a hypothetical hell and it does make a good point. I will remember that line in the future! 🙂

      Thanks again and I wish you well on your journey.

  43. I find this topic to be very interesting. I have been ministering the Gospel for over 20 years. However, this does not mean that I don’t question how accurate the word of God is and I am constantly asked questions that I cannot answer. But I stay connected because the principles set forth in the Bible have allowed me to live free. I have PhD in Christian Counseling and use the word of God as a tools to assist people in learning how to live. I don’t get caught in a whole lot of theological debates because most Christian are baby’s and only believe because they were taught the faith from a young age. Often time I ask myself is it worth it when I see so many carnal Christians who suffer through their lives because they have not learned to live by the Godly principles outlined in the Bible. I love God to the point that I can love Him, and live his word to best of my ability. Surely I make plenty of mistakes and still have some worldly ways. But, when all is said and done my life in Christ has been far better than my life in the world. I always say to myself that I have nothing to lose by believing in the God of the Bible because it has truly been a light to my feet and has made me a more concerned and compassionate person; I have watched peoples lives totally transformed and that is what keeps me following Christ. May God continue to bless you and if no one has told you today that you are loved let me tell you that no matter where you are or what you believe. I still love you and wish you the best.
    Dr. Darrell Wright
    In God We Trust Counseling.

  44. well with all due respect mam, i would like to remain anonymous so forgive me for the anonymity and lack of email that does not work anymore.

    the key to continuing in your christianity is to obey the gospel byactually preaching it yourself. not just reading bible and doing systematic theology and do all christian stuff. it is actual continual and constant obedience to Spirit of God and preaching HIs name yourself and your husband as well. i mean constant preaching. it is amazing to preach HIs name. it is hard for bible says Those who endure til the end wil be saved. yes you are saved as in having received HOly Spirit which by the way He is still inside of you He is just be recrucified every single day for you. Lord has never left outside of you He actually does remain inside of you. what hardens your heart, not trying to be mean is an actual demon. i actual am very aware of some of the demons that operate and exactly what kind they are i even know what they look like.

    God never made hell for humans to be in, He made hell for the demons but because man chose to sin against Lord and listen to satan instaed of God, we now have what we have. we are responsible for how we choose in this life, what we do. Your faith will be made stronger if you WALK in pwoer of HOly Spirit instead of having for of godliness while deny power thereof. you have to obey Holy Spirit by preaching Christ. NONSTOP. yes i know this is har dbut unfortunately many churches dont teach you will be persecuted for faith if you live as a real Christian. like i said there is a demon that is coming and it is falling upon people now, not cuz God wants this to happen but it because you have to choose who you want on this earth it either satan or God. you know everything has a flow. good or evil, God or satan, heaven or hell, right or wrong, you see itall has order and a flow.

    only thing i can state is that you hae to open air preach NONSTOP and live for Lord if you want to come back for HIm. preach His name nonstop. like i said you will enter into supernatural whether you want to or not cuz Lord does live inside of you. only way out of your situation is to open air preach Christ nonstop. if you get bitten by demon then look open air preach name of Christ where He said to and if Lord has not given you direction then start to preach HIs name open air nonstop….. its all about obedience to preach. it not about doing all Christian stuff. although they are pluses. you will be under heavy persecution when you live for Christ. but look i want you to make it. reaosn why you feel happy is cuz of demons, it is fleshyness. confess all known sins and preach Christ nonstop.

    i dnt know if you all look at this would help at all. up to you. http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/

    look hoping everythign works out but even yor kids should be able to chose for themselves if they want to be born again Christians or atheist. you have chosen atheis,. but i dont think it fair your kids suffer just cuz you want to be atheist. i do hope for your return to Lord…..it up to you but obedience to gospel is going to be only thing to bring you back you have to OBEY Lord, like Preach HIs name and stand up for HIm

    teen preaching at burger king open air preaching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIq_L_-srLo
    ive seen peopel open air preachig Christ in malls, casinos, restuaruants, burger joints, bars, xrated shops, airport, mall, you name it…..nonstop preaching anytime anywher… these are what true peopel of Lord do yeah? PREACH HIS NAME didnt in bible didnt they preach in synagogues and everywhere?, jails, etc

  45. visit heavenvisit.com here there are many peopel who visited heaven and hell. this is godo information.
    http://www.divinerevelations.info/ here are many stories of peopel who visited hell. if you go to youtube and type “i saw christians in hell” you will have stories of believers who God gave a second chance to like He allowed them a visitation to hell to see what was going on in hell because He said He cries for peopel in hell but that they chose it for themselves. He shows many cases of individuals who commit suicide or even people who once served HIm but turned their back away or did whatever but He showed how he tried to bring them back but they wanted what they wanted…God doesnt want themt here but they chose it and He shows people hell so they can come back and warn people. if you go on youtube and type in i saw hell…or i saw christians in hell you will see many stories and testimonies. there are also testimonies of people see heaven. one is mary baxter story this is veyr detailed it is relally good the heaven one is pretty cool it talks about when a child dies how angels take the child up in a basket to heaven.
    http://www.divinerevelations.info/a_divine_revelation_of_heaven.htm this is the one about heaven.
    http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Real-Little-Astounding-Story/dp/0849946158 this was really cool this child visited heaven and came back and told his parents about sister in heaven and his parents never told him that he had lost a sister thru miscarriage or something.

  46. Thank you for your story. I truly appreciate your change. For years one of my great pet peeves were Christians. I believe in God and I believe in science. I am not associated with any religion but am a spiritual person. I believe God is a special force within nature which also is Love. Real unconditional love. And religion misinterprets God. I believe in a lot of things that religion says not to believe. But I also don’t believe in ridiculous stuff the bible and religion also says. I believe in my heart and what my heart cares for and that is to not judge anybody and that we all have an afterlife that is heavenly for everyone. We are the ones that judge ourselves in the afterlife by experiencing the people we affect through kindness or cruelty through their eyes and our higher self. By 3 times more intensity as so many neardeath experiences have mentioned in their life review. We must be true to ourselves but be kind to others as that will be judged the most by us In the afterlife. Like Dannion Brinkley experienced when he died for 28 minutes and came back to life. He died 3 times! Thank you for your story.

  47. I find it fascinating that over three years have passed since you wrote your original post and people (believers) are still trying to convince you that you made the wrong decision.

    I always wonder why people think that NDE stories will convince anyone. First, in nearly all cases, the people who have had these “visions” believe in heaven or hell to start with. They either are or have been Christians, so this is their afterlife perspective. Interestingly there are non-Christians who have also had these “experiences,” yet their visions are totally different. Of course, one rarely hears about them!

    Dr. Darrel Wright (above) wrote a comment that I thought was quite moving and truly displayed the Christian spirit. IMO, if a Christian-turned-atheist was having any doubts about their decision (which rarely happens), a softer, kinder, more loving approach, as expressed in Dr. Wright’s testimony, would carry far more weight than threats, scare tactics, and syrupy bible quotations that believers tend to use on atheist blogs.

    Brenda, I trust you continue to live and love life as a free and unencumbered spirit

  48. Dear Brenda or others,
    I am an 18 year old senior in a Christian high school, and I was a wavering Christian for many years. A lot of it had to do with some anxiety issues I have, I would constantly pray for peace, but felt nothing. I was frustrated and mad at this God who was supposed to help me, I mean I was a Christian. I was his child, and a loving father would take care and comfort his child. I then started to doubt, and now I consider myself an Agnostic/atheist.
    My parents and all of my friends are very religious. I am insanely close to my parents especially my father. I do not want to deconvert them or anything like that. But it bothers me not to tell him the truth about my life… But I know if I tell my parents I am not a Christian it will deeply hurt them and they will try to convert me wholeheartedly for the rest of their lives… What i am begging to know is…
    Should I tell them that I’m not a Christian anymore or keep living a lie so I do not hurt them…?
    Please… Help… 😦

    • Abby

      I’m glad you felt you could reach out here and I hope you find my blog helpful. My heart goes out to you in your very tough situation.

      You have to be the one to make the decision of whether to tell your family about your deconversion. There are so many factors to consider and only you know your parents and yourself well enough to weigh the pros and cons and you are going to have to be the one to live with the consequences whichever choice you eventually make.

      What I and others can do is point out some of those factors for you to consider. I’ve never been in your position. I was an adult when I deconverted and my own parents are Christians but not fundamentalist Christians who were going to worry about my soul going to hell. I was the fundamentalist parent and my children had to struggle with my deconversion!

      When I mulled over your situation a few factors came to mind. You are still living at home and I’m assuming you might be emotionally and financially dependent on your parents for a few more years at least. That is a situation where they still have a lot of power and control over your life. If you were opening up to them as an autonomous adult as almost equals, that would be a very different situation. So take that into consideration.

      Also – you have to look at your own heart and your own personality. Your thoughts and beliefs belong to you – not anyone else. I don’t think you are obligated to tell your parents immediately – especially since you are young and your position on these issues will likely mature and evolve over time. However, maybe you are the type who just can’t stand to have this secret in your heart everyday with those closest to you. I can understand if that’s the case.

      But consider if you are willing to live with the consequences of ‘coming out’ right now. There will likely be a lot of stress involved. Are you in a place where you can handle that right now? Are you in a good place yourself and do you think you are ready to work through all of the difficult issues with your parents? Do you have anyone close to you who would be ok with your deconversion and could support you through the difficult process of coming out?

      Maybe you are ready. Maybe you are the type of person who needs that level of congruency between who you are on the inside and who are with the outside world. Maybe the stress of keeping your beliefs secret is causing you more stress than coming out would. Only you can know that.

      The way you describe your relationship with your parents – and your father in particular – is touching to read about. I would hope that he would love you enough to work through this with you in kindness and love and to realize that he needs to be there to support you and not to add more stress to the situation. But even adults have difficulty handling tough issues in their lives and his love for you will likely cause him to worry about you a lot. We can’t know how he will react but you know him best.

      Only you can make this decision Abby and I can only imagine the battle inside of you as you struggle with it. Don’t feel too rushed. Christianity tends to make us feel like these types of decisions must be made immediately and that they are set in stone forever. This decision doesn’t have to be made now and you are free to learn and grow and change your mind numerous times if that’s where life leads you. One thing that really helped me in my deconversion was to start picturing life as a journey where I was free to take different paths at different stages and that took a big burden off my shoulders. I hope it does for you too. You are your own unique person on this planet Abby and life is a journey of change and growth. Try to embrace that knowledge.

      I hope what I’ve said is helpful. I haven’t been in your exact shoes and even if I had been – only you know yourself and those closest to you – and ultimately you have to be the one to live with the consequences – both positive and negative. I’m hoping others who visit my blog will chime in and perhaps be able to provide you with other perspectives that will be helpful as well.

      I wish you all the best and please feel free to comment on my blog and ask as many questions as you like.

      Brenda

      PS I could post your question/comment as a blog post and more of my readers would see it and comment. That could have its pros and cons, but if that appeals to you, I’m more than willing to do that. Just let me know if that’s something you’d like me to do. I don’t want to do it without your permission.

      • Brenda- I believe I will tell them later if I ever can.. Right now would be too stressful I will be moving out in August, but I will still live fairly close to them. The more I have thought about it the more I realize that almost my entire family is Christian. I have some members who have slipped out of the faith, and I have heard the ridicule and witnessed the endless effort to bring them back to church and “fix” their completely normal and happy lives. My heart yearns to be honest with them, but I know I will be shunned and pitied if I am. The stress of holding it in is greater than telling them, but it is mminiscule to the effects of me “coming out”. I greatly treasure your blog for me to vent my heart… You are so kind and welcoming, and I appreciate that so much. 🙂
        And you have my permission to post your comment… I deeply value the support from the community that I am now apart of. 🙂

      • Abby

        It sounds like you’ve made the right choice considering your situation. And yes – bravo to you for being willing to analyze what you were taught even though it’s all you’d ever known. Keep using that part of you that questions what you are taught! Never let that go!

        You may decide in the future that the time is right to tell those closest to you about your new worldview, but for now, try to accept that you’ve made the decision that now is not the right time. Accepting that my help lessen the struggle for you.

        Good for you for being willing to consider all of the different factors and come to the choice that is best for your life right now. And you are most welcome in our little community of heathens! 🙂 We’d love for you to stick around and join in the conversations. Check out my links page and you’ll see a few links to some other blogs by deconverted ex-Christians. I know it helped all of us to know that others had gone through similar struggles and journeys.

        All the best to you!

    • Hi Abby,

      I’m very sorry to hear about this struggle you’re having, and I think Brenda offered some very good advice — I hope it’s helpful to you. She also pointed me to your comment, because my deconversion from Christianity involved a very difficult family situation as well. So let me tell you a little about my history before I try to give you any advice.

      I was raised in a very conservative, fundamentalist denomination. I was a strong believer, and I based all my life decisions on my walk as a Christian. I was very involved in our congregation — I began teaching kids’ Bible classes when I was still in high school, and I took an active part in the rest of services too. After I got married and began having kids of my own, my level of involvement grew. I essentially had the responsibilities of a deacon, though I never actually held that title. Occasionally, I would have some doubts about certain things — Hell, especially. But I never questioned whether or not Christianity was true, just whether I was following its teachings correctly.

      Anyway, when I was 31, with 3 young children, I was preparing some Bible class material when I ran across some articles claiming there were historical inaccuracies and failed prophecies in the Bible. I had always believed in biblical inerrancy, and up to this point had never been shown any concrete problems with the Bible. So I read the articles, thinking they would have little substance. Instead, they really shook many of my assumptions, and I realized that I had never examined Christianity from an outsider’s perspective. I knew a great deal about the doctrines and stories of the Bible, but nothing about where it came from, how it stacked up against history, whether or not its claims had ever been verified, how internally consistent it was, etc. So I began studying those things, and within a few months, I no longer believed.

      The problem for my wife and I is that the particular denomination we had always belonged to practices something they call “withdrawal.” It’s similar to the shunning and disassociation that groups like the Amish, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientologists practice. It meant that if we left Christianity (or even just our denomination), the members of our congregation, including our families, would no longer have anything to do with us socially. They would still talk to us, but it would be in an effort to bring us back to the faith. And they would still interact with us enough to do things with our children, etc. But we would no longer be welcome at Christmas, birthday celebrations, etc.

      So my wife and I struggled for a while in deciding whether or not we should tell our families. Unlike you, we were already living on our own with our own family, so there was nothing that our families could do to us financially or educationally. And since we didn’t live in the same house, it might have been easier to fake belief just to keep our family dynamics in place. But we had some other considerations too. First of all, we were both very active in our small church, and we went to every single service. So if we were going to fake belief, we would have needed to maintain that same level of commitment, which seemed difficult. I would have had trouble teaching classes and preaching sermons when I believed that it was all false. Furthermore, we had our own children to consider. We didn’t want to teach them that Christianity was completely true and that it should be the basis for our lives, when we no longer believed it. But if we didn’t teach them that, being children, they would eventually let out our secret that we didn’t really believe it.

      Ultimately, we decided to tell our families that we no longer believed it. Things were very bad for quite a while. Eventually, they got a little better. Our families still don’t invite us to things, and we don’t invite them either. It’s still very awkward whenever we’re around one another, which is a real shame since we’d always been so close with both our families. My wife hasn’t seen or talked to her brother in 3 and half years. It’s gotten easier to live with, though. We’ve developed new friendships and new customs, and my wife and I had each other to rely on for support. When we see our families now, usually to let them do something with our kids, we’re all cordial and religion rarely comes up. But our relationships with them have been changed forever.

      Strange as it may sound, I’m glad we were honest. Despite the many negative things that have come from it, many positive ones have too. And if nothing else, we’re being true to ourselves.

      Some questions for you:
      So that’s my story. I don’t know how much help it may be to you, as there are probably some big differences between my situation and yours. When I read what you’ve shared so far, I have a few questions that may help you decide on a clear path:

      1) Do your parents believe in a literal Hell?

      2) Do they believe in anything like the withdrawal or shunning that I described above?

      3) How much did they stress free-thinking, asking questions, and forming your own opinion about things as you were growing up?

      4) If you tell them, they will definitely have a lot of questions. Are you able to put the reasons for your doubts into words? How specific can you be? For instance, I was able to go to specific passages with my family and show them the problems that I thought were in the Bible. I had thought about (and read about) the different ways people try to resolve the answers, and I knew why I didn’t find those to be persuasive. This typically left me as the most knowledgeable person in the room on these subjects, and that’s a good position to be in, especially when no one else is on your side. At least you have the facts.

      5) Related to the previous question, how knowledgeable are you about the different arguments both in support and in opposition to Christianity? If you’re not very educated on the facts yet, spend some time investigating them. It will not only help you make the most informed decision you can about Christianity, it will also prepare you for any discussions about it you might have.

      6) What are your plans after high school? How much will you still need to rely on your parents? That may factor in how you decide to handle this.

      7) How often do you go to church or church-related activities? How involved are you in those activities? In other words, is this something you can continue to pay lip service to (better yet, just sit quietly in a pew) without raising any suspicion? If so, it might be best to just go along with it until you’re more independent.

      Some last pieces of advice:
      If you decide to keep your beliefs to yourself for the time being, treat these next few years as research. Even though I’m no longer a Christian, I still study the subject quite a lot — I’m just fascinated by it. And I already know a good bit about it, so it’s a shame to let that knowledge go to waste. So if you find that you’re going to be stuck in Christianity for a while, just examine everything with a scientist’s eye. Think about why they do things, notice how much your peers and teachers know about the various subjects. Think about the doctrines you come across from different angles — do they make sense? Are they merely being manipulative?

      In other words, don’t let the time be wasted. Find a use for it, even if it’s not the use they intend.

      If you decide to tell them that you no longer believe, be gentle. Remember that they love you and will be afraid for you. Whatever they do, however they react, love is the motivation, even if it gets twisted in the process. Also, be open-minded. Consider the points they tell you for two reasons. First, if they end up being right, you’ll want to know. Secondly, you want them to be open-minded toward you.

      Also, realize that it will take them a long time to accept your position. In fact, they may not be able to fully accept it unless they also begin to see problems in their own beliefs. So try to find out why they believe the way they do, then ask more questions to get deeper at that belief. What things would make them question? Compare God to a physical parent and ask if God’s actions match up to the qualities of all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, and merciful.

      And think about the best way to broach this subject with them. Should you just come right out and tell them that you no longer believe? Would it be better to come to them as though you have some questions about Christianity that you’d like them to help you with?

      I’m sorry this comment is so long. I hope it’s helpful to you in some way. Please let us know your thoughts and keep us in the loop if something changes.

      In the end, I think one of the best pieces of advice is what Brenda said: despite how agonizing this process is, don’t feel like you have to make a decision right away. Regardless of where this thing goes, or what beliefs you ultimately end up with, you’re heading down the path to figure out what you believe. That’s a great thing and something you should be proud of.

      Good luck. 🙂

      • Nate-
        This past Sunday, I went to church because I have to go every Sunday with my parents and I analyzed the entire message. Doing research on it was more entertaining than I thought. In fact the more I go to church, the more solid I become in my conclusions that I have reached. I also go to a Christian high school (I obviously live in the Bible Belt of America). I am not encouraged to share what I believe so talking in class will be rather difficult, it will soon be over. I shall continue to analyze the Christian religion and hide my real life with my friends at school. And I shall wait to tell my parents if I ever can bear it…. I really do not want to severe the relationship I have with them especially not my father. They say ‘Ignorance is bliss…” and I believe that phrase applies to this situation. My hurt inside from not telling them is easier to deal with than hurting my father by telling him. Thank you for your advice as well! I will definitely keep you updated!

      • Abby, thanks for keeping us up to date on how things are going for you. I don’t fault your reasoning at all. Keeping your thoughts to yourself for now is probably the best path, though I know it’s not easy or enjoyable. Please know we’re all here to support you, so feel free to reach out to us any time!

        Also, I’ve known William for some time now, and I’ve found him to be a good source of wisdom. He’s lived this “double-life” for about 3 years now, if I remember correctly, so he’s likely to have good advice for you.

        By the way, I’m glad to hear the “research gathering” is going well. 😉

    • Abby

      I asked Nate who is a fellow deconvert and an online friend of mine to reply to your comments and questions because he came from a very religious family as well and knew coming out about his deconversion would have big consequences. He’s also one of the wisest people I know and he thinks things through very carefully and thoroughly and helps others see things from different angles and perspectives. So please be sure to read his reply and you should also check out his blog at http://www.findingtruth.wordpress.com.

  49. Abby, i can sympathizes with you quite well. although I dint deconvert until adulthood.

    other than that, the stories are very similar. I was brought up in a very religious house, with deeply devout parents and a strict sect of christianity. My deconversion began with questions and complaints in my own denomination and eventually blossomed into agnosticism/atheism.

    I never told my parents. Still havent. It’s hard. Perhaps I am weak and fearful, but once tried to have a conversation with my father about an issue that our church deemed doctrinal. i was still believing at this time, but was questioning our denomination, nit christianity. Despite this, I didnt even get to make my case (which included scripture, etc) because my father woudnt hear it. His mind was made up. In his mind, the church, christ and the bible were the same. He began to speak about withdrawal (excommunication/shunning), so I left the topic.

    because I could see how hard line he was on that issue, i dint want to force him into corner on the bigger issue of not believing the bible any more. I love my parents and I know that they love me, but for them, they dont view it as having a choice. they view it as commandments from god all mighty.

    I have a choice, so I chose to have peace with my family. It is difficult sometimes and I do live quite the double life. I dont know your parents or you. It’s a difficult situation. If it had eternal consequences it may be easier to make, but since it doesnt, i chose one way, although the other may have been more honest.

    Good luck to you. I really wish I had some good advice.

    in a way I admire you. I was around 30 before I allowed myself to see the problems. You have a bright future ahead of you – although there may be some very difficult sections you’re going to have to negotiate.

    • William- Is having peace with them more comforting to you than telling them? Since you have dealt with not telling them for a while I am sure you know the frustration and turmoil it can cause inside of you. I am just wondering if you think that not telling them ever is a strong decision to consider? And thank you showing the positive light of my skepticism… I rarely ever get that from the people I am around. 🙂

      • Abby, i go through internal conflict almost daily. But like you said in a comment above, I feel it is minuscule to the pain and separation my honesty would ignite.

        I do feel like that one day I will have to tell them, or that it will just eventually seep out. I am not sure I can keep this facade on forever. And like you, the more I go to church, the more I had prayed, the more I studied, the more certain i became that it was all bogus – as a result I often get very frustrated at the poorly conceived explanations, excuses and church comments.

        Sometimes during church prayer, when everyone’s head is bowed, i look around to see if anyone else appears to feel like I do. I have yet to see anyone, and it dumbfounds me. But i continue because I love my family and I know it would be harder for them to ever see my side than it would be for me to fake theirs.

  50. Hi Brenda,

    I would love to hear your heart. I have been a Christian since I was 14 years old. I went on a camp and while there had what I call a very intense, radical conversion experience. There was no hoopla, but one night I found myself wrestling in prayer with God. I knew that as a Christian you had to submit your will to Him and this is not something I was able to do easily. I am stubborn with my own strong will. I spent what seemed like hours going back and forth with Him in prayer. Then suddenly I submitted my will, at this moment this beautiful warmth fell upon me from head to toe (it was a freezing room, in middle of Winter). At that instant my heart was filled with the presence of God, the most incredible quiet peacefulness I could never have known.

    The next day. I could feel the presence of Love in my heart so strongly that at times it overwhelmed me. The Bible went from a book to pages filled with life, every word literally sparked up my spirit. The whole world also literally looked different, the colours, the trees, the sky. I felt this love to other people. Too crazy to explain. No hoopla, just quiet, love and peace.

    Since then I have had a very difficult life. I walked away from God, started to get enticed into the world, when for months my heart was only fulfilled with spending time with my glorious God. It started off slowly when I would perhaps be too tired to get up early in the morning to spend that time with Him. I needed those quiet times to have my spirit filled His words to make wise and God honouring choices and decisions. This is how I started to walk away. God’s presence became softer and softer because I was filling my life with other things. Just like a relationship if we don’t spend time investing in it, then there are effects.

    I rededicated my life to Christ in my early 20’s, but went through years of spiritually abusive churches, extremely difficult health and mental health problems. There were times in deep dark lows that I called and cried out to God. I was so angry at Him for allowing me to be sick, struggle etc. I never felt God through my most painful times. I pulled myself out of my own darkness.

    BUT I still cannot deny what happened to me when I was 14 yrs old. I had like a Damascus Road conversion and no matter how hard I try to convince myself that there is no God …I can’t, because of the radical change I experienced in my life when His Spirit came to live in my heart.

    I just wonder what your view on this would be?
    Thank you Sherid

  51. Niko, I did not read your entire response, but I read enough to comment. As the multitude of denominations and interpretations increases, this shows that the bible is at best a confusing document. I’m glad you found love and wisdom in it, however, too many have come away with division and exclusion in their hearts. They interpret and conjure explanations that simply do not hold up to an application of common sense. Rape and incest are common in the bible, as is a god who thinks nothing of wiping out the human race. Neither of these are good role models of behavior. It is common for people to enjoy the advances in medicine and science, but as soon as those same technologies conflict with their religious interpretations, they cry foul and run screaming to congress. Does they sun revolve around the earth? Are evil spirits controlling our health? These were religious interpretations that were bedrock beliefs until a few years ago.

  52. Well said Brenda! I admire the way you reply to every Christians comments. You say everything I want to say but so much better.

  53. I’m so happy that I stumbled across your blog. It was like reading my own life story. I was raised as a child of divorce and spent time with my father on weekends and summers with my grandparents (my mothers parents) and aunt (11 years older) and uncle (9yrs older than me). They were like older siblings to me and I was extremely close to my uncle who committed suicide when I was 10. My mother was agnostic and my father and his family were religious. So the emotional years after his passing were hard for me. I wanted to find peace and comfort and tried to turn to god but my father said things like “your uncle is in purgatory for killing himself” it broke my heart to think of him suffering or not being in heaven when I got there. It wasn’t until high school that I joined a friends youth group. They seemed to have all the answers and said that god was loving and that he would surely save my uncles soul because of my prayers and love for him. Then I married a born again Christian man and we started a Christian record label and had 2 boys. I the beginning everything was perfect. I was the dutiful good Christian wife that didn’t question his authority over me. over time I grew to realize that I was loosing myself to dogma and the use of it to keep me subservient. If I questioned anything or tried to have an equal say in our relationship it caused increasing tension. I was read bible versus when I said something he didn’t like. It went from a loving relationship to an oppressive prison. When he started to turn his anger towards our oldest boy I left. I started to read the bible more for answers and found very little to help. It was a slow transformation to atheism but I think I always kind if felt like there was so much wrong with Christianity, there was more pain than good and more judging than compassion. As an atheist I feel like I have much more empathy now than when I believed in god. I feel that I have a much kinder heart and am able to give my 5 boys and 1 girl a realistic adult view of the world unclouded by dogma and superstition.

  54. Thank you for your story! I’m glad to see you have found peace as an atheist. I am not an atheist. I believe in God. But I don’t believe in religion. I especially do not have respect for Christianity. I too grew up with more suffering from religion than finding peace with it. I truly admire and enjoyed your story.

  55. Heather, thanks for sharing your story. I grew up Christian and now live my life in practice as an atheist and in theory as an agnostic (if that makes sense 😀 ). I found your story to be very affirming to my own experiences. I too am enjoying a new sense of connectedness and empathy with others that I do not feel Christianity (at least how I understood Christianity) did not allow. Best wishes to you and your family~

  56. Good Evening

    I don’t know if your blog is still active; but, I thought I’d comment nonetheless. I actually came upon your blog by typing “how to leave Christianity” in google’s search engine. I’m a Christian by name but not by belief. I practice Nichiren Buddhism and paganism. (History of my belief journey is further below) Oh, this is pretty long. Anyone can comment, of course. Its basically asking how can one become an atheist, the necessity of having a spiritual foundation, and my confusion on how a person can say they don’t have one. (Which isn’t bad; just confusing). And my spiritual history.

    I liked a lot of what you said. Since you’ve mentioned a lot, it’s hard to quote. I left Christianity because its beliefs did not make sense naturally. For example, sending people to hell just for not believing and saying its the person’s fault that he goes to hell. That’s an ultimatum not a freedom of choice. Anyway…..

    I do have a question. How does a person become an atheist? I’m still reading your blog and comments.

    I mean, we can self-identity ourselves as an atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan,and so on. However, in one’s hearts and rational minds, if one is Christian and believes Jesus as his Lord and Savior–that conviction and foundation would be his life. No one can separate that belief from himself and his rationalization via the Bible. That’s like taking out his heart and expecting him to live. Likewise with Buddhist. In Nichiren Buddhism, Nichiren (whose just a regular monk who believed enlightenment is by following the laws of life–cause and effect.) always pointed that the lotus sutra is the way of life: The cause and effect of how we make our decisions in life rest in the laws of nature (which is pretty straight forward). In paganism practicing cause and effect through the “mystic law” (or mystery of life) is done by following the cycles of the earth–its growth, its life, and its death.

    In Christianity, there is no difference. In Christianity it is taught (at its core) in order to live we must die. We must die to our unnatural desires (our illusions or actions that go against ones morals and nature.) what Christians call sin. The mystic law–whats behind our breathing, thinking, and loving is what people call God. So whatever is against this law–or God–is a sin. The Bible is a generational and cultural book that I think Christians try to apply its teachings to todays life instead of just its meaning.

    Anyway, to say one is an atheist-in my opinion only–is saying (Christianity and Buddhism aside) that there is no spiritual foundation in one’s life. How can that be? I mean, a person can live with peace of mind and be humble without God and without the Buddhist teachings. They can live at peace without giving some type of gratitude for what (say the earth) is keeping them alive. I mean people do it everyday. But how?

    One cant take God from a Christian; they believe “someone must have created us”. Without a cause (the creator) there is no effect (creation). One cant take celebration of life from a pagan. That’s like making the earth disappear, the moon, the stars, and living in abstractions. One cant take the Buddha nature from the Buddhist–that’s like saying, the Buddhist (and any other person) has no soul, no spirit, they are just “there”.
    Of course, there are other religions I can list.

    I’m honestly not saying you cant live without a spiritual foundation in your life. I just find it confusing that anyone can do so.

    I don’t mean this to sound judgmental if it came out that way.

    What are your thoughts?

    Carlita

    A short history of my spiritual journey. I was raised in an atheistic home. My mother told us “I didn’t want my children believing in superstitions.” My dad is pure atheist. My mother wanted to have the “perfect family”; you know, with a boy and a girl, white picket fence, house. The perfect family also included the family had to be Christian. So, atheistic as she is, she took us to church (interesting, I know.). I learned about the Bible, got baptized in water (rather than the Spirit), and just believed that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. I never knew what that meant until I reached my college years. That realization threw me for a loop.

    Anyway, my mother practiced witchcraft/paganism. So that is were I got that from. I started practicing paganism but didn’t really get serious about it until I understood what different religions under paganism taught (like Wicca, Druidism, etc). When I was Christian, I always wanted to be a nun. Later, wanting to share the gospel, I wanted to be a priest. So, after years of being with a Roman Catholic friend, I became Catholic. Ive been catholic for a year now. My calling was dashed when I found women cant be priests. Catholicism is a beautiful faith. Especially, if one practices it with the right intent and understand the sacraments in a spiritual light rather than historical one. But, it wasn’t my core belief. I always knew we had a Buddha nature–a clean, nature–but Christianity teaches that we have a sinful nature. So I became Buddhist. I practiced Zen for a year and Nichiren for another year. I left Nichiren Shoshu (a denomination of Nichiren Buddhism) and came back to SGI (which is interesting). They have a different spin on Nichiren’s writings. Im still thinking of whether that would be my Sangha or not.

    Anyway, what I learned in Christianity is that dying to live is sacrificing yourself (like Christ) to help others do the same. Giving yourself to others and not thinking of ones self. When you know Jesus you know life. Sacrificial life style. That’s what Catholism teaches–a constant state of repentance (not like other denominations). Without sacrificial living, one lives egotistic… so how can one separate himself from Christ (as a Christian) if without Christ, one is living for oneself? I learned in Buddhism that we do live to help others (rather than die for them). We give the person drowning a life raft rather than taking his place so he can live. It takes the sinful nature and makes one at peace. That foundation is a necessity. I also learned from paganism that you cant separate yourself from the earth. What you eat, drink, et cetera comes from the earth. So its a lifestyle of gratitude for living.

    I dont know about other faith; but, I do know that without a foundation, there’s no life. How can someone live without a spiritual foundation?

    Sorry for the long post.

    • Hi Carlita,

      Obviously, I’m not Brenda, but I thought I’d chime in with some thoughts on how one can be an atheist.

      I thing most atheists wouldn’t tie a feeling of spirituality so tightly to the idea of god. Atheism simply means a lack of believe in god(s). Most atheists acknowledge that there’s no way to know for sure if a god exists or not, but we feel that we haven’t seen enough evidence to make us believe such a being exists.

      Since atheism only deals with one’s outlook toward god, it’s possible to be an atheist yet still believe in ghosts, a spiritual realm, or the supernatural. Granted, most atheists don’t tend to believe in those things either, but there’s nothing in the definition of atheism that would prohibit it.

      Some atheists even use terms like “spirituality” to describe that feeling of the transcendent that we sometimes experience, despite not believing in literal spirits. In fact, there’s a great little book called The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality that makes that point quite well.

      I don’t know if any of that helps or not… please let me know if I need to clarify further.

      Take care! 🙂

  57. Hello! Thank you for sharing your story. I see that you haven’t posted here for a while, but I thought I’d add my comment regardless. After watching your video, I wondered if you’ve considered studying quantum physics? I would recommend it if you haven’t; absolutely mind-blowing. Best of luck my friend. Peace.

  58. Who’s the ass-hole in the video’s? You think you’re the only once professing “christain” that hasn’t gone through all the “bull-shit” I’ve been through all the nonsense and some about 10 times over. You might not care for some of my language, and I don’t really care. I’m just telling you like it is.
    For me, I’m not leaving Christianty because I got my “ass-kicked” through some tough and difficult times. And You shouldn’t either!

    • Wow Ray, how could one argue with such eloquence? And Brenda was very clear in saying that it wasn’t just difficult times that led to her loss of faith. Those were catalysts that caused her to ask questions. It was her search for answers that ultimately caused her to stop believing in Christianity.

      • Nate, besides the reasons Brenda has left Christianity, this holy man here^^^ (and many of others within the church walls) is just another factor I left religion. I’ve never meant more hateful, resentful, self-centered, judgmental, rude and self-righteous individuals as I have inside the walls of religion. It must be exhausting to live with all that hate, power and judgement of others!

  59. I lost my dad in March of 2004 and for some reason I feel the loss even more now than I did when he died. About a month ago when I was at work I just broke down and started sobbing thinking about him. I was feeling is this the end, will I never see my dad again. It hit me hard. I want there to be an afterlife but I don’t see any evidence to believe there is one. You left Christianity in December of 2008. I had a pet dog named Cubby who passed away on December 4, 2008 and for some reason your story reminded me of her.

  60. So the idea of hell scared you so much, that you abandoned your faith because that was the only thing that seated your conscience. You didn’t want to think about the fact.

  61. I-LOVE-THIS-BLOG. For me, you have hit the nail straight on the head. The videos even more so. For the last year I’ve been struggling with “letting it go” (Christianity) but the guilt was plaguing me. What you say and what Mr. Cutie-pie says in his videos is what I question…..all of the time! Since I’ve losened the reins and let my hair down, I’ve started to feel completely comfortable and at ease with this choice. As a matter of fact, the thought of this “being it” makes me appreciate every aspect of my life and the people in it more. I’ve always had Pagan beliefs, so I will still honor them in the respect to love of nature, open mindedness for others and their beliefs, and doing what you will as long as it harms none. The guilt is slowly starting to fade, and oneness with what “is” resounds. I lost my moher when I was 10, so I know pain and loss too. I do hope that the energy our bodies carry disperse into the universe and carry on in some way (Pagan-ish belief). Anyway, Thanks so much for sharing.

  62. Following and searching many beliefs in this world, I became a Christian in 1988 and with this I became like a bouncing ball for 18 years, trying to find that true inner peace, love and spiritual healing and growth, but could not.

    With this I strongly believe in the importance of humanitarian dignity, equality and equity, which with all honesty I could not see within the circle of Christianity. Now no Christian must take this up in the wrong way, because I am not against any Christian for what they believe in, and I sincerely hope they also respect in what I believe in.

    My wife and I are now both dedicated Buddhists and we are filled with the most wonderful peace and love like never before. Spiritually we have grown and the relaxing harmonious joy in our lives is undescribable. This is the path we have chosen and we do not regret one moment of walking in this most revitalizing and heart touching path.

  63. It took a long time to free myself, without the catalyst of loss or suffering. I realized that I am endowed with reasoning and a sense of right and wrong the same as animals are endowed with instincts for survival, caring for their young, etc. I can not possibly know the existence of God, though I sense there is something. And a truly supreme being would not expect me to know, nor make my acceptance to him conditional upon my knowing. You may want to check out deism.com.
    (The videos you’ve posted here are exceptional!)

  64. It’s quite interesting that most atheists claim to be morally sound when at the same time,disbelieve the existance of God. When you say you are “morally good”,by which reference point do you judge your actions? You unconsciously refer it to an absolute standard ( Moral Law) of which you must attribute to a Moral Law Giver(God) which you are now seeking to disprove and not prove. So if there is no Moral Law Giver(God),there is no Moral Law,and if there is no Moral Law there is no good and evil by which you see yourself as “morally good/sound”. Someone may also object,”why not stop at a Moral Law?”and the answer is this, whenever a question is raised about morals,it is either raised by a person or about a person(moral beings),this suggests that there must be a Moral Being(God) behind that Moral Law. Also to the issue of “no after life”, i ask the atheist,”if there is no after life,why sacrifice time and resources out of your short possible time to help people who will cease to exist after death?”. This attitude presuppose the “intrinsic worth of humans”,and if there is no God, life has no meaning. Only Jesus gives us a sense of meaning because of origin(ye are created in the image of God by God) and gives us hope for the afterlife namely,having fellowship with Him in bliss after we have responded(accepted) Him as the Way to the Father,(jn 3:16-18). God bless you!

    • Hi Solomon,

      Unfortunately I do not have the time at this point in my life to re-discuss the issues you’ve brought up. I have covered them many times on my blog and I welcome you to read what I have written in the past on these topics. These links may be of help:

      https://leftchristianity.com/category/morality/

      https://leftchristianity.com/category/purpose-2/

      There is also a search box where you can type in keywords to see what I’ve posted on various topics.

      My quick answer to you regarding my views on morality and purpose in life are:

      1. Morality – I do not believe morality has an absolute standard. I think that we develop ways of interacting with each other that help us get along because ultimately we benefit from living in a society that gets long. Morality changes over time (just look at how our values/morals have changed over time. Even look to your own Old Testament vs New Testament. I highly doubt you would condone carrying out many of the violent and heinous punishments listed in the Old Testament. Even the Bible’s morality evolved over time.) Morality will continue to evolve.

      2. Purpose/Meaning – If you only find purpose by being rewarded in an afterlife then your purpose is bankrupt. Returning to how we all live together on this planet, there is much purpose to be found in developing ourselves as individuals as well as giving to those around us. This gives us pleasure and meaning. There is no need for an afterlife for this to be true.

      Please check out the links I posted above. If you have more comments after you’ve had a chance to look through some of it, then I will be happy to hear your thoughts.

      Cheers.

    • Soloman I will have to disagree with you. I too have left Christianity for several reasons (which I don’t have time to type about here), but I feel the need to respond. There is more than the writings of man’s word of what they think God would say in the Bible that I find to be morally right. A normal healthy human can make decisions and take actions based solely of whether such actions are hurtful to another person or living thing. We each are responsible for our actions and how we treat people regardless of religious rules and laws. And speaking of laws, they too are based on whether or not you are hurting someone or their property, etc. Our forefathers were Diests, so they didn’t write laws based on the Bible. The end of the story is, you can make sound decisions and live life based on morals of good mental well being. If it hurts no one, feels good to say or do, and spreads love and cheer, etc., it is good moral law (not the words of any religion to decide). And I find much more meaning to life now that I don’t feel restricted by man written words at what they thought God would want. The environment and universe rule our planetary lives. Forces of nature controls this. I personally believe our energies go on. How, where, I do not know any more than you do my friend. Bless you. Love and good health. (You see, us Pagans aren’t mean unloving people). Stop judging!

  65. Hi there, thanks so much for sharing your story! It was so reassuring to know I am not the only one to have abandoned my long time faith – having said that, I have slightly different circumstances. Like you, I became a Christian as a young and impressionable kid (of 9 years old), and stuck with it fairly devoutly until the age of 17. The struggle for me was the gradual dawning throughout puberty that I am in fact, a lesbian. This was a huge dilemma for me, and while I had struggled with doubts about my faith all through my teenage years, my sexuality seemed like the most difficult thing to reconcile with Christianity, out of all my doubts. I abandoned my faith shortly before I turned 18, around the same time that I came out to my friends and family. Fast forward 4 months, and that about brings us up to date.
    The heartbreaking situation I have been facing through coming out is telling my Christian friends and people at church – not that I am a lesbian, that doesn’t seem to phase them much – but they often enquire how my “walk with God” has been affected. I have to respond honestly that I am no longer a Christian myself. The responses I get are to “not give up my faith so easily” and things like that. It kind of makes me feel that they don’t appreciate how much thought I put into my decision, and also, I feel some kind of sick guilt about it all. Like I owe it to them to stay a Christian. They are all just lovely people, who I happened to share a religion with, and no longer do. I want to stay friends, but I suppose time will tell how this all works out. I only came out a few months ago, after all.

    I would love to know your thoughts on my experience, and I will definitely stay tuned in to your blog. Thanks heaps!

    • Hey there!

      Thanks so much for sharing some of your story here. I always appreciate that! It’s amazing how it helps to know we are not alone in our struggles.

      Many of the people who I knew as Christians were lovely people too (although not all). And most of them had good intentions. However, I found that once I was no longer a Christian, the friendships and connections were no longer sustainable. Our worldview shapes our entire existence. I think especially for Christians, who are taught to judge everyone based on their particular worldview, it’s difficult for them to remain connected to people who now think their worldview is completely wrong (and possibly even ridiculous). The fact that you have rejected their view is a hard thing to handle as it defines their entire existence and purpose. Their way (probably unconsciously) of dealing with that tension, is to try to sway you back to the view they hold. It’s a classic method of dealing with cognitive dissonance and it is their issue, not yours.

      I have a few Christians who I have managed to remain friends with. The rest did not last.

      If you have close friends who are supportive of your choices, then I would recommend keeping those people in your life if the friendship will still be beneficial for both of you. The rest will work themselves out as time goes on.

      Please do not feel any guilt. We are all on our own journey. Please own yours with no apologies. I would recommend that to anyone.

      I wish you the best. Feel free to comment again and let me know how things are going!

      Brenda

  66. Your story is another reason I will never feel powerless over someone I love because their not saved. This is one of the reasons why I am an atheist. The idea of having my memory wiped clean of all my loved ones who were unsaved repulsed me when I was age 11. It is highly unlikely any of this stuff even exists.

  67. Dear Brenda, Thank you for sharing your story. It’s interesting reading all of the comments. I understand why the death of two loved ones can cause a person to doubt the goodness of God and the Bible’s plan of eternal salvation. Especially if those you loved who died were not Christians and you were at the time adhering to the belief that if a person dies without having trusted in Jesus as their Savior for sin that they would spend eternity apart from God. That must have been an excruciatingly, emotionally painful time for you. I’m assuming that those who have commented who are atheists, or of other religious/spiritual persuasions do not believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. I’m also assuming that you believe that the historical accounts of Jesus’ life written in the Bible and also by some secular historians are all fabricated. Would it be safe to say that you believe that if any of the words Jesus spoke about himself being the Son of God and the promised Savior of the world would make him out to be demented or a deceiver since He clearly stated that men are sinners who need a Savior for their sin? It seems you would not view him as a good person, prophet, or teacher if he made such false claims. Do you believe he existed at all, or do you believe it was all just a hoax and the Bible is completely fabricated? I am wondering because then I wonder how you view other manuscripts of historical documents written in the past that keep to a lower standard of historical accuracy and reliability. Do you also view those documented accounts of history with such skepticism? Do you apply the same standard of trust/mistrust to all historical documents? Just curious if you think that we can trust that what was written in historical manuscripts such as Plato’s Republic were accurately recorded or not.
    http://chrisedmondson.blogspot.com/2011/09/can-bible-be-trusted-historical-texts.html

    • Hi Jay,

      I wouldn’t presume to answer for Brenda, but I had some thoughts of my own about your comment.

      First of all, I think that people sometimes create a false dichotomy about the possibilities that account for the gospels. I don’t think it’s either all true or a complete fabrication. It’s possible to say something false without lying. For instance, when a child sees presents on Christmas morning and shouts “look what Santa brought me!” the child is wrong, but not lying. Similarly, the writers of the gospels likely believed that Jesus really did rise from the dead (assuming that the writer of Mark also believed that), but that doesn’t guarantee that it actually happened.

      We also don’t know for sure that Jesus made all the claims attributed to him in the gospels. That means CS Lewis’s “liar, lunatic, or lord” may not apply either.

      When it comes to historical documents, it’s not true that skeptics are unfairly denying historicity to the Bible and not applying the same standard to other documents. We accept that George Washington crossed the Delaware, based on the sources that we have. But if one or more of those sources claimed that Washington flew over the Delaware, we would be very skeptical. Even if all the sources agreed. We’d at least feel that some important information was being left out that might otherwise explain the phenomenon, because almost no one would accept that George Washington had the power of flight.

      So when it comes to Jesus, most people have no trouble accepting that he may have been a teacher with a following. He may have taught that the Pharisees were overlooking the “weightier matters” of the law, etc. But when it comes to the supernatural, many of us are skeptical, just as we would be with any other historical text that made similar claims.

      Anyway, just wanted to share my perspective. Thanks for letting me insert myself into the conversation. 🙂

  68. I have to say this: Sorry for your lost but people die everyday and so will you, your husband and your children unless Jesus come back beforehand. Some people just talk too darn much putting their novel of view on here. Talked way more than Jesus did in the Bible! Face the fact that death will come to everybody. You can not give up your relationship with Christ over that. It seem like you were just writing this post to have a blog and earn money. Your reasons lack conviction. As soon as people are conceive during sex…people start to die in the womb. You said you were all in the Bible. Does the Bible say, Tomorrow is not promise to no one?
    I don’t get involved in pity party. So get off your pity behind and be real about why you left. God rather have honesty over you being fake serving Him. King David lost a child and didn’t throw God away.

  69. Brenda,

    Thank you for your devotion to your blog and your openness and honesty. Just a quick question: was your husband just as equally a fundamental, bible believing Christian as you were? If so, how did you tell him? Your kids? Thank you!

  70. I recently left the faith. This church I was going too was ungodly and full of phonies and fakes and Gossipers. And this one lady there Preys on Young Men and she really Hurt me.

    It’s alot of other things too she did

    I want nothing to do with the churcu

  71. Brenda, thanks for taking the time to blog about this. I was raised in and around a fundamentally Christian household since day 1 (now 32, 12 years married with 3 children) and recently I finally came to terms with questions and issues I have had since I was a kid concerning the faith. I never asked the questions because I always felt I would be considered a doubter or a back slider. In fact, I was basically taught never to question anything about Christianity or Christ…just to have faith. I finally couldn’t stand having “faith” in something in which I actually had no idea truly the what the original roots of that faith were. I feel my eyes have been opened and I have learned so much in the last 3 years (last 8 months specifically) that is leading me to an Agnostic mindset. My wife is still a fundamental Christian, but she has always been a comfortable follower in life…she does not like to lead, but she is still heavily indoctrinated in her ways; although I feel through time, she will begin to see the truth. I recently told her where I am at in life and it was quite hard for her. Years and years of doubt and wrestling that finally coming out in a 4 hour conversation was overwhelming for her, but I couldn’t live a lie. I finally feel like I can honestly answer 1 Peter 3:15…I actually have an answer for the faith and the hope that is within me without doubt, and I feel I have solid evidence for it.

    So, my question is this…are your children and husband still Christian? How did that all go when you told them? I appreciate any advice!

    • My questions is why are Christians so intolerant, impatient, and insulting towards those that renounce Christ. Faith is quoted throughout this blog, yet is faith exercised in the hope that this person can change. The bible does say not all will be saved, but I will not judge nor condemn. I don’t know this man, but i accept him. He is God’s creation and I love his creation the good and the bad.

  72. I completely agree with you. I am LDS, so a few views are different, but the apply for the most part. I would rather suffer in hell, or “outer darkness” as Mormons call it. I am rather intrigued by the beliefs of Buddhism, not so much for the religion but for the standards it follows. I’m not here to try and convert anyone to Buddhism, and from what I can tell, that goes against Buddhist beliefs. I’m just saying, there are other good things out there than Christianity. If you like Hinduism, go for it. Find Chinese religion interesting? Go look at it. It’s all your choice, and if there is any existence after life here, I’m sure that the ruler of that afterlife would not condemn you for trying to find the truth. Thank you so much for taking your own precious time to make this!

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