It’s been about 4yrs since I called myself a “Believer”. Looking back on it all, I’m still unpacking to what extent this belief system affected me. I feel like I’ve gotten it out of my system for the most part and it seemed to have come pretty easy for me. I’m still amazed at how smooth my transition away from the Faith was.
A Savior for the vulnerable.
I spent ample time examining why Christianity was so attractive to me or why I stayed so attracted to it. I think it was because I was already damaged at a young age and God was my bandage.
I feel like my parents were more authoritarians than parents and I guess I saw that in God as well. In our household, there was no debating. Whatever they said, went.
On the flipside, God answers to no man. He knows what’s best. His judgment and perception is never wrong.
But with either one, disobedience is met with some sort of discipline. ‘God chastises those he loves’ and apparently so does our parents.
Having a dad that bullied me so young made me very shy and timid around authority. It became hard to express myself to others in school or publicly anywhere So. it made me a loner. I felt awkward in public and felt like an outcast. I just couldn’t seem to fit in anywhere.
I thought I found my acceptance in God. He was my hiding place. Although, I was shy, I was very comfortable around other believers.
My life was polarized because I felt I couldn’t relate to anyone who wasn’t a believer. Which made life even lonelier.
I was riddled with insecurities. Christianity was damaging in that respect because I never had to really deal with my personality issues.
I was too preoccupied with not sinning against God and trying to do what I thought pleased Him. My growth as a person was stunted.
I was stuck in a place where it was: “At least I have Jesus so I’m okay compared to some others”. This God character made me feel healthier, stronger, and bolder than what I was. This Faith makes you claim things about yourself that may not at all be you.
Forsaking everything for the Kingdom.
My family didn’t have a lot of money so we weren’t very materialistic at all. We didn’t have the latest tech and fashions. Even in my adult life there were years where all my possessions could fit in the trunk of my car.
I was on board with forsaking all if Yeshua was the ultimate reward. I lived my life that way. For someone like me who didn’t have a faith community or a real social life even outside the Faith, my bible was the only thing of real value that I possessed.
And that’s sad. But that’s what happens when you’re so sure you have the Truth, I suppose.
Christianity left an impression on me that nothing material had lasting value in light of eternity.
I felt that I wasn’t allowed to pursue anything in life that didn’t have God in it like exploring my talents and a career that was suitable for me.
I struggled with pursuing interests because it felt like those things were in competition with pursuing God. This left me stagnant for much of my life and caused inner grief and guilt(for wanting a real life).
I was split because I was chasing a life that the Word promised for a Believer. I didn’t know if I should get a career in the world or commit my life to the Kingdom. And there was no God to guide me in either direction even though I sought his will painstakingly.
I touched on this in my post “My De/Conversion Story 5: Living like a bachelor.”
We only celebrated holidays because my dad wanted to. If it was left up to my mom, we wouldn’t have celebrated at all. I think we did Halloween twice and Christmas a handful of times. We barely touched Easter.
I think my mom did some research and found out the “pagan” origins of these holidays. She read books like “The Two Babylons” and “Too Long in the Sun”. I also read these books when I got older and followed in her steps.
When holidays come around, I’m indifferent to it all. These days have no meaning for me.
I recognize them now as times for families and friends to come together without regard to whether these celebrations have any pagan or satanic origins.
My brothers and I missed out on the positives because of my mom’s religious convictions.
Now I’m like, “so what?!”. Who cares about how people celebrated it then, it’s about what it means to me now. I’m slowly coming around to celebrating holidays.
The real struggle has to do with my shyness and social anxiety. It’s really time to start learning to be social.
People, places, and things.
I was so conscious about avoiding Sin, that it contributed to my stunted growth as a person along with the aforementioned things.
I didn’t go to school dances or parties because the music was worldly and so were the people. I didn’t want to get involved in things that would lead me astray.
I never felt comfortable in clubs and bars because I knew for sure the Spirit of God was not welcome or invited. I didn’t want to get caught being there if I suddenly died knowing I shouldn’t be in that environment.
Like I said before, it was already hard to relate to people because of my personality but then I have the Bible telling me what kind of people I shouldn’t keep company with.
To me, that basically meant everyone who wasn’t saved. Don’t get me wrong, I got along with pretty much all my peers and I did make friends with people of different persuasions but it was hard to build any real depth to these relationships. If they weren’t believers, then I didn’t want to get too close for fear of being led astray.
I’ve kinda already explained how it is hard to find value in material things. It’s still difficult. In the back of mind there’s an echo reminding me that it’ll all fade away or outlive me.
I’m learning to enjoy the right to go where I want, do what I want, say what I want, and with whomever I want. I’m living a life no longer bound by the restrictions of an out-of-touch worldview.
Christian music was my escapism.
I remember just wasting hours and days away listening to Christian rap in my car while damn near draining the battery. That music was my refuge. When no one understood me or my struggles, Christian hip-hop did. I would even get drunk and high listening to it. It mezmerized me and sent me into a trance.
It was sad because no one I knew listened to that music. So, even though I wished I could share it with a friend, I could not. It’s something I enjoyed alone.
Sense of Purpose.
I built my whole life believing that there was a purpose to Life and everything going on was centered around God’s mysterious will.
I wasted good years of my life waiting for God to show me his plan for my life. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I was led to believe that as long as I trusted in him, it would be made known.
That never happened. You’ll end up trying all you can to make sure you’re open to hear from him: Fasting and praying, constant meditation, reading the Bible, etc….
You’ll make up reasons and excuses for why God isn’t revealing his will or why you aren’t seeing it. You try to cancel doubt and that underlying suspicion that maybe there actually isn’t a God that exist to tell you his will.
When a person decides to walk away from their Faith, it effects every believer differently. I was kinda relieved because I could finally go on with my life and decide for myself what to do.
I really agonized over my future when I was a believer. I had no guidance and no positive role models to show me how to prosper and succeed in life. I regret placing my hopes and dreams in an imaginary figure. It’s embarrassing, really.
I’m at a place where life doesn’t have a Purpose. And I’m okay with that until something comes along and proves otherwise. I know that reality hits hard for a lot of people.
It’s up to us individually to find a purpose for our lives. No book from the past can prescribe that for us today. We are all different and are at different stations in life.
In mainstream Christianity, there’s a watered down definition of what Sin is. But if we’re sticking to what the Bible says. Sin is transgressions against the Law. What Law? The Law of Moses. And despite popular belief, that extends to the second half of the book.
Nearing the end of my Faith, I was living by the Law and practicing it in the capacity that I was able. The bible never says it’s impossible to live by the law(contrary to Christian doctrine), it’s impossible to be justified by it alone.
It was less about the cross on a hill and more about his righteous law coming from Mt. Zion. I was embracing a more historically accurate form of Faith from a Jewish/Hebraic perspective.
It’s like the more you know, the more you destroy yourself in the sense of: touch not, see not, say not, and do not. There’s even a biblical proverb that warns against knowing too much.
So, if you find out holidays have pagan origins; you no longer celebrate them. If you learn about keeping Sabbath; now you’re unavailable to work part of the weekend. Start learning about the origin of symbols; now you don’t want to wear certain kinds of charms and emblems with symbols. Or you avoid going to stores whose logos have renditions of those symbols. On and on.
The result is you box yourself in and even isolate yourself from harmless things you deem as Sin and a threat to your spiritual health.
When I left the Faith, I was free. There is no such thing as Sin. Whether something is right or wrong is entirely up to me. There are things that I wasn’t okay with back then that I don’t have a problem with now, like certain forms of entertainment.
There are consequences for our actions but they bear no weight on an afterlife that no one has been to or proven to exist.
I’ve been wanting to talk about death on my blog for a long time. When I was a believer, I never thought much of death. I never had to. Believers didn’t die, they went to sleep. Many believe they go straight into the presence of God immediately after their last breath.
My only real fear of death then, was dying in Sin like any believer feared. I never did fear Hell because I was certain that I wasn’t going there and I definitely didn’t become a believer to escape Hell.
The themes of Heaven and eternal life cancelled out the reality of death in my life. It never occurred to me that I was going to die.
When I realized I was going to die one day, I was 34yrs old. That was after I stopped believing. It hit me hard. I was having panic attacks every night for a while.
Even now, it stresses me a little to type about death. Some days I’m okay with dying and some days I’m afraid to die.
I guess I have a fear of going into nonexistence. Imagine all your life believing there was something after this and finding out in your early thirties it isn’t true.
I don’t want to die. When that day comes, I hope I can say that I lived the life I wanted to live. I hope I die healed of the wounds of my past. I don’t believe that I can live up to my full potential until I’ve begun healing.
I guess I can say that I’m more afraid of dying as a damaged person.
The grand scheme.
I find myself powerless when I think about not knowing the reason for our existence. I look at all the things humans do to keep themselves busy and preoccupied until they die. There is this pursuit of pleasure and indulgences that always leaves us wanting more but to what end?
In the grand scheme of things, what is all this amounting to? We have all the fun we can as kids. Eventually, we mature and life forces us to get serious and make better use of our time. We pursue jobs and careers. We have families and save for houses.
We lay up wealth and resources for our kids while worrying about our health. Then at some point, our bodies give out on us and we die. Our kids repeat the cycle.
What about you?
I know this post can seem a little depressing but I needed to express it to you. This is my Faith journey after all and I need to tell it as it is.
Can you relate? How do you perceive life after de-conversion? I’m curious to know.
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