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Ex Charismatic/Pentecostal…..What now?
Posted: 18 May 2012 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am new at this so please excuse my ignorance. I have been involved in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement since I was 13, I am now 51. How do you go about explaining your views to your family without being alienated? To me it has been so much a part of my life that I feel like I am losing something without losing something. At least I am starting to figure out the difference. The book, “The God Virus” has helped me a lot to understand how religion infects you and everything you do. Can you be a Deist and not follow any specific religion or is that still considered to be “religious?

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Posted: 18 May 2012 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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First of all, I am about the same age as you and was in christianity also from about the same age—so I can identify. Like you, as part of my “de-conversion” process, I explored Deism. At first, it appealed to me because it seemed to rational. And it is—except that they refuse to give up on the notion of the “prime mover” god. While not as bad as the personal deity, I eventually decided that this idea was almost as crazy. Actually, not crazy, just completely untestable, unfalsifiable, and therefore untenable.  (To me, anyway.) So I decided to take that last step and come on over to agnosticism/atheism. 

Pentecostal, huh? I just finished reading Dan Barker’s book Godless. Have you read it? He was well known in Pentecostal circles as a preacher and musician before becoming an atheist. You might find some guidance in his books. 

As far as dealing with family and friends, I basically say as little as possible. If asked directly I reveal as much as they want to hear. I think most of them are figuring it out but prefer to leave the questions unasked. So far, nobody who was close to me before—except for people I only knew through church—has begun to shun or treat me differently. I think some of them are surprised that I am still the same person they knew before, just godless.  cheese

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Posted: 18 May 2012 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dizzy Spyder - 18 May 2012 09:47 AM

Can you be a Deist and not follow any specific religion or is that still considered to be “religious?

Sure, you can be whatever you want to be. Follow whatever you think is correct, and don’t worry about labels like “religious” or “nonreligious”.

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Posted: 18 May 2012 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First I’d say keep being as good a person as you are.  There’s no rule that you have to be religious to help others, be kind, etc.  Second I’d say don’t fret about it and don’t wear your conversion on your sleeve. Sounds like you came to your decision on your own and that’s really how it should be IMHO.  And last, you might want to explore Secular Humanism.  To most Christians that’s a four letter word so to speak. But once you actually learn what it’s about you realize, whoa, I’ve believed those exact things for along time anyway!

Good luck!

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Posted: 18 May 2012 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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>>Can you be a Deist and not follow any specific religion or is that still considered to be “religious?<<

Martin Gardiner managed it and so did a number of the Founding Fathers of the USA, and all without being considered “religious.” That’s the beauty of believing in something which can’t be proven or disproved, for which there is no evidence, and which no two people…even those who hold to more or less the same creed…can even define.

You can be anything you like. You could be a
1) pantheist, which holds that the totality of all there is in the universe is god, or
2)you can be a Zen Buddhist and hold that it doesn’t matter because it’s all a figment of your unreal imagination.
3)You could be like me and just not give a flying flip one way or another if ANY sort of deity exists, or
4)you can do some shopping around at http://www.adherents.com/ and pick something which appeals to you, or
5)you can just walk away from it all and let the shamans and the witch doctors debate it ad nauseum while living in the real world and dealing with what can be demonstrated to be so by the evidence.

Options (3) and (5) work for me, but your results may vary.

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 18 May 2012 11:15 AM

>>Can you be a Deist and not follow any specific religion or is that still considered to be “religious?<<

Martin Gardiner managed it and so did a number of the Founding Fathers of the USA, and all without being considered “religious.” That’s the beauty of believing in something which can’t be proven or disproved, for which there is no evidence, and which no two people…even those who hold to more or less the same creed…can even define.

You can be anything you like. You could be a
1) pantheist, which holds that the totality of all there is in the universe is god, or
2)you can be a Zen Buddhist and hold that it doesn’t matter because it’s all a figment of your unreal imagination.
3)You could be like me and just not give a flying flip one way or another if ANY sort of deity exists, or
4)you can do some shopping around at http://www.adherents.com/ and pick something which appeals to you, or
5)you can just walk away from it all and let the shamans and the witch doctors debate it ad nauseum while living in the real world and dealing with what can be demonstrated to be so by the evidence.

Options (3) and (5) work for me, but your results may vary.

I tend to agree with you on the options of 3 & 5.

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I tend to agree with you on the options of 3 & 5.

Problem solved! smile

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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FreeInKy - 18 May 2012 10:02 AM

First of all, I am about the same age as you and was in christianity also from about the same age—so I can identify. Like you, as part of my “de-conversion” process, I explored Deism. At first, it appealed to me because it seemed to rational. And it is—except that they refuse to give up on the notion of the “prime mover” god. While not as bad as the personal deity, I eventually decided that this idea was almost as crazy. Actually, not crazy, just completely untestable, unfalsifiable, and therefore untenable.  (To me, anyway.) So I decided to take that last step and come on over to agnosticism/atheism. 

Pentecostal, huh? I just finished reading Dan Barker’s book Godless. Have you read it? He was well known in Pentecostal circles as a preacher and musician before becoming an atheist. You might find some guidance in his books. 

As far as dealing with family and friends, I basically say as little as possible. If asked directly I reveal as much as they want to hear. I think most of them are figuring it out but prefer to leave the questions unasked. So far, nobody who was close to me before—except for people I only knew through church—has begun to shun or treat me differently. I think some of them are surprised that I am still the same person they knew before, just godless.  cheese

FreeInKy….sorry to hear that you were in the same boat that I am. I think most of my “Christian” friends think I am just an equal opportunity offender. They seem to know I have a very low tolerance for stupid Bible quotes that mean nothing so at least I have a start. When it comes to my immediate family, including my wife, I think they believe I am just a little off kilter but not a full atheist.

I do NOT have any friends that are atheists so I am outnumbered on all sides. I think for now, I will just keep reading and giving my opinions when asked.

No I have not read the book but I will add it to my reading list.

Thanks for the advice. I probably will be on here more as time goes by.

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I do NOT have any friends that are atheists so I am outnumbered on all sides.

You’ve got a lot of good company there. Freethinkers come in a lot of veriaties with the one characteristic being that we question authority and think for ourselves. That doesn’t always mean any of us do a good job of the “Thinking” part but we all understand why it’s important so we give it our best shot.

For my own money, I would rather be right even if that puts me in the minority, then just be like everybody else, toe some silly line and be wrong.

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 22 May 2012 05:31 AM

I do NOT have any friends that are atheists so I am outnumbered on all sides.

You’ve got a lot of good company there. Freethinkers come in a lot of veriaties with the one characteristic being that we question authority and think for ourselves. That doesn’t always mean any of us do a good job of the “Thinking” part but we all understand why it’s important so we give it our best shot.

For my own money, I would rather be right even if that puts me in the minority, then just be like everybody else, toe some silly line and be wrong.

True….I am used to being in the minority anyways. This is something I need to work on. It may take awhile but at least I am walking in the right direction. Looking forward to some conversations. Thanks

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Posted: 22 May 2012 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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A couple of months ago my parents and I slipped into a conversation that somehow morphed into religion and the virgin mary. They know my thoughts on the subject even though there’s never been an out and out confrontation, until now. I tried to explain to Mom about the mistranslation of “virgin” as opposed to “vitruous” and she stated that she didn’t want to see me in hell because of my disbelief. I’m 63 and she is 85. I’m still her kid and I’m still going to hell. We don’t talk about religion any more as it causes strained relations needless to say. She hopes someday that I’ll see the error of my ways; I won’t but she’s still going to heaven and that’s and end to it. I have 2 acquaintences who are atheists but no close friends. I’m an atheist because the evidence I’ve researched for the last 20 years has led me in that direction. My advise is be true to yourself; if the evidence has led you in this direction then so be it. You reached out and found the facts. There’s no Loch Ness monster and there is no bearded guy on a golden throne you sometimes piss off for disobeying a bronze age command. You might also want to read Dawkins “The God Delusion”.

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 22 May 2012 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 22 May 2012 05:46 AM

A couple of months ago my parents and I slipped into a conversation that somehow morphed into religion and the virgin mary. They know my thoughts on the subject even though there’s never been an out and out confrontation, until now. I tried to explain to Mom about the mistranslation of “virgin” as opposed to “vitruous” and she stated that she didn’t want to see me in hell because of my disbelief. I’m 63 and she is 85. I’m still her kid and I’m still going to hell. We don’t talk about religion any more as it causes strained relations needless to say. She hopes someday that I’ll see the error of my ways; I won’t but she’s still going to heaven and that’s and end to it. I have 2 acquaintences who are atheists but no close friends. I’m an atheist because the evidence I’ve researched for the last 20 years has led me in that direction. My advise is be true to yourself; if the evidence has led you in this direction then so be it. You reached out and found the facts. There’s no Loch Ness monster and there is no bearded guy on a golden throne you sometimes piss off for disobeying a bronze age command. You might also want to read Dawkins “The God Delusion”.

Cap’t Jack

I know how hard it is to talk to a parent that is so religious that almost every word that comes out of their mouth is “from God”. My mother is one of those Charismatic/Pentecostals that sees a demon behind everything.

“We are also genuinely open to being wrong about parts and perhaps all our beliefs while at the same time being fully committed to them.” Peter Rollins

That, I believe, sums up a lot of “believers” no matter what they say.

I have added that Dawkins book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks

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Posted: 23 May 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I really need it. I am struggling with the fact that my wife does NOT know that I have renounced my “religion” and have become an Atheist. I recently decided to stop volunteering at my church. I was in charge of the media there for over 10 years. I wrote my pastor and his wife to inform them that I decided to stop. Now they want a meeting with me…. hmmm What should I do or if I decided to go, what should I say? I know, nobody said it would be easy…right.

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Posted: 23 May 2012 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Dizzy Spyder - 23 May 2012 08:17 AM

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I really need it. I am struggling with the fact that my wife does NOT know that I have renounced my “religion” and have become an Atheist. I recently decided to stop volunteering at my church. I was in charge of the media there for over 10 years. I wrote my pastor and his wife to inform them that I decided to stop. Now they want a meeting with me…. hmmm What should I do or if I decided to go, what should I say? I know, nobody said it would be easy…right.

Man, it really sucks that your wife is not on board with you. I really think you need to sit down and talk to her about all this as soon as possible. No matter how she reacts, you both need to have this out in the open. As far as the church is concerned, if it were me, I would not start talking about becoming an atheist. I would say something like, “I am in a place right now where spiritually I need to take a break” or something like that.

I thought I had it rough, but having my wife right there beside me and in agreement with me has made it so much easier to deal with all the crap. I really feel for you. Is there a chance that she might come over to the “dark side” with you?

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Posted: 23 May 2012 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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FreeInKy - 23 May 2012 08:35 AM
Dizzy Spyder - 23 May 2012 08:17 AM

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I really need it. I am struggling with the fact that my wife does NOT know that I have renounced my “religion” and have become an Atheist. I recently decided to stop volunteering at my church. I was in charge of the media there for over 10 years. I wrote my pastor and his wife to inform them that I decided to stop. Now they want a meeting with me…. hmmm What should I do or if I decided to go, what should I say? I know, nobody said it would be easy…right.

Man, it really sucks that your wife is not on board with you. I really think you need to sit down and talk to her about all this as soon as possible. No matter how she reacts, you both need to have this out in the open. As far as the church is concerned, if it were me, I would not start talking about becoming an atheist. I would say something like, “I am in a place right now where spiritually I need to take a break” or something like that.

I thought I had it rough, but having my wife right there beside me and in agreement with me has made it so much easier to deal with all the crap. I really feel for you. Is there a chance that she might come over to the “dark side” with you?

Hello FreeInKy….I really wish my wife was on board. I will need to do this slowly and not push it with her. She has been in the same Church since she was born. Lots of family & friends there too. She is not that “religious” but she still has a lot of history to overcome and that is stressful. My plan is to not cause any ripples just yet at my former church. I have officially resigned from the position but have not mentioned my Atheism. Slow is best for me. After all, I have been “saved” and in the same “religion” since I was 13.

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Posted: 23 May 2012 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Dizzy Spyder - 23 May 2012 08:43 AM

[She has been in the same Church since she was born. Lots of family & friends there too. She is not that “religious” but she still has a lot of history to overcome and that is stressful.

From what I understand, a lot of people are in, or remain in, church for social reasons. They don’t necessarily believe the guff they get from the pulpit.

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