Brand new and haven’t “come out”  yet… help!
Posted: 24 October 2013 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi everyone,
I have to admit that even writing here is a scary step for a timid, introverted, uncertain 32 year old guy.  I was raised in the church and was led to believe that atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanist, freethinkers etc etc were “bad” and “wrong” and “scary.”  My journey through the last several years however is shaping me into exactly who I was warned about… pretty scary.  I find though that I’m actually being liberated in so so many ways.  My wife (who is holding strongly to her Christian beliefs and experiences) has recently told me that I’ve been a much better husband and father since I’ve stepped away from the church, religion and the whole “package.”  I don’t know how to reconcile this with the things I’ve been taught and the things that 99% of my family and friends still believe.  I’ve also got 2 kids.  We all continued in the church until a couple of weeks ago.  Now I am taking steps to “get some space” from this system of belief, but I so value the relationships I’ve built there.  When I briefly explained my journey to my closest church friends, they were warm, accepting and supportive which really makes it that much more difficult.  The church I was a part of was not one of the “fire and brimstone” fundamentalist churches.  Questions are doubts are encouraged and welcomed.  The problem is, questioning for me doesn’t end within Christian framework.  I could go on explaining more, but the point is, I need support and a community.  This is what kept me in the church for so long- community and friends.  How can I get started with this?  I’m in the Grand Rapids area (Michigan)

Thanks!

Daniel

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Posted: 24 October 2013 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If you can’t find a suitable surrogate for your church to gain that “community” and feeling of belonging.  Fellowship.
If you can’t find that anywhere else, and you may not be able to, then go back to your church.

If they are an accepting church that tolerates doubt and questions then stay with them. Plus your wife still belongs.
Part of your awakening should allow you to continue going to the church and having a new frame of mind about it.

If however, it’s too late for that, and you feel that much of the congregation is secretly or openly ostracizing you, well then find something else.

That feeling of fellowship is a strong one for people, and it is very hard to replace.  Look around for CFI chapters in your area, or other Free-thinking orgs and such.
They must be there.  Start all over with one of those places.  Meet new people.  Try another angle.

Just go to the place where you like the people and the atmosphere. Leave the symbolism and the meaning out of it.
Wherever you go.

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Posted: 24 October 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s a tough situation. I wish I could offer some wisdom, but being married to a Christian puts you in a bind. At least it sounds like the people at your church are reasonable and fairly open-minded. Keep in mind there is no reason you cannot be friends with Christians. Good luck.

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Posted: 25 October 2013 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you to you both for the thoughtful replies!  I do know I need a bit of a break from the “church atmosphere” to figure some things out.  I ultimately want to find what is really true (in as much that can be found).  I appreciate the encouragement and will do my best to maintain a balance of keeping the meaningful relationships and also thinking freely.  I’ve written out an email to the CFI in my area in hopes of connecting with people with other perspectives.  Thanks again!

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Posted: 25 October 2013 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Truth seeker:

You are in a tough situation; hang in there.  Vyazma’s advise is good.  If you can’t find anything else I think you can find some support here, even if it isn’t face to face.  Good luck.

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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 25 October 2013 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Welcome Truthseeker,

There are several secular websites, CFI being one of them, where these questions can be discussed freely without controversy, as long as the questions and propositions are sincere and with a willingness to actually do some research on the subjects under discussion.

You will find a wondrous universe which seems to function quite well without the need for ritualized worship or obeisance to a greater sentience. But you will find that skeptics (even atheists) have deep respect and appreciation for the world around them. The trick is to channel this emotional connectedness into acquiring knowledge of how things actually work and not by reading a scientifically incorrect bible, which actually is a compilation of philosophical and allegorical stories, some of which are valuable and useful in everyday life, some of which are just plain wrong and bring confusion an doubt, which is where you seem to be at this time.

IMO, “organized religions” by nature are restrictive as they require a specific ritual that demands blind acceptance and obedience to biblical history. Personally I believe in a greater Wholeness with infinite Potential, which is causal, but not sentient of itself and which is in constant flux allowing for things to “emerge”  freely, sometimes orderly (H2O = water) but often chaotically (Supernova).  This is a process of constant change and conversion from one state to another, sometimes destructive in one way but creative in other ways.

An example may be found in the precious metal “gold”. It takes the pressures and temperatures of a supernova (possibly a collision of neutron stars) to create gold, thus the destruction of a star creates the precious metal gold (among a host of other elements and energies) all adding up to the same value as the original state (conservation of energy).

So, to me it comes down to a matter of focusing attention to the greater wholeness and escaping the bonds of religion, which is designed to control knowledge as a tool to maintain social order.

I am a layman in science and philosophy, but since joining CFI I have expanded my world view and am eager to continue to investigate and learn more about the great mysteries of the universe. Read some of the threads and you will find all kinds of information that may peak your curiosity.

[ Edited: 25 October 2013 03:09 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 October 2013 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks again to all who are sharing their thoughts and ideas with me.  I was able to make it to a CFI group for the first time today while my family was at church.  It was, for the most part, a very positive experience and I appreciated very much the openness and the discussion that took place.  I was also able to talk with a few people one on one afterward which was very helpful to me particularly because I crave that “personal” interaction- I think this is what kept me in the church so long.  I will continue on this journey and will be reading more on the forum here to gain perspective. 

By the way, I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve been going through including Hope after Faith, The God Virus, Raising Freethinkers as well as some others.  I welcome any recommendations that have helped you all in your journeys.  Right now I am open to material from ANY viewpoint including Athiest/agnostic OR Christian/religious/spirituality.  As long as a book is intelligent and thought provoking, I am ready and willing to appreciate the perspective.  Thanks again everyone for your valuable thoughts!

Daniel

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Posted: 27 October 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well Truthseeker,
Be with your family first.

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Posted: 27 October 2013 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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truthseeker - 24 October 2013 06:53 AM

Hi everyone,
I have to admit that even writing here is a scary step for a timid, introverted, uncertain 32 year old guy.  I was raised in the church and was led to believe that atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanist, freethinkers etc etc were “bad” and “wrong” and “scary.”  My journey through the last several years however is shaping me into exactly who I was warned about… pretty scary.  I find though that I’m actually being liberated in so so many ways.  My wife (who is holding strongly to her Christian beliefs and experiences) has recently told me that I’ve been a much better husband and father since I’ve stepped away from the church, religion and the whole “package.”  I don’t know how to reconcile this with the things I’ve been taught and the things that 99% of my family and friends still believe.  I’ve also got 2 kids.  We all continued in the church until a couple of weeks ago.  Now I am taking steps to “get some space” from this system of belief, but I so value the relationships I’ve built there.  When I briefly explained my journey to my closest church friends, they were warm, accepting and supportive which really makes it that much more difficult.  The church I was a part of was not one of the “fire and brimstone” fundamentalist churches.  Questions are doubts are encouraged and welcomed.  The problem is, questioning for me doesn’t end within Christian framework.  I could go on explaining more, but the point is, I need support and a community.  This is what kept me in the church for so long- community and friends.  How can I get started with this?  I’m in the Grand Rapids area (Michigan)

Thanks!

Daniel

For community you might try these places.


http://www.cfimichigan.org/

http://www.meetup.com/Grand-Rapids-Freethinkers/

Lois

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Posted: 29 October 2013 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I wish I had “the” answer you seek in your search for the comfort you feel in fellowdhip but I don’t.

An alternative you may wish to explore is the Uniterian Universalist of Congregations.  Why?  Because most of them refer to themselves as fellowships rather than churches and follow no dogma what so ever.  I don’t know if this is something you are seeking but I think it would be worth looking into. In any event, good luck in finding what you seek.

Uniterian Universalist Assoc. of Congregations
25 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108   http://www.uua.org

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Posted: 29 October 2013 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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deros - 29 October 2013 04:28 AM

I wish I had “the” answer you seek in your search for the comfort you feel in fellowdhip but I don’t.

An alternative you may wish to explore is the Uniterian Universalist of Congregations.  Why?  Because most of them refer to themselves as fellowships rather than churches and follow no dogma what so ever.  I don’t know if this is something you are seeking but I think it would be worth looking into. In any event, good luck in finding what you seek.

Uniterian Universalist Assoc. of Congregations
25 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108   http://www.uua.org

I was going to say the same thing.

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Posted: 29 October 2013 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’ve followed the Reasonable Doubts podcast and have CFI Michigan on facebook, even though I’m a couple states away. They seem like a very well organized group of fun people, so you’re lucky there. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was coming to town last I checked.

As for the mixed marriage, Dale McGowan has a book coming out on that subject. My wife and I participated in the online survey he will use for it. Sounds like you are already finding that morals aren’t the sole domain of churches. That’s an important step.

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