User Tag List

First 345

Results 41 to 50 of 50

  1. #41
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?

    Well, a bit of background: I became saved when I was five (I still remember praying the prayer and the room I was in and what the gist of the prayer was) and was raised within a variety of Christian protestant denominations, although the one that has had the most overall impact on me would what is known today as "evangelical" (with Baptist undertones) flavor.

    As a natural process of getting older and of my personality, while I kept peace outwardly (due to self-doubts and wanting to be fair and recognizing I didn't know things for sure), I always had issues with doctrine. At first, I thought it merely a matter of misunderstanding on my part and/or not educating myself, so for many many years the focus of my faith was intellectual... learn, read, understand, conceptualize. My spiritual gifts always came up as Teaching and Knowledge. I memorized scripture and read voraciously, I was reading Lewis by middle school, and always starting with the more conservative stuff; I read a lot of apologetics, hard questions materials (IVP, Henry Morris, anti-evolution materials in the early 90's, etc).

    Because of who I am, because I just can't deny ambiguities or ignore inconsistencies, I had to grapple with the hard questions; and the more I learned in adulthood (both knowledge-wise and also experientially), the more I found myself challenging the views of my subculture. I read all the stuff the hard right offered me, and for a time I believed it because I had nothing substantial to challenge it. But increasingly the faith as promoted did not make sense to me or seem to be as good a fit for real-life experience; it wasn't "true." And the more people I interacted with outside my subculture, the more information I gained that challenged my own understanding. I had a few massive depressive episodes throughout my life where my faith was shattered and then I'd rebuild

    While in reality my faith change was a gradual process of erosion of confidence in the old doctrines that I fought and challenged every step of the way, the major shift occurred when I was about 38, and I officially left my worship position in church and church itself about eight months later. At that point, I was so worn out and depressed that I felt like I was being bombarded and eroded by "groupthought" and just could no longer stand to be in that environment. I could no longer play the game of maintaining my standing in the organization/faith and still be true to what I had seen.

    While I have since begun attending church again (sporadically) about a year after I left, I just don't enjoy standard Bible study and the generic discussions that occur at church... it used to be my life, now it all seems contrived to me based on what I came to believe to be true. I can't go back, I can only go forward. However, I am still heavily sympathetic to religious people who are attempting to be authentic, faithful, and exhibit good fruit in their lives even if I disagree with their theology, and I'm not really fond of people who go to the other extreme and attack religion unfairly. To me, faith is a very complex and ambiguous issue.


    2. Do you think that if your faith had been presented in a different manner by your family or your church/synagogue/political system/science/etc it would have prevented you from choosing to leave? If you didn't buy it yourself, why do you think it didn't "take"? Was how you were treated a factor?

    Ultimately I think that if the faith had been presented differently, it would have hastened (not prevented) my movement away from evangelical Christianity to my current Christian agnosticism. The real difference (and benefit) to it lies more within my own sense of well-being and self-worth.

    For one, I would not have been as badly scarred by the transition. I felt like I was given no room to go within my faith... either I had to believe a particular doctrine, or else be labeled an apostate. I felt like I was not respected as an intelligent person in the sense of being able to openly discuss and challenge ideas... even if I handled disagreement in a respectful manner.

    I also might not have chosen to LEAVE the church; I really wanted to stay, but I felt that the strife resulting from other fervent beliefs pitted against my need to start vocalizing my disagreements would have been too destructive to the peace of the body at that time in my life. I couldn't handle it, and I felt it was too disruptive, and I actually don't much care to disrupt things.

    I would have also been able to move forward and figure out my own values and beliefs years before I did. I have a lot of "wasted time" in there where I struggled to hold onto truths that I no longer really believed or at least considered dubious, and it hindered personal growth.

    On the other hand, the difficulty in leaving the old frame of reference tempered and strengthened me. The weak die (physically or mentally); the strong survive. I feel myself to be a survivor, and at this point in my life there is little that frightens me... and I will not be imprisoned that way again, I will not permit myself to be dominated unfairly and have my own values and beliefs subverted or put down tacitly or openly.

    Put another way, I now have the strength to live what I believe.
    My faith and values did not come cheaply, I had to fight to become who I am.
    That resilience will be with me the rest of my life.


    3. How do you feel about it now? Are there any regrets? What have you gained?

    As much as my answer to #2 seems like a complaint in some ways, I don't know any other way for me to have moved forward, based on my situation and personality and upbringing. This is who I am; I like who I am now; therefore, i don't regret anything in that sense.

    Nor do I regret how hard I worked to treat my old subculture with dignity (preserving people's feelings) while fighting hard to respect my own. I made mistakes at times, but my intentions were good in how I interacted with people, I really did try to "love" even if I didn't understand everything, and so I preserved my integrity as well as as many relationships as I could, feasibly. I could have gotten out far sooner but I would have caused a lot of relational damage around me in the process, and instead I carried that burden and feel good about it... and strong.

    I have also gained a much clearer sense of self, and of my own strengths and weaknesses, and of my values (which I wasn't sure about in the past). My faith now is MINE, not anyone else's, and no one else will take it away from me. I also now know what I can live with and what I can't.


    4. How did it affect your relationship to your family and also impact the social circle you had?


    I lost pretty much my entire social culture, since church and family were all I had at the time... My circle of RL friends was small, almost all my relationships outside the fold were Internet at the time. I basically had to build a new support structure from scratch, at a time in my life when I was scared and exhausted. Not fun.

    I lost my position of church authority (worship leader) and even opportunities to teach. I had contributed both to the drama program and the educational programs in my church, but no longer.

    I lost the respect of religious people in my family. They used to look to me as a source of insight and even ask me to explain their doctrine TO them; now they treated me like an unbeliever and instead prayed for my soul. They never really grasped that I had moved forward, not back, and sometimes forward means going through the fire to reach a higher level of existence. I went where I had to go alone, aside from a few very very close friends who believed in me as a person.

    At this point, they still view me as an unbeliever, I think, since Christian agnosticism might as well be paganism in terms of the evangelical mindset of my family. I have had to accept that being myself has meant losing some closeness and trust in those family relationships.


    5. Has anything replaced your old faith?

    My new faith has, as well as a sense that I don't need to understand something or have all the answers in order to believe in it.

    Eastern-style thought is much more present in my outlook than before -- I can hold positions that seem contradictory to western minds (e.g., Christian agnosticism) without it bothering me, intellectually. The questions that I used to waste so much time on (e.g., "Does God exist?" or "What of evil?") no longer matter that much to me. Faith is a choice, not a compulsion.

    I find that I am far more content and positive without being certain of the old ideas of heaven, than I was when heaven was promised me, and I am far more apt to engage people day to day now and sacrifice for them out of love.

    That's really the big thing: I do things because I believe in them myself, not because I have to since my faith doesn't give me other options.
    I give because I want to.

    I feel if anything that I am an autonomous human being aligned with "God's heart" rather than a puppet of the strings that God is pulling.
    I act out of the character of who I am, rather than out of external compliance.

    I really don't seek to "serve man" anymore, I'm going to maintain my integrity and be true to my vision.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia
    Anyway, that's where I'm coming from and I find all of your responses very useful in formulating thoughts about how personality is a part of all this, what makes religion make sense to people, if people's attachment conscience plays into how they feel after making a big switch in faith, what factors make people leave their faith, what replaces it, and how they process the changes, including finding a new circle of people in their life or deal with family members who do not see it the same way. Thanks all of you for chiming in so far. Keep it coming!
    Thank you for sharing so openly about where you've been and how you're approaching this.

    Despite my approach here on this forum (where I seem to challenge the 'faith' perspective), inside I still tend to have a lot more in common with Christians than those without any beliefs whatsoever. I think the faith has been too indelibly written into who I am to be able to abandon it, I still tend to see the world through its eyes.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #42
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    9w1
    Socionics
    INFj None
    Posts
    9,827

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Just to clarify my position for those who may be wondering:

    [eerily familiar account]
    Your experience closely mirrors my own. I'm fortunate that I had already found my mate and we kind of evolved along the same path, but now I have guilt because I don't have my children in church because we just can't stand it. We've also come to be much more politically liberal and, as you observed, things are pretty polarized in the US. The whole thing leaves us feeling frustrated and distressed and almost ostracized.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  3. #43
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Posts
    3,619

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I think it depends on how wide your worldview is. If you start off with a small worldview, naturally you will change it as your view expands.

    But it seems to me that there are only three places from which to start expanding your worldview. And these three places correspond to the three civilizations extant today.

    And the three civilizations extant today are the Chinese civilization centred on Beijing, the Indian civilization centred in New Delhi and the Western civilization centred perhaps in Chicago.

    And our worldview grows as our education grows. In primary and secondary education we are learning what our culture is. And then in tertiary education we learn to transcend our very own culture.

    So first we learn our culture, then we transcend our culture, and then we can see our culture anew and we can refresh and recreate it.

    So it is a normal part of a good education to change your worldview as you grow and develop and become educated.

    And then you can contribute to the growth and development of your own culture.
    Yes.
    When you look out of the window, what it is you see?
    The worldview.
    It is the backyard and the street if you live in the suburb.
    If you live high up downtown, you can see the gulls and the coastline and brackwater.
    Even a church or two.

    These people here see only the church.
    You don't.
    So you give some of your vision to them. Good.

  4. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    MBTI
    INFP
    Posts
    669

    Default

    (Victor, your post did not make me angry, nor did I think you were being rude. I just wanted to understand what you were trying to say. I sometimes say things like, "I don't mean to be rude" because it's hard to assess tone from someone's message in text, and it's important to me to explain that I'm being sincere.)
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  5. #45
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    MBTI
    ESTP
    Posts
    1,446

    Default

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?

    How old was I? It wasn't a specific age, it happened over a period of time. Something like 18-21? A bunch of things prompted me I guess, but mostly I was just disatisfied with the typical expression of faith I'd been acquainted with and wanted something more. It also had very many oppressive and repressive aspects to it. I wanted to get outside of the box so I did.

    2. Do you think that if your faith had been presented in a different manner by your family or your church/synagogue/political system/science/etc it would have prevented you from choosing to leave? If you didn't buy it yourself, why do you think it didn't "take"? Was how you were treated a factor?

    I don't know whether you'd say I ever "left". There's a huge central element to Christianity that's only grown stronger with time, and that's what created the change. It wasn't that I left that element but I let it exert even more influence over me.

    The only way I would've never "left" (and I did leave in the sense of abandoning the traditional forms and mindset) is if what I came to find instead had been presented to me in the first place.

    3. How do you feel about it now? Are there any regrets? What have you gained?

    Absolutely no regrets, except not engaging others in my journey. I decided to just go independently but I might've gotten more results by interacting with others about it. At the same time I might've been discouraged on the path too soon by doing so. Kind of a double-edged sword either way, I guess.

    I've gained a mind of my own and way more freedom. I've lost the ability to be completely open with others about my beliefs and activities because it would create too much controversy too soon.

    4. How did it affect your relationship to your family and also impact the social circle you had?

    Oh, man. In some ways they've embraced it, in others they've been reserved. They respect my path but at the same time they seem to think the traditional way is still the way to go.

    5. Has anything replaced your old faith?

    Just a more intense faith. At this point though I feel as if I've become out of touch with it. That might only be a feeling, though. I struggle with staying on track A LOT. I've been waiting for the right opportunity to make a creative difference instead of just tearing the old forms apart, y'know? I'm not looking to create a struggle, but I want to initiate a new way of doing things among people who are open to that.

    If this is too broad, you are free to only answer one or two points.

    They were kind of vague questions, thus the vague responses. But if you want more specifics I guess you can ask.
    -stellar renegade
    coo-oo-ooool this madness down,
    stop it right on tiiiiime!


    Badass Promoter ESTPs:
    [sigpic][/sigpic]

  6. #46
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    ...So how do you feel when you read my incomprehensible post?
    Annoyed.

    Because on the rare occasion I know you've lost your cool, suddenly you start talking like a normal person. (So I know you're capable of it. It's not like you don't know how to do it.)

    As for me, I thrill to profound thoughts.

    And I thrill to people who can phrase profound thoughts in passionate, evocative ways.

    And I firmly believe that sometimes people have to wrestle with mystery and ambiguity in an argument in order to learn -- this is why Jesus used parables. Sometimes incomprehensibility is a necessary tool to instigate learning.

    But I don't much like it when people cling to a confusing style consistently in order to somehow validate themselves emotionally, because they can get others to then view them as profound or allows themselves to feel as if they truly are.

    To me, communication is meant to communicate, and sometimes that just means speaking clearly and concisely. If you're not communicating, then your words are like sounding brass or tinkling cymbal... pretty, but of little enduring value.

    This sort of game-playing is one reason church soured for me. People either spoke too plainly or not plainly enough, but it was all to validate something in themselves. It wasn't really about the truth at all.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #47
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    MBTI
    ESTP
    Enneagram
    6w5
    Socionics
    SLE
    Posts
    6,364

    Default

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?
    I was 19 when I openly announced my rejection of the Christian faith. I was prompted by years of thinking about the inconsistencies that I saw in the doctrine, the lack of personal spiritual feelings or needs, some philosophy classes, a lot of reading, and exacerbated hatred for my authoritarian (and most probably NPD) father, who force fed our family his "religion" since I was very young.

    2. Do you think that if your faith had been presented in a different manner by your family or your church/synagogue/political system/science/etc it would have prevented you from choosing to leave? If you didn't buy it yourself, why do you think it didn't "take"? Was how you were treated a factor?
    I don't think different presentation would have prevented my leaving "the faith," as I had non-emotional reasons to leave as well (probably first and foremost). I just think that maybe I'd have less of a bad taste left in my mouth. To answer the question directly, however, yes, how I was treated was a factor.

    3. How do you feel about it now? Are there any regrets? What have you gained?
    No regrets, as I wasn't losing anything by leaving. Except some flak from my parents. I've gained the ability to live without so much cognitive dissonance. And that is a comfort, even if not an immediately obvious one.

    4. How did it affect your relationship to your family and also impact the social circle you had?
    My family distrusts me on religious matters and thinks I'm poisoning my siblings against God. What they don't know is that one already identifies as an atheist and the other is a spiritual agnostic, and all without any prompting from me.

    Otherwise, though, besides their basic distrust of me as an atheist and an intellectual, it doesn't affect our interaction too much. It was already strained by other conflicts in the first place.

    5. Has anything replaced your old faith?
    No.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  8. #48
    Nickle Iron Silicone Charmed Justice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Posts
    2,808

    Default

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?

    I was raised with a fairly strict religious upbringing, and attended private Christian school for a long time. I remember being younger and having so many questions that no one could answer for me, but I refused to let things die. There were things that seemed illogical to me about what I understood the Bible to be saying, and I had a difficult time reconciling what I read and was told, with what was inside of my head and my heart. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that I just didn't believe it all, and had no reason to. I was about 18 when I began getting away from it all.



    2. Do you think that if your faith had been presented in a different manner by your family or your church/synagogue/political system/science/etc it would have prevented you from choosing to leave? If you didn't buy it yourself, why do you think it didn't "take"? Was how you were treated a factor?

    I'm not sure. My family was/is very religious, but also very open in many ways too. They like to party, and have a good hedonistic time, and then they go to church Sunday morning. I was never required to go to church as a kid, but I went so that I could socialize with friends.

    By contrast, I attended a strict Christian school in elementary-middle, and most of my friends couldn't even listen to "secular" music or watch "secular" shows. I was paddled a number of times for stupid shit during which I had to put my hand on the Bible and pray about the "sin" in my heart. I saw hypocrisy everywhere. One of my teacher's husbands was a Klan member, and she was incredibly racist. She would justify her racism with the Bible, and give me an incredibly hard time at school.

    Our middle school dance was canceled because a few guys asked me out(duh!), but the school had a policy against "interracial dating" that they said was biblically based. Writing this is actually getting me upset now, omg...lolz...Anyway though, that school def made me realize that no matter how Christian someone calls themselves, they aren't necessary "good" people. At least not good for me.

    I'm sure I still would've become agnostic in the end though, no matter what. When I read the Bible, my interpretation of it just doesn't rub me the right way. <----And no one else's does either, although I've kept a lot of the same friends who are still very religious. It's just not for me.

    3. How do you feel about it now? Are there any regrets? What have you gained?

    I'm glad I got bold enough to do what made sense to me. I have absolutely not one regret. I feel more "faithful" now actually. I operate with a much clearer head, and can reconcile my beliefs and my morals with the way I feel is the right way for me to live.


    4. How did it affect your relationship to your family and also impact the social circle you had?

    My mother hates it, and our relationship was strained for awhile because of it. She tries to force me to pray, and she buys me books on the sly that are Christian in nature. Like, last year she bought me a home decor book. I was so excited about it. Then I started reading it, and it started talking about how God would want us to decorate our houses. I should have known. Other than that, no one else in my family really knows. I prefer to keep it that way.

    5. Has anything replaced your old faith?

    I swing between pragmatic and spiritual agnosticism.

  9. #49
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    9 sp/sx
    Posts
    9,422

    Default

    My parents attempted to raise me as a christian but it just didn't really work for me.

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?
    I suppose it all started when I was 4 years old and got seriously angry at my parents for lying to me all my life about the existance of Sinterklaas (Santa Clause). I consciously decided that I did not want to believe in God (or rather said, I could not believe in God.) when I started high school which is at 12 years old in The Netherlands.


    2. Do you think that if your faith had been presented in a different manner by your family or your church/synagogue/political system/science/etc it would have prevented you from choosing to leave? If you didn't buy it yourself, why do you think it didn't "take"? Was how you were treated a factor?
    I think agnosticism is closest I could have gotten to any religion. Regardless of how I was raised. Although this is a tough question to answer. :P

    3. How do you feel about it now? Are there any regrets? What have you gained?
    No regrets, gained individuality.

    4. How did it affect your relationship to your family and also impact the social circle you had?
    Little to no adverse effects. My beliefs were as much respected as I respected theirs. My parents allowed me to make my own choices. They merely presented me with options.

    5. Has anything replaced your old faith?
    A better sense of what is right and wrong. Now not from a religious point of view. But from an individual point of view. Which, for me, is worth more.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  10. #50
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    MBTI
    ESTP
    Posts
    1,446

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    My parents attempted to raise me as a christian but it just didn't really work for me.

    1. What prompted you to make such a drastic change and how old were you?
    I suppose it all started when I was 4 years old and got seriously angry at my parents for lying to me all my life about the existance of Sinterklaas (Santa Clause). I consciously decided that I did not want to believe in God (or rather said, I could not believe in God.) when I started high school which is at 12 years old in The Netherlands.
    See, I've figured for awhile that lying to your kids about Santa Claus can have that kind of effect.

    If I tried to tell my kids about Santa Claus, it would probably go something like this:

    "Kids, when you're good, there's this man who lives at the North Pole who makes gifts all year and he slips them down your chimney Christmas Eve. He does this for all the good boys and girls..." *looks at them for only a moment before snickering a bit*
    "Daddy, is that for real or are you playing another prank on us?"
    "hahaha, sorry guys, it's just a joke parents play on their kids..."
    -stellar renegade
    coo-oo-ooool this madness down,
    stop it right on tiiiiime!


    Badass Promoter ESTPs:
    [sigpic][/sigpic]

Similar Threads

  1. For those of you who work, what is your effective tax rate?
    By ygolo in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 09-19-2012, 04:27 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-28-2007, 01:32 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO