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The Price of Freedom

By Deep Blue Sky ~

I stumbled onto this site through a Google search about three months ago. It was about the time I was beginning to seriously consider giving up Christianity but feeling very unsure of where that would lead me and who I would be afterward.

I have since de-converted but those feelings are still the best description of where I am in life right now. Please let me explain.

My family converted to a form of Pentecostal Christianity from a Buddhist/Hindu background when I was 11. Ever since then I’ve been heavily involved with church: attending services and home groups, participating in setting up, the worship team and am a young leader at my church. However the major changes came four years after our initial conversion, when we moved to a different church.

Our new church was home to an even stronger brand of Pentecostal biblical literalism, an obsession with spiritual experiences, demonic activity, the apocalypse and anything to do with Israel.

I was 15 then and their radical message prompted me to seriously give my heart to Jesus for the first time. That was the beginning of my transformation into a hardcore fundamental Christian and a series of mistakes that have done more damage than I could have imagined at the time.

My main mistake was to estrange myself from my friends, under the impression that I was keeping myself ‘unspotted from the world’ and devoting more of my time to pursue God. Hence for the last few years of high school I had very few friends and an unhealthy lack of social interaction. That coupled with prejudices taught by my mother and church were the main contributions to my current problems with what I think is a form of social anxiety disorder.

I’d really appreciate your input on whether or not we should come out about our de-conversionAnother thing I did was regularly debate topics of science and faith with unbelieving friends. It was these debates and my interest in science that helped me develop a critical approach to my faith and a belief that faith must be reconciled with science.

A lot of my arguments with friends centred on evolution. However, I never thought of scientific arguments as a significant threat to my faith because my view was that science could never fully prove or disprove the existence of God.

The first arguments that I did perceive as real threats to my faith were attacks on the inerrancy of the Bible (e.g. Judas Iscariot’s death(s)) and morality in the Bible (e.g. slavery, women’s rights, hell). I was never able to resolve these completely but explained them away as minor copying errors and by choosing to believe in the ultimate goodness of God’s plan for humanity.

However, I knew deep down these answers didn’t solve the problem. After a few months of mulling on this, a question entered my mind: If I ever had to choose, would I choose Truth or Christianity? I couldn’t answer but through this time my social anxiety and other personal problems were continuing to worsen and answers to prayer were nowhere to be found.

About six months after the end of high school and into University, I was nearing the end of my rope and decided to investigate the possibility that the bible did contain its authors’ views to a degree, hence explaining the seemingly unjust views of God in the Old Testament.

So I borrowed a few books from my library which thoroughly disproved any notion that the Bible was inerrant. They made sense of the countless confusing and conflicting laws and portions of the Bible by revealing its very human, tribal and political origins.

What’s more, I found a documentary by the quantum physicist Amit Goswami called ‘the quantum activist’ that gave me a whole new perspective on explaining faith and the supernatural scientifically.

This was the climax of my search; I had found a framework to explain faith and dispelled the myths that were holding me back from realising a greater picture of truth and reality. I chose Truth over Christianity. With that, the dam holding back the flood of the continued disappointment, confusion and pain I had been experiencing in my faith broke, and I realised: I don’t need to take this crap from something that’s never been real in the first place.

So here I now am in the present, struggling to live with social anxiety, personal problems that have me stumped and a church and mother who in no way sympathise with the path I’ve travelled. In my heart I feel that I need to move forward and keep getting rid of the negatives in my life, which means coming out with my de-conversion. However, if I do that the situation at home will probably become a state of constant tension.

That’s the last thing I want because it would divide my mother (she’s a single parent) and I and leave my little brother stuck in the middle. That’s not a good environment for him to grow up in at his age (14), though thankfully I’ve managed to help my brother de-convert too. But I can’t keep wasting my time and effort on religion, pretending that I believe and giving in to their irrational demands. Another factor is that If I stopped going to church, I would be very isolated socially, simply because my disorder or whatever it is has kept me from making friends at university. I plan to undertake some kind of counselling if I can, volunteering and hobby-related activities with the time freed from church.

It’s not much of a plan, just assorted options and ideas that I don’t know how effectively I’ll follow through on. I’m wondering whether I’ll be able to hold myself up after leaving Christianity. Church has been such a big part of our lives and I know I want to keep my brother involved with a community once we’ve left it. The only thing is, how do we leave?

I’m planning on writing an email to my pastors and simply telling my mother. That should then lead to a confrontation with her and to my pastors holding talks with me and my brother. After that, I don’t know what will happen.

My mother is what I’m worried about. She’s devoted to my brother and I, but even more so to Christianity. I don’t know how she’d bear believing her sons were damned or feeling alienated from her children as a single parent – that’s got to be hell.

Thank you for reading all this and if you have any advice whatsoever please leave a comment, I’d really appreciate your input on whether or not we should come out about our de-conversion, how you came out about yours, dealing with related issues etc.