I went back to a blog post recently by Incongruous Circumspection about Christians claiming that if you leave Christianity, you were never a true Christian. I saw a long comment from a someone who goes by "TreasureSeeker", it's something that is haunting to me as a former fundamentalist:
I want to comment, I really do. But I don't know where to begin.
Why? Because I hurt. I'm mad. I want to punch something through a wall.
I believed in something once. I believed in the good of what I thought people were doing. And it has been shown to be perverted. And those people think they are so flipping holy and good.
I need to renew my passport. I would have asked one of my friends to be on it as a reference. But that person who I once called my best friend, is nowhere to be found. In fact, none of the people I once was around, largely from my former church, is around any more.
Aside from my wife, all but one, gone.
And tomorrow I have to go to my department head to see if he'll be on my passport renewal form. If not him, then one of our HR people.
It hurts because I have to face the fact that I'm ranting on a blog of a person I barely know. Because the people who are now closest to me I've only met online via facebook. Because I exist, and there are others whose faith and reasons for leaving faith are so easily dismissed by "holier than thou's". Because those so-called friends of mine are so easily wrapped up in people like Driscoll. They'll serve a couple times a year at a soup kitchen but snub people in their church whose family lives don't match up to the "standards". Because the people whose statuses and blogs I read wouldn't be welcome once the dirty truths were out. And that offends my logic and sensibilities.
It hurts because the very people I used to lean on, I can't say anything to. Because tonight I miss one of my best friends. And he's to effing holy to get his hands dirty. He doesn't even check facebook and is so out of touch with the real world... and he didn't used to be this way.
I want to say good riddance to some of their memories. But it's hard to say goodbye. Some of them were good friends but it hurts to be dismissed, left alone, and basically hung out to dry.
Effing DAMN the dismissers. I wish they would be some effing good or else shut up. Agnostics, atheists, believers... they're effing human too, and some are effing good ones.
This comment scares me, it really does. In about 6 months to a year, I will be financially secure (and hopefully) emotionally secure enough to leave behind my frustrating but necessary cover as the Undercover Agnostic, and I worried about many different aspects of it. I've already left behind the beliefs, and had my time of mourning over giving up my former beliefs, and the life foundation that went with that.
Looking forward though, I'm scared that I'll end up repeating the past, I've learned from what happened in that fateful year in my life, and now I know better. I know one of the first things I should do is get help for the depression, be it counseling and/or medication, but I'm still worried that it might overwhelm me. I guess it's a fear of failure, I can't afford to have that happen again.
What the person said in their comment on Incongruous Circumspection really struck a chord with me. There isn't really that many people I'm close to in the fundamentalist world I still find myself surrounded by, a lot of acquaintances I have known for years, but few actual friends. I've started to drift apart from the few friends I did have in that world, especially Sam and Rose.
Though a very small number of these do know about my giving up the faith, once I'm out of the fundamentalist world, me and these few people will probably drift apart even further. Then there's the matter of family.... When I finally come out to them, I know they won't accept me for who I am. They'll see it as "a phase" or "rebelling" as though I still a child, even though it's been 3 years since I gave up my former Christian beliefs, (and I don't regret it all), and I'm 24 years old.
It will probably end up with me having to distance myself from them, or cut them out of my life completely, just to keep my sanity. Then who am I left with? Sure, online atheism and ex-fundamentalist support communities are great, like ex-christian.net are great, (maybe I should return there), and blogging really has been a big release, but what about a community, actual in person groups?
Should I seek out atheism groups in my area? Should I try the Unitarian church? (I suppose it wouldn't hurt anything to learn more about different religions, and I've heard they are friendly to atheists).
I just don't know what I'll do after coming out, I know I need to start over again, new connections, but I know that's going to be hard the way my mind is, in trying to relate to people.
Sometimes, I think I'm stressing myself out too much over this, (especially since it's not going to happen immediately), and sometimes I think I'm not planning enough. What do you think?