Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Blog Comment That Absolutely Haunts Me

I have a habit of going back to blog posts that I have read, and checking to see if there are any new comments there.

 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.

That hurts.

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 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? 


  1. When you leave (or are left by) people in your former faith community, the Unitarian church is a good place to start. You may also want to tap into local atheist/secular humanist groups.

    That comment reminded me of an ugly fact -- too many Christians put on a smiling face to convert people, or keep converts in the fold. If someone fails to become Christian, or leaves the faith, that smiling niceness wears off REAL quick.

    1. I think many in the congregation will just slowly drift away from me, or become real concerned for my soul, and try to get me to come back. Others may just see it as a phase, a spiritual wandering, and I'll come back around.

      The only one who will truly be hostile are the family, both because of controlling attitudes (you belong to us, you can't make decisions of your own), but they'll also take it as personal rejection, a slap in their face, by rejecting everything that they are, and taught me to believe.

  2. I started crying while reading this. No one deserves to be alone.

    All my hope to you that you can (and will!) find a support group in your area.

  3. Wish I had any answers to share. I haven't come out with my deconversion, but in my case most of the time I can avoid faking that I'm still a Christian. But avoidance requires a lot of distancing on my own part, and it's really tough, especially because I'm staying home with my little kids right now, not really out involved with people nearly as much as I'd like, and I really could use more social support than I have. I rely on my mother for socialization more than I'd like for being a 30-year-old and even with her I keep my atheism a secret. Meeting new people is sometimes difficult for me anyway, and now I have this concern that I'll just end up meeting more Christians by accident! I guess it wouldn't matter too much except that I try hard to keep my kids from being evangelized. They're old enough to ask all the questions but young enough to believe anything, and I know the Christian kids their age are all trained up to be little missionaries... Maybe I am a little paranoid, but I feel like my life could have been so different had I not been brainwashed as a little kid, and I want something better for my kids.

    Not to mention, I was never really good enough for the Christians even when I still was one, but that's a whole nother rant, lol.

  4. Wow, that's hard. I can so relate. Sadly, my friends are almost all still conservative except a couple close ones, and even there, they still hang out in the churches as I mentioned. In my case because I'm still a Christian, its harder for me to separate myself from that culture. I think for you, a unitarian church would do.

  5. I lost everyone too. I'm trying to believe that admitting the truth is worth it. And I know I couldn't have kept pretending to be a christian - I pretended for years. But it has hurt and continues to hurt. I relate to that writer. I relate to you. I relate to C above. I wish we could all sit in a room together and share our stories.

  6. "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 cried uncontrollably for 45 minutes one time when the wife and I were doing marriage counseling. I am a better person for it.

    1. I suppose it could be good to just let it all out. I hope I don't end up with a repeat of what happened 5 years ago, a complete breakdown.....

  7. Another place to look is to find something you enjoy (anime, history, comic books, literature, insert interest / passion here) and use those shared interests to join or build yourself a new community. For me (a colossal history nerd) the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is that community. There are so many good, worthwhile people out there, in all walks of life and states of un/belief. You don't have to feel like church is the only way to have those kind of bonds.

  8. Sympathy. There's lots of upheaval that goes with deconversion, and yes, one part of that is having to deal with a completely different context for friendships, even the ones that survive. I second the idea that you should find an interest (or two) to throw yourself into.

    I find one of the strangest and hardest things is when I meet old friends from church, especially people who don't know what's been going on with me recently. In the usual exchange of pleasantries in passing, they obviously assume that I believe just the same as before, but it doesn't really seem the right time to set them straight. Awkward.

    1. I'm sure. I guess I've lived so long in the fundamentalist world that I still give off that vibe. I've had co-workers that think I'm still a religious guy, and were surprised when I told them differently.

  9. It may take time, especially if your friendship base was firmly in your fundamentalist path. Leaving Christianity allowed me to accept and befriend many in the workplace that I wouldn't have, otherwise. It also has enabled me to meet other bloggers and their friends, personally. We have plenty of friends in our neighborhood, as well.

    Quite frankly, my wife is the outgoing one, and me, even though I can easily be the life of the party, am perfectly happy to sit at home and do nothing. Or even cultivate a few deep friendships and enjoy sitting and talking with them for hours on end.

    Different cities also have groups that organize get togethers for singles, or old people, or atheists, or anyone really. You can even pretend to be married and go ham it up with a bunch of folks.

    Sticking your neck out and doing things you wouldn't otherwise do is also a good way to meet people. Volunteering. You get the drift.

    Good luck!

  10. Intense :(

    Being lonely sucks, that comment was really hard to read. I hope everything works out for you in the future Sheldon.

    I'll echo what was said above, you might want to try to find some friends through a hobby. I've met friends playing tennis, also talking to people walking their dog while I was walking mine. It's hard because it requires me being more outgoing than I usually am, but forcing myself out of my normal comfort zone is actually a good thing.

  11. Great post. I just located your blog and wished to let you know that I have certainly loved reading your blogs. At any rate I’m going to be subscribing to your feed and I really hope you are writing again soon.


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