Ask a Two Cult Survivor
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10-03-2014, 02:39 PM
RE: Ask a Two Cult Survivor
(09-03-2014 10:15 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Atheist

*Ding ding ding* we got a winner, what does he win Johnny? A life of truth free of delusion! Thumbsup

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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10-03-2014, 02:40 PM
RE: Ask a Two Cult Survivor

  1. What are the 2 cults?
  2. Why did you leave the first?
  3. Why did you joined the second?
  4. Why did you leave the second?
  5. How did you start believing in a god?
  6. How did you stop believing in a god?
  7. Do your parents still believe in god?
  8. Why do they believe?
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11-03-2014, 11:03 AM
RE: Ask a Two Cult Survivor
(10-03-2014 02:37 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(07-03-2014 12:12 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I wanted to change the name of the previous thread I started, but apparently you can't do that after too much time passes. I think the previous thread title was unclear about what I was trying to do, so I figured, what the heck, start a new thread with a new title that was more clear.

Looking forward to more questions and discussions.

you fell for TWO cults? The first experience didnt light off any warning bells in your head? Facepalm

I kid i kid....mostly Confused

The first one was not my fault, either entering or, for practical purposes, leaving. I followed the faith of my parents, which is not at all unusual. When they left, I left, but not out of dissatisfaction. They divorced. Against the rules. Bye bye.

The second cult, I have to take full responsibility for. I was 18, hungry, and satisfied with what I thought was a religion that made sense. Took me a long time to shake that BS off and get the smell out of my wardrobe.
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11-03-2014, 11:09 AM
RE: Ask a Two Cult Survivor
(10-03-2014 02:40 PM)donotwant Wrote:  
  1. What are the 2 cults?
  2. Why did you leave the first?
  3. Why did you joined the second?
  4. Why did you leave the second?
  5. How did you start believing in a god?
  6. How did you stop believing in a god?
  7. Do your parents still believe in god?
  8. Why do they believe?

1. The two cults were Jehovah's Witnesses and The Way International (I refer you to the previous thread, linked in the OP.
2. I left the first because my parents divorced when I was 12. Divorce is against the rules.
3/4. I joined the second because a friend talked me into it and I liked its sense of personal freedom, especially in comparison to the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was not aware of the dark side of the Way International until long after I left. I left in phases: the cult splintered in late 1989, and I associated with splinter groups for about a decade afterward. From there, I started attending mainstream churches, never really feeling like I fit in. I recognized myself as an atheist in August 2012.

Please see: Seeing the Dark

5. I started believing in God because Mom and Dad said so and they are always right.
6. A key part of my answer to number 5 was bullshit.
7. My parents still believe in God.
8. They're masochists.
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11-03-2014, 11:26 AM
RE: Ask a Two Cult Survivor
I thought I'd repost this: originally posted on Share Your Deconversion Story:



August, 2012.

My sister was on her deathbed, ending a five-year struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS = Lou Gehrig's Disease). This was in the back of my mind. She lived a thousand miles away. I knew the end was near for her, but did not know how close it was.

For years I had struggled with my faith as a born again Christian (albeit an unorthodox one). Already I had come to the conclusion that the Bible was fallible, but I clinged to the notion that God could have revealed Himself to people who got the main gist while maybe mucking up some details. I accepted Bible contradictions as a combination of human errors and divine paradoxes that I could not explain yet could accept. For example, the question of whether believers are saved by works or by grace through faith vexes most Christians. I determined that God WANTED that struggle within each of us to underscore the need to do good works. Good works were necessary, I reasoned, if not FOR salvation, then in response to it.

My rationalization led me to put off my eventual deconversion.

But it was inevitable. One by one, I reasoned that the Bible's accounts of history were irredeemably false. Adam and Eve. Noah's Flood. The Egyptian captivity. All demonstrably, historically false. Unsupportable. The book of Job? Unspeakably cruel if history. It works only as a fable, and thus must be one. It's a story told to teach a lesson. There was no poor sap who had to live through this, and God would not be so cold-hearted as to allow the death of a man's children to prove a point, only to make it up to him by giving more children later in life. That barely works with puppies. It sure as hell doesn't work with kids. No, Job, like those other stories, could not be literally true.

But there was one thing that kept me hanging on: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men who were in a position to know for a FACT whether Jesus was seen in bodily form, alive, after the crucifixion, went to their deaths rather than renounce this belief. Many people are willing to die for a lie, but you'd be hard put to find someone willing to die for something they KNOW is a lie. The jig is up at that point. At that point, you confess.

No. The martryrdom of the early church is history's best evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So I held onto the resurrection, and as such, I held onto Christianity.

I could not square the truth of the resurrection with the falseness of the Old Testament historical record. I would have to ask God about that later.

In the meantime, because I often held unorthodox views, I was always wary of mainstream Christianity, particularly its effort to influence law and public policy. So I often took the side of non-believers in matters of public policy. No Ten Commandments in the courthouse, I argued. If it means so much to you, put the monument in your own house. No pledge of allegiance in the schools! We are not one nation UNDER GOD as a matter of public policy, and SHAME on you for forcing other people's children to declare it! If my God needs my government to thrive, then my God is weak indeed!

And then there was the issue of gay rights. This, I struggled with greatly. I always believed being gay was a choice (but never noticed that being straight was not). Homosexuality was rebellion against God. But I could think of no secular reason to deprive gays of the right to make that choice. So, grudgingly, I ceased being a teenage anti-gay bully and became a reluctant, half-hearted supporter of gay rights. If it's a choice, I had to concede gays' right to make that choice. If it's not a choice...

If it's not a choice...

IF??? it's not a choice?

It's not a choice?

It's not a choice.

And that recognition stabbed at the very heart of my theology. How do I reconcile the Bible's countless errors and blunders with the notion that it gives testament to an omniscient God. Because now people's right to be who they are, to love who they love, without my even HAVING a right to an opinion on the matter, was at stake. How could homosexuality be a sin if it's not a choice?

But there's always the resurrection. That happened. Can't deny it.

I started to question it, though. And in questioning it, I came back to my earlier justification: the martyrdom of the saints provided the best defense...

And how did I know the martyrdom of the saints took place? It's in the Bible. The same Bible with all those documentably false stories...

So I began a search for historical evidence to support the martyrdom of the saints in the first century church, the believers who would have known for a fact that Jesus did or did not rise from the dead.

And I knew, I just knew from the get-go what I was going to find.

Nothing. Not a scrap of historical evidence that the events recorded in the book of Acts took place. In fact, I found reasons to doubt the very existence of Jesus, never mind who he was. His birth, I learned, took place in two incompatible years (for Americans, I like to draw a picture of someone being born during the presidency of Richard Nixon and the Vice Presidency of Dan Quayle: a difficult proposition, considering those two time periods did not overlap).

The last belief connecting me to Christianity was gone. As atheists like to put it, I had finally gone one God further.

I did not play the agnostic game very long. I used to say no one could really be an atheist. At best we are agnostics, because we can't claim to know for a fact that there's no God. But I came to realize there's a difference between "knowing" and "believing." Believing leaves room to adjust one's views while drawing a conclusion based on information that's available now. I believed in God without knowing for a fact He existed. I could just as easily believe there is no God, despite being unable to prove it conclusively. I KNOW that the position I embrace today is more consistent with available evidence than the faith I once held.

There is no God.

I wept, thinking of the wasted years. I smiled, realizing that shackles had fallen from my wrists and ankles.

I told a friend or two. They welcomed me into the freethinking fold.

And then my sister died.

(This story pics up on the thread My First Funeral as an Atheist)
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