Ex United Pentecostal here!
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13-11-2013, 12:51 PM
Ex United Pentecostal here!
Hey, everyone!

I'm not sure if this is a good place to leave a lot on the table, but it's weighing on me, and I'm an open person normally.

I'm in Texas, and I'm a former member of the United Pentecostal Church. To be fair, it's been years since I've attended (about 8 or 9 years now).

I found the site because I found the Dogma Debate podcast, then heard Seth on there. Yesterday's show (about coming out) got me inspired to write on here.

I'm 37, and when I was 16, my mother passed away. My parents were devout (strict) Baptists before I came along, but I was raised semi-non-religious. We went on the holidays, that was about it. When my mom died, I needed something. Some friends at school attended a Pentecostal church, so I started going with them. It was a United Pentecostal Church, but they were a little more liberal than most. A lot of the women cut their hair on the side and wore a little makeup. But I became so entrenched in the idea of fundamentalism concerning the Bible, that when my pastor started backing away from the UPC, a bunch of families, including myself, went to a neighboring church that was more fundamentalist.

Around the age of 26, I decided I wanted to attend Bible school. I went to the Texas UPC Bible College for a semester with my eye on preaching. However, what ended up happening was the same as I've heard David Smalley speak of. I got so close to understanding the Bible, that I realized it was all silly.

I remained in the city where the Bible college was for the remainder of the year, and attended church faithfully (I'm also a musician, so I helped in that area, too). When I returned home in 2000, I continued going to my home church, but after being gone a year, I felt like I was a stranger there.

Being a stranger at home, made it far easier to stop attending. However, what made it difficult, is that I've worked for a family-owned company since 1996. That family is a UPC family. And get this, I still work there.

Since then, I've done a few hypocritical things. I played in a band that was predominately made up of Christians (not a Christian band, though) for 8 years, and none of them knew that I was completely faking it for the last 7 years. We disbanded 4 years ago, but no one even knew then.

Concerning my work situation, a lot of the UPC family still works there. And I've worked with half of the employees for 16 years. No one there knows that I've considered myself an atheist for about 3 years now. Once I decided I was an atheist, I realized I'd probably been one for 5 years before that. I haven't come out in public yet. The UPC people I work with have switched churches, so it's not so much a feeling of disloyalty to a certain church or pastor. It's more that I don't want to deal with the looks of concern, or knowing that I'm being discussed behind my back about it.

Beyond work, I'm on facebook with about 370 people. About 1/4 of them are UPC or a slight variation due to wanting to cut their hair but still speak in tongues. The non believers of my 370 friends make up about 1/16 of them.

I got married a year and a half ago. Luckily, my wife was raised by 2 "believers" who never attended church. Sometimes I mention things to her about the Bible, that I consider basic biblical knowledge, and she looks at me confused. She's one of the few people that know I'm an atheist. She doesn't really consider herself anything, because she doesn't believe the bible, but she gets sad thinking that this is all there is to it. We have discussions on it, and when it's about deconstructing the bible and religion, she's right there with me. She just doesn't enjoy the afterlife parts. Either way, we're both completely happy and madly in love, and I don't have to hide anything from her, thankfully.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. You now know a LOT about me, minus my name of course.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week!
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13-11-2013, 12:52 PM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
Welcome aboard!

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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13-11-2013, 12:57 PM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
I wish more people would actually read the bible! Tongue

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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13-11-2013, 01:18 PM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
I should clarify about my in-laws. While they don't seem religious, they've told my wife that they are sometimes sad that they didn't take her to church more and that they feel like now that she's married to me, someone who doesn't go to church, that she never will. She always responds to this with "we've NEVER gone to church, it shouldn't be an issue now that I'm 30 and you guys still don't go."

Sometimes I worry that if I openly called myself an atheist, it could make her parents resent me. Don't get me wrong, they are amazing to me. I consider them more family than my own. I just don't want to be the guy that de-Jesused their daughter, even though she didn't know who he was the first time she saw a statue of him.
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14-11-2013, 12:44 AM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
Quite the story. Anyhow, I hope you find this place interesting enough to stick around a while. Glad to have you on board.

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14-11-2013, 01:23 AM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
Hello from also in Texas! I enjoyed your story. Glad to see that you were able to escape religious thinking despite being in the thick of it.
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14-11-2013, 01:59 AM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
(13-11-2013 12:51 PM)TExPC Wrote:  Luckily, my wife was raised by 2 "believers" who never attended church. Sometimes I mention things to her about the Bible, that I consider basic biblical knowledge, and she looks at me confused. She's one of the few people that know I'm an atheist. She doesn't really consider herself anything, because she doesn't believe the bible, but she gets sad thinking that this is all there is to it. We have discussions on it, and when it's about deconstructing the bible and religion, she's right there with me.

Wow. I am right there with you, describes my wife well. She wasn't raised "religious" though both her mom and dad are "believers". Her dad is excommunicated from the mormon church (originally from Utah) and her mom used to get dropped off at church on Sunday by her parents while they went home (she's just a bit disillusioned about organized religion) so she was never forced into any dogma. But they both have "faith".

She never really gave it much thought until I went through my deconversion pretty much right in front of her (I drove her batty from all the shit I would be into that she didn't understand or even care about) but she's cool with the why and how. And she finally realizes why it's such a big deal to me (a preacher's kid) to come to the conclusion that I did.

She was kinda sad at first, didn't know what to think about it, because she had a generic hope or belief in a good god and whatnot, it just was difficult for her to have to think about there not being a greater meaning to life. But we're good now. Well, we were always good, but now we're better. Thumbsup

Sorry, I'm rambling. Just good to hear a story close to mine. Welcome man.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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14-11-2013, 10:58 AM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
(14-11-2013 01:59 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  
(13-11-2013 12:51 PM)TExPC Wrote:  Luckily, my wife was raised by 2 "believers" who never attended church. Sometimes I mention things to her about the Bible, that I consider basic biblical knowledge, and she looks at me confused. She's one of the few people that know I'm an atheist. She doesn't really consider herself anything, because she doesn't believe the bible, but she gets sad thinking that this is all there is to it. We have discussions on it, and when it's about deconstructing the bible and religion, she's right there with me.

Wow. I am right there with you, describes my wife well. She wasn't raised "religious" though both her mom and dad are "believers". Her dad is excommunicated from the mormon church (originally from Utah) and her mom used to get dropped off at church on Sunday by her parents while they went home (she's just a bit disillusioned about organized religion) so she was never forced into any dogma. But they both have "faith".

She never really gave it much thought until I went through my deconversion pretty much right in front of her (I drove her batty from all the shit I would be into that she didn't understand or even care about) but she's cool with the why and how. And she finally realizes why it's such a big deal to me (a preacher's kid) to come to the conclusion that I did.

She was kinda sad at first, didn't know what to think about it, because she had a generic hope or belief in a good god and whatnot, it just was difficult for her to have to think about there not being a greater meaning to life. But we're good now. Well, we were always good, but now we're better. Thumbsup

Sorry, I'm rambling. Just good to hear a story close to mine. Welcome man.

That's exactly it! When my wife and I met, I was non-religious, but in the past year and a half, I've been really outspoken (with her) about my atheism. She's been forced to listen to my ramblings about Jerry Dewitt, etc. She chimes in with the occasional "the Bible says that??", but other than that, I'm certain I'm more into the debunking aspect of it than she is. But she's so supportive.
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14-11-2013, 11:06 AM (This post was last modified: 14-11-2013 11:10 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
United Pentecostal ... is that like ACME Pentecostal ?
I'm from Snooty Episcopalian.
Nice to meet you.
(Missed being RC by a "mistake". The priest forgot to make my dad sign the paper before the wedding,
promising to raise us RC, and afterwards, he said "too late now") Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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14-11-2013, 11:24 AM
RE: Ex United Pentecostal here!
(14-11-2013 11:06 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  United Pentecostal ... is that like ACME Pentecostal ?
I'm from Snooty Episcopalian.
Nice to meet you.
(Missed being RC by a "mistake". The priest forgot to make my dad sign the paper before the wedding,
promising to raise us RC, and afterwards, he said "too late now") Tongue

You know, I'm not sure about the ACME thing. The UPC is an organization that's what they call "Oneness", meaning they baptize in Jesus name, rather than "father, son, holy ghost", they speak in tongues, they practice "Holiness" which is where the women don't cut their hair, wear makeup, wear jewelry, and wear skirts instead of pants. All men really have to do is avoid jewelry, keep their hair short, shave, and don't wear shorts. Many UPC churches are anti-television and movie theaters as well. The biggest difference between them and many denominations, is their denouncement of a "trinity", since it's never mentioned in the bible.
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