Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
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03-07-2017, 10:13 AM
Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Hello! I'm ElenTikvah, feel free to call me Tik. Smile

I am a 40-something professional woman, who has recently realized that I am no longer a believer.

I was raised in Primitive Baptist church, attended private Christian school K-5 grades (ACE), then my parents began homeschooling my brothers and I until I graduated high school (Abeka, ATI).

For the next few years, I completed apprenticeship training as midwife in Texas and Arkansas, and during this time completed a six-month mission trip working at a birth center in the Philippines.

In 1994, I received permission from my father to attend college, obtained my nursing degree and eventually received an advanced degree.

Throughout my life, I have always known the Bible. Some of my earliest childhood memories are quoting large passages from the Bible as instructed by my mom as she talked with Jehovah's Witnesses at our door. When I was six years, I made a confession of faith and thus began my official life as a Christian.

Until ~2012, despite having gotten an advanced degree and working professionally, I had worked all my life to be good Christian woman, recognizing my place in the home under the authority of my father and husband. At this time, I read two books that were life changing. A Matter of Basic Principles, and Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James. During this time as well, I discovered Recovering Grace and began the difficult process of extricating myself from the cultic teachings of Bill Gothard. This was the first obvious step to my deconversion, though I did not know it at the time.

Looking back further, I can see the initial steps beginning with my investigation of Judaism in the early 2000's and eventual rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity in Fall 2013.

It was during this time, as well, that I became aware of some significant changes in the beliefs of my brothers. They had began to talk about belief in evolution, deism. Initially, this was a scary time for me because I was concerned for their eternal salvation (I still believed in Hell). Initially, NM was the most vocal and divergent, but after TN's divorce in 2015 he rather quickly rejected most of his residual beliefs of Christianity. Then earlier this year (2017), both began to verbalize non-belief in God.

During these 3-4 years, I wandered through varying stages of "heresy." I rejected the authenticity of the New Testament. I rejected the subjugation of women. I rejected the homophobia of western Christianity. I rejected the inerrancy of the Bible, and Young Earth Creationism (~2014, the Lost World of Genesis One). I rejected the idea of Hell. I rejected the title of "Christian." Throughout it all, I maintained my believe in the one Hebrew God of the Tanakh and that Yeshua was the messiah (though not divine). Interesting, as Barb Campolo described it, my God was looking more and more like myself, as I re-interpreted the Bible to fit my changing world view.

Since the November 2016 election (DJT/45), I found myself more and more discontent with any toleration of western Christianity. American Christianity had been forged into a political tool, rejecting any and all attributes of Christ-likeness. I found the label of "Christianity" harder and harder to endure. After leaving the church for about 10 years during/after medical school, I had returned (~2012) to find acceptance, love and grace in the United Methodist Church. Even then, I remained amazed at the biogtry and hatred that I saw expressed in members within our congregation and the Conference in general. It was during the lead up to the election that began to read the blogs of some progressive Christian writers (Benjamin Corey and John Pavlovitz primarily) and patheos. It was there that I began to move by leaps and bounds into "heresies" as described above.

In the Spring of 2017, as my brothers were moving more and more toward atheism, I began to watch/listen to videos/podcasts of Aron Ra, Seth Andrews, Bart Campolo. For several months, I struggled repeatedly with conflict between my mind and my heart. I had a lifelong belief and true faith in God, confirmed with many significant spiritual experiences. Granted my version of Christianity looked very different now from the version that I was raised within, but similar enough to remain congruent in my mind. The issue was that my mind was rejecting the idea of faith. I no longer believed in the inerrancy of the Bible, the historicity of Old Testament events/persons, the resurrection of Jesus, or the Biblical miracles but I felt a continued need for recognition of my own spiritual nature.

On June 29, 2017, I was listening to The Thinking Atheist podcast, The House of the Devil, and during that moment I realized that I no longer believed in an actual, real Devil any longer. With this ah-ha moment, there was the realization that there is but a hair's breath to no longer believing an actual, real God. Later, during this day, I listened to another TTA podcast, An Illusion of God's Presence. This was the first time that I had a plausible evolutionary explanation for the "god-shaped" hole that resides in many people. The 1-2 punch of both these podcasts has finally crumbled my last vestige of defense against non-belief. At this time, I am no longer a believer. I am no longer a deist. I am agnostic, but I anticipate that atheism is just around the corner as I process these new thoughts.
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03-07-2017, 10:25 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome, Tik, to TTA.

Yes

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03-07-2017, 10:35 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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03-07-2017, 10:44 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome!
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03-07-2017, 10:52 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome. I'm in awe.
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03-07-2017, 11:04 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
What a fascinating story of (christian to agnostic) life! Thumbsup
Welcome to TTA. Big Grin

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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03-07-2017, 11:24 AM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
You obviously had to sort through a lot of highly questionable assumptions in your life. Many people don't bother, so good for you.

Welcome to TTA. You should find many interesting discussions here.
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03-07-2017, 04:27 PM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome!

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
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03-07-2017, 04:30 PM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Hello! Big Grin
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03-07-2017, 04:52 PM
RE: Greetings from Texas, via Wisconsin
Welcome Tik, my fellow immigrant to the land of cheese and dairy!

Also wow at ACE, Abeka, and ATI, all the program names just sent up red flags while reading them. You'll find more than a few former Baptists here (confession, I'm Catholic), including myself, Rocketsurgeon, and a few others (including another nurse that sometimes pops in).

Need to think of a witty signature.
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