I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
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04-01-2017, 09:18 PM
I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
I'm currently a youth minister at my church... but I just recently became an atheist 2 months ago. I really want to reveal the truth to my church & quit living a lie, but my Christian family & friends are encouraging me to stay silent about it & just continue leading at the church. They say that I've influenced wayyy too many people to come out & say I don't believe in God anymore.
And I can't step down quietly... gossip spreads quickly in my church.

I partially agree with them, but I feel so hypocritical. I teach Sunday school, serve communion, & give public prayers knowing I don't believe any of this stuff. What should I do?
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04-01-2017, 09:27 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
Do what makes you happy, not what makes them happy. What do *you* want to do?
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04-01-2017, 09:43 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
The first thing you need to do is find another job.
Before that, keep your mouth shut.
After that, take the long view. Do what you know your best self tells you.
That's what you will be happy with. You already know that.
Be gentle and firm. (But ya gotta eat ... take care of that first).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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04-01-2017, 09:52 PM (This post was last modified: 04-01-2017 09:58 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
I agree that you need to find another job before you leave and do what makes you happy first and foremost... but...

Think about what they mean when they say, as you put it, that you have "influenced wayyy too many people to come out & say I don't believe in God anymore".

If you are, as you have said, a member of a church organization, then the people you are "influencing" are being lied to about a number of topics, some of which can be dangerous for them (potentially ruining careers, for instance, if they go into college spouting Creationist BS) or for others, if their feelings of self-righteousness because they think they have The Truth From God™ lead to bigotries that hurt gays, or atheists, or lead them to try to legislate theocracy (or support those politicians who do). If you continue to live a lie, you are serving that cult and helping to brainwash members of the community.

By coming out and being truthful to those who ask, and only those who ask, you can be true to yourself and not be accused of trying to influence your church members in the other direction.

"Pastor Steve, why aren't you our youth minister anymore?"

"Because I'm not a Christian anymore, Bobby."

"What? How can you not believe!?"

"If you really want to know, I will tell you, but every person's conscience is their own. It is not my place to try to influence you. You can do a lot of research on your own. Just don't trust everything the people around you tell you is truth. Find out. Then, whatever conclusion you come to, you will be honest and respectable. I hope you can extend me the same respect for my honesty, even if we disagree."

Edit to Add: If you do not yet feel the courage to come out and/or can't find another job, I suggest you contact the people at The Clergy Project.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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04-01-2017, 09:58 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
Can you find a new job? I don't think you have to reveal your loss of faith when you leave the ministry.

You could be very generic and say you want to pursue new interests, or you feel you need a change in your life...

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

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04-01-2017, 10:00 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
I hear some of you saying I should find another job first... I probably should've mentioned that I don't get paid to do this lol, it's not a career
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04-01-2017, 10:02 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
(04-01-2017 10:00 PM)DoubtingThomas Wrote:  I hear some of you saying I should find another job first... I probably should've mentioned that I don't get paid to do this lol, it's not a career

Then follow your bliss... and steal some communion wine for us heathens on your way out Tongue
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04-01-2017, 10:32 PM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
I imagine pretending to have faith will take a real toll on you over time, so I would make the transition sooner than later.

Do you have any support? I know you said you have revealed your loss of faith to family and friends, but is there anyone you can turn to that understands you don't want to pretend?

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

[Image: parodia-michal-aniol-flying-spaghetti-monster.jpg]
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05-01-2017, 06:55 AM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
(04-01-2017 09:18 PM)DoubtingThomas Wrote:  I really want to reveal the truth to my church & quit living a lie, but my Christian family & friends are encouraging me to stay silent about it & just continue leading at the church.

If they want you to live a lie and keep your opinions to yourself then they are not friends, nor any they family in any sense other than biological.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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05-01-2017, 07:35 AM
RE: I need advice: Ex-Christians only please
(04-01-2017 10:00 PM)DoubtingThomas Wrote:  I hear some of you saying I should find another job first... I probably should've mentioned that I don't get paid to do this lol, it's not a career

In that case, you should quit. Especially if a number of people already know you're atheist, you are already vulnerable to suspicion and attacks and gossip--it won't end well. Better to get out now.

After that, if anyone asks you why you left, it's up to you how to answer. In some ways, it's an intrusive question, so you're within social parameters to say that your reasons are personal to you and you'd rather not reveal them.

If you are honest about your reasons, there would be positive and negative effects. Negatives could be social ostracism, or, worse, a steady stream of people trying to get you to change your mind and come back to Christianity. Positives could be an increase of acceptance of atheists among your Christian acquaintances and causing some people to begin to think more critically about their religion.
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