Lost a friend today
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14-08-2016, 02:35 PM
Lost a friend today
Over the past few years I have deconverted from a protestant denomination while well into middle age. In prior years, I was a leader in the church and the many of our friends were through our church. As I was going though all of the doubting and questioning we started attending church less and less. Our social interactions with our church friends also decreased. Evenually we were no longer invited to attend social functions. When I finally came to the full realization that I no longer believed, our interactions with these friends had essentially ceased to exist. But I never came out and told anyone I was no longer a believer. The only person I have told is my wife, who still believes in God, but has her own doubts and isn't actively engaging her faith.

I had one particular friend in this group that I was quite close to. Beyond seeing each other at church, we'd talk on the phone weekly. More often than not he would call me. As my church attendance was dropping, he would urge me to come back to church. I would be non-committal and avoided religious topics as much as possible during our conversations. At one point, I didn't take his phone calls a couple times in a row (I was at work and busy with other people) and he left a message basically writing me off and telling me to have a good life. I thought about coming clean on my unbelief to him and my pastor at that time, but I felt such confrontational conversations would be drawn out, uncomfortable and would serve no purpose.

I ran into him around a year ago. We sat together, talked, and caught up a bit. We parted amicably but didn't re-strike our previous friendship.

This morning a received a text message from another church member that he died last night. I texted back that I was sorry to hear the news and thanked her for letting us know.

I don't plan to attend the visitation or funeral. My reasons for not attending are that I am no longer part of that community. I no longer believe the words that we used to comfort one another at times like these. I don't want to be confronted by my former pastor or other members about coming back to church. I still have great fondness for the people there, but the friendships within the congregation are intimately intertwined with the shared faith that I no longer have. Their faith is meaningful to them and I have no desire to disrupt that or to explain the reasons I no longer share that faith. I didn't even inquire into the cause of his passing because I didn't want to extend the interaction. I've essentially moved on from my faith, but I still have fondness for the people there, and feel the loss of their deaths and have sympathy for their family members. If I were to go I would not fit in or be able to say the "right" things. By not going I seem distant and cold.

It sucks that he died.
It sucks that those friendships are so intertwined with a common faith.
It sucks that pubic expression of grief over death of people we care about is expected to fall within the framework of a religion.
It sucks that deconverting so late in life seems so destructive to long term friendships. at least in my case.

I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading.
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14-08-2016, 02:49 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
Sorry for your loss.

I know the feeling.

When my mom died -- the preacher used the occasion as a soapbox to preach....

During the graveside service - he did the prayer bit -- eyes wide open staring at me....

I mouthed some "choice words" at him......

He got the message...

...

You're probably best off not going.....

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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14-08-2016, 02:52 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
I sought religion recently for the friendships and sense of community I thought it could yield. But I just couldn't swallow it, and so those friendships are denied me. It's hard to make friends and I wish there were more atheist groups to meet with. We are a community afterall. If only we could join together and be friends and company for eachother outside of internet fora. I've tried long and hard to be a cultural christian for the church community but am unable to adhere - there's just too much nonsense to tollerate. You are not alone in mourning the church frindships/community. I too mourn them, although I never had them in the first place. My condolences.
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14-08-2016, 02:52 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
Sorry for your loss and welcome to TTA.
It's a shame we're made to feel uncomfortable because others assume we believe the same as they do.
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14-08-2016, 02:55 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
Maybe it's just me but I think it's important to pay your respects to the family.

How you do that is up to you. At the very least, send a card and a note to the family.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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14-08-2016, 03:03 PM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2016 03:19 PM by skyking.)
RE: Lost a friend today
My condolences for your losses. In the past I have gone to the memorial, put in my virtual earplugs and held my tongue, but I can see your point. I was never a part of the community like you were.
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14-08-2016, 03:06 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
(14-08-2016 02:55 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Maybe it's just me but I think it's important to pay your respects to the family.

How you do that is up to you. At the very least, send a card and a note to the family.

Yes, I will send a card. I wish I had done that when some other church friends had lost loved ones.
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14-08-2016, 03:13 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
(14-08-2016 03:06 PM)cruncher Wrote:  
(14-08-2016 02:55 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Maybe it's just me but I think it's important to pay your respects to the family.

How you do that is up to you. At the very least, send a card and a note to the family.

Yes, I will send a card. I wish I had done that when some other church friends had lost loved ones.

You would be surprised how much it can mean to a person. Later, after things have calmed down and you look back at who you received correspondence from...because in the moment you sort of forget since things are so chaotic.

I still remember notes from friends when my first husband died and that was in 1984. A simple card and note can provide a lot of comfort.

My condolences on the loss of your friend.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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14-08-2016, 03:16 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
Fuckin sucks. That's a tough spot to be in crunch. I admire your attitude about it though. Taking the high road earns some respect with this guy.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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14-08-2016, 03:54 PM
RE: Lost a friend today
Hug
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