Questions & Answers:
Q&A last updated: April 6, 2016
1.) Why Did You Leave Your Faith Behind?
Contrary to what many will think...I did not leave my faith because I was hurt or angry at "God", the church, or any particular Christians. Nor did I lose it simply because I accept evolution. I simply left my faith due to RESEARCH regarding the Bible, etc...(Most of this research can be found here on my web site. In particular, see my pages Why I Left My Faith and More Reasons Why and by going to my Video tab as well ...namely the video documentaries by Robert Beckford. :)
2.) Why Did You Keep Your De-Conversion Quiet for the first 4 Years?
My reasons for not sharing about my de-conversion sooner have actually been quite simple:
(a.) My husband & I did not want it to devastate our parents
for starters. Although sadly with their passing (in 2013 - 2014), this is no longer an issue.
The other reason is because I did not want it to affect my Christian
relationships - resulting in my Christian friends & family being all
worried about me and thus trying to win me back, attempting to debate
or bombard me with a lot of questions, etc. I also did not want to be
looked at and treated differently either.
(c.) I did not want it to cause my Christian friends & family to
feel awkward around me - in not knowing what to say, or what not to say, in my
presence, etc. Simply put, I just didn’t want there to be an
awkwardness between me & my Christian friends & family.
3.) Why Do You Desire Christians to Know About Your De-Conversion Now?
Simply so that our conversations can be more authentic. When having
conversations with Christians, they often continue to talk to me as if I
am still a believer. Although I try to talk about other things or just
find common ground, it is not always possible when they are left in the
(b.) I always have to wonder what will change when Christians actually "do" find out. Will
I be looked at & treated differently? Will I lose their
friendships? I'd rather know who my true friends are than always have to
4.) What Do You Hope to Achieve In Communicating This On-Line?
(a) It will help take the edge off the initial reaction when a Christian finds out - before seeing me in person. (b.) It will give me the courage to finally be who I am. (c.) It will help each of us feel more comfortable to be ourselves - without feeling the need to impose our views on each other. And although at times, I understand this may take a bit of working on, I believe learning how to find common ground is crucial to any relationship. ...regardless of our differences of belief.
5.) Do You Still Believe in God?
If I were to hold to any view of God, this article would describe the type of view I would hold to: "A Secular View of God."
6.) Are You an Atheist or Agnostic? - Aren’t They the Same Thing?
Most definitely! There is an amazing beauty & wonder to this universe. The awe of how we are all connected, the beauty of the mind, nature, and the universe is all incredibly amazing to me! In general, most of "my" spiritual experiences have always come through: (a.) Music (the positive inspiring kind) (b.) Relationships (with deep, inspiring, caring people) (c.) Inter/Inner Connections (community) (d.) Personal Reflection (e.) Meditation (f.) Nature
...Even now as a non-Christian, I can still experience the SAME "presence" that I once attributed to an all-powerful God as a Christian.
(Similar view on this could be read HERE.)
Personally I like the term Spiritual Agnostic best, but I don't think any label fits me 100%. I also like Philosophical & Religious or even some form of Pantheist. (I did a test online for what form of Pantheist I would be and my results came out to be a cross between a Scientific Pantheist and and a Dualist Pantheist....but I am not familiar enough with Pantheism just yet.) I also am very warm towards Spiritual Naturalism.
...And if I were to ever chose some form of "religion" that I would be more inclined to, it would probably be Unitarian Universalism. (Namely the UU church in Tulsa called All Souls Unitarian.) ...So I guess in a nut shell, I can't say that I can claim any ONE label for my self! lol
Of course I do! I cherish my friendships very much. Having the same personal beliefs in common is great, but most of my friendships have been more about the heart....and so, as far as I am concerned, having common beliefs is just the icing on the cake. Personal beliefs should never get in the way of a true friendship - even if our views strongly differ. At that point, I think we should just "agree to disagree" and concentrate on the things we "do" have in common!
Sadly, this is all too often what I am accused of by some family & friends and often such assumptions can be hurtful. However, trying to take away people's faith in God is not my mission. I actually think some people are much better off with their faith than without it. That being said however, it is in my heart to help people understand their "view of God" a bit differently at times. For example: If people have religious views about God that involve a doctrine of fear, guilt, and judgement of others (who think or believe differently), than, yes, I would definitely want to help encourage them to re-evaluate their beliefs and understand where such dogmatic beliefs originated from and encourage them towards a more positive mindset about God. However, even in such cases I often don't bother at all, unless they are the ones who bring up the topic & want to discuss it...or unless I see the weight of such belief systems wearing them down.
No. I always had a hard time fitting in growing up...and it wasn't just because I was a Christian either. I always struggled making friends -inside and outside of the church- but regardless, the church provided me with a sense of family, love & acceptance. It also helped shelter me from many negative influences that surrounded me. That being said, I also don’t regret believing in Santa Clause either as it provided me with much anticipation at Christmas time. So as much as I can see the negatives in Christian beliefs (be it the guilt, fear or myths), I see the beauty that is within in as well. And despite the negative side, it is the beauty of which it possesses that causes me not to regret its influence on my life.
Sure. I miss the sense of family, connection and relationships that were built over the 33 years I was so involved. I miss the fellowship and all the social functions that came from being part of a large organization too...especially coming together to sing positive , inspiring music - which to this day still moves me (whether its Christian or other such music.) Although I can still have these spiritual experiences outside of Christianity, its harder to find a community to share it with since our particular area is mostly Christian.
Although I always love to keep myself open, what many fail to realize is just how much our experiences are subject to the bias of our beliefs. No matter what religion one comes from, people always tend to attribute their experiences to "their" God or belief system. It happens all the time. Obviously, that is what I did too. However, what I failed to understand about these kind of experiences though was just how often they take place in other religions & spiritual practises outside of Christianity too. (Of which, yes, I've have had the pleasure of experiencing as well.) There are just so many factors that come into play to create them, including: unconditional love & acceptance, the power of coming together within a positive community and the power of inspiring music (1& 2) combined with our inter-connectedness to each other. Not to forget how psychology & the brain also plays such huge roles during these times as well. So when looking back at some of my really wonderful experiences, I have come to realize that there is just so much out there to learn and the beauty of such experiences are simply not limited to Christianity as I was taught. They expand way beyond it. Such experiences no longer validate the Christian faith for me. They only validate that there is so much out there to experience and each of us can tap into it regardless of being a Christian or not. So while I remain open-minded to wonder and this amazing universe, I do not accept these experiences to validate Christianity whatsoever.
Yes, I can.
(*) Although Christians state tongues is only available to "believers in Jesus" (incl. those of us who rejected our faith after receiving it - Rom. 11:29) and anything else is fake or a counterfeit "from Satan"...I would have to disagree. People from other religions have experienced this phenomenon too. So even though it may be "more popular in Christianity" does not mean the experience is "exclusive to Christianity" nor does it validate the Bible as being the absolute "Word of God" either. Regardless, I believe in time, science will discover more about this phenomenon
(see here and here). Until then, I remain open-minded to the different possibilities as to why so many of us are to able to tap into this ability.
NOTE TO SKEPTICS: See Dan Barker (video clip).
Personally, I don’t like using the word "supernatural," because it implies that it is above natural law and usually comes with many pre-conceived "religious" ideas & doctrines about what it all is. However, that being said, I tend to be very open-minded to the idea of the supernatural nonetheless (but only due to having personal experiences with it.) HOWEVER, that being said, at the same time, I don’t think "experiences" should be considered as "scientific evidence" for one's claims or beliefs either. Experiences can be very misleading and one experience can just as easily contradict the other. Yet at the same time, I don't think skeptics should discredit everyone’s experiences as being some form of delusion either. I think remaining open to the possibilities is important to understanding more of our incredible & mysterious universe.
* The Atheist Who Spoke to God
* Murder case solved by psychic
16. Do You Believe in Hell? (Aren't You The Least Bit Scared Of Going There??)
No, I am not the least bit concerned about going to Hell. With any depth of research hell can be clearly shown to be fabricated by man and religion to induce fear into people. I did plenty of research on this topic while I was still a Christian too. If you would like to see the research I started from a "Christian/Biblical" perspective back in 2008, feel free to check it out here: Hell - Misinterpreted. However, there is a well of information on this topic outside of Christian sources too.
17. Do You Still Believe in Heaven?
As much as the idea of a place called heaven may sound wonderful, I find it highly unlikely in my personal opinion. (Even more so in regards to the Biblical view of heaven!) That's not to say that I don't think
there could be anything out there beyond this life for absolute
certain. That's entirely possible. But as far as I am concerned, we will
never know for sure until we are dead and buried. That being said, while many claim to have near death experiences, visions and dreams of such a place, I personally find such things unreliable and lacking of solid evidence. Why? Because first of all, near death experiences are often experienced before a person is fully brain dead. (See science article: What Causes Near Death Experiences?) If they were "literally" dead for
a couple days and came back to life, that would be a different story
altogether! But that never happens simply because it would deifies the laws of nature. Not only that, but so many people
have different experiences (whether near death experiences or visions or dreams, etc) - depending on what they believe in or what
they fear. As a result, these experiences often contradict each other. For example: those who are brought up in Christianity will have one type of
experience about heaven while a person from different religion will have
a total different experience that validates their personal belief about it as
well. Both will swear their version is true and that the experience was
indeed as real as can be. Not understanding how such experiences
are subject to a number of scientific explanations. So for me, personal
experiences are just not credible enough. Although I understand that
the idea of heaven provides comfort for many people (especially those
who have lost loved ones) - for me, just believing in something simply by faith, or because it makes me feel better, or because someone claims they had a real experience, or that some ancient book says so, is simply not enough reason for me to believe in it any more. That being said, I know that the "lack of evidence" is not proof in itself that nothing heaven-like is out there either. However, the lack of evidence surely does not prove there IS something out there all the more!
18. Do You Believe in the Afterlife?I really don't have any strong beliefs on this one. According to science, energy cannot die. This makes an afterlife a possibility. However, it still does not make it an absolute either. Without tangible evidence one cannot prove it either way and so I just like to keep an open mind and not assume anything for sure without such evidence (see here). Not only that, just because energy does not die, does not mean that it carries on in the same "conscious" life form as we presently understand it to be. Such energy may just go back into the universe just as our body goes back into the ground...without ever taking the same conscious form again. Fact is, until we cross over, we will never know for sure in my opinion. And of course anyone who does die & cross over, is not able to come back and to provide such evidence! ...And those who claim to have done so, were technically not brain dead...which means any such experience could just as easily be a result of a surge of brain activity after the heart stops (see here), etc. Soooo all that to say, I have no idea. lol.
19. Do You Think You Can Fully Trust Science 100%?No, of course not. Science is still learning things and that will never change. The thing I really like about science though is, unlike religion, that given proper evidence it is willing to change its views on things. Not only that, but before any scientific views are published it goes through quite a process of testing and critical review before it is considered to be accepted by mainstream science. (I am not talking about individual scientists who make their own bold claims...but mainstream science as a whole!) (Check out their process called peer review.) So all factors considered, I find science much more credible than any religious claims.
FYI on NEW Q&A:
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"Q&A Recently Added."
Q&A Listed On This Page:
1.) Why Did You Leave Your Faith Behind?
2.) Why Did You Keep Your De-Conversion Quiet for the First 4 Years?
3.) Why Do You Desire Christians to Know About Your De-conversion Now?
4.) What Do You Hope to Achieve In Communicating This On-Line?
5.) Do You Still Believe in God?
6.) Are You an Atheist or Agnostic?
7.) As an Agnostic, Do You Still Consider Yourself Spiritual?8.) Do You Have a Specific World-View as an Agnostic?
9.) Do You Still Hang Out with Christians?
10.) Do You Have an Agenda to Turn Christians Against God?
11.) Do You Regret Growing Up as a Christian?
12.) Do You Miss Your Involvement in the Church / Worship?
13.) How Do You Explain the Experiences You Had With the "Presence of God?"14.) Can You Still Speak in Tongues?
15.) Do You Believe in the Supernatural / Paranormal?
16.) Do You Believe in Hell? (Aren't You The Least Bit Scared Of Going There??)
17.) Do You Believe in Heaven?
18.) Do You Believe in the Afterlife?
19.) Do You Think You Can Fully Trust Science 100%?
Q&A Recently "ADDED"
* Do You Still Believe in Heaven? (April 5, 2016)
* Do You Think You Can Fully Trust Science 100%? (April 5, 2016)
* Do You Have an Agenda to Turn Christians Against God? (April 6, 2016)
Q&A Recently EDITED:
* Why Is It Hard for You to Attend Christian Functions Now?
* Do You Believe in Justice Without Punishment?