The pain of leaving the faith

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MasterMo's picture
The pain of leaving the faith

Good day
New to the forum.
I used to be a preacher, lived for the church, made decisions based on the teachings of the Bible, followed and imitated Jesus...
....and I prayed. a lot. basically the whole time.
Some stuff happened and my faith is gone. I got hurt in the church and I left. (this took some time)

Now I'm here.
I cant start to describe the pain of leaving a whole life built on faith in a Book.
The anger towards some of these believing people and God.
The only conclusion is He is not there.
Or I am the antichrist...
Those are the only two options.

It either all true and I am the worst possible abomination there could be, or it is all make believe...
If it were all true then God hates me...
..or it is just a horrible mistake. And I wasted my whole life away.

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Cognostic's picture
@Mo: It was a horrible

@Mo: It was a horrible mistake but that does not mean you have wasted your life away. You have developed some amazing interpersonal skills and will just need to find a way to apply them to your new life situation. If you have not heard of The Clergy Project?

I highly recommend you consider joining. It is a pleasure to have you hear and I look forward to your insights; however, to deal with the unique set of issues you will be facing and to know that you are not alone, I highly recommend that you look into the link above.

MasterMo's picture
Thank you for the link! I

Thank you for the link! I never knew about this.

David Killens's picture
Welcome to Atheist Republic

Welcome to Atheist Republic Mo.

I sense a lot of frustration and anger from your post. Please let go, such negative emotions just destroy a person from the inside out.

"The only conclusion is He is not there.
Or I am the antichrist...
Those are the only two options."

Please do not think that way, you are placing yourself in a lose/lose situation. There could be other explanations. For example, your god is still there, but you got screwed over by the church and community politics. That is probably far from the mark, but it illustrates that there are not just two explanations, each one undesirable to you.

I went back and re-read your post. The frustration, anger, and confusion jumps out at me, and I hate to see anyone in such dire straights. No matter what side of the fence they are on.

People get screwed over every day, shit happens to everyone. Please never forget that. Shit happens, no matter who they are, how noble their intent, or the sincerity of their beliefs. Please take care, and remember that this forum not only engages in debate but has access to a support system.

MasterMo's picture
You are right. I'm super

You are right. I'm super pissed.... I'm struggling to cope to be honest.
I was hoping to find support, and I think the link to the Clergy Project might just help me lot.

Tin-Man's picture
Howdy, Mo. Welcome to the AR.

Howdy, Mo. Welcome to the AR.

Not much time at the moment, but just wanted to say hello and make a quick comment about your anger, because I can relate to it in a way. Although, in my case, I was not aware of my anger during the period of my transition. As a result, that pent up anger and frustration came out in other ways. And it was generally aimed at the wrong target(s), and often not controlled. (Long story.)

Anyway, you are at least a step ahead in recognizing your anger for what it is. That being said, my best advice for you is simply, "Let it go." May seem impossible to you right now, but I assure you it is easier than you think. Believe me, I totally understand the resentment and the feelings of betrayal at having been duped for so many years of your life. And anger is a natural reaction to such things.

So, you spent all those years being controlled by a subtly malicious dogma that completely infiltrated and commanded your psyche. Yep, that sucks. But now that you have escaped its clutches, you are now being controlled by an anger sparked by that same dogma. Meaning, in effect, you are still being controlled by the dogma. See? Let... Go... Of... The... Anger. Do not allow it to control you any longer. You escaped. You are free now. You are now able to see things more clearly than ever before. That is something to celebrate. That is something that should make you happy. Enjoy the freedom, and stop letting the anger overshadow your happiness. Like I said, it may seem near-impossible at the moment, but it really is more simple than you might expect. Hope this helps. Good having you with us.

MasterMo's picture
Thanks Tin-Man. I will try my

Thanks Tin-Man. I will try my best. I realize that it will only get better over time, I have to eat this elephant piece by piece until its all gone..

Tin-Man's picture
@Mo Re: "I have to eat this

@Mo Re: "I have to eat this elephant piece by piece until its all gone.."

First, I suggest you slice that bitch into thin filet pieces, and then beat the shit out of the filets with a hammer-of-higher-logic until nicely tenderized. Next, coat them with a generous amount of dry-rub composed of a robust critical-thinking curry powder and fresh rationality-root shavings. You should then marinate the tenderized and coated filets in a lovely skeptic sauce mixed with a healthy portion of common-sense paste. Allow to soak until all those spices and sauces are fully absorbed.

Preheat the grill-of-inquiry to its maximum setting. Remove the filets from the marinade and toss those fuckers straight onto the rack. Cook while turning regularly until they turn to charcoal and eventually crumble away, falling through the grill directly into the fire bit by bit. Once all filets have vanished into the flames, turn off the grill and go out to the nearest frozen yogurt shop and enjoy a well-deserved sweet treat.

Just a suggestion.

MasterMo's picture
Ha ha ha! I'm gonna quote the

Ha ha ha! I'm gonna quote the hell out of it...pun intended.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Hi Mo,

Hi Mo,

Welcome. Glad you found Cog's links helpful. Stay strong new friend. I won't pretend I can get close to knowing what you are going through. Never been a theist myself.
Here you will find support and honesty.....stick around. Oh, have a hug, mate. HUUUGS!

MTheory's picture
Welcome Mo!

Welcome Mo!
Have you considered attending a Unitarian Church?

Cognostic's picture
I'm really happy you are

I'm really happy you are considering the Clergy Project. Please check in with us once in a while and let us know how you are doing.
We can always be your plan B. And spread the word over there that we also have a good thing going over here!

xenoview's picture
Welcome to AR Mo!

Welcome to AR Mo!

Nyarlathotep's picture
Mo - It either all true and I

Mo - It either all true and I am the worst possible abomination there could be, or it is all make believe...
If it were all true then God hates me...
..or it is just a horrible mistake. And I wasted my whole life away.

I recently bought a pair of boots from Amazon and when I received them they were not what was advertised. Getting a refund from Amazon isn't difficult, but it took me several days to actually get around to applying for the refund. I didn't want to admit to myself that I had been scammed.

The strength it must take to come to the realization that you've been scammed for pretty much your entire life, blows my mind.

MasterMo's picture
Good analogy, very precise...

Good analogy, very precise...
Its not easy... sometimes I think of just going back there and try and fix it but that sickening realization that everything has changed now is on par with lying to myself. Self deception is the worst of the worst. I cannot keep lying to myself. I have to move on.

Fleeing in Terror's picture


I would say choose another image. You hardly sound like the big, bad, wolf.

I relate. I thought I was part of an organization that believed in making the world a better place, then I realized I was enrolled in a group of sadists trying to create as much misery as possible.The Church was a large part of my life. I miss it. I lost faith in humanity, though, not God.

I am trying to understand what you lost faith in. You say you had faith in a book. ??? God is not a book. ???

I don't understand what part of following Jesus you object to. I see Jesus as a teacher trying to get us all to love and take care of each other. Why would you object to that?

I would be surprised if your congregation thought that you had wasted your life.

I am a numbers person. I always say that the engineering is easy. The getting people to play nice together is the hard part. If you have the people skills to get people to play nice together, you should go farther than I ever could.

MasterMo's picture
Christian faith is based on

Christian faith is based on the Bible. There is nothing else, no experience, no feeling, just believing the Bible as the word of God.
To deny this is the start of a collapsing Christian faith. (see the reformation -sola scriptura) There is supposed to be an underlying reality to this aka rebirth. But this is the part I feel is disconnected. The teachings of Jesus is impossible to achieve. No one can reach those depths without supernatural abilities. This I never saw. I thought I experienced times in which I was growing in purity but I realize now that humans can achieve that by sheer willpower. So I never experienced anything remotely that could point to the working of the Holy Spirit in my life. It was just me. (Maybe Zen Buddhists are closer to the mark then?)
People in the church are tearing into each other and there is no love.
Can I tell you how many people contacted me since I left my church?
Not one.
Not a single one. They believed a lot of lies being told by the head pastor and I was not even contacted again by him..
That hurt more than anything I experienced in my whole life.
Can you imagine the self examination that ensued? The months and months of suicidal thoughts and self doubt?
Here I am months later without any answers of why and how this happened...and still no communication, partly because (this is my opinion) of the underhanded way they dealt with it.
Obviously the whole story is more complicated than what I can state in these few sentences.

But I'm permanently damaged, but like a car crash survivor I have to move on.

I'm just one of the unlucky ones.

Tin-Man's picture
@Mo Re: "Here I am months

@Mo Re: "Here I am months later without any answers of why and how this happened..."

Well, luckily you have come to the right place to help you get these things sorted out. However, as to the "how and why" of what happened... well.... (personal opinion here)... seems to me that is not really such a great matter of importance at this point. No matter how it happened, it has happened. Period. Old news. Can't change it. Sure, understanding would be nice to a certain degree, but wasting your time and energy on searching for such answers will not help you in moving forward right now. So, instead of dwelling on the things from the past you can no longer control or change, you should be applying your time and energy toward moving forward and reorganizing the new life you now have. It may not seem like it right now, but I can assure you that once you get past the turbulence and disorientation you are currently experiencing, your outlook on the future will be much, much clearer and considerably more satisfying. But you are never going to get through that turbulence by constantly looking back and trying to change things that cannot be changed. There will be plenty of time later once you have reached a calmer location to reflect on the past and dissect the events leading up to your newfound freedom. Of course, by that time, you will either find the whole thing to be mildly amusing, or you will simply not care because it will no longer matter to you.

Re: "I'm just one of the unlucky ones."

How do you figure? Why would you think you are unlucky? Speaking from personal experience, I happen to consider myself very fortunate to have finally escaped the insidious clutches of religion. Took me a very long time, but now that I am free I am enjoying life in a way that I was never able to do in the past. And even during those rare moments when I happen to reflect on my time stuck within my religious indoctrination, I generally just shake my head in amusement and chuckle to myself and wonder how I ever allowed myself to be controlled by such nonsense. Incredibly liberating, to say the least.

Hang in there, Mo, and keep moving forward. The past cannot help you at this point. Please feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss things in a more private setting.

Cognostic's picture
@MoChristian: RE:

@MoChristian: RE: "Christian faith is based on the Bible. There is nothing else, no experience, no feeling, just believing the Bible as the word of God."


Christian faith is not based on the Bible in any way shape or form. It is based on interpretations of the Bible made by religious sects. It is all personal experience, feeling, believing, that God wrote/inspired a Bible and that you have original access to the original content as well as the only original interpretation. NOTHING IS BASED ON THE BIBLE. Christians just want you to believe they have a book and that they use it. THEY DON'T. They pick and choose and make shit up as they go along.. 30,000 Christian sects all asserting that the Church up the street is following false prophets, proves my case. No one, not one person on the planet, understands or uses the Bible. Nothing is based on the bible. Nothing. It is all based on personal woo woo interpretations.

MasterMo's picture
If one strips away everything

If one strips away everything in the faith that is non-essential it comes down to believing a book. This was my experience.
I did not experience the things promised so it boiled down to words in a book. That was al I had at one stage. But reality did not support or confirm the words...
So I started asked the questions and got the answer Socrates got. I only wanted truth. And nobody knew the answers.

To be truly deceived means to be willing to be deceived in order to keep on believing whatever it is you want to believe. Most believers never get to that point, they are always looking for proof for what they want to believe. They are scared to death to discover the real world.
Please don't make the mistake of thinking all Christians are stupid, I met some of the most intelligent people in the church. Some of them really believes it and they live fruitful lives. They really have a passion for the Bible and do understand it (mostly) I can respect that. And they are always humble, non-judgmental, selfless and kind people, but you can find that in Islam and Buddhism and in Atheism too...So it is really just people who are not dicks.
But then again some of the worst are claiming sinlessness, holiness and the worst of the worst kinds are claiming God speaks to them...these you have to avoid at all costs. Don't even try and debate, it is the ultimate narcissistic power trip you can imagine.

Frankly it just makes me nauseous thinking about that now.

And that is my point: Why, if there is a spiritual reality (God, spirits etc.) why oh why is it so hidden?
They can only point to a book and then work themselves into a frenzy to experience something "real" in order to support that notion. So yeah, it is personal because the house is built upside down, the interpretations ARE the foundation and not the reality of a God. If it were the other way around it would have looked more consistent. But it cannot be since we don't see that reality.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
That answers my question.

That answers my question. Your experience of faith was nothing like mine. Belief in THE BOOK didn't matter. It was the teachings of the book, mostly the "love thy neighbor" that were the most important to me and the learn about the wonders of creation. I would say the belief in the deity is secondary to that.

All this 'sola scriptura' all of God trapped between the covers of book is totally incomprehensible.

.I never found the spiritual realty hidden.

It is also not the ANSWERS. It is the questions. The Jews are pretty good at that part. That is one thing I like about this forum. The questions.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
I at least got - When are you

I at least got - When are you coming back? We miss you. My husband and daughter were - Good, now we don't have to go to Church anymore. They were only going to make me happy. That meant more to me than anything.

I'm not sure my son believes in anything other than coffee & donuts and helping people out. He still goes to Knights meetings. I won't let him travel outside of the local group. The main organization and some of the other counsels are NASTY!

LogicFTW's picture


Welcome to AR.

I am another of the lucky ones that was never really a theist, so unfortunately I can not offer good advice on the transition.

However with my time here and similar places, I am well aware the difficulty of transitioning out of religion. By design the folks that head up the various large organized religion have refined their craft to make it exceeding difficult to escape the religion.

Using all kinds of fears, (fear of death, fear of hell, fear of loss of loved ones, etc) then having entire social communities built around the religion. Where leaving it often means leaving behind family, friends and entire social communities. Basically admitting you been fooled, and likely most all your friends and family have been fooled and still are being fooled. These are all huge barriers, that anyone would not want to face, and makes it easy to create powerful biases to keep the god idea/lie around.

It is not all bad though. For me anyways, you can make new friends, become closer to family that is not so religiously oriented, and join new communities, better ones, ones not based on a lie. I consider myself the most "free" person that I know. I do not have a "god idea" (told by other humans) dictating what I can and cannot do. I have less "rules" I have to follow. I can make my own decisions, and I have thrived.

The transition may be hard, but there is gains to be had on the other side. Your efforts will be rewarded, and you can take full credit for your accomplishments for yourself.

Live in the moment, life is finite. Do not waste it away anymore for some sort of completely unevidenced (and frankly ridiculous) afterlife idea.

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