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Sat May 22, 2021, 06:58 PM

Any Ex-vangelicals?

I'm wondering if anyone in DU self identifies as an Ex-vangelical or if anyone in DU has close contact with anyone who is Ex-vangelical (family, friends, colleagues, etc). I am seeing a small but growing community of Ex-vangelicals who have left far right churches and are returning to more moderate churches or perspectives. Given how far to the right some churches have moved (even more so since 6th Jan), some appear to be less churches than they are political movements. As such I'm interested in learning more about the triggers and mechanisms that lead people to leave these far right churches and find alternate ways to worship or live. Understanding those seeds, triggers and mechanisms may be useful in helping people make better choices about what churches to attend - Any insights would be much appreciated - The Hippo

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Reply Any Ex-vangelicals? (Original post)
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 OP
I_UndergroundPanther May 2021 #1
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 #2
I_UndergroundPanther May 2021 #21
leftieNanner May 2021 #25
orwell May 2021 #42
Haggard Celine May 2021 #3
Lochloosa May 2021 #7
FreeState May 2021 #4
RockRaven May 2021 #5
JT45242 May 2021 #6
Aristus May 2021 #8
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 #20
Aristus May 2021 #23
cilla4progress May 2021 #30
moonscape May 2021 #41
Stuart G May 2021 #55
no_hypocrisy May 2021 #9
slightlv May 2021 #10
cilla4progress May 2021 #32
luvs2sing May 2021 #11
hamsterjill May 2021 #45
Buckeye_Democrat May 2021 #53
Buckeye_Democrat May 2021 #12
Celerity May 2021 #13
Buckeye_Democrat May 2021 #14
hatrack May 2021 #57
Celerity May 2021 #58
pwb May 2021 #15
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 #18
cpamomfromtexas May 2021 #16
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 #17
cpamomfromtexas May 2021 #44
Red Raider 85 May 2021 #19
rurallib May 2021 #22
Polybius May 2021 #24
rurallib May 2021 #26
3catwoman3 May 2021 #36
Metatron May 2021 #48
HariSeldon May 2021 #27
Bluesaph May 2021 #62
HariSeldon May 2021 #63
Delmette2.0 May 2021 #31
paleotn May 2021 #28
PortTack May 2021 #29
Mariana May 2021 #47
Metatron May 2021 #49
Mariana May 2021 #50
Metatron May 2021 #52
Tree Lady May 2021 #33
PurgedVoter May 2021 #34
yonder May 2021 #39
BobTheSubgenius May 2021 #35
yonder May 2021 #37
herding cats May 2021 #38
Tiger8 May 2021 #40
susanr516 May 2021 #43
myccrider May 2021 #46
GoodRaisin May 2021 #51
hunter May 2021 #54
Hippo_The_Pointer May 2021 #56
Marrah_Goodman May 2021 #59
GulfCoast66 May 2021 #60
misanthrope May 2021 #61

Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:07 PM

1. I am an ex evangel

Got mixed up in the assemblies of god cult.

When we left they tried to kill us.

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #1)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:11 PM

2. What were the seeds?

Hi UndergroundPanther - Thanks for sharing - Do you mind if I ask what were the first things that made you think you needed to get out? Fully understood if you'd rather not share, but to help others I'm trying to get a better understanding of the very first moments where a person who is in a cult or far right wing church starts to realize they need to get out.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Reply #2)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:47 PM

21. The church hypocrisy.

They talked shit about people all the time.

In prayer groups they prayed for people to suffer until they stopped doing what the church didn't like aka" come to Jesus"including people that were not christian.

The grifting ,one preacher told me his salary was 45,000 a year. But he lived in a huge three story house on 25 acres,he had a in ground pool. He had ten kids and more on the way. Three balconies,had tractor trailer trucks one was like a big food truck and the other was for performances when he'd go out trying to convert people
They really did not care what the bible said.

So many times my ex and I argued the points with biblical verse and Every time they were reduced to silence because they knew we were right.

They think mental illness is demonic possession. They tried to throw my alters out of my body,I have dissociative Identity disorder because growing up my life was ruined by my tyrant father and pedophiles.

For 1 instance of the bullshit ,a preacher told me animals have no souls and won't be in heaven..that pissed me off. I replied no animals in heaven how is the lion going to lay down with the lamb if there is no animals in heaven? He shut up.

All the crazy cell church bullshit. After services at the church we were given a slip of paper. Only select people got the paper.

It was for a church meeting at someone's house. It was always a different house we went to.

These were basically strategy groups like how to force the bible in school.
How to undermine other religions.

How to push theocracy in America.

How to make gay and transgender people second class citizens

Control certain politicians.


Their obsession with republicans was gross. Even though I was evangelistic I refused to vote republican or justify republican sick ass evil beliefs. I refused to go along with the political pressure. I also refused to pressure strangers to convert.
I remembered how it felt when I was not christian to be badgered by evangelist assholes.

Jay Sekulow was a lawyer of the church I was in. He was not on TV at that time.

He told me if I got busted working for god and I ran afoul of the law he would make sure I faced no consequences.

They gave people in meetings when they were in the church about a month the mmpi a personality test psychiatrists use that isn't usually available to lay people.

I have taken that test several times in psych hospitals and I recognized the questions that's how I knew what that test was.

It creeped me out they were trying to exploit people's psychology.

I asked the group leader why they were giving people a professional grade personality test that psychiatrists use to determine what personality types or disorders people have.

Why are you giving people this test,trying to get into people's heads even though you are no psychiatrist?

Why do you want that information? Since I said that out loud the group leader backpedaled and lied.

I refused to take the test,my ex refused and several in the group refused to take it. Leader got mad and shut down the meeting.

After awhile in the church I was encouraged by the preacher to read the bible cover to cover after reading the bible cover to cover I couldn't believe in the christian god anymore. The christian god has the morality of a sociopath or abusive parent. The bible itself was horrible. It had lower standards of ethics than I did.

Can't love a god that can't grasp basic ethical wisdom or compassion.

Around the time I was leaving the church I got curious.
I researched different leaders in the assemblies of god on my own. Certain people I looked up online and sought out other sources too to find out more.

I found direct links the assemblies of
god leaders,founders and clergy were working with scientology and Moonies.
It was freaking ugly and scary.

I exposed all I had found in research on a top 10 Christian site in the 2000's called seek god.

This was close to the time we left.
When we left the church.

Soon after an unmarked van with no license plate zoomed twords us on a highway outside DC,they chased us and tried to cause us to wreck they pushed us into a construction site. Luckily my ex's driving kicked ass. They were really out to kill us. Then suddenly they pulled into an off ramp and disappeared.

Eric Prince was involved in assemblies of god.


The assemblies of god is involved in the national prayer breakfast and they are involved in the government and the republican party directly.

Assemblies of god were the only group allowed to serve meals after 9/11 at the Pentagon. They have cia members and connections that would curl your hair.

They are a well connected dangerous grifting power hungry and manipulating cult and the christian god they worship is still a fucking monster.

And the church is a fucking monstrous cult.

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #21)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:20 PM

25. Fascinating Panther!

Thank you so much for sharing this.

It always helps to have a deeper understanding of the other side.

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #21)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:59 PM

42. Amazing post...

...much respect.

You need your own YouTube channel.

Mouth...hanging...open...

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:16 PM

3. I was raised Southern Baptist.

My parents made me go to church when I was growing up. When I moved out of their house, I never went to church again except for funerals. I'm not an atheist and I don't hate religion, but I've never heard of any kind of church that I would feel comfortable at. I'm not really a Christian, anyway. My experience with growing up in church was not good, neither the sermons nor the people. Maybe if I'd had a more positive experience, I would have wanted to seek out another community to be part of. But in the churches I went to, the people gossiped about each other and there were cliques who fought for power. It was about as bad as any political organization.

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Response to Haggard Celine (Reply #3)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:29 PM

7. Southern Baptist..drink with the preacher on Saturday and eat fried chicken on Sunday

Know if well.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:18 PM

4. Was raised Mormon

Evangelicals hated us but the LDS church is just as crazy.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:19 PM

5. There's a podcast called "Exvangelical" which I've heard good things about, but not listened to

myself. I've been meaning to check it out, but there's always something else more pressing. Apparently it's interview format.

I know listening to a conversation is different than participating in one, but that's the best I got. I grew up Catholic, not evangelical, so I can't speak to it directly.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:26 PM

6. I went to Abilene Christian university

Church of Christ school. They don't allow women to be ordained, Antigua, etc.

Left the demonination after seeing how hypocritical the college was. Went 5 years without going to a church... really turned off by organized religion.

I have since joined the christian church (disciples of Christ) which is the same denomination as rev Barber if the poor people's campaign. Main stream denomination. Out church is open and affirming. We have a female minister.

I now gladly use vacation time to help at church camp. I work with youth.

Much happier. No creed but Christ , and we really work at living Matthew 25

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:30 PM

8. My wife is an ex-vangelical.

How a far-left liberal like me and a conservative Christian Republican as she once was could fall in love and marry is a story for the ages. We locked horns a number of times over political issues (I'm a liberal Democrat, natch), and religious issues (I was raised a liberal Methodist) over the years.

But I always thought the narrow-minded, provincial, hate-filled world of right-wing evangelicals was a bad fit for her. She's always been smart, kind-hearted, thoughtful, and curious about new and different things.

One thing she put her foot down on was church. She refused to attend a liberal church, so for eighteen years, I attended her conservative Four-Square Gospel church. Sundays were a nightmare.

Starting pretty early on in the George W. Bush administration, she started to take a greater interest in politics, and began to see how dangerous Republican political policies were. This new awareness coincided with an awareness of just how deluded, misguided, and misinformed a lot of her church friends were. She started to drift away from them.

She was finally frustrated enough with the political party she had been raised to support that she voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Her only hesitation was the ticket itself. Obama's running mate, a guy named Joe Biden, was Catholic, which to evangelicals, may as well have been Satanist. She ended up voting for Obama/Biden. I rejoiced.

Over the eight years of the Obama administration, she leaned further and further left as she began to see how much good progressives policies could do for the country. She also developed a deep admiration for Secretary Hillary Clinton, whom she had heard derided and despised for years by the people she grew up with.

All this time, we were spending fewer and fewer Sundays at her church, since a large portion of the congregation vocally supported Donald Trump. Mrs. Aristus was so repelled by Trump that she actually asked me to make a number of donations to the Clinton campaign, and those of Democrats in key races, like Mark Kelly. One of her proudest moments was casting her vote for Hillary Clinton.

When Trump was awarded the Electoral College vote, and she found out that 81% of conservative Christian Republican evangelicals voted for Trump, she and I left the church for good. When no one called from the church to ask where we had gone or why we had left, she knew it was the right decision.

For the last four years, she has been a staunch, committed liberal Democrat, supporter of feminist causes, vocal friend to the LGBTQ community, a gun-control activist, and she is now an unabashed admirer of Joe and Jill Biden.

Trump is one of the worst things that ever happened to this country. But I owe him a debt of thanks for turning Mrs. Aristus into a liberal Democrat.



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Response to Aristus (Reply #8)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:38 PM

20. Drip, drip, drip

Hi Aristus - Thanks for sharing. The more people I ask this question of and the more video's I watch of Ex-vangelicals or ex-cultists, the more I get the sense that in many cases it is small drips that build up over time. I get the sense you can't convince people with direct confrontation, they have to get there on their own. What outsiders can do however is stay calm, stay supportive and be a source of those drips

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Reply #20)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:54 PM

23. Well, if anyone will tell you I'm a drip, it's Mrs. Aristus.



But yeah, it was a long time coming.

I think she's truly happy now as a liberal Democrat. Yeah, she directs a great deal of hate and ire towards the Republicans, but otherwise she's has aligned herself with a group of people who are open, accepting, loving, forgiving, and who derive happiness from the happiness of others.

I can't take all the credit. My wife is a dental hygienist, and the dental assistant she works with is a lesbian. Mrs. Aristus, even before making the clean break with evangelicalism, was fiercely protective of her. Real mother-grizzly stuff. I think it was something of a surprise to her that she could love and be protective of a member of the LGBTQ community. It was like opening a door to a new world.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #8)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:50 PM

30. What a great story, Aristus!

With a happy ending!!

Thank you!

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Response to Aristus (Reply #8)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:31 PM

41. What a great story of her path, and of yours together. True

love to have gone all those Sundays, and for you both to navigate your differing religious and political views. It was possible then. Must make your heart glad to have witnessed her journey.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #8)

Sun May 23, 2021, 07:31 PM

55. Special Thanks for Telling Us Your Story. I appreciate it greatly..Thanks Again..

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:33 PM

9. Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

started as a teen evangelical. He still gets royalties for some of his religious songs. He got out and took his brother and mother with him. He started reading which got him thinking critically, and it was essentially all over.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:36 PM

10. I was raised in the Church of God

Decades ago, it split into two sects - one charismatic, the other just "evangelical." Luckily, "my" branch wasn't charismatic, but there were just as many problems as you point out in your op. Because there was no Church of God close to our town, we must have hit every church in the city except Catholic. I come from a long line of evangelical preachers. My Grandmother was a traveling preacher and wrote and played her own Gospel music (which is why I hit every church in town).

At 18, I had a choice of either going to college for Divinity studies or going into the Air Force. Churches wouldn't even look at me at that time because I was female. So, I joined the Air Force.

After getting out of the AF, I discovered Paganism and have never looked back. That was back in the 70's. I'm 65 years old, have had a group of coven sibs for the last 20 years, and hived off 2 groups from ours. I'll never go back to Xtianity. Paganism is closer to what Christ taught that what the church teaches, especially nowadays. When she was alive, my Grandma and I could talk religion for hours, and as long as I kept the Pagan terms out of it, it was amazing how much we agreed on.

As an added plus, I've made life-long, like-minded friends that I consider family. And most of us vote Democratic!

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Response to slightlv (Reply #10)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:54 PM

32. Wow, aweseome story, slightlv!

I grew up humanist (technically, the Ethical Culture Society - anyone heard of it? No? Thought so!

My parents morphed to Unitarianism, which encourages members to find their own spiritual path and is very inter-denominational. There are UU pagans, humanists, etc.

I, too, connect with paganism, or more accurately for me, earth-based spirituality. I experience the divine in the natural world.


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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:36 PM

11. I spent a few years in the Southern Baptist church..

when I was a teenager. My family was not religious, but I joined the local small-town mega church for two reasons: my two best friends were members, and cute boys from other school districts. Seriously.

I spent about five years in the church, mostly thinking “W-the-everloving-F are these people talking about?” I watched the teenage Peyton Place that went on, the girls mysteriously going to visit family members out of state for a year followed by young married couples suddenly adopting babies, newborn babies, upon their return. The guys in their 20s dating girls in their teens. I watched the Left Behind movies all the time thinking this is, as Shrub says, some weird shit.

Then I started dating a very nice Methodist boy, the kind of boy every parent wants their daughter to date. We regularly attended each other’s church services. Everything was cool. I was seventeen on my last Sunday at the Baptist church when a substitute Sunday school teacher, a man who had no business in my business, spent the class berating me for dating someone outside the church. It got personal. I must think I’m real cool. Then he told me I had two choices: break up with him or convince him to get “saved” because if I don’t, when the “Rapture” comes, he will be “Left Behind”. I told him I actually had a third choice, and that was to get the hell out of this insane place. And I walked out and never went back.

I’ve gone to other churches in my adult life, but I’m not comfortable in any of them. I believe in a higher power, and that power is more readily available to me on my morning walk than it ever has been in a church.

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Response to luvs2sing (Reply #11)


Response to luvs2sing (Reply #11)

Sun May 23, 2021, 06:45 PM

53. That's the biggest part of evangelism that's bothersome.

The members are regularly instructed to convert other people, because they're doomed otherwise.

It's regular cajoling of their members to be overbearing jerks towards other people. It "works" for them sometimes, though, like a low-life man who keeps trying to sleep with nearly every woman he meets until one of them gets hooked.

I'm not too surprised by their alliance with Republicans because it's the same kind of "culture war" nonsense from them. Or perhaps the GOP is just more that way ever since their conscious effort in 1980 to get their votes?

I've never had any of the more liberal-minded Christian denomination members, Catholics or Jews try to convert me to their beliefs, so kudos to all of them for that basic decency. (Not that Catholics have always been that way, especially during Medieval times.)

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:39 PM

12. One of my nieces.

My sister became an evangelical years ago after she was raised attending the far more liberal Methodist churches of our parents.

As a favor to her, I tagged along to some of her crazy church services when I was a teenager.

That niece had a painful toothache and my sister compelled her to get healed by the preacher, who had adopted a Southern twang during his brief sermon despite not talking that way normally.

Anyway, that very young niece refused to say that his faith-healing efforts caused any improvement at all despite how he kept trying to persuade her to say there was at least a small improvement from his "magical" powers!

I knew right away that she was more like me after witnessing it, and I was correct. She couldn't get away from the nonsense fast enough when she was older.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 07:45 PM

13. What It's Like to Leave the Evangelical Community - VICE

https://www.vice.com/en/article/akdbee/what-its-like-to-leave-the-evangelical-community-exvangelicals



I am a lifelong atheist, all my family are, as is my wife, so I have nothing to offer in terms of personal experience. I simply am unwilling to implement the suspension of disbelief required to believe in a god or gods.

I contend we are all atheists, some of us just believe in fewer gods than others, and when people understand why they themselves dismiss all the other possible gods except for theirs, they will understand why I dismiss theirs as well.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #13)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:00 PM

14. I recently watched a TV series called "Pray, Obey, Kill".

By the way, I don't recommend it because the investigators didn't really reveal anything significantly new about the murders at the cultish Christian community of Knutby, Sweden.

I was actually surprised that they exist over there too! I'd read that most Scandinavians don't even like to openly mention their religious beliefs, if they even have them. It's supposedly a major social faux pas to do such a thing in Norway, for example.

After watching it, I found a video of David Hasselhoff in Sweden talking to the queen of their crazy community, Asa Waldau, who proclaimed to be the future bride of Jesus Christ!

He speaks to Waldau a little after the 2-minute mark of this video clip:

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Response to Celerity (Reply #13)

Sun May 23, 2021, 08:45 PM

57. Stephen Roberts . . . .

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

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Response to hatrack (Reply #57)

Sun May 23, 2021, 08:59 PM

58. yep, a bit of a paraphrase of him, I normally post a pic of the quote but I was outside and busy

so just typed it out fast. He said it in 1994 or so in an internet chatroom whilst debating some religious folk.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:09 PM

15. I don't go to any building.

Pray if I feel like it anywhere.

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Response to pwb (Reply #15)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:35 PM

18. Matthew 18:20

Hi pwb - Indeed, Matthew 18:20 says where two or more gather ... The hate preachers don't focus on that piece for some reason. I guess that's because although Jesus can be anywhere, the hate preacher with their offertory plate can't

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:12 PM

16. Was told I must have a lot of sin in my life after my husband died.

Sick.

3 people told me this. I was hurt but I also told hierarchy so they could fix the issue. Wimps all of them.

I got up and left.

Now Im writing a book about going directly to God and bypassing the jerks. He is not to blame for the losers that claim to be followers.

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Response to cpamomfromtexas (Reply #16)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:31 PM

17. Keep writing - stay strong!

Hi Cpamomfromtexas - Such a lack of empathy - it is saddening to hear of such hateful comments, especially at a time of loss- stay strong mom from Texas! The Hippo

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Reply #17)

Sat May 22, 2021, 11:54 PM

44. Thank you. I am.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:36 PM

19. Raised (brainwashed) Catholic.

In many ways equally as bad as the evangelicals and someways worse. All religion is brainwashing mainly of children who don’t know better. It needs to stop and we need to quit basing our lives on Bronze Age myths which have no more basis in reality then Zeus or Poseidon.

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Response to Red Raider 85 (Reply #19)

Sat May 22, 2021, 08:52 PM

22. Me too - accidentally ate some meat on a Friday back in the day when all Fridays

were meatless. I was 13 and one of the holiest boys you could ever meet. I hardly slept that night fearing I would;d die and go to hell.

Well, I did fall asleep and awoke the next morning. I was fine, but I suddenly realized that someone was lying to me. The house of cards of catholic lies just fell apart quickly in my eyes.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #22)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:13 PM

24. Did you mean all Fridays during Lent or every single Friday?

I can't recall every Friday being meatless, unless it was before my time.

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Response to Polybius (Reply #24)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:24 PM

26. every Friday - want to say that changed in the mid 60s

can't remember for sure

Googled it - 1966 was the change to Lent only

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Response to Polybius (Reply #24)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:05 PM

36. Public school cafeterias used to serve fish sticks or cheese...

...pizza on Fridays because of the no-meat thing. It was that way in al the schools I attended thru high school. I graduated in 1969.

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Response to 3catwoman3 (Reply #36)

Sun May 23, 2021, 04:23 PM

48. Same at my schools in the 80s n/t

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Response to Red Raider 85 (Reply #19)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:38 PM

27. I left Roman Catholicism for the ECC

For me, it was what I saw as "backsliding" in the ordained hierarchy. I grew up in a liberal parish and went to a moderate-liberal Jesuit university. When Ratzinger was elected pope, I heard alarm bells ringing. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the ETMR3, which was both abysmal and an abysmal breach of the same procedures the traditionalists had put in place to sink the unpublished second English translation of the lectionary, a significantly better effort than either the first or the third. I was not entirely blind to the flaws in the RC denomination, but until the ETMR3 debacle I had some hope that the church was at least trying to be better. But in the end, I gave up and joined a denomination that directly involves the laity in all the important decisions.

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Response to HariSeldon (Reply #27)

Mon May 24, 2021, 04:20 AM

62. What is ETMR3?

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Response to Bluesaph (Reply #62)

Mon May 24, 2021, 08:44 AM

63. English Translation of the Missal Romanum, version 3

The first translation, often known as "the Vatican II Lectionary" was completed very quickly in 1973 and had several acknowledged shortcomings. A translation committee worked on a second translation for more than a decade, resulting in the 1998 "Missal that wasn't." That translation failed to please the traditionalist elements of the hierarchy, including the pope at the time.

Instead, they created the new, twisted language that defied the intent of Vatican II: "And with your spirit," all the uses of "we pray" in the middle of sentences, "for you and for many," etc. The way approval for this monstrosity worked violated the very same edicts -- though in different ways -- they used to reject the 1998 translation.

This finally convinced me that, among the bishops, it was primarily about power and the rest of the clergy were total sheep. To me, this affront was a slap in the face every time I attended Mass, so I left that church and found a community that -- I believe -- follows more closely what Jesus was teaching.

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Response to Red Raider 85 (Reply #19)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:50 PM

31. My brother asked me one night if i was a Christian.

I automatically said Yes.
He asked Why?
Again, without hesitation I said, I was brainwashed as a child.

That was my first step to being an Atheist.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:44 PM

28. Born and raised Southern Baptist. Now very much ex.

The transition was gradual, beginning in my teens. I ask too many questions. I got too many ridiculous answers. Duane Gish, Ken Ham ridiculous. Reality shouldn't be twisted into bizarre shapes in order to fit dusty old myths.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:44 PM

29. Only 47% of Americans now ID themselves with any religion

When all they sell are lies, hate and bigotry is it any wonder??

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Response to PortTack (Reply #29)

Sun May 23, 2021, 03:33 PM

47. Source, please? I'd like to read how that was determined. nt.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #47)

Sun May 23, 2021, 04:26 PM

49. Fewer Than Half Of U.S. Adults Belong To A Religious Congregation, New Poll Shows (NPR)

Fewer than half of U.S. adults say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, according to a new Gallup survey that highlights a dramatic trend away from religious affiliation in recent years among all age groups.

The new Gallup poll, published Monday, indicates that religious membership in the U.S. has fallen to just 47% among those surveyed — representing less than half of the adult population for the first time since Gallup began asking the question more than 80 years ago.

While membership in a house of worship fell only slightly in the latest survey, which was conducted in part during the coronavirus pandemic, the results reflect a trend that Gallup has been tracking since the turn of the century.

In 2018, 50% of adults polled said they belonged to a religious congregation, down sharply from the 70% who said so as recently as 1999. That figure fluctuated only a few percentage points over a period of six decades beginning in 1937 — the first year of the survey — when 73% of U.S. adults said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque.

Source

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Response to Metatron (Reply #49)

Sun May 23, 2021, 04:43 PM

50. Church membership is not the same as religious affiliation.

The very same Gallup poll linked in that NPR story says that only 21% do not identify with any religion:

Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/341963/church-membership-falls-below-majority-first-time.aspx

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Response to Mariana (Reply #50)

Sun May 23, 2021, 06:22 PM

52. I don't disagree with you

I was just giving you one of the recent sources for the other poster's remarks. As an atheist, I was very excited until I looked at the data. Then, I bemoaned subeditors' need to sex up titles and the lack of knowledge of statistics in general.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:56 PM

33. I was involved in that type of church from 17

To 28. We left when hubby was out of work we could barely pay bills and feed kids and they wanted us to tithe 10% of our unemployment checks. The pastor and elders all had nice homes, new suits, cars while we were struggling. Didn't sit right with me.

I went to a more normal church for a few years after that where they actually did what Jesus would have, brought us food, told us to pay nothing. Then I had doubts about any of it and slowly quit going all together in my mid 30's. I am 64 now so its been awhile.

I believe in mindfulness, and 3 principles teaching now that is all about how we create our reality through our thoughts.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:56 PM

34. I went to every different faith that I could when I was young.

There were some that tried to brainwash you right from the beginning and others would try to lure you in. Some have great virtues but all of them are flawed.
Baháʼí is oddly enough the most Christian of the faiths I have experienced, their dogma is hard for me to sit through.

By reading the Koran and rejecting it, I am as defined as the worst of the worst. But then, the Koran pretty much shoots down all the variants, Sunni and Shia. Their very existence is forbidden by the Koran. There is a chapter in the Koran that is entirely about Mohamed's horrid uncle and how unfortunate he and his horrible wife will be for all of eternity. There is another chapter that focuses on telling you about the Djinn.

The Church of the Redeemer, where the spoke in tongues was outright evil and trying to tear apart the personalities of the followers.

The music in the Church of Christ was wonderful, and I like a lot about the church. That said, the communities I saw within the church were oppressive.

The Mormons are the best family church, and a lot of them really do wonders in the community. Their history is short but it rivals the evils of the best traditional churches and their dogma can be shredded by demonstrable information. Horses and Carts in South America at the time of Jesus are just one of the examples of what you will find in the Book of Mormon.

My own preference is for a High Church Episcopalian service, but the evil that goes with that service is intolerable.

The truth is simple, religions tend to be collections of dogma that allow you to split hairs and walk away feeling good despite having done little for your fellow man. Find a church that respects the poorest members more that the richest and you might have found an actual Christian church. Good luck with that.


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Response to PurgedVoter (Reply #34)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:14 PM

39. +1. Sounds like we walk/have walked similar paths.

Right on with your last paragraph.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 09:59 PM

35. I would help, if I could.

I only know one evangelical, and that's more than I care to.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:08 PM

37. Good post. I want to thank everyone for their personal accounts.

I was raised mostly as a Southern Baptist, military brat and moved through many different churches. I saw a lot of wacky shit, was able to figure some things out and fully extracted myself from religion at about 14 or 15. I'd say I'm thankful for exposure to the Golden Rule kind of stuff and consider myself some sort of a spiritual agnostic with no ties to organized religion. Nuff said.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:11 PM

38. Present.

When I was 14 I questioned the doctrine. It escalated until when I was 15 I refused to attend church again. No one could answer my questions or give me decent a explanations to my questions.

By the time I was 16 I was autonomous in my beliefs.

Basically, it was the basis of a typical teen rebellion, but it stuck with me for all my life thereafter. And, here I am today.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 10:24 PM

40. When it's in your head as a child....

I grew up with an "End Times" religious fanatic mother, and heard preachers blaring on the radio all day long, and 5-10 mailers arriving daily.

We lived like paupers. The money saved from buying a new pair of jeans could be used to save souls - so how could I be so wretched as to want anything? "The Lord is my Shepard I SHALL NOT WANT!" I was so beaten down and shamed by the radio preachers, that I believed my soul was too far gone for salvation.

I was relentlessly bullied in school and the neighborhood, and yet, my mother beat it into me that I never fight back. My biggest fear was a call to my mother with a report of me "being bad" because mother would have beaten me to a pulp and then disowned me. If and when I complained about the bullies, she would read me scriptures about Jesus saying that if somebody slaps your cheek, to offer my other one too. They hammered nails into Jesus, so I just had to endure. She would tell me this is a sign that we are in the End Times. The world is evil.

I never allowed myself to think clearly about religion, so when I became an adult, of course I ended up in a right wing "Bible Believing" church. I felt so damn guilty and ashamed, I would have given anything to anybody promising to take away my torment.

It was a long, painful, costly road for me to get free. I would leave one right wing church, and revel in being bad. But then, something would happen, and I would end up right back at another right wing church. I'm also gay, so that complicated things to where I was straight, then gay, then Christian, then Republican then two of three, then all three, then none of the above. And then repeat it all over again.

What got me out of each cycle? I'm sure the rampant hypocrisy among fundamentalist churches, religions and their followers played a role...but it was reading Ayn Rand that began me down the path toward escape. She was adamant that it was impossible for God to exist, and went about proving it. She blew up the twin myths of religion and racism. And Ms. Rand did a remarkable job of providing me with the "virtue of selfishness" where the best path was to take care of myself first - something that was sorely missing from how I was parented.

I am not a follower of Ayn Rand, and can't stand people who blindly drone on about the virtues of Laissez Faire Capitalism. And I have a "Higher Power" Recovery from religious abuse....it is a life long journey, and taken from multiple sources, including Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sat May 22, 2021, 11:53 PM

43. That would be me

I call myself a "recovering Southern Baptist." Both sides of my family were overwhelmingly Baptist. One of my maternal grandfather's brothers was a professor of Biblical Languages at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. We went to church three times a week. My father was Sunday School superintendent. My mother was the church secretary for a few years. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, we were there.

I first noticed the hypocrisy of church members during the civil rights movement in the 60s. They taught me that Jesus loved everybody, but they sure hated people of color. I became a Democrat at 14, when I saw Nixon deploy the "Southern Strategy." I thought it was un-Christian to be a racist.

After I graduated from HS, I moved and quit attending church regularly for about 15 years, although I still read the Bible and prayed regularly. Once my two oldest children were born, I decided to start attending church again. I jumped right back in. I taught children in Sunday School, I sang in the choir, I was a regular soloist, I taught the children's choir on Sunday nights, I was a substitute pianist, I attended a small group prayer meeting on Mondays, on Wednesdays I taught special needs kids in the AWANA program and then went to choir practice. I was still a Democrat, because I believed that women, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ were all equal in the eyes of God.

In the 90s, I saw that my church was starting to mix politics with religion. There was a conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention beginning in 1979, but it took them 10 years to gain total control. I began to hear sermons warning of a "post-Christian" society and encouraging us to "vote our values." All my life, I had heard you leave politics at the door of church, because Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22:21) I began to hear church members saying, "You can't be a Christian and a Democrat." I went back to my Bible and started in Matthew, reading only the red letters (the words attributed as quotes from Jesus.) After reading the red letter words several times, I was even more convinced that the Democratic Party was much closer to the ideas attributed to Jesus in the Bible.

I can't remember exactly what my pastor said in a sermon in 1998, but I know it pertained to the idea that the current (Clinton) Administration was persecuting "true Christians" for their beliefs. I knew that wasn't true, but there were a lot of people saying, "Amen." I was in the choir and I remember looking out at the congregation. I realized, to my horror, that these people, who I thought were my friends, would throw me in a gas chamber--with smiles on their faces while singing "Onward Christian Soldiers"--if they thought I was voting for the Democratic Party. My world crumbled around me. It took me about a year before I was able to extricate myself, but I finally walked away. It was difficult. All my "friends" were from my church ties, but I walked away for good.

After 45 years, I had to rebuild my whole life. I had very few friends outside the church, but I did it. I'm now agnostic, I guess. I don't believe in an afterlife, although I think there must be a force(s) outside the laws of nature that created the universe. I have no regrets.






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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 03:12 PM

46. Raised Southern Baptist...

but in the mid 50s to mid 60s, before they went completely off the rails. They were still wackadoodle, just not political...yet.

We were very involved in the church. Went to services or meetings 5-8 times a week, Dad was a deacon and in the choir, Mom helped the secretary, I was determined to be the first female Baptist minister, etc. When I was around 12 I decided I needed to read the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelations. I was really confused by what I read. The church was not yet pushing the young earth propaganda very hard and I was also fascinated by science...and dinosaurs!

So I had questions about what the Bible claimed that my parent's couldn’t answer, so they sent me to our preacher, Brother Bob. He was an ex-Marine and had completely bought into young earth creationism. It didn’t go well. I think it was the third or fourth ‘counseling’ session where I asked him, "After Cain killed Abel and went over the hills and found a wife, where did she come from????". Because of all the previous head-butting we’d had when he got so frustrated by my questions ("Dino bones were put in the ground by Satan to lead you into sin!" "If you don’t stop questioning, you’ll go to Hell!" ), he completely lost it, yelled at me and refused to meet with me again.

That was the beginning. It took another 8 or 9 years of me reading, researching and questioning, but I was an atheist by 21. Two things that I remember as startling me the most into questioning the existence of a god shortly after that fiasco was: 1) we studied Greek mythology in Jr High and I thought "Oh! Other people created ‘false’ gods to believe in, hmmm, could my god be false, too?" and 2) reading Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain when I was around 14 or 15. He presented ‘Satan’s’ view of humans and our religions with his inimitable humor, sarcasm and style. It made me ‘furiously to think’.

I also visited a bunch of other churches in my teens, from Catholic to Pentacostal searching for answers. Nothing checked my growing questions and doubt.

My parents didn’t do anything drastic to prevent my questioning, although they were somewhat distressed by it. I don’t think they understood where it could lead, we’d never really heard of atheism. But even after my deconversion, they never brought strong pressure on me or berated me. I give them huge credit for that because they both drifted to the right politically with Reagan and the churches and becoming "born again", but still treated me the same. Well, Dad and I argued, but it was never...vicious.

That’s my tale. I’m 70 now and have never been tempted to re-convert.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 04:47 PM

51. Never liked church.

Going to church is one of my least favorite things to do. Can't be an evangelical if you don't go to church, so never picked up on their vibes.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 07:16 PM

54. How about Jehovah's Witness?

It was my good fortune the J.W.s booted my mom out of their Kingdom Hall before I started questioning anything. It was literally big bouncers at the door barring her entry.

My mom is a wonderful person. She can't stay out of politics and she talks to God directly. The Witnesses couldn't deal with that. Neither could the Catholics before them.

The only religion that ever embraced my mom was the Quakers. She'd speak her mind, people would listen respectfully, and then they'd move on.

I was the weird kid in school who ignored the flag salute. Participating in that crap bought you a free ticket to hell. I may still believe that.

"One Nation Under God?"



It was my good fortune, or maybe my bad fortune, to grow up in a religiously diverse Wild West family. The only official religion in my extended family is "NOT MORMON."

Christmas was always a time of religious warfare in my childhood, similar to the Troubles of Northern Ireland, or the schism between the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Pacifist Protestant Churches. It was sometimes bloody. Thankfully all those bloody minded old people are dead.

Half the old people in my family couldn't agree if celebrating Christmas was a sin and the other half were fighting about the date.

Easter wasn't any better.

I had just one grandparent who celebrated traditional U.S.A. Christmas and Easter but she was long past convincing anyone else it was about Church or God. She and her sister had run away to Hollywood because they couldn't imagine any fate worse than being married off to good Christian California dairy men.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 08:35 PM

56. Thanks

Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences in this thread! I plan on writing some more threads of the subject of culture, cults and bubbles in the coming days. The replies in this thread have been illuminating - Thanks - The Hippo

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 09:03 PM

59. This thread has been amazing and insightful to read. Thank you everyone.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 11:25 PM

60. Grew up Southern Baptist. In the South.

Church Sunday Morning, Sunday Night and Wednesday night. Dad was a Deacon. Granted this was in the 70’s and early 80’s before southern Baptist went all Moral Majority.

Never went to church after I graduated high school except for weddings or funerals.

My dad, who had a doctorate encouraged me to study science. I actually had a row with a Sunday School teacher my senior year. He was telling us the standard Baptist line that when Christ and the apostles were drinking wine it had very little alcohol and was really grape juice. I explained to him that grape juice back then, with no pasteurization and refrigeration would quickly become high alcohol wine. Science, you know. Dude actually talked to my dad about being disrespectful! My dad did not punish me. Just asked if I would be respectful in the future. Told him I’ll call any lies, as I was taught! I was done with Sunday School. And soon Church.

I consider myself a Deist in the Jefferson mode. There may be a god, but natural science rules our world.

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Response to Hippo_The_Pointer (Original post)

Sun May 23, 2021, 11:36 PM

61. I am a recovering Southern Baptist

Left that mess behind in my adolescence. The bits and pieces of my story are in all the other thread posts from former Southern Baptists.

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