I hear sometimes about how hard it must have been to turn away from a Pentecostal lifestyle...being compared to how much easier it would be for a Baptist, etc. to walk away from Xianity.

Granted, maybe my upbringing was more fanatical, but I personally think that any connection to a 'god' can be harmful and difficult in it's own way.

I'm very interested in finding out other people's denominations/sects and how they see this.

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CLA homeschooling is so warped. Don't worry - you're not the only one who wants to destroy/eliminate religion.
I was born/raised baptist but started dating a mormon in highschool. Converted to mormonism (more to piss off my mom i think than anything) and we married in a mormon church, stayed mormon until we both became inactive, then ultimately both atheists.
That question is not as easy as you think.

I began my religious life as a "presbyterian". I "accepted jesus as my saviour" at the age of 9 at a Youth For Christ rally run by a local evangelical church (can't recall which one). I went to an Anglican school from year 4 to 12: I absolutely hated the ritual. In my elementary and early secondary school years went to Daily Vacation Bible School (Baptist) over the summer months.

In secondary school I went on to interdenominational (= evangelical protestant only) live-in camps. I really loved those camps. They were great fun. I feel sad now to think that some of the good emotional feelings were based on delusions and illusions.

I joined Scripture Union and read my Bible daily with the help of those so-carefully tailored guides. Needless to say, I never got an overview of any Book and certainly not of the whole sorry collection of them. With this method there was no way to discover the inconsistencies, the contradictions and the pure horribleness of so many of the stories, directives and "moral" pronouncements. I recall the shock I had when I first read some of Saul/Paul's Letters from beginning to end. I decided that I would definitely not have liked this guy, had I met him.

I became a counselor and soul saver for Youth for Christ senior rallies in my late teens/early twenties.

I moved around a lot. I attended various churches, most of which were relatively liberal but tended towards the evangelical. Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Anglican. I tried my friend's charismatic church a couple of times and was "filled with the spirit" while similtaneously believing that what I was experiencing was pure illusion: a very odd split consciousness sensation! I even attended a Catholic church for a while. The whole village (in Indonesia) was Catholic. If you wanted to "fit in" you went to the ceremonies with the rest of the population. This type of "social attendance" become the sole reason for attending at the end. Finally, I bit the bullet and stopped going to ceremonies where I had to indulge in a lot of "pretend" and suspension of logic and common sense. Having really read the Bible by this stage, as well as a lot of Greek and Roman myths, it became increasingly difficult not to find myself irritated and annoyed by the assumptions inherent in the services and sermons. Finally the cognitive dissonance became intolerable and I left.

It took quite a long time to go through the stages of belief loss. Cognitive changes came first. Emotional changes came next. Habits were the last to go.

My best answer to the original question "what denomination were you?" is that I progessed from hardcore evangelical protestant through liberal eucumenicism and then ..... gradually read and thought my way out of the whole damned delusional system.
I grew up among Free Methodists and Church of God Evangelicals, for a short time after I left home, just to appease my relatives, I went to the Episcopal Church. Long since left that and haven't been to church for at least 6 years. My older son was thinking it was more than 6 years since we've been to church. I don't know.
Raised Presbyterian. Attended Presbyterian church. Went to a Catholic elementary school. I was not really involved with Church or school, and I was raised to have tolerance of other people and their beliefs. Wasn't very hard to break away from.
I was raised Assemblies of God (evangelical xtian) switched to messianic judaism, then turned athiest.
I was raised as an Episcopalian, and honestly it was so comfortable for me that I probably would never have questioned Christianity in the way that I did, if not for the Baptists I fell in with at the end of high school. I participated in Southern Baptist Bible studies weekly as well as a daily prayer club that met at my high school. They quickly and effectively brainwashed me, probably without even realizing that they were doing it (since that's what their churches train them to do). I turned into a bigot and Bible-pusher within a year.

After leaving those people for college, I started to realize how wrong they were and how different I'd become and decided it was time to start from the ground up and reevaluate my beliefs completely. If I'd continued as an Episcopalian, in their liberal, tolerant environment, I might never have had cause to examine my beliefs.
I was born and raised into the Lutheran Church. There are a few varieties of this whacky religion, I was in the "Wisconsin Synod". (For more info check out: http://www.wels.org/cgi-bin/site.pl). These people really preach the "hell" thing. They really try scaring you about how you will go to hell if you just don't live a good proper christian life.

I was unlucky enough to be put into one of their christian day schools. It really sucked. They had a us do something called "Memory Work". Get this, we had to memorize bible passages. You had to read bible passages verbatum or else! You could not go to recess or lunch until you could recite these word for word. You also had to recite some bullshit from "Luther's Catechism". They called this "Memory Work", what it really was, was brainwashing. I asked them back then why we had to do this. I was told so that your faith would remain strong throughout your life.

I hated church. They would sing these ancient melody hymns. The sermons could put you to sleep.

One funny memory of church I have. During each church service at one point they would all do the "lord's prayer" together. Some usher up by the bell tower would always do a quick ring of a bell at 3 points during the prayer. It was always at the same 3 points. Not sure of the purpose of that, maybe it projected the prayer up to god better?

This religion is as whacky as they come.
I was born into the faith-healing home-birth cult Home in Zion Ministries (founded by my grandma) and worked for the cult's offices on and off till I was 16.

I also attended New Creation, a charismatic church from 2 to 8.
Calvary Chapel from 8 to 9.
Home church 9 to 11
Coralville Community Church (practically UU) from 11 to 12
Lots of different ones from 12 to 14
Vineyard Christian Fellowship from 14 to 21
St. Catherine's Episcopal from 21 to 24
No attendance from 24 to 25
Atheist from 25 to present (26_
I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I was immersed in their doctrines from birth- my parents were and still are very active and devout members of the group. In some ways I think that belonging to the Witnesses made my transition to a reality-based life less jarring than had I been in a more traditional group.

How so?

The Witnesses have already written off the rest of the churches as false- all part of apostate Christendom. They reject the trinity as illogical and contradictory to the Bible and the concept of a literal and fiery hell as inconsistent with a loving fatherly God. It wasn't much of a leap to continue applying logic and critical thinking to deconstruct their body of doctrines. Once I saw through them, I was forever done with religion. I guess I'd say that they got me on my way to atheism.

What about the social isolation that comes from being an atheist in a country full of believers? I was already accustomed to feeling marginalized as a Witness- being no part of the "world". Not fitting in is all I've ever known.

I have enjoyed getting to know the vibrant and rapidly growing community of nontheists/atheists/freethinkers. It's both comforting and a bit surprising to see how similar our stories are.
That's interesting. A Jewish friend told me the reason so many American Jews are atheists is because they are defined by what they don't believe (Jesus), so carrying that over to atheism is easy. Sounds like you had a similar outlook from JW-ville.
Hi everyone,
This is my first ever post here after lurking around for a while trying to get the feel of things.
I would imagine that is pretty common! I'm so impressed with this site, the members, and the discussions here. How refreshing!

I'm a 53 y.o. woman, married for 28 years, childless by choice.

I grew up in a Lutheran church and then became pretty much agnostic/positive thought/semi-metaphysical from when I graduated from high school until I was 41 y.o.

I got re-introduced (badgered) to Christianity through my super fundamental sister. I rejoined the Lutheran church, then went off with her to join a very fundamental Pentecostal style home church. Full of conspiracy nuts, tongues talkers and bible thumpers.

Anyway, after 3 years of that it became a requirement to cover my head and wear only dresses. I began to see the complete stupidity of it. My husband the lifelong atheist was sure happy!

I can't remember who said, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
I think it is the single best quote I have ever read. I changed how I looked at the bible and christian beliefs and can't believe I ever fell for it!

Anyway, haven't come out to my family yet. I know the day is coming soon though. My husband and I are on exactly the same page finally, thank goodness. We have good friends that are very like minded so it's fun to learn with them too. Can't wait til the day that atheism is the norm, and not the "weird uncle." :o)

Thanks for your time. I look forward to reading more about you all in the future.


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