Life After Christian Fundamentalism

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Life After Christian Fundamentalism

Recovering from the side effects of Christian fundamentalism is not easy.

•The ongoing fear of Hell
•Rejection from family members
•Ongoing guilt
•Loss of community

If you can relate, join.
This is not a debate group.

Members: 496
Latest Activity: Dec 4, 2016

Welcome to "Life After Christian Fundamentalism."

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This group was born out of my meeting with Nate Phelps during the American Atheist Convention in Atlanta.

My wife Angela and I took Nate and his fiancée Angela out to enjoy the evilness of The Varsity. Almost instantly we hit it off, and felt like we had been friends for years. Not only did we have similar backgrounds, but we all shared the desire to help others who were leaving Christian fundamentalism.

I asked Nate to write about his experiences in Atlanta on my blog Life Without Faith. He graciously accepted and you can read it here.

As support for this group, Nate has graciously allowed Atheist Nexus to post the entire transcript of his Atlanta speech. It is long, emotionally moving, and a must read. Check it out here.

Below is a documentary on Nate's Family entitled, "Fall From Grace." Play All Videos In Order (8)

Here is a recent news story featuring my former church:

Brother Richard

Nate's Website: Nate Phelps
My Personal Website: Life Without Faith

Discussion Forum

UU Church

Started by CD Free. Last reply by Round Peg Dec 4, 2016. 7 Replies

Video: "Coming Out" to your Evangelical Family

Started by The Nexus Group. Last reply by Joan Denoo Jun 2, 2013. 8 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Clifford Gliddon on August 19, 2010 at 7:46pm
I've been somewhat of a lurker in this blog for some time, a lurker because I was never a xian fundamentalist, and I grew up in an atheist family. I have to admire everyones' strength of conscience and commitment. Although I felt the pressure to comply and conform to the culturally-embedded, bible-belt status quo as early as I can remember, it was undoubtedly not much compared to what you all have had to face. I did have most of my relatives from rural Texas, so I have seen that old time religion first hand.

An interesting thing is that as far as I know none of them were haters -- they did not want to kill the poor, or the gays, or blacks or Mexicans, or whatever, or at least they did not say so. We see so much of that vile hatred these days, partly because of the media's interest in stirring up trouble instead of doing actual work.

My reason for posting is really to give a partial answer to Adelita's question about why the xians think they have a corner on the moral market. Part of it is a result of the fear-based structure that the religion has raised from nothing for supposed moral self-examination. In their scheme you can never succeed -- You are always a "worthless sinner." I suspect that the members on this blog understand better than most what it feels like to be (allegedly) condemned to a path that you can never complete on your own. I think this creates a desperation about fear of failure (the consequences are dire), and a continuing sense of "we *must* be doing the right thing (or else), so everybody who does not agree is wrong, sinful, imbued with satan's intentions, etc.

In the real world without gods, we just take our best shot and learn to take responsibility for the results as part of the maturation process, and that in itself is yields a tremendous sense of freedom. We do what we do, and recriminations are a practical concern instead of an eternity (whatever that means) in a hell of something bronze age goatherds thought was scary.

You guys are great. Hope you don't mind my reading and posting.
Comment by Adelita D on August 16, 2010 at 12:48pm
Why is it that the Christian world can not fathom moral atheists? What is it that makes them feel they have the corner on the moral market? Have they actually read what the men in the OT Bible were like? I just don't get it. They say they are moral and the only ones who can be because God told them to be that way....yet they are also the ones who have trouble staying off the temptation bandwagon just like everyone else......
Comment by Xiuntao Kyomoira on August 16, 2010 at 12:36pm
My brother is studying to be a Christian pastor. I tried to tell him about my atheism in a hypothetical manner only to be met with the expected judgmentalness that made me take the red pill and wake up from the "God Matrix." He was shocked when I informed him that Bill Gates, Seth Macfarlane and Brad Pitt are ALL atheists. Yeah, atheists with morals, imagine that!!
Comment by Godless Granny on August 15, 2010 at 9:13pm
The majority of posts I read about former Christians turning atheist are mainly by young adults--either teens or twenty-somethings with occasional married people with young kids. However after a lifetime of fundamentalism, my husband and I left the church when we were in our fifties. We have been non-believers for about 10 years now. Instead of coming out of the closet to our parents, we had to come out of the closet to our grown children. All but one of the kids took it just fine. But our oldest son went to bible college and now works for a fanous Christian evangelist and he is giving us all kinds of hell about it. He called my husband I liars and is telling his kids that we are going to hell, etc. etc. He lives across the country from us and I doubt we will ever see much of him, much less the grandchildren. The last time we visited him all he talked about was the ministry he was involved in---nothing else. I understand why he's upset since we raised him as a Christian and then we left the church after he grew up. It's usually kids who are suppose to change their views not older folks like my husband and myself, but life is all about growing and learning and we just finally grew up and grew out of needing religion. Also my husband was a preacher's kid and although his parents are now dead, his siblings are harassing us trying to get us to come back into the Christian fold. While I am quite happy and content with my non-theist views now, our fundy relatives are truly making it a hell on earth for us.
Comment by Chris Highland on August 1, 2010 at 3:07pm
Some may find my outline "Other Rivers: An Exit Strategy," included in the appendix of my book Life After Faith, helpful for encouraging folks to feel safe leaving their faith traditions (choosing another river) without entirely abandoning (radically inclusive) community--as rare as that is.
Comment by Adelita D on July 15, 2010 at 7:49pm
I am not even sure where to start anymore. My DH and I finally kicked the habit 18 months ago when we took our family out of the church I was born and raised in and he had converted to from the Pentecostal faith....His childhood was better than mine, though there were always lots of questions. His parents have created their own houses of worship along the way and are still very very active. I know he couldn't tell them he doesn't believe anymore or they would be very saddened and upset. They know we don't go to church....but they were glad because our faith had been Mormon and we were all going to Hell. *sigh*

I was born and raised LDS/Mormon. My parents believed that children shouldn't speak their minds, needed to do what they were told, were owned by the parents, etc etc. The beatings were frequent and usually bloody. The violence in my home after age 8 would make most people cringe. I survived, mostly. When I graduated high school I moved out and only lasted 1 year in the church....but a few years later I was found and started going again, mostly due to feelings of guilt and fear. I know it was my mom constantly calling people to try and make sure I was going every Sunday. Even my father went inactive when I was 12, but I still had to go even if that meant being dragged to the car by my hair. My mom was seen as a saint and therefore telling anyone would be met with stares and a trip to the Bishop's office to repent for lying. So I learned to not trust or speak to adults. Of course the sexual assaults and abuse by a babysitter and as well as an Elder in the church were never ever discussed because we weren't allowed to talk about anything sexual, and if someone touched us it must have been 1. what we were wearing, 2. something we did, 3. we deserved it just like the beatings we got that I still have no idea why... (I even asked my mom a couple years ago if I was really that bad a kid and she said "You were the easiest one, you always did everything we asked and we never had issues with you"....WTF? So yeah, we no longer speak. I only have contact with one other sibling and that is fine with me. I miss my dad, but he has been dead for 16 years now. He at least believed science which helped me on this path to break free...

So here I am, feeling a bit guilty for being such a bitch to my mom and sister (who my DH reminds me are narcissistic, always right, and used me regularly) because it has been 8 months since I told them to kiss off....and I know I am the brunt of a lot of family BS now....which is really aggravating.

I am trying to help my children who have had the misfortune of growing up with a religion in our lives. I have never been pushy, never expected them to read or do anything in particular. They have done a lot of reading and looking around and basically agree that religious people are hypocritical most of the time (there are the rare nice ones) and I am trying to help them as well as myself. Most of all I am trying to heal. I still have nightmares, PTSD was diagnosed...I have insomnia sometimes. I have trouble caring about myself the way I care about my kids...I see them as amazing and myself as horrible and unworthy....I don't want my kids to have to go through what I did so we have chosen a different parenting method which seems to be the "wrong" way according to the Branch of the church we just left. I don't think spanking is necessary--ever! I think that kids need a choice in life--heck even Jesus said we had the choice to follow or not....yet church life means you follow or you go to hell...not much of a choice. I am glad I found this site. I read about Nate Phelps life and could relate to a lot of it. The fear, anger, hope of freedom. I just hope I can keep going...my biggest issue...ok one of my biggest issues is what happens now? What is life for and how do I help my kids and our family live it to the fullest. Thanks for listening/reading. I try not to be angry and vent, but sometimes ya just need to right?
Comment by joeyess on June 3, 2010 at 9:18pm
SeeingDuck, what do you mean, "not as polished"? That was great! Cat Stevens, CSNY, Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonfuls all wrapped in a great little ditty. I loved it and could never do anything like that. See? That's the artist's perspective. We do our work, sculpt it, carve it, shape it, a twist here, a tweek there and viola'! we immediately think it's crap compared to someone else's work. I swear, if there weren't any critics, we'd invent some. Nice work, buddy, nice work.
Comment by joeyess on May 20, 2010 at 12:17pm
Thank you, Fred. Follow me on Twitter and I'll do the same. I have a facebook page as well.

j.
Comment by Fred Rock on May 20, 2010 at 12:21am
Love the tune. Great lyric and video. Your voice has a hint of T Bone Burnett - yet very distinct - thanks for sharing.
Comment by joeyess on May 19, 2010 at 6:06pm
Wrote a song about this nonsense. Here it is;
 

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