Church, Pastor, and Ministry

I do apologize to those who were expecting a post on what happened when I told my wife, that I was an atheist when it came to Christianity but I do apologize I will probably not be posting on that for a while.  It is still too soon.

Now today, I have set up a meeting with the pastor of the church.  He is an awesome “Man of God,” if I had to describe him.  Now just to recap for those who don’t really follow my blog.  I am the Youth Leader of a small Church.  We are part of the Calvary Chapel movement/denomination.  Even though I am the Youth Leader, the church elders and pastor were planning an official ordination next month, so that my official title would be Youth Pastor.

I know in telling the Pastor, there will be complete and utter shock, much like how it was when I told my wife.  I know he probably thinks something is up, because I never call to initiate a mid-week meeting with him.  I usually just send him and e-mail.  And if it’s a somewhat bigger issue, I might call him, or sit down with him after church on Wednesday.  (Not on Sunday though, because that’s when everyone is fighting for his attention.)

And this is may be emotionally damaging to him also, because over the last year, the church has lost a lot of its home-school family and members, because he changed the focus of the church from discipleship & family to more outreach & evangelism.  And in that happening, -myself and my wife have taken a more visible role in the church.  And the youth ministry has been one of the bright spots for the church in these last few dark months.  I can see it in the pastors and congregations eye of how the youth ministry is helping to heal and rectify the church back into unity and fellowship.

But after Today, I will no longer be apart of that healing process, I will be the one, people will need healing from.  Today, I will tell him know, I am no longer a Christian, I no longer believe in Christianity and I no longer believe in the God of the Bible.

About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in agnostic, atheist, christian, christian faith, church, confusion, fraud, god, life, pastor, unbelief and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Church, Pastor, and Ministry

  1. Brenda says:

    Thanks for the update. Really hard things to deal with and tough conversations to have. I know those of us who follow your blog are thinking of you this week. I hope it helps knowing that some of us have traveled a similar road and come out the other side.

    • thanks brenda for your encouragement

      I can say thought the conversations have been interesting, they all started off like I expected, but I have noticed that once I get about an hour into the conversation, it tends to get a little more emotional and somewhat aggressive

  2. aurelius44 says:

    You are correct on keying in on the inerrancy of the Bible, it is what holds together the entire fundamentalist framework. When that goes, so begins the domino effect. What CAN you believe is true in the Bible once it becomes clear that it is rife with inaccuracies and contradictions. I applaud you for being true to your mind on this issue, in fact I’m not sure there are any other options once Pandora’s box is opened. Mark Twain once said, “A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.” The other key is a word you should become familiar with – ‘ethnocentrism’. It is defined as the belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation, or religion is superior to all others. That’s really what you’ve been indoctrinated in and what you are coming up against now. There will be enormous pressure on you to think like the group you were a part of until recently. Why? Why should anyone be molded along the lines of anyone else? It’s because their cause is the right cause, their beliefs the right beliefs, their god the only true god, their country and culture superior to the rest of the world. Other wise they wouldn’t give a hang what you believed in. Their supreme motive (masked by the insincere motivation of seeking to help and save others) is to get the rest of society on the same page as them. When that sort of fever takes hold, they won’t listen to reason or science or the heartfelt pleas of a man wrestling with his own doubts. Don’t expect much sympathy, I went down that road. Just realize that everything will change from this point on. Is that something you are prepared to handle? I wish you well.

  3. I think you are brave. I’ve been told the same thing for having told my family, but I didn’t feel brave. I felt very, very afraid. What I was most afraid of with a couple of family members has happened. Relationships have been changed and it has not only been hard on them but hard on me as well.

    What helps me is knowing there is a whole community of people out here on the internet that have gone before me. I take comfort in their stories and how their deconversions and doubting have gone. It lets me know I’m not alone, even though I often times feel that way. So, in my long winded comment, I say to you you are not alone in the hurt you or your family and church members are feeling.

    I wish all the best as you begin to live your life as the person you have become though your hard work of researching and doubting the faith that many of us were taught to believe.

    • I realized only tuesday how lonely this journey may be at times. And got myself a glimpse at the bookstore.

      On Tuesday on went to Barnes and Nobles to pick up Why I became an Atheist? by john luftus and Godless by Dan Barker. These were the first atheist books I have attempted read or purchased.

      Usually when I go into the book store, I always go straight to the christian section. And at B and N, The christian section was fairly large, with an array of bible translations on one side of the aisle and popular christian authors on the other side. And then on the other side of the aisle was christian fiction and novels. It was an impressive selection if I must say.

      But when I went to the section looking for the two books (Which was next to religion and world religions and philosophy) It was small. It was almost startling to realize that there was no atheist section. but that it was mixed in with the world religions and philosophy section. And to add to that, the atheist books were at the bottom of the bookshelf in the philosophy section. It actually took me about 15 minutes to find the small (Two Row) section of atheist books. And granted they had books by hitchens barker and harris, but just a few books. Not alot.

      I realized how much of minority I will be in the religious society after that experience.

      • Brenda says:

        I hadn’t thought of that … you get to buy skeptical books now! I’m excited to hear what you think of the ones you read.

      • right now, I’m only halfway through Godless, I’m considering doing a review.

        But in consideration, that first couple parts are very interesting because they talk about his life as a christian, his de-conversion and some basic things he saw wrong on the bible. There are some things I skipped right over cause they seem either silly or radical minded where only the most fundamental of the fundamentalist it would apply to.

        Like his section on murder and dear theologian. But overall it is okay.

        I really want to luftus book, cause it has got some reviews

      • Brenda says:

        Don’t let the atheist section at a bookstore make you think there are hardly any of us out there. Speaking as someone outside the U.S., your country seems quite Christian (especially in certain areas), but there is a big, wide world out there! And while some atheists become active or outspoken about it, many nonbelievers just go about their lives and aren’t necessarily interested in reading and writing about it. Religious people have more motivation to want to be outspoken and to constantly be reading about it, etc. – nonbelievers don’t necessarily feel the same need.

      • Yeah. Not sure where you live, but here in Oklahoma it is defiantly the minority. That gets really old, really fast and sometimes I dream about living in a place where it’s not such a big deal. It does get better as you become more comfortable in your unbelief.

      • thanks brenda, i have taken the advice of a few and reach out to atheist/agnostic groups by an e-mail. I just did that last night, so we’ll see how that turns out, but I will still be very hesitant about getting involved because this is still alot for my wife to handle

      • I remember how it felt the first time I went to the library to pick up some atheist books I had put on hold, “Godless” being one of them. Of course, I was still in the closet 100% at the time, and even now I’m still not out to most people I know.

        I enjoyed Godless, my religious background isn’t quite as fundamental as Barker’s was in general, though there are some in the Southern Baptist Convention who are quite far to the right and fundamentalist, so I understood most of where he was coming from historically. As for cosmology, I read some of “A Brief History of Time” when I was in middle school (I’m pretty sure my parents had no idea) because I was such a huge nerd, so I’d already heard about many of the ideas that come up in such discussions. 😀

      • I can actually relate to Barker, because we were both just equally as fundamentalist. He was a bit more charismatic than me. I started off very charismatic, but became less as I became “more spiritually mature” .

        I’ll be honest, it feels good to be in my own skin. U should try it sometime.

      • Re: Being in your own skin
        I have, actually! I’m lucky in that my group of friends here is pretty well insulated from the church I work for, and the church itself is across the river in a suburb of the town I live in. The church folk generally avoid Columbia altogether if they can, they seem scared to cross the river… I’m not complaining. Also, my group of friends here is pretty open-minded with only a few theists. I’ve told even the theistic friends now and haven’t had any bad reactions. I’ve also become pretty involved with the local freethought group, which gives me a great outlet. Now the only places I can’t be myself are at work two times a week, with my family when we visit (they’re an hour away), and on Facebook (which isn’t a huge loss since I’m only moderately active). So I guess “most people I know” isn’t a very good way to put it. Indeed, the majority of people I actually know do not know, but the majority of those who know me well (outside my family) do know.

        One day I’ll be totally out, though, and not fear losing my job!

      • And you’re right, those times I’m in situations where I am around people who know, even if they don’t agree with me, I’m so much more at ease and happy!

  4. I’ve started Godless twice and both times I’ve only gotten to the chapter after Dear Theologian. Some of it is very dry and just down right boring to me. I’m determined to finish it though, at some point. Maybe when I’m done reading something more interesting. 🙂

    • yeah at times it is pretty dry, and in my opinion it seems he has done a complete 180 in his thinking, and it seems he is more pro-atheism instead of being anti-religion. I actually skipped over the cosmological part, it went completely over my head

  5. Your blog is amazing. I’ve seen lots of people tell their stories of leaving Christianity, but I’ve never seen anyone tell the story as it unfolds. However you feel, I think you’re really brave.

    I’ll be interested in your opinions on those books too. They’re on my reading list, but I don’t have them yet.

    • It might take me awhile to finish them, My pastor thinks I should mere christianity by c.s. lewis. and an elder at my church wants me to read case for christianity by Lee Strobel

      And now I realized I will have to put together kind of like a document kind of like stating my position or unbelief for the pastor, elder and wife to rebut.

      And at first I was trying to find out how much should I put in there. Should I make for them to respond to contradictions or make it more geared towards questioning their own salvation and Christianity. So I have my work cut our for me in the next week or so.

      • I read Mere Christianity when I was struggling with my faith. At the time, I couldn’t refute Lewis’s logic, but I still couldn’t find any faith for God. Now, I see holes in his argument too.

        One thing I’d say is, remember that you’re not going to change their minds. For some reason, in my experience, the arguments that strike me so powerfully just fall on deaf ears. I think you have to be willing to question things first, or your defences just go up and you don’t consider the arguments fairly.

        You may feel debating with them is something you need to do. I did. But what I found, and others I’ve spoken to found the same, is that they just don’t engage with your arguments.

  6. I just wanted to follow this thread and forgot to check the option on my comment.

  7. Just to chip in on the book suggestions…I really enjoyed the Christian Delusion by John Loftness. It tackles most of the major Christian Apologetics in a scholarly fashion. 80% of the chapters are written by former Christians who are experts in their field of study.

    On a personal note, I too want to say that I admire your honesty with your family and church.

  8. I’ve been away for a while, was wondering how things were going. Got you in my thoughts my friend.

  9. D'Ma says:

    You really are brave. I’m dealing with some things right now that make coming out seem even more difficult. I applaud your honesty and your forthrightness.

    I haven’t read any skeptical/atheist material. My worldview was pretty much shattered with the realization the the Bible isn’t the inerrant, infallible, Word of God. Even when I attempt to adopt a more liberal/progressive Christianity it just all falls apart because I can’t figure out which parts are “truth” and which parts aren’t. What method do we use? There are so many interpolations and interpretations that taint and distort what the original documents might have once said, original documents that no longer exist. Original documents which we’re convincingly told that all the copies aren’t too far off. How would one know? The explanation is always the same. The Holy Spirit preserved it.

    Anyway, thanks for the update. I hope all of this works out well for you. I would think it bodes well that you are trying to be as upfront and honest as you know how about it.

  10. ... Zoe ~ says:

    My heart goes out to you.

  11. Like someone else said here: Know that others have made this difficult journey. I was so entrenched in the “we are God’s Kingdom” Laestadian Christianity of my childhood that I had to devote a year of full-time work to researching and writing about it. The result was a book that I’ve self-published (contrary to the wishes of my church elders, of course) and made available for free online–just click my user ID. It was the 40-page document you plan for your wife, pastor, etc., but blown up to ten times that size with 180 cited references and 1300 index entries. Yes, you can get pulled as deep into religion as anything!

    I wish you the best in your life of intellectual freedom ahead.

    • Brenda says:

      Wow Lapsed Laestadian! Glad you let us know about your book!

      I read the introduction and forgive me if I missed it, but I’m curious where you stand now as far as your worldview goes.

      Also, I may want to share the link to it on my own blog. I guess I’m wondering if it would be helpful to someone who is not a part of that particular sect?

      • Brenda, I am a reluctant agnostic with some lingering Deist tendencies. The book doesn’t really spell it out too much, partly because I wrote most of it with some hopes remaining for resolution of the problems I identified, and partly because I didn’t want to distract from my presentation of them. I began the Epilogue by saying it “is as close as I will come to offering summary conclusions about what I have tried to objectively examine in the other 99% of this book.” Perhaps the final lines are worth copying here. They refer back to the book’s theme of examining the “pearl of great price” to which Matthew had Jesus compare the Kingdom of God:

        I have dithered at the market stall long enough, stared at the pearl in the eager seller’s hand closely enough, listened to his fervent entreaties tolerantly enough. His explanations for the crack are unsatisfactory and, deep down, he knows it. The whole market is littered with pearls of allegedly incomparable value whose flaws are evident to everyone but the equally persuasive sellers of each. What choice is there, finally, but to shake one’s head, decline the flawed merchandise with an apologetic smile, and move on? And when one does move on–away from the indignant seller whose offering was declined, past the other stalls and their assembled hawkers and gawkers who haggle and cajole oblivious to everyone else in the market except with sneers and slander, out into the open spaces of one’s honest, unforced conclusions–the shouting still rings out in the distance for miles and miles.

        By all means, feel free to link to the book or even copy it–it’s published under a free CC license. Yes, I’ve found that people who have never heard of Laestadianism (that’s most everybody!) still find the book useful and of interest.

      • M. Rodriguez says:

        thanks for the suggesetion LL, I will check it out

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