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  • Writer's pictureJanice Selbie

You Were Never a True Believer

This has got to be one of the cheapest shots religionists aim at those who have left the faith.

If my 40 years of regular church attendance, chaste behavior, homeschooling my children, dressing like an Amish woman, being married to a pastor, witnessing at every opportunity, housing strangers, & feeding the hungry failed to convince you of my beliefs... YOU WERE BLIND.

And hurling this insult simply means that you remain a hostage to your own beliefs.

The cartoon above perfectly encapsulates my childhood & the childhood I forced on my children: NOTHING was more important than saving their souls. Curiosity was not permitted if it stood in the way of obedience. God gave them to me to train up according to His ways (the Bible, of course). As they were both equipped with ovaries, it was my job to educate them to be good Christian wives & mothers, never doubting either God or their husband - whom we prayed for from the time they were 4 or 5 years old. Can you say BRAINWASHED?

I raised my girls to believe that the Bible was the absolute truth, from start to finish. Jesus was their very best friend, the One who always saw & heard them and loved them so much he allowed himself to be murdered on their behalf. Imagine teaching this violence to children, teaching them that they are wicked and depraved humans worthy of eternal torture should they doubt (question) God or even disobey me.

I put them to bed with stories from Foxe's Book of Martyrs so that they knew to expect persecution, as all good Christians should. If they weren't suffering for the sake of the Gospel, were they even saved? I made sure that my indoctrination and religious trauma were transmitted thoroughly to my dear children. God would be proud of the work I was doing, of the sacrifices I was making to ensure their salvation.

There is a happier ending to this story, however. About a decade ago, my faith fell apart when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness for which I could find no justification. This unfair punishment sent me into a tailspin from which there was no return. Painfully, I came to see that I had been thoroughly indoctrinated by mythology that had been taught as fact. It took me about 5 years to completely find my way free from any form of religion or spirituality. Happily, my grown children and their dad have also taken their own journeys out of faith and landed square on reason & critical thinking.

While embracing responsibility has been daunting at times, freedom has been a powerful reward.

If you are on your own deconversion journey as 2022 approaches, I encourage you to keep questioning your beliefs: Who presented them to you, and at what age? Were you capable of critically exploring those beliefs as they were presented, or did they come from caregivers who demanded your belief as the cost for acceptance? If you are looking for support and guidance along the way, reach out to me for help. I wish you all the best in 2022. You are competent and capable and deserve to live life on your own terms, free of fear.

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1 Comment

Fernando Silva
Fernando Silva
Jun 29, 2022

I fully agree. Why does one "choose" one religion among thousands? Because, after careful analysis of all the options, that one looked like the true one?

Or was it an accidental contamination? Because of being born in that country or family?

Besides, how can we be sure the true god isn't yet to be revealed?

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