my god! what have I done?

May 8, 2009 at 10:23 am 23 comments

imagesI grew up in an agnostic atheist, secular, intellectual home, and converted to Christianity at around age 20. The college ministry I was converted into, so to speak, was fairly diverse, but certainly orthodox in holding to a high view of the bible. I eventually selected for myself a socially liberal church with a high view of scripture, but eventually ended up in a more conservative church through my future wife. I think that happens a lot, people end up committing to a church based on a girlfriend/boyfriend or future spouse.

Over the years the church we were in slowly moved to the right, more conservative in doctrine, probably more conservative socially. And until recently I moved along with it, though I wasn’t all there, and I was often grasping at branches on the bank, trying to avoid being carried along with the current of the stream.

Now that I have left, I look back and say, “How did I get there?” With a real sense of shock, like I don’t know what happened to me. Reminds me of a song that was once one of my favorites, lyrics below…

Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself – well…how did I get here?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

And you may ask yourself
Where is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? …am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!…what have I done?


Entry filed under: life.

do you eat with sinners? the silver bullet

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TitforTat  |  May 8, 2009 at 11:33 am


    Check out this blog, I think you might like it.

  • 2. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I like this from the top of the blog:

    “I don’t know that I all out chugged the koolaid. But I certainly took hesitant sips for a lot of years. There was something always nagging inside me that what I was being told just didn’t add up in some ways. It didn’t all fit together.”

    So true for me! Though it was evolution for him, other doctrines for me. Thanks for the tip, I’ll explore it more later.

  • 3. Lorena  |  May 8, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Oh my gosh. What a heart wrenching post!

    All I can say is that now you know. You’re no longer hanging onto the riverbank branches. You jumped out. You are safe. Your surroundings may look weird, and you may think you’re lost in the jungle. But you will find your way out.

  • 4. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 11:43 am

    It can be heart wrenching. But I remind myself that even when I don’t know how I got here, I do have a beautiful house, a small car, wonderful kids, and a beautiful wife. Still don’t know where the highway goes though, and am not worried too much if I’m right or if I’m wrong…

  • 5. Lorena  |  May 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I left a very polite comment on that website that T4T recommended, and it was deleted almost instantly. It’s a Christian site.

  • 6. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Hmm, me too, though I didn’t check to see if it was posted or moderated in the first place. Oh well, it is a good blog anyway.

  • 7. TitforTat  |  May 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Im sure there must be something wrong with his moderation, he’s not the type to delete comments.

  • 8. wowy  |  May 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    you got a good sense for imagery:

    “I was often grasping at branches on the bank “

  • 9. Lorena  |  May 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    If T4T is right, the comments may show up later, then.

    I respectfully disagree with it being a good blog, though. But hey, we don’t have to agree. We all have different needs. That blog doesn’t fit mine. Some of it does, but the fact that he wants to stick to the Bible arouses my disagreeable side. ;-)

  • 10. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Ok, you can disagree with me Lorena, since you said you did it respectfully, I’ll have to take your word for it. ;^)

    Yes, we all have different needs. One of mine is to be able to relate to Christians in ways that challenge fundamentalist thinking. I figure once a person gives up fundamentalist thinking, at least they can think for themselves and make their own choices in life. While I don’t at this time share Christian beliefs with progressive Christians, I think they are interesting people who get something good out of their faith, whether or not I agree with it.

    I’m not personally so concerned about avoiding or challenging Christian beliefs in general, not that there may not be a need for that too. You go girl!

  • 11. freestyleroadtrip  |  May 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Lorena and atimetorend. I apologize if you had trouble leaving comments. I never delete any comments. Never have and never will. Some of them don’t post until I approve them, but I always approve them. I approved everything that was there for me and didn’t see anything from Lorena. You don’t have to like my blog, but I do not agree that it is a Christian blog. I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian pastors home and still hold to some of what I have always believed about God but have really gotten very far far away from fundamentalism. I believe we should all have a seat at the table and be able to share our truths equally. My blog is a place to do that. Please don’t dismiss me. FRT.

  • 12. freestyleroadtrip  |  May 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I just figured out who Lorena is at her exfundamentalist Christian blog. Approved her stuff too. I will look at both of your blogs when I get a chance this weekend. Thanks for commenting. You are welcome to say whatever you want, even it is calling me stupid. I love a good talk.

  • 13. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for dropping by FRT, I plan to surf around your blog more, enjoyed what I saw so far. Yes, I went back in and saw my comment was moderated before being posted, that’s cool.


  • 14. Brian  |  May 8, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Were you an atheist in your youth like Lee Strobel? Did you study the tenats of the christian faith before calling yourself a christian?

    My brother in law, now a fundamentalist evangelical, trying to be a pastor uses the argument that in his teenage years he was an atheist. That is a plain lie, all he did was not going to church on Sundays because he had a hangover. So he wouldn’t wake up when his mother called him.

    For my that doesn’t count as an atheist. Lee Strobel wasn’t an atheist, he was an ignorant guy who didn’t care for any argument.

  • 15. atimetorend  |  May 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Brian, first off, I didn’t say I was an atheist in my youth, but rather grew up in an agnostic, secular family. But yes, I would say I was an atheist in my youth. I did not grow up believing in God, though I would not say it was a well thought out position. Probably much the way a Christian youth would look at things from the other side, taking for granted what I was raised in. I remember thinking religion was a bunch of silly superstition that intellegent people wouldn’t believe. Obviously that is not true, because intelligent people do believe it. As Michael Shermer says, “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”

    What I know about Strobel is that he misrepresents his writing as “honest, hard nosed” reporting, when it obviously is nothing of the sort. So when he writes about Christianity in a way which sounds deceptive to me, I feel like he sounds deceptive or disingenuous when speaking of his former atheism as well. I don’t doubt he thought himself an atheist, but I also imagine it wasn’t well thought out, something like you described. I wouldn’t agree that doesn’t count as an atheist, even if he was an ignorant guy who didn’t care for any argument. A lot of people of all persuasions fit that category.

    Did that answer your question?

  • 16. Brian  |  May 8, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Yes, thank you. I have met christians that say they were atheists and then the lord changed them. Some family members say I will be a strong christian in the future.

    I agree, smart people believe weird stuff. My father is a great ,honest and smart man and he is an elder of a jehova’s witness congregation. I have hard time coonecting the dots. How can someone conclude something like that based on one sided information.?

    The reason I mentioned Strobel is because a christian friend of mine gave me the case for faith, so I could solve my doubts. Honestly, after reading that book my atheism became stronger (if that can be said).

    Now that I think about it, I was always a “doubter” of the christiana faith (catholicism and then JW’s student), I didn’t know what agnostic meant. Now in my 30’s I can strongly say that I am atheist. I tried to believe, I tried to make sense out of christianity, but it became obvious I don’t believe in god and I am better off this way.

  • 17. atimetorend  |  May 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I was given the Strobel book too, had a similar effect on me, as have a few other apologetic books. Those books are written for people already inclined to believe, and who are looking for an excuse to call it rational. If you really want to believe something, you can probably find a way to rationalize it, and books like that help with that. There is an excellent review of the Strobel book on by the way, chucked up into individual reviews of chapters.

    At a point, as you said, it becomes better to just let go and honestly admit you don’t believe them. I saw the term “agnostic atheist” meaning you don’t know for sure (can’t be proven) but that is what you believe, no God. Just terminology and labels, but helpful in communicating sometimes.

  • 18. atimetorend  |  May 9, 2009 at 8:23 am

    That me revise that statement a bit. There are a lot of people, myself included, who read (past tense) Christian authors trying to keep the Christian faith. So it is not just a matter of wanting to believe. I wanted to believe, I just found Strobel to be providing me with more reasons not to believe. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that Strobel writes for people who already believe?

  • 19. wowy  |  May 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    who wasn’t suggested the Strobel book…?

    I think, many books on apologetics and counter-apologetics are written from a perspective “Here’s a position I want to defend”. Few books are written from a perspective “Well, both sides might have good arguments, so let’s describe all those arguments as neatly as possible”. It’s this latter sort of book I’m looking for.

    Even though Strobel talks about difficult things at times, it is clear that he writes on a somewhat popular level. Some of the things, Brian, you don’t like about him, might be remedied if you read books which talk about the same arguments but from a perspective of more professional philosophy. There the same debates go on “as in the streets” but in a calmer spirit (and quite often, they write in a way one can understand).

  • 20. Lorena  |  May 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Shermer says, “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”

    Do you know the name of the book? I’d be interested in reading it.

  • 21. Lorena  |  May 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Ah, it’s got to be this one, “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time “

  • 22. atimetorend  |  May 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    To be honest, I googled the quote to find it, not sure where I originally read it. I liked that book a lot, as well as “How We Believe.” It is helpful on many levels to better understand why we believe things. Both are enjoyable and educational reads.

  • 23. Temaskian  |  May 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I like that quote to. It certainly has a ring of truth to it.

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