Hello, My Name is Barbara and I’m an Apostate

Apostate (Dictionary.com): One who has forsaken the faith, principles, or party, to which he before adhered; esp., one who has forsaken his religion for another; a pervert; a renegade.
When I was a believer, I heard the word apostate bandied about quite a bit. I heard it in many sermons and on the lips of Christians and always in hushed tones. Even as a young child, I knew that an apostate was the opposite of what is good. You never wanted to be one. The dictionary doesn’t really give the complete definition, at least not the fundamentalist Christian version. In Christian terms being an apostate basically means that you have lived your life as a Christian, made all the professions of the faith, enjoyed all the benefits of the Christian community, and had all the earmarks of a true believer, but and this is a big one, you were never really a believer and by all intents and purposes, you are going to hell. You are dead meat. There really is no hope for you-sorry to say. You get the picture; it has a negative connotation, but a pervert? I need to think about that for a moment.

Early on in my de-conversion, a friend wrote me an email. Let’s just say she got “e-nerve.” In the email she considered the possibility that I was an apostate. (See blog entitled “In a Pit or an Apostate, Pick your Poison,”) I have to admit that the use of the word in reference to me, did put a bit of a chill down my spine. Sometimes it’s hard to escape the ideas that were beaten into your psyche as a child. I’ve come a long way since then and I now proudly say that I am an apostate. I have left my Christian faith behind and I’ve never felt more emotionally healthy or happy. I have to admit that the use of the word pervert is a bit off putting. Why pervert? I was thinking though that maybe just for comedic relief we should stop calling ourselves de-converts and use pervert instead. Think of it: an old Christian friend approaches you and asks where you are going to church, you say, “no where.” When they ask the next predictable question, “why not?” You simply smile and say, “Why, because I’m now a pervert.” I’m thinking that wouldn’t go so well, but to see the look on the other person’s face might make it worthwhile. In fact, I’m sure that it would. I’m digressing now, and fantasizing a bit, but seriously seeing the word apostate associated with pervert, well, it’s just flat out hilarious, but maybe that’s just me—pervert that I am.

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29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 04:08:32

    Love it! How funny to be called a pervert.

    Reply

  2. notabarbie
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 05:14:52

    Hey, you have to laugh,right? Those of us who are perverted know, don’t we?

    Reply

  3. Zoe
    Jul 15, 2009 @ 02:19:13

    This pervert was wondering if you ended up starting another blog? 😀

    Reply

  4. hencross
    Jul 26, 2009 @ 01:59:52

    Doesn’t sound like you have ever relly recieved the true gift of God. Because if you had recieved the true gift you would not ever want to give it back. Believe it or not God does love you so much that he Died for you so you could be free and I don’t mean not a care in the world because, if you don’t car that means you wouldn’t care enough to even Blog. I hope God’s love can become a sure thing for what your searching for. When he changes people he changes them for good only to feel the real freedom that everyone longs for. He who the son has set free is free indeed.

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Jul 26, 2009 @ 03:17:20

      Well, hmmm…. I could be insulted because you seem to think you know more about me than I do, but I will just let that go. I know that as a Christian, you have to find some reason for a believer to stop believing. I’ve been right where you’ve been and said, to others, the very things that you have just said to me. I won’t waste anyone’s time by sharing my Christian credentials here, i.e., leadership positions held, Bible studies taught, blah, blah, blah… You don’t want to hear them because you’ve already decided what my problem is. I’ve learned trying to converse with someone with your mindset is a bit like beating a dead horse. Let me just leave you with this: Please try and come up with something a little more original…
      Oh, and by the way, since leaving Christianity, I have never felt more free. Christianity is not freedom; it is oppression. I hope you get out one day.

      Reply

  5. hencross
    Jul 26, 2009 @ 04:07:52

    I dont know how you got so bitter. It seems like you are angry, even with yourself. I don’t know what caused you to be this way but there is a life you can live that is better than what you experienced in the past. It seems to me that someone has hurt you and you could be in denial of that. God loves you right where you are. unconditional love is hard to come by. The world always has a hidden agenda for the love they give. Jesus says come just as you are.
    and if anyone has taught you any other gospel than just simply loving you no matter what than shame on them. I know you are not beyound finding the true love of God and it sounds like you are searching for the real Love that only he can give. Just say yes to him he has the answers to life and he will calm all the storms of your life and show you how to put the pieces back together again. The gospel is so simple and if it seems like I am trying to come up with what you have already heard before its only from his revelation to me. from reading the scriptures and practicing true forgiveness first to myself and also to others as there has been trials along lifes way. But I know him greater today than I did yesterday. Don’t be mad at me for trying to help you with some free words of life. If you feel like you are smothering at times because you can’t figure things out just openly call on Jesus right where you are. The worlds advise to you will only cripple the gifts that God has put on the inside of you I am sure you have allot to offer people and the true passion of those gifts can only be found through Jesus. Let him use you for all the right reasons and you will see it’s like planting a garden. The life that he gives and shares through you will truly begin to grow. This is how you can find your lifein him. There are many benifits from planting and reaping and sowing as god completes your life. He is loving you riht now and if you call on him he wil come to your rescue.

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Jul 28, 2009 @ 02:01:46

      Hello Henry,
      I had to smile a little when you told me I was bitter and angry. It wasn’t a happy smile it was more of a, “wow, you have it so wrong,” smile. That’s the problem with the written word, without tone of voice and facial expression, it can be misinterpreted and that is what has happened here. I am so far from bitter and angry. I think the hardest thing for my Christians friends to see is that I’m a much better person now that I’ve broken free. I’m kinder, more tolerant, much more humble and waaaaay less angry and bitter. It’s hard for them to admit that because it simply doesn’t compute. How could I be a better person without God and Christ? But I truly am. Throughout my journey out of Christianity, I struggled with anger, fear and hurt, brought on mostly by those who profess Christ and his “unconditional” love, but the longer I am free from all that dogma and faith, that has no basis in fact, the happier and healthier I am. I know it’s hard for you to believe that and I understand why. I wouldn’t have believed it either.
      As Bruce stated so succinctly, the god of the Bible does not love us unconditionally. All you have to do is read the Old Testament to see that, if you are willing. The story of Noah and the flood is just one example. God not only condemns us to eternal hell if we don’t embrace him and his son alone for salvation, but the Old Testament is full of horrifying stories of entire cultures being annihilated, men women and children, due to a different belief system and sometimes he even instructed the annihilators to kill all, but take the women who had never been with a man (virgins) for themselves. He created ridiculous laws that no one could follow and then they were stoned for it. Also, why did this god say that when a woman gave birth to a baby girl she was “unclean” longer than if she had given birth to a boy? Were girls just dirtier? I’m not trying to be funny. Obviously men wrote those laws, not a god. The Bible (the one you believe in) says the God is the same yesterday, today and forever…so…how would you explain this loving god?
      It’s not as if one morning I woke up and said, “today’s a good day reject Christianity.” It was a long hard fought decision, full of prayer and study and fear. I lost the friendship and respect of an entire community. One that I had known all my life.
      I was reading my Bible and praying one morning (as I did everyday) and I found myself wondering about other religions and how they were wrong and mine was right and I felt “convicted” to scrutinize my own religion in the same manner as I had other religions to debunk them. Just as a side note, if you want to remain a Christian, don’t do that. I really thought Christianity would win the day. I wanted it to. After all, I had spent my whole life devoted to it. I believed that of all the religions, mine was the one that was right. In the end, it was not. I don’t know how to put it any plainer than that.
      Once you step outside that box, there is no turning back. Now I understand that you might think that it was the “devil” that drew me away and I understand that mindset because I had it, but Henry, there is no Devil and there is no God of the Bible and he didn’t send his son to die in our place so that we might live in paradise one day. It’s not true. It is no truer than any other religion. Religion began as a way to control the masses.
      As hard as this might be for you to believe, my life is so much better now. I live it knowing that there is no better place after this and that I must live my life to the best of my ability now. I appreciate the heart behind the words, but this god that you share with me, I knew just as well as you and now I have come to embrace the truth that this god, simply does not exist. It feels great to not have to pretend anymore, but I understand that you need to and I wish you well…I really do.

      Reply

      • maestra
        Aug 30, 2009 @ 18:32:53

        Wow! The trolls find you here too! LOL! I love the way you respond. You think a lot the way I do!

  6. Bruce the Agnostic
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:51:02

    Many Christians can not fathom why anyone would walk away from their Jesus………..

    But you sum it up in one line “Oh, and by the way, since leaving Christianity, I have never felt more free.”

    Freedom to think, be yourself, love , and enjoy life.

    Zoe posted a link to your blog. Great stuff.

    Bruce

    Reply

  7. hencross
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 00:40:41

    Thanks for your point of view and I know everyone has one. My thoughts arre also important to express. As I would try and help anyone to experience The one true God. And unless you have ever experienced his presence you would not know what I am speaking of. If you have never come to him and believed in him you can not experience the freedom that is found in the one true God that can set people free from the bondages that so easily beset them. His love is unconditional and this is what makes some one want to serve him. That is real freedom. Jesus says follow me not if you don’t I will hate you or I will not ever speak to you again. He is the good sheperd. There are those who have beaten up and wrongly treated from other people whether it is in or out of the flockand they choose not to have anything to do with those people again and I understand that hurt is hurt. But the truth remains that we will still have to rub sholders with people as long as we live on planet earth. Hurts can be healed so much faster if we bring them to Jesus. I am sorry if some one has presented the message of Jesus to you as something other than what you percieve. The only way to find out if he is real is to trust him with your life. Fall back and let go fall into his arms I promise you he will catch you. This is what I have found out in my own personal experiences since 26 years ago. Thanks for reading. Henry Cross

    Reply

  8. Bruce the Agnostic
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 00:54:21

    Henry,

    Many of us have tried your Christianity and have found it wanting. We have weighed it in the balances and found it wanting. We can no longer just close our eyes and “faith” it.

    You speak of God’s unconditional love? If it is truly unconditional then God will love me no matter what, no matter whether I accept him or not.

    God destroyed the entire world, save 8, in Genesis 6-8. So much for God’s unconditional love. Christians teach that MOST of humanity will burn in hell forever. We can do without such unconditional love.

    God loving unconditionally is a myth. God’s love is conditioned on what we do or what we believe. At least be honest about the God you say you represent.

    Bruce

    Reply

  9. hencross
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 06:23:33

    Hello readers I think some give the Devil to much credit for what he is doing Jesus took his power away from him and he has no athority over us The problem with people who practice there religion is they never have truly practiced finding themselves basking in his presence. and I am not talking about in church. Shame on those who led you to believe in any other thing than what I am telling you right now Barbra. Gods presence can be found no matter where you are. Sure he will ask you to do some things. There are more do’s in the bible than don’ts. God did not curse man, he made it very clear if we do certain things then we would perish. As we all see the reason mankind is strugling for answers if we seek him we will find him and I am not talking about a religous experience to pump god up with a feel good attitude so we can say we did Our service on sunday Im talking about getting into his presence everyday. Hearing his still calm voice. The God I know has changed many lives for the good. People testify of the goodness of God. No one likes pain or heart break, hurt, struggle. Change can sometimes be hard even if you are not walking with God look around you and you will see as we all see the things around us.I use to look for answers in mankind, but I no longer look for mans comfort because I know and have experienced his presence for myself. Your story has relly stirred me up and I know allot of people that would feel the same way I do. Many women that Know would pray with you and hold you in there arms only to try and show you they care. I hope I am truly hearing where you are comming from. and I think I do. I stopped going to church for a few years and as I did my wife never stopped loving me with the unconditional love God showed her to give. My wife was truly the finest example of Gods love as I thought after a while that I didn’t deserve his love and that wasn’t anyone telling me how bad I was or condemning me I was doing a pretty good job of that, I didn’t need anyones help. The first time I finally went back to church was not easy but I decided to go feeling very condemned. Much to my surprise not one person condemned me. That day I found myself at the front of the church weeping and I felt his arms around me like never before. I know other people that have had resentment in there heart toward the church and God only to find them self back in Gods arms again. Much stronger and wiser than they ever were before. This is what is so great about Jesus. He allows us to start all over again. Right now Jesus understands you more than any person ever could and he will help you find your wayback into his arms not for a religious experience but for a real deep place where he speaks truths into your inner being. He will help you he is not mad at you he loves you I don’t know why your so mad at God and I could never begin to understand where you are in your walk through this life. But I believe you are a person of integrity and yopu probably just need the touch of the masters hand. The potter can work with wet clay. His presence is the wettness we all need. I feel him right now as I am writting these words. I hope you will find yourself feeling him the way I do. I know he hears me right now as I am calling on him for you. The tears on my face are comming now because I feel his presence so much and I know he loves you. I Know he wants to make himself real to you want you call on him. I know god loves you Barbra. Signing out Henry your friend

    Reply

  10. Notabarbie
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 07:47:28

    Dear Henry. Dear, dear Henry,

    I see that you are sincere, but everything you have said, I have heard before in spades. I believed it, taught it and eventually rejected it. I also know that there is nothing I can say to help you understand. You won’t engage in any sort of evidence-based discussion. You haven’t even addressed the points that made in my last comment about the god of the Bible. I will say this though; people from every religion say things similar to what you are saying. They feel a god or god-like presence, they have a changed life, and they feel within themselves, spirit, mind, or heart that what they believe is true. What about those people Henry? Are they all wrong and your Christianity is right? Really? I guess the only thing left to say is that I am not mad at God, not at all. How can I be mad at him? “He” doesn’t exist—that’s all. In fact, I’m not mad at anyone. Not even you, even though you treat me like I’m a liar when I say, I have no bitterness, or anger and I’ve never felt better. So, perhaps you are projecting, but that’s okay. I do appreciate you reading my blog and commenting, but let’s part ways amicably now, because unless you are willing to move beyond anecdotal stories and faith, we don’t really have anything more to talk about.
    Good luck,
    Barbara

    Reply

  11. hencross
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 01:04:44

    I am sorry if I have offended you I only wanted to help you Barbra. And God knows my full intention. and so with saying that I feel like I have said enough and I will leave you with this. The early church Overcame By the blood and by the word of there testimony. and I hope one day you will have the same to offer as your testimony. Without a God There would be no testimony and as I prayed with the homeless Guy today that is so bitter toward life but still knows that there is a God I listened to the storys over and over about how he was wronged in life.As I prayed for him and felt Gods presence. I saw his proud and disruhgt life change from puffed up to a humble wanting to know more and as he walked away I know he felt different because of what he felt and I know now that I have to pray for him everyday until God gives me the release to do otherwise. This is something I want to do and I know Prayer moves mountains for I see it all the time. God changed my life back in 85 and I have never been the same. It has been nice talking with you and hearing your story I leave you and say I bless you and hope you do well in all that life sends your way. Henry Cross

    Reply

  12. Bruce the Agnostic
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 04:12:20

    Henry is one of those guys you just won’t win with. They have have had an experience and if you would only have their experience you could be just like them. Of course they never consider “why in the H*ll would I want to be like them?”

    Henry’s words are so sweet and god-filled but underneath them there is arrogance and closed mindedness.

    I would say to Henry, time to be honest……show me one actual mountain God has moved. You said……God moves mountains. I assume you are a literalist?

    Henry you also confuse me? Doesn’t the Bible say woe to those who call evil good? How dare you bless that which is cursed. Barbara is trampling under the blood of the covenant. She is mocking your God. How dare you bless such evil. If you are going to stand for God then be a man and stand for God. The Bible says God is angry with the wicked every day. Tell Barbara the truth. God is angry with her. God hates her sin. and God is going to punish her in hell forever unless she becomes a “real” Christian like you. It is time for full disclosure Henry, don’t you think?

    Bruce

    Reply

  13. hencross
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 23:26:28

    Bruce I dont know why you think if I bless God by blessing Barbra. That I am not a man. I guess you want me to tear into her like probably someone already has. This would not make me a man it would say to me that I can pick on someone that has already ben hurt. This is truly not the nature of God. God doesn’t. Reward evil with evil. If God would have destroyed every person on the earth. This would make him evil. He is a good God and he rewards good with good but he also puts up with those who mean him and his people harm. God deals with his children that seek him and say Father I need correction. Children who step outside the perimeters and choose to hurt themselves need guidence. I need guidence and I admitt it I guess that makes me a bad person in your eyes. No no no God will not curse me for blessing others. Jesus said bless those who curse you. Vengence is not Mine bruce its Gods. I love him because he chose to Die for all of mankind. Publicly before the whole world I would say that made him a Mans Man and a Womans man. Scripture says he was the son of man. He made himself of no reputation only to be persecuted for it, spit upon nailed to a cross slapped beaten with a cat of nine tails, brused his skin was ripped apart a crown of thorns that he no way shape form or fashion should of ever had happened to him placed upon his head. all for you and I. So yes I think it would be ok if I bless some one that he Died for. What a horrible death could you stand toe to toe with a God that would not be ashmed for his creation that he died for and say I dont believe you are the one true God.The scripture says from the wisest of men and most wealthy person ever only a fool would say in his heart there is no God. I know that you are proud of where you are with all of this and the stand you are taking against God. Gambling with the Idea that there is no God. But I tell you the truth there have been many saved from the way they were. People that were so awe spiring to wollow in there decietfulness of looking to the Ideas that there is no God. People that are now full of the HolySpirit. And testifieing of his tender mercies of how God saved them from the wrath that is to come. All they did is say yes to him and no to the Idealism that God dosen’t exist. This makes Faith tangable. something you can hold onto. Jesus told Nicodemus A ruler in his day the wind bloweth where it blows and you can not see it and so it is with the holy Spirit. I see the effects of Gods Spirit blowing on those that are changed by it. The trees are effected by the wind when it blows also. Gods presence is tangable you can feel him when he walks into the room. Oh thank God for his presence because I will never be the same. Because I have discovered the tangable presence of God. I am still being changed from Glory to Glory. From Trial to trial. His Glory makes me want to seek him more and more. Oh the Glory of the wonderful King who died for me on Calvary He took my place and set me free I don’t have to live in condemnation anymore. His grace set me free and now I live with the tangable evidence of God inside of me. So I bless even those who curse me. Because Jesus said so and this makes me free when I do this without meaning harm to any one. This is the true love of God. When a man repents of his sin and his ways that seem to be right God deals with him in only a way that God can and that is love. He sees exactly where the man is and helps him to see the path ahead of him. God shines a light on the path and makes it clear. Yes obstructions wil appear in different forms. Obstacles can be moved out of the way as we press forward in his Kingdom. This is always such a rewarding experience when we truly seek him and when we find out afterwards the obstacle was put there so I wouldn’t be destroyed or maybe he was trying to show me a blessing in the problem. I don’t think there is anyone man that has all the answers to everything. But one thing for sure, God does. If we go to him in Prayer earnestly seeking his face he always comes through. Henry Cross

    Reply

  14. Bruce the Agnostic
    Jul 31, 2009 @ 00:27:59

    Bruce I dont know why you think if I bless God by blessing Barbra. That I am not a man.

    I just want you to be truthful. If she stays as she is, is she going to hell? If she is, why would you not tell her so?

    You didn’t answer my mountain moving question.

    You type all these flowery, loving words yet underneath them is a God who will send anyone and everyone to hell who doesn’t have “your” kind of salvation.

    All I am asking for is full and true disclosure.

    Bruce

    Reply

  15. Bill
    Jul 31, 2009 @ 04:18:49

    I think Henry should stick to fishing and stop assuming what other people feel, why they don’t believe and attributing the rejection of religion based on his own reasons.

    It makes me weary to hear the same arguments over and over about being angry, hurt, etc. Or the other one about how I felt or feel the presence of God and that makes me know that God exists.

    I wish him well, but I grow tired of this kind of thing. He should ask questions rather than assume or interpret other people’s motives, thoughts and ideas.

    🙂

    Reply

    • notabarbie
      Aug 09, 2009 @ 23:02:37

      I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s just so amazing to me. I don’t know why. I should be used to it now. I go back and read my post and then his comments and then my comments and it’s as if he is unaware that we are in a two sided conversation. He never responds to anything I put forth. You are right. It is tiring and frustrating, but also revealing and affirming.

      Reply

      • maestra
        Aug 30, 2009 @ 18:40:01

        I just wish god would help Henry with his grammar and spelling. It would help people to take his servant and messenger more seriously.

        Ay! I used to think like this too.

  16. hencross
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 01:46:12

    The mountains are God’s to do what ever he wants to with them but the bible says even they declare his Glory. As for the mountain moving type that you are speaking of. The answer is a spiritual one and when we have things that seem to bee in our way we can speak to the mountain and it has to move. Thow Moutains have fallen through out History I am not in charge of Mountains Bruce so I am sure there is a rational reason some one could come up with, as to why a mountain fell into the sea. but we will only know what the real truth is when we stand face to face with him. Now as for Bill the very feelings that stirred you up so you would engage in this blog would be the feelings that were given to you by the creator. I know you don’t want to hear what I have to say but. So why even worry. All this talk about no God. If you were really that hopeless without a God why don’t you set out on a Journey of a life time to prove there is a God instead of trying to prove to yourself there is no God. What? all to prove that his wonders do exist and so then you would find out he does love people and instead of the disclaimer attitude you could actualy Help others with there Life. There are many who would benefit from your good works. Lets see what are those good works and if there are any will they get you into Heaven. I hope God answers all of your questions. But I hope you will begin to search him out before you get to old to do so. Thanks for hearing me out Henry

    Reply

  17. notabarbie
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 23:05:13

    …have you gone off your meds again Henry?

    Reply

  18. maestra
    Aug 30, 2009 @ 18:57:13

    you’re an apostate? But you look so sweet. huh.

    Reply

  19. Zoe
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 22:41:06

    Careful of those sweet apostates Maestra. :mrgreen:

    Reply

  20. MuireannMc
    May 25, 2013 @ 20:03:46

    Although Henry was a pain, he was an informative pain in providing a kind of worked example (I’m catching up on mathematics) of how a BA CHRistian “thinks”
    Oh, having emailed with notabarbie, I’ve begun a new blog in which I am trying to sort out my confused spirituality.
    I was intrigued to discover an article on Packham’s site on “atheist spirituality’, and that he doesn’t consider it to be an oxymoron. (http://packham.n4m.org/atheist2.htm)
    Muireann

    Reply

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