NLQ FAQ: Is No Longer Quivering an Atheist Website?

by Vyckie

I recently received an email from “Henrietta” who asked:

If I choose to get involved here, contribute etc, am I part of a Christian but anti QFP group; or an anti Christian and esp anti QFP group?

It is ironic that NLQ seems to be perceived quite differently depending on the perspective of the reader. We have several new readers who are commenting here on the blog ~ conservative, Quiverfull Christians who are convinced that NLQ is nothing but angry, pro-abortion, Feminazi Atheists.  On the other hand, MoJoey at “Deep Thoughts” recently promoted NLQ with the caveat: Now granted, No Longer Quivering is a Christian site and I don’t normally pimp out the opposition but the woman who runs the site is a loving and tireless worker fighting to free others from a cult. Over at Free Jinger, someone was asking, What’s with all the bible quoting at NLQ?

Considering that No Longer Quivering was recently added to the official Atheist Blogroll ~ Henrietta asks a legitimate question!

I hope it won’t be too frustrating for readers if I don’t answer with a simple “Yes,” or “No.”

Since its beginning in March of 2009, NLQ has grown into a community ~ “a gathering place for women escaping and healing from spiritual abuse.”  Most of us have spent years, even decades, twisting and contorting ourselves to fit the narrowly-defined, sharply delineated dogma of whatever particular brand of cult we were caught up in.  Although we are a diverse group representing a variety of backgrounds, cultures and beliefs ~ we hold in common the shared experience of being conformed to a rigid system of thought which controlled every aspect of our lives and defined us as women and as (sub)human beings.

We’re here now, regaining our sanity, our sense of self ~ on the path of recovery from deep wounds and spiritual trauma ~ and every one of us is at a different place on that path.  That makes us hard to peg ~ and indeed, we resist labels and categories ~ we want to be known for our unique perspectives ~ so it’s not uncommon for NLQ members to write in their introductions, “I am a Christian, but …” or “I believe in God, but …” or “I am an Atheist, but…” ~ this is our way of avoiding being stereotyped as though what we now believe can be labeled, neatly summarized and tied up into a nice, tidy Creedal package.

As for me, I am feeling more comfortable referring to myself as an atheist all the time.  I’ve written about my current beliefs (lack of belief) here ~ but I am not pushy or outspoken about my rejection of the bible and Christianity here on the No Longer Quivering website.  Now, on my Twitter account ~ it’s often a different story.  If you follow my tweets,  I sometimes sound like an angry God-hater ~ I cuss and gripe about “The Big Guy” and get in heated 140-character-per-point arguments with Christian apologists who attempt to witness to me.  Sometimes, I submit guest posts to Ex-Christian.net such as “Atheist Churchgoers Anonymous?” which I believe are not relevant to NLQ and do not belong here.  I recently wrote a review of “Drunk With Blood: God’s killings in the Bible” (scroll down the page to see my review) ~ a rant against the bible, “The Bible God,” the sacrifice of His Son and the martyr mentality which is so much a part of the Quiverfull philosophy.

Judging by all that ~ it’d be easy to conclude that No Longer Quivering is an atheistic, anti-Christian site ~ but NLQ is not all about me ~ there is much more to the story here and, in fact, the majority of the guest writers here are Christians specifically because I want this decidedly anti-Quiverfull website to be Christian-friendly and welcoming to Believers whether they are practicing QF/P, questioning that worldview, or seeking to escape from the legalistic, demanding, impossible-to-live-consistently lifestyle.

An important goal of the Take Heart Project is to produce materials which counter the Quiverfull/Patriarchal ideas from a biblical perspective.  Kristen Rosser is doing an excellent job of critiquing QF/P point-by-point in the NLQ FAQs as well as her series, “Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull.”

That doesn’t mean that every article posted at No Longer Quivering is necessarily going to be sweet and sensitive to warm the Christian readers’ hearts.  As I stated on the forum recently, Precisely because spiritual abuse is so intensely personal ~ exposing the dangers cannot be “just the facts” ~ the hurt and the anger and the wasted years and the guilt wrt what we’ve subjected ourselves and our children to ~ all with the best intentions! ~ it gets very messy ~ and because it is so ~ NLQ is going to reflect the mess ~ and sometimes with great intensity which will make QFers upset and uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, we do make an effort not to be outright offensive.  No Longer Quivering is in no way a place to promulgate atheist ideas or de-convert Christians. We are eager to meet readers where they’re at so far as their beliefs are concerned without judgment or a list of ”shoulds” and “should nots” with regard to faith, lifestyle, etc. ~ but the site itself DOES have a goal of exposing Quiverfull/Patriarchal fundamentalism and freeing women from the hell of trying to live according to legalistic interpretations of the bible.  That’s why you’ll find so much Scripture-quoting here ~ we want to offer alternative approaches to those verses which have historically been used to control and dis-empower women and deny us and our children of our value as unique, individual human beings.

The women (and a few men) of No Longer Quivering truly are a diverse group representing a variety of spiritual values which pretty much cover the spectrum of conservative to liberal belief, unbelief, certainty and doubts ~ with plenty of ambiguity, mixed feelings, loosely-held conclusions, and even a smattering of strong opinions thrown in to keep things interesting!

We do reach out with compassion and understanding to every woman who is damaged, hurting and looking for relief and healing from the spiritually abusive teachings of QF/P.  We are all in the process of recovery ~ and we strive to be mutually supportive, sensitive to the emotional triggers which tend to be unique and often unexpected ~ we don’t insist that everyone else follow the same path at the same pace that we are taking on our journey to wholeness and freedom.

We don’t always get along. It takes strong-minded women to rid ourselves of the QF/P “mental burqa” ~ and we eventually come to a point in which we are no longer willing to “make nice” merely for the sake of keeping the peace, not hurting another’s feelings, or protecting fragile egos at the expense of our own thoughts, feelings, and opinions.  Part of the healing is learning to stand up and say, “I matter too!”

At times, this NLQ community seems like an ongoing group therapy session ~ presuppositions are challenged, PTSD triggers are tripped, conflicts arise ~ it can be chaotic at times.  Somehow, we most often manage to work things through and come away with greater understanding of ourselves and each other. Considering the variety of religious/spiritual beliefs represented here at NLQ, combined with the personal hell which most of us have been through and at times, continue to experience ~ I think we do amazingly well. :)

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum!  Comments are also open below.

Read all NLQ FAQs


  • Victoria H

    As an atheist I do not understand why NLQ allows so much preaching on its website. I understand that not all the contributors are atheists or ever will be but to pull up an article only to find the author telling me in the first sentence that she thinks it was God’s mercy that pulled her out of her misery (presumably the same God that kept her there is the first place) is discomforting. Several articles I have just had to close because they seemed to actively be trying to convert the readers.

    As an outsider looking in, Christians who leave QF and adopt a completely different view of the bible seem to be abandoning one line of false reasoning for another.

    • nikita

      By that reasoning you’d have us tell people, ‘Gee, we’d love to help you leave your destructive religious cult but first we need you to confirm that you have rejected all religious thought and belief whatsoever. Thanks ever so.” That is neither fair nor realistic. Why should anyone have to give up all religious faith in order to escape a false and destructive version of religious faith? I realize that would not be your choice as you have chosen atheism, but not everyone makes that choice. Not everyone views all religion as ‘false reasoning’. It’s a big tent, and we respect everyone and accept that they will make their own choices, whether faith or atheism. We all have to walk our own path.

  • Didi

    Thanks so much for this clarification vyckie!!! I have been wanting to contribute a little financially for a long time, but have felt uneasy wondering if it goes against my convictions to support a ministry that might be anti-christian. I PERSONALLY have never been offended or upset by any of the athieist (i cannot spell) talk on here, but that’s because I feel like Christians are allowed to give their opinions and thoughts as well.

    to the above poster Victoria – it’s interesting you’d feel that way because i often feel the opposite – like the main message here is that there is love and understanding for those who haven’t been enlightened enough yet to fully turn away from christianity. and i OFTEN feel like the verses quoted and such are totally to give understanding and background – not like the person posting them even believes them ,but rather the person they were or the people (like the duggars) they are speaking of believe them.

    *shrugs* i think NLQ is the best melding of Christians, non- Christians, and those in the middle I’ve ever seen.

  • http://tapati.livejournal.com/ Tapati

    Members of NLQ also run the gamut of religions, in addition to atheists and Christians. The whole point is to support people in turning away from destructive religious lifestyles, encourage them to use their critical faculties to evaluate any future spiritual path for destructive elements, and to return to a life of wholeness and self-determination. It would be paternalistic or perhaps maternalistic if we dictate what form that post-QF or cult life should look like, what the new beliefs should be, or what is acceptable to believe or not to believe.

    We are presenting a smorgasbord of post-spiritual-abuse life. Want to remain a Christian? Great, we have many members who can present a more balanced view of how that can be done without falling back into the legalistic traps of the past. Feeling like you want to question the existence of God? Great, we have members who have done just that. Want to consider whether a feminine view of the Divine could be healing for you? Wonderful, we have Goddess-oriented members too. Are you attracted to Eastern views of God or perhaps viewing God as an energy that pervades all, rather than a person? There are probably members of NLQ who can point you to some resources.

    Basically, we just want you to be healthy and happy in whatever manner works for you.

    • denelian

      THIS THIS THIS!!!

      When Vyckie interviewed me to become a Take-Heart counselor, the fact that i am pagan-ish [Ban-draoi, which means nothing to most] and an HP [no, not a PRINTER :D ] was brought up – by me, actually, *because* so many here are Christian – but while i think Vyckie was a bit intrigued by it, she didn’t care. it didn’t matter [except possibly insofar as it allows me to give "religious counseling" legally... and EVERYTHING can be considered "religious" lol]

      it’s a website for pretty much everyone who’s open-minded. of whatever religious orientation!

  • Donna

    “…angry, pro-abortion, Feminazi Atheists” – LOL! These buzzwords come directly from the sweet, Christian Volasa Raptor women I used to post with for 10+ years on large family boards. Apparently, some things never change. Different faces, same rhetoric. Hoo hum. Hope my (large family) ex-buddies are doing well.

  • Sporkey

    Honestly, as a lurker here and on the forums, I would have to say that NLQ does a really good job of balancing out perspectives. As someone who has never been involved with QF and didn’t know a lot about it, it’s really helpful when a lot of the stories contain bible verses and quotes from leaders to gain the perspective of the person sharing their story. Without the references as an explanation, I would otherwise find the stories difficult to comprehend. They also provide a window into a worldview that I had no knowledge of, and for that, I thank the many brave souls who’ve come forward to share their experiences.

    There is such a wide range of perspectives on NLQ that I think it’s wonderful…and also scary. In a way, I think, it’s comforting for people to know that even intelligent, rational people can get sucked into spiritual abuse, and you’re not an idiot for doing so because other people just as smart as you did too. And if you’re afraid of giving up the unhealthy situation because you’ll lose God, there’s plenty of people who can prove that you don’t have to lose God to get out. Or that you don’t have to have God at all to have a good life. I do think it’s a great site.

  • Becky P.

    I would agree with Sporkey that if I were asked if this site were atheistic, I’d say “No” but the founder says she is an atheist. (But last I read she still goes to a Christian church–that I haven’t figured out yet. :) )

    While I read primarily to learn viewpoints of those who have come out of the movement and am not an “ex-member” of the QF movement, I’ve learned a lot.

    In contrast to Victoria, I sometimes quit reading an article simply because of the complete difference of religion of some of the writers–and not because someone is preaching.

    I think that the site does a pretty good job at tolerating varying opinions, though people jump pretty hard on a new person who defends the party line and says they are happy being QF. :) I feel sorry for new posters sometime, who get attacked personally. But I figure they have to have strong stomachs to post here, if they are going to post opposing views to the main idea of the board. Mostly I come to read and learn what makes people tick. Since I’ve never been part of the QF movement and don’t understand the need to feel incomplete without a baby, I’m mostly just a lurker.

    • Donna

      While I don’t speak for Vyckie or any other poster, I have to say that the “new person who comes here to defend the party line and say that they are happy being QF” have about 1001 places to say that (including just about every large family board I’ve been on). Oh, yes. Since I also have a large family (not QF, not fundie/conservative Christian), there was a time in my life (when most of my children were very young) and I needed support and even “fellowship” with other moms of large families.

      As I came to find out, most of the large family women turned out to be the QF/fundie types and once they started being very vocal against anyone who wasn’t like them (including other, more moderate Christians), they went completely nuts! There was no tolerance for anyone who didn’t hate the government, the president (especially since Barrack Obama came into the national spotlight), gay people, smaller sized families (they were all spoiled, selfish, self-centered, greedy, materialistic or else they too, would be open enough to “receive all of God’s blessings that were planned for them), etc.

      I do believe that there are some sincere QF women that come on here to post. Unfortunately, my good nature has been tainted by the mean and nasty ones I’ve had the misfortune to have posted with. With that said, I’m sure there was a purpose for even that.

  • LG61820

    In my opinion, if you can’t tell if this site is religious or athiest then the site is doing its job.

    • Yahzi

      Best answer!

  • http://krissthesexyatheist.blogspot.com krissthesexyatheist

    We atheist have to differentiate between liberal xtians and extremest xtians-and all others religions. As far as the social issues we have much in common with liberal religion, we are and should be allies. I’m glad that you got “props” from @mojoey at Deep Thoughts. dude does tremendous work and everybody should be on the atheist blogroll. Vic keep up the great and important work. BTW, I love the “newspaper.

    Kriss

  • http://hotforjesusformerfundie.blogspot.com Xtine

    Agree with Kriss in that we atheists, secular humanists, agnostics and skeptics do have to be flexible enough to include the liberal Christians. As a former evangelical fundamentalist who occassionally vocalizes my frustration with liberal believers who enable more extreme conservative versions, I still describe myself as an “empathetic atheist.” I’ve run the gamut between fundamentalism to liberal Christian.

    In the Minnesota Former Fundamentalist support group I’ve organized, the face to face interaction also includes the gamut between Christians finding more reasonable faith, deprogramming from fundamentalism, and atheists who let go of belief after working through the spectrum of belief. We all have common ground of loving Christ/Jesus and Curiosity. We also share the common ground of losing support systems, friends, culture, family, entire communities. I constantly challenge myself to empathize with the believers who can’t, won’t let go – because if I don’t it would be a form of self-hate toward my former self… something the world can do without. I get it… the hanging on. It’s not all bad. Finding the common ground is easier than expected, but any former believer who knows when to walk away from proselytizing and condemnation should not feel like they have to apologize for doing so.

  • http://publishr.blogspot.com JWSummers

    This site is just another typical capitulation to those who seek to destroy atheists. They’ve imprisoned us, tortured us, and then killed us if we refused to bow down to their Satanic Worldview. Their world view has a gazillion web sites, Christians censor other world views but no matter, apparently Vyckie thought the Christian message still needed an additional website.

  • http://womanofexcellence.wordpress.com Carolyn Bell Murphy

    Thanks for clarifying! I think it’s clear that anyone, no matter their religious (or non-religious) background, deserves support when dealing with issues of domestic abuse and gender issues. Kudos to the organization for retaining that important aspect, regardless of other aspects of our lives.

  • malinda

    There is a Scientology ad at the bottom of this text for me right now…horrible that a religion with it’s own serious neglect/power/authority/cult issues is advertising on this website. Just wanted to point out that Scientology is not a solution to abusive religious beliefs…

  • Joe

    I am a relatively new Christian (4 years) who is appalled by the number of people who take the Bible out of context to mentally and physically abuse people, especially husbands who abuse their wives. All one has to do is look at the Bible’s commandment to husbands to see that women were meant to be loved and protected by their husbands, not put down and abused (love your wife as Jesus loved the church). Jesus loved the church so much that he was willing to whip the merchants out of His church (the only text that I can remember where He gets angry). If every man who claims to believe in the Bible took this example to heart and did everything they could do to protect & care for their wife the way Jesus protected his church, I don’t think this site wouldn’t be necessary.

    To all of the women on here, I am sorry that you’ve gone through what you have. I truly hope that you find healing.

    • Yahzi

      Joe, your post clearly shows that you don’t get it. Keep reading the site until you understand that women are not to be protected by men; rather, men and women are to be equal partners. Any other arrangement always, always, always leads to tragedy. Always. It is a fact of life as fundamental as gravity or thermodynamics.

      Inequality begets injustice.

      Always.

  • Sharon B

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for establishing this site. I have read the posts of Sierra, who, like me, was raised in the extremely fundamentalist faith of Message Believers. Thank you for including her posts, and thank you, Sierra, for writing them. I feel I have a safe haven to come to now. To finally find a woman who has a similar story to mine makes me feel empowered.