EGO and deconversion
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18-09-2011, 01:12 PM
EGO and deconversion
I've been thinking about this issue and would like to see a discussion on it, preferably on Seth's podcast, but I'm new here and don't know how to suggest it, so I'm giving the forum a whirl.
I am reading Loftus' "Why I Became an Atheist," where W.L. Craig says even if he was brought back in time to Jesus' tomb and there was a corpse there, he would still believe because of his internal Holy Spirit revelation or some such nonsense. It shows that even if you could give him completely undeniable evidence, he would go on believing. This man, who has probably heard and considered (if only in an effort to refute) the BEST our side has to offer, CANNOT or CANNOT ALLOW HIMSELF to even consider letting in the tiniest gleam of the light of reason. Why?
This is my thought: Ego will not allow it. Just think: he has built his entire life around being right about Christianity. To admit that an atheist makes a good point that he might have to give some thoughtful consideration to would mean caving just a tiny bit. What would it mean for him to do this? Because we know where thoughtful consideration leads. Deconversion is a process that starts with thoughtful consideration. He could not allow that to happen. Admit he's wrong? Unthinkable.
EGO.
And I don't even mean swelled head ego; I mean a person's natural ego. Consider a family man who supports his family, his wife stays home and raises the kids as a good Christian wife should, he is The Head Of The House as a good Christian man should be. They pray as a family, do the whole church thing, indoctrinate their kids; their lives revolve around their faith and it gives life meaning and a way to cope with hardships (at least in their heads). Do you really think someone like this is remotely open to considering he might be wrong?
I think maybe if a person is ALREADY the kind of person who readily admits to mistakes and has a curious nature, it MIGHT be possible for him to have some thoughtful consideration, otherwise HE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD IT. It would cost him too much.
Does anyone have some personal experience with putting aside ego to deconvert? (I don't; I was raised as a Christian female; we weren't allowed to have an ego.)
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18-09-2011, 02:48 PM (This post was last modified: 18-09-2011 02:54 PM by defacto7.)
RE: EGO and deconversion
Hi socken! I'm new as well. Welcome.

That's pretty insightful. I agree with you. But for many if not the majority of Christians, it's even deeper than that. I was messing around with an idea yesterday and posted what I think about christian argumentation. I'll dare to repeat some of it here, if I may.
Quote:I can separate my atheism from other aspects of my life. My non-theist part, though important, is just a part of me. To a theist their belief is everything. It's the alpha and omega, the totality of their mind, heart soul.

...They (Christians) are taught to integrate every thought and action with their perceived creator.

...The problem lies in that when I take a position on a subject (non-belief) it is automatically an attack on the theist's totality. They have no choice but to defend themselves from spiritual death. They may be soft and apologetic about it pretending they are not under attack but just by the definition of their foundation, it becomes a battle for survival, for mental stability.
Sorry to repost myself but I think it offers my point that it's even deeper than ego, it's survival. Therefore, the act of discussion in a rational way is... well, sometimes futile. Ego? absolutely. If you want to get Freudian about it, possibly Id.

As far as a personal experience, ego, deconversion... My ego was the sum of my chrisianity before. Now, my ego is the sum of my knowledge and discovery.

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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18-09-2011, 05:12 PM
RE: EGO and deconversion
Ego, then, wouldn't cover the thing that's at risk, because, in the Freudian sense, ego is only one third of the whole personality, and all of the personality is invested in the religion.
No, that's not quite right; the id would be free of religion.
In fact, i imagine the religious part is mainly superego, a father figure that has been internalized and with which one confounds one's own ego. Then, social relationships and status in a religious community would complicate the matter further.

So, what the aspiring deconvert must do is:
First, get in touch with hir id and recognize its right to exist. this is very hard: xtians repress the id to the point where even knowing that you have one causes intense discomfort, shame and guilt.
Second, when s/he has had some practice at that, start peeling the layers of other off his ego. This is even harder, because the line between self/ chosen affiliation and not-self/ imposed identity has been deliberately obscured.
Third, once the ego is recognizably one's own, the deconvert must figure out what parts of hir life, relationships and activities actually serve to make one's life better and which parts are an unwanted burden.
Fourth, one must, one by one, shed the burdensome parts... with the least possible distress to self and loved ones, and face certain resentment, probable ostracism, possible serious hostility.

No wonder if a believer would rather stick blindly to the dogma than risk all that... with no guarantee that s/he will be happier afterward. It's not something one would undertake in a pro-religious environment unless strongly impelled.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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18-09-2011, 05:54 PM
RE: EGO and deconversion
(18-09-2011 05:12 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Ego, then, wouldn't cover the thing that's at risk, because, in the Freudian sense, ego is only one third of the whole personality, and all of the personality is invested in the religion.
No, that's not quite right; the id would be free of religion.
In fact, i imagine the religious part is mainly superego, a father figure that has been internalized and with which one confounds one's own ego. Then, social relationships and status in a religious community would complicate the matter further.

So, what the aspiring deconvert must do is:
First, get in touch with hir id and recognize its right to exist. this is very hard: xtians repress the id to the point where even knowing that you have one causes intense discomfort, shame and guilt.
Second, when s/he has had some practice at that, start peeling the layers of other off his ego. This is even harder, because the line between self/ chosen affiliation and not-self/ imposed identity has been deliberately obscured.
Third, once the ego is recognizably one's own, the deconvert must figure out what parts of hir life, relationships and activities actually serve to make one's life better and which parts are an unwanted burden.
Fourth, one must, one by one, shed the burdensome parts... with the least possible distress to self and loved ones, and face certain resentment, probable ostracism, possible serious hostility.

No wonder if a believer would rather stick blindly to the dogma than risk all that... with no guarantee that s/he will be happier afterward. It's not something one would undertake in a pro-religious environment unless strongly impelled.

Excellent comment. Suppression of Id is a much better explanation. I think we're on the same wavelength.

It's an interesting possible evolution of deconverting you have put together. I'm not sure of the implied idea of having some kind of choice to decide whether to continue deconverting or not as you seem to stated at the end. I don't think the possible convert actually looks ahead to decide whether to continue based on the struggle. By that point, either they have come to the conclusion that religion is not true and they torn between living truth or falsehood, or they have not reached that point and have turned tail and are vigorously repenting.

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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18-09-2011, 09:01 PM
RE: EGO and deconversion
Yes, that's probably true. I was regarding the process from an objective pov, rather from the inside. No, it would never be as deliberate and cool as that: the person going through deconversion wouldn't be aware of steps.
Still, though, for somebody who has already begun deconverting, wouldn't it be useful to figure out what their next step needs to be? What to prepare for?
I'm only guessing - i never actually had to do this.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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19-09-2011, 01:44 AM
 
RE: EGO and deconversion
Howdy, this has been an excellent informative article! I definitely appreciate

all of your wisdom. Thanks alot .
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19-09-2011, 11:21 AM
RE: EGO and deconversion
A quick thought about how W.L. Craig would not admit he was wrong even if he saw the evidence with his own eyes.

This doesn't surprise me since my experience has been that most Christians have little respect for truth. Listening to WL Craig discuss his Cosmological Proof of God it seems quite obvious to me that he knows his arguments are deceptive and untrue, he doesn't care.

I think most atheist's would agree with me when I say I would accept a god's existence if I saw sufficient evidence. Whether or not I would worship would be another question, but I would absolutely admit I had been wrong.

How do I know? Because I made exactly that same life altering decision when I came to the conclusion that there was no god. 25 years ago I was a church pastor in a family that were all fundamentalist Christians, the easiest path I could have taken was to ignore the evidence and keep doing what I was doing. I became an atheist because I believed it to be true in spite of the personal cost.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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19-09-2011, 01:13 PM
RE: EGO and deconversion
(19-09-2011 11:21 AM)nontheocrat Wrote:  A quick thought about how W.L. Craig would not admit he was wrong even if he saw the evidence with his own eyes.

This doesn't surprise me since my experience has been that most Christians have little respect for truth. Listening to WL Craig discuss his Cosmological Proof of God it seems quite obvious to me that he knows his arguments are deceptive and untrue, he doesn't care.

I think most atheist's would agree with me when I say I would accept a god's existence if I saw sufficient evidence. Whether or not I would worship would be another question, but I would absolutely admit I had been wrong.

How do I know? Because I made exactly that same life altering decision when I came to the conclusion that there was no god. 25 years ago I was a church pastor in a family that were all fundamentalist Christians, the easiest path I could have taken was to ignore the evidence and keep doing what I was doing. I became an atheist because I believed it to be true in spite of the personal cost.

If I could hit the "like" button twice for your post, I would. Sound like we have something in common.

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