I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
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06-10-2012, 02:26 PM
I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
What the hell am I doing posting on the Thinking Atheist? What am I now? An apostate? A tool of Satan? One thing for sure, I have a free mind and I am proud of this fact. I have only highlighted some of the main areas that I feel have contributed to my atheism. One of the reasons for this is that it is difficult for me to point to a specific thing as the more it think about these things it is more a sequence of events, some small and others large.

To start I guess I need to begin with my father. It is strange how in some cases history repeats itself. Because of my father’s upbringing he felt the need to question his religious upbringing. My grandparents were Catholic and Protestant. Speaking to him about the event he says that he invited several priests, vicars and other religious leaders from other religions and presented them with a set of questions (A good sceptical way of doing it only with one flaw, he never considered whether there was a god to start with). These question were about the trinity, hellfire and the immortal soul. Most failed to answer them to his satisfaction apart from a Jehovah Witness. This person managed to answer his questions, expound aspect of scripture that he found hard to reconcile with mainstream Christian religions. He was convinced he had found something new, insightful and true. The date is 1978/79

In 1981 I was born into a loving household. Even though after a number of years my parents separated and my father retained custody of myself and my younger brother, my life was full of love, knowledge about the world around me and a natural curiosity about things. With being in a single parent family life was still stressful. My father, now fulfilling two roles in the family brought myself and my brother up as good boys. We weren’t perfect and as typical brothers we had periods of wanting to kill each other and other times when we were inseparable.

Religion was the focus of our lives. It was the nexus of my existence. Even as a young child you were imbued with a sense being special, Gods chosen ones. The ones who knew what the bible really said about things. However my father seemed to instil in me an intellectual instead of an emotional understanding and appreciation of God and religion. This was to play a big part in my deconversion. The meetings at the kingdom hall, ministry and fellowship were all wonderful. I had a large extended spiritual family and friends

Another thing that was to play a large part in my upbringing and my humanist leanings early on was Star Trek. This taught me that humanity has the potential to unite and achieve so much for the betterment of our species and fellow speices on the planet and maybe beyond. I general love of history and the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks, Romans made me aware of other Gods and Goddesses who were once worshipped with the same zeal and devotion as those today.
I happened to be born in a very diverse and multi cultural city, Manchester in the UK. This city had large communities of jews, muslims, sihks ect. So when going on the ministry (knocking on doors) having an understanding of other religions would help in trying to converse and possibly convert them.
So as the years pass I had different experiences both good and bad. My father remarried and we move across country to a city called Hull. Now in the east of the country I enjoyed some of my happiest and saddest memories. Happy in that I had finished school and started technical college (studying paint and decorating) passing my driving test and getting my first car. Getting into trouble for silly things. Watching 18's movies and getting caught. I never did drugs or rebelled against my family or faith. Yes sometimes I got annoyed at silly things like higher education being discouraged, but it was things I could live with.

I also had the best experience, that of meeting my wife, on a building site of all places. I had joined on of the volunteer groups which helped with the construction and refurbishment of kingdom halls. We met, talked and after 18 months we started going out. In 2002 we married at our local kingdom hall. 18 months after that my daughter was born.

At this point my life was wonderful. Married and a father to a little girl my spirituality was at its strongest. I had a deep love for Jehovah and a passion for my religion. I was deepening my knowledge into the bible, though had never read it through at this point. I felt that I had a place in the congregation I was in. I regularly had talks (sermons) on the platform and enjoyed various roles and duties. Like I said my life was wonderful.

We decided to try for another child but sadly my pregnant wife had a miscarriage after 12 weeks and the first doubt crept in. It was the hardest time of my life and even harder for my wife. I was determined not to blame God for what had happened. Its was in the recovery that my wife and I happened across a YouTube series by Pro Robert Winston explaining the process of pregnancy that gave a natural explanation to how pregnancy and miscarriage occur. For the first time I realised that this natural explanation meant that I could not blame God and I could not blame Satan (in witness theology Satan is a real being). The series explained the process, in which eggs are fertilized, the chances of a pregnancy going to full term and the high probability of miscarriage throughout the 9 months

When my wife fell pregnant, this time with twins, this natural explanation carried on. If I couldn’t blame God for the miscarriage how could I thank him for now for my wife having twins?

Slowly the more I started to think about different things the more doubts and questions were raised in my mind. However like most religious people, any doubts, questions would be put to the back of my mind. You develop a mind set of not questioning. I had no knowledge of cognitive dissidence. At this point my relationship with God was strained. Looking back now it is almost as if I became an atheist but still believed in religion.

We come back to Star Trek. I was at work listening to a podcast called Treks in Scifi. A Star Trek podcast to satisfy my geeky self. After listening to this the next one on my clients internet radio was a skepical podcast, Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Over the weeks and months of going through the back catalogue I found that the way I thought was changing. As I looked at homeopathy, pseudo science and other claims I realised that these were not based on factual information and more importantly evidence. I guess it was inevitable that this new sceptical mind set would turn to my faith.
I was sure that because I had the true faith that it could withstand even a cursory sceptical glance at the claims made by my religion.

Truth should withstand scrutiny.

I started to delve into the religion of my birth, the one true religion. I have always been a lover of history, whether biblical or secular history so I wanted to research something that would build my faith in my religion and maybe faith in God again.

In witness theology the date of the destruction of Jerusalem first temple period is of vital importance. The reason for this is a specific time prophecy pointing to the year 1914 is the beginning of Jesus invisible kingdom rule in heaven. From this point the prophecy in Revelation of the 2 witnesses points to the Bible Students (aka what JW were called before the 1930s) being chosen by Jesus Christ to be the chosen religion of Jehovah God. From this the religions leadership gains its authority over all Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the strengths of the religion is the internal consistency of the teachings and how the theology fits together. I had no reason to doubt this corner stone of the religion based on internal evidence.

This is where my new skeptisum came into play. For now I decided to look at the external evidence for the claim made that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607bce. Nothing! No external historical account, evidence in any way supports the claim. All secular pointed to the date 586/587bce. So because the start date for the ‘prophecy’ was incorrect, so would the 1914 date be wrong. I had within a short period knocked the foundation of the house of cards. If your interested at a more indepth look into the teachings go to JW.FACTS.COM and cross check with the official website at JW.ORG (you might find this site hard to stomach)

After all of this searching, after all the sleepless nights, I came to realise that the one true religion was predicated on lies and falsehoods. It was pretty devastating. It was funny though because through all of this I had still not read the Bible. After all this I was willing to give it all another chance. So I started reading the ‘Holy’ Bible. Maybe the quotes give it away what I think of the book. I didn’t want anyone to say to me that I had not tried to keep the embers of a faith going as long as possible.
As you might imagine the best thing to make someone having doubts become agnostic or an atheist is to get them to read their own holy book. You can guess that my opinion of it has changed from once it was. I was reading it now without my ‘god glasses’ on.

I came to the realisation of my atheism but the removal of my religious belief was did not cause an emotional collapse as it has with other ex witnesses and other religious people. For me a new humanism replaced religion. I personally found this helped me to come to terms with my past and to not make me bitter or resentful about my religious upbringing. I am who I am because of my religion and upbringing. I just feel that I have grown beyond the narrow confines of a religious mind. I have been reading Robert Ingersol recently, he likens the religious mind to being a bird in the cage of religion. Whereas a free thinking mind is like an eagle soaring through the clouds. One of the best things about leaving a fundamentalist religion is that I have about 300 years of literature to catch up with.

I still attend the meetings as I want to support my wife who I love dearly. I am giving it one last try. I have asked for a bible study from the elders in my congregation. The reason for this is that this is the last avenue left open to me. I have studied the bible, my religion and the arguments for religion. I am not convinced by them, however I need to be intellectually honest with myself and avail myself of this last option. It is hard not to make the same mistake as theists and come to a conclusion (no gods) before going through this last step.

Any help would be welcome. I plan to update my situation as it happens so watch out for further posts from me
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06-10-2012, 02:54 PM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2012 06:22 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
(06-10-2012 02:26 PM)Jonno8339 Wrote:  What the hell am I doing posting on the Thinking Atheist? What am I now? An apostate? A tool of Satan? One thing for sure, I have a free mind and I am proud of this fact. I have only highlighted some of the main areas that I feel have contributed to my atheism. One of the reasons for this is that it is difficult for me to point to a specific thing as the more it think about these things it is more a sequence of events, some small and others large.

To start I guess I need to begin with my father. It is strange how in some cases history repeats itself. Because of my father’s upbringing he felt the need to question his religious upbringing. My grandparents were Catholic and Protestant. Speaking to him about the event he says that he invited several priests, vicars and other religious leaders from other religions and presented them with a set of questions (A good sceptical way of doing it only with one flaw, he never considered whether there was a god to start with). These question were about the trinity, hellfire and the immortal soul. Most failed to answer them to his satisfaction apart from a Jehovah Witness. This person managed to answer his questions, expound aspect of scripture that he found hard to reconcile with mainstream Christian religions. He was convinced he had found something new, insightful and true. The date is 1978/79

In 1981 I was born into a loving household. Even though after a number of years my parents separated and my father retained custody of myself and my younger brother, my life was full of love, knowledge about the world around me and a natural curiosity about things. With being in a single parent family life was still stressful. My father, now fulfilling two roles in the family brought myself and my brother up as good boys. We weren’t perfect and as typical brothers we had periods of wanting to kill each other and other times when we were inseparable.

Religion was the focus of our lives. It was the nexus of my existence. Even as a young child you were imbued with a sense being special, Gods chosen ones. The ones who knew what the bible really said about things. However my father seemed to instil in me an intellectual instead of an emotional understanding and appreciation of God and religion. This was to play a big part in my deconversion. The meetings at the kingdom hall, ministry and fellowship were all wonderful. I had a large extended spiritual family and friends

Another thing that was to play a large part in my upbringing and my humanist leanings early on was Star Trek. This taught me that humanity has the potential to unite and achieve so much for the betterment of our species and fellow speices on the planet and maybe beyond. I general love of history and the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks, Romans made me aware of other Gods and Goddesses who were once worshipped with the same zeal and devotion as those today.
I happened to be born in a very diverse and multi cultural city, Manchester in the UK. This city had large communities of jews, muslims, sihks ect. So when going on the ministry (knocking on doors) having an understanding of other religions would help in trying to converse and possibly convert them.
So as the years pass I had different experiences both good and bad. My father remarried and we move across country to a city called Hull. Now in the east of the country I enjoyed some of my happiest and saddest memories. Happy in that I had finished school and started technical college (studying paint and decorating) passing my driving test and getting my first car. Getting into trouble for silly things. Watching 18's movies and getting caught. I never did drugs or rebelled against my family or faith. Yes sometimes I got annoyed at silly things like higher education being discouraged, but it was things I could live with.

I also had the best experience, that of meeting my wife, on a building site of all places. I had joined on of the volunteer groups which helped with the construction and refurbishment of kingdom halls. We met, talked and after 18 months we started going out. In 2002 we married at our local kingdom hall. 18 months after that my daughter was born.

At this point my life was wonderful. Married and a father to a little girl my spirituality was at its strongest. I had a deep love for Jehovah and a passion for my religion. I was deepening my knowledge into the bible, though had never read it through at this point. I felt that I had a place in the congregation I was in. I regularly had talks (sermons) on the platform and enjoyed various roles and duties. Like I said my life was wonderful.

We decided to try for another child but sadly my pregnant wife had a miscarriage after 12 weeks and the first doubt crept in. It was the hardest time of my life and even harder for my wife. I was determined not to blame God for what had happened. Its was in the recovery that my wife and I happened across a YouTube series by Pro Robert Winston explaining the process of pregnancy that gave a natural explanation to how pregnancy and miscarriage occur. For the first time I realised that this natural explanation meant that I could not blame God and I could not blame Satan (in witness theology Satan is a real being). The series explained the process, in which eggs are fertilized, the chances of a pregnancy going to full term and the high probability of miscarriage throughout the 9 months

When my wife fell pregnant, this time with twins, this natural explanation carried on. If I couldn’t blame God for the miscarriage how could I thank him for now for my wife having twins?

Slowly the more I started to think about different things the more doubts and questions were raised in my mind. However like most religious people, any doubts, questions would be put to the back of my mind. You develop a mind set of not questioning. I had no knowledge of cognitive dissidence. At this point my relationship with God was strained. Looking back now it is almost as if I became an atheist but still believed in religion.

We come back to Star Trek. I was at work listening to a podcast called Treks in Scifi. A Star Trek podcast to satisfy my geeky self. After listening to this the next one on my clients internet radio was a skepical podcast, Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Over the weeks and months of going through the back catalogue I found that the way I thought was changing. As I looked at homeopathy, pseudo science and other claims I realised that these were not based on factual information and more importantly evidence. I guess it was inevitable that this new sceptical mind set would turn to my faith.
I was sure that because I had the true faith that it could withstand even a cursory sceptical glance at the claims made by my religion.

Truth should withstand scrutiny.

I started to delve into the religion of my birth, the one true religion. I have always been a lover of history, whether biblical or secular history so I wanted to research something that would build my faith in my religion and maybe faith in God again.

In witness theology the date of the destruction of Jerusalem first temple period is of vital importance. The reason for this is a specific time prophecy pointing to the year 1914 is the beginning of Jesus invisible kingdom rule in heaven. From this point the prophecy in Revelation of the 2 witnesses points to the Bible Students (aka what JW were called before the 1930s) being chosen by Jesus Christ to be the chosen religion of Jehovah God. From this the religions leadership gains its authority over all Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the strengths of the religion is the internal consistency of the teachings and how the theology fits together. I had no reason to doubt this corner stone of the religion based on internal evidence.

This is where my new skeptisum came into play. For now I decided to look at the external evidence for the claim made that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607bce. Nothing! No external historical account, evidence in any way supports the claim. All secular pointed to the date 586/587bce. So because the start date for the ‘prophecy’ was incorrect, so would the 1914 date be wrong. I had within a short period knocked the foundation of the house of cards. If your interested at a more indepth look into the teachings go to JW.FACTS.COM and cross check with the official website at JW.ORG (you might find this site hard to stomach)

After all of this searching, after all the sleepless nights, I came to realise that the one true religion was predicated on lies and falsehoods. It was pretty devastating. It was funny though because through all of this I had still not read the Bible. After all this I was willing to give it all another chance. So I started reading the ‘Holy’ Bible. Maybe the quotes give it away what I think of the book. I didn’t want anyone to say to me that I had not tried to keep the embers of a faith going as long as possible.
As you might imagine the best thing to make someone having doubts become agnostic or an atheist is to get them to read their own holy book. You can guess that my opinion of it has changed from once it was. I was reading it now without my ‘god glasses’ on.

I came to the realisation of my atheism but the removal of my religious belief was did not cause an emotional collapse as it has with other ex witnesses and other religious people. For me a new humanism replaced religion. I personally found this helped me to come to terms with my past and to not make me bitter or resentful about my religious upbringing. I am who I am because of my religion and upbringing. I just feel that I have grown beyond the narrow confines of a religious mind. I have been reading Robert Ingersol recently, he likens the religious mind to being a bird in the cage of religion. Whereas a free thinking mind is like an eagle soaring through the clouds. One of the best things about leaving a fundamentalist religion is that I have about 300 years of literature to catch up with.

I still attend the meetings as I want to support my wife who I love dearly. I am giving it one last try. I have asked for a bible study from the elders in my congregation. The reason for this is that this is the last avenue left open to me. I have studied the bible, my religion and the arguments for religion. I am not convinced by them, however I need to be intellectually honest with myself and avail myself of this last option. It is hard not to make the same mistake as theists and come to a conclusion (no gods) before going through this last step.

Any help would be welcome. I plan to update my situation as it happens so watch out for further posts from me

That has GOT to be THE longest intro EVER written on TTA.
So you're in line for a TTA award, already dude !
Welcome to the nuthouse.
(BTW, skip the "Bible study". Just read Dr. Richard Eliott Friedman's "Who Wrote the Bible". It will be nice to have another guy around who's actually interested in real history.)

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...+resources

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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06-10-2012, 04:15 PM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
(06-10-2012 02:26 PM)Jonno8339 Wrote:  What the hell am I doing posting on the Thinking Atheist? What am I now? An apostate? A tool of Satan? One thing for sure, I have a free mind and I am proud of this fact. I have only highlighted some of the main areas that I feel have contributed to my atheism. One of the reasons for this is that it is difficult for me to point to a specific thing as the more it think about these things it is more a sequence of events, some small and others large.

To start I guess I need to begin with my father. It is strange how in some cases history repeats itself. Because of my father’s upbringing he felt the need to question his religious upbringing. My grandparents were Catholic and Protestant. Speaking to him about the event he says that he invited several priests, vicars and other religious leaders from other religions and presented them with a set of questions (A good sceptical way of doing it only with one flaw, he never considered whether there was a god to start with). These question were about the trinity, hellfire and the immortal soul. Most failed to answer them to his satisfaction apart from a Jehovah Witness. This person managed to answer his questions, expound aspect of scripture that he found hard to reconcile with mainstream Christian religions. He was convinced he had found something new, insightful and true. The date is 1978/79

In 1981 I was born into a loving household. Even though after a number of years my parents separated and my father retained custody of myself and my younger brother, my life was full of love, knowledge about the world around me and a natural curiosity about things. With being in a single parent family life was still stressful. My father, now fulfilling two roles in the family brought myself and my brother up as good boys. We weren’t perfect and as typical brothers we had periods of wanting to kill each other and other times when we were inseparable.

Religion was the focus of our lives. It was the nexus of my existence. Even as a young child you were imbued with a sense being special, Gods chosen ones. The ones who knew what the bible really said about things. However my father seemed to instil in me an intellectual instead of an emotional understanding and appreciation of God and religion. This was to play a big part in my deconversion. The meetings at the kingdom hall, ministry and fellowship were all wonderful. I had a large extended spiritual family and friends

Another thing that was to play a large part in my upbringing and my humanist leanings early on was Star Trek. This taught me that humanity has the potential to unite and achieve so much for the betterment of our species and fellow speices on the planet and maybe beyond. I general love of history and the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks, Romans made me aware of other Gods and Goddesses who were once worshipped with the same zeal and devotion as those today.
I happened to be born in a very diverse and multi cultural city, Manchester in the UK. This city had large communities of jews, muslims, sihks ect. So when going on the ministry (knocking on doors) having an understanding of other religions would help in trying to converse and possibly convert them.
So as the years pass I had different experiences both good and bad. My father remarried and we move across country to a city called Hull. Now in the east of the country I enjoyed some of my happiest and saddest memories. Happy in that I had finished school and started technical college (studying paint and decorating) passing my driving test and getting my first car. Getting into trouble for silly things. Watching 18's movies and getting caught. I never did drugs or rebelled against my family or faith. Yes sometimes I got annoyed at silly things like higher education being discouraged, but it was things I could live with.

I also had the best experience, that of meeting my wife, on a building site of all places. I had joined on of the volunteer groups which helped with the construction and refurbishment of kingdom halls. We met, talked and after 18 months we started going out. In 2002 we married at our local kingdom hall. 18 months after that my daughter was born.

At this point my life was wonderful. Married and a father to a little girl my spirituality was at its strongest. I had a deep love for Jehovah and a passion for my religion. I was deepening my knowledge into the bible, though had never read it through at this point. I felt that I had a place in the congregation I was in. I regularly had talks (sermons) on the platform and enjoyed various roles and duties. Like I said my life was wonderful.

We decided to try for another child but sadly my pregnant wife had a miscarriage after 12 weeks and the first doubt crept in. It was the hardest time of my life and even harder for my wife. I was determined not to blame God for what had happened. Its was in the recovery that my wife and I happened across a YouTube series by Pro Robert Winston explaining the process of pregnancy that gave a natural explanation to how pregnancy and miscarriage occur. For the first time I realised that this natural explanation meant that I could not blame God and I could not blame Satan (in witness theology Satan is a real being). The series explained the process, in which eggs are fertilized, the chances of a pregnancy going to full term and the high probability of miscarriage throughout the 9 months

When my wife fell pregnant, this time with twins, this natural explanation carried on. If I couldn’t blame God for the miscarriage how could I thank him for now for my wife having twins?

Slowly the more I started to think about different things the more doubts and questions were raised in my mind. However like most religious people, any doubts, questions would be put to the back of my mind. You develop a mind set of not questioning. I had no knowledge of cognitive dissidence. At this point my relationship with God was strained. Looking back now it is almost as if I became an atheist but still believed in religion.

We come back to Star Trek. I was at work listening to a podcast called Treks in Scifi. A Star Trek podcast to satisfy my geeky self. After listening to this the next one on my clients internet radio was a skepical podcast, Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Over the weeks and months of going through the back catalogue I found that the way I thought was changing. As I looked at homeopathy, pseudo science and other claims I realised that these were not based on factual information and more importantly evidence. I guess it was inevitable that this new sceptical mind set would turn to my faith.
I was sure that because I had the true faith that it could withstand even a cursory sceptical glance at the claims made by my religion.

Truth should withstand scrutiny.

I started to delve into the religion of my birth, the one true religion. I have always been a lover of history, whether biblical or secular history so I wanted to research something that would build my faith in my religion and maybe faith in God again.

In witness theology the date of the destruction of Jerusalem first temple period is of vital importance. The reason for this is a specific time prophecy pointing to the year 1914 is the beginning of Jesus invisible kingdom rule in heaven. From this point the prophecy in Revelation of the 2 witnesses points to the Bible Students (aka what JW were called before the 1930s) being chosen by Jesus Christ to be the chosen religion of Jehovah God. From this the religions leadership gains its authority over all Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the strengths of the religion is the internal consistency of the teachings and how the theology fits together. I had no reason to doubt this corner stone of the religion based on internal evidence.

This is where my new skeptisum came into play. For now I decided to look at the external evidence for the claim made that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607bce. Nothing! No external historical account, evidence in any way supports the claim. All secular pointed to the date 586/587bce. So because the start date for the ‘prophecy’ was incorrect, so would the 1914 date be wrong. I had within a short period knocked the foundation of the house of cards. If your interested at a more indepth look into the teachings go to JW.FACTS.COM and cross check with the official website at JW.ORG (you might find this site hard to stomach)

After all of this searching, after all the sleepless nights, I came to realise that the one true religion was predicated on lies and falsehoods. It was pretty devastating. It was funny though because through all of this I had still not read the Bible. After all this I was willing to give it all another chance. So I started reading the ‘Holy’ Bible. Maybe the quotes give it away what I think of the book. I didn’t want anyone to say to me that I had not tried to keep the embers of a faith going as long as possible.
As you might imagine the best thing to make someone having doubts become agnostic or an atheist is to get them to read their own holy book. You can guess that my opinion of it has changed from once it was. I was reading it now without my ‘god glasses’ on.

I came to the realisation of my atheism but the removal of my religious belief was did not cause an emotional collapse as it has with other ex witnesses and other religious people. For me a new humanism replaced religion. I personally found this helped me to come to terms with my past and to not make me bitter or resentful about my religious upbringing. I am who I am because of my religion and upbringing. I just feel that I have grown beyond the narrow confines of a religious mind. I have been reading Robert Ingersol recently, he likens the religious mind to being a bird in the cage of religion. Whereas a free thinking mind is like an eagle soaring through the clouds. One of the best things about leaving a fundamentalist religion is that I have about 300 years of literature to catch up with.

I still attend the meetings as I want to support my wife who I love dearly. I am giving it one last try. I have asked for a bible study from the elders in my congregation. The reason for this is that this is the last avenue left open to me. I have studied the bible, my religion and the arguments for religion. I am not convinced by them, however I need to be intellectually honest with myself and avail myself of this last option. It is hard not to make the same mistake as theists and come to a conclusion (no gods) before going through this last step.

Any help would be welcome. I plan to update my situation as it happens so watch out for further posts from me

Wow, what a story.

Over and over again I realize how very lucky I was. I ditched catholicism at age 10, along with my fairy tale books. My parents never spoke about religion one way or another, and much later in life I found out they were closet atheists.

I never had to go through so many contortions to free myself from fairy tales, it's natural when you are 10. I had read the entire bible at that time and considered it more gruesome than the Grimm's brother's fairy tales. That's a pretty nasty god in there, killing people left and right, telling them to kill other people in droves, and their babies to top it off. Surely not anyone I would want to worship....

Be prepared, the folk in this forum are a silly bunch and lots of tongue in cheek comments are made. Take it for what it is - a (sometimes warped) sense of humor.
The guys here grow on you and you'll feel at home in no time.

I hope you find peace soon, it must be very hard to come to the realization that a lot of what used to make up the bulk of your life isn't even true.

Watch some videos on youtube on the topic, maybe the guys here can point you to some good ones. The Thinking Atheist has quite a few that make a ton of sense, so maybe you want to type that into the youtube search.

All I can do for you is to recommend to continue to educate yourself, not just about your own religion and about atheism, but about science. There is a world of knowledge out there...

Good luck!

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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06-10-2012, 04:41 PM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
(06-10-2012 02:26 PM)Jonno8339 Wrote:  What the hell am I doing posting on the Thinking Atheist? What am I now? An apostate? A tool of Satan? One thing for sure, I have a free mind and I am proud of this fact. I have only highlighted some of the main areas that I feel have contributed to my atheism. One of the reasons for this is that it is difficult for me to point to a specific thing as the more it think about these things it is more a sequence of events, some small and others large.

To start I guess I need to begin with my father. It is strange how in some cases history repeats itself. Because of my father’s upbringing he felt the need to question his religious upbringing. My grandparents were Catholic and Protestant. Speaking to him about the event he says that he invited several priests, vicars and other religious leaders from other religions and presented them with a set of questions (A good sceptical way of doing it only with one flaw, he never considered whether there was a god to start with). These question were about the trinity, hellfire and the immortal soul. Most failed to answer them to his satisfaction apart from a Jehovah Witness. This person managed to answer his questions, expound aspect of scripture that he found hard to reconcile with mainstream Christian religions. He was convinced he had found something new, insightful and true. The date is 1978/79

In 1981 I was born into a loving household. Even though after a number of years my parents separated and my father retained custody of myself and my younger brother, my life was full of love, knowledge about the world around me and a natural curiosity about things. With being in a single parent family life was still stressful. My father, now fulfilling two roles in the family brought myself and my brother up as good boys. We weren’t perfect and as typical brothers we had periods of wanting to kill each other and other times when we were inseparable.

Religion was the focus of our lives. It was the nexus of my existence. Even as a young child you were imbued with a sense being special, Gods chosen ones. The ones who knew what the bible really said about things. However my father seemed to instil in me an intellectual instead of an emotional understanding and appreciation of God and religion. This was to play a big part in my deconversion. The meetings at the kingdom hall, ministry and fellowship were all wonderful. I had a large extended spiritual family and friends

Another thing that was to play a large part in my upbringing and my humanist leanings early on was Star Trek. This taught me that humanity has the potential to unite and achieve so much for the betterment of our species and fellow speices on the planet and maybe beyond. I general love of history and the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks, Romans made me aware of other Gods and Goddesses who were once worshipped with the same zeal and devotion as those today.
I happened to be born in a very diverse and multi cultural city, Manchester in the UK. This city had large communities of jews, muslims, sihks ect. So when going on the ministry (knocking on doors) having an understanding of other religions would help in trying to converse and possibly convert them.
So as the years pass I had different experiences both good and bad. My father remarried and we move across country to a city called Hull. Now in the east of the country I enjoyed some of my happiest and saddest memories. Happy in that I had finished school and started technical college (studying paint and decorating) passing my driving test and getting my first car. Getting into trouble for silly things. Watching 18's movies and getting caught. I never did drugs or rebelled against my family or faith. Yes sometimes I got annoyed at silly things like higher education being discouraged, but it was things I could live with.

I also had the best experience, that of meeting my wife, on a building site of all places. I had joined on of the volunteer groups which helped with the construction and refurbishment of kingdom halls. We met, talked and after 18 months we started going out. In 2002 we married at our local kingdom hall. 18 months after that my daughter was born.

At this point my life was wonderful. Married and a father to a little girl my spirituality was at its strongest. I had a deep love for Jehovah and a passion for my religion. I was deepening my knowledge into the bible, though had never read it through at this point. I felt that I had a place in the congregation I was in. I regularly had talks (sermons) on the platform and enjoyed various roles and duties. Like I said my life was wonderful.

We decided to try for another child but sadly my pregnant wife had a miscarriage after 12 weeks and the first doubt crept in. It was the hardest time of my life and even harder for my wife. I was determined not to blame God for what had happened. Its was in the recovery that my wife and I happened across a YouTube series by Pro Robert Winston explaining the process of pregnancy that gave a natural explanation to how pregnancy and miscarriage occur. For the first time I realised that this natural explanation meant that I could not blame God and I could not blame Satan (in witness theology Satan is a real being). The series explained the process, in which eggs are fertilized, the chances of a pregnancy going to full term and the high probability of miscarriage throughout the 9 months

When my wife fell pregnant, this time with twins, this natural explanation carried on. If I couldn’t blame God for the miscarriage how could I thank him for now for my wife having twins?

Slowly the more I started to think about different things the more doubts and questions were raised in my mind. However like most religious people, any doubts, questions would be put to the back of my mind. You develop a mind set of not questioning. I had no knowledge of cognitive dissidence. At this point my relationship with God was strained. Looking back now it is almost as if I became an atheist but still believed in religion.

We come back to Star Trek. I was at work listening to a podcast called Treks in Scifi. A Star Trek podcast to satisfy my geeky self. After listening to this the next one on my clients internet radio was a skepical podcast, Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Over the weeks and months of going through the back catalogue I found that the way I thought was changing. As I looked at homeopathy, pseudo science and other claims I realised that these were not based on factual information and more importantly evidence. I guess it was inevitable that this new sceptical mind set would turn to my faith.
I was sure that because I had the true faith that it could withstand even a cursory sceptical glance at the claims made by my religion.

Truth should withstand scrutiny.

I started to delve into the religion of my birth, the one true religion. I have always been a lover of history, whether biblical or secular history so I wanted to research something that would build my faith in my religion and maybe faith in God again.

In witness theology the date of the destruction of Jerusalem first temple period is of vital importance. The reason for this is a specific time prophecy pointing to the year 1914 is the beginning of Jesus invisible kingdom rule in heaven. From this point the prophecy in Revelation of the 2 witnesses points to the Bible Students (aka what JW were called before the 1930s) being chosen by Jesus Christ to be the chosen religion of Jehovah God. From this the religions leadership gains its authority over all Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the strengths of the religion is the internal consistency of the teachings and how the theology fits together. I had no reason to doubt this corner stone of the religion based on internal evidence.

This is where my new skeptisum came into play. For now I decided to look at the external evidence for the claim made that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607bce. Nothing! No external historical account, evidence in any way supports the claim. All secular pointed to the date 586/587bce. So because the start date for the ‘prophecy’ was incorrect, so would the 1914 date be wrong. I had within a short period knocked the foundation of the house of cards. If your interested at a more indepth look into the teachings go to JW.FACTS.COM and cross check with the official website at JW.ORG (you might find this site hard to stomach)

After all of this searching, after all the sleepless nights, I came to realise that the one true religion was predicated on lies and falsehoods. It was pretty devastating. It was funny though because through all of this I had still not read the Bible. After all this I was willing to give it all another chance. So I started reading the ‘Holy’ Bible. Maybe the quotes give it away what I think of the book. I didn’t want anyone to say to me that I had not tried to keep the embers of a faith going as long as possible.
As you might imagine the best thing to make someone having doubts become agnostic or an atheist is to get them to read their own holy book. You can guess that my opinion of it has changed from once it was. I was reading it now without my ‘god glasses’ on.

I came to the realisation of my atheism but the removal of my religious belief was did not cause an emotional collapse as it has with other ex witnesses and other religious people. For me a new humanism replaced religion. I personally found this helped me to come to terms with my past and to not make me bitter or resentful about my religious upbringing. I am who I am because of my religion and upbringing. I just feel that I have grown beyond the narrow confines of a religious mind. I have been reading Robert Ingersol recently, he likens the religious mind to being a bird in the cage of religion. Whereas a free thinking mind is like an eagle soaring through the clouds. One of the best things about leaving a fundamentalist religion is that I have about 300 years of literature to catch up with.

I still attend the meetings as I want to support my wife who I love dearly. I am giving it one last try. I have asked for a bible study from the elders in my congregation. The reason for this is that this is the last avenue left open to me. I have studied the bible, my religion and the arguments for religion. I am not convinced by them, however I need to be intellectually honest with myself and avail myself of this last option. It is hard not to make the same mistake as theists and come to a conclusion (no gods) before going through this last step.

Any help would be welcome. I plan to update my situation as it happens so watch out for further posts from me

You mention that you still go to meetings to support your wife. I can respect that, because my wife is the only reason I go to church. I have to ask though, is your wife aware you are an atheist? If not, are you scared to tell her? I married a theist as well, but my wife has known since we met that I am an outspoken atheist.
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06-10-2012, 04:44 PM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
Jonno, welcome to the group!

I agree with Dom...the videos on YouTube by The Thinking Atheist are a quick & great way to show you things you may not yet have considered. Also, be sure to click on the "Refuting the Bible" link here on TTA to see even more inconsistencies. The more inconsistencies you find within your religion & its 'holy' writings, the more assured you will feel that you are on the right track! After that, it will just take time to adjust.

Best wishes on your trek from a fellow trekker.

A thinking man has ideas that evolve. My religion right now is waffles...I'm a Jemima's Witness. Wink
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06-10-2012, 04:45 PM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
Quote:Truth should withstand scrutiny.
^Best quote EVAR!!

Welcome!
Watch out with that reunion, the best advice I can give you is don't let them manipulate you, a big deal of religion propaganda is based on emotionally heavy fallacies and it's hard sometimes not to let it get you, at least at first.

Know your fallacies, and be prepared to call BS when it's due Wink

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06-10-2012, 05:02 PM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
Hey, a fellow apostate!

I've been out of the Witnesses for a few years. And does your story ever get to me.

First off, Apostate is a word used like a threat. You don't feel good, saying it, right? Does it make you feel dirty? Well, at first, yeah. I'm pretty sure the first thing I went through was similar to yours. OMG a spawn of Satan himself. I really should go talk to the Elders and get my thinking cap put back on... *BAMF* I got disfellowshipped.

I ended up realizing that the word apostate was a tool. A tool for my thoughts not to stray for dogma. To be subservient. To accept anything that the men who weren't old but were called Elders said, pretty much Judge Jury and Executioner. Oh man, it was crippling.

Though I don't have a wife (ladies?) and I'm fully out of the 'Borganization' (hey, they think it's okay to call me Satan (my Aunt and Dad do), their christian denomination will get called names, too), just know why they use the word Apostate: for control. It affects emotional stability as well. Like a wound, don't touch it, don't go near it, for fear of infection or it getting worse. Use a bandage (bible study) and hope that the Elders help straighten (....WARP!) thinking out (man, this is starting to sound more and more like a Disney version of the Crusades).

You might be an unbeliever... maybe. Not a full-fledged apostate - look at the hoops you're going through for your wife! That takes dedication!

EDIT: Welcome! Damn, I almost forgot this was an introduction post!

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07-10-2012, 01:21 AM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
Wow! Thankyou for all the replays and kind advise.

Yes I know it is a long first post. If the prize for being the longest first post is a bottle of single malt whiskey ill past on my details Wink

I look forward to everyone's take on things, the humour and silliness. If I can't laugh about religion what else can I do.

I've spent months if not the past few years watching YouTube debates, podcasts and books. The strange thing is is that I'm pretty confident in my atheism now. I've been on most of the ex jw sites and know what to expect from the elders but this is what I need to honest with myself. I need to know that I exhausted all avenues.

Again thanks for all the advise
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07-10-2012, 01:39 AM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
JW eh?

Tell us a joke, I hear JW's have the best knock knock jokes.

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07-10-2012, 01:45 AM
RE: I was a happy JW so what the hell am I doing here
(06-10-2012 04:15 PM)Dom Wrote:  ... The guys here grow on you ...

That's cos were funguys.

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