Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
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15-08-2017, 12:18 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
(15-08-2017 11:50 AM)Anonymous Skeptic Wrote:  
(15-08-2017 10:27 AM)jennybee Wrote:  I don't know if you've read Bart Ehrman's The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction and The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings? These books helped me immensly during my deconversion because he comes at things from a scholarly point of view and not from a "here this is what you *need* to believe." He leaves the ability to think for yourself wide open. All he does is present the scholarly historical facts.

Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't read anything by Bart Ehrman yet but I've got one of his books (Misquoting Jesus) and I'm planning on reading it soon.

(15-08-2017 10:56 AM)jennybee Wrote:  Think about what you fear. I mean really think about it in logical and rational terms. Hell, a place no one has ever seen exists somewhere and is defined as a "lake of fire." It is ruled over by a red magical monster put there by a magical invisible genie who lives in a mansion in the clouds. Sound made up to you? Wink You might as well believe in Grimm's Fairy Tales. Tongue The only difference is *people* told you the Bible was true before you had the ability (often as a child) to rationally assess fact from fiction. If no one ever told you about hell, you would not know it existed. If no one told you about the Christian version of God you would not know he existed.

Hah, yeah, it sounds like a load of bullshit. I've been going through this deconversion process for quite some time now but it's not until recently that I've really understood how crazy it all sounds. It's like I've been granted access to an outsider's view of it and I'm honestly really surprised that I believe (believed?) in such bizarre stories. A God who created humans and created the devil and then made the devil tempt humans so the humans (and all future humans) became sinners destined for eternal torture in hell. A hell that could only be avoided if God, who is actually three in one, sent part of himself to earth to be born of a virgin and then went on to die on a cross to save humans from himself and the hell he created. That God has also made himself the world champion of hide-and-seek and can't really be found even when people voluntarily choose to seek him, which is too bad for those people because they will be tortured forever in hell since they can't just believe in God on faith. Facepalm

But still I can't seem let go because I'm so afraid of what happens if I'm wrong.

(15-08-2017 10:43 AM)Dom Wrote:  Your god has been a go-to for your thoughts and your thoughts are slowly re-learning where to go. You do have a vacuum. It does hurt. It does pass.

That makes sense. I just hope I'll eventually stop interpreting the feelings of grief as God trying to make me come back to him, which is something I feel even though I realise it probably doesn't make any sense.

(15-08-2017 11:20 AM)morondog Wrote:  Let's just be clear that there's no decision here.

It's not like you've got two different shades of paint that you're gonna paint your house with and you're gonna research them both and make an informed decision about which one is the True Paint that you want to paint your house with. In that situation there's equal cases for either of the two shades.

It's more like you've got two different assertions - theories - about how say... gravity works. So you're gonna do all the experiments and research, but ultimately it's not a case of *deciding* which theory you're going to believe, it's a case of observing which one matches the facts and which one is a load of crap.

You're right and I'm aware it's not a decision. It's not like I can actually choose to believe something. What I meant is that I'm trying to gather information from both sides of the debate and, like you said, see which one matches the facts.

(15-08-2017 11:20 AM)morondog Wrote:  You're right to be worried about confirmation bias. It's a definite thing to be aware of, but the fact that you are cross-examining yourself... it kinda means that you will be going out of your way to give the God-botherers a chance. Which... I can pretty much guarantee they won't come up with anything concrete.

I'm really trying to give the "God-botherers" a chance but I regularly find myself favouring books/videos/podcasts by atheists. Mostly because they make more sense to me nowadays.

Imo, I would read the Intro's to OT and NT by Ehrman first. I think it lays a nice foundation to the other books. It realllly helps to know exactly where the religion you believe in came from, historically speaking. And it helps your brain to see there's really nothing to fear once you look behind the curtain. When you look behind the curtain, it's just a bunch of dudes wearing sandals standing there, writing shit down, with a "nothing to see here, folks" look on their faces Tongue

The whole devil hell fear might linger for a bit. It did for me, but slowly, the more you educate yourself, the more you acclimate your mind to the absurdity of everything, the more it starts to see the ridiculousness of the beliefs--and then you can let it all go. It took me about three years to finally fully lose that hell fear and I did it by educating myself as much as I could on the history of the Bible.

Additionally, reminding yourself there are so many holes in the Bible (historically, scientifically, geologically, linguistically, archaeologically, rationally, etc.)-it seems almost farcical to believe an almighty, all powerful being would allow for his word (his one way of communicating with the world) to be so mangled by his creations.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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15-08-2017, 12:29 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
Nothing you are feeling is abnormal, but quite normal. I didn't have sadness as much as I had fear of others knowing. Nothing sad about knowing the ride is finite.

My friend Bob used to put it like this. You go to a movie knowing it will end, but you still go. You go to a music concert knowing it will play a last song, but you still go. You go to a sporting event knowing one team will win and one team will lose, but you still go. You read a book knowing it has a last page, but you still read it. You even get a pet dog or pet cat, knowing you will out last it, you love it while it is alive, mourn it when it dies and still possibly get another pet.

Your "sadness" is really coming from an indoctrination, that and the fear of not having your former support. The good thing is that you can still have joy in life. I am not saying you won't have anymore down parts in the future, just that you don't have to worry about a fictional hell for someone to threaten you with.

You can still find happiness. Many of us where where you were at. But believe us, after time and after talking to us for a while that sadness and fear should go away.

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15-08-2017, 12:46 PM (This post was last modified: 15-08-2017 12:50 PM by Anonymous Skeptic.)
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
(15-08-2017 12:18 PM)jennybee Wrote:  The whole devil hell fear might linger for a bit. It did for me, but slowly, the more you educate yourself, the more you acclimate your mind to the absurdity of everything, the more it starts to see the ridiculousness of the beliefs--and then you can let it all go. It took me about three years to finally fully lose that hell fear and I did it by educating myself as much as I could on the history of the Bible.

Good to hear you're finally free from the fear of hell. Right now I don't see how that could ever happen to me but I hope it will anyway. At this point I don't know if I'm a Christian with major doubts or if I'm an agnostic atheist who's "just" terrified of hell.

(15-08-2017 12:29 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  Your "sadness" is really coming from an indoctrination, that and the fear of not having your former support. The good thing is that you can still have joy in life. I am not saying you won't have anymore down parts in the future, just that you don't have to worry about a fictional hell for someone to threaten you with.

You can still find happiness. Many of us where where you were at. But believe us, after time and after talking to us for a while that sadness and fear should go away.

I don't doubt that I can still have joy in life. About a year ago when I really started to have major doubts, life lost all its meaning and I got really depressed (it was one of the things that sent me into my latest episode of severe depression). I didn't know how to deal with that until a couple of months ago when I read/heard someone say: "there might not be a meaning to life, but that doesn't mean you can't have meaning in life." That changed everything for me. I realised that I can create my own meaning and, honestly, ever since I started to really doubt God's existence, I've felt more free than I did before. It's like life becomes infinitely more precious and valuable when you realise that this is the only life you'll probably ever get and that this brief period of consciousness is all you get. That makes me want to really do my best to be a good person and help make this world a better place for future generations. That didn't feel as important when this life was just a pit stop on the way to heaven.
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15-08-2017, 01:09 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
(15-08-2017 11:50 AM)Anonymous Skeptic Wrote:  
(15-08-2017 10:43 AM)Dom Wrote:  Your god has been a go-to for your thoughts and your thoughts are slowly re-learning where to go. You do have a vacuum. It does hurt. It does pass.

That makes sense. I just hope I'll eventually stop interpreting the feelings of grief as God trying to make me come back to him, which is something I feel even though I realise it probably doesn't make any sense.

I bet you can't go back. It's not really your decision, your brain believes what it thinks to be true. And right now it's mopping up the debris from outdated information. Once you KNOW it's all BS, you cannot make yourself believe. Who are you going to fool, your god?

There is a physical reason for your grief, no gods needed. It will run it's course and then you will have peace instead of fears. Religion rules by fear - just think of the old testament and your fear of a big lake of fire torturing you in all eternity. Your fears will go away when you see how silly all that really is.

[Image: dobie.png]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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15-08-2017, 01:16 PM (This post was last modified: 15-08-2017 01:41 PM by Anonymous Skeptic.)
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
(15-08-2017 01:09 PM)Dom Wrote:  I bet you can't go back. It's not really your decision, your brain believes what it thinks to be true. And right now it's mopping up the debris from outdated information. Once you KNOW it's all BS, you cannot make yourself believe. Who are you going to fool, your god?

I bet you're right. I can't choose to believe in God. I either just do or do not believe. If an atheist is someone who answers anything other than "yes" to the question "do you believe in God?" then I guess I'm an atheist (my answer would be "I don't know but I doubt I do"). My brain is obviously not convinced of God's existence.

Writing that made me anxious. I'm very conflicted and it's like part of me thinks I'm an atheist and part of me refuses to think that.
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15-08-2017, 01:39 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
Hello, fellow newcomer! I can relate to a lot of what you've written about here. When I finally got free of church, I still believed in god a little bit, but believed that if he did exist, it wasn't anywhere near the extent that I'd been taught. I was involved in a very cult-like church that had some strict isolating policies, so when I got out I wondered what the hell made me ever buy into that in the first place. I was also terrified of something happening to me - or worse, to my son - because I was "no longer under god's protection."

What really helped me through that grief and terror period was a book called The Belief Instinct by Jesse Bering. It's an engaging book about the psychology of belief in gods and how it served an evolutionary purpose. Instead of being an apologetic book refuting the claims of any religious belief, it explained the science behind why belief was even at thing to begin with. Being able to take an objective look at belief itself was very useful for me.

Long story short, what you're experiencing is hard-wired into our psychological make-up. It's completely normal, and as others have mentioned, it does indeed pass. Reading the book was like a switch flipping for me and I experienced an enormous sense of relief when I learned exactly why I was so fearful. It helped me feel more in control. I have been a full-on atheist for a while now, but I still find myself occasionally falling into a religious thought pattern, mostly when I'm hoping real hard for something (i.e. "Please, god, let this situation work out in my favor."). And now that I understand the psychological origins of those thoughts, they're easy to identify and corral.

I hope that helps, and I hope you find some relief.
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15-08-2017, 02:01 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
Hey, SongbirdT! Thanks for the book suggestion! Sounds like a really interesting book and I'll definitely go see if they have it at one of the bookshops or the library someday soon.

Anyway, it's good to hear that what I'm going through is normal and that I'm not alone (even though I feel alone in this a lot of the time). Just like you, I also fall back into religious thought patterns (well, not sure I've completely left religion yet so I don't know if I "fall back" into it) and I often find myself reflexively praying for God to help me with something or to protect my family members etc. Sometimes I worry that maybe something bad will happen to my family members if I don't pray and that it'll be my fault. Irrational, I know, but do you know what I mean? Is that something you used to experience?
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15-08-2017, 02:01 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
(15-08-2017 01:16 PM)Anonymous Skeptic Wrote:  
(15-08-2017 01:09 PM)Dom Wrote:  I bet you can't go back. It's not really your decision, your brain believes what it thinks to be true. And right now it's mopping up the debris from outdated information. Once you KNOW it's all BS, you cannot make yourself believe. Who are you going to fool, your god?

I bet you're right. I can't choose to believe in God. I either just do or do not believe. If an atheist is someone who answers anything other than "yes" to the question "do you believe in God?" then I guess I'm an atheist (my answer would be "I don't know but I doubt I do"). My brain is obviously not convinced of God's existence.

Writing that made me anxious. I'm very conflicted and it's like part of me thinks I'm an atheist and part of me refuses to think that.

Sacrifice a blood relative to Satan Smile You'll have so much more peace of mind after that.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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15-08-2017, 03:04 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
Hello! Big Grin

Hug
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15-08-2017, 04:08 PM
RE: Need some support in my deconversion process. (Long post.)
Hello.

Hell eh? There's a Wiki page on hell, here's an excerpt.

These three terms have different meanings and must be recognized.
Hades has similarities to the Old Testament term, Sheol as "the place of the dead" or "grave". Thus, it is used in reference to both the righteous and the wicked, since both wind up there eventually.

Gehenna refers to the "Valley of Hinnom", which was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. It was a place where people burned their garbage and thus there was always a fire burning there. Bodies of those deemed to have died in sin without hope of salvation (such as people who committed suicide) were thrown there to be destroyed.[45] Gehenna is used in the New Testament as a metaphor for the final place of punishment for the wicked after the resurrection.

Tartaróō (the verb "throw to Tartarus", used of the fall of the Titans in Illiad 14.296) occurs only once in the New Testament in II Peter 2:4, where it is parallel to the use of the noun form in 1 Enoch as the place of incarceration of the fallen angels. It mentions nothing about human souls being sent there in the afterlife.


Having studied ancient authors from the Roman empire I lean towards the Gehenna idea.

The entire Wiki page is here.

I recently mentioned this in another thread, but a casual reading of the Elder Pliny's Natural history shows how little the ancients understood the world in which they lived. Pliny being at the time a very highly educated Roman Patrician and genius, had it completely incorrect.

That enslaved scribes or priests of the time had a better understanding than Pliny, is of course a step too far.

In our modern day technologically advanced society, as yet no evidence of the supernatural has been discovered. Therefore one needn't be concerned with an idea developed by far lesser advanced ancients.

The evidence for hell is as real as that of Zeus.

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