Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
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30-11-2016, 05:45 PM
Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
First I want to say hello to everyone and thank you in advance for reading this, my first post on the forum.

In some ways I feel like I am in the early stages of deconversion and in other ways I feel like this has been going on for a long time.

I am a gay man, married to my partner, and for years I have tried to hold on to my belief in God, despite being part of a religion that tells me I am going to burn simply for being who I was born to be. I was raised Southern Baptist, and still carry mental scars from some of the things that I heard in church as a kid.

Specifically, a sermon called When The Lights Go Out on the Road to Hell. It was an hour long experience in terror in a very dimly lit church, culminating in complete darkness with the preacher howling in pain as someone thrust into hell might. I was in the fifth grade and when the lights came on and the alter call was made I pretty much ran up to pray the salvation prayer.

Looking back, I cannot believe that people would allow their children to experience this level of fear.

For years I have struggled with my belief, wanting to believe with all of my heart, but for some reason simply not being able to embrace faith at all. This has led to depression and anxiety and all sorts of problems for my marriage (my partner is basically an Atheist already and cannot comprehend my struggle, though he tries).

Over the past few months, I decided that I have had enough, and I am trying really hard to let go of my religion, but I am finding it very hard. There is one part of me that is ready to run screaming away from belief, but then there is another part of me that wants to cling to the possibility that God exists.

I am torn, and I am wondering, is this normal during deconversion? Are the things I am experiencing par for the course?

Any words of encouragement and advice is truly appreciated.
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30-11-2016, 05:53 PM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Welcome, I think you'll find many who can relate to you here.
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30-11-2016, 06:04 PM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2016 06:07 PM by jennybee.)
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Yup, very normal. I went through the same thing myself.

The best thing to do is to continue to educate yourself on your religion--where it came from (from a scholarly point of view). Bart Ehrman's books are great (He has two really excellent intro ones on the OT and NT). Find an atheist community like this one with other like-minded people. If it's a spiritual thing, find something like yoga or an atheist "church" etc. to fill in that need without the woo. If it's anxiety or stress, a therapist could be helpful.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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30-11-2016, 06:21 PM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Hello! Big Grin

Hug
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30-11-2016, 06:36 PM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
As you said in your own words, you are torn, once you have come this far its unlikely you can go back to fully believing again, so the best course of action now is to reaffirm your new lack of beliefs. All this comes from knowledge, like Jenny said you should learn more, if you think the bible is important, learn about how it came to be and find out the truth. And why do you still have doubt, why do you still think there may be a god? It sounds to me like its about fear and hope. And that is the good thing about atheism, it is based not on fear and hope, just on rationality and facts.

And did you know there are many gay animals in the world, including lions, dolphins, and probably hundreds of other species? If there was a god and being gay is a sin, why are there countless of species for which gay courtship/bonding/sex is not uncommon? Will they go to hell too?
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30-11-2016, 07:13 PM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Occasionally the fear of hell creeps back up for me too. I was also southern baptist for a while as a pre-teen and teenager. It'll certainly do a number on the psyche to constantly have hell and damnation preached at you while all of your most basic human attributes are cited as reasons you should be going to hell. Fucking BS the lot of it.

Time helps but time can't be rushed. Talk with people and find other people's stories and read the arguments against religion. It might help. I started off with Dawkins and Hitchens to read and then listened to podcasts like Seth's TTA and the Atheist Experience. Hope that helps! Thumbsup

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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30-11-2016, 08:00 PM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
G'day BriGuyRN, and welcome to the forum. Smile

I've never been a devout Christian, so I can't really offer you any more advice than the other guys have done so appropriately.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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01-12-2016, 12:17 AM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
I too was raised Southern Baptist. So were several of us.

I think if you look around through the rest of this section of the forum, you'll find that your story is extremely common. I know it can feel like you're the only person on earth going through it, but I hope you can find some comfort in the fact that it's the norm, rather than the exception, for people who have been brought up in such an environment. It's psychological warfare at the social level, to which we humans (as social mammals) are hardwired to respond. They take advantage of the basic architecture of the human mind, in the most disgusting and predatory fashion, in order to advance their religious agenda.

The horror it should evoke in you is not the one they intend. Once you have a chance to find a safe environment, in a new social circle among other freethinkers who have been through it, I think the new perspective will allow you to look at what happened with a measure of pity and an even larger measure of contempt. But more importantly, they will no longer have power over you.

Meanwhile, welcome to TTA and congratulations on your marriage. Smile

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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01-12-2016, 07:47 AM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Welcome! It'll get better with time. Look up hell on Wiki. There are other resources that show how the concept grew and evolved. This, to me, is evidence of fabrication from day one.
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01-12-2016, 09:27 AM
RE: Newly Deconverting and Having Issues
Welcome. At the end of the day, we can offer support, which we gladly do, but it is ultimately up to you to let go. From the other side, I can tell you that I have absolutely no fear whatsoever of hell and that is a great place to be. I wish the same for you too and I wish you let go of religion so that you can be happy with yourself as a gay man in a loving relationship which you deserve without any of the guilt and fear imposed by religion.
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