Share your de-conversion story
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08-12-2013, 04:01 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I grew up in a fundamentalist church and home and went to a Christian college after attending a public high school. I became a Christian when I was about 6 years old. In my teen's and twenties I started to acknowledge that there were many interpretations of the Bible, and that most Christians actually agree on very little. It became obvious that there were good people in every denomination, and that there was no objective way to determine which interpretation of the Bible was the correct one. I was still looking for God, and attended many different churches. Much later I started to consider that just as there are many denominations, there are many religions with no way to objectively decide between them.

I'm now in my 40's and have only been calling myself an atheist for a few months. I've been surprised lately when other atheists told me that they had read the Bible and rejected it when they were very young. I still think religions and the Bible are interesting, mostly because of the influence they've had worldwide. I've been in the habit of listening to The Bible Geek. Religions are messed up because they're a human invention and humans are messed up. I attend a Unitarian Universalist Church from time to time, but just so my son is exposed to the existence of many religions.

I live in a small town, and while I'm not publicly out as an atheist, I have told a few people that I'm an agnostic (I did consider myself to be an agnostic for almost a year), and that apparently was enough for some to treat me differently.
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10-12-2013, 12:56 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Good topic, and I have enjoyed reading everyone's stories. Especially the 'deprogramming' that occurs over a period of time, once you begin to question assumptions and think for yourself.

I was raised kinda wishy-washy, going to church and such. I wasn't really forced to go, but suggested to go, starting really in middle school. I was probably too young to really think for myself, so the whole process is absurd, looking back on it. I volunteered lots of time, went to lots of services, and was very active for years. Nevertheless, I continued going to church and did not question things for years, until I got older.

In my older teen years into my twenties, I really began to question things and got into Buddhist philosophy, especially Zen. I never really bought into any particular sect of Christianity or Buddhism, but I still sought answers, as any good person would.

Now, with the full access of the internet, I can say that I am a full-fledged skeptic. You could even say that I am a very vocal atheist, and feel comfortable openly challenging just about any religious assumption. Probably WAY too cocky, but I feel now more free than I ever have, and feel that it is the duty of any skeptic to openly question things in the face of adversity.

I work in law-enforcement, and it has changed my outlook on life, especially seeing the 'dark' side of humanity. Seeing enough depravity, death, and sorrow, I have come to a conclusion that there is no divine intervention, and people generally 'reap what they sow'. I know now that the only way to seek justice and peace is to create it ourselves, and I (fortunately) get a chance to make myself a part of that process.

The reconciliation now is to spend my time 'reprogramming' myself and my views, and question things until they become factually apparent. Glad I could share my story and I hope to read many of your posts. Smile
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12-12-2013, 06:43 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Someone on this forum recently asked me to share my deconversion story with him; I suppose I can post it here because the post I initially made in this thread is a little bit short.

(25-11-2013 11:04 AM)Vosur Wrote:  My deconversion story isn't very interesting. I learned about skepticism and critical thinking while I was taking my A-levels and decided to evaluate my religious beliefs using their methodology. It didn't take long for me to realize that there was no evidence to support the things I thought were true and so I discarded my beliefs in the tried and tested way of German efficiency.

Big Grin

I come from a Baptist household in Germany. My father and one of my elder brothers are Christians, my mother and my other brother are atheists like me. While I was growing up, I had to attend church every Sunday because my father worked as a Christian pastor before he retired. Not only that, but I happened to live directly above a church until about 11 years ago. I took part in a two years long confirmation led by my father and chose to be baptized at the age of 13. About two years later I entered the German equivalent of the US-American "high school" where I learned about about critical thinking and the scientific method for the first time in my life. I was so intrigued by their methodologies that I decided to evaluate the things I had believed in until then according to their standards. I also decided to take religion classes around the same time which gave me an opportunity to learn about different religions and a chance to discuss the existence of God or gods with others. In our class we came to the conclusion that his or their existence can neither be proven, nor disproven, a view that I still hold today.

It took several months for me to acknowledge that I was no longer a Christian. You see, unlike in the USA, religion is a very private matter in Germany. It's not unusual for people to know each other for years without knowing each other's religious beliefs. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know that my own mother and one of my elder brothers were atheists until about a year ago. I hadn't met someone who told me that he was an atheist back then so I didn't really have something to label myself with. In the process of my deconversion, I started talking to my friends about the topic and it turned out that virtually every single one of them was an atheist as well. Several months later I watched Seth's video "Top Ten Creationist Arguments" on YouTube and checked out his website where I stumbled upon this forum. One day, after lurking for a while, I made the decision to become a member of this community.

As you can see, I'm still here today. Smile

I came out to my father almost a year ago. He reacted fairly surprised at first and obviously wasn't too fond of my deconversion, but over time he came to terms with it. He told me that he isn't going to try to convince me, that he will instead ask God to reveal himself to me like he did in his life. My father and I recently went out for a walk after a pleasant visit at a nearby restaurant and the topic of religion came up again. I was able to make him reconsider his long-held position that there is a conflict between his religious beliefs and accepted scientific knowledge, namely the theory of evolution and the Big bang theory and I think that's something to be proud of.

With that said, I have changed a lot during my time on this forum. When I first came here I was a lot more impatient when it came to debates with theists and would resort to insulting the person I talked to out of frustration more often than not. I have since apologized to everyone I may have hurt that way and learned my lesson in the process. I was absent from TTA for about six months this year and have become much more humble and considerate during that time. I have the privilege of living in a society in which religion is, for the most part, kept out of legislative processes and have strong leanings towards apatheism as a consequence.

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16-12-2013, 04:49 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I used to be a believer, grew up the son of a minister, I was surrounded in its glory, saw the ins and outs...as a young married man both of my daughters were diagnosed with infantile tay sachs disease, a horrible terminal disease with no cure...slow death came to them, my family surrounded us, we prayed, we rocked, I cried, I dont think there is a human on earth that prayed harder than I during that year of sorrow..I beseeched heaven and earth to take me instead....guess what happened? they died in my arms three months apart...this was 1998.

My wife committed suicide 2 months later..couldnt take the pain. I wanted to die, but unfortunately it appears I am extremely mentally resilient..never saw a shrink, never popped a pill, I cried, I moved on, one foot in front of the other. Now I know you are thinking Ah, that is why he hates god, no, I started researching, thinking, asking questions, starting with the obvious why...the ministers and leaders told me things like "we dont know god's plan", "It is not of us to question god", "god allowed this to happen to bring you closer to him" etc etc..

i remember one night we had the church to ourselves, they opened it up, and a dozen preachers were there, we anointed the girls, prayed, and then the senior guy put his hands on my children and prayed, and shook and then looked at me and said, the power of jesus christ has healed them...you have only to turn your life to jesus, and believe and they are healed....yeah, no...they died. What kind of sick man tells a grieving heart broken couple that?

Anyway, I went on my trail of why...why did this happen, why would a god allow this to happen, then that started other questions...why was the 14 million jews allowed to be mass murdered...why this and that...what is this religion, what is it based on, I read the bible cover to cover, I started comparing it, learning the back stories.....needless to say, the more I learned, the less I believed...all total nonsense. I expanded my search to other religions, the more I looked and read and investigated, the more ridiculous the story was....i didnt "turn from god" because my family died, but that experience gave me the drive to think, to learn, to read, to research, to discover that it is a clever, subjugative corrosive made up thing that the majority of the human race has embraced.
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16-12-2013, 05:15 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Enjoying reading everyone's de-conversion stories. I'm thinking also that this particular thread would be helpful with someone who's searching or looking for people who had questions in life about religion. Very helpful indeed.
(maybe give it a bump from time to time so it rolls on home page staying alive and newbies can find it easier? Just a suggestion)

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16-12-2013, 05:20 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(16-12-2013 05:15 PM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Enjoying reading everyone's de-conversion stories. I'm thinking also that this particular thread would be helpful with someone who's searching or looking for people who had questions in life about religion. Very helpful indeed.
(maybe give it a bump from time to time so it rolls on home page staying alive and newbies can find it easier? Just a suggestion)

That's why it is stickied.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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16-12-2013, 05:27 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(16-12-2013 05:20 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(16-12-2013 05:15 PM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Enjoying reading everyone's de-conversion stories. I'm thinking also that this particular thread would be helpful with someone who's searching or looking for people who had questions in life about religion. Very helpful indeed.
(maybe give it a bump from time to time so it rolls on home page staying alive and newbies can find it easier? Just a suggestion)

That's why it is stickied.

Cool beans. And thanks - I totally missed that. Letting newbies or even drop-ins know they might not be alone would do them a world of good, I'd think.

Thumbsup

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26-12-2013, 05:22 PM
Rainbow RE: Share your de-conversion story
This is probably a common story in these forums usually for Christianity.
From traditional Judaism I was drawn into the depths of orthodox Judaism over many years by what I found to be highly intelligent and amazing Rabbi's who could answer most questions very well and inspire an amazing religious life.

Everything went well for at least seven years as I lived & preached orthodox Judaism to other people in the community and inspired others with these wonderful teachings....I became somewhat scholarly Smartass!AngelBowing

But......

There was one nagging itch all the time. ConsiderConsiderConsiderConsider

In Judaism we read the Torah every week on the Sabbath in order to go through the entire five books each year. Whilst the Rabbi's managed to somehow explain the creation story in somewhat modern terms with good scientific & philosophical answers one itch would not go away !ConsiderConsiderConsiderConsider

Every year when we got to the story of Noah and the flood I just had to become a heretic !!!! Evil_monster This was one area where I just knew too much geology & biology to be seduced by the religious apologetic acrobatics.

I knew something was wrong No

However...never mind, the Noah story is just metaphor..Wink.when some people disobey you just kill the lot and start again - really good business, social & family advice !!!

Little by little - very slowly all the edifices began to crumble away. Unlike some of Christianity or Islam - Judaism does have a tremendous intellectual strength as Orthodox Jews debate nitty gritty details in the Talmud & Torah for hours each day over many months and years - no comparison to some other religions.

However even in the midst of this intellectual atmosphere Judaism has hostility to philosophical traditions when they conflict with tradition passed down "from Sinai" via the prophets.
So when unsatisfied with the fundamentalist orthodoxy I became "Modern orthodox" with its more flexible interpretations in light of modern science. Then there was a sliding scale to "process theology", new age ideas, comparative religious philosophy, integral philosophy, spinozism......and it continues until one realizes the "deity" one is believing in is nothing like the one at the beginning of the journey when I became orthodox "fundamentalist" religious.

The final tipping point was when I worked in a neurological ward with people of different religions & faiths and realized it does not make the slightest difference what these people had their faith in when it comes to the barbaric & savage effects of stroke, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and brain tumours. The ward looked like Gods concentration camp. I work in a hospital every day and come to the same conclusion. I came to terms that with statistics like a child dying of malaria every 45 seconds in large parts of the world also resembling Gods personal concentration camp Gulag on super grand scale and no religious dances of theodicy acrobatics even in the world to come can put a pretty bandage on such a cruel horrific concept of a creator deity in charge of all this mess.

However understanding science, especially evolution does provide answers to why we have these diseases and as for human caused suffering we can study sociology and can see faith religions are empty with what they have to offer.

The best book, although technical that finished things off was "Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion:John L. Schellenberg.
The trickiest apologetic acrobatics to deal with was divine hiddenness which is central to Judaism (also Islam & Christianity but highly emphasized in Judaism) and off course it is unfalsifiable and difficult to answer. Perhaps I am being tested and God is withdrawing his presence to help me grow and develop ??? Well - this book puts an end to lofty transcendental theological acrobats and gave me peace of mind on the topic.

Of course along the way I have learned much and in some respects to not regret the journey because there is much to share, better understanding of how to live a good fulfilling life and no need for religious tyranny trying to control people.
At the same time I have also build a much better understanding of critical reasoning skills which helps combat non-religious tyranny whether political cults, new age gurus or damaging influences in the secular non-religious world.

Baruch

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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02-01-2014, 09:28 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(16-12-2013 04:49 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  I used to be a believer, grew up the son of a minister, I was surrounded in its glory, saw the ins and outs...as a young married man both of my daughters were diagnosed with infantile tay sachs disease, a horrible terminal disease with no cure...slow death came to them, my family surrounded us, we prayed, we rocked, I cried, I dont think there is a human on earth that prayed harder than I during that year of sorrow..I beseeched heaven and earth to take me instead....guess what happened? they died in my arms three months apart...this was 1998.

My wife committed suicide 2 months later..couldnt take the pain. I wanted to die, but unfortunately it appears I am extremely mentally resilient..never saw a shrink, never popped a pill, I cried, I moved on, one foot in front of the other. Now I know you are thinking Ah, that is why he hates god, no, I started researching, thinking, asking questions, starting with the obvious why...the ministers and leaders told me things like "we dont know god's plan", "It is not of us to question god", "god allowed this to happen to bring you closer to him" etc etc..

i remember one night we had the church to ourselves, they opened it up, and a dozen preachers were there, we anointed the girls, prayed, and then the senior guy put his hands on my children and prayed, and shook and then looked at me and said, the power of jesus christ has healed them...you have only to turn your life to jesus, and believe and they are healed....yeah, no...they died. What kind of sick man tells a grieving heart broken couple that?

Anyway, I went on my trail of why...why did this happen, why would a god allow this to happen, then that started other questions...why was the 14 million jews allowed to be mass murdered...why this and that...what is this religion, what is it based on, I read the bible cover to cover, I started comparing it, learning the back stories.....needless to say, the more I learned, the less I believed...all total nonsense. I expanded my search to other religions, the more I looked and read and investigated, the more ridiculous the story was....i didnt "turn from god" because my family died, but that experience gave me the drive to think, to learn, to read, to research, to discover that it is a clever, subjugative corrosive made up thing that the majority of the human race has embraced.

I don't know if I can actually click that "like" button for your post, because it's downright heartbreaking. I can't imagine having to go through all of that, and could not possibly relate to it. You have some admirable resiliency.

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08-01-2014, 05:51 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
At the height of my faith, a coworker and I were poised to begin a ministry to follow in the footsteps of Christ like modern day apostles. I was heavily into tribulation stories and preparation. I believed in a few of the conspiracy theories like the one about the rfid chip being forced on the population through the Affordable Care Act.

I don't feel like I was exactly forced into faith. Even though my dad was a C.O.G.I.C. Pastor, he became a pastor after he and my mother divorced, that was my first case of doubt with the administrators of Christianity, a Pastor with an ex-wife paying child support, lol.

Anyway, I spent my summers as a Pastor's Son and my school year as a Catholic school kid. I had doubts with the Catholics' take on the bible after hearing all the fiery sermons my father was giving and I would especially challenge them on their take on Revelation. To me, Revelation was the future, not some coded message during the Roman Empire as the nuns taught in my school.

There were a couple of times during school to adulthood that I loosely believed in God and a couple of times I was ready to make a real commitment to Christ. The first time I felt a real fervor, my wife was resistant. She is a CINO and didn't want to put that much faith in Christ to follow him as closely as I wanted. So, I actually thank her for keeping me from going over the edge.

The second time was last year where a coworker and I were basically starting to gather a damned survival group. It was ridiculous. I was able to read the bible on my iphone at work if the machine had a twenty-four cycle to cut a part. So I was able to read through the bible at a decent clip. I started with the New Testament then jumped to the Old. I was going to be a “New Apostle,” so I had to have my Lord's footsteps down first and the Old Testament was for education about my Lord's history. I couldn't make it through the gospels before I noticed the difference in conversations on the cross and the difference in the stories of the empty tomb. I persisted through it though.

One day something just clicked when my friend was talking about preparing to leave the United States right before the tribulation began and what signs we should look for. I felt like that was a fear based move and that got the gears of skepticism really moving. At this point I was frustrated with the “mainstream” church because I was looking for a submersion baptism, like Jesus, lol. I was having a difficult time finding any clergy that would do it in a moments notice, like in Acts. I already knew the modern church really wasn't following their own shit. It was just a money grab for most of them. They didn't matter though because I was gonna follow the true path. But, if baptism was so important why wouldn't they do one in a moments notice?

My wife was resistant to some of my extremism and my friend told me that my wife is supposed to submit to my will. That may have been the final straw. I didn't take that seriously, I couldn't, my wife is an adult just like me, hell, she is actually a couple of years older. What kind of horseshit subjugates people, in America, in the twenty-first century? This got the ball rolling on my favorite sociology lessons from college. I thought about alienation and suicide from society changing too fast for some people. I thought about how scared we must have sounded when we talked about leaving the US because of the government roundup of Christians. I finally decided to look at the line or section of the Affordable Care Act that said we would have to be implanted with the rfid chip/mark of the beast. I'll be damned, it didn't say that anybody had to be implanted. Hell, the government doesn't even actually force people to vaccinate their kids, let alone get chips implanted. I realized I was just going along with things without actually looking into them.

The dominoes fell after that and I have refuted a lot of the stupid superstitions and fears that I had and I realize that religion left me gullible and mentally lazy and worst of all afraid. I know for a fact it has done that to at least one other person, but I suspect fear is lurking around in there for many of them. Well I say...Screw That!

Sorry this is so long, but I had to get some of this junk off of my chest.

Walter

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