Share your de-conversion story
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24-03-2014, 08:50 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
A new member called Sarcasm UK? Yeah, cos you're really more sarcastic than me.

There's only room for one classically sarcastic Brit around here (and no before anyone says it, I don't mean DLJ Dodgy ). Big Grin

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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24-03-2014, 09:10 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(24-03-2014 08:50 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  A new member called Sarcasm UK? Yeah, cos you're really more sarcastic than me.

There's only room for one classically sarcastic Brit around here (and no before anyone says it, I don't mean DLJ Dodgy ). Big Grin

You really sure you want to go to the tribe to see who gets voted off the island?

(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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25-03-2014, 09:55 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(24-03-2014 08:50 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  A new member called Sarcasm UK? Yeah, cos you're really more sarcastic than me.

There's only room for one classically sarcastic Brit around here (and no before anyone says it, I don't mean DLJ Dodgy ). Big Grin

Ahhhhh, I feel at home already....
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25-03-2014, 10:46 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My de-conversion was a years long process.

I was born and raised Roman Catholic. We attended church in my youth and I went through some of the earlier ceremonies that I honestly cannot remember the titles to, but then we stopped attending church for some reason.

During my last two years of high school, I was a Pentecostal Christian because it was a way for me to fit into a group where I had before then been quite the loner.

In college I discovered the works of Robert Green Ingersoll. The seeds of agnosticism were planted, but they did not grow to fruition just yet.

Afterwards I stumbled upon New Age, due to a friend in college. I did not fall for the New Age spiel so much as I studied the branches of paganism until I felt comfortable with spiritual paganism whereby I acknowledged the Goddess rather than practiced any rituals or Sabbaths.

For years later I posted on forums, starting with Bolt.com (I miss it most of all), MySpace, and then several religious debate forums. I considered myself to be an agnostic theist during these years.

It was not until quite recently, as little as a year or two ago, that I actually forsook the theist notion as well as the stance on agnosticism to become a full fledged atheist.
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25-03-2014, 03:32 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
So de-conversion?

Lets see, Mother dear was and is a christian still, though not as fundamentalist as she was years ago.

My journey started really when I was about 12, I was sexually abused and when it came to light, the abuser committed suicide. So instead of therapy I got prayer, to drive out the spirit of homosexuality that infested me, that did nothing more than convince me that I was the one responsible in some way.

The fundamentalist she took in did more to drive me away from christianity than help me, he was the typical fire and brimstone, spirits of this and that protestant, who is still convinced that the world will end while he alive.

That was when i discovered the book Contact by Carl Sagan, learned about Occam's razor and applied it to the bible. This was the first time I actually read the thing and was appalled by it. I hated yhwh, but hadn't yet made up my mind about a creator being.

As the years passed and I learned more about science I just drifted into a state of agnosticism, only really coming to grips with and admitting to myself that yes, I am atheist in the last three years or so.

I am not out to my family about my atheism as them dealing with me being gay was an exhausting affair, with my mother still in denial about that.

So that's my story, well the short version of it anyway.

Here's the thing, were any of this true, Christian apologetics would not exist. One does not have to bend in multiple ways to defend electricity or aerodynamics. - Banjo

god's love is unconditional on the condition you do every thing he says. - Betty Bowers
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04-04-2014, 11:54 PM
[split] Introduce Yourself HERE!
(01-04-2014 08:11 AM)raven48 Wrote:  
(31-03-2014 02:53 PM)Karyn Wolfe Wrote:  Hi Raven,

See my introduction post today for my thoughts on communicating. What subjects are you interested in discussing?

Karyn
What was the trigger that brought you out of the darkness? Was it a sudden flash on the road to Damascus, or was it a gradual process? Reason for asking: Logic and reason will not work on the True Believers, but there must be a way into their heads.
Hi Raven,
Good question! For me, it was totally a gradual process, and I've been reflecting lately that it was a very emotional one, ironically. Starting in my mid-late teens, things weren't quite working as well as they had for me all along in terms of my hard-core legalistic faith, I was depressed, and felt extremely guilty about my imperfections and inability to control them. These were not big things, small lies, libido, sassing my parents, etc. But I was pretty devastated. This was the start, but because I blamed myself, not God or religion, I was consumed by self-hate. I was in my mid-20s the first time God's veneer began to crack; I had an incident (detailed here) in which I realized that I was the moral superior to the God I had been loving and worshiping, but I didn't know what to do with that. A few months later, things really started to come apart for me when out of the blue, I left my fundamentalist husband. I didn't even know I was going to do it; I just went on a vacation and never went back home. That caused a huge rip in the fabric of my faith; divorce was such a huge sin but my heart was telling me to leave and find myself. To violate God's requirements of me and get divorced, I essentially had to willingly disobey. But I also couldn't believe that God would want me to stay in the relationship with all its problems. For the first time I began really thinking... "why would God want me to live a life that makes me unhappy just because He has a rule that everyone should follow?" It sounds simple and naive, I know, but I had never questioned anything before. So after that, I was aware that I was different from other fundamentalists because I had knowingly disobeyed God because I HAD TO FOR MYSELF. This began a long process where my doubts really took the helm. It was excruciating and I had nothing to take the place of the beliefs I let go of... so for many years I was just in a wilderness of grief, anger, and alienation. But, even so, my beliefs about Christianity persisted and I worked very hard to "remythologize" them every time I had some new insight about Not God. Most of my process was because some intellectual dissonance about Christianity I had was eventually followed through by an emotional need to be true to myself. I never really got into the whole debate about problems with the Bible; after a while I didn't try to defend it. I did come to understand I had been a fundamentalist, and worked very hard to recover from that, while still retaining my belief that I could be a non-fundamentalist Christian. For 20 years now, I have slowly been discarding aspects of my faith that don't work (as relates to science or reason or my own experience). I'm left with very little that isn't wholly metaphoric or poetic, and with a sliver of an idea of a non-theistic God I identify as Life, but it is not supernatural, and I can't really say that it is anything more than Reality.

I am the only one in my family who has made this journey, and I cannot even begin to know what made it possible for me and not them. Ironically, what I think would have helped me along the path event faster would have been:
1) to have people in my life who deeply listened to me, reflected back to me what they heard and saw
2) for others to affirm my desire for truth and my sincerity, after all it was my desire that my inner knowledge and thoughts synchronize with ultimate truth that drove my process this whole time
3) if mentors had really understood how much work it was to try to hold it all together and had some admiration for that. Strange but true! I was a real person with tremendous angst and desire to be good and right.
4) if it had been ok for me to experience and express the grief I felt at walking away from God and the church and, internally, all the things that had been so precious and ALL I KNEW up to that point!

I am still in the process and will be for the rest of my life. In part because I have learned that I need to be patient with myself. I feel that my upbringing was abusive and that I was terrorized by my family and my church. I have come to a point where I won't terrorize myself going forward... and if that means being gentle and patient, then great. I really don't need to repeat the attitudes of my fundamentalism on myself -- perfectionism, scathing criticism, screaming the truth at myself and others, arguing, hubris, being sure I am right, etc. This is a new day, in both belief and in how I live my life.

What about you?
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13-04-2014, 08:08 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I'm slowly unraveling my de-conversion story via my new blog: http://dignitywithoutfear.blogspot.com/

I'm kind of in the midst of the de-conversion right now, and my mind feels totally scattered. I want to read everything I can about atheism and de-conversion stories. I talk to my partner about it constantly (all my other family and friends are Christians and I can't talk to them), so one reason for the blog is to have another outlet and give my partner a rest.

Also, I need to make sense of everything! My entire worldview was wrapped up in being a Christian my entire life. Suddenly I am able to look at everything from a new perspective, which is both scary and liberating. My partner has been an atheist his whole life and I think my big, dramatic de-conversion is mind boggling to him. From his perspective, you either believe or you don't. From mine, it's a big jumbled detangling wrapped up in a lot of shame and guilt and childhood indoctrination.

Anyway, it's wonderful to be in touch with others who are experiencing or have experienced the same struggle. Thanks for sharing your stories. It's nice to know that I'm not alone, even if my family and friends make it feel that way.

http://dignitywithoutfear.blogspot.com/
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13-04-2014, 08:16 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(04-04-2014 11:54 PM)Karyn Wolfe Wrote:  
(01-04-2014 08:11 AM)raven48 Wrote:  What was the trigger that brought you out of the darkness? Was it a sudden flash on the road to Damascus, or was it a gradual process? Reason for asking: Logic and reason will not work on the True Believers, but there must be a way into their heads.
Hi Raven,
Good question! For me, it was totally a gradual process, and I've been reflecting lately that it was a very emotional one, ironically. Starting in my mid-late teens, things weren't quite working as well as they had for me all along in terms of my hard-core legalistic faith, I was depressed, and felt extremely guilty about my imperfections and inability to control them. These were not big things, small lies, libido, sassing my parents, etc. But I was pretty devastated. This was the start, but because I blamed myself, not God or religion, I was consumed by self-hate. I was in my mid-20s the first time God's veneer began to crack; I had an incident (detailed here) in which I realized that I was the moral superior to the God I had been loving and worshiping, but I didn't know what to do with that. A few months later, things really started to come apart for me when out of the blue, I left my fundamentalist husband. I didn't even know I was going to do it; I just went on a vacation and never went back home. That caused a huge rip in the fabric of my faith; divorce was such a huge sin but my heart was telling me to leave and find myself. To violate God's requirements of me and get divorced, I essentially had to willingly disobey. But I also couldn't believe that God would want me to stay in the relationship with all its problems. For the first time I began really thinking... "why would God want me to live a life that makes me unhappy just because He has a rule that everyone should follow?" It sounds simple and naive, I know, but I had never questioned anything before. So after that, I was aware that I was different from other fundamentalists because I had knowingly disobeyed God because I HAD TO FOR MYSELF. This began a long process where my doubts really took the helm. It was excruciating and I had nothing to take the place of the beliefs I let go of... so for many years I was just in a wilderness of grief, anger, and alienation. But, even so, my beliefs about Christianity persisted and I worked very hard to "remythologize" them every time I had some new insight about Not God. Most of my process was because some intellectual dissonance about Christianity I had was eventually followed through by an emotional need to be true to myself. I never really got into the whole debate about problems with the Bible; after a while I didn't try to defend it. I did come to understand I had been a fundamentalist, and worked very hard to recover from that, while still retaining my belief that I could be a non-fundamentalist Christian. For 20 years now, I have slowly been discarding aspects of my faith that don't work (as relates to science or reason or my own experience). I'm left with very little that isn't wholly metaphoric or poetic, and with a sliver of an idea of a non-theistic God I identify as Life, but it is not supernatural, and I can't really say that it is anything more than Reality.

I am the only one in my family who has made this journey, and I cannot even begin to know what made it possible for me and not them. Ironically, what I think would have helped me along the path event faster would have been:
1) to have people in my life who deeply listened to me, reflected back to me what they heard and saw
2) for others to affirm my desire for truth and my sincerity, after all it was my desire that my inner knowledge and thoughts synchronize with ultimate truth that drove my process this whole time
3) if mentors had really understood how much work it was to try to hold it all together and had some admiration for that. Strange but true! I was a real person with tremendous angst and desire to be good and right.
4) if it had been ok for me to experience and express the grief I felt at walking away from God and the church and, internally, all the things that had been so precious and ALL I KNEW up to that point!

I am still in the process and will be for the rest of my life. In part because I have learned that I need to be patient with myself. I feel that my upbringing was abusive and that I was terrorized by my family and my church. I have come to a point where I won't terrorize myself going forward... and if that means being gentle and patient, then great. I really don't need to repeat the attitudes of my fundamentalism on myself -- perfectionism, scathing criticism, screaming the truth at myself and others, arguing, hubris, being sure I am right, etc. This is a new day, in both belief and in how I live my life.

What about you?

The trigger for me was leaving the community I grew up in- small to mid-sized Midwestern towns where I didn't even know Jewish people, let alone atheists. Everyone was a Christian, and all my friends were Christians. Atheists were mythical creatures, except for a couple guys I dated who were nonbelievers. Maybe that should have been a sign- I was never attracted to Christian guys!

After college (in a small town where I was active in the campus Christian groups) I went to grad school, and met a LOT of atheists. They were far kinder, far more selfless and giving than most Christians I knew from back home. After grad school, I moved to a big city, met people of all faiths and non-faiths and various socioeconomic backgrounds (whereas previously I was exposed almost solely to white middle class and upper middle class folks). My line of work keeps me exposed to scientific research and scientists on a daily basis. All these factors were really eye-opening and helped me realize just how sheltered my life had been, even though I was raised by very liberal parents by mainstream Christian standards. I learned that it's ok to be an atheist, and in fact, atheist lifestyles reflected my personal values far more than Christian lifestyles do. I started feeling comfortable entertaining my doubts. And the rest is kind of following from there.

http://dignitywithoutfear.blogspot.com/
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16-04-2014, 09:01 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(04-04-2014 11:54 PM)Karyn Wolfe Wrote:  
(01-04-2014 08:11 AM)raven48 Wrote:  What was the trigger that brought you out of the darkness? Was it a sudden flash on the road to Damascus, or was it a gradual process? Reason for asking: Logic and reason will not work on the True Believers, but there must be a way into their heads.
(Respectful Edit) I really don't need to repeat the attitudes of my fundamentalism on myself -- perfectionism, scathing criticism, screaming the truth at myself and others, arguing, hubris, being sure I am right, etc. This is a new day, in both belief and in how I live my life.

What about you?
Karyn,
I was brought up Catholic, with all the necessary attached guilt. However, I kept asking questions. I went to a Jesuit high school, and that put the final nail in the coffin. The Jesuit tradition of casuistry, scientific reasoning, and theological dispute did it. The issue was that the arguments for god just stopped making sense, and there was no amount of rationalizing that could change it. I am currently looking for a method of penetrating the thunderbolting theist mentality, with the primary hope that they will leave me and mine alone. Not nearly as interesting as your story. Took a lot of intestinal fortitude

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent -- it says so right
here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of
these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for
you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.
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22-04-2014, 06:22 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(15-08-2013 11:28 PM)Sam Wrote:  I wouldn't say I was "brought up" as a believer... because that would be unfair to my Mum. She was left scarred by indoctrination and refused to force any beliefs upon me, but she was pressured by her family to at least introduce me to the teachings of the 'Watchtower & Bible Tract Society', better known as the "Jehovah's Witnesses". But being an impressionable child, without critical faculties I became a believer none the less.

Unlike most Christians, they don't believe that sinners go to hell, and the righteous go to heaven. Instead they believe that after Armageddon, God will raise the dead for judgement... those deemed "sheep" will be allowed to live forever on Earth, while those judged to be "goats" will be destroyed.

Since my Dad has always been an atheist, various members of the congregation took great delight in telling me not to get too attached to my Dad, as he was going to be destroyed at Armageddon. As I'm sure anyone can imagine, this is terrifying to a child. I remember being distraught, and terrified after my grandmother caught me playing with toy soldiers, and told me that God would destroy me for playing war games.

The JWs are creationists with a slight twist, believing that the 7 days of creation represent 7 thousand years rather than 7 literal days. But otherwise they believe the same claptrap as Ray Comfort. This is what made me begin to have doubts... questions about why there were no dinosaurs on Noah's Ark went unanswered, as did how I could see the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years away in a universe just 14,000 years old.

So I did some research online, and worked it all out for myself.

By reading scientific material, I realized that God was in full retreat... we had better and better explanations for everything, without the need for him. So I began to doubt his existence... I read Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion', and watched maybe 30 or 40 debates with the much missed Christopher Hitchens on YouTube. Within maybe 6 months I was more or less an atheist, although some of those fears held on.

I think the final push from basic atheism to anti-theism was watching a very moving film called 'God On Trial'. There's a very powerful moment where a Rabbi, lists God's atrocities from the Torah, and Old Testament, exposing the hypocrisy and evil of the whole thing. Declaring that "God is not good!"

I concluded that even if someone proved God's existence conclusively, I wouldn't want to have anything to do with him... and I would accept the consequences.

I find it very telling that "sheep" is used to mean a righteous person.
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