Share your de-conversion story
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20-12-2014, 09:10 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story

claywise,

Great Story.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.--Voltaire.

"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine.
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28-12-2014, 02:00 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I turned 30 back in March of this year. At that time I had determined that I was an Atheist. A few months earlier I was still a Christian.

I grew up in a Christian home. Almost every service my church had, my family and I were there. I was "saved" at age 4, and baptized about a year later. I was "re-saved" at age 16, and baptized again. Finally I was really "saved" at about age 21 and yes, baptized a third time.

I joined the military and became deeply involved with local churches wherever I was stationed. I enrolled in Liberty University and earned a B.S. in Religion online. At age 28 I was about to leave the military and become an intern with a Calvary Chapel. However, it was not to be. I disagreed with an important aspect of their statement of faith (the baptism of the Holy Spirit), which was enough to disqualify me from joining their staff.

I decided to go ahead and exit the military anyways. I moved back home with my parents and decided to enroll in the Theological Seminary that they also happened to work at. My mom is an admissions counselor for the Bible College and my Dad teaches and works as the seminary assistant. While there, I took two Hebrew courses and a Greek course as well as some systematic theology courses.

Eventually, I realized that my heart was not in it anymore and I no longer felt "called" to the ministry. I decided to change paths and I enrolled at a new school to start working on my MBA. During this time I was having trouble finding a new church that I could attend and feel connected in. I tried so many churches, and every single one bothered me in some different way. Plus, I work at a retail job now and I am not always able to make it on Sundays.

I began to have doubts, and was wondering what God was doing in my life. It seemed like the perfect path was set before me, and then it got pulled out from under my feet. I thought maybe God was testing me, but a growing doubt was stirring in my mind as to whether or not God was even there at all.

Skip forward to the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham "Creation vs Evolution" debate. I heard about this debate from my dad and was very excited about it. I thought that it might be the type of thing to stir my faith back up. Little did I know that it would have the opposite effect.

The funny thing is that I actually thought Ken Ham won the debate. It is strange how the human mind works. Now if I watch the debate I have the complete opposite opinion.

The next day, I got into a conversation with a co-worker about the debate. I was trying to be respectful and not flat out admit that I was a creationist. I asked him what he thought about the idea of Christians and creation, and I will never forget his response. Because, it was this response that stirred something up in me. He looked at me and said, "Honestly, I think it's bullshit."

I have argued and debated with so many different people in my life that it makes me wonder why this simple sentence had such a profound impact on me. I really don't know why, but the next thing I found myself doing was looking into the subject of evolution. But this time I had decided to study evolution from the viewpoint of an actual evolutionist, rather than off of a creationist website. (What a concept, right?)

At the time I was really getting into podcasts, so I decided to search to see if there were any podcasts on the subject of evolution. I found one that was from 2006 called "Evolution 101". As the host discussed the concept of Evolution, I couldn't help but notice how polite and well spoken he was. And when he said that he was a "Proud Atheist" I remember thinking to myself, "he doesn't sound very angry" (which is how I viewed Atheist at the time). Not only did he not sound angry, but everything he was saying actually made sense.

I went into immediate Christian defense mode. I prayed to God to "guard my heart" and "show me the truth". But I kept listening to the podcast. Eventually, I got to a part in the show where the host went through a series on the molecular evidence for evolution. At the end of the series I realized that I was starting to agree with what the host was saying.

The next thing I did was I downloaded a copy of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. I had heard of Richard Dawkins many times. He was that "Militant Atheist" who was hell-bent on destroying Christianity. At least that was my viewpoint of him. But my experience with the host from Evolution 101 had caused me to question whether or not that was a fair opinion. Why not listen to the man himself? So that's what I did. I downloaded his audiobook and listened through it.

Where was the Angry Atheist I was expecting to encounter?! Why was this man making sense? These were my thoughts as I devoured his book. From there I went to Hitchens and Harris. Then I went back to Dawkins with the book "Evolution: The Greatest Show on Earth." Then Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True."

Let me back up. I'm sure I am not alone here when I say that if Evolution is true, then that creates some major problems for the Bible. It was this thought that allowed me to start examining the Bible on a closer level. I read through books that discussed the Documentary Hypotheses and how the archeological evidence contradicts the Biblical narrative. The Bible began to completely fall apart.

It wasn't long before I saw a recommended book on my audible account called "Deconverted" by Seth Andrews. I got the audio version, and was relieved to find an author whose life story seemed to match up with my own and everything I was going through. I was even more pleased to learn that this author had his own Podcast. In the last year I have gone through every episode available from the Thinking Atheist. I found other podcasts as well... "Reasonable Doubts", "The Bible Geek", "StarTalk Radio", "The Atheist Experience", "The Friendly Atheist", "Talk Nerdy". I simply cannot get enough.

I eventually told my parents about what was going on in my life. The first conversation went well. But that's only because my parents simply thought I had some doubts. The second conversation did not go as well, because that's when they realized that I had become an Atheist. I don't know if I'll ever get over the look of disgust that my Mom had toward me when she said, "So you're an Atheist now!?" and how "sad" that was before storming out of the room in tears.

Things have improved since then with my Parents. We manage to have civil conversations now about our different beliefs, but most of the time we don't bring it up. I have only told a few other close friends about my deconversion. I thought about posting something on Facebook, but I have come to realize that I'm not even that close to most of the people I know on Facebook anymore, so it is probably not worth the trouble.

So that is my story. It felt good to write all of this out. I hope maybe it will benefit someone who might read it.
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28-12-2014, 08:05 AM
RE: Share a de-conversion story
Mormon deconversion... big time!

The story of Jeremy Runnells...

http://cesletter.com/interview/

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28-12-2014, 08:09 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(28-12-2014 02:00 AM)Hurley4815 Wrote:  ...
So that is my story.
...

Thanks. I enjoyed reading it.

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29-12-2014, 01:12 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(28-12-2014 02:00 AM)Hurley4815 Wrote:  So that is my story. It felt good to write all of this out. I hope maybe it will benefit someone who might read it.

Thanks for your story.

I used to think one could be a Christian while accepting the realities of evolution. But as you say, evolution really does erode the foundational idea of Christianity, namely that there was a "fall" and "original sin" requiring a redeemer.

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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03-01-2015, 09:40 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I converted, along with my entire family, to fundamentalist evangelical Christianity at the age of 5. I was a good little churchmouse well into my 30s, including a year attending Bible Institute and lots of involvement in the music and communications activities of various churches.

Things started to unravel when I married badly. The only criteria I knew was "marry a good Christian girl". This did not prevent her from having substantial diagnosed mental health issues that became worse over the 15 years of our marriage (schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder). One night I woke up to find her standing over my bed with a butcher knife, which was about the same time my 14 year old daughter begged me to get her the heck outta there. Things like that will get even a fundevangelist's attention.

Next time around I made darn sure to marry a sane person but she died after 13 years of intense suffering with a rare neuro-immune illness. Her family included devout intercessory "prayer warriors" whose oblations availed exactly nothing. Somewhere in there my eldest, non-smoking, clean-living, church deacon brother died suddenly of bone cancer, wondering to the end what he had "done wrong".

By this time the cognitive dissonance was deafening and I was no longer able to believe. I cast about for a couple of years for alternative religious beliefs but found them all wanting for the same reasons. Finally I admitted that I was a full-on unbeliever, what I would term an agnostic atheist with new atheist leanings. I've been that way for the better part of a decade now (I'm 58). This far out of theism's reality distortion field I have far better reasons than personal tragedy and lack of religion living up to its promised benefits to withhold belief in deities of any kind, but like a lot of deconverts, it's just your basic story of the rubber not meeting the road and inability to ignore mounting evidence that my chosen alternate reality was a complete illusion.
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17-01-2015, 03:18 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Hey, I'm Dahlia - this is my first day as a member of the TTA community. Looking forward to being a part of it!

My de-conversion story spans about four years, so I'll definitely shorten it here. I was born into a large Catholic family and was very active in the church and passionate about my faith until I started college and felt like something was missing. I began looking outside of Catholicism, and a year or two later, I started attending the local LDS church after reading the Book of Mormon. For a while, I thought I found what I was looking for.

Eventually, I could no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence against Mormonism's fundamental claims. So I started exploring traditional Christianity again, and after a considerable amount of thought and research, I found myself applying the same critical thinking to its theology and to faith in general. Then I looked at Judaism and the various religions of the world, and none of them seemed plausible either. And I realized that whenever I looked at the world objectively, I was finding it less and less likely that God intervenes in the universe at all. When I was 21 or 22, I was finally able to admit to myself that an invisible mind who thought the Big Bang into existence and then decided to have nothing to do with the resulting universe was nonsensical.

Believers often say that humans have an innate emptiness only God can fill. But now that I'm in my late 20s and can look back at my college years with a little more clarity, I think I found what I was missing when I freed myself from myth and superstition and gained a new appreciation for life and for the existence of our universe. I mean, let's face it. Science is awesome.

I've never actually written any of this down until now. It's cathartic! Smile
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24-01-2015, 02:20 AM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2015 03:07 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My reconversion was not an issue.

I grew up with no religious beliefs or teachings in our household. Both my parents were college educated, my father was a teacher in the local public schools.

I remember my parents buying me a "My First Bible". My experience with it was that I was a huge dinosaur fan from the original King Kong and Land of the Lost on Saturdays, and I opened it up to see the history of the Earth and saw the 6-day creation along with Adam/Eve/Cain/Abel and then Noah's Ark, but no dinosaurs in the history of the Earth. I knew dinosaurs existed and I knew how old the Earth was, and it wasn't in there so I said this is a bunch of BS and tossed it aside and hardly ever looked at it.

There were plenty of Christian kids in the neighborhood who told me how wrong I was for not believing in god without question, and beating on me for it often. But that wasn't very persuasive on their part.

We had family friends who persuaded my parents to have us attend their Summer Bible school/camp one year. I just remember annoying the teachers there for asking too many questions, and trying to read along in their Bibles as the talked to us about what different passages said and being totally lost in that damn book and unable to find anything.

I liked the arts and crafts tho. It was all pretty stuffy, mildewy and boring. Religion was something I saw in the media or heard about from other people, but not part of my life.
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26-01-2015, 03:16 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
”أيها الغرّ إنْ خُصِصْتَ بعقلٍ ... فاتّبعْهُ فكلّ عقلٍ نبي“
― أبو العلاء المعري

I was born and raised muslim in northern Jordan in a traditional and conservative town. By traditional I mean it was a clan based culture that favored age hierarchy for "leadership" over personal merit and treated women as subjects of their male "leaders" be it fathers,brothers or husbands.It was conservative in that it wanted to keep the old ways,always imposing a strict code of conduct focused on respect of the elders and obedience,honnor and a blind loyalty to the family,clan ,town and area in that order.In short growing up there meant very little chance of being who you really are ,suppressing any individuality and imposing a conformity of thinking,living and behaving.But being a male was in a sense more advantageous. My family, and by this I mean the extended version including paternal grand parents ,uncles and aunts since my mother's side mostly lived in the big city,was very traditional and religion was important only in being part of the tradition,so not everyone was religious but they still had to "respect" the tradtion,for example one would still be expected to fast during Ramadan,perfrorm the prayer of Eid even though one might not normally pray on a regular basis.My dad was always more religious than my mom.He was also a military man by career, so he was a "tough man" i.e. brutal and heavy handed;to him raising kids meant only 2 things:feed them and physically punish them when even the smallest mistakes happen.My mom was very young when was married to my dad, may be 15 years and gave birth to me at 17.She was my dad's 3rd degree cousin on his mother's side, and her father was was married to 2 wives and had a total of 18 kids mostly girls whom he had married mostly before they were 18. Neither of my parents had much education.I got exposed to religion at an early age around 6 y/o since public education included religion,i.e Islam , as part of the required curriculum under the title of “Islamic Educatiom”, the study books would contain excerpts from the Quran, some Hadiths(stories or teachings from Muhammed directly unlike the Quran which is supposed to be the direct and litteral word of Allah),Muhammed’s and his companions’(Arabic sahaba) history(seerah) according to the official version and some simplified Islamic law (sharia),.The environment I grew up in was very superstitious also:belief in ghosts,jinn ,demons and other imaginary beings mostly inspired from religion was not uncommon.The town was overwhelmingly muslim especially after most of the christian population had to leave after burning down their future church in the middle of a sectarian violence in the area caused by a christian being shot dead after "insulting" a muslim cleric,even though tribal tension was also a part of the problem as both were of large and competing tribes.So here I am in this milieu growing up and getting attracted to religion early on, while I can not say that anyone in particular pushed me towards it ,but growing in such circumstances meant that it was the only thing my simple mind found "solace" and "comfort" in, since the situation at home was increasingly intolerable as my dad was becoming more abusive physically and verbally towards the kids and my mom who would also on occasion become a participant.Needless to say there are many times I either was the subject or a witness to some beating,not exactly something you want to remember but can never forget.Due to the tribal mentality that still runs the town,violence is not unheard of when tribal or even interfamily conflicts arise.It might be hard for most people in western societies,the following local moto might help understand :"my brother and I are against our cousin,my cousin and I are against the stranger",even marriages outside of the clan were not very favorable.So if a tribe felt cheated after an election or if cousins have a dispute over say inheritance or even someone's turn to use the creek to irrigate their crops. Too many times someone would decide to resolve conflict by mowing down other, family members or just “strangers” with a gun. It was not a totally lawless place by any means, but the government’s approach in rural areas was not to undermine tribalism as it was deemed necessary to ensure loyalty to the king,in exchange for some basic services.I became of age when the first Afghan war against the former USSR was at its peak, so on TV ,radio and in the press you would hear a lot about the “faithful mujahideen” . All of this made me think of Islam as this ideal and wonderful way of life that would contain all solutions to all evils in life.so I always wanted to be better muslim, but “sadly” I never really felt I was that good, which made me sad and upset,as I was afraid of angering Allah and going to hell . My mom would also use religion to instill fear in me if I question something she said or asked to do, quoting the Quran or hadith when either demanded obedience.In the 6th grade something really wonderful happened: I was introduced to English in class and I can say honestly I fell in love with this language, I began to really to focus and work hard on learning English and be the best at it. This meant for some time I paid less attention to religion ;I was not praying as much, I found reading stories about Muhammed less interesting than workin on that English language text, I started looking forward to watching English language movies on Jordanian TV.At one point I fell upon the “Zionist enemy’s propaganda tool”,i.e Israeli TV. It is very funny in a way how people described that station,but sometimes would admit in secret that it was more “honest” than our national TV,which like everything else always was the in service of the King through this moto”allah, country and the king”. The king of Jordan,current and former, claims descent from Muhammed through his daughter Fatimah, who was married to Ali, Muhammed’s cousin whom he raised to become his obedient follower and companion.Ali and Fatimah had 2 sons,Hassan and Hussayn, and it is the former whom the royal families of Jordan and Morocco claim as ancestor. Watching Israeli TV exposed me also to other side of the story of the Arab –Israeli conflict: during the news I would hear words like “mukharrib”,one who does sabotage, referring to Palestinian militants infiltrating mainly from Lebanon into Israel. I did become less religious during this time; I would still fast Ramadan but only pray rarely. However when the 1st Iraq war took place, I found myself going back to “the faith” as Islam was becoming the new foe to “the western and American imperialism”. While not fully radicalized, I started to believe in Islam as the political solution of the problems in the Arab world. I also became more attached and supportive of certain social norms: status of women, obedience to the elders and a dislike of “imported corrupt values”,i.e. anything from the west. When I turned 18, I was able to go to college, this time I fell in love again time it was French, as I chose this language as a major. Again I found myself less religious. A couple of years after graduation I came to the states and what a shocker to someone like me ,as I got to know and meet new people of different backgrounds ,creeds, color etc. a challenge arose when I started getting questions from other people about Islam and Arabs, I found myself sometimes lacking answers ,special when a Christian wanted to discuss religion . More than often I chose not to discuss it under the guise of respect to the different employers who would not want to have their businesses become places for dispute. A funny thing happened later when I got access to the internet and ran into people who were “spreading misinformation about Islam”, so I started visiting chat rooms at Paltalk.The whole thing now looks absurd as both Muslims and their foes (mainly Christian Arabs) would often use the same arguments to prove their points. Also for the first time I got to know more about the real differences between Shias and Sunnis, which made me wonder how come if they both were true Muslims ,how come they would seem not to agree on most. I also started looking for info on other religions: Christianity,Judaism and sometimes Hindus and Buddhism . I read Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” mainly to reinforce the Muslim version of Jesus. And while I was not very religious, part of me always wanted to become this ideal and good Muslim, so in all honesty I started to adopt certain humanist ideas and find references to them in the Quran or hadith, such as that “all humans are created from one soul” and trying to ignore the other parts, which I convinced myself that were meant for the time they were said only. Still I never had 1 drink of alcohol or a bite of pork and many times I refused to work in stores that sold either.Of course now I am a changed man ,and the first time I had alcohol was when I attended a gay wedding of a couple of dear friends , and I had a blast.4 years ago I stopped fasting during Ramadan as questions started to pop in my head about many things including wgy would allah not help those in need , mainly in Syria in 2011 when mostly honest ,unarmed civilians would got shot, bombed or massacred by that dictator Assad, I used to watch most videos uploaded on youtube . Currently I still believe that Syrians deserve a chance at freedom from any dictatorship, religious or other.Another factor was that my sister moved here few years back, thing s were good in the beginning, but she decide to become more religious over time , and starting imposing religion on her kids using many techniques and phrases that I remember from my young age. It made me uncomfortable and many times I questioned her, but she became even more religious even at times pushing me back towards religion, so I started walking way and now we have not spoken in about 2 years. 2 and half years ago, I decided to let go of religion, and it was not easy, in a sense I felt broken, hopeless and often angry. I became depressed, isolated, my mom also visited and that also made things worse, I ended up quitting my job. I did finally seek therapy and definitely feel better and more hopeful now, but part me of me feels cheated, angry at the past. I am in the process of taking a new path in my life, as I believe every one of us should make their own purpose of life and not to expect from an imaginary figure up there.I know I wrote too much, but please forgive me and thank you


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29-01-2015, 02:55 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I just turned 40 and I had always had a passion to learn. I studied everything I could. While I didn't grow up in a super religious home my parents went back and forth in church and reading thr bible. Now it's more of thry just pray before they eat. However they are big time into what others think so every time the subject of religion comes up it is what will others think.
I remember one time I had my own place and lived next to them, I was dating g my now husband for just a few months and he would stay over. By this time I was 20 and had 2 kids. So on my own. Any way my dad offered my bf a 100 bucks to marry me just so thr neighbors wouldn't talk and get back to thr church that thry didn't even go to!
As the years went by I went to church on occasion but nothing solid as I always had this tug that it was all bs. So I started research to see if there was any evidence of anything thr bible claimed. There was nothing!!! I watched all kinds of shows and read everything I could. I found this stuff fascinating. But it took years and years for me to admit to myself that I didn't believe any of it. My husband doesn't like religion either. His main argument to his mom is that God doesn't talk to us or do miracles. And basically he has not been heard of in 2000 years except to people who claim to have had an experience. That is not thr same as what thr bible claims. So here we are my husband and I both have a great life without religion raised 5 kids without it 1 in college 3 working and thr youngest about to go to college. None have been in trouble or arrested and no grandkids yet. Out of 5 kids all of age expect 1 and no grand kids!!! OK now that I think of it I need some grandkids!!
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