Share your de-conversion story
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25-07-2015, 08:29 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
BAA - *hugs* Hug

Thank you for sharing that.

So sorry for all you went through.

"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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26-07-2015, 02:14 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(25-07-2015 08:29 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  BAA - *hugs* Hug

Thank you for sharing that.

So sorry for all you went through.

Thank you for reading it Smile
Yeah, its been a bumpy ride ;D
What does BAA mean?

"My children, I created you, and I created this vat of boiling oil.
I will hold you over the vat and drop you.
If you promise to worship me I will catch you before you fall in.
If you do not promise to worship me, you have thrown yourself into the vat of boiling oil."

Yahweh was a sociopath.
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26-07-2015, 03:05 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Born Again Atheist. B.A.A. BAA Smile

I actually thought you chose those letters on purpose, originally... a mockery of the Christian sheep principle.

Heh. Well, now you can claim you did.

"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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26-07-2015, 07:43 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(26-07-2015 03:05 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Born Again Atheist. B.A.A. BAA Smile

I actually thought you chose those letters on purpose, originally... a mockery of the Christian sheep principle.

Heh. Well, now you can claim you did.

ROFLMAO!!!!

Oh thats good!

;D

"My children, I created you, and I created this vat of boiling oil.
I will hold you over the vat and drop you.
If you promise to worship me I will catch you before you fall in.
If you do not promise to worship me, you have thrown yourself into the vat of boiling oil."

Yahweh was a sociopath.
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27-07-2015, 02:45 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(25-07-2015 09:35 AM)Reluctant_Skeptic Wrote:  I'm trying to lengthen my story out into a blog, but here's the Reader's Digest version:

When I was five years old, my family moved to a small town called Yellville in Arkansas. My mom was sick when we moved, but insisted we come here rather than have me and my younger brothers grow up in Florida. The next November, she died and I was the lucky one to find her. Not the highlight of my life to be sure. About a year later my dad met and married a young woman whom I have called Mom ever since. It was through her that my family found religion, she insisted she wouldn't marry my dad unless he quit drinking and smoking pot and we had to attend their church. Their church was what they called Full Gospel, which I would describe as a cross between TV televangelism, AoG, and Pentecostalism. Her uncle was the preacher, and the entire 20 member congregation was either blood related or married into the church. Now there was no snake handling or such, but there was quite a bit of the faith healing, speaking in tongues with interpreting, dancing "in the spirit", etc. While it seems quite cultish, other than the shouting hellfire sermons that could last for hours and such, it followed the basic Pentecostal format, everyone lived pretty normal lives. They listened to secular music (Amy Grant was still a couple years away), watched TV and movies, all the regular things that country folks do, except drink alcohol.

Dad converted and immersed himself completely into the culture, and being the oldest boy, I did exactly as he did. By age nine I had not only read the entire Bible cover to cover, but had also read just about every book by Kenneth E. Haggan, a few by Kenneth Copeland, and a couple other Prosperity Gospel preachers whose names escape me. At the same time, I was (and still am) a PBS junky. Already I was being exposed to evolution, other cultures, and mythologies. My zeal for "God" morphed into a zeal for myths and science. Joseph Campbell taught me that all the religions say pretty much the same thing, and I believed that while Christianity was the "true" religion, other religions also had access to that truth. This was quite a step for a fourteen year old. I asked my dad why it was that Judaism, Christianity and Islam were always fighting when they all worshiped the same god. His answer, "Muslims don't worship the same god we do." That's where I realized a) Daddy doesn't know everything and b) I wasn't getting my answers from their church.

So I set off on exploration of all kinds of myths. About this time I developed a crush on my now best friend. She was tall, blonde, and gorgeous, and also a bit of a hippy. She introduced me to modern fantasy. I had already read all of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and a few other classic titles, but she introduced me to Mercedes Lackey. Then she told me she was trying to become a Wiccan. I had no idea what that was, but researched it as best I could in the Dark Ages before Internet. I liked what I read, but didn't like the use of pagan gods. So I created my own version using the Trinity plus Allah to correspond to the four elements and a "God" that was the essence of the other 4 combined to correspond with Spirit or Ether.

That held up until I went to college. Even though I was better at memorizing facts than my classmates, I refused to do homework. My thinking was that the purpose of homework is to help you learn the concepts they were teaching me. I already knew the concepts just from reading the books, so doing the homework was a waste of my time. This would infuriate my teachers, as they knew every other student in my class was gathered around my desk getting the answers to the homework before the tardy bell rang. Then when it came time to turn in the assignment, which they KNEW I had just given out the answers for, I would cross my arms over my chest, lean back in my desk and say, "I didn't do it." So my grades only allowed for a small scholarship to Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Missouri. This was a small, Southern Baptist school, and the SBC was at the tail end of the Jerry Fallwell takeover. Peer pressure mostly caused me to abandon my ridiculous (and in hind sight it WAS ridiculous) belief system and take up Fundamentalism.

That lasted about a year and a half. Tuition to the school went up, and I was forced to leave for University of Central Arkansas in Conway. The combined culture shock of real world experience and population increase led to my dropping out of school, taking to a life of petty crime, picking up Wicca and Asatru, and then cleaning up my life by joining the Navy.

In the Navy, I decided that paganism wasn't really for me either and became somewhat agnostic. I knew there was still some kind of God out there, but didn't know what to do about that. In November of 1999 I met my now wife, and in February 2000 we got married by a JP at Jacksonville, North Carolina courthouse. In 2003, after leaving the Navy, I took a job with the VA in Northwest Arkansas. In October of 2006, my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child. She's not exactly Catholic, never having been confirmed, but she felt Catholic enough that she wanted our child christened. I knew there was no way I was becoming Catholic, so the search for a church to accomplish that began.

In February of 2007, we found All Saints, a new Episcopal church was being founded in Bentonville. I found their website and called Father Roger, who invited me to their first service. We went, and I found I had a lot in common with this more liberal strain of Christianity. I was able to utilize my Bible knowledge (I never stopped studying it for some reason), but was soon learning even more about the history of Anglican faith and of Christianity in general. I became moderator of their Theology Pub, which discussed higher spiritual concepts and books over drinks. We talked about not just Christianity, but philosophy and other religions in a neutral, safe setting. This is where I discovered the Gospel of Thomas and Gnosticism.

After a long stretch of studying, I discovered the Nag Hammadi Library, which is a collection of codex (the forerunners of modern books) discovered in Egypt around 1945. Some of these texts were books we had only heard of from guys like Ireneus, Turtullian, and Origen. I found out that some people were reconstructing this more esoteric version of Christianity and immediately started soaking that up. The overarching theme seemed to be peeling away the layers of your beliefs and of the texts to find the truth and the true nature of God. Gnosis meant learning by experiencing God through revelation. And that leads me to where I am now...

By this time I had already rejected Biblical inerrancy, Hell, the Patriarchs and even an historical Jesus. Then I met a priest named Gwen, formerly Gary. She had decided to transition after being with her parish in Arkansas for a few years, and rather than split the congregation, went to the bishop to voluntarily give up her post. After a year she is still out of a job, as this bishop and every other one in the country has told her they don't think they can find a church that will accept her as she is. Won't accept her?! In a denomination that prides itself on inclusion of all?! Really!? I was flabbergasted. Then watching the lead up to the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, and I had a conversation with Mom (my step-mother) about a Josh Fuerstein video she shared on Facebook titled, "What Jesus would say about Gay Marriage." I asked her, "I don't understand this. You are willing to take this guys opinion of what Jesus might have said since Jesus never actually mentions homosexuality in the gospels, but are willing to ignore commands against divorce that Jesus is quoted saying in two different books?" I got hit with every clobber passage in the "good book" and the "I don't want to see you go to Hell" speech. I had to admit though, they had a point. The Bible did really say those things, and we, more "enlightened" Christians were doing hermenutical gymnastics to justify what we saw as a natural expression of human sexuality. We were the ones not following His teachings.

So I said, "Ok. Let's look at this rationally. You gave up on the concept of Biblical inerrancy because you found evidence of the contradictions. You gave up the belief in Hell and even in Jesus because you could trace their origins and evolution through history and textual criticism. What about God? We saw in "God, A Biography" how the character of God evolves through the Bible, and you can historically trace the beginnings of Jewish monotheism back to the Babylonian Exile, plus the evolution of God himself from Canaanite storm deity and patron of Israel and Judah, mixed with Amon Rah and Ahura Mazda from Egypt and Persia. Basically the concept of God has grown and changed as human intellect and society has grown and changed. So either God is like what Process Theologians say (and evolves and changes over time as we and he learns since we are an extension of His consciousness) or..." I froze, "God isn't real. He is simply the answer our brain uses to make sense of things we can't understand. There is no God.." It was like the bottom had just dropped out of the universe. I had done it. I had peeled back the layers to find the truth, and in the process found... nothing. The shooting in Charleston last month only confirmed this to me. God had not intervened in the deaths of nine unarmed, devoted followers, but was supposed to be there in the hands of those comforting the survivors and families, and finally got off his ass to intervene by allowing some woman to find the shooter. Bullshit. It's all bullshit. There is no God.

The last month has been dealing with the aftermath of this internal "Big Bang". I'm still grieving, I think I'm almost past the depression and into acceptance. In this accidental discovery, I lost something that was a part of me for thirty five years. My thoughts are a lonely place, and I've had to accept that I will never see my biological mother, my grandmother or anyone else who has died again. I'm beginning to see beauty in it all, and I am still fascinated by the study of the history of the Bible and Christianity. But I'll never be able to sit and throw my wild speculations, fears, hopes and dreams to the God that was always there to listen. He doesn't exist. He never did.

So there's my story, and why I call my self reluctant_skeptic.

Wow what a story. I live in nwa as well have my whole life. Which building do u work at. The old va or the old hospital that the va took over? I was born in that hospital. Lol

I drive past the va everyday on my way to work.

Glad you are thinking now. I've tried to believe when I was younger but I think I mostly went to church because my grandma would pick me up and take me then we would go out for lunch. So I'm sure it was to get out of the house. Lol
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28-07-2015, 06:21 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My father was a senior pastor for 15 years, my grandfather one for over 20 years. I was born and raised in a creationist environment. My dad was really into science, and education, in general. This meant studying some Greek and Hebrew terms, long hours studying the bible, and of course, being in church. My dad eventually had some problems with trying to afford raising a family on a preachers salary, so he left the church.

As time went on, I studied science more frequently, as well as history, with a focus on U.S. history and the history of the bible and its times. At 17, I had a "crisis of faith", which led to nightmares and eventually enlisted in the navy. During my time in basic, I had gotten more and more sick, and went to church for guidance from god, I remember walking out thinking "Fuck this made up nonsense".

That was the last time I went to church as a believer, now, I only go when my Christian fiance makes me, or to pick our son up from daycare (it's a church). I can say with all honesty, that my whole immediate family (unsure about my mother), are openly atheist, and my dad more wishes he had a science degree, instead of his "master's in b.s."

He now has long hair and is in a band Big Grin
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28-07-2015, 06:33 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Welcome!

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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06-08-2015, 02:31 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I grew up with my mother being Roman Catholic and my father as a non-practicing protestant. We went to Catholic church until I was five, but after I began complaining every time, we stopped going all together.

I identified with atheism when I was a teenager, but merely out of opinion rather than an evidence based decision. From my sophomore year to my senior year I fell heavily into some pretty bad drugs and my parents found out. Shortly after that I became a Christian through a friend at school that had been working at me for quite awhile (I had burned many chic tracks before this day lol). I was one of those"radically saved' Christians that brought his bible to school and witnessed to kids at lunch time, challenged teachers, etc.

I belonged to a pretty notorious mega church in Southern California called Harvest Christian Fellowship, a crown jewel in the fastly mass-produced Calvary chapel churches. It was there that the first seeds of doubt were planted. I watched as pastor Greg Laurie had to escape out the back door after church like some rockstar, rather than actually talk with the members of his church. And when he left, it was in a nice Lexus that he would drive back to his house on the beach in Laguna. I saw millions of dollars poured into facility construction rather than using that money to feed the poor. I felt that this was a horrible waste that Jesus would of frowned upon.

Although these issues nagged at me, my subjective experiences kept me from questioning Christianity. There were countless times that I would be worshiping God and feel euphoric, as if I had taken a drug. This was not an isolated experience but rather ubiquitous as most of the other believers were familiar with the same feeling. This was widely attributed to the presence of the Holy Spirit and is commonly referred to as being high in the spirit. After awhile I began to notice certain things. For example, at the beginning of a church service the air conditioning would barely be running and then during worship they would crank it up full blast. I noticed this trend in at least five other churches. I also took notice that most visitors help themselves to the free coffee prior to the service. I had a nagging suspicion that these two may have had something to do with what I was feeling but I wasn't convinced that they were wholly responsible.

Those were just the outward things. On the inside, I had begun to question the usefulness of prayer. There was the line of reasoning that asked "if God already knows what I need and he is good and gracious, why do I need to ask? Does he enjoy the grovelling?"Then there was the ineffectiveness of prayer. I struggled with pornography like many others that were afraid to admit it. No matter how much I fasted, or prayed for victory in that area, I never saw it. This caused me to blame myself and fear eternal damnation because of"willful sinning." But I would also question if god really existed. If He really wanted me to be free from those things then why didn't he help? I eventually backslid after four years and had some pretty crazy experiences after that. I ended up being homeless for about a year in San Francisco until hard times drove me back to religion. I got picked up by a ministry called the Prodigal Project, who focused on the nomadic-hippie youth culture found extensively in the Haight district. I went through four years in their discipleship training school in Mendocino and eventually came back to San Francisco to attend a school of ministry at one of their affiliate churches. I ended up moving back down to southern California after a few years when the student housing situation disbanded and I was basically told I was shit out of luck. I strayed from being active in my faith after that and didn't start going back to church until four years later, right before I met my wife. She is a nominal Christian at best, and we go through phases of going to church that fizzle out after awhile. I started to really think hard about the bible and things in it that I had believed. I challenged myself to thoroughly vett it, knowing that it could lead to the discovery that the last twenty years of my life were wasted on bullshit. And that is exactly what I discovered. I never saw it before because I was always focused on proving the other person wrong rather than evaluating the validity of my arguments. I disregarded any contrary evidence offered to me without evaluating its validity either. Now that I have done just that, I feel foolish. One of the things that had led me to this point was in regard to my suspicions about the worship experience. I had begun to wonder if the very act of singing can create an euphoric effect upon the individual and my research came across some very interesting information. Time magazine released an online article that talks about how researchers discovered that group singing, whether in a religious setting or not, causes the brain to release endorphins and oxytocin, creating an euphoric effect. If this is the case, combining caffeine, endorphins, oxytocin and cool blowing air can make anyone feel like they are floating in heaven. This discovery had confirmed my suspicions and completely nullified most of my subjective experiences.

I can even think back to my conversion experience, where Pastor Greg Laurie was giving his end of sermon altar-call. The air conditioning was pumping, and while he made a plea for us to get right with God, he had the band behind him slowly play some sappy music to play on the emotions of the listener. Since that day, I have seen that same scenario play out over and over. I thought to myself "if the Holy Spirit is sent to us to be a helper, then why does He need our help?" "Why try and stir the emotions of the listener if the Holy Spirit is truly drawing them?" The altar call conversion experience has become a formulaic church process guaranteed to increase attendance.

The remaining experiences had to deal with encountering "demonic possession," but in hindsight, I can see how the individuals I witnessed were likely trolling. There were no strange multi-layered voices, superhuman strength or projectile vomiting. Just screaming and cursing and some flailing arms. I think there is a tendency to want to believe and experience the supernatural, that believers do not stop to think objectively about what they are seeing or feeling.

The whole thing has left me feeling like Bruce Willis at the end of the Sixth Sense when he discovers that he had been a ghost the entire time, although here it was the discovery that there was no god the whole time.

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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07-08-2015, 12:53 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I thought I might share my own de-conversion.

When I was a kid, I believed in God. Then I went to college and didn't anymore. This was a pretty radical life change for me.

Then I deconverted to become a born again Christian. Thank God for that!

I've been asked at TTA and elsewhere if I might someday re-de-convert to atheism. To paraphrase many fine apologists, when an atheist resurrects from the dead early--before the Judgment Day--I'll listen to them and do what they say.

Thanks in advance, everyone, for letting me share my deconversion story--without judging me.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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08-08-2015, 06:47 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(07-08-2015 12:53 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  when an atheist resurrects from the dead early--before the Judgment Day--I'll listen to them and do what they say.

Likewise, when a bronze age messiah does the same with evidence other than century old anonymous hearsay, I will do the same.

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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