Share your de-conversion story
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01-01-2016, 10:56 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(01-01-2016 10:45 AM)Thewonderer Wrote:  I just feel really silly and ashamed of my former beliefs, my family did a good job of breaking my brain.

Do not feel ashamed. You are not to blame, you are the victim. The shame is theirs.

The coercion and indoctrination of the vulnerable is their staple of support and it's abhorrent immoral behavior. Would you want a rape victim to be ashamed, no, nor do you need to own that. Instead, be happy you're free and no longer accepting their betrayal of your trust.

Peace. Shy

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01-01-2016, 11:08 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(01-01-2016 10:56 AM)Heatheness Wrote:  
(01-01-2016 10:45 AM)Thewonderer Wrote:  I just feel really silly and ashamed of my former beliefs, my family did a good job of breaking my brain.

Do not feel ashamed. You are not to blame, you are the victim. The shame is theirs.

The coercion and indoctrination of the vulnerable is their staple of support and it's abhorrent immoral behavior. Would you want a rape victim to be ashamed, no, nor do you need to own that. Instead, be happy you're free and no longer accepting their betrayal of your trust.

Peace. Shy
I'm just really glad I dismounted the high horse I was on.
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01-01-2016, 10:53 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Might say that mine was a progression...it "ended" with a crash so to speak in that I just gave up trying to explain it or even defend it any more...but it had started a few years before.
I had felt that I was "called" to spread the gospel. I was never ever really comfortable with that. You see many or most of the things I was supposed to speak against, I was guilty off.
I had a hard time trying to tell others their sins were keeping them from god.....if these things were true and the texts were true then I was in deep shit as a two-faced liar and hypocrite.

There are so many factions and splinters within the faith that it boggles the mind. And surely to one believer...all the rest with other doctrines are destined for firey hell. It seemed no matter which group I associated with I soon fell afoul with their pet doctrines,
My faith seemed strong...as far as the belief went....it was the doctrines that gave me problems. Each and every church seemed to have it's own personal ideas about what was and what wasn't "godly"

I decided I needed more study..well more than I had received at the Denominational bible college. I started with the Languages...then the historical...but found the latter sorely lacking with hard concrete witness's. Most articles and thesis were based off "circular reasoning and circular thought" in as much as each early church father was quoting his contemporary and nothing from earlier sources than around the mid 150's c.e./a.d. that gave me pause.
I started acquiring copies of published works of some of the "big time"theologians and Apologists and their detractors. Some of the earlier masoretic jewish works were quiet interesting as well. And you know what...a common theme among them were statements like "I believe" or "We can be sure..because", "We feel" ,"It is commonly assumed" yet not one dog gone hard fact out of any of their mouths.
With their "facts" and some time spent thinking hard about the problem....I accepted the position that christianity as we call it had been man made. Just like all the other religions that we spoke against.
I resigned from the pulpit as the associate ...quit the singing group. Refused to do funerals....and only preformed a couple weddings after that..
It was about that time my oldest Daughter asked me for help because she had admitted she was having trouble buying into all of it. I had assumed she was a believer.. I wasn't able to make her believe.....maybe I didn't want to

Its been hard...I won't lie about it. At first I was ashamed....hell I was an apostate. Some folks stuck by me for a while....figuring I was just having trials from satan so god could test my faith....oh and they would talk with me and try to cheer me on,..and pray for me.. But One by one they dropped like flies...I was an anathema..I was lost.
Shame turned into depression and despair as time went by. Man, I lost my faith,..my afterlife...my imaginary best friend who would never leave me...not that I ever saw him you know. But hey. A good half century of thought patterns and indoctrinations were now gone
The views I had about life and the world no longer worked...still don't at times. It was tuff to look in the eyes of others whom I had told they needed to just pray about doubts and fears...now there I was.....except I was worse than them...in my eyes anyway.
Its been about 6 years all told now since I just quit.....I still have moments of depression and guilt over it all but It's getting easier it seems or maybe I have just learned to stop listening to the voices in my head.
For whatever it's worth...once you become aware of the Matrix for what it is.....there is no going back to sleep .
I guess that's all..anymore would be just excessive rambling on.
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03-01-2016, 04:03 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(01-01-2016 10:53 PM)John Silver Wrote:  A good half century of thought patterns and indoctrinations were now gone
I bailed from evangelical Christianity in my late 30s ... I can only imagine the courage it takes to bail in what must be at least your early 50s if you have "a good half century" of history behind you. I only had a "layman's year" at a Bible Institute but could have easily gone further with my ego investment.
(01-01-2016 10:53 PM)John Silver Wrote:  Its been about 6 years all told now since I just quit.....I still have moments of depression and guilt over it all but It's getting easier it seems or maybe I have just learned to stop listening to the voices in my head.
Yes it continues to get easier.
(01-01-2016 10:53 PM)John Silver Wrote:  For whatever it's worth...once you become aware of the Matrix for what it is.....there is no going back to sleep .
True dat. That is why religion -- especially fundamentalism -- is so allergic to education and curiosity and openness ... once known, things can't be unknown. And reality is the enemy of faith.
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12-01-2016, 09:33 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Can't tell you exactly how I came to lose my instilled beliefs. All I know is that I was a kid who genuinely prayed to that cross hanging above my bed.... but along the way, perhaps in the immediate wake of my communion, it became utterly clear to me that it was all nonsense. lol
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13-01-2016, 08:54 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Took about 20 years of reading the Quran, reading about Islamic history and finally reading the god delusion to get of the fence.

Deconversion was such an enlightening and liberating experience that now I can't even begin to comprehend how I was ever even a little religious at one point.

Some of the other things that went into my disbelief were an injury that never healed despite all the prayers, forced to live by the rules of overly zealot and bigoted set of in laws (ex Now) and the existence of suffering.

Luckily my parents are liberal Muslims so they accepted my atheism grudgingly and never made me feel bad about it. One of the luckiest ex Muslims in the world probably because I fell in love with an American atheist and she helped me move out of my home country.

Now living a happily married atheist life with my wife and loving my life more than I ever has before.
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04-03-2016, 07:35 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was that kid who would follow friends to church, but never really paid attention. My parents are agnostic atheists and religion was NOT a part of our lives at all. My dad was keen on teaching my siblings and I science and art, and my mom taught us how to behave in a courteous manner based on whether or not we wanted to be nice people. There was never a need for religion in my household. I won't go in detail, but the lack of religion in our home always made my relatives upset-- they are the kind who are quiet to your face and then pray to "god" at night to save you. Anyway, my childhood was nothing interesting since I didn't even CARE about what religion was, but later on during my early teen years I would classify myself as "Christian", even though I had never read the Babble, just to tag along to church with my friends for the free snacks... Eh hem... And because I had a crush on my one friends so I went to church with her and her family until they kicked me out for being LGBT lol
Basically I didn't know shit about religion, it was all fun and games and on occasion very boring. Then my atheist brother really got me thinking around the time I was 17. It wasn't a big revelation... I just realized I was "agnostic", and then around 19 I started calling myself atheist and haven't looked back. The idea of anything supernatural just makes me shake my head. And I don't need a guideline for my life, nor some big shot loser in the sky who can't even help his "children" when they've been raped or their friends and families murdered. And I definitely hate the racism, sexism, phobias, violence, and ignorance that follows religion. Plus... SCIENCE! What else do I need to say?
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04-03-2016, 10:08 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2016 11:11 AM by carol.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My mother was raised by a Christian Scientist, her father was a Quaker. Her Christian Scientist mother was very cruel, once when my mother was kicked in the stomach by a horse, her mother refused to let her get medical care. My father was raised Christian but was born 'Jewish' genetically in Austria, and he escaped the Nazi's in 1941. He had lifelong issues and my parents divorced when I was about 8. My mother was awful- cruel and dysfunctional and likely had some sort of mental illness. I was raised atheist ( not really, because of all of the" spiritual" fantasy they had taught me) We were raised outside of traditional religion, but had all sorts of crazy things taught to us- for example the thoughts people had could make them sick, ( there were all sorts of "thought crimes" in my family,) and my mother, after divorcing my serially cheating father ( or so I was told, my mother said he had another family for many years) become a radical feminist lesbian who was outright hostile to men in general. Strange people were in and out of the household all of the time, doing drugs and screwing around in general. "Thought crimes" in my family could consist of saying or believing any topic of the day that she disagreed with. Punishment would be severe, essentially she would desert the children for several days and leave us to fend for ourselves. I was a placid child because I was frightened to be alone, and hungry for days. She would turn mean on a dime, and so I had to sort out what to say and when to say it...Our family was very "new age hippie", and all of the crap that goes with that, I had a fear of ghosts and spirits , gaia is the earth mother, people can be psychic, and so forth. ...I was a very perceptive child and can "read people" very well, so I became a sort of palm reading superhero to the people who came over. I was able to tell them all sorts of things about their lives, ( I really didn't know that it was just being perceptive, and I was encouraged a lot to do it) The people who I 'read" would agree with anything I told them, I was a very admired child, considered 'an old soul" Big Grin I tried on different religions, mostly to try to protect mysef from all of the fearful things I had been taught to believe...and even attempted to do christianty, in a more new age way...but I put a good faith effort into learning all about it and so was not able to, but I was still strangely superstitious. My mother had all sorts of rules about food being pure...and I was a fanatic about organic food... for many years. It was not just about health...but also somehow as if it would make me impure..,.Because of the really dysfunctional childhood, I had no way of dealing with the world for many years- and I was sort of numb and blind for many years but gradually lost the beliefs and fears about "magic"...chakras, stones, astrology, gurus, homeopathy, all of the crap I was raised to believe. I am now at the point that I can go out in the dark and fear nothing but animals...instead of spirits...but it really took a long time. I have never feared a christian god, but had all sorts of fears about other things. For me the turning point was the way that people talked about illness, as if the person who was sick had failed at something, and needed to try harder-pray harder, meditate harder, do more work... it was such bullshit. I really hate any new age crap, even when it is just done in fun.It was much easier to dismiss the christanity stuff than the other types of 'magical thinking" for me. The only residual problems I have are going into grocery stores and feeling slightly scared about the food...hahaha...and feeling guilty when I get sick...which I try not to do, but it is so much a part of me. I actually envied the kids who were raised in churches when I was a child, they were clean and fed and looked loved.

One of my 'pet peeves" is talking to atheists who believe in all of the silly new age style woo...it seems like such sloppy thinking and that crap is so damaging.
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04-03-2016, 01:48 PM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2016 01:53 PM by SitaSky.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I grew up with very religious parents but we never went to church. I do remember being very afraid of the Devil, so much so I would call him "Mr. Down" because I couldn't say his name and I prayed every night before bed, the usual "Keep my family safe, thanks for the great day,etc." type of stuff.

When I was 12 I lived in Oklahoma, this was around 1997 and Marilyn Manson was about to stop in OKC for a concert and I didn't really have an opinion on him. My friends were going to go do a prayer circle at the venue and I was like "Why? Who cares?" and they said "Well he's bisexual, has had sex with men and tears up the Bible and he's evil." I was like "The Bible is just a book, he only tears it up to get a rise out of you and it's working and so what who he has sex with?" Even though my parents believed in God, Jesus, Virgin Mary, etc. they never really talked to me about what's evil, what's good, etc. They always just taught me to respect people and try to understand them and to be accepting and loving. I didn't fear Hell because I figured that was only for the really bad people, certainly an entertainer like Marilyn Manson wasn't that bad, he wasn't a murderer or a rapist.

Well it didn't take long for my "friends" to call me evil, a Satanist, etc. even though I had never really discussed religion with them I realized they were very devout and their Church leaders were teaching them to be hateful toward anyone who wasn't as hard core and of course homosexuals. I couldn't see myself having anything more to do with them so I started making new friends who were way cooler. One of them asked me if I was an Atheist. I said I had no idea what that was, I thought it was something really bad like a racist. She told me it's just someone who doesn't believe in God, I figured yes I don't want to believe in the Christian God so that's set me down the road.

I told my parents I didn't want to believe in their God anymore or any God. This was the same time I was learning about Greek mythology and I learned people used to actually worship these Gods/Goddesses and it was fascinating. My parents were very upset that I was no longer Christian and my dad lectured me for weeks about how being Godless was a terrible sin. He put up a big metal crucifix in my room and gave me a Bible. Looking back I'm so glad my dad gave me that Bible. I still have it and it's worn from use. If I had never sat down and really read it at that critical time I would've never learned how evil and psychopathic Yahweh is. I would've never known how to debate Christians and I don't think I would've been so convinced at how unscientific and full of magical nonsense it had in it.

My parents gave me to the Bible to convert me but it ended up making me even more sure I was an Atheist and I actually felt free, felt a closure, like all our lives are just left up to chance, no big plan, no Hell, no Devil, just us, just this planet. It was a wonderful feeling. I remember laughing at one passage about how the world will end and thinking "Wow, this is just fairy tale stuff, and it's all so evil." I know many Christians say they found happiness and love by converting but I found it by de-converting and I have no regrets. I have a real wonder about our place in the cosmos, how we are connected to it, how we are children of the planet and how it made us, gave us life. The Earth wasn't just created for us, I feel pretty lucky to be intelligent enough to understand it and even though I'll never know how life came to be or how our universe came to exist it doesn't matter, I'm just glad to be alive.
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20-03-2016, 07:01 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I love that this thread is here. It's so interesting seeing all the similarities and differences in people's journeys out of religion/belief and comparing them to mine.

Speaking of which, here is mine (apologies for any long-windedness. I was an English major, verbosity is in my nature):

I grew up thoroughly immersed in right-wing Christianity. My dad in particular was always huge on the external acts involved in religion. When I was born, my family went to a Baptist church, but by the time I was a toddler, my father had moved us to a different church; he was a part of the music team, and was absolutely disgusted when the church purchased a drum set. The worldliness was too much for him, so we moved somewhere more conservative.

That "somewhere" was the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (of which Greg Bahnsen was a minister, although that was before my time; interesting side note: his son was not in the OPC but was a teacher and the head basketball coach at my high school). I was baptized as soon as my parents became official members of the church.

Growing up, I was kept very sheltered from other perspectives. From pre-K through the middle of 7th grade, I was homeschooled by my parents (mainly my mom; dad didn't do much but work, despite his promises to the contrary). I went to church Sunday mornings and evenings and girl's group on Wednesday night (we were called the GEMS - Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior) where I was taught to pray while kneeling, have good table manners, and utilize various apologetics to "defend the faith", all before I was a communicate member of the church. I thoroughly enjoyed all of this because I was good at it. I've always been naturally submissive and obedient, unlike my rebellious older sister, so I got a lot of praise for this from church leadership. I brought my friends to these meetings as well. I thought I was doing everything right and was sure that God appreciated all my efforts to follow His law.

When I was about 8, my parents separated. I've never heard the full story from both parties as to why this happened. My father remained religious, but did not want to stay married to my mom and did not want to keep me or my sister in his life beyond the financial support that we were lucky enough to get from him. My church however saw his "abandoning of his family" as a hugely sinful decision and excommunicated him shortly thereafter. This was really traumatic for my mom, and led her to an even stronger reliance on her faith to support her, which of course transferred to me as well.

When I was 12, I learned (at a friend's church camp) that two of my other close friends were being abused. I'm not sure exactly why, but this sent me into a spiral of depression that has continued pretty consistently since then. I looked to God for help; I didn't find it, but I assumed that was my own fault. We were Calvinists; the "T" in the Calvinist TULIP mnemonic stands for "Total Depravity", so naturally it must have been me doing something wrong. However, this depression ultimately got so bad that my mom pulled me out of homeschooling and sent me to...the tiny private school in my church! I was happier there (although almost entirely devoid of any scientific knowledge) with the 4 others who were in my grade. After middle school graduation, I was sent to a slightly larger nondenominational Christian high school (graduating class of about 70) where I excelled academically while remaining thoroughly religious; I professed my faith and became a communicate member of my church just after I turned 14, rather later than most of my friends and partially due to peer pressure. I dated one boy at school for a month and a half and broke up with him in part because I thought he was leading me away from God.

I graduated as valedictorian of my class and then went on to attend UCLA. It was there that I learned what evolution actually was, rather than what the church/Bob Jones University Press textbooks presented it as. My mind was blown, not by the content itself, but by the fact that I had been lied to for so long. For the first time, I had substantial doubts about my faith. I was attending a Reformed University Fellowship and decided to go to one of the events they co-sponsored: a discussion between an agnostic (atheist, I'm assuming) and a Christian. The topic was the problem of pain. I was at a crisis point and was desperate for some satisfying answers, as this was one of the problems I had been struggling with.

No satisfying answers emerged. However, I did learn of the existence of the Skeptic's Club on campus. I gradually stopped attending Bible study and church and attended a few skeptic's meetings. I read The God Delusion. I realized I didn't believe the Bible anymore, but I didn't tell anyone else.

The guilt that this realization brought upon me created an intense amount of anxiety. I developed a pretty severe eating disorder. In therapy for this, I realized that I had to be honest with my mother about my lack of faith. After some months of preparation, I brought her into a session and told her the truth. She took it pretty well, but our relationship has never been the same.

That's where I am now. I graduated last year. I'm almost fully recovered from my eating disorder, but still struggling with the last bits of it. The same goes for religion: I'm still dealing with a lot of the vestiges of the indoctrination I experienced growing up, especially when it comes to intimacy and romantic relationships. But I know that I'll never go back to being religious, even though I haven't been excommunicated from my church yet. And for that reason I am very happy; I didn't realize how restricted I was until those restrictions were lifted. I'm so glad I found this community; even when I'm not participating, just reading the posts here and knowing that I am indeed not insane when it comes to these questions is very reassuring.

Thanks guys Smile Sorry for the lengthiness and the sentimentality. Writing is very therapeutic for me, so I'm in a bit of a post-therapy glow. I appreciate your reading this far!
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