Share your de-conversion story
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11-07-2016, 01:58 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My de-conversion hit when I was about 10 years old. I began to question God as I had a father that was a drug addict. I saw a great man go from Superman to a frail and empty vessel due to drugs. He was my everything and he let drugs take over his life. I began thinking differently in church, which when I was younger was fun to go to. I kept hearing "God is always with us, waiting and willing to help." I prayed and prayed searching for help, as my father was dying for me. I jumped head first into revivals trying to gain salvation, only to be left drained and discouraged. I looked for answers but found a link to an atheist's de-conversion. He had a story that mirrored mine, and I started searching for facts. I became agnostic for a few years until my father committed suicide.

After my father's death I jumped back into Christianity and tried desperately to gain salvation. After the revival that year, I gained nothing, felt nothing, and went home angry. I locked my self in the bathroom and fell deep in thought. There was this nagging thought, that I battled with for years, that finally opened my eyes; I never truly believed. I studied the bible for years and I always found the stories of Abraham, David, Moses, Noah, and Jesus to be too far past the realm of possibility. That night I had a revelation; I never believed and I needed to let go.

I was inspired to learn more about the world and its history. I researched for hours and hours and coupled it with what I learned in college and the rest was clear to me; God isn't real, and the stories aren't true. I have since had a much clearer and healthier outlook on the world. I have developed a love for humanity and have embraced others around me as well as sought out knowledge. I have evolved from a narrow minded being searching for help in desperate times to a strong willed man that is highly educated and one that is always willing to learn and stand for what I hold to be true.

My de-conversion was tough, as religion was the only thing I had to hold on to. I am more of an Anti-theist than atheist. I despise religion and what it has done to myself, my family, and the world. I am much happier as a non believer than I ever was a believer. At the end of the day, I made a decision; the truth is more important than personal solace. The moment I realized that, I found solace.
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12-07-2016, 01:11 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Hi and welcome to the world of normal people! Well as normal as you can get!
So, your de-conversion started at the age of 10 when it you finish?
It took me from 8 to 10 to work out it was rubbish and say I am an atheist! I am sorry about the loss if your father, that must have been painful for you!

Thank you for letting us know your personal story!

K:

Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!
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16-07-2016, 03:52 PM (This post was last modified: 16-07-2016 05:27 PM by cactus.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I'm not sure how much of my deconversion I've shared on here, but it was a very gradual process for me, which took place over the course of about 5 to 6 years. It's hard for me to recall a lot of the specifics, but there are a few details which really stick out to me as pivotal moments in my deconversion.

My parents had taken me to Christian churches my whole life. In middle and high school, I started to feel like an outsider in my youth group. When I was around the other kids, I felt guilty for not being a good enough "believer." I was usually shy and embarrassed around them, especially the people I considered role models. I was jealous of these people for being so certain about their beliefs. I had always been pretty skeptical of any supernatural claims, but I thought these people just had some sort of special knowledge that I hadn't obtained yet. They talked about getting personal messages from God, which influenced them to take the first major step into becoming "true" Christians, getting baptized.

I had never experienced anything that I would consider a "revelation from God," so I kept putting off the baptism until I felt truly ready. I did almost go through with it once at a summer camp, though; it was the summer before I started college. We were at the end of a 3+ hour worship service, sitting on the shore of this beautiful lake, the same lake where just the night before we had gathered around a bonfire for a quiet moment of reflection, singing along with our youth leader and his acoustic guitar about the beauty of nature and "God's wonderful creation" or something. However, this night the message was much different. It was the last night of camp, so the worship leaders were being especially manipulative of people's emotions. As the sun was setting, they began yelling at us about eternal torment in hell, and encouraging us to come down to the shore to be "freed of our sins." A lot of the other people from my church were doing it. I stood up to let some other people in my row walk past me. I almost followed them, but quickly decided to sit back down, due to a feeling that I could only describe as impostor syndrome, a fear that everyone would perceive my belief as disingenuous, and I'd be exposed as a fraud in front of all those people. I felt ashamed and was on the verge of tears as I watched dozens of people go down to the water. My friend sitting next to me, a guy who I had only just met that week, put his hand on my shoulder and started praying over me, which at the time really annoyed me. It had just further cemented in my mind that I was a bad Christian, and everyone else knew it. Instead of watching the baptisms, I just stared blankly at the sunset over the water and tried to put myself back in the mindset of the previous night, in which I was a part of the magic ritual, rather than a reluctant observer.

Later that night, our youth group huddled closely together for an intimate time of confession and prayer, or as I call it now, "peer pressure time." Our youth leader went around to each of us one by one, talking us into revealing our darkest secrets to each other. My friend was next to me, the same guy who prayed over me during the baptisms. He starting sobbing, and told everyone that he had been "struggling with homosexuality," a phrase that I had heard many times before. It happened every year at the end of summer camp, where at least one person would come out as gay during the "confession circle" and phrase it in this way, as if it were some kind of personal decision of defiance against God. As everyone was consoling this guy and telling him that he was brave to come out, I sat there quietly thinking to myself, "Was he just projecting his own insecurities onto me back at the lake?" I thought he was just looking down upon me and praying for my soul, but I guess he was praying for his own as well. We were kind of in the same situation, at fault for having the "wrong" thoughts. We had been hanging out that whole week, and I was basically the only person who was talking to him. Maybe he thought I felt the same way he did, and he was worried about both of us. I suddenly felt really bad for him and wanted to tell him that it was ok, that he didn't have to censor his own thoughts or be afraid of his feelings. I stopped myself, though, realizing that it would sound to "unChristian" of me to imply that God would simply overlook such a sin. Not wanting to cause a scene, I just acted really shy when it was my turn to "confess" and told everyone to pray for me to have more faith. As I listened to everyone else's stories, I couldn't help but notice a recurring theme of "I am not good enough. I just have to try harder." Pleasing God seemed like such an unattainable goal. I left camp the next day, sitting quietly by myself on the bus and feeling slightly depressed about not following through with my plan to "receive the Lord into my heart and become washed in the blood of the lamb" or whatever weird terminology gets used to describe the baptismal ritual. This was my last chance before college to go through with it, and I had failed, yet again.

When I got to college, I made it my goal to redefine myself as a "true" believer. I was going to a find a church, make all new friends there, and get baptized. However, those plans folded almost immediately. I found a church and attended one of their Sunday school classes, but I felt really awkward around all the people there. They all knew each other, and I was just a quiet outsider. It was like high school youth group all over again. One of my friends found out that I had gone to church, and he acted very surprised. "You don't really believe that shit, do you?" he said casually and dismissively. I felt angry at first, thinking he was trying to squash my hopes and dreams, but by the end of that first week of college, I realized he was right. Faith was irrelevant to me, and always had been. I had never cared what any of my friends believed. Most of my real friends in high school had been atheists, and that never seemed to bother me. Why should I apply a different set of guidelines to myself? So from that moment on, I just sort of became an apathetic Christian (yeah, I still considered myself a Christian. Old labels die hard, I guess). A Christian who just happened to listen to an increasing number of skeptics like James Randi and Penn Jillette. A Christian who just happened to enjoy watching Youtube videos from loud anti-theists like Dawkins and Hitchins. A Christian who just happened to listen to ex-Christian and Ex-Mormon podcasts, you know... a Christian, that thing that I was born and raised to be, my auto-fill response to that rhetorical question of "Do you believe in God?" So I think the last thing to go was the label, which took at least another 5 years for me to shed. Christianity was important to me, because it was important to my parents. It wasn't ever MY belief. It was simply a thing that other human beings told me I was required to find convincing,...... or else?..... Oh, how quaint. How very, very quaint. Drinking Beverage.
I could never go back to seeing the world in such a trite way, and I especially couldn't go back to believing in a concept as small as "Capital G God." I'm SO over that. Laugh out load

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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19-07-2016, 02:38 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was raised in a very emotionally private household that valued religion as more of a tradition than something actively spiritual. We were raised to say the blessings before meals, and I often got the feeling that it didn't matter if we meant it or not (and whether or not you believe, you keep it to yourself and say it anyway).

When I was about 10-11 years old, I started taking religion very seriously. I saw how much my whole family hated going to church, but it was something we did out of obligation (tradition, fear, possibly striving to be better). It pissed me off how meaningless it was for them and for lots of people of the church and I wanted to actually delve into the meaning of what it meant to be a Christian. I started going to youth group, mission trips, retreat, Sunday school... the whole nine yards.

When I got into high school I stopped going, partly because I was busier, partly because I was lazier and didn't feel like it. After being distanced from the constant brainwash, I began to question if I even believed in god. Cue agnosticism, because let's face it, it's just a transitional phase to atheism.

When I came home from my first summer after freshman year of college, I did something that was considered selfish by my entire family. I told my mom I didn't want to go to church anymore (I was raised to go every week, and home from college was no exception). I was vague on why I didn't want to go and I remained respectful. I said that I believed that I was of the age, 18, where I could decide my religion. I didn't tell her I didn't believe... I phrased it to appear more as if I didn't approve of organized religion, which I thought might lighten the blow.

The reaction was worse than I imagined. She cried and said I, her daughter, had never disrespected her and disappointed her so much. When I went upstairs, feeling guilty about how I hurt my mom, my brother confronted me to tell me I was an asshole and I should have kept my mouth shut, sucked it up and gone to church anyway. He had a good point, and perhaps I should have done that. But it sure is nice not having to sit through that bullshit every week.

I am now a senior in college and have only become decreasingly religious. I consider myself an atheist. I come out to my friends if they ask, but I will perhaps not tell my parents. Unless I have kids, they will definitely find out. Tongue
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24-07-2016, 03:39 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was raised in a Jewish household and was sent to a private Jewish school, where I studied the Torah (Old Testament) in the original Hebrew. When I was in year/grade 10 there was huge fanfare about the arrival of a new religious instructor at the school, a rabbi renowned for his scholarship in the Torah and Talmud. I was looking forward to his classes as I figured he would be able to answer the many questions that had been brewing in my head.

I can't recall if I ever truly believed in a god but I had a keen interest in wildlife and consequently read a lot of books on zoology, which probably coloured the questions I ended up asking him and I am pretty I asked him a question almost every class. Although it was a very long time ago, I can recall him being very patient and never losing his temper, instead trying his best to answer my question. We'd often wait until the end of the lesson so that the rest of the class wasn't disrupted (and probably to give him more time to think about his response) and then he'd reply with a long-winded answer. Sometimes he'd circle the topic before going off on a tangent and missing the target entirely. At other times he would actually attempt to answer the question but the explanation was convoluted to the point of irrational. I'd never heard of Occam's Razor, but I understood the concept well enough to recognise that the simpler answers provided by science were far more likely to be true. Occasionally his responses were so off topic that even at 15 I recognised that his beliefs were preventing him from understanding the question properly, like two people looking at an optical illusion and not seeing the same picture. I became acutely aware that religion doesn't bear close scrutiny.

One day I was having an in-depth argument with another student who attended the same class (probably about the question I had asked that day) when he suddenly blurted out "You're an atheist!". Not having heard that term before I looked it up later and the next day walked up to the same student and said "Yes".

I started asking other teachers questions, causing a few issues, until eventually I sat my parents down one day and told them I thought it best that I should be sent to a secular public school as I was an atheist and was getting into arguments with teachers and other students. My parents were pretty good about it. My father told me it was a phase I was going through and that he went through a similar phase when he was young , so I told him to humour me until the phase passed and let me go to a public school. I finished my high school education at a public school, as requested, then went on to study zoology at university and did my post-grad studies in Australia. The phase never passed. Quite the contrary, as I have become a firmer and firmer atheist with the passing of time.
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24-07-2016, 08:17 AM
Share your de-conversion story
I was raised in a pseudo-Christian family. My mother never went to church, but somehow has married three catholic men. My father is a recent convert to science. I came to my senses when I was 28. I had been engaged to a bad Christian. I went to church every week, gave when the plate came around. I wanted to know as much as I could about my religion. In doing the research i discovered that everything from the judeo- Christian tradition were taken from older religions. Then I read "Underworld" by Graham Hancock. That was the icing on the cake.


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24-07-2016, 08:52 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(24-07-2016 08:17 AM)rickwfullerjr Wrote:  I was raised in a pseudo-Christian family. My mother never went to church, but somehow has married three catholic men. My father is a recent convert to science. I came to my senses when I was 28. I had been engaged to a bad Christian. I went to church every week, gave when the plate came around. I wanted to know as much as I could about my religion. In doing the research i discovered that everything from the judeo- Christian tradition were taken from older religions. Then I read "Underworld" by Graham Hancock. That was the icing on the cake.

Welcome and thanks for the heads-up on the book.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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24-07-2016, 08:59 AM
Share your de-conversion story
(24-07-2016 08:52 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(24-07-2016 08:17 AM)rickwfullerjr Wrote:  I was raised in a pseudo-Christian family. My mother never went to church, but somehow has married three catholic men. My father is a recent convert to science. I came to my senses when I was 28. I had been engaged to a bad Christian. I went to church every week, gave when the plate came around. I wanted to know as much as I could about my religion. In doing the research i discovered that everything from the judeo- Christian tradition were taken from older religions. Then I read "Underworld" by Graham Hancock. That was the icing on the cake.

Welcome and thanks for the heads-up on the book.


It's an amazing book. Discussing the events that lead to the flood myth that is ubiquitous around the world. People lived on river deltas. Easy to till the very rich soil. Also just above sea level. So when the ice dam broke over the Canadian Shield 10,000 years ago most of the world was flooded. Imagine the chaos of nearly every large settlement being washed off the planet?! With most of the scholars being drowned, and very little in the way of permanent records even being extant in the first place there was not much in the way of leaving the future any kind of information.


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30-07-2016, 01:47 PM (This post was last modified: 30-07-2016 01:53 PM by The Dark One.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I never thought of it as "de-conversion", but, here it is.

I was raised on a cattle ranch in west Texas. My family owned 240,000 acres of land, which was a great place to grow up. We all grew up tough and stubborn. If you've ever been to extreme west Texas, you'll understand.

My family attended church, Methodist. I was active in the youth group- it was all basketball and frisbee and other fun stuff, not really a religious feel to it, other than location.
One day, when I was 12, the sermon was based on the old testament. After listening, (and I had heard it all before) suddenly I realized God was either an arrogant, vindictive, cruel, mean spirited asshole, or there wasn't one. Of the two choices, I preferred #2.
My dad didn't care, for him church was a social thing- I think he was a closet atheist. My mom was upset, but not unreasonably so. She got used to it pretty quickly, although she got uncomfortable when I'd announce it to new people. She is still alive, 89 and feeling fine. She gives me lighthearted crap about it, but it's become a sort of gag around the house.

I have 3 older brothers. I don't even know their beliefs, and we are close...they just don't make it a priority in their lives. My older sister married a Southern Baptist. After having three kids together, she caught this devout southern Baptist in a disgusting cheating..circle. Really nasty sexual deviancy stuff. Actually their oldest son (16 at the time) caught him.
My sister is retired now, but she was the VP of a corporation you would all recognize. She made ALOT of money, which she later found out hubby had been spending like a mad man.
They divorced, obviously. Yet my sister found comfort in their religion, and today she is a crazy southern Baptist, we have glorious arguments. Go figure.

As I grew older and became aware of the shear size of the universe and our piddly little role in it...well, I have never doubted my disbelief, even in life threatening situations for me and my family. There is an atheist in this foxhole.

For 38 years now.

CHEERS!
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30-07-2016, 06:44 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I have gone through multiple phases, so hopefully my post is fairly clear.

I started as a Christian for a very good portion of my life. For a small part of that portion, I was a full-fledged Conservative Christian that fully believed in right-wing Christian propaganda thrown at me. When I was little I grew up in a Baptist church, until we moved to a Pentecostal church. This Pentecostal church I had attended did things it really shouldn't have done, such as recommend specific political candidates (which is technically illegal, as far as I'm aware) and encourage you to vote for them and guilt trip you into funding the new church building.

This church was into speaking in tongues and attending events constantly, such as Christian Bible Camps. This was a perfect place to guilt trip children and teens. No These camps were too good at making you feel like you would go to hell if you wouldn’t let go of your “sinful nature”. These preachers were very good at bringing you to a frenzy. I will never forget when a preacher once said that every time you sinned, you put Jesus up on the cross. He then proceeded to show us a video of horrific clips of Jesus being crucified with screaming and eerie music.

After leaving the church, because they kept pushing so hard for people helping to pay for it to become a mega-church, my father attempted to lead our own personal Bible study at home. What mostly sticks out is the argument about “Wives submit therefore to your husbands”. My father insisted on this verse, my mom rolled her eyes over it. My sister and I dismissed it and felt it was wrong. After a while, we met less and less. Over time, I became a general Theist, then an Agnostic Theist after moving out.

I then tried to be more left-wing Christian-Wiccan, then tried to just be Wiccan. Once I started attempting to become Wiccan, I started realizing that I didn't believe in it for good reasons. I started to realize my adjustments were based on what I wanted to believe. I was grasping.

I had some conversations with my atheist boyfriend about gods, belief, due to issues with the god of the bible. I had already been past the point of coming to reject The Bible.

Then I heard this deconversion story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5ZLuRYp8gk

Then, I heard this deconversion story, because it was referenced by the first one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOmSYHze...D163BE880A

These are really in depth and rather cool. I let those videos sink in for a couple of days. Then I attempted to ask a friend that was a Wiccan Atheist what that was like. I met her in person and asked her how she consolidated her two beliefs and how she made them work. I was interested in seeing if I could truly be a Wiccan Atheist. Then after discussing it with her, I determined I couldn't personally consolidate them.

The idea of practicing magic required wishful thinking, which I could not find a reason to practice without question. It was clear that I wanted magic to be real. It brought me a sense of peace and control and was an ideal religion for me. I wanted the idea of an equal god and goddess to be real. I wanted to buy stones for this and magical materials for that. I wanted to be able to heal people through magic. I wanted to be able to heal myself. I was even really close to looking into doing blood magic.

As beautiful of an idea Wicca is, I realized that I did not have a good reason to believe it and finally, the logical part of my brain came through and begged to be free. In the month of September 2015, I came out to my boyfriend as an atheist.
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