Share your de-conversion story
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12-07-2018, 06:54 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
For me...my parents weren't exceptionally religious when I was real young until they turned evangelical when I was 9 or so back in 71. The saving grace for me is I had just discovered science at about the same time and was an incessant reader, so their conversion never really took hold on me. I had the dubious pleasure of getting dragged to every tent revival and prayer meeting that passed through the town. They even got excommunicated from the Lutheran church, which honestly I didn't fully understand at 10 years old, but later was fully amused by as that probably pushed me more away than anything else did. So I guess I am a skeptic by nature and given how evangelicalism was force fed to me more than a little rebellious to boot.

Skipping ahead...I did a tour in the Army Infantry...I qualified for anything in the military that didn't require perfect vision...but in the cockiness of youth I decided that if I was going to be in the military and serve I wanted to "do it right". It turned out ok... I got the discipline I needed to succeed...I also got a lifetime of headaches, hearing loss and moderate ptsd from eating the backblast from a training rocket launcher. I got the chance to speak with many chaplains over the years in the service and talk about various subjects that bothered me about religion. At that point I still believed in something... I just wasn't sure what it was. I started reading a lot about new age and Wicca.

Once I got out of the service I came back home to Colorado and ended up getting into Wicca pretty heavily for a number of years. All part of a journey to find spiritual meaning I suppose. Eventually I had one of my first epiphanies. I had seen years before than faith healing sometimes works. I had seen that Wicca healing spells sometimes worked. BUT, both seemed to have the same limitations. Neither were reproducible on command, neither worked on physical injuries (no one who was blind could be made to see, no amputated limbs grew back, no quadriplegics walked again etc). There were limits. I looked at that really close. I realized that both worked the exact same way...by the belief of the recipient and that there was no magick, and no god(s), angels, spirits etc involved. My involvement with Wicca trailed off soon after. As just an aside I do have to admit I did enjoy answering the door to I believe it was the Jehovah's Witnesses in a full ceremonial robe with pentacle and other accoutrements and watching the blood drain from their faces and watching them make excuses to leave after I invited them in for crescent cakes and ale.

You would think that at this point I would have had it figured out, but no... remember this is the same person that volunteered for the infantry after all...Smile. I was still questing. My boss was very much a fundamentalist and we occasionally would discuss religion. It was around this time that the fundamental question that would eventually drive me away for good started to form... "If God is Omniscient then free-will is impossible, if there is no free-will then life is just a scripted play and etc..." Sooo..., I got the opportunity to go to a local event to try to address this question with folks supposedly wiser than either he or I. A Promise Keepers Event. It was held at Mile High Stadium... Probably 15 to 20 thousand people were there. About halfway through the event my boss friend and I went to one of the stadiums private areas to meet with a small group of folks one of which was I guess a preacher...now I was going to talk...my friend thought that as well. Evidently that was not what this preacher had in mind. At this point I need to interject a bit of personal history relevant to this particular moment. A couple of years earlier I had had to get a cervical spinal fusion that had gone well. Murphy being the asshole that he is put me in a car accident 6 months after that surgery and at this point I am 6 months pre-surgical from a 2nd cervical spinal fusion and just moving my head the wrong way causes huge pain. So I start to try to talk to this preacher and instead of talking he suddenly moves too me, grabs my head... hard, praying in tongues, and starts trying to force a "slain in the spirit" event. If you have never experienced that little bit of chicanery they basically try to force you to the ground. I just stepped back with one foot. Now...that triggers pain like you cannot imagine, but I'm pretty used to pain. My friend is panicking cause he knows this is not what I came for. I'm 6'3" 220 ex-infantry and now very pissed off. I reached up... took the guys hands off my head and not in a nice way...brought him close and told him softly if he tried that again I would break every bone in his body and just held him like that for maybe 10 seconds eye to eye then let him go. He stood there for maybe another 10 seconds they very loudly proclaimed Satan in me and stormed out of the room. My friend apologized to me for near 10 years after that. Never again would I attend an event like that.

I would still try several more times to get some answers to that question, but there isn't one. It's always God is Omniscient...but you have free-will and those are mutually exclusive and they don't get it. There are tons of follow on questions...but that was the start of it for me.

There was only one event in my life that has made me doubt my non-belief and I will share that too. Quite a number of years ago I went though a lot of things that made me actively suicidal one time. At that time I had an amazing pet. A wolf-chow hybrid. He was by far the most intelligent animal companion I have ever by blessed to know. Anyway...I was downstairs and had decided to go get the firearm that was upstairs and end it and was moving for the stairs. Bear (his name obviously) blocked me, grabbed me and dragged me to the ground, pinned me (remember wolf hybrid) and started licking my face until the moment passed, then he just trotted off. He had never done anything like that before nor after. I have no real explanation other that well... he was my bud and he was amazingly smart... but that one event does still give me pause. If I had not lived though it, and I am glad I did given the alternative, I am not sure I would believe it.

The long and the short of it. I searched for years to find justification for belief. I *wanted* to believe and I *wanted* to belong, but rationality won out every single time you look at any aspect of faith. And so here I am.

Raiv
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12-07-2018, 07:49 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(12-07-2018 06:54 PM)Raivene Wrote:  For me...my parents weren't exceptionally religious when I was real young until they turned evangelical when I was 9 or so back in 71. The saving grace for me is I had just discovered science at about the same time and was an incessant reader, so their conversion never really took hold on me. I had the dubious pleasure of getting dragged to every tent revival and prayer meeting that passed through the town. They even got excommunicated from the Lutheran church, which honestly I didn't fully understand at 10 years old, but later was fully amused by as that probably pushed me more away than anything else did. So I guess I am a skeptic by nature and given how evangelicalism was force fed to me more than a little rebellious to boot.

Skipping ahead...I did a tour in the Army Infantry...I qualified for anything in the military that didn't require perfect vision...but in the cockiness of youth I decided that if I was going to be in the military and serve I wanted to "do it right". It turned out ok... I got the discipline I needed to succeed...I also got a lifetime of headaches, hearing loss and moderate ptsd from eating the backblast from a training rocket launcher. I got the chance to speak with many chaplains over the years in the service and talk about various subjects that bothered me about religion. At that point I still believed in something... I just wasn't sure what it was. I started reading a lot about new age and Wicca.

Once I got out of the service I came back home to Colorado and ended up getting into Wicca pretty heavily for a number of years. All part of a journey to find spiritual meaning I suppose. Eventually I had one of my first epiphanies. I had seen years before than faith healing sometimes works. I had seen that Wicca healing spells sometimes worked. BUT, both seemed to have the same limitations. Neither were reproducible on command, neither worked on physical injuries (no one who was blind could be made to see, no amputated limbs grew back, no quadriplegics walked again etc). There were limits. I looked at that really close. I realized that both worked the exact same way...by the belief of the recipient and that there was no magick, and no god(s), angels, spirits etc involved. My involvement with Wicca trailed off soon after. As just an aside I do have to admit I did enjoy answering the door to I believe it was the Jehovah's Witnesses in a full ceremonial robe with pentacle and other accoutrements and watching the blood drain from their faces and watching them make excuses to leave after I invited them in for crescent cakes and ale.

You would think that at this point I would have had it figured out, but no... remember this is the same person that volunteered for the infantry after all...Smile. I was still questing. My boss was very much a fundamentalist and we occasionally would discuss religion. It was around this time that the fundamental question that would eventually drive me away for good started to form... "If God is Omniscient then free-will is impossible, if there is no free-will then life is just a scripted play and etc..." Sooo..., I got the opportunity to go to a local event to try to address this question with folks supposedly wiser than either he or I. A Promise Keepers Event. It was held at Mile High Stadium... Probably 15 to 20 thousand people were there. About halfway through the event my boss friend and I went to one of the stadiums private areas to meet with a small group of folks one of which was I guess a preacher...now I was going to talk...my friend thought that as well. Evidently that was not what this preacher had in mind. At this point I need to interject a bit of personal history relevant to this particular moment. A couple of years earlier I had had to get a cervical spinal fusion that had gone well. Murphy being the asshole that he is put me in a car accident 6 months after that surgery and at this point I am 6 months pre-surgical from a 2nd cervical spinal fusion and just moving my head the wrong way causes huge pain. So I start to try to talk to this preacher and instead of talking he suddenly moves too me, grabs my head... hard, praying in tongues, and starts trying to force a "slain in the spirit" event. If you have never experienced that little bit of chicanery they basically try to force you to the ground. I just stepped back with one foot. Now...that triggers pain like you cannot imagine, but I'm pretty used to pain. My friend is panicking cause he knows this is not what I came for. I'm 6'3" 220 ex-infantry and now very pissed off. I reached up... took the guys hands off my head and not in a nice way...brought him close and told him softly if he tried that again I would break every bone in his body and just held him like that for maybe 10 seconds eye to eye then let him go. He stood there for maybe another 10 seconds they very loudly proclaimed Satan in me and stormed out of the room. My friend apologized to me for near 10 years after that. Never again would I attend an event like that.

I would still try several more times to get some answers to that question, but there isn't one. It's always God is Omniscient...but you have free-will and those are mutually exclusive and they don't get it. There are tons of follow on questions...but that was the start of it for me.

There was only one event in my life that has made me doubt my non-belief and I will share that too. Quite a number of years ago I went though a lot of things that made me actively suicidal one time. At that time I had an amazing pet. A wolf-chow hybrid. He was by far the most intelligent animal companion I have ever by blessed to know. Anyway...I was downstairs and had decided to go get the firearm that was upstairs and end it and was moving for the stairs. Bear (his name obviously) blocked me, grabbed me and dragged me to the ground, pinned me (remember wolf hybrid) and started licking my face until the moment passed, then he just trotted off. He had never done anything like that before nor after. I have no real explanation other that well... he was my bud and he was amazingly smart... but that one event does still give me pause. If I had not lived though it, and I am glad I did given the alternative, I am not sure I would believe it.

The long and the short of it. I searched for years to find justification for belief. I *wanted* to believe and I *wanted* to belong, but rationality won out every single time you look at any aspect of faith. And so here I am.

Raiv

Hi there. I also went through some searching after not buying into the Catholic faith I was raised in by parents who didn't seem to buy it either. I thought I had to believe in something...finally realized that I don't.

As for Bear...dogs are amazing and intuitive. I would just as soon worship canines. Big Grin I had a heart attack last fall. The pain woke me up. One of my dogs...who isn't a snuggler...kept sleeping as I was up and down for a while. I was calm...quite calm. When I sat down to call 911 and started fading a bit, he jumped up on the couch and licked my neck and face and nudged me over and over until my husband woke up and corralled the dogs so the EMTs could come in. Zig just seemed to know that I needed to stay awake and alert till help showed up. After I came home from the hospital he went back to his usual not snuggly self.

Welcome to the forum.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. -JF
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12-07-2018, 08:13 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(12-07-2018 07:49 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I had a heart attack last fall. The pain woke me up. ....

I hope your recovery goes well. I had an NSTEMI last year... no pain at all...other symptoms but no pain. Had to get a stent and a ton of meds forever. Scary stuff.

Raiv
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12-07-2018, 08:40 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(12-07-2018 08:13 PM)Raivene Wrote:  
(12-07-2018 07:49 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I had a heart attack last fall. The pain woke me up. ....

I hope your recovery goes well. I had an NSTEMI last year... no pain at all...other symptoms but no pain. Had to get a stent and a ton of meds forever. Scary stuff.

Raiv

Thank you. I am doing pretty well. I read the symptoms quickly and had a stent put in after a brief time in the ER...the cardiologist says no damage to the heart and there is one med I should be able to stop in September. Thumbsup

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. -JF
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12-07-2018, 09:03 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
My de-conversion story was pretty gradual, like a lot of others I'm sure. At 14 I started smoking weed and, to the dismay of the adults in my life, began questioning authority. It's quite the cliche but it's a cliche for a reason. Pot makes you examine things you would otherwise not examine. My best friend and I started talking about anything and everything; most times we were high, sometimes not. We started off by sort of scoffing at things like natural selection and we stuck to our guns about religion quite vigorously at first. I was always very skeptical about god as I never felt any of my prayers were answered and it didn't really make sense that god never came to me after years of me trying to meditate and pray to contact god. After enough time we both gradually realized that religion was more about control and attempting to explain the things we don't understand as humans.

I started voicing opinions to my family at first and those questions were met with some resistance. My dad pushed back the hardest and while I always remember him talking about god and Christianity growing up he never quite lived up to the standard of, "Good Christian," which probably contributed to a lot of my doubt. My mom sort of allowed me to express my own views, whereas my father did not, but she always made sure to try and convince me otherwise. My grandparents cared the least and my grandfather even expressed to me that he doesn't consider himself a Christian and sort of believes in an impersonal god of some kind.

Finally, after years of disingenuous, intellectually dishonest bullshit being spewed out of my parent's mouths I just realized: I don't believe in any of this.... and better yet, I don't have to. I can believe in whatever I want and I don't believe in this crap. I read into Buddhism and a few other things but ultimately realized that religion is not necessary. I don't need it to be happy and I don't need it to make sense of the world. Bad shit happens. Good shit happens. We live and then we die. And we only get one shot, and that's scary, but it's okay. Ever since the age of 15 or 16 I've considered myself an atheist and I'm glad it happened that way.
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17-07-2018, 12:14 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
One day in my early teens I was wondering how it could be possible that our personalities, memories, etc. could continue to exist after we die, so I asked my father. He said "What makes you think they do?" That's my whole de-conversion story, the first time I de-converted. If losing certitude in the reality or existence of God counts as de-conversion, my second de-conversion was when I gave up trying to see any meaningful or consequential difference between what Baha'u'llah says about the impossibility of anyone ever knowing anything about "God in His Essence," and saying that there really is no such thing. After that, I still thought I saw some possible meanings in the word "God," in some religious scriptures, but I gave that up soon after I came to this forum, after considering the comments on my ideas about God.

- Jim
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17-07-2018, 12:28 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(12-07-2018 09:03 PM)RBMG Wrote:  My de-conversion story was pretty gradual, like a lot of others I'm sure. At 14 I started smoking weed and, to the dismay of the adults in my life, began questioning authority. It's quite the cliche but it's a cliche for a reason. Pot makes you examine things you would otherwise not examine.

I have heard quite a few others say things such as that and have never really understood it. I did not smoke any until quite late in life and the main effect I have ever gotten is a disconnect in short term memory that lets me sleep and of course some of the munchies... is this abnormal what I get from it?

Raiv
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17-07-2018, 01:33 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(17-07-2018 12:28 AM)Raivene Wrote:  
(12-07-2018 09:03 PM)RBMG Wrote:  My de-conversion story was pretty gradual, like a lot of others I'm sure. At 14 I started smoking weed and, to the dismay of the adults in my life, began questioning authority. It's quite the cliche but it's a cliche for a reason. Pot makes you examine things you would otherwise not examine.

I have heard quite a few others say things such as that and have never really understood it. I did not smoke any until quite late in life and the main effect I have ever gotten is a disconnect in short term memory that lets me sleep and of course some of the munchies... is this abnormal what I get from it?

Raiv

People that tell me I should take up weed suggest it for it's medical benefits which you just listed above. Having nightmares every night isn't an easy way to live ya? Still.... I have a hard time with any substance that messes with my brain, personally.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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17-07-2018, 09:07 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2018 08:22 AM by Dom.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(17-07-2018 01:33 AM)JesseB Wrote:  
(17-07-2018 12:28 AM)Raivene Wrote:  I have heard quite a few others say things such as that and have never really understood it. I did not smoke any until quite late in life and the main effect I have ever gotten is a disconnect in short term memory that lets me sleep and of course some of the munchies... is this abnormal what I get from it?

Raiv

People that tell me I should take up weed suggest it for it's medical benefits which you just listed above. Having nightmares every night isn't an easy way to live ya? Still.... I have a hard time with any substance that messes with my brain, personally.

You will find that different people will have very different experiences from weed. All depends on your personal chemical make-up and environmental factors.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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17-07-2018, 10:22 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
(17-07-2018 09:07 AM)Dom Wrote:  
(17-07-2018 01:33 AM)JesseB Wrote:  People that tell me I should take up weed suggest it for it's medical benefits which you just listed above. Having nightmares every night isn't an easy way to live ya? Still.... I have a hard time with any substance that messes with my brain, personally.

You will find that different people will have very different experienced from weed. All depends on your personal chemical make-up and environmental factors.

And...all weed is not the same. I can sure tell the difference in it and I don't smoke it...haven't in decades. I can see different effects in family members from one batch to another.

See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. -JF
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