Share your de-conversion story
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10-07-2013, 09:36 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was raised Catholic and did all of the required rituals as a youngster, but became disillusioned with the religion when I wanted to marry my then-fiancée in my church but could only do so if I paid $700 to get her first marriage annulled and to have the pope decree her fit for me, despite her going to a Catholic school most of life and being raised that way as well.

From there I started to question all religion, but since I wasn't ever devout I just got married in a non-denominational church and never gave it much thought. But lately two of my family members have become super religious and it's now that I see just how silly their beliefs are and how close-minded they have become. I've done some of my own research into the Bible, or the Big Book of Multiple Choice, and am just floored by the discrepancies and history behind its existence (something they never taught in Catechism for obvious reasons). I've read Dawkins, Hitchens, Dannett, Harris and a few others and it all just makes too much sense not to be true.

Check out my atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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12-07-2013, 07:03 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I did this long ago as I was starting my journey through atheism. So, here's my story:

My parents became born again Christians when I was 2 years old. I was an adopted child so my parents mean so much to me and I loved them so dearly that I want to be able to please them with everything I can. My parents became Christians because of a "miracle" that happened. My mother was dying in the hospital and had undergone surgery. As she stayed in the hospital, she saw this Christian show wherein miracles were declared to take place. So my mother went though doctors warned her that she could died. As the church service went on, she felt cold air enter her body and was immediately healed. All her pains had gone. This is the reason why my parents have this strong faith that God is real, God is there and he's playing a major role in our lives. They brought me up knowing this. We were at church three times a week. We conduct and attend Bible studies. I loved the Lord, I loved our Christian life. I was a Jesus Freak. I would shout out God's name and tell him I love him. That was me. That was my life. Nothing could've been more perfect for me.

As I was growing up, as a teenager, I got friends who were considered to us as unbelievers because anyone who is not a BORN AGAIN Christian, though he/she is a Christian but not a Born Again Christian was still considered an unbeliever. My parents think I was getting influenced. I can't go somewhere with them because they can influence me badly. They're of Satan and being in their company means I'm becoming one of them. I wanted to enjoy my teenage years but there's nothing I could do. My parents have me at the neck. I missed a lot during those years but I chose not to question them because I was programmed to think that it's bad. It's bad questioning the will of God. It's God's will that I obey my parents and I should not question anything they tell me. I must be obedient. I must do what I was told, no more, no less. These years became tougher when my mother became a pastor. She had gone a lot more strict and was forcing me more and more to be like her. I have to be a devoted Christian. I should give up everything for God even if its price is my future, my studies, my happiness. My happiness should ONLY be serving God and giving my life to him.

In the desire to please my parents most especially my mother, I force myself to be that kind of person she wants me to be. It even came to a time when I just thought that I should've just never been born if I can't be the type of person God wants me to be. I condemned and hated myself which were really dark times for me. Whenever I have doubts, I would shut them out immediately. "No! The devil is making his way through me that's why he's giving me these doubts! Cast out in the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!!" That's what I would immediately say. But the more I indulged myself in our Christian practice, the more it felt like it's no longer the beautiful, peaceful life I thought it would be. I was depressed, I hated myself, I thought it was better that I would've never existed at all. I also then started to realize that it's starting to get ridiculous because whenever I get sick my mother would always blame it to my being sinful but I know I only lacked sleep that's why my immune system got weak which caused me to get sick. I'm a paramedical student and I know that. So I rejected the thought that sickness is caused by sin. Later did I realize that it was the start of my apostasy.

Regardless of all my doubts and thoughts that what we do is ridiculous, I continued to do what was expected of me. It came a time when my mother was mad at me and told me that the Holy Spirit is not with me. I strived hard to gain this Holy Spirit. I told God to make me his robot so that whatever his will is, that would be the only thing that I would do. But the more I searched for God, the more I felt he was not there. Maybe, he never actually was. I knew that there were people and they were called Atheists, that these people don't believe in the existence of a god. I got curious and I searched it up on the internet, the reasons why atheists don't believe in God. In my shock, everything they said, every arguement, every opinion, made complete sense. I realized how terrible the bible is. Everything they taught us in church was nothing but sugar-coat of what the bible really is. They pick out the good parts and teach them to us, to encourage and motivate us so they can say that God is good and that he's loving, he's awesome. Yet, they pick out the bad parts to scare us so we would do what they teach and tell us, so we would fear this God who created us but then later on if we don't do EVERYTHING he says will burn us and torture us in hell.

Today, I am glad to have woken up to reality. This is the world, science is everything around us. It is what answers our every question. We don't need a god to fill the missing gaps between things that are yet unexplained. This is why we study, why we think. Today's miracles may become an ordinary event tomorrow. Now that I have freed myself from the belief in God, I now have been able to appreciate life. I now feel happier, I feel much more motivated to do good and strive hard in life because I don't depend on a god, I create my own destiny. I write my own story.

So this is my story in which, I will continue to write. I am a skeptic, a logical thinker, an atheist.
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12-07-2013, 02:06 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I already said a bit about it in my introductory post already.
Although my family is/was catholic, religion was not a big deal in my family, at least not for my german relatives. My french relatives (I'm half french Tongue) however, especially my grandmother, was very religious. Her understanding of a cool gift for her grandchildren was holy water she brought with her from Lourdes Dodgy. Because of the distance, we'd not visit her very frequently, so it couldn't influence me that much. My french father was/is officially catholic, though I have a theory that he's an atheist in self-denial Big Grin.

When my older brother considered himself atheist later, I got into esoteric. Learned how to use Tarot cards, what stones I could use to improve my life and occasionally tried to communicate with ghosts (that sounds so incredibly dumb in retrospective). Someday, my cousin, who was 25 at that time, told my family that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. When I visited her in france, she asked me if I'd know a stone that could her fight it. I got one that the vendors at a local esoteric shop told me would help her, and gave it to her. A few months later, the cancer had spread into many other parts of her body (far worse by now, but she's still alive). That's when I began to ask myself:"Did I really ever think that a stone could cure something?" Well, maybe psychosomatically, but that's probably not very effective with cancer. Anyway, that got me to rethink and realize, that I only 'wanted' to believe in supernatural things - but I couldn't.

So that was when I was about 16. Since then, I call myself an atheist and more importantly, skeptic. When I told my parents, my father acted surprised, but I could tell he wasn't. My mother, still believing in god back then, was not surprised at all and didn't have problems with it. I'm happy to say that by now, she considers herself an atheist too Smile.

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14-07-2013, 06:11 AM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2013 02:30 AM by Logica Humano.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
I was twelve and, for the first time, I was introduced to a non-Catholic instruction for the Bible. We actually read the entire book, from Genesis to Revelation. The book caused me to question my position, but because of the effectiveness of religious programming, I quickly shunned the notion and punished myself for considering it. Later, I began to read arguments from atheists on Christian Forums and watched videos critical of religion. It was not as easy as simply walking away from it though. I struggled with the idea for four or five more years. My beliefs were malleable and switched from Deism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, Christianity, and the like. Constantly. I was confused and, quite frankly, terrified. How could I have been lied to all that time?

It wasn't until I finally confronted one of my closest friends that I finally arrived to my decision. My ultimate conclusion. She and I were both grieving, for we had lost one of the members in our circle of friends. He was the victim of drunk driving, died at the age of 17. We were both shattered, we couldn't believe it. But in that moment, we talked about it. She would soon follow in my journey to atheism, and we eventually arrived at the conclusion that atheism is the only logical choice. The only position that fits within our harsh reality. It wasn't simple, and the turmoil certainly wasn't easy. But, unlike many others, I had someone to lean on. Someone who was becoming just as troubled as I, and we both discussed it.

So, ultimately, I was 16 when I finally rejected it. I was 18 when I joined this forum.

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16-07-2013, 06:30 AM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
As a child, my mom made me go to church a lot, most Sundays and on holidays like Xmas and Easter, but she wasn't really strict with it beyond that. My grandparents on my dad's side were missionaries, so they had a pretty big influence as well.

My first foray into the debate was when I was about 14. I remember having a very short argument with a friend about Adam and Eve vs evolution, abiogenesis, etc. My basic point was that the scientific ideas made more sense than the Biblical ones. He vehemently disagreed. After a few rebuttals back and forth, he got mad, and we dropped it.

I started going to youth groups when I was 15-16 a lot, but (now that I think about it) this was entirely because of the fun I had at the lock-ins, the fun after or Wednesday meetings and similar non-worship time. I really couldn't care less about Bible studies and shit like that. I had a difficult time in high school, so I didn't really have any friends, and church was a good place to interact with people my age without getting picked on. The girls were especially "interesting".

After a year or so, I found some friends outside of church and stopped going to youth functions.

At about 17, I remember lying awake one night, just mulling over the contradictions between science and the Bible. As I was still a believer, I decided to test the Bible. I've never been big on the whole faith thing, so I don't think I was testing my faith, but perhaps I was. The simplest test I could think of was saying "goddammit", so I tried it. Nothing happened. I didn't feel any different, aside from my curiosity being sated. (Sounds really silly now.)

I really didn't get fully into the debate for a few years when I first got a decent internet connection (i.e. non-dial-up) and found an online forum where I could talk about religion openly and in depth. I didn't really know much about the whole controversy. That was the fun, tho. I've learn a lot, and probably the most important thing (for me) is that being brutally about my beliefs is one of the most fulfilling things ever.

“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”

- Bertrand Russel
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18-07-2013, 02:41 PM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2013 02:46 PM by shiranl.)
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Well, not de-converted because I wasn't raised in a religious family- only traditional with a tendency to secularism. We don't keep the Shabbat or eat Kosher, but we do celebrate the holydays and fast on Yom Kippur and do a Kiddush on Friday. But I did had a process to actually identify myself as an atheist- to activley reject Yehova in particular and other gods in general.

And it all happened by mistake.
I was 14 and I just did a random search in some searching enging ( it wasn't google) of some word I don't recall, and I stumbled across this site:
http://www.hofesh.org.il/english/index.html
In the Hebrew version there's THOUSANDS of articles about religion and religious coercion, and I just "ate" them all.
Before it I started to have a political awerness and I was really against the religious coercion and the "free ticket" the religious get from the military service, so it helped me form my atheistic world view.

And then came all the indetity struggle- because I still felt Jewish, and denouncing Judaism seemed to me like I'm letting Hitler win after my grandparents survived the Holocaust, and politicly I am a Zionist so the obvious question of how can I be a Zionist if I'm denouncing Judaism, and if I'm not Jewish then what is my nationality etc, etc, etc.........when I was about 18-19 I managed to get in order all my indentities.

For a few years I was alone in my atheist world, my family knew about it when I was 15-16 and always said I'll "grow out of it" (now that I'm 21 years old they don't say it anymore, they just don't agree with me about it. But they do say it to my 15 years old brother, who is also an atheist), and then came faceook and a little community began to form and we even had a convention last January. Don't feel alone anymore Smile
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18-07-2013, 10:21 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Warning of bad grammar and length! I think I'll split this into different posts. Here's my attempt to piss everyone off with at least the religious past. I'm worried that if I edit, it will just look worse so you get what you get.

My first God based memory was before I attended public school. I was four when I started school, and was bullied throughout it enough, that homeschooling by the time I went into 9th was alien to me. Yes, courtesy from peers didn't make sense.

When I was a four year old moron, who couldn't talk how people wanted her to, I dreamt about this wild bush that grew just outside the backdoor of our home. Nobody in my family remembers it but me, because my dad burned it to the ground. 'sigh' There was a little group of imp demons around a tiny campfire inside the bush in my dream. The only one I remember clearly was the one on the front left, that was crouching and being concerned about it's fate. It got ravenously angry that I showed up and was staring at it, so it ran toward me and threw a spear into my chest. One day later, after waking up, I had a fight with my little sister and went to sleep being mad at her, but wanting to see them again. It worked perfectly, and played out exactly like before, only it was getting ready another spear to stick in my face. We made some kind of deal for getting me wisdom or something, but I can't remember those details. I thought this was legitimate to.

A couple of years later, I became quieter around other people, because when I normally would start trying to socialize they would get really mean, except for a girl I met on the bus. (Ok. This next part is screwed up.) I got acquainted with her, and my pathetic pea mind thought that writing things into paper with her fingers nails made her a magician. The TV showed me that Magicians don't get hurt, and magic was real, because God did magical things anyway. One day, she was getting off the bus, and some boy got up and started saying things that she didn't like. He grabber her arm, broke it, and twisted it in circles. I just sat there confused about it. The bus was in park, and the other kid did this for a few seconds while laughing about it. I can't remember if he followed her off or not. A while later, the same driver stopped at the same place, and she got on. She yelled at me for not doing something about it, which was perfectly deserved. She yelled at the driver, who made excuses, and got teased as she stepped back off. I don't think he drove our bus the week after. (ok. We made it through the "OMFG!' part of my mentally buried past.)

My Dad kept having bad luck with his jobs. He would be an electronics repair man for a workplace, till it's money didn't look so good and then went out of business. This happened at least four times that I recall. We were getting poor for a few years, so my mother went to college to become an accountant, while working a job in an Ice cream store. The house was never really finished, and it's run down these days with a few patches to keep it together. Money and God became like two deities that conflicted each other. You have to give your life to them, because getting by was dignified. Inflation was groaned about everyday, and my Dad even made jokes about birthday gifts we'd asked he'd want. "Uhm. Let's see. A new houssssseee. New car? Hmm? Think you can help Daddy with that?" Our mom eventually brought in most of the money, while he had a home repair business going. She would talk to herself negatively about it just about every morning.
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18-07-2013, 10:22 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Yep. God wasn't the biggest concern to my family. Money was. Still, we went to church, and I watched my Mum slip a dollar or a five into the donation... I mean collection for God plates. (Obviously, it's a donation plate.) I should cover the routine of service first. On Sunday mornings all four of us went if we didn't feel sick. My Dad didn't take the Lord Supper with us, so I never understood why he went at all. We did bother him about hell a few times, but not much. He stays home on Sunday and Wednesday nights. My Mum said a few times early on that she desired we act like a certain girl that sat at the other end of the building. I did so, but had no compliment for doing it. (I never got compliments much.) I continued acting like more like little miss min-adult Christian... for nothing.

Church started with a song leader going upfront and just below the lecture stand. He would tell us a page or song number to turn to. We flipped to it, and sung along about three or so songs, and then some guy would do a prayer where we'd bow our heads. I always hated it when they'd pause too often to make it sound important, go over the same points two to three times, or give a really long one. Blah blah blah and that. None of the sick people they prayed for really healed by divine hand, but god was thanked for it at church anyway. He was also thanked for marriages, births and so on. Some Church of Christs (Old King James fundamentalists, and not the Mormon ones.) did the Lord supper before the preaching, and others did it after. The one I grew up with did it after the preaching, I think. There would be some man that would go up and do a lesson. There were a lot of them about how we should be sorry to God for being sinful, bad creatures.

They taught about a fire hell, and simply going to feel good for God meant you weren't obedient enough. They blended gay and lesbian with Tran sexuality, and called it a sexually deviate choice that really just another way to enjoy hating God. Evolution was about Piltdown man and "liars" who want to teach us children about lies. Countless times evolutionists were talked about, someone or other would make a condescending chuckle or head nod. Believing in evolution made you one of the "stupid people." Other churches, like Baptist or Mormon, were considered to be "those bible ignorant doops that want to cherry pick and morph the bible to their liking." Ironic, yeah? There were lessons about a few other things preached about, but I wouldn't call the selection vast. It's pretty much that "same old arguments you heard before." I learned how to look like I was listening, while zoning off and forgetting what I heard. I took this to school as well, and it became an automatic talent. I still know how to do that, but usually prefer not to.
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18-07-2013, 10:23 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
We'd do another song for the Lord's supper. Men would get behind a table or two that had trays covered by a white sheet. They removed the sheets and put the trays into view. The biggest was always the grape juice one in the middle. The middle sized had the crackers. The smallest was a donation tray to "give back to the Lord," while mentally thinking him for the privilege to work. That included work you hate dearly. Workers were to have gratitude for that, especially if they were poor. Another guy would get up behind the preacher stand and remind us that we were to examine or meditate on how awful we were, and that we should feel sorry for it. It's kind of like a ceremonial beating of your inner self. This was one way to discipline yourself for Christ. While holding that thought about yourself, the guys would bring the cracker tray down, and people taking little bits would pass it along the seats. Then a prayer for the grape juice. Last a prayer for the donation plate.

We'd then do a couple of songs, and then stand up for one more song and a prayer. After that, people got to socialize. I didn't get to do that with other kids for very long, because they moved away or went to another congregation. I just used my day dream in fantasy land techniques to not be bored. They had this stove that was guaranteed to static zap the first one that touched it. The adults didn't worry about it when the kids were playing around it, because we kids liked getting shocked by it so often. I didn't like that we missed every Easter Sunday at the park. It was "the devil's version" anyway. We had it at home instead. No friends included in the activity. Thankfully I had a sister! -.-

Well, with school, I was really going down hill mentally. I simply couldn't socialize with my peers without worrying about them biting me, because they did it countless times through my life. I also thought most teachers wanted my peers to do what they liked to me, if it wasn't too open. Don't worry. It was only verbal and emotional torture...I mean bullying. It was simply normal to me to be.... pushy and selfish. Those details aren't required here. Homeschooling children were so quite strange to me with their politeness. I started to bust out easily onto my family, and it was evident what emotions I had gotten from public school. I thought about gory things I'd like to have done to my family or other people, including myself. (No ego is required in hating humanity, deeply. Up to you, if you can't believe that fact.) Because of that, I had dreams about unscary murder scenes of any of us. I happily strangled a bully peer in one dream, but worried about the police in it. In another dream, one boy that used to bother me was chasing me with a knife through a hallway that looped around like a square.

Unfortunately, I had a sleep paralysis period around this time. I would sometimes take negative little naps on my mum and dad's bed, but preferred my mother's side, because she actually washed the pillow cover once in a while. In one of the three or four sleep paralysis dreams, I was laying in a box of some kind, an angel of light was bashing my eyes in with a white light saber or a light bulb bar or something. On the last one, I dreamt about the jungle gym the grade school build while I attended. There was this little boy with black hair, dressed in green elf cloths who asked me to join the league of Satan and his friends. I told him "no" because of my upbringing taught me to, really. It then went into me laying on the floor being dragged away by a big shadow ape guy. Then there was this pair of feet that were brown, like on a Hispanic. You know, that shade of brown, yeah?

He has gold, split toe sandals, and of course a white robe. They always have fit the depiction. The demon I dreamt about at age four was a starved looking orange imp with long limbs. Naturally, he had horns and the funny tail. At least he glowed different like metal out of a kiln or whatever that smithing thing is called. Anyhow, moving on. The sandals guy told me not to look up at him, and said if I don't go get baptized, I go to hell. I woke up and got baptized later in the week, but didn't like the temporary attention from it. It was abnormal for me that everyone was coming over to say something. That helped mellow me out a little bit, but I developed a self injury habit. It was like a reflex whenever I got frustrated. At one time, I went for months with a constant bruise just above my right knee. These days that same knee hurts when I work it too hard. Like a typical self-injurer, I had smash urges. What I got from my family was "stop it, you're bothering us."

My Dad decided to be a dick during this time I needed his sympathy. He would get angry at anything I supposedly got wrong. he even stopped in the middle of a street, when he thought I said something to him that I didn't. He blamed me and even thought of me as a bitch "with a bad attitude" for hitting myself over errors. He even got mad about slight errors that I didn't hit myself over, so this fed my problem there. I had a great friend that amazingly listened to me a lot, but our friendship was ruined after she was attacked by her step father. Her grandmother told me she was busy out with her friends, boy friend, etc. and some how they suspected me of being employed with her attacker. We were close friends, but I hope this was for the greater good for us both. I ran up the phone bill calling her, only to get her grandma goose on the phone, telling me I was some kind of selfish Dyke that had to leave her alone. She gave me the number, but yes, as much as it hurt, I had to stop and did.
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18-07-2013, 10:25 PM
RE: Share your de-conversion story
Years pass, and I'm an adult in Houston Texas. By now, I have dramatically recovered from my downhill ride, but God wasn't the backbone of it. My parents split up, and that made our entire family much happier than ever. I've mostly been with my mom, struggling to find a good workplace that would actually keep and acknowledge any kinds of skills, but as usual, nobody gave the slightest dam about me! They always seemed to believe that my speech manner was stupidity and nothing more. I believe that whatever I involved myself in (church or not), I would get the super easy tasks, because my speech manner means "idiot." Fast food, laundry, dishwashing, stage plays, whatever, I'm the lower intellect of the crew, despite my pace at learning. I still don't try to learn much, because it feels extremely unrewarding.

But, the joy of my family made me quite happy. Everyone was much more smiley. I visited some forum web sites, where I had to eventually leave after dealing with several tolerated accounts of abuse. The last one I dropped before YouTube is a very tough one to forgive. "Pissed off at" doesn't scratch how I feel for that third place right now. That one close friend I had was tremendously helpfully to my mind! The loss of it was a huge wake up call on me. I was in my mid or late twenties when we went to a different church in Houston. By then, I had enough of this anti-evolution, pervert the gays, and giggle at the other religions bigotry. I thought it was wrong that people in our group were gladly excusing their condescension onto others while playing the card of being "discriminated by the sinful world." I walked out of the auditorium several times, and eventually vented to myself "Enough!"

I stayed home at the apartment, and this emotional rollercoaster of fear started going. I tried the supper at home, which made my paranoia and guilt worse. I heard steps in my bed room when there weren't any. I started seeing shadow creatures when I worked in the garage, but around this time it really bothered me enough to lose sleep a few nights. I figured they were the demon boogie men come to possess naughty little Lienda and teach her a lesson. I'm not even from a religiously strict upbringing either, so I can't imagine how hard it is to have those kinds of parents! I had enough to deal with as it was. Sad I had auditory illusions occasionally to, but looked sane enough that nobody could really tell. The neighbor down stairs just got annoyed with me talking to myself a lot, though. (I was cooped up quite a bit, but lonely among other people otherwise. Lacking social talents is great, yeah?) One day, after being crazy for at least two months, I decided to go through the bible more deeply, scoffing at it a little sometimes to prove to myself that it was the perfect piece of print that they always told me it was.

It had the opposite effect as intended. Instead of seeing this "enduring love," I discovered this total DICK that preferred to destroy and make miserable many lives than help them with the best solution from the start. It's like one ugly game of tears for the deity. Since then, the boogie man theme I just brush off saying "you're tired, go to bed." The urges to smack myself with blunt objects has lessoned dramatically. I guess it's because I don't regularly meditate battery onto my mind! I rejected that God while I believed he existed. I like to delude myself occasionally, but it's more like a "scare or kid yourself for fun" game. I still hate sitting in church, but not as much as some people do.
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