What helped you deprogram from religion?
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31-05-2017, 01:34 PM
What helped you deprogram from religion?
As someone who used to be a Christian, I was interested in what other ex-religious people here thought helped them think for themselves and deprogram when first questioning religion.

In addition to the fact that many religious claims are just absurd at face value, the various contradictions and absurdities within the Bible helped me start to ask questions. The Bible is such a self-contradictory book that the supposed god depicted can't keep his own commandments in it: http://see_the_truth.webs.com//sinning_nazarene.html

What else helped you personally? I find that understanding my own process of deconversion has helped me a lot in debating religion with others.
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31-05-2017, 02:16 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
(31-05-2017 01:34 PM)barkingdog25 Wrote:  As someone who used to be a Christian, I was interested in what other ex-religious people here thought helped them think for themselves and deprogram when first questioning religion.

In addition to the fact that many religious claims are just absurd at face value, the various contradictions and absurdities within the Bible helped me start to ask questions. The Bible is such a self-contradictory book that the supposed god depicted can't keep his own commandments in it: http://see_the_truth.webs.com//sinning_nazarene.html

What else helped you personally? I find that understanding my own process of deconversion has helped me a lot in debating religion with others.

Grew up reading science and science fiction books. Realized what my church was teaching about evolution and physics was simply not true, and based on outright dishonesty in presenting what science actually claimed. Decided to learn more about science and history, and found my previous position/education was totally bunk. For the first time in my life, right as I turned 17, I allowed myself to ask the question, "What if everything these people have been teaching me is wrong?"

Having grown up being taught Christian apologetics, specifically of my fundamentalist (Southern Baptist) church's position, which included "how to defeat all the wrong religions out there"... which included some pretty good skepticism of the claims of other religions, including Catholicism, which they consider it a false version of Christianity, like Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses. Once I turned the same weapon I had been applying to all the other faiths out there on my own faith, it (as the late great Douglas Adams put it) "promptly disappeared in a puff of logic".

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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31-05-2017, 02:19 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
In my case, it was reading about brain science enough to understand how consciousness is brain-dependent. Realizing we most likely don't have immortal souls takes a lot of the incentive away from believing in God and other spiritual concepts.
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31-05-2017, 03:14 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
Man, it was a long slow process for me, but as a fire & brimstone Southern Baptist preacher's kid, it was the "read the Bible cover-to-cover in a year" program that started it. It gained momentum after attending a month long (crap, I don't even know what to call it, because "total bullshit" is being generous) class on other religions is what REALLY started the ball rolling. Like Rocketsurgeon, reading the book "Dune" may have helped a little as well; I think it was the first time I had ever been exposed to the very idea of using religion for social control.

It came to a head when I went to college and actually started meeting people from those other religions I had been taught about, and started learning a little about "evidenciary standards" and started applying those standards to my own religion. Like I said, it was a rocky road for quite a few years for me ...the "hellthreat" business really does a number on you. One of my mother's final two lucid moments in life was hysterical crying upon realizing that she was dying, and being in abject terror that she was going to hell, to the point that she had to be sedated. This was one of the sweetest little old ladies you've ever seen too (she had her faults as a mother, but as a preacher's daughter herself, I understood her more), yet she was still in terror that she hadn't been "good enough" in her final moments.

My older brother was actually studying for the ministry, and he says one of the first "chinks in the armor" came after befriending a Rabbi, and when talking about the OT, the guy said something to the effect of "Holy shit Dude, you aren't supposed to take that stuff LITERALLY! ...it's about a journey our people made spiritually, not a freaking history lesson!" My brother said he said he was blown away; my Dad actually taught that if anything showed to be wrong in the Bible, then the whole thing falls apart ...that's a big problem with Biblical literalism I guess. It was the textual criticism classes that finished him off.

Mostly it was just time and study for me ...the moment I realized/accepted fully that I was atheist was when my ex "converted" to Wicca, and I noted that she went though an identical "power-trip" as a new Christian does. Weird how it's seldom the "big stuff" that makes the largest impression, but that was probably the point when the last vestiges of Christianity lost any appreciable hold on me.

I mentioned it in another thread, but in debating ...the best thing I've found is to ask what evidenciary standard would it take to convince them they are wrong, and ask them to apply that same standard towards convincing me they are right. If they admit there is nothing that can convince them, or the standard is ridiculous (that's what you get most of the time ...hell, they can't even "prove" their Jesus was even IN a tomb, but then demand we have to prove he DIDN'T rise?), then the conversation is generally over.
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31-05-2017, 03:43 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
Mostly what de-programmed me were Christians themselves; those who were absolutely sure about God's existence, intentions and mysteries but whose lives were a total mess.

That, and reading and studying the bible on a regular basis. As part of the pastoral team in my church, I led study and prayer groups a couple of times per week.

I've done a few debates amongst friends and a couple "official" ones in local churches, both as a believer then as an atheist. While I enjoy them, they tend not really to change people's minds (mostly due to the backfire effect). So I don't debate anymore, at least in real life. Other than time spent here on this board, my atheism occupies about 0.05% of my life. It's simply not that big a deal. I'd rather be diving, or on my motorcycle, or in bed with my SO, or cooking up a good meal than discuss the non-existence of some sort of divine superintelligence.
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31-05-2017, 03:52 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
The proximal cause of my deconversion was cognitive dissonance from the mismatch between what my faith promised and what I experienced. The promise was a vigorous, victorious, positive and clearly superior life, along with rather lavish promises of protection, guidance and favor independent of personal merit (aka: grace). I experienced none of those things, and in fact, experienced severe personal losses.

That got me looking at my beliefs with a more skeptical eye, and at alternative ideas with a more open mind, and the rest is history.
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31-05-2017, 04:29 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
Reality.

Don't let those gnomes and their illusions get you down. They're just gnomes and illusions.

--Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

Alouette, je te plumerai.
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31-05-2017, 06:07 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
(31-05-2017 01:34 PM)barkingdog25 Wrote:  As someone who used to be a Christian, I was interested in what other ex-religious people here thought helped them think for themselves and deprogram when first questioning religion.

In addition to the fact that many religious claims are just absurd at face value, the various contradictions and absurdities within the Bible helped me start to ask questions. The Bible is such a self-contradictory book that the supposed god depicted can't keep his own commandments in it: http://see_the_truth.webs.com//sinning_nazarene.html

What else helped you personally? I find that understanding my own process of deconversion has helped me a lot in debating religion with others.

I was born to question why so I never understood believing in magic. My deconversion started at 'wait a min, he did what on the third day?" and ended with "he made us and now you are telling me we are born sinners? He died, woke up, and flew away to save us?' Rolleyes

I knew they were wrong before I knew what my pecker was really for. Bowing I wish I never figured out the latter, it got me in more trouble than any magic people believed in.
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31-05-2017, 07:03 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
(31-05-2017 01:34 PM)barkingdog25 Wrote:  As someone who used to be a Christian, I was interested in what other ex-religious people here thought helped them think for themselves and deprogram when first questioning religion.

In addition to the fact that many religious claims are just absurd at face value, the various contradictions and absurdities within the Bible helped me start to ask questions. The Bible is such a self-contradictory book that the supposed god depicted can't keep his own commandments in it: http://see_the_truth.webs.com//sinning_nazarene.html

What else helped you personally? I find that understanding my own process of deconversion has helped me a lot in debating religion with others.

> There were several things which helped me escape my Roman Catholic indoctrination. Probably the first was reading the Bible. Even the bowdlerized copy of the St. Jerome Bible I used in religion classes revealed a God who was far beneath what I considered to be a moral being.

> Secondly, I went to a secular college and was able to have many informal discussions on religion with students of other faiths and even a few atheists. By the time I graduated, I considered no religion any better or more valid than another. They all seemed silly and questionable at that point.

> I served in Vietnam for 2½ years. Some of the evil and depraved events I witnessed there convinced me that there was no benevolent God watching over the world. My last set of dog tags feature the word "agnostic" under religious preference.

> During the 1970's I engaged in a lot of comparative religious study, reading and amassing about 500 books on religion(s). By 1980, I considered myself an agnostic.

> In 1982, I read an article in THE AMERICAN ATHEIST titled The Agnostic's Dilemma. It led to an epiphany of sorts. From that point onward, I knew that I was an atheist and probably had been one for a few years earlier without realizing it.
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31-05-2017, 07:18 PM
RE: What helped you deprogram from religion?
(31-05-2017 07:03 PM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  From that point onward, I knew that I was an atheist and probably had been one for a few years earlier without realizing it.

Yeah, that was me in a nutshell too ...I had been atheist since I was 20 or so, it just took me 20 years or so to finally realize/admit it. I've always said it was a "conclusion" more than a belief or philosophy.
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