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Phases Of Deconversion


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#1 Hammurabi

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:05 PM

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Ok, first of all I just want to preface this by saying that these are my personal observations. I am not making any claim towards what the "right" way to deconvert is nor am I laying exclusive claim to the means of deconversion. Not everyone goes through ever phase and not every phase is significant to all deconverts. I am just writing what I observe, if you think I'm full of shit, feel free to say so. I"ve also used some quotes from the anti-testimonies posted on these boards, if your quote was used but you'd prefer it not to be, let me know and its gone.




Phases of Deconversion:

Phase 0 - The pre-deconversion.

This step really isn't a step at all. This is just the generalized time before deconversion. In this phase you are 100% committed to your belief, you call yourself a christian, you think of yourself as a christian, you know all the ways to answer all the questions about your faith and the idea of not being a christian has yet to enter your mind. This phase could be brief or quite lengthy, but it is characterized by the complete lack of questioning about your faith. You may be confronted about your faith by others, and you respond with all the "right" answers, but you yourself have yet to put your belief under the microscope. Some can go their whole lives without ever leaving this state, but we are talking about deconversion here, so on to phase 1.

Phase 1 - Curiosity killed the cat.

This is what I would consider to be the real first step toward deconversion; The point at which you first examine your own faith. Now, this can come about in many ways. For some, their zeal for discovering more about their religion leads them to examine themselves, ironically enough this quest for a greater faith leads them towards a lesser (or non-existent) one. For others, this questioning process is brought about by the inquiries of others. One particularly poignant question becomes the seed from which reason sprouts. Others still may find that in their increased knowledge of the natural world, they find things in conflict or even contradiction to their previously held beliefs. Sadly, many... far too many come to this step through tragedy or hardship, when the question isn't about religion per se, but about the nature of god itself. "How could god let this happen?" or "Why would he let this happen to us" or such questions simply cannot be answered to any satisfaction.

There are many other ways this questioning process can be kicked off, but the point is that at some point the walls around your faith that protected it from introspection yield. I have a suspicion that most believers encounter this phase of deconversion at least once in their life of faith, though most find cause to ignore or suppress it. The bible itself warns against such questioning. The entire apologetics industry is designed to push phase 1ers back to phase 0, as demonstrated by the fact that anyone well into their deconversion (not to mention anyone of other faiths or non-faiths) find apologetic arguments laughable or downright insulting.

Fast forward nearly 10 years and after countless debates on the subjects of the bible and creation science i noticed myself doing something ive never done before, i started becoming troubled by the atrocities in the bible, in particular the OT.
one day while reading the old testament i came to a passage where god commanded saul to kill everyone in a town, including women and children. this deeply disturbed me i thought to myself how could a loving god order the murder of those who could not defend themselves, not just the women but also that of innocent children.


After that, I was sitting in my second astronomy class where I learned so much that was almost contradictory to what I had learned growing up. Over the course of the rest of the class, I added all the new knowledge on the size of the universe and how we are all "star dust" to things I learned in the previous classes. This began rational thinking in my life.



Phase 2 - The quest for answers.

Ok, so now you've got a mind full of questions... or maybe just one or two particularly persistent ones. Who has the answers? For most, the first place we look is also the least helpful, religion. We scour the bible, meet with our pastor, call up our strong christian brothers and sisters. We peruse christian message boards and we read christian literature. So careful are we to avoid any secular literature for fear that it may seek to lead us away from our faith. The answer-seekers are convinced that they are still trying to save their faith, to fortify it with godly answers. This phase is characterized by one emotion; Fear.

It is a particular brand of fear, I can liken it most to the feeling of being lost. Like you were hiking in the woods and lose your bearings, all of the sudden you are struck by this sense of "I don't know where I am." Luckily for you, you are surrounded by others and can simply ask for directions. Unfortunately the answers you get are thoroughly unsatisfying. In fact, sometimes your questions aren't answered at all, but rather turned around onto you as some sort of flaw in your faith. You are told to consult the tour guide, but he just tells you to stay with the flock, and go read your guidebook. You check your guidebook but it barely seems to make sense anymore; "What the hell are these guys talking about palm trees for? I'm in the rocky mountains!!"

In your search to find slightly more satisfying answers, you find a secular source. It may be by accident, a non-religious friend or relative, or it may be on purpose under the guise of curiosity, such as stumbling onto exchristians.net, but none-the-less you find someone, somewhere, who will actually answer your questions. However, far from sealing this one tiny leak in your otherwise unsinkable faith-tanic, you are spurred on to new questions, until you inevitably find yourself at "the" question, and the answer isn't 42.

When I expressed my concerns to people in my ministry I was told I needed to go to school and learn more about my faith so I would better understand our theology and doctrine.


A funny thing happened on my way to my liberal arts degree. I was required to take a Humanities course called “Western Civilization.” In it I had to read the work of several eighteenth century philosophers from the “Age of Reason”. It was a flunk-out course and most students hated it, but I loved it. The scales fell from my eyes. At the end of the two-semester course (sophomore year), I was a full blown atheist. A little education is a dangerous thing.



Phase 3 - Do I believe?

Most people, I find, don't actually ask this question until their deconversion is at such a point that the answer is "No". We skirt around the question, avoiding it for fear of the consequences. This can be a very desperate time for some, especially if your whole life is built on a christian foundation. It isn't just a question of changing perspective, but of giving up everything you've ever known. Desperately, you seek the counsel of your friends and mentors, but to your surprise your hints at a failing faith are met with hostility, condemnation, and rebuke. I suspect that this is because your open questioning of faith sheds light on their private questioning of faith and their aggression is really a defensive maneuver. Either way, this can be a very lonely time, one at which you fell isolated from your normal support group, if not physically isolated, than emotionally isolated. Some are lucky to find others of fading faith for support, others unfortunately face this transition alone.

In some ways, and for some people however, this can be a very liberating process. If you find yourself in a religiously neutral environment, the pursuit of knowledge of the world and yourself can be exciting, filled with new discoveries every day. You can throw off the shackles that bound you to your faith and are free to explore all sorts of new things you may have never heard of before.

Nevertheless, at some point the question is asked, by yourself or by someone else; "Do you believe?" and you answer, "No."

But I kept asking questions. Finally one day I asked our pastor (a second evangelical pastor who came after Al) about "the unforgivable sin". I had read this in my bible, but I didn't really understand what it meant. He told me that the unforgiveable sin was turning my back on Jesus. Well, I was sure I'd done that. Was he sure that was unforgiveable? Was there really something that I could do and I wouldn't be forgiven? That scared me.


After that I became much less religious, almost to the point of agnosticism. I wavered from rejecting God to running back to theism. My church friends were no help, the hypocrites. Praising God in one breath and backstabbing and uttering insults the next. The girls, even worse. They were the more zealous to worship Father God, and yet that didn't stop them from sleeping around or being catty bitches to one another. I began to see just how corrupt the church's followers were. The few good men were outnumbered by dozens of hypocrites, liars, and charlatans. I was disgusted. I stopped going to youth group meetings because of that. Another symptom of my disillusionment.


a switch went off in my head,for the first time in my life someone said it was ok not to believe in god, in an unconscious way i had searching for someone to tell me that it was ok, taht someone else doubts in their faith. the other incident that finally seperated me was one day my friend had made me a cannibal corpse (death metal) t-shirt with sharpie that had a pentagram on the back a typlical staple of death metal imagry, a older kid at the school cornered me and told me did i know i was going to hell for wearing that?? i told him casually yes not really caring or beliveing him, and for the first time i was able to look from the outside in at how ridiculous that sound, a 5-pointed star would curse me to hell??



Phase 4 - Anger

"Congratulations! You are now a non-believer. Here is your hat and t-shirt. We're having a bake-sale this Saturday at the park and I'll go ahead and sign you up for our newsletter...." Well, not exactly. When you converted, there was all sorts of pomp and circumstance. People were showering you with attention, everyone was your friend and you were instantly tied into a new social group. Your moment of deconversion, the moment you first answer that question "No", by contrast is wholly unsatisfying. The sky doesn't part, lightning doesn't strike your house, demons don't stab you in the ass with pitchforks... In a way you almost wish you did get stabbed in the ass, at least there would be something that happened to signify your deconversion, some sort of moment in time that you could point to as the beginning of a new life. We could all sit around and talk about our deconversion moment: I'd ask, "So when did you get stabbed in the ass with a pitchfork?" and you'd reply, "Oh, it was back in aught-six, I was visiting my parents for christmas. Do you want to see the scar?" at which point I'd reply, "No thanks.... You should really pull up your pants now, this is awkward."

Unfortunately for all of us, there is no signifying moment of deconversion. We still live the same life we did, but now we are constantly bombarded with reminders of our old faith. We can feel very rejected, very hurt, insulted, or degraded. You end up feeling embarrassed by your former belief, and you feel so dumb for falling victim to it for so long. You feel betrayed by the people you trusted so much to tell you the truth of the world. Above all things, you begin to feel angry.

And you should feel angry! You were lied to, you were kept in fear. You expected love from these people but they were just using you. When you needed support while giving up your faith, they told you it was your fault! How dare they! These people called themselves your friends but once you had a little ideological difference they abandoned you, they judged you, they completely ignored you. Oh the hypocrisy! They stole your life from you, you'll never get those years back. All the embarrassing things I've said to non-religious co-workers and friends. How could I have been such a fool! etc...

For many, many of us, the anger phase lasts a long time. It manifests itself in all sorts of ways, sometimes overtly, sometimes passively. Don't get me wrong, it's good to feel anger, it is good to get these feelings out, but at some point the anger must give way. The anger feels so good, it is so emotionally satisfying that we sometimes want to hang onto it too long, but we must give it up to move on to phase 5.

I just am facing the fact that I am still really freekin angry at these suckers and it's not only based upon this woman's lying ass horseshit. It's years of wasted time dealing with control freaks who ain't no better than me but on the flip side are some of the most deceitful lying little pustules I have ever dealt with, and BEEN HARMED BY, in my entire life. And most of them do it with such relish, because of course, they're 'saved' and I ain't so they can feel free to do as they please and harm who they want and all is 'forgiven'. Fuck them. I have tried to bury how I really feel about it all for too long, and repressing it has made me sick, and I mean even feeling physically sick, so pardon me if anyone feels like I've tipped over some line somewhere here.


When I finally left Christianity after many years, I became very, very angry over the manipulation, the fear-based theologies of hell and demons, the suppression of questioning, the guilt, the shame, etc. At the same time I was also still convinced that I was a sinful, horrible, no-good person and the guilt was crushing.



Phase 5 - Acceptance

The ultimate tragedy of being a deconvert is the fact that even though we stop believing, we won't let it go. Imagine your old faith like a car. For a while you loved it, you took care of it and drove it all the time but one day it breaks down. You get out and try to fix it, but you can't. You ask a mechanic but he just asks for 10% of your income and tells you to fix it yourself. You consult the user manual but it was written for a horse-and-buggy. In desperation, you start kicking the car, swearing at it, throwing rocks at it. You hate it, and somehow punishing it for leaving you stranded makes you feel some amount of relief. You push it home, kicking it and swearing at it the whole way. You get up in the middle of the night just to take a leak in the gas tank. Then you start acting weird.

You start pushing the car wherever you go, breaking out the windows and scratching the paint. You get a new car and tow the old one behind it just so it's available for abuse whenever you need. You may even attack other peoples cars of the same make and model; "Your car's garbage! Throw it away, you can't depend on it!" Admit it, you actually enjoy being mad at your car.

For a time that anger is very therapeutic, it helps you cope with the loss of a major component of your life. Now however, your life is just as consumed with this car as it was when it worked, and you don't even get to drive it anymore! To truly be past it, you need to go ahead and drop it off at the dump. You don't need to rush yourself, have fun tearing the hunk-o-junk up, but wouldn't it be nice to live a life that didn't revolve around the old christ-moble anymore?
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#2 The-Captain

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:34 PM

:twitch:

Hammurabi that is dead-on.

Instead of fear though I would have to say anguish is the word that really sums up steps 2 and 3.
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#3 Kenny

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:43 PM

Pure magnificence.

When I was a young man, there was a particular saying that expressed maximum satisfaction and I haven't used it for a very long time. I believe right now is a perfect moment to dust this one off:

Fuckin' A!!!

Have I simultaneously dated myself and revealed the fact that I'm an idiot? Perhaps. Sheer joy will do that to one every now and again.

Well done, mate. Well done.
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#4 GraphicsGuy

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:51 PM

Wow! That was very well thought out and put together. Nicely done! :D

The only thing I would like to mention is that people can bounce back and forth between phases for years...especially if there is something influencing their decisions (mental conditions, family members, etc.).

I jounced from phases 0-2 and back again many times over. Even made it all the way to step 4 a few years ago until my ex (then wife) basically brow-beat me back into the cult.

Until I got my head rearranged I couldn't consistently move on, something always pulled me back.
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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:23 PM

Great post. Thanks!
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#6 par4dcourse

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:50 PM

That's as good "a piece a writin'" as I've read in a long time, and I read a lot. You hit the nail on the head.
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#7 R. S. Martin

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 07:17 PM

Phases of Deconversion:

Phase 0 - The pre-deconversion.

This step really isn't a step at all. This is just the generalized time before deconversion. In this phase you are 100% committed to your belief, you call yourself a christian, you think of yourself as a christian, you know all the ways to answer all the questions about your faith and the idea of not being a christian has yet to enter your mind. This phase could be brief or quite lengthy, but it is characterized by the complete lack of questioning about your faith. You may be confronted about your faith by others, and you respond with all the "right" answers, but you yourself have yet to put your belief under the microscope. Some can go their whole lives without ever leaving this state, but we are talking about deconversion here, so on to phase 1.


If that is pre-deconversion then I never was a real Christian, though I dedicated forty to fifty years of my life trying to convince myself that there was something to it--trying to figure out WHAT there was to it--all because I happened to be born into it and the social pressure was such that not conforming required emotional strength I didn't have....It's a seriously vicious circle.

For the very specific reason that I could not buy into the crap religion robbed me of the strength required to leave and trapped me inside a steel and concrete jail and sent the blood hounds after me when once I did manage to break free. The bitterness of soul with which this leaves me is not going to be without recompense. I learned things about religion that religionists do not want their enemies to know.

Enemy spies should not know the home language and culture better than the natives themselves, right? Well, then they should not force them to stay against their will for decades on end.

Now I'll read the rest of your post.
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#8 R. S. Martin

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 08:34 PM

I read this thread now. Lived most of my life at Phase 3. The psychological implications of the isolation--and severe abuse this amounts to--brought me the opportunity to investigate the religious stuff on levels that perhaps not all people get the opportunity to investigate. I really don't know. But by the time I left my native community I had tried EVERY FUCKING LAST HOME REMEDY IN THE BOOK and then some. That was the ONLY thing that kept me from succombing under the weight of persecution when I left. With blood hounds at my heels and nothing but the empty universe in front of me, leaping off the planet seemed the most friendly choice.

I'm still looking for a place to land but THERE IS NO GOING BACK.

Technically, I could still repent and return if I decided to do so. But at what cost?

The unforgivable sin, according to the NT, is blaspheming the Holy Ghost. Jesus said turning your back on him, and even on God, could be forgiven, but turning your back on the holy spirit just can't be forgiven. That's why some people feel such release at taking the Blasphemy Challenge. They then know that the decision has been made; it's irrevokable; they can't go back and change their minds.

I personally don't want to take that step at this point. 1. I cannot convince myself that mere words are that powerful. 2. I don't feel the need; I think Truth stands regardless of ritual and ceremony. 3. I don't want to willfully "seal my doom" if by any chance there is anything to it.

It seems to me that if I deconverted all on my own--if I saw as a child of about eight when I first heard that Jesus died so we could go to heaven when we died that it makes absolutely no sense, and if that doubt remained a burning question through all the brainwashing and manipulation and whatnot of adult life, then there is NOTHING that is going to make me reconvert against my will and better knowledge.

All I had to do to be accepted was stop asking these troubling questions. But that was the one thing I could never do. Actually, I could do it lots better now that I know they have no answers. Now that I know they're all playing make-believe I could pretend, too. But back then they I didn't know they were pretending. I didn't know anyone was being less than genuine because I was genuine. They all seemed to be so much smarter than I was.

At this point I don't see any reason ever to go back to my own native community other than as spy or in some other way to pull down fundamentalist religion. I don't think I have to go into their community to do that. They are dependent on a larger infrastructure. They kept me prisoner so long that I am intimately familiar with how they fit in. In addition, they are unwittingly giving me information from time to time that makes me aware that there are new developments that I can check into if needed.

Maybe I'm just living out the anger phase. I don't see myself ever moving totally beyond it. I see myself as having more or less accepted that there are scars I will carry for life. Wanting to kill every Christian in sight is not the kind of anger I feel. I've never felt that way because, well, I simply can't be true to myself and feel that way. I know some really good people who are Christian. The overwhelming desire to bash in the face of any bastard who dares tell me what to do without solid authority to do so is a feeling that may never leave me.

I have ALWAYS questioned authority. Even before I had any overtly religous training; it's just the way my brian works. I don't expect that EVER to change. The Old Order Mennonites practically killed me (not sure why I never just did myself in; they told me I'd go to hell if I did though that made NO SENSE) in their efforts to break my will but they never managed to convince me that I did not have the right to be happy. The bible itself--that holy and inerrant bible itself--PROMISED peace and happiness if I did what God (a.k.a. church, parents, teachers) told me to.

When their church and god failed to provide it--and I was convinced that I had tried every last thing in the book--I left.
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#9 SWIM

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 08:43 PM

Very nicely done! Well thought out, with many valid points!

:grin:
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#10 MonolithTMA

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 11:41 PM

Even though I haven't gone through your stages exactly as you wrote them, I can really relate. Where I differ is the feelings of anger or betrayal. Then again, I haven't totally deconverted. I guess I'm afraid of the disappointment in my Christian friend's faces. If they were to turn on me, then I would probably feel angry and betrayed, but I love and trust my friends, and I know they have lots of friends who are non-believers who they keep as true friends. Thanks for the great, thought provoking post. :grin:
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#11 upstarter

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 11:41 PM

This is great and really is what we see with most of the people who come here. I think this should get pinned somewhere so new arrivals can see it easily.

I'm proud to say that I dropped off the old christ-mobile some years ago and it was very liberating. Coming to this site has helped to me to go back to the scrap heap occasionally to have one more whack at the old geezer, but I certainly no longer tow it around town.

Love the analogy, and enjoyed this piece (and not just because you quoted me). :)

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#12 Hammurabi

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 01:36 AM

Hey all, thanks for all the great positive feedback.

Doc - I totally agree, I knew as I wrote it that I needed a better word than 'fear", thanks

Kenny - Fuckin' A

GG - Yeah, I know that numbering the phases indicated a progression but obviously people move back and forth. I would also submit that people move between 4 and 5 pretty regularly

Ruby - I used phase 0 as some sort of ill-defined starting point. It certainly isn't supposed to represent what the fundies call a True Christiantm. Your second post about being in phase 3 the majority of your life really brings to light one of the reasons I wanted to write this down. Whenever I read what you write about your former faith I am always struck by the pain I see coming through in your posts. Many, many other posts from other authors also echo this hurt and I hope that having a clear (or clear-ish) way of identifying where someone is in the deconversion process will help us all (as the supporters we are) to minimize the time wasted and pain caused by deconverting. I know it's a lofty ambition for my scribbles here, but hopefully with the input of the ex-c community it can evolve into a useful tool.

upstarter - I'm the analogy king! Also, about your post, I aim to please. :wink:
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#13 GraphicsGuy

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:29 AM

I would also submit that people move between 4 and 5 pretty regularly


That's true. I've been doing that a fair bit lately.

Me: "I'm calm, I'm calm, I'm calm..."

Fundy: "Hey, GG, you know the story of Job, right?"

WHAM!...

Me: "Fucktard..."

...

Me: "I'm calm, I'm calm, I'm calm..."
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#14 Michael

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:52 AM

Dear Hammurabi,

this is a great post. You have done a grat job on this ...my respect. You are observing things very good and you can put it down in a down to earth way. Thank you for this post.



When I read your post, I got reminded of this. Maybe as an addition to your thoughts:

http://en.wikipedia....eoretical_Model

It is about change of behaiviour, but can also be used to describe change of values.

You can read the above or the short version. Proschaska claims that there are six phases in change of behavior. People are using this model to deal with addictions.


Quote form the homepage above:
Prochaska's Model Prochaska's model stipulates six stages:
1.Precontemplation - lack of awareness that life can be improved by a change in behavior;
2.Contemplation - recognition of the problem, initial consideration of behavior change, and information gathering about possible solutions and actions;
3.Preparation - introspection about the decision, reaffirmation of the need and desire to change behavior, and completion of final pre-action steps;
4.Action - implementation of the practices needed for successful behavior change (e.g. exercise class attendance);
5.Maintenance - consolidation of the behaviors initiated during the action stage;
6.Termination - former problem behaviors are no longer perceived as desirable (e.g. skipping a run results in frustration rather than pleasure).

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#15 Michael

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:16 AM

"Congratulations! You are now a non-believer. Here is your hat and t-shirt. We're having a bake-sale this Saturday at the park and I'll go ahead and sign you up for our newsletter...." Well, not exactly. When you converted, there was all sorts of pomp and circumstance. People were showering you with attention, everyone was your friend and you were instantly tied into a new social group. Your moment of deconversion, the moment you first answer that question "No", by contrast is wholly unsatisfying.


For me this was an important point. The "pomp and circumstance" at my baptism has been like patting a child on its head for doing something right. It is the confirmation, that the baptism was the right thing. Again, this is a psychological thing, that helps us to find out the appropriate behaivor for the situation. The confirmation combined with peer preasure kept me in the xian faith for nearly 20 years.
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A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

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#16 godlessgrrl

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 10:24 AM

Wow.

Just... wow.

Kind of like the stages of grief, ain't it.

Very well done, Hammurabi. :thanks:
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The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." --Psalm 14:1

It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak. --Neil Gaiman, Sandman 3:3:6

#17 xandermac

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 10:36 AM

I can't seem to get past phase 5. Every time I start to take my car to the dump someone seems to jump up and say Wait! Don't throw that out! It's not broke you are. You just never knew how to drive it. Let go and let the car. Great Post.
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#18 bush country

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:31 PM

I can't seem to get past phase 5. Every time I start to take my car to the dump someone seems to jump up and say Wait! Don't throw that out! It's not broke you are. You just never knew how to drive it. Let go and let the car. Great Post.

Xandermac - I think maybe it is partially geographical location for both of us that we keep the old heap sitting up on jacks in the driveway. Or, since you are from Alabama, sitting in the yard with kudzu growing up on it. Kind of hard to get away from seeing others driving their old beaters around and fixing them no matter the cost.

Hammurabi - I really enjoyed your post. Although I try to live without regrets, I still can't help but think how differently my life would be now if I had had the courage to say "I don't believe" at either one of two crucial points in the past. One was about 30 years ago during my college years, and the other about 23 years ago following the birth of my daughter.

Kenny - fuckin'-A. Yeah it dates you.
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#19 CelloChick

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 04:52 AM

Wow. That was wonderful. I too bounce between phase 4 and phase 5. Sometimes, I also miss the old car. The way the leather bucket seats felt. The quirky way the car handled on turns. And... Sometimes, I miss the ritual of going to church, singing the songs, feeling "connected" to something bigger than me.

For me, it was reading the Bible cover to cover that made me start to question. The sheer cruelty of the Bible was what pushed me over the edge. That and praying, fasting, praying, praying and praying for healing that never came, that started me asking questions. And questions led me to seek answers. Only, the answers didn't begin to touch the questions. Answers spawned more questions. I found it confusing. Still do find it confusing.

Walking away from religion and deciding, "No, I don't believe," is like plucking a cello string. It cannot be un-plucked. The note has sounded. There are times when I wish I could shut off my mind and just have faith, because it would be easier to trust in a loving god who has all the answers. Don't worry! All of life's questions will make sense some day. Everything will be fixed in heaven. No illness. No pain. No tears. Perfection. Peace. Hallelujah! Praise God! Oh, it would be easy if I could have faith. But, I plucked the cello string and heard the sound. I asked the questions. I took the red pill. I chose to see how far the rabbit hole goes, and now...

Now I know there are questions without answers. I know that life is terrifyingly random. Is there a pure, perfect, all knowing, all loving God? No, I don't believe. I've seen too much, endured too much, suffered too much, wept too much, and fallen too far down the rabbit hole, to believe. But, a part of me still wants it to be real. Dumbo's magic black feather. I let go of the feather. It's falling to the ground. I'm still flying, but I miss how the feather felt sometimes. It was a comfort, even if it wasn't really helping me fly.

And then again, some days I'm glad I'm free to think, and question, and grieve, wonder, observe and laugh and just be...

CelloChick
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#20 Coolhermit

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 05:45 AM

I find it curious that people often start on their deconversion process after developing a distaste for the (so-called) 'Old Testament' god - for me, that god has no reality at all but is just a reflection of how certain people decided to justify their own actions - no more true than say 'Son of Sam' claiming god told him to do whatever.

There again, we have no idea what the (so-called) 'New Testament' god (Jesus) actually said - if he actually said anything - as we only have the words attributed to him by others with agendas of their own to follow.

So for me, the biblical expression of 'god' is irrelevant as to god's existence or non-existence.

Fortunately I had my awakening outside the normal run of these things - nobody was there but me, so nobody can demean it nor add some sort of religious requirement that I must fulfill in order to attain some salvation (or whatever) as I already had much more (it seemed to me) than they were offering or threatening to withold from me.

Plenty of times during my shop around the christian world people told me I was satanic - especially when I left, or was booted out of, their congregations. In retrospect I see all the five steps described above as part of a seamless whole - a bit like digesting food - it all goes in, gets sorted at various stages of the singular process and gets excreted in due course.
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