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NobleSavage
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Hello everyone,

 

I've never been a Christian (or Muslim or a member of any other faith) and I'm trying to find out from others what the deconversion experience is like. Can you share your story with me?

 

Having asked on some other forums, I was surprised to find out the experience is usually a gradual (and often reluctant) process, usually with the ex-Christian being unable to say exactly when he/she lost faith completely and became a freethinker. I expected there to be a sort of reverse-religious-experience where the light bulb comes one and you see the man behind the curtain but this seems to be pretty rare.

 

How about you? Was it a sudden experience (say an event in your life or a question you couldn't answer) or was it a gradual process where the doubts just kept adding up and the explainations didn't? How did you feel both during the lead-up to the deconversion experience and after it happened?

 

I'm writting a book on this subject (featured on the website linked below) and I may want to quote you. I appreciate any help.

 

Thanks,

 

John Armstrong

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For me, there was a moment...though, there was also a journey to that moment. To use your example of the man behind the curtain...it was as if I'd been seeing the man flitting around behind the curtain for a good while, but refused to allow myself to acknowledge the same. But finally, my questions and conversations had run dry...until I confronted him... The moment itself was horrific, intense, excruciating...then...fresh air, peace and sight.

Good luck on your project.

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It was a gradual and very painful process. I felt absolutely awful, but driven, through the whole thing. Afterwards I felt like someone I knew had died, multiplied by a thousand times. There was no "lightbulb" but there was a "linchpin moment". My linchpin was reading The Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch debunks the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. From there, everything ever written against Christianity jumped out at me. And this time I actually read it with an open mind.

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Guest Loghann

For me, there was this long process that took place solely in my head. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I was no longer a Christian, but I wouldn't let myself even acknowledge that. Funnily enough, it was like coming out as gay all over again. I knew before I would even let myself process the information. I never did really process the info until I was riding in the car with my mother and we were talking about religion. I just came out and said "I don't consider myself a Christian." We were both in shock, she because of my former intensity, and I because I had had no intention of ever saying that out loud. But I couldn't go back from there.

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John,

 

My deconversion was a slow, painful process that took years. I am, slowly, documenting my reasons for walking away from the faith. You can read my stories in my blog: exfundamentalist@blogspot.com.

 

Good luck with your book.

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My deconversion was a combination of a long process and a sudden experience. I had gone from fundy xian to liberal xian and back over many years. Then, in November 2004, I said out loud to myself, "I don't believe this stuff any more." I called it "being honest with myself" though I could also say "no more hypocrisy!"

 

I feel free, though I have occasionally felt depressed. It's a different world view than what I was used to most of my life, so it's been a deprogramming process, still on-going.

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Having asked on some other forums, I was surprised to find out the experience is usually a gradual (and often reluctant) process, usually with the ex-Christian being unable to say exactly when he/she lost faith completely and became a freethinker. I expected there to be a sort of reverse-religious-experience where the light bulb comes one and you see the man behind the curtain but this seems to be pretty rare.

 

How about you? Was it a sudden experience (say an event in your life or a question you couldn't answer) or was it a gradual process where the doubts just kept adding up and the explainations didn't? How did you feel both during the lead-up to the deconversion experience and after it happened?

 

 

I was raised Lutheran (now Agnostic) and was a typical kid who attended Sunday school and church on a fairly regular basis. During my college years it slowly dawned on me that this religion had less and less meaning in my life. Not only did Christianity offer little or no guidance to me, it had little connection with society in general. One day I had to admit to myself that I was no longer a believer. I don't remember as much about the lead-up to deconversion- but here are the phases I went through afterwards:

 

Relief: (short-lived) The first few months were exhilirating, having thrown off this dead religion. The world opened up wide and I became intensely curious about all religions.

 

Anger: (several years) What a waste of time. I spent all those years going to church, praying, studying the Bible, etc, and all for what?

 

Foundationless: (mostly the whole time): Anxiety and aimless drift.

 

Envy: (several years). Even though these Christians all around me believe in a "God" who does not exist, at least they have a community and a common belief which holds them together.

 

Acceptance: (last few years) The calm that comes from realizing that my non-belief is just as strong as any belief, and realizing that I am probably just one of ...millions? going through the same thing.

 

 

Why did my belief system crumble away? How did it become so meaningless? I've thought about this over the years and it comes down to a two-fold answer:

 

1) My mindset was (and is) in a kind of rational or objective mode where I see all religions from a distance. If there are hundreds of religions and each thinks theirs the only truth, then obviously none of them can be the only truth.

 

2) The Christian concepts of sin and redemption have nothing to do with reality. The more I think about the "saviour" concept, the more ridiculous it seems. In general, nobody really buys into this concept of needing to be saved anymore. It doesn't resonate with society like it once did.

 

 

My deconversion seemed sudden at the time, but I think there was a gradual realization (over the course of maybe 5 years) in my mind - I didn't really become aware of it until the breaking point when I admitted the truth to myself. Was is a reverse-religious-experience? Sort of. There was a specific day (wish I could remember the date!) when I was sitting in church and said to myself "what am I doing here? I don't believe a single word of this stuff." Since that day I've been back to church maybe 3 or 4 times in over 20 years.

 

Thanks John for the great questions,

Grog

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Lord - my story is a mess. I went from a mainstream church to a kind of agnostic/deist kind of thing, and had it not been for some personal problems I would have never gotten mixed up in a cult-like fundamentalist sect (they were closely related to Maranatha Ministries). I became a hardcore, righteous believer overnight, and after the emotional high faded away I buckled down to studying the bible (I'd never read it before) and becoming a proper, born-again xtian.

 

In other words, I became delusional and brainwashed. :Doh:

 

Long story short - increasing confusion about the non-sensical religion I found myself in led to a major depression, depression led to a nervous breakdown. After I recovered, I gradually deprogrammed myself by studying the bible again with a critical, rational mind. This was a long process (about 10 years), and I was by turns a Buddhist, Gnostic, Deist, etc. till I finally realized xtianity was a bronze-age fairy tale.

 

I actually did have an "Aha!" moment when the scales seemed to fall from my eyes, but it had taken many years of reasoning to get there. I'm an atheist and hardcore skeptic now (and have been for some years), but I'm not a jerk about it. Anyone wants to be deist, pantheist, gnostic, liberal xtian, etc. that's fine with me.

 

But I am now the enemy of monotheism and organized religion. :fdevil:

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For me it wasn't gradual and I can even remember the exact place I was when it hit me. Basically what deconverted me was when I questioned whether the people that wrote the Bible were divinely inspired. To answer yes to that question - the Bible had to be perfect. But there were too many contradictions, so I realised that the people that wrote the Bible were simply writing what their own beliefs were. This can be seen easiest in the Old Testament.

 

I then went to bookstores to see if there was any solution - reading through Christian books etc. But the more I read the more I believed that these were just ordinary people writing down their own beliefs.

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(With all due respect to jauggy, and those who may disagree with my assessment...)

 

I think it's safe to say that NO ONE left Christianity after one single "a-ha!" moment. NO ONE was cruising along, content in their faith and then, viola!, they suddenly stopped believing. EVERYONE went through a period of doubt, questioning, inspection and introspection, that tooks months and years to labor through, before we finally had enough and left the faith.

 

While an "a-ha!" moment may have been the catalyst that began your faith exiting, it wasn't a journey made in haste or that occured overnight. There was much research and questioning BEFORE you cashed in on that "a-ha!" moment.

 

John, take some time and go through the testimonies on this board. You'll see an obvious pattern repeated. The details and names are different, yet the process and even the FEELINGS are PRECISELY the same. Just in reading the above posted replies, I sit here and nod in agreement with the experiences. "Been there, done that."

 

Let us know how your project turns out.

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It was many years ago so perhaps I have forgotten other details. It happened during my mid-teens and now I'm in my early 20s. But I am saying it as how I remember it (whether my memory is accurate or not). We tend to only remember the highs and lows and not what's in between. I definitely remember the exact place I was when I had that A-HA! moment, though for me I almost went insane so it wasn't actually a good feeling.

 

The cause of deconversion might have been different for me and thus the process different too. For me I questioned whether the people that wrote the Bible were divinely inspired. Once I believed that the answer was "no" to that question then there wasn't anything left to explore.

 

It's too bad I didn't keep some sort of journal so I would be able recount my deconversion more accurately.

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Fairly simple for me..

 

Was an adult returnee to the Church..

 

Wanted to get laid without feeling like I was cornholing Jesus..

 

That and a lot of other fairly important theological issues.. But that damnned Sperm Retention Disease was killing me...

 

kFL

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My experience was also a combination of a long period of growing doubt followed by an epiphany; a moment wherein I could no longer deceive myself.

 

Answer to prayer was the biggie for me. I was going through a difficult time in my life god's promises regarding prayer - that if I had enough faith and asked in his name that he would grant what I requested - needed to be real for me. And yet, god didn't come through for me. Time and time again I prayed, and nothing happened. And it's not like what I was asking for could in any way be construed to be outside god's will - I was asking for god to heal my broken marriage.

 

Then one day I was praying, in tears, begging god to change me - to make me the person that I needed to be for my wife, when it hit me all of a sudden. I was talking to the wall. I said it out loud: "I'm talking to the wall!" No god was going to change me? How could a non-existent being change me? Then it was like a flood of realisation. I began to wonder what I would say (I was a leader in the church at that time) to someone who came to me with these kinds of doubts, and of course the answers are things like either "god is testing your faith" or "the devil is putting doubts in your mind, don't listen to them". And I realised - what a crock of shit!

 

It's like a game of toss-the-coin where god says "heads I win, tails you lose", he's got all his bases covered! If good things happen in your life - god is blessing you! If bad things happen - god is testing you, have faith! There's no accountability there! Then I realised that commands like "do not put the lord thy god to the test", and the whole concept of hell as a fear tactic... all of it was a system of brainwashing with in-built mechanisms designed to stop you questioning.

 

And in that one moment I did see the man behind the curtain. I realised how it all worked and in that moment I just decided to stop lying to myself. To simply be honest with myself and admit that I no longer believed in the message of christianity.

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I had no idea that getting my first computer would help me deconvert. It was 2000 the millenium scare over and a few weeks into the new year. I sat down at my new computer and typed in "Christian History". I thought learning about Christian history would support my faith and give me more tools to use with "against" the unbelievers that I witnessed to.

 

Sure there was all the stuff I'd heard in church on the Christian websites, but I wanted unbiased history. Surely, Jesus existed and there was concrete historical proof. Josepheus had seen Jesus with his own eyes and described every minute detail of not only his life but his personal appearance as well. (Jospheus was born in 7AD, and there is one sentence in his histories, and scholars believe the sentence to be forged.)

 

I started reading things that mentioned "Ancient Pagan Religions" What did Ancient Pagan Religions have to do with Christianity? Christianity is a Big Bang religion and that Big Bang was Jesus! How could these Ancient Pagan Religions have any influence on Christianity?

 

I looked up books on the subject and requested them through my local lending library. I read whenever I got the chance soaking it all up. What I read devasted me. I read Christian apologetic books in an effort to refute what I read but all they did was quote the Bible as proof. There was no proof and what I had always been taught to believe was a lie, told to me by people who didn't know they were lying. I had been one of them who had helped spread the lies.

 

I was depressed, dispondant, and there was no one that I could turn to help me with my grief. For a while, I went around thinking I was going to hell because I was not able to believe that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. I wasn't even sure if I even believed that Jesus had even existed, and if I died I was going to hell. No if's and's or but's about it. God had erased my name from the book of life.

 

I had brought many people to Christ and was told more than a few times that the Spirit of the Lord worked through me. I even brought an avowed atheist to church. Though, he didn't exactly convert, I did get him to go with me. To the shock and dismay of everyone who knew him, even a few that he had argued with against Christianity that happened to go to my church. I had been "on fire" for God.

 

I was really pissed at God too. I had asked in prayer, sincerely, to show me even the smallest sign that Christianity was true so I could believe again. It never happened. I never found any proof no matter how much I read. Nothing. Circular reasoning, that I found a plenty.

 

I had to give up my entire way of life. I had to try and figure out how I was going to live the rest of my life without Christianity, since it had been such a major part of the fabric of who I was. Now, all I had to rely on was myself and that was frightening. The process of giving up on belief in a deity was even longer, I wasn't ready to give that up just yet, but in life you evolve and change and grow. The only thing constant in life is change.

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oh good point Taph. Internet helped a LOT. I got so much information on the internet that would have remained hidden from me otherwise.

 

That is so true - I wish the internet had been around when I was dealing with my deconversion process. It would have cut years off the process. :Doh:

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Guest cocidious

Hi. I thought I'd share my story.

 

I was raised very Christian all of my life. I was always questioning beliefs. I remained very Christian into my high school years. But the questions in my head kept piling up because they couldn't be answered. Stuff like, "If you go to hell for not believing in Jesus, then what about people in Papua New Guinea? They've never heard about anything from the western world. Why would they be damned to hell?"

So, I kept having more and more questions, more and more doubts, and then eventually it suddenly clicked. All of those things I attributed to God working in my life was actually just... me. And it was liberating to realize this.

After that I started reading a little eastern philosophy and that really set off my mind. Now all I mainly think about is existentialism.

There were some struggles with this, though. I'm 21 and in college and I still live with my very Christian mother. She threatened to kick me out multiple times because I stopped going to church. She still doesn't know my beliefs. She just thinks I have doubts. I have to hide books on paganism and Buddhism and yet I could have a book on Nihilism just sitting around. It's strange how that works. My mother makes comments off and on about me not going to church. And recently I got a lecture from my grandfather about going to church. I wish I could be open and honest... but I can't be with everyone in my family and my extended family except my brother. It gets frustrating.

I'm glad I have a handful of non-Christian friends.

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I was raised "casual" Christian, or "liberal" or "mainstream" Christian if you like. My family was Episcopalian, but didn't attend church through a lot of my formative years. I think I considered myself "Christian" through my childhood and most of my twenties, sort of the way I considered myself "American" or "white" or "female"....just because I was born into that setting.

 

When I was in my twenties, I started really investigating what Christianity meant. (A lot of stuff was happening in my personal life, but for now, I'll stick to the religion stuff.) In the midst of a bad relationship, I "got Jesus." (Also, although I'm a lifelong liberal, I thought, "What if the conservatives are right?" and decided to give conservative political ideas a fair chance.)

 

For four years, I tried, really tried, to honestly believe in Christianity and right-wing political beliefs.

 

What happened? The internet happened. About that time, the internet became widely available and widely popular. I had access to the whole spectrum of ideas....conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, pagan, and everything else. It sneaked up on me, but I realized that the politically liberal and non-Christian ideas made more sense to me than the conservative and/or Christian ideas.

 

It finally came to a head on Easter morning 1995. I had just finished saying to my father some nonsense about how "Jesus died on the cross for us," when I realized that I no longer believed this, and in fact thought most of Christianity was bullshit.

 

I've not made any formal declarations to family and friends...I just went back to being my normal self. I think they got the picture.

 

I posted elsewhere about this, but I don't really fit into a category for religion/spirituality. Maybe "agnostic" comes closest to describing me, but even that seems not quite right.

 

And something funny that happened: Last weekend, I visited my parents. About 10 years ago they converted to Catholicism. I think they did it because they are politically conservative and the Episcopal church wasn't right-wing enough to suit them. Anyway, in the course of a conversation about church, I told my dad: "I don't believe in church."

 

He said, "Well, that's not my problem, it's your problem."

 

Me: "I don't consider it a problem."

 

Dad: "Oh, it's a problem, but it's your problem."

 

Uh, no. If I don't consider it a problem, then I don't have a problem. He has a problem with the fact that I don't consider it a problem.

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Hello everyone,

 

I've never been a Christian (or Muslim or a member of any other faith) and I'm trying to find out from others what the deconversion experience is like. Can you share your story with me?

 

Having asked on some other forums, I was surprised to find out the experience is usually a gradual (and often reluctant) process, usually with the ex-Christian being unable to say exactly when he/she lost faith completely and became a freethinker. I expected there to be a sort of reverse-religious-experience where the light bulb comes one and you see the man behind the curtain but this seems to be pretty rare.

 

How about you? Was it a sudden experience (say an event in your life or a question you couldn't answer) or was it a gradual process where the doubts just kept adding up and the explainations didn't? How did you feel both during the lead-up to the deconversion experience and after it happened?

 

I'm writting a book on this subject (featured on the website linked below) and I may want to quote you. I appreciate any help.

 

Thanks,

 

John Armstrong

 

If you read my deconversion testimony you'll see that although it appeared to outsiders to be a very fast event (my losing faith), it actually was alot more gradual until the end.

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It was slow at times, it was quick at times. To debunk christian versions of science, like YEC (young earth creationism) or ID (intelligent design) needs a thorough investigation of science itself. If I couldn't tell the difference between Lamarckian and Darwinian evolution, how could I know the truth about this particular part of our human world.

 

However at other times when I googled aweful diseases in forced myself to see picture after picture about deformed little human children, or grown-up humans, whatever, my faith deceased in a rapid way. I prefer to google for big tits nowadays. But, seriously, I can't bare these two things. A good god and such sorrow on earth, that combination is inconcievable!

 

Another gradual way of deconversion is studying the reactions of other believers of other faiths. I learned a lot from our islamic brothers and sisters on earth. I gladly read their poems, and was surprised when they defensed their infallible scriptures against every price. Just like christians...

 

The awareness that I didn't believe in God anymore came when I looked to the dark sky with sparkling stars here and there. "It's your turn god", so I said. I've raised unlimited, I can not offer more than my life. If it is at stakes, it's worth it. I am free! I believe what I want believe! I believe what I think is good to believe! I believe that what I believe is the most senseful thing to believe for me.

 

And now I will drink some (good) Hennessy and smoke a (small) cigar! Success with writing your book.

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July 28, 2003..discussion on Preterist teachings..all was fulfilled, left me empty thinking it was all bullshit.

 

Came crumbling like a house of cards..

 

Ok, that was actually the beginning of the end. But I remember it like it was yesterday. Yes, there were other struggles in the meantime, even a brief return.. You know how an addict who quits using then returns to using is in a worse shape/way than before? It was like that. I briefly did a stint as an obnoxious fundie..but it was a lie and not who I am. It was hard to maintain that level of "meanness" for very long..

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Thanks everyone for helping out with your own stories. Sad to say, it confirmed what I was afraid of.

 

I've asked this same question on other skeptic forums as well and gotten pretty much the same results. The deconversion experience seems, in most cases, to be the opposite of the so-called religious experience. Where the religious or conversion experience seems to be sudden, dramatic and sometimes social, the deconversion experience seems to be often gradual, reluctant and lonely.

 

I was hoping to learn from the success of others, that it might help to come up with a forumla or silver bullet to assist more in breaking away from the faith. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's an easy way. Even those who described themselves as feeling liberated once they were free of Christianity still said they tried to hold on to their faith during the process.

 

It reminds me of a moderate Christian friend of mine who read the rough-draft of my book. When I asked him what he thought, he really couldn't offer any rational arguments against anything I said. He even enjoyed some of my criticisms of Fundamentalism. However, when I asked him if he was still a Christian, he said yes. When I asked him why, he told me that he found no comfort in deism. He wanted to believe there was a friendly sky-god up there who's going to make everything OK in the end (the abstract "First Cause" of deism was not sufficient).

 

Many of you will probably recognize that as a logical fallacy: appeal to consequences. "I want to believe, therefore it's true." Didn't Carl Sagan say something about this?

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I was brought up in the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). I wouldn't so much call them "fundie" as I would "deeply conservative". As in, totally believed the whole nobody-goes-to-heaven-but-us, always repent and feel guilty, no sex before marriage, gay people are hapless sinners, etc., but no rolling around on the carpet or weeping or shaking, unless it was a funeral. (Although we did have those blond white guys with mullets in belted jeans and loafers, who set up their Yamaha keyboards at the front of the church to torture us with "adult contemporary Christian music" while I daydreamed about pounding their totally uncreative and irritating-beyond-belief faces into a jar.)

 

I went to a Lutheran school the first four-and-a-half years of my schooling. They were poorly staffed - the teachers worked for practically nothing, so we got the kind of people that had already gotten their licenses examined at least once. At least it seemed that way. It might just be due to the fact that Martin Luther seemed to hate children and thought that literally pounding the Truth into their sick malleable little brains was the best way to raise them. I had a learning disability....enough said.

 

When I was little we went to church every Sunday. My father has no religion and spent the time staring at the ceiling, my brother and I were given little papers that told Bible stories, and my mother tried to participate but actually naturally spent more time watching us. I was brought up to believe - perhaps not intentionally - that there was no other way to be but Lutheran. It simply never crossed my mind that people could not be Lutheran. I thought everybody was. It was a matter of fact. I had a vague knowledge, thanks to my grandmother and mother's family, that there existed something called Catholics which were the face and spirit of evil, but I never learned much beyond that.

 

The Lutheran school proved too damaging to me and I got sent to public school in the middle of fourth grade, which was a slap in the face. I really must say, I don't know whether it was a religious thing or what, but the Lutheran school kids were so much nicer than the public school kids. Perhaps it was because they were raised with the knowledge that clothes don't make the man, and that personal wealth really doesn't matter. At any rate it did at my new school. With my heavily abusive and psychologically destructive father, who refused to spend any money on us to keep more for himself (this included my mother's salary) and dreaded and moaned and cried every time we bothered him for things like food, I wasn't exactly the most mentally healthy and well-dressed kid there. This resulted in bullying that still makes me flinch when I think about it.

 

But the school did open me up to new possibilities: namely, that people could not be Lutheran, in fact not even be Christian. I had a schoolmate whose family was Buddhist and came to school to teach us about his native country and traditions. I questioned him rather relentlessly about how he couldn't be a Christian. I feel terrible about it now, but I do realize that I knew no better. One big shocker was that Catholics were normal people. I had always been taught that they were the epitome of Satanism, but apparently not. I did end up making a lot of Catholic friends (this is in the St. Louis area - if you don't know any Catholics you're living in a cave). My grandmother disapproved of all of them. She was the source of most of the anti-Catholic rhetoric I grew up with. I found out that everything - no, really, everything - she ever taught me about them was a giant lie, although she refused to believe this and still insisted that Catholics really were tools of the devil.

 

I even dallied with Catholicism for a while. What can I say, Catholicism was a nice respite from the severe church I grew up with. It was more of a "family" religion. Open to new people, but not pressuring them; it had a much more forgiving God, and it was just more "religious". The ceremonies and holy water, kneeling, Latin, incense, all seemed more holy and spiritual than the cold, uncompromising dogma I was used to. But eventually I had to give that up too.

 

I had always had a deep and internal love of Asian culture. I found I couldn't hate the Buddha and Shinto deities even though I was supposed to. I couldn't accept that the voluptuous figures on Hindu temples (I was a closet bisexual) were wrong, that our natural nature was wrong (Asian culture seemed to work with nature, rather than against it), or that Asians were "backward" and needed to be converted not only to our religion but our Western ways as well. Combined with a public education and just awakening up to the world, I found I couldn't accept Christianity any more. This didn't happen in some lightening stroke but took years. I read the Bible in the late days of being a Christian and found not only endless errors and contradictions but felt serious fear at such a violent, demanding God. Conversations With God was one of the last things that sealed my fate as an ex-Christian.

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Thanks everyone for helping out with your own stories. Sad to say, it confirmed what I was afraid of.

 

I've asked this same question on other skeptic forums as well and gotten pretty much the same results. The deconversion experience seems, in most cases, to be the opposite of the so-called religious experience. Where the religious or conversion experience seems to be sudden, dramatic and sometimes social, the deconversion experience seems to be often gradual, reluctant and lonely.

Yes, it can be quite lonely and often traumatic at the time. Sites such as this are a tremendous help though in working through all that goes with deconverting. There is so much more than just the loss of faith-friend, family and even work relationships all change. Some losses..but also many new gains too.

 

I was hoping to learn from the success of others, that it might help to come up with a forumla or silver bullet to assist more in breaking away from the faith. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's an easy way. Even those who described themselves as feeling liberated once they were free of Christianity still said they tried to hold on to their faith during the process.

Since most people converted through an emotional appeal, it is hard to break away through logic and there is no real emotional appeal, sermon or "holy book" to assist in the transition as there is in "being born again". Perhaps your book will be an aid in this?

 

It reminds me of a moderate Christian friend of mine who read the rough-draft of my book. When I asked him what he thought, he really couldn't offer any rational arguments against anything I said. He even enjoyed some of my criticisms of Fundamentalism. However, when I asked him if he was still a Christian, he said yes. When I asked him why, he told me that he found no comfort in deism. He wanted to believe there was a friendly sky-god up there who's going to make everything OK in the end (the abstract "First Cause" of deism was not sufficient).

 

Many of you will probably recognize that as a logical fallacy: appeal to consequences. "I want to believe, therefore it's true." Didn't Carl Sagan say something about this?

I've met people from many walks of life who choose to believe simply because it is the easier way. In a discussion at work during the lent season, the inevitable "what religion are you?" came up. There were various answers from nondenom Christian to Catholic to Baptist. When they asked me, I said (tongue in cheek) "Radical Buddhist"..the looks I got were priceless!

 

So, for S. Central Texas, the "easy" answer IS Christian. Go with the flow, don't make waves and don't try to swim upstream seems to be the theme.

 

After the "really?" and "what is that?" I laughed and told them I held to no hard beliefs, but that, no, I was not Christian.

 

BTW-Carl Sagan is my hero.. :grin:

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, follow up question:

 

Many of you described some of the reasons you deconverted. What do you feel were some of the reasons your transition was so gradual?

 

For the transition away from faith to be so gradual, there had to be something you were holding on to. Some of the reasons I've heard before are:

 

1. Fear of possibly being wrong and going to Hell.

2. Fear of going through life without a friendly sky-god watching over you.

3. Social pressures and fear of judgment from others.

 

Are there other factors? What made you so reluctant to let go?

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I was hoping to learn from the success of others, that it might help to come up with a forumla or silver bullet to assist more in breaking away from the faith. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's an easy way. Even those who described themselves as feeling liberated once they were free of Christianity still said they tried to hold on to their faith during the process.

 

For some of us the meme was deeply imbedded; for me, and many others, from the time of first consciousness. It takes time to weed out the virus. For me it took a lot of study before I was completely free of the hell fear. I would have gotten over it quicker had I had this site available I think, but it is what it is.

 

 

He even enjoyed some of my criticisms of Fundamentalism. However, when I asked him if he was still a Christian, he said yes. When I asked him why, he told me that he found no comfort in deism. He wanted to believe there was a friendly sky-god up there who's going to make everything OK in the end (the abstract "First Cause" of deism was not sufficient).

 

Many of you will probably recognize that as a logical fallacy: appeal to consequences. "I want to believe, therefore it's true." Didn't Carl Sagan say something about this?

 

Yeah, this I don't get either, though it seems so prevalent. I'm more interested in finding out what is and isn't than I am in holding onto something that gives me warm feelings. I have a hard time empathizing with those who need to hold onto their beliefs in light of contrary evidence.

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