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How Emotional Has Your Deconversion Been?


pseudovillain
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I was rather surprised by how easily I went from Christian to ex-Christian. The moment doubt entered my mind, I cried for about 5 minutes. Then... it was done. It was almost like, "Oh, so that's how it really is. Huh... guess I'm not a Christian anymore." It took me a while to tell anyone at all that I'd rejected it so quickly, but the moment I realized it... it was like it didn't matter anymore.

 

I know a lot of you had long emotional and mental struggles when you lost your faith. Did anyone else have a short recovery time, like mine?

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No. Because of my life's circumstances and my formerly strong belief in hell, it was bound to be extremely difficult leaving christianity.

 

But the good news is that I recovered quicker than maybe I thought I would. Infact I really didn't think I'd recover at all when at my worst. Then I discovered this site, which was instrumental in helping me with my fear of hell. Once that problem disappeared, the rest of my problems soon went down the drain.

 

I wouldn't say my life is fantastic, but it is good and I feel like a new man and able to make decisions and do things for myself.

 

I know this may sound controversial, and please forgive me if I'm wrong, but my opinion is that people who didn't have a reasonable amount of pain in deconverting, often weren't all that strong christians in the first place. The logical conclusion to me is that if christianity is a really important part of your life, then letting go of it is naturally going to cause a lot of pain. Like a divorce. Either that, or you are a very strong person emotionally for it not to cause a lot of pain. I don't want to sound like I'm belittling though, please feel free to disagree with me :)

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It was very difficult for me. Thoughts of suicide were with me for two years. Someone mentioned 'divorce', at first that's what it seemed like to me. After a life time of 'loving' my Comforter, I had no more shelter, no more caring hands, no more sweet promises, no leaning post, no sanctuary of peace to run to.

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On one hand, it's been torturous, this deconversion process. On the other hand it's been freeing and joyful. I will turn 50 next month and when I was 5, I walked the aisle and gave my hear to Jesus. I was raised in a SOuthern Baptist home and attended church 1-3 times a week. An altar call was always given, as well as description as to what would happen if you weren't saved. Through the years, I became involved in prayer circles and intercession. We imagined that prayers were answered and we turned our heads when one or two "strong" Christians committed suicide. We told ourselves we continued to sin because 1)we were weak 2)we weren't praying enough or 3)the enemy was attacking us. I have homeschooled my children, which has been mostly a blessing, but the homeschool community I was a part of was rigid. This put another heavy yoke upon me. We have given 10% of our salary for a good 25 years....I wonder if I could have made that trip to Europe, had we not done so. Every day I prayed morning, noon and night, for God to direct my path and the path of my family. All this for years and yet my 18 dd, who wrote worship music and wanted to be a missionary, turned agnostic her first year at christian college. WOA, that was the final straw in my fantasy of Christianity impacting one for the better. I finally stopped to look at WHY she was agnostic and why I was so dissatisfied with "christianity". I am still a "Spritual" person but in a different way. I am free to explore life, to enjoy life in all it's variety, to consider other spiritual teachings, to enjoy my Sundays. This is freeing and joyful.

 

The torture comes because now I don't believe God hears my prayer and works all things together for my good. I'm not even sure there is a God. What do I do when I lie down to go to sleep. In the past, I prayed. This was a routine of 45 years and it takes a while to break that routine.

Now, when I think of death, I don't think about my mansion on the hill and being reunited with loved ones and finally seeing God. No, those rewards are gone. I don't talk to my parents about this, they are old and it would hurt them, though they know we don't go to church and some of my views have changed. My husband doesn't even know the depth of my changes and doesn't seem to want to know. I feel alone. I am thankful for this board.

I still struggle somewhat with the fear of being wrong, especially as it pertains to hell. I still haven't gotten over the fear of hell.....though that and lack of answers to prayer, are the main things that drove me away from christianity. I continue to read websites and articles about how hell came about. Each time I read something more about the "creation" of hell and the fact that ancient religions had the concept, I worry less but still...

 

WakingUp

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I was rather surprised by how easily I went from Christian to ex-Christian. The moment doubt entered my mind, I cried for about 5 minutes. Then... it was done. It was almost like, "Oh, so that's how it really is. Huh... guess I'm not a Christian anymore." It took me a while to tell anyone at all that I'd rejected it so quickly, but the moment I realized it... it was like it didn't matter anymore.

 

I know a lot of you had long emotional and mental struggles when you lost your faith. Did anyone else have a short recovery time, like mine?

Mine was short, though I almost went insane.

 

However after it happened I still tried to go back. I re-read the Bible, I prayed - and after a while I realised that I was never going back again.

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Guest santamarana

It was interesting for me.

I became deconverted because of a deep study of the bible. I have over 30 bibles and would often study different translations to try and get the best understanding of the text. I came to totally realize that the doctrines of Hell, the Trinity, Vicarious atonement were false doctrines all together. It was a deep study of the origin and history of the doctrine of eternal torment that led me to find out that it had its origins in ancient Egypt. When I started to see the connection in Egypt, I started to see other "Christian" doctrines in Egyptian culture and realized that much of what christianity is, is nothing more than a re-invention of Egyptian Religion. I could not hold on to what I thought to be the "true" religion any longer unless I also wanted to believe that The Easter Bunny was real as well.

I still cannot say with a "affirmative" that God isn't real. I do not think anyone can for that matter.

I have read many good articles by Ex-Christians and Atheist (Till, Barker, Carrier, etc..) but I have to leave room for that which we do not yet see with our narrow perceived reality.

 

"Quantum Theory was able to describe several phenomena that could not be explained by preceding theories. The most famous of these was wave-particle duality, showing that microscopic objects such as electrons behave as waves under some conditions, and as particles under others.

 

A fundamental concept of Quantum Theory is the Uncertainty Principle, which maintains that the observer affects the observed event. Hence, the key question is, "What do the measurements actually measure?" This principle implies that the concept of an "objective process" becomes irrelevant. Moreover, beyond the measured results, an "objective reality" simply cannot exist.

 

The discoveries of Quantum Physics drastically changed scientists' approach. The deterministic concept that maintained that physics revealed objective facts of nature and described their absolute existence was dismissed.

 

It was replaced by an understanding that physics does not know the true essence of nature. Physics can only assist in building paradigms, patterns, and formulae that calculate results of an experiment within a certain boundary of probabilities".

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It has been very difficult for me. At times I still become confused and melancholic; primarily because I am still pretending to be a Christian to family and loved ones...

There are those days when I am grateful to not deal with the burden of God in my life...Then there are those when I think, "Damn, is life really a darwinian reality?"

 

I'm still transitioning, because I was born and raised in this belief...I'm deconverting quite well, but it is a process.

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The pre-deconversion was long. These were the 25 years during which I very rarely went to church or read the bible. I did still pray--but my tone towards god became decidedly more skeptical. Secular college religion courses, Joseph Campbell and Carl Sagan added to the mix.

 

It wasn't until earlier this year that I found the ex-christian websites and began reading the essays and reading the bible from a neutral viewpoint. At that point my deconversion was suprisingly rapid, quite depressing and scary--and liberating at the same time. While I had not been a practicing christian for years--it was painful to conclude that a major part of the foundation of my life had been fiction.

 

But my deconversion was a walk in the park compared to some others here.

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I cried for about 5 minutes. Then... it was done.

 

It took me two emotional days. Then I realized I had been happy before and NOTHING REAL had changed so I made the decision to be happy again. For the next few weeks I occasionally felt like all my friends and family were inside some kind of giant comfortable tent where they couldn't see the sky and I had just gotten shoved out and had to stare blinking into the brightness of a clear blue sky for the first time. I would feel the urge to crawl back into the tent whatever the cost. Now however, just over a year out, I'm feeling much more positive about life again. In fact, I may soon begin "witnessing" in behalf of my new convictions. Nothing pushy of course, just putting my point of view out there. We'll see. Also I'm going to make a point of meeting some fellow non-believers in person before the end of the year.

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My deconversion actually happened over a couple of years, which tempered its effects on me. I was actually searching for "real" christianity, finding what was offered in my evangelical church lacking. I thought they were focusing on the physical (politics, social activities, etc.) instead of the spiritual. At first, I thought maybe the charismatics were on the right track, so I read their books, watched their tv programs, and learned to speak in tongues. But I saw problems with their churches and leaders too. I then thought I should look at early Christianity, so I read some of the writings of the Early Church Fathers, plus sought out mystical writings such as The Cloud of Unknowing, and The Way of A Pilgrim (translated from Russian). But the big turning point in my road away from Christianity actually came from a Christian apologist: Hank Hanegraaff. He had a radio program and was head of an organization called The Christian Research Institute. He was extremely critical of the charismatic/pentecostal movement, and had written books accusing it of being a false Christianity, a cult. He claimed that many of the teachings of the pentecostals and the Word of Faith churches, came from the New Age movement, specifically something called New Thought, through the teachings of E. W. Kenyon. I figured the only way to find out the truth of this accusation was to find some materials from these organizations and read them for myself. This was an eye opener, and was the final straw for my separation from what might be called orthodox Christianity. New Thought shared some of the "name it and claim it" beliefs with the charismatic movement, but without all of the guilt, and condemnation, or teachings of hell. I felt a great sense of relief wash over me when I realized that you didn't have to embrace the exclusiveness or condemning beliefs of the traditional Christian church in order to be spiritual.

 

I followed this route for a few years, part of which was still spent in my evangelical church. But I eventually left it, feeling that I could no longer support that which I didn't believe. That's where the emotional part of my deconversion came into play; when I separated from the church, not from Christianity. I spoke with my pastor and his wife (who had been a good friend) and simply said that I couldn't agree with them any more and wanted something different. I went home that night and cried; I guess from relief, and stress, and the feeling of disconnection. I do believe that my separation from my church was similar to a divorce, in that you are in a relationship with a group of people when you're part of a congregation which is broken when you can no longer go along with them. But I knew it was the right decision, and within a week or two was feeling very positive at the direction I was taking in my life.

 

I eventually moved away from the New Thought movement. I had attended a Unity church for awhile, but eventually came to question its teachings also, seeing that it had many problems just like my former church in terms of how the church was run, who controlled the church (church politics is a bitch), and concerning its teachings which were no more verifiable than the blind faith that the orthodox Christians taught. I continue to be interested in things spiritual, but also in areas I formerly ignored that may have an ifluence over what we think is spiritual; science, especially neuroscience, psychology, sociology, etc. Overall, I feel that any painful emotions that I went through were worth it, in order to experience the freedom to think for myself and search out so-called spiritual events and beliefs on my own terms.

 

Whew! This was almost like giving a second anti-testimony!

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Mine wasn't very noticable really. For starters I'm not the extremely emotional kind and my deconversion was a long process of learning and deconstructing myths I had believed most of my life. I don't have an idea of the precise moment I went from christian to atheist. One day I just realized how far I had come and I decided to follow the evidence wherever it leads. If that was away from christianity then so be it. Better the truth than false hopes. I haven't regretted it since then. :)

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I know a lot of you had long emotional and mental struggles when you lost your faith. Did anyone else have a short recovery time, like mine?

 

While the initial moment that fired up my deconversion was extremely emotional (and wonderful I admit :fdevil: ), the thing itself didn't take me more than some few days of contemplation.

Of course I was a lukewarm German mainstream jebus believer, not a morontheist, so... ;)

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While I had not been a practicing christian for years--it was painful to conclude that a major part of the foundation of my life had been fiction.

 

But my deconversion was a walk in the park compared to some others here.

 

What he said.

 

I've only just posted my "anti-testamonial" so I'm not going to re-hash it again.

 

I also feel pretty stupid for being so duped and going for it 100%

 

My brother and some friends are coming to visit in 2 weeks. I'm going to apologise for being such a jerk. When I was full-on fundi I really talked the talk. It's a tribute to my brother and friends that they still liked me.

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I've converted and deconverted to so many things so many times, I'm kind of used to it, but I've finally given up my belief in a god all together. I've always maintained that faith and morals should be fluid, so that's helped ease the way for me. That's been very sad and rather awkward at times losing ALL faith in gods, but I'm moving on to new things and that's helped a lot.

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