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Hammurabi

Phases Of Deconversion

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A really insightful list. I'm stuck on Step 3, not ready yet to make that step. I think I'm just waiting at this point to gather up enough questions and frustrations to push me over the edge. At times though, I wonder if I've reached the next step and I'm just too afraid to admit it.

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Thanks this was very helpful to me to realize that the phases I have gone through are relatively normal. I am stuck between anger and acceptance. My experience has been pretty much exactly like those phases. I am embarrassed that I, who thinks of myself as quite intelligent, could have fallen for all the bullshit I believed. Oh I researched for years but always from the christian point of view as we were strongly discouraged from reading anything else. I even read christian novels ugh. I am 45 now and feel like I missed out on so much of life, and fun because fun was sinful. I have no friends, I never did fit it, I was told I ask too many questions. I HATED the fuckin' phoniness with a passion!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sad that I raised my kids in i,t taught them garbage, thank god they rebelled and one is completely out the other is at the questioning phase but at chrisitan university. My husband is still waffling, sometimes he goes to church and he prays before every meal which annoys the shit out of me, but I just keep quiet. If I say "Jesus" as a swear word or "God dammit" he gets very upset, I, on the other hand no longer feel guilt FrogsToadBigGrin.gif. He however has not read the books I have asked him to read. He thinks that Jesus and christianity is everything but that the "church" just sucks. Kinda sad but what can I do.

This is the first time I have posted anything, I am still in fear and recoil from so much rejection. I even get depressed because I do not have many friends on FB and Twitter because I deleted all my christian "friends" due to their nonsense posts. I really need some involvements. Any suggestions?

Oh yeah and another things I can not believe I fell for Right wing politics UGH UGH, now people are like "aren't you a conservative" and I say well I flirted with it but no a real lefty at heart. What was I thinking, OMG!! Voted for christians oh how stupid I was. I have now found a bunch of causes that I feel drawn too, human and animal rights with out the fucked up preaching, the enviornment (what kinda of a god would not even look after his own creation?) again I can not believe I fell for the end of the world crap.

I have not told anyone yet accept a few co workers who have become real friends. My husband does not know that I am an atheist now. How do I undo all the evangelizing I have done? I am so happy, happier than I have been in a long time but bored and lonely, angry and embarrassed etc.

Sorry for going on and on in garbles, my fingers were just a flying with relief to get some off this out of my head. LOVE this site and all the great peeps on it.

Nan

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This is the first time I have posted anything, I am still in fear and recoil from so much rejection. I even get depressed because I do not have many friends on FB and Twitter because I deleted all my christian "friends" due to their nonsense posts. I really need some involvements. Any suggestions?

 

Hello Nan, and welcome to the fourms!

 

As far as Facebook friends go, just hang around here for awhile. I have many Facebook friends, very good people, from this site. They are unconventional, quirky and can even be really nice! They have helped me a lot although I have never met them in person.

 

As for undoing the past, it isn't possible. Its natural to be angry, but I would suggest dwelling on today and the future.

 

I am not married so really probably shouldn't comment on that side of it, but someone you are so close to maybe ought to know where you stand. Pick the right moment to tell the spouse - when they are in a good mood, is what I would suggest.

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Great post!

 

Anger is where I am right now. Thank you for touching on that -- I thought I was all alone on that one.

 

No way, Jose. I was so angry for a very long time. Now, I have anger spurts.wink.gif

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Thanks for that; I think it was very well thought out and very well put. I certainly can relate.

 

I joined this forum quite a while back, wrote a couple of things and then went quiet because I put back on the coat of the saved and tried again. But I failed. Now, not only am I angry, I am in a tremendous amount of pain. Fundys are telling me I never was a Christain in the first place; that my mind and heart were always corrupted. Atheists are telling me that I can't escape my mythology, that no matter how much I fool myself, I am still bound by its laws and thinking. My best mate finds the whole thing foolish and my friends don't want to know. So when I'm not feeling like a tortured cat or crying and screaming at the universe and yes, at a god who has failed me by not being real, I am feeling completely and utterly alone.

 

I think the biggest problem for me is that I was never in it for the carrot. I never cared about eternal life; I wasn't big on telling others they needed to join my religion or burn in hell. I'm not sure if I even bought hell as a viable idea. No, I was in it for the Christ; the coolest cat ever to (not) exist. A man who I thought was the sun, the moon, and the starlit sky whether he was the Son or not. Letting go of the one constant in my life is proving incredibly difficult. Yet, I cannot 'hang' with the package deal anymore; it hurts my brain too much to try and justify so much which is neither logical or justifiable.

 

I am rambling; but my mind is bursting. I think I am crying out for someone to hear me... To really hear me, not project their opinion, not tell me how I feel or what I'm really thinking. Just to hear my words and take them for what they are.

 

 

Thanks for writing the Phases of Deconversion and thanks for "listening".

 

 

Joss

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Thanks for that; I think it was very well thought out and very well put. I certainly can relate.

 

I joined this forum quite a while back, wrote a couple of things and then went quiet because I put back on the coat of the saved and tried again. But I failed. Now, not only am I angry, I am in a tremendous amount of pain. Fundys are telling me I never was a Christain in the first place; that my mind and heart were always corrupted. Atheists are telling me that I can't escape my mythology, that no matter how much I fool myself, I am still bound by its laws and thinking. My best mate finds the whole thing foolish and my friends don't want to know. So when I'm not feeling like a tortured cat or crying and screaming at the universe and yes, at a god who has failed me by not being real, I am feeling completely and utterly alone.

 

I think the biggest problem for me is that I was never in it for the carrot. I never cared about eternal life; I wasn't big on telling others they needed to join my religion or burn in hell. I'm not sure if I even bought hell as a viable idea. No, I was in it for the Christ; the coolest cat ever to (not) exist. A man who I thought was the sun, the moon, and the starlit sky whether he was the Son or not. Letting go of the one constant in my life is proving incredibly difficult. Yet, I cannot 'hang' with the package deal anymore; it hurts my brain too much to try and justify so much which is neither logical or justifiable.

 

I am rambling; but my mind is bursting. I think I am crying out for someone to hear me... To really hear me, not project their opinion, not tell me how I feel or what I'm really thinking. Just to hear my words and take them for what they are.

 

 

Thanks for writing the Phases of Deconversion and thanks for "listening".

 

 

Joss

 

Howdy Joss, there are a lot of us here that used to genuinely love Jesus. I know that sometimes the words used here are angry and spiteful, and it seems like we lack compassion or empathy for those that are struggling with leaving the faith. I'm sorry if you encountered that here. It was world-shaking for me to admit that I wasn't a believer anymore. I've been revisiting the process over and over again to trying and remember as much of it as possible. "He" defined life for me for 34 years, so it was a very big deal to suddenly realize that he wasn't even there to begin with. I had the great fortune of having some non-Christian family that I could talk to about the change. But my primary source of camaraderie is this website. I completely got away from the believers, because as you have experienced, they condemn unbelievers quite easily. They do this to protect their own sense of reality and their perceived relationship with Jesus. Faith is tied directly into some of our basic survival mechanisms, so it affects us at a very deep level where we define reality. When that gets changed as it did with us, we have to learn to stand up and choose our directions in life and not let the lies and sourness of others form our own attitudes and actions, be they Christian or Atheist. We make our own meaning in life, and while it feels at some level like we've lost our greatest friend (or lover), our path forward is in our own hands. But in the meantime, struggling is fine. It's a lot to deal with emotionally.

 

I choose to take what I find noble from Christianity, and from other ethical systems, and discard the rest. I want to become an even more quality human that I am now, as much as it suits me to do so. I have taken up singing, and am taking voice lessons from a new-age kind of teacher. My classmates are my new "church", though some are liberal Christians. I've been able to find happiness by other means than through association with those that want to control me. My spirituality has become free-form, and I enjoy some concepts from shamanism, pagan moon goddesses, and other such stuff. I'm writing a book to get my thoughts out about my deconversion and the harm that comes through Christianity. I hope you will continue to spend time on these forums and get to know some folks here.

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Now, not only am I angry, I am in a tremendous amount of pain. Fundys are telling me I never was a Christain in the first place; that my mind and heart were always corrupted. Atheists are telling me that I can't escape my mythology, that no matter how much I fool myself, I am still bound by its laws and thinking. My best mate finds the whole thing foolish and my friends don't want to know. So when I'm not feeling like a tortured cat or crying and screaming at the universe and yes, at a god who has failed me by not being real, I am feeling completely and utterly alone.

 

I think the biggest problem for me is that I was never in it for the carrot. I never cared about eternal life; I wasn't big on telling others they needed to join my religion or burn in hell. I'm not sure if I even bought hell as a viable idea. No, I was in it for the Christ; the coolest cat ever to (not) exist. A man who I thought was the sun, the moon, and the starlit sky whether he was the Son or not. Letting go of the one constant in my life is proving incredibly difficult. Yet, I cannot 'hang' with the package deal anymore; it hurts my brain too much to try and justify so much which is neither logical or justifiable.

 

I am rambling; but my mind is bursting. I think I am crying out for someone to hear me... To really hear me, not project their opinion, not tell me how I feel or what I'm really thinking. Just to hear my words and take them for what they are.

 

 

Thanks for writing the Phases of Deconversion and thanks for "listening".

 

 

Joss

 

hi Joss - I'm right there with ya girlfriend! Just read my posts. Hang in there - keep posting and we will figure this out!

 

The gang here is really trying to help me.

 

I've been tryin' to get Jesus off my mind for a long time.He was my everything! When you believe in something for soooooo long - It's very hard to let go, even if you know the truth!

 

thanks for being here for ME!

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I know that sometimes the words used here are angry and spiteful, and it seems like we lack compassion or empathy for those that are struggling with leaving the faith. I'm sorry if you encountered that here.

 

It wasn't here but on another forum. A forum which I have all-but left because, quite frankly, I am tired of being bullied. It was the case when I was a Christian as well; the Christians felt the absense of harsh words and condemnation towards the atheists, non-theists, and followers of other religions made me weak and ineffectual. I was "leading people astray" with my tolerance.

 

 

I had the great fortune of having some non-Christian family that I could talk to about the change. But my primary source of camaraderie is this website. I completely got away from the believers, because as you have experienced, they condemn unbelievers quite easily.

 

I am hoping that this website will prove to be for me what you say it has been for you. My husband is an ex-Christian atheist, but his deconversion was instantaneous. One day, listening to me in conversation with others, he realised he was only a Christian because that's the box his mother ticked when he was a child. Literally, at 5:45 PM he was Christian and at 5:46 PM he;d removed the label as ill-fitting. He hasn't looked back since. For me, the deconversion is much more difficult; being a Christian has been a major part of the definition that is me for most of my life.

 

I choose to take what I find noble from Christianity, and from other ethical systems, and discard the rest.

 

I think that's my take on it too. I am exploring Paganism right now, but not to find replacement gods. It's more filling a curiousity I was always too afraid of before. I also intend on getting a Reiki treatment first chance I get. :wicked: It's kind of like being a child released into the wide open world for the first time. I just want to explore!

 

Thanks for your words; I'm truly glad to be here.

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hi Joss - I'm right there with ya girlfriend! Just read my posts. Hang in there - keep posting and we will figure this out!

 

The gang here is really trying to help me.

 

I've been tryin' to get Jesus off my mind for a long time.He was my everything! When you believe in something for soooooo long - It's very hard to let go, even if you know the truth!

 

thanks for being here for ME!

 

It is so cool to read this! Thanks for showing me that I'm not alone. I knew I couldn't be, but every time someone says it out loud (aka writes it), I get a warm, fuzzy feeling.We can do it!

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I think stages 1 and 3 were kind of merged for me, there were things about the faith that disturbed me, and i never felt "God's presence" or "the holy spirit" like others claimed to, so i just kept trying harder. Eventually i realized i was never going to feel anything, and by that time i had internet access and managed to stumble across websites that raised yet more questions i hadn't thought of and couldn't answer, and so ended my faith. Nowadays i seem to move between stages 4 and 5. I don't tow the christ-mobile around town with me, but i leave it in my back yard so i have easy access whenever i feel like taking a crow bar to it.

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I spent many years feeling that although I believed in God, I didn't like him. I actually felt that this made my testimony more compelling -- God does absolutely nothing positive in my life yet I still believe in him - now that's FAITH! But now I think that I stayed Christian only because I was too scared of becoming atheist.

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That sounds so absolutely terrifying considering that i'm only in phase 2. Just can't seem to get the answers i'm looking for. I don't just stick to Christian resources though. I believe in objective research. I want all the facts from every angle before I make a decision. That's why I come here, but also still attend church. I'm really not sure what to think anymore, but thank you for the heads up on the horrifying process I may or may not go through... :)

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Talk about long journeys. I posted the above in April last year. Only now am I returning; the anger was just too much and I had to retreat from all conversations dealing with Christianity or the lack thereof. I was lashing out "at god" and anyone standing in the vicinity was getting hit with shrapnel.

 

I am happy to say that I am finally beyond the anger stage and in acceptance. It's like looking back on a stranger really; the whole thing. It is hard to believe that I believed the things I did; had faith in such silliness. I am not an atheist, but rather class myself as ignostic. I still have this feeling that there is something, I'm just not sure what it is. I am pretty solidly sure it is not what the Bible or any other religious book presents. I am also pretty solidly sure that it doesn't matter what it is. It is. I am. Life is about living. So I live. And that is enough.

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I remember when had the first chink in my christian armor, I accidentally got some critical scholarship New and Old Testament introductions. I knew I was losing faith fast but I held on even more, made sure I was in church every time it was open. All of my theological buddies told me that in the end my faith would be even stronger....for me one day I just had to question myself 'why I was still holding on'. It was time to move on, great write up, you hit the nail on the head.

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I am at phase 3 but I still don't know my answer.

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Phase 4 pops up regularly for me. I get pissed off by the arrogance and hyprocrisy of Christians who love to smear anyone who isn't a part of their group. Not to mention how they constantly try to control everyone's lives...It's even more aggravating when you have family members like this >_> .

 

As for missing Christianity...no. I'm more than thrilled that I broke away from that addiction. I only wished that it had happened sooner.

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Very well written... I'm currently experiencing both anger and depression. Anger from the lies and the depression from knowing this may be it... There is no bliss later. The anger comes from all the time devoted to the faith that robbed me of MY time, energy and money.

 

I'm just really sad right now.

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Very well written... I'm currently experiencing both anger and depression. Anger from the lies and the depression from knowing this may be it... There is no bliss later. The anger comes from all the time devoted to the faith that robbed me of MY time, energy and money.

 

I'm just really sad right now.

 

I can certainly relate, LC. But, in the grand scheme of things, it was still just a dot, and you may not remember any of this anyway. This is an opportunity to make life better for the majority or whomever you are drawn to and feel good about doing it in the process. :)

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After "officially" being deconverted for a number of years now, I would have to add another stage:

 

Stage 6:

Discovering Yourself

 

As time goes on, and you get over the whole Christianity thing, you move past all of that and get on with life, another surprise may very well meet you - yourself. Eventually you begin to develop your own opinions on things and realize that, perhaps, you're not entirely the same person you thought you were. You may not be dramatically different, but you may be different enough to realize that some of your previous decisions (perhaps even big ones, like marriage) simply don't work with who you've become. You have finally found yourself.

 

 

I've been going through this stage for awhile. It's a slow one, and took me a rather long time to really recognize what was going on, but eventually I discovered that I had changed - a lot more than I at first believed. I'm having to make some hard decisions because of how much I've changed. None of it is bad per say (depending on how one looks at it) and most of it I think will be healthy in the long run, but it's still more hard decisions that have to be made and dealth with because of the brainwashing that was Christianity. Even though I'm long over the whole religion thing (as much as I ever will be anyways), I'm STILL dealing with the after shocks of it....I don't know if I'll ever be completely rid of it. Wendyshrug.gif

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The acceptance part is what I had trouble with. I kept ping-ponging between belief and disbelief for a long time. I don't know what I thought was going to happen by trying to re-embrace my former faith. Deep down I knew it was all nonsense, but I tried to ignore that. I don't know what I was looking for or what I thought I was going to find. A brainwashed mind is a confusing mess. But acceptance finally does come.

 

My husband (an atheist who has always patiently put up with my back and forth struggles and let me come to my own conclusions in my own time) and I are trying to start a family now, and I am absolutely over the moon that I will have a child who will NEVER have to struggle like I did to become a rational, reasonable person. They will grow up without being exposed to indoctrination, and won't spend over a decade of their life (or more) trying to debrainwash, or experience the mental torture that is part of the process.

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After "officially" being deconverted for a number of years now, I would have to add another stage:

 

Stage 6:

Discovering Yourself

 

As time goes on, and you get over the whole Christianity thing, you move past all of that and get on with life, another surprise may very well meet you - yourself. Eventually you begin to develop your own opinions on things and realize that, perhaps, you're not entirely the same person you thought you were. You may not be dramatically different, but you may be different enough to realize that some of your previous decisions (perhaps even big ones, like marriage) simply don't work with who you've become. You have finally found yourself.

 

 

YES! Absolutely! Couldn't have said it better!

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Also, I don't think the anger phase ever truly ends. Every once in a while it bubbles up: you are reminded by some little thing that you got ripped off in some way due to religious upbringing or adulthood belief.

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One of the things that I have learns is that life is not as linear as it appears.

 

We often travel through stages in life and then double back.

 

Residual anger could be a signal there still work to be done at that level.

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The original post pretty much follows James Fowlers book, Stages of Faith and reflects a lot of my personal experience. I discovered the book after I’d already begun my journey. I was a member of a fundamental extremist group. Complete with the “disfellowshipping” nonsense. That’s when your friends inform you that they are no longer your friends, or your family informs you that you are no longer a member of the family. The banishment continues until you repent. This is done, of course, because they love you and are concerned for your soul. I wonder what they would do to you if they didn’t “love” you?

 

My de-conversion pretty much followed the described stages and my journey lasted for more than ten years before I could publicly acknowledge I wasn’t a Christian anymore. I’ve read about those whose journey lasted forty or more years. It’s generally a complicated lengthy and emotionally draining process……but worth it.

 

In retrospect I think it’s good to read books like Stages of Faith, or become active on sites like this, so the reality of what is being experienced can be put in context. And I think most people need to know what they are experiencing is normal and that millions of other people have taken a similar journey and survived all the doubts, turmoil, and emotional trauma. In the end I think most people are glad they took the journey.

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