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Hammurabi

Phases Of Deconversion

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If one had a horrible experience with religion, I would suspect it is normal to have periods of anger, just like any other abuse causes the victim to get angry when a trigger pops up. If the anger is a problem that affects your life and ability to cope with living in a religious society, perhaps some therapy is called for, just like in instances of physical and sexual abuse.

 

I am lucky in the sense I am not angry now, nor did I ever really struggle with that part of things. I was angry at my friends for the "disfellowship" but I got over that and don't blame religion for it. They are just doing what they believe to be right and while I mourn the loss of my good friends, I cope by making new friends, truer friends who stick by me whatever my struggles are.

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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!

 

I third that! :)

 

I've been out of the fold long enough now to have this stage as my primary focus. It took time for sure, and the beginning stages of this phase are equally scary as the letting go of faith, but I find I am a much more genuine person and have more true serenity now than I did before. The key to this has been being able to not throw out the baby with the bathwater, to take the good from Christianity, and many other world religions and philosophies and synthesize them into a worldview that truly reflects my deep innermost convictions, passions, and ideals for how life should be.

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I have been in Phase 2 and 3 my entire life. Phase 4 was off and on. Phase 5 started about a month ago.

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So a funny thing happened today. I came across someone online who made reference to this post. I thought: "Surely my post couldn't still be up there, they must be referencing something else." 
 
Wrong. 
 
I wrote this when I was 26, 5 years after I deconverted. After 5 additional years I see people still are reading it and I am frankly overwhelmed. 
 
I read everyone's replies and I couldn't be more moved that something I wrote could have had a positive effect (even if that effect was small) on people, especially people going through a process that can be quite difficult for some. It has been referenced by a multitude of people here at Ex-C and on many external sites and I even found someone had translated the whole thing into Hungarian. Hungarian! Frankly, if I had known so many people would read this post, I may have been too intimidated to write it in the first place. 
 
Looking back and re-reading the post, I certainly see things I wish I had done better. Points on which I should have been more clear, ideas that weren't fully justified, things of this nature. Thankfully, an abundance of people made many of those corrections for me in their responses. Overall, I feel like what I wrote still adequately reflects the experience many, but certainly not all, people have when leaving their religion. I am very proud of what I wrote here, and overjoyed that it has had such a warm reception and continues to do so, long after I (and I suspect many people from that time) have left the forums. 
 
Thank you all for your kind words, and for those of you who find yourselves in the midst of confusion and doubt please let me say: 
 
Non-religion (if that is where you end up) is the hard path. As Robert Frost would say, "the road less traveled by." It can be difficult to give up on certainty in favor of tentative acceptance bolstered by evidence. I can be scary to face philosophical questions and require yourself to look deep within, finding what you truly think and how much you can truly justify, instead of looking to an external authority with a prepared answer. This is the hard path, but there is hope here. There is peace here. There is love and compassion and joy here. There is wonder and amazement along this path and the humility to see what is as it is, not as a ruse or a ploy and not as a series of gears and machinations set in motion for our benefit. It is along this route that I learned the joy of seeking answers and the thrill of knowing that there is much I have yet to learn. It is here, deep in the yellow wood, that I discovered life could be meaningful; not to a god or to others, but a meaning of my own choosing, which is so much more rewarding "and that had made all the difference."

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Guest r3alchild

The kubler ross model can also be very useful in seeing how the stages of grief can be understood. I layered this model over my deconversion and it really helps to see what stage I am at.

 

Kübler-Ross model

The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief", is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

[1]

asserting that when a person (or a survivor) is faced with the reality of impending death

or other extreme, awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional "stages": denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance (in no specific sequence). This hypothesis was introduced in Kübler-Ross' 1969 book "On Death and Dying", which was inspired by her work with terminally ill

patients. Motivated by the lack of curriculum in medical schools, at the time, addressing the subject of death and dying, Kübler-Ross started a project about death when she became an instructor at the University of Chicago's medical school. This evolved into a series of seminars; those interviews, along with her previous research, led to her book. Her work revolutionized how the U.S. medical field took care of the terminally ill. In the decades since her book's publication, Kübler-Ross' concept has become largely accepted by the general public; however, its validity has yet to be consistently supported by the majority of research studies that have examined it.

Kübler-Ross noted that these stages are not meant to be a complete list of all possible emotions that could be felt, and, they can occur in any order. Her hypothesis holds that not everyone who experiences a life-threatening/-altering event feels all five of the responses, asreactions

to personal losses of any kind are as unique as the person experiencing them.

 

If your a text book case, deconversion can go like this.

 

1 denial

At this stage you will be in some denial of the reality of wanting to leave your faith, you are very defensive and protective about your faith.

 

2 anger

At this stage you start to feel angry, you ask (why me) you know something is wrong with your faith and you react to it by blaming christians and christianity.

 

3 bargaining

At this stage you start to bargain with yourself/god for a compromise to what you used to believe.

 

4 depression

At this stage you become depressed and feel that theres no meaning and you become dissconected from life.

 

5 acceptance

At this stage you accept your fate and are able to move on from all the other stages. You now get on with the rest of your life.

 

I am between depression and acceptance at the moment with my deconversion.

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After almost two months of being away from the last church i went to, and away from organized religion as a whole, i'd say i tend to alternate between 4 and 5. I went through phases 0 through 3 a year ago, so by the time i left, i'd realized i needed to get the hell out, ASAP.

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I am somewhere around phase 3. I still want to believe but there are questions no Christian can answer (not that I would ask a Christian anyway because I will hear : pray about it)

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Guest r3alchild

The kubler ross model can also be very useful in seeing how the stages of grief can be understood. I layered this model over my deconversion and it really helps to see what stage I am at.

 

Kübler-Ross model

The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief", is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

[1]

asserting that when a person (or a survivor) is faced with the reality of impending death

or other extreme, awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional "stages": denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance (in no specific sequence). This hypothesis was introduced in Kübler-Ross' 1969 book "On Death and Dying", which was inspired by her work with terminally ill

patients. Motivated by the lack of curriculum in medical schools, at the time, addressing the subject of death and dying, Kübler-Ross started a project about death when she became an instructor at the University of Chicago's medical school. This evolved into a series of seminars; those interviews, along with her previous research, led to her book. Her work revolutionized how the U.S. medical field took care of the terminally ill. In the decades since her book's publication, Kübler-Ross' concept has become largely accepted by the general public; however, its validity has yet to be consistently supported by the majority of research studies that have examined it.

Kübler-Ross noted that these stages are not meant to be a complete list of all possible emotions that could be felt, and, they can occur in any order. Her hypothesis holds that not everyone who experiences a life-threatening/-altering event feels all five of the responses, asreactions

to personal losses of any kind are as unique as the person experiencing them.

 

If your a text book case, deconversion can go like this.

 

1 denial

At this stage you will be in some denial of the reality of wanting to leave your faith, you are very defensive and protective about your faith.

 

2 anger

At this stage you start to feel angry, you ask (why me) you know something is wrong with your faith and you react to it by blaming christians and christianity.

 

3 bargaining

At this stage you start to bargain with yourself/god for a compromise to what you used to believe.

 

4 depression

At this stage you become depressed and feel that theres no meaning and you become dissconected from life.

 

5 acceptance

At this stage you accept your fate and are able to move on from all the other stages. You now get on with the rest of your life.

 

I am between depression and acceptance at the moment with my deconversion.

And a bit of bargaining too.

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I suppose my de-conversion started way back in the nineties while I was still attending church. The church didn’t live up to it’s claims of family and fellowship- what a joke. Once I was an established member I felt ignored and overlooked, it was really difficult to build real and lasting friendships. It’s true that there weren’t many other Xians I felt compatible with, perhaps I was never really “one of them”. Why is almost everyone in church so bourgeois and conventional? It seemed to make a difference if you were born into a Xian family as to whether your "face fitted” -or not. I have maybe two people I would call true friends from the eight or so years I spent attending church.

 

So after experiencing the sham that was church fellowship, my husband (still alive then) and I decided to leave, still retaining our Xian beliefs but with many questions arising.

 

It wasn’t until after my husband’s death in 2005 and the subsequent grief journey, that I realised Christianity and the God I’d believed in were of no help whatsoever (but I covered that in my first post). The idea of heaven was of no consolation at all.

 

The next step in my de-conversion was making a conscious decision not to set aside time for prayer, or reading the Bible for that matter. Soon after that I decided to stop involving God in the decisions I made in my life because it drained me of energy and just made me confused. I feel a lot freer for making these choices smile.png

 

I have to confess that de-conversion hasn’t really been that painful for me, my one sadness is that I didn’t share the journey up to this point with my late husband. I think we would have got to this place together eventually.

 

I’m so glad I have realised that life is for living in the here and now and not just something to be endured before you die and go to heaven.

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#103 "This is being done, of course because they love you and are concerned about your soul."

 

Love of the victims of the Spanish Inquisition was given as the reason for their torture. bill

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I suspect that there is another step.  It's sorrow at having thrown away and wasted the best part of my life.  I'm not angry at myself.  It's not like I had a REASONABLE alternative choice.  But those years cannot be reclaimed.  Those memories remain.  Now that I have found out how wonderful life is, my body is too old to take advantage of it.

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I suspect that there is another step.  It's sorrow at having thrown away and wasted the best part of my life.  I'm not angry at myself.  It's not like I had a REASONABLE alternative choice.  But those years cannot be reclaimed.  Those memories remain.  Now that I have found out how wonderful life is, my body is too old to take advantage of it.

 

I hate that I threw out many things that could of happened but the guilt thing stopped me. I want to believe but too much evidence is contrary to biblical passages

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My deconversion was really quick. I went from phase 0-3 within a couple days, skipped phase 4 and went straight to phase 5 within a week or two.

 

Christianity was never something I felt truly comfortable with. I read dozens of apologetic books during my time in Christianity trying to get my doubting mind back to becoming a full believer.

 

It was all a total waste of time.

 

If you are going through difficult things in life, do not let others make you believe it is because you have a "God shaped hole" in your heart. There is no such thing.

 

I would suggest adding a phase 6: where do I go from here?

 

Christianity was such a time consuming thing for me. I am still figuring out the best way to fill up all the extra time I now have, now that I am not reading every theology book I can find or attending every church function.

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After "officially" being deconverted for a number of years now, I would have to add another stage:Stage 6:Discovering YourselfAs 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 :

I totally agree with this. During this deconversion, i was trying to be interested in the same things I was before I became a Christian (which was back in high school) because that made the most sense. Things that used to fascinate me now cause my eyes to glaze over. Things I used to not value, however, have now become very important to me. It all feels so weird.

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This was a good read and very much sums up what I am going through. It appears I am still stuck somewhere in stages 2 and 3. I have to say that it is kind of nice to know what lies ahead. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

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The kubler ross model can also be very useful in seeing how the stages of grief can be understood. I layered this model over my deconversion and it really helps to see what stage I am at.

 

Kübler-Ross model

The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the "five stages of grief", is a hypothesis introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

[1]

asserting that when a person (or a survivor) is faced with the reality of impending death

or other extreme, awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional "stages": denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance (in no specific sequence). This hypothesis was introduced in Kübler-Ross' 1969 book "On Death and Dying", which was inspired by her work with terminally ill

patients. Motivated by the lack of curriculum in medical schools, at the time, addressing the subject of death and dying, Kübler-Ross started a project about death when she became an instructor at the University of Chicago's medical school. This evolved into a series of seminars; those interviews, along with her previous research, led to her book. Her work revolutionized how the U.S. medical field took care of the terminally ill. In the decades since her book's publication, Kübler-Ross' concept has become largely accepted by the general public; however, its validity has yet to be consistently supported by the majority of research studies that have examined it.

Kübler-Ross noted that these stages are not meant to be a complete list of all possible emotions that could be felt, and, they can occur in any order. Her hypothesis holds that not everyone who experiences a life-threatening/-altering event feels all five of the responses, asreactions

to personal losses of any kind are as unique as the person experiencing them.

 

If your a text book case, deconversion can go like this.

 

1 denial

At this stage you will be in some denial of the reality of wanting to leave your faith, you are very defensive and protective about your faith.

 

2 anger

At this stage you start to feel angry, you ask (why me) you know something is wrong with your faith and you react to it by blaming christians and christianity.

 

3 bargaining

At this stage you start to bargain with yourself/god for a compromise to what you used to believe.

 

4 depression

At this stage you become depressed and feel that theres no meaning and you become dissconected from life.

 

5 acceptance

At this stage you accept your fate and are able to move on from all the other stages. You now get on with the rest of your life.

 

I am between depression and acceptance at the moment with my deconversion.

 

This is interesting, as my experience through the stages listed in the OP were relatively brief. The stages of grief wouldn't have been something I would have thought to look at, but right now it really looks like I am right between 3 and 4. I went back to Christianity, and am finding all the same issues with it all over again. Now, I'm not sure where I stand, and a part of me wishes that I could have gone on in ignorance, as I really was happier when I truly believed than I am now.

 

Here's hoping that I'll find a way to move on.

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Hi all, I'm new here.  I was looking for an introduction thread and couldn't find one so I suppose I will introduce myself here.  I am a recent non-believer.  I would suppose I am in either in Phase 3 or 4 of deconversion.  I have questioned christianity for many years and and just never had the courage to deny what I was taught to believe my whole life.  I had many negative experiences in the church, and eventually at the age of 16 (with much guilt) stopped going to church all together.  After the birth of my children, I was under a lot of pressure to have my kids in church so, after several years, I joined a church.  Once again, I ended up hurt and dissatisfied and left the church for the last time.  I am surrounded by a religious community, and a religious family who are constantly trying to guilt me into church.  I just cannot submit to christianity, and at this point I just don't know what I believe in.  I feel so guilty for not believing in what I was raised on, but it feels just ignorant.  I am extremely confused at this point, and I feel very alone due to the strong religious community in which I live.  I am also battling the whole "what if I'm wrong and now I'm damned to hell" issue.  I know I know, the whole idea is rediculous, but like someone said in a previous post, it's like I was brainwashed.  I don't know how to handle this whole ordeal and how it makes me feel right now, but I am glad I have found a group of people who have also been through it.  I hope I get the chance to get to know you all!  And thanks for letting me vent!

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