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So... Decoverting. This Going To Be A Lifelong Struggle? Discuss.


AltarEgo
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Deconverting. Definition: the continual process of leaving ones faith/religous/moral tradition.

 

Well, maybe that's the definition. :)

 

I've been deconverting for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any easier. I'm still young, though. Will it get better in time? I'm curious how it's been for others.

 

For me its mostly cyclical.

 

P.S. This is my first post. (Woot!)

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Deconverting. Definition: the continual process of leaving ones faith/religous/moral tradition.

 

Well, maybe that's the definition. :)

 

I've been deconverting for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any easier. I'm still young, though. Will it get better in time? I'm curious how it's been for others.

 

For me its mostly cyclical.

 

P.S. This is my first post. (Woot!)

 

The best thing you can do, IMO, is learn as much as you can about the natural world. The more you understand science, the less room there is for woo.

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Welcome to ex-christian.net AltarEgo! I hope our site proves to be helpful for you.

 

I think changing world views is necessarily a difficult process for anyone. I think it's made more difficult if you move from a mainstream belief (Christianity) to a minority, non-theistic point of view.

 

I think it may help to find like minded people to share your life with. Is that possible in yor situation?

 

OB '63

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Welcome, AltarEgo. (I like that name!)

 

Decoverting. This Going To Be A Lifelong Struggle?

Only if you let it.

 

I know a couple of people who describe themselves as "recovering Catholics." That kid of mindset defines them as someone who is by nature religious, and must continually fight that urge. I suggest they think about it differently.

 

I liken religion to a bad lover or spouse. Suppose you discovered that the person you love turned out to be a drug dealer who had killed several people. Couldn't you get over them in a reasonable amount of time? They are not who they pretended to be; they fooled you for a time. Religion has done the same thing. I don't look back.

 

This is a pretty good place to work it out. Good luck to you.

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It's definitely a long process. For me, there was originally doubts about my faith, I still told myself I was christian, defending the "rules" of christianity (pre-marital sex is bad! even though I did it anyway and was horny as a toad), gays are sinful!, etc. Then came the rejection of faith, but I still felt guilty about breaking all the rules of christianity. During this time I never told anyone I was atheist or a non christian but there was still a nagging voice in the back of my head, I still got offended when people criticized christianity. Then there was total apostasy, I told people I was atheist (except for relatives and a few friends) but I still"sympathized" with christianity. I thought it was at least better than other religions out there because of all the good things done in the name of christianity. And the final stage for me is where I am at now, I am not fond of christianity and I realize it has been used throughout history as a vehicle of hate, war, and has suppressed science. It's kind of an angry stage in the beginning, but over time I have grown to accept things as they are. I certainly won't change the world and deconvert everyone. If people want to know, I'll tell them what I believe and defend myself, but I am not the crusader I was early on. I feel at peace now, the anger and resentment I once had is gone, and I no longer look down at people for believing. It's their choice and I am no better than they are.

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I think a lot of it depends on the individual, the form of religion/christianity that they were in, how long they were in it, if they were raised in it, in addition to a multitude of other factors.

 

For example, I would say that I've fully deconverted and taken a fairly firm stance as an agnostic. However, there are still remnents of my christian past and upbringing/ways of thinking that I am dealing with, and may have to deal with for some time. This is mostly due to how I've changed some of my stances on things that for basically 30 years of my life were set in concrete, and now I'm beginning to question if that's how I really feel since I'm realizing that my previous stance is deeply rooted in religious tradition and the culture of it that has permeated our society. Most of these are personal issues.

 

So, if you've always been in christianity, raised in it, and it was integral to your life when you were forming your entire outlook on the world, and add in that you're now an adult - well, there may be things to deal with for some time. I'll use florduh's example of the bad marriage - sure if you discovered that said person was bad early on, say within a few years, you could move on a lot faster. But if you were married to that person and your entire life revolved around that person and suddenly 30 years later you discover their true identity, well, not so easy to just "get over it." There will be ghosts from that relationship following you around for years and years, long after the dust has settled between the two of you.

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Welcome, AltarEgo.

 

Along with what the others have said, I'll reply from the obverse angle: For anyone to deconvert without any struggle, tells me that what they're deconverting from was so shallowly held as to be beneath notice. Such people may get my sympathy, but they won't get my respect.

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I think a lot of it depends on the individual, the form of religion/christianity that they were in, how long they were in it, if they were raised in it, in addition to a multitude of other factors.

 

For example, I would say that I've fully deconverted and taken a fairly firm stance as an agnostic. However, there are still remnents of my christian past and upbringing/ways of thinking that I am dealing with, and may have to deal with for some time. This is mostly due to how I've changed some of my stances on things that for basically 30 years of my life were set in concrete, and now I'm beginning to question if that's how I really feel since I'm realizing that my previous stance is deeply rooted in religious tradition and the culture of it that has permeated our society. Most of these are personal issues.

 

So, if you've always been in christianity, raised in it, and it was integral to your life when you were forming your entire outlook on the world, and add in that you're now an adult - well, there may be things to deal with for some time. I'll use florduh's example of the bad marriage - sure if you discovered that said person was bad early on, say within a few years, you could move on a lot faster. But if you were married to that person and your entire life revolved around that person and suddenly 30 years later you discover their true identity, well, not so easy to just "get over it." There will be ghosts from that relationship following you around for years and years, long after the dust has settled between the two of you.

 

 

Great post.

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Welcome AltarEgo, love your screen name! I'm pretty new around here too; there's a lot of collective wisdom in these forums.

 

I like that you use the word "continual" in your definition. It was an essential part of who you were at that point in your life. Depending how entrenched you were, and how many of your loved ones are still in it, it can . I was 23 when I deconverted. Now I'm 41, and it's really only in the last year or two that I've developed some spiritual self-confidence.

 

My best advice is to indulge your curiosity. Life is so interesting! I spent so many years with my nose buried in a Bible, I missed out on a lot of what was around me. What I've learned over the years is that when I'm busy, I'm centered. I'm also bipolar, and I just *need* to be busy. Boredom = thinking too much = mood swings.

 

Do whatever YOU want to. Read, write, create art or music (even if it's bad), take a class, move somewhere you've always wanted to live, adopt a pet, plant a garden, volunteer with your favorite political campaign, clean out your closet, have sex because it's fun. Stay up all night watching reruns, bake a cake, play xBox, who cares? Life is meant to be enjoyed.

 

I've developed little defense mechanisms. Like this: I love to crochet, and my parents are still active fundies who tell me every week they're praying for me. Now, when conversations get strained, I pick up my yarn and hook. Somehow it's easier for me to stay calm if my hands are busy. The last time my mom and I had an argument, I wound up crocheting an entire hat which I later gave her as a peace offering.

 

I don't think the struggle ever goes away completely, but you learn to manage it. I wish you peace.

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Depends on the person and situation.

 

I was raised Roman Catholic and was for many years. I 'left' the church at a young age, my young teen years, but had to hide it because I was a minor and I knew what would happen to me if I was open about it.

 

Nothing dangerous, but I was aware I'd be doomed to hardline Christian education, classes, counseling, and assorted other attempts to 'get me back'.

 

There was a period where I tried to justify, verify, and otherwise prove that Christianity was 'true', but I always ended up doing the opposite.

 

Now, I'll have none of it, and don't consider that it might be true in lieu of overwhelming evidence to the contrary and a lack of any real supportive evidence that it is. 'Someone said so' or 'an old book says that it is' is not enough for me, and pretty much all they've got.

 

I don't consider or dwell on my old faith anymore. I'm completely over it, don't think a lick about it. At least, not so far as regret, or worry that I might be wrong, or that it's somehow true and I've screwed up.

 

My interest in the subject is still there, but it's pretty much something I consider myth and fiction. I don't regard it with any more seriousness than I would any other Myth or fairy tale.

 

My interest in it is more intellectually based than any sort of 'not being able to let go' or 'being disturbed from being without it'. I also think it's harmful, delusional, and unhealthy on the whole, even though it might not be obvious on an individual level in a lot of cases.

 

There are those who never stop having problems and issues with losing their faith. Some people would very much like to believe again, but are unable to do so. It's not so easy to trick yourself or force yourself to believe something you know is false because of overwhelming evidence that indicates that it is.

 

Others are involved with it on an emotional level that's very hard to break. The attachment is hard to give up in a lot of cases, even if it's only the social aspect, or the feeling of 'belonging' or 'safety' it conveys.

 

As I said, it depends on the individual, their personality, and what parts they viewed as important. Some things are easier to let go of than others.

 

It's a case by case basis sort of thing. Some people like me had little difficulty, though I admit there was some, others never fully recover. It just depends.

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Welcome, AltarEgo.

 

Along with what the others have said, I'll reply from the obverse angle: For anyone to deconvert without any struggle, tells me that what they're deconverting from was so shallowly held as to be beneath notice. Such people may get my sympathy, but they won't get my respect.

 

I have met some whose deconversion was this way, yes.

 

I do wonder if some who don't have a struggle maybe deconvert for different reasons or through a different process than some of the rest of us. When I left I still wondered (agonized, really) if the Christian God really did exist and if I would go to hell. Someone who leaves only once they are sure that there is no God or hell is bound to have a very different experience.

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I've been deconverting for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any easier. I'm still young, though. Will it get better in time? I'm curious how it's been for others.

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

To answer your question, it did indeed get easier for me with time, but I also worked to find answers, understand what I was going through, and detach.

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Guest sixidahos

I left the Charismatic movement 16 years ago and realized I was an atheist 6 years ago. I'm 46 YO. When I left the Church I wondered how my values would hold up. Like many of us, I was taught in Church that I could only love through Jesus love. This turned out to be a ridiculous notion. My core values didn't dissolve; they were strengthened as i learned to trust my own instincts, make my own decisions, and embrace a world much bigger than the one I knew. I didn't stop caring about the well being of others.

 

Think about it. How many of our Church friends stayed committed to our friendship after leaving the church? We had a semblance of friendship, but you can only go so deep with folks you can't be reasonably honest around. There is that unspoken understanding among evangelicals that confession of sin is good, but if doesn't get fixed quickly, you're not very committed to the Lord. in other words; pretend you have overcome the flesh or prepare to be seen as damaged goods. Fundamentalists are the army that devour their wounded. Isn't it kind of screwy that the people we used to hang out with, would sooner have a crack addict babysit their kids than allow a gay or lesbian near them. It's a strange world we came from.

 

My road to recovery involved learning to respect myself, after all, people who have self respect are more likely to identify abusive and controlling people and institutions more rapidly.

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I left the Charismatic movement 16 years ago and realized I was an atheist 6 years ago. I'm 46 YO. When I left the Church I wondered how my values would hold up. Like many of us, I was taught in Church that I could only love through Jesus love. This turned out to be a ridiculous notion. My core values didn't dissolve; they were strengthened as i learned to trust my own instincts, make my own decisions, and embrace a world much bigger than the one I knew. I didn't stop caring about the well being of others.

 

Think about it. How many of our Church friends stayed committed to our friendship after leaving the church? We had a semblance of friendship, but you can only go so deep with folks you can't be reasonably honest around. There is that unspoken understanding among evangelicals that confession of sin is good, but if doesn't get fixed quickly, you're not very committed to the Lord. in other words; pretend you have overcome the flesh or prepare to be seen as damaged goods. Fundamentalists are the army that devour their wounded. Isn't it kind of screwy that the people we used to hang out with, would sooner have a crack addict babysit their kids than allow a gay or lesbian near them. It's a strange world we came from.

 

My road to recovery involved learning to respect myself, after all, people who have self respect are more likely to identify abusive and controlling people and institutions more rapidly.

 

 

Hi Sixidahos, and welcome to the site!

 

I definitely agree that learning to trust and respect oneself is a very important part of the process.

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Deconverting. Definition: the continual process of leaving ones faith/religous/moral tradition.

 

Well, maybe that's the definition. :)

 

I've been deconverting for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any easier. I'm still young, though. Will it get better in time? I'm curious how it's been for others.

 

For me its mostly cyclical.

 

P.S. This is my first post. (Woot!)

 

It took me three years. I guess each person takes their own amount of time.

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Sorry it took me so long to reply back to you all.

 

Those are very good insights. I'm glad to have the ex-christian.net realm. It's a "safe"-r space to express these things. Since I've been so fully entrenched in the Christian community my whole life, I only have 1 friend who is not a Christian. She's Jewish. So basically, although my friends try to understand what I'm going through, I don't really think they can.

 

I really like the "bad spouse"/ "old lover" analogy. I haven't had time to sort my music onto my new iphone - so right now every song I've ever had (whether its a jello jingle or Jerusalem) is all dumped onto it. Today, riding the city bus, I found myself enthralled by how many Christian songs I have uploaded to it. It's Waterdeep, Point of Grace, David Crowder Band, and other Christians crooning away about "the Lord Jesus Christ." I have soooo many memories associated with those songs. When I hear many of them - it is like hearing a love letter from an old lover. It's amazing how those lyrics have stuck with me over the years.

 

Freelily - I knit too. I'll have to start taking it up when I talk to my fundy-mother. :)

 

Thanks for the compliments on my screenname. It was punny, I guess.

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