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The Deconversion Of A Converted


bagbear
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Hello everybody,

 

About two years ago, I began lingering on this site when struggling with my faith. Since then I've read many stories here and gotten a lot of helps from them. To their authors, I want to say 'Thank you so much!'. After two years relentlessly repeated confusion, finally I find myself able to get rid of it. I'm 33 years old, living in china, here's my story.

 

I. Before conversion

I was born into an atheist family, my parents don't believe in any gods, they don't even make offerings to traditional deities or ancestors on festivals as many others do. Actually I had not much idea about god or gods before I was converted. And base on my education background (educated in a communist country... you know), I couldn't have much positive impression of christianity. But I wasn't a pure atheist, I was always interested in something mystery.

 

When I was growing up, I developed a hobby gradually, that hobby is reading. I read a lot, history, culture, archaeology, anthropology, all of them are my favorite topics. Later, this hobby lead me to be a crazy admirer of everything of ancient rome. Believe it or not, I even changed my most favorite football club from FC Parma (I loved this club for more than 10 years) to AS Roma.

 

Looking backward into my two personal traits, fond of mystery and being a roma addict, I think I could never stand a chance to escape the fate from being converted sooner or later.

 

Though I was a little bit curious about the relationship between christianity and rome, I had no plan to learn about this strange religion. In late 2003, it came! When I went into a bookshop, I saw a black softcover bible there, but it shouldn't be there, because selling a bible in a bookshop is illegal in china, at least it's the first time I saw a bible sold in a bookshop. I opened it up, noticed there's a red ink stamp on the inner backcover, says it's from some church. I thought 'ok, it's time to learn now'. I bought it and went home.

 

II. My testimony of conversion

My good hobby of reading always conduct me to useless time-wasting researches, and it wouldn't stop unless it has gotten enough knowledge in those subjects, this time it aimed at christianity. Needless to say, christianity soon make a great impact on me, it's the most amazing theory I had ever seen, it shocked me completely. In early 2004, it finally convinced me 'at sundry times and in divers manners' that these scriptures couldn't be manmade, human could not be possessed of such an intelligence and perception to compile such a bible, the only explanation of these scriptures is that they're sacred text, directly or indirectly inspired by god himself. How could a spiritual rookie resist a 2000 years old, armed to the teeth theory? At least I couldn't.

 

The almighty systematic theology always gave me crafty and profound explanations for each of my doubts, always in a 100% perfect manner. Day by day, I became a captive of christianity unconsciously. At that time, all I needed to do was to make a decision - join them or not. This's a really hard decision, imagining how the people think of you if they knew you're an ex-c in united states for example, especially the people surrounding you are all christians, that's the similar but reverse situation I was about to confront because all my friends are atheists.

 

After that I still went to that bookshop occasionally, but never saw any bibles sold there again, so strange, maybe it's a hint of god, that bible must be in his plan, could there be a better explanation?

 

My next move was attending church, a lutheran church if I recall correctly, and it's an underground family church (real church in china). To avoid attentions from the authorities, our church never open on Sunday, usually it only open its door in Tuesday and Thursday evening. My story in this church was a boring one, I went there every Tuesday evening, praying, choiring, bearing witness, listening to the sermons, along with all my brothers and sisters of the lord.

 

III. New birth

In late 2004, after attending church for half a year, I was baptized at this church. Behold, 'a new heart and a new spirit' were brought unto me, henceforth my life should never be the same again. Indeed, it really worked. It changed my brain's circuit so much that I only have a dim memory of how my brain worked before I was converted. When I was a pagan, I always thought at free will in a direct manner. Since I was converted, I found my brain losing this function, it seems there's a mediator sitting around in my brain, constantly inspecting all kinds of my thoughts, if my thoughts found grace in his sight, he let them go, if not, they can't go anywhere. Though it had made many unexpectedly negative effects in my life, at that time I simply credited it to 'a change in spirit'.

 

IV. An ordinary christian life

And then after several months, I left this church and never returned for I had to move to another city. 2005 - 2008, nothing important, and of course, never forgot to peddle those theories to my friends, but unfortunately no one bought it.

 

V. Doubting

By late 2008, I had been a 4 years old christian so far and never doubted my faith, but it wasn't long before I began to doubt. In these years, I had quitted from my jobs and started to run some tiny businesses, so I had plenty of time to satisfy my hobby of reading. As my earthly knowledge doubled and doubled again, I began to realize that many things of christianity is far from my previously naive conclusions. In short, they had concealed and distorted and mixed up many facts for many 'good wills'. Here I just say 'they', many of 'they', from the old time to the time being, you know what I mean. And besides, they were always manufacturing and selling their products for saving people, that sounds like a really good deed. But let's think about it, if these activities taken place in this earthly world, for example you're selling something very expensive which you promise it's authentic but indeed you never have a chance to test it... sounds more like a deception, isn't it?

 

However, as more and more negative evidences accumulated, I had to face my crisis of faith seriously. Quit? no way! It had made so many irremovable marks on my personality and in my life, I couldn't even imagine a life without it. On the other hand, I had received enough taunts from my atheist friends since I was converted, so I...

 

VI. Pretending

2009 – 2010, Behaving as a faithful in front of my friends as if nothing happened, if they asked me about something, I had to recall those what I already disbelieved and gave them a lecture; At the same time, painfully struggling with the fact that I'm losing my faith, desperately trying to defend it again and again, but all failed; Meanwhile, always losing money and getting a lot of troubles in my businesses; What a mess in these two years! Should I call it 'fall from grace'?

 

VII. Final collapse of my faith

How did it happened? I really don't know, I'm still trying to figure it out. I do remeber my two friends showed great interests when I tried to convert them, but both their opinion was, 'you had really convinced me that Jesus' instructions are good enough, now if you could prove his existence I would join you, but where is he after he died?'. 'What a question!' I thought, 'only you infidels always ask this question'. But I could never thought that the question of 'where is he?', which I thought I always knew the answer, finally turned out to be a curse on my faith.

 

I had been a faithful for 4 years, an unfaithful for 2 years, if you count the year before I was baptized, it's 7 years. I have spent 7 years in seeking the God, but where is he? In the end the only thing I'm sure of is no one know the answer, not anyone. I'm just too tired, I think it's the time to say good bye now.

 

 

Thank you for your time

December 7, 2010

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Wow, that's an interesting story, especially coming from someone surrounded by atheists!

 

Would you tell me more about the illegal church you attended? Was it a house church, or did you have a building, or did you meet in someone's business...? Religious practice being so deeply repressed is pretty foreign to me.

 

Phanta

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Bagbear,

 

Your friends said, "you had really convinced me that Jesus' instructions are good enough, now if you could prove his existence I would join you"

 

Now that's the key, isn't it? But no matter how hard we look, there is no sign of this Jesus or god. The bible, and all the believers, tell us to take their word for it, to just believe them, and to "feel it in our heart." If there were a real god who interacts with this world, and wants so badly for us to believe in him, then it should be obvious. We shouldn't have to take anyone's word for it. It's a shame that so many are trapped in a make-believe world. For thousands of years, millions of people have believed in thousands of make-believe gods because someone told them to, "Just believe."

 

Thanks for posting your story. I hope you will continue to insist on good hard evidence before you believe in any gods.

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Wow, that's an interesting story, especially coming from someone surrounded by atheists!

 

Would you tell me more about the illegal church you attended? Was it a house church, or did you have a building, or did you meet in someone's business...? Religious practice being so deeply repressed is pretty foreign to me.

 

Phanta

 

 

Yes, you may call it a house church or a home church, it's just a single room in a one floor shabby house, opposite to our pastor's home (another shabby house), located in a remote part of that city. What's 'meet in someone's business', do you mean how did I get into this church? It's my friend's mother introduced me in, she is a devout attender there for many years. Religious practice isn't always repressed, if a group of buddhists or taoists coming together for a ritual, nobody would care about what they do, only christianity and other well-organized religions are considered as threats. And if it were slightly repressed or deeply repressed depends on which city your church located and if your church minister gotten involved in political-sensitive affair. Fortunately our church didn't get much attention.

 

That church just has a small capacity for 40 - 50 people, so it had to open twice a week for two different groups of attenders. Most attenders are aged people, some of them are middle-aged, few young, no kids. Our pastor was 80 odd years old, I don't know if he were still alive. Sometimes he is very funny, once an old sister told him an old brother was ill and couldn't come today, pastor got it and turned his face to us and then declared, somebody couldn't come today, he had fallen ill for his sins. That's what I remember.

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Now that's the key, isn't it? But no matter how hard we look, there is no sign of this Jesus or god. The bible, and all the believers, tell us to take their word for it, to just believe them, and to "feel it in our heart." If there were a real god who interacts with this world, and wants so badly for us to believe in him, then it should be obvious. We shouldn't have to take anyone's word for it. It's a shame that so many are trapped in a make-believe world. For thousands of years, millions of people have believed in thousands of make-believe gods because someone told them to, "Just believe."

 

 

Totally agree with you, you remind me a signature of someone called neo in this forum, I just saw that a few moments ago: Seek the truth and you shall find... another lie.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for posting your story. I hope you will continue to insist on good hard evidence before you believe in any gods.

 

Yes, I will. But I think I won't believe in any gods anymore.

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Yes, you may call it a house church or a home church, it's just a single room in a one floor shabby house, opposite to our pastor's home (another shabby house), located in a remote part of that city. What's 'meet in someone's business', do you mean how did I get into this church? It's my friend's mother introduced me in, she is a devout attender there for many years. Religious practice isn't always repressed, if a group of buddhists or taoists coming together for a ritual, nobody would care about what they do, only christianity and other well-organized religions are considered as threats. And if it were slightly repressed or deeply repressed depends on which city your church located and if your church minister gotten involved in political-sensitive affair. Fortunately our church didn't get much attention.

 

That church just has a small capacity for 40 - 50 people, so it had to open twice a week for two different groups of attenders. Most attenders are aged people, some of them are middle-aged, few young, no kids. Our pastor was 80 odd years old, I don't know if he were still alive. Sometimes he is very funny, once an old sister told him an old brother was ill and couldn't come today, pastor got it and turned his face to us and then declared, somebody couldn't come today, he had fallen ill for his sins. That's what I remember.

 

Thanks for sharing. It's interesting. Welcome, by the way!

 

Phanta

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Welcome to the forums!

 

How interesting to have a story from a highly atheist country! I related a little to your story, but my parents were christians, but just nominal (not very serious, we didn't go to church that often). I went from the Methodist (read, liberal) church we went to on holidays to a very fundamentalist Baptist belief for a few years, and it drove me nuts. Of course, the taunts, threats, and thrown rocks didn't come until I let it be know I was a witch.

 

Still, it's very interesting to read a story from the complete opposite point of view from the USA. I see you said "maybe" under "Any Gods?" - are you considering Roman deities, or traditional Chinese ones? If you don't want to answer that, don't, but I intend no pressure. I am a Voudouisant (practice the Afro-disasporic beliefs of slaves) who is looking into Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) Orthodoxy, so I'm merely curious. Studying religions and beliefs and people is my hobby, I guess you'd say. So I'm not going to convert you, I just want to hear more of your story. If you're not ready, cool, but I'm curious. :)

 

Again, welcome!

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Hello babgbear!

 

欢迎 (<---that is supposed to say "welcome"..is it right? :)

 

I enjoyed your story, your English is excellent!

 

 

I think your story shows that you are a smart person. You read, you ask questions, you open your heart and mind to truth. When you discover that something is not quite right, you are willing to change. Most people do not like to change- the ability is a mark of intelligence.

 

I hope to see you around some more :)

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Welcome to the forums!

 

How interesting to have a story from a highly atheist country! I related a little to your story, but my parents were christians, but just nominal (not very serious, we didn't go to church that often). I went from the Methodist (read, liberal) church we went to on holidays to a very fundamentalist Baptist belief for a few years, and it drove me nuts. Of course, the taunts, threats, and thrown rocks didn't come until I let it be know I was a witch.

 

Still, it's very interesting to read a story from the complete opposite point of view from the USA. I see you said "maybe" under "Any Gods?" - are you considering Roman deities, or traditional Chinese ones? If you don't want to answer that, don't, but I intend no pressure. I am a Voudouisant (practice the Afro-disasporic beliefs of slaves) who is looking into Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) Orthodoxy, so I'm merely curious. Studying religions and beliefs and people is my hobby, I guess you'd say. So I'm not going to convert you, I just want to hear more of your story. If you're not ready, cool, but I'm curious. :)

 

Again, welcome!

Thanks for your interest. I did have a little knowledge of those you called fundy, how terrible they are! When I said maybe, I just meant that's not the question I concerned. A roman or a chinese one? No, you must be kidding, I haven't recovered from those things yet. And honestly, I'm not ready for another story, if there was one, it would be nothing to do with religions. 

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Hello babgbear!

 

欢迎 (<---that is supposed to say "welcome"..is it right? :)

 

I enjoyed your story, your English is excellent!

 

 

I think your story shows that you are a smart person. You read, you ask questions, you open your heart and mind to truth. When you discover hat something is not quite right, you are willing to change. Most people do not like to change- the ability is a mark of intelligence.

 

I hope to see you around some more :)

Thanks for your chinese welcome! That's exactly the word. You're right, I'm always willing to change, but I don't know if it's good or bad. See you.

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Thanks for your interest. I did have a little knowledge of those you called fundy, how terrible they are! When I said maybe, I just meant that's not the question I concerned. A roman or a chinese one? No, you must be kidding, I haven't recovered from those things yet. And honestly, I'm not ready for another story, if there was one, it would be nothing to do with religions. 

 

That's fine, just wondering. No rush in the world to consider the "big questions", and wherever you land, you're always welcome here. :)

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Thanks for your interest. I did have a little knowledge of those you called fundy, how terrible they are! When I said maybe, I just meant that's not the question I concerned. A roman or a chinese one? No, you must be kidding, I haven't recovered from those things yet. And honestly, I'm not ready for another story, if there was one, it would be nothing to do with religions. 

 

That's fine, just wondering. No rush in the world to consider the "big questions", and wherever you land, you're always welcome here. :)

Thanks for your warm welcome

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A very interesting story you have Bagbear. Thank you for taking the time to share. The Big Questions will remain as the answers are always personal. Each of us has to find our own way. I am glad that you are thinking for yourself. Yeah, if I have another story it won't be a religious one either:)

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I'm always willing to change, but I don't know if it's good or bad. See you.

 

Bagbear,

 

Science says that it is good. Smart people take new information and change their thinking, if they need to. I admire your versatility (means able to change). I hope that the people in your life don't make it difficult for you.

 

See you around too!

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The Big Questions will remain as the answers are always personal. Each of us has to find our own way.

That's it, now I'm more and more interested in people's own ways here. Thanks for interest.

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I'm always willing to change, but I don't know if it's good or bad. See you.

Bagbear,

 

Science says that it is good. Smart people take new information and change their thinking, if they need to. I admire your versatility (means able to change). I hope that the people in your life don't make it difficult for you.

 

See you around too!

Smart? oh, forget it please, I never think so, at least it's far from being smart enough to get a tiny business running well. It seems that you don't like the people unwilling to change, isn't it? Sometimes I almost began to admire them, because when you change, you must lose something, and if you change too many times, you will have nothing left. Anyway, thanks for all your kindnesses and appreciations.

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