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In The Process Of Deconversion


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Hey everyone! Hope you're doing well! My name is Nathan, and I'm a 24 year old newly ex-christian. I've been roaming around this site for weeks now, not ready to post anything. I believe my time has come.

 

I began my deconversion just like anyone else; doubts. Questions. I've sought many an answer, and come across few. Unsurprisingly, christianity provided none. I began my christian journey as a young man, raised by christians in a christian home. When I was still a wee chap, my family ceased attending the baptist church we were going to, because the church board sent out a letter laying out rules (such as men had to wear suits, all members must have some sort of job, etc.). We were the kind of christians who believed God accepts you as you are. So we quit going to church after that. Our family still had a relationship with God, I guess you'd just say we weren't active christians.

 

So as I grew older, I kept a close personal relationship with God. At certain points in my life I felt closer to God (rededications, you know, all that nonsense) and I was genuinely sure of what dying meant for me: I was going to Heaven. I can even recall that when my great grandfather was dying a few years back; I felt jealous that he was going to go be with God.

 

Fast-forward a year or two, and you're here with me now, proclaiming myself as a non-believer.

 

It took me awhile to admit that to myself. I was on the fence forever with this. Ultimately scared that the "devil" was putting these doubts in my head (and I was going to go to hell), I refused to let go... at first. I've always thought myself to be a reasonable person. But try as they might, an atheist could never have shaken my faith mere years ago.

 

However, pervasive thoughts and doubts ravaged my brain constantly, until I finally began doing some research and learning for myself. Years ago you never would've caught me reading anything about atheism. And if it was negative towards christianity? Forget it. Finally, however, I allowed myself to do something amazing: think. I thought for myself. Not afraid of my thoughts being controlled by an evil being who was after my soul, I plunged into this new world head first. I found this website and spent hours a night reading some posts, and essays and such. And it made sense.

 

Finally, one night at home by myself, I sat thinking and thinking, until I finally mustered up the courage to admit to myself that I'm no longer a believer.

 

It felt like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I felt eccstatic that I finally had a free mind! I honestly couldn't wait to get out into the world and see it for what it truely is. I couldn't wait to find out more about who I am and not who I should be according to some book written thousands of years ago! It's like I've been seeing the world through sunglasses my whole life, and now I get to see it's true colors!

 

I haven't yet told all of my friends and family. I've expressed doubts to most of them, who surprisingly accepted them (with a little debate.) However, I've noticed that a lot of people here seem to hold a grudge towards christianity, and that's totally understandable. I kind of felt like I'd been the butt of a really long joke as well.

 

I will say though, I didn't realize how often I thought of God back then. I still catch myself looking at the sky and saying a quick "Thanks God!", but I quickly laugh at myself and continue on my day, looking forward to what this universe might hold for me this day.

 

But fortunately for me, I look back at my life as a learning experience. I don't hold the same grudge towards christians and christianity itself as most do, even though I do understand the feeling.

 

Anyways, got off topic. I just wanted to write this today, so that I can become part of a community of people with similar beliefs. It feels so great to be able to see this world without a judgemental mindset, and to be free of "the devil's" evil reign of oppression. Thanks to all who've taken the time to read this, and I look forward to being a part of this forum and community! Any encouraging words or advice are more than welcome, and appreciated greatly!

 

Oh, and I will donate to the cause very soon. Money is a bit tight this payday!

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Welcome, highirishman! I can totally relate to your experiences. I stopped believing a few years ago and still haven't told more than a few people. You have many friends here who know exactly where you are coming from. I'm pretty opinionated, but I think it best not to tell too many believers that you don't believe if you don't have to. They don't want to know, and they feel that it invalidates their opinions in your eyes. Good luck on your journey!

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Highirishman:

 

Ironically, the more one has studied biblical history, the easier it becomes to reject the form of christianity that is running rampant in this country that leads people to falsely believe that their church knows everything about a supreme being. There was never anything called the Bible until over 400 years after the reported death of Jesus. It was put together by a group of church leaders at the Council of Nicea from a bunch of books, including the Jewish Tora. The books supposedly about Jesus were written by authors who never knew him. Yet institutional churches wrongly believe that it was "written by God" and/or that every verse can be analyzed as though it were from a book of statutes.

 

And biblical history study reveals that many of the words and phrases in our current bible have been mistranslated from the earliest known texts. Want examples? In the earliest text, all was created in several "eras" -- not seven days. There were no people named Adam and Eve. The original identification was "man and woman". Moses did not cross the Red sea on his escape from Egypt to . Look at a map. It would have been over 1000 miles out of his way. Instead, the earliest accounts of this event say he crossed a "sea of reeds". In other words, a swamp. And Egyptian recorded history has no mention of the enslavement of the Jews. So the Moses story may have been like so many other stories in the bible -- a fictional parable meant to teach a moral lesson.

 

I could go on and on but for space limits.

 

So it is ignorant to take the bible too literally. But that does not mean that one must reject it all to be an exchristian. Jesus, after all, never claimed to be a god in any biblical translation. In fact, there is no reference to Jesus in any Roman history of the time. Jesus could have been a fictional character. Thomas Jefferson, a fellow deist, put together his own "bible" consisting only of the words of Jesus as reported in the bible. What resulted was actually a good code of conduct for us to live by, strangely enough. Concentrating on the general theme of these teachings, and not the person of Jesus, is a possible and reasonable way to go (Jefferson thought so). But that still would not qualify you as a "Christian" according to any church I know of, because you are not believing in the diety of Jesus, or even that he actually existed. Deists actually believe in some type of supreme being, force, or other entity. What we reject is the claim by anybody that they know the exact nature of that entity. That sounds rather like the way you are evolving. If so, you are in good company, including most of our country's founding fathers.

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I get where you're coming from even though I haven't completely made it there yet. I'm still questioning but more often I am answering myself with negatives instead of positives (i.e. "What if God does exist? -- "He doesn't seem to like me very much if He does!") Funny though I still use the capitalized pronouns and probably will for a long time. I was telling my hubby the other day it is like trying to detox from a cult. It is so NOT easy.

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I get where you're coming from even though I haven't completely made it there yet. I'm still questioning but more often I am answering myself with negatives instead of positives (i.e. "What if God does exist? -- "He doesn't seem to like me very much if He does!") Funny though I still use the capitalized pronouns and probably will for a long time. I was telling my hubby the other day it is like trying to detox from a cult. It is so NOT easy.

 

It really is like trying to detox from a cult! Well put. Some parts I found more difficult than others though. Once I acknowledged my own doubts and quit assuming that the bible was right because it said so, I found it easy to refute the existence of the christian God. It took me a while to swallow the notion that this might be all there is for us, but it's all about perspective. I use that belief to make my one shot here on earth count.

 

I should add that while right now Im leaning towards atheism, I want to take my now free mind to explore the world and the things it has to offer, and I feel that I could one day find something to believe in. It feels like a chance to find my beliefs for myself, instead of growing up under the often opressive mindset that christianity can bring.

 

Best advice I can give for someone who might be in the process of deconversion as I've been, is don't be afraid to think for yourself! It's so much easier than it sounds, especially if you've been raised in religion. But have faith in yourself and know that while life is oftentimes very hard on us, we do have the strength to make it through without god. Hope you figure everything out! Good luck!

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There's still a lot of fear. The other day I wanted to look into the philosophy and beliefs that are connected to martial arts and I actually felt afraid to look into it. I had been told some years ago that yoga and martial arts were bad spiritually as well as massage. I don't get it, really. (All I know about it is The Karate Kid from 1984, where's the harm as long as you're going the Mr Miyagi way instead of the Cobra Kai?) I never got into any of it because of the religious "block." So many things I would have done or explored if not for the religious warnings and fear.

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There's still a lot of fear. The other day I wanted to look into the philosophy and beliefs that are connected to martial arts and I actually felt afraid to look into it. I had been told some years ago that yoga and martial arts were bad spiritually as well as massage. I don't get it, really. (All I know about it is The Karate Kid from 1984, where's the harm as long as you're going the Mr Miyagi way instead of the Cobra Kai?) I never got into any of it because of the religious "block." So many things I would have done or explored if not for the religious warnings and fear.

 

Christians don't like competition so philosophies that get along fine without the Bible are seen as being evil. What interests you in the martial arts? There are many different kinds and how much they touch on philosophy or religion depends on which one. Personally I find the religious aspects to be harmless.

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You're so right, Saoirse. Fear holds a lot of us back from doing things we're interested in doing. But that's what controllers do, you know; they isolate us, they make us act artificially or abstain from things. Jesus is the ultimate abusive boyfriend.

 

My husband's been practicing martial arts (don't ask me to spell or explain any of it, shit like "ching ee" and "bag wah") for damn near 25 years now. MAN he's quick and strong. If it helps, he's never mentioned religious or spiritual stuff about it. The paganism he follows is utterly unrelated to anything Asian, so whatever spirituality is going on there didn't penetrate his mind too far. If I'd met him while fundie, it would have really shocked me to discover that someone could be really gung-ho about martial arts and yet not be a woo-meister. But we all have our moments when we realize that something fundamental that Christianity's claimed has turned out to be complete balderdash. As the Southerners say, "little lie, big lie." As in, "if Christians are wrong about martial arts, what else are they wrong about?" And how hard is it to just, you know, ASK someone into martial arts if it's religious? Pfft, here's me preaching to the choir. Hope you do explore more of these strange new worlds, Saoirse. :) There's a whole lot of living out there to do.

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There's still a lot of fear. The other day I wanted to look into the philosophy and beliefs that are connected to martial arts and I actually felt afraid to look into it. I had been told some years ago that yoga and martial arts were bad spiritually as well as massage. I don't get it, really. (All I know about it is The Karate Kid from 1984, where's the harm as long as you're going the Mr Miyagi way instead of the Cobra Kai?) I never got into any of it because of the religious "block." So many things I would have done or explored if not for the religious warnings and fear.

 

You and me both. My schedule changes every 4-5 months, but if my teaching schedule is amenable to it next semester, I am definitely trying martial arts and before it was a religious block.

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There's still a lot of fear. The other day I wanted to look into the philosophy and beliefs that are connected to martial arts and I actually felt afraid to look into it. I had been told some years ago that yoga and martial arts were bad spiritually as well as massage. I don't get it, really. (All I know about it is The Karate Kid from 1984, where's the harm as long as you're going the Mr Miyagi way instead of the Cobra Kai?) I never got into any of it because of the religious "block." So many things I would have done or explored if not for the religious warnings and fear.

 

Many Christians think anything related to eastern religions, no matter how vaguely, is a tool of the devil. I am talking meditation, yoga, martial arts, anything like this.

 

It is all a way for demons to enter your life. That is complete baloney.

 

The only way you can really prove to yourself that these things are not spiritually dangerous is to do them. Then observe that God is not punishing you.

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........... When I was still a wee chap, my family ceased attending the baptist church we were going to, because the church board sent out a letter laying out rules (such as men had to wear suits, all members must have some sort of job, etc.).

Seriously? And I thought the Church of Christ was legalistic but even they didn't do anything like that,.... but that is probably only because nobody thought about it.
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