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Gradual De-Conversion


silentknight
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I believe most of us here went through a gradual de-conversion process. We saw something that bothered us at first, but didn't think about it much. Then we saw something else. And another thing... and finally we started looking for answers. When we couldn't find the answers, we made the decision to leave.

 

Now, when many of us deal with still religious loved ones, we make the mistake of hitting them full force with out arguments. Assaulted with such a barrage of information they go into defensive mode. It becomes nearly impossible to convince them otherwise, because they will now make a point of defending their beliefs.

 

My goal is to come up with a reading list to give to people to gradually start deconverting. The first step would be teaching rational thinking, and showing how one's mind can make mistakes through a series of non-religious books on the human mind. Next, I would continue to books that discussed scripture historically... knowing the true fact behind many of the books of the bible would help remove their "magic". And lastly, I would go into the heavier full on material by Dawkins or hitchens.

 

Stage 1: Rationality -

The Invisible Gorilla - http://www.amazon.com/The-Invisible-Gorilla-Intuitions-Deceive/dp/0307459667/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344255710&sr=8-1&keywords=the+invisible+gorilla

You Are Not So Smart - http://youarenotsosmart.com/all-posts/

 

Stage 2: Fact -

Perhaps some books by Bart Erhman?

 

Stage 3: De-Conversion -

The God Delusion - http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344255841&sr=1-1&keywords=The+god+delusion

God is not Great - http://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446697966/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344255859&sr=1-2&keywords=god+is+not+great

 

 

Any thoughts or book suggestions?

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For me, stage 2 was priceless! I discovered him on YouTube, bought several of his books, read them once then re-read them along with taking notes. Then I put out a multi part series on YouTube talking about what he'd written.

 

Sadly, there wasn't anything shocking regarding the bible not being the word of god or inerrant. I'd always been aware of this even during my days of rigorously defending the bible to atheists.

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Raoul, what material by Ehrman would you suggest for someone who has not yet left the faith? Ideally something that will get them thinking, but not be too confrontational.

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If you want loved ones to deconvert then get them away from pastors and church. Emotions drive the religion. Pastors use emotional hooks to keep people trapped. Logical thinking gets suppressed.

 

If they don't have a pastor to run to then you can do a Bible study on the last three chapters of Judges. I would look to the Skeptics Annotated Bible to get more good Bible study material.

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I think the Bart Ehrman stage is a great one. I know you asked Raoul, but if I were chosing titles the first would absolutely be Misquoting Jesus. The second would either be Jesus, Interrupted or Forged.

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I think the Bart Ehrman stage is a great one. I know you asked Raoul, but if I were chosing titles the first would absolutely be Misquoting Jesus. The second would either be Jesus, Interrupted or Forged.

Funny you cite the one (Misquoting Jesus) that I'm currently reading for the 3rd time. It's invaluable. The other one, the Orthodox corruption of the bible (not the exact title - I'm too lazy to go into the other room to check it), is much more technical but also invaluable because it shows many cases where the so called orthodox (hence conservative) bunch were responsible for the intentional changes, deletions, additions to the bible. Most of their doctrines originate from their corrupting original translations to suit their own needs.
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I think the Bart Ehrman stage is a great one. I know you asked Raoul, but if I were chosing titles the first would absolutely be Misquoting Jesus. The second would either be Jesus, Interrupted or Forged.

Funny you cite the one (Misquoting Jesus) that I'm currently reading for the 3rd time. It's invaluable. The other one, the Orthodox corruption of the bible (not the exact title - I'm too lazy to go into the other room to check it), is much more technical but also invaluable because it shows many cases where the so called orthodox (hence conservative) bunch were responsible for the intentional changes, deletions, additions to the bible. Most of their doctrines originate from their corrupting original translations to suit their own needs.

 

Thanks, both of you. smile.png Adding these books to the list

 

Misquoting Jesus: http://www.amazon.co...rds=bart ehrman

The Orthodox corruption of Scripture: http://www.amazon.co...rds=bart ehrman

Forged: http://www.amazon.co...rds=bart ehrman

Jesus Interrupted: http://www.amazon.co...rds=bart ehrman

 

(Can't edit my original post, so just adding links here)

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If you want loved ones to deconvert then get them away from pastors and church. Emotions drive the religion. Pastors use emotional hooks to keep people trapped. Logical thinking gets suppressed.

 

If they don't have a pastor to run to then you can do a Bible study on the last three chapters of Judges. I would look to the Skeptics Annotated Bible to get more good Bible study material.

Ain't that the absolute truth regarding emotions driving everything with them? And, like true hypocrites, most of them would argue against using emotions when people are going through those dark times. They'd tell them 'you gotta have faith and don't rely on your emotions'. This one guy I've been tracking for a couple of decades loves to say 'worship god even if you don't feel like it. Minister to the lord even if everything is telling you not to'.

 

Yeah, a person is dying of cancer or something but still should pray and worship and all the other garbage they spew. Yet, this same guy will turn on the heart strings when he's running out of money and has to literally beg for funds to 'stay on the air to share the gospel with the lost' - that's the ultimate emotional heart string pull IMO.

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Yes, you can't force anyone to de-convert, but some people are less far in than others. If you know someone who's a christian, but not a fundie, as I do - who's willing to look at some material to try to "understand" you, as I do. Then my best bet it to start soft and work up to the "harder" stuff. Like non-religion drug dealer.

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Now, when many of us deal with still religious loved ones, we make the mistake of hitting them full force with out arguments. Assaulted with such a barrage of information they go into defensive mode. It becomes nearly impossible to convince them otherwise, because they will now make a point of defending their beliefs.

I think this is important for us to remember, SK. Also, we were "wooed" into the faith by emotions, not reasons. Then we backwards reasoned our way into rational thinking, thus getting the cart before the horse, as it were. I think the only way to speak truth in a way that sinks in with the Still Saved/Deluded individual is coming alongside that person and planting seeds of doubt. These seeds will fester and grow in their hearts and minds and contribute to deconversion. By "coming alongside" I mean in our words, aligning myself with that person so I speak in a way they will understand; anything else will be viewed as confrontational. I kind of believe that everyone's deconversion has to be their own--we can't make it happen.

 

Great points!

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Raoul, what material by Ehrman would you suggest for someone who has not yet left the faith? Ideally something that will get them thinking, but not be too confrontational.

The 'Misquoting Jesus' one is the best in my view. But I think you'd have to lay out a preparatory framework before giving it to the person. What I mean is, feel them out about the bible as in asking if they really think it's the absolute word of god or god breathed like the fundies say. If the person is hesitant about saying yes then the groundwork is done and you can give them that book because it shows in great detail how the manuscripts were altered but he begins by talking about the way things were translated in the first place. It's an eye opener. For example - during the early centuries a person could be almost illiterate but still be chosen to COPY words from earlier manuscripts which led to quite a few problems in itself. With the Greek word structure you could take a word, change just one letter in it, and alter the complete meaning of it.
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