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Deconversion Seems Impossible For Me


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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

If I may ask, what is it about Christianity that you cannot let go of?  What is it that keeps drawing you back? 

 

It takes a good amount of time to detach yourself from it and I'm not sure it can be done completely. 

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

If I may ask, what is it about Christianity that you cannot let go of?  What is it that keeps drawing you back? 

 

It takes a good amount of time to detach yourself from it and I'm not sure it can be done completely. 

 

Thanks, CautiouslyAgnostic and LifeCycle.  It's like my brain has multiple programs depending on my mood.  Like if I'm laying on my back with my cat kneading my stomach I might thank God for giving me such a nice cat.  Also I like to pray bless so and so ...  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

 

 

 

I did just a few years ago.  You don't have to deconvert.  I take it that you want to badly but just don't know how.  If prayer is holding you back you can try what I did.  I started praying to Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.  I'm not crazy.  I fully know that Kirk is fictional.  However the prayer works just as well as it did when I prayed to Jesus.  When I lose my keys I pray to Captain Kirk and then later I find my keys where I left them.  It really helped me see what prayer actually is and gave me an outlet for my emotionally-driven habit.

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

 

 

 

I did just a few years ago.  You don't have to deconvert.  I take it that you want to badly but just don't know how.  If prayer is holding you back you can try what I did.  I started praying to Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.  I'm not crazy.  I fully know that Kirk is fictional.  However the prayer works just as well as it did when I prayed to Jesus.  When I lose my keys I pray to Captain Kirk and then later I find my keys where I left them.  It really helped me see what prayer actually is and gave me an outlet for my emotionally-driven habit.

 

You're supposed to use a communicator. :)  Besides, the protocol is to call the Enterprise and ask Lt. Uhura to transfer you.

 

Seriously, I don't think that would work for me.

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

If I may ask, what is it about Christianity that you cannot let go of?  What is it that keeps drawing you back? 

 

It takes a good amount of time to detach yourself from it and I'm not sure it can be done completely. 

 

Thanks, CautiouslyAgnostic and LifeCycle.  It's like my brain has multiple programs depending on my mood.  Like if I'm laying on my back with my cat kneading my stomach I might thank God for giving me such a nice cat.  Also I like to pray bless so and so ...  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

 

Well, those are behaviors you just need to make a conscience effort to break.  I mean, if they bother you that is.  I had to remind myself to not pray each night before bed... Sometimes I would pray, "God, you're not real so you're not listening so fuck you, I'm tired."  I usually said something like that until the time came that I didn't remind myself to pray each night.

 

Pray to things you know exist... The universe exists... Thank it for giving you life.  Thank the clouds for accenting an already beautiful blue sky.  Thank trees for their wind-induced hymns on a warm summer day.  No harm in that.  They may not have ears to hear, but at least they're real. :)

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Here's my view, such s it is. Nonbelievers have no agenda to deconvert Xtians, unless they want to deconvert. If Xtianity is not  hurting you, there is no emergency forcing you to deconvert immediately. You don't get a prize for deconverting, except the knowledge that you can now be your own person and freely act accordingly. For most if not all of us here, that's plenty. We treasure that freedom. But no one dangles just beyond your reach an eternity in heaven or chases you with pitch fork threatening eternal damnation if you don't deconvert.

 

So freedom of thought and removal of the shackles of religion are the sole motives. There are no ulterior motives, like Xtians think there are. Just think of the ulterior motives of Xtians, e.g. tithing. Every response to atheists by apologists is to keep their flock in the dark.

 

It seems clear that you do want to break free from the chains of Xtianity, but your attempts to do so are thwarted by guilt and a feeling of some comfort when you pray. Work on the fear by reading the professionals' books and literature on the Christian myth. Do this until you are at least as well versed on their arguments as you are with the bible and the christion doctrine. To me, Xtian history (its brutality and complete absence of compassion) really helped open my eyes. Become an expert on Xtianity.

 

The guilt you are feeling keeps surfacing because of your indoctrination over many years. That;'s what it is intended to do. That's their plan. It's all stored in your brain. You need now to store the proof of the fabrication of Xtianity by filling your brain with the facts and arguments that so strongly refute the faith. It will take time, but I believe that there will come a time when the counter-arguments to Xtianity will become second nature to you. And the false guilt will disappear. That's what I am doing. Slowing but surely it is working.   bill

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Deconversion was a very tough process for me, but a necessary one. It's painful realizing the absurdity I so strongly believed in but it only would have been worse if it continued to knowingly follow a flawed doctrine. It comes down to how much you want to seek the truth. Shedding all the religious guilt will come in time...

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

If I may ask, what is it about Christianity that you cannot let go of?  What is it that keeps drawing you back? 

 

It takes a good amount of time to detach yourself from it and I'm not sure it can be done completely. 

 

Thanks, CautiouslyAgnostic and LifeCycle.  It's like my brain has multiple programs depending on my mood.  Like if I'm laying on my back with my cat kneading my stomach I might thank God for giving me such a nice cat.  Also I like to pray bless so and so ...  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

 

Well, those are behaviors you just need to make a conscience effort to break.  I mean, if they bother you that is.  I had to remind myself to not pray each night before bed... Sometimes I would pray, "God, you're not real so you're not listening so fuck you, I'm tired."  I usually said something like that until the time came that I didn't remind myself to pray each night.

 

Pray to things you know exist... The universe exists... Thank it for giving you life.  Thank the clouds for accenting an already beautiful blue sky.  Thank trees for their wind-induced hymns on a warm summer day.  No harm in that.  They may not have ears to hear, but at least they're real. smile.png

 

Thanks, LifeCycle, I went for a walk and tried your idea about mentally thanking the sky, the birds, the wind, family, friends, etc. and I think that is better than thanking God for those things or asking God to bless those people.  It makes me a feel a little bit more connected to things and thankful for living.  I ate supper and thanked my biscuits for being so tasty.

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Here's my view, such s it is. Nonbelievers have no agenda to deconvert Xtians, unless they want to deconvert. If Xtianity is not  hurting you, there is no emergency forcing you to deconvert immediately. You don't get a prize for deconverting, except the knowledge that you can now be your own person and freely act accordingly. For most if not all of us here, that's plenty. We treasure that freedom. But no one dangles just beyond your reach an eternity in heaven or chases you with pitch fork threatening eternal damnation if you don't deconvert.

 

So freedom of thought and removal of the shackles of religion are the sole motives. There are no ulterior motives, like Xtians think there are. Just think of the ulterior motives of Xtians, e.g. tithing. Every response to atheists by apologists is to keep their flock in the dark.

 

It seems clear that you do want to break free from the chains of Xtianity, but your attempts to do so are thwarted by guilt and a feeling of some comfort when you pray. Work on the fear by reading the professionals' books and literature on the Christian myth. Do this until you are at least as well versed on their arguments as you are with the bible and the christion doctrine. To me, Xtian history (its brutality and complete absence of compassion) really helped open my eyes. Become an expert on Xtianity.

 

The guilt you are feeling keeps surfacing because of your indoctrination over many years. That;'s what it is intended to do. That's their plan. It's all stored in your brain. You need now to store the proof of the fabrication of Xtianity by filling your brain with the facts and arguments that so strongly refute the faith. It will take time, but I believe that there will come a time when the counter-arguments to Xtianity will become second nature to you. And the false guilt will disappear. That's what I am doing. Slowing but surely it is working.   bill

 

Thanks, I have read "Why Priests?" by Garry Wills and "Early Christianity" by Geza Vermes.  Those helped a little bit, but I know they are only a start.

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Deconversion was a very tough process for me, but a necessary one. It's painful realizing the absurdity I so strongly believed in but it only would have been worse if it continued to knowingly follow a flawed doctrine. It comes down to how much you want to seek the truth. Shedding all the religious guilt will come in time...

 

Thanks.  How long did it take you to deconvert?

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I can understand to an extent.  The problem with many religions is that people are often indoctrinated as children, during formative years. Often, the children experience guild, terror and fear.  These experiences can impact people profoundly and take hold.  Unfortunately, breaking through this imprinting is exceptionally difficult. Deconversion can be such a difficult and painful process that there are actually people who specialize in helping people cope with the psychological trauma that they have experienced because of religion.

 

I did not come from a fundamentalist family and religion was not the topic of the hour when I was a child, but my deconversion was still difficult. The most painful part for me was the realization that I will die and my passing will be permanent. The thought of permanent death was and still is something that terrifies me. This is particularly true because as a health care provider I am constantly exposed to death and constantly reminded that my time will end. Eventually, I cam to realize that death in fact makes life precious beyond belief. Now, I cherish life and realize how important my one shot at living is. It has been through this realization that I have found meaning and purpose, to live as good as I can and do so in a way that can positively impact those around me.

 

The book that helped me the most was a book called "God, No!: Signs You May Already be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette. It really resonated with me and was more of a "regular guy's" take on atheism. He really made me understand that atheism is not some concept reserved for stuffy intellectuals but a conclusion that most anybody can arrive at. It is a bit bombastic in places, but it really helped me make the transition on more of a personal level.

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directionless- 20 years is a long time. It took me about 10 years to get to the point where I could admit that I was an agnostic, and another 5 when I had to admit that I was an atheist.

 

Questioner and Penn hit on an important point in that deconversion should not only help a person to free themselves of religious beliefs, but also, of thinking like a religious person. Deconverting from Christianity is one thing, deconverting from thinking with a religious mindset goes a step beyond deconversion. I personally think that atheism is just a natural default stereotype people fall in to once they have ruled out any posible truth to any religious belief from all religions.

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  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

 

 The Jesus Prayer eh? You have an Eastern Orthodox background perhance?  That can be a bit different to let go of that other branches.

 Someone in here made the wise statement that there is no imperative to let go and get out in a great hurry. Work things through in your time.

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Have you read up much on other religions? I suspect you could read zen sources and say to yourself, 'wow, I've always believed that.' Since it wasn't a christian doctrine or idea, you would have to admit that you believe in zen ideas also.

 

Maybe you're comfortable where you are. It is predictable and safe in terms of your life not facing upheavals, and it's not hurting anyone.

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I can relate in a way.  It took about three years to fully deconvert and break free from those kind of habits.   I still have a habit of going over my day each night before I fall asleep... I think of good things that happened, things I could better, things I need to do the next day.   I have also replaced prayer with meditation.  You might try something like that and see if it helps.   Don't be too hard on yourself, deconversion is a process.. .and whoever said this is a normal, natural thing is right.   Not everyone clings unwillingly to certain habits, but a lot of us did.   It takes a while to get rid of old perspectives and memes and it just takes times and a conscious effort to consciously talk yourself into reason whenever your brain naturally goes to thoughts like that.

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IMO "I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs" is already quite deconverted.

Besides, if there's still some baby left in the broth, makes no sense to just pour it away.

 

But yeah, I sorta feel the same way. Dunno if it's personality or conditioning. Maybe it is. Maybe it is something else entirely...

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IMO "I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs" is already quite deconverted.

Besides, if there's still some baby left in the broth, makes no sense to just pour it away.

 

But yeah, I sorta feel the same way. Dunno if it's personality or conditioning. Maybe it is. Maybe it is something else entirely...

 

That's how I used to feel about it.  I called myself an atheist and didn't pray much over a 20 year period, but mostly it was a result of searching for God and not finding Him.  Apparently I had psychosis a few years ago, but I thought the hallucinations were spiritual guidance.  So I became very religious for a couple of years.

 

It just seems like my mind is cluttered with too many crazy ideas and it's time for some housekeeping :)

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Faith is based on a belief that, whatever supports that faith, is factually true. In most cases that's the bible. There are literally libraries of authenticated scholarly research that absolutely confirms beyond any reasonable doubt that the bible is not literally, factually, or historically true. It's a collection of myths, legends, folklore and Jewish midrash (a Jewish tradition that takes OT stories and rewrites them) Dr. Robert M. Price believes the gospels are Midrash. He presents his case in his book The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man. I would also recommend his book The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems.

 

 

IMO, the key to experiencing a successful de-conversion is education. It is a must, IMO, to replace superstitious beliefs with truth.

 

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  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

 

 The Jesus Prayer eh? You have an Eastern Orthodox background perhance?  That can be a bit different to let go of that other branches.

 Someone in here made the wise statement that there is no imperative to let go and get out in a great hurry. Work things through in your time.

 

Yep, but I only had a couple of years exposure to Orthodoxy.  Unfortunately I was messed-up psychologically at the time, so I was a bit silly about it.

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I'm beginning to think I'm never going to be free of Christian beliefs.  I wonder if there are some personality types that simply can't yield to reason.  I've had over 20 years to make progress, and the best I can achieve is a watered-down, apathetic Christianity.

 

Anybody else feel that way?

If I may ask, what is it about Christianity that you cannot let go of?  What is it that keeps drawing you back? 

 

It takes a good amount of time to detach yourself from it and I'm not sure it can be done completely. 

 

Thanks, CautiouslyAgnostic and LifeCycle.  It's like my brain has multiple programs depending on my mood.  Like if I'm laying on my back with my cat kneading my stomach I might thank God for giving me such a nice cat.  Also I like to pray bless so and so ...  Other times I pray the Jesus Prayer without thinking.  I don't believe in the hell and salvation part of Christianity, so that isn't my problem.  It's more like worry about disappointing God.  All the evidence shows Christianity is just a crazy religion, but I can't seem to give it up entirely.

 

Well, those are behaviors you just need to make a conscience effort to break.  I mean, if they bother you that is.  I had to remind myself to not pray each night before bed... Sometimes I would pray, "God, you're not real so you're not listening so fuck you, I'm tired."  I usually said something like that until the time came that I didn't remind myself to pray each night.

 

Pray to things you know exist... The universe exists... Thank it for giving you life.  Thank the clouds for accenting an already beautiful blue sky.  Thank trees for their wind-induced hymns on a warm summer day.  No harm in that.  They may not have ears to hear, but at least they're real. smile.png

 

Thanks, LifeCycle, I went for a walk and tried your idea about mentally thanking the sky, the birds, the wind, family, friends, etc. and I think that is better than thanking God for those things or asking God to bless those people.  It makes me a feel a little bit more connected to things and thankful for living.  I ate supper and thanked my biscuits for being so tasty.

 

That's Excellent!!!  happydance.gif

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Define housecleaning. What do you mean?

 

There are some people that seem to be able to use their reasoning skills to select an explanation (such as atheism) and move on to the next question without looking back.  I'm the exact opposite of that.  I need to clear some of these ridiculous theories out of my brain so they won't be confusing me.  I have quite an accumulation.

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Yep, but I only had a couple of years exposure to Orthodoxy.  Unfortunately I was messed-up psychologically at the time, so I was a bit silly about it.

 

Important factor here. Orthodoxy is much deeper, more mystical, and in odd ways more thorough and even rational than other branches of christianity. It has both western and eastern elements to it and is quite holistic in its approach to things. That's why it has physical aspects (fasting, prostrations, crossing...) and well as mental/spiritual ones (chanting, praying, Jesus prayer...). It gets into you more thoroughly and is harder to get out of.

Combine that with your personality (the need for housecleaning as you describe it, rather than just rationally selecting an explanation) and you've got something like a deep, intractable infection.

The treatment is akin to long-term antibiotics, proper diet, clean air and exercise, vitamin supplements, and regular checkups. Or looked at differently, it's a bit like cult deprogramming. You must identify the religious programming parts of your thinking, establish counterprograms, and then work at implementing the counter programs over time. It's not an overnight process by any means.

You've made progress already. Just keep going.

The Jesus Prayer is probably one of the hardest to replace. It's a mantra designed to get you out of yourself and your immediate situation and into a neutral zone to find peace. In that function, it's actually very useful. Buddhists have something like it. If you can design a different mantra fine. I never did replace it myself; never tried. It just faded over the years. It never comes up anymore.

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I have an only slightly-unrelated-to-the-topic-at-hand question for you, directionless.

What was it about being psychologically vulnerable to which you attribute your descent into religiosity?

 

Was it the hallucinations? Was it full-blown psychosis? Did you just suddenly KNOW?
What was it that drew you to belief while you were (for lack of a better word) crazy?

 

Part of the reason I ask is because my ex, during her descent into paranoid delusion and schizophrenia, became... almost overnight... much more religious. She was consistently apathetic about any sort of spirituality for the 17 years I was with her and then, within a couple of weeks of her psychotic break, she thought demons were controlling me, was calling churches asking for exorcisms to get rid of the 'devils' infesting our house, believed STRONGLY in the divinity and historicity of Jesus, and other trappings of religion, but without the background that I had (she was brought up in an atheist household, so everything she knew about religion, she learned from me ranting about it). 
 

Are you on anti-psychotics? If so, perhaps a change in dosage would result in a paradigm shift in your belief structure?

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