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Enlightened

A Journey Of Reason - My Deconversion Story

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That would make a series of great blog posts! I must confess that I've only read about half of it.

 

This point you made is important: "No one was praying for 'a few extra days'!"

 

There is a man at our former church who was very faithful, very generous. He was also pretty stupid, because when the doctor told him his diabetes was out of control, he refused to change his eating habits. Okay, maybe he wasn't stupid, maybe he just didn't care how much longer he would live.

 

He became very ill and almost died. Righteous people prayed and prayed that he would get well, nit just at our local church, but literally all over the country because he is very well known.

 

He didn't die, but he's confined to a wheelchair and has dialysis 3 times each week, so even thugh he loves to travel, he will never again be able to go anywhere for more than 2 days.

 

He didn't die, but he didn't come close to getting well. Nobody prayed that he wouldn't die, they prayed that he would get well! The bible very explicitly says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, and that we should pray for sick people and they will get well.

 

It simply isn't true. People who are expected to die may instead live, but they almost never get well, they simply survive. There really ought to be no believers based simply on this clear falsehood in the bible.

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Enlightened, this is an excellent, excellent piece of writing.  I love the quotes you chose between sections, and with every section I was nodding and thinking of how I could think of other examples to add to what you wrote.  You brought everything together so rationally.

 

I will be reading this post again and again.  It makes truly excellent points.  

 

Please write more!  I for one will be very happy to read more of what you have to say.

 

The only thing I'll add is to agree that I believe that this one life we get is wonderful and we should appreciate every day here.  I agree that morality doesn't come from god or religion, but it comes from our empathetic selves towards other humans and animals.  Even when I was a xian, I never understood when people put down this life (especially when I occasionally heard people say "I hate this life, but I know it will be good in heaven") in hopes of gaining some eternal reward.  I always thought that if I were god, I would want people to experience being a person with senses and to enjoy everything there was on earth and to enjoy those senses fully.  If I had made all of this, and I had made conscious beings that could appreciate it, I would WANT them to appreciate it.  The wonderful tastes of all the food and drinks, the smell of the wet earth in the spring and the smell of the wind over the ocean waves, the feeling of a baby in our arms or a lover under the blankets on a cold night, the sound of wind through leaves or the beautiful sounds we can create with music, the awe we feel when we see a beautiful sunset or waterfall, or heck, a really good-looking stranger we see running along a beach.  We are sensual beings with senses, and I can think of nothing more worth living for than after a long day at work, to spend an evening talking with a dear friend, feeling warm and tipsy from a few gin and tonics, relaxing outside and watching the sun going down over mountains, feeling the breeze against my face, enjoying the smell from the barbecue, eating and kissing and caressing  and talking, then making sweet, sweet love until there's nothing left to do but fall asleep entwined together.

 

If we are lucky enough to live in a place and time where we can enjoy an evening like the one above (or any other pleasant past-times that you enjoy), then we should fully enjoy it.  Not complain about sinful natures and the evils of the flesh and the world.  Look, if we're not enslaved or struggling to survive in refugee camps or living under some type of torture (and I'm assuming most of us on this site are not), then to me it's a waste of our freedom to spend time complaining about that very wonderful freedom we should cherish.  When I was a xian I believed that, when I was an agnostic I believed that, and as an atheist I believe that.

 

Good luck with your family!  And please continue writing!

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"This point you made is important: 'No one was praying for 'a few extra days'!" MisterTwo

 

Indeed, "a few extra days" of watching the poor girl dying is hardly what I would call an answer to

prayer either for the girl or her family or friends. Rationalization is what apologists do to perpetuate the

fraud. They make me sick. bill

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Excellent post.  More than excellent.

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Thank you sooooooooo much for sharing your deconversion  story . I feel renewed after reading this !

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Wow. This. Is. Amazing.

 

THANK YOU for sharing this with us. I've put it in my "favorites" folder.

 

There is so much in here that I want to applaud and highlight. There is so much to which I can relate in my own journey within and out of Christianity!!

 

I am reminded of the saying "The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off."

 

I hope you write more!!

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welcome to ex-C enlightened.

 

great reading.......

 

i do love this section you wrote

 

"As a father, I would never inflict such mental abuse on my own child, so why do we not only accept such treatment from our ‘heavenly father’, but praise him for it? All the suffering through the millennia. It was the same thing over and over, just done in different ways: convincing humans that they needed to be ‘saved’, and promising all the answers (with eternal consequences, of course). And so I left. I had no choice. I wasn’t ready to tell anybody about my experiences just yet, and I didn’t want to create any issues, so I gave an excuse about the church not being child-friendly (which, in fairness, was an issue for my family) and well, that was the end of church."

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That would make a series of great blog posts! I must confess that I've only read about half of it.

 

:-) Would you believe this is the cut-down version? And even the original longer version didn't cover many of the topics I would have liked to spend more time on (e.g. morality, science, more on philosophy, more on history, etc.).

 

 

This point you made is important: "No one was praying for 'a few extra days'!"

 

There is a man at our former church who was very faithful, very generous. He was also pretty stupid, because when the doctor told him his diabetes was out of control, he refused to change his eating habits. Okay, maybe he wasn't stupid, maybe he just didn't care how much longer he would live.

 

He became very ill and almost died. Righteous people prayed and prayed that he would get well, nit just at our local church, but literally all over the country because he is very well known.

 

He didn't die, but he's confined to a wheelchair and has dialysis 3 times each week, so even thugh he loves to travel, he will never again be able to go anywhere for more than 2 days.

 

He didn't die, but he didn't come close to getting well. Nobody prayed that he wouldn't die, they prayed that he would get well! The bible very explicitly says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, and that we should pray for sick people and they will get well.

 

It simply isn't true. People who are expected to die may instead live, but they almost never get well, they simply survive. There really ought to be no believers based simply on this clear falsehood in the bible.

 

That's very sad. There must be thousands (millions?) of stories like this from churches all around the world. The saddest of all to me are the stories of very sick children who just needed some run-of-the-mill medical treatment to get better, but whose pious faithful parents decided prayer was the only antidote necessary. Their futures taken away for no good reason!

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Please write more!  I for one will be very happy to read more of what you have to say.

 

 

Thank you so much for your encouragement. Maybe I will!

 

 

The only thing I'll add is to agree that I believe that this one life we get is wonderful and we should appreciate every day here.  I agree that morality doesn't come from god or religion, but it comes from our empathetic selves towards other humans and animals.  Even when I was a xian, I never understood when people put down this life (especially when I occasionally heard people say "I hate this life, but I know it will be good in heaven") in hopes of gaining some eternal reward.  I always thought that if I were god, I would want people to experience being a person with senses and to enjoy everything there was on earth and to enjoy those senses fully.  If I had made all of this, and I had made conscious beings that could appreciate it, I would WANT them to appreciate it.  The wonderful tastes of all the food and drinks, the smell of the wet earth in the spring and the smell of the wind over the ocean waves, the feeling of a baby in our arms or a lover under the blankets on a cold night, the sound of wind through leaves or the beautiful sounds we can create with music, the awe we feel when we see a beautiful sunset or waterfall, or heck, a really good-looking stranger we see running along a beach.  We are sensual beings with senses, and I can think of nothing more worth living for than after a long day at work, to spend an evening talking with a dear friend, feeling warm and tipsy from a few gin and tonics, relaxing outside and watching the sun going down over mountains, feeling the breeze against my face, enjoying the smell from the barbecue, eating and kissing and caressing  and talking, then making sweet, sweet love until there's nothing left to do but fall asleep entwined together.

 

 

Wow, love it! You put that much better than I could. It's so obvious, right? This life can be amazing! It's all about appreciation. So sad that Christianity and many other religions try to take away from that.

 

Another topic I've read up on is the philosophy of happiness, and how success in life follows happiness (as opposed to the modern material notion that happiness follows success). One of the strongest, most reliable ways to induce happiness in oneself is simply to help someone else be happy. This works – any time I felt I have been able to make a positive difference in somebody else's life it has felt euphoric. Imagine a world where this was shared by all as one of the most important "doctrines". Everybody helping everybody, and all loving and appreciating life. This world could be awesome! And all it would take is one generation of parents not filling their children's heads with unnecessary, life-reducing, division-creating dogma.

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Standing o for you!

 

Excellent post. 

 

Thank you sooooooooo much for sharing your deconversion story. I feel renewed after reading this !

 

THANK YOU for sharing this with us.

 

Thanks for the kind words everybody!

 

I didn't mention it in my story, but I've read a lot of testimonies on this website over the past year. Many of them have been very helpful to me (or 'renewing', as rain excellently put it!) and I'm really happy to know my story can have a similar effect on others.

 

Big hugs and high fives to you all.

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Welcome Enlightened.

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I’ve read many deconversion stories, and I know mine isn’t perhaps as entertaining or emotionally connecting as others. But I wanted to share it anyway.

Are you kidding?  I was totally riveted!  You are an excellent writer, clearly well-read, and I just loved the quotes you picked out to weave into the narrative.

 

Welcome!  I am so glad to have you here with us on this site.

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Thank you for the absolutely incredible story of your deconversion.

 

I have never read such a complete and clear, and extremely well-written testimony like this.

 

amazing!

 

and welcome!

 

This should be on the front page

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Thank you for the absolutely incredible story of your deconversion.

 

I have never read such a complete and clear, and extremely well-written testimony like this.

 

amazing!

 

and welcome!

 

This should be on the front page

 

I second that.

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Holy cow!  Enlightened, I think you outdid all of us with this... book!  I read ALL of it, could not stop.  I jotted down my favorite lines, here they are:

"I was livid. People were praying for healing! For saving! We invested ourselves! We cried out! No one was praying for “a few extra days”! If this was God’s will no matter what we prayed, then what was the point in praying at all? Am I the only one angry about this?!"

"Why is Paul’s word the Word of God?"

"Christian history is horrible! Lots of people doing lots of very bad and idiotic things in the name of God. To say I was shocked would be an understatement."

"Would you acquit a murderer of his crimes just because he also happened to feed some homeless people?"

"If Christianity had its way, you can be sure we’d all still be living in the dark ages."

"If God created us, then surely our inherent ‘failure’ is his fault anyway, right?"

"It’s very difficult to imagine that the creator of mankind puts higher priority on helping white kids pass their driving tests than he does in intervening as a child is raped for the hundredth time."

"The truth is amazing!"

 

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Wow guys thank you so much for your encouragement and kindness!

 

Given that my journey was mostly about knowledge, one thing I perhaps could have included at the end is my reading list over the past 12 months. And so, here goes (these are in a very rough order – there was a lot of overlap between my audiobooks and paper books, and sometimes I would stop one book to read another, and return back to it later – you know how it is!):

  • The Bible – NSRV
  • A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years – Diarmaid MacCulloch
  • Misquoting Jesus – Bart Ehrman
  • The Bible – Karen Armstrong
  • Forged – Bart Ehrman
  • Lost Christianities – Bart Ehrman
  • Lost Scriptures – Bart Ehrman
  • Jesus Interrupted – Bart Ehrman
  • A History of God – Karen Armstrong
  • The Bible Unearthed – Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman
  • The Rejection of Pascal’s Wager – Paul Tobin
  • From Jesus to Christianity – L.Michael White
  • Scripting Jesus – L.Michael White
  • The Believing Brain – Michael Shermer
  • The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
  • God’s Problem – Bart Ehrman
  • Did Jesus Exist? – Bart Ehrman
  • The Lost Gospel of Judas Escariot – Bart Ehrman
  • Godless – Dan Barker
  • Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris
  • God Is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens
  • The End of Faith – Sam Harris
  • The Portable Atheist – Christopher Hitchens
  • Infidel – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • Breaking the Spell – Daniel Dennett
  • The Belief Instinct – Jesse Bering
  • The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
  • The Moral Landscape – Sam Harris
  • Why Darwin Matters – Michael Shermer
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
These weren’t all mentioned in my story as I wanted to pick out the ones that I felt had the biggest impact on me at the time, and try and keep it concise. Many of these books are quite similar to others anyway (which I actually found to be a good thing – I like to hear evidence and conclusions from more than one author).

 

I still have many more books on my ‘to read’ list, and I’m excited about them all.

 

One of the best things about being free of religion is that I can change my mind whenever I please. It’s liberating. While I’ve encountered more than enough evidence and reason to allay any worry of falling back into religion, I am more than willing to admit that my other philosophical outlooks may change or be refined as time goes on – I’m well up for it! To add another quote:

 

“You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind.” – Timothy Leary

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Great to see you on here, Enlightened!  

 

You say you're not out yet to your family.  Have you come across Christians who say that you misinterpreted the Bible and failed to trace doctrines throughout the Bible (I am hearing Thumbelina saying this), or that you weren't a real Christian?

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Wow. This. Is. Amazing.

 

THANK YOU for sharing this with us. I've put it in my "favorites" folder.

 

There is so much in here that I want to applaud and highlight. There is so much to which I can relate in my own journey within and out of Christianity!!

 

I am reminded of the saying "The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off."

 

I hope you write more!!

 

'Ditto' Positivist!! It's now in my favorites.

 

Welcome Enlightened! And thank you for taking the time to write out your 'deconverting' story. Beautifully written!!  You really should turn this into a book. I for one can relate to this whole story. I love the stories so much because I never feel alone when I read them. I really thought I was the only one who questioned the Christian god when I joined Ex-c. Thanks so much for helping me out in my journey and many good wishes  for you in your new up coming adventure. So glad to have you here with us at Ex-c!!

 

Sincerely, Margee

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Great to see you on here, Enlightened!  

 

You say you're not out yet to your family.  Have you come across Christians who say that you misinterpreted the Bible and failed to trace doctrines throughout the Bible (I am hearing Thumbelina saying this), or that you weren't a real Christian?

 

 

Hi ficino!

 

No, I have not yet had any kind of discussion about it with any Christians at all. I have not had to defend my conclusions nor argue my case. I have read several such discourses on the internet and have watched many debates on YouTube (as well as things like Dillahunty's Atheist Experience), so I'm definitely aware of many of the Christian accusations and rebuttals (like those you give examples of). It seems like an extremely frustrating conversation to have. Scott D. Weitzenhoffer's 'pigeon chess' comparison is a good sum up:

 

“Debating [Christians] on the topic of [insert here] is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

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Welcome Enlightened! And thank you for taking the time to write out your 'deconverting' story. Beautifully written!!  You really should turn this into a book. I for one can relate to this whole story. I love the stories so much because I never feel alone when I read them. I really thought I was the only one who questioned the Christian god when I joined Ex-c. Thanks so much for helping me out in my journey and many good wishes  for you in your new up coming adventure. So glad to have you here with us at Ex-c!!

 

Thanks, Margee! Glad to be here!

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“Debating [Christians] on the topic of [insert here] is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”

LOL!  Hilarious.  This is very accurate too!  I actually play chess as a hobby, and this had me cracking up, as both a chess-player and an ex-christian, this really hit a chord.

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Wow!  What a great article.  Thanks for posting this.  You certainly did your homework and give so many great points.  There are many that I can relate but the one that really stood out most was:

And now we have a plethora of denominations of Christianity, from liberal to fundamentalist, all finding their own unique way to reconcile their own wishes against scripture. It turns out there isn’t a single doctrine of Christianity that hasn’t been contested by at least one denomination or another.

 

 In my journey I moved around a bit in different denominations.  Some even calling other one's I went to cults.  It drove me crazy.  How can we all call ourselves Christians but have a completely different idea of who/what god is and what the Bible says?  For a while I tried to find the place I most agreed with but I kept changing my theology as I ran into disappointment and god did not react in the way I thought he should.  So eventually rather than trying to find the "right" group I realized that the most logical answer is that they are all wrong.  Well, that was just one of the many bullet points which all added up to my deconversion.  The biggest thing was that I always valued honesty and after I started researching I could no longer honestly believe. 

 

But thanks again for sharing this.  I agree with a comment shared earlier that this should be a front page submission.  You are a great writer.  Welcome!

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