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Who deconverted you?

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MOHO on another thread stated "I have had zero success in deconverting anyone".

 

This prompted me to ask everyone here this:  Who deconverted you? 

 

I ask this as a lot of us here are pained daily due to folks we care about being under religious delusion, and our natural desire to "fix" this somehow.  My guess is the vast majority of answers to my inquiry will be "myself"....and hence points to the futility of even attempting  making a major attempt to deconvert anyone.   But, maybe I will find my hypothesis to be wrong.  

 

So, everyone, who deconverted you?

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Me. 

 

Betting the same is true of most here. 

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I was never really "totally converted" to begin with  -- always had my doubts! So, I will say "myself", just like you suspected that a lot of us would. 

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It all came together for me while attending a class on Revelation at Moody; obviously nobody there was trying to talk me out of believing in Christianity. Nobody can be talked out of a deeply held, even though unfounded, belief because they must realize these things on their own.

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Attempting to deconvert a true believer, especially a fundamentalists, is a fools errand. I don't believe there is such a thing as a reverse "Come To Jesus Moment." I think it is generally recognized that until doubt sets in information bias will prevent a true believer from even listening to anything that challenges their faith. They simply tune arguments like that out. You end up essentially talking to a brick wall and expecting the wall to listen. 

 

I think it is generally realized that until the believer develops doubt on their own the intense indoctrination they have been subjected to prevents them from even hearing arguments that challenge their beliefs.However, once a believer develops doubt, their mind is suddenly receptive to consider information they would normally reject. At that point most of them actually begin to seek new information and they also begin to criticize things they once believed. 

 

Once they begin to seek information on their own it is usually just a matter of time until they accumulate sufficient evidence to convince them their faith was not supported by evidence and that their religion was based on myths, legends, folklore, & intentional misrepresentations and fraud. The last stage is probably the realization their former faith was the product of intense indoctrination and peer pressure. 

 

I have learned not to waste my time trying to convert a true believer. 

 

And to answer the OP's question. I developed doubt and that led me to studying and researching the historical origins and evolution of both the bible and the christian faith. And that led me to leaving the faith. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Vigile said:

Me. 

 

Betting the same is true of most here. 

 

Ditto

 

I had doubts about the reliability of the bible, came across some info, researched A LOT.... here I am.

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My therapist pointed me in the right direction, however there was already some degree of cognitive dissonance I was living with. I have yet to write and send a thank you letter but he deserves one. 

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My own damn common sense, it would seem. I was hardly "fully converted" in the first place. My stint in Christianity was a two year college phase. Realizing how hard it was to reconcile the fantasy with what I knew to be reality. None of it fits together. Fuck prayer. Try telling that to someone indoctrinated from childhood though. Thank goodness that wasn't my situation. Sheer dumb luck.

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I also was the agent for my own deconversion.

 

I had some help, however.  From Christians who couldn't stop themselves talking unacceptable nonsense.

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2 minutes ago, Ellinas said:

I had some help, however.  From Christians who couldn't stop themselves talking unacceptable nonsense.

 

Actually, yes, this is a factor for me also. I sometimes wonder that if my church wasn't fundamental and denied reality would I have left?

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The same thought has occurred to me on occasion,

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Further clarification: Richard Dawkins gets the credit, I was only pointed in the right direction. I remember reading the God Delusion and thinking this guy is bloody brilliant, and what if I had never come across him? I think it says a lot about the power of indoctrination that Christians will simply disregard evidence to the contrary, they will only seek it out when they've been pushed far enough and are in enough turmoil to seek answers.

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5 hours ago, Vigile said:

Me. 

 

Betting the same is true of most here. 

 

Same here. Not by choice, but it was my own studying of the Bible that reluctantly opened my eyes.

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I just read the Bible and slowly deconverted from there.  It helped that I read the New Testament first, then saw how much the Old Testament God differed from Jesus' teachings.  I don't know if I would have connected those dots if I read it through from beginning to end.  Spending hours on the internet and lurking around atheist forums helped too.

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35 minutes ago, 1989 said:

I just read the Bible and slowly deconverted from there.  It helped that I read the New Testament first, then saw how much the Old Testament God differed from Jesus' teachings.  I don't know if I would have connected those dots if I read it through from beginning to end.  Spending hours on the internet and lurking around atheist forums helped too.

Yeah that too. I have my time as Sunday school teacher to thank for helping the process along. 

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4 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Actually, yes, this is a factor for me also. I sometimes wonder that if my church wasn't fundamental and denied reality would I have left?

Good point, I've never considered this. Perhaps there's something to be thankful for after all in regards to the sheer amount of crazy.

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7 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Good point, I've never considered this. Perhaps there's something to be thankful for after all in regards to the sheer amount of crazy.

 

Yep :D

 

Needed something to trigger us.

 

On the other hand with our minds would we have exited our teen years still believing if the fear of hell and massive fundie indoctrination wasn't there to hold us back?

 

See I think had I not been afraid to question early on, then I think I would have pointed out the pointlessness of the Genesis story as it relates to Jesus if it wasn't literal.

 

I still cannot figure out how Christians reconcile a non literal Genesis with a literal Jesus considering the teaching of how sin came to the world and why Jesus needed to die for us. Its a paradox or an oxymoron... or something of that nature.

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I'm not quite sure "who" deconverted me.  It was so long ago (pre-teen into early teens), it was a slow process that I was not very aware of at the time, and I suspect there were many events, experiences, thoughts, questions and people who likely had an influence, large or small, on my deconversion. 

 

Actually, I think I was never fully pulled into the particular religious dogma to which I was exposed (a fairly tame Episcopal sect).  Of course, I pretended and did what was expected from my parents and other trusted adults.  But the content of the dogma never really took hold.  In the meantime, I developed a keen interest in science (astronomy, archeology and biology), history (European and Asian) and several other mundane subjects/endeavors (e.g., reading, music, nature, old movies).  And so, it is not surprising that I rejected religion and preferred reality.

 

It was not until I was an adult that I could identify and describe this.

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27 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Yep :D

 

Needed something to trigger us.

 

On the other hand with our minds would we have exited our teen years still believing if the fear of hell and massive fundie indoctrination wasn't there to hold us back?

 

See I think had I not been afraid to question early on, then I think I would have pointed out the pointlessness of the Genesis story as it relates to Jesus if it wasn't literal.

 

I still cannot figure out how Christians reconcile a non literal Genesis with a literal Jesus considering the teaching of how sin came to the world and why Jesus needed to die for us. Its a paradox or an oxymoron... or something of that nature.

Better to be a firm athiest than to be a lukewarm believer imo, who goes to church for all the tradition etc and hasn't really thought it through. I think I may have remained one of those lukewarm believers if that had been the case, I know several of them who still appear to be, and it's probably because their church didn't preach so much about the fire of hell as all the lovey dovey God loves you. Then again, any thinking logical person stands a good chance of questioning once other factors, such as family pressure and people pleasing (a huge one for me) are not so important.

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The spirit. (Spirit of Thomas)

Doubt opened my eyes to the errancy (finally!).  Evidence of errancy validated the doubt.

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

Better to be a firm athiest than to be a lukewarm believer imo, who goes to church for all the tradition etc and hasn't really thought it through. I think I may have remained one of those lukewarm believers if that had been the case, I know several of them who still appear to be, and it's probably because their church didn't preach so much about the fire of hell as all the lovey dovey God loves you. Then again, any thinking logical person stands a good chance of questioning once other factors, such as family pressure and people pleasing (a huge one for me) are not so important.

 

From what I have observed over the years, although not from my own personal experience, religious peer pressure is the largest and most forceful impediment to deconversion.  Of course, the intellectual aspect of deconversion, which is an internal and personal journey, has to occur first and before the peer pressure aspect arises. 

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I really believe that like most major life transitions,  the change has to come from within.  

 

But I do credit some fundamentalist wack-job with a ridiculous and hypocritical website for being the last straw before I decided it was all too absurd to be true.  

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I always had way too many questions for the pastor and the church. Their answers never truly satisfied me. Mostly they had to do with why god would allow so much suffering on the earth. I could never understand why a god who had so much power could design the earth and its people the way he did? I always thought his plan was so stupid and that I could have done a better job. (I used to tell him this too!!)

 

So finally, my sisters' death and 9/11 was pretty much the last straw for me. I remember the day I watched those towers go down and I said to myself, ''There is no god'' and my heart sank as low as it could go.  I really started researching after these 2 events as I continued to go to church.(and pretend) But my heart wasn't into it anymore. Every time I lifted my hands up, deep inside I knew I was lifting them up to nothing.

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2 hours ago, Margee said:

Every time I lifted my hands up, deep inside I knew I was lifting them up to nothing.

Yup. You can only pray for so long and get nothing but more shit to deal with before you conclude that either you are one shit of a person who deserves all of it, that god is trying to teach you something or test your faith, or that there is no god. For a long time I believed the former and it did a lot of damage. It takes quite awhile to undo that damage. 

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