TinMan

The Difficulty of Full Deconversion

Recommended Posts

Thank you for your support
Buy Ex-C a cup of coffee!
Costs have significantly risen and we need your support! Click the coffee cup to give a one-time donation, or choose one of the recurrent patron options.
Note: All Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

Well said Tin Man! I believe your post can definitely help someone.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post, TinMan!  You have expressed very well what many of us have experienced. I’m sure this post will be helpful and encouraging to others. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Well done, @TinMan!

 

Tinman wrote:

" I realized that other people do not have the answers. They do not know the Bible, God's heart, or whatever else they are attempting to claim; "

 

That was a biggie for me too. Especially when one of them was the lead pastor at Mrs. MOHO's church. I asked questions he'd heard before and some he had not. In either case it was the same. "You have to just BELIEVE!"

 

The worst part was when he began to deride my understand of the Bible and even my ability to comprehend the written word...ANY word...in Any book. FUCKER!

 

"The process of leaving religion starts with losing fear"

Spot on!

 

Now, if only I could induce such fear losing in Mrs. MOHO. Life would be much better in deed!

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best written testimony I've read so far. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@MOHO

 

"The worst part was when he began to deride my understand of the Bible and even my ability to comprehend the written word...ANY word...in Any book."

 

If I had to guess, out of the other side of his mouth he would say how humble he was.

 

"Now, if only I could induce such fear losing in Mrs. MOHO. Life would be much better in deed!"

 

This, this is the tricky part. Who knows how many different aspects of Mrs. MOHO's worldview are tied to her religious beliefs, probably all of them. Asking someone to see the world completely different is terrifying for people, and everyone is different in how they will begin this process, if they will ever even do it. I forget who said it, perhaps it was David Fitzgerald, but he stated people often enter religion because they had an emotional experience, and it takes an emotional experience for them to leave. Essentially, for whatever reason they got into the gig, it takes the same kind of reason to get out. This was true for me. I got in out of fear, and I left because I was exhausted with it. I was worn out trying to figure it out and it was causing me psychological, and emotional, damage. The critical analysis and the reasoning just helped move me along. Along the process, I still had to keep overcoming fears. My fear of hell shifted to a fear of death. Not only for myself, but for those I love. I used to get anxiety over the idea I was going to never see my son again when one of us died. Eventually I worked through it, or rather, I just came to accept it. I just realized that is how it is and being afraid of death or having anxiety over it was just making me miserable in the short term. Acceptance does not mean I am excited about it, but it gave me peace about it. Trying to put my thoughts to words I would say this, knowing death is a reality made me better able to deal with it. When I know what is true, when I have true knowledge of something, I can then decide if this is something I can change, or if it is something I cannot change, and it is merely part of the reality we live in. If I cannot change it, then I must accept it for my own sanity's sake.

 

Christianity never offered real knowledge, never the ability to pin down something as absolute truth...it was merely possibly true. My mind does not work with "possibly true." I like evidence, I like standing on firm ground. Taking something on faith just did not work for me anymore, and I cannot go back. If somehow we could absolutely know there is a divine being and we know what he wants, then I would be inclined to give it a fair evaluation to decide if I agree with what said being is doing. That to me is an informed choice, not this pseudo-choice religious people say we have. A real choice is when you KNOW what is at stake and you go one way or the other.

 

Always appreciate your comments!

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, TinMan! Former fundamentalist Calvinist here! Man, do I look back and marvel at the fear and confusion I lived through as a Christian. They talk a lot about avoiding hell but they do their best to create it right there for themselves, in my opinion. 

 

It's interesting to hear you had to tackle your fear of death after your deconversion. In my case the idea of a mortal, finite life almost seemed a relief after many years of absolutely fearing a horrifying eternity (either you're stuck in the clouds praising an aetherial tyrant while watching your friends and family burn in hell, or you burn in hell yourself, forever and ever). Maybe I read too much eastern philosophy but I'm not *entirely* convinced that consciousness ends when I die, but I'm not attached enough to that belief to argue for it or to try to persuade anyone. Whatever works for you! Adjusting your reality paradigm is rough regardless of where you come from!

 

Anyways, I loved your testimony and welcome here!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

It's interesting to hear you had to tackle your fear of death after your deconversion.

 

@DestinyTurtle

 

I found that everything always has so many aspects to it. While I did find it comforting that people were probably not going to spend eternity frying, I had also tied a lot of notions to eternity. For a long time, I liked the idea that my efforts on earth would have an eternal ripple effect. In my mind, anything you did, good or bad, had an eternal effect because God was judging your actions. Then you would be rewarded for all your good deeds, and you could enjoy these rewards for eternity (Just typing that last sentence out and reading it makes it sound ridiculous). When I stopped believing in eternity, I no longer had this pet idea my good deeds would have an eternal consequence, and that really bugged me. Anything I did was temporary and it just did not sit well with me. Over time, this disappointment dissipated, and it still is. It was just difficult for me to let go of this notion that I could reap the rewards of my Christian duty forever.

 

Another was that I would never be able to see my family again, especially my boy. There are times when him and I are hanging out (he is three) and I think to myself that this is all we have, and it could be taken away in an instant. I hear stories all the time about children getting diseases, choking, you get the idea - and then passing on. Absolutely sends a shiver down my spine. I would be devastated if I could no longer give him a hug, or carry him to bed, or answer his multiple annoying questions. That being said, that is just the reality we live in. On the flip side, we take a lot for granted when it comes to religious beliefs. If any one religion was true, who is to say you would see your family in the next life or get to experience anything I just mentioned? There is none, people just take it on faith and they hope it is true.

 

Even now, there are times where I still struggle with dying. It just hits me sometimes. What I believe is happening is a "religious hangover." I got so used to this idea of living forever that I get a foul taste in my mouth that I might only get one life to live; but, the deconversion experience is all about re-framing how to view the world. It is all about coming to terms with reality and understanding that is just how it is. Easier said than done for the most part.

 

I too have wondered if our consciousness might continue on somehow. Make no mistake, I recognize we do not know or understand a lot about our universe. I would categorize myself as a functional atheist. It really means I am not willing to take a leap of faith or engage in wishful thinking just because I do not like where the evidence may be leading. If new evidence is provided that would demonstrate some kind of continuous consciousness, then by all means, I am willing to change my thoughts and accept this new evidence. I am not dogmatic about agnosticism or atheism. It is simply where I am because of all the religions posited, I do not think they measure up to scrutiny. Human reasoning and the scientific method, while limited, are pretty dang good at weeding out nonsense; but as I said, they are limited. Heck, the ability of the human mind to grasp some concepts is limited. Consider this, how has matter always just been here? How does that happen - I cannot wrap my mind around it. What if time did not exist until the universe started, what does that even mean? It is just beyond me to understand it. Even if you want to tie these notions to a god, the same questions apply. It is a level of thinking and understanding I am unable to do.

 

It would be interesting if our consciousness lived on somehow, but hopefully it does not suck. That is one thing I did consider, at least if you die and there is nothing more, you are saved from an eternity of boredom. We always have such high hopes that the afterlife is this grand experience, but what if it is not. What if your consciousness goes on, but you are completely depressed because you no longer have your human meat bag to carry around and do stuff - you could be a prisoner of your own thoughts forever....that would be really lame.

 

In this moment, I think my only lingering fear of death is that I go before I am ready - but even if that happens, well, it is just part of the reality we live in.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TinMan said:

Another was that I would never be able to see my family again, especially my boy. There are times when him and I are hanging out (he is three) and I think to myself that this is all we have, and it could be taken away in an instant. I hear stories all the time about children getting diseases, choking, you get the idea - and then passing on. Absolutely sends a shiver down my spine. I would be devastated if I could no longer give him a hug, or carry him to bed, or answer his multiple annoying questions. That being said, that is just the reality we live in. On the flip side, we take a lot for granted when it comes to religious beliefs. If any one religion was true, who is to say you would see your family in the next life or get to experience anything I just mentioned? There is none, people just take it on faith and they hope it is true.

I think the only practical takeaway point is that if it's true that your time with your loved one is finite, then all the more reason to cherish it and appreciate the precious moments for all that it's worth. This should be true regardless of whether or not there is an after life, but sadly I think people often get distracted by eternal concepts and what is beautiful in life that is right in front of them slips away from them...

 

Quote

Heck, the ability of the human mind to grasp some concepts is limited. Consider this, how has matter always just been here? How does that happen - I cannot wrap my mind around it. What if time did not exist until the universe started, what does that even mean? It is just beyond me to understand it. Even if you want to tie these notions to a god, the same questions apply. It is a level of thinking and understanding I am unable to do.

Tell me about it. The more you know the more you realize how little you know. It's amazing things happen the way they do.

 

Quote

In this moment, I think my only lingering fear of death is that I go before I am ready - but even if that happens, well, it is just part of the reality we live in.

If there exists any way to be ready - and that's a big if - I suspect it's by cherishing the present moment and the people who honor us with their presence and love in our lives.

 

... realigning your whole world view is hard. In the end it's worth it, though! Cheers :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DestinyTurtle said:

Consider this, how has matter always just been here? How does that happen - I cannot wrap my mind around it.

 

....and ditto for the concept of "nothingness".  How is possible for there to be absolutely nothing?

 

It is the ultimate paradox, how is possible for there to be "something", and if there is not "something", how can there be "nothing".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, ConsiderTheSource said:

 

....and ditto for the concept of "nothingness".  How is possible for there to be absolutely nothing?

 

It is the ultimate paradox, how is possible for there to be "something", and if there is not "something", how can there be "nothing".

There is no such thing as nothing, which is exactly what nothingness is ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the mention. I am grateful that people find my story and writing helpful.

 

Bruce

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I felt so many emotions from my own deconversion coming back as I read this. I could relate to so much of what you wrote. Welcome. :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/14/2018 at 4:58 PM, TinMan said:

Heck, the ability of the human mind to grasp some concepts is limited. Consider this, how has matter always just been here? How does that happen - I cannot wrap my mind around it. What if time did not exist until the universe started, what does that even mean? It is just beyond me to understand it. Even if you want to tie these notions to a god, the same questions apply. It is a level of thinking and understanding I am unable to do.

 

This shows a lot in terms of your comprehensive abilities. The above is exactly what it all boils down to. The god answer doesn't even begin to solve the problems. And of the two options, a god with no fixed beginning, or a natural multiverse or greater realm of all realms with no fixed beginning, only one is the simpler explanation. The god route requires more assumptions, unnecessary assumptions at that. It's like what Sagan said in Cosmos, 'why not skip a step and just assume that the universe is eternal..." 

 

On 7/14/2018 at 4:58 PM, TinMan said:

It would be interesting if our consciousness lived on somehow, but hopefully it does not suck. That is one thing I did consider, at least if you die and there is nothing more, you are saved from an eternity of boredom. We always have such high hopes that the afterlife is this grand experience, but what if it is not. What if your consciousness goes on, but you are completely depressed because you no longer have your human meat bag to carry around and do stuff - you could be a prisoner of your own thoughts forever....that would be really lame.

 

Consciousness going on forever is a real double edged sword when you think about it closely. In fact, ceasing all consciousness at the point of death may in fact be the most desirable when you really think about it. And since that coincides with what we know of death, that brain activity ceases and consciousness appears to subside, then one could embrace living a life free of religious dogmas without any hang up's about, "what if the after life is real, etc., etc." Chances are it isn't. There's stories and witness testimonies to consider from the other side of the argument, but I'm sure most of us know deep down in side that the most likely scenario is that we phase out.

 

This ego consciousness, looking outward from a fixed central position (looking out from the perspective of a physical body outward) doesn't make any sense at all without looking out from a central, body based position. If you think on that for a while it starts to unravel a lot of the afterlife claims. Seeing without physical eyes, is another focus to try sometime. If we could see without physical eyes, why then did a physical eye evolve to begin with? There's lot of questions to consider and grapple with. The point being, when people talk of life after death they're almost always visualizing consciousness going on as if ego oriented, from a central perspective, but without any body to be centered on. That tends to reveal the make believe aspect of it. It's the human mind trying to visual what living forever could look like, from a human perspective. If there were anything to it, I doubt it would be anything like what people try to conceptualize from ego based perspectives. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now