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fear, anxiety and confusion in my deconversion journey


nithin
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i strongly believe i am in the path of deconversion . However, due to the confusion around and having lived close to 32 years of my life as a religious person , I am finding it hard to get rid of the daily prayers, sunday mass etc . I am scared if letting go of these rituals will lead my life to misery which otherwise is pretty normal and satisfying . I am trying to read books from Sam Harris , Richard Dawkins , Dan Barker etc and putting in my best efforts to get a grip of it . 

 

However can any one lead me to books or articles that would allow me to understand the deconversion journey better and can give me required belief and confidence to move forward.

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Welcome Nithin to the Ex-C community!  Deconversion is a time of serious confusion and questioning about many aspects of life.  Don't feel that you have must give up religious rituals that bring you comfort.  There are members here who still attend church exactly for the normalcy, comfort, and socializing it brings, while recognizing they don't believe a word of it.  So as you come to terms with your unbelief you may begin to change your habits regarding rituals or routines, but it is not necessary, and you get to do so on your own terms.

 

As far as materials on the deconversion process, there are others here who will have recommendations, but my experience was more grounded in Erhman, posted debates, and the Atheist Experience than similar deconversion stories.

 

It seems rather common that one of the phases is anger or bitterness, as I'm sure you'll find posts here from people experiencing it.  If you do go through that, understand it is typically temporary as most make peace with their former lives.

 

For confidence to move forward:  understand that most people alive today and most people who ever lived were not Christians and they were able to live full and satisfying lives.  The sun will still rise tomorrow and you get to choose what to do with it.

 

Welcome again, and we look forward to you being with us!

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Welcome! Actually, rather than books this forum is one of the best places to interact with those who have deconverted and the variety of experiences we have had because of the changes. From age 11 I spent 30 years as a wholehearted believer (Nazarene, Baptist, Pentecostal) and church was one of the first places I had friends and a social life. I typically set aside any questions and problems with the faith in confidence that I would someday understand them fully, rather than seeing them as actual problems and that I had been duped from the beginning by well-meaning people who had also been duped. After having gone into the faith as far as I could, hungrily seeking the presence of God, I had an experience that was like an emotional slap in the face. It wasn't enough to unplug my faith, but it was the first crack that started me questioning. I spent the next year praying, fasting, seeking a resolution to the issue and was quite unwilling this time to make excuses. I wanted a real God instead of a constant shell game of "just believe" when reality was showing me something quite different than my beliefs. Reality was showing me my god was an imaginary friend, and the pressure from other believers was always to pretend strongly that he was always in complete control even if it didn't look like it. After a year of silence and seeing more clearly that I had been fooled into belief through childish fears and snake-oil promises, I found this forum and deconverted fully. 

 

What I found instantly was that my religious head had been filled with noise, a constant invisible war with demons and angels and taboos about emotions and sex and music that all went silent when I figured out it was all imaginary. What a relief! That was about 14 years ago and since then I've had a new view of myself and the planet as something to explore and enjoy. I took up singing and found a wonderful new community of musicians with whom to play. I find that the important morals of the Bible have nothing to do with an angry petulant god that wants blood, and everything to do with being kind to each other. Every day I uncover more childhood fears and anxieties to examine within, and find my way out of them with self kindness instead of an imaginary parent/god glaring at me and expecting unquestioning devotion or face punishment. All of that dropped off and I can take my time thinking and pondering, and continue to explore life. COVID time has brought in all kinds of emotional challenges for just about everyone, and I'm trying to use the resulting feelings to explore my reactions and learn more how the mind works. 

 

I still have Christian songs pop up in my mind since I spent three decades only listening to that instead of secular music. So that is to be expected. It isn't any kind of god behind it, just programming of my mind. I can appreciate some of it, but some lyrics are just awful slavish lies that kept me in a cult for most of my life. I can't tolerate the cult much anymore, and find the abuses of the faith to be astronomically larger than any perceived benefits humanity has derived from it. Freedom, kindness, empathy, compassion, logic, and science are ways that bring about a better world, as is the choice to embody them each day. I hope you find the inner peace and resolution you seek. 

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Hi nithin and welcome to our community!  I’m confident you’ll find being here to be helpful.  It certainly has been for me, since I made my first post five years ago. 
 

1 hour ago, Krowb said:

There are members here who still attend church exactly for the normalcy, comfort, and socializing it brings, while recognizing they don't believe a word of it.


I’m one of those people.  Although I only go to Mass because my wife likes to go, I do appreciate the beauty of the church, the stained glass and other art work, the organ music and even the familiar ritual.  All while believing none of the theology.  It’s kind of a cultural event for me.  So don’t feel you have to expunge all aspects of Christianity from your life.  And the appeal may fade in due course anyway, or not.  
 

59 minutes ago, Fuego said:

Actually, rather than books this forum is one of the best places to interact with those who have deconverted and the variety of experiences we have had because of the changes.


I agree with this too. Being accepted here in this group, where non-belief is the norm, really helped me to deepen and gain confidence in my deconversion.  Not just from being around fellow-travelers but also by learning even more arguments against Christianity than I knew when I arrived.  
 

Deconversion journeys are as varied as the people who experience them.  Yours will be particular to you.  But it is a journey, not a single event.  It looks like you realize that.  You did the right thing coming here and I look forward to hearing more from you!

 

All the Best!

- ‘TABA’

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Hello Nithin, I join others in welcoming you here. I was a strong Catholic but eventually came to be as sure as I can be that it (along with Christianity as a whole) is a false system. The first day I thought I couldn't go on with it, I actually wept thinking I couldn't pray the Rosary any more. But eventually I was happy that I stepped into just living as human a life as I can.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about what you understand "deconversion" to mean? Are you thinking of abandoning the Catholic Church for another religion, or of abandoning  organized religion in general but not spirituality, or of abandoning belief in God altogether? I might have some experiences or perspectives that could be helpful, but I'd rather know more about your thoughts before volunteering stuff that may not be applicable. And books and articles that may speak to, say, a Baptist who is thinking of deconverting may not address certain issues that can matter to a Catholic who is thinking of deconverting.

 

Till later, and stick around! Ficino

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You may also read through our testimonials forum here.  There are not a few former Catholics amongst us whose experience might be useful to you.  The rest is probably just much ado about nithin.  😉

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/11/2021 at 8:37 AM, nithin said:

i strongly believe i am in the path of deconversion . However, due to the confusion around and having lived close to 32 years of my life as a religious person , I am finding it hard to get rid of the daily prayers, sunday mass etc . I am scared if letting go of these rituals will lead my life to misery which otherwise is pretty normal and satisfying.

 

I can relate to that. It took me years to get rid of my unbelieving rituals. Binge drinking, homosexual behavior. I'm still working on a few. Those tendencies aren't exclusive to those paradigms, though. I don't practice daily prayers or Sunday Mass and not all unbelievers are binge drinking homosexuals. 

 

 

On 5/11/2021 at 8:37 AM, nithin said:

I am trying to read books from Sam Harris , Richard Dawkins , Dan Barker etc and putting in my best efforts to get a grip of it . 

 

However can any one lead me to books or articles that would allow me to understand the deconversion journey better and can give me required belief and confidence to move forward.

 

I certainly wouldn't recommend those writers, but that isn't for me to make anyway. I would just advise you to get comfortable in your own skin. Leaving those rituals behind is a sign of maturing, in a sense, even at your age. It's growth. I'm assuming you didn't leave those rituals due to their having positive effects in your life? If so perhaps you could find alternatives that would be more in line with your more secular based "deconversion." 

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