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Nearly one year post-official deconversion


Bavinck
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So, it is nearly one year since I finally admitted to myself that I don’t believe, and I left the church. I am glad to say that I feel I made the right decision. Nothing unique in my story, but I seem to be taking a bit of an apathetic path that I may someday need to find the effort to change.

 

I hold no animosity to Christianity, perhaps largely due to the fact that it didn’t negatively impact my life in many ways that I can see; there are definitely a few areas that it did, but not anything overly dramatic. On the whole the community it gave me helped me through some very dark times, and the lack of that community is a bit of a drag these days.

I also still tutor local people for free in New Testament Greek so that they can learn to understand the Bible better. I enjoy doing this and hold no desire to try to raise my deconversion with these people, I am just glad that they were willing to continue with me when I left. This keeps me reading the texts that I once used to regularly read, but I am more focussed on early fictional and satirical genres these days with the likes of Lucian and Longus. Nice to not just feel that my study of languages was a waste of time, and that with some ongoing effort to learn Classical Greek now I can still enjoy that hobby in my downtime. 

 

I do find it interesting watching my shift in who I now watch on Youtube, with the likes of Paulogia and Matt Dillahunty being on there. The very fact that my “epistemic vigilence” is lowered with people like these now that my in group has changed is a concern to me. Rather than critically responding to what I am hearing I more listen as entertainment and find myself agreeing with many points that I definitely would not have in the past. Similarly I now watch evolutionary biologists and secular scientists debunking the old ID arguments I used to hold to so strongly. Secular atheist and aganostic phiolosophers are also on my watch list. All of this though is just something to have on in the background and listen to with interest, with no real mental investment - swapping one set of things to listen to to another.

This switch in how I approach these types of sources has actually solidified my current position of almost global agnosticism / shrug of the shoulders. I just don’t have the requisite knowledge base to evaluate almost any argument for or against the existence of God. It seems hard to give up one set of positions I used to hold strongly and adopt any confidence in another set. This is especially the case when I have essentially shown that I was not formerly competent in the arguments - why am I any more so now. When I am now less critical when listening to people I used to be highly critical of, my judgement is shown to be somewhat fickle - again, another reason to adopt agnosticism re

 

Every now and then I have a bit of a wiplash sort of feeling, having to face questions like what do I think of Jesus now I believe his teachings were wrong. Do I see him as a charlatan, someone sincerely mistaken, someone misrepresented etc (note I still think he existed and probably broadly taught what is in the gospels). I entertain these thoughts for a bit, realise I need to change my views and then just shunt them to the future for when I can be bothered to look into things more seriously; I am also am fine with the fact that that day may never arise. It is odd realising I hold emotionally hold to fundamentally contradictory views on things, but hey - it is what it is.

 

Anyway, overly long post over. I stopped following this forum quite rapidly after joining as I realised I just needed some space to relax and develop other interests. My post back in September was a great help just expressing the relief I felt in admitting I no longer believe - not something I really had an existing audience for at the time! Hoping to read about a bit more now and see what things I find are helpful.

 

 

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Hey @Bavinck, I’m glad you checked in, one year on, to give us an update!  Sometimes people announce their deconversion here and then are never heard from again.  That may be because they just didn’t feel the need to be an active member once they’d satisfied the desire to tell somebody they were no longer christian - or it could because they began to fear they’d made a terrible mistake: we never know if we never hear from them.  
 

In this case, it’s good to know that you feel you are on the right track.  It’s certainly OK, maybe even healthy, to maintain an agnostic position in many respects.  I will say that my own confidence in my deconversion became stronger over time, as I learned more and more about how jewish and christian beliefs evolved over the centuries, and how that process can be seen in the pages of scripture when those writings are looked at without the presumption of their being the word of god.   
 

Have you read anything by Bart Ehrman along the way?  I’ve found his books to be eye-opening in showing how beliefs developed and how christian thinking evolved.  He doesn’t come across as dogmatic in many ways, even while he does reject christianity.

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Thanks TABA.

 

I might try to branch out to some of Ehrman’s work at some point. I have enjoyed listening to him in interviews and a recent long debate on the resurrection with Mike Licona. Really just waiting for a subject to inspire me, but would be interested if you know of any interesting sceptical works orientated around original languages?

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Not sure how to edit previous posts, but stuff with a linguistic orientation would be great too. 

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1 hour ago, Bavinck said:

Not sure how to edit previous posts, but stuff with a linguistic orientation would be great too. 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Thus saith the Prof thy Mod.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That sounds a very healthy de conversion!  I would say I am kind of similar.  I feel much more interested in following new hobbies, interests etc than in proving to the faithful people I know in real life that they are wrong.  I still work with them.

 

What about your social circle a year on?  That is something I am keen to work on being more recent.  The social aspect of it is one of the biggest factors in why people are reluctant to officially deconvert.

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On 8/14/2022 at 4:51 AM, Bavinck said:

So, it is nearly one year since I finally admitted to myself that I don’t believe, and I left the church. I am glad to say that I feel I made the right decision. Nothing unique in my story, but I seem to be taking a bit of an apathetic path that I may someday need to find the effort to change.

 

I hold no animosity to Christianity, perhaps largely due to the fact that it didn’t negatively impact my life in many ways that I can see; there are definitely a few areas that it did, but not anything overly dramatic. On the whole the community it gave me helped me through some very dark times, and the lack of that community is a bit of a drag these days.

I also still tutor local people for free in New Testament Greek so that they can learn to understand the Bible better. I enjoy doing this and hold no desire to try to raise my deconversion with these people, I am just glad that they were willing to continue with me when I left. This keeps me reading the texts that I once used to regularly read, but I am more focussed on early fictional and satirical genres these days with the likes of Lucian and Longus. Nice to not just feel that my study of languages was a waste of time, and that with some ongoing effort to learn Classical Greek now I can still enjoy that hobby in my downtime. 

 

I do find it interesting watching my shift in who I now watch on Youtube, with the likes of Paulogia and Matt Dillahunty being on there. The very fact that my “epistemic vigilence” is lowered with people like these now that my in group has changed is a concern to me. Rather than critically responding to what I am hearing I more listen as entertainment and find myself agreeing with many points that I definitely would not have in the past. Similarly I now watch evolutionary biologists and secular scientists debunking the old ID arguments I used to hold to so strongly. Secular atheist and aganostic phiolosophers are also on my watch list. All of this though is just something to have on in the background and listen to with interest, with no real mental investment - swapping one set of things to listen to to another.

This switch in how I approach these types of sources has actually solidified my current position of almost global agnosticism / shrug of the shoulders. I just don’t have the requisite knowledge base to evaluate almost any argument for or against the existence of God. It seems hard to give up one set of positions I used to hold strongly and adopt any confidence in another set. This is especially the case when I have essentially shown that I was not formerly competent in the arguments - why am I any more so now. When I am now less critical when listening to people I used to be highly critical of, my judgement is shown to be somewhat fickle - again, another reason to adopt agnosticism re

 

Every now and then I have a bit of a wiplash sort of feeling, having to face questions like what do I think of Jesus now I believe his teachings were wrong. Do I see him as a charlatan, someone sincerely mistaken, someone misrepresented etc (note I still think he existed and probably broadly taught what is in the gospels). I entertain these thoughts for a bit, realise I need to change my views and then just shunt them to the future for when I can be bothered to look into things more seriously; I am also am fine with the fact that that day may never arise. It is odd realising I hold emotionally hold to fundamentally contradictory views on things, but hey - it is what it is.

 

Anyway, overly long post over. I stopped following this forum quite rapidly after joining as I realised I just needed some space to relax and develop other interests. My post back in September was a great help just expressing the relief I felt in admitting I no longer believe - not something I really had an existing audience for at the time! Hoping to read about a bit more now and see what things I find are helpful.

 

 

Congratulations Bavinck.  Coming up on one year :)  Welcome to our forum.

 

The apathetic path may not be the best path, but it's certainly far better than believing in the pure fantasies of the Bible. When I made the decision to leave the church and that religion was BS, I had to look at science as a likely alternative. But then I started finding problems with science theory. Not ridiculous stories like the Bible, but still Illogical IMO. So my quest then was to provide better answers for what I considered to be illogical science theory so as not to follow an apathetic path concerning beliefs,  I suggest finding your own paths of passion, like you seem to be doing with Greek, where apathy cannot exist. 

 

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On 8/14/2022 at 8:33 AM, Bavinck said:

Not sure how to edit previous posts, but stuff with a linguistic orientation would be great too. 

 

After roughly 20 postings with no problems you can ask a moderator and your edit function will soon appear.

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56 minutes ago, pantheory said:

The apathetic path may not be the best path, but it's certainly far better than believing in the pure fantasies of the Bible.

I don’t see the Bible as a whole just being a load of fantasies but there sure is stuff that is wrong. I was kinda lucky that I didn’t believe a lot of the more fanciful stuff like young earth creationism or the global flood, but certainly my fair share.

 

59 minutes ago, pantheory said:

When I made the decision to leave the church and that religion was BS, I had to look at science as a likely alternative. But then I started finding problems with science theory. Not ridiculous stories like the Bible, but still Illogical IMO. So my quest then was to provide better answers for what I considered to be illogical science theory so as not to follow an apathetic path concerning beliefs, 


I guess I just ran out of energy to look into things. I enjoy listening to scientists talk about evolution and cosmology, but admit to being at the top left of the dunning-kruger chart. My bar now to claim that I understand the science would pretty much require me to go off an study to masters level or above. I am reminded of a movie where a student went to the physics professor and told him that he understood the pictures of the box and the cat so must be good at physics - that was pretty much me

How do you go about assessing the evidence?

 

1 hour ago, pantheory said:

I suggest finding your own paths of passion, like you seem to be doing with Greek, where apathy cannot exist. 

Thanks for the advice. Yep - some level of interest in life is needed and luckily i have that with my tutoring and reading. Would be good to find new interests unrelated to my former faith at some point.

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1 hour ago, Bavinck said:

I don’t see the Bible as a whole just being a load of fantasies but there sure is stuff that is wrong. I was kinda lucky that I didn’t believe a lot of the more fanciful stuff like young earth creationism or the global flood, but certainly my fair share.

 


I guess I just ran out of energy to look into things. I enjoy listening to scientists talk about evolution and cosmology, but admit to being at the top left of the dunning-kruger chart. My bar now to claim that I understand the science would pretty much require me to go off an study to masters level or above. I am reminded of a movie where a student went to the physics professor and told him that he understood the pictures of the box and the cat so must be good at physics - that was pretty much me

How do you go about assessing the evidence?

 

Thanks for the advice. Yep - some level of interest in life is needed and luckily i have that with my tutoring and reading. Would be good to find new interests unrelated to my former faith at some point.

 

Most of the Bible can't be proven as fantasies, but there is little or no evidence to support any of it. Some parts of it can be proven wrong such as Genesis of the Old Testament and Revelation of the New Testament. And then there is no evidence in his own lifetime that Jesus ever existed as the Biblical character, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection etc.  

 

You don't have to study to the extent that I did, but you probably should know the basis for what you believe.

 

Shroedinger's Cat is a prime example of what's wrong with some science theory today. If it doesn't make sense to you, don't believe it if an alternative makes better sense.  For example there is a mountain of evidence to support the Theory of Natural Selection, but based upon the evidence I predict the present theory of cosmology will be replaced almost entirely within the next decade.

 

Confidence can build up proportional to knowledge. But knowledge of a theory and being an expert, is of much lesser value if the theory is wrong.

 

 

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16 hours ago, pantheory said:

Most of the Bible can't be proven as fantasies, but there is little or no evidence to support any of it. Some parts of it can be proven wrong such as Genesis of the Old Testament and Revelation of the New Testament. And then there is no evidence in his own lifetime that Jesus ever existed as the Biblical character, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection etc.  

I bought the atheist handbook to the Old Testament last night. I will give that a listen to - should be interesting

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Atheist-Handbook-Old-Testament/dp/B098KNMC6T/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=C9PZM5H6V80W&keywords=atheist+handbook+to+the+old+testament&qid=1661765935&sprefix=%2Caps%2C141&sr=8-1

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