One of my biggest surprises in the time since I’ve deconverted is the number of people who have more or less told me they have invented their own god, and can’t understand why I won’t do the same and call myself a believer.
The first person to amaze me in this manner was my mother. I was trying to tell her of some of the difficulties I was having with the Bible, as a starting point from which I hoped to progress to talking about my difficulties with the concept of God. I mentioned one atrocity in the Old Testement in particular. I can’t remember which one, exactly. It was one of the times God commanded His people to commit genocide.
She interrupted me to ask, “You don’t really believe God did that, do you? The God I believe in wouldn’t do that.”
That’s what she said, and it stopped me right in my tracks. “The God I believe in wouldn’t do that.” (more…)
For some people, not having to participate in ritual is one of the benefits of deconversion. This was not true for me.
True, rituals tend to be silly when looked at objectively. Lighting candles on a birthday cake just to blow them out a minute later while everyone sings at you is a practice I expect some anthropologist has spent a fun day with. But for me, rituals are a helpful tool for building community and celebrating what (and who) I value.
I’ve been asked why I don’t keep the trappings of my old faith, continuing to go to the churches I know. I can’t do this. I’ve tried. Those rituals are tied too tightly to feelings of loss and anger for me to take up lightly. And the stories told, if not true, are not ones I consider moral. So I tried joining other communities who might gather for joint ritual and song, and work together to make themselves and the world a little better. I missed that. (more…)
Several years ago, I began receiving private messages on our now-defunct forum from a xian with the handle “Rocky”. He sent me some generic questions that were not directly preachy and I answered in ways that briefly made my position clear without directly challenging his faith. Until one day he asked a rather more pointed question, to which I drafted a detailed answer:
Rocky, sorry this has been so long in coming. You asked a question which I know touches on a subject near and dear to your heart. So far I have tried to stay away from direct challenges to your faith. But to give you an honest answer to this question, I must directly address just those issues. So if you have had a bad day, or are feeling particularly touchy just now, I recommend you put this answer aside and read it later.
Take a deep breath, here we go.
You asked: “I have a question for you, if you found out tomorrow that Christ truly rose from the dead would you submit to and follow Him? I am really interested in your answer.”
The short answer, which may surprise you, is NO…..
Thanks for having me.
So let’s just jump right in. Did you have any Christian background before you “joined the tribe” so to speak?
I grew up in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada. Basically in the countryside. Where I lived, our only choices were to be “secular”, or to adopt Evangelical Christianity. A few became Jehovah’s Witnesses. My own family was not religious, although my parents brought me and my siblings to Sunday School at various churches. That was common practice in those days. Just to give kids a foundation of morality, or so the parents thought. Really it was about arts and crafts, a few fantasy-like Bible stories and silly songs. My generation of kids didn’t take it all very seriously.
If I grew up in Saudi Arabia, I’m pretty sure I’d be a Muslim. If in Thailand, I’d be a Buddhist. Or in India, a Hindu. I think the planet’s citizens are most often tied to their religion by geography than anything else.
Did any person, or book, or something else, win you over to Christianity?…..
When I launched this blog back in 2007, I was in the process of de-converting from Christianity and trying to come to terms with my non-belief while pondering how I even could have believed in the first place. The Bible, which I once believed to be the Word of God without contradiction, became a book of myths, fairy tales and riddled with contradictions. The God described in the Bible, who I once believed to be a loving Father in heaven, became an evil psychopath who used humans as pawns in some wicked cosmic game (see this blog). Through this site, I found many others who were dealing with the same issues and we all wrote blogs and engaged each other in discussion. Before our two year anniversary, we had reached 1,000,000 views and had over 20,000 comments.
Gradually, we all began contributing less and at some point, the blog atrophied and primarily remained active by Leo, through comments on the Mormon thread and spam.
Why did we quit contributing? I know for me, I came to a point that I just didn’t care anymore. Many of my former beliefs became so ridiculous to me, that it seemed pointless to even discuss it. I became firmly rooted in the “other side” and I no longer needed to come to terms with my non-belief, it was a reality. I am interested to know if this was the case for the others also. In other words, I became fully transformed by changing the way I think.
I’m assuming there are constantly new groups of de-converts who are walking the same journey we walked and I would love for these groups to keep the blog alive as it’s a useful process to come to terms with non-belief. I’m not sure at this point on how to connect with these individuals but please comment here if you would like to become a contributor to this blog.
I will try to do a soft re-launch in 2015 and see where things go. I will dig through my email and see if I have any de-conversion stories I requested and begin publishing those. I welcome any other suggestions.
- the de-Convert
This was posted over on Ex-Christian.net. Thought it was worth spreading it here too.
“If you’re a Christian, or on the fence about your beliefs, I would like to recommend that you give a little thought to something important.
The Bible, and Christian clergy, writers, and apologists all make a very big deal of hewing to the faith, of shunning doubt and constantly “working on” one’s faith. They make it sound like actually thinking about and researching the truth values of your Christian beliefs is an insult to god. To question the teachings you’ve received, and actually question the truth of the Jesus story, they claim, is to “turn away from god.”
But is this really the right way to look at it? Why do they insist that you believe whatever you’re told in the Bible and in sermons? Why do they say, “Just take my word for it”?” …………
The good news is that today’s apologists find their own core belief indefensible. This is leading to an attempt to draw the debate away from the many core logical absurdities found in the “gospel”, and to a focus on arguments absent from what has lead most of them to their faith. These are just a decoy. Any proposal of a spherical cube of gold can be immediately dismissed due to the impossibility of a spherical cube, evidence of gold not withstanding. In like manner, any proposal of the logically impossible Christian god can be dismissed based on the impossibility of that god, in spite of proffered evidence of “changed lives” or “fine tuning” or perceived weaknesses in evolutionary theory or the need for “objective purpose”. Whatever gods may exist, the logically impossible god of the Bible is disqualified as a candidate due to his logical incoherence. Let’s avoid the intentional distractors, and bring the argument home to the apologists, smack-dab in their incoherent backyard of redemption.