Christians Can’t Handle the Truth of De-conversion
If you’ve ever talked with Christians after your own deconversion from Christianity you’ve inevitably run up against the old saw, “You must not have really been saved!” This annoying little sentence always sets my teeth on edge because as we know, this just reeks of spiritual pride and condescension. It also says more about one’s theology (eternal security believer) than about the state of anyone’s soul (as if we can ever know this). What fundamentalist Christians are really saying is, “Obviously you did not REALLY commit to my version of Christianity or you wouldn’t have left it” or “You do not fit into any of my categories so I’m going to dismiss your argument right off the bat.” Sheesh!
So, what does it mean to be deconverted from Christianity? Does it mean we know longer believe in religion? Does it mean we no longer follow Christ as the Messiah? Or does it simply mean that Christianity as an institution has failed and we no longer want to be a part of it? It can mean all of these or some of these things or even none of these things, but the point is, who can define deconversion but the deconverted themselves? It’s a different journey for each one of us. To scared fundamentalist Christians out there who can’t handle the truth of deconversion I want to say, “Shut up already and really listen to those who have gone through it!” Quit pasting your pat answers onto a complicated and painful journey. In other words, show some respect for those willing to think for themselves.
Am I angry? Damn right I’m angry. Many of us on this blog have been Christians for many, many years now. We’ve all had conversion experiences or we grew up in church. We’ve believed and prayed “The Sinner’s Prayer” sometimes 5 or 6 times during altar calls. We’ve been baptized in water and some of us have been baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. We’ve attended church 2 and 3 times a week. We’ve taught bible studies, prayed with the laying on of hands, visited the sick, sent encouraging cards to the home-bound. You name it we’ve done it. It was painful for us to leave our churches and our fellowships; to realize that we’d been fooled by slick preachers and marketed bible studies and potlucks and business meetings. The decision to leave it all behind didn’t happen overnight, nor was it easy. Yet, fundamentalist Christians are so flip about it they are sure that they can instantly intuit the state of your soul in one fell swoop. They have “the power.”
Fundamentalist Christians will ask us this question: Well what happens to the Holy Spirit that resides within us if we deconvert? Why, nothing happens, we say. The Holy Spirit has never resided in anyone to begin with. Technically, no one is really converted at all. If you “deconvert” from Christianity, you merely call into question the whole and entire Christian system of theology and institutional religion as put forth in a fallible bible and as taught by fallible Christian teachers and preachers. In other words, we are not expelling a spirit that supposedly comes to live in our “heart.” We are deciding that what we took to be true in the bible is not true. We’ve been duped by a nice story and wishful thinking and the lovely insights we received from “the Holy Spirit” are merely lovely insights within our own minds and our own hearts. The “mind of Christ” is really the perfectly fine brain evolution provided us with. The heart we are born with was perfectly fine all along. Like Dorothy, we just lost our way for a while. We mistook a fantasy for real life and after another good bump on the noggin, we’re doing just fine. There was no place like home.
So, to all you fundamentalist Christians out there, don’t tell us we weren’t really “converted” according to your methods, because most of us were converted and we found it unfulfilling, untrue, or it usually changed our lives for the worse. We were sold a bill of goods and now we want a refund. It ruined our relationships with our spouses, our children, and our neighbors, and it turned us into precisely the judgmental types we have always hated. What fundamentalist Christians are in essence saying to us now is that our experiences are not as good or as genuine as their experiences. Our experiences are false and theirs are true. Because our experiences don’t fit into their preconceived notions about Christianity they can now write us off. We are now safely consigned to Satan’s camp. However, if we would just do it again the way they claim to have done it, we would miraculously KNOW!! and be true Christians just like they are! Perhaps now that they’ve pronounced us NOT REALLY SAVED they can rest easy.
Or perhaps, they should examine their own lives more closely and ask themselves, ” Am I really converted? Did I really receive a “Holy Spirit” that made me instantly moral, righteous, and holy? Am I sure that God thumped me on the head and said to me, ‘You there…. go and judge your brother and sister’s spiritual life and report back to me!’ Or am I really just talking to myself?”