The Confessions of a Former Christian

June 16, 2007 at 9:07 am 24 comments

Here’s a video by the Atheist Dad (aka The Fighting Atheist):

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

A Confession – I Want to Believe Spiritual Depression and Various Offers of a Cure

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 16, 2007 at 9:54 am

    The de-Convert,
    Great video. I too have thought of these points. Specifically the point about God impregnating the Virgin Mary with the “Divine Sperm” so to speak. This is no different than Zeus’ antics with mortal women. Also, if betrothal in Jewish culture was akin to marriage, doesn’t this make God an adulterer?

  • 2. HeIsSailing  |  June 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

    A very well made video. I want to forward it to some of my friends because it mirrors many of my own thoughts and experiences, (except I did know quite a bit of science and really struggled with it as a Christian). It is better done than one I could ever do.

    I especially like this line:
    As a Christian, I knew little more than I heard in church. I did not study the history of Christianity, the early Church, how the Bible was written, what books were left out of the Bible, the mistranslations from the original Hebrew, and the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity. This knowledge was not needed to be a Christian. ”

    How true. Knowledge is dangerous stuff.

  • 3. Heather  |  June 16, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Isn’t there a statistic that says a majority of scientists are atheists, as a result of studying physics or biology. I can understand that one — when I look at pictures of galaxies, and then go back and read certain sections in the Bible, there’s a lot of mental clashing.

    I also liked the comparison between polytheism and the trinity, the way atrocities are in quite a few religions. It’s amazing how many similiarites there are between Christian concepts and concepts from other religions.

  • 4. Karen  |  June 16, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Really nice – thanks for posting! It’s so encouraging to hear about people shedding superstition and coming to a better understanding of the world around them. I don’t know if there’s any statistical evidence that our ex-Christian numbers are growing, but at least it’s good to see some anecdotal evidence for deconversion!

  • 5. Justin  |  June 16, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    “As a Christian, I knew little more than I heard in church. I did not study the history of Christianity, the early Church, how the Bible was written, what books were left out of the Bible, the mistranslations from the original Hebrew, and the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity. This knowledge was not needed to be a Christian. ”

    What I find interesting about this is that ministers/priests and the like do know the history, early church, translations (etc) from their four years of graduate studies…and despite all the ‘problems’ that such knowledge supposedly brings, they still decide to dedicate their lives to it.

    I guess it just goes to show that knowing those things about Christianity doesn’t always make people lose faith, but can strengthen it.

  • 6. Karen  |  June 16, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    What I find interesting about this is that ministers/priests and the like do know the history, early church, translations (etc) from their four years of graduate studies…and despite all the ‘problems’ that such knowledge supposedly brings, they still decide to dedicate their lives to it.

    I suspect – and I could be wrong – that the seminaries teach them all sorts of sophisticated “workarounds” for the problems that arise from an objective studyof those issues.

    What I find interesting is that they rarely teach any of this background information from the pulpit. Maybe they think that’s not their role, maybe they think it will bore people, maybe they worry that it will turn people off their faith. I don’t know.

    In some of the churches I attended, the pastors were very proud of the fact that they did NOT attend seminary and some of them didn’t even have higher education degrees at all.

    In others, they had attended seminary, but they went to the conservative schools that were probably less likely to teach history or theology that would be very critical of the church, such as the more liberal theology schools might teach. At least I remember there being a big distinction made about which seminaries were “the right ones” when it came to judging a pastor’s background. The liberal seminaries were definitely “the wrong ones.”

  • 7. Marcel  |  June 17, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Knowing something does not help if your not guided by the right Spirit.

    What spirit are you guided by ? The Spirit of the One True Living God ? Or your god, Self…

    This applies to everything in life. Think about it.

  • 8. HeIsSailing  |  June 17, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Marcel,
    I am guided by myself, my family, my friends, and those whom I think of highly enough that I allow them to influence my life. I am even guided and inspired by some things in the Bible.

    I am not guided by God. I do not think he exists, so I cannot be guided by him.

    And I am not a god.

  • 9. Heather  |  June 17, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    **And I am not a god.**

    This has always amused me, when given as a reason as to why I don’t follow conservative Christianity — that I’m setting myself up as god, or humanity as god, or following a god that I’ve created. If any of those were actually true, then I shouldn’t ever have to worry about money or job security or the environment or have to see others suffer. It would all go away.

    It hasn’t. Therefore, I’m not god, nor am I following one of my own design.

  • 10. Marcel  |  June 18, 2007 at 7:07 am

    HeIsSailing and Helen, the Ten commandments said
    “Thous shalt have no other gods before me”.

    A “god” is not necessarily something or someone who has power or supernatural abilties. You decide who is the god of your life. It’s you, God, or the Devil.

    If you think there is no God or Devil, that leaves you and your opinions as god.

  • 11. Marcel  |  June 18, 2007 at 7:09 am

    You know why the Jews spent 40 years in the desert ? Because just like Atheists they refused to have faith.
    The truths they heard was of no value to them because they did not combine it with faith.

    In
    Hebrews 4:2 (New International Version)
    , Paul says “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”

    What makes the answer so troubling is the fact that this generation had so much evidence of God’s leading. Go back over the story of the Exodus and of what happened to them in the desert. God performed miracle after miracle, everything from the parting of the Red Sea to the daily provision of the manna. And yet, they still lacked faith!

    It is pointless to know the truths of the Bible if you decide to lack faith and refuse to ask for it. Jesus said you can pray for faith.,
    Hebrews 4:2 (New International Version)
    .

  • 12. HeIsSailing  |  June 18, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Marcel sez:
    “It is pointless to know the truths of the Bible if you decide to lack faith and refuse to ask for it. Jesus said you can pray for faith., ”

    Marcel, this is the kind of accusation I can really do without. The accusation that I am consciously refusing to have faith. Please read my recent article “A Confession – I Want to Believe”, then read MysteryOfIniquity’s article “Spiritual Depression and Various Offers of a Cure”. Both articles are honest and heartfelt appraisals of why we left Christianity, some of the consequences of leaving Chrisitanity, our yearning for the eternal and the divine even though we are convinced such things are fantasy, and how we are coping.

    What I want you to take away from both articles is that we are not refusing to have faith in Jesus Christ. I know that is what you are taught, and I know that is what the Bible says, but it is the furthest thing from the truth.

    Please read both articles. I welcome your comments when you are done.

  • 13. DagoodS  |  June 18, 2007 at 9:51 am

    marcel: You know why the Jews spent 40 years in the desert ?

    Yep. When the Jews created their myths they often used similar numbers. Whether a mnemonic device, or because of religious significance, is a theory that remains up for grabs.

    The reason the flood was 40 days, Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah, Moses was on the mountain for 40 days, they spied the land for 40 days, on two occasions, Judges gave peace for 40 years, and one occasion war for 40 years, (not to mention the Judge who had 40 sons), Eli was priest for 40 years, Saul, David, Solomon, and Joash reigned 40 years each, Elijah was 40 days in the desert, Egypt is prophesied to be barren for 40 years, and Jonah walked Nineveh for 40 days.

    marcel: Go back over the story of the Exodus and of what happened to them in the desert.

    Thank you, I have. I have studied the archeology, and there is no direct proof of the Ten Plagues, the Exodus or Joshua’s conquest. There is no writing of these events occurring in any other nation. There is no social, economic or political ramifications as demanded by the claims.

    I have studied, a little, the development of the Hebrew language which is Phoenician, not Egyptian. How does a slave nation in Egypt develop its own separate language with almost no influence whatsoever from the dominant country, yet direct development from a country that is north of Canaan?

    Where are the Egyptian artifact influx from the wandering or the conquest of Canaan from the East? (Hint: we DO see Egyptian artifacts in Canaan from the south during this period along the trade routes. Exactly what we would expect to see if trade was occurring at the border.)

    In fact, marcel, Christians are so aware of the difficulties of the Exodus, that they cannot agree as to the millennium within which to place it! I have reached a point I will not debate it, until they agree to the time period plus or minus 100 years, because each proposed date (2500 BCE, 1500 BCE or 1300 BCE) has its own set of unique problems.

    I have studied God’s petty anger over the Amalekites. I have studied the possible route. I have studied the various claims surrounding the beginning, the ending and the middle of the Exodus. I have even studied the approximate time it would take to cross the Red Sea. (60 – 90 days, given 2 Million people.)

    So…er….what was it you wanted me to study about this myth? Oh, that’s right, their lack of “faith.” You are right, it DOES seem a bit unbelievable. They had witnesses the Ten Plagues, and then spent 60 – 90 days, walking across a sea floor, literally camping next to a wall of water. God then wipes out the entire Egyptian Army. (But curiously avoids the Philistines because they were too war-like, and God didn’t want his nation to encounter battle. Color me confused???) God saves them from the Amalekites with the miracle of Moses’ raised hands.

    God provides food and water in a wilderness by miraculous means. Think about human nature—the people are fed, are free from oppression, and are winning battles against enemies. Yet within a little over a month, they become faithless heathens. All while being fed!

    Does this read like reality or myth? It wasn’t that they historically lacked faith—it was that the author was making a severe point—follow God and things go well. Don’t and things go bad. The myth fits the point.

    marcel: It is pointless to know the truths of the Bible if you decide to lack faith…

    And equally, it is pointless to have faith, if it is not based in the truth. I would hope that you would want us to have faith in the truth—not in a lie, correct? As HeIsSailing said in his blog entry, “I want to believe” and a reflection of my own thoughts in this regard: “Belief without evidence is faith. Belief contrary to evidence appears to be delusion.”

    Understand I am NOT saying Christians are delusional. What I am saying is that most Christians have not studied the facts that underlie the basis of their belief. If you have studied Exodus, and have come to the conclusion that it was a historical event, I would be curious as to what persuaded you in light of the damning evidence against it.

    See, it is not that we lack faith. Or don’t want it. Far, FAR from it! We just want to make sure we are not having faith in the wrong thing.

  • 14. societyvs  |  June 18, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I thought I had a comment on this post before?

  • 15. agnosticatheist  |  June 18, 2007 at 11:27 am

    societyvs,

    I believe there are legitimate comments which get caught in the WordPress SPAM filter

    aA

  • 16. Heather  |  June 18, 2007 at 11:28 am

    **that leaves you and your opinions as god.** If one is defining god as all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving, then I still don’t match any of those qualifications. Opinions are subjective, and that is precisely why I don’t hold myself or my opinions to be god. If I did, I would be incredibly arrogant.

    **It is pointless to know the truths of the Bible if you decide to lack faith and refuse ** Others have said this better than myself, but no, one does not ‘decide’ to lack faith. You have faith or lack thereof based on the evidence. I have faith in my parents love for me because I have seen it in action time and time again. Same with the Bible. I don’t have faith in the Bible as an inerrant book because too many things in it don’t add up. For many here, they had faith beyond belief, and found it crumbling away the more they analyzed the Bible, as well as the historical matters surrounding the Bible.

  • 18. jannette  |  June 24, 2007 at 9:17 am

    I have heard about your video. You made a comment very well said.

    I do understand your point of view. BUT, I would have respected your beliefs if you only point out what you have then realized about becoming a non-Christian.

    Respect starts without criticism with other’s beliefs. That I guess would have been a better way of starting out in giving your opinion. I am a Christian, and I would not criticize your decision to be a non-Christian.

    Hoping that this comment would give you some thoughts to ponder.

  • 19. Jessica  |  November 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Does anyone have any recommendations for additional readings or viewings on this subject? Being a Christian (soon to be former), I am very interested in ancient philosophies and am having trouble finding literature to support Christianity as a superstition. Thanks for your help.

  • 20. The de-Convert  |  November 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Jessica,

    I’d recommend The History of God by Karen Armstrong as a great book to start research on this topic:

    Paul

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  • 24. Joshua  |  July 31, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Excellent video, although the one statement in it that confuses me is this:

    “I believe that actions are more important than beliefs.”

    Don’t we interpret another person’s actions through our beliefs?

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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