I want to go back, I want the blue pill !

November 13, 2007 at 9:52 am 56 comments

In the movie ‘The Matrix’, Thomas Anderson is living a fairly contented life as a computer programmer, everything is pretty much as he likes it until he is meets Morpheus . Although Thomas resists and struggles to cling on, over time Morpheus shows him that the world he is living in is make-believe, his real name is Neo. When Neo finally realises the truth Morpheus offers him a blue pill. The blue pill will make him forget about the matrix and allow him to return to his normal comfortable life, the red pill will open his mind to the disturbing knowledge of the matrix, with no going back. He takes the red pill and accepts the disturbing reality.

Over the last four or five years Morpheus has been in my head banging on at me to wake up and open my eyes. After much deliberation and a protracted grieving process I took the red pill, I looked behind the curtain and found that the wizard of oz wasn’t magical (too many movie references?). The reality is now obvious, or more accurately the unreality of the father-figure god is obvious. When I watch, listen or read debates between god fearing types and skeptics, the god-believers say things which only a few years ago I would have taken as an honest reflection of my reality – now seem completely deluded. No mater how intelligent or articulate they are, they are still inside The Matrix. The skeptics and agnostics seem to propose things so self-evident that they hardly need saying. Paradigm shift in thinking, they call it, I think of it in terms of red and blue pills.

The problem is, I’m starting to think I want to take the blue pill, I want to go back because the reality is hard to take. I want to live on Truman’s idyllic island. The problem is, there is no pill, there is no going back to a repeat show once you’ve seen how the magician does his tricks – you might wonder at the cleverness of it all, even find a beauty in it but you’re never going to actually suspend your disbelief again, no mater how much you want to, you can’t decide to to believe again.

The excitement and euphoria of paradigm shift has worn off and I’m left without the comfort blanket, begging for a pacifier. I want the loving father figure creator, who is on my side, watching over everything I say and do, looking out for my family when im not there, considering my prayers, keeping me in check, knowing all, having a plan for me. Then there’s the community side of it, church can be great! A load of like minded people you meet up with regularly, families you can share life’s burdens with, an effortlessly organised life-long social circle, ready-made ‘nice’ friends for your children. Then there’s the life-after-death thing, without that notion, death can be hard to deal with. It’s very comforting to think that loved ones who have died are somehow ‘up there’ watching over you, and you will meet again when this whole preamble is over – without that idea, it’s easy to allow the feeling of meaninglessness to creep in.

And that’s really it – I miss the purpose and meaning. Neither The lions in the Serengeti, the bears of North America or the whales in the oceans care about the inevitability of death for themselves and their loved ones. We humans do, and there’s no getting away from that.

I seriously wonder if I should bring my child up believing in the whole ‘Jesus loves you’ thing along with the whole Santa Claus/Chimney thing. I don’t subscribe to the ‘religion is the root of all evil’ hypothesis and I don’t think living in The Matrix would do much harm. In saying that, maybe humanity has to accept reality and not placate itself if it is to progress. Truman decided he didn’t want to live in utopia anymore when he found it wasn’t real, Neo took the red pill. Ultimately, truth matters.

It’s easy to see how beliefs and religions gain traction, there is an incredible urge to hope for something more, something eternal. I’m still trying to come to terms with it, to stop myself shouting…

I want to go back, I want to take the blue pill!

- Question Monkey

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56 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike  |  November 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I think it is interesting that you use the Matrix analogy since there are many Christians who use the same analogy to describe their walk into faith.

  • 2. J  |  November 13, 2007 at 11:04 am

    It’s a mater of perspective i guess – how many of the christians who say that … had never belived in god before an informed adult conversion – a very low percentage.

    Not that it makes them any less valid – just that the matrix analogy doesn’t work so well for them

  • 3. LeoPardus  |  November 13, 2007 at 11:14 am

    QM:

    Great post. I too wish I could take the blue pill and go back. But it’s too late. As you said, “the god-believers say things which … seem completely deluded. …. The skeptics and agnostics seem to propose things so self-evident that they hardly need saying.” Looking at the universe with no ‘God filter’ over my eyes, I wonder at the clarity of vision. How did I miss such obviousness. Of course I can’t ever go back. Not unless a real deity shows up and proves His existence.

    I also identify with your desire for the community of church. Right now I still have that. My family all still believes, and I go with them. My church is Eastern Orthodox, so it’s not nearly as deplorable as most Protestant churches. There’s a lot of transcendence in the ancient liturgy that I enjoy. And the people are great.

    Anyway, great post. And I looked at your blog a bit. Good stuff. …. Oh and BTW, … Welcome.

  • 4. The de-Convert  |  November 13, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Mike,

    Personally, I think the Matrix analogy works better for those who are leaving Christianity. However, it is a matter of perspective.

    See:

    http://agnosticatheist.wordpress.com/2007/04/18/my-exodus-from-christianity-i-cant-go-back-can-i/

    Paul

  • 5. Mike  |  November 13, 2007 at 11:15 am

    J.,

    Why do you assume that adults arent making informed decisions to become Christian? I have personally watched many friends do that very thing.

  • 6. J  |  November 13, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Mike, fair enough, no assumption made

    I do myself know 2 or 3 adult converts, among my circle of 30-40 christians friends/family… who had christian parents

    Just becuase it doesnt happen very often, doesnt make it invalid. conceded

  • 7. karen  |  November 13, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts, and welcome!

    Although I definitely relate to most of what you’re talking about, I don’t find myself wishing I could take the blue pill or that I could start believing again.

    To me, the whole business feels like growing up. Yes, when I was a child I had childish thoughts and fantasies that were wonderful, but I can appreciate them for what they were without any desire to go back and re-live childhood.

    Indeed, being an adult and accepting reality – even accepting the fact that I don’t KNOW a lot of things for sure and likely never will – is okay with me. I don’t crave that promise of eternal life or god’s will or angels watching over me. Maybe that’s because my life tends to be pretty good: If I were in a crisis, perhaps things would change and I would be yelling for the blue pill, I don’t know.

  • 8. writerdd  |  November 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    For those who want to find and create purpose and meaning in their lives and who no longer believe that God imposes a purpose on their lives, please check out this podcast, which you may find helpful:

    http://www.personallifemedia.com/blogs/purpose/

    I also wrote an aritcle on this topic:

    http://de-conversion.org/news.php?readmore=20

  • 9. salient  |  November 13, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    “Blue pill” put me in mind of Viagra commercials!

    I have been an agnostic/atheist since childhood, so I have neither had the comfort that you describe nor the need for it.

    I think that your description of ‘separation anxiety’ explains exactly why believers fight so hard against the evidence and the logic. You have also described one of the problems with Pascal’s wager — one cannot simply ‘will’ oneself to believe something that one does not believe.

    Deconversion must be like being told that a loved one, whom one saw alive just a few minutes ago, is dead. Those who have lost their faith do seem to pass through the stages of grief that were described by Kubler-Ross. Loss is hard, so I do understand why people want to convert the finality of death into the illusion of a temporary separation.

    As to not spending eternity as some sort of free-floating consciousness, that’s fine by me. How boring that would be!

  • 10. Charz  |  November 13, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    I’m still trying to decide which pill I want to take: do I want to go back to the life I formerly knew, or take the other and also wake up to learn much, much more, and perhaps even learn the truth now rather than later?!

  • 11. joshm  |  November 14, 2007 at 1:29 am

    QM:

    Good post. In no way is the idea that the belief in God is just a nice story to make us feel better new. Marx of couse is a good modern example, but this was the first claim raised against Christians in the Roman world.

    This has been one of the hardest issues for me to deal with as a doubting Christian. However, I think one should question when the scales really are off your eyes. You could be in a Matrix still, but were in a Matrix within this Matrix. By the way, I love that movie for its metaphysical elements.

  • 12. foxface  |  November 14, 2007 at 3:09 am

    Two things- there are plenty of regularly meeting spiritual and sectarian groups out there that could help you meet your need for community (and maybe even your desire for transcendent connection). The two that most quickly popped into my head are the Unitarian Universalists (though some of these groups are just open-minded Christians) and the Quakers.

    Second, I was raised a Christian (Congregationalist- probably the least emphatically dogmatic and God-centered of the Protestant sects) and stopped believing at a young age. My foray with the Red Pill, to use your metaphor, came in the form of a blocked Kundalini Awakening that triggered massive psychic shock. Just as your logic and reason no longer allows you to believe in some omniscient and omnipotent white robed fatherly looking dude walking beside you, my experience no longer allows me the comfort of believing that I am a separate entity from the totality of it all. I now know that everything I do, including everything I think, directly affects all that is around me which is all that is- if even only subtly so. This is true for every other living being out there, and so I now must go through my days watching myself in the mirror of the world. Sometimes I wish I took the blue pill, too…

    If you’re ever in the mood to learn more about what makes you tick, I highly recommend the Body Electric by Becker and Selden-> It recounts all the major scientific findings surrounding the nature of the bioelectromagnetic currents and fields of the body. It’s well written- the story keeps you moving through what could otherwise be some pretty dense shit. Also, it is pretty widely accessible.

    Good luck with the existential crisis.

  • 13. HeIsSailing  |  November 14, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Mike and The de-Convert say:

    I think it is interesting that you use the Matrix analogy since there are many Christians who use the same analogy to describe their walk into faith.

    Personally, I think the Matrix analogy works better for those who are leaving Christianity.

    The Wachowski brothers have brought mixed and mashed all sorts of religious themes in their Matrix saga. Austin Cline, of the terrific website about.atheism discusses the Matrix as paralleling Buddhism, Gnosticism, Christianity, atheism and other religious philosophies. Check it out here:

    http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blrel_matrix_gnos.htm

  • 14. Chris  |  November 14, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Truth is in the eye of the beholder

  • 15. J  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Chris

    truth isnt (the perception of it maybe is)

    and facts certinly arn’t in the beholders eye

  • 16. Jen E  |  November 14, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I didn’t realize I’d taken the pill until I read this. I completely agree..

  • 17. Anne  |  November 14, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    I have times when I feel the same way. Watching a television program about marriage…the minister says to the couple “May God’s face shine upon you” and I burst into tears. For I no longer have the comfort of a caring father watching over all that I do.

    Would I go back? How could I choose consciously to give up knowledge and greater understanding of the universe? The price we pay for knowledge is responsibility.

  • 18. Lorena  |  November 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Well, I took the red pill in little pieces over a period of 4 years. Even though it is still painful, I do recommend it.

    It is isn’t easy to let go of imaginary friends, so for some, a slow process may be the best.

  • 19. wayne  |  November 14, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    I had a saving experience in my adult years. I would never want to go back. I have had many ‘God thangs’ happen to me since that would make me believe in Jesus even if no more God things happened for the rest of my life.

    One ‘God thang’ is the Bible. The most amazing book It even says that by reading it you will know God. This is true. I had no real knowledge of God, Jesus or the Bible until just for the heck of it, I started reading one. Then one day it dawned on me that this was the life I wanted.

    From this side, the scales have been lifted, I am free and I could not have it any other way if I tried.

    but ever notice why so many hit movies have a Savior theme? Why is that?

    whatstrue.tv

  • 20. Lorena  |  November 14, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Wayne,

    A question for you. Is the fact that people wish for a Savior who hands out “magical cures” enough proof that gods are real?

    Is wishful thinking a sign of reality?

  • 21. norea  |  November 14, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    I was raised as a conservative christian. At the age of 27 I realized, that what I had learned did not fit me. One day, I decided to let God go. But a wonderful thing happened, God wouldn’t let go of me. I have let go of everything I learned, instead I tried to find answers to what this god experience is. What I discovered was a new way of experiencing faith. In quantum physics everything mystics have experienced through the ages all over the world, comes together. It goes above any particular religion and at the same time embodies all religions. Open your heart and be inspired to adopt an attitude of open-minded inquiry into who you are and what you believe. Based on what might be instead of what is not.

  • 22. tobeme  |  November 14, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    It is interesting how much wisom was woven into the fabric of the Matrix. Red pill, great choice. Now you can let go of concerning yourself about what others choose to believe for you know they are not in your reality.

  • 23. Dan Marvin  |  November 14, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Here is a hard pill for you to swallow:

    De-conversion? Anyone that considers themselves to be past Christians, or ex Christians, or left Christianity, are fooling themselves in fact it’s an oxymoron. Are you posing that you can lose your salvation? If you can lose your salvation, then what do you do with John 10:28 where Jesus says he gives eternal life and the sheep will NEVER perish? If you can lose it then Jesus should have said, “and they may perish…” or “they CAN perish.” But he said, THEY WILL NEVER PERISH. So, will they never perish? Or can they?

    A true Christian cannot turn away from God. Here is why. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

    Now look at 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” THEY WOULD HAVE REMAINED if they were really Christians to begin with.

    Now a question for you. Are you saying that the Spirit begins the work of salvation in us and that we work it out and complete it by remaining faithful? That IS what you are saying, that we get saved and keep it by the effort of our works, right? Check this out. Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

    Jesus taught it. He said those with eternal life will NEVER PERISH. John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. ” Well, will they perish or not? Jesus says those with eternal life will NEVER perish. I believe Him. Do you?

    It isn’t too late you are not a throw away from God. Repent today and Trust! in Jesus and you WILL have everlasting life. You are not an ex Christian or a prior Christian you are a stony ground hearer or a false convert. It isn’t too late!

  • 24. Jilsrun  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Dan,
    Your statements are based on your beliefs. Most of the comments written are from those who don’t buy into YOUR belief of Christianity.

  • 25. Jilsrun  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    No one in body really knows what the truth is. Not the Christians, the Buddhist, the Hindu or the atheists. Not even me. I do not claim any belief, although I do have a unique understanding which I consider to be truth. Any person who says what they believe is the real deal is going to have to prove it.
    What amazes me about Christians is that they just know its truth. I don’t think that any Christian has met god and confirmed that what is in your bible is fact.
    I honor you and your belief system, but before you start preaching, make sure you can back up what you say. The bible is a book that has been written by men again and again. It doesn’t fly with most who are challenged with it.
    Blessings

  • 26. Richard  |  November 15, 2007 at 1:34 am

    This very issue was one of the hardest damn things I have ever had to deal with. I appreciate your post in bringing it up, your honesty and your courage for being willing to say you wish you could go back! That takes a lot for a de-convert to admit to.

    It was a bit more ambivalent for me, because the theology as I understood it was something I found to be rather toxic and for me destructive. So I knew the way was forward, I just didnt know how. It was as if nothing mattered if there wasnt a God to care about it. What was the point in anything?

    I do , still, sometimes wish I had something or someone to hand things over to when I feel I cant. But I also find those moments are rare and pass quickly. Mostly, most of the time, though, I have found that giving up God has actually made me feel more alive than I ever did as a Chrisitan.

    Being a Christian, I think, involves having to split off half of who we are. All the negative, “bad” parts of the self like anger and loneliness and greed and lust and jealously have to be dealt with somehow, right? Because they are evidence for ones sinful nature. They are precisely that old self to which we must die. But they are part of us. Specifically, part of our animal nature. Part of the reptilian brain that is oldest and deepest within us. Painful though they are, they are much of what makes us human. Most Christians, in an effort to rid themselves of these things, simply repress them. To be saved but continue to feel overwhelmed with sadness, pain, anger (as I did) would call the whole enterprise into question. It would, and did for me, suggest one wasnt really living a God-centered life, because Christ had given us victory over those things. But for me, they persisted — because they were always really still there, as I now see. These emotions, and the pain of life itself, cant just go away — theyre wired into the brain, and written into our existential reality. But Christians have to pretend they do.

    But I dont think we can repress that much without losing some capacity for joy, too. Deep feeling is what makes us feel alive. It is its own justification. It is what allows us to see the inexpressible beauty in the world, in those around us, and in ourselves, and that which makes life worth living. I have found I can enjoy complex movies (like Sideways), even horribly sad ones (like The Squid and the Whale), much more now than I ever could. And dont you find that you feel, wierdly, *good* when you cry at a sad movie, or a sad song? It feels *good* to feel, especially to feel deeply?

    In giving up God, and reclaiming half of myself, I have more life, more abundantly, now than I ever did as a Christian, and the fact that God is not watching makes little difference. I am watching, and those I love, and thats enough. We have no “perfect caretaker”– but life is worth living anyway.

    Anyway, thats how I “solved” the problem. Its not a perfect solution, as, again, there are still times I wish for a cosmic ear to bend. But overall, Im glad I took the red pill.

    Richard

  • 27. joshm  |  November 15, 2007 at 1:57 am

    Lorena-

    “Is wishful thinking a sign of reality?”

    I think you’re getting at the heart of the agrument for God’s existence from man’s desire. It does distinguish between “natural” (inherent) and “unnatural” (not inhernet) desires. A natural desire must have something real to meet it. We desire food, food exists. An unnatural desire might be how my friends here in St. Louis desire the Rams to win another game. This unnatural desire is not universal, nor does it have to be meet.

    So no, wishful thinking does not prove God’s existence. Only if the desire for God is a “natural” one (that is, a universal one) can we begin to consider if it proves God’s existence.

  • [...] blue pill, the red pill. Deconverting from Christianity, reconverting into Christianity. Off the bandwagon, on the bandwagon. While this whole [...]

  • 29. wayne  |  November 15, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Lorena,

    “Is the fact that people wish for a Savior who hands out “magical cures” enough proof that gods are real?”

    gods are real. you can have a god of money, lust, greed, theology, blogging etc, etc… whatever is at the forefront of your mind. Many people go after what ever they think will fill their desire and everyone has a desire they want filled.(Joshm’s post says it well.)

    The question becomes what god is filling that desire. What are you doing to fill that desire.

    My experience with God is as real as this keyboard. I had no expectations when I picked up the Bible for the first time and God showed up in a big way and He became my God.

    There are no magical cures in Christianity. God has mercy on whom He will have mercy.

    The beauty about the Bible is that it lays out life the way it is, wars, greed, lusts, deaths, births, even cures and it even says this is the way life is, you can’t get around that.

    Good post,

    wayne

  • 30. amy  |  November 15, 2007 at 11:41 am

    i so identify with this! i have been struggling to decide which pill to take for the last several years, and going back and forth. i recently considered converting to catholicism. but alas, even wanting to believe, attending rcia classes, attending daily mass, attending eucharistic adoration, praying to god and begging for faith, and reading the bible and countless other books aimed at strengthening my faith weren’t enough. i simply don’t believe original sin and the need for a sacrificial atonement, virgin birth, miracles, and resurrection. and try as i might, i can’t just make myself believe.

    religion for me has become not a source of consolation, as it is for many others, but a source of anxiety and disillusionment. still, i grieve over the loss of my faith and this hopefully temporary feeling of a loss of meaning.

    i know i am just “growing up” in a sense. i know i will never really be able to return to faith in christianity, just like i will never be able to believe in the tooth fairy. but i don’t like it — “i don’t wanna grow up!!!”

    reading lots of athiest blogs lately, they seem so confident and content in their lack of belief. it’s good to hear there are others, while having given up on faith, still long for it at times. thank you.

  • 31. LeoPardus  |  November 15, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Dan Marvin:

    Dan, Dan, Dan. Do you not understand that your view is just one of many in the vast pool known as Christianity? The “once saved, always saved” theology depends on selective reading of the Bible and on presuppositional logic. In other words, you start with your opinion, then go find the verses to support it.

    I know, I know. You’ll say that you just read the Word and take it at face value. That what you believe is just the “pure, straight Word of God”. And i can give you boatloads of Christians who will say the very same things, but come to opposite conclusions.

    They’ll focus on Hebrews 6 where it says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.’

    And I know you’ll have fine, presuppositional apologetic someone taught you to show why that verse doesn’t really mean what it rather plainly seems to mean. And you’ll say that your interpretation to dismiss Hebrews 6 is “just taking the Word at face value”.

    Twisted isn’t it?

    That’s just one more reason why many conclude that the Christian faith isn’t true. Because there are huge camps of people, claiming diametrically opposed things, all claiming them to be absolutely true and straight from God’s mouth.

    Or to use a quote I’ve become fond of, “Everyone is just making it up as they go along.”

    Hmmmmm…… Sounds like that could be number 4 is my “Reasons” series.

  • 32. Lorena  |  November 15, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Wayne,
    I do know that you think your God is real. However, you didn’t answer my question. Just because people feel a desire to have a big daddy up in the sky, does that validate the existence of the big daddy?

    I don’t know how long you’ve been reading here, but it happens that most of us de-converts once thought our God was the real thing. We used to think like you, so we do believe you when you express the way you feel. We, however, disagree. As the reality of an invisible being is so fragile that it was easy to debunk.

    Good luck to you.

  • 33. Lorena  |  November 15, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    “So no, wishful thinking does not prove God’s existence. Only if the desire for God is a “natural” one (that is, a universal one) can we begin to consider if it proves God’s existence.”

    Furthermore, hunger in a physical sense is real because when I eat the hunger stops. Bible-God, however, never did satisfy my hunger. It only did in as much as I was able to imagine his presence. When I needed him most in times of distress when my brain had no energy or desire to imagine things, god wasn’t there.

  • [...] to losing your religion, and how the author sometimes wished they could go back and “take the blue pill,” which really struck me. Because I’ve felt that way sometimes, like the knowledge you [...]

  • 35. joshm  |  November 15, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Lorena-

    I would like to clarify. We know a desire to be natural if all people have it (universality). And there will exist something to meet a natural desire. Desires are not necessarily natural if there exists something to meet it. I desire for the Rams to win, the Rams can win. This does not make it natural.

    Apply this to our desire for a benevolent, loving God. This seems to be a universal desire. That means it is a natural desire. However, the nature of the desire does not define what meets the desire (as hunger does not define food). The God who meets our desire will meet it on His own terms.

    I would also argue that many Christians misrepresent the “Bible-God.” We should not view Him as a magical pill that will make all of life happy. The Bible gives no such promise, only that God will not “leave or forsake” His children.

  • 36. LeoPardus  |  November 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    The Bible gives no such promise, only that God will not “leave or forsake” His children.

    And what is that supposed to mean? One would be inclined to conclude that God has left and forsaken an awful lot of His children…. to pain, agony, despair, abuse, oppression, grief, etc.

  • 37. Quester  |  November 15, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Judging from literature, myths and fables, “a magical pill that will make all of life happy” is a natural, universal desire. Perhaps not as a pill, but some granter of wishes. But, as you say, that does not mean it exists.

  • 38. Joe  |  November 15, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    from post 18:

    “It is isn’t easy to let go of imaginary friends, so for some, a slow process may be the best.”

    humorous, yet extremely ignorant and disrespectful. I guess it’s harder to take the ass out of the person than the religion.

  • 39. Lorena  |  November 16, 2007 at 1:44 am

    I say calling someone ignorant is the most disrespectful thing here, Joe.

    If you want to debate the thought, then spell out what it is that offends you. Just coming here to spill your conclusion makes you a bully, and a highly disrespectful and ignorant at that.

    Yes, you are the ignorant here. Because you have no idea what the sentence entails.

  • 40. LeoPardus  |  November 16, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Joe:

    I guess it’s harder to take the ass out of the person than the religion.

    I guess you’ve proved that to us all most eloquently now haven’t you?

    Way to express “the love of God” dude.

  • 41. wayne  |  November 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Lorena,

    sorry I didn’t answer your question. I can only answer with this… that God came first and presented Himself to us knowing that as the Creatory we have a desire to know God and seek Him. your question puts it the other way. Like we were here and we make our own gods and that was my point of saying yes we do make gods from other desires, money etc.

    You are correct in seeing I have not read too much here, just stumbled on it the other day. I found it interesting that this was in the religion section so I checked it out.

    So… what exactally is ‘de-conversion’? is it backsliding. or the argument could be stated that you were never saved in the first place. And not just you but other’s as well. Some may find themselves 5, 10 years from now remembering thier posts and saying ‘what was I thinking!?’ It could happen.

    respects,

    wayne

  • 42. LeoPardus  |  November 16, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Wayne:

    So… what exactally is ‘de-conversion’?

    As a starting point you may want to read “By the way, who are the de-cons?” It was posted last month here. Look in the Archives.

    Some may find themselves 5, 10 years from now remembering thier posts and saying ‘what was I thinking!?’ It could happen.

    It certainly could. There are some here, such as myself, who would be quite happy with that.

    Most of us currently have that reaction when we look at what we said when we were believers.

  • 43. Dan Marvin  |  November 16, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I just want to be as clear as possible that there are false converts and no such thing as a de-conversion.

    What fruit will grow in a True Christians life:

    1. Repentance – A 180 degree turn away from sinful behavior and towards Godly behavior.

    2. Thankfulness – A thankful heart that is grateful for what God has done… and shows itself in a cheerful disposition.

    3. Good Works – A life that becomes others centered (helping the aged, feeding the poor, teaching children, etc.) Not self centered (all free time consumed in personal hobbies and interests)

    4. Fruit of the Spirit – An ever-growing capacity of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control in the life of the believer.

    5. Fruit of Righteousness – Doing the right thing according to the way God defines it in his word. Not according to the way man defines it in his own mind.

    We are here to get fruit bearing Christians not decisions for Christ to fill pews.

    If we understand the parable in Mark 4:3-13 then it unlocks the secret to all parables: Foolish virgin=false convert Wise virgin=Genuine conversions. The good fish, the bad fish. The man who built his house on rock and the man who built his house on sand. The one who built his house on sand is the one who hears the word of Jesus but doesn’t keep them. False Convert.

    6 characteristics of a False Convert:

    1. Mark 4:5 – Lack depth of understanding. Immediate results impressive changes occur quickly then false convert will fall away from their faith over time and the results and changes disappear.

    2. Luke 8:6 – False convert lack moisture in other words they lack the life-giving and life-sustaining power of God’s word. To a false convert the Bible is dry and uninteresting and struggles with daily devotions.

    3. Matthew 13:6 – False convert have no roots like a plant that dries up when the heat comes because it’s roots aren’t deep enough to reach water to sustain it. So is the false convert who’s faith dries up where persecution comes his roots of faith don’t run deep enough to reach the life sustaining water of God’s word and Holy Spirit.

    4. Mark 4:16 – False Converts receive the word with gladness. Hears the gospel message with gladness and really seems to latch on to it. He may express, for example, with tear filled eyes of joy. How this is the answer he’s been looking for. When any test or trials comes his way, excuses become his trademark he falls away from following Jesus.

    5. Matthew 13:20 – Repeats that same point false convert receive the word with joy (at first)

    6. Luke 8:13 – Because they do believe for a season this is the one that fools the most people because they do believe, for a short time, the Gospel message. These false converts walk and talk a very good game. They often sincerely believe the Vital truths. That Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death and rose from the earth and that he was fully man and fully God. they believe those things in their mind. When it comes time to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus into test and self sacrifice the false convert displays, slowly but surely, the truth that they never believed in their hearts. Never made that commitment to Christ and eventually becomes distracted by the worries and opportunities of life and lives for himself not Christ.

  • 44. kristie  |  November 16, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    I have used the pill analogy for myself many times before. It would be nice to be a part of the majority, where the community welcomes and cares (or pretends to). I loved your article, it really spoke to me. Thanks for sharing.

  • 45. Dan Marvin  |  November 16, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    oops that was taken from True and False Conversion

  • 46. LeoPardus  |  November 16, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Dan:

    So the answer to my earlier question to you: “Do you not understand that your view is just one of many in the vast pool known as Christianity?” is ‘No’. You can’t understand that.

    Yours is the only correct view. You have all the answers worked out perfectly. Yours is the only way to interpret the Bible. Your word is God’s Word. Your ego is sufficiently large to think that you are infallible.
    (‘”Oh no” Dan says, “It’s God who is infallible.”)
    Fine. So you’ve just got an infallible link to God. Right?
    (“The link is the Bible” says Dan)
    And you cannot possibly ever understand any part of the Bible incorrectly?
    (“No” says Dan, “God’s Spirit interprets it to my heart.”)
    Ah. And anyone who disagrees with an interpretation of yours is in error and needs God to straighten them out. Right?
    (“Yep.” says Dan)

    You see Dan, I, and many others here, have been down that road. Just me and God. Personal relationship. He guides me into all truth. He’ll never lead me astray.

    We know all the things one says to oneself in order to convince oneself that one has a direct line on absolute truth.

    But Dan, it’s just overwhelming arrogance. That’s all.

  • 47. HeIsSailing  |  November 16, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Dan:

    I just want to be as clear as possible that there are false converts and no such thing as a de-conversion….etc…

    Dan, whenever Christians tell me this, I always ask a simple question. I have yet to get an answer to it. Please answer this, because I really am genuinely curious:

    Why do you tell us that we were never Christians? What reaction do you hope or expect to get from us by giving us this information?

  • 48. Richard  |  November 17, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Doctor: Here, patient of mine, take this pill. It will cure your all your symptoms. Believe me, you’ll feel like a new man — almost a new creation, in fact!
    Patient: Cool! Sounds like just the ticket; Im pretty miserable. thanks doc!

    [Patient goes away, comes back one week later]

    Doctor: Well?
    Patient: No luck, doc. Im still sick.
    Doctor: So, you didnt really take the pill
    Patient: ummmm… no, actually I did
    Doctor: No, you didnt.
    Patient: Why do you say that?
    Doctor: Because its true. I know.
    Patient: What are you talking about! You weren’t there, and Im telling you I did! How the hell do you think you know?
    Doctor: I know you didnt take the pill because if you did, you’d be better.
    Patient: But I tell you I did take the pill. It just didnt work
    Doc: No, you didnt. If you had taken this pill, you’d be doing great and you’d be singing my praises right now. Your hedaches would be gone, your hair would grow back, your back pain would be cured, you’d have energy, your mood would be perpetually cheerful, and motivated to help others. You’d do good, fight crime, pay all doctor bills promptly, and be a model citizen. Plus no more bad breath.
    Patient: Thats sounds wonderful, doc. Thats why I took it. But those things just didnt happen. The pill just didnt do what you said it would. Look, isnt there a blood test or something, a urine test — anything we can do to prove to you that I took it?
    Doc: No, sorry. There is no independent means to confirm your compliance with the drug therapy beyond the outcome assessments I mentioned.
    Patient: You mean, the symptoms we were trying to treat?
    Doc; Yep, those.
    Patient: So if my symptoms gets better, you conclude I was compliant with the medicine, and if the dont, you conclude I wasnt? Theres no third option, like the pill doesnt always work despite my doing what Im supposed to do?
    Doc: Thats right
    Patient: You cant take my word for it, on the realization that, oh, I dont know, I was there and you werent?
    Doc: Your self-report is irrelevant. The pill always works. If it doesnt seem to work, that means you didnt really take it. Im the doctor and I say so.
    Patient: So your treatment cant possibly be wrong. No state of affairs can ever prove that your treatment is ineffective.
    Doc: Right
    Patient: So by extension, you cant possibly be wrong
    Doc: Sweet deal, ain’t it.
    Patient: I’ll say.
    Doc: That’ll be $90.

  • 49. OneSmallStep  |  November 17, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Richard,

    Your conversation actually reminds me of setting up my DVD player tonight. I had to call the customer service number because it wasn’t working, and halfway through, the woman was telling me that I had a cable between the cable box and TV — I had to, because her solution wasn’t working. Even though I, being the one to look right at the back of my TV and see both cords to into the DVD player, was telling her that I didn’t, what I was telling her was a physical impossiblity.

    It turned out I had to press a button on the TV remote to change the screen, which I did, and thus validated myself: I did have everything hooked up correctly. :)

  • 50. Dan Marvin  |  November 19, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    HeIsSailing “Why do you tell us that we were never Christians?”

    Truth

    What reaction do you hope or expect to get from us by giving us this information?

    How about a true conversion, that would be a great start.

    LeoPardus “That’s just one more reason why many conclude that the Christian faith isn’t true.

    So help me understand, you don’t believe in Christ and you were a false convert because you have gripes and complaints about other people?

    LeoPardus “Because there are huge camps of people, claiming diametrically opposed things, all claiming them to be absolutely true and straight from God’s mouth.”

    Click on my name (hermeneutics811.blogspot.com) to get some tips on how to use an Exegesis method of interpretation instead of an eisegesis method.

    Lorena “As the reality of an invisible being is so fragile that it was easy to debunk.”

    You probably all said some false thing called “sinners prayer” and thought you were all saved. To think that Jesus was knocking at your door and you “ALLOWED” him in is false teaching.

    “But Dan, I stopped sinning (repentance) and really meant it (sincerity).”

    Does God accept the repentance and sincerity of people as a means of obtaining forgiveness of sins? No, He does not. Think about it: if we appealed to God to forgive us based upon what we have done (repented), or what is in our hearts (sincerity), then we are seeking to be made right before God by our own efforts – and this amounts to pride. The fact is that our repentance and sincerity are not enough to merit forgiveness of sins. There is nothing we can do in word, deed, or heartfelt intent that will satisfy an infinitely holy God. If there were, then righteousness would be based upon what we do instead of the sacrifice of Christ (Eph. 2:21). But, Jesus did have to die because we cannot fulfill the perfect Law of God. Why? Because we have been touched by sin in our hearts, minds, and bodies.

    Since we can do nothing to merit God’s love and forgiveness, He is the only One left who can remove our sin. This is why God had to come down in the form of a man (John 1:1,14), in order to shed His blood, wash away our sins (Acts 22:16), and make us right before God the Father by faith (Rom. 5:1). God’s holiness is too great to accept anything wrought by the heart or hand of man.

    LeoPardus “You see Dan, I, and many others here, have been down that road. Just me and God. Personal relationship. He guides me into all truth. He’ll never lead me astray. We know all the things one says to oneself in order to convince oneself that one has a direct line on absolute truth.”

    Wide is the gate that leads to destruction, right! (Matthew 7:13) It breaks my heart that most of you never really got to know God.

    “The Scriptures clearly teach us that God is the Almighty (Job 11:7), who is incomprehensible (Psalm 145:3), infinite (Psalm 147:5), and wholly “other.” Yet, the Bible also tells us that God is knowable (John 17:3; Gal. 4:8-9). This means that though we cannot know Him exhaustively, we can know Him at a level we can comprehend, even if it is limited to our finite abilities. For example, we can know that God is love (1 John 4:8), that He is spirit (John 4:24), and that He communicates to us ( Exodus 20). We can know whatever it is God has revealed to us, because His Self-revelation has been arranged in such a way that we can understand it.

    Because God is so incomprehensible and vast, the best way for us to know Him, is for God to reveal Himself to us in word and deed. This is exactly the case in the Incarnation. Jesus is divine, the second Person of the Trinity, the Word made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:1,14). Jesus is the exact representation of God (Heb. 1:3), and the only One who can reveal God (Matt. 11:27). Therefore, our ability to know God and also to experience God rests completely and totally with Jesus. Again, we can know God through Jesus Christ; “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him,” (Matt. 11:27).

    Therefore, God is very knowable, because He has made Himself known in a way that we can understand. Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8), is our best revelation of God in word and deed, and the truest representation of what God is. And, because of the Incarnation, we can have a relationship with God, because to have a relationship with Jesus is to have a relationship with God: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1 Cor. 1:9).” (carm)

  • 51. Thinking Ape  |  November 19, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    I think Dan’s POV can be summed up in one sentence:

    “It breaks my heart that most of you never really got to know God.”

    Tell me Dan, what special knowledge are you privy to that so many of us, and apparently millions (maybe billions) of Christians, truly lack? Tell me of your gnosis!

    It is amazing how the subtle yet powerful “heresy” of gnosticism has triumphed in contemporary Christianity.

  • 52. LeoPardus  |  November 19, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Dan:

    Have you heard of a thing called “pride”? Synonyms would include “arrogance”, “pomposity”, “inflated ego”, “self aggrandizement”, and more.

    You are convinced that you have it ALL correct! That’s amazing! Any human who comes to any conclusion apart from yours, must be wrong. I can’t think of a single human for whom that’s ever been true.

    Now there is one being to whom infallibility has been ascribed. He’s usually called God.

    I fear you’ve gotten yourself conflated with that being.

    Still, it must be nice to think oneself infallible and a guide to all the blind world.

    Pardon me, but you have serious delusions of grandeur.

  • 53. Dan Marvin  |  November 20, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Leo you are misconstrued with the delusions of grandeur comment.

    It might be because you lack experience and that is the difference. I have an experience that removed ALL doubt, I am 100% certain there is a God. On the flip an atheist cannot say they have 100% certainty based on a non experience, it is based on a belief still. They have a belief based on lack of said experience, but they remain uncertain (lack of assurance). That is in fact what you just said earlier, correct? You said “As far as I know, the god of Abraham does not exist.” (a belief based on lack of said experience)

    Jesus is the answer to the questions of whether we can know anything about God as well as experience Him. Jesus is the way to God (John 14:6), and the One who reveals the truth about God (Matt. 11:27). So, can we know and experience God? Yes, we can, through Jesus. This is the message of truth that we need to convey to the world.

    Also, because the Bible tells us that everyone can know through creation there is a God, and that they have this knowledge also embedded upon their hearts (Rom. 1:19-20), you can speak with confidence, knowing the Holy Spirit will confirm the truth of God’s Word in those to whom you speak. This does not mean that everyone will repent and come to Christ. But, it does mean that God will confirm the truth. What the unbelievers do with it, is up to them. You must realize there are those who have suppressed the knowledge of God in their unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18), and have been given over to the depravity of their minds (Rom. 1:24-28).

    The atheist asked the Christian, how do you know there is a God? The Christian answered, “I know there is, because I know Him.” The atheist responded, “But how can I know that you are not in error?” The Christian said, “Knowing someone is not proven. It is experienced.”

  • 54. LeoPardus  |  November 20, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Dan:

    Correct. My unbelief is based on a complete lack of experience. I’ve never seen God, or an angel, or been visited by a dead saint, or seen a miracle, or had a vision, or had any other experience with the supernatural.

    My take was quite simple. If God wants me to believe, He need only show me something convincing.

    You claim that you’ve had some such convincing experience. Good. If you have any sort of “in” with God, let Him know that I would be ecstatic to have some clear miracle, visitation, revelation, vision, etc. Whatever He, in His infinite knowledge, can see would clearly give me the assurance i need.

    My family, and most of my friends are all believers. I would love to rejoin them. To be able to look back at doubt and atheism and say, “No more. Now i KNOW.”

    So, if you’ve been so blessed, see if your imploring can move God more than mine.

    *** Note: While I can be a sarcastic SOB, this post is not sarcastic. I sincerely mean all of it. ***

  • 55. Dan Marvin  |  November 20, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    LeoPardus: “If God wants me to believe, He need only show me something convincing.”

    Now you sound like the devil. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 4:5-7 “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

    What you said also reminds me of the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. He needed more to prove hell existed for his brothers and God said you have the Bible (moses and the prophets) and if they don’t believe that they will not believe anything else. (presupposition again)

    One of the forums that I was reading answered something that I thought was interesting enough to share with you:

    Does God Speak To Us Apart From The Bible?

    ANSWER: No. The Bible reveals the mind of God to the mind of man.

    God does not speak to us apart from His revealed words recorded in the Bible. God speaks to us today through His Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4).

    BIBLICAL PROOF:

    * The phrase “God hath spoken” shows God has said all that He intends to say (Hebrews 1:1-2).

    * Jesus promised the apostles they would be guided into all truth (John 16:13). If God is still revealing truth, the apostles were not guided into all truth as Christ promised.

    * Paul said he declared all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27). How could Paul have made such a claim, if God’s message to man was not complete? The answer is that the Bible reveals the completed message of God to man.

    * Timothy was taught, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unti all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). The American Standard Version says, “that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” The fact that a man may be complete shows the Word of God is complete. The Bible is all we need!

    * If God is still giving revelation, then Peter was mistaken when he said God “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).

    * The faith, which is the gospel (Colossians 1:23), “was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). That is, once for all time. Once a thing has been delivered, it does not need to be redelivered.

    * If God spoke directly to a person and not to others, then this would make Him a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

    * We are warned against adding to the Word of God (I Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:8-9; II John 9; Revelations 22:18-19). Anything revealed other than the recorded words of God in the Bible is error. For instance, some religious groups claim God provided latter day revelations. The latter day revelations claimed by men do not harmonize with clear Bible teaching from God’s word.

    “*** Note: While I can be a sarcastic SOB, this post is not sarcastic. I sincerely mean all of it. ***”

    I perfectly understand, this is a very important subject to me. I don’t want the lost to perish. You can clearly see that l put my faith in Jesus and if it is all true then there will be a lot of unrepentant sinners going to hell, and I just don’t want that. Another motivation is that your blood would be on my(our) hands if I (we) don’t warn you of your wickedness. (Ezekiel 3:17-21)

    And (I’m) saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.(Mark 1:15)

  • 56. fireshadow48  |  December 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Great article. I resisted de-conversion for many years. I kept trying to rationalize it. I wanted to go back and take “the blue pill” so much. I, too, have found that impossible. I would have to deny too much.

    Reminds me of when I was a substance abuse counselor. Our biggest task was breaking through denial. I had one client who, some months after breaking through her denial told me “I want my denial back!”. Hmmmmm.

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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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