Why d-C? – Logical Problems with the Dogma
In my first installment of the series “Why do Christians de-convert?”, Why d-C? - Answer the damn question Mr. Priest!, I discused the fact that dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample of the 117 de-conversion stories I read.
But it’s not just questions about dinosaurs, or the world outside the religious paradigm that can provoke doubt. Many de-converted Christians spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself. De-conversion stories that spoke of a realisation that the religious dogma was internally incoherent amounts to 12.76% of the sample. The most common cause of these doubts appeared to be when the religious dogma contradicted “religious” values (the reason for using scare quotes here will become apparent later).
This example shows conflict between a child’s own belief they have done nothing wrong (sin requires wrongful action), and the idea of original sin:
“When a boy 10 years old in Catholic school Priest pointed at the Cross and said “You put him there. He died for your sins,” I did not accept that statement. I was not old enough to have sinned!”
Here a de-convertee notes how as a young person she noticed the contradiction between a god who required constant praise, with the idea of an all powerful, all seeing, all caring god:
Around the age of 12, though, I had seriously starting doubting the existence of an entity such as God, who had such a big ego to be praised with zillions of chants — in spite of being omnipotent — and whose only desire was to get all to pray and accept his dominion, to be hapless before him. You needed to pray to deserve a happy life. Far from strength, I started seeing a marked weakness added to the contradictions in the mythology.
God was petty, and petty was not perfect. The doubt in the mind of this individual was sown.
Another person highlights the conflict between original sin and personal values concerning innocence:
We had religious instruction for two hours every day. At one point we were covering Purgatory. The nun explained that babies who were not baptised could not enter heaven, they carried the eternal sin and had to stay in Purgatory. I found that so very unjust that it started me questioning everything. I quit going to church.
I couldn’t accept that homosexuality was inherently evil. I was not prepared to believe that a two-day-old foetus was somehow sentient and thus had a soul. I did not really accept any longer that people who dabble in the occult are possessed by demons and so on.
Religionists may contend that we get our values from the bible, or from their dogma. But what these de-conversion stories demonstrate is that values and morals are socially derived. These individuals encountered their first doubts about religion when the moral consequences of the religious dogma clashed with their socially derived values. There is the child who held that babies could not be guilty of anything clashed with the notion of original sin, and the adult who’s gut instinct was that all people were worthy of respect, even if they were gay. These individuals faced the choice of either modify their values to suit the church, or reject the church.
What does this mean for supporting de-conversion? Again, these individuals encountered these conflicts within the Church. The absurdity of the church’s beliefs was not pointed out to them by some atheist proselytiser, but inadvertently by the church itself.
- Originally published by Kieran Bennett, reprinted with permission.