Why d-C? – Stand Back, I’m going to try SCIENCE!
Earlier I stated that dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample I read (14.89%). However, the realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second most an equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%). In other words, religious fundamentalists wage war against science with good reason.
Surprisingly, as the following examples highlight, rarely was it Richard Dawkins ramming logic down someone’s throat with something like The God Delusion that resulted in de-conversion. De-conversion appeared to occur when people didn’t have their religiously trained defenses up. And again, it could happen at a young age:
When I was in 8th grade, I was studying my cousin’s biology book, which happened to teach evolution. I remember hearing things about how evolution was “incorrect” according to the sometimes Christian media. I did not completely dismiss the idea of god at this time, but it caused me to invalidate the idea of an actual organized religion because they were inelastic and unable to accept change or new ideas because their “holy” scripture was infallible. This was the beginning of my de-conversion to atheism.
Simple facts, and simple doubts. It did not even have to be evolution, something as simple as a scouting trip can provoke doubt:
I heard that the the world was only 10,000 years old, and that dinosaurs and people used to frollick together (probably mostly people running away from dinosaurs!), and how God intentionally (deceptively) made the fossil record to look like it was millions of years old so as to make blind faith necessary. Maybe the average Fundamentalist might have accepted this at face value, but I had always had a healthy respect for knowledge obtained through science. So, this was a bit of a tall order … I went to a big backwoods summer camp in New Mexico, called Philmont Scout Ranch, with my Scout troop. There, I learned about the Tooth of Time, an igneous mountain which dated back several millions of years.
And for the above de-convertee, doubt set in. Science engenders a different way of looking at things, using observable reality and deduction instead of blind faith. It’s not just the hard sciences either, this story relates how a person deciding to look at religion ever so briefly, through the lense of sociology, led to an epiphany:
The change came because of humanities class. We had to do experience logs, and one option was to visit a church and do a report. I wondered, what it would be like for someone doing that assignment and attending my church for the first time. So, one mass, I sat there, and did not participate. I immediately noticed how hard it was to do that. My mouth almost moved by itself to say the prayers along with everyone. And that’s when I realized how close to chanting everyone sounded. Nothing has scared me that much sense that moment when I realised I was the member of a cult.
Science led these people to doubt their religion. They came to realise their religion contradicted reality, and that one of the two had to be false.
- Originally published by Kieran Bennett, reprinted with permission.