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Ex-believers: What’s Your Apostasy (De-conversion) Story?
Posted: 17 May 2012 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Here Here!!!! LOL


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Posted: 17 May 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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The use of a monstrous Philadelphia lawyer word like apostasy is not impressive but what is worse is actually giving the meaning of the word in the post as if others don’t know it.  Its not important if they do or don’t know it but the way you posted the words sounds like you are talking down to people.  You may not have intended to give such an impression but you did.

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Posted: 17 May 2012 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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deros - 17 May 2012 01:08 PM

The use of a monstrous Philadelphia lawyer word like apostasy is not impressive but what is worse is actually giving the meaning of the word in the post as if others don’t know it.  Its not important if they do or don’t know it but the way you posted the words sounds like you are talking down to people.  You may not have intended to give such an impression but you did.

I do not see the word “apostasy” as a “monstrous Philadelphia lawyer word”. I’ve seen it used quite frequently by ex-believers to refer to their abandonment of their faith. But I’ve seen the word used in two ways. One, the more formal sense, refers to an official disaffiliation from one’s religion (e.g., getting “de-baptised”). The other, more informal sense refers simply to a personal renunciation of one’s faith or religious affiliation. I put “de-conversion” in parentheses to clarify the fact that I was using the word for its second meaning as apposed to the first.

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Posted: 17 May 2012 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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By the way folks, great posts. Am really enjoying reading people’s stories, and now have some more books to add to my reading list!

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Posted: 29 May 2012 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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My background is Roman Catholic. As a teenager, I considered myself devout.

The first glimmers of doubt occurred in my junior year of high school, when we read Beowulf in English literature class. How was their belief in Wyrd different from my belief in the biblical god? I began to explain my belief on the basis of choice, without understanding yet what was wrong with that.

When I matriculated to The University of Michigan a year and a half later, I drew two Jewish cousins as my roommates in the dorm. This confronted me with the question “why is my religion better than theirs?” I realized that I had no answer. That began a three-year-long, gradual deconversion process. On November 1, 1975, during my first year of law school, I walked out of church before mass began and never returned.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Interesting PLaClair.  I grew up in the Church of God, Anderson, where nothing made sense.  Then when I left home, I went to the Episcopal Church where thing sort of made sense, but at least I could question and research, which lead me to atheism.  As strange as it may seem, Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic made enough sense to me that I could form questions, but prior to that, nothing made any sense to me in which I could form any questions.  I spent 20 years in Fundamngelicalism and then the next 20 years exploring until I came to my own conclusions.  My questions did come when I was in elementary school, but I was shut down really quickly.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 22 February 2014 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I began losing my faith, ironically, because I took a course on the New Testament. I had been raised in a Christian home, baptized, and even gone on missions trips. My brother is currently studying with hopes of becoming a pastor. The picture I’m trying to paint for you is this: I was raised in a loving Christian home and I was a Christian.

I had always had some doubts. I thought it wasn’t really fair that people who had never had the chance to hear about Jesus would burn in hell for an eternity. I thought Jesus seemed pretty harsh about divorce. I wondered why it was sinful for gay people to love people of the same gender- knowing that they had been born that way implying that God was the one who made them gay in the first place. And also I noticed that parts of the New Testament were dismissed even among Christians, for instance 1 Cor 11 where Paul demands women cover their head (most Christians say that that part is just cultural context and Paul REALLY just wants women to be modest). It wasn’t always easy to push these doubts to the back of my mind, but I prayed about it alot and I managed.

Things really came to a head after I saw “The Book of Mormon” (the musical). My Christian friends thought it was absolutely hilarious and they would laugh and laugh thinking: “those silly Mormons. They think God incarnate came to America- obviously he only did work in the middle east!” But then I wondered, how do I know without a doubt that I am right? How do I know that it was God who was doing all those things in the old testament and the new testament?

So I took the course at a Catholic College out of curiosity. I came to learn all of the instances where the synoptic gospels differed that showed the writers were not committed to truth so much as to their own viewpoint. I learned that they were written at least 40 yrs after Jesus’ ascension/death (whatever). I learned that Messiah does not necessarily mean savior in Jesus’ time, it just means anointed one chosen by God. Even King David was considered a messiah.  I learned at bit more about Genesis and I became uncomfortable with my previous position of taking it purely as a metaphor (if it’s just a metaphor then why the exact # of years for Adam’s lifespan? Why the emphasis of the Eve’s guilt in the matter?) So gradually I came to distrust the Bible and I began losing my faith.

At first I was scared because I thought I was going to hell. If you weren’t raised religious let me tell you: fear of Hell is a very real motivating factor. It’s supposed to be utter separation from God, who is the source of all goodness, and so Hell is the most terrible place you can imagine. I prayed to God to help me with my unbelief and I was so afraid of living in a world where there is no objective morality and no meaning to it all. But as usual, God was silent to my prayers.

I’ve started doing research into the Atheist way of looking at the world and the reasons they have to support their beliefs. I wouldnt call myself an Atheist yet, I’m more like a closet agnostic. I’m not scared anymore, and in fact I take comfort in the idea of my consciousness ceasing to exist after I die.

The only awkward thing I’m still trying to figure out is now that I’ve sorted out some of the things I don’t believe, I’ve got to figure out what is true and what reasons I have to support my conclusion. That and I am still involved with a Christian club (my deconversion was really fast, only a couple of months) and I promised I would be a bible study leader for the rest of the year. It’s kinda awkward teaching Bible stories when you think they are full of lies. And I don’t know how I will tell my family or if I ever will. My absence from Church will be noticed, but I don’t want to go because I am worried that since it took so little time to deconvert… I’m worried I might get sucked back in again.

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Posted: 22 February 2014 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Findermouse, Your journey to “apostasy” does not seem to have been completed.  I suspect that, if you live long enough, your intellectual integrity will win out over religious control.  If you don’t live long enough, you won’t burn in hell. (That lie is just a “stick” of religious control.  You will simply no longer be alive.  (A “carrot” of religious control is the false promise of eternal life.)

It took the greater part of my life to figure out that lies are an ingrained part of society and human behavior. But having accepted that, the “Big Lies” are easier to detect.

BTW, I don’t mean to be cynical, although this post may seem to be.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 23 February 2014 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Maswah - 12 May 2012 10:27 PM

I’ve run across several members of this forum who are ex-believers that “de-converted” to non-belief as I did. I’m very curious to hear how you came to be a non-believer. What was it that led you to abandon your faith? How has it impacted your life? I’d love to hear your story if you’re interested in telling it.

I’m going to post the thumbnail sketch of my own apostasy as a separate response to this post because it’s a bit long.

Actually, one does not become “de-converted” when giving up a faith one is born and indoctrinated into. There is no conversion, so no de-conversion.  There is growing up, though, as one poster pointed out.

I was raised a Catholic by a kind father. My mother as a nominal Episcopalian who never attended church. I followed all the rules and thought I believed as a child. At about 18 I started to think outside the box.. After a few stumbles, I could say I was a full blown atheist by 22 or so. I started reading science books and skeptical articles, which made more sense to me than any religion. I raised my children as atheists and never regretted it. I also joined Humanist and Atheist organizations, became president of my local American Humanist Association chapter and have been vice president of the AHA. My only regret was being unable to please my kind father who was hurt that I did not continue as a Catholic. The Catholic Church meant so much to him and I think he felt he had failed me.  I never discussed my atheism with him, but he knew i was not attending church and later that I did not bring up my children as Catholics. I knew he would not understand my atheism so I let sleeping dogs lie.  It was for the best under the circumstances, but I know I would have made him happy if I had stayed in the church.

I remember worrying for a while at the beginning of my journey to atheism, “what if there IS a god and he takes it out on me or my children in his inimitable way.  This did disturb me for several years, though I got over it as I became more convinced that the biblical god is impossible and that any god is highly unlikely.

Lois

[ Edited: 23 February 2014 09:08 AM by Lois ]
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Posted: 23 February 2014 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Good morning Maswah,

Very good way to start the day, replying to your initial question smile

I’m not an atheist, and I’m not an agnostic by principle, which would be silly, as I want my questions answered… but I’m certainly not a believer, except maybe a Daoist, submitting to “the way of nature” and the Yin and Yang.

I was raised nominally Catholic, not very strict, but yet very devout. I’m by nature “devout”, love silence and the solitary, even considered becoming a monk (well, nun smile )

At 19 I had a nervous breakdown that got me into pentecostal, fundamentalist Christianity. I was “on fire for the Lord”! I evangelized people on my own, gave out tracts and New Testaments I had bought myself, not been given by a church. I believed, really and utterly. There was nothing fake about it. - Did I ever consider the Bible to be the Word of God? Yes, sure, but never in the “correct” way I guess. I knew it was an ancient text that was simply that: ancient. I believed in GOD speaking to me through that text, but I never considered the text itself to be anything special.

That’s when I discovered that organized Christianity was a bunch of bull, at least the kind that nearly freaks when their cherished nonsense is attacked. “My” Christianity was pretty immune to that, but thinking I might be wrong I accepted the nonsense at first. - I gave up smoking, didn’t watch R-rated movies, drinking of course stopped, which wasn’t a bad idea, and overall it was a good “recovery program”, but slowly and surely I began to doubt things. Why this hatred of homosexuals? Why make rules and then use the Bible to back them up, if it clearly didn’t say that? Just say “it’s our church’s rule” and I would have accepted it. That’s really why I left. Not because the place was “overruled”, but because they used the Bible to back up things the Bible did not say. Such as Jesus drank grape juice instead of wine… What? Just tell me to stop drinking. Don’t give me any fairytales.

But I kept looking. I even went to Chicago just to visit Moody Memorial Church, and started enrolling in their accredited classes to get a degree in theology. (Pastor Lutzer, by the way, is a great person. I don’t agree with him anymore but I have nothing but respect for him. He’s authentic.)

Anyway, I eventually ended up with the Presbyterians, PCA, not PCUSA. A haven I thought. Finally “intellectuals” who believe in the Lord. And I kind of still think that, but when they began preaching on evolution and how it’s not true I nearly lost it. I left and never went back. That was the final blow.

I pretty much enjoyed the theology, and debating about things that can never be proven anyway was kind of fun, but once you leave that realm and try to stick your ideas against empirical reality you don’t have my ear. This is just taking it too far. Religion is fine with me, but once it turns politics you overstepped yourself. - By now I noticed that this is not an isolated incidence. Never noticed that before as I really, really loved my “Lord”. Christian Right, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, Creation Museum, Creationism, etc. It doesn’t get more deluded than that. Had it remained within the realm of devotion, the mystical, simply love for God and neighbor, yeah, I might still be a Christian. But then, being transgender kind of got into their hair too: Repent! You’re just confused! - Well, I’ve never been as non-confused as these days. Thank you.

Too many lines. Sorry. But I’m awake now. smile

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Posted: 24 February 2014 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Michelle D. - 23 February 2014 10:25 AM

Good morning Maswah,

Very good way to start the day, replying to your initial question smile

I’m not an atheist, and I’m not an agnostic by principle, which would be silly, as I want my questions answered… but I’m certainly not a believer, except maybe a Daoist, submitting to “the way of nature” and the Yin and Yang.

I was raised nominally Catholic, not very strict, but yet very devout. I’m by nature “devout”, love silence and the solitary, even considered becoming a monk (well, nun smile )

At 19 I had a nervous breakdown that got me into pentecostal, fundamentalist Christianity. I was “on fire for the Lord”! I evangelized people on my own, gave out tracts and New Testaments I had bought myself, not been given by a church. I believed, really and utterly. There was nothing fake about it. - Did I ever consider the Bible to be the Word of God? Yes, sure, but never in the “correct” way I guess. I knew it was an ancient text that was simply that: ancient. I believed in GOD speaking to me through that text, but I never considered the text itself to be anything special.

That’s when I discovered that organized Christianity was a bunch of bull, at least the kind that nearly freaks when their cherished nonsense is attacked. “My” Christianity was pretty immune to that, but thinking I might be wrong I accepted the nonsense at first. - I gave up smoking, didn’t watch R-rated movies, drinking of course stopped, which wasn’t a bad idea, and overall it was a good “recovery program”, but slowly and surely I began to doubt things. Why this hatred of homosexuals? Why make rules and then use the Bible to back them up, if it clearly didn’t say that? Just say “it’s our church’s rule” and I would have accepted it. That’s really why I left. Not because the place was “overruled”, but because they used the Bible to back up things the Bible did not say. Such as Jesus drank grape juice instead of wine… What? Just tell me to stop drinking. Don’t give me any fairytales.

But I kept looking. I even went to Chicago just to visit Moody Memorial Church, and started enrolling in their accredited classes to get a degree in theology. (Pastor Lutzer, by the way, is a great person. I don’t agree with him anymore but I have nothing but respect for him. He’s authentic.)

Anyway, I eventually ended up with the Presbyterians, PCA, not PCUSA. A haven I thought. Finally “intellectuals” who believe in the Lord. And I kind of still think that, but when they began preaching on evolution and how it’s not true I nearly lost it. I left and never went back. That was the final blow.

I pretty much enjoyed the theology, and debating about things that can never be proven anyway was kind of fun, but once you leave that realm and try to stick your ideas against empirical reality you don’t have my ear. This is just taking it too far. Religion is fine with me, but once it turns politics you overstepped yourself. - By now I noticed that this is not an isolated incidence. Never noticed that before as I really, really loved my “Lord”. Christian Right, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, Creation Museum, Creationism, etc. It doesn’t get more deluded than that. Had it remained within the realm of devotion, the mystical, simply love for God and neighbor, yeah, I might still be a Christian. But then, being transgender kind of got into their hair too: Repent! You’re just confused! - Well, I’ve never been as non-confused as these days. Thank you.

Too many lines. Sorry. But I’m awake now. smile

How would you answer this simple question?  Do you believe there is a god who exists? I am not saying imagine, or hope or wish. Do you hold a belief that any god exists? Please don’t say you don’t know. I am not asking for knowledge but belief. Whether you believe in something or not you must know. This is not a question that needs to be weighed.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Wow, Lois, for a person who doesn’t like the word, you just used it four times in the prior post.  LOL

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Posted: 24 February 2014 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Lois - 24 February 2014 01:55 PM
Michelle D. - 23 February 2014 10:25 AM

How would you answer this simple question?  Do you believe there is a god who exists? I am not saying imagine, or hope or wish. Do you hold a belief that any god exists? Please don’t say you don’t know. I am not asking for knowledge but belief. Whether you believe in something or not you must know. This is not a question that needs to be weighed.

Hi Lois… I don’t know. Sorry. Do I “believe”? I believe in the Yin Yang stuff and “the way of nature”. Daoism holds that there is a God, but so far removed that even talking about God is meaningless, so you stick to the Dao, the Way. - I don’t practice this though, I just kinda like the idea.

Sometimes I think I believe, sometimes I don’t. But things like the holocaust make me think that if there is a God “he’s” a very strange fellow. I mean, if you have all power and are all loving and you still let things like that happen you’re pretty warped in your “love”. Makes John Wayne Gacy look like a clown, pun intended.

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Posted: 24 February 2014 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Michelle D. - 24 February 2014 02:43 PM
Lois - 24 February 2014 01:55 PM
Michelle D. - 23 February 2014 10:25 AM

How would you answer this simple question?  Do you believe there is a god who exists? I am not saying imagine, or hope or wish. Do you hold a belief that any god exists? Please don’t say you don’t know. I am not asking for knowledge but belief. Whether you believe in something or not you must know. This is not a question that needs to be weighed.

Hi Lois… I don’t know. Sorry. Do I “believe”? I believe in the Yin Yang stuff and “the way of nature”. Daoism holds that there is a God, but so far removed that even talking about God is meaningless, so you stick to the Dao, the Way. - I don’t practice this though, I just kinda like the idea.

Sometimes I think I believe, sometimes I don’t. But things like the holocaust make me think that if there is a God “he’s” a very strange fellow. I mean, if you have all power and are all loving and you still let things like that happen you’re pretty warped in your “love”. Makes John Wayne Gacy look like a clown, pun intended.

Lois, my response was in the blue section. Still not very good with this Quote button and how it works…

Peace.

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