Like many other atheists I was raised as a Christian, and I fully believed in the veracity of the bible during my formative years. For me deconversion was a long and painful period of my life filled with doubts, self-loathing and fear.

It took me years to come to terms with losing my faith but now I am so much happier for it. I have written for the first time the process of my loss of faith on my blog (**shameless plug alert**) The Yorkshire Atheist, and it got me to thinking, what were other peoples experiences like?

I'd love to hear your stories, and if you're willing for me to do so I may share some via my blog.

Thanks for reading

The Yorkshire Atheist

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"Long and painful" also describes the process that took me from minister to atheist. In a nutshell, I went to seminary and got a half decent education which made me wonder about the missing half, the parts we skimmed over, or were told not to talk to the laity about (like the history of the biblical cannon and the canonization process).

The years that followed were a terrible struggle between my increasing knowledge, my doubts and my desperate fight to hang onto faith... any kind of faith. Eventually I had to leave the ministry as a matter of conscience. When I left, I was leaving my job, friends and identity.

I've spent the last few years rebuilding my mind (religious faith of the sort that infected me leaves a terrible mess in there!) and doing what little I can to undo some of the damage I caused as a minister by being a vocal advocate for reason whenever I can.

They really taught you to not talk to the laity about certain parts? I hadn't heard that before.

I guess the more I learn about the canonization process, it makes sense, though. The ignorant masses need to believe that it was always obvious which books were and were not scripture; or that the Holy Spirit just dropped the completed canon list into some church leaders' lap.

Learning more about the origins and canonization of the bible was one of the things (the straw that broke the camels back if you will) that drove me away from religion in the end so I'm not that surprised to hear that ministers are told not to talk about it.

Yes, in particular we were told that the history of the Canon wasn't something that most believers were "spiritually mature" enough to handle. In retrospect that was a brilliant warning since it had the dual effect of allowing us to brush the issue under the rug with a clear conscience and preventing any of us to dwell too much on our own doubts for fear of seeming "spiritually immature" (a perception a young aspiring minister would want to avoid at all costs).
I think a lot of atheists have a painful deconversion, especially those who were raised with belief being a large part of their life. I've never really met an unhappy atheist though, they always tend to be at peace and free (when they have come to terms with their lack of belief).

I was lucky enough to be raised in a family that believed I should choose my own way, and so never had it pumped into me from a young age. My journey to atheism was more an adventure and a sense of discovery because I felt I was finally on the right path and could follow it to truth. So I am one of the lucky few.

However, I have seen a lot of pain and struggles being discussed on TA. Atheism is not an easy path to take and a lot of people suffer dearly for their conclusion. Take a look at the blogs people post here. You will find a lot of good stories there and they will probably be more in depth than stories posted in response to this discussion.

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