To those who were formerly religious, how would you describe your deconversion?

Hi, I was a Christian for over twenty years before the seeds of my deconverstion were sown. I began an intensive introspection into the history and psychological nature of religion over 2 years ago about eight years after I began having my initial doubts. It was a difficult process and what I gleaned at first utterly shocked me and shook me to my core. Feeling confused, hurt, alone and betrayed I stopped studying this material because it had already pierced my intellect and spoke to my reason that all of my deepest held beliefs were nothing more than a simulacrum and it hurt too much to think about. After just putting this to the back of my mind for several months I decided to delve even further into the true history, psychology and nature of human evolution, human emotional evolution, biblical history, religious history and the sciences and through this study I am now unquestionably an atheist. All of my family and friends/acquaintances are either practicing Christians or invoke the name of Yahweh when in deep moments of distress and think that "atheists are of the devil and evil" so unfortunately I'm pretty sequestered for professing what I believe in my heart of hearts to be true. In fact I'm in the middle of reading "The God Virus" currently and the more I read into the book the more disgusted with religion of any kind I become! This journey of deconversion has been stranger than fiction, life and mind altering and something that never seemed conceivable to me in my younger, more formative years, yet through all of the mental anguish I feel like I've fed my mind that which it craved most, the truth. I can honestly and unabashedly state that I don't know how we or the universe came into being (although science's theories are infinitely more plausible than religions) or what happens to us when our life ends (probably just finality, no afterlife or "spiritual release") but since devoting myself to what I deem now as my "Atheistic studies" such as watching amazing shows as "The Atheist Experience" or the awesome atheist channels on youtube or reading great books debunking religion and espousing the rationality of science I feel strangely more alive and immersed in the universe than ever before and I'd love to hear about your journey. Thanks so much.

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We like crazy chicas

Hey Belle, thank you so much for sharing. I'm really sorry you feel broken, it's great that you have your son and are passing on a worthy legacy to him. I enjoyed the like a rolling stone quote you threw in there ;).

You're an inspiration

I'm so glad to read that it has Belle! It's actually very sad indeed that most people, even those who hardly ever attend church or live a life of religious piety are so disgusted and terrified of atheists!! I think that admitting to myself that religion is man made and therefore constructed upon a lie and then deciding for myself that the existence of any kind of supernatural diety is highly unlikely has caused to to want to become a better and more moral person just to show that morality is something that is independent of religion and I'm not a monster now, lol.  And yeah, once I really began studying the history of religion and it's origins it didn't take long for it to convince me that my previously held beliefs were false. Seeing as how I live in the deep south bible belt and I'm a non believer I have plenty of free time on my hands now, lol. Feel free to message me anytime if you'd like. I'm a decent avatar, lol.

I think that all that matters is the end result, we all take a different road to it. Lol, when I first realized that my lifelong beliefs were all wrong I turned pale, shook a lil and said "Oh dear god!" looking back on it I laugh now because like you I've freed my mind up to think instead of "believe" in a concept that is paper thin as far as rationality is concerned, if that!!

To answer your side question, yes I do pyramid training and just love living the fitness lifestyle. When it dawned on me that this is the only body I'll ever have and these precious few days on Earth are all I'll ever know or feel I really amped up my workouts and overhauled my diet in an attempt to be as healthy and happy as I can be since I won't be receiving that "perfect body" or "troubleless mind" upon entering the "holy gates" lol. 

Thanks for the vid link.. Those are really challenging, they'll make you wanna drop to your knees and say no more, lol.

I'm the son of a liberal theologian and mystic.  My consideration and rejection of fundamentalist literalism was a no brainer, but the release of God altogether was a very long drawn-out and hard fought process.

Since I wasn't a literalist I didn't have to take every word of the Bible as coming from the Bible as from God himself.. I figured that man had written it down, much of it from word of mouth with all the mythology and modification that can happen to stories over long periods of time.  .   I thought that there might still be kernels of spiritual wisdom buried within it... but that you would have to be spiritually wise or 'gnostic' to be able to find them.   My thinking was that spirituality was internal and that's how you grew.  You couldn't just parrot it from some book and call yourself 'spiritual'... You had to be able to do the same things that the prophets and apostles did, like see visions.  Where the fundy's had it wrong, I supposed, was that they tried to interpret the 'spiritual' by running it through a mundane matrix.  They couldn't sift out the 'truth' from the mundane because they didn't know what to look for.

Evolution and the big bang never bothered me.   I figured that 'all the information to make the big oak tree' was within a tiny acorn.....why not the same thing for the universe?   I thought genesis was a 'spiritual' story with spiritual lessons not a literal word for word text of what happened.   I loved science and would be delighted when some new finding would drive the 'fundy's' crazy.   I figured the bible and other religious scripture never got into the actual processes of HOW god did anything.    Why not make the physical laws?  Why not create life so that it was adaptable?

My God was bigger and more loving, forgiving and compassionate than the literalist fundy god... I didn't have to believe that every single word of the bible was the absolute truth or the 'correct interpretation'.  I knew that MUCH had been changed, I knew about the infighting of the early church etc..   So with all these considerations my deconversion was a much longer soul searching and painful process.  

From spiritual Christianity and mysticism I gradually moved to the mysticism of the east...which was inclusive not exclusive..so that I didn't have to reject ALL of Christian mysticism.  There were layers and layers of mystical truth that went like stairs from ignorance to higher and higher spiritually discerned truths.

To cut this book short...it was the very search for truth that finally set me free.  Neuroscience and consciousness studies, my own experiences weighed against the cosmologies or explanations of the mystics from various religions.. I finally had to let it all go.    Don't get me wrong.. I still believe that there are those who have found a 'type' of inner peace and equilibrium ... I just don't buy their cosmology anymore.  I don't think you have to have a 'supernatural answer' to explain.   In fact I think that the more we dig the deeper and more amazing the physical universe is found to be the less there is need for a 'supernatural'  to answer anything.    (sorry for the long reply)

Awesome reply! I both enjoy and appreciate your detailed answer concerning this subject. I really enjoy the sciences as well (what I can actually grasp of them with my limited intellect, lol) especially neuroscience,evolution and natural selection. 

I became an Atheist at 16. At first it was unbelievable and very perplexing. I was at a shock when I truly understood  that this supreme being that was supposed to be my lord and master did not exist. So then from the sheer shock and denial, for like a month I was a deist. I thought that religion is a sham but god is real and probably doesn't really interfere in our lives so that's why we don't hear much about him. But then I came to the same problems as before. I still could not find any prove of god. So then like right after that, it just kinda naturally happened, where I just realized that god is nonexistent and that is life. I became an Atheist and never looked back since then.

Although even today, the concept of death does scare me a bit. Sometimes the thought of a magical afterlife like a fairy tale sounds pleasant to the ear, even if it might not be true at all.

I went through the "deism" phase as well after the initial shock of having my personal beliefs utterly dispelled through irrefutable facts. But just like you I also came to the conclusion that there is no god of any kind and yeah it hurt when I realized that there was no "supernatural, all powerful friend" with my best interest in mind, or that there would be no blessing in the after-life and likely no afterlife at all, and that ultimate justice does not exist either. I'm not thrilled about death either Adam, it's both humbling and troubling to realize that I'm just another mammal formed of atoms and stardust that will no longer be once this precious gift known as life ends, but like you I cannot simply embrace something I don't believe even if it greatly eases my mind.

Jason,

Those are some serious 'guns' you're packing there. 

My deconversion was similar to your own. Years of lingering doubt and unanswered questions led to my ultimately deciding critical thought on the subject of religion was in order. After several discussions with theist and atheist alike and reading secular books on the subject my final determination was that it (supernatural beings) did not add up. Anyone who takes the time to study religion from a historical perspective, going back to animism and beyond, and looks at it's evolutionary development  will come away with the glaring reality that humans unfortunately possess an overactive imagination.

That we do. And thanks, working out has filled many an old void in my life lol. What put the nail in my religious coffin was learning about all of the ancient sun gods and how christ was nothing more than an amalgamation of previous gods.

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