Insert Witty Title Here- My Deconversion Story

In my last post I mentioned the official first step towards atheism.

I have had difficulties with faith for as long as I can remember. My first crush was a woman (I was 5 and I thought her red hair was so beautiful I wanted to marry her.)

At 7 I asked if different languages can use different words for apples and oranges and not be wrong, couldn't the same go for God? (In case you don't know, the answer is usually "NO!")

At age 16 I had my first existential crisis, I gave my virginity to an emotionally abusive young man, and felt I had to marry him because of my faith. I eventually broke down into tears and screaming on a dirt road while telling my best friend (a different one than the one in my other posts, this one is brilliant) that God was a deadbeat father and I hated him.

At age 17 I attempted suicide because...well God wasn't helping me keep my urges in check and I was just becoming unraveled.

 

I'm 28 now.

I lost my faith about 5 years ago.

See, I had just lost my way enough to stop going to church, and had been speaking with my dad about how I was having a hard time with my faith because no matter how hard I prayed I just didn't feel God listening any more. He told my my younger brother, and the one I am closest to, was struggling with his faith as well. He told me that we should talk, and maybe I could help him understand what was bothering him. (Oh! Fun fact: I was a hardcore Catholic Apologist for 10 years at this point!)

Long story short, brother was an atheist and by the end of the night so was I. (More details on that particular night in my last post.

 

As any ex-religious nut can tell you, becoming an atheist isn't that fucking simple. (I cuss, because it needs cussing to express properly)

There are so many things in life that suddenly need reexamining as you ask yourself, "Is this really wrong or did I just think it was because of my religion?"  I went through that entire process while on a deployment to Kyrgystan.
I made the mistake of telling my mother before I deployed, and she refused to talk to me the entire time I was overseas. Imagine each morale call to my father, I ask to talk to my mother and he, embarrassed, would tell me that she didn't feel like talking to me.

This tension went on for about 2 years until my mom came to Las Vegas (I had left the military and had a kid and gotten married at this point) to help me watch my then infant son. She wanted to go to mass and I attended with her, mostly out of respect for her, because in spite of everything, she is still my mother and I love her.

It was a very emotionally stressful environment. Extreme Stress + Religious Pressure + Postpartum= REVIVAL OF "FAITH"

So for a year I went back to church. Forced my husband to have our marriage blessed and taught Sunday School because I knew that the only way I could be Christian would be to completely and utterly immerse myself in it entirely. I even convinced one young man to become a priest (I lose sleep over this.)

But I still didn't believe any of the garbage I was selling.

Finally I stopped pretending. I stopped making excuses for religion, and stopped hoping for some sort of magic sky justice to give me peace.

I was quiet at first, but as time has gone on I've become a little more outspoken, especially against the RCC.

I am an anti-religion atheist.

I am a pro-mercy atheist.

 

I deny and reject the "Holy Spirit."

God is not good, he is not merciful and he is not real.

 

Views: 260

Comment by CJoe on October 30, 2011 at 1:17am

I don't think Carol needs to be handled with kid gloves. Most of us come from religious backgrounds, but it was our logic (not our emotions) that led us out. I had a multi-faceted experience with religions myself; sometimes it was wonderful, other times it was terrible. I did not cease to be religious because of the wounds inflicted on me; I left because I realized it was inexcusably flawed and absurd once I examined things closer. I found it to be immoral, and a tool to control people with. 

I'm sure you have the best intentions, John, but your attitude comes across as very condescending and patronizing.You really shouldn't start any of your debates with, "Are you sure you're emotionally stable enough for my logical arguments?" It's a HUGE insult. Huge.

You may have your opinions formed on this, and perhaps for good reasons. But don't act like you have some grasp on reality that poor, pathetic ex-Christians don't. I think most institutions of religion are absolutely immoral, and given a free-pass far too often. But... if either of you want to debate this, it would be a much better format to take it to the forums. We've derailed I think.

Comment by John Kelly on October 31, 2011 at 5:05am

Carol I am glad that you have recovered from a very difficult life experience.   Do know that I really needed to ask first, because I know even seasoned counselors and psychologists have to be aware of the sensitivities of their trigger subjects.  If professionals have to make a conscious effort to keep themselves in check, we can't underestimate ourselves as we are not mental health experts. I do need to make sure that it is the right thing to do to engage you in that conversation.  If anyone finds that offensive, I am unrepentant.  I am on account that is bad for society to shame people for not having everything together, and anyone who allows something such as taking careful measures to avoid damaging ones mental health to be considered distasteful is totally complicit in perpetuating a culture of shame.  Now that this thread has died down a bit, we can have it here, or we can make a new thread.  I'll defer to your call on that.

Cara, quit being so bossy.  This isn't your thread, and I already said it might not be a good idea to have this here, so quit opposing the idea and then representing it in an air of self-righteousness going as far as telling even Carol what to do on her thread .  And cut out the strawman attacks too.  You unjustifiably apply extra layers of meaning to the text beyond what is written, and then assume you got it right when you don't have the variables at hand required by reason to gain certainty.  The third line to last of your post is written in the imperative, which is a command which implicates me as guilty of "assuming I have a grasp on reality that you don't".  First of all, what the hell does that even mean, and then second, where do you derive such a complicated ideal from anything I wrote?  Regardless, everyone has a different grasp on reality.  Are you speaking about belief systems?  And what if I do have a different grasp on reality?  It is foolish to assume someone you don't know doesn't.  You don't know that person well enough to know if they do or do not, and here is the thing about vastly different grasps on reality...  They come from somebody.  It is illogical of you to do anything other than probe when someone thinks they have one.  If you just oppose anyone with a vastly different grasp of reality, well then you have just stifled progress.

Also, unless you worded your sentence wrong, the rules of implied meaning in English dictate that your sentence implies I am not an ex-christian.  If I was a Christian, it would be absurd for an atheist to say such a sentence because both have a different grasp on reality that is drastically different that both feel the other is deceived about.  Your addition of "poor" and "pathetic" just betrays that you are not in a right state of mind for truly open dialogue because nothing I said implies either. You pick words like poor and pathetic, because of prejudice.  But I am an atheist, and your prejudice is misplaced  And I have a right to be furious with the gross misrepresentation of what I wrote in my posts.

Comment by CJoe on October 31, 2011 at 9:35am

Where did I tell her what to do? Suggesting this convo is taken to a format that is better suited for discussion is hardly telling her what to do.

However you feel about what I said, I still think you're tone is condescending at best. What emotionally unstable person would be able to objectively say, "Oh, no... I can't have this discussion because I'm emotionally unstable." The question is ineffective, and I stick to my argument that it's offensive and does imply things maybe you didn't mean to imply.  If you're really concerned, you should just observe. If inquiring about her ability to engage really does stem from concern, then you should (and I'm not being bossy by saying "should") be more aware of how your words might come across. What if she was emotionally unstable? Or anyone? Myself? You're not going to get a rational response. 

I didn't realize I wasn't allowed to defend someone. From what I gather of Carol's story, all of this happened a while ago, and she lost her faith through reason and not because of an emotional upset. Surely she's able to defend herself, so maybe I undermine my own point that she's perfectly capable of engaging rationally by rushing to her defense. I am unrepentant as you, however. I still see your comments as patronizing.

 

Comment by CJoe on October 31, 2011 at 9:40am

...but I'll leave this to the two of you. Carol will be just fine I'm sure, so you two can go deep without my interference.

Comment by John Kelly on October 31, 2011 at 3:54pm

Cara, you are so smug, it is ridiculous.  That isn't a suggestion.  "it might be a good idea" is a suggestion".  The thing that makes a suggestion a suggestion is that it carries no expectation.  "It would be better" is an appeal to appropriate behavior patterns.  An appeal like that carries expectation of compliance on that basis of what is the "should".  Suggestions are very different.  They don't appeal to "should" at all.  Appealing to "should" is telling people what to do.

As for defending, just read what I wrote right in the first place.  I said two things, the first is that I wasn't sure if it was right to debate about it.  The second thing I said,  is that it would just get really long, because there is a lot of stuff that was going to be brought up.  Two separate ideas Cara. You see the comments as patronizing because you are misreading the post.  It was your error and you need to face up to it.  I said I need your permission because it will be a long discussion with a lot of points to be made.  The because is there, it is plain as day, and I really shouldn't have been dragged through all of this by you.  And I said nowhere that you weren't allowed to defend people.  I said don't make things up, and I mean things like responding to things that were never said or implied like "you aren't allowed to defend people".

Carol, I am sorry that venting my frustration at Cara had to be here.  I don't really know where I could do it, because her judgemental words were placed here and needed to be addressed here. I am sure you appreciate her trying to defend you. 

One of my triggers is when I meticulously word things because I have ADHD and it takes me a while to write things, and someone goes off and misreads my posts because they aren't following the mechanics of the English language.  Then they are so sure they are right that they just go on and on.  Cara is not the first, and the frustration comes in that people that do this are impossibly self assured about their ability to correctly pass judgment and will not reason open-mindedly that they have erred in their judgmental attitude.

Comment by CJoe on October 31, 2011 at 4:16pm

Well, I don't agree with your interpretation of "should" vs a suggestion. I didn't realize that "should" carried an expectation at all. I certainly don't expect you to follow my suggestions of what you should do. And even if you are right in this instance, suggesting, offering, or saying you "should" move to a better format is harmless. I've been on this site for a long time, and blogs are terrible for in-depth discussion. Also... we try to be considerate of the initial topic and start a new thread if it becomes necessary. So, excuse me for trying to help.

You're not owning up to any errors either, John. You clearly offended her, so it's not just me that's misinterpreting your carefully written post. If you reread what she said, she made a point to say she's "not a delicate flower" and "I'm not that girl anymore, Mr. Kelly". Those statements of hers convey her frustration that the question you asked her was invalidating.

This is a public forum, so I haven't dragged you through anything. Ideas here are up for criticism. I haven't been inflammatory or insulting. I was, however, irritated with the way you chose to engage an adult. The English language is full of nuances; it is rarely as literal as we would like. I already said I was sure you had the best intentions, but you should be aware of the implications your words carry. Because, like it or not, they do carry implications and it is not my fault that your ideas don't always get across the way you'd like. I think we all have that problem at times.

As I said above, and you chose to ignore: the question you asked is ineffective. An emotionally unstable person will not be able to give you a reliable answer to start with. They will probably say they are fine, and then become undone later.

Anyway, if you feel that approach is fine, by all means, continue. I'll stop following this thread now and leave you alone.

Comment by John Kelly on November 1, 2011 at 2:33am

I already said I asked her permission for a different reason than the one you gave.  If you had have read more carefully instead of trying to figure out how to twist things you would have seen that.  I can refute everything you say here, but it would be fruitless because you would just fabricate something and then stubbornly believe your own imagination.  As for Carol, I already explained to her what my post meant, so you are wrong again there. 

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