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Author Topic:   Deconversion experiences
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2886 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 16 of 299 (593434)
11-27-2010 3:50 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by anglagard
11-27-2010 12:57 AM


Re: Stupid Whores for Lucifer
anglagard writes:

I still believe in God, it just lives in the critical point between Deism, Pantheism, Philosophical Taoism, and Matayama Buddhism. More later if interested

How did you go from Christianity to what seems like a mix of eastern mysticism? Feel free to elaborate if you want to.

-Meldinoor


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by anglagard, posted 11-27-2010 12:57 AM anglagard has not yet responded

    
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1721 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


(1)
Message 17 of 299 (593437)
11-27-2010 4:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
11-26-2010 1:19 AM


I'm curious whether anyone else here who has gone through a deconversion recognizes any of this

Oh, completely And I'm still going through many of the withdrawal symptoms you mention.

I grew up in a nominally Christian environment, and acknowledged myself as an atheist by the age of eleven. By thirteen, friends had dragged me along to their church group where I found a previously unknown social acceptance and tolerance (as I'm sure many here will testify, high-functioning mildy Aspergers types are typically lonely.)

At first, I rationalised their prayers and praise as directed at nature. Over time, however, the doctrine became more established in me, and I just ended up believing. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and was happy to declare myself a (born-again, evangelical) Christian. Over the years I became a leader amongst our youth fellowship, and was prominant in preaching, envangelism, and worship. My faith was rock-solid, and although I had many questions and uncertainties, God and Jesus were as real as the floor I was standing on.

Twenty plus years after becoming a Christian, having now gained an amazing Christian wife and family, a revitalised Christian faith (I had several periods of back-sliding in those previous years), and a wonderful home church and community of Christian friends, I arrived at EvC. My faith had already survived a ten year academic career, but within two years of arriving at EvC, I started my deconversion to agnostic atheism, via brief periods of post-evangelical Christianity, panetheism, deism, etc.

I am now an atheist. And it hurts like hell. My own wife knows that I am "far from God" but cannot understand the difference between that and the truth, and we don't talk about it. My kids are being raised in a strongly fundementalist (creationist) church. I largely avoid my large group of Christian friends as I hate refusing to engage them in conversations regarding my "back-sliding", my "losing my way", my "giving up on God". I cannot lie to them but many can not handle the concept of me being an atheist. It would be easier to explain that I have decided to join Satan's side!

Do I regret my deconversion? In no way whatsoever. I feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from me - the weight of the cognative dissonance I have carried around with me for over half my life. I still catch myself muttering words to "God" every now and again, and laugh when I realise what I am doing. But the hole that has been left where my Christian life has been ripped out will be an aching wound for probably the rest of my life...

Oh, and do I regret becoming a Christian in the first place? In no way whatsoever! The life I have lived as a Chrsitian has been amazing and wonderful. And if the only gain I had from my Christian life was the love and devotion of my wife for the past sixteen years, then twenty plus years of cognative dissonance is an insignificant price to pay (but don't tell her I said that)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Meldinoor, posted 11-26-2010 1:19 AM Meldinoor has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 299 (593455)
11-27-2010 8:27 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by cavediver
11-27-2010 4:35 AM


Cavediver writes:

The life I have lived as a Chrsitian has been amazing and wonderful.

You've just hit on one of the evidences of the veracity of the Biblical record. Cultures and families within those cultures, by and large, have fared the best, overall, of any cultures in the history of mankind.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The Immeasurable Present Eternally Extends the Infinite Past And Infinitely Consumes The Eternal Future.
Time Relates To What Is Temperal. What Is Eternal Is Timeless.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Panda
Member (Idle past 1791 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 19 of 299 (593458)
11-27-2010 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Buzsaw
11-27-2010 8:27 AM


Buzsaw writes:

Cavediver writes:

The life I have lived as a Chrsitian has been amazing and wonderful.


You've just hit on one of the evidences of the veracity of the Biblical record.

The life I have lived as an atheist has been amazing and wonderful.

Is that evidence against the veracity of the bible?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Buzsaw, posted 11-27-2010 8:27 AM Buzsaw has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 20 of 299 (593461)
11-27-2010 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by RAZD
11-26-2010 8:41 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
Curiously, many of these atheists are past believers in a strong christian theism, and they should be able to relate their experiences in deconversion rather than take this thread off topic.

It seems to me that part of the human psychological behavior pattern is to swing hard to the other extreme rather than rest in between. It seems (to me anyway) that the most ardent anti-smokers are ones who have recently quit, the most ardent anti-drinkers are ones who have recently quit, the most ardent anti-theists are ones who have recently quit, so I hope you can find some balance.

It seemed to me when I was a Christian that the only excuse for Christianity was that it was true. If it isn't, then its only redeeming features would be a few pieces of good architecture (which could just as well have been constructed for a useful purpose instead) and a few pieces of good music (which could have been used as a setting for words which weren't nonsense). This is not much to put into the balance against all the burning of heretics, the witch-hunts, the holy wars, and so forth. But its truth would of course tip the scale --- indeed, it would be measured in a different scale, since the Argument From Consequences is not a way of determining the truth-value of propositions, though it may determine the utility of false ones.

I retained that attitude when I became an atheist: that is, I continued to believe that if it was a lie, it was a wicked and pernicious lie. What changed was that I came to believe that it was a lie.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by RAZD, posted 11-26-2010 8:41 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

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frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 21 of 299 (593463)
11-27-2010 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Dr Adequate
11-27-2010 9:31 AM


Re: On the other hand ...
I retained that attitude when I became an atheist: that is, I continued to believe that if it was a lie, it was a wicked and pernicious lie. What changed was that I came to believe that it was a lie.

And once you realise it is a Lie it all makes sence and you laugh at what you once believed.

Example:
God anwsers prayers in yes, no, and wait.
Makes perfect sence if you believe in a god.
Once you see past the illusion you see that even the coffee coup anwsers prayers in the same way with a yes, no and wait there is no room to fail.

Edited by frako, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-27-2010 9:31 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

    
Phat
Member
Posts: 12175
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 22 of 299 (593476)
11-27-2010 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
11-26-2010 1:19 AM


Why be hasty at deconversion?
Meldinoor writes:

Only recently have I begun to feel more secure in my non-belief. I think my non-belief is more justified and subjectable to rational critique than my Christian faith ever was. Despite this, I still feel a tinge of cognitive dissonance whenever I'm around my very religious family. For some reason that I can't quite put a finger on, God almost feels more real to me when I'm surrounded by Christians. I'm ashamed to admit that the paranoid idea that the Devil might be deluding me still occurs to me.

The way I see it, God is either real or She isnt. I prefer to view my development as a continuing conversion experience. My online friend jar helped a lot with teaching me how to think..(an ongoing process..I am stubborn )

I am more spiritual than is my family. I dont see any reason to throw God away entirely...although I realize that it just makes sense to embrace logic, reason, and reality.

frako writes:

preatty soon the only thing god did in my mind was he snapped his fingers made the big bang go bang and then went to sleep for 15 billion years and is still sleaping now.

I prefer to think that God is busy in other parts of the multiverse. Even if God isnt busy creating, I believe that He is involved in a sort of a communion with all of life. I suppose that it wouldnt hurt to bhe an atheist, but it makes me feel just a wee bit uncomfortable that someone who knows what they are doing isnt in charge.

Meldinoor writes:

I suffer "withdrawal symptoms" because, even though I can't justify rationally a belief in God, I haven't convinced my more irrational side that God isn't there. I still sometimes catch myself praying before I go to work, bed, or before I do just about anything. It's a habit that will take some time to break.

Why is it necessary to break that habit? Even if prayer were only meditation with an idealized higher self, it would serve some useful function.But if you have to let go, by all means dont let me get in your way.

Meldinoor writes:

Sooner or later I'm just going to have to "come out" as a non-believer, but I haven't yet decided how I'm going to break it to my family.

I still dont understand why you have to be a non believer? Nobody has been able to convince me that my belief is harmful to my psychological and emotional development. Its not like I try and let God drive the car or make my basic decisions for me.

Iano,to Meldinoor writes:

Would you say the the god you believed in would applaud your decision...?

Im thinking that God would celebrate my embrace of the fullness of logic and rationality. And in my mind, there is no conflict.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Meldinoor, posted 11-26-2010 1:19 AM Meldinoor has responded

Replies to this message:
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frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 23 of 299 (593486)
11-27-2010 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Phat
11-27-2010 10:39 AM


Re: Why be hasty at deconversion?
God is either real or She isnt.

If there is a god and a big if, he is most deffinitivly a HE, no woman could ever fuck up as bad as he did.

I still dont understand why you have to be a non believer? Nobody has been able to convince me that my belief is harmful to my psychological and emotional development. Its not like I try and let God drive the car or make my basic decisions for me.

There is nothing bad if you believe in Santa Claus so why dont you , belief it self is not bad and if someone wants to believe i have no problem with that.

Organised religion on the other hand is almost always a bad thing, they dont only decide how that santa clause looks like and what he did they also make you believe that they know his will and what you haveto do to make it on his good list. And if one of the higher ups says being gay is bad, the majoretity of the comunity automaticly thinks well he has a direct line to santa claus lets go bash some gays, lets go blow our selves up and take some infidels whit us, lets go burn that witch at the stake, lets torture that heretic ......

I prefer to think that God is busy in other parts of the multiverse. Even if God isnt busy creating, I believe that He is involved in a sort of a communion with all of life. I suppose that it wouldnt hurt to bhe an atheist, but it makes me feel just a wee bit uncomfortable that someone who knows what they are doing isnt in charge.

Im not saying it is impossible, it is also possible that santa clause has his toy work shop on the south pole and we have been looking at the wrong place. With no evidence to spport the exsitance of god i see no point to believe there is one, if it makes you feel better that there is a god and that he watches out for you then be my guest believe all you want. If it gives you a sence of purpose shure why not there is nothing wrong with that. Though for some reason i cannot lie to myself if i tried that now i would see trough all the bs.

Why is it necessary to break that habit? Even if prayer were only meditation with an idealized higher self, it would serve some useful function.But if you have to let go, by all means dont let me get in your way.

Well prayer is far from meditation
meditation in short= do nothing, think nothing.
Prayer ask for something

Edited by frako, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Phat, posted 11-27-2010 10:39 AM Phat has not yet responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19758
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 24 of 299 (593499)
11-27-2010 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Meldinoor
11-27-2010 2:23 AM


Re: On the other hand ...
Hi Meldinoor, thanks.

I'm an atheist only in the sense that I'm "not a theist", i.e. I don't claim the existence of any god. But I'm skeptical enough to consider any suggestions you'd care to put forth about gods.

I am curious where you put yourself on the following scale:

  1. Absolute Theist: knows god/s exist. (logically invalid position)
  2. Strong Theist: the existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  3. Weak Theist: the existence of god/s is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  4. Agnostic: god/s may exist or they may not, there is insufficient evidence to know one way or the other. (logically valid position)
  5. Weak Atheist: the non-existence of gods is possible, maybe likely, but not sure. (logically valid position)
  6. Strong Atheist: the non-existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)
  7. Absolute Atheist: knows that god/s do not exist. (logically invalid position)

I put myself at a 3.

See Message 166 of An Exploration Into"Agnosticism" for more.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Meldinoor, posted 11-27-2010 2:23 AM Meldinoor has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by frako, posted 11-27-2010 2:01 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 34 by articulett, posted 11-27-2010 4:22 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 38 by Meldinoor, posted 11-27-2010 4:42 PM RAZD has responded

  
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(2)
Message 25 of 299 (593500)
11-27-2010 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Phat
11-27-2010 10:39 AM


Re: Why be hasty at deconversion?
Hi Phat,

I still dont understand why you have to be a non believer?

Humour me for a moment. I want you to believe in something. I want you to believe that there is a tiny penguin inside your computer. Believe in it as hard as you can. He's in there right now. A tiny penguin, black and white and cute as a button. Believe in him.

Do you believe in the computer penguin? Really believe?

Or are you just thinking about believing?

Try as I might, I can't quite bring myself to believe in the computer penguin. Even as a mental exercise, I can't really claim to be able to consciously decide to believe in the penguin. I might try and convince myself that I believe, but deep down, I know that I don't, can't believe in the penguin. I can't force myself to do it. It simply isn't an option available to me. I suspect that you probably can't believe or disbelieve things at will either. It's just not something that we can easily do. We believe what we believe, it's not a conscious process.

Given this, once someone like Meldinooor has realised that a former, treasured belief is no longer sincerely held, they are left with a choice; to hide behind ineffectual attempts at self-deception in trying to maintain the old belief, or to be intellectually-honest enough to admit the perhaps unpalatable truth. Consciously deciding not to change one's beliefs is simply not an option.

As I understand it, deconversion is not a conscious choice that anyone makes, it is a much more gradual process. Doubts creep in, rationalisations fall apart and then, eventually, the subject realises that their beliefs have just changed. A number of former theists speak of a moment of realisation, not that they ought to change their beliefs, but that their beliefs had already changed and that those beliefs had changed some time ago. All that remained was for them to admit this to their conscious selves. I've linked to this before, but the videos by Evid3nc3 tell this kind of story very eloquently.

Being honest with oneself about what one really believes is of paramount importance. It's up to each individual to decide how much of their own beliefs they want to share with others, but we all have a duty to admit to ourselves what we really believe instead of what we wish we believed.

Mutate and Survive


On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage
This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Phat, posted 11-27-2010 10:39 AM Phat has not yet responded

    
frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 26 of 299 (593503)
11-27-2010 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by RAZD
11-27-2010 1:12 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
Strong Atheist: the non-existence of god/s is more likely than not. (logically invalid position)

This is a logically valid position, whit no valid evidence to support the claim that a god exsists, it is very highly likely that no god exsists, there is still a possibility that we have not found any evidence yet and we will in the future or that he is shy and does not want to be found though until one or the other reason is proven the only logically valid position is that the existence of a god Is very very unlikely.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by RAZD, posted 11-27-2010 1:12 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 29 by RAZD, posted 11-27-2010 3:25 PM frako has responded

    
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 1871
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009


Message 27 of 299 (593513)
11-27-2010 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by frako
11-27-2010 2:01 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
frako replies to RAZD's reproduction of the Dawkins scale:
This is a logically valid position......

Welcome to the world of RAZD.

Don't worry about it.

BTW "with" is spelled "with", NOT "whit". Just a tip...

So are you a 6.0d or more on the Dawkins scale?


- xongsmith, 5.7d
This message is a reply to:
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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 299 (593514)
11-27-2010 3:02 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by frako
11-27-2010 2:01 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
frako writes:

..........whit no valid evidence to support the claim that a god exsists, it is very highly likely that no god exsists,........

Frako, click on my profile and find all of the evidence I have cited At EvC over the past seven years supportive to the existence of the Biblical god, Jehovah. Refute any or all of them. LoL!


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The Immeasurable Present Eternally Extends the Infinite Past And Infinitely Consumes The Eternal Future.
Time Relates To What Is Temperal. What Is Eternal Is Timeless.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by frako, posted 11-27-2010 2:01 PM frako has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by frako, posted 11-27-2010 3:33 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19758
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 29 of 299 (593518)
11-27-2010 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by frako
11-27-2010 2:01 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
Hi frako

This is a logically valid position, whit no valid evidence to support the claim that a god exsists, it is very highly likely that no god exsists, there is still a possibility that we have not found any evidence yet and we will in the future or that he is shy and does not want to be found though until one or the other reason is proven the only logically valid position is that the existence of a god Is very very unlikely.

Sorry, but you don't know how likely it is without having some evidence.

All you are doing is using the "absence of evidence is evidence of absence logical fallacy" to say that your opinion is valid.

Compare:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is possibly true
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) can be true

to:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is absolutely true
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) is absolutely true

OR:

• any X with no contradictory evidence is more likely true than false
• X(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ X(a) is more likely true than false

If the logical form is true for any X then it is true for Y, now let Y = notX:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is possibly true
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) can be true
== notX(a) can be true ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) still can be possibly true ... which is in fact the case, so this is a valid argument, and a true conclusion is reached.

3, 4 and 5 fit this pattern. Possibility is a valid conclusion from a lack of contradictory evidence.

versus:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is absolutely true
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) is absolutely true
== notX(a) is absolutely true ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) is still absolutely true ... which is a contradiction ... unless you have objective empirical evidence that directly contradicts one or the other being true: without such evidence there is a contradiction in the form of the argument and the argument is invalid, falsified, void.

As the second premise is the same as above, we see that the first premise is falsified. 1 and 7 fit this pattern and are logically FALSE arguments.

OR:

• any Y with no contradictory evidence is more likely true than false
• Y(a) has no contradictory evidence
∴ Y(a) is more likely true than false
== notX(a) is more likely true than false ...

... and by the form of the argument, X(a) is still more likely true than false ... which is a contradiction ... unless you have objective empirical evidence that directly contradicts one or the other being true: without such evidence there is a contradiction in the form of the argument and the argument is invalid, falsified, void.

As the second premise is the same as above, we see that the first premise is falsified as well. 2 and 6 fit this pattern and are logically FALSE arguments.

See Message 24 for the scale references.

This is now going off topic as I feared (see Message 7 re not discussing deconversion experiences), so I suggest any further reply be on the An Exploration Into"Agnosticism" thread and Message 166.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : reference


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by frako, posted 11-27-2010 2:01 PM frako has responded

Replies to this message:
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frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 30 of 299 (593520)
11-27-2010 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Buzsaw
11-27-2010 3:02 PM


Re: On the other hand ...
Frako, click on my profile and find all of the evidence I have cited At EvC over the past seven years supportive to the existence of the Biblical god, Jehovah. Refute any or all of them. LoL!

Put them all in one place and ill refute ALL OF THEM. So fare there is no evidence for any deity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Buzsaw, posted 11-27-2010 3:02 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded

    
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