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Author Topic:   Deconversion experiences
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 226 of 299 (595768)
12-10-2010 10:45 AM


Bluejay's Deconversion Story
So, arachnophilia provided a prompt in the Can a valid, supportable reason be offered for deconversion for me to provide my deconversion story. I didn't consider it unique enough or interesting enough to share earlier, but I'll co ahead and provide some comments here.
The basic means of deconversion was an understanding of science, but it began when I was a Mormon missionary in Taiwan. While there, I discovered that I didn't function as well as other people, and couldn't handle the pressures of missionary life or leadership. I also began to realize that I couldn't tap in to some reservoir of spiritual guidance that all missionaries were supposed to have access to, even when I was doing all the things I was taught would bring this guidance.
I then began to get letters from home detailing the psychological problems that were suddenly being discovered in literally all of my siblings. I eventually had a complete breakdown and was sent home from my mission six months earlier than I was supposed to go. I met with several counselors (mostly residents at the University of Memphis), and received various diagnoses and went through prescriptions for several different anti-depressants, etc. Then, I left for college, and stopped seeing counselors, though, at my mother's request, I kept taking Zoloft. It was later suggested by a doctor that I might have an autism-spectrum disorder, though it wasn't severe enough to merit any particular treatments. My younger brother later received an official diagnosis of Asperger syndrome.
During my undergrad, I first intended to study linguistics, but quickly switched to engineering (following in my father's footsteps). I didn't like engineering because there was too much math and physics on the curriculum, and those classes were built to break morale by having a class average score of 49% on the exams, so I quit. I then wanted to go into medicine, and chose pharmacy because it would be a 9-to-5 kind of job and I'm good at memorizing lists of things (autism spectrum).
However, the requirements for pre-pharmacy included a lot of biology. At Brigham Young University (a Mormon-owned school), the professors have received permission from the church leaders to teach evolution in their course curricula, and so, essentially every biology class is geared, at least in part, toward getting Mormon students to stop thinking that evolution is evil. It only took one course, Biology 100, along with one or two conversations with a roommate whose mother was a biology teacher, to convince me that evolution made sense. However, I was the only student from the class who, at the end of the class, accepted human evolution (one other guy accepted evolution otherwise).
At that point, I became rather interested, and spent a lot of time reading what various Mormon leaders had to say about the topic of evolution, and switched my major from Biochemistry to Integrative Biology (which is, basically, just Biology with a fancy name). As time went on, I became more and more convinced that it wasn't against my religion to believe in evolution, and I became more and more interested in biology.
A semester (and a wedding) later, I was doing research in bioinformatics (which fell through when my advisor was denied tenure and moved to a different institution), and got a job with the US Forest Service and Utah Dept. of Wildlife Resources. I became interested in discussing the topic of evolution online, and began looking for a place to do so. My last semester at BYU was when I joined EvC.
That summer, I got a graduate position across the country from Utah, and my deconversion has been a rather uneventful process since then. I'm gradually discovering that there aren't any arguments that positively support the existence of supernature or gods or God.
I'm not fully deconverted yet: my autism-spectrum personality makes it very hard for me to deal with changes, and a full divorce from the culture and traditions I have always lived with would make me feel lost and unable to cope. I still live by the Mormon rules (e.g., no alcohol, coffee or tea) primarily because I always have and have develops a strong disinterest in changing that. I may never change that.
Furthermore, remaining Mormon has very positive consequences for my familial solidarity, which is important, because I now have two young children, and my siblings are scattered across the country. I do feel out of place with my family and my church, but, since I've never been good at socializing, I've always felt that way in whatever group I'm in, so that's not a big deal to me. I still get into debates with my father (a conservative intellectual type of IDist), but I try to avoid going too deep for the sake of harmony. But, I do want to debate the topic, so I get it all out of my system here on EvC instead of taking it up with my father.
There, that was rather long, but anyone who had the patience to wade through it might have found something worthwhile in it. At least now you know a little more about Bluejay than I was actually planning to tell you.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

Replies to this message:
 Message 229 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 8:20 AM Blue Jay has seen this message but not replied
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Taz
Member (Idle past 3401 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


(1)
Message 227 of 299 (595782)
12-10-2010 11:19 AM


In my deconversion case, the evolution vs creation debate had nothing to do with it.
I grew up in an ultra conservative christian household. That included, surprise surprise, a lot of gay bashing and condemnation. When I went to college, for the first time in my life I saw people being openly who they are and even more surprising I saw people accepting those people for who they are. In no time, I signed up for philosophy classes and joined the philosophy debate club. This was at the time when gay marriage issue was a really hot topic, so it came up often. I was always sitting with my christian buddies condeming what we saw as the damned. Armed with the bible, we really thought we had it down.
Well, when I took philosophy of ethics, I had a hebrew scholar. He specialized in hebrew translation. What was surprising to me was he was also an atheist. It was this time that I think I started paying more attention to people's criticism of the bible and its inconsistency. I can't remember exactly when, but at some point I decided to sit down and really read the bible and tried to look at it from a "neutral" perspective. I ultimately came to a conclusion.
And people, before you say anything, I spent a long time trying to weasle my way out of this conclusion. Ultimately, though, I couldn't escape the fact that if god's will is to be known through the literal reading of the bible, then god's a genocidal maniac who has no problem with his people killing and raping other societies around them. There was no denying it.
One instance in the bible that stuck out like a sore thumb was when god decided to test abraham's devotion to god by ordering him to kill isaac. My ethics professor was the one that brought this up to me. You see, he had 2 small children at the time. He told me that as a parent he could not contemplate having to be ordered to kill his own kids. Imagine the mental anguish abraham had to go through. Imagine the kind of sadism that brought god to do that to test abraham's loyalty. That's the god that YOU PEOPLE worship.
He allowed me some time to digest that. And then he confronted me about my hate for gay people. Again, the god that YOU PEOPLE worship made people gay for the sole purpose that they would go to hell. What kind of sadistic maniac would that make god?
By the end of that semester, I had already moved to the other side of the debate room.
Remember that at this time I still thought evolution meant a dog giving birth to a cat or some other bullshit.
It was the moral conflict that religion had put me through that made me deconvert. Science had nothing to do with it. And frankly, my satan worshipping, atheist moral values are far superior to any christian I've ever met, including my former self. And I don't consider myself very moral. Nowadays, christian morality disgusts me. After all, it is in religion's nature to have the us-versus-the-evil-ones attitude. Otherwise, who would continue to give them money for fighting evil?
Edited by Taz, : No reason given.

Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 3401 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 228 of 299 (595783)
12-10-2010 11:26 AM
Reply to: Message 223 by Dawn Bertot
12-07-2010 11:33 PM


Re: ANOTHER powerful testimony from Dawn Bertot?
Dawn Bertot writes:
Ive been studying considering, and debating these issues for nearly 45 years and never seen, with one exception any isuues that would cause me to think twice about it.
So, I see that you have no problem worshipping a god that is a genocidal and sadistic maniac. Good to know.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 223 by Dawn Bertot, posted 12-07-2010 11:33 PM Dawn Bertot has not replied

  
Kairyu
Member
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 229 of 299 (595905)
12-11-2010 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 226 by Blue Jay
12-10-2010 10:45 AM


Re: Bluejay's Deconversion Story
Well, I found it interesting regardless. Because my process was quite harsh, I am interested how a ''tame'' deconversion works.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 226 by Blue Jay, posted 12-10-2010 10:45 AM Blue Jay has seen this message but not replied

  
Kairyu
Member
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 230 of 299 (595908)
12-11-2010 8:29 AM


I'm been noticing this tread has been rather silent since the deconversion discussion opened. Since the other topic has all the debate, this one is getting a bit obsolete.
About myself, there have been events this week.On the same day I wrote my post ,I had a talk with my mom. I explained the how and why of my loss of faith. She understood me, but she was rather sad that she wasn't able to give me any answers for my questions. It was painful, and we both cried. After the conversation I realized it was done. I had become a atheist.
I call myself a atheist now, while in reality I am still a little agnostic, my manner of thinking tends to be naturalistic and pragmatic. I do find my belief the absolute truth for everybody, and I am not sure if it's permanent. But it's what I truly believe, and I am being relieved that I am honest to myself now. It still feels a little unwieldy though.
Is there anybody who has a reaction on my story? I would like to talk a bit more about it.

Replies to this message:
 Message 231 by Panda, posted 12-11-2010 8:57 AM Kairyu has not replied
 Message 232 by GDR, posted 12-11-2010 11:12 AM Kairyu has replied

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 3822 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 231 of 299 (595912)
12-11-2010 8:57 AM
Reply to: Message 230 by Kairyu
12-11-2010 8:29 AM


WSW24 writes:
I'm been noticing this tread has been rather silent since the deconversion discussion opened.
'Discussion' threads will always be more busy than 'declaration' threads. (People love a good bicker )
I suspect that it is difficult (from a practical point of view) to discuss another person's deconversion.
It takes a certain type of person to argue that your decision was wrong, as noone else was there to share your experiences.
And I would suggest that your post was clearly written if it left people with few questions.
My only reaction to your post is that it looks like you did what you thought was right, even though it was very difficult.
Kudos to you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 8:29 AM Kairyu has not replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 232 of 299 (595930)
12-11-2010 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 230 by Kairyu
12-11-2010 8:29 AM


WSW24 writes:
Is there anybody who has a reaction on my story? I would like to talk a bit more about it.
All I can say is to think through what it is that you are rejecting. Just remember that the Bible is a gift from God but it isn't God.
One way of looking at it is this. There are still terrible things happening in the world, but look back to the time of Christ and how the world was then. Look at the world of the ancient Romans and how they brutulized people and their lack of regard for human life. This was life within the predominate culture in the world at that time.
Since the time that Christ came with His message of love, peace, mercy and forgiveness and charged his followers with taking that message to the world I suggest that the world has become a better place.
Would this have happened anyway? Maybe or maybe not. You will have to make up your mind about that, but in the meantime, even if you remain an atheist/agnostic, I believe that you are still called to humbly love kindness and serve justice and you will be still serving God whether you recognize it or not.
Maybe some day in the future you might come to a recognition of why you are called to that and who it is that calls you to that.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 8:29 AM Kairyu has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 233 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 11:51 AM GDR has replied
 Message 235 by nwr, posted 12-11-2010 12:41 PM GDR has replied

  
Kairyu
Member
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 233 of 299 (595936)
12-11-2010 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 232 by GDR
12-11-2010 11:12 AM


You're the first theist reacting on this, I must admit I felt a little nervous after the first lines. Thankfully, you understood me. I have thought it through, and I will go on thinking about it.
Besides my own experience, I also have another argument for it. I should share that one later, although it's a fairly cynical argument, and it's unrefined. But first I react to you.
Trying to be a good person is exactly what I would like to do. It's just that I felt my faith to be hollow after what happened. To be able to believe.. you have to well.. believe it.
I know the message of Christ is one of love. It would be foolish to deny that. But when Europe was purely Christian, it was by no means perfect. At least not better then Asia before 1500. Still, this is a subject worthy of debate.
Funny that you bring morality up. It's one of the main things I thought about. Once again, I should talk about it, but I to tired to do it now.
But thanks for your reply. I still respect Christanity. Some of it's teachings are good.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by GDR, posted 12-11-2010 11:12 AM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 234 by GDR, posted 12-11-2010 12:33 PM Kairyu has not replied
 Message 238 by Taz, posted 12-11-2010 3:15 PM Kairyu has not replied

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 6206
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 234 of 299 (595942)
12-11-2010 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 233 by Kairyu
12-11-2010 11:51 AM


I've only got a minute. I agree with you about Europe at times but although it isn't a straight line, (I have friends that live in your country 70 years ago), I think that trend has been towards a kinder and more just world. (Read Micah 6:8.)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 11:51 AM Kairyu has not replied

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 6438
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 235 of 299 (595944)
12-11-2010 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 232 by GDR
12-11-2010 11:12 AM


Kairyu writes:
Is there anybody who has a reaction on my story? I would like to talk a bit more about it.
GDR writes:
All I can say is to think through what it is that you are rejecting.
What he is rejecting, is 2,000 years of made up bullshit, held together by only the glue of tradition and by group psychology.

Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
 Message 232 by GDR, posted 12-11-2010 11:12 AM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 236 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 2:04 PM nwr has replied
 Message 265 by GDR, posted 12-12-2010 7:35 PM nwr has seen this message but not replied

  
Kairyu
Member
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 236 of 299 (595952)
12-11-2010 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 235 by nwr
12-11-2010 12:41 PM


He did not insult me, so there's no need to insult him. This isn't a debate, so I would like to keep it friendly.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 235 by nwr, posted 12-11-2010 12:41 PM nwr has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 237 by nwr, posted 12-11-2010 2:40 PM Kairyu has replied

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 6438
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 237 of 299 (595955)
12-11-2010 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 236 by Kairyu
12-11-2010 2:04 PM


Kairyu writes:
He did not insult me, so there's no need to insult him.
There was no personal insult in my post. I actually have a lot of respect for GDR.
I don't doubt that GDR disagrees with my characterization of religion, but that does not make my post a personal insult.

Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 2:04 PM Kairyu has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 3401 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 238 of 299 (595957)
12-11-2010 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 233 by Kairyu
12-11-2010 11:51 AM


WSW24 writes:
I still respect Christanity. Some of it's teachings are good.
This statement makes as much sense as saying some nazi teachings are good. Think about it. The nazis were environmentalists as well as health freaks. What we do look at, however, are the evil things that they taught and did and saw how much those evil things outweigh their good things. That's why we call them evil bastards nowadays.
There is one universal theme with christianity ever since it first came into existence, and that is intolerance. I have yet met a christian that is unconditionally tolerant and loving. They always manage to find some subgroup to hate.
2,000 years of made-up bullshit + 2,000 years of intolerance of people different than them = perpetual evil.
I for one am sick of being all polite and politically correct to those who insist on carrying on this evil to the next generations. I have no doubt that if it's no longer fashionable to carry out their inquisitions they'd start another one.
The myth that christianity is about love and tolerance is pure bullshit. Hell fire for those who have never even heard of jesus is anything but love. And their insistence on carrying on their hatred of others is anything but tolerant.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by Kairyu, posted 12-11-2010 11:51 AM Kairyu has not replied

Replies to this message:
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Kairyu
Member
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 239 of 299 (595964)
12-11-2010 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 237 by nwr
12-11-2010 2:40 PM


Oh, my bad then.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 237 by nwr, posted 12-11-2010 2:40 PM nwr has seen this message but not replied

  
articulett
Member (Idle past 3481 days)
Posts: 49
Joined: 06-15-2010


Message 240 of 299 (595995)
12-12-2010 1:23 AM
Reply to: Message 215 by Kairyu
12-07-2010 12:36 PM


Re: my own story WARNING is very long
Fascinating! And apparently your experiences are not so uncommon. I've been reading the actor, Gene Wilder's memoir, and he had a very similar experience with OCD and religious scrupulosity:
Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art - Gene Wilder - Google Books
It does sound torturous.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 215 by Kairyu, posted 12-07-2010 12:36 PM Kairyu has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 271 by Kairyu, posted 12-14-2010 8:35 AM articulett has not replied

  
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