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Author Topic:   Deconversion experiences
Member (Idle past 2517 days)
Posts: 275
From: CA USA
Joined: 01-05-2010

Message 115 of 299 (593786)
11-29-2010 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
11-26-2010 1:19 AM

Hey there Meldinoor,
I now consider myself something of an agnostic...
You know, when I first started lurking here a while back, I was just beginning my journey away from Christianity (and religion in general). I recall reading through a number of your posts and thinking that here was someone who was very similar to myself, both in temperament, theology, and (if you'll allow) reason and intelligence. I was a little further along in my deconversion, and thus my views, when it came to still actively having faith in a creator while at the same time accepting evolution, were slightly less cognitively dissonant than yours were at that point (it seemed to me, anyway). But after my deconversion, in taking stock of all the reasonable theists who post at EVC who would posit thought-provoking and rational arguments in support of a (decidedly moderate) viewpoint, you were surely at the top of the heap.
To see that you've "come around" to, IMO, the most rational and reasonable position gives those of us who still harbor a tiny bit of discomfort with our deconversion some encouragement.
Let me explain. It's a little of the Pascal's Wager that lurks in the back of my mind. The feeling that I just may be wrong (as if that's not textbook agnosticism ) and thus will burn in the fires of hell forever is a bit disconcerting. I'll be honest, however: I believe I'm correct in that all that we see has absolutely no indication of the designing hand of a creator (cue ICDESIGN guffaws), but I also understand that what I believe has no bearing on reality. This, of course, is where the irrationality of magick and the supernatural turned me off to religion. I couldn't rationally reconcile what we see in nature with OT myths, and from there I discounted everything from the Exodus (as written) to the story of Jonah. And from there, it wasn't too large of a leap to "unbelieve" the story of the resurrection (if all those other stories were fiction, elegantly written and sometimes contradictory, in context and out, then how could I hang on to the most important miracle of them all?), and the idea of a "god" as well.
All this is so...reasonable. And yet, and yet, it still feels uncomfortable. Now I'm sure the rest of you theists will trot out the 'ol canard about how this is God leading me back, or some such nonsense, when of course it's merely neurotransmitters and emotional response.
But the fact that I believe it is not God tinkering with my head matters not to that fact that it's difficult to "unlearn" 25 years of indoctrination. I was brought up in a decidedly moderate Methodist church, and although my parents were (and still are) active in the church, they were never excessively religious. Creation never made sense to me back then, but the 'rents just told me there are things which we were not meant to understand. Obviously, this didn't work for me, and I endeavored to learn all I could about this universe (and others). My faith was flagging, and continued to do so for another 15 years or so, when I stumbled onto this site after googling "Literal Genesis". At about this same time, my brother and sister-in-law moved to the area and convinced my wife to have us begin attending a plant Calvary-chapel (of the Chuck Smith persuasion) church. This was my first exposure to a YEC theology, and, needless to say, the pastor's opinion and teaching that "...of course Noah took baby dinosaurs on the ark because full grown dinos wouldn't fit, silly..." pushed me right over the edge.
An agnostic was born, bathed in reason, and relieved. Relieved that no longer was cognitive dissonance a hindrance to both my theology and scientific learning. Relieved that, although it was harder to understand that I may very well not spend eternity (!) with my family, I never again need to be concerned about eternity at all! So back to the Pascal's Wager thing: even though it niggles in the back of my mind, reason prevails and Pascal fails.
You're not alone in your insecurity, but it gets easier. I'm in the same boat as you are: my family knows nothing of this. Call it cowardly, but believe me when I say that it would crush my wife. Not that she's overly religious, but she can't conceive of an existence without an afterlife which she can spend with her family. If she knew that I'd not be spending timeless forever with her (I love my wife, but I don't think I can conceive of spending eternity with anyone) I think she'd have a harder time with it than I'm willing to force on her. I'm content, personally, having my own views but sparing her the anguish. Same goes with most of the rest of my family. Some of them, I believe, have some clue but choose to not contemplate it. Whatever floats their boat, as far as I'm concerned, but if I'm not vocal about this in order to avoid the drama and pain it would cause others, I'm OK with that. But that's just my own circumstance...
Anyway, sorry for the rambling, but let me just say good for you, Meldinoor. The fact that you've been honest with yourself is admirable, and I commend you for it. To me, my deconversion was one of the hardest and most rewarding life changes that I've ventured upon, and from what I've read in your posts, it seems you feel the same. Good luck.
Have a good one.

"My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. J.B.S Haldane 1892-1964

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Meldinoor, posted 11-26-2010 1:19 AM Meldinoor has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by GDR, posted 11-29-2010 2:02 PM Apothecus has replied
 Message 118 by nwr, posted 11-29-2010 2:43 PM Apothecus has not replied
 Message 119 by Meldinoor, posted 11-29-2010 5:35 PM Apothecus has not replied

Member (Idle past 2517 days)
Posts: 275
From: CA USA
Joined: 01-05-2010

Message 117 of 299 (593796)
11-29-2010 2:33 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by GDR
11-29-2010 2:02 PM

Thanks for the reply, GDR,
I think you're one of the aforementioned "reasonable" theists posting on EVC for whom I have the utmost respect. But I've heard you beat this drum before as well, and although it's a very nice sounding drum, it has quite a different beat than most of the teachings that I've encountered regarding the bible, and salvation especially.
What I'm stating is that since I can find no reason to believe, or to have faith, in a supernatural entity which can (by definition) be neither felt nor seen with any measure of surety, I choose to not believe in said entity. This is where faith comes in, yes?
...this is another example of someone rejecting a Christianity that isn't even scriptural. You don't go to hell because you get your theology wrong.
Au contraire. I'd love to say that most of Christianity agrees with you, but all of the teaching I've ever encountered says something to the tune of, "No one is saved but through the blood of Christ." No amount of worldly works (which are important, of course) will see you throught the pearly gates, if you have not a belief that you are saved by Christ's sacrifice. This is what I'm talking about: although I respect and admire the teachings of Christ and live my life as Christ-like (if such a man existed) as possible, I don't believe in the literal resurrection/miracles etc...which in most Christian theology is a one-way ticket to Hades. Do you disagree with this?
Yes I put my faith in Christ. Yes I believe He was Messiah and God incarnate but anyone can believe that and ignore His message of love, truth, forgiveness, justice, mercy etc.
You're right. The type of Christian who ignores all of those things but claims to still be saved was never the type of Christian that I used to be. So we can rest assured we're similar in that aspect; what differs is that I no longer have faith that Christ died and was raised from the dead. Nor do I have faith that there is a God who made it happen, all morality aside.
I would go so far to suggest that just possibly you are closer to God now than you were before your so called deconversion. (I have no real way of knowing that but you obviously have rejected the legalism that you have encountered and maybe through that you have taken on a more authentic love of the goodness of God.)
Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not sure what type of logic led you here... You've lost me there, GDR. Sure, I've shed the legalism, but in the process I've also gotten rid of a whole lot more than that, including...wait for it...GOD! So are you suggesting more along the lines of a subconscious type of God-closeness thing?

"My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. J.B.S Haldane 1892-1964

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by GDR, posted 11-29-2010 2:02 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by GDR, posted 11-29-2010 9:51 PM Apothecus has replied

Member (Idle past 2517 days)
Posts: 275
From: CA USA
Joined: 01-05-2010

Message 272 of 299 (596610)
12-15-2010 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 137 by GDR
11-29-2010 9:51 PM

Hey GDR,
Sorry about the late reply. I be busy.
Anyway, I read up a little on CS Lewis and NT Wright, and I've concluded that if I were still on the Christian bandwagon, this is the type of Christianity I think I'd most likely espouse. I can see why you like it. (except for Lewis's trilemma; is there such thing as a false trichotomy?)
But unfortunately, I'd no sooner cut off my own arm than make myself abandon reason and believe something for which I can see absolutely no evidence. And again, I think no matter how fervently you believe that "all those other guys" are teaching the wrong kind of Christianity, they're all thinking the exact same thing about you. Thus, we have a scriptural, dogmatic 300-way stalemate within Christianity. You're all scrambling to push each other out of the way when someone like me says, "Would the real Christianity please step forward?" Everything within religion is subjective, and logic tells me to run for the hills.
We have free will. We can choose between self serving love or love for all of God's creation.
Surely you see these two as not mutually exclusive... Are those the only two options in your opinion? Do you need to choose one or the other, or can you enjoy both, or neither?
1/ There is something instead of nothing.
2/ The universe evolved in such a way that Earth came to be in a very finely tuned state so that life could exist.
3/ Basic atoms and molecules came together to form incredibly complicated cells.
4/ These cells had to come together in such a way that not only did plant life evolve but so did animal life.
5/ One of these animals evolved into a creature that exceeded the others in intelligence but was also able to make moral decisions.
I accept that those things happened, but we have to ask ourselves does it make more sense that all that came about by random chance, or was there an intelligence behind all of it.
There is no surety, so yes it is a matter of faith which answer we choose.
Well said, especially the last part.
If there is a creative intelligence behind the existence of our world, then...
However, if the first miracle of creation happened then...
Well GDR, there's a big 'ol elephant in the middle of the room, and its name is if. I commend you for qualifying many of your beliefs in this way (as opposed to literalist theology--if is not included in their vocabulary), and to be perfectly honest, I'd think this is the way I'd think if I were a believer.
Alas, I am not, but I respect your tone and ability to view opposing viewpoints from a rational perspective.
Have a good one.
Edited by Apothecus, : deleted apostrophe

"My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. J.B.S Haldane 1892-1964

This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by GDR, posted 11-29-2010 9:51 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 273 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-15-2010 11:14 PM Apothecus has not replied
 Message 274 by GDR, posted 12-16-2010 11:23 AM Apothecus has not replied

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