Author Topic: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?  (Read 1120 times)

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Offline Kawaii

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2015, 12:15:19 PM »

Believe me, life would be much easier where I live and work had I remained ignorant in my Christianity. I'd probably still be doing something I love dearly: singing. Singing in the shower simply isn't the same as seeing people touched by the little talent I possess. Since I don't care for bars, karaoke simply won't do it for me. I've even flirted with the idea of pretending, just to sing again. But it is dishonest, and I simply find that I cannot live in such dishonesty. Plus, I remind myself of the day when someone came to my house to ask me to visit and join their church and said "we really could use someone who can sing like you". It reminds me that in many of my years in the church, particularly in my last 6 years as a divorced man, that no one cared to know a thing about me other than I could sing well.

I, also stuck with church longer than necessary because of my love for singing.  I still do the Hallelujah Chorus annually at my son's school.  I miss it a lot.  The only really secular singing group around here is a barbershop group and I don't think I would want to do that long term.

I can relate! It would be nice if there were more secular choirs in our communities.

Offline Kawaii

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2015, 12:46:04 PM »
Questioning Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"  led me to doubts I couldn't ignore.
You don't have to look very far to see that not all God's children prosper. Where was the hope and future for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Likens and all the other children who die from abuse and neglect? The only way I could rationalize it was, "well, He must have really made it up to them in Heaven."  My pain and problems are a walk in the park compared to theirs, but I still didn't want to wait around til I died to experience "God's wonderful plan for my life."


« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 12:47:40 PM by Kawaii »

Offline velkyn

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2015, 02:52:15 PM »
hi Kawaii,  welcome to the forum.

I looked to see  how far away the church was from the convention center.  A bit more than I want to walk in August.   :)

when I started thinking about the excuses that theists give, especially about the afterlife and supposed "justice", it became pretty clear that it was just nonsense. 
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline median

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2015, 04:24:53 PM »
The Genesis of Doubt & My Deconversion

Like many, I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were divorced but my dad was always allowed to take my siblings and I to church every Sunday (as my mother thought it was good for moral training, etc). We prayed before every meal and weren't allowed to watch "secular" violent or sexually charged TV or movies (for the most part). We got spankings and had our mouths washed out with soap if we cursed. At the age of 10 we were attending a Presbyterian church (though later my dad switched us to the non-denominational Calvary Chapel). One Sunday morning the pastor gave an alter-call (where new church attendees are encouraged to come to the front, receive prayer, and accept Jesus as your personal "Lord and Savior"). I believed I felt the "spirit leading me" to accept Jesus into my heart (yes, at age 10). From then on I was a "born-again" Christian. But it wasn't until age 17 that I got serious about evangelism or theology.

Through high school I was a musician (a drummer). I played in quite a few punk rock and metal bands. Toward the end of high school I joined a band with two Mormon guys (not knowing very much about them or what they believed - though I had been warned by my dad that Mormonism is a false religion and that they have "the wrong Jesus). It was around this time that I believed I had a vision of Jesus in my bedroom. One night, I woke up in a cold sweat and believed I saw a blinding light coming through my bedroom door. Two upward faced hands, a white rob, and the soft outline of a face came through. It was Jesus! He spoke to me in my head and told me to read the bible. The experience was so powerful that it marked a very significant turning point. I called my dad immediately (waking him up) and told him the good news. This was the moment I became a Christian apologist.

I studied the bible nearly every day and committed myself to reading it multiple times throughout the years. I memorized many bible passages, studied theology texts, bible commentaries, bible concordances with Greek/Hebrew definitions, theology websites, and studied Dr. Walter Marten's tapes, books, and lectures (He wrote the book "Kingdom of the Cults" and was the original "Bible Answer Man" on the radio). I filled an entire wall with books on Christianity and read books from Norman Geisler, RC Sproul, Josh Mcdowell, Wayne Grudem, Lee Strobel, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, and many many others. I also became friends with a very well known online Christian apologist (a slick guy of whom I won't name), went on mission trips to convert "cultists" to "the real Jesus", and taught bible classes on theology and Christian apologetics.

But that all began to change when I started debating with atheists at Yahoo forums, discovered books like Dan Barker's Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, and found websites like ExChristian.net. Naturally, I doubled down on my efforts to be a better apologist and follower of Christ (seeking to fulfill my obligation to defend the faith against Christ's enemies). This was spiritual warfare and I had to arm myself. So I started taking night classes in systematic theology while consulting my other apologist peers/friends on how to deal with atheist arguments. I attended debates and lectures with William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Greg Koukl, Kent Hovind, and many others. I was determined to know the truth, hold fast to it, and defend it to the death no matter what (b/c that was my duty; to abide until the end).

The big shift towards de-conversation began when I started having conversations with a friend Ted who was an ex-Christian. This was someone who never tried to challenge me about my religious beliefs. We hung out sometimes, went to dinner with friends, watched movies, played music, did some recordings, and practiced martial arts. And I was always curious why he left Christianity after so many years (I knew he was a former believer b/c my dad used to work for him and they would debate religion all the time during work hours). "How could he have known Christ and then walked away?" I thought "Doesn't he realize he's choosing hell?!"

As our conversations progressed, he began to spell out the direct contradictions, errors, and blatantly irrational and immoral things he found in the bible when he was a believer (i.e. - the things that were supposedly endorsed by god). To my surprise at the time, he actually encouraged me to read the entire bible (from cover to cover), but without the lense of a pastor or apologist (and I did). I took copious notes while reading the bible for myself and the more I read the more questions I began to have. We would talk about predestination, original sin, the doctrine of the trinity, the conflicting resurrection accounts, miracle stories in other religions, the dying/rising gods in other religions, and Paul's words about "the demonstration of power" in 1 Corinthians.

The real decline (and escalation of doubt) came when Ted and I had a conversation about creation and the book of Genesis. The book says that death did not enter the world until "sin" (the fall of Adam/Eve) did. And the book of Revelation says that after Christ returns (at some point) there will be a new heaven and a new earth and that there will be no more death (the lion will lay down with the lamb, etc).

PARAPHRASING TED:
Quote
But if God is the creator of all plants and animals on earth then let's take a look at them and see what we find. Take snakes for example. What are those sharp poison injecting fangs for if not designed specifically for killing? Were snakes vegetarians before the fall? How so? All throughout nature we find similar examples. Spiders, scorpions, wasps, sting-rays, and many others have features that are used specifically for killing. Do you mean to tell me these animals weren't there before the fall or that they didn't kill anything before the fall? What about the "serpent" in the garden? How does this make any sense?

Months after these conversations, and my subsequent investigations into the bible's many inconsistencies, contradictions, and errors my confidence in the notion that the bible was "the infallible word of God" began to fall apart. Little by little my entire world (and subsequently my social network) crumbled. Devastated (and begrudgingly), I had to walk away.  But it wasn't until years later that I became an atheist.

I continued to believe in a deistic god, a creator of the universe that perhaps didn't have anything to do with humanity anymore, and as I had done for so long before I continued to debate with atheists using presuppositional apologetics (arguing for "the impossibility of the contrary"). I even debated with atheists in my upper division classes while working on my philosophy degree at the University. But this debating only lasted until I discovered a debate between Matt Dillahunty and Matt Slick on the Atheist Experience show back in 2009 (show #593), which also caused me to begin critically analyzing the TAG argument (The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God) as well as presuppositional arguments. I didn't discover that episode until well after it had been published online but it had a huge impact on my belief in a god as well as my belief in "absolute knowledge".

As with before, I began reading articles online that were critical of TAG and presuppositional apologetics (along with articles that responded to people like William Lane Craig, Kent Hovind, and many others). And as I continued, my confidence in that line of reasoning so too slowly crumbled away. Angry, hurt, depressed, and feeling defeated I had to admit that those arguments were no longer convincing, that I no longer believed in a god, and that I had to start down a different path. Feeling as if life had no meaning or purpose anymore (as religion had so driven into my head from youth), it was either rebuild or die.

Well, thankfully here I am, far happier than I've ever been and thankful to those of you who challenged me to think critically, keep an open mind, and stay intellectually honest.

Cheers,
median
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 04:43:11 PM by median »
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Offline Nick

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2015, 04:33:18 PM »
Great story.  Still would like to know what you eat the night you thought Jesus popped in on you.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Online nogodsforme

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #34 on: December 21, 2015, 08:07:10 PM »
Isn't it amazing how thin the religious arguments are when you just apply common sense reasoning to them? How could people just sit and accept such malarkey?

Like "there was no death" in some mythical past, because god made a garden paradise where people could just frolic and play with the animals...and in heaven or the new earth or whatever, there will again be no death. Frolic with the lions. Lay down with the lambs. No eat or be eaten.

But don't plants die when you eat them? How about microbes and cells that die all the time? Or does "death" only refer to the death of one special type of ambulatory, noisy, messy, destructive primate?

We have fossils of carnivores dating back as far as the age of reptiles. These creatures killed their food hundreds of millions of years before there were any humans around. And the invertebrates that ruled for even longer had to eat something, which meant they also killed to survive. The animals that didn't kill other animals ate plants, which perforce had to die.

And was the death-free original earth 1.0 meant to continually expand to hold all the animals (insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) plus all the plant life that would just keep reproducing, forever, but never die? Did the people who wrote this stuff think about it at all?

(One of the many questions I asked as a mouthy JW kid was what we would eat during everlasting life after Armageddon. We would not be eating meat or even plants because that would require killing and "death would be no more." My father said that Jehovah would make special heavenly food for us.[1]

My follow up question was, why doesn't Jehovah just make us that food for us now so we can stop killing animals? No good answer came. Change of subject by irritated father.)

I suspect that the mythmakers never imagined that future people would think their "good enough for now" stories about how the world came to be were literally true. As people got more knowledge, they were supposed to let go of the myths that no longer explained anything. Once you realize the sun is just another star that will burn out someday, how can you keep on worshiping it as if it was a living being?

Similarly, it is hard to fathom people today--with all the information available that the ancients did not have-- who think impossible bible stories are literally true.  :-\

And, hot damn, I got to use the word "perforce".  ;D
 1. That made no sense to me, since all the pictures of everlasting life in the JW literature showed smiling, laughing people in their racially segregated groups gathering baskets of fruit. Was that the magic Jehovah food? Would it look and taste like regular earth fruit? :?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 08:11:01 PM by nogodsforme »
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2015, 08:36:46 PM »
shucks, don't you know that god food is manna and quail,  billions of quail.  :)
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2015, 01:42:13 PM »
Isn't it amazing how thin the religious arguments are when you just apply common sense reasoning to them? How could people just sit and accept such malarkey?

Like "there was no death" in some mythical past, because god made a garden paradise where people could just frolic and play with the animals...and in heaven or the new earth or whatever, there will again be no death. Frolic with the lions. Lay down with the lambs. No eat or be eaten.

But don't plants die when you eat them? How about microbes and cells that die all the time? Or does "death" only refer to the death of one special type of ambulatory, noisy, messy, destructive primate?

We have fossils of carnivores dating back as far as the age of reptiles. These creatures killed their food hundreds of millions of years before there were any humans around. And the invertebrates that ruled for even longer had to eat something, which meant they also killed to survive. The animals that didn't kill other animals ate plants, which perforce had to die.

And was the death-free original earth 1.0 meant to continually expand to hold all the animals (insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) plus all the plant life that would just keep reproducing, forever, but never die? Did the people who wrote this stuff think about it at all?

(One of the many questions I asked as a mouthy JW kid was what we would eat during everlasting life after Armageddon. We would not be eating meat or even plants because that would require killing and "death would be no more." My father said that Jehovah would make special heavenly food for us.[1]

My follow up question was, why doesn't Jehovah just make us that food for us now so we can stop killing animals? No good answer came. Change of subject by irritated father.)

I suspect that the mythmakers never imagined that future people would think their "good enough for now" stories about how the world came to be were literally true. As people got more knowledge, they were supposed to let go of the myths that no longer explained anything. Once you realize the sun is just another star that will burn out someday, how can you keep on worshiping it as if it was a living being?

Similarly, it is hard to fathom people today--with all the information available that the ancients did not have-- who think impossible bible stories are literally true.  :-\

And, hot damn, I got to use the word "perforce".  ;D
 1. That made no sense to me, since all the pictures of everlasting life in the JW literature showed smiling, laughing people in their racially segregated groups gathering baskets of fruit. Was that the magic Jehovah food? Would it look and taste like regular earth fruit? :?

Yeah great points.  It's telling that people long ago like Nietzche and Twain saw through the BS, even living in the 1800's.  And, obviously, there were plenty all the way back to Jesus's time that knew it was all a bunch of BS - even without any knowledge of cosmology.  If everyone during Jesus's time simply believed, they'd never have to keep emphasizing the importance of faith in the Bible, AND they'd never have to invoke hell.  But, obviously, there were tons of people who knew something was wrong and demanded proof - and, of course, that proof never came, so the only way to combat it was with threats.

It's those people, who refused to be gullible, that I have a great deal of respect for.  So many of them died simply because they refused to believe, like in the Inquisitions.  It makes me think of the German soldiers that refused to carry out orders during the Holocaust, and were shot dead on the spot because of it.  Those were the truly courageous people.  We have an open forum and religious freedom, so we can say what we want without consequence.  However, I know in places like Mississippi, Oklahoma, etc. it's still not that way, and those non-believers show great courage.  Then you have the Middle East.

Offline junebug72

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2015, 08:45:59 AM »
Hypocrites and contradictions in the bible[1][2][3][4]deconverted me from religion.

Nature, it's many ways of death, deconverted me from gods.

To sum that up Love and intellectual honesty turned me around, upside down, round and round!  Wee
 1. the incest
 2. dinosaurs
 3. thou shalt put no other god(S) before me, plural
 4. last but not least Hell is not love
when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

Offline Mrjason

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2016, 06:14:30 PM »
can you remember a seminal moment that caused you to start questioning your faith, and led to your deconversion?

Yes.

What's your story?

My brother-inlaw died a difficult death and I asked why.

Offline albeto

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Re: What was the tipping point in your deconversion?
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2016, 12:11:32 PM »
Isn't it amazing how thin the religious arguments are when you just apply common sense reasoning to them? How could people just sit and accept such malarkey?

Like "there was no death" in some mythical past, because god made a garden paradise where people could just frolic and play with the animals...and in heaven or the new earth or whatever, there will again be no death. Frolic with the lions. Lay down with the lambs. No eat or be eaten.

But don't plants die when you eat them? How about microbes and cells that die all the time? Or does "death" only refer to the death of one special type of ambulatory, noisy, messy, destructive primate?

We have fossils of carnivores dating back as far as the age of reptiles. These creatures killed their food hundreds of millions of years before there were any humans around. And the invertebrates that ruled for even longer had to eat something, which meant they also killed to survive. The animals that didn't kill other animals ate plants, which perforce had to die.

And was the death-free original earth 1.0 meant to continually expand to hold all the animals (insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles) plus all the plant life that would just keep reproducing, forever, but never die? Did the people who wrote this stuff think about it at all?


I mentioned this problem in a conversation with xians just recently, reminding them that death leads to entomological, bacterial, and chemical activities that change an organic thing into nutrients for more organic things. I asked them to imagine if there were no death, there would be no eating (which means no pooping, which means either Adam and Eve didn't poop, or their bodies were suddenly and violently changed to incorporate an entire digestive system - which makes it odd that a piece of fruit would be tempting), the earth would be super saturated with biological life so quickly that vegetation and animals, birds, fish, insects would be some hundreds of feet deep by now, crawling over each other. Unless birth would also be suddenly inoperative once the creator god determined the earth was populous enough. So perhaps he would have been more inspired to pay attention and help out humanity if Eve never ate that first fruit, thus bringing upon us this "fall." Predictably, the reply concentrated on what a jerk I am for not considering a spiritual reality.

My tipping point was "sin." Behavior is explained so elegantly by natural explanations, making "sin" an awkward concept at best. That, and being accused of being a jerk when I asked questions for genuine reasons (I wanted desperately to keep my faith).
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 12:13:09 PM by albeto »