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12/30/2007                                                                                       View Comments

A dialog about de-conversion

By ridi0t

PART I:




PART II:


29 comments:

heretic said...

Excellent!

My wife and I were 'disfellowshipped' from the jehovah's witnesses sect for the evil crime of celebrating our toddlers birthday. Being put out of the sect was no problem but it was very traumatic that our family members that were in the sect were not allowed to associate with us. I believe there should be an international law against such malpractice and total abuse of power.So,I also want my money back, and compensation for all those hideous hours of door to door work.

Anyway, at least they helped me to see the truth and firmly put me on my way to investige the lies of all
chritianity.I am happy to be an athiest and I now feel pity for the poor lost souls that think they are going to some paradise, wherever that might be.

AtheistToothFairy said...

I really LIKE that idea of asking for a 'refund' from your former church.

Weren't their some school student examples, where they sued a public school because the school failed to give them a proper education?

e.g. Promoting them from one grade to the next (even though they failed), instead of actually forcing them to learn?

ATF

Mriana said...

I still have bouts of depression since I realized there was no god. Thing is, I knew when I was 7 and I quote my thoughts, "We've been to the moon and back. Heaven is not there." and neither was god for that matter.

It's been recently, in the last few years (maybe 3 or 4) that I realized what I thought was god (love and compassion etc) are just human concepts too, just as the metaphysical/anthropomorphic idea is. No afterlife doesn't bother me because our bodies are "recycled" back into the earth as plant food, so to speak, but when I think about the "loss" of a concept and there is no god, I still have moments of depression. I haven't experience what I would call anger exactly, but at times I'm ok with the idea of no deity and other times I find it still depressing.

When does it end?

billybee said...

I while back I posted my story about how I requested a refund from the church (Calvary Chapel -Boise, Id) I attended.
As impossible as it sounds, they gave me a large portion of my money back.
I'm not going to argue with anyone who doesn't believe me, I just want to tell everyone...If the relationship with your ex-pastor is the way mine was, there is a shot that you can (if you do it right) get a refund. I did.

billybee said...

btw: great post ridiot. Loved the style!

R. Black said...

Great, now I have to look up eraserhead...

R. Black said...

Oops, meant to say great post, I really enjoyed that.

gimmeadrinkawater said...

Mriana wrote,
I still have moments of depression. I haven't experience what I would call anger exactly, but at times I'm ok with the idea of no deity and other times I find it still depressing.

Mriana: I am a life long atheist and I come to this board because I find it consoling and grounding. I too get depressed, because there is no god; there is no point to life, unless I make it; sometimes I feel a good deal of loneliness, and fear too, because I am on my own. But I believe that's what comes with life. There is also joy, and the happiness and contentment and satisfaction of being my own person, and also just in appreciating life and its glories. Maybe "it" doesn't end. Maybe you can rephrase the question, and accept that this is what life is. An endless question; an endless quest. And in not so rare moments, lovely peace.

Naomi

Mriana said...

Thanks Naomi. Yes, I know life is what we make it and it's an endless quest, thing is I still have those moments where it just seems empty.

xrayman said...

I was never very religious but when times got tough, I always turned to God. I totally lost all belief almost two years ago, and life has been running pretty smooth up until the last couple months.

My wife and I have had issue with our oldest child which was causing problems between us. Last week we were in a big fight and it was the first time I realized that I am really alone. I wanted so much to pray that simple prayer,

"God the problem is in your hands. Please work it out. I know you will."

I never realized the comfort (supposedly) talking to God gave this luke warm believer all his life.

Oh well like things usually did when I prayed, this little problem seems to be working itself out just fine, but it has really sunken in that I truly am on my own, but I think the trade off is well worth it.

AtheistToothFairy said...

xrayman wrote:
Oh well like things usually did when I prayed, this little problem seems to be working itself out just fine, but it has really sunken in that I truly am on my own, but I think the trade off is well worth it.
---
Xray',

I'm sorry to hear about your family difficulties.
I guess all of us have our share of such problems now and then and hopefully yours will be resolved ready-quick.

Yes indeed, we are pretty much on our own; unless some super advanced alien beings are really in control of us, through some intergalactic wormhole, but hey, what's the chances of such aliens watching over us; without evidence of it.

In any case, yes it can feel not only lonely, but perhaps a bit scary as well, to know one is on their own with their lives and fate.
I can only imagine how hard it must be for some who got off the god addiction very quickly, without a lot of time to get slowly used to the idea.

I guess I was luckier than some, in that it was a slow drawn out process for me to go from xtian to atheist.
With each new step I had time to adjust to the new information I learned, but even for a former-xtian / now-atheist, there are rough times when one still wishes one had some great power to hand the problems over to.

Besides the great yearning for an afterlife, this need to turn to some-THING to solve problems that exceed our abilities to fix them, sure has to be what keeps many xtians; xtians.

At the risk of repeating myself from a few weeks back, let me say this about my own experience.

While it did SEEM that at times there was some 'god' keeping me from getting in too deep into trouble, the irony is that the one sure way I could guarantee that something I wanted/needed wouldn't occur, was to pray to god for it.
After trying this praying for things for many years in my younger days, I eventually learned that if I really wanted something in my life, I had to ignore the urge to pray to god for it.
Strange huh?

Alas, as you point out, there were some rough times where there was no solution visible to me and I landed up praying anyway, as a last resort sort of thing I guess.

Again, I hope your problems come to a close really soon!!!


ATF (who wonders if flashing a bright S-O-S light beam into space, would get god's attention, when all else fails?)

otakursed said...

Very cool . . . and the fact that the pastor relied on our secularist government to protect his behind shows just how much faith and good will he has. And that's yet more tax-money that they wasted, to keep what they never had a right to to begin with. What a load of dingo's kidneys.

eel_shepherd said...

Some things, and some words, are just naturally funny; they don't even need a joke to go with them. (e.g. "hood ornament", "lawn flamingoes", "wino", "postcard from Graceland", etc.) And one of those is the picture of some guy, unable to deal with a situation, lifting up his head hopefully and yelling, "Security!" That picture came immediately to mind when I pictured the pastor calling in the troops when Jeremy went to get his refund...

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

Wouldn't do me any good to try and get a refund from my old church that I gave money to.

They would tell me that it was God's money, and once I put it in the offering plate that I no longer have any rights to it. Plus they would once again remind me that it was God's money in the first place, and that I gave it unconditionally of course.

I drove by my old church the other day, and noticed they are once again starting up another building program. I'm sure my money was used to help them build their new million dollar state of the art building. It's long gone by now.

Wouldn't mind suing the money grubbing bastards if I knew I had a chance of winning a case against them.

I'd like to know why they just don't use that money they are putting into their new state of the art 5,000 seat sanctuary and use it to feed the poor or pay for their education so they don't have to be poor.

Something is wrong with that picture if you ask me. Why in the hell would their all powerful God need their money or their stupid 5,000 seat sanctuary?

It's all about pleasing the ego of some invisible man, and not so much about taking care of the people in this world. Screw helping people get out of poverty and helping them live a productive life. Just make sure they are saved and they don't burn in hell, and forget about living a productive and fruitful life on earth. It's a wonder that these same people have enough intelligence to wipe their own butt.

That's my rant on the subject.

xrayman said...

Hey ATF,

Thank you so much for you kind words. You seem like a really decent human being. My problems are just a little bunp in the road of life that ain't shit.

As the Christian will mention some silly little coincidence as proof that God was with them, I saw a couple specific instances at the hospital where I work this month that prove a loving God could not exist. One in particular was an 11 year old girl who just lost a very painful battle with bone cancer. As if it was God's plan to take her right before Christmas. I also recently took care of a cute little 18 month old who recently underwent surgery for brain cancer.

You know ATF I am really OK with the fact that there is no afterlife, but it would be nice for some concession at the end for kids who die before they have lived.

What the two instances above really illustrate is the fact that the laws of NATURE can be creul and are totally indiscriminate.

Bloviator said...

Great stuff!! I am always amazed at how powerful a few printed screens and photos can be to illustrate a point.

ATF, I agree with you that the one way I could guarantee things would not work was to pray for them. I stopped praying for anything but strength to endure many, many years before I lost all my faith in god. I'm still not sure that using it as a focusing technique can't be helpful, so long as we don't expect presents to fall out of the sky into our laps.

Xray, sorry to hear you are having difficulties with your family -- I now believe my family is about all I really have in life, so I go out of my way to love, touch, teach, and learn from them. Here's hoping things smooth out for you soon.

Anonymous said...

ridiOt:

Your posting was very interesting. It is illuminating to see exactly how a deconversation went.

I am a Christian and want to reassure you about something.

You claim your growth was stagnated. Edison once said that inventors get upset when something doesn't work. However, they have learned something in the process. They know that is not the way to build a light bulb. Your growth did not stagnate. You learned much about yourself and others during that time. I am sad that it led to your deconversion but I respect your honest thoughts about it.

You mentioned you were concerned about damage to your kids. Kids are quite resilient. I grew up in a faithless home. Yet, I became a Christian. My parents were lifelong activist Democrats. I am a Republican. So, strangely, I am the rebellious one! We all come to a point when we embrace something for ourselves. Parents can teach but children do not have to swallow that teaching. In my own home, my 21 year old daughter is rejecting much of what I taught her. That is her right. I believe that we all have been given the gift of free will and that most of us tend to excersize that gift.

Finally, I know you want your money back. Just to encourage you, I have given money to several causes where the money was misusedand they were not all Christian causes. Although I am mad at these groups, I found a silver lining in it all. At least my motives were to help others. And that is exactly what you thought you were doing. So, be at peace.It is the intent that is what really matters. That intent is a testimony to your character.

I intend to show these two videos to my large Sunday School adult class. Just think of it. You have the ultimate revenge. Your words will be heard by a large Southern Baptist church!

Thackerie said...

I have a weird sense of humor. It strikes as funny that our latest anonymous christer refers to the atheist Thomas Edison, so I thought I'd post this list of 10 more Edison quotations for his/her edification and amusement. Wonder if "anonymous" will share these with the folks at Sunday School?

1. My mind is incapable of conceiving such a thing as a soul. I may be in error, and man may have a soul; but I simply do not believe it.

2. All Bibles are man-made.

3. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk.

4. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.

5. I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States.

6. To those seaching for truth - not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction - faith in fiction is a damnable false hope.

7. I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul... No, all this talk of an existence beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life - our desire to go on living - our dread of coming to an end. [quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]

8. The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them.

9. What fools. [commenting on the spectacle of hundreds of thousands making a pilgrimage to the grave of an obscure priest in Massachusetts, in the hope of effecting miraculous cures, quoted by Joseph Lewis from a personal conversation; source: Cliff Walker's Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations]

10. Incurably religious, that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people. [Thomas Edison, quoted by Joseph Lewis from a personal conversation; source: Cliff Walker's Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations]

Anonymous said...

Thackerie

Wonder not. I have just sent those quotes to my friends. Also, I knew that Edison was not a believer and that is why I quoted him on inventions since this is a site for those who are exChristians. I didn't quote a Christian because I knew that the quote would be rejected and potentially provoke an angry response.
I was just trying to be empathetic and I apologize if I have failed.

Thackerie said...

No need to apologize - I wasn't offended; I was just messing with you. (I did say I have a weird sense of humor ;-)

Anywho, Happy New Year to all!

AtheistToothFairy said...

xrayman wrote:
.... I saw a couple specific instances at the hospital where I work this month that prove a loving God could not exist. One in particular was an 11 year old girl who just lost a very painful battle with bone cancer. As if it was God's plan to take her right before Christmas. I also recently took care of a cute little 18 month old who recently underwent surgery for brain cancer.

You know ATF I am really OK with the fact that there is no afterlife, but it would be nice for some concession at the end for kids who die before they have lived

---------
Hi xray',

Your sad story about these two innocent children, really generates two emotions in me.
Primarily great sadness, but some anger to.

It is simply beyond my comprehension that a 'god' type being would sit on his/her butt and do NOTHING about this type of suffering, of such innocent children.
If one were to make a top 10 list of proofs to show god can't exist, such innocent children suffering, would be right in that list.

Now, about your job xray'.
I had originally thought you were like an xray technician, but from many things you've talked about in posts, it seems you get much more involved with patients than any tech would?

I have to say, I give you MUCH credit in the scope of your job, as I don't think I could emotionally handle watching such suffering, firsthand, as you apparently must do.
The people like you, that deal with such emotional 'challenges', are nothing less than saints to me; to use a 'god' term here.

Like with so many other topics we cover here, this one will also find our fundies deathly silent with a forthcoming explanation of why their god ignores his little children.

It certainly makes no sense for god to create a tiny life, only to watch it suffer and die.
What possible god-purpose can xtians come up with that would explain why he would need to take such young children to heaven.
Even if there were some mysterious god purpose for needing these children up in heaven, why would a loving god make them suffer-so before taking them?

Face it xtians, these thing happen because life isn't fair about who it doles out bad things to and your god does nothing to intervene, probably because it's hard for a nothing-god to take an action.


ATF (Who personally thinks xrayman, deserves a round of applause from our audience)

Atheist_Easter_Bunny said...

ATF Said:
"ATF (Who personally thinks xrayman, deserves a round of applause from our audience"

I'll second that *applauses Xrayman*.

"AEB" (Who has tons of respect for someone like xrayman instead of some self centered, blood thirsty, imaginary God who chooses to sit on their butt and do nothing).

atheistjoker said...

to heretic: How did the organisation find out about the birthday? You accidentally sent them an invitation?

btw happy new year to all.

xrayman said...

Thanks again ATF for your kind words. I am just a regular xray tech at a large hospital which is a level one trauma center, as well as a major cancer treatment facility for adults and children.

I guess many don't know the extent of the job description of a radiology tech. Virtually every patient in the hospital whether they are there for injury or disease use our xray services. Cancer patients, when hospitalized get tons of xrays throughout their stay especially when they are at their sickest. One other very grim task we perform at our hospital are autopsy x-rays on babies who die suddenly. When a baby dies suddenly in Michigan they must undergo a full body x-rays(one bone at a time) to check for signs of abuse and our facility receives deceased babies from all over the state. I have done this hundreds of times and I hate to admit it but you do get used to it because when they are deceased you can disassociate from them. What the hell would God's purpose be to take an infant suddenly? Please Mr. Anonymous Christian throw me a line. Oh wait I forgot it's because of original sin. Now it makes sense.

I guess I will say it is amazing how your mind can adapt to seeing such tragedies. I am the most sensitive guy in the word yet I can do my job and usually go home unaffected, yet sometimes a tragic situation will make it past my "emotional goalie" and effect me greatly. My first year on the job I worked Christmas day where a six year old girl came in from a car accident and it was clear she wasn't going to make it. Hardcore nurses were crying. I makes you appreciate your own children so much when you see one suddenly pass.

Obviously the worst or the worst is when you see a kid battle cancer for periods of years, suffering every step of the way, only to loose the battle before they reach their teen years. They say Christ suffered, for what a fucking weekend? If you want to see suffering watch a kid battle bone cancer.

xrayman said...

Oh wait here's another quick story from the is no God department.

It is said by Christians that God works through great doctors to heal the sick.

We had a brilliant brain surgeon on staff at our hospital who was the best. He performed so called miracle surgeries every week. He was just brilliant and had great bedside manners.

Well for some reason God decided he must have just done too good of a job because this brilliant young neurosurgeon with a wife and two small children died of a very quick aggressive cancer at 38. It was such a sad situation.

Atheist Easter Bunny said...

It seems that God always takes people who make a positive difference in this world, and he bends over backwards to protect worthless bums like drunk drivers for example.

It seems drunk drivers walk away from wrecks more often than the innocent victim does.

Seems God doesn't like it when people do a better job of making a positive difference in this world.

I guess he's a jealous God after all.

Xrayman Said:
"They say Christ suffered, for what a fucking weekend?"

Yeah, and he brought himself back to life also. Christ might as well just been asleep for 3 days.

I've always said that the death of Christ was a friggin' joke. Plus due to the fact that Christ was supposedly God, not a regular human being.

The "Jesus died for you" excuse is the most overblown statement that christians like to use.

Anonymous said...

xrayman
I, too, applaud your caring and, to some extent, understand what you see on a day to day basis. You see, for years, I used to be a hospice nurse. I have cared for children and adults dying from terrible cancers.

Why I am not still a hospice nurse? My daughter was diagnosed with a massive maignant brain tumor at the age of 3. We were told that she had a less than 10% prognosis. She had surgery and is missing most of her left frontal lobe and parts of her cerebral cortex and temporal lobe. The pain that I experienced first hand did not allow me to objectively care for those suffering from cancer any longer.

If you do not think that I have thought out my faith both intellectually and emotionally, you would be mistaken. To watch your own child spend days in ICUs, struggling to survive is beyond the worst pain one can imagine. Believe me, I spent years struggling and thinking. I know there are others on this site that have had to do this as well and I feel for all of them.We may not agree on the answers but we certainly understand the pain of a sick child.

I am not here to give anyone trite answers. I am here to observe and think about your well thought out reasons for leaving Christianity. Yes, I have found answers that sustain me. For me, I find my faith deeper for what I have gone through. But, I know you will reject my answers and think that I am deluded. Some of you may even find what I have to say deeply painful and, even, hateful. So what is the sense in doing so?

So, please understand, I am not here to fling answers at you. But one thing you cannot deny is that I understand pain and suffering. And, within that pain and suffering,found, for me, hope and peace. And, that is my wish for all of you who suffer in these types of situations. May all of you find peace, as I read many of you have,hope and purpose.

I have tried very hard to word this in a way that you all could understand me without you feeling that I believe I am superior, etc., etc. If I have failed, I apologize because I have no wish to cause any of you further pain, anger,frustration,whatever.

Peace

xrayman said...

Hey Annon former hospice nurse.

I have said this many times on this site. I am extremely jealous of someone who does have deep faith and makes it through a situation as you have. I know a very dear lady who lost a child at 15 in a freak horse riding accident. She is completely at peace with it because of her faith, and I applaud her.

It is just that when you cross the line of non belief, you just see things in such a different light and there is no going back to your way of thinking. We process this information as it is. Nature is cruel and doesn't care who you are or what church you go to. Bad things happen to good people and as ATF said the drunk driver always seems to survive the crash that kills a family.

You must be a wonderful kind caring person and I hope you child is recovering well. Thanks for your addition to the discussion.

Bill

Korinne said...

I felt that too, that my growth had been stunted by so many years of being told "do not touch", and having to deprive myself of thinking about things except within a rigid framework.
I can't say I am fully reconciled to the loss of that time, but I do feel that I am now better at recognizing when I am trapped by my thinking, and I can tell myself to open my mind!