De-conversion is a long process

Sent in by Don O'Connor (pseudonym)

I was born into a family of four in the summer of '85. We were from and soon settled in the Bible Belt after my dad left the service. The Church of Christ was the only viable religion, and hence the only way to god. That's what I was led to believe, anyway. The name was correct, and the policies were unquestionable. This was made clear from an early age, so naturally I adopted their attitudes. My father was strict about maintaining appearances, though he was often too lazy or unwilling to put his tirades and rants into personal practice. This was my first encounter with religious hypocrisy, and a necessary first step in my ultimate exodus from the faith itself. For now, however, I simply became non-denominational. I believe I was about 10 at the time. (I was a very serious child.)

I swung back and forth from private and public schools. My parent's financial straits versus their desire to indoctrinate me with Christian conservative propaganda played out in the vast field that was the life of a completely trusting child. To be fair, I hated public school, because I frequently got picked on and beat down by bullies. At least there, I had my friends. In TCS, the school I was sent to in Seventh grade upon my father's discovery that I, his own flesh and blood, indeed listened to rap music, I fared worse. The truth is, that while I suffered no physical abuse in the school, the emotional abuse was worse. It was a Baptist school which was run by several families of rich children, and their only objective, like all religion, is to make more money. I dared to disagree with Baptist doctrine, (I was non-denominational and opposed the death penalty), and suddenly, I was a pariah. I was not 'of God', because I held 'unchristian' beliefs that were deemed 'too liberal'. Add to that the fact that I liked Korn, Metallica, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Poison, and the like, and you had a walking target for aggressive proselytizing. I was targeted for not only censure, (I had to dine with the school's two other outcasts at our own rickety table), but some found fit to try to get me in trouble by desecrating the bathroom, accusing me of cussing, or putting porn in my locker. Cruel tricks, indeed, but when the teacher tends to support your tormentors, there is little one can do.

I left that school in disgrace, shown the darker face of organized religion. I began to study not only the bible, but physics, evolution, history, psychology, and other religions, and what I found convinced me that what I had experienced was not anomalous, but rather quite commonplace. Not only that, but the Bible excuses pitiful and murderous behavior not only in the Old Testament, but in its supposedly prophetic book of Revelations. I tried to get into Wicca, but it, too seemed like a bunch of fluff to me. I eventually settled on agnosticism, which in time, ossified into atheism. I was simply unable to reconcile my very liberal beliefs, my sexuality, my independent streak with the strictures of organized religion generally. I was 17. Since then, I have many times battled the fear of hellfire, damnation, and religious bigotry ingrained within my head before I had the chance to thing for myself.

You see, de-conversion is a long process in many cases. Only recently have I become able to let go completely of superstition. But the pain, the anger, the outrage still lingers. That religion took so many of my friends, so many of my days from me. I will never get them back. The best thing I know how to do is fight the religious right on a political level, and search for like-minded friends.


SpaceMonk said...

Welcome Don,

You've definitely had to struggle, but you've survived and stood firm.
If you're going political then I wish you well in that struggle too.

Anonymous said...

don O

Wow - I do not understand people who put their children through that sh*t. Though if you read the bible they are following the father's example. Insane.

It is a long process but (you'll hate this) you are young. Be thankful you have discovered these "truths" so early and not have lived it for 20 more years and passed the insanity on to your kids.

You write very well and intelligently. You are the hope of the future for common sense and reason. I hope you become an advocate for it.

Live Free!

Anonymous said...

Hey Don! I feel your pain, but you are strong, hang in there, man! Study to understand why you believe what you do. Always seek the truth and be open to new ideas, especially those different than your own and never lie to yourself. Try your best not to return the hate you have experienced – You don’t want to be like them! All the Best, John

jimearl said...

Hickory said it well. You should be estatic that you have freed yourself at such an early age. I was well past my forties before I found the truth. Good luck to you in all you pursue.

RSM said...

Welcome Don! Yes you are young but you speak like a person at least twice your age. I'm so happy for you that you were in a position to be true to your beliefs so early in life. You can read something of my experience on the forums in the Lion's Den. Title: Religious Freedom.

Anonymous said...

Welcome Don,
Great to see, you are on your way to recovery. Like you said, it's a long process, but one that you can truly call honest - and personal. Many become mad, because of the years they lost... not in physical terms, but in psychological. As we grow up, we mentally check ourselves against what we are taught, and if we don't measure up - we feel guilty.
Eventually, we wake up, and try and establish our self-identity by removing all that we have been taught, and starting over.
Starting over, can be both liberating and stressful, it just takes time to get past the stress of living around people that may not support you.
There are many that would want you to conform to their belief, because it establishes credibility in their own insecurities, and then... there are others, who just want to wish you well, and hope you find your true path based on your instincts. They seem to have served you well, up to this point. I wish you well.


Anonymous said...

way to go! im proud of you! i was born in the same year as you and it sounds like i started the de-conversion process about the same time as you. its really nice to be able to relate to someone. its the anger that i find most frusterating. i spent all of my life eating up the bullshit, now what do i do! anyways, take care! chelsea

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your view about deconversion being a long and sometimes painfull process. I wish you well and good luck in your fight against the relisious right.

Anonymous said...

To: Don O'Connor (pseudonym),
Don, you have to ask yourself if it is WORTH IT, to buck the trend?
About 85% of the people in this country say they believe in God. About 50% are hard-core bible thumpers.
Your disbelief in Christianity and supernatural stuff, puts you in a group consisting of about 1%. of the people in this great land.

My personal answer is: The freedom to let yourself "Know what you know", to be able to say, "Most of the Christian doctrine makes no sense", to know that you cannot ever be tricked into believing it again, to be free from dealing with all of the inconsistencies in the bible, to be able to look at the hypocrisy of most believers and see them for the hypocrites that they are, to JUST BE HONEST, is so powerful, so energizing, and feels so right, that it is worth a lifetime of being an outsider, to be able to have and maintain that feeling.

Dan (Who began to let myself "know what I know" at about the age of 65)

Anonymous said...

Hey Don,

I know how you feel. I'm right now going through de-conversion, and I have a very long ways to go still.

I first became a christian back when I was 23 hoping that I would find the answers to my questions, and most of all I was hoping to finally find true happiness in Christianity only to be dissapointed.

I am now 36 years old, and Christianity has only added to my pain, and has left some really bad scars in my life.

I met a girl one time who is an atheist, and I couldn't even witness to her. I couldn't even share the so called love of Jesus Christ. You know why? Because she had a lot more peace in her life as an atheist than I did as a Christian. The atheist witnenssed to me instead.

I have now decided that I cannot endorse Christianity any longer simply because of one reason. It does not work. Christianity does nothing but condemn people who share a different belief system, and it enslaves people's minds like it did mine.

I am not afraid to say that I hate Christianity, and that Christianity SUCKS!!!!

I am going to continue to focus on recovering from the false lies and hopes or Christianity, and I plan to expose the faulty gospel of Christianity.

Best Wishes!

Anonymous said...

At times,I felt as though christianity was in my D.N.A.!

Now I believe it was more a cultural brainwashing,mixed with obsessive compulsion(O.C.D.)that lengthened my deconversion process.

Deconversion complete,I now suffer from a fixation on why I and others are so prone to buying into the deception of Christianity.
Why are we so gullible?
3)A need to belong,..many more

**peace to you!

Anonymous said...

Don- Not all Christians are as you have outlined. Reading your comment and the comments that followed break my heart. Know that I am praying for you to find your peace and for what it is worth, God is there should you ever change your mind. For this I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

You can pray all you want, but it will do you no good, because you are talking to a wall when you pray. It kind of breaks my heart that people like you are enslaved in oppression. I truly feel sorry for someone like you who doesn't know how to think for himself, and has to rely on an imaginary friend for guidance.

I put my faith and trust in my own abilities. You Christians make it sound like if you put your faith and trust in God to guide you he will never fail you. So let's put that theory to test. If your God is so great, and if we put our faith in him, and trust him to guide us, then I guess that means we will never make another mistake in life ever again.

Well so far your God isn't doing too good of a job guiding you Christians from what I can tell. LMAO!!!

On a final note, I just love the way most of you Christians come on here with your "Anonymous" Names. Just goes to show how Chicken Shit all of you are.

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