Buyer's remorse

Sent in by Jamie G

I went to Wikipedia and read more about cognitive dissonance where I encountered several more interesting terms: true-believer syndrome and buyer's remorse. The one I would like to focus on in this post is buyer’s remorse. It may be a misuse of terms, but I think I am justified as it seems to resemble what I believe I am experiencing psychologically after leaving Christianity.

Buyer's remorse is defined as:
An emotional condition whereby a person feels remorse or regret after the purchase of an item. (

I have only posted the general idea, it goes a little deeper than this, but you can visit the article yourself if you would like. This ties into the original 'cognitive dissonance' article as their is an example give about Luke and his blender (see the article about half way down). The basics of the example is that Luke buys a blender without really looking into various choices, he gets the one he likes. After a while he realizes after a few issues with the blender and ample reviews of various blenders, including his own, he begins to second guess his decision. He can either settle for what he has and wait to get a better one if he wishes, or just chunk the poor one for a better one.

In the same way I feel this has happened to me, and part of my story in why I left Christianity. At the age of 14 in a small Oklahoma town I was basically given one choice of 'blender' if you will (although they were certainly available in many 'colors'...denominations of Christianity). With only one real choice of religion in my area I 'bought the same blender' everyone else did. What does a 14-year-old kid really know about religion anyways? But through the years I realized there were other choices, LOTS of choices. This is where cognitive dissonance came in. I began to 'justify' my decision, looking for any evidence to prove that my religion was the best one. And as far as the 'defects' I explained them as not really defects, that everything could be easily answered through time and faith. But it's kind of like driving a Porsche after driving a VW Bug for so long, you can only make so many excuses before you realize that the Porsche REALLY is a better vehicle. Once I became exposed to logic and reason I began to second guess my worldview. I realized that there was a better 'blender' out there and that I could easily have it.

But I have to admit I am going through a period of buyers remorse because I feel that I have wasted 12 good years of my life using a faulty product when I could have had so much better. I realize that it seems I am throwing the metaphors around, and I won’t be so naive to say that I don’t deal with cognitive dissonance still, but I am happy at least that I got this whole thing sorted out before my wife and I have children. Oddly enough we were told we couldn't have kids, and in the same month that I give up religion (and deny the Holy Spirit for all you takers of the 'Blasphemy Challange') my wife gets pregnant!

Anyways, just more thoughts from a freethinking okie.


Anonymous said...

People want comfort and a warm spot to live out their life in.

This kept me in the bondage of religion for 20 years.I guess I finally grew up.I now choose freethinking,logic and reason,..not a delusional comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for trying to understand the psychological discomfort that comes with changing and/or chucking your religion. I like your metaphor and it shows you to be an abstract thinker! Very smart. I don't think Christians do very much abstract thinking because if they did, they would get so much cognitive dissonance that they'd either have to give up their brain power, which I've seen many do, or make a decision for change.

Anonymous said...

Hey don't feel bad. Feel proud. One thing when you realize you are completely responsible for everything and there is no big daddy in the sky is that you can change how you feel by changing your perspective.
Look to the future instead of feeling bad about the past. You have discovered reason and logic and released yourself from superstition. That's great! And you also get to 'be fruitful and multiply' which is a great thing even without the bible telling you so.

Congratulations on the baby and also on freeing yourself from religion!

Anonymous said...

14 huh? Damn those science textbooks. Thats what got me thinking. Anyway congrats on the baby.

Anonymous said...

I agree--don't waste time lamenting an irretrievable past. Look to the future. If you have to look at the past, here's my personal position. I spent about fifty years in Christianity and I'm still not completely out. At times it is difficult not to feel sorry for myself for all the "wasted" energy. However, I choose to focus on the positive. I learned very many things that I would never have learned if I had left Christianity thirty years ago. I would have learned other things. However, I understand that I was emotionally incapable of leaving before I did, so I try to be sympathetic to my Self. Fortunately, I'm single.

Because my decisions were made as a mature adult on my own (without spouse or kids) I was able to examine my beliefs and the issues in my own time and way. It started when I decided to get higher education, something that is very strictly forbidden by the community I come from. Because of my life experience I was able to bring many ideas and insights to classroom discussions, not to mention papers and other projects, that others found helpful. This also helped me do very well in school. Because of this, I don't think the time was exactly wasted; it just wasn't spent the way we would choose in retrospect. How we use our experience, however, is ours to choose as we move on in life.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel man. I went through that same cognitive dissonance and reacted the way people normally do under those circumstances until I finally faced the truth. 26 years for me!

Anonymous said...

I threw out my blender and got a food processor.

Anonymous said...

Much of Christianity today in America is indeed hypocritical. Fancy churches, an emphasis on prosperity, lukewarm living are all pervasive. Real Christianity is not like that, however. And Jesus is not like that. Christians will let you down, mess you up, and confuse you, but Jesus will not. He is faithful and true. I have to keep my eyes on Him and in the Bible, and my heart in prayer to stay on the narrow path.

webmdave said...

Anonymous: How do you know that Jesus exists? Isn't there supposed to be a magical holy ghost indwelling all Christians? Is this mysterious, immaterial ghost such a powerless symbiont that it is powerless in positively influencing the behavior of its human hosts?

Until a Christian can show some evidence for the actual existence of this flying, un-dead, god-man called Jesus, it makes total sense to conclude that the reason Jesus' followers are so disappointing is because the entire system of Christianity is built on lies. In short, it's all pretend.

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