Questions and doubts grew... I was scared

Sent in by Butch

I’ve enjoyed this site and the support I’ve gotten from reading about so many other ex-Christians around the globe for a while now. I’ve been meaning to write my own de-conversion story but never got around to it. What follows grew out of a recent email exchange in response to a monthly column I write for my local paper, usually about freethinking, atheism, etc. First some background:

I grew up in a Southern Baptist home with very loving and supportive parents. My childhood was pretty typical and happy. I was saved as a teenager at a revival, made my public profession of faith, and baptized. For the next 10 years or so I was a Biblical-literalist, born again evangelical. I was active in the church, went to youth camps like Centrifuge, prayed daily, had a quit time almost daily, read the Bible incessantly, and witnessed whenever I got the chance. In short, I was “on fire for God” and I was happy.

In my early 20’s (in college of course) I started to meet a lot of people who believed differently than me, and a lot of these people were a lot smarter than me. I started reading things that I couldn’t answer and began to have doubts about some aspects of my faith, but never questioned God’s love or wisdom. To work on my doubts, I did what every good Christian should. I prayed. A lot. I also read the Bible independently and with various study guides and apologetic literature.

My initial questions dealt with alcohol. I was raised believing drinking was sin, plain and simple. But reading the Bible I found out that it never says that. There are even Bible passages (such as Proverbs 31:6-7) that say moderate drinking is a good thing! Next came the overwhelming evidence for evolution. I was taught in Sunday school that the earth was less than 10,000 years old and there was no evidence for evolution. But when I looked at the mountains (literally in some cases) of evidence in support of evolution I saw that wasn’t so, and that evolution is in fact one of the most vigorously supported theories in science supported by many independent lines of evidence from many different fields of science. If “the church” was lying about these types of things, what else might they be lying about, I asked myself. In essence, these lies opened the door and made me question the other things. If I had been raised in a more moderate or liberal denomination I may never had had the onus to question my faith at all.

The problem was the way I approached it. There’s a reason preachers always say you should start with the Bible as your foundation and check the facts against it. I am by nature a left-brained person and logic appeals to me. I was studying science in school and learning how the scientific process worked, and as a result I was approaching faith the same way. I was examining facts, and trying to see what conclusion they best supported rather than simply relying on the Bible as pure truth regardless of the facts.

Over the next few years my questions and doubts grew. I was pretty scared during this time because my faith was the most precious thing in the world to me. In desperation I met with ministers, priests, preachers, and respected laypeople hoping they could help me resolve my questions or at least point me to satisfactory scripture. But none of their answers, or those I could find myself seemed reasonable. Please keep in mind that through all of this, I was still a Bible believing Christian and was praying constantly. But sometime in this process I slowly moved to what I would call an agnostic believer. I wasn’t sure anymore, but I was still desperate to cling to my faith. Maybe out of fear of death or hell, aversion to the familiar and social ostracism I knew would follow if I left the faith.

My problem, though, is that I kept asking questions, and that I expected answers based on facts rather than faith.

Another problem was that I had the same misconception about what atheism was that most theists have. I thought it was a positive declaration that God doesn’t exist. I thought it must be an empty and sad existence. But it isn’t either one. It’s simply a lack of a positive belief in a god, and most atheists seemed pretty happy and content.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was an atheist myself. The final straw was that my God, God whom I loved and wanted to please more than anything, God who promised to always be there with me, God who was supposed to be the almighty…simply let me go. Despite my agonized, weeping prayers begging for faith, my God remained silent. I know I was a real Christian. I know I wanted to remain that way. I wasn’t rebelling or simply wanting to live a consequence free sinful life. In short, this “almighty” God was crushed out of existence by reason.

De-converting was a painful and extremely scary process. But I believe that sometimes doing the right thing is hard, and that truth is more important that comfort. In the end, it was worth it. I was ostracized by former friends, had family members get angry and hurt, and lost the promise of eternal bliss. But even though I was a happy Christian, I’m a happier atheist.

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

26 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crawler said...

What a horrible first comment.

You need support on your decision, not some Bible thumper telling you your wrong and asking you to read a bunch of books that will only end up wasting your time.

Deconversion is a very hard thing to go through. It isn't easy to deprogram yourself from beliefs you've had practically your entire life. In the end, however, the best decision is to keep up with a healthy, rational lifestyle.

Congradulations with your deconversion, I hope you continue to have a very happy life :D

Marc, you have got to be high off your own faith to think that it is divine intervention that led you to Butch's story. The name of the site is EXCHRISTIAN.net. What the fuck did you think would come up when you typed "ex christian" into google? Then the fact that Butch's story is the most recent and is on top of everything else just destroys any thought of God leading you to this specific story - it was right in plain sight.

The reason God doesn't answer you, is because he's not there. Your fooling yourself, trying to justify "His" actions. You're just feeding your own dellusion with flawed reasoning.

Of course Satan is running the world, in fact, I'm Satan right now. I'm sitting here in hell with T666 connection (the most forbidden type of internet access)on my throne of Agony and Hate, with my pitchfork and tail in my left hand as I chew on some poor atheist who decided science is more logical than faith... Ha... Fools.

Seriously, you would think people would know better in this day and age, but then again, I guess you would be wrong =/

Lorena said...

Anonymous (Mark) says
Why do you think that I came across your post? Was it just by chance?

Lorena responds
No, it wasn't by chance.
I don't know how to break this to you, honey, but there is something called "Search Engine Rankings."

You came across this page first because ex-Christian.net is ranked high by search engines.

But then again, many affirm that the Internet is God. In which case, God sent you here.

Butch said...

For the record, I’ve been an atheist for at least the last 10 years or so. Just wanted to mention that so people don’t think my deconversion was some recent thing. It’s just that I’ve only now gotten around to writing for this site.

Marc, I’ve read those and plenty of other creationist propaganda. To be frank, it’s pathetic. I trust you aren’t one of those fundies who ask that we apostates read something without being willing to do the same, so I’ll suggest you read some of the evidences for evolution. I won’t even ask you to buy a book. Just check out this site with an open mind: http://www.talkorigins.org/

Huey said...

Hy Butch! William Cooper!? You have got to be kidding! I read that piece of junk back in the early 90s. Virtually nothing that he claimed would happen by the end of the 20th century did happen. There was no gathering of the Bushs, the Rothchilds, the "Black Families", etc at the end of the millenia at the base of the of the Sphinx, opening an ancient tomb or library or such, which contains arcane secrets, etc. A base on the far side of the moon? Underground dwelling aliens? Men in black threatening his wife and kid?

Yes he wrote about secret military bases located in the US and he was right about that. That part is a no-brainer when you think about it. OF COURSE we have secret military bases. I would be worried if we didn't as it would indicate a distinct lack of preparedness. That is not what I pay taxes for.

Cooper was just a paranoid individual who wrote about things that were already claimed by conspiracy theorists, only he wrote them like they were his own. His claim to fame was that as a mere enlisted man, and a low ranking one at that, while in the military he was somehow privy to a vast number of these secrets that were more top secret than the Manhatton Project. Get real! Cooper was a load mouthed boor who enventualy got killed after getting into an argument with a deputy while waving a firearm at the guy.

Why don't you watch Michael Moore? At least he is more up to date with his paranoid delusions.

Huey said...

Sorry Butch that was meant for anonymous. When I was leaving that comment I saw you name at the left and typed it in without paying any further attention. Irresponsilble of me and I apologize.

Bill said...

Hey Butch,
Great Story. I loved the quote at the end of your letter it's so simple and yet so powerful, and I will use it often in the future (and take note Marc).


"In short, this “almighty” God was crushed out of existence by reason."

Hey Crawler you made me laugh my ass off with the following:

"Marc, you have got to be high off your own faith to think that it is divine intervention that led you to Butch's story. The name of the site is EXCHRISTIAN.net. What the fuck did you think would come up when you typed "ex christian" into google?"

xrayman

Lance said...

Great post Butch. Thanks.

I just have to feel sorry for poor Marc, with all those voices running around in his head. It must be rough having a spiritual battle being waged between his ears.

I hope he can find some medication that can help, since his brain seems to be impervious to logic and reason.

Lance said...

To Marc:
You said the lord put it on your heart to find out why a Christian decides to become a non Christian. You did not say anything about god wanting you to open your mouth and try to re-convert them.

If you want to understand something the best way to do that is to shut up and listen. Or in this case, shut up and read.

So I suggest that if you really feel led to understand why we bailed out, you should read many of the other posts on this site. BUT DON"T COMMENT. Please, just read and try to understand, and repress the need to correct us.

That said, I want to say the next thing in all seriousness and without malice. By reading your comment I get the idea that even reading other posts here will not help you understand us. I would suggest that you may have some serious mental issues that could get in the way.

I am not trying to be mean, but helpful. You obviously do not think clearly and should get some professional help.

Good luck.

Crawler said...

Glad I made a funny Bill =P

Oh and yeah, I knew it wasn't a recent conversion, but I was thinking more along the lines of one year, not ten. I feel sort of foolish now, but w/e!

Anonymous said...

Some of us are whole,..some of us are fractions.--freedy--

.:webmaster:. said...

Goodbye Marc.

notabarbie said...

Thanks for your story Butch and it is so similar to many others; mine included. It's kind of funny that christians comfort themselves with the idea that we were never really "truly saved," and that we just woke up one morning and said, "hey, I'm mad at god, so I don't believe in him anymore...there that was easy...” Those of us who have had those sleepless, tear filled nights know...people like Mark don't.

You said, "the truth is more important than comfort." --that so right on.

stronger now said...

"...Despite my agonized, weeping prayers begging for faith, my God remained silent."


Iknow how that feels.

Spirula said...

Butch,

As a zoologist, schooled (H.S. and college) in Creationist "Science", it was the distortions, fabrications, misinterpretations and bald-faced lies of Creationists about the Theory of Evolution et. al. that caused me to start doubting Christianity.

That worked well for them didn't it?

Once you are intellectually dishonest, you really can't recapture credibility in the sciences.
Can't say the same for religion.

Nomana said...

Hey Crawler, et. al.
Your and you're have two different meanings. "Your" is the possessive form of "you" and "you're" is the contraction of "you are". Thanx, incorrect grammar drives me batty.
Norm

Nvrgoingbk said...

Nomana, YOU'RE a jerk! Was that grammatically correct?

Butch, I loved your story. I'm glad to see you have two posts up. I haven't read your other yet, but I look forward to it.

I can not explain how deeply the following quote relates to my own experience, "The final straw was that my God, God whom I loved and wanted to please more than anything, God who promised to always be there with me, God who was supposed to be the almighty…simply let me go. Despite my agonized, weeping prayers begging for faith, my God remained silent."

Can I hear an Amen, congregation?

Poltergoost said...

<<< Anonymous (Mark) says
Why do you think that I came across your post? Was it just by chance? >>>

LMAO!!!!!

I can't help but laught at the foolishness of these poor silly christians.

How that statement sounds so familiar. It reminds me of the time some nutty preacher told me the same thing.

He said that we didn't meet by chance, it was by divine "Appointment" by GOD!

He then later on told me that God was going to give me this job according to his word, and he shared scripture with me to support his belief that God was going to intervene and give me the job I had applied for.

Plus some stupid idiot prayer counselor with the 700 Club affirmed what this preacher told me that I was going to get the same job I had applied for, according to the scripture that says, "Where two or more are gathered and if they agree on anything it shall be done".

Well guess what? I didn't get that job.

When I approached this preacher he came up with the lame excuse that the person I had interviewed with was apparently out of God's will, and that God couldn't use them.

WTF???? So God wasn't powerful enough to intervene? God must be a wimp.

Then I had other christians tell me, "Do not put your faith in man (The Preacher) and put your faith in God".

However, they teach us in order to find out what God's will is to test it with scripture which is God's so called word. That preacher did exactly that, and I still did not get the job which proved that the Bible is bullshit and is packed with lies.

stronger now said...

Nvrgoingbk and poltergoost

A big Amen Ra ra sis boom bah to you both!

Jamie said...

You're Your...I'm an English Major who knows the difference and yet still, typing too quickly on the Internet, I re-read things I wrote and realize I screwed up. It happens all over the 'net. It doesn't mean people don't know.

I missed the first comment, as it was deleted by the time I got here (I wish they wouldn't DO that when so many subsequent posts reference the deleted one!).

I'm recently deconverted. I even tried to re-convert the other night as I lay in bed BEGGING God to show Himself...not in a way that could be questioned, or in a dream, but show up, there in my room in an unmistakable way. Even if it was a ball of light in the middle of the room, just show up and sear His existence into my mind so that, whether or not anyone else believed, I would.

Nothing happened.

On the upside, I guess I am officially free.

Crawler said...

For the record nomana, I know the difference between "your" and "you're", but this is the internetz so you should just be happy that I dnt tyep leik diz. Next time you feel like grammar spazzing, just write out the comment, but click back =P

Congratz Jamie! It feels awesome to be free doesn't it? Though I don't really know the TRUE feeling since I've been a heretic my entire life =|

Nvrgoingbk said...

Jamie, that's EXACTLY what happened to me at the end of my faith experience. I would BEG god for some kind of tangible appearance or message. I would BEG him to just let me have a near death experience in the night or to send an angel to visit me if he couldn't come himself. I would hope for an out-of-body experience...ANYTHING. I would sob myself to sleep begging God not to let me slip away. I would be honest and tell him that I was losing faith, but SILENCE, nagging silence was "god's" only response.

Like you, I am FREE! Free of morbid fear. Free of self-loathing. Free of superstition. Free of mental torment. Free of confusion. Ironic that the Bible quotes Jesus as saying, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." That should be the motto of Ex-Christian.net. What do you think, Dave?

.:webmaster:. said...

To Nvr: Hmmm...

Poltergoost said...

You know, as I read a lot of the comments on here about how so many people including myself seeked God for so long, and so earnestly with a clean heart only to get no results or feel no peace from him.

I remember going to other christians who had a stronger christian walk than what I had, explaning my frustrations to them.

Some of them would tell me that I probably had some hidden sin in my life, or I needed to die to myself, and completely surrender. Hearing answers like that would just frustrate me even more. They just didn't seem to understand.

It was never God's fault, it was always mine. Somehow it's always our fault, not God's. Just like it's our fault that Adam and Eve caused sin in the world.

This so called "Fair" and "Just" God who created an evil being named "Satan" purposely put "Satan" in the Garden of Eden, which caused Adam and Eve to be tempted into sinning, and it's our fault even though we didn't live back then.

I've got a friend who is still a chirstian, and I feel very sorry for him.

He's schizophrenic, and he's 38 years old, and totally disabled. His parents have to take care of him.

His illness causes him to hallucinate sometimes, and back a few years ago, he got involved with this "Apostolic Church".

Anytime he tried to earnestly seek the gift of tounges and be filled with the spirit, he would get even more frustrated, and his illness would get worse from all the confusion and pressure.

His pastor and some of the congregation members would confuse him even more by putting pressure on him to continue seeking after the spirit.

I remember he was so caught up in that garbage that he ended up in the Psych Ward in the hospital a few time. His parents were really worried about him, and they wanted him out of that stupid church.

Well he finally quit going to that church. I can tell you that ever since he quit going to that "Apostolic Church" that he has been doing a lot better, and has not been in the hospital due to having mental episodes in a long time.

Unfortuantely, he still wants to go back to that church. The poor guy is so enslaved to christianity, and the poor guy still has no peace in his life, and he has no motivation, and he is not in the greatest shape physically.

He continously relies on God to help him, only to be let down time and time again, and he can't even recognize that God is not doing him any favors.

He is constantly scared that he is not pleasing God, and it just continously enslaves him and makes him miserable.

It really pisses me off that so many of these ignorant Christians do this to someone who has a mental illness such as his. All they do is cause someone with a mental condition to feel worse about themselves.

I tell you that Christianity is one of the worse things that can happen to someone who has a mental illness.

I've even heard some christians say that anyone who has a mental illness is either demon posessed, or they are mentally ill as a result of sin, or they have no faith in God.

Some christians even say anyone who has anxiety or depression is committing as sin, and they lack faith in God.

None of these nuts have a degree in Psychology either.

Being an advocate for the mentally ill, it really angers me, and makes my blood boil when these close minded biggots do that to people that have a mental handicapp.

Those type of Christians are very dangerous with their screwed up belief system, and I would encourage anyone to avoid them period.

Jamie said...

Crawler wrote:
Congratz Jamie! It feels awesome to be free doesn't it?

Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. It's still new to me, and there are times I wish that I could just turn my mind off and believe in order to get the benefits of community and assurance that some people seem to get.

But more and more I find times when I am able to just focus on the present and come to some peace that this is it...this moment that I am experiencing right now is it. My purpose is to experience this moment in time. Apparently, whether or not God exists I would say my purpose is the same...to experience this moment in time, since the past and future only exist in the abstract no matter what I believe.

My experience in church also made me realize there is no going back. I was angered at the brainwashing and wondered how my daughter, who was cozied up against me, felt when the pastor admonished the father's to be sure to be godly men so that their children's souls aren't eternally lost. (It's the first time that I thought "what kind of sick fuck are you?" about this man I otherwise respect).

So the freedom feels great when I can enjoy it, I can't help missing "having all the answers" sometimes, but my journey, it seems, has lead me away from church and Christianity for good.

And nvrgoingbk, I hear you...that sounds very much like the begging I did. I can't believe how many Christians look at me with astonishment and then chastize me for my arrogance for daring to expect God to answer my "whims".

Jamie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Butch,

Our backgrounds and deconversion stories are quite similar. I, too was seeking the answers for a long time, always with the belief that I would come up with a world view that made sense and was good. Eventually I did, but it wasn't the reality I originally was seeking.

I wish you all of the happiness this world can offer. Thanks for putting your story up here.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days