Looking for answers

Sent in by Candace

Hi everyone. I have not used my real name for privacy reasons. I'm posting here not so much a testimonial of "deconversion" as an explanation of my current situation.

Basically, I started going to church a couple of months ago (I was always aware of Christianity, but had always viewed it with suspicion). Its ideas and concepts always seemed absurd to me (like the resurrection, vicarious atonement, etc), but the more I went the more indoctrinated I became. I was at a tough place in my life and I needed some support from other people and Christianity really helped me with that.

Later, I came across your website, did some research on my own (looked at all those "evilbible.com" type websites), realised the Bible was full of absurdity and logical inconsistencies, as well as historical inaccuracies, and quickly deconverted.

Thing is, I didn't stop going to church, because couldn't find anything to fill the emotional void. I was an atheist for a while but didn't want to leave the only social support network I had, so I kept attending services and Bible studies etc. On a human level, I enjoyed those things, if only for the human interaction, but I never really gave much thought to what they were actually teaching.

I was atheist for a few weeks, but eventually I gave up on atheism because I realised that the problem with atheism is that it gives people nothing. It gives you nothing to believe in, no purpose in life, nothing to live for, no reason to do good unto others, love thy neighbour, etc. No reason to gather with other people in love and support which is what appealed to me about Christianity in the first place. I once heard the expression "Gathering atheists is like herding cats". Atheists have no reason to be together. I think the downside to atheism is that you tend to become very individualistic in your thinking (especially if you have no social "cause" to adhere to, like a political group or a charity or environmental organisation), and consequently you become very apathetic about life. Well that's what happened to me anyway. I mean I've always been pretty apathetic, and I liked that belief in God gave my life a purpose. I should add that I wasn't brought up in a loving home, my parents are pretty average but quite self-centred as people go - hardly ever give to charity, didn't concern themselves with social justice etc, basically kept to themselves. So I wasn't brought up with those philanthropic values that might have made Christianity redundant. My parents' idea of the good life is to work hard, save up, pay off your mortgage and enjoy living in the nice house with the material possessions you bought with your hard-earned money - not that there's nothing wrong with that - but I just felt like there had to be more to life than that. For as long as I can remember I've always been a pretty spiritually inclined person who wasn't that interested in material possessions. I wasn't loved very much by my parents when I was young - they were too busy working to pay much attention to me so I think that's why I needed Christianity so much. I needed to feel loved without having to earn that love.

So I started questioning again and came to the conclusion that it was absurd to deny that there could be a God. I mean, I was a Richard Dawkins-style atheist for a while, you know everything evolved randomly and the Bible is a giant chain letter (which is what a "meme" is basically) etc. But then I thought, if everything is completely random then what purpose is there to life? If life is nothing but a series of random, unconnected events? I began to look for some kind of deep, underlying meaning to existence and eventually I found myself seeking God again.

So I re-committed myself to Christianity, but this time with my rationality intact because I realise that was my only defense against being brainwashed. So I realised that Christians are just people who happen to believe what they've been taught to believe, because it makes sense to them, and because their friends all believe the same thing. I realised, if enough people believe in something, it becomes the truth in their mind. It becomes self-justifying. If they feel like the world is somehow against them they could always turn to their Christian friends to support.

Now I have nothing against Christianity. But I'm looking for God. (I have heard people say that they are looking for God but they are not looking for religion, and I totally agree.) I'm looking for the God that is the divine essence, the creative force behind every living thing in the universe. I mean, life itself is pretty absurd if you think about it. The chances of life evolving out of nothing are infinitesimally small. Almost non-existent. We could have just been balls of rock floating in space, but no, we have consciousness, we have thoughts, we love, we feel, we record, we communicate, we can create. We can make things that are beautiful. Art, poetry, dance, theatre, stories. Isn't it awesome and amazing? We should, in all probability, be dust floating in space but we're ALIVE. And we must have some purpose, beyond just reproducing and perpetuating our genes (regardless of what Richard Dawkins might say).

So yes, I want to believe in God, the God that created all of us for a purpose, but Christianity is so absurd that I feel that it keeps me away from God rather than bringing me closer to him/it/whatever. (I mean seriously? Does God even need to have a gender? But I can understand for convenience we say He because of the limitations of the English language.) Which reminds me of what Jesus had to say about the Pharisees in Matt 23:13-15: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." That passage has always struck me as inexplicably relevant even to this day and age. There is no guessing who the modern day Pharisees are.

In all honesty, Christianity is fairly harmless, if you just want to sing and pray and do all those churchy things. But sometimes I feel like being a Christian is more about the church - serving the church, worhipping the church - than it is about God.

So I'm not really a Christian. I don't know what I am. I believe in God. I want to follow Jesus. But I don't think I have to be a Christian. I have enough faith to know that labels don't matter in the eyes of God.

It is sad that Christianity (which was basically the invention of Paul of Tarsus and a handful of people who weren't even Jesus' apostles) has alienated so many who earnestly seek him, not to mention how many people were tortured and killed in the name of God.

So I guess...I'm looking for some answers? I'm not really sure what I should do now. Should I keep going to church? Should I make more friends with atheists, freethinkers, people who question the orthodoxy? They seem hard to find in this world, yet I know (or would like to believe) that I was made for some purpose, to make a difference in the world. Yet I feel stuck between the ineffectual self-indulgence of modern Christianity, and the materialistic nihilism of atheism.

I welcome your advice, comments and suggestions.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Questioning God's will and existence was wrong

Sent in by Pretzel

I was raised by a mildly Christian mother and an agnostic father. My dad never talked about religion at all. My mom, on the other hand, told me when I was a kid about Heaven, Hell, God, Jesus, etc. But we didn't go to church or anything.

I only went to Sunday School during the summer of one year, I think, maybe between second and third grade? I forget. It was rather uneventful.

I remember my mom once asking me if I wanted to join something called God Squad. I remember thinking that name sounded cool, and being envious of it. Nowadays, I think "God Squad" just sounds corny, but when you're a kid, anything that sounds "important" and "grown up" sounds cool.

Anyway, I didn't think about God too much when I was a kid, though I did believe in heaven or hell, but that was it.

When I was 11, though, everything changed at once. You know how people's brains start to work differently when they hit puberty? I don't just mean the sexual attraction thing; I mean changes in how you view the world, sudden gains in intelligence (or in some ways, the opposite), and things like that.

Well, I started to think about God again, and thought that I'd better seriously consider my future, and get into Heaven. That meant going back to praying (something I only did once or twice before), and doing what I could to get into Heaven.

On the other hand, all that thought about Heaven brought thoughts of Hell. Which in turn brought terrifying questions. Why would God punish all those people in parts of the world where people hadn't heard of him? It's not their thought they didn't know about him and Jesus. Which brought another question: why are there so many religions if a specific one is true? How are we supposed to know? I was told that Christianity (though not a particular denomination; and I didn't yet know about the many denominations in existence) was true, but I was just told that. If it's true, why doesn't God appear and tell everyone else? Which then brings another related question: why didn't God bother to prove his frigging existence? Yeah, the universe exists and it's very complex, and I admit I have a hard time believe it just "popped into being" or such (then again, that's not really what the Big Bang Theory actually is, but it's called "theory" for a reason - it's not proved true yet). Still, that doesn't prove that a *specific* religion is correct.

So in short, we have a God that refuses to actually prove its existence as opposed to all the other gods people believe in, and which expects us to pick a random "holy book" out of the many that people invented, and just somehow know that it's true. And if you don't believe, you'll be tortured in some place called Hell for the entire rest of your existence after death. You know, after your brain has shut down and you can no longer think or feel - that existence.

However, since questioning God's will and existence was wrong, that of course brought another fear: that if I was wrong, God would punish me for thinking that way. But in the end, the unanswered questions won out, and I stopped believing. I became an atheist.

Christmas was coming up (I'm guessing maybe I was 12 then, not 11), and I told my mom this. She blew up over it, and called me "you who does not believe in God." I got upset over this, and she later, either the same day or the next day, told me that I'd still have a great Christmas, and I forget what she said about my non-belief, but she wasn't happy about it.

I did occasionally argue my non-belief, and my mom said that while I could "choose what to believe" (belief is not a choice! Choose to believe in Santa Claus. Can you?), she felt I was wrong.

Later, she got over it more and more, but told me not to influence my younger brother's belief while he was growing up. I mostly didn't. Mostly. He was going to church and such with some friends, so he was a bit more involved in the religion than I was.

Now that the Internet was coming into the popular usage at the time, news stories about anything were within reach. I mentioned examples of Christian extremism that I read about, such as a priest who cut up Pokemon toys with a sword (!!!), and my brother and mother both agreed that these people were "freaks", but that they didn't represent what Christians were normally like. Still, it was nice that my Christian mother and younger brother were able to acknowledge the existence of these "freaks" within the religion.

In fifth grade, my brother told me that kids in his church group were making fun of the things they were taught on the way back home on the bus, which indicated to me that these 10 and 11 year olds didn't really believe in it either. I was actually rather impressed.

Anyway, over time, my brother got out of the faith, my mom became increasingly angry at Christian extremists and people who support Bush for religious reasons, and even made a disparaging comment about "is that why the Christians like this movie so much?" when we saw the first Narnia film (which I liked, btw), when the movie mentioned "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve".

And we're pretty much out of the faith. My dad is an agnostic, who believes that the universe came about somehow, but we don't know how. My younger and older brother are non-religious, though both of them have more positive views on religious folk than I do (they don't believe extremism is as common as I feel that it is). My mom is still a "God loves everyone" Christian, who was taught to believe "the Gospels, but not the Bible". Me, I'm an agnostic. Maybe the Big Bang Theory is correct, and the current ongoing experiment will show evidence that it is. Maybe it isn't. But one thing for sure, no human-made religion is correct! Whether you are a good or a bad person is all up to what you do as an individual, not what religion you claim as your own!

Funny thing: if non-religion is so bad, than why does my town have a low crime rate, with only one murder in the past ten years? I guess we atheists must be evil indeed. And we're actually below the standard income-line for the state of New Jersey, so it's not like we're upper class!

My beliefs were like a house of cards in a hurricane of reason

Sent in by Christopher

Hello all. I've been trolling this site for a few months now, and I'd like to share my story.

Unlike many of you, I wasn't born into a conservative Christian household. When I was 7, I asked my mom if there was a god, and so we started going to church. When I got into my teens I had a fundie Bible school teacher who absolutely believed that the Bible is the unerring Word of God. I remember one time when another kid a few years older than me was in the class and brought up some very valid scientific points (he was extremely smart and knew his stuff). Our teacher simply refused to concede that he was even in the right frame of thinking. The teacher simply used the "Because the Bible says so…" argument.

I think this was the beginning of my doubts because everything Nathan said made sense. I was never into the whole church thing because I always thought it was boring and repetitive, but I still believed. I even went to those brainwashing summer camps a couple of times. I "witnessed" to some people at school to and lived a religious up bringing.

Fast forward a few years, and I joined the Air Force at age 18. Now I can do what I want when I want and I start drifting away from x-tianity gradually. Eventually I came to a point where I had to evaluate my beliefs and see where I stand. I applied critical thinking to my beliefs and read the Bible from a realistic 3rd person POV and was astounded at what I saw. The Bible is the biggest catalogue of myths, atrocities and crimes against humanity ever recorded. Brutality from start to finish with inserts of fairy tales. NO omnipotent, compassionate loving being could be like the god of the Bible. It would be like picking your favorite child and saying to him/her, "I love you more than you siblings, so go right ahead and kill them all and take their stuff."

The Bible was CLEARLY written by MEN in positions of authority who were looking to assert their power over the populace. When I realized this, it blew away all my beliefs like a house of cards in a hurricane of reason. I am now an atheist, but I do believe that it is possible that there are some sort of god-like entities in this universe, just not the abrahamic one. I am 23 now and have only deconverted a couple years ago, and I have some lingering anger due to being duped into this falsehood for so long. Since I deconverted though, I feel stronger like I can do anything and my chains have been broken, and I guess I have.

I'm glad I'm leaving -- I have a whole new life

Sent in by George

My story is as messy as life itself. I'm in the early processes of going public with my deconversion, but it also feels liberating to finally admit the truth out loud, and in the open.

I became a Christian in high school through a youth ministry called Young Life. I went to a week long camp where the gospel was packaged and delivered with great polish and skillful delivery, which was designed for maximum emotional impact. Many girls in the audience at night were in tears as they listened to the account of Jesus. We were all encouraged the final night to go off by ourselves in the dark and commit our lives to Christ. I remember that time vaguely thinking to myself that god really wasn't there, but I think I prayed to him anyway, just in case. It wasn't a fervent prayer however, because I wasn't entirely sure I WANTED him to exist. Still, my friends were doing it, and they seemed cool and nice, so I'd do it to.

I came back from camp somehow oddly pumped up for Christ. I threw myself into bible studies, and developed my Christian friendships a great deal. I still have those Christian friendships, and love my buddies - although now that is a problem (more on that in a moment). I still had nagging doubts in the back of my mind, but kept pushing them aside and just tried harder to be a good Christian. The next few years in college I would vacillate quite a bit. One year I was a volunteer actually helping Young Life. The next year I joined a fraternity and was elected VP, partying heavily and enjoying relationships with sorority women.

I thought that maybe my problems of having a split life would be solved if I married a Christian woman. Any would do. So I did marry one. Now all of my Christian friends and I had wives and my social life was back in order. There was still one nagging problem however, I didn't believe that there really was a God. If I announced it now it would ruin everything. So I kept it half-secret. Every few years I would let out hints, but they were very poorly received, and so I would recant and just say that I was having a crisis of faith, but that I'm fine now. I lumbered along like this, half-happy, half-miserable, for about 15 years.

Finally, many years into the marriage, I did some very bad things. I violated my marriage vows, something I strongly regret, and was deeply ashamed about it. A neighbor reported my actions to my spouse. Some ugly scenes of confession and deep shame ensued. My world was in the process of being destroyed. At this time I turned to Christianity again. This time I was going to REALLY do it right, and my life would work. I knew that atheism was a problem in the past, but fueled by heavy doses of guilt, remorse, and shame, I was confident that this time I could simply force myself to believe. I now realize that Evangelical Christians feed off these incidents in people's lives. They are used to showcase what life without God is like. (Anything positive you've done in your life is ignored or minimized, but the bad is highlighted, because it supports their arguments.)

During this last final, grand attempt to make myself believe, I read many books on Christian apologetics. Although some arguments were intriguing, what these books most educated me on is what can NOT be proved in support of Christianity. It seemed that the authors used their intelligence to devise very convoluted methods to ensure that they can still believe the Bible.

And that was the other thing. I really for the first time in my life read the Bible thoroughly, and found that the more I knew about God, the less I liked him. Here are some things that disturbed me about the Christian faith:

1) Doctrine of Hell. God chooses whether to save people or not. So if you're one of the billions who are not chosen, you never have a chance to save yourself from Hell. Thinking in human terms, what would you think of a person who would invent Hell, and send billions of strangers there because they don't love him enough? You'd think he's a tyrant, maniac, not to mention evil.

2) Book of Revelations. I read through this book and was appalled. Amongst many other atrocities, God wants to send locusts with human faces and scorpion stingers to do nothing but torment people for months as punishment for not loving him enough? How cruel and sick. How can anyone worship a god like that??

3) Tower of Babel. Read this passage in Genesis 11. Really read it and think about it. Nothing is more clearly a myth than this segment. It also reveals a weirdly paranoid God who wants to slap humanity back down right when they're starting to show great teamwork and get things done!

My old reliable Christian friends were delighted with my amped-up commitment to Christ. But after about 12 months, as the guilt and shame and remorse were subsiding to normal levels, I found that I still couldn't make myself believe. Now however, I'm older and feel a need for some internal integrity and honesty in how I deal with people. But my lifestyle is more "Christian" than ever - I have a bible study that meets at my house for goodness sakes! The past few months and weeks I've opened up with my wife and some of my old friends about my humanistic views. Let’s just say that its not being very well received.

As I leave Christianity I will also be leaving my old, faithful friendships of 25 years (on average). They simply can't tolerate doctrinally having a close friend who isn't a believer. They are praying for me, which is a huge condescending act, and showing that they don't accept me as-is -- they need me to change in order for them to accept me. Hopefully that will wear off. Regardless I will need to find new friends because right now I have zero support for my honest, godless views. It really is a shame because I think those guys are great in some ways, but that's the way it is. I even like and enjoy the people in the bible study that still meets at my house (my wife is still a devout Christian). It will be interesting to see how they react to me in the future knowing I'm an unbeliever.

I have habits that may be with me forever, and tend to think in Christian terms (sin, for example). But I'm glad I'm leaving. I have a whole new life of both good and bad things in front of me, and I will live it without worrying about any notion of "god".

Truly losing my faith was hard to do

Sent in by Nathan

I stumbled upon this site and I would like to briefly share my story.

I grew up in an ultra-conservative fundamentalist household. Bottom line: Christianity was my life! I attended a Christian middle school and high school. The brand of Christianity I was taught was “hell fire and brimstone”. I believed every word, never questioning. I attended door to door witnessing, and I helped with the church bus route. I personally led several people “to the lord”.

Following high school, I attended “Clearwater Christian College” (similar in beliefs to Bob Jones University). Here, I began to have my first suspicions about Christianity. Essentially this school was like a cult. Students were highly restricted to campus, and every move was monitored. All students had to sign a statement promising to follow all the rules in the handbook. This hand book was extensive with petty rules such as “no mix swimming”, “no secular music”, “no movies”, etc. Now, there were constant reminders about this “promise before God,” and any deviation was termed out right disobedience toward God himself.

This experience was mentally and psychologically exhausting, so I transferred to Liberty University. The environment was more relaxed, but the underlying foundation of Christianity was still the same: that any deviation of focus away from God was sin. There were just too many social questions which made no sense. I felt awful knowing that many people around me were going to burn in hell. Some Christians watched secular movies and listened to music yet, I was taught these activities were wrong. These folks didn’t seem to be committed 100% to Christ. Should I really be friends with these people? Christ was supposed to be #1, yet I saw many Christians focused on social activities. Why weren’t they spending more time focused on God? Didn’t they know the world is going to hell? As for me, wasn’t I sinning against God by not making him #1? Man, I felt just awful. Life just made no sense. I just wanted out of the mental burden! I just wanted life to make sense!

So, over a semester’s time, I decided to quit Christianity. I left Liberty. I quit church, etc. In fact I promised myself I would never go to church again! Now, outwardly, I became non-religious, yet deep down I stilled believed in all the foundations of Christianity. Remember, I had been brainwashed for 20 years! The Christian world view was still at my core.

OK, I’m going to “fast forward” about 10 years. Over all life was pretty good. While deep down I still had Christian beliefs, and rid myself of the burden of hell, and the oppressiveness of fundamentalism. Professionally, I was doing OK. I had just finished a Master’s in Chemistry, with several research publications, and I was moving on to PhD studies. This could have been the end of the story, but it was not meant to be…

In the fall of 2006, as I began my PhD studies, I hastily signed up for lasik surgery. Unfortunately, I had some serious complications which basically ruined my vision. As a result I had to quit school, and I plunged into severe depression. I had a nervous breakdown. In this time of despair, I was desperate. I thought maybe god had planned this situation so that I could get “right with him”. So, against all odds, I decided to give Christianity another shot. So, I started going to church, and making Christian friends. As my health permitted, I read C.S. Lewis, Purpose Driven Life, the Bible, etc. I consistently prayed with family members through this tough time.

Several months after reclaiming Christianity, my eyes continued to be problematic and I slipped further into depression. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I just wanted to go to heaven. I was suicidal. I was definitely not looking for a miracle, but I just wanted some comfort, some piece of mind. As I went to church and prayed, it was an empty experience. There was no comfort. There was no holy spirit from god. Again, it was totally empty!

My downtrodden perspective radically changed when I realized that this may be the only life I will ever have. I realized that when you die, you really are dead! Life on earth is all I will ever get. Through this perspective, I was no longer suicidal. I wanted to live, and experience this life for whatever its worth. Then and here, I truly shed my faith once and for all (an act I was never truly able to do before).

Two more aspects encouraged me to truly shed my faith.

First. I read the bible. Contrary to fundamentalist beliefs, the bible promotes many hideous acts: genocide, sacrificing children, raping women, slavery, incest, etc. Indeed these ideas are mixed with many wonderful morals. Yet, they reveal the bible as just another book authored by humans.

Second: Science. The same empirical method that allows modern technology (laptops, medicine, spaceships, etc) shows the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and the earth is 4.5 billion years old. The evidence also shows all life evolved from a common ancestor. This is not philosophy, culture, or modern opinion. These are scientific facts supported by libraries, museums, and universities overflowing with evidence!

In conclusion, truly losing my faith was hard to do, especially after being brainwashed for so many years. Losing faith does not guarantee happiness. Yet, it provides a tremendous opportunity to see the world for what it really is. It allows me to ask “what can I do to increase the happiness of myself and others” in light of reality.

Good luck to us all.

Christian No More: A Personal Journey of Leaving Christianity

By Jeff Mark

My name is Jeffrey Mark, and I'm the author of Christian No More, a book that details my deconversion. Here's the short version of my story. I recently turned 40, and until around the age of 30, I was a devout Christian. Although I grew up in a family that was far from fundamentalist, I still went to church every week, and slowly the whole theology of Heaven and Hell was pushed into my brain.

Throughout my childhood I lived in constant fear that I would do something wrong, and that I had to beg for forgiveness. Every single movement I made was with God in mind, and wondering how God would feel about it. My friends generally misbehaved a lot more than I did, but it was not my place to judge them. And to me, that meant it would be wrong for me to say that what they were doing was wrong. One friend would pick on other kids and beat them up. Who was I to say that was wrong? Passing judgment was wrong.

Although I never beat up any kids, I was occasionally mean and snotty towards other kids. And as soon as I snapped at other kids, my friends were the first to jump all over me and tell me that I'm a bad person for doing that. I would believe them and go in my bedroom, shut the door, and pray to God and cry and beg for forgiveness. I had to do that, because otherwise I would go to Hell.

And so the cycle would continue: My friends would misbehave, but it was okay, because I wasn't allowed to judge them. But when I misbehaved, it was a sin. And indeed the church taught me I was a sinner and that I was a horrible person. And soon I started to believe it. I was a sinner, and would likely end up in Hell. This mindset went right into my 20s. Even though now I look back and realize I was a good person (as a teen and young adult I was always nice to people, and as a child I rarely got in trouble, except for those few times I mentioned), in fact I believed I was a horrible person, just scum of the Earth--all thanks to the church.

By the end of my 20s, I was sinking into a depression. I believed I was a horrible person, and that evil was in my heart, even though I wasn't. And I was certainly a mess.

I wanted so badly for Christianity not to be true. Finally, one day I heard a Catholic Priest on TV pray for forgiveness and he said, "We are not worthy of your forgiveness."

And that's when it all hit me. His words filled me with anger. Not worthy? I'm a good person! Any time I misbehaved as a child, it was just because I was trying to fit in. All those things I beat myself up for were perfectly normal, perfectly HUMAN. I was simply being human. I'm not evil. I don't belong in some Hell and everlasting punishment for just being HUMAN!

My depression turned to anger. For the next four years, I was very angry at the church and refused to buy into it. But I still believed in God and Jesus; however, I was creating my own theology where we didn't have to believe we were bad people.

This worked for a while, but only for a while. Because the problem was that the only source of God and Jesus was the Bible. And in creating my own "nicer, kinder, gentler" theology, I was going against the Bible. And just because one doesn't like something doesn't mean it isn't true.

Then something else hit me. Buried deep in the Old Testament is a very small story that barely takes up half a page. Yet it's a story that's very familiar to all of us, the story of the Tower of Babel. This story details how the world's languages supposedly began.

But I knew better. Scientists, historians, anthropologists, and linguists all tell us otherwise: That is certainly NOT where the world's languages began. And something else troubled me about that story. God was afraid of these people building a tower? Why? It was as if the ancient writers of the Bible really believed that God was up in the sky, and a building high enough would reach Heaven. But that we know better today as well, having sent space ships into the outer reaches of our solar system, and having studied the edges of the universe with radio telescopes.

No building would be a threat to God. Clearly, the story of the Tower of Babel never even happened. It was a myth. A lie. But if the Bible is God's word, how could this one lie be in the Bible?

And then I began really studying. I read as many books as I could, including books about ancient mythology. And that's when it all fell apart. The Bible is nothing more than a collection of ancient myths based on earlier myths. Even the New Testament is built on myths. It's all a lie.

I began detailing my journey in the form of a book. Originally I was going to call it Why I'm No Longer a Christian (a reference to Bertrand Russell). But I chose a shorter, simpler title: Christian No More. In researching the book, I found more and more evidence to back up my idea that the Bible is completely myth and never happened. And that included the story of Jesus. Jesus never existed. He was made up as some kind of god-man story in the style of other similar stories of the time. He wasn't real.

And that was a big moment for me: If I don't believe Jesus existed, then by definition I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.

Of course, it still wasn't easy, because that was a huge identity issue for me. All my life it was, "I am a Christian." But no more. Where does that put me? Agnostic? The word "atheist" scared me at first, but over time, I embraced that word too.

And now, today, I live a much happier life having finally ditched my beliefs. And I've finished my book, which will, hopefully, help other people break away too. I've made that one of my life-missions. I want to help others break way without going through the pain that I went through. And I'm hoping my book will help them see why there's nothing to fear: God and Jesus aren't real, and therefore neither is Hell, and neither is Satan. So why worry? There's no chance we'll be thrown in Hell and punished for not believing. And indeed I no longer worry. Life is good!

And finally, after years of self-flagellation and depression, I'm finally free of the shackles of the religion that was destroying me as a person. And I'm finally a happy person. Life is much better today now that I've let go of it all.

Jeffrey Mark is the author of Christian No More: A Personal Journey of Leaving Christianity (And How You Can Leave Too) (ISBN 0981631304). This book is for everyone: Atheists will find excellent arguments to help them defend their positions; Agnostics will appreciate the clarification it brings; Christians who are struggling will find this book a great help in breaking free from their shackles as they learn exactly why there's no possible way Christianity is true and why they don't have to worry ever again.

Freedom from Fear - My DeConversion from the Insanity and Hypocrisy of Christianty

Sent in by Sam

OMG! And greetings to this fabulously intelligent, reason-minded, compassionate
group of people. I am so glad I found this place and I want to share my story with
"the fold" ;-)

I am 46. My Deconversion began many years ago in my late 20s but I am still suffering
the deeply ingrained effects of the brainwashing that was taking place for my entire
childhood and teen years.

I am fortunate to have my brother to have gone through the Deconversion with and
that has been very helpful. Now we mostly laugh at Christianity, how stupid and
nonsensical it is, but I still have a lot of anger at the religion that ingrained
in me that I am "bad" and "sinful to the core." What kind of f'd-up belief system teaches that to children??

I spent my entire childhood trembling in fear of my supposedly loving Creator (the
one that was jealous and vengeful); I spent my entire childhood ashamed of my body
because I am a woman, and Eve, The Original Woman, the most sinister of the sinners
was the source of Original Sin; she was evil and shameful, so I grew up believing
that I was, too; I spent my entire teen years ashamed of myself because I was starting to want to have sex, and when I eventually did, at the age of 19, I was so ashamed of myself that I had to remove my Jesus sticker from my car because a good Jesus girl would never be having sex in a car with a Jesus sticker plastered on the fogged-up window.

And THEN I spent the next 10 years believing to the core that by removing the Jesus
sticker from my car that I had committed the ultimate, ONE UNFORGIVABLE SIN --
you know, the one they say there's no turning back on and it's an E Ticket
ride straight to hell -- denying I knew Jesus by taking his sticker off my car so
I could have sex there instead :-(

Good God.

I was in my 20s when the Gulf War broke out and I honestly believed (because Christians all believe this every time there's a war) that Jesus was going to come back for his Second Coming to scoop up all the Christians and I would be left behind.
IN MY 20s!! A well-educated, intelligent professional court reporter by the time
I was 27, and I still believed that load of bull.

So my Deconversion was pretty much one by "default," because by the time I hit my late 20s and had had many boyfriends, drank and partied, I figured I was so out of the running anyway, why bother.

Thankfully, being away from it is what finally allowed me to start seeing things
clearly. My brother and I began having long dialogues about it and came to the same
conclusion: The whole thing is a massive cult and it's for people who don't
need to think for themselves. And because it scares them shitless, even those that
might question it, stay in it.

The final nail in the coffin of Christianity for me has been the latest hoopla
over Oprah and the fact that she has been teaching online classes with Eckhart Tolle
(there is speculation among the more educated Christians that Tolle could be the
Antichrist... oh, and so could Oprah) and Marianne Williamson -- "New Agers." According to the most faithful of the faithful, Oprah is now not considered a "real"
Christian anymore.

I bet she's grateful :-)

They also consider her "superficial." Right. Oprah. Superficial. I wish everyone was that superficial.

But there is nothing superficial about not wanting gays to have the same rights
as everyone else, is there? There is nothing superficial about a famous evangelist
getting caught for soliciting a gay prostitute. There is nothing superficial about
wanting to take away women's personal choices regarding reproduction.

GOD :-( See? ANGER. I hope that by airing this here, and having supportive people
to bounce the craziness off of, that some of this will start to dissipate.

SO, where I am now is devouring books (like the ones written by the Antichrist himself, Eckhart Tolle) that are re-teaching me that I am NOT SINFUL, shameful or in any way bad. There is no such thing as hell, and best of all there is nothing to fear! I also love Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay (she actually believes we should LOVE OURSELVES! What a concept).

Anyway, I could go on and on but that is the Reader's Digest of my happy Deconversion. I am very much looking forward to getting to know this group :-)

Critical thinking killed my faith

Sent in by Kyle

Hello all, I am writing right now just off the top of my head to tell the story of my deconversion. I know if I try to plan it all out and make it all pretty I'll never get it done.

I'm finally writing this because I've just told my mother how I now really believe. She actually took better than I thought. No screaming or anything. But shes convinced I'll come back someday. ( Um, no thanks ).

After getting "saved" at 16 I stayed a fundie baptist until just last November shortly after my 22nd b'day. My faith died quickly. Thanks to a book I read called "How to think about weird things" which is a critical thinking book. The book never even mentioned religion, it was more into UFOs and ghosts and stuff like that. But I applied its critiques to the claims of Christianity and found they were so similar to other claims of the paranormal and supernatural. None of them can survive a barrage from the guns of reason.

I'd been questioning certain things like the doctrine of hell for a while, but this new critical thinking I'd acquired killed my faith almost instantly. And I have to say I am happier for it. Yes, I was happy when I thought I was "saved" but I was happier when I realized that its most likely that no one else is going to any hell either.

I'm now proudly Agnostic and weak atheist and although I briefly considered deism I couldn't convince myself why there would be only one god over any other number. If there is any god(s)ess)esses) I'll happily believe in them ( so long as they are nice ) if THEY reveal themselves to me rather than expecting me to believe some bronze age desert tribesman word to be properly copied down without error through the millenia.

On Dec. 28 2007 I joined this fine website as "Hoosier" ( you can tell by the name where I'm from ) and although I have not made many posts I certainly enjoy reading those of everyone here. They say the things that are on my mind.

May critical thinking kill all superstition and enlighten everyones way.

Pageviews this week: