5/07/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy SmashTheCMachine ~
I suspect my deconversion was the consequence of many factors throughout my youth, I will attempt to portray the most relevant without bogging it down with excessive detail.
To give some background how I wound up with such a bizarre mish-mash of faith, I was raised non-denominational. I was fortunate to some extent that I mostly missed out on church, but there's an expression: "tit for tat", and the cost was a peculiar brand of lunacy and paranoia that even had other churches in the Devil's pocket, deliberately so on their behalf.
I should also add that while my immediate family were christian, my extended family were practitioners of ritual magic (Wiccan, Pagan, and similar practices of "spirituality"), which had colored my brother's ideology, and also had me square in the middle of fights that generally ended with my brother's stuff being burned, and accusations of satanism and witchcraft.
I do remember reading the bible in my youth. I do not remember most of it, or what I had been thinking, but I do remember one lovely little gem that caught my attention: Psalms 121: 3-8. For those who do not have a vendetta against the bible enough to know that passage by heart, it states:
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
All it took was a look around the world I lived in, and you can imagine the sort of doubts that inspired in me.
It was around that time I put the bible down. Even in my youth, at 8 years old, I had enough reading comprehension that it began to stir up questions that could not be sufficiently answered by my family, or even the pastors of the few churches I had attended in my youth.
It was at this point I peeled my nose out of the bible - reading it was becoming detrimental to my faith. The more I questioned my faith, the more nightmares I experienced of demons and lava.
I still considered myself christian for many years, although I buried and repressed much of what I had read in the bible.
It was many years later after I moved around the vicinity of my brother (My mother moved cross country around this time, while my brother stayed with our grandparents) that I started sorting out that my extended family were into occult practices.
Lets just say, I didn't have much faith at all at this point in my life, since I let him talk me into doing rituals with him, which involved waving "ritual tools" through the air and invoking spirits.
Now I recalled all the horror stories involving such practices, ranging from demon possession to hauntings. Perhaps my skepticism drained the demon's powers? I was going through those motions, and thinking "This is all hogwash".
To start to wrap up my deconversion story (I could write a novel on this topic),I buried my experiences with ritual magic and the occult, but now that I had experience with another form of spirituality to place along side my recollections of reading the bible, and thinking it was silly of my brother to hold on to "ritual practices" that effected the world around me as much as the "God" that promised to protect me from harm, despite letting me get involved quite heavily in drugs...(also a part of my history), and not only that, but early in life (by the age of 9 years old), there was something seriously wrong with Christianity that was growing in my mind.
It was then I discovered the internet, and (more importantly to what inspired my deconversion), Youtube.
I was feeling particularly depressed and stressed some time back, and I decided I had enough. I decided I would give the atheist perspective an honest evaluation. To put what I knew of "God" on 50/50 footing with the arguments and reason of "THOSE people" who kept challenging the notion of God.
At this point, I considered myself "agnostic", which of course isn't mutually exclusive to theism or atheism, but since I wasn't sure, either way, which side I favored, I simply considered myself agnostic.
I began subscribing to atheist videos, informative videos, educational, comedy... and throughout it all,I still held faith in God.
But no longer could I hold faith in Christianity. It was too flawed. Too broken.
I am now an atheist. Yes, it took a gradual diversion through degrees of agnosticism and deism, but the nail in the coffin Ended up coming to me a year ago.
I was particularly troubled by some hard times in my life, and having it topped off every day with "God this, god that", and discussion about "God's plan", and how much "Jesus loves me".
I spent two days looking through episodes of The Atheist Experience, and studying the origin's of Christianity. Two days, without sleep. I NEEDED to sort this out. Hour after hour of seeing the faithful calling in, and personal testimony being the best they had to offer.
I threw several episodes involving James Randi into the mix. Throughout that two day span, I have finally broken free of this seeming "need" for God, and realized it for what it was for me: a security blanket. Something to cling to when I was uncertain.
And that's my own deconversion story.
Filed Under: Testimonials