Skip to main content

The Short Testimony of a Recovering Fundamentalist

By JB ~

My journey to deconversion began about 6 years ago when I first entered the working world. Prior to that, I was as deeply devout and fundamentalist as one could possibly be, at heart if not by my actions. I was raised in church, am the stepson of a fundamentalist church pastor, and I even attended an extremely conservative Christian college. I even have a minor in theology! And despite a deep mental and emotional commitment to Christianity, I've always been a questioner. Not necessarily a skeptic. That would come later. But even during my formal education, I enjoyed raising difficult questions in my theology and philosophy classes.

I think the thing that lead me to start seriously questioning my own faith was an emotional divorce from it. Basically, once I got a job and a place of my own and I wasn't surrounded and inundated by religion, I lost the emotional connection to religion that I had always had as a teenager and very young adult. For me, it is sort of like looking back on one's significant other years after a breakup: oftentimes, our reaction is something like, "I can't believe I ever felt that was about her." That's very similar to how I feel about my ex-faith now that I've removed myself from it. Once the emotional aspect was removed, it became so much clearer to me that the hard questions (or unanswerable questions) I was so fond of asking were perhaps really my way of expressing a deep-seated skepticism or doubt, or at the very least, dissatisfaction with the status quo answers I received day in and day out.

The funny thing is that I have always felt this way about some religions. Islam, Mormonism, and various others have always been laughable to me. It was always so easy to dismiss them as having no intellectual credibility, all while making claims that my own particular brand of faith was not only soundly defensible, but ultimately the most logical choice of belief systems. However, the view from 40,000 feet has changed all that. Now I treat my old creeds with the same disdain with which I treated all the others, and my main struggle now, one that I take very seriously, is resisting the urge to treat believers with the same disdain that I treat their religions.

What is interesting to me is that I take morality much more seriously now than I ever did when I was a believer. I know that I am not alone in this as many others who have shucked off the faith have undoubtedly been forced to choose for themselves, for the first time, what morality looks like, how it is defined, and what to do about it. Taking responsibility for one's own morality means that one must be serious about it in its conception and execution. "Because the Bible tells me so" is no longer valid. I have to defend my choices, and, by extension, my own identity as a moral being.

I look forward to the next journey: one that involves doing good out of the love of humanity and reason.There are a few people in my immediate sphere that know I'm an atheist. Mainly, they are limited to people I don't know extremely well, or people who I've know for a short time. None of my family and none of my closest friends know about my choice to leave the flock. I feel somewhat like a coward because of this. My motivation for joining this forum is to find a sense of camaraderie and acceptance, and perhaps encouragement. While I will neither lie about my beliefs if asked, nor participate in the religion of my friends and parents, I also do not wish to be the cause of pain and devastation to my parents who stake so much on religion.

I say that I am still recovering because it's true. It's extremely difficult to throw off 25 years of indoctrination. Even though I've been doubting, questioning, rejecting and eventually disavowing my old religious beliefs for the last 5 or 6 years, It's only been in the last year or so that I've finally reached the point of honesty with myself to admit that I do NOT believe and that, furthermore, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of having reached the end of that journey, even though I regret the shame, misery, self-loathing, guilt, mania, self-righteousness, bigotry, misogyny, lack of intellectual rigor, missed chances for growth and life experience, wasted money and time and everything else that arose because of my beliefs.

I look forward to the next journey: one that involves doing good out of the love of humanity and reason. I've found that I'm much more excited about my lack of faith that I ever was about having faith. This is evidenced by the fact that I read more, think more, give more, and generally feel more at peace now that I ever did as a believer. Not that I am some sort of hero or anything. I just personally find deep satisfaction in having arrived at the place where I am, and I look forward to growing as a person, a citizen of a godless world, and a proponent of a hopefully inevitable revolution that results in the utter, final rejection of living life based on the guidance of an immoral superstition.


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

On Living Virtuously

By Webmdave ~  A s a Christian, living virtuously meant living in a manner that pleased God. Pleasing god (or living virtuously) was explained as: Praying for forgiveness for sins  Accepting Christ as Savior  Frequently reading the Bible  Memorizing Bible verses Being baptized (subject to church rules)  Attending church services  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper  Tithing  Resisting temptations to lie, steal, smoke, drink, party, have lustful thoughts, have sex (outside of marriage) masturbate, etc.  Boldly sharing the Gospel of Salvation with unbelievers The list of virtuous values and expectations grew over time. Once the initial foundational values were safely under the belt, “more virtues'' were introduced. Newer introductions included (among others) harsh condemnation of “worldly” music, homosexuality and abortion Eventually the list of values grew ponderous, and these ideals were not just personal for us Christians. These virtues were used to condemn and disrespect fro