I love reading deconversion stories. It's hugely more interesting to learn how someone came to reject a religion, than how they embraced it.
Here's a message I got from a person who used to be a devout Christian until they saw the light of rationality. What's fascinating is how they used the Bible to come to a conviction that Christianity didn't make sense.
I also liked how they discovered what happened after they deconverted. Nothing bad, though this is what preachers claimed would happen. Actually, this person says they are happier now in a number of ways.
So don't hesitate to leave a religion if this is what you feel like doing. I was an active member of a guru-centered Eastern religion for 35 years.
Like the person who sent me this message, the religion I belonged to claimed that bad karma would befall anyone who came to doubt its teachings. And also like this person, I'm happier now with no regrets.
Read on to learn a compelling de-conversion story.
I was a Christian from 1980 until around 2016, 36 years of varying levels of indoctrination. I was a very zealous believer from around 1992 until 2014.
I went to Bible college, was on worship teams, taught in various capacities in three different churches, did some traveling ministry, and was a youth pastor and associate pastor. My wife was, and still is, a very devout Christian. So, what would possibly cause me to leave my Christian beliefs behind?
Short answer, it was mostly because of the Bible.
The church I went to, and the corresponding Bible college, was an evangelical/word of faith flavor. We were taught, God/the Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it. We were discouraged to read any books outside of our group. We were taught that we should not question anything in the Bible because that would start to “contaminate” our faith.
I was effectively brainwashed. And I did my share of brainwashing. With this kind of indoctrination, it’s amazing what a person overlooks in the Bible, or just doesn’t see it.
The first time I remember a major doctrinal question coming up, it was about tithing. We were taught that, according to the Bible, we were to give 10% of our income to our local church. And if you really love God, you will give more than that! And, if you don’t give, you are stealing from God himself.
I had a good friend who was questioning the teachings we had received on tithing and asked if I would study it out, and he would do the same.
In the Old Testament, I found that there were basically three kinds of tithes. One was to go to the religious leaders so they could give themselves full time to the service of God. The second tithe was basically a savings program. You would set 10% aside and use it to basically have a giant religious party. It was called the feast tithe, but I like party tithe.
I don’t ever remember any pastors encouraging people to put a tithe away for themselves. And the third was to take care of the poor and widowed. Again, I don’t hear that one much.
In the New Testament, there is NO instruction to tithe, at all! None. Zero. Zip.
In fact, the instruction in the NT basically tells people to give where you feel you should and if you are able to do so. WTF?!?! That’s not what I had been taught! So, if that teaching can’t be backed up with scriptures, what else is bull shit? Oh, there is plenty of bull shit!
Around this time, I had also quit attending church on a regular basis. And by 2012, I wasn’t going at all.
This had an interesting effect on me. Without the weekly brainwashing/indoctrination, I began to think for myself, more and more. GASP! I know, right? In 2014 I decided to do an in-depth study of the Bible, without the church glasses on.
By this time, I had probably read through the Bible 10 times, and much of it many more. But this was different. I was diving in with as few preconceived ideas as possible. I studied the Bible, its history, and the history of the Christian church.
The list of things that I found would take several writings to cover. But here are a few things.
The creation story in Genesis. Nope. Way too much scientific evidence to the contrary. And, without the “fall of man” in the garden, everything else kind of falls apart. The worldwide flood of Noah. Holy shit. Outside of God completely suspending all natural laws that we know of, and then some, this could not have happened.
Not to mention the fact that a so called, all loving God, wiped out almost all life on earth in one of the most frightening ways possible. Assuming that it really happened. And the list goes on. For an evangelical Christian, when the Bible loses its credibility, that’s a huge step towards becoming a non-believer.
There are no original copies, or even copies of copies of copies, of any books of the Bible. Men have been adding to and taking away and changing things for hundreds of years. The idea of hell as we know it today didn’t come along until five centuries after Jesus was supposed to have lived.
And yet, so many Christians preach it like it’s in the Bible. It’s not! Only vague references. If there is a hell, God did a terrible job of making sure that mankind has a clear understanding of who goes there, and how to not go there. Not even all Christians can agree on that! If there is a God, he/she is a terrible communicator.
If you do an internet search for inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible, there are a lot. And since many Christians believe that the Bible is the perfect word of God, even one is too many. To me, it is quite obvious that the Bible is a work of men.
One of the most telling things to me about my experience, is what didn’t happen when I left my faith behind.
We were basically told that if a person walks away from God, their life will just go to shit. Your pet will die, your car will break down, you’ll be consumed by your sin, etc. Well, so far, none of that has happened. If anything, my life has gotten better.
I’m in a better place mentally and emotionally. I think I’m a better, more compassionate human than I was when I was a Christian. I’m better off financially. I have good, healthy relationships in my life. My physical health is good. So any changes that have taken place have been positive ones.
Today, I’m not convinced that there is no god (divine, invisible being, creator, etc) of any kind. But I’m certainly not convinced that there is. In fact, I lean much more towards believing there is no god. But if there is a god, I doubt we humans can really comprehend that god.
The road manager for AC/DC, Barry Taylor, said, "God is the name of the blanket we throw over mystery to give it shape." LOL.
The road manager for AC/DC makes more sense to me than most theologians! And maybe that’s part of what religion tries to do, other than controlling people and making money, that is. Maybe part of religion is throwing a blanket over mystery to give it shape?