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A “deconversion” is a array of “anti-testimony” adventure of the adventure from Christian accepting to atheism or skepticism or agnosticism (the accident of accepting in some sense). I acquire accounting affidavit allegory abounding of these. Atheists, for their part, consistently run bottomward Christianity and Christians. Surely they can’t article if we (especially apologist types such as myself) artlessly assay affidavit they themselves accord as to why they abandoned Christianity. For the activity of me, I don’t see why that should be advised abhorrent or objectionable. But bodies do a lot of aberrant things.

Rightly understood, such yses as this present one are not “personal” at all. My aim in a cardboard like this is artlessly to accompaniment why I don’t anticipate that the affidavit accustomed for the deconversion are acceptable as any array of account to adios Christianity. I don’t catechism the appearance or candor of the bodies who do this at all. I don’t apperceive them; I can’t apprehend their minds or actuate the accompaniment of their souls. They acquire acutely been through alarming experiences. Criticism of a deconversion (at atomic as I see it and do it) is not advised to abbreviate anyone’s claimed attempt or traumas or existential crises.

They may acquire been abject by any cardinal of Christians. Join the crowd! So acquire I. Best of us have. Bodies (including Christians) are sinners. This is what Christians believe. This is why we anticipate we charge a savior in the aboriginal place. But my ambition is to focus on the reasons given, and to see if they authority up to scrutiny, or anatomy any array of absolution for the bounce of Christianity. Period. No more, no less.

If addition (some access who disenchanted or aghast the aloft Christian) is a rotten archetype of a Christian, and a hypocrite, or adolescent molester, that has no address on whether Christianity is authentic or not. I could see breadth there ability be a point fabricated (to some extent, anyway) if Christians were apparent to be worse on the whole than non-Christians, ethically, but alike afresh it would abort as a adamant abstract disproof.

So with this abnegation and account of my intent, I coin ahead. I am acknowledging to the story, ex-pastor, ex-wife, ex-christian, by Theresa, acquaint at Debunking Christianity. Her words will be in blue. I activate my assay at the allocation of the adventure breadth she starts to explain the action of (or acumen behind) her deconversion.

* * * * *

After we larboard Hermiston we became accessory pastors at a abbey in the Seattle area. The pastor there was physically ailing and played on it as able-bodied as spiritually calumniating and absolute manipulative. I could address a book (and will, one of these days) on the accomplished experience, but it was because of this bearings that I started the ytic process.

This is absolutely what I alluded to above. Now, on a purely human level, it is absolutely accessible to acquire that calumniating and artful bodies could causes claimed crises and disenchantment (they absolutely do in my life; I acquire to accord with one this absolute day, as a amount of actuality — continued story), but if the ambition is to both acquire and explain why one rejects Christianity (I am audacious that it is a accustomed that there care to be rational reasons to do this, not artlessly emotional), afresh it avalanche short.

There will consistently be sinners and association who let us bottomward and act immorally or unethically. They are begin in every accumulation accustomed to mankind. But how does that automatically accomplish the Trinity a canard or the Bible a backpack of lies, etc.? Do you see the accessible aberration here?

Clearly, the actuality of sin does not do so. It has to be absitively on added grounds. So this started the “questioning process.” If Theresa hadn’t run above this person, conceivably that action wouldn’t acquire begun? Any ytic should be based on the attributes of Christianity itself, not the faults of some of its declared adherents. Does this already get me into hot baptize with my agnostic friends? I should anticipate it were self-evident . . .

I still bethink how I went through altered levels of “coming out.” It started because I went to counseling, and alike admitting my advisor was a Christian, he accomplished me to catechism and to attending at things in altered ways.

I’m abiding that’s aback it started, because up until afresh I believed, lock, b and barrel. It was the questioning, the acquirements to anticipate for myself, the addition to NLP, the seeing I had ascendancy over my life.

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Here we see addition botheration that led to the adverse extreme. I see this about in agnostic “anti-testimonies.” In a nutshell, it is apparent that they consort a anatomy of Christianity which was comparatively chip in agreement of a abode for the apperception and acumen and answer (and that’s breadth I appear in: I’m aggravating to accommodate that aspect in folks’ Christianity, that is about lacking).

Theresa was not accomplished to “think Christianly” or to understand why she believed what she believed (this is apologetics). Therefore, she had no “template” or framework in which to exercise a cerebration Christianity, and so aback she started questioning, it was artlessly aural a agnostic framework, as if all cerebration has to advance abroad to Christianity. It’s activity from one acute to another:

Christianity = (allegedly) non-thinking fideistic accepting of Christian truth-claimsNon-Christianity = accepting of rational assay and ytical thinking, which is (allegedly) atrociously against to Christianity, aback the closing is artlessly dark faith

It’s a apocryphal dichotomy, because Christianity does not have to be — i.e., it is not inherently or accordingly — an unthinking, irrational, dark accepting hypothesis or lifestyle. If I anticipation that, I absolutely wouldn’t be a Christian myself; not for a second. And I would be appropriate forth with the atheists biting such a asinine worldview. Are we to acquire that it is the aspect of every anatomy of Christianity: that we can never anticipate for ourselves or ascendancy our own lives?

Of advance this is untrue. It is abandoned a angled anatomy of Christanity-in-practice that would apostle such asinine things in the aboriginal place. But aloof because Theresa was complex in one such anatomy doesn’t beggarly that all of us charge bandy the Christian “baby” out with the base Christian “bathwater.” It artlessly doesn’t follow. That’s why acceptance like these about acquire little appliance to what anyone should acquire adverse atheism or Christainity, because the affidavit accustomed are usually bereft to account anyone to rationally breach the “big questions” of aesthetics and theology.

Then it was Spong, starting with Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism. That was an eye opener. I could still acquire afterwards demography aggregate so literally. Account Spong was like a animation of beginning air.

Thanks for the acceptance of my point, Theresa: you go from evangelical Christianity and not cerebration at all about it, appropriate to John Spong: conceivably the best awfully advanced declared Christian (but absolutely a rank advocate from our perspective). There is a lot of average that was anesthetized over. Spong is not the abandoned “thinking” addition to a fideistic, asinine adaptation of Christianity, by any means. Bodies chase the anticipation that they are apparent to. And not demography the Bible hyper-literally does not beggarly an automated accident of faith. All that is, is a acceptance that the Bible care to be interpreted sensibly, aloof like any added literature.

I bethink cogent my acquaintance (also a pastor’s wife at the time) to apprehend this book. Her bedmate saw it and accustomed that she booty it aback to the abundance and to acquaint them she didn’t apperceive what she was getting. She didn’t . . . she aloof hid it from him.

My access is abounding different. If addition insisted on account Spong, I would say that if they were absolutely gluttonous accurateness wherever it lies, that they should apprehend addition who is against to Spong’s advanced views, and see both abandon of the ample argument, afresh accomplish up their minds; not to aloof do it by account the advanced apostolic camber as if it is Gospel Truth.

I still went to abbey afterwards the divorce, but not to any fundamentalist babble church. I went to my friends’ (from NLP) church. They were absolute people. The abbey was baby and unobtrusive, absolute bodies alms absolute solutions.

I was alien with this “NLP.” It stands for “Neuro-linguistic programming”. Distant from that, are we to acquire that all fundamentalists and evangelical (or accustomed Catholic) Christians are not “real people” (note the use of the chat “real” three times)? It is this array of across-the-board accent that is not accessible to assignment through the issues. It implies, in the ambience of the all-embracing deconversion adventure (very subtly) addition apocryphal dichotomy: to be “real” is to be a advanced Christian or no Christian. To acquire in absolute accustomed Christianity is not absolutely “real.” This is the accustomed agnostic saw about Christians actuality in a fantasy world; “pie-in-the-sky.” Some are, indeed, but that ain’t the accomplished brawl of wax.

Then I apparent self-help above Christianity. Brian Tracy, he accomplished me to anticipate for myself to an alike added degree. He accomplished me that I am amenable for everything. He accomplished me about demography ascendancy of my life, not giving it abroad to addition or article else.

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Who says that to be a Christian is to cease to acquire individuality or self-responsibility? This is a point to be disputed. We would say with St. Augustine that we were fabricated to serve God, and it is abandoned in accomplishing so that we absolutely become ourselves. I don’t abjure that assorted “self-help” schools of anticipation or assay or practices ability be helpful, but I don’t see why this should accompany into catechism Christianity.

Peter McWilliams with Activity 101 and Do It. Those books helped me forth too. He said it didn’t amount what college actuality we believed in, these books still worked, they still captivated truth. I am alteration Activity 101 at the moment. It is still good.

They ability be authentic to some degree; sure. Accurateness is truth. But the condescending attitude to God, as if He is disposable or optional, is the ambiguous premise.

Well, this is the Marxist, Feuerbach-type of assay (“opiate of the masses,” etc.), but aback it is artlessly stated, not authentic in any way, there is annihilation actuality to yze. One has to accomplish some array of altercation to do that.

There were abounding others forth the way and they all helped to breach me chargeless of adoration in a box. I am no best a religious person. I am a chargeless thinker. 

But why? I haven’t apparent any reason here that would account addition to catechism Christianity in the slightest. What I’ve apparent are several apocryphal dichotomies, fallacies, and apocryphal bounds accustomed for who knows what “reason.” They may be there; conceivably Theresa could accommodate abroad a added rational assay (or has in actuality done so), and that isn’t her absorbed here. I apprehend that. But I’m artlessly assuming that this authentic piece offers no solid, cogent acumen for abnegation Christianity.

I don’t acquire in a axiological Christianity, I don’t acquire the Jesus-God connection, I don’t acquire the Bible to be authentic – in fact, I acquire it to be a agglomeration of stories, aggregate over the ages and apprenticed into one book. I acquisition it adverse and a weapon that can be acclimated to accomplish any point or prove any side.

That’s all accomplished and dandy. I attending in arrogant for any affidavit for why she thinks this way. One could cynically beam (this isn’t necessarily my own view) that she artlessly commissioned one anatomy of dark accepting for another. Neither appearance was decidedly reasonable or ashore in evidences and accurateness and solid affidavit given.

I don’t like account the bible or audition it quoted from. It makes me blench aback I apprehend scriptures, I’ve heard them aished and abused so much. 

Because the Bible was abused by some, we should adios it altogether . . . makes a lot of faculty . . .

I can’t apprehend the adorableness abaft them. I can’t see the lesson, I can’t apprehend above the abuse. 

Exactly. But why should Theresa anticipate that her claimed history of corruption is any array of acumen for anyone abroad to adios Christianity?

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I don’t appetite to apprehend the old fables. 

Why should she anticipate they are fables? Has she never apprehend any of the abounding archaeological evidences in favor of the aerial accurateness of biblical descriptions?

It makes me feel apologetic for those who acquire it and brainless for accepting believed it. How could I acquire been so bent up in it all?

We Christians are all so brainless and pathetic, aren’t we? It consistently seems to appear bottomward to that, doesn’t it? We’re ignoramuses and imbeciles and idiots; fed a bill of appurtenances by arrant manipulators. Yet I don’t feel that way about atheists as a chic at all. I artlessly disagree with their acumen (or often, abridgement thereof, in ambidextrous with Christianity, I should say).

I can’t yet see Jesus distant from the bible banging religion. Maybe taken distant from all that there are acceptable acquaint and examples.

What does she advance as a acceptable non-biblical way to apprentice about Jesus, adjure tell?

I don’t acquire that God talks to man or tells him what to do. 

Why? On what basis did she move from assertive that to abeyance to acquire it?

I don’t acquire God listens to our prayers or has any affiliation with our circadian lives. 

Why? I’m not absorbed (my own taste) in baldheaded statements; I’m absorbed in bookish justifications.

I don’t acquire in miracles, I don’t acquire God has a purpose for my life, I don’t acquire God comes bottomward and rearranges things for us, I don’t acquire God saves some bodies (from catastrophes and from hell) and not others, I don’t acquire God can apprehend my thoughts or absolute my path.

What does He do? Aloof sit in a atramentous aperture for eternity? Is He there at all? Seems like He would acquire to do something, dontcha think?

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I don’t acquire in annihilation like that anymore – heaven or hell, spirits, abiding life. 

Yeah, I know. Why? No acumen is given. Why should addition acquire all this aloof because she said it? How is that altered from the absolute things she has decried (blind faith, abridgement of ytical thought, etc.)?

It was a apathetic and painstaking, bit-by-bit process. A lot of anticipation and account went into anniversary departure. It wasn’t a blind, blundering decision.

I acquire her aback she says this. I’m ytical if she has absolutely accustomed the affidavit elsewhere. I’d adulation to see those.

I don’t appetite annihilation to do with Christianity. 

Then why address about it at all? Aloof avoid it.

I am not a Christian, not alike an “American Christian.” I alive my activity as an atheist.

Is it aloof applied atheism? In that case, the added authentic appellation is agnostic.

It seems like already I started questioning, and I questioned the church, religion, my behavior all at the aforementioned time, I couldn’t stop. One catechism led to another, one agnosticism bidding led to abounding more, one acceptance burst rocked the foundation and added came aerobatics down, one “rule” begin to be apocryphal gave way to more.

People tend to chase whatever band of anticipation that they are apparent to at any accustomed time. I’ve about advised that, and its momentous consequences.

It was like I had a blanket, what I anticipation was a admirable blanket, captivated about me, attention me from the elements. One day I noticed a distant cilia and I best and pulled at it and the absolute started unraveling. I approved to put it back, to braid it aback in, but I couldn’t leave it alone. I best at it and formed at it and asked added bodies if they saw it and appealing soon, bit-by-bit, the absolute got smaller.

That’s OK, I said, I still acquire this abounding left. So I cut off all the distant yarn and tucked in the distant end. But appealing anon the distant end formed itself out and started bugging me so I began the action again, affairs and unraveling until I got out the pieces that no best formed for me. I cut off the balance and tucked in the distant ends for safekeeping.

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Again, there is no bookish agreeable actuality to assay or scrutinize, but I accede that this is how animal beings access things. It is usually in an all-or-nothing fashion. One acute to addition . . . already Christianity was criticized, it couldn’t be that it had some acceptable things in it; no, it had to be demonized as authentic myth, stupid, fables, manipulation, etc. I don’t acquisition this to be acute reasoning. The absolute accurateness has a way of accepting far added “greys” and down-covered curve than this black-and-white access to reality.

Now my absolute was absolutely small. I kept a authority of it like that for a while, but every time I’d booty it out to use it that cilia seemed to assignment itself out again. One day I couldn’t angle it so I best and pulled again, until the accomplished affair came apart.

I cut off a little cilia and formed it into a little ball. I kept it in my abridged for afterthought mostly. It couldn’t be alleged a absolute anymore. It wasn’t account anything, it couldn’t be fabricated into anything, it was aloof there. If anybody asked I could say I acquire a little bit of it left, the starting allotment of yarn, the foundation. But really, it was aloof a allotment of yarn, unraveled, no meaning.

More of the aforementioned . . .

I was abashed of what bodies will say if I threw it all away. I was abashed to accept to myself that I capital to bandy it all away. I alleged it god but with little letters. I didn’t use it for anything; I never took it out of my pocket. If somebody questioned me I said I’ve still got it. I chose to adhere on to that allotment for awhile. I chose to acquire in god for a little longer. But absolutely not the GOD of before, the GOD of rules and regulations, the eavesdropping one, the all complex one, the one who makes men weak.

Does God do that? That’s account to me. I adulation afterward God. I don’t acquisition Him to be this bump of what some bodies are at all.

I chose to acquire in a force alfresco of myself that kept things in motion from afar, one who set up the rules of the cosmos and lets us comedy them out. But afresh I saw that yarn blind out of my abridged and I pulled out the aftermost bit.

I anticipation she was an atheist? This sounds added like deism or alike pantheism.

It is a admirable abode to be, chargeless from the answerability and burdens of Christianity. I alive my activity absolutely and afterwards question, adequate the action of acceptable who I am.

In conclusion, I see annihilation whatsoever actuality to account myself or any Christian who thinks about his or her accepting and who integrates accepting and reason, to catechism the artlessness of their religion. If there is a added elaborate, articular adaptation of this deconversion (as advertence was fabricated to a lot of anticipation put into it), I’d like to see it.

***

(originally 11-13-06)

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Photo credit: Free-Photos (11-3-15) [Pixabay / CC0 Creative Commons  license]

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