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6/4/14 12:34 A

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"Did anyone else used to be religious before "deconverting"?"

I grew up in a very religious household. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic primary school. There I learned about the value of human life. I don't mean this in the way the faithful do, but I abstain from murder and harming others to get what I want. That started with my teachings about God. I remember the sense of community the church brought to me. When I was a teenager, I was a mess. I was a liar and insecure, conflicted about my sexuality and the like. It was a time I moved away from God. I stayed in that realm of agnosticism until I was 24 (I am currently 30). When I faced trials to borrow a phrase from the faithful, I never had a religious experience. I relied upon myself and what I could and could not do and put up with in order to survive. I was then forced to pray by a homeless shelter when I didn't have a home, and I went from an atheist to an angry atheist overnight. As time passed, my vitriol passed as well. I am someone who thinks the believers are not stupid, but someone who doesn't believe. There is no evidence one way or another that God exists, I just think it's too perfectly designed that God fits all these needs and only cares about humans. It seems like arrogance justified. Religion, not a belief in God or gods, has done a tremendous damage to the world. I point to everything from a teenager that commits suicide over his sexuality, to the crusades to show how rigidity and thinking you always have the answers, can lead to deaths, lack of respect for life, and destruction.

"How do you derive meaning in life?"

This life is a happy accident, as far as I am concerned. Everything is precious--from bacteria to us. Not all life will co-exist. A virus attacks your body and the immune system kills it. It ceases to function and it is so you can continue to function. Something has to die in order for me to live, plant or animal, I need food. These are facts of this existence. Seeing that in terms of morality, I think our purpose is to make the journey a little less burdensome than it would be otherwise. This world is a cold place without help. Not many humans will survive if left to satisfy every need on our own. I don't believe in American individualism. I believe that we live in an inter-connected society that allows us to become specialists in a task to help others. It's called society, and we need it to function.


"Whom do you turn to (if not God) when it feels like life gives you more than you can handle?"

No one. I turn to my mother for support, I turn to my brother for support, I turn to my friends for support. However, I either will have the resources to overcome this problem or it will kill me. Period. That's another fact of life. To praise a God in the sky when I don't die from bad circumstances, seems silly to me. I know I could be wrong and if the Judeo-Christian teachings are true, I will die eternally. But I will be judged for who I am, not damned for trying to chase eternal life.

"Whom do you repent to when you've done something you know is wrong? (Or do you even still think there is a such thing as "wrong"?)"

There is destructive behavior and non-destructive behavior. I think murder is destructive for human society. If it's too prevalent, people are too focused on survival (avoiding murder) than they are on enjoying themselves or making a difference in someone else's life. It scares people into timidity. Secondly, it ends a life, something I consider sacred, human life. That's an example of my morality now.

I don't think homosexuality is destructive behavior. I think it's behavior that promotes family, love, and homes from kids that wouldn't ordinarily have it. I think not having equal rights is destructive for society. I don't scream "Tornadoes are caused by God's wrath against the homosexual agenda," which is the height of hysterical mysticism to me.

To whom do I repent? Me. I vow never to do it again, and if I get caught, I will own up to my actions. That's how I deal with the guilt. If I am not there, and still doing it, obviously I haven't come to terms with it yet. At the end of the day, I choose my own actions. If I go to prison for 20 years for a crime I didn't commit, I know what was in my heart and mind for those 20 years and before. I will never feel like a criminal. Likewise, if I do a crime, I create my own prison. The punishment comes from within.

"Whom do you thank when life is good?"

I don't think of anyone. I am just thankful that I am still breathing and I am here to be better today than I was yesterday.

I hope you got a full read on what I believe. I enjoyed answering the questions.

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LARISSA238's Photo LARISSA238 SparkPoints: (49,731)
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8/27/13 1:26 P

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Good for you, Sarah! I'm out to most people, but not my stepmom. She would make sure I would never see my little brother again. Even though he's 22, he still lives at home while going to college. So I just smile and nod when she goes on a religious rant.

"Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all" Whitney Houston


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SARAH4591 Posts: 13
8/27/13 2:48 A

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Grew up Orthodox Jewish, loved it, but had lots of unanswered questions about the religion. Took the time in college to think hard about my problems with judaism/religion in general, and slowly decided that I didn't believe in any of it anymore. Now I'm an "out" atheist

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5/22/13 1:48 A

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I grew up going to a Catholic Church and around age 21 I quit going because I didn't believe in any of the lies or manipulations. A few years later I started going to a non-denominational church and I finally figured out I don't believe in religion or a higher power so I freed myself from the guilt and other negativity associated with religion~

Best decision ever!!!!

kayah~West Coast, USA


"If a person wants to be a part of your life, they will make an obvious effort to do so. Think twice before reserving a space in your heart for people who do not make an effort to stay."



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LINEBACKER1968's Photo LINEBACKER1968 Posts: 393
2/27/13 12:18 A

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I'm a ex-minster, I started having my doubts about 15 years ago, but shook them off. then about 10 years ago I started studying the history of the bible, the church and religion in general. I found out that my mentors had left out a lot of information. I stopped going to church finally a little over 2 years ago and went through an intense time of soul searching and struggling with that book finally on the 1st of this year I gave up the struggle.

Moving Foward!!!


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1/1/13 2:01 A

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I, too, am an ex-believer. Raised a Presbyterian Christian, was supposed to believe in Predestination (which I don't remember ever truly believing) and things like that. Parents aren't super religious, but they do believe in God and were quite surprised, and probably disappointed as well, when I told them I no longer believed. When I told them, I was getting ready to start going to a church group function for single people my age - only for the social part, though. I only wanted more friends to do stuff with.

LARISSA238's Photo LARISSA238 SparkPoints: (49,731)
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11/29/12 8:31 P

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I like that... "you can have purpose, if not more purpose, without God."

"Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all" Whitney Houston


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11/29/12 4:50 P

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Hi emoticon

I grew up LDS, I believed most of it but slowly things stopped making sense. A year ago I researched the real history of the church and found out it was all a lie. So I decided to become uber Christian right away. I wanted that relationship with God that I saw everyone else have, so I jumped at it. I did everything I was suppose to, however I struggled to be close with God. Everyone said that it was in his timing and/or I'm not suppose to try and do anything, I'm suppose to wait on him. So I would try that and then I wouldn't feel ANYTHING. This made me realize that it is all psychology. Of course when I'm thinking about god and reading the bible, etc. I am going to feel whatever it is I'm expected to feel. But if I stop, it just doesn't exist anymore. So now I'm an atheist.

I have always found my own meaning in life. I realized that religion never gave me my purpose. I tried to center my life around it but I wasn't being myself. What are you passionate about? What injustices of the world make you want to fight against it? Do something, anything. You can find a new community. My city has a Humanist organization that meets every week. You can have purpose, if not more purpose, without God.



"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt


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SOXYINMO's Photo SOXYINMO Posts: 1,940
11/18/12 7:28 P

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Lol! Cafeteria Christianity, I love it!


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Yes, I'm the one responsible
I made it just this way"
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LARISSA238's Photo LARISSA238 SparkPoints: (49,731)
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11/14/12 5:12 P

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You have to pick and choose what verses to believe because they all contradict each other. That's why you have "cafeteria Christianity"

"Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all" Whitney Houston


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11/14/12 6:50 A

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You got that right, Kali!

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"Welcome to my morning
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Yes, I'm the one responsible
I made it just this way"
John Denver


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KALI511's Photo KALI511 Posts: 1,059
11/12/12 10:57 A

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Unfortunately it's a strong theme based on outdated ideas of civilization. Very little actually applies to modern day. No braids or gold? Have you seen church crowds? People choose what they want and have a custom religion mixed with only the morals & restrictions they like.

Tiana from North Shore, IL

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APONI_KB's Photo APONI_KB Posts: 262
11/12/12 8:24 A

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The Samson story rankled me too. Don't trust women, actually that seems to be a theme.

"Can you just hurry up, please? Or Iíll hit you with my shoe." Doctor Who

"We have art to save ourselves from the truth." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." Franz Kafka


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SOXYINMO's Photo SOXYINMO Posts: 1,940
11/9/12 7:06 A

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APONI_KB, I always had troubles with the story of the Prodigal Son. I realize that they are TRYING to say that god will accept you back even if you do awful things, but what about the Good Son? What about the son who did everything that was right and good, who lived an honorable life? How is it fair to HIM that this other little punk can go off and do whatever he wants and be welcomed back and given back his birthright?

I guess by that you can figure out which of the sons I most closely identified with! It just ate me alive that you were taught to live a certain way and to follow certain rules, but that if you DID you were treated worse than the kid who screwed up.



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I made it just this way"
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APONI_KB's Photo APONI_KB Posts: 262
11/6/12 3:53 P

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I'm friends at work with LDS people and they are all nice, I mean really nice, genuine people. Not liking them is like kicking a kitten, you just can't do it.

"Can you just hurry up, please? Or Iíll hit you with my shoe." Doctor Who

"We have art to save ourselves from the truth." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." Franz Kafka


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APONI_KB's Photo APONI_KB Posts: 262
11/6/12 3:50 P

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I'm the odd women out in the family. My entire extended family is very religious. I didn't realize how religious until facebook came along and some of them...scare me. My parents got disillusioned with the church when I was a kid, then when I was older they went back. My eldest sister is quite religious, my next older sister not so much but she still self identifies as a Christian. Me - not even.

For me and I think I was about 7 or 8 it was that story about Job. So, let me understand this...he was tortured and his entire family KILLED as a sort of joke between God and Satan. Then he got a better family and more stuff as a reward? How does that help his old family, the one that was killed? Oh because only the man is important to God, got it - see ya I'm out.

Ok that and the thought progression of there is no Santa, there is no Easter Bunny, there is no Tooth Fairy ergo there is no God.

I'm afraid that my pestering my parents with this sort of thing is what turned them off the church for a bit. Then when they got older they went back to it. I just got my notice that my mom has once again subscribed to Guidepost for me for Christmas if anyone wants it. No? ok fine.

As for the meaning of life, does anyone have that answer? Dealing with things when life gets to be too much, drinking? kidding
I take things one thing at a time

keep calm and carry on

everyone has to find their own path

"Can you just hurry up, please? Or Iíll hit you with my shoe." Doctor Who

"We have art to save ourselves from the truth." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." Franz Kafka


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SOXYINMO's Photo SOXYINMO Posts: 1,940
10/29/12 8:42 P

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My husband's family is very nice, too, Christy! He always says that if you can't think of anything else to talk about with Mormons, bring up Jell-o and you'll be fine emoticon

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I made it just this way"
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CHRISTY0615 Posts: 64
10/28/12 8:37 P

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SOXYINMO - My husband is, too! His family are LDS. They are nice people, but I avoid any political or religious discussion with them.


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SOXYINMO's Photo SOXYINMO Posts: 1,940
10/28/12 7:23 P

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This post is what encouraged me to join this group! I was a 'normal' Christian most of my life. I grew up in the Presbyterian church, and this in a time when they embraced Angela Davis (for you oldies like me!), but life was kinda sucky, and I got 'born again' and then I was SUPER religious.

In those days (the '70s) a lot of my friends did drugs, and I used to say that I didn't need drugs, but the truth is, I did JESUS as a drug. The whole deal made me feel GOOD! Made me feel HIGH, and made me feel superior as well, though I would NEVER have admitted that at the time.

One of the jr. parsons came to me one day and said that I was in a 'dangerous time' in my faith and that it was important for me to stay with 'my own kind' and not hang out with non-believers that would drag me from the faith. I said, "okay, but my mom is Jewish." He said that I shouldn't spend any time with her because she might hurt me from my faith.

Well, my Mom would never do that. She recognized that I needed to find the world on my own, and that was the beginning of the end for me.

I want to believe that there is something. I remember that FEELING of believing so completely in something, but as the years go by I find it harder and harder to believe. Faith is fine, but faith without evidence is empty to me.

For what it's worth, my husband is a recovering Mormon emoticon

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LARISSA238's Photo LARISSA238 SparkPoints: (49,731)
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10/21/12 7:40 P

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I used to be a "true believer" as well. I was involved in a Christian cult, and almost my entire life revolved around church. I was in college at the time, living with 7 other girls from the church in a big house. Almost every single night we were doing something related to church. Life was all good until I had my breakdown. I'm bipolar and now schizophrenic too and they didn't know how to respond. I got suicidal and had to be committed for a couple days. When summer came and it was time to renew the lease on the house, I said I couldn't do it- I went to go live with my sister. Maybe if the girls had tried to understand me as a person better, it wouldn't have been so bad.

Anyway, I went to go live with my sister and the girls found some other place to stay. I started to develop this relationship with another girl, Kaitlin, and eventually came out of the closet as lesbian/bi. The church rejected this idea and they wanted nothing to do with me. I moved in with one of my girlfriends and stopped going to church. After she and I broke up, I met my now hubby. He challenged my beliefs (I still believed in the church despite all the crap) and eventually I came around as an atheist.

As for your questions.... Turning to god in times of trouble can be a habit. You will slowly outgrow it. If there is no god, then what good does prayer do? it's just something to make *you* feel better, not to change anything outside of yourself.

There is right and wrong. Causing pain to someone else with a malicious intent is bad. Helping someone without wanting something back is good. These are basics, of course, but you get the idea.

Why are we here? To get the most out of life that we can, to help as many people as possible. There is most likely nothing beyond this life, like there was nothing before you were born. You just have to make the best of what you are given while you have the chance.

I hope I was a help!

"Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all" Whitney Houston


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CHRISTY0615 Posts: 64
10/21/12 10:44 A

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I'm in GA, so we have more churches than gas stations. Luckily my Dad never pushed me into anything, and never took me to church except for Easter. I did spend a couple weeks during the summers with his brother's family, who are HEAVILY religious to this day. (I'll give you an anecdote about them shortly.) I went with them to a Southern Baptist church in AL every time it was open - Wednesday, Friday, twice on Sunday. My Aunt played piano and organ. I went to VBS. I think even back then I looked at it as a social thing, and especially later in my childhood when I went to church with some childhood friends. I was "saved," but could never bring myself to do the baptism.

To make a long story short, my aunt and uncle told my Dad and stepmother, who are now married for the third time, that they were living in sin before they finally got married again. They're in their 60s, FFS. Ridiculous.

I dabbled in paganism several years ago, and it still sort of appeals to me in a way. I even went to a friend's house for rituals/sabbaths/whatever. Again, I think it was more social than anything for me.

And I'll stop babbling now.

Edited by: CHRISTY0615 at: 10/21/2012 (10:45)
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10/15/12 7:03 P

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Here!

I was raised Seventh Day Adventist, and like most people these days, I just went along believing it because that is what I was told to believe in. I was also very good at using it as an escape. I was what most people consider to be the "bible pusher" and the annoying one that was always trying to convince people about how great the christian faith was. Well, luckily, I came to realize after really reading the bible and paying attention to what I was reading instead of listening to other people tell me what I was reading, I found that there was really very little about this faith that I actually believed in for one, and for two, even less that I actually supported. Once I started questioning my beliefs, I came to see not only myself, but a lot of the people around me in that circle as being hypocrites and I was disgusted with who I had become. So I broke away from christianity and explored different religious beliefs before accepting that none of them really called to me.

I'z hiding in the bushes! -Little Ninja


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11/5/08 1:35 A

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RICHTER_83's Photo RICHTER_83 Posts: 267
7/22/08 12:21 P

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I was raised as a protestant. My grandma used to take me to the church-for-children-program when I was a little lad. Eventually, I became heavily involved in church activities and became a youth group leader there.

I used to believe all that kind of stuff. Why? Heck, I don't know. But the years have passed, and it is all over now. Religion is nothing more than a drug. It is addictive, and some people might actually loose themselfes in there. Plus, the grade of manipulation is very high.

To your questions:
"How do you derive meaning in life?"

Ah, yes, the meaning and purpose in life. Well, mankind has been struggling with that question for ages, hasn't it? Why are we here? What am I going to do with my life?

Well - do whatever you like. Become the best scientist you can possibly be. Follow your passions, and try to achieve your dreams while constantly improving yourself. Be all you can be.

Life only has a meaning when you make it meaningful. Now, that philosophy might go on a straight collision course with the teachings of - let's say - the christian religions, where it is expected that you act a certain way, behave a certain way and talk a certain way.

But mankind is not one collective mind, is it? Mankind is based on the principle of individuality. You are not a drone, you are a human being! And yes, you can do whatever you want with your life. Only you can give your life a meaning. Noone else can.

"Whom do you turn to (if not God) when it feels like life gives you more than you can handle?"

I understand that question completely, but I would like to ask you a question in return: Do you really think it helps turning to God when life seems to be overwhelming?

I'm now going to be a jackass and I'm taking the liberty to answer my own question: As far as my experience goes, it doesn't.

Life's like a road that you travel on. And of course, when you are on the road, there might be traffic delays, obstacles, and other things.

Now, you can either go around the traffic, or try to remove the obstacles. Or you can sit in traffic or in front of an obstacle asking somebody else to make it all go away.

The good thing about this road: You are not alone on it. There are other travellers, some might even have the same destination. If you team up with them, you might be able to get some advise out of it. And in return, others might profit from your experiences.

"Whom do you repent to when you've done something you know is wrong?"

Sometimes we don't know if what we instinctively did was right or wrong. But the fact remains: You can't change what happened. You did what you did, there's no way of reversing it. You now have to deal with the consequences of your doing. When it was something illegal, the consequence is simple: Go to Jail, don't pass go and don't take 500 Dollars.

But when it was something else you regret, like lying to somebody or something like that, you just have to deal with the situation as it goes. Life is a road, remember? If you get a flat on the way, you have to deal with that as you go. But again: There are other travellers as well, and they can help you.

"Or do you even still think there is a such thing as "wrong"?"

Absolutely. There is wrong doing. If your intention is to be hurtful, that's wrong. If your intention is to gain something while your fellow man is loosing something, it's wrong. If your intention is destructive, not only to you but to others, it is wrong. And you'll cut in your own flesh when doing that. But consequences will follow. That you can be sure of.

Whom do you thank when life is good?

I said before that life is as meaningful as you make it. Same rule applies here. Why is life good sometimes? Because of achievement, security that has been obtained, and mostly: Because of the simple fact that everything has been taken care of, and you have little or nothing to worry about.
Now, whose achievement is this? Yours. Go ahead! Enjoy yourself!

I hope I could be of any help. If you need anything further, just let me know.

SKEPCHICK Posts: 2,562
7/21/08 9:39 P

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I wasn't raised in a ferociously religious environment--I like to joke that my family went to Our Lady of the Vague Notion--but I caused a serious stir when I refused to confirm.

So I can't claim to speak about what it's like to have lived with and have shed such a childhood, but I wish you both well and if you ever need anyone to listen, I'm here.

Mathguy, I'd like to answer your questions, all of which are very good, but I want to ask your permission before I do so because I don't strictly fit the profile of the sort of person you had asked to answer them. If I get an explicit yes from you, publicly or privately, I'll jump back in.

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7/17/08 12:27 A

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It's interesting to hear from you as a 'deconvert.' My mother is a deconvert, after years of being a devout Catholic. She became more HERSELF, as if she'd been veiled by her belief.

I have never been a true believer as you describe it. When I need help, I turn inward to myself and begin a thinking process. If I do something wrong and thereby harm someone, I apologize to them and try to make it up. If I harm myself, I figure out why and move on. If life is good, I am simply happy and that is enough. If a person has contributed to that goodness in my life, I thank them.

We are all utterly unique. There is no one right way for all of us. I don't see why a deconvert must give up all sense of spirituality and mystery. To me, it's not so black or white. If a belief brings you comfort, hold on to the good part of it, but keep your eyes and ears open.

Patience is also a form of action.

- Auguste Rodin


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THEMATHGUY's Photo THEMATHGUY Posts: 389
7/16/08 4:42 P

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For a substantial portion of my life, I was what you would call a "true believer" in my religion. It helped that I grew up in a very sheltered environment and went to a private Christian school during my childhood years, so I wasn't exposed to alternative points of view. While I once considered myself a "prayer warrior" in a cosmic battle against good and evil, that view gradually crumbled as I learned more and more about science and critical thinking.

But it has not been very long at all since I've been out of the "closet", so to speak, and the secular view of the world is still very new to me. Did anyone else used to be religious before "deconverting"? How do you derive meaning in life? Whom do you turn to (if not God) when it feels like life gives you more than you can handle? Whom do you repent to when you've done something you know is wrong? (Or do you even still think there is a such thing as "wrong"?) Whom do you thank when life is good?

I don't mean these as rhetorical questions, the way most Christians use them in debates. I really want to know!

"For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." --Carl Sagan


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