Reposting this from the main forum to Recovering from Religion.

 

When I challenged my belief in God and converted to an atheist, I didn't stop there.  I challenged several of my core beliefs, including my political, social and economic beliefs.  As a result, I have left my long time political party, changed my views on abortion and all the gay issues (marriage, don't ask/don't tell), and changed my views on governments role in our economic system (we need a strong government to offset big business/banks).  I also changed my previously held views on Global Warming and I'm seriously considering giving up eating meat.

 

I wrote a Facebook email to an old friend about my conversion story.  I'm sharing that story with this group as well at the end of this message (in italics) in an effort to explain the change I have gone through the past 6 to 9 months..

 

My questions is this:  Did your loss of faith in God/Religion change your beliefs or views in other areas of your lifeIf so, what changed?

 

Hi Jeannette, I picked up your IM from the other night, but am responding via email since we are no longer “on-line” together and this story won’t fit in those little IM boxes.

Yes, I do have a conversion story, but I should be clear, I am not a Democrat, and I a not a Republican, I’m also not a Liberal nor am I a Conservative. I don't care how things get done, just that they get done and I refuse to wear any label. I agree with you about the polarization issue. Talk radio/TV/internet are forcing people to pick sides. Once you pick a side, it is ingrained in our culture to defend that side no matter what the facts are. I’m not picking any sides; instead I’m letting a critical assessment of the facts draw me to the best possible conclusion.

My conversion story is how I went from letting others think for me to thinking for myself. It’s been an interesting journey and one that I’ll be on for the rest of my days.

In short, when I gave up my religion and belief in a higher power, which is story for another day, it opened my mind up. I was completely closed minded in just about every way. Giving up my belief completely changed me – for the good. For the first time in my life, I actually think for myself – using relatively unbiased data and sources to help me develop my thoughts and conclusions.

Anyways, after the 6 month process of losing my faith, and gaining my mind back, I started wondering about some of my other deeply held beliefs. I wondered what else I “believed” because of what someone told me, like fox news/radio, versus what the actual evidence tells me? Do you remember the 1943 Guide to Hiring Women that I posted? Well, I really wondered about that and what I would have felt about that article if I was in the workforce back in 1943. I bet you that I would have been nodding my head in agreement as I took in the author’s wisdom.

I decided that this was not a good thing. Conventional beliefs are not necessarily the right beliefs. I thought back to civil rights changes, environmental changes and other big changes and wondered where I would have stood on those issues if I had lived in that time. I bet you I would have taken the conventional view.

I also decided that my current information sources were the equivalent of the author of the 1943 Guide. I could not trust them anymore and had to do the hard work of understanding the issues myself

I decided to pick two topics – Global Warming (because I like science) and Health Care (since it impacts me and my family personally) and to really dig into these topics. I also decided to let the facts draw me to the conclusion, and not to form a conclusion first, then go find data that supports that conclusion

I read books, magazines and websites from all sorts of sources – good and bad, pro and con. I also read books about critical thinking – how to assess and weight sources, how to sniff out bias and about the art of argumentation. It’s been another long journey and I’m no-where near the end.

The evidence is overwhelming on both fronts.
•Global Climate Change is a scientific fact (or more accurately, Global Climate destabilization), and it is, as least partially, caused by man.
•Our health care system is a disaster that is fundamentally flawed

What is the most alarming to me, is how good, moral, intelligent people, like our facebook friends, can be so duped into picking a position that is fundamentally harmful to them personally.

How many people, who are against health care reform, will go bankrupt because of health care related costs? How many will have untreated or undiagnosed medical conditions because they can’t afford to go to the doctor or to get medical treatment? How many are not able to buy the drugs they need? How many will not get preventative care, but instead, will go to the emergency room later to treat a condition that could have been prevented with on-going care? How many will die? How many will lose their children/parents/siblings/friends because of lack of health care?

None of these things would happen if they lived in any of the 29 other countries that have universal health care – and at a lower cost.

And they think what we have is a good thing? How did we get to this point where our beliefs are so against that which actually benefits the majority of Americans, including our friends? Well, I think I have a pretty good theory, but that will have to wait until another day.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I do find this topic very interesting. Let me know if you would like to hear about me “losing faith in faith”. I’ll be glad to share it. It is a good story.

Take care and keep fighting the good fight, Larry

Views: 125

Replies to This Discussion

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

My views changed (over time, and were contributors in my deconversion, actually). I am much more of a feminist now. I am pro-choice. It's been really difficult for me to let go of pro-life cause because it was always so dear to me. Now I see it as a women's rights issue though, and not as irresponsible murder. I also believe that women should be who they want to be. No more trying to be a "Titus 2 Biblical woman" Baptists are too obsessed with Biblical womanhood and manhood. I now see that it is all bullshit; I don't have to be submissive to my future husband (if I even have one). I can also embrace people who are not heterosexual without judgment or fear for them. I'm also much more open when it comes to sexuality.

The environment (because we're NOT in 'end times'...), separation of Chruch and State, and animal welfare are other main ones. I became a vegetarian while I was in high school and still a Christian. My decision didn't have much scriptural support. Now I can just say I believe factory farms are wrong and that's that, and that's enough. Another deeply held belief was that I must constantly deny my 'flesh' and the pleasures of this world. I now don't have to feel GUILTY when I enjoy myself. That aspect of leaving religion is by far one of my favorites =P
thank you for sharing as well. Love the comment about enjoying yourself without guilt. I feel the same way. Now please excuse me, I need to run over to a few of my other favorite websites!
Yes, I continue to challenge my beliefs on a regular basis. The folks on A/N have been very helpful in "cleaning up" some of my long held beliefs.
Thanks Dawn, your story sounds very similiar to mine. I have also moved from a conservative republican to a left of center Independent. It's a lonely position to be here in St. Louis, but at least I know it reflects my true beliefs on the issues.

Your comment about churches makes me wonder how many other people consider themselves "conservative republicans" because of the need to conform with their church members, neighbors, social networks, etc. versus actually trying to really understand the positions of the political parties that they affiliate with. This whole "pro-life" topic really gets my ire up. How people can consider themselves "pro-life", while they allow 45,000 American's die every year due to lack of basic preventative heath care is beyond me.

Congratulations on breaking free from your religion. Good for you.
I would bet that most churches have a conservative base to them. Certainly most churches preach against homosexuality and all that stuff. So certainly most ppl are indoctrinated from birth and joining a church to hate things god hates. I dont think that many THINK for themselves and analyze their doctrines or social dogmas....they all just get in party line, vote, act and take a stand for ignorance.
Yes and no. I've always had an appreciation for animals and nature, so that part didn't change. This love for animals was something my relatives tried to "beat" out of me. Not literally, but it has always been something of a contention between us. I did feel some guilt for "letting go of God", but it was rather short lived. However there were some things I did sought help for eventually, because I was still struggling with those things, but I don't think it was quite the same as others, because I never really did hold the same beliefs as my relatives or other Xians. The most surprising thing was the reaction of someone who I thought was a friend. We got into a pretty big fight and now we aren't speaking to each other, which is good because it ended up not being very civil. The ironic thing is she is an Episcopal priest. I never thought an Episcopalian would have such a reaction. How wrong I was. She was the second Xian I came out to. The first was a Disciple of Christ, Church of Christ friend and she took it better than I ever imagined. My sons, who were actually the first people I came out to, were no big deal, but they aren't Xians. My mother, the last Xian I came out to, a hard line Fundamngelical, is acting like I never said anything. Its like our conversation of my disbelief never happened. sigh. Be that as it may, there hasn't really been much difference, except I don't have a god concept anymore and I am now a humanist. I had been exploring humanism when I was a teen. My mother came in unannounced, yanked the information out of my hand, and shouted, "THAT'S NOT CHRISTIAN!" However, I knew then that was what I believed. Thing is, I went along to get along for so many years, that when I finally stood on my own two feet and decided I wasn't playing the game anymore, it really wasn't any big deal personally. It's just dealing with other Xians, esp those who have known me for years.
This isn't quite a belief, but I noticed something remarkable when I finally came out to myself as an atheist: I finally had a way to talk back to my obsessive-compulsive fears (and I'm not using the obsessive-compulsive term metaphorically).

I still have my upsetting thoughts and urges to perform nonsensical rituals to somehow ward off these thoughts (or what they seem to imply), but now I can say to myself: "You don't believe in superstition anymore, and that's all this obsessive-compulsive worry is."
Good for you Jay. Keep fighting!
Thanks, LarryL!
christianity conflicted with my beliefs which is one of the reasons i stopped believing. i was baptized when i was 13, which was also when i was going through "changes". i had trouble believing in a god who hates gays, masturbation, sex, etc and it basically went from there. ever since i was little i had questioned things in the bible alot. i remember one time when my mom was brushing my hair as a little girl and i asked her how god could create the dinosaurs the day before humans were made if it was proven that dinosaurs were extinct for millions and millions of years and she gave me some bullshit excuse like 'god's days are longer than human days'. when i started doubting god, i tried 'talking' to him and asking if he was really real, and i got no answer or proof. that just sort of sealed the deal. less than a year after i had been baptized, i was a full-fledged atheist.
Good for you Brianna. Way to use your head.
I am new here and I just wanted to say that my leaving was an evolution. I was a holy ghost filled pentacostal, then I became a messianic jew, then considered converting to judiasm. All the while I was studying the bible and researching the origions and history behind the bible. First I left behind the new testament, then the old. I found it all to be falsehood.

BEFORE: I had seven children because we believed that each child was a gift from god and god would provide the means to raise the child. We did not believe in birth control.
AFTER: As soon as I left the church I found out I was pregnant with my 7th child and I told my husband, "You have to get a vastectomy or I will go insane!". That was the first real change I made!
(HA! We also quit tithing which gave us more money to help raise those gifts from "god"!)

BEFORE: I had alienated my gay friends and family with my belief that the bible said that homosexuality was a sin.
AFTER: I started going out with my gay friends to gay bars and enjoying those friendships again. Heh, they were very forgiving!

BEFORE: I was a republican because my pastor told me to be one though I never voted because all the politicians seemed evil to me.
AFTER: I switched to democrat. This was mostly because of president Bush running for re election. I voted for the first time at the age of 30!

I also was so happy to listen to secular music again. Something I wasn't allowed to do before. I could watch anything I wanted on tv. I could drink alcolhol again, though that started when I became a messianic! lol I love to learn so I began exploring other religions and testing them out. I changed my view on abortion. There are so many things that changed, like totally opposite! We just got a computer like a year ago! I feel like the ten years that I lived as a christian was like living in a cave. I totally missed the nineties! I missed grunge! I felt like a new being...I am new to the idea of being an atheist. I hadn't really thought about what I was for a while. We did go through a rough patch as a family because we sort of lost our identity. It is still a process for me. Anyway, I hope that somebody reads this and responds. It sure would be nice to have somebody to talk to about this.


I am enjoying the other replies too!

thanks, denise

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