How did I cope with Life after Deconverting from Christianity?

Blog reader:

Gary,

In your deconversion story on your blog, you wrote about finding out that the resurrection probably didn’t bodily happen: “I was broken-hearted, but….”  How did you deal with that?  Your essay basically ends on a cliffhanger, effectively, where you decide that it didn’t happen.

I am currently at the point in my own life…where to go from there.

Thanks

Gary:

Dear Reader,

I was initially devastated when I lost my Christian faith.  Ever since I started attending an LCMS church in approximately 2011, my conservative Lutheran Christian faith had become the focus of my life.  So when I saw my faith begin to slowly circle the drain in the winter and spring of 2014, I panicked.  I reached out to numerous Christian pastors to essentially “rescue” me.  But it was too late.  By June of that year, my faith was dead.

“What do I do now?”  I thought.  The foundation of my life no longer existed.  What was the purpose of life?  Was death the end?  I had always had the comfort of knowing that whatever happened, Jesus would be with me.  Now I was all alone.  It was scary.

That went on for a couple of distressing weeks, then I calmed down. 

Things became much clearer once my belief in the supernatural no longer existed.  First of all, I had to face the loss of my invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing friend and “bodyguard”—the loving, faithful Jesus—and this realization helped me do that:  What good is it to have an all-powerful bodyguard if he doesn’t really protect you? 

Christianity doesn’t teach that Jesus will protect you from harm, only that he will comfort you during the process.  Think about that…practically.  Imagine hiring a bodyguard to protect you and your family, but in the fine print of your contract with him, there is a clause that says that he is not obligated to actually protect you from getting harmed, he just guarantees that he will be there during your beating, and comfort you while you are having the crap knocked out of you!
 
What good is that?  Answer:  none.  It is of no comfort to me to know that Jesus, the all-powerful Ruler of the Universe, just let me get the crap beaten out of me and he didn’t find it in his “will” to lift a finger to protect me.  I don’t need that kind of bodyguard…or friend.

So what’s left?  Answer:  Jesus the “Decider” regarding my destiny for all eternity.

Basically, Christianity tells us that even though Jesus will let us get our clocks cleaned, and he won’t lift a hand, we must stick with him or he will toss us into his pre-fabricated torture pit for all eternity, or if you believe the moderate Christians, he will make us spend eternity without him causing us great “psychological” pain, or just sit us in a dark room for all eternity.  None of it sounds good.

But during my four months of wrestling with the claims of Christianity; for the first time really investigating the claims made in the Bible and by my Church; I discovered that Hell is an invention of the ancient Egyptians, adapted into Greek theology, which was then adapted into Jewish theology during the Greek occupation of Palestine, which was then adapted into early Christian theology…I was no longer in need of an invisible bodyguard/friend or the other Jesus:  the “Decider” or “Lord” Jesus.  I didn’t need Jesus as a friend and I wasn’t afraid of Jesus the “Lord” anymore. 

 I could face life myself.

Think about this:  As a Christian I had to fear three causes of my getting hurt or killed:

1.  Random chance.
2.  My stupidity or carelessness.
3.  God’s will.

Now that I no longer believe that Yahweh/Jesus Christ exist, I can reduce my causes of getting hurt or killed to only two:

1.  Random chance.
2.  My stupidity or carelessness.

Do you remember the story of Job in the Bible?  Job lost everything, including his family.  And do you know which of the three causes caused his misery? Answer:  “God’s will.”  And if you read the Book of Job, why was it God’s will to kill Job’s family and practically destroy the poor man?  Answer:  to win a bet with the Devil!  What nonsense!  No good, just, loving God would do that to someone!

And what about eternity?

Have you ever thought of this?  What does the Bible say we will be doing in heaven?  Answer:  Singing praises to Yahweh/Jesus…forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever…. !  Sorry, but I can take just so much of the “Gospel Hour”.  If given the option of spending all eternity singing “How Great Thou Art” and being dead, I’ll take being dead!

So now I enjoy every minute of every day.  I appreciate my family and friends.  I enjoy the here and now.  I don’t sit around and pine for the “sweet by and by”.

My peace of mind is much greater as a non-believer than when I was a believer.  Once you get to the point that you realize that there are no invisible ghosts, gods, and ghouls whirling around your head,  trying to control your “soul”, and no heaven or hell, it is much easier to deal with reality.

So what would I suggest to get you through the deconversion process?  Here is my advice:

Read the blogs and books of former believers; people like you who have come to the realization that the supernatural claims of the Bible are no more probable than the existence of leprechauns, unicorns, and fairies.  Talk to other former believers.  Be part of our community.  There is comfort and support waiting for you.  Check out the list of blogs to the right on my blog page for resources.  Best wishes, friend!

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10 thoughts on “How did I cope with Life after Deconverting from Christianity?

  1. You write: <>

    One of the reasons people pine for this is because of the intense suffering in the world. Maybe it was your carelessness or at least lack of wisdom, but you are still suffering really badly with something like grief and tragedy and pain.

    The belief in the co-sufferer Jesus really is comforting to the people, even though in practice he does not physically remove the physical causes of the suffering. Marx considered religion an opiate. But if he is right, it still means that it serves a very comforting and calming function. Opiates after all are a medication in their useful aspect (when not abused).

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  2. This was the quote at the top that didn't go through: ((So now I enjoy every minute of every day. I appreciate my family and friends. I enjoy the here and now. I don't sit around and pine for the “sweet by and by”.))

    The main question is how to deal with this. The answer you gave about communities of skeptics is partly helpful.

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  3. I don't think most people have thought this concept through: Why is it comforting to have someone holding your hand during times of suffering, knowing that that person had the power to prevent the suffering in the first place?

    And what is the excuse for allowing you to suffer? Answer: Your ancient ancestors ate some of your All-Powerful Bodyguard's fruit and therefore you and every other creature in Creation most suffer!

    What nonsense!

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  4. You have to realize that there is no “sweet by and by”. It is a supernatural tall tale. This life is it. So enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of the day. Make the most of it. Instead of spending time worrying about your future, spend time in the present helping others. It will make you feel great!

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  5. Some theists may warn you that if you abandon your religious (supernatural/superstitious) beliefs that you will become narcissistic and self-centered, only looking out for yourself. Your life will be one greedy, hedonistic orgy.

    However, if you look at the apes, they live lives full of altruism towards other members of the “troop”…and they are not kind and generous to others in order to earn an extra star in their “eternal crown”. Altruism is hard-wired into our species. We derive pleasure from helping others. Your life will not fall apart into an hedonistic orgy if you abandon Christianity. I predict you will enjoy life even more.

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  6. ((Why is it comforting to have someone holding your hand during times of suffering, knowing that that person had the power to prevent the suffering in the first place?))
    OK, well first, it actually is comforting, as people attest, so the next goal becomes understanding why it is so. Maybe for example they don't recognize the disconnect that you have just identified – they don't think through the philosophy you identified critically.

    This goes back to the whole Theodicy – how can God allow if he is good and is in control if there is suffering? People give different hypotheses to explain it. It doesn't mean this is all simple or consistent, though.

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  7. Another revealing set of statements. Gary, did it occur to you that you probably never had faith to begin with, or if you did it was destroyed by fear and was not cultivated in trust in God?

    I read your OP and am convinced that your focus is on the 'big mean God in the sky' and not on the God who descended from heaven, took on human flesh, suffered and died on a cross, for the forgiveness of your sins because above all things He loves you.

    Your absolute hatred for Jesus Christ is amazingly evident from your blog.

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  8. There are many assumptions in your comment, my friend. You did not know me for the forty plus years that I was a Christian so to say that I “probably never had faith” is based on a bias, not evidence.

    I do not hate Jesus of Nazareth. I believe that he was a good man who taught many wonderful humanistic principles. I just don't believe that he was a god and I don't believe the supernatural claims made about him.

    You see my attacks on your superstitions as “hate”. I see them as “evangelism”. Evangelism for truth and against the deadly consequences of believing in ghosts, spirits, and ghouls.

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