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Assorted
De-Conversion Stories

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(grabbed from other files to make them smaller)
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(grabbed from 'Original De-Conversion Stories')

From: "Kopec, M. (Martin)"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Monday, July 24, 2000 1:53 PM

Being of European descent, my family was strict Catholic. We attended church every Sunday, and I went through extensive education to go through my rights of passage. Well, even when I was young I had questions about faith. Like why will all these other people, who do not believe in Christianity, go to hell? Why are they any worse than me? I could not accept the answers that my relatives, and priests told me.

Time and more time went by, and I was still attending church, but my faith never fully recovered, and in fact was declining because some new questions were formed in my mind. Like: If god is supposed to be a good god, why all the suffering in the world? Surely god does not want to see his children suffer. Then all the thoughts of Christianity over the eons, how they massacred thousands in the name of god, how they held the scientific community at bay for hundreds of years. All these things were not painting a pretty picture in my head. Why would a religion that is supposed to worship the ultimate god of good be evil at the core?

When I was finally on my own, I stopped going to church altogether. I still believed that there was a supreme being, but that he was being misrepresented by the churches. But then I started reading some of the philosophy of Russell and others, and I finally saw the light. And you know, In a way I feel cheated. All those years of worship and brainwashing for nothing. I still do not let my family know how I feel about god, but I have peace of mind, and am free of the dogma.

Finally An Atheist
Martin Kopec

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From: "Mary Boehm"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: I was 'Saved'.
Date: Monday, July 24, 2000 1:36 PM

I logged on to this site today out of curiosity having seen an article in our local paper about the 'positive atheism' web site.

I read the first 5 or 6 letters of 'de-conversion' and realized how homosexuals, etc., must feel when coming out of the closet. There are people out there that are not afraid to reveal their thoughts on the subject of 'atheism'. This gave me the courage to submit my de-conversion story.

I am 69 years old. I enjoy the religious trappings of great cathedrals, pageants, rites, music; I love Christmas, I feel revitalized at Easter, Handel's Messiah is spectacular. At 13, I was baptized a Lutheran, married a Lutheran and call myself a Lutheran -- in mixed company.

As a child I was "Saved" -- a dozen times.

My family lived in a major city and my parents worked in WW II related industries. My oldest sister and I were sent out of the house to go to "Sunday School" so Mom and Dad could rest and have a few hours of relaxation. My sister and I visited almost every denomination in town. Baptist (the baptism ritual scared the devil out of me as I was afraid of deep water), Greek Orthodox (loved the costumes), Methodist (Hell and brimstone preaching was a real boogie man and kept me awake many many nights), etc. Jehovah Witness, 7th day Adventist, Church of Christ. I've walked the aisle in them all answering the call by the preacher, minister, reverend, to be "Saved". All before I was 12 years old.

I was saved. I was saved to compare and make a decision of what's right for ME. What's right for me is to accept the things I find beautiful in religion; the cathedrals, etc., the "golden rule" (also predominate in Buddhism and other groups) and the tolerance to accept others in their beliefs.

Family members belong to the Universal Church ($1.00 and you get a certificate and free passage to Canada to hide out until the war is over), Eckankar (spiritually uplifting) and one that believes in the Native American Indian spirits.

Yes, of course. We're all Californians. And aren't Californians noted for their unstructured thinking?

Thank you for the chance to talk!

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 4:41 PM

I am a 66 year old man, married 45 years, with three grown children and many grandchildren. My mother was an absentee Mormon, my father believed in "the guy upstairs", as he used to say but that was the extent of his religion. A Mormon neighbor coerced my mother "to take that boy down to get baptized" in the Mormon church when I was about 13, and damned near drowned me.

My enthusiasm and love of science contributed to my doubts regarding religion and any supreme being. I was agnostic by age 30 but what really turned my head was watching Dan Barker on TV debating religion with an evangelist preacher. I was so impressed with the atheist point of view that I was completely converted from that point on and have been a strong non believer every since.

My children know that if there is any religious paraphernalia at my funeral, I will come back and "haunt" them.

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From: "Adversary"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2000 8:13 AM

I was raised in a moderately religious home. Church on Sunday mornings and Christmas Eve, but no Grace at the table, bedtime prayers, or anything like that. When I had a question on something and my parents didn't know the answer to it, they took me to the library and we looked it up. I went through a period when I was really involved with the church, but that was to make the sessions more enjoyable and less of a chore.

Then my uncle fell ill. He was diagnosed with Multiple Schlerosis and was placed in a nursing home nearby that could properly care for him. He died two and a half years later, only a few months after I turned 15. He was barely 40.

I remember going to the funeral and looking at all of my relatives, all suffering from the loss of their brother, son, or uncle. I remember my uncle, who was always kind and made time for anyone who needed him, losing control of his body a little bit at a time when he had done nothing to deserve such a fate. I remember my entire family praying so intensly for him to be healed. That's when I realized that the "just and merciful" God that I was told of had never existed.

From then on, I payed attention to everything that I was hearing in Church and in Sunday School. After my 16th birthday I informed my parents that I would no longer be going to church. I also took a job that required that I work on Sundays to back it up.

I live in the bible belt, so I'm constantly being looked down on, but whenever someone tries to convert me all I do is ask them one question and they leave me alone. I simply ask what the babies and children from the cities of Sodom and Gommorah do to deserve being destroyed by their God. I've yet to get an answer.

The Adversary

==
"Some men see things as they are and ask, 'why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'why not?'"
-- Robert Francis Kennedy

"I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence."
-- Doug McLeod

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From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2000 11:11 AM

Dear Cliff,

I hereby would like submit my little de-conversion story to your online 'zine, a secret, but devoted reader of which I have been for the past several months. I believe, I should confess that what I am submitting is a somewhat abridged version of the story. Due to certain considerations (for example, differences in our ages and musical tastes), I intentionally ommited Music as a factor which has influenced my de-conversion process. If you would be interested in reading or featuring the unabridged version as well, please let me know, I will supply you with the URL of my web-site where I have gathered some of my humble writings, including the full de-conversion story.

Impiously,
~~daemoniis~~

P.S.: regarding unsubscription ... do you know a reliable place where I can find a dead cat for, let's say, a reasonable price? would they accept dried bat wings for barter?

P.P.S.: excuse the grammar -- English is not my first language; so fix whatever you feel necessary to fix.

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If you know anything about the Soviet Union in the eighties -- the time of my early childhood -- then you know that the official religion at that time was, in fact, the absence of one; the official political creed was Socialism with a vague perspective of building Communism sometime in twenty-first century, and the official ideological creed was severe Atheism.

I was born in 1978 in Kyiv, Ukraine, which was then one of fifteen republics of the Union. There wasn't too much religion floating around -- in schools and kindergartens we were taught that there is no god or gods; religion had no place in the Socialistic society, preoccupied with building Communistic paradise for everyone. Of course, there were several acting churches in Kyiv, all Orthodox, but these churches were attended only by old grannies, who believed in god simply because they were raised that way in old times. No sane person would attend a church on the regular basis, since such activity, if revealed, could lead to undesirable consequences and complications at work and in the society. And no one wanted to get in trouble with authorities.

Despite all this, my mother, who grew up in a rural area in the fifties, I think, has always been a secret believer, but my father, who has recieved excellent mathematical education in the best university in our country, has never been and still is not a believer.

I, on the other hand, was a kid (no, don't get me wrong -- I still am), and question whether god exists or not haven't really bothered me until 1990.

In 1990 the Socialistic economy has successfully collapsed and, as it usually happens in times of economical instability and social turmoil, the demand for various sorts of mass illusions and delusions has greatly increased. Newpapers and magazines, once very careful and conscious of their public image, exploded with reports about all sorts of paranormal activities -- UFOs, potergeist, telekinesis, telepathy, "divine" healers and healings, unexplained phenomena, mysterious conspiracies, and many, many more.

Ma got a copy of the Bible, translated into Ukrainian.

The population was beginning to re-discover Christianity.

All hell suddenly broke loose. I believed in almost everything -- name me a theory or a phenomenon, preferably of a paranormal nature, and I probably knew about it and believed that it was true. Needless to say, I devoted a lot of time to the Bible and managed to visit all churches in my city -- and Kyiv has, by the way, very beautiful churches ... The obscene splendor of Ukrainian Orthodox Christianity ...

Yet, today I am hardly a believer type. In fact, I am not a believer at all -- I tend to regard anything supernatural, presented to me as a fact, with a great deal of skepticism and doubt. So, what happened to me? What was it that has turned a yesterday's paranormality freak into a skeptical inquirer?

There were two things that happened to me and thus diminished my belief in supernatural -- Lamaism and Mathematics. Along with the "paranormal" fog that has been obscuring my mind for almost four years, these three things have dispelled my once so strong belief in Christian religion; and further I would like to concentrate only on those aspects of my disbelief that pertain to Christianity.

The first of my two most influential factors, as I said, was Lamaism. Sometime in 1994, when I was in high school, one of my mother's friends gave me a book called The Third Eye, written by a Tibetian monk, whose name I, despite all my efforts, cannot remember now. Besides the loads of usual parapsychological gibberish, the book had several references to the Buddhist religion, specifically its branch called Lamaism, which is still practiced in some Tibetian monasteries.

When I began to compare these two religions -- Lamaism and Christianity -- I immediately saw how in fact lame, primitive and crude Christianity was. All of a sudden I saw Christianity as a religion designed for very ignorant people, a religion that has always thrived on two major emotions of such people -- fear and hatred. Spiritual search and constant self-perfection that characterized Lamaism for me, were not even present in Christianity -- the religion of slaves and for slaves which knew only how to obey, but not how to think. One of the central Christian dogmas, namely the unnatural masochistic need for constant self-depreciation, has become especially hard for me to deal with, since Lamaism have shown to me that it is not necessary to have a low self-esteem and a lingering feeling of being deadly sinful in order to progress spiritually and intellectually.

I began to have my first doubts about Christianity's main teachings.

The other factor that has influenced me greatly was Mathematics. In 1995 I got admitted to Kyiv State University -- perhaps, the best school in Ukraine -- as a Mathematics major. And, let me tell you, one semester of Mathematical Analysis (i.e. Calculus), Linear Algebra, Differential and Analytic Geometry, Combinatorics and a couple of other strictly mathematical subjects can do wonders to a person. Namely, it teaches not to accept anything without sufficient evidence based on a set of undeniable facts and logically valid, rigorous inference.

I began to doubt the cornerstone concepts of any religion -- afterlife and existence of a supreme being or beings -- merely because there wasn't enough proof that such concepts have indeed a certain reflection in reality besides just existing in our imagination. The whole idea of believing in something on the basis of faith -- i.e. without any supporting evidence whatsoever -- started to seem at least ridiculous, if not simply dangerous to me; the statue of religion was swiftly losing its ground, which it completely lost after another year of studying in the University.

So, that's how I have become the immoral Christless atrocity I am now. Of course, there were other factors, among which I can name philosophical arguments and conversations with my father and reading such authors as Bertrand Russell and Mark Twain, but those two factors that I have described were the most important in formation of my present-day beliefs and unbelief.

If you ask me what I am today, I shall reply that I consider myself to be an agnostic, meaning that I do not know if a supreme being or beings exist or not -- there isn't enough evidence to support either claim. But, if you ask me for an educated guess, I shall reply that in my personal opinion, such being or beings do not exist.

I guess, we can never know until we die.

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(grabbed from 'More De-Conversion Stories')

From: "Melanie Walker"
To: <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Hello!
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000 1:21 PM

Hi Cliff,

My name is Melanie and I am a moderator and partner in Cygnus' Study. I have been reading through your site and am finding it very interesting. I need to spend more time with it- and will continue to do so. I'd also like to invite you to check out our site. Please visit us and we'll do some networking. :)

As for your two questions:

"Does your atheism impact your outlook on life? If so, describe how" and "Is your atheism the result of your outlook on life? If so, describe how" I guess I will be lazy and copy and paste my "deconversion" story from our site and hope it gives you a sense of what I believe (or don't, as the case may be!) Here it is -- linked from this board:

Sam (Cygnus) and I live in Beaverton with my two children. Sam and I are planning to attend the Atheist/Humanist/Skeptic Symposium on July 29th and are looking forward to the event.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Melanie

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My Testimony.
Jim. Lee.
New South Wales
Australia. Aug. 99

I have walked a long road in just under three years. From Christianity, to Messianic Judaism, gave Orthodox Judaism some thought, and from there to agnostic belief, and I would now have to say that I'm Atheist. This testimony is on going, as I slowly lost sight of God. So let me begin.

My wife Gloria and myself became Christians in Nov.1987, at an Assembly of God, Pentecostal Church in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. A few weeks after that we moved to Northern rivers area, Northern New South Wales. We were Baptised in Shaw's bay a few weeks after our arrival there. We gradually became more involved into Church activities. We would usually attend all services, participate in ministry training courses, mid week meetings, bible study classes, both within the Church and within the home, early morning prayer meetings, as well as prayer walks around the community etc, as a regular part of our life. We were water baptised, Spirit filled (spoke in other tongues) born again believers in the true sense of the word.

Gloria also became involved in the Music ministries, as well as leading in Bible study groups for women, K.Y.B. (know your bible,) and scripture readings in old peoples hostels, and playing an active role within the Church. We were also involved in combined Church services committee meetings, trying to encourage unity among the various denominations. This was short lived for us, as it meant we had to compromise on what we believed in. We believed that from Genesis to Revelation was the inspired and infallible word of God, (fundamental) and many Christians in our opinion went to Church on Sundays and spent the rest of the week in the world, many liberal Christians do not believe what the church teach. So for the sake of unity and harmony we resigned from this role. Gloria and myself built up quite a considerable library within our home as we studied God's word. We obtained Concordances, Bible Dictionaries, Greek and Hebrew Lexicons, Study Bibles of most translations, study books on Spiritual warfare, exorcism, and Christian counseling. It was our life and we loved it. Every one of our friends were Christian, We never associated at all with non-believers with the exception of our family members. Two of our five children were also Christian and still are, it was this conversion of two of our three sons who were teen-ages at the time, which brought both my wife and myself into Christianity. They encouraged us to go to church with them and we did, and at the second service my wife and I went down to the altar and gave our hearts to Jesus, and we never even queried what we were doing, just took the pastors word for it. It is a long story, which I intend to write about one day, but to speed up this testimony a little, it mainly started about two and one half years ago. One morning after the service at the Baptist Church in our home town, a lady from the congregation approached me, and asked me what my views were on Israel and the Jews. It was something that I had never given much thought about, so I said to her. "As far as I'm concerned the Jews have had it, they rejected Jesus and the Christians adopted him." I then went on to say, " That if a mother neglected her child, and put her child up for adoption, then the foster mother who raised and cared for him, would have sole rights to the child." And that was the end of the matter, or so I thought. My wife and I were driving home from the service, when I sensed something within me saying. "You were wrong about the foster mother, because the life force is in the blood, and that it is this force that binds the child to the natural mother for life, adoption or no adoption." This had a powerful effect on me as I began to understand that the mother of Jesus, would have been a Jew, and that made Jesus a Jew. I kept trying to put it out of my mind but my soul was not at peace. Eight months went by as I struggled with this issue and I just knew in my heart I could defer it any longer. I said to my wife Gloria, "I feel that I have to learn about Israel and its people and that we should become involved in a prayer group that focuses on Israel, the Jewish people and their culture, as I believe that God is trying to show me something." She did not want to go at first but as I'm very deaf, she said that she would come with me to take notes etc. It wasn't long before Gloria also started to look forward to these weekly meeting the same as I did.

We joined a local prayer group in town, where we are still living. This group came together once a week, in a private home, mid week to pray for Israel and the Jews and to assist with finances to help the Jews living in foreign lands to return to their homeland. This group consisted of about twelve to fifteen people from various church denominations around the local area. We would start at 7:00 PM until 10:30PM and then have supper and have discussion time.

Both Gloria and myself decided to learn Hebrew and study Tanach. (Jewish bible) There is no New Testament in this bible, as believing Jews do not recognise Jesus as the messiah, and they do not recognise New Testament either. We purchased these books from a Jewish bookstore in Melbourne. We had been informed not to buy the Tanach from a Christian bookstore, as they were Christianised and was not of original translation. I must admit this came as a shock to us, our first awareness that something was amiss. We now understand why.

As I mentioned earlier I'm extremely deaf even with a hearing aid, and I have always struggled at prayer meetings, not knowing what other people are praying about. This had its funny moments though, as I would sometimes pray for something that was the opposite of what someone else had prayed for. During this time of meditation, (and that is what it was like for me, most of the time.) I started to see scriptures like I had never seen scripture before, I started to see scriptures in New Testament that were in contradiction, so I would go home and the next day pore over the Word. I started delving into various bible translations, using concordances, and bible dictionaries, I started seeking out early church history, and found that there was much error in New Testament writings. I started to share what I was finding out, with this group of faithful prayer warriors, but it only brought conflict. They just did not want to know about it. This prayer group was becoming uneasy and restless.

Even though at this stage my wife and I were still deeply involved within the church, and Jesus was out life. We still believed the New Testament was the inspired and infallible word of God, but there were serious questions just about to surface. I would call out to God and ask Him. "What are you trying to do to me"? We became convicted about the food we were eating, and so we began to change our dietary habits in accordance with old testament scripture, ( Tanach) and also the Biblical Sabbath, I could never understand how Christians could justify doing away with the fourth commandment, no matter how hard I tried. So we began to observe Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, and we would spent this entire time apart from normal sleeping, focusing on God. This was in addition to our other commitments within the Church. We would on most occasions attend both morning and evening services on Sundays, and whatever was going on mid-week as well. It was during these biblical Sabbath observances that Gloria and I would pray to God that He would bring people across our paths, who's thoughts were similar to ours. Then within a couple of weeks, one day in a shopping centre we meet a woman that we had known years before, in another Church in another town. She shared with us that she also had a burden on her heart for years, to pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and that she had left the Church years ago. She said that she now belonged to a group of people, who met in private homes on a monthly basis and that they were a messianic group. She said that Jesus was a Jew and that his name was Yeshua, and that he was never a Christian but had a sect of Judaism called "The Way." We were excited because we still felt this way as well, and this was confirmation to some of the thing that I had been discovering.

We joined this group and found that they kept the biblical Sabbath, and followed the ways of Jewish law and dietary habits. We did not understand it at the time but this group became a stepping stone for us. By this time, we had already left the Church, but still believing that Yeshua was the Messiah. We were still involved in the weekly prayer group for Israel, and as I started to share with them this new direction in our lives, it brought about the downfall of this small group of people. May I also mention, this prayer group had not been sanctioned by any of the churches, some of the members were asked by their church ministers to a please explain. They were troubled by this as they thought that they may be asked to leave the church and they decided to close the prayer group down. I was becoming a thorn in the side that they could well do without. I felt sad about this, as I still believed that God was trying to show all of us something, but the sound from the pulpit was overshadowing the voice of God. Within a couple of months this prayer group reformed, those who had been asked for a please explain never returned to this prayer group, and needless to say both Gloria and myself were never invited to meet with them in prayer.

The teacher of this messianic group where we began attending, was an ex pastor from a Christian Pentecostal Church who had begun to see things in a new light. She was well educated in Middle East religions, having studied such at universities, and had been asked to step down from the pulpit because of her change of views, and she now runs small messianic groups. This lady was a great help to us at the time as she was sharing about early Church history, and how the New Testament had been misunderstood. The pagan influences that had crept into the early church, such as Easter, Christmas, communion, and the trinity.

This trinity (3 Gods in one?) was first formulated in 4TH century writing, even bible dictionaries admit this. This excited me as this was added confirmation to my own research. As I started to delve further into Roman and Greek mythology I also became aware of the origins of the Original sin, the Virgin birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Hell, and Satan. Satan of the New Testament is not the Satan of the old, and how it began to influence New Testament writings. Gloria and myself are still pushing ahead, as God is still revealing His word to us. We no longer accept this messianic approach, as it still remains another doorway to Jesus or Yeshua, depending on where you are coming from.

Where does this leave both Gloria and myself? From a Christian concept we are in exile, Our Christian friends have deserted us in droves. But The Almighty God has put within us a burning desire for truth, no matter what the cost. Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our God, Hashem, the one and only.

Throughout the generations, beginning with the exodus Non-Jews have taken the responsibility and become converts. The Hebrew bible (Tanach) speaks of the mixed multitudes (Exodus 12:38) that went up from Egypt with Israel, awed and inspired by Moses.

The light of the Jewish faith has burned longer than any other. It is the oldest living religious light, and it is this light which challenges us (Gloria and Myself) to seek truth, and to study. [My views on this has changed.]

We now understand, that Jews should never become Christians or Messianic believers, being told that they are now a completed Jew in Yeshua. Nor should anyone else for that matter, but we believe the deception that was set up by the early church Fathers has been around too long.

Maybe it will take some Great historical discovery to be made to bring about a change, and with that change of course would bring devastation for the believers in Jesus, along with economic woes throughout the entire Christian enterprises of the Christianised world. I personally believe that the death knoll of Christianity is already being tolled, and it must change or die.

Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony.

Jim Lee.
Aug. 99

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Continuing saga

Much water has flowed under the bridge since I put this testimony together in August. 1999. I would have spent in excess of 1000 hours in research, in the last two and one half years. At that point of time we were giving some thought of converting to Judaism and still proceeded to continue doing research into biblical history. We have now turned our back on all revealed organised man made religions.

The Christian Jesus has been the creation of many people, he has been continually reworked by many Christian authors over almost two thousand years. He has been rebuilt too many times for too long a journey. Science is now breaking it down and the church can almost no longer serve the needs of the modern man, who's own personal development has outstripped that of his bible. Many many Christians no longer believe in what is being taught. They no longer believe that the earth and man are but a mere 6000 years old, according to the bible. They no longer believe in Adam and Eve. For those who don't believe in the Adam and Eve story, this alone should pose a serious problem. With no Adam and Eve then there is no Original sin, and without Original sin there is no need for Jesus, who was supposedly born of a virgin to set Believers free from the Original sin.

We are almost space age travelers still trying to move about in the primitive superstition of ancient times. I am quite convinced today that the hierarchy of the Catholic and Anglican Churches know and believe that many religions lead to the creator God, and the dogmas of Christianity now firmly entrenched in the believer, leave a lot to be desired. The new Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Rev. Dr. Peter Carnley, Archbishop of Perth made a public statement just recently (April 2000) that he believed that the Islamic and Buddha faiths also lead to God. He also made the comment that too much emphasis was placed on the resurrection. He also stated that fundamental Christians would not be able bully him. There are many others in similar position also saying the same. If this is what they believe then where does that put Jesus and the bible.

I have also started to put a lot of my articles to paper. I believe it is important for all believers of the Christian faith to stop, to think and to question? It is no good seeking your pastor or minister for answers for they themselves know only what they have been taught, usually second hand information, you must seek for yourself. If you seek you shall find.

My wife and I believe in a Creator, but with no dogmas to follow, just our own intuition, and to love our fellow man and to reach out when there is a need.This creator is a creation of natural processes, which does not make judgments or dispense advice. There is no instruction manual. When all and everything was created the switch was turned on so to speak, and we have been left to our own devices, to follow the direction of our heart until the day when we depart from this life as we know it.

The more I search the more I discover, and am still discovering. There were religions that predated the Israelites, and these ancient religions and history of these people is what keeps me intrigued to this very day.

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Agnostic / Atheist? August 2000.

If you have read my testimony then you will gather that I had not quite made it to the Atheist stage. I guess at that stage both my wife and myself would have had to class ourselves as Agnostic. We no longer believe in any revealed organised religion as such, and therefore there are no miracles and no point in prayer The big bang theory could have been the very start of creation as we know it today, still evolving. We like to think that the psyche of man could be spiritual in some way but we don't know and probably never will, after all dead men don't talk. There is no returning from the dead to spread the news, is there? At least we now have an open mind, and are no longer held in bondage to religion

Maybe death is the great equaliser? Whatever revealed organised man made religion you belong to, whether it is Christianity, Muslim, Hindu, Judaism, or all of their various off-shoots, sects, cults, or whatever, I now believe that death makes us all equal.

In closing may I add. Don't be afraid to change. So often we find ourselves following the paths that others have set before us. Perhaps we feel limited by our own beliefs of what we think we can do and what we can't do. In just a single moment that it takes to commit to change our ways, we can rewrite a new story. Change isn't always easy, and it takes Courage, but with courage comes growth, and with growth comes enlightenment. It is my desire that whoever reads this testimony will seek new ways to grow and to learn in the time that lays ahead.

Jim Lee.
June 2000

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(grabbed from 'Still More De-Conversion Stories')

From:"Ken Hark"
To:"Positive Atheism Magazine"<editor@positiveathiesm.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2000 1:58 PM

This a tough story to relate. To leave the faiths coming from Abraham is not easy. I was raised in the Brethren Church, It was a very strict fundamentalist church. I had parents who could not have been better considering their education and environment. They were hard working, kind people. Mother told me that she had dropped to her knees and ask God that no child would be born to her lest they be saved. I was very young but it hit me heavy. It would have been no big deal, but as I said she was a wonderful loving mother. Dad he didn't talk much about religion. He lived it. He was kind, forgiving and humble. I revere this man to this day.

I was born with a mind of questions. This was my down fall or salvation depending on how you want to look at it. I joined the army at 17. This was hell for any one who questions authority as I do. I was always thinking and expounding on some of my thoughts. Then my fellow solders started accusing me of being a communist and a nazi. So I went to the Army library and ask something about the Nazi party. She gave me "Mein Kamph". I read it all by myself. Wondering and thinking. Then I returned and asked for something on Communism. This was when the army found the book on my beside stand and I was sent to report to the commanding officer. He told me if I was ever caught reading things of this kind again, I would be treated severely and put from the service dishonorably. For the rest of my service I was very careful. I read the Army times, the Bible, and The "Army Times". I was very careful of what I read. I determined to retire honorably from the service which I did with 20 yr. and 18 days I was a free man.

I had joined the "Seventh Day Adventist Church". I became deacon in the church. All was for God and country. Then the church came to my wife, when I was not there and told her she could no longer teach children's Sabbath school because she wore a simple wedding band. This they said was because a statement in First Epistle of Paul to Timothy. Chapter 2. It states that women shall not wear gold or pearls. But then right after that it states that women shall not speak at all in church but learn in silence, with all subjection. I said this is strange, because women do speak in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The prophet of the church Ellen G. White spoke in church after church and nothing was said, but one little ring on my wife's finger was evil. I wrote a letter to the General conference in Washington D.C. Their reply was that things do change with time. I wish I had saved that letter. It was the beginning of the end.

Next I read where they ask Jesus what is the greatest of the commandments. He stated Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy soul and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. Mark12:30. I said to myself I do not love any monster that sends out his chosen ones with orders to kill every person and thing, men, women, children and all of their animals. How could any one love a monster like that. I'm doomed to hell any way so why try to live a lie any longer. This was at the age of 41yr. It's not easy to get rid of the years and years of brain washing. If we gave up the tooth fairy, and Saint Nicholas, why not Jehovah and Jesus Christ. To be an Atheist is a lonely life, but it's a big monkey off ones back.

Graphic Rule

From: "Jackson"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2000 11:42 AM

I was reared in a Christian family. My mother took me to Sunday school every week and taught Sunday school herself. The only time I remember my parents not getting along was when they argued about my father not wanting to attend church with my mother.

Eventually they got a divorce. My mother remarried eight years later to a man who was a member of the Church of Christ. My mother, brother and I had been sprinkled in the Presbyterian church but the church of Christ did not believe any other denominations were true Christians, so we were baptized again, this time by immersion.

My step-father taught Sunday school and was an elder and occasionally preached. My mother was his third wife and he was unfaithful to her and left her several times, but she always took him back because he "repented." He even divorced her once, but they remarried. He never stopped fooling around on her until he got too sick to have sex. He even had sex with her best friend. When he died he had a Christian funeral and all the people from his church attended and said what a good Christian man he was. It made me want to puke.

I attended Church of Christ Bible College where I met my husband. His father was a preacher. I thought he was going to be a preacher, but he joined the Air Force instead. We got busy raising a family and were very faithful Christians and raised our children that way. Every single church we attended had some kind of trouble. Either the preacher was fired or the minister's kids were juvenile delinquents or something. When our daughter was 13 years old, she was raped in the church nursery by a member of our church. Still, we continued to attend church. We kept quiet about that because we didn't want to detract from the church's witness in the community.

My husband told me that he had been molested by a minister who was a friend of his father's when he was a little boy and his parents kept quiet about it. After my children grew up, I went back to college and attended a state university. I studied anthropology and humanities and for the first time in my life, I realized what a sham religion was and how it had evolved in the minds and cultures of humans. None of my teachers actually said that, but it just all "clicked" as I studied more and more.

I decided through my reason that there is no god and that people can live just as moral and ethical a life without him as religious people claim to live by believing in a god. I look back and realize that the majority of unhappiness in my life has been because of church and religion.

My biggest regret is that I raised my children to believe in god. My oldest son is a big hypocrite and very judgmental. My daughter's marriage fell apart because he husband whom she also met in Bible college was not loving, but quoted scriptures at her. My third son is getting involved with a girl whom he met in an online Christian chat room. She has a lot of problems and he is getting in the middle of a bad situation.

I am also having a difficult time because my husband is still a Christian and although he knows that I don't believe in god anymore and still loves me, he still wants me to go to church with him and "pretend" I am a Christian. I know that if I told everyone I am an atheist, I would alienate all the rest of my family and all my friends. Being a truthful atheist after having been a Christian all my life has come with a price, but I am not changing my mind.

Graphic Rule

From:
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Friday, November 17, 2000 9:14 PM

My name is Christine, and I'm 15 years old. I've been an atheist for a year or so now.

I've grown up in a Lutheran home, so basically I learned all the great things god had to offer me, but there was no real consideration of punishment or whatnot. It was a very appealing prospect, but I remained skeptical for fourteen years. I always wanted some sort of proof, or at least reasonable answers to my questions, but no one could answer me. For instance, Lutherans say that to go to heaven, you need to believe that Jesus died for your sins. Pretty simple. But then they come back and say that The Jews will be the first in the kingdom of heaven. The Jews don't believe that Jesus was god. Stupid exceptions like that really piss me off. And no one could tell me what happened to suicides.

When I was 5 or so, a few times I would pray to specify a bracelet or something that I was offering as a sort of sacrifice for god to take. But it always stayed there. Then I wondered why, if we were right, so very many people believed differently. Most people would have to be wrong, and why would god allow that? It seems very unreasonable that someone would go to hell because they were never told about god. Now I see that it would also be unreasonable to damn someone for refusing to accept a belief blindly. Anyway, despite my doubts, I feared the idea of hell so much that I tried not to think about it too much, and I decided that since I was so afraid of going to hell that I must believe.

Well, last October (1999) I met Paul, an incredibly intelligent atheist. I began to care about him so much that I couldn't stand to let him go to hell without my trying to stop him. So we got into long religious discussions for hours every few nights. His words never really affected my belief since his argumentation was rather poor, but debating the topic made me question myself about why I believed. Eventually I realized that I only believed because it was what I had grown up with. Slowly the basis for my whole belief slipped away, and by January the whole concept seemed ridiculous to me. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became that I had been fooled for so long.

My change in belief has affected my life in a number of ways. First, I feel very disconnected from my family. They always say stupid shit like, "You know, God loves you just the way you are," and, "Look at the sunset. Isn't God a wonderful painter?" It makes me sick. But I know I can't tell them because it would destroy my mother, and they wouldn't trust me anymore because they base their idea of morality off of religion. I'm also inflicted now with this chronic feeling of melancholy, like I lost everything that really meant something to me. But I'm also more motivated to succeed, increase my intelligence, etc., because I realize that I have to go off of my own merit. Christianity told me what the meaning of life was, but now I have to find it for myself. It also kinda sucked, because, as I lost the belief in god, I was getting into a relationship with the Paul guy that I previously mentioned. So those feelings kind of transposed over to him, so when he lied, hurt me like hell, left me, and stopped talking to me I really felt like I'd lost everything. So now I'm starting over, trying to figure out what I really want out of existence. But at least I feel like I know the truth now. That's it, I guess.

Graphic Rule

From: "Nunya Business"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: De-Conversion Story
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 00:19:08 GMT

Tried to send this yesterday, but I misspelled the address.

I was raised as in a Roman Catholic family and we went to church every Sunday. I never really got into the actual stories, but I memorized all of the group prayers, like the Apostle's Creed and I was proud of myself for knowing that. Other than that, religion meant nothing to me. I "knew" there was a God and accepted the teachings of the Catholic Church.

One day, when I was about 13, I was in the grocery store, waiting for my parents to finish shopping. I wandered past a coupon bin and one of the coupons was for a free magazine. I had never had a subscription in my name before, so I filled it out. It was for the Plain Truth, the magazine of the Worldwide Church of God.

Being an avid reader, I read all of the issues they sent me and ordered every booklet they offered, it was free after all. But I became confused.

If you're not familiar with the Worldwide Church of God, they teach a literal interpretation of the Bible. For example, one of the brochures I had explained how Christ was crucified on a Wednesday and rose on a Saturday, thus satisfying the three-day, three-night prophecy. One of the brochures explained how the afterlife worked, by interpreting the book of Revelation. When you die, you're dead. Everyone who has ever died is still dead. At the end of the world, Christ will win his battle, then raise everyone from the dead. Those who are in the book of life will remain living in the new, peaceful Earth. Those who aren't will be tossed into the Lake of Fire and die. No eternal torment, no hell.

All of this conflicted with what I "knew" to be true from Catholicism. I decided to read about the origin of the bible, from biblical scholars. To my shock, it turned out that the first five books were a compilation of different stories, the Gospels were written many years after Christ died. Then my high school English class started teaching Greek/Roman mythology. I realized that those people genuinely believed in Zeus, Mount Olympus and their other stories. I thought to myself, what if the Catholic God wasn't true.

I still went to Church (my Mom once threatened that I wouldn't get any X-Mas presents if I didn't go to church with them), but by the time I was 18, I was no longer going. My dad had cancer and my mom was going to church alone.

After I was told my father that my father had 6 months to live. I got down on my knees. I tried to pray for his health. Then I realized that I couldn't pray. I had nothing to pray to. Anything I said would have been meaningless.

I had thought that I was being punished for being a disbeliever, but then I realized that my Mom, my Dad, my siblings, my Dad's siblings were all God-worshippers. If He really wanted to punish me, He would have killed me, not a god fearing man loved by a god fearing woman.

That's when I really realized that I was an atheist.

What really gets me about religion is the hypocrisy of the people. I know a couple who were trying to get married. They had to shop around for a church that didn't look down on their living together. If you have to pick and choose your church based on how their beliefs match up to yours, what is the point of following a religion in the first place.

I know another couple who would always say grace before a meal and were always talking about religion. What gets me is that they also lived together for a while and both of them are divorced! Some religion.

My wife and I are currently going through infertility treatments to have a child. What gets me is that people, after they know what we are going through, tell us that they are praying for us to get pregant. Excuse me, but if there is a God, He is the one that made me infertile in the first place. It is only through the efforts of a fertility clinic that we even have the possibility of pregnancy. God has nothing to do with it.

I knew this message would be too long.

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Martin Graney"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Thursday, January 04, 2001 11:01 AM

Lets start at the beginning [usually a good place to start].

I was born to a sectarian [inter-faith-ish] marriage. My mother a Methodist and my father a Catholic. Being the UK in the early 70's they decided to not 'church' me, to avoid family disputes, but took a more liberal Christian view of teaching me the bible themselves and, of course, prayer before bedtime.

I went, of my own volition, with a churched cousin of mine to a children's Christian group called the CCC [I can not now remember what the acronym stood for], where they would literally smash a phonograph record when they increased the number of children there the next week, sybolising one more soul saved, or something. I was quite happy in my beliefs until I was 10 years old. On my own I logically deduced that santa could not exist. [As I was a first child this happened rather late.] I trusted my parents to tell the truth, as they emphasized truth above all else, and this was a bit blow to find out they deceived me.

But I still accepted a belief in god.

When I was just 14 I attended a Sunday school service with my churched cousin, who was 13, which upset and concerned me. The woman performing the lesson drew a diagram with a lot of faiths on it. With Christianity on the left and Judaism, Islam and others on the right.

She went on to say that Christianity on the left was the one true way to God and that all the other faiths, on the right, were the way to the devil and inherently evil. [She drew depictions of God and Satan on the board above the faiths to add impact!] I had always been taught, by my parents amongst others, that good people went to heaven and bad to hell. I never considered faith to have anything to do with it.

Suddenly I was exposed to the idea that a good Jewish person would go to Hell regardless of their unselfish acts.

I could not accept what she was saying and so I sat down and read the Bible. I had been a Christian my whole life and never read it until this point. I wonder how many Christians never read it?

Anyway, I read the Bible and became an agnostic almost immediately. It had contradictions, and blatant errors, and also lots of evil things, such as human sacrifice and slavery. Also, it seemed to me reading it at 14, Jesus was against organised faiths!.

I now believed that the bible was nothing but a book. Poorly edited with good and bad parts. And if Christ did exist, and this book could no longer be seen as an accurate historical text, then what he personally believed is probably no longer known.

God, in my mind then, could not be proved or disproved so I stopped praying before bedtime.

Then I went to University and fell in with the wrong crowd [theologically speaking]. I new a lot of people who where members of something called the Christian Fellowship [which I later derogatorily called the Christian Front, after the UK Nazi organisation the National Front].

They attempted to 'save my soul'. But as they argued more and more for the existence of god their arguments became less and less believable to me.

Eventually, although I wouldn't admit openly it at the time, I became an atheist. I could not believe in something that could not be proven to exist. To do so was nonsense. [To do so required 'faith'!]

I distanced myself from them and hung out with more tolerant Christians, Moslems and others, who did not force their faith upon me, and just wanted to have a good time.

I then lived quite comfortably in the closet for a number of years. I lived in Colorado in the US for a year and felt alienated as I refused to go to a local church.

Claiming to be an agnostic I was met with disdain and would often get creationist co-workers trying to convert me in my cubicle. [Yes Dilbert is true!] I hate to think how I would have been treated had I been totally honest.

Now I live in the Netherlands and have a pretty good life. I am 'out' to most people but do not volunteer the information so readily.

I believe that disbelief, like faiths, is a personal choice. I don't want to preach.

It is only when the question is raised that I have a tendency to make myself heard.

Only when someone says something like 'but we all believe in some sort of god' or some other stupid statement that I speak out.

All in all I have had a good life with supportive friends and family and have met with little hatred [although I have seen some ignorance].

I guess I am lucky to be a happy atheist.

enjoy

martin ;-)

Graphic Rule

From: "VJ Lange"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2001 5:15 AM

I was raised a Catholic in a large Catholic family in the US Midwest in the 1930s. I was very serious about the religion, went to a Catholic grade school, became an altar boy at age eight and soon was talking about becoming a priest. But around 10 or 11 puberty set it and sexual thoughts and masturbation required confessing these sins regularly in the confessional. A very old priest who preached brimstone & fire terrorized me with threats of eternal damnation in the confessional.

At some point I was too frightened to truly confess all, which invalidates the confession and doubles the damnation. Taking Holy Communion after such an invalid confession adds to the damnation and buries you deeper in your commitment to hell.

In desperation I went to the public library and found Nietzsche who told me God was an invention of man. That basically liberated me from any religion, though I continued through the philosophers Schopenhaur & Spinoza and into the Greeks, Plato & Aristotle. In college and other times I read the Catholic theologians -- St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas -- and had lively debates with some Franciscan Friars and Jesuit priests I knew, to satisfy that I had done my intellectual homework. I never looked back after Nietzsche liberated me from the basic superstition of the god-world.

I had to remain a member of the Catholic Church and go through its rituals (because of family) until I left home at 18, but it was all perfunctory and meaningless. I'm 75 now and can look back with no regrets for turning away from any religious guidance at such a young age. The likes of Darwin and Bertrand Russell, Marx, Freud, Fromme, Shakespeare and the Greek dramatists provided the greatest moral teaching -- far superior to anything in the Bible, the Koran or the Bhaga-Vad-Gita -- for leading the good life, enjoying it to the fullest while still having concern for what we leave to future generations.

I only regret that regions still have such a stranglehold on most of the world's population -- we nontheists are such a tiny minority still! -- despite the wonders of modern astronomy and space exploration! And we seem to be going deeper into silly superstitions like astrology and strange cults. My greatest concern is population which is totally out of control, due in largest part to Catholicism and Islam and their atavistic beliefs about birth control!

Graphic Rule

From: "RCJ21483"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM My De-Conversion Story 9371
Date: Sunday, January 07, 2001 7:58 AM

Dear Mr. Walker,

These subjects are rather fascinating to me, especially discussion forums like this one which seek personal accounts. I think by gathering a personal account, it gives someone a new way to view something - that is, it lets one see how many ways that theism could be viewed as a failure to someone and how some people and families don't follow the accustomed assumption that everyone has religion. It's personal insight to other people, and sometimes to yourself -- such as cases when you can't find the words you want to say, these might be the words you were looking for -- if you look carefully!

I've been an atheist for about three years now. I was born and raised an Episcopalian with an Episcopal mother and Catholic father. My parents divorced when I was four, leaving me very little influence from my father in subsequent years. I think this might have been a start for my non-believing since my father is a very devout Catholic, and he was mostly out of my life from then.

My next lead into atheism was from my mother's influence. She believes in a God to this day, but I think she unintentionally sent me in a direction of atheism. She is a very educated woman, she reads all of the time and only reads history books by popular and lesser-known authors which probe histories of America, other nations, businesses, individuals, religions - a lot of fields. She also has a knack for science and raised me to look to it or answers. This was sort of an introduction. From her, I never really learned to believe in a God from a very young age, although I liked to tell myself there was one. I simply began asking the sciences behind the answers to questions, and my mother, being well-educated, provided me with solid answers which I later studied on my own and found her answer true - she always gave me a true answer, never a lie or inaccuracy about a history or science question I raised to her.

In about seventh grade, I began hearing about contradictions in the Bible. I also did some mild study on religion and the medieval era when faiths like Catholicism were strong, and learned about sacrifices and murders on the grounds of defying God. I began to question the good in religion, how something meant to do good would take a human life out of rendering its followers as racists (in my opinion).

By high school, I had what I thought was enough of a science and history background to make religion more of a senseless negative. My school's history course also used the Bible as one of its texts, and from reading it and studying Biblical history I found even more inaccuracies and wrongs from the Bible, building my own knowledge box of ammunition against theism as I read. I just slowly transgressed from theism, to agnosticism, to atheism.

Sincerely,
R. J.

Graphic Rule

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