What do you think?

I would like to do a Question & Answer time. I am sure some of you must have questions about me and my beliefs, change of beliefs, or how maybe even my old beliefs. So, now is a good time to ask.

I will be honest, but I will not risk exposing my identity yet. I will tell you what I think, how I feel, etc. I may not be able answer all questions.

One of my objectives in this blog is to take people on my journey with me. I think it can be a learning experience for people. I want to give a peek behind the curtain.

Fire Away!

40 comments

  1. Alan · February 29, 2016

    What made you start to seriously rethink your beliefs? When did this happen?

    Are there any common/popular arguments (either from theists or from atheists) that you found particularly persuasive or particularly unpersuasive?

    Liked by 1 person

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      Excellent Question! I think I got into that in an earlier comment https://adisillusionist.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=20&action=edit, check it out also.

      Well, I was going to try to witness to an atheist who was trolling christians online. He was the typical angry type. I was sure he was mad at god, rebellious, and unable to let go of his sin. I intended on never getting to anything other than a pleasant tone in my communication with him. I starting looking at posts he made during conversations with other christians. I was going to find the real answers and use those to lead him to god, and let him really have to face god with his sin and rebellion. I prayed that he would be honest with himself and god. BUT when I started truly looked into his statements and position I could only find answers that lead to more questions.

      Probably the concept that stood out the most to me that I has a problem I had never considered is: “why does god hate amputees?” (Look it up if you haven’t seen it already. Why would god heal cancer as horrible as that is, but not heal an amputee? There are many claims of god’s healings for internal ailments and diseases, but none, NOT A SINGLE verified case of god putting someone’s severed limb back on them or letting them regrow one.

      God is not a respecter of persons, he love us all. That was a huge problem. I though about it. If some christian painter lost his hand in a car wreck and he had used his ministry to lead thousands of people to the lord would god put his hand back on him? The answer was instantly “no”. Big problem there.

      Liked by 4 people

      • john zande · February 29, 2016

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alan · March 1, 2016

        That link asks me to sign in to WordPress. Even if I remove the part of the URL about editing, I get hit with a sign-in page. Is that post restricted to your friends only? I also tried looking at the 20th oldest post on your blog, but it was about winning the lottery, and presumably not the one you had in mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 1, 2016

        sorry, try looking up the post that is “The straw the broke the religious camel’s back”. I must have done the link wrong.

        Like

  2. MP · February 29, 2016

    I’m curious to know if, before your beliefs changed, your political views were closely tied to your religious worldview. Did you use your position as a political platform, as so many evangelists have?

    And if it was, have your political views changed in any way since you became an atheist?

    Liked by 1 person

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      I would have told you no my political views were not tied to my religious views, but I would have been wrong. They obviously were.

      I thought my political views were based on the knowledge of good and evil as well as my conscious, which god gave me. So, it was not tied to my religion. It happened that god created right and wrong, my religion was based on a relationship not opinions and politics.

      I not realize that I was brainwashed both in religion and politics. I actually, began to separate out politics before I deconverted. I realized that I did not want the law to open up for islam to rule the USA, so we must not make laws that opened up for any religion to do it. So, I started to truly understand the libertarian point of view. It has changed the way I see politics.

      Like

  3. Shelly · February 29, 2016

    I found that, for me, leaving religion was a very slow journey. In hindsight, there were many slow steps along the way, but I feel that I didn’t include my spouse in those steps like I should have. Then when I finally made that “leap” to atheist, it came across as a shock to everyone. How is your spouse handling this?
    Secondly, because we had built up our lives around religion: met at Bible college, regular church-goers, raising kids to believe in God – you know, a “plan”. So when I first declared that I was an atheist, I continued to attend church regularly and keep up appearances for almost a year. But I found that as time went on, I was growing increasingly bitter about going and having a harder and harder time keeping up appearances. I started reading atheist books on my phone during sermons, I wouldn’t sing along, etc. So my follow up question is: how are you staying in your situation for so long? I understand the financial obligations, but aren’t you finding it more and more difficult or frustrating?

    Liked by 3 people

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      Fortunately for me, I did take my spouse along the journey with me. We discussed every question and problem along the way. Her, being a good christian wife, did the submit and follow thing. I am not saying she was a gentle lamb blindly following. She actually let me know she had questions before. There were times throughout our marriage she wondered if the religion thing was all wrong. She told me that I always had san answer for her so she trusted me. (I believe it was because we have always had a strong relationship and because I am a skilled presenter.)

      To address your second question, almost always in church I am working. I present the same sermons that I have for a long time. I really go into automatic mode. I imagine it would be like pulling teeth to sit in a pew week in and week out. That being said, yes, it is still getting increasingly frustrating.

      Like

    • sallybr0wn · March 1, 2016

      Shelly, you sound like me. I had doubts for a while. I didn’t research it because I felt badly. One night I told my husband that I didn’t believe Jesus was the son of god, but believed in god still. He said it was one of the hardest things that I’ve told him. I went on my journey alone, in secret. Reading on my phone, listening while he worked. My doubt made him grip his faith more and be more open and vocal.

      I’m now an atheist. I still go to church with him. I do not sing, I do not pray, I do not take communion. I still have to listen to that horrible Christian praise music, he wants to take me to conferences… It’s really torture. I don’t know how long I’m supposed to go on with this charade. But I feel since he married a Christian girl, do I owe him something ? Is it wrong that I changed?

      Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 1, 2016

        I am so glad so see people be able to discuss views and experiences here. I know we can all learn from each other.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shelly · March 3, 2016

        I know about avoiding research! It’s amazing when you actually make the effort what a different perspective you can come up with. I had gone to a bible college for one year and I learned all of the apologetics and canned answers, but I guess I didn’t really think it through thoroughly. That, or I really wanted to believe to make my mother happy or something… I don’t know.

        My spouse has the same complaints about marrying one person and now I’ve changed. I see marriage as primarily a commitment to each other, to walk with each other on their own journeys and to support each other’s growths and through their trials; to stand by each other through thick and thin. We have other issues in our marriage that have kind of helped push the religion to the back burner for now, but we are slowly settling into a new way of life. I don’t think it’s wrong to change – although people always have trouble with change! Many marriages actually break up over this issue, unfortunately.

        The kids is another story though… they still go to church every week, and have various outside activities through churches as well. I’m starting to ask for things like “brownies” instead of “pioneer girls” (run by the church). I don’t want my kids to be too completely engrossed in religion and I try to speak up to remind them that there are other ways of looking at things.

        It’s not easy. Hang in there! Don’t continue attending church if it’s making you bitter and resentful. Best of luck!

        Liked by 2 people

      • adisillusionist · March 3, 2016

        Thanks for the post Shelly!

        Like

      • sallybr0wn · March 3, 2016

        My husband has said, why are you only reading one side… I told him I’ve read Christian authors for decades, I know their side.. It’s time to learn the other side and read it from atheists, not Christians telling me what atheists say.

        We had other issues, but I feel we are past those. I feel my atheism is the elephant in the room. I’m always suspicious that things are done to bring me back to the faith. I pick up on things that I’ve read in the past about being unequally yoked and so I feel those tactics are being used on me.

        My older kids are old enough to believe what they want. They go to church because I tell them their dad wants it and it should be respected since he supports us. I’m sure others may disagree, but it’s just Sunday church. I’ll keep going for a while, I’ve not decided when I’ll stop. I do hate it, but it’s just 1.5 hours 1x/week. Idk about the little kids. My husband is very devout. I can’t be seen as leading them away. When they ask about Jesus, I’m very vague. Or I say idk if Jesus is everywhere..I don’t want to lead them to Jesus but I don’t want to cause confusion in their minds with mommy and daddy not believing the same.

        Thank you and best of luck to you too

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 3, 2016

        I can totally see your point about an hour and a half a week. I think most people would spend an hour and a half doing something they don’t like to bond with their spouse.

        I can personally relate to not wanting someone telling me what someone else believes. I wanted to finally hear it for myself and make my own assessment of what atheists believe.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. MP · February 29, 2016

    Interesting. Relative to realizing that you didn’t want any religious law to be legal, did you then start to release the idea that everyone should be Christian (the evangelical mandate vs. acceptance of other faiths), or did you skip that consideration and just eventually lose your own faith?

    After I grew into my “fuzzy atheism” (because I still have an affection for certain traditions of the church), I decided that the religious beliefs of others really didn’t bother me as long as they didn’t try to hurt or impose their will on others. I could be at peace that with position, except there are still too many people out there trying to impose their personal religious beliefs on their communities and governments.

    Like

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      I had always felt everyone should be christian, after all that is the only reason god left us on earth after we became saved. I also believed in free will. I knew that we should never try to force someone into belief. So, I never mixed the religious drive to evangelize everyone with politics. I felt like we could leave religion out of politics because it was the individual christian’s job to carry out the great commission. As time went on, I found it more and more important to keep religion out of politics, and after dropping my faith, I see it to be essential. People can worship whomever, whatever and live however they want without it pushing the boundaries of other people.

      Like

  5. nowamfoundatlast · February 29, 2016

    do you feel cheated , that religion was misrepresented to you as a child? did you preach against gays? if yes, have you considered that a gay person may have suffered violence at the hands of another because of that? and this is a statement not a question. i lost faith as a child, a survivor of violent nuns in a catholic orphanage and i am an incest survivor, so i realized early either god is a liar and doesn’t answer prayer or its all a lie: there’s just a little old man behind the curtain in Oz. but i read several blogs like yours and it sometimes strikes me as a little whiney, and i think suck it up man and just move on. we all did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Violet · February 29, 2016

      I would like to address this, as I feel you have a very valid point. Part of the process of deconversion is realizing the damage that has been done to others as we perpetrated the lie of religion. But it is a process, and people are at different points in this process. You have to get pretty far along before you’ll have the courage to admit personal responsibility in the terrible harm that has been done.

      I would also like to say that the depth and length of belief plays a big factor in how people “get over” their loss of religion. Someone who can see religion as a lie when they are a child is completely different from someone who was in the faith for decades; especially adults who based their entire life on religion, and even made a career of it. It is not an easy thing to untangle oneself from it.

      I was a devout catholic for 41 years and deconverted a little over a year ago…I am still dealing with the trauma of realizing my entire life, and every decision I made, was based on a lie…a lie that had terrible consequences for myself and others. Just yesterday I was extremely upset over the issue of catholic priests raping boys…the punishment for their crimes has not been nearly enough. And I gave my time, life, and money to people who perpetrated these rapes. How can I come to grips with such a thing? I doubt I ever will.

      Liked by 5 people

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      I do feel cheated, but not that someone cheated me. I know I was taught what sincere people felt was best for me. I have never preached against gays.

      I can see how blogs might appear as whiney. I hope I don’t sound that way too much. If I didn’t depend on religion for my whole income if would be different. If I qualified to do anything else it would be different. The main thing is I am not willing to make my family homeless at this point. If it were just me I could live on someone’s floor or out of a car for a while, but it is not me. My concern is for my family. That is probably how and why I feel cheated the most is I missed my opportunity to do something productive in this world, to potentially provide a great income for my family but did not because I devote my life to ministry. Now, I am left with nothing and very little options. So, I will move on. I am glad you moved on, but I believe that different situations make moving on different for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Violet · February 29, 2016

        As a deconvert myself, I totally appreciate your desire to help yourself and your family…after all, jeebus isn’t going to do it for you. My question is, adisillusionist, do you see any harm in the preaching you’ve done for decades?

        I ask, because deflecting harm is a thing christians are REALLY, really good at. “Well, the church is in the world, which is contaminated by original sin and is therefore a fallen place; we can’t can’t be held responsible for the criminal activities of other christians.”

        I think part of becoming whole after leaving religion is being able to take responsibility. I don’t know that every atheist would agree with me on this point, but I think it’s a crime for deconverts to deflect or deny the harm we heaped on others as believers. Maybe you didn’t preach against gays, but you were part of an organization that has had violent implications for gays. I didn’t rape children myself, but supported the catholic church and gave money to my own priest, who did rape a multitude of boys. I also believed my priest when he told me my own son was demon possessed (a common belief in the catholic church), when in actuality my son had autism. I personally thought non-believers were going to hell, and told them so (and nearly ruined my marriage over it). Religion is harmful shit, despite many deconverts still having some loyalty to it.

        Agree or disagree? 🙂

        Like

      • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

        I have no loyalty to the church. I see the harm in it more and more the longer I am out and learning and thinking for myself. Obviously, I am biased and cannot truly see the harm I might have caused. I can think back of some of the things I have said or done over the years and know they were harmful. I see it more with my own family because my family is more important to me.

        Not to make light of it, but I am glad I don’t have to ask for forgiveness for all of it. The thing is, those people probably believed I helped them. They are likely going to take issue with me for being a non-believer. It is strange to think that they will embrace what harm I might have caused and reject what help I might be able to be.

        Like

      • Violet · February 29, 2016

        I didn’t clarify that sentence about “loyalty” very well. Obviously you are in process of leaving the church and have lost a certain level of loyalty for sure. My point is that I see a lot of deconverts say, “My religious activities never perpetrated REAL harm.”

        It looks like you personally are aware of *some* harm, but as you move forward in your deconversion, you may want to think more about this question of harm. It’s not that we should be whipping ourselves constantly over what we did, but admitting harm was done and being able to talk about the truth can be very healing for all involved (for ourselves as well as others who were harmed by religion).

        Perhaps ponder these points as you move forward on your journey:

        -did you ever tell someone to trust in god? What action did they not take because they were busy trusting that provision would come divinely?

        -did you ever ask for money to support your church? This was money taken out of people’s pockets to perpetrate a lie, and many people could ill afford to lose it in the first place.

        -did you ever say to someone “I’ll pray for you?” Because we know that praying did exactly jack shit to help that person.

        What believers think of you once you stop preaching has no bearing on the hard questions I’m asking. This is about your truth, your life, and the consequences of your beliefs on you, your family, and *others*. I think it’s worth taking a hard look at.

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 1, 2016

        I agree with your statements basically. I do think that people feel comfort when they know someone is praying for them. I also know that some people would give to the church if they didn’t believe, just to be a part of something. Some people only seem to feel like they belong in church.

        That being said, it doesn’t make asking people to give money to church a good thing. It doesn’t change things really.

        I am not sure how I will deal with it in the future. I cannot take it back. I did it while I was sincerely trying to do the best I could do for others. I will not really know the harm I might have caused, just like I won’t know any good I might have done.

        I know people who don’t feel good enough to get out of bad places in their lives that felt like god gave them the strength to get out. They likely would not have changed their lives for the better without that placebo effect.

        Is that an excuse to keep religion alive? No of course not, but if I face my past I must face the good and bad.

        Right now I have to get my life fixed then deal with others.

        Like

      • Violet · March 1, 2016

        Fair enough. Once your life is more stable and you’ve sorted things out more, that’s a better time to address any issues of harm. I also had to get out of the immediate chaos and adjust to major life changes before I could look at the harm I caused as a devout believer. You’ll also have a clearer perspective as you get more time away from the cult.

        Like

      • nowamfoundatlast · February 29, 2016

        you are clearly not left with nothing. to have lasted so long in the church you must be highly skilled at organization and management, speaking and writing, and negotiation between all those “peace lovin’ ” church goers. i understand why you must be so deliberate about your situation especially given the economy. maybe write a book? i would buy such a book

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

        You are right that I am not left with nothing. It just seems like it in comparison. I have been writing a book about my journey. I will probably try to publish it, but I know that I don’t have near the following to make printing a book worth while. I may never have that kind of following. (I am glad you would buy it. That is a start!)

        Like

  6. IRedfearn · February 29, 2016

    It’s been 5 years since I finally walked away from my evangelical faith. Have to say, for the majority of my adult life I was pretty good at being a Christian.. some preaching, words of knowledge and visions that reached and touched others, strong sense of God’s guidance in certain situations etc. So, coming to realize that was all a load of nonsense does take some processing. So my question is, why do you think some of us are better at/or more gullible for the whole Faith thing? Clearly you are very “gifted”, but what is it in some of us that makes us buy in to this more than others?

    Liked by 1 person

    • adisillusionist · February 29, 2016

      Wow, I hate to speak for ANYONE else, especially after what I have gone through and come to realize about people.

      I would speculate that your bond with the source of the information has much to do with how you buy into it.

      It seems that I run across more people who turn from their faith when the teaching and total indoctrination comes from church leaders (like a Sunday school teacher, a priest, or someone like that. The people who learned it from parents who firmly believed it all and loved their kids with all their heart are the ones who set the stage for an easier fall into brainwashing.

      I am sure that is not true with everyone. Some people believe in internet conspiracy theories easy while others do not.

      I just feel like how the whole story or experience resonates with someone has an effect on how deeply they believe or expands their capacity to believe.

      I am sure their is more to it.

      Like

  7. tsentientpuddle · March 1, 2016

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    My questions are about your family and your/their deconversion. You answered about your wife, but what can you tell us about your children’s part of this story? I have 24 & 22 year old daughters who were probably atheist before I was. (Australian, so not a big deal here.) I have a 12 year old son, and a 9 year old daughter, which was trickier to navigate, because my youngest still believes in Santa. Hard to talk about “requiring evidence for your belief in magic” when you’re still encouraging exactly that type of thinking. Anyway, if you can share, how are things with your children?

    Cheers
    Shane

    Like

    • adisillusionist · March 1, 2016

      I am really trying to make their lives as easy as I can through this. I will not say much about them or their journey even when I am out. I will let them do that when they are ready.

      I will say that my children have handled thing very well. We have let them believe and explore what they want. We have told them that we have made mistakes in what we have taught them. So what they believe isn’t as important as why they believe it.

      We have encouraged them to explore belief in god and the position of non-belief in god. We have helped them to understand why they believe something.

      They currently are atheists.

      Like

      • tsentientpuddle · March 2, 2016

        TY. I assume you don’t want to mention their ages, so this follow up might be moot. I’m wondering if they understand why you still need to pretend to the outside world, to keep your job, and how they feel about that.

        Cheers
        Shane

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 2, 2016

        I have explained it to them on a level appropriate to their ages and answered their questions. I have also explained that I may be doing it wrong and might be making a mistake, but I am doing the best I can.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Richard · March 3, 2016

    Quick question: which atheist speaker or writer do you enjoy listening/reading the most? Also, which Christian apologist do you cringe at the most?

    Liked by 1 person

    • adisillusionist · March 3, 2016

      Nice question! My favorite is Matt Dillahunty. The two I cringe to hear are Benny Hinn and Rod Parsley.

      Like

      • Richard · March 3, 2016

        Huge fan of Dillahunty. Why do you prefer him over Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc…
        Also I remember you saying you know Kent Hovind. He recently recorded a video saying if he were God, he’d put contradictions in the bible to weed out those who didn’t want to believe anyway. I face palmed on that one!

        Liked by 1 person

      • adisillusionist · March 3, 2016

        I think Dillihunty is my favorite because I watched a ton of the Atheist Experience videos as I tried to make sense of things. His personality resonated with me more than the other hosts.

        I have read the others you mentioned and watched videos of them on line. I love aspects of everyone one of them! Hitchens is quite a character on video too.

        Like

  9. anathheist · March 4, 2016

    Regarding your book – I think you underestimate the potential readership if you are as well-known as you say you are. Don’t get me wrong – I am not doubting your renown, but it’s hard to judge just what sort of impact your story is going to have. The bigger you are, the greater an impact your deconversion will have; thus the greater your readership for such a book would have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • adisillusionist · March 4, 2016

      I have no way to judge how well my story would sell. I had not thought about people in churches where I have been that maybe do not believe or have questions. They might buy my book. Thanks!

      Like

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