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Posts Tagged ‘deconversion’

It’s been two years since I finally admitted to myself that I was not struggling with doubt any more; I no longer believed in God. The creed below is what I can say with some confidence that I believe in today. I got a little silly with the language, and I did so on purpose, to help me remember to hold my new beliefs lightly.

Proposition 1: I believe that there is an objective reality; that what is, is; that a = a.

  • Clarification of the above Proposition: I believe that what is, is neither as good, as bad, or even as easily defined or comprehended as it first seems.
  • Corollary of the above Clarification: I believe that labels, like all nouns and symbols, are useful tools- if you remember they are not what actually is.
  • Addendum upon previous three statements: I believe that observation, experimentation, reason, and logic are the best tools we’ve yet found to learn what actually is.

Proposition 2: I believe that actions have consequences.

  • Corollary on Proposition 2: I believe that what we think, say, do, and choose matters.
  • Conclusion drawn from above Corollary and previous Clarification: What we think, say, do and choose matters, but rarely in the manner we expect or intend.
  • Corollary on above Conclusion and previous Addendum: We don’t really know what we’re doing, but that’s no reason not to do our best. Please refer to Corollary two statements previous.

Proposition 3: I believe that value is extrinsic.

  • Addendum on Proposition 3: I believe that we attribute value through ritual and sanctification (blessing, or intentionally making sacred/holy).
  • Corollary on Propostions 1 through 3: I believe that we create what meaning and purpose there is, and can, through changing our choices, change what meaning and purpose we create.
  • Addendum on above Corollary: I believe that empathy, introspection and reason are the best tools we’ve found yet for choosing what meaning and purpose to create, and that the ethic of reciprocity (popularly summarized as the Golden Rule) is the best starting point from which to employ our empathy, introspection and reason, with special attention paid to the resources we have to draw on and the needs which we can fill (including, but not limited to, our own).

Overly simplistic, yet still valid Conclusion drawn from everything said thus far in this creed (much to my pleasant surprise): I believe in love.

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I was an ordained minister for almost three years when I asked to leave because I could no longer see any reason to believe in God. I have now moved out of the house I was living in (provided by the parish I worked for) and into an apartment. It’s made for a very painful period of time.

I boxed the birthday card the Sunday school had made for me, telling me, “Yu are a good Minster”. I packed away the photos of the confirmation class I taught, and the farewell gifts presented to me by the congregations I ministered to. I also found, and carefully packed, gifts I had been given at my ordination: from my family, from the congregation of the church I interned at, and even a a few from some of the dear women who had taught me Sunday school decades previously. They were all so proud and so happy for me at my ordination. I felt like such a disappointment as I put their gifts in boxes to go with me on my move. (more…)

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So I’ve been reading various proposals on what people think they would find compelling enough to convince them, if they are atheists, to become theists, or, if they are theists, to become atheists.

I had been asked to think about this when I was getting my bachelor’s degree, and I couldn’t come up with a good answer. If I knew what would convince me to change my mind, I would have examined it to find out if it did change my mind. So, I just said, “I don’t know” and categorized the necessary information as that which I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

Pretend that made sense and go on.

Now, it seems, I’ve learned. What it took was (more…)

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I think I was a teenager when my uncle came to a Christmas eve service with the rest of the family. I can’t remember what scripture I’d read at the service, exactly, but I remember my uncle’s confusion as he mentioned that Handel’s Messiah reported the words differently. Looking at this confusion later, I realized that the gospel according to Matthew refers to John the Baptist as,

This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one calling out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'”

(Matthew 3:3 NRSV)

While the prophesy he quotes reads,

A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

(Isaiah 40: 3 NRSV)

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Members of the church hierarchy above me came to the parish meetings to support me as I explained why I needed to step away from ordained ministry for a while. They also came to support the churches I ministered to, responding to their fears of the future without a pastor. I had met with some of the hierarchy over the past couple of years to talk about my doubts, fears, struggles and depression. One even volunteered to talk to my family, knowing my decision to leave would hit them hard and they might need to talk to someone. I could not have asked for more support.

People have been phoning me up or stopping me in the street. People who haven’t come to church in over a year are taking me out for coffee to let me know they’ve appreciated my ministry, and one offered me rent-free housing until I find a new job, if I need it. People who knew me as a teen are phoning up to check in on me. Most have their own scapegoats they’d like to blame for the struggles I’m having, but want me to know they’re supporting me.
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