Hello everyone, my name is Jason. I’m going through what I consider to be a deconversion process and its really screwed up my life. Its a long story, so keep reading for the backstory, or skip down towards the bottom for my questions at least. I appreciate everyone’s time.
I’m posting here because I’ve found myself in a rough spot and was hoping some people here may have had similar experiences to my own.
I was born into and raised in a Christian family. My parents are fantastic, and raised me with great values into the well-rounded, loving, ambitious man I am today. I always felt at home in the churches we attended, and consider many members of the congregation as extensions of my family. I was in youth groups, went on mission trips, participated in VBS and drama, and loved all of it. I never had any times in church where I felt like my life was being run by my religion, or felt like I was trapped in it, so my thoughts and feelings do not reflect a feeling of bitterness towards the church.
The fact of the matter is, around 8th Grade or so I got into that critical-thinking part of my life where I started to question alot more, and around this time I finally read the Bible cover to cover, and I kind of realized that it didn’t really make sense to me anymore.
I started to notice the discrepancies in the religion, such as asking myself how it is fair for God to judge me, who was raised in a loving Christian family, and also someone who grew up in a Hindu culture loving that religion, or in a Kiberan slum, knowing nothing but pain and sorrow for most of their life. How is that fair to begin with, coming from an all-loving God, and how is it fair for them to be judged equally on their eternal fate? There’s many other things that I picked up on, but I’m not here to discuss Christianity or try to prove/disprove it.
With doubt, came my engrained fear of Hell, and I told myself that I was just going through a phase, and kept going to church and tried not to think about it.
Through high school, my doubts grew and my attraction to church dwindled. By my sophomore year, I could no longer, with a clear conscience, say to someone that I believed in God. I graduated and went to college, and basically stopped going to church. During this time I sort of blocked out the issue altogether. Thinking about it only caused anxiety (something I suffer from to begin with) and as much as I tried, I couldn’t get myself to decide either way. The ONLY thing tethering me to Christianity was my fear of Hell and punishment, as well as the pain of losing or hurting my family if I became the ONLY non-Christian in our entire family, but that wasn’t enough to make me want to keep going to church.
After a rough breakup and some pretty deep depression, I thought connecting with a church might help me out a little, but unfortunately I found I could no longer get engaged with the church. I joined a Men’s group that was all about being a better man/husband/etc., which I loved, because I was still CULTURALLY a Christian, and to this day I still deeply value the teachings of serving and loving others unconditionally, as well as a great deal of other non-deity-related teachings. This wasn’t enough to light my spiritual flame though, and I stopped attending and went back to ignoring the issue.
Fast forward a year, and I’ve met an amazing girl. By far one of the sweetest and most amazing women I’ve ever met, with a heart for everyone. However, like the other girls I’d dated, she was an atheist. This didn’t bother me at all, because I knew that I wasn’t a hardcore Christian to begin with.
// PROBLEM STARTS HERE //
However, one little argument kicked my life into one of the worst rollercoaster rides I’ve ever been on.
We were discussing something about creationism in schools, and something she said took a stab at Christianity, and I immediately went on the defense to defend Christianity, and realized I had nothing to say. I love my family, and I love the church and the people I grew up with, and I have a servant’s heart, and love volunteer work, disaster relief, you name it. Yet at that moment, I had no desire to defend the theistic parts of Christianity. I had some of the worst anxiety attacks of my life the next few days, realizing that I didn’t believe in Christianity anymore, wondering what was going on.
Was I going to Hell? Was there a Hell? How do I tell my family? Is this my girlfriend’s fault? Is this my fault?
Its been about two months since then and I’ve done a great deal of reading and thinking on the matter.
I’ve concluded that I no longer accept the Bible as truth, and haven’t for a long time. While there are some great lessons in the Bible, overall, I do not believe in the Christian doctrine.
Now, I’m facing a lot of huge, looming fears with deconversion.
- What if I’m wrong and there is still a God/Hell?
- How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don’t believe anymore?
- If I have children, how do I raise them? I know that my experiences in the church and the mission field had a huge part in defining who I am today, and while I don’t believe in that God anymore, how do I raise my children with those values while dealing with a family that is Christian?
- (The Big One) I now feel like life is pointless. Recently I can’t get excited about anything because my mind just jumps to “it won’t matter and you’re going to die eventually”. I’ve also developed a MASSIVE fear of my own mortality since this deconversion thing kicked into high-gear, due to A) being afraid of being wrong and there being an eternal punishment and B) feeling the brevity of life now that I’ve started really thinking about it.
If anyone out there has had a similar experience and can help, I could really use the advice. I do not think Christianity is stupid nor do I hate Christians. I love my family and I want this to be the least painful as possible.
Thanks for reading and sorry it was long-winded.