Deconversion

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.

  1. What if I’m wrong and there is still a God/Hell?
  2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don’t believe anymore?
  3. 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?
  4. (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.
1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell? 2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don't believe anymore? 3. 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? 4. (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.
These deserve a lot more time to work through, but I didn't want to leave you hanging. 1. This is basically the Euthyphro dilemma. You can google that and find many answers. My favorite is from Marcus Aurelius, if God is decent, he'll be happy that you tried to lead a good life, no matter what church you went to. If he doesn't exist, then you lived a good life anyway, that's it's own reward. If he punishes you for some detail about your belief, then he wasn't worth trying to please in the first place. 2. I'd need to know a lot more about you. 3. Look into parentingbeyondbelief.com. This guy is really good. He deconverted WHILE raising children. 4. It took about year for me, but I started realizing how amazing the universe is WITHOUT god, and that I have limited time, so I need to make the most of it. All my ancestors, and people I don't know from the past have had a huge impact on my quality of life. Everything you do potentially affects how people will live the future. You obviously care about people and probably the environment we all live in, so you are on the right track for a meaningful existence.
1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell? 2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don't believe anymore? 3. 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? 4. (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.
These deserve a lot more time to work through, but I didn't want to leave you hanging. 1. This is basically the Euthyphro dilemma. You can google that and find many answers. My favorite is from Marcus Aurelius, if God is decent, he'll be happy that you tried to lead a good life, no matter what church you went to. If he doesn't exist, then you lived a good life anyway, that's it's own reward. If he punishes you for some detail about your belief, then he wasn't worth trying to please in the first place. 2. I'd need to know a lot more about you. 3. Look into parentingbeyondbelief.com. This guy is really good. He deconverted WHILE raising children. 4. It took about year for me, but I started realizing how amazing the universe is WITHOUT god, and that I have limited time, so I need to make the most of it. All my ancestors, and people I don't know from the past have had a huge impact on my quality of life. Everything you do potentially affects how people will live the future. You obviously care about people and probably the environment we all live in, so you are on the right track for a meaningful existence. All excellent advice, definitely will look into the site. Thank you very much!

Hello Jasozz, … welcome! … Second reply here, so I hope to not be repetitive…
Your story resonates, with me and probably many others. Losing faith has nothing to do with bitterness towards the church, although at times it might.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Since you put it point by point, let me add my fifty cents, point by point. Maybe they’re helpful, maybe not. You will certainly get good perspectives here.

  1. Hell. - That’s actually the least talked about one, at least from what I’ve heard. I’ve had this problem as well, and rather severely. (Consider Jonathan Edwards. Makes you cringe closing your eyes at night!) - I did have a real issue with that. “Going against God”, by reading “unholy” literature and entertaining such thoughts as “does God really exist”, I was afraid of committing the unpardonable sin, working against the Holy Spirit operative inside me, etc. Total apostasy, the worst thing there is! And it took me years (!) to get over this. Daytime was ok, forget evenings when the sun went down. It was total horror. - Until I realized something. Unless this whole “apostasy scheme” is just a neat way of keeping people in line there is still that God I supposedly believe in, and that God, well, is a just God. Would a just God look down upon my honest questions? I decided he wouldn’t. And if he would, he wouldn’t be just and not really the God I worshiped in the first place. Somehow that line of thinking cleared things up. Not right away, it was gradual, but I did get over it. - And: It still returns. Hell is a powerful tool. But that’s what it is, a tool. Either God is loving and just (not in the distorted Calvinistic way of thought I mean) and hence will understand very well, or God is not. In the latter case, it’s not a God I wanna worship.
  2. My family is utterly religious, at least the immediate one, never mind the rest. - Can’t help you there. I don’t know. In my case it wasn’t that bad as we had drifted apart anyway. But if you’re close, I really don’t know. (Although I might know soon on a different issue.)
  3. I don’t have kids, so that’s a bad spot for my answer as well, but I don’t think kids need religion to learn right from wrong. Your character as a dad, be that religious or non-religious, teaches them everything they need to know. - It’s easier to instill right and wrong by pointing to a God, a Lawgiver, but really that’s like saying “because I told you so”. True morality comes from a genuine interaction with your fellow human beings, where right and wrong is easily assessed by its outcome. (And no, I’m not utilitarian, but that’s an easy way to put it.) Morality, in my definition, is “refraining from an action if that action hurts another or causes another to suffer”. It has nothing to do with reward or punishment, it means being a “good person”, and although religion helps instilling some of these values, I think these values are way higher than any religion. Religion makes them accessible in an easier way, but it also distorts them by this simplification of making them “God-given rules”. - I would, however, never teach my kids to believe anything. Be that an atheist conviction or a religious one. I would teach my values, but eventually let them make up their own minds. “Hiding” other opinions from kids is just not very helpful. Laying things out plainly, stating your thought on the matter, and then letting them think for themselves, that’s what makes for good adults. Brain-washed kids end up rebelling or deluded.
  4. That’s a funny one. No, I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I think it’s a cool point. What does it all matter? What does it all mean? What’s the point? — LIFE !!! — Life, this life, is the greatest freakin’ thing there is!!! Every moment, every second, every breath, even this little typing here is worth a million! Why? Because it’s my life! I’m doing it. I’m living it. I’m breathing it. I’m not sitting back reflecting for too long (although I do that, sometimes for very long), I am “forgetting about myself” and letting life take over, letting passion run wild. … Don’t get me wrong here (or not) but I’m speaking existentialist. Live! … I understand what you mean, and it can seem “cut short” all of a sudden, given “eternity” is no longer a part, and yes, that freakin’ hurts a bit, but then… you just encountered reality! And reality is well worth living!
    Death? Oh yeah, death will come. Might hit me tonight. Fear? Why? I am living and I am happy. Worrying about the inevitable is a waste of time that can be spent rather productively otherwise. (Don’t get me wrong here, I actually spend a great deal thinking about death, but it doesn’t bother me.)
    The brevity of life is a sucker. All the more reason to live it! I realized that rather late. I’m nearing my forties. Not too old, but not young enough to do certain things way, way different!
    To suggest reading Nietzsche might be a dumb thing to do, but I’ll do it anyway. “The Gay Science” is easy to read and very powerful! Or if novels do better: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. The latter given to German troops in WWI as devotional reading. - The man’s main point: Reality. Deal with it. Think for yourself. Don’t believe in lies. - Yes, he has a bad reputation, but only among those who never read him. Very polite man he was, very far from the madman he’s made out to be. Although he did die in madness, caused by physical illness, not any “demons”.
    I have some very close Christian friends. We discuss once in a while, and without saying, my opinion is not agreed upon. But they are good discussions. Disagreement doesn’t make or break, it actually creates, or can create, an atmosphere that was never there before. An exciting one, full of life, actually thinking, not simply conversing about differences in a theology previously agreed upon anyway.
    You have a great time ahead I think. I hope I didn’t mess that up now.
    Hey, just must fifty cents. The opinion of an individual.
    Peace, friend,
    Michelle

Thanks for the advice Michelle. I understand that with a topic like this, its going to be different for everyone, but it helps immensely just to know I’m not alone on this.

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. 1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell? 2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don't believe anymore? 3. 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? 4. (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.
You are experiencing what a lot of what former Christians (and probably people of other faiths, especially Jews) go through, when giving up the religion they were raised with. It IS possible to get through these problems and wind up whole and in a much better place than you have ever been. I experienced many of the feelings you are having and would like to respond in more detail, which I can do in a few days. Right now I have a houseful of company so can't do it justice. Best, Lois

Well, I look forward to hearing from you when you’re able, Lois.

Since I had very different experiences I can’t help with most, but as far as children go, what really helped me was my father’s (raised Catholic) response. When told he was a bad parent because he wasn’t seeing that I got religious education when I was a small child, he said, “I want him to make his own decisions, not be fed ideas before he can analyze them. When he’s twelve or thirteen he can get involved with religions and decide what he wants to do.”
I suggest you let your future children grow up without any religious instruction (brainwashing), and let them make their own decisions as they get old enough.
Occam

Since I had very different experiences I can't help with most, but as far as children go, what really helped me was my father's (raised Catholic) response. When told he was a bad parent because he wasn't seeing that I got religious education when I was a small child, he said, "I want him to make his own decisions, not be fed ideas before he can analyze them. When he's twelve or thirteen he can get involved with religions and decide what he wants to do." I suggest you let your future children grow up without any religious instruction (brainwashing), and let them make their own decisions as they get old enough. Occam
I agree with this wholeheartedly. Even people like myself who are raised Christian can grow out of it. My bigger issue was how to deal with trips to see my folks, who are very religious. My potential children will inevitably come into contact with Christianity from my parents. Would this not form a divide between my children and the rest of my family?

Nah, it helps teach the kid awareness and empathy. From the responses they get, either negative or accepting, they’ll quickly learn to identify those who with whom they can state their views and those with whom they just smile and let the person think they agree. :slight_smile:
Occam

Nah, it helps teach the kid awareness and empathy. From the responses they get, either negative or accepting, they'll quickly learn to identify those who with whom they can state their views and those with whom they just smile and let the person think they agree. :) Occam
I suppose so yeah. I guess the idea of being responsible for someone's religious views is just a bit scary for me, since I'm not entirely sure of mine.

Nobody is responsible for my religious/spiritual beliefs except me as an adult of legal age.
I read this whole thread and I can assure you every believer is tempted to doubt by the enemy Satan, his/her own flesh and the world’s teachings.
I too was raised by parents who allowed me to form my own beliefs as a sort of rule to combat their own pushy religious parents.
That was not the right way but I understand and forgive my parents error. I was “allowed” to flounder and flip flop for most of my adult life. It was not a good thing.
Proverbs says raise up your children in the fear and ways of the Lord. Then they must be let go to decide for themselves.
My faith decision was the most important decision I or anybody in my opinion will ever have to make.
I don’t believe in infant baptism either. It a choice all adults must make and that requires a level of brain development such as we have starting around 15-17 yrs of age.

And there, Jason, you have the input of someone still stuck far behind you in your thinking. I’m guessing, but I’ll bet the difference between, say, Rodin46’s parents and mine, since they both gave us the freedom to develop our own ideas, is that my parents also taught me to think critically, question everything, and recognize the difference between fact and faith. His apparently did not, and he ended up the way you can see from his posts.
Occam

Now, I'm facing a lot of huge, looming fears with deconversion. 1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell? 2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don't believe anymore? 3. 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? 4. (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.
1. If atheists are wrong and there really is a god and hell, would you want to worship a god who creates that hell? I wouldn't. I'll take the hell over the hypocrisy. That's how I deal with the "what if I'm wrong" question. I'd rather be in such a god's hell than in his heaven. 4. Why should your life now be pointless? All those wonderful, generous, and helpful activities you engaged in are still wonderful, generous and helpful acts. The only difference is now you'll be doing them because your own ethics and morals tell you that helping others is the right thing to do, NOT because you're expecting an eternal award for them (much better motives as far as I'm concerned). Everything you found fulfilling before is still fulfilling now. It's still worthy to undertake such endeavors. Only now you'll do it because you think it's the right thing to do, not for a fairy tale god. And I expect once you get emotionally and psychologically settled after this trauma that enjoyment will come back. Being depressed right now is understandable. Give yourself some time and don't beat yourself up over not having all the answers immediately. Good luck Jason :-) Stacy

I feel for you! I remember I was a Christian until I was about 15 abd I started reading the Bible. I saw the discrepancies. I asked my Sunday School teachers about then and didn’t get any good answers. For a long time I told myself I was just too young to understand. I thought of myself as an agnostic, believing in God but not necessarily religion. Then one day I asked myself, “what if God really doesn’t exist?” Boy that was scary, thinking that one day I was going to die and that would be IT! nothing else forever and ever! All I can tell you is once you get used to the idea, it’s not so scary. Good luck with it!

Jasozz - you’re obviously way more thoughtful than the average Christian. Something tells me you’ll be just fine. And really, enjoy yourself, you’re about to enter a whole new world. The world of Christianity (though not Jesus!) is a small and selfish little world. It’s an Us versus Them world. And it’s a ‘what kindness can I do today to score points for myself, so I can go to heaven’ world. Small and selfish. In the alternative which you’re entering, there’s just one big Us, and that includes the BIG Us of every living thing in the Universe. And you help others because they need help period. Here’s a little credo my wife and I teach our kids, real simple: The strong help the weak, the rich help the poor, and everybody is stronger, weaker, richer, and poorer than everyone else in some regard.

Jasozz,
I am a Christian and became a Christian as an adult. A few things I noticed in your post.

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?
You don't trust God to judge people fairly. How do you know God won't take all this into consideration? In fact, if you knew your Bible you would know that it teaches God set the times and places where each of us lives. It was never by chance.
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.
After becoming a Christian and getting to know God, I also had questions about hell as many portrayed it and the goodness of God that I was getting to know. After a study on hell, I found it is not a place of eternal torture that many portray. In fact in the end both death and hell are destroyed.
I could no longer, with a clear conscience, say to someone that I believed in God.
Since believing in God and trusting God are the basis of Christianity, then if God does exist you're not fooling him anyway. The God of the Bible would have known all along where your heart would lead you. You may as well be honest.
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.
If your family is the Christian family you described, then they will love and accept you no matter what your decisions in life. It may hurt them, but I doubt you would lose them.
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.
Without a faith in God, there is little to connect you to a group of Christians.
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.
Why would you if you no longer believe God?
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.
Again, why would you if you don't believe God?
Now, I'm facing a lot of huge, looming fears with deconversion. 1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell? 2. How do I tell my entirely Christian family that I don't believe anymore?
This is not a decision that takes place in your mind, but in your heart--the totality of who you are. If you don't believe, then you don't believe. If there is a God you will be wrong, but you can't believe if you don't. Be honest with your family. They deserve that much from you.
4. (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.
I don't think anyone can stay committed to belief in God because they fear him. People come to God because of his love for them. If you don't have that, then a relationship with God would be pointless anyway. As for what you make of your life without a Christian understanding I cannot say.

Jasozz;
You might want to review threads where LilySmith has participated in lengthy arguments, such “How do I respond to the following Christian apologetic” from earlier this month. It’s a good example of conversations you might find yourself in, and might want to choose to say, “okay, thanks for sharing”, and walk away.

There’s a lot of stuff on the internet produced by people who have deconverted - but to draw a parallel with Mel Brooks, who as a Jew constantly found humor in Nazis, I suspect that a bit of humor helps keep things in perspective. I didn’t really go through a deconversion process, as I never really considered the religious stories as anything other than parables as far back as I can remember. But I can still enjoy me some good satire:
http://www.youtube.com/user/misterdeity
Mr. Diety’s a deconverted Mormon.

1. What if I'm wrong and there is still a God/Hell?
Hi Jason, I just thought I'd say a bit about this one. I mean, I don't think that anyone can completely rule out the possibility that there might be a hell, I just don't see any good reason to take the possibility seriously. So if you find that the thought causes you anxiety, maybe the best thing is just to ask yourself: well, what reasons might support the conclusion that there's a significant risk that I might go to hell? Just try to examine it rationally. If you think that there are good reasons then you'd probably better do something about it. But if there seem to be no good reasons then hopefully that will make your anxiety go away.