An Honest Question for Deconverts… ((Updated with my answer))

Would you go back if you could? If there were some kind of Neuralizer from Men in Black, or for us older set…  

Mr Peabody’s Wayback Machine, that would instantly transport or carry you back to the point of your departure from “the Faith once delivered to the saints”…

  • Would you do it? 
  • Why or why not?

Let’s have an honest conversation with Deconverts about Life without Jesus vs “Life in the Son”, shall we? I’ll hold my own thoughts for the comments and the discussion.

— And now, for the Rest of the story. The Answer of one Recovering Know It All —

This may shock some of you out there, supporters and detractors alike, but my answer to this question of 

“Would you do it… If Will Smith and K ever showed up on my front stoop with a device that, with a flash of blue light, could instantly Deneuralize me and not only erase all I’ve learned that made me reject my Faith of 34yrs, but also promised to transport me, Mr Peabody style, back to my ‘former glory’ with Christ and my God, effectively reversing the last two years of my life and “restore the Joy of My Salvation” as a Disciple/Learner/Follower of Jesus my Lord and Master…”

… is Yes. Yes I would. (((What?!?!)))

But I doubt it would be that easy without a really good surgeon to perform a flawless and irreversible Lobotomy and the means to cut myself off from any and all outside influences and sources of information that would contradict The Message of Christianity and thus plunge me once more into the Death Spiral of questions, doubts, discovery and finally… the choice that we all faced when confronted with Inconvenient Truths and REAL Evidence that would Demand a Verdict.

Happier in Delusion before we Knew it was a Delusion

The Wife ™ and I have talked about this question occasionally recently… Very recently. We were happier. We Knew, if not “It All”, then Most of what our purpose and lifeplan was. Life was certain. It was structured. We had close friends and Church Family that we could rely on in a pinch. We were relatively Safe and in Community and Fellowship, Relationship with our Identity in Christ.

All that has changed for us now. 

We don’t have kids and my folks are passed now. So as we age and get less able to care for ourselves, even before then in our daily needs for Community and close friends, the fear with us now is that there will be no one for us. 

I never knew how lonely it could be not having a ready made support system in place for Life’s ups and downs, celebrations and tragedies. I’m sure we will eventually learn to make and be friends with others outside of a church environment, generations of people have before us and many will follow. But for now, Community, Kinship, Relationship and Freindships are difficult for us outside the Body of Christ. We’ve even considered going back to a more Liberal form of Christianity, but somehow… We know we’d be lying to ourselves and others in the process. 

Currently, the closest thing to Community we have is when we attend the Local UU Church in our area. UU is like Church without Christ, Religious Humanism, which draws on the Faith Traditions of many faiths, which is still further away from where we live that I feel would be conducive to Real relationship and community. Not just Sunday get togethers. But Family, like we were used to… before we left the Church.

“Stranger in a Strange Land” 

When went to South Korea as a Missionary/Bible Teacher/English Teacher I was only on a 3 month tourist visa. I wasn’t really supposed to be working per se, but I was “Tent Making” to supply the need of my ministry, apartment, food, travel expenses and such. But every three months I would have to ‘step out’ of country, then step back in to renew my visa for another 3 months. I chose to go to Japan because it was closest and the least expensive option at the time. 

As a Korean linguist, I can tell you that Japanese and Korean are very similar in sound system, grammar patterns and just the way they sound when spoken. I spent a frightfilled night in Fukuoka airport because my mind just ‘knew’ I should be able to understand the words coming over the loudspeakers but something was just off… and my mind worked hard trying to Hear Korean, while they were really speaking Japanese. 

I think it would be the same if I were to be Neuralized and WayWayBack Machined to my Christian self. Something would always be bugging me, like a ghost in the machine, like the itch you can’t scratch that gnaws at you but you don’t know why or where from. 

You see, if there were a Magic ‘Kodakian’ Flash Bulb out there that could erase it all and send me back to before I fell out of my Faith, I’d have to go All the way. As I was before. No outside or non Christian influences such as books, music, friends or tv/radio. All these were if not ‘forbidden’, then discouraged. 

  • “Cease to Hear the words that cause you to err from the way of truth”, 
  • “go from the presence of a fool when you perceive in him not the truth”, 
  • “if they speak not according to the Law and the Testimony, there is not truth in them”, 
  • “whatsoever is not of Faith… is Sin”. 

I read only Christian books, biblical studies and apologetics, watched only G or PG (occasionally PG-13) movies and tv shows, listened to only worship cds and Christian radio stations that still had good, solid, biblical worship, praise and hymns… I was not perfect, not by a stretch, but I was a disciple of Jesus. I had no time for extras, foolishness, or even sports teams, which is hard to believe for me now as a Patriots/Red Sox/Celtics Fan. It was All idolatry as far as I was concerned. 

I lived a Spartan and simple life, and in a lot of ways I was Happier that way than I am now. But my curiosity and inquisitivness got the best of my Christianity, and I think even if I were to be flashed back, it would reassert again and I’d still be where I am now. Deconverted from the Christianity that I loved and lived for 34yrs and served as a minister for 25 of those.  

My Short answer… My Very long answer… would be Yes, I would Return to the Life I left, but I don’t think it would be possible for me to remain there for very long without Lobotomy and seclusion of such a manner as would make me also lose my humanity and self identity. My life would once again be Hidden in “Christ, the Hope of Glory”, but suppressed in the self imposed Prison of Delusion and Dispair. 

So I’m very glad it is not any kind of real possibility. There is no Back, only Forward. I’m in Recovery. 

-kia

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10 thoughts on “An Honest Question for Deconverts… ((Updated with my answer))

  1. If somebody hit the reset button on me and sent me back when to before and if nothing about my experiences changed, nothing about my perception or choices changed, and nothing in the church changed – then I’d ultimately end up where I’m at now. Hitting reset would have achieved no discernible difference in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jamie I was going to say something very similar to what you said. Contemplating the matter I would only go back if there really was a God and a Jesus as otherwise as you said I would just be consigning myself to all the pain of finding out I believed in a mirage.

      I now realise it is the social side of religion that I miss and what I really need to do is not go back to religion but rather to find a replacement social support network.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When I was a little kid, the social side of faith was an anchor that kept me grounded when I was surrounded on all sides by my bullies; but when I got older, the social side of faith turned on me and became my biggest bully. I don’t think I’ll risk it and let them back in my life as I can’t take much more the games that they put me through.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I guess, Jamie, the question is nt of reset per se, but of the ability to go back as if you never learned. Would you go back to your Christian life, oblivious to the truth, if you could?

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      • I don’t know – losing my faith has been more of a long, slow death spiral than it has been of an eureka moment.
        I do know that the odds are I wouldn’t be very happy. I ran into the matriarch of my old church once and she grilled me as to why I wasn’t married at my age. I don’t think I could live under the constant judgement and condemnation of not living up to the expectations of those around me and I know it would make me miserable if I lived just to please them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no desire to go back, I do not want to go back. I put a lot of thought and emotion into leaving and I left after exhausting every reason I had that would keep me. To go back would mean something new coming up that would overturn those years of looking for reasons to stay and the years after confirming I made the right decision.

    Religion doesn’t come up with new things, so I consider that a highly unlikely scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would not go back for one good reason. It was never an honest faith to begin with. I remember even as a small child wondering to myself as I would sit in a Sunday school class, “This sounds kind of make believe”. All through my adolescence and adulthood I was strictly going through the motions of being a Christian, because that what was postulated to me. But always I inwardly questioned if this was for real. In fact, I started to question if any religion on earth had any validity.

    For some reason, it took 9/11 to inspire me to come out of the “closet.” I left the church, spoke to my minister, who happened to be a good friend my own age and told him I was done pretending. I was tired of reciting mantras which I in no way believed. I have never truly thought of this person, Jesus, as my “savior” or having “died for my sins.” It was a catharsis for me and I could actually feel the sense of relief.

    No, there is no way I would go back to that false life I was living

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  4. I was never truly” in the fold”, but even if it could be demonstrated that Jesus of Nowhere was real I would still never ever become religious in any shape or form.
    Real or not the bloke was an arsehole and his ”dad” a genocidal maniac.

    Liked by 1 person

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