How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

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Did reading the Bible have any effect on your deconversion?

I read the Bible while I was a believer, and it was a factor in my deconversion.
10
71%
I read the Bible while I was a believer, and it was NOT a factor in my deconversion.
3
21%
I didn't ever read the Bible the whole time I was a believer.
1
7%
 
Total votes: 14

rookiebatman
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How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #1

Post by rookiebatman »

It seems like atheists love to say that the quickest way to make someone an atheist is for them to read the Bible. But I used to be a Christian, and I did the Bible-in-a-year thing six times, and yet all the gross, disgusting, immoral parts of it never phased me even a little. So I was curious to see what the breakdown is of people for whom reading the Bible did help their deconversion, as opposed to people like me who read it and it didn't make a difference.

For anyone who may be ex-theist, but not ex-Christian, you can feel free to answer by replacing "Bible" with whatever the holy scriptures of your faith was in the poll questions.

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Post #2

Post by Ancient of Years »

The turning point for me was reading and comparing the Gospels, especially the resurrection narratives. They were clearly not telling the same story. I was still in high school at the time. Religion (Catholicism) was, in order of influence, (a) part of the social order I lived in, (b) a school subject I did well in and only (c) a belief system and to be honest that was mostly intellectual belief. When intellectual examination led elsewhere I had no real difficulty following.

Years of spare time study and thought have led me to my present understanding of how Christianity came to be and evolved into what it is today. A fascinating story in its details and an object lesson in the power of ideology.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

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Re: How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #3

Post by Divine Insight »

rookiebatman wrote: It seems like atheists love to say that the quickest way to make someone an atheist is for them to read the Bible.
This is because atheists are thinking in terms of asking rational questions whilst reading the Bible.

However, many people who read the Bible seeking personal advice or help to know how to potentially please God or Jesus, they aren't going to be looking to ask rational questions. Instead they are going to be focused on trying to figure out how they can improve their lives.

When I read the Bible I actually had the same intent as many atheists. Although strangely enough I was not the least bit skeptic. I wasn't looking to prove the Bible wrong. On the contrary, I was a "believer", I actually expected to find rational answers!

My purpose for reading the Bible was to simply understand the "Word of God" so that I could help others understand it without any confusion or ambiguity. Because of this I was seeking rational answers to tough questions. The same thing a skeptic might do, but for precisely the opposite reason. I expected the Bible to actually provide the answers I was seeking.

After all, how could I possibly teach anyone about the Bible if I didn't first have a crystal clear picture of it myself?

So it was with this goal in mind that reading the Bible ultimately led to my conviction that the Bible cannot possibly be the "Word" of any God.

So it's not just reading the Bible. It's reading the Bible with the intent of being able to explain it convincingly to others. Thus far in my life I have never met anyone who has been capable of doing this.
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Post #4

Post by Danmark »

I don't think it is just reading the Bible that deconverts someone. Reading the Bible with a fresh perspective is what makes the difference. As long as one just rereads the Bible, he sees nothing different. The errors and contradictions are invisible tho' he's looking right at them.

Learning the process of selecting the canon, the fact we only have copies of copies of copies, learning about the historical/critical method, and becoming aware of other, non biblical sources helps one get that new perspective so he can read clearly and actually be open to the absurdities and contradictions gives one that new perspective.

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Re: How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #5

Post by Danmark »

[Replying to post 3 by Divine Insight]

For me, growing up in an evangelical protestant church, altho' I had questions and concerns, and saw contradictions, my overall approach was an admittedly uncritical acceptance that the Bible was the "Word of God" and if I read carefully enough it would all fit together.

Whether it is the Bible or any other source, if you read it with the bias that it is absolutely true, that it is infallible, then you cannot read it critically even tho' you might think you are.

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Re: How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #6

Post by Divine Insight »

Danmark wrote: Whether it is the Bible or any other source, if you read it with the bias that it is absolutely true, that it is infallible, then you cannot read it critically even tho' you might think you are.
Well, it seemed to work that way for me. Except perhaps for one major thing. I wasn't afraid to ask any question that was on my mind.

I was taught that the Bible has answers to all my questions. I took that as being absolutely true. And because I accepted this as being true, I felt that it should be able to answer any questions I might ask. Especially if those particular questions came into my mind as I was actually reading the Bible.

In fact, this was a major problem. The more I read the Bible the more unanswered questions I had. My pile of unanswered questions was increasing exponentially whilst the place where the pile of answers should be seemed to be rather vacant.
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Post #7

Post by OnceConvinced »

I voted for option 2. Not a factor. The main factor in my deconversion was discovering that the God I worshipped was not all he was cracked up to be. He just wasn't doing what he promised he would do in the bible.

It wasn't until later on AFTER I deconverted that I started to look hard at the bible critically. I would say the bible is a huge factor why I went from Deist to agnostic and then to Atheist.

I would have to agree that yes, looking at the bible critically is a sure fire way to become an atheist. But my journey to atheism was a slow transition for me and happened after I was deconverted.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Post #8

Post by OnceConvinced »

Danmark wrote: I don't think it is just reading the Bible that deconverts someone. Reading the Bible with a fresh perspective is what makes the difference. As long as one just rereads the Bible, he sees nothing different. The errors and contradictions are invisible tho' he's looking right at them.
How true is this! If you read the bible as a Christian, most likely you aren't reading it outside the box. You're reading it as if it's the word of God. You may even be reading it as if it's infallible. The main way to become an Atheist from reading the bible is to start looking at it WITHOUT the Christian glasses. Look at it from the perspective of "What if it's wrong? What if it's not God's word?"

My problem as a Christian was that I always attempted to justify the stuff that didn't make sense rather than questioning it's validity.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Re: How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #9

Post by OnceConvinced »

Divine Insight wrote:
Well, it seemed to work that way for me. Except perhaps for one major thing. I wasn't afraid to ask any question that was on my mind.

I was taught that the Bible has answers to all my questions. I took that as being absolutely true. And because I accepted this as being true, I felt that it should be able to answer any questions I might ask. Especially if those particular questions came into my mind as I was actually reading the Bible.
This is probably the key factor. Would it be fair to say you were looking outside the box? Perhaps taking away the Christian goggles and wishing to see it for what it truly was?

How many of us would dare to ask the questions you asked? Some of us may even be afraid that by asking certain questions it might show a lack of faith or maybe we would feel guilt that we would ask such questions. Thus best not dwell on those questions too hard.

The fear of losing ones faith could perhaps blind a person to the truth.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Re: How reading the Bible correlates to deconversion

Post #10

Post by amortalman »

[Replying to post 1 by rookiebatman]

It wasn't until I began to see that God was A.W.O.L. that I seriously began to doubt that the bible was the inspired word of God. I realized that events both good and bad occur randomly and without rhyme or reason. S... happens whether you pray or not.

More to the point of the discussion - I was heavy into systematic bible reading and study for nine months when the light came on that what I was reading was nothing more than myth and legend. The crazy and silly miracles in the O.T. jumped out to me for what it was. Make believe.

I had always had a lot of trouble accepting the doctrine of eternal suffering in Hell. And I was equally appalled that God would allow countless innocent children and animals to suffer abuse, disease, tragedy, and starvation. So I realized, after fifteen years in Southern Baptist churches, that this world looks the way it would be with no God at all. Accepting the possibility that there is no God freed me to break out and start reading what those God-hating, miserable, misguided atheists had to say. Turned out they had quite a bit to say.

But I agree. If more Christians would read the bible with a critical eye and an open mind more would realize that it's nothing more than the ancient writings of ignorant peoples.

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