Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason Paperback – December 4, 2012
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About the Author
- Publisher : Outskirts Press (December 4, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 204 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1478716568
- ISBN-13 : 978-1478716563
- Item Weight : 10.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.47 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #146,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
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I obviously wasn’t ever a true believer… My religious upbringing, my salvation prayer, my baptism, by Bible-based education, my years as a Christian broadcaster and my ultimate rejection of it are null and void, because I had been a counterfeit. Or perhaps I HAD once truly believed, but nearing my 40s, I had lost my way… I was neck-deep in the throes of a midlife crisis… Living in this middle-aged skin, I can personally attest that there’s nothing sexy about turning your life upside down at a time when some are considering early retirement, And … this particular ‘phase’ isn’t simply to be laughed off, brushed off or ignored.”
He continues, “now that I’m free, I’ve made it a life mission to expose the flaws in the very teachings I once held so dear. For that reason, this book… focuses heavily on Christianity… This book isn’t a sensational exposé reeking of dirty laundry… I do claim my own right to examine and openly challenge the superstitions thrust upon me from birth, and I offer the sincere assertion that my end-goal is simply to find the truth.”
He recalls, “As an impressionable young kid reared by theologian parents, I was already primed to receive these wild [End Times/Rapture/Tribulation] scenarios as truth… So you can imagine my alarm as ‘A Thief in the night’ (and the sequel films shown to us in succession) depicted an oppressive, military-style round-up of the populace to be permanently tattooed with the number of the beast, 666…When the credits rolled on [the movie] and the lights came up, the school chaplain gave an invitation… A mass of teary-eyed teenagers rushed the altar, desperate to escape their impending doom, crying out for god to save them before it was too late. The memory sickens me… These films … didn’t provide any proofs of God’s existence or the accuracy of scripture… Instead, they employed shock and awe, blood and barbarism… these films… did great damage to thousands of young people programmed to feel inadequate , unworthy, vulnerable, persecuted and afraid of the future.” (Pg. 21-22)
He points out, “Tragedy and scandal marked the headlines inside the CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] world every few years, and the faithful would scramble to make sense of it all… In 1986, Scott Douglas, lead vocalist for the Christian band WhiteHeart was… arrested for statutory rape, ultimately doing prison time… CCM had a hugely popular Christian comedian, Mike Warnke… before becoming exposed as a complete fraud in a 1991 cornerstone Magazine article. In ’94, Christian superstar Michael English admitted an affair with Marabeth Jordan (vocalist in another CCM groups, ‘First Call’)… in 1995, Christian icon… Sandi Patty admitted an adulterous relationship… Christian music’s fresh-faced poster child, Amy Grant, announced in 1999 that she was divorcing 17-year husband, Gary Chapman… her marriage to [country singer Vince] Gill the following year came as little surprise… Christian artists Jennifer Knapp and Ray Boltz came out as homosexuals… It was painful to watch my profession and the lives of those involved rocked to the core.” (Pg. 42-43)
He recounts, “In 1999, KXOJ fired me. After a decade behind the microphone… they sent me packing with a month’s pay and a box filled with my personal effects. I left humiliated. And I probably deserved it…. I wasn’t a total jerk, but I did have a tendency to be caustic and impatient with those not on my page. I also struggled with burnout and cynicism… When the interview microphone was off, many artists admitted their own disillusionment, their MINISTRIES soured by all of the publicity stunts… the sheer commerce of it all. Christian music was just another sales niche… I hobbled along for nine months as a freelance producer before getting a second chance for … a Christian Hit Radio designed to dig into KXOJ’s significant market share… my religious convictions had been muted by years of dissatisfaction… I’d become accustomed to doubt, my escapable companion…. I didn’t attend church unless invited on a special occasion. I rarely cracked a bible. I didn’t pray before meals or bedtime… it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the cause-and-effect physical laws of the real world consistently trumping the explanations and predictions of zealous pastors and their wide-eyed sheep… I still believe in God. But most church practices and teachings had started to feel pretty silly…” (Pg. 52-54)
But then after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “I found it ridiculous to pray for divine protection as thousands laid torn to pieces amid the twisted steel and burning jet fuel. Any benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent deity could have easily prevented the fires of terror from ever being lit. Did it not occur to God to invalidate some passports?... God could’ve locked all nineteen terrorists in a monster traffic jam and busted the whole operation. Yet God was a non-participant. Invisible… And this was where Christian evangelists Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and their ilk gave their own astounding (and wildly offensive) explanation. God did not … prevent the horror of September 11th because … America had allowed the proliferation of abortion clinics and homosexuals.” (Pg. 58)
He admits, “Compounding this … was the very real fact that my personal life was in shambles, and I was on the final leg of an 18-year marriage… It is the time of my life of which I am least proud, as I was disconnected, unpleasant and completely uninterested in reconciliation. While my wife sought (Christian) counseling and potential recovery of the union, I… [was] already (mentally) packing my bags. And even though this was the same time period where I felt tremendous dissatisfaction with my once-cherished religion, I cannot blame the dissolution of our marriage on religious issues. The subject of god certainly added fuel to the fire, but the spark of division had ignited years before. Fortunately, the divorce was amicable…” (Pg. 117)
He explains, “One by-product of the previous year’s quest for answers was the small mountain of notes, emails, reference materials, Bible verses and personal journal entries I had compiled in my quest for information. By early 2009 I’d run the apologetics gauntlet and emerged with a pretty good idea of where the major traps were.” (Pg. 120) He continues, “my mission became to organize and ultimately translate the most digestible arguments against my former religion into a navigable website and professionally-produced videos, making those elements compelling, fun and relatable. Admittedly, it would be a relatively shallow dip in the vast waters of counter-apologetics.” (Pg. 123)
He notes, “I’m often chided by the religious (and some atheists) for the satirical and often mocking tone of [my] videos… and I reply that the mockery of religion is, for me, therapeutic… the superstitions that used to frighten and control me are now reduced to mere punchlines, and I find the skewering of such sacred cows to be tremendously gratifying. I think mockery has its place and can be useful to highlight the insanity of it all. After all, the stories posited as truth by scripture aren’t made to LOOK ridiculous. They ARE ridiculous.” (Pg. 152)
He concludes, “It has been a long, heartbreaking, exhilarating, enlightening and awe-inspiring journey. I don’t know how The Thinking Atheist community will evolve in the next few years, but I’m tremendously grateful to be a part of it, to see it grow, and to witness firsthand the support and encouragement it has given to others… I have found the evidence-based philosophy for living satisfying, empowering and freeing. The fog of superstitious thinking has lifted, and I have a breathtaking view of a better world.” (Pg. 182)
This book will be of keen interest to Atheists, Skeptics and other Freethinkers.
Perhaps his most appealing trait is that although it intellectually addresses religious inconsistencies very methodically and as much as one can, devoid of an emotional balance - which makes his work that more more valuable.
He also recounts his contribution to the "agnostic" community, and his YouTube channel comprises episodes which are delivered with the same logical, critical thinking, empirically based evidence (actually, is there any other kind - rhetorical question) as his book.
Whether you are having personal struggles with orthogonal belief systems you are holding, or are dealing with the social and family repercussion of diverging from your peer-group "values", or like to understand a broad range of religious contradictory positions and behaviors that lead many of us to question the "values" many of us grew up with. The author has made a stance for his new-found belief system, this is an incredibly well written book that left this reader appreciating both the author as a person, and respect for this well articulated and rationally backed position.
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