My deconversion from theism (Christianity and less specific beliefs in a higher power) motivates this series of writings I’ve titled “Sermons” on the Dismount. The title operates as an ironic misnomer. I only want to write about my experience, not preach on the advantages of having a naturalistic view of the universe, nature, and phenomenon; that’s why I put the word sermons in quotes. But like a sermon, I will write what I feel and how I slowly dismounted from the belief in a God, or gods, the supernatural, and other religious and mythical explanations for the world.
These “sermons” operate within and from a naturalistic point of view. In other words, I subscribe to the theories of evolution, the big expansion, and abiogenesis. To me, science explains how the world (and all of its phenomenon-natural or otherwise) works. I state this at the outset of this series for one reason. I hypothesize that many readers, sympathetic and empathetic to the theistic vantage; will attempt to debate my point of view. I realize that this series invites debate and emotional responses. Despite that, I am still going to post this set of writings, and I will decide who I debate to whom I respond.
My Slow and Certain Deconversion (part 1)
After my second divorce, I moved in with my parents. Two years before my divorce I went to church twice a week: on Mondays to rehearse my bass playing and harmonies with the church band and on Sundays to play in the contemporary service. Once I recovered from the initial shock of the breakup, I began working a minimum of forty hours a week. Inevitably I worked on Sundays–particularly when I was a team leader at AWS. None of the personal assistants working under me willingly worked on Sundays. If going to church and playing in the its band really meant so much to me, I would have tried harder to get one of my subordinates to cover my Sunday shift.
I still believed in the Christian God and prayed in the morning, in the evening, and when I felt uneasy or anxious. Not going to church and band practice (which included a prayer group before we began to practice) gave me a chance to start questioning organized religion and theology in general. Though I had read about evolution in college, on my own, and believed it to be a plausible, I started seeing that evolution couldn’t be reconciled with the Genesis account. With more and more space between the Lutheran church, and myself I began forging my own relationship with God, as I understood him.
This personal relationship focused on a god I could talk to and his name was not Jesus. Another newer feature of this personal relationship included getting to know myself better: what I thought and felt without the filter of Christianity. In other words, instead of praying away my doubts about religion, myself, and praying away my problems, I began to see myself as an individual who could solve my own problems, or go to someone else–whether they were believers or not. Case in point, I began talking to an old friend of mine who was (and is) not affiliated with any organized religion.
I started to find my own way in the same way he had found his. He lived (and lives) by his own spiritual principles, many of which he formulated after reading myriad books and contemplating those principles for many years. Similarly I began listening to his experiences and how he applied his principles to those experiences. At first I adopted some of his viewpoints and applied them to my own life and “spiritual journey”. I started drinking kumbucha and green tea, eating better (high diary fats, olives, leafy greens), weaning myself off of psych meds, and following a more predictable sleep routine. I was still doing God-centered twelve-step work; but all the while I questioned if there was an actual higher power. I questioned it because I believed I was doing the spiritual recovery, not some bigger, immaterial and invisible force.
(End of Part 1)