– New ex-Muslims tell their stories. Link.
It’s the skeptical, critical, rational, objective that turns the majority of us who deconvert into atheists, and it’s the ones who hold onto their emotional ties, and privilege the emotional arguments above the rational ones, who remain believers.
It was roughly at this same age that I began to accept scientific views of the universe over religious ones. It all started when we were given something like book free time in my second grade class. Everyone rushed to their favorite story book. I suppose I was too slow to get one of the fun books, so I stumbled across some little non-fiction books that actually taught things. The one book I kept coming back to was a little astronomy book filled with illustrations of the stars, galaxies, planets, and (most importantly) The Big Bang! These elementary-friendly pictures helped me learn that our universe actually exploded from a single point billions of years ago and that if God did create the world, he did it through this natural process and that the planet and humans are ultimately made of stardust, so the first step was realizing that the world didn’t just pop up in six simple days. No teacher or parent taught me this. I just read and learned it at eight. The nature of stars and the cosmos interested me for the rest of my early childhood, and I decided that I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up.
I think the most important thing about deconversion is that you have to keep going. Don’t just stop when you disbelieve in god. Make sure you question everything. Nothing should be taken for granted, and you have to push away all superstitious, non-evidence based beliefs.
I also have come to doubt myself more. Am I really a good person at heart? Are my actions toward others truly benign? Only in asking these questions have I been able to improve myself as a person. Yes, you’ll find that doubt makes us better people than faith.
For me, it was a gradual process of the study of the Bible and religious doctrines, which looked worse the more I studied them, along with learning more about the natural world, history, etc.
Suddenly the penny dropped, excuse the pun, and everything that I had been playing on my mind, the contradictions and wholly bizarre concepts, became clear instantly – it was all nonsense. It was a great relief, in one way, but, I was utterly shocked at the same time – I had been such a devout Catholic that I admit to feeling a bit of a fool, even though I was only about ten at the time. It taught me not to trust any establishment and that was a useful lesson to have learned.