How do I define this? Well, it is slightly complicated to put in a single word, or a single term for that matter, but it has to do with the painful but necessary process freethinkers undergo when they break free from tradition, dogma and their rooted beliefs. This term was coined by Arthur C. Clarke for his novel treating human transcendence, and has since been adopted by non-religious philosophers to mean the dismissal of religion. This also has other names, but I believe the most appropriate term is the “deconversion” from religion.
It’s curious how I, in this process, independently identified the “symptoms” with little exterior intervention. Specifically, websites like Exreligious and godisimaginary are pretty good at aiding people through this process, but like anything you read, they can play the role of a strong external influence. People with easily influenced minds could force themselves into hasty decisions, and this is something that you have to take with a certain stride, and profound thought. Thus, the fact that I recognized the problems I was having by mostly my own accord, and independently reached my own conclusions, suggests I was on the right track and on the right time. It tells me I was making a decision based on sound logic and careful thought rather than the romantic notion of “freedom of oppression” some rebel-minded fellows might feel identified with (but that is ok too). Even so, this is likely due to the fact that every time my mind wandered, it would wander to these subjects and thus I would spend more time thinking on these issues than the average person. Basically, I want this to mean that I wasn't told to undergo through this, but I naturally phased into it.
As for what these subjects, issues, or “symptoms” are, well, again, they are hard to pin down. I’ve decided I will explain them one by one in different posts, and in much more detail. However, there is room here to mention the basic issues I took on in the past years. This will set the stage for what I will develop in time.
In summary: It started around my third year of college, when I began having problems with the fact that much of the Christian belief system is placed on the idea of a book, the Bible, which just oozed contradictions. On hindsight, this was actually a mild issue for me. A book written by humans, flawed and contradictory? Not such a big problem, maybe even an understandable one. My big problems came when I began attempting to understand my religion (Catholicism) in parallel to my growing understanding of the human brain and science in general. When I began to ponder on what we know about the Universe, how God or a god fits in it according to traditional definitions, what an afterlife really meant, I began to see, quite clearly, how the ideas so many people take for granted are erratic, in an almost simple manner. It seemed bizarre, the idea of a loving personal God that is always there to help us except when it “is in his divine plan”. Then the fact that we are supposedly judged by our actions due to our “free will”, when this is as flawed a concept as any. Then that our reward for behaving well in this life (define good behavior) is to build ties with loved ones only to have to let go forever. Then the small point that so far, we’re explaining everything that was previously determined as supernatural, and there seems to be no need for one now and maybe, there never was. I would tell myself, should’ve thought of these things earlier, since they hold an important meaning for me and my future.
should’ve thought of these things earlier, since they hold an important meaning for me and my future.
Admittedly, these statements are crude, hasty mentions that really require more detail and thought put behind them. What I want with this is not to argue (much), nor to convert anyone (no need to), but to put my thoughts out there. In all honesty, these are the meanderings of a young thinker that would like to put his thoughts into words, and maybe, find some tranquility. Egocentric as that may sound, there’s more to it. I’m pretty sure that hundreds of people are undergoing a similar change of mind. I hope this serves as something they can relate to. I don’t want to be an influence, thus the disclaimer, even if it is bound to happen at some point. And while I expect little agreement, that is ok. You are a free consciousness; you decide what you think is right. Remember, in the end, it should be YOUR mind that’s making the decisions. However, know that once you establish this, the rest will follow through.