Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Deconversion Story: "Nothing" Without Christ

I found this excellent post on the Website Our Daily Train.  Also, I'm posting an excerpt from the movie Jesus Camp to illustrate the more threatening (and common) tactic of theistic conversion, which is simply this: scare the shit out of little children.  Here's the full text from the Website. 
Below is one of the most touching and powerful deconversion stories I’ve ever heard, and it shows the power Christianity can have, not only over a person’s social makeup and well-being, but over their view of themselves as human beings.
As this former believer attested, people, including children, are taught they are born bankrupt and into complete depravity and sin and cannot possibly live moral, fulfilling and happy lives without coming to love someone who they also must worship and fear. After realizing the Bible could not be trusted as a source for information, this person struggled mightily with how and when to break the news, and when he finally broke camp with the church, thereby losing most of his social support structure — How readily good Christian “friends” want little more to do with you once they realize you no longer believe as they do (other than shallow attempts to win you back to the fold) — he spent a great deal of time traveling the nation and trying to find his own identify, since his previous identity was completely wrapped up in the notion that he was “nothing” without Christ, as he put it:
If a belief can do this to you you will have almost no chance of being able to critically evaluate its truthfulness. Christianity alters your identity to ensure the survival of itself.
Here is his story:


  1. Just bear in mind, Jesus Camp fundamentalism is at the extreme end of the line. Most Anglicans (to pick a random illustration) are usually more tolerant of heresy. But yes indeed, intolerance runs deep in our natural AND cultural DNA. We the godless must try and lead by example on this front.

  2. You may be correct that the Jesus Camp style of fundamentalism occupies the far end of the spectrum as a matter of tone, but the "nothing without Jesus" is at the heart of Christian belief. Proselytizing takes on may forms—some "better" than others. One can only guess what goes on behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. But in terms of the mutually exclusive aspect of various religions, in Christianity, if one rejects the divinity of Jesus, there's not much wiggle room for salvation, by most accounts. Everyone else is bound for hell, however it's described.

    From a recent Pew study of religious diversity in the US, Evangelical Protestant Churches (breakdown below) make up 26.3% of the population, and Evangelical Anglican/Episcopal make up less than 0.3 %. That's what I would call the far end of the spectrum. My point is this: it's a failure to not engage with religion as it practiced in reality by everyday people.

    Looking the other way or pointing to abstract arguments for God doesn't solve the problem.

    Evangelical Protestant Churches 26.3%
    Baptist, Evang. Trad.10.8%
    Methodist, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Nondenominational, Evang. Trad.3.4%
    Lutheran, Evang. Trad.1.8%
    Presbyterian, Evang. Trad.0.8%
    Pentecostal, Evang. Trad.3.4%
    Anglican/Episcopal, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Restorationist, Evang. Trad.1.7%
    Congregationalist, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Holiness, Evang. Trad.1.0%
    Reformed, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Adventist, Evang. Trad.0.5%
    Anabaptist, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Pietist, Evang. Trad.< 0.3%
    Other Evangelical/Fundamentalist0.3%
    Protestant nonspecific, Evang. Trad.

  3. There is a video of where Levi is now. I haven't had the chance to watch it (the sound is broken on my computer) but it may be interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYpcZZh6ilY

  4. My kids are definitely checking that place out!!!

  5. Ha! Freudian slip! Maybe a Jesus band-camp would be better suited for your prospective children. Enjoyed your in-class performance on Tuesday. It's always fun analyzing lyrics. Keep up the good work.

  6. Haha, I appreciate the random example, Dr. Oliver!

    To counter the argument that we Anglicans/Episcopalians are less than 0.3% of the American (or is it American Christian?) population, when you look worldwide, the Anglican Communion (which Anglicans and Episcopalians are both a part of), is the third largest Christian group; behind Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.