A Powerful Account of One Ex-Christian’s Journey to Apostasy

Above is a beautifully made video that Prpl Fox made about his deconversion from Christianity. As I did, Prpl Fox deconverted as a 21 year old college senior. I recommend this video summing up his story to Christians who want to learn how to love and understand apostates and to the many atheists who identify with deconversion narratives like my own. And when you watch it, be sure to pause and read the whole pages of text from his journal or e-mail or letters which he sometimes includes in the video. Especially pause at 10:12 and see the full letter his friend sent him. Christians, never talk to your deconverted friends like that full letter does. Seriously.

When I watched this video, and when Prpl Fox discovered my blog, we independently were both struck that the other had coincidentally chosen the same phrase to describe his deconversion: “against my will”. Among many points we are both adamant about making about the nature of our deconversions, this phrase sums them up the best. One of the ways Christians offend apostates from the faith the most is by underestimating the seriousness and the desperation with which many of us tried to hold onto our faiths before letting go. Now, not every atheist once wanted so badly to love Jesus. I now think it’s a great idea not to want to be a Christian. And I wouldn’t criticize in the least an atheist who looks at the institutions and beliefs of the Christian churches and wants nothing to do with any of them. I think, in retrospect, that would have been a much sounder ethical sensibility to have had from the start. But it wasn’t the one I had and it wasn’t the one Prpl Fox had, and it wasn’t the one many others had either. We wanted with all our hearts to believe and yet we couldn’t. Christians need to deal with the reality that you can sincerely want to believe with all your might and still be unable to. (Related: After My Deconversion I Refuse To Let Christians Judge Me and A Postmortem on My Deconversion: Was It Just That I Didn’t Love Jesus Enough?)

Finally if my word is not enough to convince you to watch this video, then I give you the distinguished video maker Qualia Soup’s praise for it:

One of the most powerful and beautifully expressed personal stories I’ve encountered – deconversion or otherwise. There’s a deep and moving poetry in both the words and visual images with which you’ve conveyed your extraordinary journey, Prplfox. I feel richer for watching this series. Thank you.

Your Thoughts?

Patheos Atheist LogoLike Camels With Hammers and Patheos Atheist on Facebook!

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.