I’m Dani Ward,

and I do lots of things.

Tag Archive for Agnosticism

No more faith: the whys and why nots of my deconversion.

It’s really rather rare for people to ask me why I deconverted from Christianity. Like, really rare. It’s far more common for them to assume they already know, whether they’re talking to me while they’re expressing this assumption or not. However, in a single week, I’ve had two separate unaffiliated people ask me a variation of the same question about the role fundamentalism had in my deconversion. Of course, I’ve been trying to figure this out for myself on a less-specific scale for the better part of two years, though much of it has been in my own head. Perhaps it’s time for me to work out of my thoughts here with you.

Sad pandas, boundaries, and relationships.

I’m a really big believer in boundaries and respecting the choices, experiences, and desires of individuals. I think people get to decide how others are allowed to interact with them, and that the onus is on others to really hear what that person is saying (yes, even when that person is silent. Silence is an answer, after all, and that answer is “I don’t want to talk to you.” Respect it!). I’m just afraid that my post didn’t reflect these beliefs as clearly as I’d like it to have.

No one is obligated to remain friends with me. Having been in similar circumstances, but on the other side of the situation, I really understand how uncomfortable and even painful it can be to remain in contact with someone who has abandoned a core component of your relationship. I have no wish to cause others pain, and I honestly have no real animosity towards those who have decided that I’m a toxic influence in their life and they’ll be happier and healthier without my presence. I think they they’re the best expert on what will make their lives happy and healthy (even if I disagreed), and I try to save my animosity for those who are openly disrespectful and/or bigoted. But, I mean, I 100% support the decision of people who don’t want me in their lives. Truly.

In fact, it’d be pretty shitty of me to insist that they must remain my friend, to continually insert myself into their lives, to constantly try to manipulate them into a relationship they want no part of. That’s not an okay thing for me to do, and I do my best to be respectful of their wishes.

But it still hurts.

To make it abundantly clear: why this atheist is invested in Christianity.

Part of me says, “You’re not a Christian anymore, so just ignore it. It’s not like it affects you anymore anyway.” But that’s not really true. There are lots of things about Christianity that deeply affected me for over 20 years, and when Christianity also tends to play a role in U.S. politics, it sure as hell affects me.

And the thing is, when I stopped believing in God, I didn’t stop caring about people.

Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: An Introduction.

The sign on front campus of Bob Jones University.

I thought that the hardest thing about being at BJU was going to be just learning how to follow an amazingly ridiculous set of rules — and frankly, I thought I had that covered. I grew up in a conservative Christian school where BJU groups visited for recruitment purposes. I was usually one of the good kids, so I thought BJU was going to be a college-version of my high school. No big deal.

Boy, was I wrong.

Too much.

It’s just hard sometimes, when I notice that people I thought were friends suddenly aren’t — in “real life” and online. I immediately feel that shame of, “I’ve taken up too much space, I have been too much and I have driven them away.” Even when I recognize and affirm and totally believe that if someone is stressing you out digitally (or even not digitally), it’s okay to unfollow and disengage and you really don’t have to like everyone or be friends with people you don’t want to be friends with. And I just need to be okay with people choosing to unfollow and disengage from me and stop being my friend without internalizing it as a commentary on my perceived worthlessness.

Halloween as a deconverted former fundamentalist.

Michael and I went into a Halloween shop today.

I’d never been in a Halloween shop before, and it was an eye-opening experience.

I was really surprised to see so many little kids everywhere — and not a single one of them crying or scared. These kids…they clearly could separate fiction from reality in a way that I couldn’t at their age. In a way that I couldn’t as a young adult. I envied this ability they had that I’m still working on developing. I envied their lack of fear, their pure delight, their reasoning skills.

Strange and unprepared.

This is a conversation I don’t know how to have.

How do I write about no longer identifying as a Christian in a way that won’t turn my entire world upside down?

I guess I’m doing it something like this. But I’m not holding onto hope for keeping my world aright.

The language of Christianity is still my mother tongue. The culture of Christianity is still my hometown. I don’t know anything else.

This is a strange place for me to be.

Everything is blurry.

Many of you know I am wavering very much between atheism and deism. (If not, I apologize for the undoubted lurch of a double-take that may have just happened.) Truth be told, I am often both in the same day. Today it seems that I am a deist (though I was an atheist for most of last week). But something…