My cell phone has a skull on it, to remind me that death is coming and I better live now. If you are not going to live now, when are you going to live?
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.
My guest this week is Jimmy. As early as the beginning of 2020 Jimmy was still in the closet trying to determine how he would come out as an atheist and humanist. By mid February he had told his family and was bracing for his church to find out. Jimmy was a serious and dedicated Christian drawn to Calvinism by family and the intellectual rigor.
It wasn’t that I was running away from it. But I think at that point I had internalized that I wasn’t a believer …
I realized I was going to have to come out at some point. I couldn’t maintain a charade.
As the years went by and his attempts at self-betterment were not realized he began to be drawn by the pragmatism of Stoicism. He eventually realized that counseling would be beneficial, though this had so far been off the table. Through these active measures he began to see some success at self-betterment.
[Stoicism has] this very pragmatic approach to making yourself a better human …
[Stoicism] hit me at a time when I needed something.
Jimmy’s chief concern was not damaging the relationships with his believing friends and family. He was very careful to show them he loved them and had no contempt for their faith.
It is one of these things where I think, this has got to be a band-aide I am ripping off and not a cancer I am injecting into my family. And I am going to do my darnedest to make sure that this works and that they know I love them.
I love these people How can I not harm them? Or how can I minimize the harm?
Jimmy is eminently quotable so here are more quotes from the episode
I had a long list of potentially scary things that could happen … I wanted to see it in writing to remind myself why I am trying to be careful and it is because of people I love. The best people I know are die hard Christians. The would die for their faith. Like I would have 10 years ago.
So I don’t want to harm these people and I don’t to make them think that I think they are idiots … I don’t want to conjure up of images of Christopher Hitchens sneering at them whenever they look at me.
The whole feeling alone thing. That is just hard. All the people you really care about you can’t tell
Jimmy’s book recommendations
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B Irvine
- Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary, by Kenneth W Daniels.
- Available for free here: https://infidels.org/library/modern/ken_daniels/why.html
- Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry
- How (not) to Be Secular, by James KA Smith
- Blue Remembered Earth, by Alastair Reynolds
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“memento Mori, ‘To This Favour’ by William Michael Harnett” by Bob Ramsak is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/