Ed Brayton from "Dispatches From the Culture Wars", made the following comment on one of his posts regarding "The Blasphemy Challenge" (a very silly and pointless exercise by people on YouTube who proclaim they deny Christ and thus are eligible for eternal damnation):
Exactly my point, thank you (though I couldn't care less who's right about the interpretation of the "don't blaspheme the holy spirit" verse). As I said, I would find a bunch of videos, or better yet essays, on why people left Christianity or what they find unconvincing about it very interesting. That would be an argument. That would be communicating ideas. That would actually be something worth thinking about.
I was looking at the above "Calvin & Hobbes" strip and Ed's comment resonated with me. I think reading such stories would be very interesting for everyone, and so I issue you this challege -- write an essay, comment, video blog post, or e-mail message on the topic:
"Why I stopped believing what I believed before
, and now believe this instead."
This isn't really intended to be a "Why I became an atheist" exercise, what I'm most interested in is the process people go through in the course of changing their fundamental beliefs. Maybe you were raised Baptist and turned away from that in favor of Catholicism. Maybe you were raised an atheist and eventually converted to be an Episcopalian. Maybe you were raised Christian and became a Muslim, or gave up on God altogether and settled on atheism.
What I'm interested in hearing is stories of how and why you came to the conclusion that the faith (or non faith) you were raised in no longer was satisfying, fulfilling, or convincing to you. There's already plenty out there about the end of the story, about why you decided that the new belief system was better, but there's not a lot about the first part of it, about how people decide that what they fervently believed before is no longer correct.
Again, this isn't so much a request for conversion stories as it is a request for "de-conversion" stories -- I want to know why you don't believe what you used to any more, not why you currently believe what you do, if that makes sense.
I look forward to hearing what people have to say about it. If I get any submissions (either in comments or via e-mail) I'll compile them and put them into a new category. You can contact me