Bill Ross - Deconversion Story

Hi, my handle is WoundedEgo but my name is Bill Ross... this is me with my family.

John has graciously invited me to contribute to his blog, and suggested I begin with my deconversion story, and so I shall...

Unfortunately, being as cerebral as I am, the story will not involve a car chase, but I'll try not to bore...

There is a wonderful scene in one of the Wallace and Gromit stories where Gromit sits in jail doing a jigsaw puzzle. As he places the last piece in the puzzle, he realizes that the puzzle has a personal message for him - he will be leaving jail tonight via a breakout!

This was my experience. I pondered the Bible for many, many years, trying to discover its central themes that would tie the whole thing together and unlock its cryptic design. As soon as I did so, I realized that it would not serve as my own mental framework.

I quote this from the introduction to my book, Bible Shockers!:

My lovely wife of twenty something years is an extremely capable person with a wide range of interests. She might be spending her day absorbed in an art project with the younger children, having some coffee or tea with friends or riding her bicycle up to the video store to see if they have anything new along the lines of Stephen King, or if not, something with some gut wrenching human relationships. She seldom thinks about the Bible. I, on the other hand, like many people, have had a long fascination with the Bible and have often neglected other important activities in order to understand some difficult passage or other. I spent many years as a Christian, treating the book as Protestant Christians are wont to do:

* As a vehicle of magic communication from God to me
* To reinforce the Catholic/Protestant traditions I had been taught

I have spent many more years approaching the text as an ancient religious text, driven to deeply understand as one would understand any other ancient religious text. The reasons I moved from reading the Bible as a vehicle of magic communication from deities, and from seeking proof texts for my faith, to methodical objective study were twofold. First of all, I was challenged by a passage in the Bible:

Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

As I meditated on that passage I began to think to myself that rather than try to "prop up" my beliefs with the Bible, what if I began to see which ones I could knock over? Any that would not knock over were solid and I would know exactly why, but any that yielded were unreliable and could safely be discarded. All of my beliefs were quickly exposed as imposters.

Magic communication had failed me. I found that I received confusing, conflicting messages and silly ideas. I found I was insecure and misled by the thoughts that seemed to come from the deity but were just notions. Most troubling was the see-saw of alarm versus confidence that I found myself on. For example, one day I might read some condemning passage of scripture and find myself feeling, and believing myself to be, condemned because of my sins. The next day I would read a passage of assurances and feel, and believe myself to be, in favor. I found I could not really be secure about anything because my subjective moods often dictated my interpretation of the Bible as it concerned my personal relations. I needed to know the objective criteria for my relationship to God.

What I hoped to find was an understanding of God and of the Bible. What I actually found was shock and awe. What I found was that I had not understood the text at all, and that to an alarming extent, the ideas that I had been spoon fed were nasty viruses of misinformation. When I finally understood the Bible, I realized it was not magic, divine or credible.


I look forward to contributing...

Bill Ross
"Sigh, I miss my imaginary friend...