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22 December 2009

Deconversion Stories

As I have mentioned a few times already, I really have no basis for deconversion sotries since I was unable to swallow the bullshit, erm, I'm sorry, I mean fables, of religion. As such, I can only send out information that other people have. I have already repeatedly mentioned Daniel Florien and John Loftus as examples of some writers on the subject. However, there doesn't seem to be a lot of scientific research on the subject. I would posit that this is because atheism is a null set, as opposed to an active set of beliefs. And it's much like herding cats, or whatever other silly comparison in difficulty you want to make.

That said, here is a person who tackled this in a small scale for his Master's Thesis. Direct from

Hello everybody,

About 6 months ago, I used this forum to look for volunteers from around Toronto who wanted to be interviewed regarding the process they took to finally seeing themselves as atheist. I received many responses and I ended up interviewing 10 individuals. I think what I found should be sent out to as many people as possible, so I'm providing a direct link to the study in pdf format. Understandably, the literature review may not be of interest to some people, but the heart of the thesis is in the findings section about the atheist construction process.

Here's a summary of the paper:

This study examines the atheist construction process through ten in-depth interviews ofthose who were raised in a religious background and who eventually became atheist.Atheists are a misrepresented percentage of the population in our redominantly Judeo-Christian society. The academic literature reflects this situation as there is insubstantialresearch pertaining to atheism. There is an absence of relevant material regarding howindividuals come to see themselves as an atheist, particularly in a Canadian context. The exploratory approach of interviewing provides atheists a voice in the literature, while simultaneously investigating Canadian atheism. It was found that a combination of socialfactors and individual/cognitive factors contributed to the process. Beginning the process with Primary Socialization, the participants entered a cycle that eventually led toatheism. The core of the cycle involves the following factors: Secondary Socialization,Cultural Forces, Replacement/In-Between, and Reading and Education. The peripheryof the cycle comprises the entirety of the examined factors, which includes Logical andCritical Thought and Doubt. Further, conversion theories provide a template for and acomparison with the atheist construction process.

And the link:

Forward this to anybody you wish.

Thank you,


Hopefully this may prove of some use to someone. The link takes you to a PDF that you can download and read at your leisure. It's 80+ pages long. Hopefully it will help in the author's goals of putting a human face to atheists.

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