Rise of the Gnostic Atheist: A Deconversion Story

Alias: GMNightmare
Name: Jesse
Date: 29 July 2009
Birth: 1988 C.E.
Gender: Male

In my beginning, I was born to both a new mother and new father. My birth was a rather large event to my extended family, for I was the very first great grandchild. As my mother’s family is very close, of course many made an appearance. Near birth, I was blessed and baptized by my great grandfather under Christianity.

Under such pretenses I assume many would suspect that I was raised under a very religious setting. This was luckily not the case. It is worth mentioning that my mother’s ancestors stem from a long line of clergy, and they are all fairly religious… And while my mother is also mildly religious, my family couldn’t seem to find a church that we fit into.

Sure, my family tried—I understand that we were almost sucked into Mormonism. In the end, the situation basically turned out to be a lax kind of religious attitude. There was definitely more church attending during my younger years, but we went less as time progressed. Both my parents worked difficult and long jobs, and Sunday just needed to be an actual day of rest… as well as spending time with their kids.

I vaguely remember somewhere around the age of 10 or so… well, actually quite clearly, a day dining at a restaurant. My parents posed a question, of what we (the kids) thought of hell. My personal response gave the more “good” you where in life the better you would live in heaven... Hell didn’t really exist to me even at this point in my life. My sibling’s response was far cruder; basically amounting to saying a certain relative of ours should go there.

At this point, my parents informed us that our great grandfather had done some “research” into it (Biblical studying hardly amounts to research) and came to the conclusion that hell didn’t really exist as a place. All hell basically amounted to was nothing, you died and that was it. Much like the atheist point of view of death in general actually. This certainly made more sense at the time to me than some torturous place.

A little time later would be about the time I entered a Christian summer camp. A fun place really, but only posed to delay my atheism, if it even could. The reason for Jesus’ existence was answered here, being the sacrifice to end all the sacrifices… I remember this being an epiphany at the time, although it would of course only pose more questions later.

Some more background information here would be helpful before I move on. My life has been quite an easygoing one. I’ve led a very happy life, with few problems or hindrances to bar my path. So when it came to going to church gatherings and this camp, it of course wouldn’t bring me more happiness or joy than I already had.

When your life is full of strife and sadness, a good break every week is a nice and happy moment. I, as said above, had no need for this. It all comes into focus, when comparing myself with the rest of the congregation. They treat these meetings as something that brings them more happiness. For me, I was just as happy there as I was at any other time. You could say I was immune to the “joys” of the church.

So back at the camp, there would be nightly fireside chats. Other kids would share their god stories… where a prayer would be answered, or they were helped out through harsh times. Out came another problem… I simply didn’t have any. I tended to doubt each story as well—typically not the story itself, but the intervention or actual act of god in it.

Perfectly reasonable actions were attributed to god. Even worse, the positive actions of others were explained away as simply god’s plan. These stories did not sit well with me. I would ask myself, “Why do these people believe those were acts of god? What acts then do come from god?” Let me tell you, mind tangling questions…

The only real answer that even starts to work is god controls them all: good or bad. You know, god tests you… There was a big flaw here, coming from my situation: why wasn’t god “testing” me? Why was I so much more blessed than anyone else? Two cases then: I didn’t need it, but then why would anybody need it? Or I take the more egotistical approach that I was special.

As much as people like to assume, I’m not quite as egotistical as I would seem. I did not like the notion that I was special and that everybody else wasn’t based upon god’s seemingly random will. Let’s face it as well; the Bible never really helps unless you know where to look… And of course, depending on where you look, you’ll get different answers.

Upon leaving the camp, I would of course revert to what I normally did during summers… Programming video games and debating online. The programming is relatively irrelevant; the debating on the other hand consisted of all topics including religious ones. They were all of course very intellectually stimulating; debating such things as parallel universes, dimensions, the meaning of life, and so forth.

From all the experiences compacted with time, I would eventually start to become nonreligious. Unfortunately I would still consider myself Christian for quite a number of years, although quite clearly my beliefs did not match the title. In fact, I hardly doubt my beliefs ever really matched the title. It still would not be until the start of my college years that I would come to the notion that I was not a Christian, and was indeed nonreligious.

I still had a belief in god at this time mind you. My view of god consisted of basically the god that is just there in everything. I would come to understand that my views aligned with that of Pantheism a little while later. Fairly word for word, and for never hearing about Pantheism before I was quite surprised.

Finding a religion that pretty much directly coincided with my beliefs gave me gumption. Eureka was the thought, but I knew what this meant in its entirety. Pantheism is very agnostic in its nature; it basically amounts to feeling that it’s true and I had come to this conclusion. In fact, Pantheism is akin to atheism, except with a belief in god… it’s one of the most basic yet at the same time advanced forms of theism. Thus, I felt far more aligned to atheism than Christianity at this point in time.

My questioning wouldn’t stop there. The fundamental question that made the difference was “Why do I believe what I believe?” Why? Just to feel good? Just to fit in? Was it just easier to explain to the masses? In a way, yes was the reply to all of those questions.

A belief in god still felt good. A belief in god still allowed me to fit in. A belief in god was easier to explain. None of those answers were intellectually sound. Why should I believe something with such weak convictions such as those? The answer of course is I shouldn’t—or not that I shouldn’t but that I didn’t want to.

Of course this didn’t happen that quickly or easily, but progressed over quite a large sum of time. But when everything was said and done, I had become an atheist. Let’s make certain, debate and rigorous pursuit of knowledge has never stopped this whole time. It indeed continues to this day. Thus, the story does not end there.

Oh no, we have only gotten to the atheism, the question of how I came to be gnostic still remains. This is very much a recent change, as in, barely a week before I wrote this. There is a very exact process into which I came upon this as well. It happens to center around my confrontations with none other than professed agnostics.

First, let us clarify. Atheism means you don’t have a belief in god. On the other hand, being agnostic simply says you think god is impossible to prove or disprove, or in other words that you don’t know. Now you can be an agnostic theist… or you can be an agnostic atheist. Not knowing while also not believing is a fluffy way of saying you don’t have a belief in god (but may have one later), thus atheist (currently). The majority of atheists are agnostic.

So here’s the issue: I run across a lot of posts by claimed agnostics that being in a religion or being atheist is both equally ignorant. That’s putting it nicely.Constantly having to say they are actually atheists themselves, becomes quite a hassle—also put nicely. Now most claimed agnostics (that aren’t theists) claim to be agnostics for two reasons… first are the negative stereotypes against atheism, and second being they just don’t understand the terms. The agnostics that I’m talking about here also happen to be incredibly egotistical to boot. Here’s the funny bit, they seemed to be gnostic about their agnosticism…

This brings us to the question, what is knowledge? Knowing does not mean truth; it means you regard it as true. Knowing is paradoxical in its nature, how can anything be known with exact certainty? It can’t, but for the sake of progress we have to start at some point.

I’ve argued against countless excuses for god. I’ve found fundamental flaws against any kind of omni-ability. I’ve argued against not only the existence but the uselessness of a creator. Essentially, I’ve argued if god cannot be known in this reality then god has no basis in this reality. I’ve even argued the word classification of the word god even.

All and all, perhaps it’s just more honest. I have found flaws and argued against all types of gods, how much more must it take to know? I’ve argued against the whole notion, reason, and existence of god… why can I not be certain there is no god?

And that, is my story of why I am a gnostic atheist.


  1. Oh, yes, was this going to be added to the deconversion part of the site?

  2. Hey GMN, it's on the deconversion page, but not as a page in itself. I can change that though. :)

  3. Atheists and Gnostics are right in most of their thinking

    It has been common among religious believers to look with misgiving to atheists and Gnostics, and to think that they are mistaken; however, in many instances the opposite is the truth; some religious beliefs are not just irrelevant, but baseless. It is unbelievable how myths and a religious fantasy have influenced human minds with more strength than reality!

    Most people don’t dare to confront their religious doubts; they are afraid of abandoning the “certainty” of their convictions, and opt for the status quo. The “God” of main line traditions simply does not exist. I accepted the challenge of finding the One who may be recognized even by Gnostics and atheists, and came to the conclusion that God isn’t other than the Existence itself, “All-That-Is.” If something is there, that is God.

    I invite you to look at the book “Christianity Reformed From ist Roots - A life centered in God.” This book most probably was not written for you, but it may be useful for some of your religious friends who still think that you are wrong and they are right. I am confident that reading the book would help them to be relieved of the illusion, as I did myself.

    Distinguished philosophers and thinkers might give you an idea of this book—perhaps a generation ahead of time for most believers—(links below); or you might look at excerpts at Amazon.com.

    Jairo Mejia, M. Psych., Santa Clara University
    Retired Episcopal Priest
    Carmel Valley, California


  4. Bloody spammer.

    What, do you really think you're tricking us?

    First off, you don't capitalize atheists. Second, Gnosticism is a religion, you therefore do not capitalize it if you mean it as a term of knowledge. Third, you can be gnostic in your belief of god, so therefore you must clarify by saying gnostic atheist. Fourth, there is only one tenant of an atheist, lacking a belief in god.

    You obviously do not consider atheists or gnostic atheists right. Hence why you are still religious. You obviously do not agree with the points, and if you do, you are a complete fool for sitting there and believing even when you agree that god is illogical.

    But let's amount to your actions... did you comment on what was said? No, not at all. You are one of the worst kind of pricks, you sit there and give fake praise to promote some stupid books. No matter how "new thought" tries to obscure it, god is illogical. And those philosophers, generations behind atheists. Generations behind other believers even. In the end, they are arguing for Panentheism, but they are just too stupid to realize that it already exists, and for that matter that you do not have to be Christian to believe in god.

    Next time, actually comment on what is said and make it relevant.

  5. I have a couple of questions that I would like answered, and you seem like the type to answer questions. First of all, what are your thoughts on supernatural phenomena (weird stuff people claim happens, i.e., someone's ear being cut off, and growing back on)? Is it all just a big hoax? Secondly, I know that evolution details how the earth came to it's present state, and the big bang, (do they still call it that?) started all that, but what could have caused the big bang? And how did whatever caused the big bang come into existence? As far as I know, science clearly states that nothing can be infinite, and all things have an end and a beginning. So, if nothing is infinite, than how did the universe get started? Wouldn't something had to have caused time to exist first, something that wasn't governed by time, and so couldn't even be described by adjectives like infinite? I just have these questions, and no one can really answer them, except with some lame thing like "It just goes on and on". And what does happen when we die? I know our bodies clearly decompose, we can see that much easily. But what about our consciousness? It seems to me that consciousness is somewhat of a mystery in and of itself. Scientists can make a body, and they can put blood and oxygen in it, but yet they can't make it live? So, if a consciousness isn't something like a body, something that decomposes, what happens when the consciousness dies? Does it really just cease to exist? I can't even imagine not existing. It just seems so foreign, to not exist. Lastly, I don't really get the term "gnostic atheist". From what I've read, gnostics claim to "know" something, that other people don't. So, if you're a gnostic atheist, does that just mean that you "know" hands down, that there is not, and has never been, any kind of god?

  6. This is my reasoning behind the "science clearly states that nothing can be infinite, and all things have a beginning": http://www.allaboutscience.org/second-law-of-thermodynamics.htm

    I also have a couple of other questions that I thought of.

    What is your opinion of free will? I saw another post on some other website that stated that there was no free will at all, and that our actions are all predetermined by previous events in our life, and that we can't really ever choose something at random, that it will always be somehow predetermined by preexisting conditions. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

    Also, you say in your post that your great grandfather had come to the conclusion that there was no hell. I've read a little bit of the bible, and from what I've read, it seems like it says there is. I realize you don't believe any of this, but I just am kinda miffed that your great grandfather thought that the bible didn't say there was a hell.

    What is your explanation of morality? Christians claim that most all of it stems from the bible, and that's really the only thing I can think of that started it, aside from it being hardwired into our brains. I know that a lot of things are morally relative, i.e., adultery, some people think it's morally wrong, and others think it's not. But what about things like murder? The only people I can think of who think that something like that is morally ok, are cannibals, and you could hardly call them (for lack of a better word) civilized.

    And what about Jesus? I personally think there are enough non-biblical references to prove that he did exist. So, assuming he did exist, what exactly was he? He was either a complete nutjob, a cunning liar, or what he said he was; god. He is considered to have some of the wisest teachings of any philosopher, so how could a complete nutjob be so sane in one area, and yet completely wacky in another? If he was a liar, then he was clearly an idiot, because he didn't get himself anywhere by letting a lot of people think he was god, and not trying to get anything out of it, and then getting himself killed without even putting up a fight. If he really was god, then it makes a little sense, except for the god part. Also, what was so special about him, that made his religion live on, and grow to an enormous size, when there were (and still are) other people who claim they are god. What is it about christianity that has caused it to grow so large? I know people want answers, but why not go muslim, or buddhist? I know some people do, but it seems like christianity is the most popular, and yet, at the same time, the religion that gets the most flack. How is it that it can still be so huge, after having so many people try to destroy it? Heck, you'd think it would have died with it's founder, after being so heavily stepped on by the roman empire.

    That's most of what I have for now, I'll probably come up with some more questions in the middle of the night. (They always seem to pop up around midnight...)
    Thank you for answering my other questions, despite all confusing paradoxes and "advanced thinking". (I don't quite understand it all, it's a little hard to wrap the brain around)

  7. Yes, I would agree with GMN that vast majority of Christians have not tried other religions. They try various "forms" or "denominations" of Christianity that they call "not Christian" because it isn't their "brand". Going from Baptist to Catholic to Jehovah's Witness to Mormon isn't "trying other religions", if that happens to come up as an example.

  8. Hello, I'm going to most likely make several unpopular statements here, first I am somewhat Gnostic, but the terms Theist Gnostic and Atheistic Gnostic are really misnomers, Gnosticism actually is theistic by definition, I subscribe to the gnostic search for knowledge and understanding and do not "believe" in blind "faith" , I do understand that there are things that science has yet to explain that people term supernatural, and I understand given the churches view of how many people would discount the notion of a higher being altogether, but a higher being or multiple higher being do exist, not supernaturally but naturally, now understanding of a god or gods so to speak has to come with understandings of dimensional space and the true nature of time as a spatial dimension , the best guides through this knowledge minefield are the philosophers Gurdjieff or Ouspensky , with a firm grasp of this concept many "religious" beliefs start to become a lot less supernatural, for instance any being comprehending 4th dimensional space would seem omnipotent to those of us that can only perceive 3 dimensional space because it would be able to see the whole of time as we perceive it at once, I don't pretend to have all the answers but the "gnosic atheist" term implies that you do have all the answers, I have yet to find any arguments with "proof" that god does not exist, it may be possible to prove logical inconsistencies within the judeo-christian beliefs, but I argue that it is nearly impossible to prove that almost anything does not exist, please prove me wrong...

  9. Gnosticism is a religion, which is part of your problem. Being an gnostic atheist, is not a part of Gnosticism. So no, gnostic theism and gnostic atheism are not misnomers. If agnostic means not knowing whether there is a god or not, the gnostic means knowing whether there is a god or not. Furthermore, realization that I didn't capitalize gnostic would go far with you. If I was talking about you, a Gnostic, I would specify anyways. Your nearly dead religious branch doesn't own the word.

    Time is not a spatial dimension, it is a measurement. Even kook theories of space-time understand that it is different from spatial dimension. I don't much care for pathetic philosophers that start out with a concept they like, god, and then try to manipulate thought in order to prove such in some way with little or no consideration to the reality of if their theories were true.

    And no, even supposing such nonsense was true, it doesn't give any greater claims to religious nonsense. First off, if god had full view of this "4th" dimension, it wouldn't grant him omnipotence, it would grant omniscience, which is just as absolutely useless and illogical. Second, even if he could change things, we wouldn't comprehend any changes he makes anyways. Any changes would destroy the timeline from that point onward, we wouldn't see the change, so we would not regard such a being any higher or having any greater proof than any other religious claim.

    Besides that, but there is no evidence of a god in the bloody first place! There is nothing that seems omnipotent, there are only religions that claim their god is omnipotent just because.

    "I argue that it is nearly impossible to prove that almost anything does not exist"

    Of course you do, because it's the only thing you can fall back on when you find it's impossible to prove the existence of your god. You're wrong. A square circle doesn't exist. Neither does Santa Claus. Oh wait, did I break your dreams there? Because by your logic Santa Claus must exist because you can't possibly prove something doesn't exist right?

    Understand the point? If you make a bad claim, I can indeed prove your being doesn't exist. You haven't really made any claims to your god yet, but you didn't try the omniscient being with the "4th" dimension, so here, proof that your god doesn't exist:

    Finally, maybe you need to reread this part, as you obviously didn't comprehend it at all if you're asking for proof (which I supplied anyways):
    "This brings us to the question, what is knowledge? Knowing does not mean truth; it means you regard it as true. Knowing is paradoxical in its nature, how can anything be known with exact certainty? It can’t, but for the sake of progress we have to start at some point.

    I’ve argued against countless excuses for god. I’ve found fundamental flaws against any kind of omni-ability. I’ve argued against not only the existence but the uselessness of a creator. Essentially, I’ve argued if god cannot be known in this reality then god has no basis in this reality. I’ve even argued the word classification of the word god even.

    All and all, perhaps it’s just more honest. I have found flaws and argued against all types of gods, how much more must it take to know? I’ve argued against the whole notion, reason, and existence of god… why can I not be certain there is no god?"

  10. Another comment on the "spatial" time... if you had a god that could comprehend it, he couldn't change anything. If he changed something, it would change what he already knew was supposed to happen. Plus, then he's acting upon his own time scale... and then what about the next greater being that is aware of that time scale and so forth repeatably? The "5th" timescale... This is what I'm talking about not considering the consequences. "A firm grasp of this concept" is impossible, as it is logical, and they couldn't even consider the above.

  11. Don't want to sound patronizing but I am impressed with your verbalization of these concepts at such a young age! I guess I shouldn't be - my son (same age) knocks me out on occasion. I just thank goodness (not GOD) that your generation shows so much promise! The God Delusion seems to be slipping further and further away with each new crop of humans despite the fervor of their parents and teachers. Go kids!

  12. Why thank you. Actually, I have almost finished a revised version that is put a little more eloquently, shorter, and a little less abrasive with the religious.

    It's always nice to take a break from the usual comments for ones like these.

  13. These posts are not very abrasive. Some theists have thin skins, but you seem way, way more respectful of theists than most theists are of atheists and vice versa. There is a general climate of rudeness on the net, and you are not rude at all. Of course, I'm an atheist so maybe I am just not seeing it from the correct POV. Maybe you really are abrasive. I always say hate the faith, love the faithful...

  14. Depends on who I'm talking to, I can get fairly abrasive at times, it just takes a fair amount. Here though nay... but you would be amazed at how little gets people riled up sometimes.

    "Under such pretenses I assume many would suspect that I was raised under a very religious setting. This was luckily not the case."

    People have taken offense to that line. Wacky I know. Also they have taken offense to me calling Jesus the sacrifice to end all sacrifices... even though that's widely preached. I've changed my story to be even less abrasive and a bit shorter and precise too, just have to post it again sometime.