My Story On Film

For those of you interested in finding out about my journey from fundamentalist believer to free-thinking non-believer, you will find a short version of it in this documentary done by my son, Graeme, as part of his studies in broadcast journalism. It was very cool to be able to do this with him and (here’s the proud pappa moment) I think he did a fantastic job.

I’d love to get your responses to my story.

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21 Comments

Filed under Athesim

21 responses to “My Story On Film

  1. margaret

    Hi Scott, I just finished watching the video your son made…you have every right to be a proud papa!

  2. Carole

    wow, Scott, amazing! He captured you wonderfully. A work of art. Proud indeed!

  3. Dana

    Scott, this was an amazing video. Both in subject matter and your son’s work. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this and also for sharing your journey.

  4. theformerfundie

    Hi there, Phil. Thanks for your comments. It’s always great to meet someone who has made the same kind of journey out of the shackles of fundamentalism.

    You mentioned you were in Toronto. Are you still in the area?

    • Great video. You and I have very similar stories. I was a fundamentalist Baptist Pastor and Bible college professor for nearly 10 years. I earned a Ph.D. from Bob Jones Univ. in Theology. I am now an agnostic. My blog’s name is also similar.

      Ken

    • Phil

      No Scott, I left Toronto and have since returned to where I was originally from, which is Edmonton, Alberta. But when I was there I was a member of a baptist church close by Bayview and Eglinton. I very much hope that the church has now been demolished and replaced by something more useful, such as a burger joint or something(hehe :)).

      You’re welcomed to contact me on my email about happenings on your blog or just for a chat. Thank you once again for your video.

  5. In addition, I shared your video with my friend and fellow apostate, John Loftus and he has posted it on his widely read site Debunking Christianity.

    Ken

  6. Matt

    Wow. I just watched your video and I was completely blown away. Such an amazing story. I found myself rooting for you the entire movie and was so happy when you were able to ditch the source of so much of your unhappiness, pain, guilt, etc. and find real, genuine happiness. You are someone I truly admire.

  7. I caught this over at John Loftus’ blog and replied over there, but as you’re asking for responses I’ll repost it here:

    The part where he talks about being unable to tell his own mother how he really felt hit me pretty hard. Had to wrestle with whether or not to tell my grandfather, who had been a de facto father in my life… who would have reacted the same way (or worse). Couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    He touches upon the freedom issue, which theists generally confuse as shaking off the chains of morality to head down to Mardi Gras, in very pointed way. It’s not freedom from the rules. It’s freedom from constant fear that one faces once they begin to have doubts. All the hell indoctrination. All of the self-blame for not being good enough for god to show you a way past it. All of the realization of how awful you’ve been if this stuff simply hasn’t been true.

    In a chat with another skeptic we got to relate on the “devil music” issue of self-censoring to avoid satan’s temptations. Afraid to sing the “bad parts” for fear of eliciting the wrath of the god who “loved” us. Just all sorts of little things in the theist day-to-day is just repressive as all hell.

    Those first serious doubts are a nightmare of overcoming childhood traumatizing with hell and abandonment and self-blame. It’s such a shame that religious organizations do everything they can to give theists the tools to block out reason. And it’s horrifying how impressively good they are at making them feel smart and superior while being willfully ignorant.

    Good video though. A nice followup to the interview with the counselor.

  8. theformerfundie

    Wow. I am overwhelmed with your responses, Ken, Phil, Matt, and Glock21. Thanks everyone. This was a documentary my younger son did for a degree he is doing in broadcast journalism.

    Your comments are very meaningful to me.

    And, Ken, thanks for passing this on to John. Nice to get wider exposure!

  9. Wow Scott – great video, thanks for sharing your views and your journey. I guess I am lucky – I ‘lost’ or gave up my faith at 16 – I still have people look at me strangely when I tell them I am an athiest. Like it’s a disease of some type. Equally, I cannot understand why people are so duped by religion. I have a friend who always says ‘God has a plan for me’- when I see what life has handed her , I think her illusion of God must be a terrible project manager… sorry my humour spilling out.

  10. BehindBlueEyes

    I really enjoyed your son’s video. As a fellow ex-Baptist who is now an atheist I have struggled for years with guilt and fear. The word I have for what my parents and their religion did to me is brainwashing.

    Because of brainwashing I constantly find the logical part of my brain battling the “chimpanzee” part of my brain. Someone I recently met explained my struggle this way: “We have to find a way to let go of the EMOTIONAL attachment to our beliefs. There is fear inside us because our belief has defined us for so long that when we finally let go of it, we don’t know who we are anymore.”

    Hearing other ex-fundies’ stories is truly the best medicine for me.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. Scott,

    I wanted to let you know that I have posted your video on mysite today as an illustration of an atheist in the pulpit. Take a look and see what you think.

    Also, is there anyway you can edit the video to correct the misspelling of atheist at the very beginning?

    Ken

  12. Gaylene Wetzel

    Hi Scott,
    Our stories are so similar. I started out Lutheran, then was a Baptist for 10 years. I too struggle with depression. I too am still alive mostly because the thought of my children kept me from taking my own life.
    Do you have religious family members? I have 3 sisters, all religious. I am very grateful that my spouse and teenagers are not theists. I am not ‘out’ with them, just because I don’t want to deal with the lectures and the emotional blackmail.
    All the best!
    Gaylene

    • theformerfundie

      Hi Gaylene. Sorry for the delay in responding.

      Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, there are many, many of us out there with this experience. I am very glad that my story was helpful to you. That’s the greatest pay off for this for me.

      I have two sisters who are still very devout and a brother, who, like me, is a “backslider”. Family get togethers are always interesting. We mostly just avoid the whole thing altogether. : )

  13. Thanks for sharing this. It mirrors my own experience in so many ways. I was never a pastor, though I did consider becoming a youth pastor before I de-converted. Fortunately I de-converted young, when I was about 19. I didn’t have a wife and children to try to explain it to, and I was able to sort of start over with my social life in college, since it had revolved around the church before that.

    It’s been so long that I had really forgotten about a lot of the guilt the church imposes. Dating was a joke; I was not even allowed to “look” at a woman “lustfully”, for I would have, as the scriptures say, “committed adultery with her in my heart.” Not easy to avoid when you’re a teen with raging hormones. Nothing like a little thought crime to keep the flock in order.

    My deconversion was more rooted in a study of theology – too many things didn’t add up. But I still had to reconcile the “divine” experiences I had with my newfound doubt. What if it all wasn’t true? What if all those experiences had perfectly rational explanations?

    By the by, your experience with your mother reminded me of a similar scene in Ricky Gervais’ movie “The Invention of Lying”. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

  14. Scott,
    Thanks to you and your son for catching your story in such a candid and honest way.

    I’ve sent it forward for others to see.

    I think you express in words what many may feel about organized religion.

    Too bad the film didn’t touch upon how becoming an atheist brought you closer to being a vegetarian 🙂

  15. Alexander Zlotnik

    Scott,
    It may be a shame for the male,but I was just almost crying while watching this video.What is amazing story!By the way,I live in Toronto(North York,actually),would like to meet you one day.I consider myself not atheist,but agnostic,skeptic(jewish),but have a strong detest toward religious fundamentalism
    If you are planning something like public lectures – please ,let me know.
    Thanks again for the amazing video!
    Alexander

  16. Betty Thompson

    Hi Scott,

    I ‘ve tried to watch the your story on the video on your blog but it’s choppy and cuts out all the time.

    Would you be able to send me a copy via email?

    Let me know. I hope all is well.

    Thanks!

    Betty

  17. Brenda

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am in the very tough place of having left Christianity but not yet at the place where I have peace about it. I am tortured by fear and every day is a struggle. Maybe you could share with me how you came to peace with your decision.

    Thanks.

  18. Ben Chung

    Scott, thank you for posting this video, We share a very similar story about our journey into agnosticism and atheism, although I am not there yet., I am by default, a deist.

    When I was a child, I moved to Vancouver, BC and attended a fundamentalist Christian school called, Temple Academy. It used Accelerated Christian Education material, and over the years I was covnerted to this brand of crazy pentacostal pre-mil story about Christianity, always lived in the fear of the sudden second coming and being left behind. I then moved to another fundamentalist Christian high school called Prairie High School, in Three Hills, Alberta, graduated in ’85. The school was part of a bible college (the infamous Prairie Bible Institute, now involved with allegations of abuse) and I thought seriously of attending that bible school, except my father is a pragmatist, and thought I should go through regular university training, I eventually graduated from the U of Toronto and then attended Harvard for my dental training, My journey away from faith began when I encountered unreasonable demands from my parents about not marrying my girlfriend, now my wife, I slowly but surely moved away from a faith that is extremely abusive and demanding, and perhaps a shadow of a made belief.

    I am still working on the issues of unbelief, and like you, I have siblings that are extremely fundamentalist, and of course my folks. I no longer believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of god. I do read them carefully but I do not find its entire content worthy to made into regular laws. I somehow still retain the vestiges of my belief, But I am not attending church anymore nor do I look for answers there,

    I thank you humbly for sharing your journey and making this world a bright and beautiful place to be!

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