21 Dec 2012

Songs of the Deconverted by Jim Etchison- Review

Songs of the Deconverted by Jim Etchison It’s rare that I find stories that so precisely and eloquently put words to the way it felt for me as I lost my faith. It’s rare that I ever feel like someone actually gets it. Jim Etchison does such an incredible job describing these thoughts and feelings in his book Songs of the Deconverted, that I frequently found myself highlighting portions of the text and gasping for breath as I recalled feeling many of the same things described in the book.

Songs of the Deconverted is a collection of short stories, fiction, that reflect upon Jim’s own experiences. Each riddled with parts of his own life, they serve as the perfect allegory  for what it is like for the deeply devoted Christian to lose that which is most vital to him.

Jim says of his work:

I wrote this book of short stories for a rare group – those who dove in completely, let the current sweep them under, then realized their peril and swam for the shore. The people who climbed out, still dripping, and walk again on the dry land, are forever changed. The ocean won’t define them anymore.  Instead they will be defined by their singular decision to climb out of the roiling sea.

The stories introduce us to Andy, beginning with his climb up Tophat Ridge with an atheist friend who “baffles” him. By the time Andy and his friend reach the summit Andy too is without belief, no longer able to make God true after great revelations cause his religious infrastructure to implode on itself.

From:

Every action, every snapshot in time, was held up against the backdrop of God’s intention.

To:

…now I could see them [the clouds] for what they were: beautiful, gorgeous billows of white against a deep blue sky

Andy’s story is my story. Andy’s pain is my pain. Most importantly, Andy’s triumph is my triumph.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wrestling with deep and difficult doubts about their god, or for those just coming out of this transition period and waking up to a new life without.

Songs of the Deconverted is available on Amazon Kindle right now for only $2.99.

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written by
Matt is a former Christian who, through facing his own doubts found a life without faith. Now atheist he dedicates his life to helping people transition through stages of belief via private counseling. Matt is currently working on his first book - Embracing Doubt, and contributing to the dialogue between atheists, Christians, and skeptics.
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  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    Interesting. I bought a copy. Thanks for the heads up!

    • http://www.ragingrev.com Matt Oxley

      I think you’ll really enjoy it Mike.

  • http://www.guyvestal.com Guy R Vestal

    Naaa…. Pass.

    • http://www.ragingrev.com Matt Oxley

      You can’t handle it anyway Guy.

      • Mike aka MonolithTMA

        YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! ;-)

  • Gary D

    Can one really not believe in God?

    All the famous atheists who have came to faith in the God of the bible have said that they knew that God existed. They were unchanged by any logical arguments. They simply accepted something they already knew.

    • Mike aka MonolithTMA

      “All the famous atheists who have came to faith in the God of the bible have said that they knew that God existed.”

      Then they weren’t atheists.

      • Gary D

        “Then they weren’t atheists.”

        What is your definition of an “atheist”.

        • Mike aka MonolithTMA

          Definitely not someone who “knew that God existed”. I’m pretty sure we can all agree, that is nearly the polar opposite of an atheist.

          An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in a god or gods, note the distinction between not believing and knowing they don’t exist.

          • Gary D

            believe:
            transitive verb to accept that something is true or real.
            know:
            transitive and intransitive verb to believe firmly in the truth or certainty of something.

            “An atheist is someone who doesn’t” (accept as true or real) “a god or gods, note the distinction between not “(accepting as true or real) “and” not ((accepting as true or real) firmly the truth or certainty that) “they don’t exist.”

            I hope I did not lose you in the word game. (I almost lost myself) I am not trying to be overly simplistic. I have been unclear about the distinction between “atheist” and “agnostic”.

            Thanks

          • Mike aka MonolithTMA

            Yes, knowing implies a certainty that belief doesn’t seem to share, though they are certainly not mutually exclusive in the least. “I believe it’s going to rain.” sounds much less firm than “I know it’s going to rain.”

            IN regards to the confusion between “atheist” and “agnostic”, it doesn’t help when we all blur the line, but that’s part of the problem with labels. I tend to consider myself a sympathetic, atheist-leaning agnostic, but find it much easier to just say “atheist” in some circles, and avoid labels all together in others. As to what I mean by “sympathetic”, it’s something I picked up from my friend Sabio’s blog: Sympathetic Atheists

            I’ve met plenty of theists who were agnostic, and many atheists too.

      • Jeb Webster

        They were atheists. They just got de-converted from atheism to a life of faith. Why can you be de-converted from a life of faith but not a life of atheism? Sounds like a double-standard.

        • http://www.ragingrev.com Matt Oxley

          I don’t know that anyone is making that claim Jerry

  • Gary D

    I checked out the link. I am a sympathetic, theist-leaning realest.
    Cleared up a lot of the word meanings.
    Thanks,
    GaryD

    • Mike aka MonolithTMA

      Glad to help! Be well.

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