Have anyone here went from being a very strict believer in God to a non-believer?
I'm sure there are some. Actually I think many are.
But outside of the usual answers of "God doesn't exist" (which you must have had some very valid reasons for), were there many things that caused you to come to this conclusion? If so what were they?
I was watching a Southpark video about Joseph Smith and the Mormons and I thought it very funny that anyone could actually believe any of that stuff. Then I thought to myself, "wait, didn't I believe similar things at one time?" From my research I have discovered that Joseph Smith's family had a history of mental illness. Such a thing runs in my family as well (I'm to be tested for Huntington's Disease soon) and I can't help but wonder if all my experiences are the result of some sort of psychosis. Many of my experiences have echoed what others have said. But I realized that we all share a common experience (being JW's) and the belief in the 144,000 and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon people.
I have to be honest with myself for self delusion is very destructive. I have been researching some of CG Jung's papers on synchronicity, the collective unconsciousness, the subcounscious and other things I can't recall at the moment. What I found was that it's possible that some who claim to have the Holy Spirit (like myself) may in fact be simply hyper intuitive. Meaning that our subconscious collects information and when the need arises filters it to our conscious mind so that we can act upon it. So what we think (consciously) is ourselves having a religious experience may in fact just be the actions of our own subconscious minds. I'm not speaking for everyone here. Some of the things I have a problem with is I was at one time heavy in paganism and yet I still had this hyper intuitiveness. It has been suggested to me that I still had the HS even though I had drawn away from Christ. My logical mind can make no sense of this. If you're a mechanic and are given a set of tools to work with while employed at a garage, one would think logicvally they would be taken from you when you left the garage's employ. That's just how I see it.
I also mentioned the mental illness factor which runs in my family and my having a test for Huntington's Disease in a few weeks. I've had a preliminary neurological examination and I have many of the symptoms. I've had such examinations in the past (not for Huntington's) and they have been negative or inconclusive, but I also know these tests aren't an exact science and can be influenced by the examiner, the one being examined or the criteria of the test for determining a mental illness. Still I would be remiss if I didn't consider these factors and my claim of spiritual insight.
Also I look at my life and I threw away a great future because of the JW's. I haven't really advanced anywhere (my own fault really) in the past 12 years and I chalk it up to my search for God.
After reading many of the fine posts here MoneurMallard, sizemilk, and Nickolas I can't help but to re-think some things. I think the Bible is wrong on a great many things, failed prophecies, naming places that didn't exist at the time (Nazareth), who wrote much of the New Testament. Also we're puttinga lot of faith into these writers whom we've never met, considering also that their writings could and probably were tampered with down through the ages. So what do we really have that is reliable? If the Bible isn't a reliable source then how do we know that the spiritual experiences many claim to have (myself included) aren't products of our shared experiences with the JW and our own unconscious minds via intuition?
Just some thought.
If you went from belief to unbelief what caused it?