123 Jim Etchison
Jim Etchison

Jim Etchison

Location: Santa Ana
Blog Posts: 8 (Click to View)

Jim's Story of Recovery

If you were to ask me what the single-most defining moment in my life is, it would be that moment in 1984 when I was 22. I was a troubled Christian lad from California, on trip to Tokyo.

Japan, you see, had not turned out to be what I thought it should be. Not only was the entire culture a heaping serving of secularism on a plate, the culture also was clean, relatively crime-free, extremely non-violent (especially noteworthy, given how crowded Tokyo was). The Japanese seemed notably at ease with their place in the universe. This was not the picture of godlessness that I had been taught. Where was the anxiety? Where was Satan?s influence? There seemed to be less of it here than in America?an ostensibly Christian nation. Looking over the city, one distinct truth rose with the steam from beneath the streets: These people do not need Jesus.

I visited Shibuya train station and ran across a statue of a dog I?d never heard of before, Hachiko. Hachiko?s story is quite heart-warming. He came every day with his master to the Shibuya train station and waited at the platform all day until his master returned from work. One day his master died while at work, and Hachiko waited for the rest of his life for his master to return, never leaving the station. Each day at the correct time he would sit and look at everyone getting off the train to see if his master was among them. Hachiko was remembered by the memorial where I stood.

The story gripped my heart. I was like Hachiko. I realized that I was patterning my entire life around an event?the return of Jesus?that was never going to happen. Once I allowed myself to be open to the painful truth, it crashed down upon me like a sledgehammer. There was no happy eternal ending for me. This life is all there is, and I was wasting it by waiting for a master who would never return.

Right there in the Shibuya train station I renounced my faith.

The anxiety I experienced immediately afterward?even while still in Japan?was almost unbearable. Because of this, I spent ten regrettable years recoiling from my decision, and continuing my attempts to make sense of my faith. Ultimately, faith lost the war, and reason won out.

It has taken a long time to recover from the trauma of my de-conversion, but it has been well worth it. Today I am filled with the same amount of wonder and amazement at the universe. I continue learning each day, and have a profound sense of how lucky I am to be alive.
  • Recovering From: Fundamentalist Christian
  • Hometown: California
  • Current Belief System: Atheist
  • Current Location: Southern California
  • Date: January 26, 2010

Jim's Blog Posts (9)

Memetics in action. The latest decal to festoon the windows of cars all over the country is the edgy ?NotW? sticker. You may have seen it. It bears the tough-looking lines of any other clothing or car accessory logo.
Tags: brainwashing children, featured, Memetics, notW, notW Clothing, notW stickers, propaganda, Richard Dawkins
Type: Cause
When having honest discussions with Christians, I?ve heard many times that they feel the universe is a more beautiful place because God is in it. What we deem as beautiful is often a result of what we?ve been conditioned to think is be
Tags: Carl Sagan, featured, Isaac Newton, John Keats, Richard Dawkins
Type: Cause
Imagine you baked two dozen cookies and your secret ingredient was cashew nut oil. You know you put cashew nut oil into the batter. You bought it, you tasted it, and you poured it in.
Tags: geologist, philosophy, Science, truth
Type: Cause
This is a very popular argument these days. Christians proclaim that without God, morality cannot exist, and there would be nothing keeping a person from robbing and killing another person because one?s own self-interest would be all t
Tags: Adolph Hitler, Good Without God, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot
Type: Cause
This misconception is frequently alluded to in Christian circles in an attempt to discount the findings of the scientific community as merely ?one man's opinion." While there is a constant hum of debate among scientists, Christians see
Tags: Christian Apologists, outlier scientists, Phrenology, scientific community, scientific knowledge
Type: Cause
I can?t tell you how many times I?ve heard that scientists have just as much faith in their theories as religious people do in their dogma. It frustrates me every time. Anyone who says this is defining theory, faith, or both, incorrect
Tags: Faith, Science, scientific theory
Type: Cause
People of every stripe tend to generalize about other groups. We all do it, and it?s mostly subconscious. It makes it easier for us to handle the massive amount of information we hear on a daily basis. If we can automatically qualify t
Tags: atheist agenda, getting new information, Mad Scientists, Science Misconceptions
Type: Cause
Like many of you, I left my faith with an abiding mistrust of religion. But since I had been listening for decades to a man talk from behind a pulpit, those teachings made a significant dent in my thinking. I eventually realized tha
Tags: deconvert, featured, getting new information, Science
Type: Cause
Most Americans believe in a skewed version of history. One can blame this on at least three factors...
Tags: History, Christian History, Christian Nation, Christians Civil Rights, featured, In God We trust, Republican Jesus
Type: Cause