Daniel Wiebe has been making up for lost time.
“I think I have learned more in the last two years than I did in the previous thirty-six,” he says.
Wiebe grew up an only child in a Jehovah’s Witness family in Wisconsin. His education was filtered through the church. He now can read about philosophy and the sciences.
“I was raised with a religious education that was largely based on deconstructing the beliefs of other religions,” says Wiebe. “It’s incredibly liberating to be able to continue that process now in seeing where the beliefs I grew up with came from.”
He says he was indoctrinated to believe Jehovah’s Witnesses was “the one and only organization that had God’s approval.”
Wiebe was baptized at 16 years old.
“It was always understood that leaving the religion after my baptism would mean leaving God, my family, and my entire social circle,” says Wiebe.
At 24, he began having doubts about his beliefs. Over the next decade he says he experienced a “growing existential panic.” He exited the religion in September 2014 knowing his beliefs were a lie.
“It was like waking up from a dream, and as the dream ended all the relationships I had in that dream ended as well,” says the now 38-year-old.
Sam Harris was helpful in his deconversion by pointing out the absurdity of religion. Today, he is reading more scholarly literature.
“I’m like a sponge soaking up information related to comparative religious studies,” he says.
The first Mythinformation Conference brought Wiebe and his wife, Emily, to Mythicist Milwaukee.
“I looked at Emily and said, ‘These are my people,;” he says. “Becoming a member was the next logical step.”
“I am proud to support it,” he says.
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