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Ms. Moon

Very thoughtful post and I like that.


Another amazingly well written post AND I now have new music to listen to?

Greta, I can not even express how much you rock.

J. J. Ramsey

FYI, you can get Curse Your Branches from iTunes.

Evan Hurst

He's such a genius, but I haven't heard this record yet. I will obviously have to do that immediately.

You (and he) are hitting on something important, but there's another aspect of it that should be highlighted even more. Not only is it the weirdest, most heartwrenching kind of break-up, but it's also one of the slowest. For most of us who were once fervent believers, even though the reality may dawn on you suddenly in an intellectual way, the emotional and spiritual that up can take years, and it's difficult because for so many of us, there's really not anywhere soft to land. Personally, for me, there were several years where the existential angst side of things were beyond intense (and I still have that, to a degree), merely because for so many years, you're taught to believe certain things about death, and when your mind starts to rebel against those notions...well, they don't die quickly. Another thing my brother and I have both experienced is a desire to get back to that place where we just accepted the Christian faith we were brought up in, before rational thinking intervened. It's not that, intellectually, we wanted to believe those things again, but more that when you are born into a faith like that, and then you lose that faith, you lose a lot of your moorings, and I think that those who were raised with a less intense version of faith, or with none at all, don't always grasp just how many things very religious people are taught to rely on faith for, how many things you attribute to faith, etc. It's a life-altering shift.

Anyway. Rambling.

Going to pick up that record.

Account Deleted

There's a really good interview with him from like a year ago when he was still in the process of giving up his faith. It's a great listen if you have time;

Giving up faith was the strangest thing I've ever been through. It was like breaking up with someone and then finding out that they'd never existed.

Stephen Frug

Can I just say, that I very rarely buy music. (I'm poor, I'm cheap, I use the library, and I tend to just listen to what I have.) But I bought this. Looking forward to listening to it seriously (so far I'm just playing the first track over & over...)

Thanks for the review.


In AA, alcoholics are advised to trust in a higher power, which is loosely defined as being God as you understand him/her/it. It could be the Christian God or that tiki idol you bought during your last binge in Honolulu. The point is to take yourself out of yourself so that you wouldn't wallow in your own mess.

As I understand it, religion is just the opposite approach. You don't get out of the mess until you turn inward to find your God, rejecting the world and all of its attributes - not that it ever worked for me that way. It only made the mess worse.

So here we have Bazan starting out in condition #2, knowing more about his God than he did himself. Then he loses that God and dives into the world he was kept from, and discovers that it doesn't hold his answers either. After wandering about in his own private Sinai, he discovers what most recovering people do - that it's all up to you to sort through all the input you get from the outside - and act only on that which makes sense. Only then can you become enlightened because you have examined what works in your life and what does not.

Bazan strikes me as having issues with the period in which he was a believer, and doesn't yet understand his own role in how it all went. But the fact that he's come this far tells me that he's probably going to at some point - provided he doesn't lose himself again. Let's hope he remains true to himself, because if he's making this kind of impression on people, he has taken on a big burden that could become bigger than he is.

Joe G.

I was a fundamentalist Christian for 10 years of my life, and then a liberal Quaker for 20 more years. Giving up God and all the accouterments was not easy. Some of it was like breaking up with one big, major Boyfriend! I like the way you put it, Greta. It certainly adds some light to what it felt like at the time, and STILL can feel like, albeit in a much less substantial way.

I wonder: Bazan seems to be at a tenuous place right now. I think he could still go either way on the whole faith issue. I've seen people "re-convert" with a vengeance. Patience, indeed.

Timothy (TRiG)

This sounds fascinating and beautiful. I barely ever listen to music of any sort, but I'll probably pick up this one.



I think one of the defining moments in my journey from Catholic child to Atheist woman was when I took a good, long look at how my relationship with God made me feel. I constantly felt guilty, shamed, not *good* enough. It was making me miserable. When I realised this, I made the decision to walk away.

A few years later, I broke up with a boyfriend for similar reasons. I can definitely see the similarities. In fact, I explicitly mentioned them in my letter to him.

I don't *like* being alone, but I would rather be alone than live with someone who makes me hate myself.

Timothy (TRiG)

I looked up "Curse Your Branches" on Grooveshark. There are only three songs available: "Hard To Be", "Please, Baby, Please", and "Lost My Shape". I've listened to them. I shall now listen to them again. Tomorrow, I'm buying the album.

"Hard To Be" is destined to become a favourite, methinks.


Tom Shamma

I bought the album earlier today with the last of my gas money, and just within the first three tracks, I knew I'd made the right decision. I was raised by two agnostics, so I never had a loss of faith. I want to write this guy a letter thanking him, because this has, more than anything else I've come across, really helped me understand how hard it is for a religious person to lose their religion.

mailing list software

Oh! I like this post. I better like this to my blog.

Stephen Frug

Does anyone get the reference in the first two lines of the song "Curse Their Branches":

"Red and orange or red and yellow
In which of these do you believe"

Puzzling over that one.

Jordan Peacock

@Stephen Frug

It's about the arbitrariness of belief. Jesus or Vishnu? Allah or Jehovah? Red & Orange or Red & Yellow?

Kenji Yamada

Yeah, it's about arguing over things that are only trivially different from each other. I was at one of Dave's house shows and that's what he said in answer to a question about that line.

Some Matt or other

Deconversion = breakup? Man, that makes me want to make a movie that's framed as an existential romantic comedy-drama where a man discovers the woman he loves never existed - "Eternal Sunshine" meets "Fight Club" - but is subversively an allegory for the transition from theism to atheism.

......wait, is "Fight Club" about that already?


A man is at a low point in his life, meets someone who gives him purpose, moves in with him and makes converts of others, over time begins to doubt the worthiness of his benefactor's aims, eventually has a crisis of faith in the mission followed almost immediately by the revelation that his benefactor had been a figment of his own imagination all along, struggles valiantly against the fruits of his time as a believer, and only finds resolution through a quasi-metaphorical suicide whereupon he finds peace with the world as it is, falling buildings and all.

Holy shit. "FIGHT CLUB" IS AN ATHEIST PARABLE. I mean... I'm not saying Chuck Palahniuk or David Fincher necessarily had anything like that in mind, but what is art if the beholder doesn't bring his or her own meaning into it? I don't know if this interpretation would actually hold up through another viewing, but I'm running with it for now.

I bought this album a while ago and didn't think too much of it. It's a lot more interesting now that I know the story behind it.

'It forces you to redefine your entire past with them.' That's probably the truest thing I've ever heard about deconversion. It wasn't as bad for me, because I grew out of most of my faith when I started high school, but there are still vestiges of "Am I doing the right thing with my life?" rattling around in my head.

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