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8/9/03                                                                                       View Comments

An Answer to Prayer

by Chain Breaker

If you are anything like me, you will be pleased to hear I am going to make this very short and to the point. The point of this is to encourage ex Christians. It may encourage new ex Christians, who are perhaps a little shaky in their new found skepticism, to know that I departed the fold after 31 rocky years as a Christian, but immediately following a time when my faith had never been stronger, and I had never felt more secure in it. The really weird thing is, I remember clearly praying this prayer several times: "Dear God, please let me know you as well as I can possibly know you. I do not want to know anything about you that humans can't know and are not meant to know, I only want to know what I can know." The rest, as they say, is history. I am absolutely staggered and amazed at the change in my life and in my thinking. My testimony is powerful and amazing, and yet it is the exact reverse of the Christian testimony, I am sure we have all heard so many times. People who know me best, especially my family, are astounded as to how on earth a person could change so much! Many depart the fold at a time of doubt and dissatisfaction with their faith, but how many depart the fold when they do not have the slightest desire to?

I can only describe it as like coming out of a coma. People I bitterly opposed, like Bishop Spong, I now liked and understood. I got my hands on every possible piece of literature written by scholars who had seen through the tenuous veneer of the Christian religion to its mythical underpinnings. I read a lot of stuff written by people associated with the Jesus Seminar. There was no turning back. Even the writings of famous agnostics and atheists, I had been conditioned to loathe, suddenly began making sense to me. This was so not me! I swear I am a living, breathing specimen of the Damascus road experience in reverse!

The benefit of having reached 54 years of age is that your past takes on perspective. And looking back over the thirty years of my Christian experience I can see a definite, unmistakeable pattern. I call it my exodus from myth. I will not bore you with all the ins and outs of it, but very briefly it goes something like this:

I left Catholicism, the religion I was born into, which, as you no doubt know, is packed to the rafters with superstition and mythological teachings, for a biblically fundamental Protestant faith. While in that faith, my understanding of religion went from legalistic to grace centred, causing me to leave that denomination and hang out with Christians more moderate to liberal in their thinking. Finally, I find myself right outside all religious belief entirely and feeling more at home with the thinking of "Mark Twain," Robert Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell and the Internet Infidels. And now you guys! And all in answer to prayer! But seriously, maybe my prayer was just an expression of what had been going on in my subconscious mind for all those years, as I gradually, unknowingly, distanced myself further and further from the unreality of religious belief and closer and closer to the reality of life as it really is. Perhaps my subconscious mind, recognised my conscious mind had had enough preparation and was ready to face reality. Maybe that is why I prayed that prayer. Who knows?

Where are we all heading? What are the secrets of our magnificent, scary, unfolding universe? Again, who knows? But somehow, the exhiliration, the energy and excitement that comes with uncertainty has made me more passionate about this mysterious world of ours than it ever did when I believed everything had been all very neatly planned out and revealed in the bible. Let's share the adventure together. I have no idea where it will lead us, but it's real.

I am male.

I became a born again fundamentalist Christian at 21

I ceased being a Christian when I awoke from my self induced coma at 52

I was born Catholic then born again fundamentalist by choice

Now I am an Ex Christian who doesn't find labels helpful at this stage

Why I left? I awoke to the mythology of religion after praying for truth!