9/30/03                                                                                       View Comments

Getting It Up & Loving It

sent in by Ryan

As fortune would have it I was born into the Apostolic Christian church. Not a well-known church, it can be understood as one of the anabaptist churches--like the Amish--from the post-Reformation milieu. They are not bearded nor do they wear the "uniforms", but they forbid jewelry, including wedding rings, and allow no music in church, or dancing anywhere. Ditto movies, rock music, smoking...uh...you get the picture.

My mother was a religious weakling and my father a drunk. He was not a member of that church so I had a bit of freedom to read paperbacks; things that would not have been permitted if both parents were xians. By 15 I had read things like Ayn Rand and Thoreau. This was the beginning of the end. I knew other ways besides religion, and I was bright, thus my conversion at 18 was damned. The poison they shoot in places like that become part of you--when they preach hell every time you're in church it runs in your blood. I'm not telling any of you anything new. I knuckled under out of fear of god, but at the same time I could not believe in god.

My father never joined the church nor attempted any kind of conversion, but having been raised an "AC" as they call themselves his mind was warped. As an AC you're fucked from birth; stay or leave, brother, you're fucked. Please overlook my vulgarity but it feels like I had been raped. My father was a pathetic, self-pitying drunk, a failure as a father because he was a failure as a man to begin with.

I will never know how, but after many years the curse began to lift. Does this mean that reason is ultimately the victor in the end? I started to say out loud the things that I knew already: that god does not burn us in hell because we have honest doubts; that god does not burn us in hell because we do not grovel; that god does not burn us in hell because we have sex or jerkoff when we don't. In short, god does not burn us in hell. A year later I lost the god part.

As a self-centered atheist, my goal (insofar as goals are possible) is to never again be neurotically divided against myself; that what I think shall be one with who I am. I have been put back together, seamless and whole. I learned quickly that a xian's reaction is dismally predictable: we are not responsible. We were only following orders.

City: Rensselaer

State: IN

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 18

Ceased being a Christian: 30

Labels before: Apostolic Christian

Labels now: Atheist

Why I joined: Fear

Why I left: Confidence

9/29/03                                                                                       View Comments

Born-Again Heathen

sent in by Ingeborg S. Nordén

Not every ex-Christian becomes an atheist or agnostic instead; my own story is the "exception that proves the rule", judging by the other anti-testimonies I've seen on this site. If the webmaster doesn't mind hearing from converts to another theistic faith, I hope that my story will be of use to similar people visiting the Ex-Christian site (a direct link to my deconversion story appears below).

P.S. My belief that gods exist should NOT be interpreted as an attempt to convert other readers; no belief system is the One True Way for the whole human race. Nor should it be interpreted as a wholesale rejection of logic and science: I believe that the gods gave me a brain and intended me to use it properly. The natural and the supernatural each have their place in life, IMO; holy texts and creation stories are mostly symbolic, not meant to be read as literal truth.



Sex: Female

URL: My WEBSITE

City: Madison

State: WI

Country: USA

Became a Christian: baptized Catholic as an infant, raised fundamentalist Protestant

Ceased being a Christian: 23

Labels before: Protestant fundamentalist

Labels now: Liberal Asatru, Heathen, Norse pagan

Why I joined: I had little or no choice in "becoming" a Christian; hellfire was rammed down my throat as soon as I could understand the word!

Why I left: 50% ethical issues, 25% ethnic issues, and 25% Biblical contradiction/errancy problems


9/28/03                                                                                       View Comments

African-American & I Left

by a Lady

Like a lot of African-Americans, I was born into the Christian Game via a Missionary Baptist Church that was a part of the Southern and National Baptist State Conventions among other local conference groups and for 19 years of my life, I was "saved" (which in actuality is "slaved"). All of my life I have been forced to go to church (or "assimilation pointe" as I call it) with my mother up until recently when I revealed to her from college on the other side of the country that I was Non-Religious, a Humanist. Of course like most cultic people, she became hesterical and my confession broke her heart into pieces. I mean, what can I say? She wanted me to be cultic ("religious" in sugarcoating terms), and have an easy life but that was not meant for me, that is not nor has ever been me, and that is not where my beliefs lie. My mother had me involved in everything from "Junior Missions, Junior Usher Board, Choirs, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Church Committees, Productions (like Christmas Programs, Easter Programs, Pastor's Anniversaries, etc.), etc." My mother figured at some point in my life that I should be involved only in cultic organizations where cultic principles and terminologies, etc. were drilled into my psyche each and every moment of every freakin' day. Easy life, following the crowd, going along with the flow for the ride, not doubting nor thinking because everything was thought for me, no pursuit of mental and spiritual independence. That's what was wanted for me.

As a African-American Lady, I believe that it is the hardest thing to inform and educate people period about what Freethought is truly about let along what Non-Religion and Humanism is truly about because societies have had this status quo dronism and set of mentalities for thousands of years that being cultic is the "cool" thing to do, the "right" thing to do, the "best" thing to do, and so forth. I mean, in USA alone, the cultic music is dance worthy and has always been subliminal messaging worthy, the cultic products are consumer friendly through their assimilation into popular culture, the media is all for being cultic so it is easy to slip cultic terminologies onto the screen, in literature, in normal non-cultic settings like a meeting or community service project and as stated before, in your ears through radio. Heck, people walk all around having cultic conversations disregarding if an individual is a freethinker that does not want anything to do with such junk. Don't get me started on the cultic rituals at non-cultic sporting events, concerts, etc. It's crazy. Oh and when I say products, I mean mugs, t-shirts, liscense plates, pens, hats, books, tickets to cultic events. You name it, cults ("religions" in sugarcoating terms) have it. They are making life a set up.

When I began to doubt religion period, starting with my case of Christianity, like many N.R. folks ("N.R." is abbreviation for non-religious), I asked questions. I asked not only regular questions like "who and/or what is a deity/god or enemy/devil/foe and why did archaic come up with this crap" but I also asked the ultimate questions like "how did people come into being and why were they labeled the word 'hu-man' and why do people exist in the damn first place?" Ya'll know? The questions that matter to everyone at some point in their existence on this dreadful planet labeled "Earth." It's funny but with Christianity, their whole world is in a set number of pages of an ancient anthological novel. It bogles the mind as to how some of most book and street smartest people on the planet fall under the spell of a mythological anthological book let along what people say about this book, from this book on a one or more time weekly basis from a podium or through song. Anyway, back to my testimony or experience expression for those who believe that the word "testimony" is cultic.

In asking questions, you get answers. Some answers are meant to come when you want them and others, when you don't, but they do come. Some of the answers I came to on my own consisted of things that I've studied empirically while being in the "closet." When I say "closet," I don't mean "gay closet," I mean "non-religious closet." For those who don't know, there are many people in this world let along the so-called "free" USA who are afraid and do not have the courage to fully acknowledge and express to the world and everyone they know the fact that they are Non-Religious or Freethinker or Humanist or Agnostic or Atheist, etc. Earlier, I explained the status quo that we are still in, how cults ("religions" in sugarcoat terms) are and have always been collectively a social institution of societies worldwide. With cults being a social institution, things like gender inequality, war & violence, child abuse, mental abuse, poverty (how? look at the mega churches ("mega assimilation pointes"), etc. are condoned. Freedoms such as sexual preference, speech, individuality, skepticism, among other things are always debated against for alleviation, eventually annhilation.

What I have learned through being a Freethinker so far is that if your mind is screwed up, so is your spirit. In other words, if you are cultic in the mind, you are cultic in the spirit. Religions are cults with a lot of people in them. They think that they are "striving for perfection even though they are 'perfect' already" (which does not make sense) and that they know everything there is to know about life and how to live it. They want everyone to "be like them." In fact, their lives' mission is to hunt people down and assimilate them into being drones like they are, for the rest of their lives. They want to help people to not think for themselves nor be themselves. They put out falsehoods about themselves and freethought in order to promote themselves and bash freethought. I have also learned that I am an equal among equals, always learning, always questioning, always thinking, always exploring and discovering. For time and space has no beginning nor end, so learning is not only in life but in and beyond death. Of course, there is more for all of us including me to know and all of us including me to find out.

As an African-American Lady who is Non-Religious, Humanist, Freethinker, my rough but balanced journey continues but I am happy of the fact that I have made it this far with no intentions of allowing them to assimilate me ever again. I was a child when they did it barely getting to know the planet and the people in it and now that I am older and have learned through this life, I am happy to say NO TO RELIGION, I CHOOSE TO AVOID THE ADDICTION FOR THE REST OF MY NATURAL EXISTENCE.

City: Los Angeles

State: California

Country: USA

Became a Christian: I was BORN to the Game

Ceased being a Christian: 19 Years Old

Labels before: Baptist were the labels

Labels now: Humanist, Non-Religious, Freethinker

Why I joined: Everybody Else was doing it and it was all I knew being born into it.

Why I left: I found out the TRUTH.

9/26/03                                                                                       View Comments

A Truth Seeker

By Chole’ Tiscornia

After I made the decision as an adult to become a fundamentalist Christian I thought I had found “The Truth.” It was, I believed, the truth about life, about child rearing, about God and what he wants for all his Children. I thought the Bible was infallible and I sought to learn every part of it so that I could understand God, follow him forever, and help everyone I knew turn to him and have salvation. I did not expect to leave him. I did not expect to learn what I learned, but because I was always seeking “The Truth,” I let myself learn the truth. After eight years I found a different kind of truth.

I am no longer a Christian for a great many reasons but for the sake of time I will try to render a complete yet brief explanation for my recent recovery from Christianity. The first reason I am no longer a Christian is because I have found none of the so-called prophecies in the Old Testament to be worthy of being called a Prophesy. I find nothing prophetic in the Old Testament whatsoever. There is nothing prophetic about Jesus or life, as we know it. A Prophesy is a prediction. The Old Testament is filled, at least half of it, with slaughters and killings and historical accounts of people. The writers of the New Testament, in effort to maintain that Jesus was a Jewish procurement of the Old Testament – try in vein to connect him with the God of the Jews. In each instance, the so-called prophesy either falls short by half fulfillment, erroneous fulfillment, or none whatsoever. I concur with Thomas Paine who said the Prophesies are false.

I am no longer a Christian because I do not believe the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God. I believe it is a book written by men who wanted to believe God was with them, who set out to record their history with their God, but that it is no more a proof that God exists than the testimonies of people today who say they saw an angel or who are pregnant by immaculate conception. Since the Bible’s inception, the Christian Priests have maintained that the Bible is true in all ways. As time and science have proven many aspects of the Bible to be fallible, the Church relenting in its presumptions that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth and other matters, for instance, still maintains that everything spiritual is correct. Yet in my Church, people did not receive gifts of the Holy Spirit, yet in Pentecostal Churches they do. The fact that so many people, well meaning people have misunderstood very important aspects of the Bible, like how one is actually saved, shows that the Bible god does not know how to communicate with his own people. If he created us he knows how we think. It is ludicrous that there are thousands of interpretations of the Bible. For anyone to still say that they have it right and 99.9% of the rest of Christians are stupid is equally illogical.

I am no longer a Christian because I cannot be associated with such an evil God as the one of the Bible. God is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient, knowing everything, yet his solutions to his problems are dealt with like a child. It is clear that God’s limitations are simply ancient Palestinians methods for dealing with enemies. Even for God to send his son to die a crucifixion is deplorable. There are so many other ways to talk to humans like literally talking to us. God’s bait and switch tactics are juvenile. He makes great promises to people, like Moses and Joshua, then reneges time and time again. The Bible says it’s sin that makes God change his mind, but according to the Bible all man’s thoughts are always wicked so why is he always surprised when we fall short of total obedience? If I promise my rebellious child that no matter what, we will go to the movies tomorrow, then he misbehaves and I say, “Now we can’t go,” that is a lie. Knowing the rebellious nature of my child I would say, “If you behave, we will go to the movies.” God doesn’t have the foresight for such things. God can’t even communicate how we are to come about salvation. God makes life hard for Christians by making them be subject to him for life, and if they don’t, they will burn in eternal damnation. However, no Christian I have ever met can tell me exactly who is going to Heaven and who isn’t. Even on my worst day I would not wish my children to burn in damnation even if they left me, ran away from home or committed a crime. Whatever happens to them is sufficient in this lifetime. How petty God is to set up hell in the first place.

I am no longer a Christian because I do not believe the miracles in the Bible happened. I do not believe the resurrection or many other fabulous stories that defy the very intricate nature our creator already bestowed us with. DNA and chromosomes, cells and organs are magnificent. They are intricate and exact. To defy those parameters is not only unnecessary, but also sloppy. Only humans dream of floating gods and talking clouds. Being born of a deity was commonplace in ancient civilizations. Julius Caesar was said to have documentation that proved he was the son of Venus and Cleopatra claimed to be the daughter of Isis. These two were born within the same century as Jesus. It seems it was in vogue to claim a deity as a parent.

Only ancient humans think dreams are prophetic. Our current civilization knows better. I do not pay attention to my dreams as far as accuracy and predictability go, nor do I have to believe the testimony of someone else who claims in their dream God appeared. The truth is, most of the people who lived in the times of the New Testament did not believe the miracles either. Jesus’ birth did not happen the way the writers said – if so, everyone would have believed in him. The bible uses a flimsy excuse why the people in Jesus’ own hometown won’t accept him as God’s prophet, let alone his son. If his birth came with such pomp and circumstance, if he really was the messiah, people would not have forgotten his birth. They would have been following him from day one. Jesus supposedly fed over 8,000 people with a few fish, yet he only had a few hundred followers at the time of his death. No, the miracles did not happen.

I am no longer a Christian because I have regained my sense of thought, reason, and logic which was suspended for the sake of faith. I do not believe in propagating the cause of Christianity with money, I do believe there are better ways to spend my money. I believe if it were not for Atheists, we would not have painters, sculptures, doctors, scientists, etc. because the Bible prohibits any science outside of religion, and at least one of the Ten Commandments clearly warns against art. If we all believed only in the Bible we would still believe that eczema and depression, epilepsy and the like are the result of demon possession. I do not believe in sin therefore I do not need to be forgiven. I do not believe God hears us now, I believe all those times I prayed I was talking to myself. If talking to yourself makes a difference in your life, then I do not judge.

I do not believe in the fabulous story in the Bible that all of people’s languages were a result of God confusing a great many people who were building the Tower of Babel. Does anyone really believe that some few 6,000 years ago – everyone was living in Palestine and spoke one language but God confused them so they spoke differently and then they all migrated to other continents before inter-continent travel was even heard of, and settled new colonies based on their 10,000 different languages? I was always taught I needed to believe the whole Bible and not just parts. I do not have to believe what any person tells me to believe. With my own intellect I reason the tower of Babel story is full of babble.

I do not believe in Heaven or Hell because it does not exist. I do not believe in the soul because it also does not exist. If it does, where is it? Is it in my hand? Is it in my head? It can’t be in my heart because it is an organ that pumps blood and oxygen through my body, therefore it does not feel or think. When we die, all our cells die. Our neurons in our brains fail to work – in essence we are unplugged from life. We know for a fact that corpses decay and nothing except bones are left in a burial and most people are cremated, so where is this soul and where does it live until Heaven appears? When I break it all down it is clear this is a myth perpetuated and believed because people want to believe there is more to life than there is. Desire does not make it true, no matter how sincere the desire is.

And finally, I am no longer a Christian because I can not believe a God still exists that would allow so many people to live and die without ever having known Jesus, thereby having the opportunity to go to Heaven, thus going straight to Hell. I believe if a God did still exist with the power so many Christians grant him no innocent child or human being would be allowed to suffer in domestic abuse situations or molestation or kidnapping and death. A loving God would spare those completely innocent of the crime bestowed upon them and allow only the guilty to suffer such atrocities.

State: California

Became a Christian: 33

Ceased being a Christian: 41

Labels before: Non denominational Christian

Labels now: Freethinker

Why I joined: Wanted something stable to worship

Why I left: Maturation

9/24/03                                                                                       View Comments

AWARD-WINNING CHRISTIAN "APOLOGIST" MAKES A U-TURN

by T.L. Goble

At a very young age I accepted Christianity as my religion. The reason for it was simple enough, yet also very complex. Christianity was all I knew and all I’ve ever been shown. There was no room for Buddha, Muhammed, Confucious or Zoroaster. As a matter of fact, even Catholicism was regarded as a deviation of God’s original plan. So I was thrust into my family tradition -- Protestant Fundamentalism and of the Baptist denomination.

I grew up going to a church in the mountains North Georgia that was over one hundred years old and full of belligerent, backwoods preachers dressed in their ‘Sunday finest’ spewing and frothing at the mouth the horrors of Hellfire and brimstone while some lady carried on shouting and holding her hands up in the air waving them back and forth. A man would get up and lead the congregation in a few hymns and proceed to lead a group prayer that sounded like an incoherent rumble.

At age 9, I felt a feeling I’d never felt (Christians call this ‘under conviction’). My heart began to flutter and I began to break out in a cold sweat. I felt like I needed God, but why? I had never really done anything horrible, really. I had disobeyed my parents I few times, and normal things that children do, but never any terrible act to scar humanity. Yet, I was so afraid of dying and going to the worm-invested, fire torture Hell and being burned alive forever and ever that I finally gave into my fear and fell on the altar bench. I sobbed and cried out to God for help. I did not want to go to that awful Hell.

Finally, after 5 minutes of weeping and begging God to help me, I got up and felt much better. I wasn’t afraid to go to Hell anymore. I figured that surely God wouldn’t send me to Hell after that! At 9 I was old enough to know that being ‘saved’ meant you didn’t go to Hell and since I felt I was no longer headed there, I done the math. Thus, I was ‘saved’. I became a born again Christian. I reached out for God and felt that he heard me and saved my soul from Hell.

As my life went on, I begin to become aware of people’s reactions towards my new found faith and that I was actually more repulsive to my peers that I had been. I was never a popular one in school and seldom found any friend that I could trust. I resolved myself to books and my Christian nature of mercy and humility was taking a vicious toll on my sanity.

When I reached my mid-teens I became disoriented with the Christian lifestyle and began to secretly search for other ways to pursue what I felt I needed in life. My parents could see this change in me and were not at all pleased. I begin to rebel more at home and at school. Finally, my parents took me out of public school and placed me in a private academy.

Finally, I began to become interested again in the Bible and Christianity. After an enormous pressure from my own intuition I felt as if God wanted me to be a minister. So, after sobbing and trying to re-discover myself for a few days, I told my parents. They accepted this joyfully, yet also in a sober-minded state. My father also felt ‘preaching’ to be his ‘call’, yet it was a burden also. This was a change in his life as well, his vision of ‘preaching the gospel’ was very Kierkegaardian.

The decision to accept preaching as God’s plan for me caused me a world of misery and problems. When I looked around to see my peers, they ridiculed me even more. Not only was I an outcast, but now I was an outcast which accepted such pacifist tenets as “turning the other cheek”. I finally struggled back and forth with my nature to “sin” and my requirement to do God’s will, so I was on again/off again in church.

Later in my life, I realized that I had lived in hypocrisy for well over ten years, and that my life was going nowhere. I needed to fulfill it in some way. I turned again to my Bible studies. I had studied the Bible for over 15 years and intensely for two years. After winning several awards, teaching and holding studies, I became looked at as a semi-scholar, a Christian apologist even. My background in philosophy as well as my Christian studies propelled my to be recognized as a legitimate authority in religious debate. My job at the time gave me the opportunity to write a religious editorial each week, which I did for five years. I later began to teach in studies and conventions. I also taught College age Sunday school at my church.

My popularity grew as did my readership and I begin to become self-important and dependent solely upon my reason and ability to debate. Seldom did anyone challenge me on an issue, and if so, I would have an answer for them. If I did not, I would make sure that I found one that had the least amount of flaws. My father later told me that I badgered people into submission--perhaps he was right.

Such figures as C.S. Lewis, Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes and a host of other Christian philosophers were solid weapons that I used to rip apart philosophical arguments against God and my solid Christian beliefs. Apologetics (in all its deceptive nature) I used to the fullest extent to badger ‘sinners’ into a state of complete frustration. This embarrassment to their egos made me feel superior and made them feel two inches tall. This seldom helped lead people to Christianity, since they saw me as a pompous jackass. I had an answer for everything it seemed.

My parents were going through a transition period in their Christian lives also, but the polar opposite of my struggle. They were between ‘faith’ and ‘reason’, and gladly made that leap of faith. This resulted in their becoming more charismatic in Christianity to point of, in my eyes, abandoning all reason and logic.

I, too, had come to another crossroads. Would I accept ‘faith’ or ‘reason’ and could the two become combined? I had read numerous essays and theses on how faith and reason could be reconciled. This was used, for example, in the faith we place in a chair to hold us up while we sit on it. This was a bad analogy in my opinion, for we had empirical, testable evidence for this kind of faith. Another kind of faith was that of fidelity in marriage. However, this faith was not necessarily Biblical faith, but a kind of trust that was earned (or should’ve been) from the spouse prior to one leaping into matrimony. Itwas, again, testable. However, these faiths could also prove to be fallible and thus, mean nothing.

The Biblical faith was what I needed to examine and did. The Bible stated that faith was the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. In modern terms it is simply ‘belief without proof’. Living by faith means to govern your life on blind hope. This does not cohere with rationality and I began to take notice. Finally, I found myself in a dilemma--should I and could I make a true leap of faith and push reason into the backseat or, perhaps, even out the window? This cast me into a deep state of depression. I could not see myself abandon Christianity after I had hammered away so long for it. It would be heresy and expose me as a charlatan and hypocrite, or worse yet, an ignorant.

The depression began to worsen when I examined other arguments against Christianity to be fair to myself. For a while, I battled back with what I had read until one day, out of the blue, a thought came to my mind, a horrible thought. ‘What if Christianity is not wholly true?’ The doubts begin to come after reading several works of mythology and ancient history. The pagan roots of Christianity, some of the words, rituals and concepts came into focus. Finally, I begin to openly doubt that which I had secretly been skeptical of for my entire life -- the supernatural. Spirits, souls, demons, angels, and other mystical phenomena which I had never truly witnessed neither with my sensory perception nor with my rational thought. Perhaps, the supernatural and religion in general was all based upon traditional myths born out of ignorance and fear of the unknown. The very thought of this concept made me shudder. Is it truly possible?

For days, weeks and finally months I pondered this. I read the Bible. I read ancient history. I read mythology and philosophy. In an impulsive and curious purchase, I seized a book on the origins of Christianity and Bertrand Russell’s works on science and religion as well as a host of other books regarding the topic of religion and science, reason and faith.

Through all of this--the studies of philosophy, religion, mythology, science and psychology, I have challenged the supernatural, the mystic element of our world and the world beyond. In my studies and my reasoning I have come to the most beautiful, harmonious system of belief that I can accept with all the joy of geniune fulfillment, yet reconcile to the rational process from which we govern our lives. Reason, logic, and intrinsic nature are the tenets of this belief. It subscribes to no religion nor dogma, but accepts science, reason and the nature of things as being the true and most logical way of accepting life.

My Weblog

Sex: Male

City: Chatsworth

State: GA

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 9

Ceased being a Christian: 28

Labels before: Minister, Teacher, Valedictorian of Christian Academy

Labels now: Skeptic

Why I joined: Upbringing, Emotional Reactions and Fear of Damnation

Why I left: Extensive scrutinization of Apologetic Arguments, Listening to the Voice of Reason


9/21/03                                                                                       View Comments

Brainwashed From Birth and Still Recovering

by Jenna

Caution - This is long!

I was born into a very religious family. My mother is Catholic. She was a novice in a convent and was preparing to take final vows to become a nun when she decided that she wanted to have children someday and left. Her sister IS a nun who joined the convent at the age of 14 and is still there 50 years later. My father and his side of the family are Baptist Bible Thumpers. Lucky me, I got to fully experience both denominations. In addition to attending Catholic school and CCD, I also got to attend both Catholic Mass and Baptist Sunday services. Then I had Sunday school, Bible readings around the kitchen table after dinner each night, and the Baptist version of Girl Scouts (Pioneer Girls).

Mom used to watch the PTL club when I was a child. She likes to tell the story that I would watch with her, and at the age of 2, I did as Jim and Tammy asked and invited Jesus into my heart. I truly cannot remember a time when I did not believe in God.

Growing up was tough. I was never very popular in school as a small child (not an outcast, but never really fit in) - a fact that I attribute to my severe Christianity. My parents were well meaning, but they couldn't see that they were hampering my social life. For instance, my parents told me if someone asked me what sign I was (astrologically speaking), I should say, "The sign of the cross" since astrology is, of course, considered of the devil. I also had the tendency to befriend the kids no one liked. I felt bad for them and would play with them so they wouldn't be lonely - I figured Jesus would do the same thing. So naturally, other kids thought I was weird. I took some comfort from being made fun of though, because I was taught that Jesus appreciates it when we suffer for his sake and blesses us for it. By third or fourth grade, I had an extreme guilt complex - I was never a bad kid, but I couldn't get through a school day without calling mom and confessing every bad thought I had.

Because of not fitting in at school, I had problems with self esteem. Looking back, I realize my "relationship" with Jesus caused my lack of self esteem in another way. I LOVED Jesus with all of my heart and soul, but I missed him. From the Catholic side, I was always hearing about the saints and one of my favorite stories was about Fatima when Jesus and Mary appeared to the children. I kept thinking to myself that they couldn't possibly love Jesus more than I did, so why did he never appear to me? I was only a little kid at the time, and I felt abandoned...like he was an absentee parent. Also, my parents got involved with the Charismatic movement for awhile, and I had to attend prayer meetings with them. I watched as people waved their arms and talked in tongues, and wondered why the Holy Spirit never came to me. I wondered if I was truly "saved" and prayed over and over again that Jesus would come into my heart. Apparently, he never did...though I did remain devout and unquestioning for many more years.

My faith began to crumble in my sophomore year of high school. We watched a movie in our Literature class called Inherit the Wind. It was a true story about a man arrested in the Bible Belt in the 1930s for teaching Evolution. A big named atheist lawyer defended him in court, and basically brought up a lot of contradictions and scientific absurdities in the Bible.

I began searching for proof that the Bible was true, and all I could find were books that used quotes from the Bible to prove that it was the "Word of God." Even as a teenager, I knew that just because a book claims to be true doesn't necessarily make it so.

I struggled with my faith until I was 18 years old and a friend gave me a book on Wicca. The book stated that Christianity was a man-made religion. Honestly, I had never considered that option. It was so ingrained that the Bible was the "Word of God" that it hadn't really occurred to me that people made it all up. I knew the Bible had errors, but I thought it was at least mostly true and basically divinely inspired even if the people who recorded it made a few mistakes.

The idea that Christianity was fabricated by man, opened up a whole world of possibilities for me. I soon began studying Paganism and fell in love with the idea of the Divine being loving and manifesting as both a God and Goddess. I had no trouble accepting reincarnation and I liked that it taught a respect for the Earth and her creatures. To this day, 12 years later, I call myself Pagan and like its ideology.

BUT despite having long ago decided that Christianity is false and harmful to society, it has been a long road for me in overcoming my early brainwashing. Every now and then, I STILL have moments when I fear hell...even knowing hell is a scientific impossibility. Every now and then, I miss the loving Jesus I learned about as a child...the supposedly real man/God who loves me more than his own life. I miss having a church community...particularly at the holidays...which have kind of lost all of the deep meaning for me. Sometimes I really miss the passion and the unshakeable faith of my early Christianity. At these times, I feel an intense emotional longing to go back, but I can not rationally justify doing so. Even if I could still believe, knowing all of the contradictions and absurdities the Bible contains, I could not condone the atrocities and prejudiced attitudes ordained by "God" throughout the Bible, and the whole idea that God had to kill himself to forgive me just makes no sense. I don't miss the guilt or restrictions Christianity put on every area of my life.

Please email me if you have had a similar experience. I would like to hear from anyone who is or was having difficulties overcoming their own brainwashing - particularly if it has been a long time struggle. It has been incredibly lonely for me - my family is still Christian and I can't talk to them about it. My friends never were, so they can't relate. Even my husband, while sympathetic, cannot truly understand because he wasn't raised with religion.

If there are any practicing Christians reading this, please do not email me in an attempt to restore my faith. Believe me, it has been tried (often), and I really don't want to hear any more from your camp. Your kind has messed with my mind too much already.

State: NJ

Country: U.S.A.

Became a Christian: 2 years old

Ceased being a Christian: 18

Labels before: Catholic, Baptist

Labels now: Pagan, Religious Science, Abraham - Hicks

Why I joined: Born into it

Why I left: Biblical errancy, contradictory to science and history, unrealistic demands on followers, prejudice against women and most minority groups, etc...

9/20/03                                                                                       View Comments

I'D RATHER WORSHIP THE SUN!!!

by Mitch

Now that I’ve finally seen organized religion for what it really is I see why some ancient civilizations used to worship the sun. In comparison to the god of the bible it actually makes perfect sense. Of course the believers will say I’m crazy and this is utter blasphemy, but who cares. Unlike the bible god you can actually SEE the sun, and you can feel it's warm rays shining down on you. The sun also has a very direct and profound effect on us all. it provides heat, light, food, good weather a fair amount of the time, and gives us life! we couldn't live without it. And it's there without fail every single day no questions asked and unlike you know who makes no outrageous demands or threats. Now what more could you ask for in a higher power or supreme deity?

if ya gotta worship something why not that? Religious zealots will say I’m trying to make a mockery of their beliefs, [I am no doubt that's the whole idea] and that god was the one who created the sun in the first place. The sun can't answer prayers, and yada yada yada...blah blah blah ect. I think the Aztecs and Egyptians of yore were really on to something. In a crazy senseless world their religious choice was the only one that made sense. Now I’m not saying that's what we should do but I will say this..... I’ll take that bright shining yellow SUN up there over that hypocritical non existent SON of god in the bible any day. PEACE!

p.s. Apollo, you da man!!!

Became a Christian at 21

Ceased being a Christian at 22

Labels now: rebel

Why I joined: stupidity

Why I left: intelligence

9/12/03                                                                                       View Comments

Religion - Just a Large Cult

submitted by Rob
Humans needs are shelter, food, social life, spiritual life, financial life, mental health, love, faith.

Conveniently there is a Christian church on almost every street corner in America as it would seem; and they all claim to be the only true way to balancing the human needs we all have.

At early childhood I attended a evangelical church. The scheme that drew me to the church was that my neighborhood friends went to "Vacation Bible School."

At about age 12 I seriously began to question my existence, human condition, and reality. I discovered "Newage," thought. I did this in parallel to Christianity.

At about age 13 I went to confirmation camp, before becoming Baptized. At the camp I asked one of the pastors, about what the afterlife would be like. He mentioned that he would travel through a tunnel looking at loved ones forever! I dropped my jaw after hearing this statement, as I remembered the bible saying us Christian would live in a "New Jerusalem brought down to earth from heaven."

I ended up getting baptized having not known or comprehended the entire Jesus biography, or have ever even read the entire Christian bible. I dabbled in the occult in seasons, while still in ignorance of a lot about Christianity.

I later had met a man that was Atheist for more than 20 years. He died; went to hell; Jesus took him out of hell, and is now an ordained Christian minister in Cincinnati. This man's experience brought be to a Baptist church looking for answers. Before becoming a regular at the Baptist church, a pastor from the Evangelical church I went to, told me, that the "Devil," did not exist and was not in the bible," I dropped my jaw at this statement also. That was the last time I visited my old childhood church before becoming a regular at the Baptist church.

The Baptist church was not able to help me understand the ex-atheists near death experience. Though there were good people at this church, they believed the bible word for word.
I was told at this Baptist church that the bible was the living word of God. I would occasionally open the bible, thinking that every verse I read was what God wanted me to read at that moment. Sometimes the pastor would look at me awkwardly at this notion. But WHY? They say God talks to us when we read the bible. If God did not talk to me when I read a specific verse as I opened the bible, then the bible is based on wishful thinking and hypocrisy. I came to the conclusion that when I read the bible it felt as though I was reading the verse that God wanted me to at that time, was merely reading and thinking what I wanted to be thinking.

A pagan friend enlightened me that near Death Experiences are based on Cultural orientation. I had even had the ex-atheist whom had a Near Death Experience, confirm that he also believed it is fact that we are by-products of our culture.

I also learned that our belief are ways of getting feedback from God.

Well I quickly outgrew the Baptist church, and have committed my life to seeking my own horizon.

Name: Rob

Sex: Male

City: Fort Thomas

State: KY

Country: United States

Became a Christian: Less than 10 years old

Ceased being a Christian: 22

Labels before: Evangelical and Baptist

Labels now: Pagan, Agnostic

Why I joined: Ignorance

Why I left: Outgrew and matured beyond Christianity

9/8/03                                                                                       View Comments

freed my mind or lost my soul?

by d. mitchell

I'll make this short and sweet. After several years of being force fed 'the gospel' I finally caved in at 15 and was submerged in the water and 'reborn'. I went along with it only because my mother and numerous church members insisted I had to. But I never truly understood things. The bible, the sermons, the complicated concepts of Christianity, none of it really made sense to me. and I was always made to feel I should accept it without question. But I've asked questions and I'm asking questions, and I've honestly had more answered here on this site than by any clergy I've ever spoken to.

The bible is full of holes and without a doubt the most ridiculous book ever written. It's no more than the equivalent of Jewish mythology. And the similarities between it and other mythologies is amazing. How so many people let it take over their minds is incredible. A woman in church once told me "over 90% of the world believes in god, now all those people can't possibly be wrong". Well a few hundred years ago most of the world also thought the earth was flat and guess what...? They were all wrong! It's taken a long slow process of ten years but I've finally freed my mind. I used to wonder if freeing my mind would mean losing my soul but that's no longer an issue, I know I've made the right choice and hope all you other ex-Christians out there will keep striving for our freedom and piece of mind.

A couple of questions though before I go..........

1] How come Christians are always coming down on non-believers trying to get them to change their views but you never see any non- believers running up in churches trying to get Christians to give up Christianity?

And here's the most 'burning' question of the day..........

2] Regarding hell, if the soul is not flesh than how can it burn? Answers anyone?

PEACE

Sex: male

City: atlanta

State: ga

Country: usa

Became a Christian: 15

Ceased being a Christian: 25

Labels before: church of christ

Labels now: agnostic

Why I joined: pressured, brainwashed, crammed down my throat

Why I left: strong doubt and things didn't make sense


9/1/03                                                                                       View Comments

Make up your minds......

Well, a little back story: I grew up in the church, began to question it in jr. high..... and then a painful experience led me to believe for a fact there was a loving God somewhere.

Well, here I am now disbelieving that due to one question.

Is it Fate, or is it Free Will?

You'd think of all the sources to this age-old question, the bible would have the answer. Yet, it can't make up its mind.

Some verses point towards free will, others say fate.

Now, I've argued with some Christians that say we have both... But that isn't logical. Fate and free will are two contradictory beliefs. You either have control of your actions or you don't.....

One person suggested to me that if you follow God's will, then you are following fate. And if you are following your own, than your exercising free will. However, I countered this with Judas' story. Did he actually have the choice to not betray Jesus, since that is what God required? So, his disobeying God actually fit God's plan. And if exercising your free will fits God's plan, then how is it free will?

And yet, here's why most Christians hold on to their belief of both. Because one or the other would kill their faith.

If we have true free will, then God is not omnipotent, he cannot actually know what we will choose, the only reason things happen are because it was someones choice.

If we have fate, then we are on this earth to play a role, be it the businessman or the theif, now can God really punish you for playing the role that he set? Does he punish the fly for living and growing in what we consider filth? So, if their is fate, there cannot be a hell.

Thats why Christians hold onto that their is both. They require the best from each ideal. God has a plan for us, we are all special, yet we are free to choose.....

Wrote up this general idea on a Christian board and instead of debate I got an argument. Too many, "I'm right, your wrong, shut up" type things.

Thanks,

Name: Quadratix

Sex: Male

URL: http://www.geocities.com/cerebrum04

City: Oblivion

State: No where

Country: USA

Became a Christian: Officially, freshmen year, so, 14

Ceased being a Christian: 17

Labels before: Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Missionary

Labels now: Agnostic, Deist perhaps.......

Why I joined: I just knew a loving God was there after a time of pain...

Why I left: Questions where the only answers to my questions......