11/27/03                                                                                       View Comments

I’ll take your freak and your heretic and raise you a sheep

sent in by Erin

You could say that I was raised in the church. I was christened as a baby, I attended scripture classes at school on Thursday mornings from Kindergarten to Year 5 (church and state are not separate in Australia by any means), and my family attended church regularly when I was in Year 4 (yes, it was only for one year). I was even yanked out of the local public school at the age of eleven and a half and enrolled in the local campus of the largest Christian school in the area. At that highly impressionable age, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. I ‘knuckled down’ and worked hard, I even willingly attended the start-of-year church service four years in a row, and I went to the local youth group every Friday night from Year 7 to Year 10 (at two different churches mind you – the Anglican church down the road and the Uniting church in the middle of town). But at the very beginning of 2000, my impressions of the church began to change.

For those of you who never attended a Christian school, take my word for it – it is not all it is cracked up to be. Religion is a part of each and every lesson. And I mean each and every. English, Mathematics, languages, Science, it doesn’t matter. And we were FORCED to sit in our roll call rooms while our roll call teachers dished out lie after lie. The teachers at the school I attended are hypocrites and completely insensitive to the students’ needs. They would tell the students to act like good little Christians, and when the students’ backs were turned they themselves would do the complete opposite. And for someone like me, whose self-esteem had already been destroyed by six torturous years in the public school system, who was far too trusting for their own good, and who was insecure both psychologically and emotionally, it was hell on earth. I contemplated suicide in the middle of Year 9, was depressed (but never diagnosed) for the remainder of high school, and tried my damnedest to be sent back to public school from Year 8 onwards. I pretty much just gave up on school – I didn’t want to be there, nor did I care whether I passed or failed.

Here is an example of how hypocritical and insensitive the teachers at the school I went to are. When I was nine, nearly nine and a half, my second cousin Wayne lost his parents in a murder-suicide. It happened ten years ago, yet to this day I am unable to forget one of the worst days of my life. Perhaps because it was my first experience of the brutality and cruelty of death and loss. My parents encouraged me to go to school the day after it happened, which I did, and my teacher explained to my class what had happened to my family. That was the first time I realised how loss can bring people together. Some years later, one of my roll call teachers must have caught me crying over what had happened, for the very next morning she launched into a spiel about how everybody MUST move on after losing someone they loved, looking right at me as she said it. I cannot even begin to tell you how outraged I was. My parents aren’t even aware of how much it still affects me ten years later – the only person I have ever told is my best friend – and yet some teacher can pass judgment without even knowing what happened all those years ago.

Another example involves my tendency to draw a complete blank during major exams. Ever since Year 8, when I started doing end-of-year exams, I have had the major misfortune of ‘freezing up’ during exams – I may have studied my arse off the night before, and yet I will still forget what I’ve learned. It even happened in the exams I did at the end of Year 12, which were the most important exams of my entire thirteen years of school. After roll call one morning during Year 10, the same teacher I have already mentioned pulled me aside as I was leaving for class and basically told me that my freezing up was simply a cry for attention. Believe me, it wasn’t, and to this day it still isn’t. But no matter. Her insensitivity horrified me to the point of tears.

Right up until the time I became an atheist, I was questioning what the Bible says about everything. I have since figured out for myself, using logic, that it is all lies. How could one lonely higher power create an entire world, when there is proof that it could never have happened? We have the fossilised skeletons of dinosaurs as proof – if there is some kind of god who crafted a whole world in one week, why don’t the aforementioned creatures rate a mention? Therefore science is the only proof we have. Does the Bible find cures for diseases? No. Does the Bible aid in medical research or advances? No. Science is the only thing that does this.

Another example. Christmas, Easter and Halloween started out as pagan festivals. And yet, Christians have laid claim to the first two. The school I went to wholly embraced Easter and Christmas, but shunned Halloween as being the root of all evil and associated wholly with the occult. The occult has nothing to do with Halloween in the first place! I repeat, all three began as PAGAN FESTIVALS. If Halloween is evil in every way, shape or form, then why in America, which lays claim to one of the largest contingencies of Christian-based religions in the world, is it celebrated year after year? Okay, yes, Halloween is not an Australian tradition, and I have never had the opportunity to experience it for myself, but no matter.

Ever since I became an atheist, I have been called a freak and a heretic, been followed around school by children up to ten years younger than me who at the same time had been singing sickeningly inane little rhymes, had massively heavy Bibles dropped on top of whatever I may have been doing at the time (no, they did not care if there was something breakable on the desk at the time), and been the constant focus of prayer, even if I have asked (and even ordered) the person doing the praying not to do so. It seems that in the company of Christians, the opinions of atheists and agnostics hold no sway. I am constantly asked by people I consider to be friends if I am a Christian yet. I seriously doubt they will desist anytime soon, despite the fact that my answer is always the same and will never change.

In summary, I have only this to say about Christians in general – they are sheep who blindly follow the teachings of a man who may or may not have even existed, and nothing more. I do not hate Christians, but at the same time I don’t like them; instead I merely tolerate them. Because of my experience with religion, coupled with my experience of school in general, I am bitter, I am cynical, I am hardened emotionally, and I am scarred psychologically. I do not know if the wounds will ever heal, or if the scars that already exist will ever disappear. And unless someone develops a way to do this, I very much doubt that I will ever know.

URL: http://firebird.laminated-rockstar.com

City: Albion Park

State: New South Wales

Country: Australia

Became a Christian: I was born into the faith i.e. christened

Ceased being a Christian: Fifteen

Labels before: Church of England (now the Anglican Church of Australia)

Labels now: Atheist

Why I joined: My parents had me christened, therefore it was not my decision

Why I left: Actions of other Christians, started to question the Bible’s teachings

11/23/03                                                                                       View Comments

Betrayal of Heart and Mind

sent in by Maria

This is quite a long and terrible story, and I hope readers will forgive any lack of articulation or misspellings.

>From the very beginning, I was born into a life of difficulty and hardship. I was born the oldest child, into a household of domestic abuse, alcoholism-- my father was in and out of the picture after age 4-- in and out of jail for drugs, abuse toward my mother, ect. Due to these troubles, my mom temporarily decided to seek help and counsel by attending a local Baptist church. The pastor, a real Man of God, instructed my mother to do the will of god and submit, to reconcile with my abusive father-- at least until he finally put her head through our back door and she was rushed to the hospital after fleeing with myself and my younger brother and sister-- the church didn't quite know how to respond to that, though they would eventually come up with some very interesting solutions. Sometime in the middle of these happenings, I remember attending an "adult" service for the first time-- there was no one there to do children's church that evening and so I sat with my mother, at 5, and listened to the preacher scream. I do not remember what compelled me to go up to the altar at that age. But I did. And I remember praying with the ministers wife. O Please Forgive My Five Year Old Sins!

Anyway, after my father was sentenced to 45 days in jail (reduced sentence) for putting my mother in the hospital, and after my mother felt that she was temporarily safe from him (we had gone to a women's shelter for almost the entire second half of my first grade year-- I completed most the assignments at the shelter and my mom would mail them back to the elementary school) we stopped going to church on Sundays and begin going to a beach about an hour north. For awhile, I forgot about god, but before long I was wondering why we stopped going-- a mystery that would remain so for several more years. In the meanwhile, my father was in and out of jail for various things-- mom had a restraining order against him but he still came around. There were several things going on at the same time-- I for one, was diagnosed with a rare syndrome and had two major reconstructive surgeries before age 11- meanwhile my dad did things like-- jump our car and try to kidnap us on memorial day, then broke into the house one night and beat my mother nearly unconscious against the bathroom door--

this was about the time I started going to another Baptist church with my brother and sister-- it started with summer bible school-- this time it was different though. Even as I do not remember all the questions I asked the leaders, I remember being very skeptical about God in general. I wondered why bad things happened-- and I remember them telling a story about children involved in a car accident needing to confess before being burned alive otherwise they were doomed to spend eternity in hell. I remember the end of the story being that the parents died as Christians, trying to get their young children to convert-- they didn't, they all died, and the parents went to heaven, and immediately forgot about their children because it they were sinners and would not accept God's glorious plan. Well folks, even at eleven I knew this was bullshit. I quit church and declared myself an atheist.

During this time my father was apparently in Hawaii. He would send postcards and letters with mixed messages slamming my mother (why he eventually gave up custody, the court order supervised visits-- I suppose when he could no longer harass my mom, he decided we weren't worth it.) Anyway, at 14 mom decided we needed to move somewhere before my dad killed us all. He was back in Michigan again and live the next block over-- even though she had numerous restraining orders. Back then and people tell me it hasn't changed much- the cops didn't take domestic disputes very seriously-- often mom could call the cops, they would show up, leave and that was it. She told them he was just the next block over but they never did anything about it.

So we moved in the middle of my freshman year. We had not been in the new house four months, and a reporter from the Detroit News called to ask my mother about my father. He had killed his adopted father down in Indiana in a very brutal, sick way. Later on (about a year ago) I found some court documents online. Turns out he set a new precedent for the supreme court for the state of Indiana with his appeals request-- go dad! (riiiiiiiiiiiiight)

Anyway, by the time I was 14 I was one fucked up, angry girl, and just prime for a desperate conversion. I started writing. In high school I had a mentor who helped and encouraged my writing. One day while talking to him he commented, "well, there couldn't be good if there wasn't God right." My response was to question if there was even good at all. So the journey began. I read lots of books (all Christian :( ) and still thought it was bullshit. I had a friend at the time who was wiccan. She encouraged my spiritual quest, but also cautioned me. I should've listened to her, but I didn't. I actually ended up judging her and we haven't spoken in years. Another friend of mine was active in the Church of God, Anderson. Well I started going and was eventually adopted into the pastors family as an extra kid. I think now that I am older, I understand what I was seeking was the love of a father. I know it is Freudian, but maybe there's truth to some of that stuff. I've seen it again and again in my role models, relationships, ect. I crave the innocent love of father figures--

but at 15 I didn't think it was about this. I honestly thought I was searching out god. I had theological discussions with this pastor and his wife, and was more and more accepted into the churches inner circle, and into their family. So one day, feeling "the presence of god", I confessed my sins and accepted Christ and was baptized six months later, at 16. I struggled to see god, I struggled to do the right thing-- but I also liked to have fun. My circle of friends at church were real party animals on Saturday-- confessors on Sunday. I saw this at hypocrisy-- but I didn't want to break away and lose the affection of the pastor and his wife. Things were rocky at home with my own family and I spent more and more time at my 21 year boyfriends house (!) and at church (!) Finally, small town as it was, the church found out and began suspecting my activities with my boyfriend. I moved out of my house at 17 and into my boyfriends apartment with his twin brother and my best friend who was dating the brother. I began skipping school, drinking heavily, and smoking pot. But I still went to youth group!!!! At this point I realize I forgot to mention some other horrible events-- my grandpa killed himself, my real dad's dad was in a motorcycle accident, the daughter of the minister's husband was killed in a freak auto accident, a neighbor who;s dogs I watched as a part time job died of diabetes--

anyway enough of this sadness

Three months before graduation, I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. I had missed a lot of school and just decided to drop out. After that I got on a bus with a backpack and the remainder of my tax refund, to Portland Oregon. I went there because I had applied to college and been accepted out there, and thought there might be a chance I could still go (a Christian college at that !) To be honest, I had sulked around the apartment for a week reading Stephen king novels, and was contemplating suicide, when I got the bright idea to get on a bus.

In Portland I was homeless, worked at a dry cleaner downtown, got an apartment and attending an alternative school, getting my GED, meet so many people who had it worse than I did. During this time I tried to be close to God-- well I read the bible more and prayed a lot-- I was completely alone in the world and really needed God-- and it felt like god was there. That summer I reconciled with my mom and went back home.

I found out July of that year I could still go to Warner. Meanwhile another women in the church, part of the inner circle who I had been close to-- she was a REAL person, she loved to go to the casino-- we related with each other because we were both struggling with "sins". Anyway she died of cancer 4 days before my flight. I spoke at her funeral and got on a plane the next day, back to Portland to begin my Christian education.

The trouble was that I had lived a totally different life in Portland just months earlier and found it impossible to live in the dogmatic bubble that seemed to surround the college. I skipped classes, I dated a man much older than myself, I dated another kid I had met my first time to Portland, and then I dated a seminary student. I thought I was "in love." But alas (this is getting to be long winded so I will try to wrap it up). It didn't work out. I was seeking god out in all this, reading all sorts of books now on all different religions, going to all different churches-- trying anything, fasting, meditating, silent retreats, softball metaphors LOL-- I was desperate. I knew I lost my scholarship winter semester and that I wouldn't be able to return in the spring. I tried to kill myself after the closing night of a play I had starred in-- I convinced myself it was my moral obligation to finish the play-- but not to live! How logical-- anyway I was rushed unconscious to the hospital where I had my stomach pumped, did time in ICU and was released after being told a kid who had taken the same amount of Tylenol I did was going to die if he didn't get a new liver. Oh yeah, my little suicide stunt took place on good Friday too-- creative girl, aint I?

I went home. I got a job as a park ranger and went back to my old church which had a new pastor now. (Old pastor and wife retired, sold everything and moved to Missouri-- I am still in touch with them thankfully, they still love me even though I am not a Christian-- took me a long time to understand that-- for which I am tremendously thankful). At church again I quickly climbed the ladder-- taking a year off from college, I had the time to do it. I became the youth leader. Meanwhile I knew I was almost done with my faith. Even as I told others about God, I hated him or worse, could barely believe in him. Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I was a hypocrite-- a replica of my loathing, the very thing I hated most. So I quit.

By then, encouraged by others, I went back to college at a local school. The college was very different and very secular. I felt very threatened even though I knew I was already done with my faith. At this point I was still trying to pray, trying to work things out-- I had a friend and mentor who was Pentecostal. He told me my problem was I had been THINKING too much and needed to let god takeover. I started going to different Pentecostal churches, looking for god yet again. At the same time I was going through this I had a class which was very challenging to my faith. I often felt attacked and insulted. But at the same time, my ideas were changing, I was starting to have to think about the beliefs I was ascribing to-- finally I decided to become a non Christian-- the last straw was when my friend died the 21st of December, 2001. He asked me to believe God was going to physically heal him as he had been prophesied over with that message. So I did. That same semester I was being intellectually challenged about my faith, I was praying and trusting god with the life of my friend. When he died I was completely devastated.

It broke me. Now I have lived through a lot, but it really broke me. I literally cried for days and days. I tried to pray but was even more devastated. I was deserted, alone, betrayed, emptied out. And I vowed it was over. I have made a lot of New Years resolutions over the years.. but that is the only one I have kept.

It has been almost two years since my resolution and final break from the church. I have spent a great deal of time questioning morality and goodness apart from any church, apart from any god.

There is goodness and beauty in this world, and you don't need religion or god to experience it or find it. Look at the earth. Look at nature.

Nowadays when if I feel consumed by pain and "worldly" suffering-- I think of the words that a wise woman said to me: We save each other. I hope somehow this story can encourage someone else.

No matter what the hurt, or how deep the suffering, THINK for yourself. Don't let your vulnerability weaken you to brainwashing. It is a trick of Christians to accuse others of brainwashing when in fact they oft times are doing just that to YOU while preaching.

I think about all the pain in my life-- the pain caused by religion is almost more than all the other stuff put together. And why? Because I believed. I put my faith in something without thinking because I was hurt and I was young and I needed to be comforted.

God's "mercy" wasn't worth the cost



State: Michigan

Country: U.S.

Became a Christian: at 5 if by Calvin, at 15 if by Wesley

Ceased being a Christian: at 20

Labels before: Baptist, church of god, anderson, flirtations with Pentecostal (ie assemblies, lighthouse, apostolic)

Labels now: bitter agnostic, leanings toward humanist

Why I joined: at age 5, I cant remember what compelled me to confess, at age 15, desperation

Why I left: no evidence of god-- also education, logic

11/22/03                                                                                       View Comments

Psychology of Deconversion

sent in by Kevin

I’m wondering if anybody else out there has experienced anything similar to what I went through when I renounced “the Faith.”

When I first realized that I had sold my soul to a lie and was living my life for a future promise of everlasting life that was probably bogus I found myself with a problem. On the one hand, I felt wonderfully liberated from an enslaving mythology. I had become the captain of my own ship, and aside from chance circumstances that I cannot control, I was more or less back in charge of my life.

But a part of me missed the dogmatism. A part of me still longs for “absolute” pat answers to quench the gnawing questions that surface in my mind. I even find myself missing being the spiritual leader of a church. And I have to admit, from time to time the questions arise in my head “What if there really is a God and he kicks your ass at the last judgment?

Is this the work of the Holy Spirit in my life? Is he trying to convince me to rejoin the fold? Hardly. This internal voice that tries to push me back toward Christianity is nothing more than a remnant of my intense indoctrination as a fundamentalist.

I earned my undergraduate degree at an institution that thrived on emotionalism. I was required to attend chapel three times per week, and was subjected to intense group pressure. Visiting preachers would manipulate those in the audience to “come forward” by saying “If you feel convicted, come forward. If you don’t feel convicted, you REALLY need to come forward.” A masterful speaker can make the lone listener feel as though the entire group sides with him, and this creates a tremendous internal dynamic to conform to the group. As a species, evolution has endowed us with the trait of social conformity. In the past this has helped us survive. On the battlefield, for example, we cannot be individuals. In a society that is supposedly accepting of all beliefs (including a lack of belief), this trait can become our downfall. We conform to each other’s superstitions in order to preserve harmony at the cost of furthering our cultural evolution. We remain stuck in a quagmi
re of so-called “morality” that oppresses minorities (racial, sexual, and otherwise) and strives to return to a uniform belief system for all.

My opinion is that this is the basis of all human religion: Group conformity. Societies and cultures were controlled by religion for years. Religion is merely a tool used to promote conformity among citizens. The most ancient examples still endure: The emperor of Japan is Deity incarnate as was the Egyptian Pharaoh. In ancient Israel, it was the priestly class who spoke for Jehovah. In our time, the religious right would like to co-opt this role by “speaking for God” and assuring that the rest of us conform.

So, my fellow Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers, or whatever brand of heresy you have chosen to embrace, keep in mind that when the Christians come to this website to debate you, they are above all interested in your conformity. It isn’t so much WHAT you believe, but that you agree with them that matters. You have taken the plunge, extricating yourself from the shackles of superstition. Your very presence threatens them because it alerts them to the possibility of their OWN deconversion. They aren’t really fighting us when they debate us on this website. They are fighting their own doubts and struggles with their faith. You have simply become an object upon which they can externalize this conflict.

Why don’t some of you Christians come forward and address the issues of disbelief that had surfaced in your life? Why don’t you look at it honestly and examine the path that we who have left Christianity have trod? If you REALLY have the truth, you have nothing to be afraid of. If you don’t, well, maybe we can help you.

klb


City: Yuma

State: AZ

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 18

Ceased being a Christian: 36

Labels before: Independent Baptist, Charismatic

Labels now: Atheist

Why I joined: It's a long story . . . .

Why I left: An examination of the facts

11/14/03                                                                                       View Comments

The "Why I'm not Christian" letter

Hello, all. My name is Loren.

My testimony will follow in the form of a letter which I wrote to a Christian online friend of mine who asked me why I identify as a former Christian. Isn't cut and paste a beautiful thing? She also asked me what I thought a Christian was, but I didn't answer that in this letter.

I am definitely a deist of some sort, but I now feel that Christianity is absolutely one of the worst things that ever befell us. It is an atrocity, a moral abomination, heresy, sacrilege and blasphemy all coated in honey. There is no excuse for it. It makes my blood boil.

Christians say they have the good news. Sorry, but my news is far better than any I ever heard from any Christian.

The letter follows:

Why I’m not Christian.

Sometime in my youth I took what I was told from the pulpit seriously although a lot of it seemed strange or disjointed from real life. I didn’t really question it too closely; I just thought that it was too complex and esoteric for me to understand. I don’t remember exactly when I became a Christian, but I have taken a number of alter calls, usually out of a sense of “Uh oh, what if it’s really true?”
I was never a devout believer. Rather, I was one of the many who proclaim Jesus publicly in order to avoid going to Hell, but it never really impacted my life beyond that. My sense of what Christianity is was pretty vague.

I’ve always loved theological and philosophical discussion, but even there, it was just an interesting intellectual exercise which didn’t have much to do with my life.

In 1987 something powerful and amazing happened to me. I am not going to go into details, but to put it in a nutshell, without my asking for it to happen, the immediate presence of God was revealed to me.

I know, I know. I realize how such a statement is bound to sound, which is why I almost never talk about it. I may share insights with people, but I don’t tell them how I came to have those insights.

It became undeniably clear to me that God is right here with us and within us. A loving God is present in all things. Absolutely everything is connected. It is all one thing, and it is alive and aware. I can perceive it more directly, as opposed to hearing about it and having to rely on belief.

All of creation is alive and aware and will converse with us if we just listen and pay attention. There is a huge wealth of information available that usually goes untapped by most people.

Of course my first reaction was, “O.K. That’s it. I’m psychotic. I’ve gone insane.” Imagine stepping through a door and finding yourself in a very real fairyland, just like in the children’s books. It was very much like waking up from a deep sleep. For a little while, I assumed that it would just “go away” after a bit, that I would “get better” and the world would go back to normal.

It never did. I spent about two years just trying to determine whether or not I was really insane. That was, after all, the most simple, likely and logical explanation. I ended up tearing down almost all of my old assumptions about reality and had to learn internal honesty and critical thinking from the ground up.

This is a huge reduction of all that I have been through with this stuff, but I felt that you should know that all of my opinions about God, spirit and various religions is centrally informed by my daily experience with living in a living and aware world which talks to me.

Now there are a great many reasons why I am no longer a Christian, but many of them are peripheral, (although they are still important) and I won’t dwell on them in order to keep this as brief as I can.

Being a Christian always felt strange and kind of icky to me. It just never felt right or good. But, of course, due to my Christian indoctrination, I just assumed that these feelings were a result of my own sin and sinful nature. When I went through my awakening, I thought, “Oh, crap!! This is it! I better get my ducks in a row and start being a real Christian before something hits the fan.” So I started doing my best which was still a pretty sad and pathetic example, but it got me to read my Bible more.

A funny thing happened. The more I read the Bible, the more I felt wrong when I claimed to be a Christian. I don’t mean wrong as in “I’m too sinful to be a Christian” or “I’m not sincere enough” or any other version of those old chestnuts. I mean wrong as in “Hey, I think there’s something wrong with my Bible!” And I found more and more things that “God has said” which just made absolutely no sense to me. No logical sense, no moral sense, and above all, no sense in light of what I saw of God’s actual behavior in my life and the world around me.

Now, from the beginning I have always understood that there is a difference between God’s truth and church doctrine. I have always known that there are eleventy-seven sects of Christianity who disagree over doctrine, and many who are perfectly happy to claim that those who disagree with them are “not true Christians”. I never took such things too seriously, and felt that God really didn’t give a rat’s behind whether a baptism was done by dunking or sprinkling. I also understood the variability of such things as the fallibility of translation, interpretation, and the transmission of meaning across the boundaries of cultural context. I knew that such human factor things (and others) would unavoidably lead to weaknesses in the text of the Bible. I have never been a Bible literalist because I was too aware of such things.

So I began by thinking that perhaps my discomfort with being Christian was the result of my assimilating some erroneous or relatively unimportant doctrine(s) which might not be sitting well with my intuition or conscience. I started to examine various tenets and doctrines from the standpoint of this assumption: If I can excise this particular tenet from my Christianity and still be a Christian, then that tenet must not be central to what Christianity really is. I would not even worry about whether the tenet in question was right or wrong. I would just remove it and see what that left me with.

By this method I went through a process of elimination in order to find out what really constituted Christianity. I was looking for a thing (or things) which, when it was present in Christianity, then Christianity could rightly be called Christianity, but when it was absent, one could no longer call what remained Christianity.

Does this make sense to you? It was the best that an uneducated screw up like me could come up with at the time. My problem with taking these questions to pastors and scholars was that while they could often back up their opinions with impressive research, in the end, it was always their own beliefs and why I should conform to them. While I often learned a great deal from such people, I never was left with the feeling that I was getting closer to the truth.

So I continued this process of culling. It was like taking a deck of cards and throwing them in the trash one by one in order to find the joker.

By the same method, I did a parallel search for anything which was genuinely unique only to Christianity. As to this second search, it has never really ended and I have not found any item which is not available elsewhere. I always knew that some of Christianity is an amalgam of other things, but I never expected to find that it is nothing but an amalgam of other things. This did not lead me to conclude that Jesus was entirely fictitious so much as it discredited a huge number of claims made by Christians about the nature of the religion itself. Likewise, I have no problem with syncretism; much of my own spirituality is a mass of things from other systems which made sense to me.

As to the search for the true core of Christianity, I found that it came down to this: Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection as a propitiation or atonement.

I realized that I could discard every single bit of Christian doctrine but that one and I still felt wrong about it.

I’ve been around and around with that thing and here is what I’ve come to:
It is not genuine forgiveness in any form which I can find morally intelligible. If my debt was truly forgiven, then why did it still need to be paid? And why in such a brutal manner? What kind of a person would demand such a payment?

If payment is still required, then the debt has not been truly forgiven in any way that I can understand. If Bob owes me ten dollars, and can’t pay me, I then may choose to forgive the debt. If I do, then that debt is not owed by anybody. Even if Bob’s brother offers to pay the money on Bob’s behalf, I should not take it if it has been forgiven. If I do accept payment from Bob’s brother, then the debt was not forgiven, it was just shifted. Of course, this does get Bob off the hook, but I would never be able to say that the debt had been forgiven. If any court in the land finds a person guilty and then declares that they are forgiven, that court cannot then punish the person.

Is forgiveness what is being paid for? Forgiveness is not a commodity. I have never charged anyone a fee for forgiving them. Not even fifty cents. And most especially, I have never had to kill someone in order to forgive someone else. What kind of a person would do such a thing?

Furthermore, if I am to accept that I truly deserve eternal damnation and that Jesus has, out of love for me, taken my place, then Jesus should be spending eternity in Hell in my place. If he doesn’t, then he has not truly taken my place.

What kind of moral lessons am I to learn from the whole “death on the cross” thing? I am told that these things are all part of the “mystery” and humans just couldn’t understand it. I used to accept that, but the time came when I just couldn’t anymore. If I did, it made too many other things meaningless or nonsensical. Telling me that I can’t understand God’s morality is just not a good enough answer, considering that that whole event is the central lynchpin of the religion. Also, it flies in the face of the fact that the Bible is full of explanations of what God’s morality is and just why it is moral, as well as the fact that the Bible tells us to emulate God to the best of our ability. I’m told to emulate God’s morality and that it’s impossible for me to understand God’s morality. What the hell good does that do?

Then there is the whole “sacrifice” aspect of it all.

There came a time when the light went on in my head, and I thought, “Hey, wait a minute. How is Jesus’ death on the cross morally different from throwing a virgin into a volcano?” What kind of a god would demand such a thing? Human sacrifice is human sacrifice. I don’t see any way to get around that. It is what it is.

Even if it is all true, how could I ever respect a god like that? How can I ever believe God would want such a thing? In order for me to be a Christian, I would have to lie in some way.

I mulled these things (and others) and struggled with them for a good while, as well as praying desperately for guidance.

Then I reached a decision. That night I went outside and burned my Bible. It takes a while to burn a Bible.

At first, for a while, I felt a bit giddy. Also, I felt guilty and frightened. As time went on, it was made abundantly clear to me that God still loved and forgave me and that God had absolutely not deserted me, in spite of the fact that I had committed the one sin that Christianity had told me was unforgivable. As an aside, this was one of the many Christian notions that God has disabused me of: the assertion that God’s forgiveness is absolute followed by the placing of any number of conditions on it.
Despite my decision, God did not pinch my head off, or in any other way change the amazingly loving, wise and miraculously beneficent behavior that God had shown me before my choice.

Since that time, some interesting things have come to light for me. My fascination for any kind of religion, spiritual system or description has only increased, especially my interest in Christianity, although it has become something akin to morbid fascination. It’s a bit like watching a major train wreck in slow motion. It’s hard for me to look away. Nevertheless, I am always interested in Christian apologetics, and it is my digging in these areas which brought the following interesting things to my attention.

It has always somewhat baffled me that if Jesus fulfills prophetic scriptural requirements for messiahship as thoroughly as Christians claim, then why didn’t more of the hundreds of thousands of devout, scholarly rabbis examine the story and shout “Praise G*d! The messiah did come after all!”
Paul’s assertion that the reason was that “they are all a bunch of stubborn, stiff-necked so-and-sos” started to look thinner and thinner. I wondered more and more why the few times I did hear Christian clergy address this issue from the pulpit, that they just quoted Paul and pretty much left it at that. They often didn’t even seem to be really interested in a real, cogent answer to this conundrum, while it seemed to me to be highly important. If anyone would be qualified to recognize the messiah, it would be a rabbi. I found it very difficult to accept the premise that in two thousand years, almost all of those rabbis had been hypocritical, insincere or too ignorant of their own scriptures to recognize the very one they were waiting for. Why did the Christian clergy never seem willing to turn to rabbinical sources, but always fall back on that old, inadequate thin ice of Paul’s? Increasingly, I found this to be very suspicious. So I started seeking my own rabbinical sources.

As an aside, I do know that some of the material attributed to Paul was not truly Pauline. (if there ever was such a person) The idea of Paul being an anti-Semite is more than a little bit silly. The point is not that those passages are or are not Pauline; my point is that they are the passages which are most relied on by apologists and that this is what got me looking for answers elsewhere.

I found some very interesting things.

All these centuries, the rabbis have not “rejected” Jesus. What actually has happened is that they have tested Jesus according to scriptural requirements and found him wanting. He did not fit the job description. For one thing, his lineage is wrong. If Mary was a virgin, then the lineage from David was broken at that point. If one uses Mary’s line, the problem is that while some versions say that she was of David’s line, Jewish society never would have justified kingship through a matrilineal line. If one abandons the virginity of Mary (and there are some very good reasons for doing so, but they are unrelated to this), and traces Jesus’ line through Joseph after all, there is the problem of Joseph being a descendant of Jeconiah. God cursed Jeconiah by saying that none of his line would ever sit on the throne of David.

Then there is the problem of the second coming. The Hebrew scriptures are extremely clear that the messiah will come once and once only. When he comes, there will be no need of faith. It will be very clear who he is. Among other things, he will sit as king of Israel, bring world peace and a number of other things which will be completely obvious once they happen. The very fact that Jesus came and then left again without doing the things the messiah will do clearly disqualifies him for that role.

Then, there is the problem of Jesus being the sin offering. The Hebrew scriptures, like the Bible, have many ambiguities which scholars have always loved to argue over. However, again like the Bible, there are some things which are blunt, simple and unequivocal. The importance of the proper way of making the sin offering is one of these. If Jesus was the ultimate sin offering, then the rite was so inadequately performed as to be an insult to God. One of the essential parts of the ritual was that the blood must be sprinkled or sprayed on the altar. Jesus’ blood never made it anywhere near any altar, let alone the rest of the ritual being done properly.

Another thing about the sin offering which God was very clear about was that it would NEVER, EVER be acceptable to use a human being as the sacrifice. Oh, look. There’s that thing again. Human sacrifice. Imagine that.

One last item about the sin offering:

Christian doctrine says that Jesus was the ultimate sin offering once and for all. Thus, through Jesus, we have our reconciliation with God. Christian doctrine also states pretty clearly that the offering of Jesus’ sinless life is the only method of atonement which is acceptable to God.

HOWEVER, in the Hebrew scriptures, (again, very unequivocally) God states clearly that there are not one, but THREE methods of atonement and reconciliation. Furthermore, the sin offering is the least important of these in God’s eyes. God clearly says that the sin offering is only adequate to cover small sins, for instance, when one sins without realizing that it is a sin. The sin offering is inadequate to cover larger sins, such as a deliberate lie.

For the moment I’m going to be a stinker and keep you in suspense as to what the two most powerful methods of reconciliation are. But you can now see what I saw, that there was a lot more going on in the Jewish “rejection” of Jesus than we are told from the pulpit. If God was so lax as to accept such an inadequately performed sin offering ritual, then it pretty well shoots down the idea that God demands perfect obedience to the law.

Then there is the business of being judged on the basis of having “fallen short of the glory of God.” Why is it not considered an obvious blasphemy to say that I expect God to judge me by the standards that God holds for Himself? The God of the Jews does no such foolish thing. That God makes it abundantly clear that He knows perfectly well that humans are human and not able to achieve the kind of moral perfection that only God could achieve. He does not hold them to such a ridiculous standard nor does He punish them with eternal damnation if they fail to meet it.
Also, God definitely does not tell the Jews that the only way to be with God is to be a member of “the right” religion. He just tells the Jews what their religion should be. He definitely makes it clear that gentiles are welcome, as well. So much for “only one way into heaven”.

Port, I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m going to postpone an answer to your second question regarding what I think a Christian is. Are you absolutely sure you want me to answer that? ;-)

All right, okay. You’ve been patient with me. Here are the other two more powerful and valid ways of reconciling with God according to the Hebrew Bible. Ready for it?

Here they are.

Repentance
&
Charity



Sex: male

City: Eugene

State: Oregon

Country: U.S.A.

Became a Christian: Indeterminate

Ceased being a Christian: I think about 30.

Labels before: Christian

Labels now: Living being

Why I joined: Fear, ignorance and subconscious indoctrination from the culture

Why I left: Reasons above

11/11/03                                                                                       View Comments

The Awakening

sent in by Rachel Adams

I came to Christ long before my mother and father ever thought it necessary to talk about such things. We had a school CIA (Christians in Action) that met once a week before class and some of my friends pulled me into it. A lot of what they were trying to accomplish seemed doable and very ethical. I had been born Catholic and taken to church at a very young age. It had left an impression that I could not forget. The memories of incense and the beautiful stained glass and the singing and the Latin all made me wonder once again.

I decided to attend church with one of my friends. From there I was lost. I believed every word of the preacher's sermon and it all seemed to point directly at me. I was a sinner and though I had never dismissed Jesus or God, I had never asked Him into my heart. I left shaken and worried. Was I going to hell? I had read many myths and legends of Celtic nature and Greek and Roman Mythology was my favorite. After attending a few Sundays at that church, however, I felt like I had been doing wrong in even thinking that some of that could be as important as reading my trusty Bible! I began to recite the Lord's prayer at home before bed and trying to hear the voice from outside rather than from within.

It was then, when I was most worried about my life that things began changing for the worse. I lost my scholarship, became pregnant, my new husband was less than perfect, my family was less than supportive, and I had to do things for myself. I kept thinking, "I must be being punished for not believing for so long. I must not be doing something right." No matter what I did or how hard I tried to turn the other cheek I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion. Once again, I found support in church. At the time I had thought my prayers were finally answered. A knock at the door and we were all invited to join a local Southern Baptist Church.

The people seemed nice enough, and what did I have to lose? I was at the alter the next week and in a few months I was baptized. The people in church were so proud of me. They took me in and praised Jesus for leading to the right path. They cared for me and I became friends and even babysat some of the parishioners' children to make ends meet. We were poor, but we were thriving. I even taught Sunday school to the 12-24 month olds in nursery every Sunday.

Yes, they make materials for children that young! About that time, my mom and dad followed my path and found a church they enjoyed and so all was happy and well. I asked if I could help with the newborns in the next semester, but the deacon's wife in charge of the nursery said I wasn't experienced enough with them to do so. I didn't mind, as there would be next time. I studied the Bible and was active with my age group in my own classes at night.

After serving in my church for four years three of which I was a nursery teacher on and off, I realized that I just couldn't keep up in my own bible classes. Ironically, it was my delve into a bible reader's manual, in hopes of inspiration that began me on the journey to awakening from the delusions. As I read one day, I realized that what I had been taught in one of the classes was not at all what I saw in several of the other verses. Just to be sure, I checked out another scriptural companion from my local library. It only affirmed my own findings. And in this book, it told me about further reading: THE BIBLE WAS NOT EVEN COMPLETE!!!

Now remember, I was Southern Baptist, which meant the King James Version of the Bible was literally considered the word of God and unquestionably complete. Well, that found, I looked up King James. Boy was that a shock! So were the "further adventures of my favorite biblical heroes" once I took them from the church and looked up historical fact.

Having this knowledge still did not keep me from church. However, I began to see the people around me who taught classes and the pastor himself as ignorant or choosing to omit many things from their teaching. I began asking more and more questions in bible study. At first it led to deep discussion and utterly confused the teachers at times. Then, people began getting irritated with learning. They took affront to someone asking valid questions. Especially considering I pointed out in several ways that the bible contradicts itself and the teacher's lessons. Keep in mind I always had an open mind and genuinely wanted to learn or have my findings explained. I never came across as a pain in the ass at all. After all, that was not Christian. So I stopped going and just opted to attend the Sunday School for my age group which was taught by someone said to be a little more knowledgeable.

To do this, I needed to be changed on the schedule for nursery work. I asked that I be moved from the 12-24 month room in the nursery to sit with the newborns for a few months. My own children were moving out of that age category and I missed it very much. However, I was told that I was doing such a good job in the nursery where I was at. When the shifts changed, the newest member of the church "in clique" the new bride of a deacon's family began to work with the newborns. Seemed that I was no longer new enough to worry about pleasing and the whole need to prove oneself meant nothing compared to nepotism.

And then the real truth came out. Over these years, as I said we were poor and had been left many times without power and little to eat. I had always given all that I could. Any extra I could squander for the nursery in the form of food and juice went. Any volunteer work I could do was done. My family and I were invited to a special Wednesday service concerning new plans for our church. It seemed that we had grown so much that the new sanctuary wasn't enough. A full building in the back for a church school had been decided upon. Funds needed to be raised. The preacher stood before the congregation the next Sunday and said, "If you are not tithing your percent, you are stealing from GOD!" God never told me he wanted to have a paved parking lot, a big flower bed out front, or a school for children when there are plenty around this area. God never said that money was the only way to tithe. I left. I never went back.

My children go to church sometimes with their grandparents, but I warn them not to believe everything they hear. I have done further studies on my own and see where many religions and mythologies are paralleled. Many stories in the bible were told many years before the authors of the Bible were conceived. They were borrowed. The book is contradictory and I just can't fathom why so many people are taken in by it, other than the fact that like me they are vulnerable and get brainwashed.

I feel more comfortable enjoying the sanctity of -the force of creation, god, goddess, mother nature, whatever the hell you want to call it- outside and alone than in the walls of a church sitting next to a bunch of hypocrites. I do not follow any group. I am a practitioner of druidism, or at least my own style of it. I don't need someone to tell me what to do. I don't need a goal or fear of failure. I just want to live and live well. I want to be close to those who care about me and vice versa. I want to enjoy what I can now as well as whatever happens next when I die. I am not mean to Christians. Honestly, I have found that since leaving the flock, they have shown their true colors to me. They are very much the most dangerous group of people I have ever encountered. I have only recently "come out" to a certain extent about my beliefs. I have a feeling this is but the beginning of a new difficult journey. However, this time, I am confident in myself. And I am listening to
that voice in my heart, not searching for another one that never comes from the outside.

I tell my Christian friends that God is all around them and me (since they want to name it). He made this world no matter which theory you prescribe to. Even those who do not believe in a higher power must see that nature has made us this place to live. It affects every moment of our life, from birth to death to beginning the cycle again (decay or rebirth however one believes). And therefore, we should live and enjoy what we have. And if they can't get it, I just tell them, "Go waste someone else's time. Thanks." It's a much better response than I get from most Christians who find out my belief...so much for them turning the other cheek or even being polite.


URL: http://www.draconmagick.com

City: Pell City

State: AL

Country: United States

Became a Christian: 13

Ceased being a Christian: 22

Labels before: Catholic, Independent, and Southern Baptist

Labels now: Pagan, Druid, A person who practices COMMON SENSE

Why I joined: Worry and fear

Why I left: Questioning and watching hypocrisy in action

Email Address: Rachel at draconmagick.com

11/9/03                                                                                       View Comments

Crushing Blow

sent in by Everett

I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my story. It's nice to find a website of likeminded people.

First a little background: I confessed Jesus as my savior when I was about 8 years old. I didn't get baptised until I was 20. I became apostate just prior to my 31st birthday.

My childhood was very rocky. The "Creator" deemed it good to bless me with an obvious birth defect. Although not severe, it was enough to get me into a fight just about everyday of my young life. I didn't let that get me down though, I live by "turn the other cheek". I overcame it all, by the time I reached high school I was friends with just about everyone and was well respected. I found expression through the theatre. Most were comedies. I thought I had found my thing. Then my father died at the age of 47. I was 15. He was my best friend and it stole my fire. That ended commic theatre for me. My closest friend at the time was a Pentecostal. My father was a regular Joe. He loved his children, he told jokes and he drank beer. Because my father, who grew up in christ, didn't attend church and had the lifestyle of "sinners", my friend told me he was in hell.

How comforting for a 15 year old! I couldn't believe it and needless to say he was no longer my friend and I stopped going to a pentecostal church. Fast forward to the age of 20. In the five years after dad's death, I once again overcame a crappy deal. Eventhough in that time I became the last surviving male in my family, I had many positive changes. I had surgery that corrected my defect which became unnoticable. I got married. I became a soldier, and I became a medic in the civilian sector. My faith in god got stronger. I finally got baptised.

The day after my baptism I started working for the police department. I am a 911 dispatcher. It was at the police department that I started learning the truth about alot of things. I became disillusioned with alot of things including my faith. It started to pain me the horrible events that occured in our "sleepy city". I was also stressed at my inability to overcome certain "sins" in my life. Like most christians I never actually read the bible. However, it was around this time I sought to change that. I thought that getting into the bible would give me the strength to win my fight against my personal sin. I was mistaken.

As I studied the bible, I was disturbed by some of the things I was reading. Such as: how cruel god could be, how poorly the Isrealites behaved, conflicts and contridicitons, etc.
I still held on to my faith, mostly out of fear. The final straw came with the birth of my son. My beautiful son was diagnosed with autism. I was finally crushed. When this happened, every bad and cruel event I have ever witnessed and been the object of, flooded back into my mind. I started thinking of certain bible passages of god's cruelty. Such as in Exodous when god was dishing out the 10 plagues. Pharaoh tried to repent but god himself "hardened his heart" so that he wouldn't repent. This is because god "raised him (Pharaoh) up for this very purpose". That purpose was of course to cause alot of pain,misery and in the end, death of the firstborn of Egypt. In Isaiah we learn that god knew us in our mother womb. Elsewhere in the bible we read that god knew us since before creation and that he already knew our response to christ's message.

In Ephesians 2 we are told that we are created by god in christ Jesus to do good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do. As a medic and police dispatcher, these lines tell me that all the tragedies I deal with on a daily basis are "prepared in advance" by god so I can do a good deed. Not very nice. A typical christian response would be "this isn't god's original plan. Man messed that up in the garden of eden. One day the lord will return things to how he originally planned". Let us examine creation for a minute because I have a problem with this thinking.

According to Genesis god created the perfect world and told man he could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he will die. Of course we know the rest, but think about it. If you believe other biblical passages about god knowing everything in advance, then why did he even put this tree in the garden? Didn't he know man would eat the fruit? Didn't he know that would introduce death,suffering and pain? Of course he knew! It was part of his overall plan. That means that every ounce of our pain and anguish is planned. To say that a man or satan could thwart god's original plan is to say that man is equal to god.

Thus he wouldn't be a god. If this faulty world is his plan then there is another paradox. To say that god is Holy,Holy,Holy is to say that he is the definition of perfection. However a perfect god, by definition, could not possibly create an imperfect world. If he is imperfect, he cannot be god. Why did god create evil? Was he bored?

Since my son has been diagnosed as autistic I have been forced to rethink "good and bad". I have been reading and researching everything. Taoism, Zen, Buddism, Gnostic, Paganism, etc. I take greater comfort in thinking my son's condition is natural and not necessarily "bad". His path will just be different than mine. Just as there are many different ways of life in nature.

Sorry for being long winded. At this time I keep my views secret from my wife and other kids. They are christian.

My apostasy is still fresh so I am carefull about what I say around them. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.


State: Virginia

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 8

Ceased being a Christian: 30

Labels before: baptist,pentecostal,disciples of christ,church of christ

Labels now: apostate, explorer

Why I joined: fear of hell, hope for better life

Why I left: became educated (trial by fire)

Email Address: e wayism at aol.com

11/8/03                                                                                       View Comments

What are our teachers up too?

sent in by Carolyn

Back ground info!

I am 17 years old and currently attend high school. I am a senior. This is what happened on Friday Nov. 7 in my first period Ag class.


Chapter 1
Mr. Jones THE DEVIL!


First period I walked in to class and started working on my record book for Ag, right, all calm and peaceful. I had a question, so I asked my teacher Mr. Jones what a professional organization is, to see if PFLAG(Parents family and friends of lesbians and gays) fits the description. PFLAG did fit his description, so I asked him if I should put an organization in my resume that I might not be hired because of. He said sometimes you should be picky about what you put in your resume, but also if they wouldn't hire you for this organization you have to wonder why not. (There is a really big speech here don't want to put all of it so I'll give you the basics) The people in this organization may not be good people. So I told him the people in the organization were the best friends I have every had! Then he said, why wouldn't a job hire you if you were in that organization? then I said,"because it is a gay organization." Then he said "of course they wouldn't hire you all gay people are going to HELL!" I was dumb founded by this statement! Then he proceeded to preach for 10 minutes about Sodom and Gomorrah and why gay people are going to hell.(he most likely hasn't read Sodom and Gomorrah, it says nothing about gay people just gang rapers!) He then asked me what my religion believed about an after life and I said I don't believe in hell. So he said "Look at it this way, If your religion is right and mine is wrong then nothing will happen to me, but if my religion is right and yours is wrong then you are going to HELL" that was when I had enough I know when someone is trying to convert me! I picked up my record book put it in the stack and then grabbed my bag and said I'm going to the principals office.

Chapter 2
I Hate Stupid People!


I walked into the principals office. I said Mr. Jones was trying to convert me in class. I told him about the "what if" statement. Coach T the principal thought that was just him stating "his opinion," lots of talk that didn't get us any where. I Told him about the Sodom and Gomorrah bull shit and the "all gays are going to hell" comment. Coach said, well the bible does say "all gays are going to hell," and Sodom and Gomorrah is history. So I said no its a story! Then I Called mom after Coach said I couldn't call my sister! I was so pissed at this point that I asked mom if I could skip the rest of my classes and go home to talk to my sister! Which she didn't let me do and I got off the phone with mom. Then the super walked in and I told the story to him and neither him nor Coach T said there was anything wrong with what Mr. Jones had said, he was just "stating his opinion." All my classmates thought that he was just "stating his opinion" too!


Chapter 3
The Mom, the Witch, and the Nona


OK I got out of school, OH THANK THE GODDESS I made it throw that day. So I get in the car and mom says that my sister (Laura) is going to have a word with me. mom, Nona (my grandmother), and laura only know the part about "What if" and not the "gays are going to hell" so i told her about that part of the conversation and she changed her attitude! well she was OK, she gripped a little about me being in the principals office for the fifth time this 6 weeks! (2 for my pink hair, one for the other kids spraying their hair pink( i wasn't in trouble just apologizing, they took it badly) 1 for a discipline problem(my teacher (coach V) made a joke and i didn't laugh) and then this time) So she dropped me off at Nona's house so I could talk to Laura. I walked in to Nona's house. I told Nona "you didn't hear the whole story" and I told her about how it started. She said he was "just stating his opinion" *like I hadn't heard that a thousand times today* (lecture lecture lecture, don't rock the boat, normal Nona stuff) Then Laura got home and I told her the rest of the story. She was out raged and said that I had every right to walk out of that class, and that he was trying to convert me! *Thank you finally someone on my side!* so we have been talking about it all day now! Laura was telling me that its good that I didn't stay in the class any longer because I might have done something stupid! She doesn't think Coach T and the Super will do anything about Mr. Jones and neither do I! So I am still really mad, I want him to get Fired, Now! but I doubt mom will do anything about him either! she doesn't like me rocking the boat either! And calling the ACLU wont work there is no other place around here for me to go to school.(our town is well secluded)

The End for now!

City: Woodson

State: Texas

Country: USA

Became a Christian: baptized at 9 but never really much of a christian

Ceased being a Christian: 13

Labels before: Episcopalian, Babtist

Labels now: Pagan

Why I joined: Peer presure

Why I left: I found out they were all a bunch of morons

Email Address: Stargatedreamer at yahoo.com

11/7/03                                                                                       View Comments

Dead on Arrival

sent in by Brian

My father never had any religious influence on me; it was my mother's responsibility. My maternal Grandmother, who is still alive and kicking at 82, is a strong catholic that raised seven kids.

While her beliefs in Catholism are strong, she has an unusually open mind. I recall this one day this discussion with her, when I accidently slip the word "Atheist" in there. As inquisitive as she is, she asks what it means. Of course, I am bewildered that she does not know what Atheist means. So I tell her, and instead of an expected response of condemnation, she tells me she was never really sure and that my late grandfather had told her that one notable trait of atheists was that they were exceedingly honest. (Leaves me wondering if he ever intended for her to know the real definition).

Anyhow, while she is a strong Catholic, she is not a fundamentalist in any way. In fact, she wears a ballcap regularly, and I never see her wear a dress outside of church or any special event. She could pass off as a Tomboy.

Back up a few years to when I found out how much Catholic she was..... She does the rosary every night, and when I spent two weeks at her house, I went to some church function about a dozen times.

Later on, I started noticing how all my uncles and aunts followed suit.

________

The Chronological Order Department:

I was baptised at the tender age of 3 (or was it 4?). I hated the experience, and to this day, I still hate getting water in my face with any element of surprize.

After that, my dad dropped off the church scene, only to return to be at mom's side for Christmas.

I never took any liking to church. Mom made me go every Sunday, and every year, I was enrolled in a weekly religious class. (So what else is new here?) Ok, I admit, there was that one time I had my first piece of this thinly-hammered grain tablet which they called "ACTUAL FLESH OF CHRIST." This was about fourth grade. I think they call that "First Communion." I knew it was just a piece of #$@!@ed up bread anyway, but I just wanted to become a "even bigger kid." I resisted the wine, though. Other than that, I had resisted anything about Church.

Other than that communion stint, Church served no purpose, so why should I even bother with it? At this time, I still sorta believed in God, though I only saw God as the trivial answer to all the unanswered questions. (Hmmmmmm, isn't that the basis for religion?)

Finally, in fifth grade, my school district (Ok, it was my fifth/sixth grade teacher) realized what such a smart kid I was and I was enrolled in her 2-year IA (gifted student) program. It was then when I discovered my talent in Math, which is why I am here today at Central Washington University to become a HS Math Teacher. Along with Math came some other concrete subjects that suddenly answered all my unanswered questions. At this time, my mother begins disliking church because of the quality of service. She likes to pray, or so she says. I have never seen her pray outside of church, though. She does not like the preacher howling out:

HAAAAAAAAALEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOO-YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

So we slowly slipped away from church. My attendence in church classes were terminated after sixth grade. We would only return to church for Christmas.

Enter High School. Just as a early grade school kid can't imagine that there is no Santa Clause (My $0.02: he may have existed long ago when his Nice 'n' Naughty list was short and sweet.), I loosely hung on to the notion of the existence of God, simply because I could not imagine a single person not believing in him. Then my dad starts listening to Tom Leykis. Despite the @!@#!@#!@hole of a person he is, he was the first of his kind that I ever encountered: an ATHEIST!!! You mean, you can believe there is no higher power, and still live?

This starts to unfold my beliefs of higher powers. The world is making more sense to me every day, and I fail to see any contributions made by higher powers.

As I am exposed to the media, I become aware of other religions, and how some groups want to kill off another. Enter in this new evidence: There are several religions, all different in some way, all claim they are right. By a logical supposition, either one religion is the right one, or none of them are. I don't want to waste my time finding that right religion.

As of today, I have totally dismissed the notion of a higher power. However, I still retain certain traits of religions, such as how to treat your neighbor, when sex is okay, and that murder is wrong. Heck, I agree with most of the commandments! I just don't believe in a higher being.

I have not told anyone in my family or in contact with my family about my atheism. Though I am very sure that they know I am not a religious type, I just don't want to burden them with that label on me.

----------------------------------------------------

And as I look outside my dorm room at 1:49 AM Pacific Standard Time and see snow, I take comfort in knowing that:

The absolute humidity is at a level such that condensation of water occurs below the freezing point so that it freezes into an ice crystal.

Try explaining this one to Pat Robertson.



City: Ellensburg

State: WA

Country: USA

Became a Christian: Birth

Ceased being a Christian: DOA

Labels before: Catholic

Labels now: Atheist

Why I joined: Mom tried raising me Catholic

Why I left: Never worked

11/6/03                                                                                       View Comments

A somewhat different story :)

This is a somewhat "different" story, compared to most other texts one can find on this website (as far as I can tell). The main reason (probably) is that I'm a German, and Christianity in Germany seems to be a VERY different thing than the Christian faith in the U. S. But some of you may find my contribution interesting... :)

(I apologize for any bizarre errors you will probably find in this text - though I keep receiving compliments about my command of the English language being very good for a German I'm far from perfect and I know it ;) )

For those who have never been to Germany let me first explain that nominally, Germany is a Christian nation (well, divided between Catholic and Protestant Church, but who cares)... but in everyday life you usually won't notice that. Faith here has a basically social function - you are a Christian because, well, that's the church your whole family belongs to, and anyway, (almost) everyone around you is one too so just go with the flow. There is very very little "fundamentalism" here, which looks like a blessing to me when I compare my home with what I read on the net about the United States.

So I was more or less raised as a none-too-fervent German Protestant, which did not keep me from noticing and sometimes wondering how people who are supposed to be Christians can disregard that faith's basic commandment of "love your neighbor" so often. But I never really thought about it... and anyway, when confirmed in the Protestant church (around age 14) you can expect huge cash gifts from family and relatives, and what teenager does not want to get extra money?

My first "closer contact" with the Christian faith came when I joined the German St. John's ambulance service in the summer of '95. Some members there don't forget that it's a Protestant organization (though being a Christian is not mandatory to join and to gain some rank - our current platoon leader is a muslim ;) ), so one naturally thinks about faith every now and then. One might have to accompany and care for, some day, a dying person, and wouldn't it be nice to know what words best to say to this Christian about to pass to The Beyond?

Then, in '99, I got a job with the "YouthCamp 2000 association", a group sponsored by the two major German churches organizing an international youth camp for the Expo 2000 world exhibition in nearby Hannover. Now my faith suddenly DID matter - as I was told that unless I can prove to be a church member I won't get this job. I was not exactly amused but accepted it - anyway, getting a written note from my community's pastor was no more difficult than a phone call to ask him when I could drop in and receive it. But it DID cross my mind from time to time.

I am glad to say without telling anything but the truth that I enjoyed my work for the YouthCamp as I experienced the good side of Christianity there, day by day - many people who felt compelled by their faith to do good things and to try as best they could to "love their neighbor". Yes, I still think Christianity does have it's advantages - but, as with drugs and poisons of any kind, the dosage is what matters ;) Anyway, toward the end of my contract (it expired December 1st 2001) there was not much to do for me anymore, but of course I still had to spend my day at the office... but hey, I always wanted to read the whole bible some day, and a Christian employer surely would not object as long as I didn't neglect to do my work, right? So I did what (as far as I know) few Christians ever did... I read the whole thing through, old and new covenant. Uh-huh... interesting tales. Somewhat fascinating to read as a historical collection of scripture, though of course (so I thought from the
beginning) nothing to be taken literally. Indeed the thought that someone today, in the age of science, could even try to follow that many-centuries-old book by the letter never crossed my mind.

So how comes that I now write this text to be submitted to exchristian.com?

Well, early last summer (around May 2002) I started searching for, and reading, texts that few people normally show interest in. On the list of texts I read since that day were, among others, Hitler's "Mein Kampf" (I like to _know_ my enemy ;) ), and the "Malleus Maleficarum", the manual of the good "christian" medi-evil witch-burner. Toward the end of my reading phase I finally got my hands on the Edda - the collection of holy songs and poems of the ancient norse tribes.

Guess what? I never thought I would one day say this, but on the second page of the Edda, in the midst of the Norse "creation myth" I was struck by what I can only call a feeling of being "finally at home" - yep, kind of religious revelation!

I thought about it for some day, then decided that I can't fight my inner feelings - I would consider myself to be, from now on, not a Christian but an Asatruar - a follower of the ancient gods of the North.

I started visiting some Asatru and generic heathen sites on the web and found that many people there held more than a grudge against Christianity. It made me curious - well,

Christianity has its problems for sure, but so much wrath? I started reading in alt.religion.christian.

Oh no - may the gods forbid this to continue!

Here now I stared into the UGLY face of Christendom. I was confronted every single day with US "christian" fundamentalism. And now I understood all the vengeful feelings of my fellow Asatruar.

Of course I don't tell something new to those who read this site. All the bigotry, the preaching of hatred in the name of their god's so-called "love", the claim to follow the bible by the letter (and the threat that anyone who does not will burn in hell), the IMPOSSIBILITY of doing this (consider, for example, how one is supposed to BOTH turn the other cheek and take revenge eye for an eye), the obviously brainwashed dupes of the fundie cult leaders... in short, all the madness and evil of "christian" fundamentalism made me feel sick.

I knew of course that "christians" once showed my Asatruar ancestors the "love" of their god by fire and sword, but I rested peacefully knowing that these times were gone forever... or so I thought. Imagine the utter horror I felt when among the first postings I read was a call for all "good christians" to give money to the Israeli military to that the evil unbelievers finally can be exterminated! "Love your neighbor"?! Let alone the call of the fundies to push the world back into the darkness of the middle-ages by abandoning all science because science does not agree with the bible... the ridiculous "proof" presented by creationists for the book of genesis being the literal truth! (My favorite is the babbling "Since no human writings older than 6000 years have been found the earth cannot be older than that". I could laugh my a**e off for hours if it would not be too serious!)

It did not take long for me to realize that, not only are the fundie cults utterly incompatible with the basics of Christianity, but they are a menace to the world at large! Imagine these religious bigot madmen ever gain too much political (and military?!) power in the world's most powerful nation! If this ever happens we only need to worry about how to call the result - world war 3 or perhaps the first new age crusade!

So what's my situation now? I still respect every _sane and rational_ Christian who tries to live by the message of Christ (love your neighbor, you know) in our selfish times... but I despise and oppose those who hide behind their dusty bible pages to push an agenda of hatred and of lust for power and wealth, because that's obviously what they want! I enjoy the worldview of the Asatruar faith that does not even propagate one single "law" but only suggests advice to the humans (Do whatever you want, but bear the consequences - so you better think before acting!), but I have no mercy for the religious dictators leading the fundie cults. If the fundies are not stopped it will become a question of "us versus them" - freedom-loving, just and rational people against fanatic zombies in the service of a perverted "religion" that should have died centuries ago!

So, to all those who read this while doubting their fundamentalist doctrines I say this:

THINK!

Why is it that your cult leaders tell you the bible is inerrant but cannot offer any explanation for the many contradictions in it? Why do they claim to be christians but routinely spit on the basic commandment of Christ to "Love your neighbor, even love your enemies"?! You have been betrayed! You gave all your faith and all your loyalty, and how did they thank you for it?!

You are to be honored for being willing to devote your lives to more than just "How can I get as much as I can, no matter how much others have to suffer?"... but if you follow the fundies you sacrifice yourself for nothing! You have been deceived for much too long, and you are beginning to realize it (or else you would not be reading my story) - so do the right thing and stand up to fight for justice! Show your cult leaders the infamous finger and say "NO MORE!".

Well, that's all that occurs to me at the moment. Thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope that my writing can do some good even if I'm surely not the "average ex-christian" ;)


Yours truly


Tocis, proud German Asatruar



Sex: Male

Country: Germany

Became a Christian: born :)

Ceased being a Christian: 33

Labels before: German Protestant

Labels now: Asatruar (ancient Norse faith)

Why I joined: Born into christian society

Why I left: Reading the Edda (Asatru scripture) made me think about the bible...

11/5/03                                                                                       View Comments

Disillusioned means no longer illusioned

sent in by Tom Dixon

My deconversion was gradual but became complete 3 years ago after moving to Abilene, Texas, the most fundamentalist little town you've ever been to.(In several Guinness Book of World Records it has the most churches per capita anywhere) When I first got here, there was a sign in front of Mr.Gatti's Pizza that said, "Mr.Gatti says Jesus loves you! "I couldn’t believe my eyes. Later there was a billboard with a huge Jesus on it that said "Abilene belongs to Jesus "Local Jews became upset and made the city take it down. But I was a Christian, albeit a liberal one ,when I moved here in 2000.

My disquiet began early, around 8 or 9.I even remember the exact scripture that started it.My older brother was laughing about it and showed me"....and the Spirit of the Lord was upon Samson and he slew thirty men."The Jericho story bothered me because I couldn’t figure out what these people had done so wrong to deserve this slaughter.The answer I got was something like "They were living on land God had promised to the Hebrews and they were wicked"(Ever notice ,in the O.T. ,how everybody who wasn’t a Hebrew was automatically wicked?)Jericho was presented to us children as a grand and glorious exhibition of God's power. It's the story of the slaughter of men, women and children who were guilty of nothing except defending their homes. I had a hard time reconciling the God of the O.T. and the God of the N.T. even at that young age.

I didn’t take Jesus seriously until I was 14.I went to this Christian summer camp called Laity Lodge. They knew there was a perfect time to convert kids. Once they're old enough to understand sin and the need for redemption, yet still emotionally inexperienced and vulnerable. They also knew if you keep people awake long enough, they become even more emotionally vulnerable. They kept us up all night with all kinds of activities, then at daybreak delivered an emotionally irresistible sermon telling us about this huge chasm between us and God that only Jesus could bridge. They even described in detail physically what it's like to be crucified. They laid it on thick saying"...and He did it. for you....because He loved you that much..."etc., etc. It's no surprise that most of these kids, me included, was in tears giving our hearts to Jesus. I drifted away a few months later, behavior-wise, but retained the basic belief.

I returned to active Christianity big-time in 1979. I was vulnerable again because drinking and drugging had brought me to the place where my self-will and self-determination had failed me. People in this state are prime candidates for religion. I joined up with a group of radical Christians at a place called Fountaingate in Plano, Texas. Oh the stories I could tell you about that place....But I'm grateful for that time because I learned a lot about psychological manipulation and the incredible power of religious ideas. Plus, for the first time I really studied the bible and read it all the way through. This made me more confused than ever. Yet if any of us said we were confused, we were told that the devil is the author of confusion(therefore it wasn’t the bible that was screwy, it was us)

Over the years since then I've avoided fundamentalism but maintained a liberal sort of Christianity. But there was still a disquiet about the theologies and all these elaborate explanations for difficult concepts. And how God evolves and changes over time while the Christian proclaims God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I don't
think they realize that for the first 1500 years of church history, there was no concept of the common man having a relationship with Christ. The church had a relationship with Christ and the common man had a relationship with the church. But now Christians say that” accepting Jesus Christ as your personnel Lord and savior” is the all-important thing and always has been. No, it's been important for the last 500 years or so. Before that you could get burned if you went around telling people they didn’t need the church as a mediator. Church history is a bloody and psychological nightmare that the church would destroy all memory of if they could. Western man would have been infinitely better off without this cancer which would have gone the way of the dodo along with all the other blood-sacrifice cults had it not been for Constantine handing over such unprecedented power for a religion. Christianity didn’t win out because it was true, it won out through sheer brute force.

Three years ago I decided this person described in the gospels is a phantom. I’ve read a lot about historical Jesus both pro and con. The Christian rebuttals are pretty much grasping at straws and insisting over and over that the bible proves itself. The really tough questions like those posed in books like’ The Jesus mysteries’ are ignored or glossed over.

Anyway, I'll wrap it up by saying I haven’t given up on the God idea, I've just gone eastern(far eastern not mid-eastern)But this notion that one needn’t strive for spiritual enlightenment, that Someone else has taken care of all that for you and all it requires is your assent and you can ride on His coattails into some glorified Disneyland called heaven, I've left behind along with Santa Claus.

I upslid. You atheist may think I still have one foot in fantasyland because I still believe in some kind of Deity. But at least I'm honest enough to say you could be right. Peace.


Sex: male

City: Abilene

State: Texas

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 14

Ceased being a Christian: 43

Labels before: Baptist, fundamentalist and liberal

Labels now: deist, Unitarian-Universalist, cynic

Why I joined: Became convinced I was in of salvation

Why I left: Disillusionment with the Bible and Christianity in general

Email Address: copyboy8 at netzero.net

11/4/03                                                                                       View Comments

I'm Free

(My name is Margaret, I'm Kevin's daughter.)

Ever since I can remember, I have attended church. I never really liked it, but I would have never told my parents that at the time. Those sexist fundamentalists made girls wear dresses all the time, and the only alternative to pants was coolotts. I got made fun of for wearing those.

As I got older, I began having doubts about my religion. These doubts scared me so badly that I stayed up late every night in the dark, praying for god to forgive my sins, and to not let our house burn down. That was pretty stressful for someone so young.

When my family moved to Chile as missionaries, I suddenly had a new burden to carry. I was the pastor's oldest daughter, and I had to portray the unrealistic image of a godly person. I was constantly finding more doubts buried deep inside.

I watched the discovery channel a lot, and slowly the idea of creation started looking a little old fashion. I never admitted it, but I liked to think of the earth as having been there for longer than 6,000 years. I mean c'mon, there's evidence of human remains that date back way earlier than that!

But the further I found myself from god, the more scared I got. I was constantly haunted by the thought that I would burn in hell when I died if I didn't ask for forgiveness over and over again. It eventually got to the point that I was frightened of being alone. I felt like someone was always watching me, and that scared the crap out of me.

As we ran further away from the claws of the fundamentalists, we just got closer to the jaws of the charismatic pentecostals. We adopted many of their worship techniques, which made me very uncomfortable, such as raising your hands while singing. Then we even started attending their services almost weekly. Their church was disorganized and they seemed completely obsessed with demonic possession and casting demons out. When we finally came back to the U.S. I had had it with church. THough, I had not completely dropped my faith, I begged my dad not to make us go to another church.

About six months later, we all just spontaneously announced that we were all atheists. I am so happy now. I'm not afraid to be alone anymore! In fact, I like to be alone.

THere is no God who has my future planned out. The future hasn't happened yet, so I'm going to set my own goals, and I'll try to acheive them myself.

My dad says: "Religion is a fault in human evolution."


State: AZ

Country: US

Became a Christian: somewhere between 3 and 5 years old.

Ceased being a Christian: 15

Labels before: Independent Baptist

Labels now: I am an atheist.

Why I joined: My parents told me to pray to Jesus one day.

Why I left: I wanted Sundays off. :)

e-mail: margirenben at yahoo.com

11/2/03                                                                                       View Comments

Buried My Dead Dogma - Part 1

sent in by H.A.Walker

Let me start by saying what a great web sight I think this is. Though I am not a registered user, I visit the sight daily and find comfort and courage continually from all the testimonies and other content. I thank you webmaster.

Of course when it comes to information that casts great doubt on the validity of the Christian message, the Internet is nothing but a tool of the devil! This is often the response I get if I mention any articles or sights that I find useful to help deprogram the brainwashed sheeple. The double standard of Christianity is quickly applied though when Christian webs sites are brought into play, as they are where the real truth lies! (HA!)

Ok, now for my story. I’m sorry for the lengthiness of it and have tried to give the basics. Hope it doesn’t bore you too badly, so here goes!

As with many, my indoctrination began in childhood with a mother who took my family to church fairly regular. My father never attended much and I can still remember my mother always requesting prayer for him. I attended bible school in the summers and this of course is where, at the age of 9, I was “saved”. Yes, I accepted all I had been told as the truth. I was an evil sinner from the day I was born and doomed to a fiery ever-lasting hell. Great news though, Jesus loved, suffered and died for me and if I just believed in him, that wouldn’t happen. Instead, I’d get to spend eternity in glorious heaven with him and god, where I’ll always be happy. Alright then, this is a no brainer, I’ll take JESUS! What an emotional high that was, whew, the weight that was lifted off my 9 year old sinful shoulders! Not just for that day but for always, yea, once “saved” – always “saved”!

And so began a vicious lifetime cycle of shame and remorse for sins (real and imagined), backslide’n and repent’n, on again off again church attendance from my youth thru my teens to adulthood. Always with the occasional rededication of my life to the lord for all the times of weakness in my witness! Just keep given the lord his “propers” and he’ll always see ya thru!

Eventually, I ended up a deacon (read as power figure to help keep pastors in check) in my home church. All along I cheerfully spouted the gospel as it was given to me, teaching Sunday school, lots of involvement with the church youth group, was choir director, and produced the church bulletin. As with all our convictions in life, we often can hold to them better in the maturity of adulthood, more so than in our youth. So, I now felt it was truly time for me to be serious about my Christianity. At the age of 39, I was receiving a calling from my lord. I was to now be his biggest mouth piece, I WAS TO PREACH!

At this point I realize I have omitted the fact that I married my high school sweetheart and by this time, have 3 children. My wife, though she too was exposed from childhood was not “saved” until early in our marriage(22yrs), during one of my off church times which of course drew me back in to the fold. With the arrival of our first child, and subsequently the next 2, we made sure they all were fully and sufficiently exposed to Christianity! “"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov.22:6. But don’t count on it!

I have heard various pastor/preachers/evangelists admit how they struggled at first with their “calling”. Resisting at first, not sure about it and finally giving in. I too experienced this. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion maybe from hearing it so often. Regardless to say I gave in to the will of my lord! I announced to the church my call to preach! This is all it takes by the way; just saying the lord wants you to do it. You don’t need any specific biblical knowledge or education, at least not in most small Southern Baptist churches. Just trust the lord and he’ll give you all you need!

Well, the congregation of my church was thrilled and very supportive. I had so many of them come and tell me they knew god was calling me and prayed I’d answer. He was going to do a great work through me, they just knew it. My own pastor was more than helpful in allowing me to get started. He had me fill in for him at various times. Wednesday night services, Sunday night services and even the big show, Sunday Morning service from time to time. He encouraged other local pastors to invite me to preach to their congregations and I happily accepted. I eventually was asked to hold revivals and special services on holidays like New Year’s Eve.

All along I thought god was giving me a special gift to be able to discern his word and explain it to others. To have them find salvation thru me. Slowly I came to feel that all I was doing was using the same material that I had heard all my life, putting a personal spin on it, and presenting it as something new and special. When I studied the bible for my “god inspired sermons” it was always in familiar scripture, proven ground by those before me. I need only find god’s personal take on it for me and mouth it to the sheep! This started to bother me, as I realized that I was failing my lord by not having exhaustively studied the entire bible and using all its rich treasures to advance his kingdom. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15. This was now my path to a greater relationship with my god, or so I thought.

I quickly began to understand why most Christians don’t read the bible. It is at times a mostly boring and tedious task, particularly when using the ever popular KJV bible.
It is just so much easier to read a prepared Sunday school lesson and follow along or have the clergy pick out and translate the scriptures for you. No thought or effort is needed on your part other than to believe what is said. Christianity really is a convenient and accommodating religion in this way. Then again all religions would seem to be so.

I trudged on though, often dazed and confused, despite my constant prayer for understanding and biblical wisdom. One night while reading my bible at work (as all good Christians are seen to do), I was questioned by a fellow employee as to why I wasted time reading and believing in myths. This man, an ungodly heathen atheist, proceeded to say some horrible things. He said the bible was not the word of any god; it was only a mish mash group of contradictory writings from superstitious men. Mainly used as a power tool to keep all the sheeple in line through out the centuries and cash flowing into the churches.

I was outraged. I then proceed to lay it all out to him. God…man…sin…death… hell…Jesus…salvation… heaven…god’s holy word, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!!

This being an exchristian site I’m sure most of you know every cliché scripture and pat line I spewed out to the guy, so enough said about that. The odd thing that came of this encounter was even though I had ran across a few puzzling things in my studies, and usually dismissed them as my own misunderstanding, I began to wonder what would make a man say such a thing about god’s holy word? I was a preacher of god’s word, I read it, study it, and pray about it. Contradictory, no way, it was inerrant! Thus I set out to find these “contradictions”, so at my next such encounter I would be able to refute with complete assurance any such claim. Rather than give myself an everlasting headache trying track down any such nonsense scripturally, I decide to try the tool that I had often found useful in other areas of inquiry: the Internet.

Well, needless to say that with a quick Google search on biblical contradictions, the flood gates were open! Now I didn’t believe that so many of these evil sites could exist. As I took in the information over time and always double checked it against my own study bible, overwhelming doubt began to grow, duh! I prayed constantly for the lord to show me how wrong this information was, but some how it just keep being right. I remember the day I prayed for the last time, and my lifelong god disappeared like a puff of smoke in my head and that his voice turned out to be my own. Just like when the curtain was pulled back in The Wizard of OZ, the illusion was broken. All the smoke and mirrors are destroyed and the air clearer than ever. I personally am happier than I ever was going thru life continually trying to please a god and worrying that I was always coming up short. I no longer am a slave to any of the dogma and fairytales that held sway over my life for so long and know I
am a much better person for having shed them!

I now use my new gained biblical knowledge to educate those who still hold it in high regard and get a perverse pleasure from showing them some of the more special parts they never hear preached in a sermon or covered in a Sunday school lesson. About 99% of the time, they admit to never having read that much of the bible before and feel they know the important parts that they need to be good “saved” Christians. Typical, I was just like that too!

The story of my leaving the church, effects on my family and friends and struggle to stay sane in a religiously insane world are best left to be told at another time as I now notice the length my tale has grown to. Probably would have been a lot shorter without some of the sarcasm. Let me end for now by saying good luck to everyone who shares such a struggle, and a line from a movie… Peace be the journey!

To Be Continued……


Sex: Male

City: Rogersville

State: TN

Country: USA

Became a Christian: 9

Ceased being a Christian: 42

Labels before: Southern Missionary Baptist

Labels now: Happily Enlightened Atheist

Why I joined: Childhood indoctrination/Brainwashed Adult

Why I left: Deprogramed by actually reading Holey BuyBull

Email Address: Toxic_Idols at yahoo.com