7/30/04                                                                                       View Comments

Charismatic complications

sent in by Ben Milligan

First of all, I want to thank the webmaster for putting a site together like this one where I can vent my story. Five years ago I would have shuddered if I came across a site such as this, and rightfully so considering what my upbringing initially instilled in me. Anything that isn't Christian, is of the "world", and therefore, of the devil. Fear was the most influential instrument convincing me as a child that there is no other whole truth except 'gods word' and christianity. That said, I'll draw the background...

My family had been members of a charismatic-style, non-denominational church for several years even before I was born. All my earliest memories stem from the friends I had met through church. I was raised in church and it was imperative that I attended every Sunday. (At such a young age, however, personal choice is limited regardless of creed.) I was entered into a private christian pre-school, and stayed in that school up until grade 3. The earliest I recall being "encouraged" to accept Jesus into my heart was about when I was 5 or 6. I even questioned the possilbility then because I couldn't understand how a man could fit into my heart physically. However, fear of hell was taught to me even before the age of 5, and I was reading the Bible before most kids my age could read. Hell scared me so much that I HAD to accept Jesus, there's no way I wanted to go to hell and suffer eternally.

I was taught all around the age of 4-5! I only see now the brain damage that level of fear could have done to for the rest of my life! I did accept Jesus, however, and was so happy in doing so, I wanted everyone to know. I told neighborhood friends about hell and Jesus while playing in a sandbox. It was so imperitive that everyone heard this because I didn't want them to go to hell. (That very same mindset angers me to a boiling point now.) I continued to attend church every Sunday, and absorbed the words preached and taught to me like a sponge. I often got in trouble in sunday school for asking questions "I shouldn't ask." I asked questions as a child that the preacher couldn't even answer, and those questions always lingered.

I transfered to a public school in 4th grade, but my faith endured. I even believed that the students of this new school were "of the world", and therefore inherently evil. I remember being in fifth grade calling my mom from a friends house because I thought I was going to hell for looking at a penthouse. (and this made sense?) A friend brought over a metallica tape when I was in fifth grade, and my parents yelled at him for bringing that "trash" into their house. I hit middle school, and still attended church, and still believed wholeheartedly that Jesus was coming for us. I started loosening up a bit and listened to music that I enjoyed behind my parents backs because I know I'd get in trouble for it. Sometimes, they would find a tape they didn't approve of, and destroy it right in front of me. I remember a sermon that condemned all this "worldly" influence, and was so frightened (fear again) that I got rid of every piece of secular music I owned. (At least I sold them, my best friend at the time took a knife to every cd he owned and scratched the piss out of them.) I'm still mad at myself to this day because I miss the music more than my former faith.

Continuing on, high school was more of the same. I would "stray", then hear some preacher on sunday convincing me to be scared again and come crawling back to the lord, so to speak. Church was mandatory according to my parents until I moved out, and I didn't get allowance if I skipped. The moment I moved to go to college, I quit going to church completely, but still carried the belief system with me. I ran into big trouble living in Cincinnati, where I attended school, and had to confront my self on what I believed. I'm not going into detail, but the situation was very negative, and it seemed I only went to god when I was at the bottom of my problems. I started reading the bible again, only this time, I studied it throughly, hoping to reassure my shaky faith. Fear of hell caused me to do this, and the result shocked my parents.

I told them I was reading the bible again, and you would of thought I won a million dollars they were so happy for me. But a year or two of intense bible study to "find my faith", showed me the bitter side of the book that I was never taught in sunday school. I saw the contradictions and this messed my mind up so bad I was in a whirl of doubt, angst, and depression. The fear I was spoonfed did this to me, and now I knew that. The moment I realized this, I finally felt good. It wasn't anything like I was raised to believe; that nonbelievers were lost, immoral, and destined for eternal hellfire. I felt free the minute I killed off the notion that I'm inherently evil because Adam bit that apple. I came to this conclusion from STUDYING the bible, not ignoring it as christians would assume happened to me. My parents and my two sisters aggressively attack me with doctrination and the like to this day, and it does nothing more than make me feel more justified in what I DONT believe in anymore.

I conclude by saying thanks again. Thanks for a website that let me vent this to people who walked a similar path to mine. It's hard to leave a faith that says if you leave your'e going to hell, so at least now i know that my inner battle isn't only mine.

peace->

City: Marion
State: OH
Country: usa
Became a Christian: So young, I dont remember
Ceased being a Christian: 20-21
Labels before: Non-denominational/Charismatic
Labels now: If any, freethinker
Why I joined: I was spoonfed by my folks
Why I left: It's illogical

7/25/04                                                                                       View Comments

How Religion Almost Ruined My Life

sent in by Frank Henry Pecenka

How 14 years of religion almost destroyed my life.
Testimony of Frank Pecenka, Canada

Hi my name is Frank Pecenka and I have a testimony that 14 years within organized religion almost destroyed my life and my family. My wife and I started out with a sincere desire to know and to please God but something went terribly wrong over the years and in the end I turned my back on God, The Church and Organized Religion.

I finally came to that place where I found that I was emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt having exhausted all of my resources trying to make my skewed faith work.

I have come to the realization that the faith I had was in legalism and the formulas of men and their doctrines. Through much suffering, loss, adversity, pain and humiliation I discovered that I could not tip the hand of God and that my best efforts to adhere to the formulas and doctrines of men didn't matter one iota to God.

The milestone event that finally caused me to hit the proverbial wall happened after our family had gone through the loss of our home and bankruptcy. This took place as a result of more than 10 years of tithing, giving and supporting various ministries as well as doing "good works" besides. Since we were trying to raise a family on a single income while home schooling our 2 kids our finances were spread so thin that we had to constantly borrow to make up the shortfall.

After more than 10 years of this folly our debt load swamped us like a tidal wave. The underlying message we kept getting through these turbulent years was that there had to be something wrong with you or God would bless you and heal your finances since his own law binds him. Anyone who cannot make these laws, formulas and doctrines work soon finds themselves on the outside looking in as they are cast aside and rejected since it has to work, doesn't it?

While the pain from my own loss and resulting humiliation was still very fresh, I had to endure listening to a Christian businessman's testimony in our church. It turned out that he was facing personal bankruptcy over 1 million dollars in business debts which he was burdened with as the result of a chain reaction involving a client business that went bankrupt.

He tearfully shared that he had spent that week getting right with God and as a result God had seen to it that the consortium that he owed the money forgave his debt. Upon hearing that, I found myself filled with rage, bitter, disillusioned and feeling rejected by God. God allowed this man who has a home and lifestyle I could only ever dream of to keep his yet the personal sacrifices we made and the things we did without counted as nothing. We were not even empowered to continue what we were doing and there was no eleventh hour intervention on our behalf.

I thankfully came to the conclusion that I could probably never get right with God since my best efforts thus far were useless. Realizing that fact provided a sense of freedom from the bondage of performance to earn favor that is a common theme in organized religion. The time was right for me to hear a message of Grace and the unconditional love of God. This simple but timely message has helped me to put the shattered pieces of my life in perspective.

Since I am presently recovering from a deep depression I still have much anger to work through, primarily directed toward organized religion. Part of this process caused me to sit down and write a letter, which I actually had in a stamped and addressed envelope ready to mail the next day. Instead of the mailbox it ended up in the trash. I have decided to add that letter to this testimony to illustrate what emotional roller coaster ride people in organized religion can find themselves on.

My hope in writing this testimony is that it helps one single person to not go through that what I went through. If that is the case it will have been worth it.

Yours Truly,
Frank Pecenka



Attached letter to pastor:
September 14, 1999
Dear (Pastor),


As you receive this letter Clive Pick will have just been to teach at the recent "Releasing Financial blessing" seminar at (omitted) Fellowship. In light of that seminar I would like to offer my services as a guest speaker to do a follow up relating my personal experiences in "The Release of Financial Blessing in My Life". I would gladly waive any honorariums so that the offerings can go straight to (omitted) Fellowship.

I have so much that I would like to share having spent over ten years tithing plus giving as well as supporting various ministries. The blessing that ensued resulted in causing us to have lost everything that my wife and I spent the previous 20 years of our lives working for. I would also like to share the fact that as my financial picture progressively deteriorated I found myself working longer, harder and giving more than ever with no eleventh hour divine intervention.

Armed with more than ten years of teachings on the subject from many sources I was determined to put my faith in these teachings to the test and to make them work only to have it virtually destroy any faith that I had left. I would love to share the emotions I felt as I dragged myself off to work while I had pneumonia and was coughing up blood. I had to do that because if I didn't work I wouldn't get paid and I needed every penny I could earn just to stay afloat.

I would love to share about the thousands of dollars that I spent over a ten-year period on "Christian Counseling " at sixty-five dollars per hour. Many in leadership suggested I do that in an attempt to find out what is wrong with me and in what areas I am not "Right With God". If you do as the teachings dictate it has to work or there is a problem with you, am I correct?

I would also like to share the struggles I had wondering why God would have me take two hours off of work from my $12.00/hr after tax income to pay someone, who is doing "God's Work" $65/hr for their time.

In case you are interested I might also be able to convince a friend from my days in the (omitted) Fellowship to give his personal testimony about his experiences with "Releasing Financial blessing".

My friend has a powerful testimony about having been a Christian businessman who at the peak of his business tithed $100,000 per year. On his own initiative he was also the sole support for a missionary couple in Central America and also personally helped people in need by employing them or helping them financially.

My friend was one of the most "Christ Like" individuals I ever met yet he ended up losing everything in a business and personal bankruptcy. The last I heard from him he was living in a small trailer on his brother's farm. To add to the pain he endured he found himself being judged and shunned by his peers (fellow Christian businessmen) who were certain that he was not tithing or "Right With God".

If you feel that you would like my friend and I to come and share our experiences and to help re-enforce the powerful teaching that Clive Pick' has left (omitted) Fellowship please don't hesitate to contact me.

Yours Truly
Frank Pecenka



City: Chilliwack
State: BC
Country: Canada
Became a Christian: 37
Ceased being a Christian: 52
Labels before: Vineyard, Partners in Harvest
Labels now: Agnostic
Why I joined: Desperation as life was not working.
Why I left: All of religions answers were useless.

7/24/04                                                                                       View Comments

I love Jesus (and Athena, and Ishtar, and Cerridwen, and Pan...)

sent in by Jordan Hill

I come from rational-minded, Pennsylvania protestants. My mother's father was an Episcopalean priest who happened to be homosexual. He integrated his church and was leading the push to allow women to join the clergy. We also suspect he was a Mason. My father's father was a brilliant Presbyterian preacher with a pHd in Middle Eastern religion. He deliberately sought out fundamentalist leaning congregations in an attempt to pull Christianity out of the fringes of lunacy. He is retired and now he spends his time working with congregations in Columbia trying to help the people who have been affected by the (US sponsered) guerrillas.

As a child I loved Jesus and prayed every night before bed. I remember the crucifix in my Nana's house. I used to rub Jesus's bloody feet, feeling bad for his pain. As you can imagine, the brand of Christianity I was raised with made it easy to believe and to trust in the Christian God.

So what happened? Well, I moved to Katy, TX. The little suburb of Houston with a church on every corner. Where an "interfaith marraige" meant a Baptist marrying a Methodist. Where the bastard child of two hippie-punk artists was introduced to the wide world of Christian fundamentalism.

There were plently of people who shared my love for Jesus...only their version of Jesus was a bit different from the one I grew up with. Did you know Jesus doesn't care how many good deeds you do? No. Jesus will only let you into heaven if you accept him as your personal lord and savior who died for your sins. MM-hmm.

I may have been young, but I wasn't stupid. I thought about serial killers. Was it possible that if they accepted Christ while in prison, they would get to go to heaven? I could almost swallow that. Forgiveness was one thing they seemed to have gotten right in my loony liberal Sunday school. But then I thought about the whole world and how many good non-Christians there were in it. Why should honest, caring, loving people be forced to spend an eternity burining in hell? I just couldn't make it work. One of my grandfathers had died and the other was too busy crusading to talk me around. Christianity seemed wrong and hateful and I left.

My mom had always had pagan tendencies, so I stole away some of her books and set off down that road. I have been happily Pagan ever since (except for the brief period at the end of college when I fliped out and embraced nihlistic absurdism). Even as a child, I had talked to "Mother Nature" as much as I talked to God so accepting the Goddess was easy for me.

The thing is, while I turned my back on Christianity, I never let go of Jesus completely. Not the vengeful fundamentalist Jesus, but the Jesus I felt and knew as a child. Perhaps the transition was so easy for me because the concept of an Avatar made perfect logical sense to me. The fact that Gods have visited humanity in the form of men and women was a comforting thought to me.

So we come to the here and now. I'm a Wiccan who loves Jesus, whether he was an avatar or just a man (I have a weakness for the peaceful revolutionaries). Wicca calls for worship of the male aspects of the divine in the form of a God, and I've never had any qualms about filling that role with Jesus. If the fundies don't like it...too bad.


Sex: female
City: Houston
State: TX
Country: USA
Became a Christian: <1
Ceased being a Christian: 10-ish (or never, depending on the definition)
Labels before: Episcopalean, Presbyterian
Labels now: pagan, wiccan, animist, theologically agnostic
Why I joined: Why did you become a christian?
Why I left: TEXAS!!!!!

7/23/04                                                                                       View Comments

Religion ruined my child hood, it almost set me back in life

sent in by Eric

How religion ruined my childhood and what I did about it

I stated out living on the north end of town in Huntsville Al. This was not the good end to say the least. I went to a mostly black public school. I was the only white kid in class and did not learn much there. It was a very bad environment or you would think. I guess my parents got sick of me getting beat up and not learning anything. My parents decided to enroll me into a private Baptists school when I was in the 2nd grade. That was the worst thing that they did for my.

This school was also a big Baptist church. It was called heritage babtist church. It was somewhat of a compound. I started the there in the 2nd grade and left sometime in the middle of the 4th grade. I went to daycare there and would be in there before and after school. I stayed there all through out the summers attending vacation bible school. The whole time I was there it was like a bible boot camp. It was like going to church everyday.

All during 2nd and 4th grade we learned mostly about the bible, being a Christian, and having faith. I remember that half our class time would be in bible studies. I don’t remember them spending that much time on anything else but maybe reading.
We did not really learn much about other subjects.

They constantly preached to us about faith in jesus. They ruled with a iron fist and they frowned upon us when we acted like children. I was basically told that god had a design for me. I was told to believe in god first and I should give all my faith to him. Not to question his intent. I was told that going through life blindly was a blessing, It was ok because you had faith. God would provide you with everything that you needed so you would not have to apply your self. I would be taken care of in the after life depending on my faith. I was told all about Fire and brimstone afterward to reinforce my brain washing. I was saved and all that stuff.

I remember one of the daycare supervisors who’s name was Bill. He was weird. He did not seem right. I remember Bill dropping a coin and saying that money was dirty and he stuck it in other kids mouths and he did the same to me. He would be laughing. He told me that people put money up their but. I got real mad and turned my head and every time I saw him remembered the incident. I had a suspicion that he was taking some kids down to the locker room and having under ware parties. That is what the other kids said and they were told not to tell because it was a secret club. I remember him inviting me down and I was not sure of what was going on. I did not go because Mom always picked me up earlier then the other kids. He would have the secret club meetings after all the other adults had left.

I had a speech impediment and words did not come out sounding correctly. Bill always accused me of saying a cuss words. One time while playing kick ball we were are all yelling as kids do. He grabbed me and took me to the minister and told the minister that I said a cuss word and I did not know what I said. Well I got a paddling for it. I tried to explain my situation to him but he would not listen. He replied something about god and spanked me anyway. I thought that maybe he was right. Mom soon came to pick me up. I never could understand why Bill did this since he was much older.

At the same time during the Christmas I found out on my own that Santa Claus did not exist. I found toys in a closet that I was not supposed to look into. I did not make much of a deal of it. I did not tell my parents I knew either. I just went with the flow. They told us that the true reason for Christmas is the birth of Christ. I did not question it.

While I was in the middle of the 4th grade, my parents got another house and we moved to the south end of Huntsville where the crime rate was lower. I guess my dad got tired of our house being broken into and our car stolen. My Mom would still insist that we drive to our old church and have our meeting and do our bible stories. So she could have her friends and be part of the soap opera. I also remember being in cub scouts and we had meetings there. They were really the fundamentalist scouts.

I was enrolled into a public school in the middle of the school year. I did not know any one there and did not make any friends. I had no sense of what was going on. I was like a fish out of water. I was glad to be out of there because it was not fun.

The disadvantage of going to the private school was I did not develop any street sense or good social skills. The reason was that they ruled with an iron fist. I was like a dork and did not know how to communicate effectively with the other kids. I did not have what you would call charm or charisma either. I never grew up mentally along with other kids in my age group. It was like being thrown to the wolves.

I did not know how to react to bullies so I stuck my head in the sand like an ostrich. I actualy thought Jesus would help me. I did not know how to handle it. I was passive, I let them victimize me and I did not speak up for my self. I thought that they would stop because I was a good christain and had faith. I thought everything would be ok. They never told us about this at my old school.

The teachers there were overburdened. They were to busy because the classes were crowded. Whenever the teachers were not looking the bullies would pick on me. The bullies tormenting never stopped. They would thump my in the ear. They would spit on me and on my launch. They slashed my bike tires. They busted me in the head with a rock. They would slap me in the face. They knocked my papers out of my hand and every one would walk on them. When I tried to fight back a whole wolf pack would form and I would get beat up. When I did get in a fight, all the kids picking on me told the teacher that I started it and I would get sent to the principles offices. I would try to explain my situation but he did not listen and I would get a paddling. I prayed all the time and nothing was answered.

Another disadvantage of going to the private school was I did not learn what I was supposed to have leaned. I had spent most of the time learning about the bible and jesus. I did not know crap. I was like two years behind every one else. I did not know how to do the work or study. I did not learn much about english, math, science or history.

Hey; but I could recite anything you could think from the bible.

Being tormented by the bullies made me shy and I was afraid of making it worse so I did not ask for help. I could not concentrate because of the bullies constantly picked on me. I lost interest in school. I did not want to be there. I would get sick every morning just thinking about the torment.

Worst part was I was I failed and was put in special education. the next year. I was put in a class with a bunch of children that had severe learning disabilities. Some were mentally retarded. I was really tormented by the bullies about that.

Bad thing about special education classes is that the teachers do not even attempt to teach you what the other classes or learning. They concentrate on the slowest kid of the class and what he is able to do. I had to learn at their speed and ability. I did not learn anything that the other kids and regular classes were learning. The whole time I never learned that I needed to apply my self or even encouraged to.

I did not want to apply my self to get out of the special education classes. It was easy and I rarely had any homework. I guess I felt like I was genius compared to the kids in the class. The classes were small and no one tormented or picked on me. Every one there was friendly. I did not want to go to the regular classes because I was afraid that the other kids would get in their cowardly wolf packs and gang up on me. I became bitter towards them and held onto that for a long time.

My Dad had seen what was going on and we stopped going to church but my mom told me to read the bible anyway and pray. She was Southern Baptist and my Dad had no religious affiliation. He just went along with it to make her happy.

The damage was done. I drifted through my child hood not wanting to do anything or joined any clubs. I never socialized with any one. I kept to my self and read my bible and prayed. I made sure that I went out of my way to avoid other people. I kept my faith and still believed.

High school was no better. I stayed in special ed until the end of high school. I did not want to socialize with other kids because what had happened in elementary and middle school. The counselor told me that I would be happy having a job working with my hands. I signed up for Tech School. They taught different trades like machine shop, air conditioning, and auto mechanics. I took electrical technology and did very well. I got a job during the summer wiring up houses and digging wire trenches.

I graduated and got a full time job doing electrical construction. I spent five years going to different projects and working with different contractors wiring houses. I got tired of busting my ass just to get laid off at the end of a project. I had realized that I had no future.
I got tired of being white trash.
I decided that I wanted to go to collage and that I could handle one class at a time. I could not qualify for any financial aid because I made one hundred dollars too much. I was mad at the world as you can get. But I still prayed.

I decided to join the army so I could get some money for collage. I went to basic training at FT Jackson and I did ok, I was not the best or worst. I could hold my own. I completed it and felt great. It went by so fast that somtiems I forgot to pray. I got through it an I felt I could accomplish anything.

I got to AIT and was going to school at FT Gordon GA. I did not struggle in the class like I thought I would but could not type worth a flip. I got to meet a lot of people that had many different beliefs. Some had none at all. I made a lot of friends from many cultural backgrounds.

I had a friend who was going to special forces and we talked about our faith. He invited me to go to a church he was attending. We went and we sat down and talked. When they started the service they stated talking in toungs. That freaked me out because babtist i knew did not do that. That made me think a little and decided, well to each his own.

One of the requirements of staying in the army was passing a PT test. That’s doing pushups, setups, and running two miles under your required time. I was able to do everything else except for the run. I would get shin splits and had to slow down. I kept failing it, and they threatened to release me unless I could make the time for the run. I prayed to god and went to the post church.

I was sent by the drill sergeant to the Captains office for counseling. She told me that if I could not make the run then I would be released and would loose my collage bill. She said that these consequences have an effect on your future. I was thinking I better pray really hard. I got to get this GI bill. She signed some papers and then told me the best thing I have ever heard.

“I don’t know what you believe in but I will say this”
“You have the strength with in you. You have to dig deep down inside and find it. You can do it if you put your mind to it”. Commander at the 447 Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon Georgia spring of 1994.

I thought about that for a second. It finally clicked. It made sense. I had a moment of free-thought. No one ever said that. I never thought of it.

I got to the bunk and bed down for the night and thought about it some more. I thought about my life and what I went through in my child hood. I thought of the people I met and what they did or did not believe.

I decided tomorrow that I would not pray.
I will do it my self. What is the worst that can happen.

The next morning after passing the other events, I headed towards the track. I headed towards my destiny. I did not pray like I did and the past.
I thought to my self that I will do it, I can, I must, I have to get the collage money.

We got on the track and got warmed up. We got in our places. The drill sergeant asked, are you ready?
Go!!!!!!!
I took off calmly and thought that I will do it. As I ran, I felt no anxiety. I did not think of it and I stayed focused and then my mind drifted. I made my self do it. I was one of the first to finish the race. I made it.

Why I am an atheist? Well I could go on but you may loose interest. I’ll get the points out.

1. I got some good inspiration.
2. I achieved something on my own with out believing or prying to a god.
3. I was able to meet other people who had different ways of thinking and different beliefs and none.
4. I went to collage and was able to learn. I had to apply my self to graduate.
5. I was able to use Free-thought and Logic to better understand the world around me
6. Religious tyranny has many forms. The same type of Baptist that ran that brainwashing school voted down Alabama’s education lottery. I see why.
7. I had worked for some religious nuts and saw they were messed up. There business went under
8. I analyzed why I did so poorly in school and socially. Part of it was me. The bigger reason was I got a crapy start.
9. I applied my self and I was able to succeed when others said I could not.
10. I have free thought and I realize that I can take any path that will determine my destiny. Faith is stupid and you should believe in your self first

What I think about it all?

What I think here upsets a lot of people so I don’t tell them. Especially living in the bible belt. I’ll be kind and say it’s an opinion. You may have already guessed at what I’m trying to say since your here.

Once I started to take my journey into doubt, I stated to realize that things were not at what they seemed. What I was thinking was very scary and would be to any one. I thought that I would go to hell for my heretical doubts. It was like a veil was starting to peal and that there was light coming through. I was waking up from a deep sleep into reality.

The more I thought of it, the more knowledge I sought. I became more self-aware.
I started to question its legitimacy. I compared it to other religions and ideologies. They both claim to be the true religion and the other is false. I was thinking that this is a bunch of lies.
What I said made a lot of people uneasy and some people made a big deal out of it. A couple of people got mad. Some people tried to convince me that I was wrong and that I should not think like that because I would go to hell. “WHOOOO SCARY”.
I started to see it for what it really is.
It is a tool to motivate mass population to do the bidding of others in what they think is good against evil. There are many flavors in which can be measured by extremity It is a big fat scam, a lie to control and enslave people.
So in my quest to understand it, I became a free thinker.

Since I became a free thinker I feel that I am truly free and empowered.
I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I do have free will. I am in control of my own destiny and I can change my path if I want. I know the out come depends on my own personal strength. I know that I should be self-reliant and not to depend on others for what I can do for my self. I am free to go and do as I please with respect to the law and on my own morals. The buck stops here and I am responsible for my actions. I have developed a foresight and enabled my self to see things for what they really are. I can think in different ways to solve problems more easily. I respect and take in consideration of things that are more powerful then me. I do not assume. I make educated decisions. I know I have to adapt and be able to deal with things that come my way. I’m not afraid of the unknown. I am not afraid of dying and the end of my existence. I don’t worry about death. I understand that is the cycle of life and everything is part it.

The secret of life: is to propagate. Be responsible. Evolve and adapt to change.
Self-awareness, free thought, and free-will. Learn and improve. Dream of things and have ideals. Make goals and achieve them. Be happy and have fun. Love, be social, and have friends.

There is no great super natural being that created us. There are no gods.
There is only what we do and do not understand.

The greatest problem in the world is not hunger, poverty, war, or disillusionment.
It’s what causes it. Think about this.
The problems are bad ideologies. Corrupt groups that grab power for their own gain. They warp and bend sets of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of political, economic, or other system. They take sets of ideals and manipulate them to their own liking. They then enforce these ideals and convince the people that it does reflect their social needs and that it reflects the aspirations of individuals, groups, classes, or cultures.
The problem is religion and beliefs in mythology and in supernatural powers. Organized systems grounded in unfounded belief and worship.
These groups resemble organized crime syndicates where power is everything. It does not necessarily empower people to do better. It takes away what they could achieve on their own.

All the inquisitions, dark ages, and terrorism is strongly linked to ideology gone wrong. The people who do this believe strongly in it and that they are in the right.
Some think that they are doing it for the common good no matter how many die in the process.
There have been so many corrupted and perverted people that had betrayed many peoples trust in religion and in other political systems. They do it mainly because they can get away with it and they hide behind these systems. They believe when they die that they will be glorified or go into heaven.

Religion and gods was developed by primitive people to help them understand the world around them. They thought that natural events were caused by supernatural beings. They had no understanding of logic and in science. They developed religion to enforce their beliefs in gods. They told a bunch of stories and gossip to enforce and teach the validity of their particular religion. These stores were handed down to one generation to another.
When stories are passed down there their meanings changes and degrades into something totally different over time. When stories are passed down other people develop their own interpretation of what they mean.
Tyrants who rose to power also had their own interpretation of the current religion and twisted it to suit their needs. They exploited it and used it to their advantage.

You can see that religious tyranny is still alive today. It is still running the world and is here to stay for the near future. Some forms may be less extreme then the other but its still tyranny.
In the Middle East there are the Mullahs and Islam. It’s spreading fast like an infectious disease and along with their terrorism.
In the Vatican you have the office of Christianity and the perverted Catholic pedophiles.
In the US you have the stupid no logic Evangelicals and the white trash redneck Southern Baptist.
These psychopaths are running the asylum and are very much in charge of it.

In America and through out the world, there are many types of cultures and people that have their own beliefs. They think that their beliefs are facts. Each culture and group has there on set of mythologies and beliefs in which they think is superior to the other groups. They think that theirs is the truth and the other is false. Science and logic proves that they are false.

Since we live in America, every one is entitled to their own beliefs. That’s ok to me, as long no one goes around trying to force them on any one. But they do.

I can guarantee you that you will come across many people who don’t have free thought and awareness. Some may have a lot of education but no common sense. Some people or more blind to the world around them then others. There are people who think they know everything but in fact know very little. They go through life with blind faith, “don’t ask no questions”. It’s like driving a car with your eyes closed. Yea you can do it but you will have a wreak.
They were led to believe in that some mythical dogma will guide them through life, so they stick their head in the sand and ignore all logic and reason. This is as effective as in worshiping a brick.
They are so blind that they never consider other points of view. They are so consumed that they miss out on other great things in life.

These people get this way be being brainwashed at a younger age. They have no defense against it and are very impressionable. Some people start off slowly into it but because they are so gullible get swept away with it.

You may meet some people like this and you need to be wary of their intentions.
They will fool you into thinking that they want to be your friend and they will go out of their way to be nice to you. You will meet them on the street, at school or at work; they may be a stranger, a friend or family member. It doesn’t matter. They will use friendship as a weapon.

Their motive is to convert you and to convince you that their way is the right way.
They want you to listen to what they have to say and they want to invite you to their church. “cult”. They are always in search of new minds to take over so that they can grow bigger and wealthier. They are like cancer.

They preach to you to make you feel guilty and say that the lord died for you and cares for us and will send you to hell if you don’t believe. “Is that caring?”
They will tell you that it’s so wonderful and that it changed their life.
They want you to blindly swallowing it as the absolute and unassailable truth.
That’s where “faith” comes in. That’s there favorite word. They don’t want you to question it at all, period. They use Faith and Coercion to control.
They will pull out their books and little pamphlets to get you to read their nonsense.

It’s important for your own well-being that you do not believe in such non-sense.
It’s like believing in fairy tells that you know is made up to entertain children.
Think of the ginger bread man, elves, fairies, and peter pan. Ancient civilizations like Egypt and Greece had their mythical dogmas but they did not last. There is Buddha and Allah. There is even the dead guy on a stick.

It is a cancer that robs you of what you are and your full potential. It replaces your own mentality for a sheep heard mentality. It takes what you make and empties your bank accounts. It guilt’s you in to a slavery where you give up the time that you could have used for your own. It is what it is, an organized cult.

Belief in mythology leads to the psychological slavery and destruction of society. It impedes the development of self-awareness, thought, and in technology. “ they did not call it the dark ages for nothing” The world was not created in seven days. It takes eons, millions of years for things to evolve into what they are. The earth is not three thousand years old. The proof is in the fossil record.

There is no great supernatural being that created us. Religion is a crutch for people who can’t think for them selves.

The secret of life: is to propagate. Be responsible. Evolve and adapt to change.
Self-awareness, free thought, and free-will. Learn and improve. Dream of things and have ideals. Make goals and achieve them. Be happy and have fun. Love, be social, and have friends.


Sex: male
URL: Your Homepage URL
City: Huntsville
State: AL
Country: US
Became a Christian: I stoped being a christian when A.L. voted down and lost the education lottery
Ceased being a Christian: 26
Labels before: Babtist
Labels now: Free thinking Atheist
Why I joined: I was put in to it when I was young
Why I left: Good inspiration
Email Address: giantspambox at yahoo dot com

7/22/04                                                                                       View Comments

Thanks for reading.

sent in by anonymous

Spent most of my life as an agnostic, irreligious, or one who thinks maybe there is a God but had the Deist way of looking at it. I for one should had known better than to get involved with with any church but I found myself doing just that.

My odessey began when I read on the importance of Christianity in Western philosophy and even some virulent atheists will admit it. The conservative philosopher George Santayana was both a practicing Catholic and an avowed atheist for instance. At the time I was into reading alot of Dostoevsky and was struck by his argument that to believe that God exists is essential because the fabric of society cannot hold without it. Gradually my mindset became that of a *cultural Christian apologist* though retained my skepticism. Then I decided to find a church and go through the motions...

Always had been attracted to liturgical High Church ritual and settled attending a LCMS(Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) congregation and admitted that I was struck by the said ritual of their services. Though most of the congregation treated me as a non-entity the Pastor was friendly and I kept returning. This was in the process of my breakup with my then girlfriend who was as anti-religious as one can get and she ridiculed my church attendance.

Then I found myself wanting to join so I could participate in the actual Communion and took the adult education class taught by the Pastor. I found the subjects intriquing but many alarm bells popped up. Inwardly I wanted to receive Communion though I thought the dogma of the Real Presense was a bunch of superstition left-over from the Middle Ages. Plus the Lutheran dogmas, the 3 Solas, I had trouble with: sola fide, sola gracia, sola scriptura. Plus their contradictory version of Predestination and one only had to believe to be saved, but God had already chosen His Elect, but the sinner was free to reject Salvation. And so on. At the end of the class, I found myself requesting membership and forthwith received my 1st Communion.

There is nothing more zealous than a convert and I got into being a *Lutheran*, of the orthodox variety the Lutherans call *Confessionals* or some claim they are *Evangelical Catholics*. There was a small group of these at the church and I got into with them. My honeymoon period of Faith was shortlived, however. Realized many treated church as their own club, as a business and given the congregational government of this synod, power playing and backbiting. This wasn't what I bargained for. Meanwhile I came across this text by Archara S called "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" debunking orthodox Christian claims and the chicanery how Christianity came into being. I didn't want to believe what was in there especially since I had recently came into the Faith. Thus I kept up Church attendance and observed the prayer hours of Matins and Vespers in my own home. I was into evolutionary psychology beforehand and was appalled by the number of well-educated people who towed the six 24 hour day Creation dogma. I kept my belief in evolution a secret and tried somehow to synthesize both evolutionary psychology and orthodox Christianity into one worldview system, much to my failure and frustration thereof.

Over the next few years I gradually went back to the *cultural Christian* routine but kept up appearances and kept my own views under wrap. I was even elected to a church office during this time. Told myself that I just went to church for the liturgy which I enjoyed though dummied my ears to the Readings content and the sermons. The infighting in the congregation got worse and many of the fat cat parishoners didn't like the Pastor because of his orthodoxy and other reasons. I thought he was doing his job and backed the Pr. though I felt Lutheran dogma was a bunch of shit, and he was a nice guy unlike the majority of my fellow laypeople. The old ladies at the parish put me in mind of the line in the sardonic poem by WS Burrough's " A Thanksgiving Prayer" - 'thanks for the church goin' women with their evil pinched faces.."

Hitherto the congregation broke up and the Pastor was ousted. I transfered to another parish in the LCMS and attended there for a time. It was part of my plan to be shed of Lutherans and Christianity in general. Had read something by Richard Dawkins that religion is a mind virus and had a counter-epiphany that is probably what I had had. On Good Friday services of last year I thought it was fitting when the celebrant slammed the Bible shut and the lights were dimmed it was time to put my own virus in remission.

In hindsight, I don't regret my involvement, but hope that I never go back to any theistic believing dogma, and definitely not the Lutherans of any stripe. To my chagrin, I found given the German base of the LCMS that Anti-Semitism is STILL rampant in this organization, which to me is the worst and form of bigotry in the world.

Just hope, via my own personal reason, that this mind virus stays dormant. I am not anti-God it is just that via reason there is no evidence that He or She or It exists. Also I find these crusading atheists just as more annoying than Bible Beater Fundys.

Thanks for reading.

Sex: Male
Became a Christian: 33
Ceased being a Christian: 37
Labels before: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Labels now: agnostic
Why I joined: got the mind virus
Why I left: virus is in remission

7/17/04                                                                                       View Comments

My personal Exodus

sent in by anonymous

I've devoured the information and the de-conversion stories on this website.

I was born and raised an Evangelical Presbyterian. I was taught that the Bible was the inerrant rule and faith for our belief (that's how my last Presbyterian pastor began every sermon). I remember one morning in Sunday school when I was a little girl that our elderly Sunday School teacher, after relating the story of Adam and Eve, looked around at all of us and said "You girls need to be ashamed of what Eve did."

I really did feel ashamed too!

Later as a teen we moved from Texas to Missouri and my Mom felt my sister and I needed to attend a wealthier Presbyterian church in order to meet young men with more money so that we would marry and live happily ever after as rich, Presbyterian house wives. So we drove 40 minutes each way each Sunday morning for church and 40 minutes each way Sunday evening for Youth Group. (By the way, it didn't work we didn't marry rich guys).

Now in high school for awhile I really loathed church, I didn't understand just why I was supposed to worship Jesus but was so brainwashed I figured I was "bad" for not believing. I went to a Church of Christ college and promptly learned that I wasn't saved because I hadn't been immersed but sprinkled as a baby in the Presbyterian church which of course, doesn't count!

I won't go into the brainwashing I received there but I really made my Presbyterian Mom mad when I told her that immersion was necessary for salvation. After college I did go through a wild period as I had not met the perfect Christian man to marry and I was tired of being a goody two shoes, however I always felt that underlying guilt for not behaving in the ascribed Christian manner. I married and hoped that would make me feel good about myself again as I was at least married like a "good" woman should be.

After having my first child I noticed that I still didn't like myself and still felt bad so I redicated myself to the Lord through 700 club, then as I had married a Catholic I started looking seriously at the Catholic faith. I had always viewed it as the "Whore of Babylon" up until that time although I had always had many Catholic friends. Thanks to Scott Hahn, a Presbyterian minister who became Catholic, I decided that becoming Catholic would be the answer to all my problems with faith.

I became a conservative Catholic for about 12 years. Here is what happened. It's simple. God never answered my prayers, ever. I figured for awhile it was because I was such a huge disappointment to him. My main unanswered prayer was on forgiving those who had hurt me in some way, now that should be a no-brainer for a loving God right? I made myself sick trying to forgive and love people who are just assholes. So I finally figured well if God doesn't answer my prayers maybe, just maybe, he doesn't exist! What a revelation!

I began a search on the internet for sites to disprove the Bible and that was the beginning of my personal Exodus. Now through my freedom from religious mind control I realize that cruel people are assholes and forgiveness is optional. Believe it or not this has been a huge relief for me, not to feel forced to not only forgive someone who is cruel but to feel obligated to love them too!

Screw that. I feel free for the first time in my life to view people with my own eyes and not with the mind set of "how would Jesus view this person or situation" I've stuffed so much hurt and anger over the years I don't even know how to get angry in a healthy way thanks to my years and years of brainwashing.



Sex: female
City: Council Bluffs
State: IA
Country: USA
Became a Christian: from birth, committed myself to the Lord a few times
Ceased being a Christian: 49
Labels before: Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Episcopal , lastly Catholic
Labels now: Searcher
Why I joined: Felt lost, wanted to feel complete
Why I left: Unanswered prayer led me to wondering if there was even a God to hear

7/5/04                                                                                       View Comments

From Christian to Pagan to Christian and back to Pagan again

sent in by Cierra

-Christianity-

I was raised a Baptist Christian, and at the age of 9, I was baptised(completely by choice). I was sincerly excited, and I truly did want to pursue a relationship with "Jesus Christ", and I wanted to receive the "Holy Spirit". And so that was my goal. I did eventually "receive the Holy Spirit", ...but a lot more things have happened before, AND after the experience...

I wanted so much to receive the Holy Spirit...but my first attempt failed. I went to church, and prayed in a room with other young beleivers who had wanted to receive the "Holy Spirit" as well. A woman was here in the room with all of us, and told us to pray "Thank you Jesus", over and over and over. It's what I was doing, but nothing happened.

I was dissappointed, and didn't know why I hadn't received the "Holy Spirit", and others in the room HAD. The lady told me to go back to the sanctuary, and I felt horrible. I thought to myself, "maybe I just didn't concentrate on Jesus enough. I'll try harder next time."

-Occult/Witchcraft-

But years later...at least at about the age of 12, at the time, I was living in (Kaiserslautern), Germany (mother was in the military).

And I had always been attracted to the "paranormal", or "New Age", and things like it, and I was at a bookstore, and saw a book titled, "Teen Witch", and I read it, and was SO excited. I read the "note to parents", in the front of the book to my mother, and she didn't care much.

I don't beleive that she was necessarily FOR it, but she really didn't say much. She wasn't a strict Christian anyhow.

But from then on, I was casting spells, and performing rituals, and praying to Goddess, and I did feel(like most Pagans claim) as if the concept of a Goddess AND a God feels more balanced...rather than beleiving in just a God--the CHRISTIAN God, in that matter(and in the Christian God, I DO NOT beleive--or put my faith in, I should say).

But anyhow...I considered myself a Witch. After only about two books. Which is ok, because I was a pretty educated one.

-Back to Christ-

Only MONTHS later, I was watching the Christian/evangelist network, 3ABN, and I was watching a particular show: the 700 Club. I saw a Christian testimony of a girl who was once a witch, and that she had now accepted Christ into her life, and that Witchcraft(in any form), was evil. All of it. No such thing as "white" or "black" magic(k). It was all evil.

And I was also constantly seeing pastors preach about the end of the world--Armageddon(not sure how to spell that word), and how it could be any day now. I was scared for my life! I had bought a book on accepting Jesus, and prayed a prayer as the son of Pat Roberson talked about Jesus.

I was asking for the Holy Spirit, 100% sincerly. And this time, I beleive that I did receive.

I felt so releived, and happy, and I was just thanking Jesus. I burned all two of my witchcraft books, and threw away everything that I had printed from the internet about Witchcraft(and god do I regret all of this now).

And from then on, I was hooked. I was on fire for Jesus. I was always watching 3ABN, and buying books on Christianity, and Jesus, and I was just feeling so protected, and loved, and safe, and happy, and everything was just going great.

-"Backsliding"-

My fire for Jesus had burned out(which of course most Christians warn new christians of...that they are at first on fire, but that they may not feel this way for long).

I wasn't concentrating much on being a Christian, but I had at least three Pagan friends before, that I was telling that I had now become a Christian(which I now regret).

And so we moved from Germany after three years, to LA, where I now currently live(moving once again though very soon--military life's a bitch).

I borrowed a book from our local military library titled, "Why I am not a Christian.". Sorry that I have forgotten who it was written by(like an idiot). But I read it, and realized that "hey, I DON'T have to be a Christian.". Christianity is NOT the only way!"

People can ACTUALLY choose between more than just: Christ, or HELL! My eyes had opened--it was a--a--MIRACLE!

From then on, I studied many different religions at the library, and over the internet. I studied the religion of Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and I studied even more on Paganism.

I had read SO many testimonies of people who had went from Pagan to Christian, and I had my doubts--I was purposley reading these testimonies, because in the back of my mind, there was still a little voice going, "Paganism is wrong, and evil." But thank god(dess) that voice is now gone.

I have now read, and heard of so many testimonies, that they no longer shake me. Not even a bit. Nothing does, or can anymore. I guess I'm now stubborn. A little Stubborn maybe, but not close minded.

But anyhow...I decided that I wanted to become a Pagan again. This beleif is the beleif that has truly changed my life--for the better, that is...but I am STILL not a religious person. Just spiritual. I am very young, yes--infact, still in my teens--but that doesn't make my testimony any less valid than anyone else's. This is what I've been through at such a young age, and I am no longer ashamed to be a Pagan.

I am a child of the Goddess--not a child of Christ--and it's what I would like to remain. (cheesy ending I know, but I have to close this out somehow).

Goddess bless.

Sex: female
URL: ratskeller.us
City: Fort Polk
State: LA
Country: U.S.A.
Became a Christian: I was around the age of 9
Ceased being a Christian: First time: 12, second: 14
Labels before: Baptist, Pentecostal (not sure how to spell that anyhow)
Labels now: Pagan/Witch
Why I joined: It wasn't some anger decision, or trying to be a smart ass and say that I hate Christians...it was just about maturity, and realizing that I DON'T want to live the Christian lifestyle. Nothing rebellious.
Why I left: Same reason: It wasn't some anger decision, or trying to be a smart ass and say that I hate Christians...it was just about maturity, and realizing that I DON'T want to live the Christian lifestyle. Nothing rebellious.
Email Address: wirezine at yahoo dot com

7/3/04                                                                                       View Comments

My Rise to Christianity and Transcendence From It

by Winston
Note: The following may also be viewed online at either of the following two URL’s:
http://www.thrivenet.com/schizo/stories/wwu.html
http://www.angelfire.com/me2/mccl/


Dear All,
Here is my story about how I became a Christian, what I went through later and how I finally got through and transcended my beliefs. I have shared a lot of personal things in this that I've never shared with anyone before. Originally I had not meant for it to be this long, so I apologize for that. But while I was writing it, I felt like I was reliving all those suppressed memories again and so lots of details came out of my mind that I had to write. Several times I had to stop and pause for a moment because those memories brought back a lot of overwhelming emotions and I felt on the verge of tears. But I'm glad that I finally wrote it all out cause I have been meaning to for a long time. It also felt therapeutic to me to write this all out too. I stayed up almost all night for 2 nights writing this. I hope maybe you the reader may be able to get some kind of lesson out of it, whatever it may be.



Yours Faithfully,
Winston

It all started in 1983 when I was 9 years old at a Christian Summer daycare school called Fremont Christian. I became a Christian there when I was a 10 year old boy by receiving Christ during the Chapel session. I liked the Christian teachings because they made me feel good and I liked knowing that Christ would always be with me and that I had eternal life to look forward to. I didn't know it at that time, but it gave me a sense of power that I never had. Having Jesus in my heart was like having a supernatural power that I could call on at any time, kind of like how Clark Kent can turn into Superman whenever the situation calls for it. I needed it at the time because in 4th and 5th grade I was teased and disliked by most of my classmates, which completely destroyed my self-esteem and trust in people, and scarred me for life. But I never thought about the full implications of being a Christian, so I wasn't that serious about it until 4 years later when my interest in Christianity soared to great heights. I re-dedicated my life to Christ then and decided to become a devout passionate active Christian from then on and make it a serious part of my life. Everything suddenly seemed to click. My prayers were getting answered. God gave me a lot of Christian friends who came into my life by strange coincidences, which helped me out a lot during my first year of high school. Everything was great. I had a lot of joy and passion for Christ and had a lot of fun with my Christian friends. I was actively involved with my youth group at Church, and I learned a lot about Christianity through books and Christian radio as well. In Sunday School, I was like the only one who had all the answers to each question posed. With the power and truth of Christ, I felt safe from the uncaring secular world which lived in darkness. Nothing could go wrong I thought, because no matter what happens, I'm still saved and had an eternal life to look forward to and be happy about. I thought I had nothing to lose or fear. But I was dead wrong, because the following year, I would lose my own mind.

By the end of my first year in high school, summer started, and a big tide was about to turn. During the Summer of 1988, two bad things happened which later turned out to be signs of even worse to come.

1) That summer we went to Taiwan to visit a lot of relatives for a few weeks. (During the flight, I read the book of Job in the Old Testament, which was ironic because I didn't know then that for the next few years I would experience a lot worse than I could ever imagine.) I had a lot of fun in Taiwan and my relatives were very loving and supportive people. These people liked me for who I was, not for what I had to offer them like most of my friends in California did. While I was there, I brought some Christian gospel tracts that I ordered in Chinese so that I could share my faith with them. I didn't usually hand out tracts, but I felt I had to in this case because I hardly ever saw those relatives so this was a rare opportunity to witness to them and hopefully convert some of them so that they wouldn't go to hell as I believed they would. You see, I knew that they would hardly ever hear the Gospel in their lifetime because the Gospel wasn't heard much in Taiwan, so that meant that if I didn't convert them then in all likelihood they would go to hell and suffer in pain forever and ever. So I saw myself as the only hope for them from an eternity of pain. That felt like a huge burden to me, but those were the facts according to my Christian views. I mean it's huge when you think about it, all my relatives were non-Christian and on their way to hell, and I was probably their only chance to escape that! That's a lot of pressure for a 15 year old kid!!!!!!! Can you imagine that? Anyway, all the relatives that I gave tracts to just giggled and thought it was silly but cute. My mom even said "Winston, stop it. You're making a fool out of yourself. They already have their own beliefs." But I believed that I was trying to spread the truth. Anyway, none of my relatives showed even the keenest interest in my Gospel tracts. And so that's how it was. On the return flight back home to California from Taiwan, my failure to convert them started to sink in as well as the eternal implications. I sat on the plane wondering if maybe I didn't do enough to try to convert them. I thought maybe if I had been more dramatic or vocal about it or showed off some self-sacrificing Christian acts of love to them like in the Evangelistic stories I read about, then it would have gotten their attention. But it was too late, I lost my chance. I let God down. Maybe God was angry at me right now because I didn't do enough to witness to them, and because of that they would probably end up in hell for an eternity. I pictured them tormented by fire and brimstone all around them and cursing my name for not having witnessed to them better. I pictured what that would be like for them for all eternity. A million years could pass in hell and they would still be in total torment and pain. A billion years could pass and they'd still be in hell. A trillion years could pass and it would still be the same, because an eternity was forever and a billion trillion zillion years wouldn't make the slightest difference! This was unimaginable! This was a very scary thought and I wasn't sure how to make sense of it so I tried not to think of it. I had never realized the implications of the horror of an eternal hell until then. Furthermore, since my loving nurturing parents were very adamant about never converting to Christianity, I pictured the same fate for them too. I just couldn't believe it, my relatives were the only people I've ever known besides my parents who liked and loved me for me, and they would probably have to go to hell for an eternity because of me! I didn't want to believe it, but it had to be true according to the Bible, which was the direct word of God. It was all too hard to bear. I wasn't sure how to handle this burden or even what to do about it. How would you have handled it as a 15 year old? (Note: This paragraph was difficult for me to write because it brought back memories that I had suppressed for a decade. I was on the verge of tears while writing this. That was a very sad and painful period for me to try to bring back while writing this, and the memories I re-experienced were vivid.) Anyway, I came back to the States reluctantly, because I sort of felt like a failure. This all made me somewhat depressed.

2) The second thing happened in the latter half of the summer. I went on a Christian summer camp near San Diego with my church youth group. I was hoping the camp would help me to feel less depressed about what happened in Taiwan. Then I met this beautiful girl who looked like the ideal girl I've always wanted. She was like something out of a dream and she was nice to me too. I tried to fight it, but I was bit by the love bug. Unfortunately though, she was too young for me and we couldn't really see each other even after the camp was over for a lot of reasons which I don't want to share, so I just tried to enjoy it while it lasted. When I came back from that camp, I felt depressed and lost because of the emptiness I felt knowing I could never have her and missing the way she made me felt. It was like the 5th or 6th time I struck out in love.

So you see, both those events during that Summer made me feel depressed and hurt and confused. I didn't know how to handle it all. I was too sensitive too so things affected me more deeply and intensely than most people. Anyway, I was not emotionally ready to start school because of those two big issues, but I had to anyway. So start it I did. And believe me, when I went back to school it was a different world. Most of my friends, both Christian and non-Christian either left or had changed so much that we couldn't really be friends anymore. My new friends weren't that great and they didn't even really care about me. I didn't like any of my classes either because they were overwhelming and I wasn't interested in studying because of those two events during the summer that I was still emotionally attached to. And on top of all that, I felt lonely and isolated too because all my friends were either gone or had changed. I couldn't believe how one summer changed everything! :( For the whole year nothing changed no matter how hard I tried to change them or how many times I prayed. I wanted get back the joy I had last year but nothing I did helped. I soon realized that I also seemed to have lost my fire and passion for the Lord. I tried to get that back too because maybe if I did, my life would turn around again and be fulfilling. But no matter how hard I tried to jump start my passion and fire for the Lord, it just wouldn't. It was like trying to start a car with a dead battery. It felt like God had left me or something. When I prayed, I didn't even feel that he was listening anymore. I was wondering if maybe all this was my punishment for not being able to convert all my relatives in Taiwan, resulting in them losing their souls.

(Things get even much worse than you can imagine! Read on if you dare.)

Then during that same year in October, on Halloween, a very bad and scary thing happened that was a sign of what was further to come. That afternoon, I found that when I got home from school, I couldn't get around the house or do normal things without performing rituals to cancel out bad thoughts over and over again. It was weird and I didn't want to do it, but if I didn't I would feel a lot of anxiety and panic like something was very wrong. I kept having to enter and re-enter through the front door. This was really weird and I had never done that before. Then just to move into the living room took and put my backpack down took a lot of effort as well. What was going on here I thought!?!?!?!?!? I couldn't believe this was happening. It was so bizarre. I ended up spending about 3 or 4 hours in the bathroom because I couldn't get out of there because every time I tried to do the perfect ritual, my body would itch or something else would go wrong and I had to redo the rituals over again. After a few hours, I wanted to get out of there bad, I felt like a prisoner in my own bathroom! What could be stupider than that? The trick or treaters came by since it was Halloween and while they came I was stuck there in the bathroom trying to get out!!!!!! Afterwards I was so exhausted and drained, and I hoped that that would be the only day I would have to do those rituals. I thought tomorrow I'd be back to normal again. But I was very very wrong. It went on each day the same way. I had to fight hard to not do them, but I had to do them. It cost me a few hours each day. Sometimes less, sometimes more. My grades plummeted too as you might expect. I got a lot of D's and F's on my report card. I didn't tell anyone beside my parents because no one would understand and I was ashamed of this too. On some nights when the rituals were costing me too much time, I would yell at myself saying "Come on you @#$%, let me go!!!!!!!"

After a few months of enduring this inner hell, my parents took me to a psychiatrist. I didn't know how to describe what was happening. My communication skills were bad and I was too shy too and I was ashamed to admit this weird disorder. From what he had to go on, the psychiatrist diagnosed me with schizophrenia and gave me Prozac. Schizophrenia I thought?! Now I'm really done for! How could I ever be a good witness for Christ now? Would a crazy deluded schizophrenic who was unable to control his own thoughts be a good representative for Christ? Of course not! I would give him a bad name if I told people I was a Christian now! My witnessing life was over I guess. My dreams of becoming a Missionary and Evangelist and converting many people to Christ were shattered. What would I do now? Since I heard there was no cure for Schizophrenia and I might have it for the rest of my life, this means I might never be able to even live a normal life again! I might as well forget about any other dreams in general as well.

Anyway, I tried the Prozac, but all it did was increase my anxiety to the point where every minute felt like an hour and I felt like a Mexican jumping bean! I couldn't even sit through an hour of class under Prozac, so I had to discontinue it. That psychiatrist moved, so I was referred to another one. This one diagnosed me as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He prescribed another drug called Mellaril or something. It didn't have bad side effects and I wasn't sure if it worked or not, hard to tell. Anyway, he was cold and uncaring even though I liked his assistant, who was a talking therapist. So for some reason I don't remember, we went to a third psychiatrist and he diagnosed me with both disorders, Schizophrenia and OCD! Oh great! That whole year I went to church and my youth group every week and for Wednesday Bible study too, but it was never the same. Everyone I liked at the church moved away. I kept praying and hoping God would do something to make my life better and especially take away my Schizophrenia/OCD or whatever. Nothing happened. Nothing changed. In fact, it got worse and worse as the year went on. I didn't understand why God, who has absolute control over every atom and molecule in the universe, didn't do anything about this. By the end of the year, I felt so helpless, powerless and confused that I became depressed too. Then summer came and I was glad to get away from school at least so I wouldn't have to deal with the pressures there and my disorder at the same time. But I still had no idea why my whole life changed just after one bad summer. I didn't understand why God let this happen. It didn't make sense! I mean I know about the story of Job, but come on! Dealing with the outer world is hard enough, but when you're mentally ill you can't even deal with your INNER WORLD, how does God expect me to deal with the outer world! How would I ever be a good witness for Christ in the state I'm in? How would I even live for Christ for that matter?

After Summer, school started again and I was a junior now. I was hoping this would be a better year, but instead this turned out to be the ABSOLUTE WORST HORRIFIC period of my life! I have labeled this period as the "Holocaust" of my life. I'm serious! When I hear or see the word "1989" I still feel a slight shudder of fear. My mind has blanked out this period so much from my memory that I don't even acknowledge that it existed. When I went back to school, I found that I was completely overwhelmed and didn't even have the will or interest in going to school or doing any homework. School felt threatening to me now. For some reason I could not cope with anything in life now. I even lost the desire to go to church because I didn't feel important to anyone there and the sermons didn't connect with anything I was going through. They were boring, repetitious and empty. Plus my prayers were never answered anymore and I had lost my fire for the Lord. I was too depressed and had no motivation to get up in the morning. Why get up when there was nothing but pain, loneliness, and schizophrenia rituals to look forward to everyday? I couldn't face all that and concentrate on tons of boring homework loads everyday. This also happened to be the most academically challenging school year in high school as well. Do you think I was in shape to deal with that? Yeah right. I had to stop going to school because it was pointless, lonely, and if I continued I would get all F's in every class.

As I stayed home on school days not knowing what to do, I felt hopeless and sank further and further into depression. I felt like my life was over. There was nothing but doom, gloom and hopelessness. I lost even the ability to enjoy very simple things. I tell you, you've never known what true depression is like until you experienced what I experienced at that time. It's like you're so depressed that you can't even muster the energy to raise a finger simply because there's no point to. All the happy and fun times I ever had seemed like a false illusion now. There was no logical solution to my life. I saw no way out. Not only was I depressed and hopeless, but since my Schizophrenic symptoms hadn't lessened after a whole year, it looked like it would be with me forever. There was no way I could ever live a normal life if I had to spend hours each day in rituals and had trouble with even simple things like getting around the house. And there was no cure for Schizophrenia either. This means that not only will I never be able to live a normal life, have dreams, hold a job, get married or have children, but that I would also eventually have to spend the rest of my life in a mental hospital and be looked upon by society as a pitiful thing to be sorry for. There was no point to that kind of existence. I felt like the only escape was suicide. But I didn't even have the guts to do that. So all I could do was lay around feeling too depressed to even move and I tried to sleep as many hours as possible to escape all this. All I felt 24 hours a day during that time was doom and gloom. Even when the big San Francisco Earthquake of 1989 struck, I was lying down on the couch at my uncle's house too depressed to move. I felt the house shake and just thought "An earthquake? Big deal. Go ahead and kill me. Make the roof fall down. Then I won't have to endure this anymore." I still can't believe I said that even today. Anyway, what I experienced during those 6 months that year will never be forgotten, and I shudder even today when I think about it. What I experienced is not describable with words. It's like your soul and life are being sucked dry to death and you are completely helpless to do anything about it. It's very very very difficult to conceive that I went through this and at the same time conceive of a God that exists.

My parents were at a loss as to what to do, so they sent me to a local mental hospital. I was scared at first, but the staff turned out to be very supportive and I enjoyed the environment. It became a great getaway and I enjoyed the pool, volleyball and other activities. For the first time in a while I felt able to enjoy things again. I didn't feel the pressures I had in my school and home life. I even played a lot of chess there and beat all the staff and other patients :) After a month or two I was discharged from the mental hospital. I was reluctant to leave though, which was funny because I was dragged kicking and screaming in there but now I felt sad to go and leave such a nice and supportive place. Since I didn't want to deal with that snobby school I hated again though (by the way this was the same school Kristi Yamaguchi the world famous ice skater graduated from just to let you know), they decided to send me to a different high school for just a few classes because they didn't want to risk me being overwhelmed again. So I only took 2 classes at the new school and did the rest on home schooling. This worked out and I felt refreshed and at peace for once in a long time.

After the school year, I decided I wanted to take a big break from all that I went through and go to Taiwan for a year to teach English and be with my relatives who were the only ones who liked me for who I was. I hoped it would be a good way to recuperate from what I went through. Everyone in my family agreed that it was a good idea because 1) We were afraid that if I just started school again after summer then I might be overwhelmed again by school, life, Schizophrenia and depression like I was last year and not be able to function. I certainly didn't want to take that risk. 2) After a year in a good environment with lots of caring people, my mind might develop and become mature enough to deal with school when I came back. 3) Also, it would give my Schizophrenia/OCD rituals a year to heal or lessen somewhat, which would further help me to deal with school when I came back. It turned out that we were right! When I came back, I was a whole different person in a lot of ways, which I'll get into later. I had a lot of fun there and made a lot of friends too. It was the first time in two years that I felt really happy and enthusiastic again. It wasn't that I just had a good time there, it was that I was so relieved to have made it out alive through the last two years when I thought my life was over. I wasn't doomed after all I guess. It was just such a relief, and I felt this relief everyday for an entire year. After all when you go down to the bottom of a pit, there's nowhere to go but up! It was a wonderful refreshing feeling, kind of like the feeling you get when you get out of the shower you know, except that you feel it for the whole year! Because I felt so much better and free, my Schizophrenic symptoms lessened so fast that I forgot about them soon!

During that year when my mom came to visit me in Taiwan for a few months, she took me to see some Spiritualist healers and to some Taoist-like temples to find out if we could get some help for the mental illness I had for 2 years. 3 Different spiritualists who didn't know each other told her that they could "see" two souls inhabiting me for a past karmic crime I committed against them. She was instructed by the leaders of a Taoist-like temple to perform these strange exorcism rites, which involved putting leaflet spells above the bedroom I slept in and having me take baths in some hot herbal water tossed in with yellow spell leaflets. It was all weird to me and my Christian world view taught that Satan was behind these kind of things. But I thought oh well, being a Christian never helped me through those 2 hellish years anyway, so why not give Satan a chance at helping me? Anything would be better than having to go through what I went through again. So I just went along with everything to humor my concerned mom. During some of their temple rites, I saw some strange things that I never knew existed in any religion. While in a trance, one of the spiritualists made a lot of fierce and fast movements. I was wondering if he was possessed or something. Anyway, after the spells and exorcisms, they said that the 2 spirits in me were gone and that I would gradually return to normal. To speed up the process of returning to normal, they suggested that I become a vegetarian as well. I tried that and liked it too, so I stuck with it up to today. My conscience felt cleaner when I didn't eat meat, plus the vegetarian food there in Taiwan was absolutely delicious! Anyway I had fun the rest of that year and I taught English in tutoring schools as well. My mental disorder thing had also decreased to where it was controllable.

When I came back after a year, I felt confident, energized, optimistic and ready to tackle anything. I started my senior year in that new high school that I went to before I left. I didn't make that many friends there because it was hard for me to break into the already formed cliques, but at least everyone was nice to me and respected me which I wasn't used to. It was a boring year, but at least I had peace of mind everyday and I easily faced each day with confidence and drive. Homework was easy because I could select classes that were easy or interesting so I finally started getting good grades. I found that I could think and concentrate clearly too, so I had a lot of control over my thoughts and emotions for the first time. Maybe it was because the vegetarianism helped clear my conscience? I don't know. But either way, I found it easy to read and write and to be excited by even the little things. Amazingly, some cognitive abilities and talents I never knew I had appeared out of nowhere! I suddenly felt like I had mastery over organizing my thoughts and words so that I could communicate any thought or idea I wanted. No thought or idea was too difficult to put into words, and I could do it all in a very organized coherent way too! I never was good at writing until then. My speech and writing became very articulate. Wow! I could write school papers and essays easily and could summon lots of creative thoughts and insights at will. It all became second nature to me. In addition, I found that my depth of understanding had greatly increased, and I could also see things from a lot more angles than I ever could before. This of course, made all my essays and school papers even better. It was like my cognitive, intuitive, insight and awareness jumped up a level by itself!

Later that year, I felt that it would be a good time for me to get back into Christianity again. I missed having the sense of purpose it gave me. I started reading the Bible and other Christian books again, and remembered all the intellectual arguments I used to support the Christian faith. I started looking for a church to go to again. I found a Christian Club on campus too, which I attended. Then I started going to a church referred to me by some of the people in the Club. Anyway, I started being on fire for the Lord again and started witnessing to people again too. I even came close to getting into trouble with some Muslim Afghan students at the school, because they were insulted at me trying to convert them to Christianity. They said that if I was in their country, a mob would kill me for attempting to convert people! lol But I didn't care and I was willing to take a few beatings for the truth of the Gospel of Christ because the true living God was working behind it, so I had nothing to fear. One day, I even went to my Art History teacher after class and asked him why after a week of teaching us about Christian Medieval Art he never once mentioned about what Christ did for us on the cross and the Gospel he preached. I left him a Gospel tract and said that he could learn about what Christianity was about in it. He just said that he wasn't the right person to be sharing this with and that I should be sharing it with fellow students instead. After I graduated from high school, for some reason I never again regained interest in Christianity. This had always been a mystery to me until now. Only recently have I realized that the likely reason was that I had probably used Christianity as a crutch to get through life and give it meaning. After high school my childhood problems were gone and I needed no more crutches. It was then that I could finally take an honest look at Christianity and deal with the negative irreconcilable aspects of it, which I always knew were there but didn't want to face it for fear of blasphemy and because I needed the sense of purpose it gave me. Soon, my doubts starting creeping in.

That summer I was able to use my new found insight and understanding to re-evaluate the Christian beliefs I had. While on a plane on a vacation to Florida, I looked out at the night view below while we passed over Houston, Texas and the following thoughts came to my mind:

"There's something very wrong with Christianity here. I've known this a long time but was always afraid to face it. But since I value integrity of thought and a clear conscience, I might as well be honest now and face it no matter how blasphemous it may be. Now, I know that according to Christian teaching, billions of people out there in the world are going to go to hell because they're sinners and don't even know it. But why is it their fault when they don't even know it and were born with it? Sin to the Bible is any imperfection that we have, but since we were not born perfect no one can ever be perfect, so then why is it righteous to send them all to hell for an eternity for something they were born with? That's like sending Zebras to hell for being born with stripes! It just doesn't make sense no matter how hard you try to justify it. Now let's put myself in the place of a nonbeliever. Suppose I was a boy in Africa some time in the past who had lived and died without ever hearing the Gospel. This means that no matter how good or bad or anything I was, I was guaranteed to go to hell anyway not only because I was never saved, but because I was born a sinner as a result of the Fall of Man and never even knew it? This means that I would wake up someday before the judgment throne of God about to be thrown into hell for something I never even knew existed, which was sin. After being thrown into hell, I would be tormented for billions and trillions and zillions of years and beyond without end. All for something I never even knew existed. This would be the fate of billions of people who had lived and died throughout history without being saved! Now if I were that boy in Africa and had that fate, would I feel that that was fair in any way at all? To be honest, I wouldn't feel that that was fair in the least bit. In fact I would feel that that was 1000 percent unfair!!!!!! Something is definitely wrong here. Something is inherently not right about Christian theology. I am absolutely SURE about that! There's no question about it. There MUST be other answers out there somewhere that makes more sense than this! And I fully intend to find those answers from here on!"

At that time I knew that these thoughts I was having were blasphemous to the Christian faith, but since I was so SURE that there was something inherently wrong here, that certainty gave me the courage to continue to think these things through. That's when my search for truth, meaning and answers began.

Aftermath and the Spiritual Insights I Discovered:

The vacation in Florida was great. After summer, I started community college. It was there that I learned a lot about the world that I didn't know before, its diversity, different cultures and beliefs, different viewpoints and opinions from great people throughout history from the past up to the modern era, etc. At this point I started seeing the world from a whole new perspective which helped me appreciate life even more. No longer did I see the world as a world of sin and darkness as I had been taught. No longer did I see the world as a giant dungeon where everyone was enslaved and chained up by sin, darkness, Satan and demons. Instead, I saw the world as a rich beautiful diverse place with its own problems and challenges to work through over time. I saw that each unique person in the world was on a path to evolve which included challenges and lessons to be learned. I realized that it was wrong to try to convert someone from that path, and that it was best to let people grow, learn and evolve on their own path and find their own destiny.

But what about finding the answers about the truth of God and religion? I wasn't sure where to begin. I knew that each religion claimed to have the truth and that they disagreed with each other on many things, so they couldn't all be right could they? But how would I know which religion was true and which wasn't? I thought there was no way to really find out until after you die. So I just became an agnostic and left it at that for a while. But eventually, I believed that if there were answers out there, then there must be some way to find them. I wasn't satisfied with being an agnostic and dropping the issue for good, so I decided to search again. It was then that I found some New Age spirituality books that had caught my attention. I had remembered that a few years ago my Youth Pastor had warned of the dangers of the teachings of the New Age movement. I had no idea what it even was at that time, but now I was curious. Maybe it would show me something that the traditional organized religions didn't. Fortunately, it did. Many of the concepts made so much sense to me and showed me the big picture. It was like it borrowed all the truths from each religion and put it into a giant wheel that represented the total sum of cosmic divine truth. That was it, I thought! Each religion represented a different aspect of the truth, and when you put them all together you get a better view of the whole picture! Bingo! This was the answer I was looking for. Now I understood what that secular adage meant that said that all religions are different interpretations of the same God. Before I thought that was just a cop out, now I understood how much sense it made. The reason that the great religions contradicted each other were due to the differences in man's interpretations of the divine, not the fault of the divine. In fact, the more I learned about each religion, the more parallels I could see between them. The same underlying themes seemed prevalent and all pointed in the same direction. I also learned that since religion was man's interpretation of God, that God didn't really fit into any organized religion, but was far beyond the limitations that they imposed on him.

For the next few years, little by little I gradually developed the courage to read books with ideas from other religions and New Age beliefs as well. For a while, each time I picked up one of these books, the words "Satan" and "blasphemy" would come to mind, but I as I learned more and became more confident in my new knowledge, those fears lessened and eventually diminished. One day, I found another profound answer to what I was looking for. I saw a quote in a book that said "The more and more you look at the universe, it appears less like a great machine and more like a great thought." That's it I thought! We don't have to look for God out there in some abstract place. We are all a part of God. We are all like atoms and molecules in the large organism we call God. Like each atom and molecule in our body, we each serve a higher purpose that we aren't aware of yet. This made even more sense to me as I realized that everything in the universe seemed to be made up of something revolving around something else. For example, in an atom there are protons and electrons orbiting a nucleus. Likewise, on a planetary scale, moons revolve around planets. On a larger scale, planets revolve around suns. From an even larger scale, suns and stars revolve around the center of each galaxy. So if we are all made up of atoms which contain things orbiting around each other, then maybe suns, stars, and galaxies are also like atoms which make up a larger whole we call God! I envisioned that everything in the universe was like valuable parts of the inside of an intricate clock, each part was valuable, unique, and served its own purpose. We just don't always see or realize that purpose unless we reach higher states of being and consciousness. At the time, I thought I was the only one who came to the conclusion that God was the totality of everything. Soon though, I realized that I wasn't and that others searching for truth had discovered the same thing, and that this view of God in fact had two terms for it. One was "Pantheism" and the other was "Monism."

I also discovered that we could all find God and divinity in ourselves just by tapping into our higher selves and higher states of consciousness. It was like we were Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who discovered that she had the power to return home the whole time because she had already been wearing those red magical shoes the whole time. Likewise, we could find God and the divinity within ourselves by just simply going within.

Finally, I discovered that many great great mystics and seekers of truth throughout history and in our modern era have come to the same conclusions that I came to as well. This said to me that there must be something to my discoveries after all! From their books and books written about them, I discovered very similar themes. These themes reveal that we are all souls from higher levels which have decided to come down to Earth to learn lessons and grow. We do this by either continuously reincarnating here or in other worlds or other planes of existence until we learn the lessons we need. As we learn, grow and evolve, we reach higher levels of consciousness, which allow us to enter higher heavenly realms. Some call these higher realms Heaven. Others call them Nirvana, Astral Planes, or Re-unification with God. There are different levels of these higher heavenly realms, and between 7 and 10 are named. In addition, I learned that millions of people who have had Near Death Experiences (NDE's) and Out of Body Experiences (OBE's) have had these same higher truths and themes revealed to them during their experiences. All this told me that there must be something to these themes if people from all over the world had the same things revealed to them somehow.

Then I started reading books and articles that critiqued Christianity. I learned that the version of Christianity that I had believed in was called “Christian Fundamentalism.” I was amazed at how many arguments there were against it, and also at how many irreconcilable contradictions there were in it. Before, I thought there were no good arguments against it. Now I realized that there were as many arguments against it as there were crops in a field! Whoa! The more and more I researched, the more came out. Just when I thought that was all there was, more kept popping out! I was amazed.

Now I realized why most non-Christians were so turned off by Evangelistic preaching. As a Christian it used to baffle me why anyone would turn down the Gospel and reject free eternal life. It was like they were rejecting a million dollars offered them for free. Now I realized that it wasn't as free as I thought. To non-Christians, the Gospel asked them to adhere to extreme beliefs, took away freedom of thought, used fear of punishment to invoke compliance, and forced values onto people that they didn't agree with. As I Christian I never realized this because my beliefs put me in such a warped frame of mind as to not see this. Now I realized that while non-Christians couldn't really relate to the Christian perspective, it was also true that Christians had lost the ability to relate to the perspective of non-Christians. Since I became a Christian at 10 years old, I never really understood the non-Christian perspective until now.

There was another benefit to all this as well. Because of all these discoveries along with my new views of God and spirituality, I realized that my parents and relatives weren't going to hell after all! This lifted a huge burden off me and gave me peace of mind. In a way, I had saved my parents and relatives from going to hell just by realizing that they weren't going in the first place! My parents had been right all along that I didn't have to convert them or any of my relatives. All I had to do was appreciate where they are, because they were already where God wanted them to be. I now had peace of mind to move on and discover my own potential. I was free now to explore the limitless possibilities of life, knowledge, mind, philosophy, spirituality, etc. A whole new adventure was just beginning.

Five years later in 1997 I met the most wonderful person in the world. I met her online and we talked for a year before meeting. When we finally met she turned out to be everything I wanted. She was very beautiful both inside and out. She was very much like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Like Belle, she adores and is adored by children and animals. When we met, we knew we were a match made in heaven and the love between us was unconditional. I moved up to Washington to be with her, which was a good thing because I had always wanted to live in that beautiful state someday. We live together to this day. I now work in a Human Services occupation and I like to read and write about religion and spirituality in my free time.

I know that my problems aren't all over and that there will always be ups and downs in life, but my experiences have given me the ability to see a larger perspective which I otherwise wouldn't have had. Seeing the big picture helps me to not be overwhelmed by every little thing that happens, but instead helps me to be detached and see life as a process with its challenges that allows us to grow and learn so that we can ultimately achieve wholeness within ourselves and unity with God.

Thank you for reading this, and may you all find your true bliss, true self, and ultimate destiny.

Sincerely,
Winston Wu


Conclusion and My Own Theory About What Happened To Me:

Well there you have it. I'm sorry for making this so long. I had intended to write a much shorter version, but as I was writing all this, it was like I was reliving all the pain and joy of it again, so I was compelled to describe so many details about it. If that made it long and tedious to read this, then I apologize. But I hope that you will try to understand and appreciate the life story I just told you. In a way it was very therapeutic for me to write all this out. It had been hidden and repressed for so long. Many of these things I never wanted to tell anyone. Even today though, it's hard for me to make sense of it all really, there were so many ups and downs. I don't really understand why things went the way they did or if things went the way they were meant to.

But now I have a theory though. In summary here are the main events:

1. I was a passionate devout Christian on fire for the Lord and believed I had found ultimate truth.
2. A snowball of odd tragedies struck, which turned things around.
3. Along with that, Schizophrenia or OCD came and made my life an inner hell.
4. The powerlessness of not being able to cope with it all led to deep depression as well. I thought my life was truly over.
5. Things got better and with that my mental disorder symptoms subsided.
6. After recovering from all that, I attained a level of transcendence and awareness that I never had before. My cognitive, writing, speaking, communication, insight and understanding abilities suddenly reached a level on their own. It was then that I was able to understand higher spiritual truths.

So I was wondering then. Perhaps my soul or higher self wanted to evolve to a higher awareness level and when it was in the process of doing so, my physical brain had trouble adjusting to it, so it started misfiring and malfunctioning, which created those obsessions and delusions. Perhaps that is the reason behind some mental illnesses. The reason I postulate this is because I recently read some articles about patients who recover from Schizophrenia and become better than before. They become smarter and more successful in life. I thought that my case was a fluke or a mystery, but when I learned that this happened in other cases too, it made me wonder whether going through a mental illness was in some way a path to transcendence of some form. What do you all think? In case you want to read the articles on the websites I mentioned, here they are:

Click Here

And Here

Thank you for reading this, and I hope that you can get out of it whatever lesson you see in it.

Yours Faithfully,
Winston


Update: My new article debunking Christian arguments

A few years after I made use of the knowledge I gained from the research I did on Christianity to understand it and give me the courage to leave it, and wrote a long treatise called “Debunking the Arguments of Christian Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and Apologists”. If you are interested in reading it, write me for the link.

URL: angelfire.com/me2/mccl
City: Seattle
State: WA
Country: USA
Became a Christian: 10
Ceased being a Christian: 19
Labels before: Bible-believing Christian
Labels now: Skeptic, Truth-Seeker, New Ager
Why I joined: It's promises appealed to me, and I needed a crutch to get through my childhood.
Why I left: I no longer needed the crutch, and there were too many things that were unjust about it. See my story.
Email Address: WWu777 at aol dot com