6/28/06                                                                                       View Comments

I am Glad that I have found you all!

sent in by David

As a young man this Christian doctrine was forced on me like it was forced on many others. I was lead to believe that if you did not bow down to Jesus that you would forever burn in hell. But, they did not explain that while Jesus may have lived at some point that his teachings were twisted by other men and then in order to stay in a position of power over others they made these magical stories of Jesus walking on water and being raised from the dead. They have forced fed this crap onto us for far to long. They use this teacher as a way to murder millions or to force these same millions into servitude to the leader. The Catholics used the inquisitions to further their hold when people did not believe in what they had to say they killed them and with few non-believers around this helped to spread their disease.

I was able to break loose after reading many books by different scientists and finding that one there is no possible way that the Earth could be only 6,000 years old as the Christian heads have always said. Two they never explained things like history which if you do not have a working knowledge of the history of the time period or of the people you will not understand what you are reading when you read the Bible. Without the history you will be looking at the Bible through the eyes of someone modern and this does not enable you to read the truth. Which is that Jesus while being a good JEWISH RABBI and leader of HIS own JEWISH people he was no God he only wanted his people to be free of the roman rule and to have the JEWS back in control of their own land. But, in order to keep the followers in line and the money they were receiving coming in the early church fathers had to make up something. And this is the myth that Jesus was a God and so they have flourished for over 2000 years and continue to rain death and destruction until this very day. The Christian Bush is now killing Iraqis that had little or nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks but we must take the heathen God's justice. (So we can get Gods oil) Sorry about the political view I get carried away sometimes.

Anyway there is no sign of the Christian movement going away. But, as for myself although I do not think any of the religions of the world have it right just in case there happens to be one out there that responds to this I will quote John Milton from Paradise Lost: "It is better to rein in hell than to serve in heaven." But, I do not think that most of the mindless Christians out there give much thought to reading anything beyond their flawed Bible.

Marion
Ky
USA
Joined: 13
Left: 25
Was: Baptist, Methodist
Now: Freethinker, Agnostic
Converted because: Fear of Hell , Adults kept shoveling this on us.
De-converted because: Began to self educate and read the bible and other books and found the bible to be a propoganda tool of those in power trying to keep us good little sheep in line so that they could further enslave our minds and our bodies.
email: dlee_75 at yahoo dot com

6/26/06                                                                                       View Comments

Free Thinker's discourse

sent in by Lynn D. Ellis

I will not submit to the intimidation of those who claim any theories, ideas, or philosophies about the nature of reality are exclusively their own institutionalized domain - whether theological or quasi scientific.

I will not be governed by the mind police who believe themselves to be inherently correct in the positions they hold. I choose to think and reason unencumbered of their supposed "enlightened" views.

I will not be dominated by political correctness so that my own personally held beliefs must first filter through the threshold of sequestered thoughts and ideas held captive by the credentialed power mongers.

I will not be manipulated, handled, or made to fit a social paradigm that continues to reinforce its own self-made image of intrinsic superiority. Many fail to recognize there may never be a philosophy, idea, religious tenet or dogma, scientific theory, or even a societal anomaly that will not be ultimately proven false.

The entire Universe is in a continual state of flux.

Humanity is no exception.


Tucson
AZ
USA
Joined: nine years old
Left: Fifty-one
Was: Baptist, Christian, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Born-Again
Now: None
Converted because: I wanted to go to heaven and not hell when I died
De-converted because: After suffering extreme pychological abuse as the result of "faith in God," I knew there had to be something far better. Following is my statement of present beliefs:
email: lynette190 at msn dot com

Losing My Religion

sent in by Cindy

I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist family. Being Baptists they of course had very stanch views on everything, nothing escaped the judging eyes of their religion. Not even my personal issues were safe from their prying eyes. As a result I gladly strayed from the church and my views changed dramatically.

I attended church like a good little girl every Sunday. I prayed, listened to Christian music, and did missionary work. Every Sunday I would listen gratefully to the sermons and feel like that was the absolute truth.

There was one sermon in particular that really stuck with me. The sermon was about the "Evils" of homosexuality and how they are "Sinners" and deserve the "Fires of Hell." This sermon stuck with me in such a way that it made me fear the homosexual lifestyle. I refused to befriend them or to even acknowledge them. I practically hated them and their sin.

To my dismay one Sunday I was sitting in church minding my own when a gorgeous girl walked in. My heart began to race and I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I was attracted to her. I couldn't believe it, so I ignored it. I went home and prayed for my earlier "sin" to be forgiven.

These feelings for girls continued to haunt my mind everywhere I went. I was a "Sinner" as far as I could tell at the time and I was going to go to "Hell." I didn't dare speak to anyone about these feelings for fear my horrible secret would be revealed.

One day at school in my English class there was a discussion on gay marriage. They all seemed to unanimously agree that gays had the right to marry one another. I was appalled how could people be so misguided. Slowly as the discussion progressed I began to listen and as I listened something in my mind clicked.

That day I was sitting alone on the computer looking at a Gay Rights website and I began to think. Homosexuals can't help the way they are and any compassionate form of God would realize that.

Next Sunday the Pastor announced that the next four Sundays would be lessons on the evils of homosexuals. I sat through the first lesson and grew more annoyed. How could they hate them so much? They always talk about love and understanding but they never bothered to understand homosexuals.

After church I told my dad my horrible secret, that I am one of the people with a unique sexual preference, a sinner in their minds. I asked my dad if I could stop going to church because I am sick of the hatred, he refused.

The next Sunday I was sitting quietly and the pastor was ranting on about how these sinners will go to hell. I sat there patiently and waited him to finish his ridiculous speech. He finally prayed and it was over with and I could leave.

Just as I was walking out a rather self-righteous group of teenagers came up to me. They felt it was their Christian duty to tell me that I was a sinner and that my dad told them everything. They continued ruthlessly, telling me what awful punishments I had in store.

Finally I couldn't take it I ran away crying so hard my head hurt. I ran away from the church and have never gone back. What I thought was perfect was merely misguided mind-set that was ruthlessly pounded into my head.


Your State AZ
Your Country USA
How old were you when you became a Christian? 4 or 5
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? 16
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Baptist
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Collective Unconscious and various other Ideas
Why did you become a Christian? I believed it
Why did you de-convert? disillusionment with God

6/24/06                                                                                       View Comments

Free At Last

sent in by Lisa

I'm so glad to have found this site. I'm at that newly-deconverted, lonely stage; although husband of 27 years and two teenage children deconverted with me. Turns out the kids were having more questions than I was. We were even "elite" Christians - "come-outers" who left the organized church system in favor of home meetings - where the "Spirit" flowed freely and no person was in charge. We stopped believing in hell years ago; favored "universalism", or salvation for all. But through difficult circumstances I began to have more questions than answers. God never answered my prayers; the scriptures lied: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" - NOT! "The prayer of faith shall heal the sick" - NOT! And I began to stop forcing myself to accept that every bad thing that happened to me was God's will for my life: "count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations". "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial...".

It was like I was supposed to roll over and accept that every bad thing that came along was God "perfecting, purging, testing, chastising (He chastises those whom He loves") me. You can't be a good Christian unless you're being persecuted - I began to live a life of self-inflicted suffering and persecution; instead of standing up and fighting for what I loved, I believed it was God's "will" for me to lose it and suffer for His sake. How sick is that? I actually believed I was special to God because He allowed me to suffer so much - I must be worthy! Now I look back and can't believe that I believed such poppycock, and that I was so sick - and that all Christians are so sick. And when I began to question - WELL!!! "Are YOU asking GOD to PROVE HIMSELF TO YOU?????" How dare you? Who do you think you are? It must be something wrong with you, because God is perfect in ALL His ways!

Can you tell what a relief it is for me to be free from this? And "thank God" (pun intended) my children got freed from it so young, so they won't grow up as warped as I was. They're already so balanced and normal - they can enjoy life, take the good things without fear of God taking them away so they can be "tested and proven", and fight for what they love; make their own minds up and live life on their own terms.

Thanks again,
Lisa


Louisiana
How old were you when you became a Christian? young child
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? 45
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Assembly of God: born-again, spirit-filled, Charismatic
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Freethinker
Why did you become a Christian? Dad was a preacher-turned-alcoholic
Why did you de-convert? Too many questions, too many discrepancies, too many unanswered prayers; in short, it just didn't work
email: SHe9909732 at aol dot com

6/19/06                                                                                       View Comments

Annoyed by the stalled growth in maturity

sent in by Lena

It’s time I proclaim my atheism, as I once proclaimed my “salvation”.
Christianity came and went in my teens; I was greatly disappointed in
the church after receiving judgment from the elders and a pastor in the
church I attended.

The issue is far too sensitive for me to talk about (I made bad choices
because of previous abuse as a child. The judgment from those elders
was to not speak to me nor reply to my “hello”).

As I look back, if those people in this church had studied psychology
and human nature, there wouldn’t have been much room to judge. The more
we know about human nature and the psyche, the less prone we are to
judge. A child who never received love in a home will seek out love from
any adult, or any child their own age and “do the wrong thing to receive
that affection”. Psychology knows this, the Christian generally
doesn’t.

It’s all about reading the Bible only, and very little about “real
life”.

Now many years down the road after simply letting go of anything that
has to do with churches and Christianity, I moved from Sweden to the US.
My plan was to be here for a year or more for work-purposes, but life
happened and I am still here 10 years later.

During those years I have observed a society in which Christianity is
very common. They say some 80% of Americans are Christians, am I right?

I met wonderful Christians, and some not so wonderful. I am not sure
what came first, the chicken or the egg, but watching the society as a
whole and comparing it to my own home country have been very interesting.

I come from a place where children are raised to think for them selves,
it’s a cultural thing. There are only 4% Christians in Sweden. We are
raised to question things, we weigh things back and forth, and we love
to debate! If things don’t hold up to rhyme and reason, we put it under
the file map "unreasonable". Church and the bible have fallen within
that category.

In public schools we learned about all major religions and cultures
around the globe. Maybe this put things into perspective as we grew up,
learning about other countries, cultures and religions?

Anyways, Christianity soon got in my face big time. There were so many
Christians everywhere! I married into a family, which are Christians. I
continued to be an ex. Christian, nicely saying “thanks, but no thanks
to invitations to church. I am now divorced, but have a child with a
Christian Grammy.

I’ve told her that I think apostle Paul was a man chauvinist. Of course
that ticked her off, but hey, I was thinking like a “dumb Swede” again,
that discussion is enlightening, I actually expected an interesting
dialogue. Nope. Anger is what I got. I am amazed to see her serve her
husband like if he was a child! That would be unacceptable where I come
from. I look in amazement every time she does this, and I think she don’t
want to do this, but think this is what she’s “supposed” to do. That’s
not MY god, that kind of god would have to get kicked to the curb as
far as I am conserned.

Grammy want to “save” my children, she bring my older son to church. It
started nicely as I got married; she started teaching from the bible
without asking for permission. That really ticked me off! “Who the hell
do you think you are?” was my reaction! What if a Buddhist sat down and
taught my son about Buddhism? What would her reaction be? But there is
no respect the other way around. As it is now, he goes with her to
church on Sundays, I have told him to think for himself, and if things
don’t add up, pay attention! I let him have the experience for a while
since we (back home) let children make their own choices while encouraging
discussion and questioning. It would be as wrong for me to hold him
away from something I don’t believe in, as it would be for a Christian to
hold him away from other religions or non-beliefs.

I observe this Christianity my MIL displays, and there’s not much but
shining in front of the other members. Then there is church on Sundays,
and yeah, the house meeting on Wednesdays. I see no compassionate
dedication to the “least of us”, for example the homeless and poor and/or
abused people. If you are working with those people with a true
compassion, you will soon find a pattern in their lives. Sometimes bad luck,
temporary crisis, but most often people who have suffered for long from
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) most of them undiagnosed. Sometimes
mental illness, addiction, and very seldom- pure laziness (VERY
seldom). To be of true help to those people, you have to learn a bunch about
social services and psychology. None of these are in the bible, and
Christians dismiss often psychology, I’ve noticed. I am not in a position
to elaborate why right now, and I’m awfully tired,,LOL!

If one are truly a follower of Christ, helping those unfortunate and
poor would be a great priority, isn’t that how Jesus spoke and lived? I
don’t see it very often, I don’t see Christians sharing a meal with a
homeless instead of their friends. I don’t see Christians stopping you on
the street to ask if you have any urgent needs, but I do see Christians
stopping you on the street to ask if you’re saved. It doesn’t feed an
empty stomach, or pay an unpaid power bill. It doesn’t bring a wheel
chair to someone long-term sick that have no insurance to cover one. It is
a false “help me sleep good at night “and” look good in church thing, a
false sense of security that they are doing the right thing, is it fear
of going to hell? Is it a high? A wise old Native American said once to
me that a wise man speak few words. Peace in mind and heart is pretty
silent, and don’t push ideas upon another. True?

Someone smart once said, “If you name it, you lost it. If you found it,
you can’t name it”. This should be the essence of tapping into our
ability to use and direct energy flow.

I really need to cut short here, my brain is pooped. Thanks for taking
the


Walla Walla
WA
USA
Joined: 13
Left: 17

6/18/06                                                                                       View Comments

Breaking the tie that binds

sent in by Truth Seeker

Before I get into my own personal de-conversion story, please indulge me in giving just a little background on my life. Not that my former life as a fundamentalist is that much different than any of the other ex-fundies who post here, because I have found that, as a general rule, most ex-fundamentalist share many of the same experiences. Nevertheless, I feel as if the reader deserves some background of my own fundamentalism, even if it’s a condensed version.



I was born into fundamentalism. My mother was raised a Missionary Baptist in northeast Mississippi. For those of you who might not know anything about Baptist denominations, this particular “brand” of missionary Baptist is an off shoot of southern Baptist, with almost no discernable differences, other than being a touch more conservative and dogmatic. My mother made sure that my sister and I were in Sunday school and church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night, and pretty much every time the doors were opened. She taught Sunday school, and played the piano for the choir, and congregational singing. My father was raised a more “casual” Christian, being brought up in a much more conservative Methodist church. When I was about 10, and after years of praying and preaching on my mothers part, my father started going to church on a regular basis. And as a result, got saved and joined the church. He soon became a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and song/choir director. About a year after that, I too got saved and joined the church.

My salvation experience is one that I will NEVER forget. It was on a Wednesday night after church. I had went to bed, and could not go to sleep that night for fear of dying in my sleep and going to hell. The sermons I had been exposed to all my life were finally starting to sink in, and I become convinced that if I died, I would go to hell. And why not? I mean, it’s what I was told on a regular basis. Our stout, burly preacher who stood 6’3” and weighed 245lbs., had for years been yelling from the pulpit in his deep southern drawl, that all who were not saved would spend an eternity in HELL! I finally decided that I could not go to sleep that night, for fear of waking up burning in hell, and decided to wake my mother up. She promptly called our pastor, and a few minutes later he was at our house. We knelt at the foot of the sofa, and I prayed, admitting to God that I was a sinner, asking forgiveness for said sinfulness, and asking Jesus to come into my heart as my Lord and Savior, and save me. After I got through praying, the pastor asked me if I was saved. I thought about it for a minute….I wasn’t real sure of what to say. But I kind of felt like something had happened. I finally said I was….and he said, “You sure are son”. His affirmation kind of made it seem more real and I was then satisfied that I was truly saved. The next day at school, I was on cloud 10!!!!! I had been SAVED!!!!! I was no longer one of the ungodly. I had seen the light, and was now on the straight and narrow to heaven. Long story short, from that time, until I was 32 years old, I lived as faithful of a Christian life as one ever has: reading, memorizing, and faithfully studying the Bible. As a teenager I taught young boys on Wednesday nights, and as a young adult taught Sunday school. All in all, pretty much your basic fundamentalist.

About 3 years ago, I went through a long, and mentally tumultuous de-conversion. Shortly after I realized that I no longer believed in God, I felt a HUGE desire to write down some of the things I had went through during this process. I had recently come across a piece by Robert Green Ingersol called “Why I am Agnostic,” and felt like he had said exactly what I was thinking. So I used it as a base for what I was writing. I have since gone back and taken out all of the passages that I quoted from this piece, and what follows is what I wrote. And since it is something that I put a LOT of time and thought into, I thought sharing it here would be appropriate. It is not filled with reasons why a person should abandon their faith, as I feel like everyone reading it here could find those on every corner. It’s more of some of the thoughts that I had during my de-conversion process. Not a debate….just a narrative. It's kind of long, so bear with me please. I look forward to the feedback.


Breaking the tie that binds

Is God real? Does he really exist? This is a question that up until a few of years ago, I had never really seriously entertained. Sure, I had questions that came as passing thoughts. Any Christian who has any intelligence at all will have some questions (though he or she might never admit it) if only for a fleeting moment. Such as, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Or, “Why did God allow me to be born into a family and country where Christianity is the norm, and where I could prosper, while there are poor starving people in other countries who have never even heard of God or Jesus Christ, nor ever will?” But, as a Christian, I had been taught and told all my life, on a regular basis, that God is supreme in knowledge and power, and that my level of intelligence was minute compared to God’s, therefore, I could never understand God’s ways or his will. Anyone who said that God does not exist was obviously stupid for not seeing the truth. I was taught (and taught other people as a Sunday school teacher), that the Bible is God’s literal word, without error, and that, God IS, and has always been, and that’s the way it was. And that is exactly what I accepted. That is until about 3 years ago, on the day of my youngest son’s birth. That day, and the 2 years that followed that day, are what I intend on writing about here.

Days when little ones are born are never normal days. And while I was somewhat anxious, I was not as nervous or high strung as the day when our oldest was born. I pretty much knew the routine and what to expect.
Several hours of waiting, pacing, fast food in the waiting room, and idle small talk with all of the waiting visitors.....grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. As people began arriving in the waiting room, they slowly started to move into the small groups that inevitably form when people from several families get together. They congregate into groups where they feel most comfortable talking about their similar interests. My mother walked over to the table where I was feeding my sleep-deprived body a slice of pizza and told me that a good friend of our family, Bill Richards, had died earlier that morning. I was a little shocked, but not surprised since Bill had been in poor health for a long time, and was not expected to live much longer. But the conversation that followed about his LIFE is one that I will never forget.

Bill was a great man — plain and simple — the kind of friend and neighbor that anyone would be envious of. Bill and his wife, Bobbie, had moved just down the road from my grandparents about 15 years prior to his death. Bill had been a laborer in an auto plant up north for most of his adult life, and had retired to a small farm down south in northeast Mississippi to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city northern life. He and his wife lived a very simple life on a small farm. They raised and canned vegetables that looked like they could have come right out of a garden you might see in Southern Living magazine, and shared their harvest with anyone that they came in contact with. They were active in the community, always ready and willing to lend a helping hand, and regularly attended our family functions, as we had adopted them into our family. Bill was the kind of person who loved to give of himself, and did so, on a regular basis. He and his wife became the best friends that my grandparents had ever had. And when my grandfather became ill to the point of death, Bill and Bobbie were always there. Cooking a meal, cleaning the house, running errands, mowing the yard, or WHATEVER needed to be done. Never would you hear Bill say a negative word about anyone, or anything, nor did you hear him use foul language or curse. He did not drink, nor smoke and was a very hard worker, honest in all of his dealings and giving 100% of himself to whatever task lay at hand. As far as mankind goes, he was a shining example of its BEST. Bill had only one trait that differentiated him from the rest of his adopted family. He did not believe in God. Bill was an atheist.

Now.....this was something that I had known about Mr. Bill for a long time. Not because he was extremely vocal about it, because he wasn’t.
But, it wasn’t something that he would lie about, or keep secret. I personally had never talked to him about religion (or lack thereof), and had only the word of my grandparents who had told me of his unbelief in a deity. It wasn’t until this day, the day my youngest son was to be born, that I would learn of WHY he did not believe in God (or at least what led up to his unbelief). It seems that, sometime during my grandparents’ friendship with the Richards, Bill’s wife Bobbie had told this story to my grandmother, and she in turn, told it to my mother, who on this day, told it to me, and my wife’s dad, who had migrated over to where we were, and was listening in on the story.
Bill was born and raised up north. Where, I can’t say for sure, but apparently in a part of the country where Catholicism was the major religion, unlike the south where a Baptist church of one stripe or another can be found on every corner. This was the religion he was born and raised in — the religion of his parents, and theirs before them.

They were very devout in their religion, and raised their children to be very spiritual people, and active in the church. At a fairly young age, Bill became an altar boy, and began to serve his church in that capacity. Over the next few months and years, Bill was sexually assaulted and raped by a priest whom he trusted. As anyone can imagine, this deeply scarred him for life. I personally cannot imagine it, nor do I want to. To have your life forever altered by the actions of a man you trusted in for your spiritual advisor. Over the next few years of Bill’s young life, he came to the conclusion in his heart, soul and mind, that a loving God, a God who CARED for him, could not, and WOULD not let this happen....therefore he must not exist. As my mother told this, my head began to swim with unfamiliar questions. When she finished the story, she said, “What a sad funeral it would be, knowing that he (Mr. Bill) was in hell. Looking down at the floor with my head in a cloud of questions and doubt, I heard my wife’s dad speak up and say, “I don’t know. I mean, if he lived a good life, I am not so sure that he went to hell.” Neither my mother nor I said anything further, for we knew that, according to how WE believed, and how WE interpreted the scriptures, that hell is exactly where he was if he had not accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior … and by his own admission, he had not. But, this one conversation had started a chain reaction in my mind. A domino affect that would not stop until it reached its logical end. From that moment on, I began to wonder, and question, how COULD God do something like this? How could God create a man knowing that this was going to happen? Knowing, that because of a religion centered around Him, GOD HIMSELF, that this would end up causing this man to lose his faith, and ultimately spend ETERNITY
in an evil burning HELL! And in essence this is EXACTLY what happened.
He lost his faith in God, BECAUSE he went to church and trusted in
God!!!!! I thought, HOW IS THIS FAIR? How could a loving God do this?

And at the same time, according to my own beliefs, a man who has murdered, and raped little kids, and stolen, and was a drunkard, and lived the most evil life imaginable, could, on his death bed, admit to God he was a sinner, ask for forgiveness of his sins, accept Jesus Christ into his heart and be saved, and in turn be rewarded with ETERNAL JOY AND HAPPINESS AND PEACE, while a GOOD man, and a JUST man such as Mr. Bill, would be punished (for being raped by a so called man of God), with the WORST EVIL one can imagine. An ETERNITY of hell fire, and darkness, and torture, and the most wicked evil ever imagined. Is this possible? How? Why?

These were the questions I had … and I had to find the answers … no matter what they might be.

Up until this incident, I had never seriously questioned the existence of God or the authority and/or legitimacy of the Bible. I was told (and believed myself) that, all who denied God were simply unlearned fools and that atheists were all evil people being led of Satan, without a clue or purpose in life. Nevertheless, I had to find out and come to my
OWN conclusions about these questions I had. I had to know the truth!
After 32 years of blindly following the Bible and the Baptist doctrine and creed, I had begun to ask questions that demanded answers. I had opened the door to other possibilities. I had begun to think for myself. For the next year and a half, this one question, does God exist, would occupy my every waking thought.


No religion, cult, or wild-eyed atheist came to me and converted me or brainwashed me. Quite the opposite!!!!!! I had reached a point in my life where I was not going to let ANYONE — pastor, teacher, atheist, agnostic, parent or friend, book or Bible — lead me in one direction or the other. I simply began to think for myself ... something that religion (especially fundamentalist religion) WILL NOT allow you to do.

Religion asks you to blindly follow in faith, relying on what OTHERS have written about or believed before you. Sometimes CENTURIES or
MILLENNIUMS before you were born, such as the Bible. New ideas are NOT allowed. Imagine where we would be today if people had never left the paths of accepted belief, and pondered on new ideas, and new concepts. Would we still think the world was flat? Would we have electricity? Or cars? I had decided to think for myself, no longer relying on ONE BOOK written thousands of years ago to guide my beliefs or thought process.

For months I agonized over the question of God. I prayed as often as I thought I could, asking God these questions that I had. Asking him WHY he had allowed this doubt to be placed in my head. I begged him on MANY occasions to show me a sign. Give me positive proof (other than a book that had been written by many men, between 1500 and 4000 years ago), that he existed. Something! ANYTHING! Surely this request was not
SELFISH! I wanted DESPERATELY to continue my belief in God, and have no more doubts. Surely, a little proof was not too much to ask of such a big God.

My proof never came. If He REALLY loved me, how could He have created me to have such doubt???? Knowing it would send me to HELL! He created me to send me to HELL???? How could he have put something as important as my ETERNAL FUTURE into my fragile, weak mind that was now filled with doubt beyond my control?? I had yet to tell anyone of my dilemma, because I was ashamed of how I felt — ashamed that I had lost my faith in God. I didn’t want to tell anyone, partly because I was ashamed, but also because I felt like my questions and arguments were becoming SO powerful and convincing, that by telling someone else, I might cause THEM to start doubting, and at the time, I didn’t want that to happen. But eventually, the pressure of all these questions and doubts I was having, was building up to the point of exploding. So I went to a very trusted pastor friend of mine, and gave it all up. I told him my whole story about how I was having serious doubts about God’s very existence, and why. We talked for several hours. He was neither condescending nor judgmental.

He listened to me, and I to him, with both of us doing equally the same amount of talking and listening. Looking back on this conversation, I can see where it wasn’t much help at all. He used the same circular logic that most all Christians use when defending their faith. God is good, and therefore whatever he does is good … even if we can’t understand it. God’s word is truth ... but only by having blind faith in it and Him will you be able to understand it. When the conversation was over, I asked a favor of him, and told him, if he could not keep it, not to promise to it. I asked him if he would, at some point EVERY day, have a special prayer EXCLUSIVELY for me. Not included in another prayer, but just for me. He promised that he would. I asked this of him because of the promises in the Bible of fervent prayer from the faithful being answered. He said that he was CERTAIN, and had NO DOUBT, that a person who was seeking God as hard as I was, would find him. I have seen him several times since then. We have not talked further about this subject, but he always tells me before we part, that he has kept his promise. I haven’t told him yet, but ... God did not hear him ... or me.

(This is something that I am not going to address in this manuscript, but I have since found out that there are TONS of contradictions in the Bible. Some of which, I have known about a long time, but have always accepted the weak explanations for these contradictions that I had been taught throughout my life. Debate is not my strong point; however, I do feel as if this is a debate that I could easily win with an open minded person.)

I have read and listened to MANY Christian apologists, including Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis. Both of these men are and were extremely intelligent, but in my opinion, sincerely wrong. Each makes a great case for God and Christianity, but they take too many things for granted in their synopsis, and many times lack credible evidence, using only the Bible as their source. Many Christians find great pleasure in defending their beliefs, and spend an enormous amount of time learning facts from history to back up their claims. However, when they come across something that does not correspond with their beliefs, they will simply overlook it, and ignore it, as if it wasn’t there. Either that, or come up with some long, drawn out explanation from unrelated Bible verses to explain it. They take newly uncovered scientific facts, and use them ambiguously to try and prove the inspiration of the Bible.

Again, Christians reading this will adamantly debate this, and claim that I am simply NOT looking at the facts, and comparing them to Biblical accounts. And again I say, YES I HAVE! I have read many apologists books by such greats as C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Max Lucado, and others, all with an open mind, searching for the truth. I have heard all of the arguments using modern scientific facts to claim the Bible’s authenticity. But I, unlike the majority of many Christians, have looked at BOTH sides with an open mind and without bias. I have weighed BOTH sides equally, and found creationism and the Bible to be severely lacking in logical evidence or COMMON SENSE! How could God have meant for His word, that, as many Christians claim is easy enough for a 5th grader to understand, to be this complicated and hard to figure out? Most pastors, preachers and theologians even have to study Greek and Hebrew to make some of the words in their particular translation fit their meaning, resulting in hundreds of different denominations all of whom claim to have the one and only TRUTH! Couldn’t an almighty god do better than this????

I want to, at this point, give you an example of sorts as to my experience over the year and a half that followed Mr. Bill’s death, and the first time I had allowed myself to ask questions about God, Jesus, the Bible and my faith in all of the afore mentioned things. I want you to go back in your mind to when you were a child who believed in Santa Claus, AND to the moment when you realized that he wasn’t real. I was 10 when I found out that Santa was just a fantasy. But the journey to this truth had started exactly one year prior. I was nine, and just as gullible as the next nine year old. Children are like that. They believe what their parents tell them ... usually without question. This particular Christmas day was on a Sunday, which at my house was going to mean a very frantic Christmas morning, trying to fit Christmas breakfast, presents and toys, AND getting ready for church all within just a few hours. On Christmas Eve, we always went to my grandmother’s house, and this one was no different. It was (and still is) in my memory, the very essence of Christmas: all of the good food, the anticipation of opening presents from all of the relatives, hearing the weather man say that he had spotted Santa’s sleigh on his radar, and just knowing that TONIGHT would be the night that Santa would come and end months worth of looking through the wish book and circling the toys that I wanted. It was usually late when we got home on Christmas Eve, and my parents would quickly put us to bed to give us ample time to fall asleep. This particular night was different though. We left for home very early that Christmas Eve night. But to our surprise when we got home, we found out that Santa had already come! My sister and I were BESIDE ourselves! We stayed up past midnight playing with all of our toys, and went to bed just as happy as ever. The next morning (Christmas morning) we got up and got ready for church as normal. In Sunday school that morning, I and all of my 9-year-old pals were discussing all of the toys we had gotten from Santa.

While we were talking, my SS teacher spoke up and said, “You all know that Santa isn’t real ... don’t you?” Of course at this statement, we all stopped talking and sat there with our mouths open, staring at her in utter disbelief at the idiotic statement that had just come out of her mouth. Oh sure, we had heard of people who didn’t believe in Santa
Claus, but to us, those were all crazy people who just did not want to accept the truth! People who overlooked all of the FACTS! It was usually the loser kid in school whose mother let him smoke at age 7, or the crazy drunk uncle we were told to avoid. Nonsense, we all said.

NONSENSE!

I mean, look at the FACTS! Everyone we know believes in Santa: our parents, our friends, and our family. There have been COUNTLESS books written about him. Were they all lying??? What about all the MOVIES? What about the EVIDENCE?? When we go to bed on Christmas Eve, we always leave milk and cookies out for him, and the next morning they are gone!

What about THAT? little Miss Sunday School teacher?!?!?

And the TOYS!!! For God’s sake woman, the TOYS ! How can you explain all of these things??? We made a pretty convincing case for a bunch of 9-year-olds. Nevertheless, she proceeded to tell us how that, after we went to bed, our parents laid out all of the toys, disposed of the milk and cookies, and then went to bed. At which point I KNEW that I had her! I had PROOF that this wasn’t true! “Well then Miss teacher”, I said, ”explain THIS: Santa came to my house EARLY this Christmas. He came LAST NIGHT, and my parents weren’t even there! So poo poo on YOU.” She very calmly, with a smile on her face, explained that some of my other relatives must have come over and put out the toys, in order to save time on Christmas morning.

Phooey!!! This old bat was crazy as a loon I thought, and went on about my business.

But this ONE EVENT had started a chain reaction in my mind.

From that moment on, I began to wonder, (just as I had after Mr. Bill died), “How is this POSSIBLE?” How can this be??? And for the next year, I began to both consciously and subconsciously ask questions, and gather evidence in my mind, one little bit at a time. How COULD one man, assisted by tiny elves, make all of those toys in one little workshop in a place such as the North Pole, which is virtually uninhabitable? And how could he then, load up millions and millions of toys onto ONE sleigh. A sleigh led by FLYING REINDEER no less. And this team of flying reindeer led Santa and his sleigh full of millions of toys, to EVERY home in the entire world in ONE NIGHT!!??!!?? Then, magically shrink himself down, to be able to come down the chimney and avoid the fire, and gobble up BILLIONS of cookies and countless gallons of milk? How could he watch me all year long, every minute of every day, and know for sure if I was naughty or nice?? Not to mention the fact that he was IMMORTAL! Was this possible? Of course, when you see it all laid out like that as an adult, it seems asinine! How could someone believe such a story?? Yet, as I said, children are innocent and gullible — but only to a point. These are questions that my little 9-year-old brain had, for the first time, started to ponder. I had stepped out of my comfort zone ... the place where everyone I knew believed in Santa and scoffed at those who didn’t ... and had begun to THINK FOR MYSELF! (This is the EXACT same path that I had begun to take after Mr. Bill’s death, questioning how a loving God could send such a good man to Hell. For the next year and a half, I began to slowly gather evidence, one little bit at a time — both consciously and subconsciously. I say subconsciously, because for the first time in my life, I was allowing myself to THINK, which in turn allowed me to be open to lots of different subjects and thoughts that previously were
OFF LIMITS due to my Christian beliefs: a magazine here, a book there — a National Geographic TV special here, an Archeology magazine article there — a dash of Richard Dawkins here, and sprinkle of Robert Green Ingersol there.

You get the picture.

It wasn’t an overnight revelation, but rather a long and somewhat mentally torturous process that took place over many months.)

Then came the next Christmas. Christmas Eve was at my grandmother’s as usual. And while I had more doubts now than ever about the existence of
Santa, I still wasn’t fully convinced. And when we awoke that Christmas morning to an ATARI GAME SYSTEM ... well, let’s just say, I couldn’t have cared LESS about WHO had given me the Atari!!! This was THE
HOTTEST gift of the season, and I had one! As my sister and I lay in the floor playing Pong and Pac-Man, my wondering if Santa existed or not was the LAST thing on my mind. After hours of playing Atari video games, we packed up and went to my other grandmother’s house for Christmas lunch, same as every other year. After lunch, we opened presents from that side of the family. As I began to open a present from my aunt, I was very excited, as she lived in the “big city” and was financially better off than our little country family, and she ALWAYS gave the best presents. But as I opened her gift and saw what it was, a burst of energy hit me like a speeding bullet. She had given me an Atari game. Frogger. For the next 10 seconds or so, every single fact that I had been collecting over the past year, came flooding back to my memory. It was then that I realized, without a shred of doubt, that Santa did not exist. How would she have known that I was getting an Atari? I was saddened a little, but soooo happy to finally know the truth. Was it this one event that convinced me of the non-existence of Santa? Of course not. This was just the event that made me realize that, after a year of pondering on all of the FACTS, I no longer believed in Santa. I never told my parents when I found out... and never have. They just assumed at some point that I had figured it out. This story as I have told it, is EXACTLY the same journey that I took in my journey to find out if God was real.

One of the things that kept me holding on to my belief in an almighty god and creator was Paley’s watch/watchmaker argument. Many times in the past, have I heard this argument that originated with Paley. Pastors have used it in sermons that I have heard over the years. Teachers have used it. Hell, even I have used it, being that I was a Sunday school teacher of young adults for over 10 years. No one in their right mind would look at an instrument as precise as a watch and think that it just “came together” without a design or a maker. How true!!!! But the one factor that was ALWAYS left out of this argument was the most important!! And perhaps the most obvious. Yet, for 32 years, I overlooked it. How can there be a designer without a design??? Christians are to believe that God, being INFINITELY more complex than the earth, or man, or anything in it, designed EVERYTHING, yet he himself had NO designer?? When you take this into account, there IS NO ARGUMENT!!! The same logic Paley uses to explain the WATCH, he does NOT apply to GOD! In other words, it is perfectly acceptable for a Christian to say that God has “always existed”, and yet NOT apply that same logic to matter and space. Not to mention the fact that, using a watch as an example is false logic to begin with. A WATCH is NOT natural. A watch cannot reproduce another watch. Whereas a HUMAN starts out as a single cell and is GROWN inside his or her mother’s womb. From the outside, the argument of the watchmaker looks valid... that is, until you apply LOGIC!!!

Christians are very fond of making reference to how precise the earth and the universe are. How that, if the sun were only a few miles closer, we would all burn up... or... how complicated the human body is (such as the precision of the human eye). These, and many other precise intricacies of our earth and universe, are made mention of often in defending creationism and intelligent design. All of which are TRUE!! But how much more complex must GOD be? Surely the CREATOR is greater than the CREATION!?!? And yet they have no trouble believing that HE has just always been. WTF?????

Here is something else that simply amazes me. The bible insists that
God took almost 6 whole days to make the earth and everything in it... but yet he created BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of galaxies, each with billions and billions of stars, in only a couple of hours during one of these six days. This only goes to show how little of the universe the writers of the bible knew. This is not their fault. They had no way of knowing ANYTHING about the vastness of space. To them, an almighty creator was probably the most logical answer. However, in today’s age, we know SO MUCH MORE about our universe. Yet millions of people still hold to the idea of an almighty creator, and some still claim the earth to be less than 10,000 years old! Here again, I cannot blame them... at least not totally. They only believe what they have been taught over and over and over. When you are exposed to ANYTHING on a regular enough basis, you will be more apt to believe it. It is called indoctrination.

I can only urge any Christian who might be reading this, to PLEASE open your eyes!! To you, I am being led of Satan, and am under his control, and therefore I must have lost all my good sense. I know this, because at one time, reading something like this would have INFURIATED ME, and I would have said the same thing. But I beg of you to seek out the truth! To you, you KNOW you have the truth, just as I knew it. But in my mind, I feel like you should give me some credence, because I was such a devout Christian for so long. I mean, you ask this of other people! You ask unsaved people to trust you, and believe what you tell them, and what the Bible says. All I ask is that you open your mind to the possibility that all is not as your religion teaches. THEN make up your own mind.

I do not belittle ANY religion, as long as its followers are allowed to
THINK for themselves and are open to all possibilities. It is not now, nor will it ever be my intention or desire to belittle or look down upon ANY faith. We all believe as we must, and thankfully live in a country where such faith (or lack thereof) can be expressed openly and without fear.

I want to say a little something here about the thousands of different religions that exist now, as well as those which have existed in the thousands of years prior. Over the ages, there have been COUNTLESS different false religions, each having their fair share of followers. How can God condemn the followers of these different religions to hell, being Himself ultimately responsible for having created these religion AND the followers? As children are born into these religions, or lack thereof, they have no choice as to what they are taught! Christian pastors are famous for reminding their congregation this VERY POINT! — about how many millions of people are dying and going to hell EACH DAY because they do not have access to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that they should therefore give more money to missions to help save these people from hell. I agree!!! I mean, if all of these people are dying and going to hell EVERY day because God has not provided them with the message of how Jesus can save them from hell, or even with the message that they are even in danger, then, by ALL MEANS, we need to save these people!!!!

Right?

Right!


Apparently GOD doesn’t care! If so, He would do something to prevent this mass exodus to HELL!!! It is at this point that the Christian who is reading this (if there are any left still reading), will get angry and defensive, and give some long, drawn out confusing answer from the Bible to this dilemma. He or she will say that I am twisting his or her words around, and that this is not REALLY what is going on.

Isn’t it?

This is why I think that debates with a Christian on the subject of whether or not God exists are fruitless — because each side is wholly convinced that they are right. And yet it is the fundamentalist Christian who will take fact after fact and boldly deny them, using ONLY THE BIBLE as their support, claiming that they are misunderstood and that the non-Christian simply cannot understand God’s Holy Word because they are being deceived and blinded by the devil. You know, the Christian religion is founded with so called unbelievers, so it is fairly easy to find someone in Christianity who is a former atheist (Josh McDowell is a good example) or general non-believer. The Christian movement is VERY well practiced in the art of converting said sinners, because they have been doing it so long, and on such a regular basis. Their tactics are tried and true, using emotion and fear as their conversion tools. But you will be HARD PRESSED to find someone such as myself, who was a VERY devoted TRUE believer for as long as I was and has realized that all religion is false, convert BACK to Christianity.

I dare say you could not find ONE!
In other words----atheist to Christian... YES.
Atheist to Christian then back to atheist... YES.
Christian to atheist... YES
Christian to atheist then BACK to Christianity... almost never (I might even say ABSOLUTELY never)!
This is because once your eyes are OPENED, you see religion for what it really is. Then and ONLY then will you understand. I love you, Christian brother or sister — dearly. But you are being deceived, and the irony is, you think I am the one who is deceiving.

You weep for my soul... I weep for your life.

Here is another point that, looking back, I cannot believe I ignored for so many years. The fact that, if God knows EVERYTHING, then he CANNOT feel remorse, or regret. How can you regret something that you KNEW was going to happen, and happened because YOU made it that way? If you KNEW you were going to regret it (not because you have a “feeling” but because you actually have knowledge of the future), WHY DO IT? The Bible says that God REGRETTED having made the Earth and decided to destroy all but eight in it, and THEN he regretted destroying the earth with the flood.

Did he not KNOW this ahead of time??? This would mean that he ADMITTED that he made a mistake, and decided to rectify it by starting over. A god who knows everything past, present and future CANNOT make a mistake. Yet this is what we are led to believe. Also... if God’s knowledge is PERFECT, meaning that He knows ALL, how can such a being THINK? Thinking is a process — a process by which one reaches conclusions. He who knows all outcomes already has no need to think. We are told several times in the Bible that God changed his mind… my dear friend THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE!!!!! He who knows ALL OUTCOMES knows this because it is how He planned it... or “willed” it. He could NOT change his mind!!!

IMPOSSIBLE!!!

If he did change his mind, wouldn’t he have known that he was going to change his mind an eternity ago and therefore made his mind up back then? Let me try and give an example. Let’s say for example that
God, knowing ALL outcomes, knows that, tomorrow, He has planned to take the life of a person because they are living such an ungodly life. He has known this for ETERNITY. Eons, and eons ago, God knew this, because he knows ALL. Then, the night before, this person prays to God, and asks for forgiveness, and God has “mercy on him” and decides that He will forgive this person, and allow them to live for a few more years. In other words, He changes his MIND... the Bible says that this happens ALL THE TIME WITH GOD. This, my friends, is a PARADOX!!! Something that simply CANNOT EXIST! Not to mention the fact that an “all knowing” entity is something that logically is not possible. A being with infinite knowledge would have to be infinitely big. For the average person, this is a VERY deep concept, but one that is totally understandable if one will only ponder on it. And I URGE you to do so!!!! Again, I say to my dear Christian friends, I am in NO WAY making fun of your faith in God. I am simply trying... no, BEGGING you to look HARD at what you believe and to THINK!!! Ask QUESTIONS!!! I have been where you are.

One day while driving down the road, pondering, as I often did, over all the facts that had come my way since that fateful day Mr. Bill died, suddenly, out of nowhere, it hit me like a ton of bricks, just as it had done when I was 10 years old. For about 10 seconds, every fact that I had gathered over the last year and a half converged in my consciousness at one time. It was as if I had been in a dark room ALL MY LIFE, and suddenly someone turned on the lights and I could SEE!!!

It was overwhelming to say the least!!!! And then, as if I should have known it all along, I realized that God, was a fantasy... a myth. I realized that I did not believe in God anymore. For the first moment or so, I was stunned! And then, the most peaceful feeling I have EVER experienced flooded my body and soul. I, for the first time in my life had peace.

Real peace.

No fear or doubt.

No being a slave to Christianity or ANY religion.

I was finally free. I TRULY had been born again!!! Born... into LIFE!

Christianity will teach you that only through Jesus Christ can one have peace. But only now, looking back, can I see that this is a myth and a lie... even if told in earnest sincerity. Religion is bondage! Real peace comes in knowing and seeking the truth. I have never felt happier or been more at peace.

Ever.







I want to conclude by saying that I do not now, nor will I ever, feel ANY animosity towards any of my Christian friends, of whom I have many.
Quite the contrary, I feel sorry for them, in much the same way that they feel sorry for me after having read this.

But unlike them, I RESPECT their right to believe what they want or must!!! I have been where they are. There was a time in my life when I thought and said HORRIBLE things about atheists, agnostics, or ANYONE who disagreed with what I was raised to believe, and would have NEVER listened to anyone who had an opposing view point, REGARDLESS of how many facts they might have presented. I would have prayed countless prayers for them, hoping that God would reveal himself to them, convinced that the devil had taken over their heart, soul and mind. I also know that there are many Christians who have been exposed to this belief system for so long, that no amount of evidence would convince them otherwise, and for them, I feel more sadness than I EVER felt for a soul damned to Hell. When you are exposed to this teaching several times a week all your life, and are taught that even in your personal time, you must read religious material, and listen to religious music on the radio, and that the devil controls the TV, (especially channels like National Geographic, and Discovery), you have a bias, and it is VERY hard to even look at an opposing view point, for FEAR of what people might say about you, or what God might DO to you!

This type of indoctrination is hard to overcome... but not impossible. To those people, I only want to say, wake up. When it comes to Bible knowledge according to BAPTIST doctrine, I know just as much as ANYONE!!! I felt like it was my calling in life to know the Bible, and for YEARS, I read it, studied it, memorized it, listened to it, taught it, believed it, and lived it... just as faithfully as anyone ever has.

ANYONE who knows me will tell you this!

But one fateful day, I let my guard down, and allowed myself to THINK, and it has been the most WONDERFUL experience of my life — hands down!!! All I ask you to do is allow yourself to ask questions about what you believe. If God truly exists, and loves you, and gave you a free will, how can he object to this? Just remember, that, for most of you, once you start this journey towards the truth, it will not be a short one. It is a path that might take months or even years to reach its logical end. But to paraphrase one of my favorite Robert Frost poems, it is the road less traveled, and for ME, it has made all the difference.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost


Mississippi
Joined: 10
Left: 32/33
Was: Baptist
Now: Atheist
Email: truth_seeker_ms at hotmail dot com

6/15/06                                                                                       View Comments

This is my testimony

sent in by SwissMiss

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate the owner of this Website for a very thought-provoking read and for providing this resource for people like me.

This is my "testimony":

I was born into a church-going family, my parents belonged to the Salvation Army but it was definitely more my father's "thing" than my mother's since she was always more rebellious by nature (she grew up in an incredibly strict Lutheran family) which makes my "conversion" all the more incongruous.

When I was a few days past my 9th birthday, my father dragged me and the rest of my family to a tent crusade which had been pitched at a local park; he had been attending the meetings and was keen to see his family do likewise. On this fateful evening, the preacher announced that he had a "Word of Knowledge" about someone in the congregation (my mother[!], apparently) and that that person was invited forward to give their heart to the Lord. I never did remember what this Word of Knowledge actually was but the next thing I knew my entire family (parents and two older siblings) were making their way to the front of the meeting. Of course I followed, what else was a nine year old girl to do? We stood there as a family and I remember some men surrounding us, laying their hands on us (I would love to know what a Child Protection Officer would make of that these days) and praying. That was it! That was my "conversion". Hardly Road-to-Damascus stuff but what I didn't realise was how much of an impact that one event would have on the rest of my life.

Up until that point, we had lived a fairly normal existence, my father had had a decently paying job, my mother worked part time and they owned their own house. But about a year after the "conversion" took place we were selling up and moving about 100 miles away to answer God?s ?calling? and move into one of the bases of the Christian Mission who had organised the tent crusade. From relative security, we were transplanted into a situation where we were entirely dependent on the Mission, we weren't supposed to earn money from "worldly" organisations and so could not work our way out of the poverty that ensued. Many was the time that we didn't know where our next meal was coming from, literally! This was okay to begin with because we used to have our meals provided for us but pretty soon the Mission decided that we were to trust in the Lord for him to provide for us individually.

During this period I was enrolled into the local primary school (apparently "Worldly" schools were okay) where I was like a fish out of water, I found making new friends incredibly hard and was doubly disabled by the fact that I lived in "that religious nut-house" down the road! Until then I had always been a very happy child, but I began to change and was quite unhappy if truth be told. If primary school was difficult then high school was awful. I felt under constant pressure with the double-life I was forced to lead, one that made me acceptable to the Mission and one that made me acceptable (up to a point) at school but all the while having to live with the guilt that I was "compromising" my belief in Jesus. During this time, the leaders at the Mission decided that God was "telling" them to go in a new direction and to form a Church rather than be involved with the Mission. From that time all practical support stopped and my parents had to get jobs.

I look back at that time with a mixture of emotions. Sometimes I smile because I think about an abandoned bus that used to stand next to the main Mission building where we lived and I think about what I used to get up to in the that bus's top deck when I was about 11 with the son of one of the senior elders (someone [the elder, that is] who is still actively involved in setting up churches to this day!). We were both very young (he was even younger than me) but we explored quite a bit for little kids, predominantly at his instigation, and it was him who taught me how to kiss (he was bloody good at it too). Today I wonder how the hell he knew at such a young age. Other times I am saddened at the times I prayed so hard that I cried myself to sleep through lack of any answers to my prayers only to be told by the eldership that my faith wasn't strong enough. Or times when I saw deliberate favouritism bestowed on the daughters of the eldership team. Favouritism (or ingratiating yourself with the elders, call it what you will) was rife in that organisation with one notable exception. A young man came to lead the youth group, he was good-looking and dynamic but he didn't buy into the favouritism thing and he often gave me the opportunity to shine in what he could see I was good at, namely the performing arts, and to this day he is the only Christian that I look back on with utmost respect because he saw who I was and encouraged me. If I met him today I would shake his hand; not so anybody else! Of course the jealousy that this provoked in the eldership's female offspring was something to behold and very less than Christian.

If I had to single out one catalytic reason for my subsequent "back-slide" I think it would have to be sex! The church was pretty puritanical when it came to sex. Sex outside marriage was strictly forbidden as was masturbation, relationships between young people of the opposite sex was heavily policed to the extent that if a young lad wanted to go out with a one of the girls he was supposed to consult with the eldership first who would then pray about it to see if it was God's will before they gave their blessing or their disapproval. As a highly sexual person this was pretty hard to deal with and I struggled vainly to keep in God's good books. Ultimately, I failed when I was 18 and finally said "yes" to a man 11 years older than me during a holiday I went on with my sister but by that time I was well and truly disillusioned by the whole thing and was questioning everything I'd ever heard. Even so the legacy of my Christian indoctrination motivated to marry that same man (even though he wasn't a Christian, he'd taken my virginity, so by marrying him I could somehow vindicate myself) but he was so unsuitable for me and in the end we hurt each other a hell of a lot.

Now, at 37, I have a daughter of my own but I teach her to live the life she wants to live and be the person she wants to be. Her body is her own to do with what she pleases I have never put restrictions on her in that respect unless it is to preserve her self-esteem which is the one thing I AM religious about to this day. I want her to have the self-esteem I never had as a young woman and then let that take her on her journey through life.

Thank you for reading I wish you all love and contentment.

North Wales
UK
How old were you when you became a christian? 9
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 18
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Evangelical, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Happy Clappy (I'm sure you get the picture)
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? None, (I don't see the necessity for replacing one label with another.)

At the Crossroads

sent in by AndrewT

I am at the Crossroads. I am about to make a turn, which will completely change my life in a new direction.

This new path, I take, has not been traversed by many, but I am willing to take the risks to see what awaits me.

My heart pounds with anticipation and anxiety as I search for signs or clues as to what lies ahead.

I see several and they all seem to give me fortitude. I turn back one more time and I see that I am leaving behind most of my friends and family who plan to stay on the same path that has been traveled for 2000 years. I now see that a few of my friends and several strangers have already made the turn. This is the path to TRUTH and REASON.

My head is now clear as I take my first few steps in this new direction. I feel a sense of liberation, for I have now shed my fears and confusions that have chained me for 38 years.

My new journey has just begun. I have now renounced Christianity.


Plano
TX
USA
How old were you when you became a christian? since childhood
How old were you when you ceased being a christian?38
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you?Catolic, Baptist, pentecost
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Deist
Why did you become a christian? My upbringing
Why did you de-convert? Lots of reading and observance of the world around you.

6/14/06                                                                                       View Comments

Guided by History

sent in by Derek

Well my story begins much like everyone else’s; I was brought up in a catholic church to begin with until I was about 11. Then one day my mother decided to take us to a Pentecostal church because she liked the atmosphere and the friendly nature of the people who went there. Unlike the Catholic Church we had previously attended.

Anyways I would attend church Thursday, Saturday bible study, Sunday morning service and Sunday night service and I was an Active member of youth group until about 19 years of age. I had always been raised thinking that the Bible was the "True Word of God" and that it was infallible. I read the Bible day in a day out believing that Jesus was truly the son of God and that he died for my sins. I would argue with kids in school who didn't believe or kids who called me a bible thumper but I didn't care I stood by my beliefs.

Well as time passed I slowly stopped attending church but continued to pray and read the Bible. I had accepted Jesus as my personal savior so I figured that it wouldn't matter if I didn't attend church regularly as long as I kept praying and reading the Bible. Then one day I saw a movie called Stigmata and at the end of the movie it talked about scrolls that were found called the Dead Sea Scrolls. They also talked about how the Catholic Church denied the authenticity of these scrolls calling them heresy.

Well I researched it along with some gospels called the Gnostic Gospels and I was stunned at what I found. It took me a while but I began to realize that the Jesus who I had known may not have been the Jesus that really existed; rather his stories were fabricated by the early founders of the Church. As time moved on I read more and more about how Christianity had many contradictions and that the Bible was indeed fallible. I also came to a harsh realization that Man had in fact written the Bible....Not God.

I continued Reading on going through such books at Holy Blood Holy Grail and the Messianic Legacy and while I don't necessarily believe everything in them it gave me a clearer picture of who Jesus might have really been. Instead of a Peace loving Savior of man...He may have been a Militant King who got his story changed around. The one thing that really made me think about this theory was the book of Luke 22:36 where Jesus tells his Disciples to do what ever is necessary to obtain swords. Then as Jesus was being arrested Peter cut off the guard’s ear....the thing that didn't sit right with me is if these guys were so peaceful then why were they using swords? Also I found out that the translation of the Bible from Aramaic to Greek to English caused it to get skewed from what it really was. And when the Romans sent out a group of men to get Jesus they didn't send out 10 or 15 but rather 600 men.

This isn't found in the Bible but literal Roman history — a side of the story that many people don't get a chance to look at. So since then I have come to realize that what I had previously thought to be truth was in fact nothing more then a series of elaborate fairy tales....I continue to search for the truth but I have no doubts in my mind that Christianity isn't the truth.

San Antonio
Texas
USA
How old were you when you became a Christian? 9
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? 21
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? 2
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Agnostic
Why did you become a Christian? Family thing to do
Why did you de-convert? Studied the true beginnings of Christianity.
email: Rnwbman at yahoo dot com

6/11/06                                                                                       View Comments

Atheist Pastor

sent in by Jim

Thanks for the many, and extremely bright, people at this web site who take the time to encourage those who are struggling to see. Really see.

Just as a way of encouragement (if it in fact is), let me say I really bit into the apple. I have three theological degrees, all from very expensive schools, I am a Christian pastor, but now have no reason at all to believe. In other words, I now have a mid-life crisis the kind of which I never, ever envisioned. It's true I used to say that if belief in God were shown to be less viable than non-belief, I would choose the latter.

The thing is, I really meant it. But never for a moment thought it could be possible. On the other hand, even while I say this, I think at some strata of the sub-conscious I always held reservations. I was one of those people who wanted to believe all I was told about God, faith, etc.

I can remember even sharing with an Unitarian Universalist friend all about my miraculous, mystical experiences. Including a very powerful conversion experience. Amazed, he replied by saying he'd give anything for that. And though I went on to explain that psychological studies, etc., had undermined much of it for me, he nevertheless continued to suggest I'd known something priceless. Oh, that it were it so simple!

For though science and philosophy had already done in creation arguments, etc., and historical research continues to demolish the bible, some, even among UUs, continue to hope religious experience can validate their belief in God. I guess they haven't heard!

Anyway, what a dilemmna. I need to support my wife and family. I have no other skill or training capable of supporting them. To be sure, I have thought about seeing my job as a strictly professional service. Trying to visualize what that'd be/look like for the next 25 years until retirement. Still, I don't like the idea.

Of course, most of the clergy no longer believe in a traditional notion of the Judeo-God, though they can never admit as much. And I, too, could think of god as love, or universal consciousness (as Brahman) or energy, etc. Some impersonal notion of a god. But, I'd rather not do that. Sure, it's all ficticious and a childish game. And, I can do the job better than most.

On the other hand, I'd like out. Even though my wife (with some struggle I note) continues to believe. Which means I will "play the game" in some form or another for some time to come. But at least I'm free on the inside. Free at last. A guy who has read the bible through around 70 times (some parts more, some less), used to pray an hour a day, seen the "miracles," and all the rest. Just like every other one-time religious fanatic who ever lived.

But I made the mistake of taking the apologists' pepsi challenge. I looked in to it all. Everything. Science, biblical criticism, the study of other cultures and religions, all of it. Wow! Did faith ever come out looking sick, pale, infantile, neurotic, delusional (perhaps pathological)--completely mistaken.


Atlanta
GA
USA
Joined: 14
Left: 40
Was: Baptist, Methodist
Now: Buddhist
Converted because: Feared judgement, wanted to please family
De-converted because: Duhh?

True Happiness depends on Yourself

sent in by Moses Kim

I was born a christian and went to church as long as I can remember and I still go to church, not because that I still have faith but because I don't want to cause trouble. Until my mid-twenties, I didn't have any feelings against christianity and there was time I participated in a lot of church activities. I really didn't think deeply about religion and didn't read much of the bible. The only bible story I knew was from church.

Then as I got older and became independent from my parents, I started to attend various other church. That time, I realized that many people had different ways of believing, according to which church they go. I started having conversation with them and became more open minded. Their way a belief had their own logic and seemed nice. I came to think that their is no absolute right way of believing god. However, what was disappointing is that most of strong believers claimed that their way is the 'right' way and others are wrong.

First, it was frustrating. After some thinking and some reading, I came to think that it is natural for humans to think that way. People are egocentric. They think that the religion their grew up with is right. This seemed pretty frustrating.

I thought to myself, 'Why can't people respect and try to understand other religion?'. The more I read the bible and the more I find out what is christanity is about, the more I lost faith in it.

Then something happened that really disappointed me. I had a female friend in church and she had a boyfriend but did not attend church. The elders in the church did not like that. So they 'brainwashed' her. Saying things like, 'God will be not happy if you keeping meeting him','I know it will be painful in the beginning, but god will show real happiness later on', etc. Eventually she broke up and married a real devoted man in church. He was about 15 years older than her. I saw that this thing happens alot in church.

After that I realised that all this was BS. I wanted to show them what they do does not make sense. That they are wasting time by praying. That they are wasting money by giving the church tithe. But to do that, I needed to have alot of knowledge about the bible and origins of christanity.

I really read alot of books religion, christianity, myths of the bible, etc. But what really surprised me is that most of the people in church did know much of the bible. I think they don't know much about what they are believing. Its seem like 'God loves you, hallelujah!!' So having some knowledge about the bible didn't work very well. And I realised that talking about contradictions of the bible and other things would really provoke them. When I should told someone that the bible said things about how the lord do not allow women to talk in church or teach men or have authority over men, (1corinthians 14:34 & 1Timothy 2:8), she instanly said 'F**k you!, the bible doesn't say that!'.

So I gave up talking to christains about that kind of subject. I also don't think it is right of me to insult them. Of course, my intention is not to mock them, but to show what they are believing. But they would reject me and not listen tp anything that conflicts their belief.

It's not really my concern what people believe, if they are happy with what they are believing and if that helps their daily life, then fine. But I think problem occurs when they try to convince people that their way of life is the only right way and if you don't follow jesus, you will go to hell.

I hope people in future, people would be more open minded. I hope that people would learn to respect each other and love each other regardless of what they believe or don't believe.

South Korea
Joined: Since I was Born
Left: About 31
Was: Presbyterian Church
Now: Between Agnostic and Atheist
Converted because: I was born in a Christian family
De-converted because: Some christians can be very ignorant.

6/7/06                                                                                       View Comments

A tale of two books (one religion, one science)

sent in by Deb

A thick Southern Baptist reference book and Bible study guide published in 1914 and belonging to an elderly relative had an honored place in our living room bookshelf when I was a child. It had the most fascinating drawings of floating cities, Jesus cruising around in the sky, men and angels wrestling, devils playing chess with humans (and their souls were the prize if they lost), and Armageddon. This was one of my mother's books, which I still have today. At the age of 9 I would entertain myself looking at the drawings and marvel at them. Did grown men and women really believe such fantastic things as floating cities and devils? I certainly had a very hard time doing so. My father explained that it was nonsense and not to worry about it.

The other thick book that was so important to me was Dad's "The Fossil Book" by Mildred Adams Fenton and Carroll Lane Fenton. It, too, had fascinating line drawings. But these were drawings of animals and plants of the ancient past. I learned the long and difficult names, and tried to understand the geologic periods in which the little beasts and plants lived.

I talked about this book with my mother one day and I will never forget what she said. She told me that there were never such things and that the scientists made them up. When I asked her why the scientists would do that, she said something to the effect that there was no reference to these creatures and plants in the Bible, thus they never existed. Her pastor said so.

I knew deep in my heart that something was not right here. Why would scientists make such things up, and how? I liked science in school, and had a positive attitude about it. I strongly suspected that the things that were made up were in fact those fanciful characters and events in the 1914 book! I don't know why that incident shaped my entire approach to religion afterwards. Perhaps it was because I suspected that many pastors were lying to their congregations. I had been to church for several years when a very young child, but my mother stopped going at about the time I turned 8. She and my father had frequent conflicts about church and she could not get him to go. I was not too sad about not attending church regularly. I had often vowed privately that I would invent my own religion when I grew up and it was not going to resemble what the church taught, since it seemed so weird.

When I went to public high school, my 9th grade English class had us reading the Bible as literature. This unit came right after the unit on Greek and Roman mythology. We read the first ten books of the Bible. The teacher took a very reverent approach and acted as if every word was true (how dare she not?) but the lesson I came away with was that those rather preposterous events we were reading in Genesis especially were just as mythic as the Greek myths. The teacher was not amused with my product for a short story we were assigned where we took on the point of view of an animal that rode along on the Ark. I chose a polar bear and tried to show how utterly absurd it would be for a polar bear and mate to somehow get on their own from Greenland to the Middle East to board an ark!

All in all, I am very grateful to both my parents for many things, among them not making me go to church past the age of 8.

Female
Virginia USA
Never really became a Christian, just went to church
I never really was a Christian but tried to hide that fact to fit in with school friends and please some family members
Deist, Buddhist
I never really converted to Christianity, so I did not technically deconvert

Ex-Christians in the Pews

sent in by Kevin

I don't want to mention which faith I belonged to or where I come from because believers might say my loss of faith was the result of practicing the wrong religion, so I would prefer they remain in the dark. Let me start by saying I didn't choose to be an Ex-Christian. It just happened. I tried to stop it but I couldn't. I tried hard to fight off the doubts and questions but I wasn't able.

My faith started to unravel when I was 16. Like all Christians, I committed my share of sins and like all Christians I prayed for forgiveness and knew my belief in Jesus would save me from myself.

I had a good friend whose good Christian father left for another woman and a good Christian judge didn't require him to pay much in alimony or child support. As a result, my friend's mother was always struggling financially. One day, she left two hundred dollars in twenties in the kitchen to pay a debt to someone. My friend stole the money and then helped his frantic mother search the house for it later.

I was horrified when my friend told me this. I said aren't you worried that you'll go to Hell. He shook his head and said there was no way he would go to Hell for this. He admitted what he had done was really bad and then proceeded to tell me that there was a line you had to cross before you would be sent to Hell. Even though this was bad there was no way he had crossed that line, and that the good he does far outweighs any bad.

I lay awake that night thinking about this metaphorical line. How did God determine who went to Heaven and who went to Hell? Could one extra lie in your lifetime be the difference between an eternity of bliss or an eternity of torment? If so, wasn't a person who died young at an advantage because they had less time to sin? Maybe, God uses a Judgment Point Average (JPA). Each sin has a number of points associated with it. He adds up these points and then divides by the number of sins. Again, however, one point could be the difference between Heaven and Hell. This just didn't seem fair.

Anyway, over time, more questions came up. Take Hitler for example. Everyone assumes he's in Hell. But if Hitler was born into a close knit Iowa farm family he would never have started a war that killed millions. Plus, Hitler repeatedly claimed that he was doing the Lord's work, especially when it came to the annihilation of the Jews. If Hitler sincerely and truly believed he was doing what God expected of him was it fair for God to condemn him to Hell? Was it fair for God to punish people when he put them into circumstances that made them what they are? Isn't someone who came from an impoverished abusive household more likely to commit awful sins? And since God created everything, then he must have also created evil. I tried hard to fight off these thoughts. I repeatedly prayed for guidance. I'm sure none of you will be shocked to hear that I didn't get any.

I read the New Testament for help but it was like I was reading it for the first time. The Jesus I loved seemed kind of troubled and angry (the cursing of the out of season fig tree and sell your shirt and buy a sword being examples). I questioned why he had to get baptized. Was this some kind of initiation ceremony? Was Jesus a part of a Jewish cult? Was he a member of an anti-roman revolutionary group? Were the repeated mentions of the Kingdom of God and you must follow me to enter really code words for some secretive group Jesus belonged to? After all, Jesus lived in an oppressive society where dissent was brutally suppressed. Or was he a mentally disturbed man who believed he was the messiah? Today we rightly put people who think they are messiahs or who hear voices or see burning bushes that don't actually burn, into institutions but if they made their claims hundreds or thousands of years ago then they are considered to be demigods (Jesus) or prophets (Moses, Muhammad).

A while later, I read that scientists believe that there are millions of planets in the universe that have intelligent life. Again I thought about this. If the scientists are wrong then why did God create such an unbelievably vast universe if he was only going to populate one small planet? Wouldn't that be overkill? On the other hand, if he created life on other planets, did he repeatedly send himself to be tortured and murdered on each one?

Despite all my questions, I dutifully went to church every Sunday as well as to Bible study. When I went to college I joined a Christian organization. I continued to date my devout Christian girlfriend. No one would ever have believed what was going on in my head all this time. One Sunday, I was sitting in church listening to all this sermonizing and singing and I admitted it to myself for the first time. I'm no longer a Christian. I looked around at all these deluded people who either believed this because they never really thought about it or who did question but whose desire to believe was stronger than their doubts. I was 21.

After graduation my girlfriend mentioned the M word, so I told her the truth. Chaos ensued. My parent's were heart broken. My "friends" tried to change my mind. One guy who spent his last two years of college living with an older women, while his parents spent thousands on a dorm room he didn't use, told me I no longer believed just because I could now live an immoral life. The people who I believed were my faithful friends abandoned me. They couldn't just say "we'll have to agree to disagree on this." They wanted nothing to do with me. I had an old school friend who had moved to California. I called him up and asked him if I could move in with him, while I got myself established. He said yes.

The day before I left my aunt approached me. She is one of those women with boundless energy. She is a Sunday school teacher and an organizer of church fundraisers. She told me that she had been an agnostic for about a decade. I was stunned. She told me that she was afraid she would lose her husband and all her friends if anyone found out and that I was lucky I found out while I was still young. When I told my friend in California what had happened to me (two months later for fear of rejection), he revealed to me that he became an atheist at 9 or 10, around the time he realized Santa wasn't real. He said it took a few years for him to figure out whether the adults actually believed all this "religion stuff" or whether they were just trying to scare the sh*t out of the kids to keep us in line.

When my wife and I bought our house we unknowingly moved across the street from an older evangelical couple. They held a Bible study at their house every Wednesday evening. One day, I was talking with the husband and religion came up. I nervously told him I was a former Christian. He looked all around him and then sheepishly told me he was an agnostic. He explained that his daughter (an only child) married an agnostic former Muslim and no longer believed. He and his wife were heart broken. He turned to the Bible for solace. He had never actually read it cover to cover. When he did he said he was horrified at the violence and sexual perversion he encountered. He never even allowed his daughter to watch PG 13 movies but he let her have multiple copies of this x-rated book in her room. He read the Bible multiple times, he read apologetics, and books critical of the Bible. After two years of intense study, he was an admitted agnostic. He told me he is too old to build a new social network or remarry because he knows he would be rejected by wife and friends, so he pretends to be something he isn't. Plus, he laughingly told me he is the most qualified person to lead a Bible study because he said he is probably the only person in his church who has read it.

Here's a story that is even odder. A friend of mine became an atheist in his teens. He went on to marry his devout childhood sweetheart and remained active in church. Two kids later he broke down and told his wife the truth and said he couldn't stand pretending any more. Well, she had been put on bed rest during her first pregnancy. She decided to spend her time reading the Bible. She was also horrified especially at the verse where God ordered that rape victims be stoned to death if they don't scream for help. She had been raped as a teenager and did not scream for help out of fear. So, here was this couple, both pretending to believe for the sake of the other. She now labels herself spiritual but not religious.

But the oddest story is from another friend of mine. When he started doubting the truth of Christianity he went to his cousin, a pastor, for guidance. His cousin told him he had studied Christianity long and hard and knew it inside out and he said he knows with certainty it isn't true. My stunned friend asked him why he was a pastor. His cousin replied that he enjoys it, loves helping people and believes he is a positive influence on the young people in the church.

We have religious freedom on a macro level in this country but not always on a micro level. There are probably millions of closeted ex-believers in this country who are afraid to reveal themselves for whatever reason. Jon Meacham, the author of the wonderful book "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation", recently appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Matthews asked Meacham if the U.S. ever had an atheist president. Meacham, without hesitation, said yes. Of course, these atheist presidents, whoever they were, would never have been elected if they had been honest.

As for the issue of morality, a Christian I spoke to recently told me I couldn't be moral without God in my life. I believe this idea is as offensive to the believer as it is to the nonbeliever. I asked this man if he was a good father and husband. He said yes. I then asked him if he is a good father and husband only because he believes it will help him get to Heaven. He didn't respond. I then told him that if he is only a good spouse and parent because he wants to get to Heaven then his motives are not pure and he is not truly good. I got a confused expression and no response. I then asked him if he ever murdered anyone. He said no. I asked him if avoiding Hell was the only reason he had not killed anyone. He said no. After further discussion he conceded that religion was not a necessary precursor to morality.

I know that all religions are man-made frauds that depend on fear to perpetuate themselves. I don't believe in any gods but I do believe in a spiritual world and an afterlife. Not that I really have any desire to live for eternity. It actually seems really boring to me. Death and nothingness seem far preferable to living forever. But I have had premonitions many times that I can't explain away. Well, if you made it all the way to the end of this long ramble, thanks.

Corona
CA
How old were you when you became a christian? 0
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 21
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Rather not say

Meaning of Life?

sent in by Mike

I've been doing some thinking lately about the meaning of life. A pretty heady subject, to be sure. Most xians seem to feel that a life without a god is a life without meaning. But the mindset that life's meaning comes only from subservience to a god figure seems utterly bleak to me. What kind of meaning would my life have if I believed that I was placed on Earth, along with everyone else, to serve the ego of some mysterious supernatural superbeing? Should I be happy to be the plaything of such a god, to be used and abused as he sees fit? Can a life be said to have true meaning if everything is predetermined by an omniscient deity? Wouldn't that just be play-acting?

It strikes me that my life--without any god figures--is actually far more meaningful. I live my life based on decisions that I reach through an intellectual process. I work hard for myself and for those I love. My successes are my own, and I can rightly enjoy them and be proud of them. My failures are also my own, and I can learn from them. The past is behind me, and the future is unwritten. It can be exciting, scary, and rewarding. My life is certainly not perfect, but it's my own.

If the fact that I don't share the xian need to have an invisible friend somehow equates to a lack of meaning in my life, then I'll take meaninglessness any day of the week.

San Antonio
TX
USA
How old were you when you became a christian? 16
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 40
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Methodist
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist, freethinker
Why did you become a christian? Really believed it
Why did you de-convert? Did too much research; realized it was bullshit

6/5/06                                                                                       View Comments

To Shiver in the Howling of the Night

sent in by Richard

Long ago I can remember a place in my life when I was happy and content with who I was and what my life was all about. I can remember having the warm, peaceful feeling in my life that religions of all forms promise when they tell you that they have something surreal and otherworldly to offer. I can remember, as a child being ecstatic to wake up and go to church because of Jesus what I could learn to be more like him. That was then, when troubles seemed to be a world away and life was truly an adventure.

Now as I sit here and write to those whom take enough pity on me to read this I tell you of a completely different me. As a child I was a valiant Christian. I was on fire. I felt deeply that there was a plan for my life and that I was going to make a difference for the sake of the kingdom of God. I can remember going to visitation on Saturday mornings and knocking on the doors of perfect strangers and try my hardest to get them to commit to Jesus and give thier sinful life up for God. On Sundays I would go and listen to the Pastor give a sermon and would proceed to go after that to a restaurant and eat with my fellow brothers in Christ and debate the merits of the days sermon. All was good in a life that could not have been more perfect.

I do not remember the circumstances of the change. I can only remember the day I opened my eyes to what I really was. I can remember thinking about all the sermons that were preached and noticed that they all had threads of control running through them. When simmered down to their true content I discovered that all the messages revolved around giving of your time, money, or personal property to the church. And while we were told about the great Christian martyrs of the world I made a shocking discovery: People from other religions have died for their beliefs just as much, if not much more than Christians. I also discovered that there were other religions that sent out missionaries, not just Baptists. And then I began to wonder what made us Christians so much better. I soon found out that it was nothing. I was taught to blindly accept that our religion was better than all the others because it just was. I was taught that our book of holy scripture was superior to all the other books of holy scripture because it, again, just was.

I can remember staying up at night in fear. the fear that I had been programmed to know only Christianity, and nothing else. And if I left it I would literally be giving up my entire life. Yet I also knew that I could not live a life unless I one hundred percent believed in it. I began to do further in depth thinking. How did I know that our pastor was appointed by God? How could I be for sure that what looked fishy was really the will of God and not something done through politics and the good ol boy system? How did I know that things like cussing, sex before marriage, and drinking wrere actually wrong when they are nowhere mentioned in the Bible? How did I know that, as Christians say, every single contradiction in the bible is perfectly explainable? Was I to trust the very men that displayed anger and made accusations of being rebellious against god when I would ask these questions?

I could write a multi volume set of books on the atrocities involved in the modern day church from experiencing a lifetime of them. Yet when I stopped taking people at face value and saw them for who they were it was very clear to me that no God out there could claim to love a person so much and then allow such evil people into the church. The Christians will tell you that they are wolves in sheeps clothing as the bible speaks of. Yet when the people that god has supposedly appointed over the church say one thing, and do another depending on how it will personally benefit them, not much can be said about it except,maybe it is all a bunch of bullshit. The problem I faced with the Christians is that there is supposedly a god who has the power to create the universe from speaking in a matter of seven days. this is a God who can tell Noah to build an Ark and part the Sea for Moses. A God who can pull chariots in the sky and convert a murderer of Christians into the greatest missionary ever to exist on the face of the earth. A god who would send his son to do miracles, die on the cross, and ultimately raise again after three days. Yet he cannot keep even the most simple of dirty heathens out of his temple of worship? especially those whom are supposedly appointed by him? He cannot speak to us voice to voice anymore? Instead we are instructed to listen to man? the very same man that directly disobeyed god in the garden for selfish pleasure? Does this sound normal to you?

I could not deal with my life being a two faced backstabbing lie anymore. I knew that if I left I would be giving up my whole life. All my friends were members of the church. I am sure that some of you reading understand how quickly they turn their back on you when you are not doing what is "church approved" anymore. In many ways I gave up my family because my relationship with them has declined for the much worse since I left. I have come to an impassable revelation in my life: I am a mid twenties man that has not even an inkling of "who' I am. All I know is what the church said I was. I feel robbed of much of my life. I cannot get back the years that were taken from me for the selfish pleasure of heathenistic men who have made the words of the bible twist into whatever suits them at the time. I am stricken with anger. Thirty percent of my life is over and I never got to live it. I am doing now what I should have been doing as a kid. I am way behind in my awareness of what, or who, I am.

I have left the church. It took me mere minutes to determine that religion is the ultimate hoax of man, yet years to work up the nerve to give it up and actually start finding myself, aside from what all the political Christians said I was. Some people say that I wrote this to blow off steam. Possibly. Others said that it is somehow allowing me to express my inner child. I think that is bullshit personally, but maybe they are both true. All I know is that I have entered into a very cold trundra in my life. A place where I, albeit temporarily, am alone. And the chill, the cold, the wind and hair raising thought of being utterly and completely by myself is overwhelming. Yet in a very wierd and unexplainable fashion, I would not have it any other way. In a surreal way I feel that I am finally free. And it is better to be free and alone, than in a multitude of friends with an agenda and stipulations. To those reading I only ask that you wish me the best as I start my new life . Thanks for understanding and reading. May common sense and the truth continue to free those whom may be trying to find the avenue of escape from the organization of religion.


Saint Joseph
Missouri
United States
Joined: nine years of age
Left: nineteen
Was: Independent Baptist
Now: Agnostic
Converted because: Belief in a loving god
De-converted because: belief in the evil of man