12/30/06                                                                                       View Comments

An ex-Felon and ex-Christian speaks out

Sent in by Nick Boer

During a four-year stretch of prison time, I "found" Jesus, and began to study the "Word of God" diligently and sincerely. Mine, was not what I would consider simply a "jailhouse conversion". Geographically, this would be so, but spiritually, I knew that my conversion was real. Oh yes, I did find comfort in the ink. The psalms of David brought peace to my soul. The Book of Revelation reminded me that there would be vindication for the faithful of God who worshiped HIM in "spirit and truth".

My dedication to Christ lasted throughout my confinement. I did everything I thought "He" would want me to. I gave up family and friends, I would torment over masturbation, I would pray "unceasingly", attend chapel as often as I could, and even vowed to become one of God's many fine "warriors" by becoming a preacher and spreading the gospel to the heathens!

Some things began to bother me, however. I just couldn't understand what was so "dirty" about masturbation. I didn't understand why my desperate pleas for God to heal me of a sexually transmitted disease I contracted from a rape my own father inflicted on me, went unanswered and seemingly unheard by my "Heavenly Father". What purpose could there have been in NOT healing me? Wouldn't it serve God better to heal me, thereby giving me even more reason to give him the glory? I figured the reason He wasn't healing me was due to some "sin" I was unaware of. If I just gave up something else for "God", He would finally rid me of this embarrassing situation. Nothing worked. I prayed, I fasted, I quit smoking (in prison! You must know how hard that is), I would lament over my "sin" of "masturbation" or other things and torture myself mentally.

There were many other things that bothered me about Christianity and the Bible, but since I believed Jesus to be the answer, I always figured the problem lay in me or others, NOT the Bible or in Christ. I never wanted to go back to prison, and I figured that following the words of this Savior was the only way to keep me from using drugs on the streets. I had no confidence in my own abilities to better myself. Only the help of this Sky Daddy would help me. Now, back then, I was quite serious about my "relationship" with Christ. I was absolutely sure that Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believed Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, and Jonah and the Whale.

When I got to Work Release and began blending in with society a little more, I started noticing that maybe I had been wrong about some of my strict, fundamentalist ways, but I still didn't leave Christianity. It wasn't until a very informed little birdie who had once been a faithful Christian herself, began to tell me the truth behind my beliefs and the Christian establishment. My faith in this person's rigid search for truth was stronger than my faith in this "God".

I made the decision to leave Christianity myself, but I still wasn't convinced I had made the right decision, until I was released for good, and began to see programs on television and read things that only confirmed what the little birdie had told me. I am now thoroughly convinced that turning my back on Christianity is justifiable ,due to the incredible amount of evidence that leads to that conclusion.

I think back to the "faith-based" programs offered in prison. I think back to all of the so-called "Christians" I knew in prison, the scum preachers and priests that run our churches. I think back to the Department of Corrections, an extension of our government who offers "faith-based" programs, yet has their inmates help them during their state inspections conceal all of the little "extras" they bought with their government budget. I think of all the hypocrisy of our "Christian" government, and it pisses me off that our tax paying dollars go to fund these programs which only reinforces the hypocrisy in our world. Christians are some of the nastiest people I know. Why the "hell" should our money go to the brainwashing of decent people that turns them into religious drones who now look at me as only "saved" or "damned".

I am a non-violent offender who should have been at the top of the list for the reinstatement of my rights. In my opinion, from what I have observed in prison, people who complete these "faith-based programs" are shot to the top of the list for work release and transfers. I completed work release, had an above average behavioral record, but two days ago, I received a letter in the mail denying my rights back. For every progress report you have in prison, you have to sign a waiver stating that you aren't interested in completing a faith-based program. They really try to push you into these programs. Looking back, I believe, had I volunteered for one or many of them, my chances of having my rights restored would have been greatly increased.

Okay, I know my troubles are small compared to those of others, but it's something that has been on my mind, and it really annoys me that people are treated differently in this country just because of the way they THINK, or the religious affiliation they belong to. I understand that fault lay in me for committing my crimes, but if the government even treats PRISONERS better for believing in the American God, than what are the perks for the rest of the Christians in this country, and what are the setbacks for those of us who have other opinions as to how we got here. What difference does it make, anyway?

I'm proud to say, that my life is a positive and rewarding one now. I have no desire to use drugs again, and I have no desire to ever see the inside of another prison. I have a family and a normal life. I contribute to society and am wiser for my mistakes. I am succeeding without the help of superstition. I am a mystic now. I am still a spiritual man, but I do not believe the answer lay in any strict set of beliefs that our ancestors left us. I am not a fan of religion, because it seeks to confine the minds of men, rather than liberate them, which has always been the reason behind great discoveries and thought. Our county rewarding its citizens for believing in a book that advocates genocide, rape, bigamy, bigotry, incest, and murder, is no different than a mid-eastern one rewarding its citizens for the same.

I have been peeking at your sight for some time now, since I was released and my wife, the "little birdie," turned me on to Ex-Christians.net. I finally decided to post today. Thanks for allowing me to rant.

12/5/06                                                                                       View Comments

Considering Deism

Sent in by Another Dave

My father was raised in a Deist household with fervent views against organized religion. When my Dad met my mother he started attending her evangelical church and became a devout believer. My cousins on my Dad’s side always made fun of me because of my devout Christian beliefs. I hated to be around them but on the other hand it felt good to be persecuted for my beliefs.

To make things worse, my younger sister became very chummy with my cousins and adopted their hatred of religion. Of course, she still went to church and pretended to believe. She sometimes made fun of my devotion to Christianity. When she started college though, she started hanging out with some secular humanists and her attacks became more constant.

I used to happily think about the shock my sister and cousins would experience when they died and found out that Christianity was true after all. Then they would suffer for their rejection of the truth and their persecution of me.

After Thanksgiving dinner at my Dad’s parents’ house - my mother grudgingly agreed to have dinner at their house every other year – my cousins once again started picking on me. One said out loud for my benefit that the Christian religion was founded on an act of fornication. Mary and Joseph fooled around and then insisted that it was God’s child to get out of trouble. I was furious.

A few days later, I told a good friend of mine who was studying to be a pastor about this. He was very interested in studying the history of the Bible. He told me that my cousins were completely wrong. In fact, he said the virgin birth was first mentioned by Matthew. He was trying to prove to the Jews that Jesus was in fact their promised Messiah. So, he went to the OT to find prophecies relating to the promised Messiah and then made it seem that Jesus had fulfilled those prophecies. Matthew used a Greek translation of the OT, which mentioned a virgin giving birth to the Messiah. The original Hebrew actually said young woman.

(Isaiah 7:14 (Contemporary English Version)

14But the LORD will still give you proof. A virgin [a] is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel. [b]

Footnotes:

Isaiah 7:14 virgin: Or "young woman." In this context the difficult Hebrew word did not imply a virgin birth. However, in the Greek translation made about 200 (B.C. )and used by the early Christians, the word parthenos had a double meaning. While the translator took it to mean "young woman," Matthew understood it to mean "virgin" and quoted the passage (Matthew 1.23) because it was the appropriate description of Mary, the mother of Jesus.)


I was really shocked by his candor because he was a very devout Christian. He then made some comment about Matthew doing the wrong thing for the right reason. I was confused and asked if that meant the virgin birth never occurred. My friend responded that Mary gave birth to God’s son. The actual circumstances were not relevant.

I then asked why church officials and Bible scholars who are aware of this mistranslation did not make it openly known to all believers (the above footnote is an exception). He replied that some people may not have enough faith to withstand the knowledge that some aspects of the Gospels were fabricated. I said then that the Bible must not be 100% the word of God. My friend replied that yes it is because God guided Matthew to write what he wrote.

Well, my faith was not strong enough to withstand this fabrication. I found it troubling that a major part of Christian belief was a shoddy attempt to convince Jews that Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy when in fact he had not. What else was a fabrication? I had always ignored the obvious contradictions in the Gospels and the Epistles (especially Paul saying you are saved by faith alone and good works don’t count and Peter saying faith without good works is useless) but now I openly questioned.

In my anger, I approached my parents without any thought of consequences. My mother and I got into a raging argument but my Dad remained quiet. That night he came to visit me and told me he had lost his faith several years before but that he pretended to believe for the sake of keeping the family together. He and my mother separated a few days later. My sister and I are also estranged from my mother because she chose her religion over us.

I have explored Deism a little but I mostly don’t bother with religion anymore.