There was no reason for me to carry on being Christian, especially since it did not make sense.
Good Friday 2000, I attended a service at Hope of God Singapore Church, invited by a friend. Till then I was a Hindu/Freethinker/Agnostic/Whathaveyou unconcerned about the existence of god. I always thought he existed but as some distant spirit like thingy. I liked the service and the Xian idea that god is a loving father, and the thought of him having to suffer and die for my sins was definitely a kind of emotional thing for me. I converted on the spot and began attending service.
However I was a student of evolutionary biology (now I am doing my honours and an MBA) and I realised that evolution makes more sense than genesis, but I reconciled saying that well, genesis is probably just an allegory to show man's sinful nature and god directs evolution. However the church insisted on total adherence to every word of the bible, (note: I won't capitalise church or god or bible or scary sky spirits) and this led me to actually try to find points of reconciliation between what I know as true (earth is over 4 billion years old, apes are our "cousins" and the Big Bang happened) with what the church taught.
The real turning point occurred when I read the Tower of Babel and then on to Leviticus and Deutoronomy. Gosh, the brutality of the god I was worshipping scared me. This, along with my earlier conflicts made me question god's existence and I asked myself questions like "Why does god have to exist? Why did I think that there exists such a being in the first place"? Well I couldn't give a rationally satisfactory answer to that. Then it was but a matter of time before I secretly renounced Christianity, but the fear of backlash from church members led me to keep it secret. I was baptised as Matthew Balaji and even the pastor prophesied that I would be a great minister to men.. Gosh, has he been proven wrong. this false prophesying confirmed my belief. How come no one saw that they were baptising someone who doesn't believe in Jesus? Anyway I lied to my church that I was going to another church because of trying to reach out to my parents. It took a lot of painful lying but the end in this case, justified the means.
What labels did I use to describe myself?
Fundamentalist Evangelical Charismatic
What labels do I use now?
Why did I join in the first place?
I never thought of atheism as an answer to my questions about god. I liked the Xian concept of "loving poppa" I joined when I was 21 and left when I was 22.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)