by Tim Hale
I have to keep this short for now but my story goes something like this...
I was born and raised in a Southern Baptist household in the south. I believed everything I was taught by my family and church and "accepted Jesus" at the age of 9. After going through my early teen years, I felt like I hadn't really been old enough to know what I was doing at age 9, so I "accepted Jesus" again at age 15 - just to make sure it had taken!
Around the same time I began to realize that I had sexual feelings for boys rather than girls, and would pray every night to be healed from this sin.
By the time I was 21 I was very confused. I hadn't had sex yet - explaining to my church friends that I was holding off until I got married.
At age 21 I went on a drive with a guy I worked with so I could witness to him about jesus. He was very actively sexually (with women), and I thought he should stop this sinful lifestyle - what a hypocrite I was! In the middle of my sermon, the guy leaned over and started playing with my crotch. Turned out he was bisexual and had learned the true secret to stopping a missionary in his tracks!!!
Needless to say, I stopped talking about jesus and started moaning. For the next 15 years I basically forgot about christianity and fully explored my new lifestyle. As I reached my late 30s I began to look into whether or not my sexual orientation could be reconciled with the bible.
As I studied the bible more and more, I discovered discrepancies that I had never seen before. I also realized that this god I had been worshipping wouldn't be worthy of worship even if it did exist. My eyes were opened and I have spent the past three years as a budding freethinker.
The book that helped the most for me was Dan Barker's "Losing Faith in Faith", although there have been several others that have confirmed my disbelief and strengthened by conviction that god is a lie (or should I say that all gods are lies).
I now am involved in church/state separation politics and am beginning to reach out to my Southern Baptist family trying to win them over from faith to reason.
Became a Christian: 9 and 15 (I was baptized twice)
Ceased being a Christian: 21
Labels before: Southern Baptist
Labels now: Atheist, Freethinker, Secular Humanist
Why I joined: Raised in Southern Baptist Church
Why I left: After studying bible to reconcile fundamental christianity and sexual