sent in by Emily
Wow, I have to express my gratitude that this webpage exists. This is a very recent deconversion for me and I am ready to get some things off my chest.
For my entire life, I was raised Southern Baptist. My earliest impressions of religion surmounted to Sunday School cookies and red fruit punch, gold stickers for good behavior, and singing pretty songs. Naturally, the whole atmosphere was pleasing to my childish brain and I loved going to church. My family takes religion very seriously and in this light I would always try and please them. When I was about 9 years old I started reading my Bible. I made it my mission to understand the text completely--front to back, mixing it up for flavor every once in a while, re-reading parts that didn't make sense to me. And I did. I became engulfed in it. I loved this idea of this suffering God--in retrospect, most likely because of some sordid details in my childhood (sexual trauma, etc.) that I will not relate now.
At age 13 I was completely and totally hooked. I remember humiliating and punishing myself for my struggle with masturbation and lust. At age 15 I got baptized and announced my decision to the church and my entire family that I wanted to go into the ministry. I converted two schoolmates (And oh, how I wish I could take things back!) and spend all my time at church. I continued reading the Bible and coming up with more mature understandings of it.
Then something happened at age 16 that broke my spirit. I don't want to go into details, but I was very deeply depressed and had an apathy about life in general. There were entire weeks where I wouldn't get out of bed. I hated everything and everyone. For three weeks, I wouldn't listen to music (which has always played a big part in my life). Christian friends would try to offer their religious sentiments to make me feel better, but so often did they offend or hurt me with them that I began to resent them in general.
At last a non-Christian friend of mine told me to out and buy a TOOL album. Now, I had always listened exclusively to christian music or light pop-punk. TooL, for those of you who don't know, is a metal band whose main themes include personal evolution/discovery and abandoning false beliefs. Something in the album reached me. I still was depressed beyond belief, but if I had to get out of bed, I had my headphones to keep me from killing myself or someone else.
Over time, I took a passionate interest in this new music form opened to me and threw myself into it. I tried flailingly to hold on to my beliefs (they were so precious to me! I remember breaking down in tears one night because I wanted to love God and I didn't anymore.) but to no avail. I began to see inconsistencies in religious teachings. (Why would a perfectly loving God even need a sacrifice? Why couldn't he just say, "Hey, I forgive you"?)
It was like moving from the darkness to the light, and it definitely hurt my eyes. I have experienced an awakening.
I turned 17 this past January and about two months later I was finally able to say, for the first time, "I am not a Christian." It was very difficult. Since then I have been on a very strenuous personal journey, but it has been rewarding. There are problems--my family would disown me if ever they found out, and I love my family so much--that keep me shrouded in secrets and lies, which I highly dislike. But I am regaining my sanity and finally opening my third eye to the truth which should have been obvious years ago.
I have never been allowed to be angry, (my family wouldn't allow it, or they would deny it) and I didn't really know what anger was until I left Christianity. Looking back at the brainwashing, the power struggles, and some of the rather sick beliefs, I am angry. It is healthy. Cathartic. Cleansing.
Thank you for your time.
Became a Christian: I was "born into" Christianity.
Ceased being a Christian: 17
Labels before: Southern Baptist
Labels now: I am an Emilyist.
Why I joined: My family raised me a Southern Baptist and I grew into it in my own right. See my story.
Why I left: See my story.
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)