sent in by Randen Pederson
I have been interested in religious ideas since, as a child, I became certain that God, who painted the stars on the preschool ceiling that the children might sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, would strike me dead with a tornado for my sin. I wasn’t very sure what sin was, but we all had it because that’s why on Sundays they baptized the babies, like my sister. Sin was something about wiggling in church because I had to practice sitting still at home when I wiggled too much at church.
Eventually I learned that if I wiggled my penis it felt really good. Even though I didn’t do it in church, I found out that wiggling your thing anywhere made God mad! If God was mad enough then he would kill you and send your soul to hell. My dad, a National Guardsman, brought pictures home from the Colfax tornado. There in black and white were smashed houses, broken trees, and even a car wrapped around a squashed bridge. Playing with my cars under the table, I heard dad tell about the bodies they found. I decided that God made tornados to help send sinners souls to hell. Even though I wasn’t supposed to look, I saw the pictures of hell in my mom’s copy of “The Divine Comedy”. The pictures weren’t very funny for a comedy, but maybe God liked to laugh at you because you were a dumb sinner. Therefore, I became interested in religious matters especially the matter of keeping my soul out of Hell.
In confirmation class I actually studied and memorized my cathicism. By high school age I’d read the bible through two or three times -- even 1st and 2nd Chronicles. I become pretty good at asking questions no one could answer, so I decided that the whole idea was a myth and that I wouldn’t go to hell for jerking off after all. Then I went to Vietnam! Holy Crap, I’m still trying to get my head together after that year. I wondered around from drugs, to astrology, to Hinduism, to Buddhism, to Zen, to Transcendental Meditation, in an attempt to find a little peace. Eventually, taking my “leap of faith”, back to the church I went. I figured that if was going to do it, I may as well do it right and went off to Bible College and learned how to read the bible in Greek and Hebrew. I spent 10 years or so preaching, even on street corners to the drunk students on Water Street. (No, I didn’t carry a sign saying, “the end is near”.) In spite of all that “righteous behavior” there was still no peace, and worse I was beginning to be aware that I was talking nonsense. I tried my best, like John Shelby Spong, to throw out the bath water and keep the baby, but baby it was all bath water.
So here I am an Athiest at last:-).
Became a Christian: 1week old and then again at 31
Ceased being a Christian: 18 and then again at 46
Labels before: Luthern and then Church of Christ
Labels now: I guess I would be a born again Athiest
Why I joined: No choice the first time. For peace the second.
Why I left: Read everthing my proffessors told me not to read.
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)