sent in by Rachel Adams
I came to Christ long before my mother and father ever thought it necessary to talk about such things. We had a school CIA (Christians in Action) that met once a week before class and some of my friends pulled me into it. A lot of what they were trying to accomplish seemed doable and very ethical. I had been born Catholic and taken to church at a very young age. It had left an impression that I could not forget. The memories of incense and the beautiful stained glass and the singing and the Latin all made me wonder once again.
I decided to attend church with one of my friends. From there I was lost. I believed every word of the preacher's sermon and it all seemed to point directly at me. I was a sinner and though I had never dismissed Jesus or God, I had never asked Him into my heart. I left shaken and worried. Was I going to hell? I had read many myths and legends of Celtic nature and Greek and Roman Mythology was my favorite. After attending a few Sundays at that church, however, I felt like I had been doing wrong in even thinking that some of that could be as important as reading my trusty Bible! I began to recite the Lord's prayer at home before bed and trying to hear the voice from outside rather than from within.
It was then, when I was most worried about my life that things began changing for the worse. I lost my scholarship, became pregnant, my new husband was less than perfect, my family was less than supportive, and I had to do things for myself. I kept thinking, "I must be being punished for not believing for so long. I must not be doing something right." No matter what I did or how hard I tried to turn the other cheek I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion. Once again, I found support in church. At the time I had thought my prayers were finally answered. A knock at the door and we were all invited to join a local Southern Baptist Church.
The people seemed nice enough, and what did I have to lose? I was at the alter the next week and in a few months I was baptized. The people in church were so proud of me. They took me in and praised Jesus for leading to the right path. They cared for me and I became friends and even babysat some of the parishioners' children to make ends meet. We were poor, but we were thriving. I even taught Sunday school to the 12-24 month olds in nursery every Sunday.
Yes, they make materials for children that young! About that time, my mom and dad followed my path and found a church they enjoyed and so all was happy and well. I asked if I could help with the newborns in the next semester, but the deacon's wife in charge of the nursery said I wasn't experienced enough with them to do so. I didn't mind, as there would be next time. I studied the Bible and was active with my age group in my own classes at night.
After serving in my church for four years three of which I was a nursery teacher on and off, I realized that I just couldn't keep up in my own bible classes. Ironically, it was my delve into a bible reader's manual, in hopes of inspiration that began me on the journey to awakening from the delusions. As I read one day, I realized that what I had been taught in one of the classes was not at all what I saw in several of the other verses. Just to be sure, I checked out another scriptural companion from my local library. It only affirmed my own findings. And in this book, it told me about further reading: THE BIBLE WAS NOT EVEN COMPLETE!!!
Now remember, I was Southern Baptist, which meant the King James Version of the Bible was literally considered the word of God and unquestionably complete. Well, that found, I looked up King James. Boy was that a shock! So were the "further adventures of my favorite biblical heroes" once I took them from the church and looked up historical fact.
Having this knowledge still did not keep me from church. However, I began to see the people around me who taught classes and the pastor himself as ignorant or choosing to omit many things from their teaching. I began asking more and more questions in bible study. At first it led to deep discussion and utterly confused the teachers at times. Then, people began getting irritated with learning. They took affront to someone asking valid questions. Especially considering I pointed out in several ways that the bible contradicts itself and the teacher's lessons. Keep in mind I always had an open mind and genuinely wanted to learn or have my findings explained. I never came across as a pain in the ass at all. After all, that was not Christian. So I stopped going and just opted to attend the Sunday School for my age group which was taught by someone said to be a little more knowledgeable.
To do this, I needed to be changed on the schedule for nursery work. I asked that I be moved from the 12-24 month room in the nursery to sit with the newborns for a few months. My own children were moving out of that age category and I missed it very much. However, I was told that I was doing such a good job in the nursery where I was at. When the shifts changed, the newest member of the church "in clique" the new bride of a deacon's family began to work with the newborns. Seemed that I was no longer new enough to worry about pleasing and the whole need to prove oneself meant nothing compared to nepotism.
And then the real truth came out. Over these years, as I said we were poor and had been left many times without power and little to eat. I had always given all that I could. Any extra I could squander for the nursery in the form of food and juice went. Any volunteer work I could do was done. My family and I were invited to a special Wednesday service concerning new plans for our church. It seemed that we had grown so much that the new sanctuary wasn't enough. A full building in the back for a church school had been decided upon. Funds needed to be raised. The preacher stood before the congregation the next Sunday and said, "If you are not tithing your percent, you are stealing from GOD!" God never told me he wanted to have a paved parking lot, a big flower bed out front, or a school for children when there are plenty around this area. God never said that money was the only way to tithe. I left. I never went back.
My children go to church sometimes with their grandparents, but I warn them not to believe everything they hear. I have done further studies on my own and see where many religions and mythologies are paralleled. Many stories in the bible were told many years before the authors of the Bible were conceived. They were borrowed. The book is contradictory and I just can't fathom why so many people are taken in by it, other than the fact that like me they are vulnerable and get brainwashed.
I feel more comfortable enjoying the sanctity of -the force of creation, god, goddess, mother nature, whatever the hell you want to call it- outside and alone than in the walls of a church sitting next to a bunch of hypocrites. I do not follow any group. I am a practitioner of druidism, or at least my own style of it. I don't need someone to tell me what to do. I don't need a goal or fear of failure. I just want to live and live well. I want to be close to those who care about me and vice versa. I want to enjoy what I can now as well as whatever happens next when I die. I am not mean to Christians. Honestly, I have found that since leaving the flock, they have shown their true colors to me. They are very much the most dangerous group of people I have ever encountered. I have only recently "come out" to a certain extent about my beliefs. I have a feeling this is but the beginning of a new difficult journey. However, this time, I am confident in myself. And I am listening to
that voice in my heart, not searching for another one that never comes from the outside.
I tell my Christian friends that God is all around them and me (since they want to name it). He made this world no matter which theory you prescribe to. Even those who do not believe in a higher power must see that nature has made us this place to live. It affects every moment of our life, from birth to death to beginning the cycle again (decay or rebirth however one believes). And therefore, we should live and enjoy what we have. And if they can't get it, I just tell them, "Go waste someone else's time. Thanks." It's a much better response than I get from most Christians who find out my belief...so much for them turning the other cheek or even being polite.
City: Pell City
Country: United States
Became a Christian: 13
Ceased being a Christian: 22
Labels before: Catholic, Independent, and Southern Baptist
Labels now: Pagan, Druid, A person who practices COMMON SENSE
Why I joined: Worry and fear
Why I left: Questioning and watching hypocrisy in action
Email Address: Rachel at draconmagick.com
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)