sent in by H.A.Walker
Let me start by saying what a great web sight I think this is. Though I am not a registered user, I visit the sight daily and find comfort and courage continually from all the testimonies and other content. I thank you webmaster.
Of course when it comes to information that casts great doubt on the validity of the Christian message, the Internet is nothing but a tool of the devil! This is often the response I get if I mention any articles or sights that I find useful to help deprogram the brainwashed sheeple. The double standard of Christianity is quickly applied though when Christian webs sites are brought into play, as they are where the real truth lies! (HA!)
Ok, now for my story. I’m sorry for the lengthiness of it and have tried to give the basics. Hope it doesn’t bore you too badly, so here goes!
As with many, my indoctrination began in childhood with a mother who took my family to church fairly regular. My father never attended much and I can still remember my mother always requesting prayer for him. I attended bible school in the summers and this of course is where, at the age of 9, I was “saved”. Yes, I accepted all I had been told as the truth. I was an evil sinner from the day I was born and doomed to a fiery ever-lasting hell. Great news though, Jesus loved, suffered and died for me and if I just believed in him, that wouldn’t happen. Instead, I’d get to spend eternity in glorious heaven with him and god, where I’ll always be happy. Alright then, this is a no brainer, I’ll take JESUS! What an emotional high that was, whew, the weight that was lifted off my 9 year old sinful shoulders! Not just for that day but for always, yea, once “saved” – always “saved”!
And so began a vicious lifetime cycle of shame and remorse for sins (real and imagined), backslide’n and repent’n, on again off again church attendance from my youth thru my teens to adulthood. Always with the occasional rededication of my life to the lord for all the times of weakness in my witness! Just keep given the lord his “propers” and he’ll always see ya thru!
Eventually, I ended up a deacon (read as power figure to help keep pastors in check) in my home church. All along I cheerfully spouted the gospel as it was given to me, teaching Sunday school, lots of involvement with the church youth group, was choir director, and produced the church bulletin. As with all our convictions in life, we often can hold to them better in the maturity of adulthood, more so than in our youth. So, I now felt it was truly time for me to be serious about my Christianity. At the age of 39, I was receiving a calling from my lord. I was to now be his biggest mouth piece, I WAS TO PREACH!
At this point I realize I have omitted the fact that I married my high school sweetheart and by this time, have 3 children. My wife, though she too was exposed from childhood was not “saved” until early in our marriage(22yrs), during one of my off church times which of course drew me back in to the fold. With the arrival of our first child, and subsequently the next 2, we made sure they all were fully and sufficiently exposed to Christianity! “"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov.22:6. But don’t count on it!
I have heard various pastor/preachers/evangelists admit how they struggled at first with their “calling”. Resisting at first, not sure about it and finally giving in. I too experienced this. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion maybe from hearing it so often. Regardless to say I gave in to the will of my lord! I announced to the church my call to preach! This is all it takes by the way; just saying the lord wants you to do it. You don’t need any specific biblical knowledge or education, at least not in most small Southern Baptist churches. Just trust the lord and he’ll give you all you need!
Well, the congregation of my church was thrilled and very supportive. I had so many of them come and tell me they knew god was calling me and prayed I’d answer. He was going to do a great work through me, they just knew it. My own pastor was more than helpful in allowing me to get started. He had me fill in for him at various times. Wednesday night services, Sunday night services and even the big show, Sunday Morning service from time to time. He encouraged other local pastors to invite me to preach to their congregations and I happily accepted. I eventually was asked to hold revivals and special services on holidays like New Year’s Eve.
All along I thought god was giving me a special gift to be able to discern his word and explain it to others. To have them find salvation thru me. Slowly I came to feel that all I was doing was using the same material that I had heard all my life, putting a personal spin on it, and presenting it as something new and special. When I studied the bible for my “god inspired sermons” it was always in familiar scripture, proven ground by those before me. I need only find god’s personal take on it for me and mouth it to the sheep! This started to bother me, as I realized that I was failing my lord by not having exhaustively studied the entire bible and using all its rich treasures to advance his kingdom. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15. This was now my path to a greater relationship with my god, or so I thought.
I quickly began to understand why most Christians don’t read the bible. It is at times a mostly boring and tedious task, particularly when using the ever popular KJV bible.
It is just so much easier to read a prepared Sunday school lesson and follow along or have the clergy pick out and translate the scriptures for you. No thought or effort is needed on your part other than to believe what is said. Christianity really is a convenient and accommodating religion in this way. Then again all religions would seem to be so.
I trudged on though, often dazed and confused, despite my constant prayer for understanding and biblical wisdom. One night while reading my bible at work (as all good Christians are seen to do), I was questioned by a fellow employee as to why I wasted time reading and believing in myths. This man, an ungodly heathen atheist, proceeded to say some horrible things. He said the bible was not the word of any god; it was only a mish mash group of contradictory writings from superstitious men. Mainly used as a power tool to keep all the sheeple in line through out the centuries and cash flowing into the churches.
I was outraged. I then proceed to lay it all out to him. God…man…sin…death… hell…Jesus…salvation… heaven…god’s holy word, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!!
This being an exchristian site I’m sure most of you know every cliché scripture and pat line I spewed out to the guy, so enough said about that. The odd thing that came of this encounter was even though I had ran across a few puzzling things in my studies, and usually dismissed them as my own misunderstanding, I began to wonder what would make a man say such a thing about god’s holy word? I was a preacher of god’s word, I read it, study it, and pray about it. Contradictory, no way, it was inerrant! Thus I set out to find these “contradictions”, so at my next such encounter I would be able to refute with complete assurance any such claim. Rather than give myself an everlasting headache trying track down any such nonsense scripturally, I decide to try the tool that I had often found useful in other areas of inquiry: the Internet.
Well, needless to say that with a quick Google search on biblical contradictions, the flood gates were open! Now I didn’t believe that so many of these evil sites could exist. As I took in the information over time and always double checked it against my own study bible, overwhelming doubt began to grow, duh! I prayed constantly for the lord to show me how wrong this information was, but some how it just keep being right. I remember the day I prayed for the last time, and my lifelong god disappeared like a puff of smoke in my head and that his voice turned out to be my own. Just like when the curtain was pulled back in The Wizard of OZ, the illusion was broken. All the smoke and mirrors are destroyed and the air clearer than ever. I personally am happier than I ever was going thru life continually trying to please a god and worrying that I was always coming up short. I no longer am a slave to any of the dogma and fairytales that held sway over my life for so long and know I
am a much better person for having shed them!
I now use my new gained biblical knowledge to educate those who still hold it in high regard and get a perverse pleasure from showing them some of the more special parts they never hear preached in a sermon or covered in a Sunday school lesson. About 99% of the time, they admit to never having read that much of the bible before and feel they know the important parts that they need to be good “saved” Christians. Typical, I was just like that too!
The story of my leaving the church, effects on my family and friends and struggle to stay sane in a religiously insane world are best left to be told at another time as I now notice the length my tale has grown to. Probably would have been a lot shorter without some of the sarcasm. Let me end for now by saying good luck to everyone who shares such a struggle, and a line from a movie… Peace be the journey!
To Be Continued……
Became a Christian: 9
Ceased being a Christian: 42
Labels before: Southern Missionary Baptist
Labels now: Happily Enlightened Atheist
Why I joined: Childhood indoctrination/Brainwashed Adult
Why I left: Deprogramed by actually reading Holey BuyBull
Email Address: Toxic_Idols at yahoo.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)