sent in by Everett
I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my story. It's nice to find a website of likeminded people.
First a little background: I confessed Jesus as my savior when I was about 8 years old. I didn't get baptised until I was 20. I became apostate just prior to my 31st birthday.
My childhood was very rocky. The "Creator" deemed it good to bless me with an obvious birth defect. Although not severe, it was enough to get me into a fight just about everyday of my young life. I didn't let that get me down though, I live by "turn the other cheek". I overcame it all, by the time I reached high school I was friends with just about everyone and was well respected. I found expression through the theatre. Most were comedies. I thought I had found my thing. Then my father died at the age of 47. I was 15. He was my best friend and it stole my fire. That ended commic theatre for me. My closest friend at the time was a Pentecostal. My father was a regular Joe. He loved his children, he told jokes and he drank beer. Because my father, who grew up in christ, didn't attend church and had the lifestyle of "sinners", my friend told me he was in hell.
How comforting for a 15 year old! I couldn't believe it and needless to say he was no longer my friend and I stopped going to a pentecostal church. Fast forward to the age of 20. In the five years after dad's death, I once again overcame a crappy deal. Eventhough in that time I became the last surviving male in my family, I had many positive changes. I had surgery that corrected my defect which became unnoticable. I got married. I became a soldier, and I became a medic in the civilian sector. My faith in god got stronger. I finally got baptised.
The day after my baptism I started working for the police department. I am a 911 dispatcher. It was at the police department that I started learning the truth about alot of things. I became disillusioned with alot of things including my faith. It started to pain me the horrible events that occured in our "sleepy city". I was also stressed at my inability to overcome certain "sins" in my life. Like most christians I never actually read the bible. However, it was around this time I sought to change that. I thought that getting into the bible would give me the strength to win my fight against my personal sin. I was mistaken.
As I studied the bible, I was disturbed by some of the things I was reading. Such as: how cruel god could be, how poorly the Isrealites behaved, conflicts and contridicitons, etc.
I still held on to my faith, mostly out of fear. The final straw came with the birth of my son. My beautiful son was diagnosed with autism. I was finally crushed. When this happened, every bad and cruel event I have ever witnessed and been the object of, flooded back into my mind. I started thinking of certain bible passages of god's cruelty. Such as in Exodous when god was dishing out the 10 plagues. Pharaoh tried to repent but god himself "hardened his heart" so that he wouldn't repent. This is because god "raised him (Pharaoh) up for this very purpose". That purpose was of course to cause alot of pain,misery and in the end, death of the firstborn of Egypt. In Isaiah we learn that god knew us in our mother womb. Elsewhere in the bible we read that god knew us since before creation and that he already knew our response to christ's message.
In Ephesians 2 we are told that we are created by god in christ Jesus to do good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do. As a medic and police dispatcher, these lines tell me that all the tragedies I deal with on a daily basis are "prepared in advance" by god so I can do a good deed. Not very nice. A typical christian response would be "this isn't god's original plan. Man messed that up in the garden of eden. One day the lord will return things to how he originally planned". Let us examine creation for a minute because I have a problem with this thinking.
According to Genesis god created the perfect world and told man he could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he will die. Of course we know the rest, but think about it. If you believe other biblical passages about god knowing everything in advance, then why did he even put this tree in the garden? Didn't he know man would eat the fruit? Didn't he know that would introduce death,suffering and pain? Of course he knew! It was part of his overall plan. That means that every ounce of our pain and anguish is planned. To say that a man or satan could thwart god's original plan is to say that man is equal to god.
Thus he wouldn't be a god. If this faulty world is his plan then there is another paradox. To say that god is Holy,Holy,Holy is to say that he is the definition of perfection. However a perfect god, by definition, could not possibly create an imperfect world. If he is imperfect, he cannot be god. Why did god create evil? Was he bored?
Since my son has been diagnosed as autistic I have been forced to rethink "good and bad". I have been reading and researching everything. Taoism, Zen, Buddism, Gnostic, Paganism, etc. I take greater comfort in thinking my son's condition is natural and not necessarily "bad". His path will just be different than mine. Just as there are many different ways of life in nature.
Sorry for being long winded. At this time I keep my views secret from my wife and other kids. They are christian.
My apostasy is still fresh so I am carefull about what I say around them. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
Became a Christian: 8
Ceased being a Christian: 30
Labels before: baptist,pentecostal,disciples of christ,church of christ
Labels now: apostate, explorer
Why I joined: fear of hell, hope for better life
Why I left: became educated (trial by fire)
Email Address: e wayism at aol.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)