sent in by Chris
Ever since I can remember, I went to church. Unlike many of you, luckily I was not subjected to harsh Fundamentalism thinking, though strong religious thinking runs deep in my family.
I first started attending church at a Nazarene church, but the only thing I remember about that is attending with my best friend and his father. I only went to have fun with my friend.
The second and last church (on any regular basis) I attended was a General Baptist church, in which my wife and mother still attend. If there was any joke of a church, this has to be one. Attendance has dwindled to probably no more than 20 people a service, except for religious holidays. They’ve been through at least 3 pastors in the past 3 or so years. And one of them thought it would be better to buy a $2000 sound system than to feed the needy, which he ended up doing without the church board’s approval. Wow… some Christianly duty.
Anyway, I had stopped attending church on a regular basis only because I found it extremely boring. I believed in God and Christ, and thought that the bible was God’s inerrant word. Like most Fundies, I had a very vague knowledge of the bible, but felt a literal translation was the only correct way of obtaining salvation.
Around the beginning of 2003, hearing things that my sisters (who are very religious) spoke of started to scare me. I was sure we were living in the “end times”. It seemed like many prophecies were being played out.
I decided to research bible prophesy online, and my research always led me to the typical Fundie / Apologetic website.
I also came across a doomsday website about a make-believe Planet X, and I recall telling myself and others the typical Christian response: If it is not in the bible, then it isn’t real! I also came across a Nostradamus website and had a long email discussion with the site’s owner why his and Nostradamus’ predictions were bullshit because none of it is in the bible.
All this time, I’ve held onto a saying my dad used to tell me – “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see.” Though he died believing in the afterlife, he was a very smart man and I think given the knowledge that I now possess, he probably would have become at the very least an Agnostic. But I do believe his brand of religion helped him deal with the pain and suffering he endured at the end.
So, with my dad’s saying echoing in my head, I decided to be fair and give the “other side” a look. I happened upon Dan Barker’s Freedom from Religion site, Dennis McKinsey’s Bible Errancy site and many other Atheist sites. Believe me, the knowledge I gained from those sites truly blew me away. I had no idea of all the errors in the bible!
Having this knowledge lit a fire under my ass, and I spent many, many hours learning of the history of the bible and other religions.
Anyway, it is safe to say that I no longer believe that the bible is “inspired”. And as far as my beliefs go, I am still deciding. But at this point, I guess the best way to put it is that I am Agnostic.
But the real hard part that I am facing right now is letting my friends and family in on my lack of belief. I have told two of my friends, and while one now has some doubts, in light of my evidence, the other is hold strong to her beliefs. In all honesty though, I am not out to change anyone’s beliefs. I’ll only tell them the truth if they ask.
Became a Christian: On and off since birth
Ceased being a Christian: 32
Labels before: Nazarene, General Baptist
Labels now: Between Agnostic and Atheist
Why I joined: Fear of Hell
Why I left: Learned the truth!
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)