sent in by Fox Mackenzie
I never really concerned myself overmuch with the details of the faith I belonged to, I just knew CCD school (still don't know what those initials stand for) was nothing but glorified brainwashing, and I was sick and tired of watching grainy filmstrips about the life of saints. I made my first communion, and all I remember about it was a little song-and-dance routine they made us do, and frolicking through a field of dandelions with my friend Erin, dressed in white and wearing my mother's wedding veil and a circlet of satin rosebuds around a statue of Mary, which in retrospect seems like a pretty pagan thing to do, ironically.
Aside from the decidedly cardboard-like taste of communion wafers, I didn't take anything upon leaving the faith that I hadn't brought with me, through common sense, into it.
So why'd I leave? Simple. I made a deal with god, he reneged, so I up and left. Over the years, when asked that question countless times I've tried to make the answer more sophisticated, but after reading many anti-testimonials, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not ashamed or frightened of why I left, so why bother appeasing others that are going to be judgemental anyway?
My father was a military man, stationed in Alaska while my communion was due to happen in New Jersey. I sat by the statue of Mary in front of the church, looked up, and told god that if he was up there, and really loved me and forgave me and all that good stuff, then he would understand how much I loved my father and wanted him to be there to see the little song-and-dance routine I had practiced so diligently. My father was a perfectly healthy, living person, airplanes existed, there was a few weeks before communion, my parents knew my wishes...so, of course, being all-powerful, he could manage to help out. After all, I was *doing* the whole ceremony for god in the first place...I just wanted my dad to be there.
Of course, nothing happened, as is the majority of the cases with praying. "Mysterious ways" indeed. I told god that if my dad didn't show up, I was leaving. I took a lot for granted and suspended disbelief for my entire CCD reprogramming, and I thought it was high time he put a little effort into showing up once in awhile. When he didn't, I left.
If a parent doesn't take care of a child, ignores them, and lets their cries go unanswered, our society removes that child from that parent. By leaving, I was only doing what our society would do on my behalf if the situation were here on earth and god was flesh.
I looked into many other systems of belief, including eastern beliefs, athiesm, Jehovas Witness(ing), and Judaism, among others. Early on, I tenatively set my allegiances with the Pagan faith, finding them least judgemental and most honest about god being less than perfect. As time went on and I matured, my bonds to the faith strengthened. It was a very hard path to take, not inside, but on the outside. People not only opposed my choice, but violently so. Sure, I was a little more out about it then I needed to be in my brash early teen years, but, as everyone, I was searching for my identity. However, this did not warrant the vandalism of my personal effects, art projects, gym clothing, locker, and myself. I suffered wounds, both real and emotional, simply because I followed a different set of beliefs than most - but what hurt the most was the school system's blind eye to obvious religious discrimination. If what had occurred with me occured against a jewish or islamic person, the board would be in an uproar over hate crime education.
Years have passed since then, and I'm a member of exchristian.net simply because I do not believe the church should be able to freely continue its history of brainwashing and "righteous" hate crimes. I've seen too many good people spoiled by the 'fire of god', and I just hope my own message lends strength to those who need it when they finally leave.
Became a Christian: Got dunked before I started teething!
Ceased being a Christian: Around 9.
Labels before: I put all of it behind me, but Roman Catholic.
Labels now: Pagan, and damn happy about it, too.
Why I joined: Didn't have much of a choice, was too young to talk!
Why I left: Finally realized what the hell was going on.
Email Address: FoxMackenzie at aol.com