sent in by Daryl
I was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian home, and did the whole “Forgive the lowly sinner and thanks for the blood” thing when I was three years old. I was baptized at age thirteen, and was my parent’s great hope of having a preacher in the family. I memorized entire books of the bible, involved myself in theological discussions, and was a major pain in the ass to any non-believer in school as I testified incessantly. I was hard core.
Around the age of sixteen, I came across some challenging questions that I couldn’t find the answer to:
1) If God didn’t condone drunkenness, then why did Jesus turn water into wine at a point in the party when everyone was getting drunk?
2) Why did God put Job through such horrible trials just to prove a point to someone he had already condemned to hell?
3) In the Garden of Eden, didn’t the snake actually tell the truth, and God lied?
The answers I received from my parents, youth group leaders, and my pastor were as follows:
1) Who are you to question God’s will?
2) Who are you to question God’s will?
I also encountered puberty around this time, and that horrible, disgusting vile, sinful, repugnant practice of self exploration……….masturbation!
For the next three years I was in a constant state of struggle. I would research scriptures ant theological texts constantly, trying to disprove my questions. I would spend hours in prayer every night trying to gain control of this awful demon of lust that had taken hold of me.
Finally, around age twenty, I gave up. I was so tired of living in confusion and shame, that I finally said “Fuck it. I give up!” I decided I was no longer a Christian. Unfortunately, I still believed in my heart that the bible was true. Twenty years of brainwashing can be a hard thing to overcome.
I began indulging in all the things that had been forbidden to me all those years. I began drinking heavily, using drugs, stealing, and masturbating excessively. I believed that I was going to hell, so I figured I might as well enjoy the trip. Christianity had taught me that “Without God, you are nothing,” and I was living without god; therefore, I was worthless.
I had just started a new job, and was working with non-christian who had traveled extensively. As we became friends, he and I discussed religion, and how different beliefs had impacted some of the cultures he had experienced around the world. He told me about the Catholic cathedrals he had seen in places like Mexico and Venezuela, these amazing buildings of artistry and wealth that had been built by taking money from some of the poorest people on the planet. We talked about the islamic religions and their brutal treatment of women, the christian faith and the Holy Inquisition, and the hindu beliefs and the caste system. He felt, as I now believe, that the truest judge of a belief structure is how it treats its followers.
In our discussions, he brought me back to the questions I had about the bible, and, for the fist time, I began to see the book for what it truly is, a complete pack of lies, Absolute Bullshit! I came to realize that the reason I could never find answers to my questions is that there aren’t any. And if the whole book is false, then the part about me being worthless without god is false as well.
Now started the newest and most exciting phase of my life, the discovery of my self worth. I stopped stealing, quit drugs, and eventually quit drinking. I met the most amazing woman on the planet, and no longer need to masturbate. I see myself for what I truly am, a hard working, intelligent man, a loving and very loved husband, and an all round good person. I need no god to validate me, no system of rituals to prove my worth.
Psalms 14:1 says “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no god,’” I am proud to be that fool!
Became a Christian: 3
Ceased being a Christian: 20
Labels before: fundamentalist baptist
Labels now: atheist
Why I joined: truly believed
Why I left: woke up