sent in by Jason
"In order to be sure that you are a good person, so that you don't go to hell when you die, you have to pray to Jesus and ask him to live in your heart, okay son?"
"Okay, Mommy. Dear Jesus...."
That was the moment when my little mind began to develop its worldview around the tension wrought pillars of supernatural dualism. For the next 25 years I would be caught in an escalating mental war with myself. Every event and circumstance would ultimately be subconsciously filed under either "Because of God", or, "Because of Satan". I learned to be suspicious of every little thing that entered my thoughts. My DEPENDANCE on God for taking care of me, guiding me in decisions, and protecting me from evil grew, while my FEAR of "Satan", evil, being misled by evil forces, and hell, also grew.
A couple years later, my aunt and uncle, being concerned for my lack of indoctrination under my liberally thinking mother, convinced her to let them send me to Christian summer camp. All I have to say here is that these terrible places should be renamed Psychological manipulation and brainwashing concentration camps. Yeah, but who would send their kids there? Awe, come on, what could be so harmful about going on hikes, swimming, and having the fear of eternal damnation shoved down your child's throat, as DEEPLY as possible?
Because of my curious and observant nature, I was plagued with the countless questions that naturally present themselves to the honest, thinking Christian. You have all dealt with these, I'm sure. Also burdened (sarcastic tone) with a sincere and loving heart, I always wanted to make my parents and God happy. The questions I had got stuffed away in the "Have faith, trust God" file. It wasn't untill I was about 10 years old that I actually questioned wether what I had been taught was exactly true.
That was the same time my father, who had left my mother a few months before my first prayer, came back into my life, having recently "Rededicated himself to the lord". He suddenly wanted to put more effort into his relationship with me, and I was just absolutely thrilled to have my dad back in my life. Unfortunately, his re-dedication was done through a church (I don't know the name of) that was very apocalyptic in its view. As a newly concerned father and Christian, he felt the need to share his beliefs with me. The mental and emotional vacuum that was created when he left just sucked it all into my psyche where it would take up a commanding residence in my thinking. The things he told me would effect me as much as, if not more than, any of the stories I had been told before.
The book of Revelation. Has any single book in the Bible done more damage to the mind of believers and society? Perhaps, but not to me. Through my adolescence and early adulthood, everything in my life was ultimately geared toward getting ready for Jesus to come back. I constantly wondered what it was going to be like. The images in the book of Revelation are terrifying.
I took my dad's word on wether there would be a rapture or not. Thank God I wouldn't have to be around for all those terrible things that were going to happen to.........wait a second.....most of my non-Christian friends, and my step-Dad!!! But wait- they were good people...God was going to let them all suffer, and then send them to hell to suffer even more for eternity? RRRRRRRRRT!!! File that under "Trust God, have faith".
After high school, things eventually got to the point where I simply could not just believe any more, and I began my quest for truth. The more I learned, the harder it was to believe. The less I believed, the more peace I felt in my life.
The Y2K bug hysteria got ahold of my dad and his apocalypticism became inflamed again. Somehow, it all got under my skin again too and I returned to the fearful mentality I had known so intamately before. I thought about going to church again and convinced my wife that we should at least stock up on canned food and water.
Drumroll, please............................. sound of cricketts.
Wow, that makes me think of how the Christian mind must have felt for the last two thousand years!
The whole story could only be accurate if you were to weave a nice web of fear, concern, belief, fear, disbelief, hope, fear, doubt, and more fear over the past 25 years. I've been studying the world's religions, psychology, and biblical criticism. I feel like I've gotten past the possibility of ever being Christian again, but I still have deeply embedded fear that won't allow me to completely unshackle myself from those chains. I have days of relief and days of anxiety. I'm anticipating another several years before I don't have panic attacks anymore.
Some people are effected more than others by this religion of guilt and fear. I'm definately one of those who has really been damaged.
City: Fort Collins
Became a Christian: 5
Ceased being a Christian: Caught in vicious cycle of leaving and returning for the last 25 years.
Labels before: Non denominational Christian, Agnostic, Bahai, Bhuddist, Neo Pagan
Labels now: Agnostic
Why I joined: The efficient manipulation done by Christian summer camp people.
Why I left: Could not stop thinking for the life of me.
Email Address: spacinquart at hotmail.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)