sent in by BornAgainCelt
I'm hoping to get some feedback here, as I really don't know where else to go with my questions. No one knows my thoughts right now & if they did, they'd REALLY be stunned. I've been a high profile in my church for over 30 years - Bible study teacher, church musician, even missionary. But I've had questions well up in me for many years that I've ignored until now.
I'm a musician & while doing graduate work, I fell in love with the music of the Middle Ages, which began a 30 year fascination for anything Medieval, particularly church history. Ohhhh, boy. What I've read, I've just kept to myself. Don't want to rock the boat. Especially when being a church music director has put food on the table for the family. I'd see pettiness and judgement in Xtians, but turned the other way. I've finally realized that I've turned the other cheek so many times that I've been going in circles. But my story begins much earlier....
When I was 9, my grandfather began molesting me. He called me Jezebel and threatened me hell if I ever told anyone. "The dogs ate Jezebel & they'll eat you too", he'd tell me. I couldn't understand why my parents didn't know, but I was too terrified to tell, afraid of going to hell. It was a very sick 3 years of abuse. Finally, the abuse stopped when he died; and I learned at the funeral that the family knew all along. I became angry. The family hid the truth by painting me as "crazy", yet refusing to allow me to go into therapy for fear I'd tell. All the while, I was told I must never tell, forgive, and forget. "The only people you can ever trust is FAMILY" & "the worst thing you can do is talk about what goes on in the family with outsiders", were two mantras repeated to me daily. Meanwhile, I became the "target child", scapegoated for everything that went wrong. When my music began getting recognized, the family exclaimed "they don't know how EVIL you really are; WE know the truth". I had horrible self esteem. Had it not been for my college professors, I'm sure I would have eventually died in a suicide attempt (I tried 5 times). I finally broke free of family in my 30's. The Church wasn't so easy.
Last year, I became seriously ill & was bedridden for 2 months. Now ONE person from my church even called to talk to me. I called the office, requesting my name be put on the prayer list; it wasn't. I had been active in the choir, Sunday school, but nothing. The people who came to my aid were my agnostic, atheist, and Wiccan friends. My Wiccan just came by & sat by my bed every day in silence, in case I needed her. I never even heard from my pastor. A few months earlier, my husband & I had trained for foster parenting. So when I finally got well enough to get out of bed, I immediately called & talked to my pastor about what happened while I was ill. "Oh, well, you know, people are just sooooo busy," he chirped. I told him that I had serious questions about a church I'd attended for 30 years being too busy to help someone seriously ill. I further explained that my husband and I were about to adopt a sibling group of mixed race children & needed to know that the church would be there for us & these kids. We couldn't afford to have a church treat our kids the way they did me, I said. Many of these kids have lots of baggage & we'd need the church's support. Well, he hemmed & hawed, saying he had to "pray about it before saying further". So, howdy-do, three days later, I get this letter in the mail from him saying "I THINK IT'S BEST THAT YOU ATTEND ANOTHER CHURCH!" So much for "all one in Christ Jesus". I was stunned. But the shock set my brain to thinking: If a preacher can so easily shirk off the very philosophy he's supposed to be preaching (i.e. "love one another"), then the preacher must KNOW it's all a LIE. Otherwise, for fear of eternal hell, he would have wanted to take our children into the fold.
I've seen this sort of thing go on for years in churches & I just cannot believe the doctrine anymore. I don't know what to call myself now. I believe in the IDEAS Jesus taught - love, forgiveness, mercy. But the attack gays really disturbs me. If we're ALL sinners, who cares HOW we sin? I cannot believe my straight friends are going to heaven because they're straight anymore than I can believe my gay friends are going to hell because they're gay. And I'd put my Wiccan friend up to any Christian any day; she is the most "Christ-like" person I've ever known - free of judgement, generous in love and patience, always respectful of others' beliefs. If God really DOES exist, He'd surely zap these mean, horrible hate-mongers in the world into chargrilled fries, but so far He hasn't. So, why hasn't He? Churches have become another form of "country club" with membership dues and rules dictating how one should think & behave & you're doomed to hell if you don't believe it. "Winning souls" and "membership" is all about making money. And don't EVEN get me started on evangelists!
Are there any here that are non-Xtians, yet believe in a higher power? I've had some experiences that prevent me from disbelieving in God, but I sure don't believe the way I did. The Bible has so many flaws & contradictions & the writers even more so!
I've enjoyed reading the posts here. So much of what I've been mulling over is written here. I'd like to hear what you all have to say.
Became a Christian: 9 years old
Ceased being a Christian: Not sure
Labels before: Methodist
Labels now: Heretic
Why I joined: It was expected of me; mom said it was time I got baptised
Why I left: Too many questions about too many contradictions
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)