sent in by Alan Koch
I’ve been putting this testimony – or rather “de” testimony off for sometime now. Ever since first coming across this site and dwelling into the numerous stories of de-conversion, I have pondered whether I would share my own. Keep it to myself, or share it? I do sincerely believe that this is a matter I should share as to get it off my chest. And also, for the additional purpose of motivating any others who are or would desire a break from Christianity.
I do suppose it started in late summer 2000 – the summer after my sophomore year and before my junior. Perhaps I was chosen by God (highly unlikely), but for some reason I became interested in the Christian faith. I believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God; that He died for the sins of mankind; that He was resurrected from the dead; that He was born of a virgin birth; and finally, that I needed to call Him into my heart so I could be forgiven, and be able to go to heaven.
Around this same time, I started to view regularly the 700 Club (perhaps a part of my interest in the Christian faith) with Pat Robertson. I watched, and watched, and watched; and became convinced that my choice was the “right” choice. I found myself agreeing with many, though not all, of the views being presented on the show. However, though I believed firmly in the doctrines that makes a Christian a Christian, I found myself being at odds with some of the actions that took place in the Bible. Specifically, the numerous times that God punishes all people for the sins of an exclusive group of people, i.e. Noah’s ark story and Sodom and Gomorrah. I’ve always been a sensitive, good, and fair person, at least in my opinion. And with those attributes, it’s not unreasonable to think that I was appalled that the Almighty – the merciful, forgiving, just God - would do this. Wouldn’t actions such as those strip away the merciful forgiving, and just descriptions Christians (and other religions) attributed to God? What would make God any different from the Waffen S.S. soldiers who would murder innocent civilians just because of the actions of the local resistance group in opposition to the German occupiers? It didn’t, was my answer. How could He be any different? But still, my faith went on.
I had come to the conclusion that God did horrible acts – even though He tells others not to! But hey, He’s vengeful, right? So I went on believing…but still, I was at odds. I would continue to watch the 700 Club, but I noticed that in additional to agreeing (that certain actions and behaviors are wrong) I would also contrastingly disagree with the hateful messages being spewed out; I’d get vocal in my rage. I never agreed that people who are homosexuals or have had an abortion should be murdered, or have any violence acted out upon them; to that, I’m vehemently opposed.
I found myself continually doing things that any “good” Christian wouldn’t do. Sometimes this was out of anger towards God; if He’s so powerful and hates what I’m doing, why doesn’t He punish me like all those in the Bible? It was a “do you worse” challenge to God Himself. And then at other times, it was out of confusion. Why does God need to be so strict? Why does God need to be so demanding, and require so much out of us?...especially when He gives none back. (Take into account all the unanswered prayers that were supposed to change me, but didn’t.)
Time went on. Then 9/11 happened. I was saddened, shocked, and scared. I turned back to God for comfort and understanding, not unlike some if not most Americans at that time. I needed to feel that someone was in control of the situation and would make things okay. In other words, a crutch, just how all the critics of religion say it is. Unfortunately, I started watching the 700 Club again. Probably not the best choice, but I’m proud to say that I never declared 9/11 to be the fault of liberals’, abortionists’, or homosexuals’. It was the fault of a terrorist group (and maybe a little bit on the part of a belligerent administration.)
For the rest of that school year (01-02), my senior year, I continued watching, and continued believing. This went off and on, off and on. So as the days passed, I was still doing things that aren’t considered “right” by Christians. And still, I’m asking why God must be so strict and demanding.
And for a time, I completely put my faith out of my life. I lived as though I did before I ever had a real thought about religion, like back when I was a child. For the most part, I still considered myself saved (the Bible does give contradicting messages on this, doesn’t it?), and I would never do anything so heinous as to kill or rape; so I figured I was good. But my thoughts started to focus to others, to those who didn’t have salvation.
Then the time came. A friend of mine who is a non-believer was away in the Marines, so I had a lot of free time to sit around and thing (lots!). While not sure if I’m a believer in the supernatural (though I know any supposed supernatural phenomena in the Bible is false), ironically, it were ghost stories that finally made me really start to question religion and what it teaches.
It was during the week proceeding Halloween, that the Travel Channel had on a week of ghost stories. And so I watched. I saw stories of the spirits of people who were evil and murdered other people; people who were good natured, but may have done things a Christian wouldn’t have done; even the spirits of priests’ and monks’ – a God-fearing people! So, this made me think: how come these sprits’ are still in our world? Why are they not in either heaven or hell? Something isn’t making sense here.
Now, whether the reader is a believer of the supernatural (in most cases, not likely), the point of the significance of the stories were that they gave me some questions that no church could ever answer, really. Two of those were listed up above: the other…if indeed Christianity is valid, and all sinners who are unrepentant burn, how can a soul burn in hell? A soul is spiritual, your body physical. But of course, you can only feel physical pain with a body, and you don’t have your body anymore. I had the feeling I was living a lie. Soon, it would become concrete.
In the months that followed, I was left with the question: which religion was the correct one? It had to be one of them, right? So I would go on doing research, trying to find information to base a conclusion on. All I was given were venomous tirades from one religion to another, and vice versa. (Though there was one piece of info I got, though I didn’t understand it at the time; I do now. A Muslim raised the question: why do Christians’ call themselves monotheists’ when they worship a Trinity?) But other than that, I felt I was going nowhere.
I had given up my search when I came across a Deist website. I devoured every piece of knowledge I could read, finding answers o things that had plagued me for so long. That in turn, led to other Deistic websites with more wonderful information, and somehow to the website you’re reading this on now. At the websites, I learned about all the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible; I learned THE TRUE history of the Bible, and how it was truly “chosen” as the word of God; I learned of how Jesus said prayers would be answered, but too sadly, they are not (thanks to Bruce Monson on all the passages); I learned how Jesus most likely didn’t speak the words attributed to him in the New Testament; I learned how certain groups want to install theocratic government in the Unites States, and that it’s my duty to help stop them; I learned the Deist-influence on some of America’s Founding Fathers; I learned of all the unfulfilled prophecies; I learned of Thomas Paine and the Age of Reason; I learned the doctrine of Original Sin and the Trinity aren’t in the Bible, but are made up by men (well, the whole thing is except for small parts here and there, i.e. Christ’s crucifixion, if you believe he actually existed). All that and so much, much more have filled my heart and mind, allowing me to come to the conclusion that neither Christianity nor any of the other mad-made religions are correct. It freed me from fear and ignorance. It made me realize that I can live my life to make myself happy – not God, even if there is one; they may not be.
And there is be, my de-conversion story. I find myself wanting to share my newfound beliefs with as many people as possible, as to inoculate them from all religions. It’s not that I hate religious people (Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are exceptions to the rule); I don’t, just religion. And no one should lead their life on something fraudulent. Finally, I heave learned that when people call religion a “crutch,” and a “fairy tale,” they are correct. That’s exactly what they are.
I think it’s appropriate to thank the webmasters of the following sites:
ExChristian.net (duh, of course =))
Thank you all.
Country: United States
Became a Christian: 15
Ceased being a Christian: 19
Labels before: Methodist
Labels now: Deist; sometimes Agnostic
Why I joined: Being young and impressionable; didn't think for myself
Why I left: I became smart, haha
Email Address: amkpantera at aol.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)