sent in by Jordan Hill
I come from rational-minded, Pennsylvania protestants. My mother's father was an Episcopalean priest who happened to be homosexual. He integrated his church and was leading the push to allow women to join the clergy. We also suspect he was a Mason. My father's father was a brilliant Presbyterian preacher with a pHd in Middle Eastern religion. He deliberately sought out fundamentalist leaning congregations in an attempt to pull Christianity out of the fringes of lunacy. He is retired and now he spends his time working with congregations in Columbia trying to help the people who have been affected by the (US sponsered) guerrillas.
As a child I loved Jesus and prayed every night before bed. I remember the crucifix in my Nana's house. I used to rub Jesus's bloody feet, feeling bad for his pain. As you can imagine, the brand of Christianity I was raised with made it easy to believe and to trust in the Christian God.
So what happened? Well, I moved to Katy, TX. The little suburb of Houston with a church on every corner. Where an "interfaith marraige" meant a Baptist marrying a Methodist. Where the bastard child of two hippie-punk artists was introduced to the wide world of Christian fundamentalism.
There were plently of people who shared my love for Jesus...only their version of Jesus was a bit different from the one I grew up with. Did you know Jesus doesn't care how many good deeds you do? No. Jesus will only let you into heaven if you accept him as your personal lord and savior who died for your sins. MM-hmm.
I may have been young, but I wasn't stupid. I thought about serial killers. Was it possible that if they accepted Christ while in prison, they would get to go to heaven? I could almost swallow that. Forgiveness was one thing they seemed to have gotten right in my loony liberal Sunday school. But then I thought about the whole world and how many good non-Christians there were in it. Why should honest, caring, loving people be forced to spend an eternity burining in hell? I just couldn't make it work. One of my grandfathers had died and the other was too busy crusading to talk me around. Christianity seemed wrong and hateful and I left.
My mom had always had pagan tendencies, so I stole away some of her books and set off down that road. I have been happily Pagan ever since (except for the brief period at the end of college when I fliped out and embraced nihlistic absurdism). Even as a child, I had talked to "Mother Nature" as much as I talked to God so accepting the Goddess was easy for me.
The thing is, while I turned my back on Christianity, I never let go of Jesus completely. Not the vengeful fundamentalist Jesus, but the Jesus I felt and knew as a child. Perhaps the transition was so easy for me because the concept of an Avatar made perfect logical sense to me. The fact that Gods have visited humanity in the form of men and women was a comforting thought to me.
So we come to the here and now. I'm a Wiccan who loves Jesus, whether he was an avatar or just a man (I have a weakness for the peaceful revolutionaries). Wicca calls for worship of the male aspects of the divine in the form of a God, and I've never had any qualms about filling that role with Jesus. If the fundies don't like it...too bad.
Became a Christian: <1
Ceased being a Christian: 10-ish (or never, depending on the definition)
Labels before: Episcopalean, Presbyterian
Labels now: pagan, wiccan, animist, theologically agnostic
Why I joined: Why did you become a christian?
Why I left: TEXAS!!!!!
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)