sent in by anonymous
Spent most of my life as an agnostic, irreligious, or one who thinks maybe there is a God but had the Deist way of looking at it. I for one should had known better than to get involved with with any church but I found myself doing just that.
My odessey began when I read on the importance of Christianity in Western philosophy and even some virulent atheists will admit it. The conservative philosopher George Santayana was both a practicing Catholic and an avowed atheist for instance. At the time I was into reading alot of Dostoevsky and was struck by his argument that to believe that God exists is essential because the fabric of society cannot hold without it. Gradually my mindset became that of a *cultural Christian apologist* though retained my skepticism. Then I decided to find a church and go through the motions...
Always had been attracted to liturgical High Church ritual and settled attending a LCMS(Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) congregation and admitted that I was struck by the said ritual of their services. Though most of the congregation treated me as a non-entity the Pastor was friendly and I kept returning. This was in the process of my breakup with my then girlfriend who was as anti-religious as one can get and she ridiculed my church attendance.
Then I found myself wanting to join so I could participate in the actual Communion and took the adult education class taught by the Pastor. I found the subjects intriquing but many alarm bells popped up. Inwardly I wanted to receive Communion though I thought the dogma of the Real Presense was a bunch of superstition left-over from the Middle Ages. Plus the Lutheran dogmas, the 3 Solas, I had trouble with: sola fide, sola gracia, sola scriptura. Plus their contradictory version of Predestination and one only had to believe to be saved, but God had already chosen His Elect, but the sinner was free to reject Salvation. And so on. At the end of the class, I found myself requesting membership and forthwith received my 1st Communion.
There is nothing more zealous than a convert and I got into being a *Lutheran*, of the orthodox variety the Lutherans call *Confessionals* or some claim they are *Evangelical Catholics*. There was a small group of these at the church and I got into with them. My honeymoon period of Faith was shortlived, however. Realized many treated church as their own club, as a business and given the congregational government of this synod, power playing and backbiting. This wasn't what I bargained for. Meanwhile I came across this text by Archara S called "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" debunking orthodox Christian claims and the chicanery how Christianity came into being. I didn't want to believe what was in there especially since I had recently came into the Faith. Thus I kept up Church attendance and observed the prayer hours of Matins and Vespers in my own home. I was into evolutionary psychology beforehand and was appalled by the number of well-educated people who towed the six 24 hour day Creation dogma. I kept my belief in evolution a secret and tried somehow to synthesize both evolutionary psychology and orthodox Christianity into one worldview system, much to my failure and frustration thereof.
Over the next few years I gradually went back to the *cultural Christian* routine but kept up appearances and kept my own views under wrap. I was even elected to a church office during this time. Told myself that I just went to church for the liturgy which I enjoyed though dummied my ears to the Readings content and the sermons. The infighting in the congregation got worse and many of the fat cat parishoners didn't like the Pastor because of his orthodoxy and other reasons. I thought he was doing his job and backed the Pr. though I felt Lutheran dogma was a bunch of shit, and he was a nice guy unlike the majority of my fellow laypeople. The old ladies at the parish put me in mind of the line in the sardonic poem by WS Burrough's " A Thanksgiving Prayer" - 'thanks for the church goin' women with their evil pinched faces.."
Hitherto the congregation broke up and the Pastor was ousted. I transfered to another parish in the LCMS and attended there for a time. It was part of my plan to be shed of Lutherans and Christianity in general. Had read something by Richard Dawkins that religion is a mind virus and had a counter-epiphany that is probably what I had had. On Good Friday services of last year I thought it was fitting when the celebrant slammed the Bible shut and the lights were dimmed it was time to put my own virus in remission.
In hindsight, I don't regret my involvement, but hope that I never go back to any theistic believing dogma, and definitely not the Lutherans of any stripe. To my chagrin, I found given the German base of the LCMS that Anti-Semitism is STILL rampant in this organization, which to me is the worst and form of bigotry in the world.
Just hope, via my own personal reason, that this mind virus stays dormant. I am not anti-God it is just that via reason there is no evidence that He or She or It exists. Also I find these crusading atheists just as more annoying than Bible Beater Fundys.
Thanks for reading.
Became a Christian: 33
Ceased being a Christian: 37
Labels before: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Labels now: agnostic
Why I joined: got the mind virus
Why I left: virus is in remission
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)