sent in by Willem Kortekaas
My Testimony to Ex-testimony (the encapsulated version)
To begin, I wasn’t always a Christian. I do not come from a Christian family. The only contact I had with any religion or interpretation of life to begin with was what our state school called “Religious Education”. It was far more like Christian Education.
Anyhow, So I got through primary school relatively sound. Yet for a higher education my parents decided to send me to a Private School, and where I lived only had religious private schools. Turns out I had to go to a school called Nambour Christian Collage (NCC).
High school – grade 8 school camp. My first encounter with ‘sin’. During out camp, (which seemed like an excuse to have us in a church for a week) they preached to us about sin, what it is, we all had it and to make it worse, if we didn’t have Jesus we’d burn in the next life.
I was introduced to many concepts at this time. Sin, God, Hell & Heaven and Eternity. To make me swallow this pill, they used the fear of hell. So at the end of a particular service they got those of us who were duped to stay behind and chant the sinners prayer. Felt good at the time, escaped a painful never-ending end. Also found some of my friends made he same decisions and got to meet some more people.
For the next two years I kept this faith under wraps, at school the pastor would hold bible studies with the few of us that would go. I would read it, not understand it and the pastor would interpret it.. their way.
I first started going to church around 3 years after this conversion. I went with a friend and his huge Baptist family to a evangelical Baptist Church. I started playing in their church.
The church started to claim that because witchcraft had been practiced in the car park one night that they need to move and began asking the congregation to part with large sums of money. The typical unnecessary church building fund. I soon left their and went to another Baptist church (Nambour Baptist Church), made friends and soon became their technical productions person and ran the sound. This church was I thought was good and soon became one of the leaders of the youth group, started teaching Sunday school and began planing and running Christian events.
Today I know I did all these things to try and subdue the questions in my mind. Not only would I read the bible, but I would always be reading Christian Science books and apologetics. For a time, this worked. I had a Christian girlfriend and walked the strait and narrow. Yet still trying to discover myself, what did I like. Who am I? Why am I here? – the Christian answers never contented me and that’s why I was so active, I thought I could find the answers in God and would do his will.
My relationship with my parents degraded because of the void between us. My relationship with my girlfriend also suffered and we were miserable together (quite often anyway). We were together because we thought we’d gone too far together, not sex if any of you are wondering yet we were taught it was wrong.
Christianity, a dieing relationship and overworked in the church was sucking the life out of me. Not only me but my girl as well. So we elected to do what every god fearing Christian would do. Dig deeper. We became involved in more Christian missions as a couple and lit ourselves alight for Jesus. Soon we moved to a fundamentalist evangelical church called ‘Harvest’. This church was all music bells and whistles.
Soon after being there our relationship finally dissolved. First girlfriend, 18 month relationship. Hurt badly loosing that security. To make it worse, in around 2-3 weeks she started dating a friend of mine, and the ex-boyfriend of her sister. This was a shocker.
I dug even deeper into Christian life, yet this time I discovered a book on psychology. A book called “the road less travelled” by author Scott Peck. This book really hit my reasoning on my topics and caused me to think. I started to understand why I did the things I did. There was a section on religion in this book. I read it like the forbidden fruit. I read how religion had caused huge physiological problems in peoples lives. They’d healed only by leaving religion. My bible said those people had to go to hell, yet I could not justify that. This was the first chink in my Christian Armour tm.
With such doubt in my mind I began reading more Christian apologetics to try and find and reasonable answer to my moral question. Yet the books were so drab and dry compared to those free thinkers (btw: Scott Peck is no longer a free thinker, very fundamentalist Christian now). I found a book called Honest to Jesus written by the Jesus Seminars. This started me questioning the whole bible story. Everything I knew, my security blanket, everything I had believed. So I went through a period, a painful scary period where I would ask Christians, pastors and websites for answers to the dangerous questions I was asking. I was only ever mocked and told to hold on and that God will come through in the end.
That end came. Once I started reading through history from a secular point of view. I could not sit in church anymore. There was nothing there, I could finally see how hollow it all was. Nothing, at all. No good at all.
So there I was, alone, yet alive. It was like being born again, literally. I knew so vary little of the world. I began reading philosophy. My favourite book being “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder. This gave me a base, something I was use to. Yet I continued to read. Another great book by the same author is “The Solitaire Mystery”. This opened my mind to wonder and philosophise for myself.
My mind became free, I was suddenly in awe of life and was thrilled to be living it. I worked on my physical condition, becoming very fit, started doing things what were declared ‘evil’ by the church, such as practicing yoga and later on Tantra. Also, my results from study went through to distinctions. Reasoning was simple and I began to trust myself.
My friends are all still fundamentalist Christians, that is the curse of living in a place like Sunshine Coast, Australia, yet, thanks to my free ability to reason (bye bye faith) and the books I had read. I could survive the onslaught condemnation and resounds when someone vocal in a church leaves. (as Dave, the webmaster would know)
I’d like to end with an analogy.
Christianity is like being inside an egg, there is a world around you but you don’t know it. Also an egg is quite strong from the outside, yet from the inside it is weak. Sooner or later some of us hatch.
Thank you Dave for making this website and everyone who contributes! I’ve been visiting and reading the posts and archives for many months now. Thank you so very sincerely, you’ve saved us from being isolated. See you on the web boards soon!
On the outside, looking out
City: Sunshine Coast
Became a Christian: Aprox 14
Ceased being a Christian: 19 years
Labels before: Baptist (probably non-denominational)
Labels now: Freethinker Humanist & Athiest in regards to Bible God
Why I joined: Fear and basic human instinct to save one's hide
Why I left: Knowledge (biblegod is so immoral)
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)