sent in by inini
My story might be a little long, but I thank WebMaster Dave for allowing me to tell it, and I thank those of you who might read it. I have been reading this website for many months and have gained some peace of mind that there are many people like me who are living without the faith (that’s “crutch”) we have depended on for so long.
I believed it hook, line and sinker until I was 48 years old. Before that, I began to question the validity of religion when a friend of mine, a Protestant minister, introduced me to the concept that women are due the same respect as men. Of course, most of the Bible doesn’t make any sense in this regard, so I started to substitute the language of faith with more inclusive terms, just to myself. Things like saying “kindom” instead of “kingdom” and “god” instead of “father.” It bothered me that so few other people in my mainline Protestant community would dare to admit out loud that the world of patriarchal religion was unfair (and cruel) to women, so I started to speak out. Of course, I was treated like I was crazy.
That was only the beginning of my disillusionment, and one day another friend mentioned that the lives we live might be considered in the light of “original blessing” instead of “original sin.” Well that did it and I began to shed the years of feeling guilty for not being perfect, since we had obviously been “given” this life to enjoy right from the start. This same friend introduced me to the works of Joseph Campbell, whom some of you may know as a scholar of myth and spirituality. I was shocked to realize that of all the cultures that ever lived anywhere on this planet, the mythical stories are the same: virgin birth, a savior who sacrifices himself to save his people, etc, etc.
I began to seriously wonder what the role of religion actually is in human life, and I have come to the conclusion that it is our ancient longing for our father and mother to look after us all our lives. Being that our real fathers and mothers are probably imperfect humans, the invisible, omnipotent kind seems useful for that purpose. And of course, that is where many of use learned the concept of overtly decent behaviour, like not killing people or stealing, and to be kind to those who are not kind to us.
The real kicker came when our pastor retired and, after a number of months, we hired a man who admitted right up front that he never intended to be a mainline protestant minister. He turned out to be an evil, two-faced fundamentalist who served me up the worst betrayal of my life. I was actually an employee of that church, and he decided he wanted to form his own power base and I was in the way. Instead of saying to me something like he didn’t think our philosophies matched and he wouldn’t mind allowing me time to find another job (the kinder cut) he organized a smear campaign against me and forced me out. My faith was completely shattered and my emotional and physical life were in jeapardy for about five years after that. I am still recovering from the blows and given that the rest of my life had been turned upside down just before that time (which this person knew about) it is a wonder I am still thinking at all. So even after my spouse condemned me to “Hell” I
am convinced that Christianity is a lie fomented by those who wish to retain power over the general populace.
Among the books I have read that have helped me are: When God was a Woman by Stone and The Great Cosmic Mother by Sjoo and Mor. (These works allowed me to understand that religion can be presented in any way that is convenient and useful.) In addition, The Universe Story by Swimme and Berry, “The Chalice and the Blade” by Eisler and a number of the books and videos of Joseph Campbell have helped me make sense of the real world. I’m making my way in the real world with some difficulty, but I feel more like a real person than I ever have in my life.
Became a Christian: I accepted Jesus as my "savior" at age 7
Ceased being a Christian: Woke up at 48
Labels before: Lifetime mainline Presbyterian
Labels now: don't know/ not Christian
Why I joined: My mother took me to church as a child
Why I left: total betrayal
Email Address: inini at carolina.rr.cmike
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)