sent in by Willa
Why I "de-converted"
There are probably numerous reasons, that taken all together turned me away from Christianity and pretty-well all other religions. Without dwelling too much on the people of the Christian religions themselves (though they certainly are a good enough reason to leave as there is something about religion that brings out the most mean-spirited things in people), the beliefs of the religion itself eventually made me question the whole structure. The following is a summary of probably the most salient points that eventually turned me away and started me looking for the truth:
1. The idea of "eternal punishment." If an extremely bad person (eg Hitler, Stalin or Genghis Khan) were to be punished and therefore doomed to suffer a million years of excruciating pain for each second of each person whom they caused the death of, this would never even come close to eternity. Would God really punish someone "forever?" I can't imagine a crime or sin that a human could commit that would really warrant a literal eternity of excruciating, conscious torment and pain. A God that would punish literally "forever"is a barbarian, a monster and not worthy of belief or worship.
2. The idea of "hell" and excruciating, conscious torment for everything from insignificant sins to major and viscous crimes. Are we really going to be put in hell and be made experience excruciating, conscious torment for lying, cheating, coveting our neighbour's goods, being unfaithful, stealing and murder? Is the punishment really the same for lying as it is for coveting your neighbour's husband and killing her to get him? If so, then this God is insane!
3. The idea of heaven. Why do we have to go through this life and not go straight to heaven? This makes no sense. Why put something like "life" as a stumbling block in the way. Why not make us perfect and incapable of sin and then put us directly in heaven? This is just dumb!
4. The idea of faith. Why bother with faith when all God has to do is show up regularly (every week or month or year even) and say "Hi, I'm God." Why bother with the Bible when he could just show up and say "Here are my rules. If you don't follow them, wow, you are really in trouble!" The idea of "faith" makes no sense at all. Just show up and there wouldn't be any need for faith.
5. The torments of living. The Bible says that even if you think something sinful, it is as bad as actually doing it. I don't about anyone else (but I expect it is the same for them too) but I canï¿½t fully control my thoughts. I have coveted my neighbour's husband, I have cheated and I have done bad things in my mind like being glad someone was dead. According to the Bible I'm doomed! This is even more insane. If this is true then I suspect that heaven is going to be pretty well near empty because if everyone who ever had a bad thought is going to hell and not heaven then there will probably be about a handful of people in heaven.
6. The idea the Jesus had to die for us so that we would be forgiven. Really? How barbaric. A living, thinking being had to die so that we would be forgiven? Is God insane? How about just "forgiving us"? No bloodshed, no violence. Why the theatre?
7. The personal issue. Will I really go to hell because of a genetic condition? Was there something I could have done before I was born to change it? I have an intersex condition. Am I really to be damned to hell fire because my chromosomes were mixed up? What type of maniac God would make a person such as I and then punish her for being the way she was made?
I suppose in the end, what was for me the final nail in the coffin of Christianity was the concept of having to be MORE moral than God himself. As someone wrote and I quote here: "Why are we commanded to do things that God does not do? We are told to love our enemies; God sends His to Hell. We are commanded to forgive others even though they do not ask forgiveness; God extends forgiveness to us only if we come before Him and ask Him. We are told not to murder, yet God does plenty of butchering and murdering in the Bible ï¿½ even of innocents and those who have committed no sin. Does God require our morality to exceed His own?"
Having read the above quote really made me think that if human morality must exceed God's morality, then we are truly doomed because, according to Biblical belief, we are imperfect and corrupted by original sin. This means most of us, if not all, are incapable of even coming close to God's desires.
This realization was the end, the end of my belief. I had to finally admit that it could not be true.
These are my reasons for dumping the Christian belief and any other religious belief.
In summary, all things considered I am not sure that God does not exist. Indeed, I think I would like it that God did exist and that there was an afterlife ï¿½ apart from reasons like "not ceasing to exist", I think I'd like to ask "What were you thinking? What was the point of all this? I think I'd simply like to know.
Now, to end all this typing, my name is Willa Cartwright. I am 43 years old and I am the holder of a diploma of Psychology, a degree in Mathematics and a degree in Computer Science. I am also 2 and a bit years into a theology doctorate which I have just recently officially quit. (Yes, I read the feedback from the girl with the MBA on the "letter to the Christians" - was quite a chuckle.)
The point is that I do NOT, I repeat "do NOT", need some 20 year old "born again" telling me "like it is!"
The truth is that I have been an evangelical Catholic since before evangelical was "trendy." That is, since I was born in 1960.
Now my last point. Like I said, the last person I want to hear from is a 20 year old "born again." At the same time, I do not want to hear from some Priest, Pastor or other "authority on Christian scripture" either.
The simple and honest fact is the absence or presence of honesty. Try real honesty and I assure you, if you do, you will reject all religions.
Ms. Willa Cartwright
(P.S. Webmaster - keep up the good work!!!)
2nd of October 2004.
Became a Christian: 0 years old. Was born into it.
Ceased being a Christian: 43 years old then I had "enough!"
Labels before: Catholic, Evangelical.
Labels now: Agnostic, bordering on Atheism
Why I joined: I was born into it.
Why I left: I had to be honest - it is a lie. The "truth" contradicts scripture.
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)