sent in by Joy-Lyn Gulley
I started pre-school at a Christian school. It was a one building deal that supported Pre thru 12th grade (badly I discovered later).
My parents put me in private school because they thought I'd receive a better education. Plus the school would admit me early (I was only four) where Public school wouldn't. So from Preschool thru the fourth grade, I went there.
In Kindergarten, I was nearly expelled (yes...kindergarten). My crime? Showing my privates to same age boys who'd asked what they looked like.
The school counselor interrogated everyone, and talked to all our parents (it wasn't until much later I learned from my Mom that this pig-headed heel had tried to boot me).
I was also paddled with a wooden board twice.
The first time was during First grade. The teacher was having serious medical problems of her own due to anorexia. She was very moody and very angry pretty much all of the time (she did die several years later). Instead of replacing her, or giving her an assistant to help her deal with a room full of normal young children, the administration simply left her to her own devices. And one day, this included the order that we could not talk during lunch (she had a headache) or we would get paddled. Well....we ALL got paddled that day. We were normal kids after all.
The second time was for "picking up a rock" during recess in second grade. The administration had reasoned that a picked up rock could be thrown at someone...so no picking up rocks.The rock I was accused by a talletale of picking up was about 25 pounds heavy and I'd had to struggle to turn it over to look for bugs underneath. The fact that a 45 pound little girl could NEVER lift a 25 pound rock and throw it was entirely lost on the teachers, and how "no picking up rocks" translated into "no TOUCHING rocks at all" will always be a mystery to me.
As a result, even though I was a Christian, I received several early lessons that religion and school certainly could result in a disasterous combination.
Fortunately my parents had no intention of keeping me there. They put me in public school in the fifth grade. Talk about a culture shock! It was nice to be able to bring my books from home to read during lunch though. In the private school, my reading materials would have been confiscated due to "Demonic" content....evil stuff that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
We then discovered that there was one area the private school had screwed me royally on. Math. I had to take special tutoring to catch up. This naturally opened me up to the ridicule of my peers.
I never blamed God for anything mind you. I've always known the difference between God and people. But my mind was already working....why had "those people" not focused on the tools I needed to make it through school? Why had "those people" punished me for things that clearly weren't crimes in other schools?
My mother still felt we needed religion, and eventually she prodded us into going to a Methodist church. Oh yipee. By this time, I'd already been reading and studying. I had a heck of a lot of questions concerning the Bible, and I thought they would get answered. They weren't.
Sunday School consisted of everyone learning to be parrots and mimics of the Word without ever questioning the content. Questioning the Bible! That was CRAZY!
So my questions stopped. I thought I could fit in. I couldn't. My scientific mind would rear it's head and everyone would blink vacantly at me...then disregard me and whatever I said entirely.
It wasn't until High School I had my best friend join me at youth group. Youth group was mostly a very lonely place for me for reasons already mentioned. But occasionally we would have some fun and I would forget that I was around people who didn't really think much of me.
Looking back, I never would have invited my friend to youth group. I did not know then that he was in need of real psychological help. I thought he was simply eccentric like me. I didn't learn there was something really wrong until it was too late. He grabbed religion like a lifeline (perhaps he thought it was) and he went deep.
He committed suicide our senior year. One of the things they discovered was that he'd taken a Bible and written side notes and underlined passages justifying his fatal decision all through it. I never saw it, but I didn't have to. I asked THE QUESTION....finally.
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE IN THE BIBLE THAT WOULD JUSTIFY SUICIDE?
Until that moment, like many Christians, I'd never really read the Bible. It was boring.
Now I did. I was revolted.
Slowly I started letting things go. I'd never been a Creationist. As soon as I'd learned about Evolution and of course....EVIDENCE. I'd dropped the creation myth out of my belief system. I just never told anyone. And every derrogatory phrase against women just sounds like primative Patriarchal FEAR....so I'd dropped all that too.
I slowly realized that there was more about the Bible that I didn't believe than what I did.
Jesus was harder to let go of. Until I realized that what I was holding tight to was his existence. Sure. Maybe he existed. Was he the Divine Son of God on Earth? When I asked myself that, I knew the answer was no. And I didn't need for Jesus to be Divine. Plato, Aristotle, and a lot of other philosophers and thinkers had passed wise words into posterity without needing Divine justification to be heard.
Then cam the inevitable....So what the hell am I now? I'm sure not a Christian. But when someone asks me about my belief system...what do I say?
So I went digging. Nothing was fitting. I kept reading. Picking and choosing what I believed versus what I didn't.
Then I discovered Deism. Simple, basic, and unassuming of anything. And learning that many of our Founding Fathers, were Deists was certainly a perk.
And there is a certain pleasure in answering that "what are you" question now. The way people's eyes glaze over in confusion as their brain cells fuse trying to make sense of the word...
I've also learned one other important thing. It took a LOT of studying to come to terms with this one. I've learned enough in my life to be comfortable saying the words "I don't know". People like to jump all over that phrase and treat is as though it means something it doesn't like "I don't know...anything".
As for the nature of God, the existance of heaven, our purpose for being here.....
I don't know.
And it feels good.
Became a Christian: Maybe 8
Ceased being a Christian: Officially abandoned the label at 22
Labels before: Just Christian, I refused baptism so I was never a "member"
Labels now: Deist
Why I joined: It seemed expected
Why I left: Too many inconsistancies, contradictions, and the unending HYPOCRACY of those who claim to be Christian
Email Address: white_raven23 at hotmail dot com
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)