sent in by Chris
As a child, religion was never forced upon me. My father grew up in a strict Lutheran home, and my mother grew up in a strict Catholic home. I was always taught that I had my own freedom to express myself, but it wasn't always that way. When I first started going to private school in 8th grade, that is when I "found god."
At 14 years old, I had moved schools about 4 times and never moved. I had serious social problems as a child, and never had more than one friend at a time. When I became a student at Cornerstone Christian School in Wildomar, California, it seemed like God was the only one who cared. I had hardly any friends, hardly any life, and not much else to do but go to church and delve into the life of a Christian. Little did I know what I was really getting into.
I began going to church at least 3 times a week, and reading the Bible and praying on a daily basis. I was never taught to pay as much attention to the old testament as I was to pay attention to the Gospels, because the new testament was supposed to be what was most important NOW. I prayed as hard as I could, I listened and watched for any sign, but nothing made sense. The kids at my school were a bunch of "Sunday Christians," as I like to call them. A bunch of kids with parents who all go to church on Sunday, and then dismiss all their morals for the rest of the week, believed that sunday "cleansed" them of all their sins. Sometimes, good things would happen, and people would turn to god and thank him, but when did coincidence ever end? When did god ever reach out and touch me? If he loves me so damn much, why didn't he help me when I was unhappy, why did he let me have a horrible schoollife as a kid? It's all a test, a test of my faith. WRONG, it was never a test.
Well, by 11th grade, I had returned to public school because I begged my mother to let me free myself of that forsaken school. I realized religion was a lie, that no one was watching me, and guiding me. No one was really helping me with anything, I was living my own life. By 12th grade, I had turned to god again, with no where else to turn. I had a new girlfriend who had began bringing me to church, and it all seemed right, but I was only blinded by lust rather than faith. The church I had been attending held youth groups on Wednsday nights and I was there weekly without fail. Well, after her and I broke up, she discontinued going and I continued. One week, I had been scheduled at work during Youth Group night, and I couldn't go. I tried my hardest to switch my shift, but it was impossible. Well, turns out, by next wednsday, they had changed all their times and dates without letting me know. These people had come to my HOUSE, sat at DINNER with my family (I'm talking about the pastors and what not), and had called me regularly to make sure I was OK. One week I miss, and they move on me? Well, with no information till Sunday, I just left and came back in the morning to find another surprise, the church had found a new building. I assumed this since there was nothing on the walls anymore, nor was there any posting or set-up like normal. I felt betrayed by the people of god, the people who supported me and kept me going. I mean, it might seem like they might have had other things to do, but the church was only comprised of, maybe 100 people at most, and only 20 kids at youth groups. This was an eye-opener. It made me question more than just god, but his people as well.
I started getting extremely depressed, and searching through prayer and the Bible for answers, but one never came. I fell deep into depression and realized that I had to pull myself out, no god could do it for me. I am now a free man, free of burdens of guilt and fear of death. I will not allow myself to be controlled by a book and some crazy thoughts. I now explore several ideas of atheism and other religions, not searching for answers, but searching for knowledge and englightenment. I will never condemn someone for their beliefs in god, but I will never accept anyone else condemning me for my lack of them. Live your life the way you want, but don't expect me to waste my short time here following a bunch of crazy rules and wasting my life.
Became a Christian: 14
Ceased being a Christian: 18
Labels now: Open Minded
Why I joined: I was taught to be.
Why I left: I came to grips with reality