sent in by Nathan
I abandoned my faith in Christianity about six months ago, but before I get to that part of the story, I would like to start from the beginning and relate more or less my “whole” testimony. That being: how I became a Christian, why I stayed a Christian for so long, and what drove me to eventually question and abandon my faith.
I was born to Christian parents. After experimenting with drugs and the party scene my parents both converted to Christianity in their twenties. By the time I was born they were strong believers, ready to train up their son “in the way he should go.” I was dedicated as a baby in their church and about a year later they moved to another church in the town that I am living in now, here in Novato, California.
At the age of two I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I have only extremely vague memories of this, and obviously I had no idea what was going on. Asking a child to make that type of choice is like asking them to choose a wife. However, I don’t blame my parents for trying to get me “Saved” as early as possible, being under the impression that Hell awaited all unbelievers.
I was baptized at the age of 7 and also “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” at around the same time. I can hardly remember this experience either. About as far back as I can remember, I’ve always “spoke in tongues” and never thought it was odd or out of place.
In Jr. High I made my first attempts to think for myself. I realized that my former decision was only because of my parents Christianity and had nothing to do with my own will. I weighed the information that was given to me. Most of the Christian people I knew seemed happy, and all I really knew of “unsaved” people was what my Christian teachers told me. I went to a private Christian school and almost all of my friends were Christians. I knew a few people that had been “out in the world” and without fail their story always went something like: “The world has nothing to offer but drug addiction, immoral sex, and pain. Thank God that I’m saved again.” In other words the only stories I had ever heard from people that had left Christianity, where from people who had done so only to turn around and run back “into the fold” again. I concluded that no one could be happy without Jesus.
This realization combined with my personal experiences with “the presence of God” caused me to choose Jesus again, this time more consciously.
I got into high school. On the first week of school a girl came up to me and asked me if I was willing to urinate in a bottle so that she could pass her drug test and not be sent to Juvenile Hall. Having been in a private Christian school for the majority of my life switching to public education was a shock for me. Almost all of my peers had tried drugs and this reinforced my feeling that people without Jesus were doomed to lives of drug addiction.
I switched schools again after my sophomore year and high school was bearable. My junior year was the strongest year for my Christianity. I believed that God was everything in the world. I believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior, Master, Father, Friend, Brother, Lover, etc. I would even try to share my faith with some of my peers. By the end of this year I was “on fire” for Jesus.
However, just like every Christian young man I had “lust problems.” I always felt a little insincere because I knew that I was just as much a sinner as anyone else. Although these feeling were negative, the guilt associated with the sin actually drew me closer to Jesus. It assured me that I was still “a man in need of a savior.” I now see that guilt is a necessary part of Christianity. If you don’t feel bad about yourself why do you need a savior?
During my senior year I lost of a lot of my fire and started getting depressed a lot. I was basically spiritually bipolar all through out high school. I would go to church or youth events and feel the presence of God and then when it was over I would be depressed again. Christians always say that all of the “worldly pleasures” are temporary highs that let you down. This is probably true. What they fail to tell you is that the spiritual highs of Christianity are the same way. You go to church feel happy and then want to die the next day.
That year was the first time in my life that I started to honestly question God’s reality. However, I never left the Christian state of mind. There were questions but I always believed deep inside of that Jesus Loved and me that God was right me. I even made my senior quote “Jesus Loves You.”
I graduated from high school and started going to a local Jr. College. At the same time I started dating a girl that I had known from church for a couple years. When we started going out, I felt really happy. I gained a renewed faith in God. My girlfriend and I would pray together all the time and the faith that we shared held the relationship together. I stopped questioning God during this period of my life. Everything was good and happy.
One day I was talking to one of my pastors, and our conversation drifted onto biblical violence. I told him I felt that killing is wrong. He showed me places in the bible where God commanded people to kill. He said this to me:
“You’ve come to a place where your opinion differs from the will of God. That’s ok for now but eventually if something doesn’t change it will keep you out of heaven.”
I tried not to think about what he said too much. I was happy with my life and didn’t want big theological questions to get in the way of my love for God or my girlfriend. I knew that if I abandoned God I would have to break up with my girlfriend. We had almost nothing in common besides faith and I knew it couldn’t work without that spiritual bond.
In the end I didn’t have to make that choice. She broke up with me and said that God had told her to do so. I was shocked because there was nothing leading up to this. It just happened, and it was over.
Now that I wasn’t preoccupied with that relationship I started to think about life more. I started to pray and seek God more. I still believed that he knew what was best and that everything was under his control. For the next month I read a lot of the bible and prayed a lot. I wanted to know what God was doing with my life. I assumed that God had something important for my life now that he had cause this break up.
The more I read the bible the more I thought about the conversation I had with my pastor. The old questions started to come back. “Is God really real?” “Does God Love Me?” I was going back and forth between days of depression and days of seeking God, and asking him to show me his will for my life.
One night it happened. I finally put everything on the line. I started to really question God. “God if you’re real then show me!” “Where are you?” “Jesus?” I found Exchristian.net and started reading testimonies of people who had left Jesus and were glad about it. All of my illusions about needing Jesus to be happy melted away. I started thinking, “Maybe it IS fake.” I also read a testimony on ExChristian.net of a man who was raised a Christian and realized he was gay at age 14. All of my anti-gay attitudes started to melt away. I realized that the only reason for these attitudes was my religion.
That same night I also read the story of Eddie “Gwen” Arajo, a young boy/girl who had been murdered because he/she was genetically male but lived as a female. Christians came to his/her murderers’ trail and held up signs saying that it’s wrong to be gay. I didn’t want to have anything to do with these people. I realized that according to my faith I was obligated to believe that Eddie “Gwen” Arajo is in hell. I was not prepared to believe that.
I finally realized how absurd the bible is. The genocide in Numbers chapter 31 became real to me. It was an obvious contradiction. God said, “don’t kill” and then turned around and said “kill them all; men, women, and children.” (Except for the virgins, whom the Israelite men could keep for themselves) Why would I want to serve a brutal god like this? I reread the gospels and noticed many factual contradictions. None of my Christian friends could give good explanations for these discrepancies.
After that night it only became more and more obvious to me that Jesus is NOT God and that the bible is a fable. I found a renewed hunger for knowledge. I started spending my time reading books and thinking rather than worrying and praying. It took me a long time but I eventually told most of my Christian friends, my pastor, and my parents about my decision to reject Christianity. It has been hard, but I feel like a much more honest person now. I don’t need a big God with a stick leaning over my shoulder threatening to bash my brain in every time I do something wrong. I can be a good person on my own.
Became a Christian: 2
Ceased being a Christian: 19
Labels before: Assemblies of God
Labels now: Freethinker, moving towards Atheism
Why I joined: I was young and I thought Jesus Loved Me
Why I left: Jesus Doesn't Love me
Email Address: skinandbones2001 at yahoo 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)