sent in by RUTH STONE
When I became a Christian, it was because I wanted to do something 'right' for myself and my children. I wanted to have the rules all spelled out for me. And peer pressure (most of my friends were already churchies). But I also remember reading the Book of John and being inspired by Jesus. He said things that made sense to me...things that I could agree with. So I started going to a church where it all changed.
Yes, at first it was all about Jesus...his love and his forgiveness. Who doesn't want a clean slate? But, with each Sunday sermon, the Jesus that lured me into the church became less and less visible. Suddenly it was the harsh, jealous, smiting God who loomed large. But, by then, I was already deep into it, and felt like I couldn't back out. I had built an entire social circle of friends who would not let me walk away. A few years go by, children were born, and I was becoming more and more beligerent and hateful. Suddenly, conspiracies were everywhere: the music i once listened to had Satanic back-masking, so we threw those away. The toys my kids played with were also demonic or new age, so we discarded those. Of course, the public schools were indoctrinating our children with Humanism, so we pulled them out and started homeschooling. I cut myself off from my unsaved family and friends.
I remember one afternoon with the other Christian moms: they were telling me how God had laid it upon their hearts to tell me that I wasn't doing God's will because I didn't believe in physically hitting my children. They told me how the bible said I HAD to spank them. One woman said her pastor had preached about it and had told the congregation that an unruly child should be hit repeatedly until you hear them make a cry of submission. That at first, a child will cry simply because they got caught, but after hitting for a while, the child's spirit would submit.
Unfortunately, my husband and I, like sheep to slaughter, went along with it all and began hitting the kids for everything and anything.
Anyway, over the next several years, I began to THINK for myself and realized that my unhappiness and depression was directly related to the crazy doctrines of the church. I started to question everything and came to the conclusion that IF god existed, and that IF god were truly a loving parent, then he would not have put me in a world of temptation. He would not have made gay people. He would not have mandated genocides (all those O.T. stories). More than that, I began to think that perhaps God was bigger than any one single religion. After all, if GOD really did have a holy book, wouldn't it come attached to our umbilical cords or something like that?! I mean, it would be OBVIOUS to all people at all time that it really was God's Book.
It's sad for me to realize that this part of my journey took up so many years of my life. I regret the way it changed me.
I regret being the hostile, unloving parent during those years, as cold, distant, and abusive as the God of the O.T.
It's funny: born-agains are always talking about having a "personal relationship with god." Yet, if memory serves, I was was always being told what to do/think by other christians...never really allowing me to have that personal relationship.
In conclusion, I hope this testimony helps someone...even just one person...walk away from the insanity that is Christian Fundamentalism. As I told my former church friends as i was leaving, "I have prayed about it and am convinced this is what "God" wants me to do." And I wasn't lying; I knew in my heart (as they say) that if there really was a God, that God would completely approve of my decision to leave.
Incidently, I have never been happier, healthier nor more like myself and have never once regretted leaving Fundamentalism behind.
Became a Christian: I was in my early 20s
Ceased being a Christian: I was almost thirty when I walked away.
Labels before: Assembly of God; Foursquare Gospel.
Labels now: Gnostic Pantheist
Why I joined: I became a Christian because I wanted to do something "right."
Why I left: I left because it nearly destroyed my life, my family, and my mind.
Email Address: myrrhspace 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)