sent in by Darkenmoon
My parents divorced and I moved with my mom to be hear her family in Illinois. I was 5. I don't remember it effecting me really... it wasn't like my father was around anyhow. After we moved back here, I began going to church, the church my mom grew up in and her side of the family still went to. I believe it was more the pressure from my grandmother and my aunts that encouraged my mom to send me to church. I'm not sure she would have done it on her own since she hadn't before taken me.
The church was a church where the local politicians went to see and be seen and to have very little asked of them. That's in a sense almost as bad as a fundy church I think... just in a different way. Anyhow, I did the whole be involved thing (not being a politician.) I was in choir, youth group, etc. As I got older I helped in the Sunday School classes and then taught in them. For many reasons I got squeezed out of doing these things though. That kind of disillusioned me about the church. Here they cry out for help... and then reject it when offered. So over time I kind of drew away from the church.
When I went to college, I again got involved. This time I began attending a Catholic church. I thought I was being called to it... but looking back I can see that it wasn't so much that I was being called to it, but more that my boyfriend and later fiancé (but thankfully never husband) was Catholic and it made things much easier. When we broke up, that was the last time I ever really stepped foot into a Catholic church. That also ended for a time my time as a Christian.
I left and tried to follow a nature religion... but I had so much anger in me for Christianity that it didn't really have a good chance. I tried hard to just ignore the anger and ignore my frustration and pretend Christianity didn't exist. But since I didn't deal with it... it was so very easy to get sucked into it again. Maybe that sounds strange because of how angry I was with it... how unfair it seemed... how prejudicial... how sexist. But I wanted to belong... to be accepted. It's amazing how the mind will allow things to at least momentarily be less important when you want to belong and be a part of a community so bad.
So in walks someone who I thought was my friend... a good friend. She pretends to be interested in my spirituality... my hurts... my needs. I can see now that her real desire was to love me into Christianity. Anyhow, I fell for it. So shame on me. Strange how when you don't fit that perfect born again Christian fundy mold people shun you... hoping you will conform. Of course they'd never admit they or anyone else was doing it. They aren't barbaric you know.
Anyhow... I went off on a tangent. After some time, love bombing, and heavy missioning I submitted and "accepted Christ into my heart". Oh yay.
I got right into doing Bible studies... church... women's retreats, all the stuff the good Christians do. And of COURSE I went out missioning myself. OF COURSE.
I can't believe how I hurt some people due to my missioning... and how I arrogantly thought I was being kind and loving. Why couldn't I just leave these people be? I guess in the scheme of things, it was fortunate I'm a bit shy... because I did a poor job overall... but I still created some hurt. I still felt that I was superior. Grr.
Fortunately after about 5 years I realized this just wasn't me, wasn't where I wanted to be, and wasn't even true. There were too many inconsistancies... too much doublespeak... too much prejudice... to much sexism... and we were supposed to think this was all ok! NO! NO NO NO!
This came over time. There wasn't some instant where I could say THIS is when I quit believing. It kinda began slowly. It came from realizing how far modern day church services are from those listed in the New Testament. It came from seeing how people in the church who are supposed to love everyone and care about everyone are often more hateful and cliquish then those outside of the church. It came from realizing how brainwashed people became... how much of a teddy bear their Bible and faith became. As I grew apart from the church... staying home on Sundays... reading other things.... exploring other options...
I slowly realized that really I was no longer standing in line with the evangelical Baptist Born Again Christian types I was aligning myself with. And I began realizing that I needed to do something about this. So I spent several months working through this on and off until I felt that what I needed to do... what was best for me... was to work through this... get rid of anger... deal with the pain... allow this part of my lift to be put away and left behind as it wasn't a part of me anymore and was weighing me down. I've worked through so much... and the friend who love bombed me has since dropped the friendship. My best friend who is like my brother but is a born again Christian has stayed. He's a very good guy. He helps me remember not all fundy Christians are evil or the enemy or just out to mission to me.
Anyhow, a different friend of mine once said about my journey from Christianity that it would hurt like hell but it would be a good thing. It has definitely hurt like hell. But it has made me so much more free... so much more content... so much happier. I just take it one step at a time. I don't know where the path is leading. Right now I don't really believe in much of anything deitywise... yes I hesitate to call myself an atheist because I am not sure that there is nothing out there. I try not to classify myself. I'm just me. I try to accept where I am... accept that it is ok... and continue to grow...
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)