I was helping to destroy the world

sent in by Sage

My mother was the American Suburban version of "good Christian". That is, believes in the Bible word-for-word, does devotions and prayers exactly as they are written out on the book, prays before every meal - but doesn't go to church because she's fat, and she just KNOWS everyone is going to stare at her and she'll be so embarrassed and look so bad......Apparently God judges appearances a lot.

My dad on the other hand, nobody knows what he thinks. I think the best label to apply to him would be "pessimistic agnostic"; that is, whether or not there is a God doesn't matter to him, so long as it's the worst-case scenario.

My mom brought me up in the church. We went every Sunday, 8:00 AM sharp, in the frilly dresses and horridly uncomfortable tights my mother always made me wear. The kids in the church didn't get programs like the big people, we got little booklets with Bible stories inside to color. Only, we couldn't have crayons in church, so we only could use one color, gray pencil lead.

As I grew older I became a very good Christian indeed. My mother sent me to the same school she attended in her youth, the local Lutheran school, that sure did give you a Christian education but didn't have much to offer in the non-religious fields. I ended up having to leave in the fourth grade because I had ADD and my school, outdated as it was, just couldn't handle it.

Public schooling was a big slap in the face. I came across people who actually weren't Christian. Heavens, no! People that used words and did things I'd never even heard of. Worried, I sunk further and further back into Christianity, which didn't help because my father was a cheapass who spent thousands of dollars on himself in a month yet dressed us kids in hand-me-downs from Salvation Army centers - in a rich suburb, that automatically makes you the worst most unpopular kid at school, and since I already had chronic depression things only got worse. I was checked into the local mental health center at 12 after my first suicide attempt.

This was even worse than public school - most of the kids there were there because of court orders - the state didn't know what else to do with them. I was dealing with what my rich suburban white Christian mother would call "the scum of the earth". And not a Christian among them. I was alarmed and finally took it upon myself to spread the Gospel among my fellow inmates and all unbelievers who surrounded me. I can't believe I got through the mental health center stay, and back to school, without getting my ass kicked - luckily most of my peers just ignored me or made fun of me until I cried, whether than actually take offense at my proselytizing.

I found that I could not change the unbelievers myself. The answer, of course, was to pour every dime I had from allowances and later on from jobs into missionary work. I felt especially good about this - I wasn't only helping to convert the lost in my own country, but I was spreading the word of God all over the world, to places like Korea and China, with their ever-more-Christianized populations. Isn't that great?

No, it isn't.

A few years and three more suicide attempts later, a brief dalliance with Catholicism (I thought their ceremonies and churches were pretty), and a sad attempt to re-convert my lapsed Catholic boyfriend, I was just burned out. I had lost my job and gone out of school, and being unable to find work I spent lots of time staying at home thinking and studying. I don't know exactly when I quit on Christianity - during the year I was 19 but at what point I don't know. I just started thinking of all the hypocrisy in it. God loves you - but he hates gays, abortionists, and non-Christians. God is full of mercy and forgiveness - but you gotta bust your ass asking him for it or he'll send you to burn in hell for ALL ETERNITY. Just one little mistake, and you're a sinner, and God seems much more inclined to send you to fry for all time then take you up to Heaven, judging by all his threats. The "sins" I didn't understand either. I couldn't understand why God has such a beef with sex. Don't do it before marriage. Don't have gay sex. Have it only in this one position. Who gives a damn? Why is it that everything good in life - or really, just being human - is a sin? If Does God really want me to deny myself everything?

The Bible was a problem for me too. Why is it that as Christians, we can eat any animal we want, although it opposes the Old Testament? The pastor says that's because it applies only to the Jews. Then why do we have to follow the Ten Commandments, too? Why does God have a "chosen people"? Why doesn't he just have a "chosen dog breed" or a "chosen fast-food restaurant" too? If Jesus is the founder of our religion, why do St. Paul's words seem to hold more power than Christ's words - even if 90% of Paul's doctrines and declarations seem pulled out of a clear blue sky, issuing laws and sins and orders that Jesus didn't peep about?

I always knew there was a God. I still have no doubt of a "God" (for lack of a better word). It just hit me that maybe the Bible was misrepresenting God. Maybe God had nothing to do with it at all. I started thinking about what I'd been pouring all my efforts into for the past few years - and I felt ashamed instead of proud of it. I was helping people hate each other, condemn others, and what I felt worst about was that I'd put so much money into missionary work. I am a big believer in the rights of native cultures against the pressing waves of Westernization and Christianization. At the time I thought I was doing those cultures a big favor by "saving" them. Now I realized I was just helping to destroy them - telling them that saris are sinful because they're too "sensuous", that honoring their ancestors is idolatry, that bowing is a sin because no one should bow before a human being, even if it's the standard greeting in that society - one should only bow before God. I was helping to create a one-country, one-society, bland, hateful world in my support of missionary activities. What really killed me was that I was finally reading up on what missionaries actually do - assaulting and pestering locals, refusing to help their fellow man unless he converted (and giving plenty of shiny false incentives to do so), playing dirty tricks with people's minds. I felt like shit to think that I'd once supported all of that.

Now I just live with the God I've always lived with but chose to let others distort for me - a God that really is all-loving, all-merciful. A God that always gives a second chance, a God that truly loves unconditionally, a God without sex or race or creed that wants me to know Him/Her personally, instead of fear Him/Her. I am at peace.

Joined: Christian from birth
Left the flock at 19
Was: Lutheran, now they call me a hippie. Derogatorily.
Now: Hippie. Proudly.
Converted: Born into Christianity
De-converted: Left it out of disgust.
email: desperatemusic at yahoo dot com

1 comment:

FriendinJesus said...

Dear Sage,

I am glad you have peace now but I am sadden that your religious upbringing has left you with such a mis-guided view on Christianity.
I urge you to put aside all your upbrings brain washing and all the worlds concepts on God and just talk to Jesus. I know this sounds like a Christainity cop-out but what you have been taught from a child has been based on your parent's and other's understanding of faith in Jesus.Now you have seen it is not for you and are seeking your own understanding, it is a good time to start seeking, not a religion or a theory, on why we are here or who is God? ie:He/She is want ever I want He/She to be. But a time to seek the truth. Now Jesus said he was the truth and the light, why not seek Him just by talking to him.Except his challenge!I dare you.I will talk to him about you. He is there for everyone.He will lead you into all truth.
Just another point,The bible is the truth but humankind has used it abusively to make personal points of view more persuasive.This is not God's fault but humankinds.As a little example;
The belief that man was made first and women second as only a 'helper' to man.This idea came form scholars in the past ( a man- scholar only world- The dark ages)But today, with so much more knowlegde available, we know that strictly translating the Hebrew text on creation, shows us that mankind is only complete as 'in God's image' with both the male and female parts.Thus the word'man' in the correct translation of Hebrew means male and female, which can then constitute a full humanbeing made in the image of God!That previous old incorrect translating of scripture from the distant past has lead to the continued domination and abuse of women by man( as of course was intended by the male dominated religion of the time).
So to summerise, I repectfully suggest that you drop any religion including any new-age theories and just seek the truth by talking to Jesus who is the Christ, has He is the only one claiming to be God in the flesh. And who is the only god who died and was brought back to life again by the power that dwells in Him.No other religion's god or theory can lay claim to that! This is a proven historial event ( both the world and Christain historians spoke of the event of Jesus's death and resurrection and that he was killed as a criminal when there was no proof against Him)Thus Jesus is unique because he was a man in our world but he was also without fault and He claimed to be one as the same as God.
Next check out the bible alone, without anyone's pre-conceived ideas. Just ask Jesus by his Spirit(who is the part of Him that He sent here to help us)to show you Himself in scripture and I am sure you will know the truth and be totally free from the past and have a positive future in this world and the next.All is good I promise you.
Love in Christ Jesus to you Sage.
Regards Friend in Jesus.

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