sent in by Ethan S.
Well, I have been coming to this site for over a year, but only now have I decided to actually post.
First of all, this site has really helped me a lot. As far as proof there were others like me, and that "leaving the faith" was possible.
Also, it's been great as far as a place for resources when debating Christians.
My story is a long one, but I'll try to keep it short.
I was born in a very Christian household, and I was raised that way. As a child, I was always the best in giving answers in Sunday School. I could always tell them what they wanted to hear, and they would hear it.
However, at the same time, things just didn't fit in. One teacher I had told us dinosaurs did not exist. I was confused. Also, I wondered why Yahweh no longer spoke to anyone and why there were no more Jesus-like miracles performed by Christians to this day.
I was never exposed to anything else. This was the only paradigm I knew for viewing the world, so I could never question it that much.
I did however, seem to impress a lot of adults. I would debate with them whether or not memorizing verses was important, as opposed to what the meaning was. I also got bored easily and was eventually taught things of a more "theological" nature as opposed to simple bible stories and myths.
Around my middle school years, like any good teenager, I became more rebellious. Not only that, but at the time I was never a social person.
Church gradually became more and more like school, with it's social classes and cliques, except there was no one like me. This led to a lot of alienation in the church, and I eventually went from being talkative, to completely silent in the youth group.
One of the primary reasons for this alienation was pride. My parents were very Hard-Core, more-so then most people in the church. I was raised in such a manner, and was always told by my parents how I was such a good Christian, with a heart more pure than the others in the youth group. I was told that I was spiritually stronger, and that I should be wary not to keep bad company.
Sadly, I believed this. I stayed away from everyone because they were hypocrites. My parents just saw this as me being "spiritually superior". I wonder what they were thinking.
Also, it was around this time I was beginning to get exposed to different beliefs. One of my friends had bought a copy of the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey. Although not a Satanist, he agreed with some of the theories, such as no life after death, and making the most of this life and doing things yourself. I realized this was a different view and made some sense. I had been exposed to a different paradigm.
My friend was never a Satanist, and neither was I, but I began to read into philosophy after that incident. All the while, my relationship with the church became colder and colder, more and more distant. I was beginning to formulate questions to which my preachers and teachers at my church could not adequately answer.
Eventually, I was no longer part of the youth group. My parents still made me go (they were very strict Christians), but I never got anything out of the "bible studies" which were nothing more than reading a bible story and then discussing it. No philosophy, which is what I was really interested in. Whenever I tried to bring up something, it was usually killed quickly.
Time went on, and I became isolated even more. Christianity was such a big part of my parents life (heck, it was their life) that when I was no longer participating, I was practically doing nothing. The isolation from others continued and that finally led to depression.
During my time of depression, I cut myself and even had one suicide attempt. It was at this time I was hospitalized and decided that my philosophical ideas were wrong. I decided that because my life was miserable, that it was god punishing me. So I converted back to Christianity and got the love of god and all that.
But then, one day, I seriously thought.
What I thought about is too complex to describe here. Suffice it to say, it was a long, long, long philosophical debate that I had with myself and others that lasted several weeks. I was beginning to believe there was no god...
Then I found this site. And I was shocked. Not only that, for the first time ever, I had the INTERNET. I was able to research better than ever. I discovered I wasn't the first to come up with certain philosophical conclusions, nor was I the last. I could also research the bible and what not.
Well, the atrocities of the Old Testament Yahweh were enough to convince me. Even when I looked at them in context like Christians told me, it still wasn't a loving god. What really did it, though, was that Yahweh tolerated Rape.
I knew a girl that was raped by her father, and as a result killed herself because she couldn't live with it. Just thinking about it brings a flood of sorrow, hatred, and confusion.
I decided even if Yahweh was real, I would refuse to worship this monster.
Christians have told me that the Midianites were taken as wives. I try to explain to them that rape is rape whether you are married or not. None of them believe this. They are indeed carrying the beliefs of a backward primitive culture, and that sickens me.
Christians have told me the tribes Yahweh commanded the Israelites to slaughter were "bad" or "evil" because they attacked the Israelites before. Why didn't Yahweh protect them? He's supposed to be god, right? And what about love and forgiveness? Or surely he could have sent a prophet or done a miracle or something.
It was, I believe, more of an excuse for a political campaign and justified genocide.
So many Christians tell me I'm taking things out of context. When is murder of infants that did nothing, slavery, or rape of women ever justified in any context?
Thus, began my descent into truth. I manged to convert two other people over the course of my high school years, as well as plant the seeds of doubt of countless others in my church, which for the most part, now hates me.
I'm too old for the youth-group now, and I no longer live at home, but go to college.
Recently, I have been debating Christians online. It is, to say in the least, quite frustrating.
I'm afraid that I'll have to give up, as they are stubborn. One of them told me "I know that Christianity is right, so therefore, any argument against Christianity is wrong." That's his logic. Also, I read "The case for faith" and "the case for Christ" but he refuses to read "the case for atheism" because it got bad reviews by a Christian Author.
Not only that, he's been giving me arguments, but he's twisting the words such as telling me "No, you're wrong... they were taken as wives, god does not allow rape."
Not only that, but he's very tenacious in that all he does is say "No, your arguments are wrong, mine are right, now don't bring them up again because we have established you are wrong"
I'm just afraid if I back away he'll just rub it in my face. The main issue is contradictions in the bible... so if anyone can give some suggestions, they are welcome. But for the most part, not even the fig tree contradiction was good enough for him. He told me it was obviously a metaphor. Sigh.
Well, that's my story, from my conversion to what I've been up to now...
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)