sent in by Kevin Cadman
I was quite a happy teenager, partying, drinking, girlfriends -- the usual. I've never been into drugs and never will be. I was a typical, run-of-the-mill teenager, getting up to a fair amount of mischief, but nothing serious. Then, my mother converted to Christianity. I'd always labelled myself as somewhat agnostic (although, at the time, I did not quite know what that term meant), as I didn't really have much of an interest in Christianity or any other religion - I simply enjoyed my life too much. I had no interest in changing my life. My brothers' conversion soon followed, and he too started attending the non-denominational, exceptionally happy-clappy church.
They were often on my case, asking my silly thought-provoking questions to try and get me thinking. None of it really worked, but I was vehemently assured that they were praying for me.
When I stopped and looked at my life, I didn't think there was something "missing" as my Christian family so colloquially implied. However, when I looked at my brothers' life, which seemed to be filled with happiness, I envied him. I started questioning what I believed in and considered the option that he may be on to something. I wasn't unhappy, I simply juxtaposed my genuine state of contentment with his newly found state of constant jubilation. Now, I'm sure you're all familiar with the situation of the stereotypical "Happy Christian." They're trained to act and think that way -- even when things are falling apart, they're adamant that everything is working "for the good who those who love Him." My brother was the epitome of this.
With time, I became bored of the clubbing and drinking scene. In my mind, you were either "social" or "Christian." I didn't quite stop to think that one can be a perfectly content atheist. With my new found boredom, I became somewhat susceptible to the surrounding cliche Christian suggestion. I then, against much protest from close friends, decided to give Christianity a try.
This in itself was not easy. My conversion was not dramatic or emotional. I simply decided I'm going to give it a try, went to the front, received Jesus into my life and went home somewhat indifferent towards the inevitable lifestyle change that lay ahead of me. Once I accepted Jesus as my "Lord and Saviour" I was determined to make a whole-hearted attempt at my new found passion. I firmly believe one must do something properly or not at all.
Upon investigation, I was most certainly "unequally yoked" with my "old" friends. I knew that if I was to do this properly, I had to cut them out of my life. I explained to them that I had been converted to Christianity and could no longer go out drinking and clubbing with them. If they wanted to socialize, we could do so at a coffee shop or, conveniently, at church. I was determined to meet them on my level, not theirs.
With time, I grew in my new found faith. I devoted myself to the study of the Bible, to praying and to fellowship with Christians. I was generally happy with my life. However, something was missing. I had yet to receive the inner revelation of a God, the "settling" of unbelief which is somewhat required to be a successful Christian. The advice I was given was to pray about it, and God will reveal himself to me. I prayed every single day; I read the Bible for hours; I took an interest in the "things of God" and expected results -- nothing came.
I then decided to start an informal study of Christian theology. I spent hours researching sites such as http://www.carm.org (Christian Apologetics Research Ministries), http://www.tektonics.org (Tektonics Ministries) and http://www.theologyweb.com. My thinking was: "If this God is so real, I must rid myself of all unbelief. I will take the advice given in Timothy (open to correction) where it states "Study to show yourself approved" and study Christian Theology. SURELY that will show me that Jesus really is "The way, the truth and the li(f)e." As you're probably guessing by now, the exact opposite happened. Through studying CHRISTIAN theology, I soon realized the countless number of assumptions and errors in the Christian faith. By this time, I'd became annoyed with myself as I was sick of the Christian life. I was tired of the falseness, the lies, the guilt and of course, the massive amounts of hypocrisy. I'd spent 2 years trying to convince myself that I do believe in Jesus and the doctrines of Christianity when in fact I didn't - not in the least! On the contrary, I found it quite comical. I then made the decision to leave.
For those of you who have left a church, I'm sure you can empathize with me when I say that this task is nowhere near easy. By this time, Christians and church activities were my life. I'd left my old friends behind and I felt completely trapped in a world where I was an outsider. I began a slow transition into atheism. I'd reached the logical conclusion that I simply do not have sufficient faith to subscribe to any religion. Also, I have no fear of death, thus rendering the main selling-point of Christianity somewhat moot.
Ironically, my "old" friends welcomed me as if I was never gone, although, almost inversely proportional to the "old" friends I was re-claiming, was the amount of "church" friends I was losing. The tables had turned, and now I was the one they were unequally yoked with.
Today, I'm a happy atheist. I still have many Christian friends, however, that number does not come close to the amount of people I assumed were my friends when in fact they were no more than "church greeters."
In conclusion, I've come to the decision that I shall remain an atheist until a God proves me otherwise. If this all-knowing, all-caring God really wants me in Heaven, He'll show up.
Was: Charismatic, Non-Denominational Christian, Happy Clappy, Pentecostal
Now: Atheist, Free-Thinker
Converted out of: Boredom, Curiosity
De-converted because of: Lies, Hypocrisy, Falseness, A Fallible Religion
email: kevin dot cadman at gmail dot com