sent in by Mary Williams
My testimony is similar to others I have read on this wonderful web site. I grew up in a professed atheist family. There was no hypocrisy, my father, mother and brother simply stated they didn't believe in God and acted accordingly. I too, never questioned this, being good at science in school and could believe that the Bible was simply some "stories".
At age 14 , my older brother died. This created some big problems in my family as he was very loved by my parents being the only boy. My dad took to drinking more and having fits of rage. My mom was so grief-stricken that she simply dropped out of life. I was left with so much guilt at being alive and at one point heard my parents say they "wished it had been me in the casket."
Needless to say, I was open to seek for some answers. I was very mad at any kind of God who could allow things like this. At this point a "born again" Baptist in my school became interested in being my friend. I was amused by her religion but did enjoy her sense of humor.
Obviously her goal was that of converting me. I remember so clearly one night she had me spend the whole night at her house and she preached to me. I thought she was a little nuts, but the next morning watching the interaction of her and her large family made me think maybe they had something.
I also had no problem with the concept of being a "sinner" as I was really angry and hurt with my parents and knew I had bad feelings toward them that wasn't right.
To make a long story short, I prayed the sinners prayer one night in my home, thinking that I wanted to be more like my friend. And that this maybe was the answer.
However, as I announced my new found belief system to my parents, my mother wept and said no one in the family had every done this before. My father was angry and probably got drunk. This was the start of many years of intense disharmony and a worsened relationship with my family, which I just didn't know how to prevent and keep my faith.
I was only allowed to attend a Lutheran church in the neighborhood because my parents had some friends who went there. I have to chuckle now thinking about when the pastor made a "house-call" to talk to my parents about their lack of faith . After this experience I remember him looking at me very solemnly in the church, and saying "You will need much prayer".
After being so happy to get away to college, I eventually joined a radical shepherding movement that was popular at that time called Great Commission. This group was very close knit and did a lot of evangelism. We also didn't date so as to allow god to lead us to our mate. I thought the idea was great at the time and for a long time after, however now I think it landed me with nothing but spinsterhood.
They promised to be the "family" that I'd never had - as do all the churches. They tell us that our real family is our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But honestly in over 20 years I've never had anyone go out of their way much to be family to me. I think most people in the Christian religion don't feel the impact of this much, because despite all their rhetoric about "family in the Lord," they still very much cleave to their own families, and the church is no more family to you than the corner store. For me however, I honestly didn't have any family that was there for me, so I keenly felt the lack of this promised support system..
So they taught about reaching people for Christ, then after 5 years I told them I wanted to go to Bible School because I wanted to reach more people. They said don't bother, I could do it through the mail. I thought this was very interesting as it was all they talked about , the great commission. No one encouraged me. Later however, I would remember that my nursing salary was pretty good at that time and so was my tithe to the church. Maybe this was part of the reason.
When I got to Bible school, one of the teachers told me I had been in a group that had "cult-like" qualities. Geez, I can't win. It seemed to me that the Bible school had a lot of the same qualities though.
Honestly, I have lived overseas after my Bible school days, teaching English and trying to do share about God. Finally I got to the point, I didn't even know what to say. I felt like all these big promises of Christianity were so empty and I hadn't seen god answer any of my heartfelt prayers. I began to come to this site and entertain the idea that I have been the one mistaken.
At first it was major a problem with prayer. I just couldn't understand, having studied the book so well, how there could be so many promises on answered prayer and so few materialized. Then I realized that the reason for all the books on prayer in the bookstore is cause other people must wonder too. I tried to follow all the instructions for answered prayer and still no results. Then I would notice people who didn't follow any instructions and seemed to get answers. Nothing seems to make sense on that level. I mean if you pray, and any answer, yes, no, or wait, or silence, is the right answer because it comes from God, then why the heck bother?
This didn't make me happy, due to the countless hours I had poured my heart out in prayer.
Later, I also became bothered with some obvious contradictions in what is supposed to be the flawless Word of God.
Now I feel I have wasted my youth and will never have it back again. I have no family because I "waited" on him who hears the cries of our heart, and my whole worldview has collapsed. I'm not sure where I'll end up but I'm just so sad. I know I need to get over it. I wonder if anyone has been through or felt this way.
Joined at 17
Left at 45
Was: Born Again, Pentacostal
Converted because: Seeking for meaning
De-converted because: False meaning, lack of evidence
Email: nanguo41 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)