I’m not afraid, my whole life ,thus far, has been a long bumpy road

sent in by Craig

I guess it’s my turn, to share my testimony with you all. I wasn’t
going to at first, but after reading so many of them, and realizing how
much they have helped me in this difficult era of my life, I feel
obligated to share my own story in hopes that it will encourage others.
Unfortunately, like many others (testimonies), this too desires to be too
long. I promise to make every effort to keep it tame.

My wife and I moved to Colorado in the fall of ‘96, and after some
shuffling around due to job promotions and such, we landed in a quiet,
medium sized town the fall of ‘98. My wife, being the social butterfly
that she is, began making acquaintances, all of whom, were very nice. I
didn’t find out until later that they were Christians and all of them
belonged to the same church. It wasn’t long before they started inviting
us to different church functions and ultimately, we became exposed to
the gospel message, which we both fell for.

My excitement and enthusiasm for the “good news” was overwhelming and
I set my heart on building “God’s” kingdom. I decided early on, that
there was no greater endeavor in all the world than to do this “work”. I
set out to learn his word, memorizing, studying, sharing, etc... I was
getting up at four in the morning to have “quiet times” reading and
praying. The church we attended (attend) has “small group” meetings held
in homes of “small group leaders” (a.k.a.- Deacons) which we were
attending. The Pastor just happened to be our small group leader at the time.
Eventually I was recognized as a small group leader and began hosting
meetings in our home for Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and community
service projects. During this time, I became more and more involved
with the church. Our church does not meet in a regular building so we have
to “set-up” our “temple” and tear it down every Sunday. I would go
early, and stay late to do this, also became the worship leader, attended
weekly prayer breakfasts with the other Deacons, along with weekly
evening “leadership” classes. I was meeting one on one with my Pastor for
“discipling” and countless other activities. My wife and I were
considering, heavily, moving to Africa as missionaries. We were praying
constantly for what to do, when the Pastor approached me, and asked me to pray
about, becoming a Pastor for the church. This added additional pressure
to figuring out what God’s will was for us. I believe now that this was
the trigger that began my de-conversion.

I desperately wanted to do what God wanted, not what anybody else
wanted, because I knew there would be consequences for choosing the latter.
I prayed harder and studied harder than I ever had before. No answer
would come. As I poured over the scriptures I began to develop questions
that I could not answer, nor could anyone else for that matter. I
decided to take up Greek and Hebrew studies which only led to more
questions. The more questions, the more pressure, and the greater desire to
“know”. I was asking my Pastor these questions during our meetings, but he
would flounder and suggest that I should “take captive every though,
and make it obedient to Christ” and that I didn’t need to have all the
answers, but a “simple relationship based on faith, not fact”. But this
did not sit right with me, after all , it was a “logical” decision to
accept the message of salvation in the first place. How, then could it be
necessary to do away with logic in order to keep it? This heavy
questioning began around September of ‘04 and continued for about a year. In
my searching for the “truth” I joined Christian debate forums to post my
questions (this is where I first took on the screen name “truthbound”)
and continue to use it today. My experience in the forums led to more
startling discoveries and occasionally I would tuck my tail and run
keeping away from those “evil” thoughts.

I then turned to other sources determined to figure out if maybe
modern Christianity had somehow turned from the early “original” plan for
the church. I was disgusted at how particular some Christians were in
choosing a church; whether or not the coffee tasted good, or how we
dressed, if the sermon was good, did the Pastor drop his Bible on the floor,
if the seats were comfortable or not........... It seemed to be about
everything BUT God! It was so self serving, though it claimed to be
service oriented. I decided to go beyond Christian resources to discover the
roots of Christianity in order to revitalize the church back in the
right direction. This became very important to me. However, I ran into
more and more damaging evidence to the creation of the faith myth with all
of it’s political, social, and environmental influences, coupled with
archaeological discoveries (or non-discoveries) as well as scholarly
admissions of critical difficulties. The pressure in my soul had become
unbearable, the one big thing that kept me from falling was that, I
couldn’t believe, among all the scholars in the world, that I would be
making these finds alone. There must be something I have not read, or
somehow that I have missed the answer to restore the damage!

Then it happened. I located an article at infidels.org through a
Goggle search, while trying to find something to help me reconcile the
depression I was experiencing. It was titled “why I’m not a Christian - from
missionary bible translator to agnostic” by Ken Daniels. It was
incredible to read his story, that related to mine in so many ways! I laughed,
I cried, but most of all It occurred to me for the first time that I
was not alone, second that it was OK to feel this way. It was like the
card house collapsing. On the one hand it was disturbing, but on the
other, unbelievable relief. The ability to breathe again! I was suddenly
free, free at last, as though I had been born again, again!

That was about a month ago. I wish I could say that all that joy
lasted, but the truth is, I have begun a journey more difficult than I could
have imagined.. I first, gently informed my wife of my experience,
which at first, did not go very well at all!, but has simmered down some.
The key has been in making no drastic changes in lifestyle that effect
her or the kids. The other problem has been with the church. Being a
“leader” in the church and so visible, has posed a huge problem for them.
I have only revealed my new status with the Pastor at this point, which
has ushered in numerous counseling sessions, phone calls, etc... He has
removed me from all “duties” in the name of a “sabbatical” to fend off
all the questions about my apparent shift in visibility. That is about
as far as I have gotten so far. I have found myself an emotional
roller-coaster, frequently revisiting joy then depression, then fear, then
doubt, then anger, and back to joy again. My wife and I are just barely
able to have discussions about it without battles. But she still tries
to proselytize me at every opportunity. I still go to church, and to
small group (currently lead by the Pastor again) praying at meals
ect..(for the kids benefit). Those who know seem to be waiting for God to bring
me back. My Pastor says “ All great men go through these crossroads, it
is the testing of your faith, by fire. I am convinced God is preparing
you for the Pastorate.” (Rrriiight!)

I am so thankful to have found a site like this. It has given me a
place to begin anew and to learn so much about the world we live in
through other great people and many great resources. My hope is, that anyone
still caught in the “web of confusion” will benefit from all that can
be found here and take that difficult step into a world of freedom. I
know from other posts here that I have a long road ahead, but I’m not
afraid, my whole life ,thus far, has been a long bumpy road. I don’t
suspect that it will ever be much different, and I have learned, that it is
the journey itself, with other people, that makes life worth living at

Best wishes,
Craig - (aka- truthbound)

Joined at 30
Left at 35
Was: Born-again evangelical
Now: Agnostic
Converted because: Gospel message made sense at the time
De-converted because: Deep study led to many difficulties

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