sent in by Anonymous
When I was little, I can remember my Mom telling me that it was a “miracle” that I survived birth. Being born two months premature provided little hope for my family. She even said, “God must have a reason for you to be here.”
There was little question in my mind as to whether there was a God. Of course there was. He was responsible for me surviving as a baby. If Mom hadn’t prayed and asked others to, I wouldn’t have made it.
We only went to church together as a family a few times. It was to a rather evangelical protestant one. Even from a young age, I had my doubts. I found it odd that a woman in attendance could not only speak to God, but also hear what he had to say. There was even a time where I yelled during Holy Communion, “You’re not supposed to drink blood!” The next time we went to church, my Dad whipped me before we went in, “just in case I did anything bad.”
At least seven or eight years passed before I regularly went to church again. However, I always believed. The same prayer was said nightly. I would ask God to bless my family, give us a million dollars, and make my Mom live forever. Maybe if I kept asking, God would give in. It usually seemed like He only made egotistical assholes rich, but maybe.
In 1999, I began to attend a Southern Baptist church in the small town in which I lived. I can remember one day when the preacher scared me half to death. He was never hesitant to let me know that everyone was going to Hell. That place was the worst. Everyone gets set on fire there and it lasts FOREVER. I could fathom 1,000 years, a million years, but forever? No way. Luckily, there was a way out of all of this. “Salvation” came during that year. Church members told me what to pray, and that was it. I could do as I please. If I wanted to cuss, disrespect authority, even kill someone, it was all good. Thanks to God committing suicide on the cross, I was covered.
This is when I first began to have doubts with religion. However, I mistakenly placed the blame on Baptists. It was from the new millennium up to 2004 that I went from protestant denomination to protestant denomination. Each one spoke of this “salvation” and “repentance” that just didn’t sit well with me. The people I met were very nice; it was their philosophies that I disagreed with.
As 2004 came, I had grown tired of the searching, and failed attempts to find God. It was then I was determined to find a “winner.”
The Roman Catholic Church bills itself as the “oldest Church,” and “the Church established by Christ Himself.” Things went better in this Church. They weren’t loud like the Protestants, didn’t believe one could be “saved,” and never mentioned that I would burn in Hell. However, even they began to raise my suspicions. Let’s look at the Catholic Church for what it really is. You listen to a series of Church hierarchy tell you rules that seem foolish. I can’t eat red meat on Friday, why? What if that’s all a family had to eat that day? Condoms are sinful, why? They reduce unwanted pregnancies and prevent the spread of disease. The answer to why was simply “Because the Holy Father said so.” This reminded me of being little and that woman “hearing God.”
Perhaps the hardest thing for a Christian to believe is that their religion, like the many they belittle, is too fiction. “Yes,” a Christian will tell you, “Allah of the Muslims is not real, Jehovah of the Jews is not real, but Jesus is.” The rationalization that Christianity is just another Islam, Judaism, or Greek mythology is sobering. If Christianity is anything, it is but the biggest lie ever told. It’s a lie believed by many, and unfortunately many more will.
However, there are many things that have led to the decision not to believe in God. The main reason is quite simply that I’ve searched as much as one person could for God, and never found any such being. I’ve offered prayers that were never answered, given money that was never “received back tenfold,” and loved a God that allowed bad things to happen in return. It’s simply not there.
Looking at history, one can draw the conclusion that a great many things could have been prevented, if not for religion. Catholics would not have slain thousands in the crusades. Hitler would not have killed six million Jews. Islamic terrorists would not have killed 3,000 in the name of a Jihad on September 11th. Perhaps most importantly, George Walker Bush would not have rallied conservative right-wingers in order to become president of the United States, if not for religion.
In becoming an atheist, I see it as a positive affirmation of belief in myself. I’ll continue to fight for the poor, help the underprivileged, and care for those in poverty. Not because of a deity ordering me to, or out of fear, but because it is right. It is my goal to show the positive side of atheism, and remove the negative light cast upon it by the mainstream society.
Was: Various Protestant Denominations, Roman Catholic
Now: Atheist, Freethinker, Liberal
Converted because: Family Influence
De-converted because: Began to think for myself, "outside the box"
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)