sent in by "just me"
I have been lurking on this site for over a year. It has brought out many emotions...anger (over the past), resentment of wasting precious years, laughter at how many of the posts express various ways of dealing with "the Borg" and many fun laughs. So, I thought I should finally chime in. Be Warned! Once I get started I usually can't keep my mouth shut -- One of the reasons why I am an xtian. Well here it goes. My apologies to those whom I bore. Also, please do not misconstrue my message. I am not angry (anymore) with anyone in my family concerning my upbringing. After all, they too are hoodwinked by the Big Ugly.
At the tender age of 5 days old, my parents placed me on the alter at my fathers church (he was the pastor and founder) and "turned me over to god (they didn't specify which one??). It was the "fire and brimstone" type of church that frightened people into pissing their panties. Thus was the main reason why I "got dupped...oh sorry.. saved". I remember it well...standing there in the isle listening to the sermon of how if you don't ask Jesus to save you, you will die and go to hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not. And the beast and false prophet are from now until eternity. So...at the age of 8 I ran to the alter cried my little eyes out to god that he would save me from this evil nightmare. My father was there beside me telling me what to pray so I could be saved. A few weeks later I was baptized by my father in a muddy creek in early spring. I froze my ass off. Of course one of the first questions I remember asking myself was..Why did god make hell to begin with, especially if he is a loving god? Ahh..the genius of childhood.
I wont bore you with the tremendous amounts of trivia and deeds collected over many of my younger years, but I will list some of them briefly. I was a wonderful singer (still am) and so I was told I had been given a gift and should use it for god. I sang and sang and sang. Finally joining a traveling gospel group at the age of 12. However, there is one funny thing I remember well. I was no more than maybe six when I was asked to sing a song at a guest church my family was visiting. I got up to the pulpit knowing exactly what song was in my heart to sing. I let out with a good round of The Streak! I thought my father was going to crap in his pants. Everybody in that church now knew what music he listened to.
Back to my "list". I was in plays, fund raisers, attended many funerals and weddings. I "led" my best friend to god only to find out she was not in a baptist family and believed she could "lose" her salvation. Thus, more questions began to form in my head such as "how do we know which one is right?". I have eaves dropped on many minister/deacon meetings held at various homes. I know what goes on behind the curtain. I have also witness the devastation of suicide in two different families only to hear the reason being that the deceased didn't rely on god enough for their problems.
Being in public school, I was introduced to different people with different beliefs. I studied my heritage (native American and Scot/Irish) and learned about their ancient beliefs and practices. This honestly is where it all picked up a very fast pace. The native Americans hold a belief in "the great mystery". Basically, we don't know where we come from or how the universe came into being, but life is a good thing. IMO our origins should be a question we ponder occasionally, but nothing to enrapture our entire life. I eventually tried to learn more about earth centered spirituality but of course once my parents found out about my interest, it was very difficult to do. I did have a friend that knew someone in the Wiccan community and we eventually met. Although I did not quite agree with everything, it did fit more closely to what I felt was reasonable and balancing. I was not able to receive formal education in Wicca because I was a minor so I had to do my best on my own. While trying to explore my own growing spirituality, I was definitely trying to keep it secret. How much easier it would have been if there were no prejudices and more unbiased support and guidance. Of course I was in the mist of my teenage years living in a family that was very prejudiced against anything non-white and non-baptist. You can use your imagination on what that was like. My parents could tell something was up because I kept asking a lot of annoying questions of how Christianity was born and how it developed over the centuries. Once my parents did find out about my blooming curiosity with Wicca (what they called satanism), one of the most traumatizing events in my life happened. I was pretty much "forced" under brainwashing terrorization to confess my "worship of Satan" in from of the entire church congregation, apologize for bringing it into their mist and be re-baptized. I shall never forget that day.
I tried very hard over the years to be a good Christian, however as you all know, once you've seen the light you can't keep the blinders on forever. Once I was married and having a family I tried even harder to be the good Christian. I began singing again. Even having the holy roller shouts during services. (by the way they are faked). But, the blinders would slip occasionally and light and reason would shine into my brain. I would occasionally research anything to do with various religions and learn how they all "borrow" from each other. Christianity was once again falling apart at the seems. I began to look at my children and see that I was setting the same trap for them that was set for me. I studied and researched even more. Finally, one day while singing a solo over television broadcast during a gospel concert, something clicked in my brain while looking out over an audience of over 2000 people. While I knew that the great majority of them were hypocrites in one way or another, I was the biggest one. I was doing something that wasn't me. I had not been strong enough to break free of the oppression I had been placed in and eventually accepted of my own free will. Never again. After that solo, I never went back. That has been over 3 years ago. It wasn't easy. But just like giving up smoking or alcohol, the longer it has been the easier it is. Now, I can objectively look at anyone in the Christian community and see how they too are ensnared and don't even realize it. Some are genuinely good people and hold no prejudices against other beliefs or those that have no belief. But those "C"hristians and are very rare. Most are little "c" christians and want others to join in on their addiction, just like a drug dealer.
I am comfortably established in the old community I met as a teenager. I had not seen any of them in over 15 years. I am free to develop my own beliefs and dismiss those beliefs that I feel are not right for me. My children think Noah is a bedtime story and those people that believe it to be real are just being silly. I purposefully introduce them to the beliefs of many religions along with agnosticism and atheism, pointing out the good and the bad. And I am always respectful of their opinion. It is only after the age of 21 or so that people actually begin to develop there spiritual maturity and are able to make reasonable choices. Anything done prior to that point can easily become manipulation.
I still have a good relationship with my family. Although they still do not know fully what my personal beliefs are (he is very old and may have a heart attack), they do know that certain topics are Totally Off Limits with me and my children. They know I mean it too. There has been a drastic change in the holiday greeting cards they send me.
So, life goes on. If there are a few verses in the bible that I do take to heart, it would be those that are shared with many other religions. They are: A tree is known by its fruit, and you reap what you sow.
Well, in a nutshell, that is my story. I hope you haven't pressed the control/alt/delete yet and haven't overdosed on coffee. Blessing to you all.
Free at last. Free at last. Thank Me almighty I am free at last.
Left: permanently ---33
Was: premillinial, fundamental independent baptist
Now: agnostic wiccan
Converted because: deeply raised in Christianity
De-converted because: refused to ask the hard questions