I Tried, I Really Tried...

sent in by xrayman

Despite the fact that I have been skeptical of God existing most of my life, at 43 I have sincerely tried to find God many times. I was an out of control alcoholic in my mid 20's. Many of my best friends also fell into serious alcohol addiction. Gary one of my oldest and dearest friends from childhood finally stopped drinking and found God. Almost over night he became a preachy born again Christian. I really wasn't too fond of his ways, yet he did succeed in putting the cork in the jug. I continued to drink heavily. He always said that Jesus was the way to overcome my addiction. At age 27 I was married with a small child when I finally hit a complete rock bottom. My drinking took me as low as a man could go.

On a March night in 1991, I was alone in my house shaking uncontrollably in a pool of cold sweat, with the DT's. I had been drunk with a friend for a week straight. When the money ran out and the booze ran dry, I had the worst withdrawals any human ever had. My mind and body were in peril. I decided it was time for me to surrender to Jesus. It was my only hope. This was your typical addict finding God story in the making, and I was the main character. I called the 700 club prayer line, and got on the phone with a prayer counselor and asked Jesus to come into my life. I got down on my knees and prayed with all my heart. I wanted to be saved from the misery so bad. Well, as I was praying and pleading with God, I felt...................nothing. Absolutely nothing. No spirit, no uplifting experience. No sense that everything would be OK. Not even a little twinge of evidence that God was with me. I even remember the prayer counselor getting a little short with me, like as in "Hey buddy I've got other calls." Well for the next few days I continued going through the serious withdrawals. I didn't sleep for two nights. It was the worst experience my body had ever endured. The religious experience I had hoped for didn't come close to happening. I have never drank again since that experience, but it wasn't because I was saved by God, it was because I never wanted to feel that way again. Many will say that it was God, but I know better. It was me finally wanting to turn my miserable life around.

Years later I tried to find God again. My wife and I decided to join a local church and get the kids baptized. Once again no matter how hard I prayed, my rational brain would never let me believe in an invisible man in the sky although I tried to fake it really hard on many occasions. I listened to scripture and was always skeptical that it was the word of God. I even have spent hours and hours alone in deep meditation trying to find God on a very personal level, and of course as always, I have come up empty.

For whatever reason my mind has never allowed me to believe a God exists. I am having a little trouble totally letting go, but I really want to totally let go of the baggae of a God. I welcome pen pals to correspond. It's a lonely life being an atheist.

email: xrayman at chartermi dot net

28 comments:

GodBoy666 said...

I can't imagine how rough the DT's must have been. I've never been there, but I've heard it is a terrible experience.

You're right about atheism being a lonely experience sometimes. It seems like everyone you know is, or probably is a Christian. They're not. I'm not gay, but I would relate telling people that I am an atheist is tantamount to "coming out" if I were gay. I'm pretty careful about who I tell, especially in the workplace. One of the best feelings I know of comes when you tell someone you're an atheist and they say they are too.

I hope your wife is supportive although it sounds like she may not be. My wife is a fellow atheist and it is great have someone to rant to.

Good luck with your atheism. It's a hard road - especially if you're honest about your beliefs to the general public. One thing great about this blog is that you can find a community of like minded individuals here. Hang in there!

Jim said...

You beat your addiction on your own merit. So give yourself a bit of credit. Christianity like any other religion, is no more than a crutch to support weak minded people. There is no God and there is no Jesus. End of story.

Jim said...

Bye the way I have no problems telling anyone that I'm an Atheist. As an ex Christian and now a full on atheist I can hold my head high.

steve said...

xrayman,

I quit a pretty bad drug habit with counseling and a desire to have a decent life. It was around the same time that I gave up my religious beliefs. No coincidence, I think.

Congratulations to you. You have taken big steps to straighten things out in your life.

I've gotten quite a different perspective on life from atheism. There is no afterlife. No heaven. This is life. We can make it meaningful, or not.

Every day is important to me now. I love more intensely, and appreciate beauty like never before. I also abhor suffering and injustice unlike I ever did as a Xtian. In those days I thought God would make everything right, so there were no efforts required on my part.

I don't hide my atheism, or flaunt it. People have misperceptions about us; they think we must be amoral because we don't have a religion or believe in God. I am a contradiction to them, and that's good. They have to think hard when they consider who I am and what I'm about. That's a good thing.

Enjoy your life xrayman. You are on the right track.

Steve

jim earl said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I think many here have had somewhat of the same "putting out the fleece." I know I did. The results were the same each time I tried. Nothing. If we feel or hear something during these times it's because we want to feel or hear something. Take a look around and you will see many people worshipping many different "gods". They all "feel" their "god" is real and never question what those feelings are really about. It was only after I had looked closely at the other side that I felt peace about the reality of any "gods". Now I live my life openly as an atheist and living in the south, that's not easy. However, my "person" has not changed at all and the christians have a hard time explaining that one. Atheists are not supposed to be happy. We are portrayed as nothing short of wicked and evil. People that know me know I'm not any such thing. So much for the typical picture of an atheist. Good luck to you in all you do. Jim Earl

xrayman said...

Thanks for all your comments. By the way my wife is fine with it. She claims to be Christian but shows little sign of it. I guess as long as I don't shove my atheism down my kid's throat, my family life will be fine. I'll let my kids make up their own minds about the whole thing.
Sometimes I want to shout my new found (lack of)faith from a mountaintop. I feel like a gay man who tried real had to live a straight life, but finally realized who he really is. I feel so free, but of course I must keep it under my hat most of the time.

freeman said...

xrayman,
Been down that road and it is a difficult path!

My family for the most part leaves me alone, after my mother cried!

My wife wanted me to allow our children to grow up with jesus and heaven/hell because that is the dominate culture in our society. I could not allow my children to become mindless, brainwashed christians. I tell them the truth behind religion which is its history. The history reveals all, but christians are too blind to see!

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Hi Xray!
Your personal account would have been a nice one to add to my article debunking the work of Christian apologist, Josh McDowell.

In "Evidence That Demands a Verdict," McDowell mentioned the testimony of a "redeemed drunkard" who testified that he was saved from alcoholic addiction by a "power" he identified as none other than "Jesus." (How many redeemed drunkards, I wonder, would it take to prove the historicity of the resurrection?)

Apparently McDowell is unaware that alcoholics who quit drinking are a dime a dozen. You can find them not just among evangelical Christians, but among Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Transcendental Meditation practitioners, herbal healers, Scientologists, Eckankar followers, at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and in secular groups like Drinkwise, Moderation Management, Rational Recovery Systems, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, Self Management And Recovery Training (SMART), Women for Sobriety/Men for Sobriety. Members of all such groups have experienced life-changing behaviors for the better. Any organization that demands responsibility and focuses on setting goals and eliminating grossly destructive behaviors has "success" stories to tell.

My mother's second husband was a totally reformed alcoholic and one of the friendliest kindest most cheerful people I ever had the pleasure to know. He had been an alcoholic for over a dozen years, and after joining AA became a dedicated member of that group for over a dozen more. He liked to sing songs ranging from Broadway tunes to hymns in church (when the occasion arose). But he did not believe in the superiority of any church's doctrines. He believed in a "Higher Power" (as they say in AA) and rarely discussed religion.

Sadly, I bet there are also alcoholics whom no groups are able to "redeem" or reform. I bet some of those alcoholics were devout Bible-believing Christians in their youth, or they got to "know Jesus" as their "personal savior" after they began drinking, but relapsed back into the bottle. Failures do not make for inspiring success stories, so you do not hear about such people very often, except in someone else's success story, who mentions how the sight of a "hopelessly messed up" friend or relative who died of some addiction, "inspired" them to quit.

By the way, there's a group of ex-minister/seminarians, ex-Christians with a big blog, titled, Debunking Christianity, that you might find interesting.

Has anyone cataloged the varities of stories at exChristian.net by subject matter and denomination? Former addicts who gave up both their addictions to chemical substance abuse and organized religion would be an interesting category.

Cheers!
Edward T. Babinski

mattfulfs2 said...

All I can do for you is pray. Jesus died for all of our us even the sinners.

mattfulfs2 said...

And yes I know this is a non Christian site.

Dorkfish said...

Just so you know... scientists can't deny that Jesus existed there is historical and scientific evidence he existed.
When Jesus was born 2000 prophecies came true some were made many many many many years before he was born.
The bible was written by 40 different authors from many different countries and time periods. What are the chances that all of them wrote about the same God and covered the same issues.

Please if you have any questions please e-mail me at Mithherionelf@yahoo.com

Dorkfish said...

By the way from one sinner to another I am also praying for you

Anony said...

xrayman,

If you're still coming to read comments, I just wanted to tell you to not let the christians that have come on here with their comments to sway you. You've come a longway. I and alot of other xchristians are pulling for you to totally let go, and we know that you can do it.

xrayman said...

With all due respect to the Chrisians, there is no way I will ever by into the fairy tale without proof. In 43 years I have seen none. Not a spec. To believe in something with blind faith alone would be selling out my intelectual integrity. Like I said Christians, I really really tried.

xrayman said...

One thing I notice all Christians seem to have in common. They can't accect the fact that someone can't find God or Jesus. It's always me doing something wrong. I am not praying hard enough, I am not humbling myself, or it's my huge ego getting in the way. If there is a God he would be much easier to detect, so either he has stepped out or he doesn't exist, in the mean time I will continue to believe in the logical truth.

freedy said...

xrayman,here's some so called messiahs born on dec. 25,then crucufied,...Bacchus,Adonis,Channg-ti of China,Mithra,Sakia of India
and Krishna, who's mother was a virgin,was crucified between two
theives.All these existed before Christ! (Dionysis was the crucified christ Jesus was probably plagerized from).

Edward T. Babinski said...

My friend Harry McCall sends this...

The life of the late evangelist A.A. Allen is proof that one can preach Christ and drink himself to death at the same time. I believe his last months were living in a drunken state in a run down hotel room making audio evangelistic tapes for his radio broadcasts while in a drunken state:

A.A. Allen

Asa Alonzo Allen (1911-1970). Prominent, flamboyant and controversial Pentecostal "healing evangelist" of the 1940s-1960s. Allen made many outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of miracles.

From The Faith Healers by James Randi

On June 14, 1970, listeners in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines were hearing a recorded message from A. A. Allen on his radio program saying: "This is Brother Allen in person. Numbers of friends of mine
have been inquiring about reports they have heard concerning me that are not true. People as well as some preachers from pulpits are announcing that I am dead. Do I sound like a dead man? My friends, I am not even sick! Only a moment
ago I made a reservation to fly into our current campaign. I'll see you there and make the devil a liar." At that moment, at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, police were removing A. A. Allen's body from a room strewn with pills
and empty liquor bottles. The man who had once said that "the beer bottle and gin bucket" should have been on his family coat of arms was dead at 59 from what was said to be a heart attack but was in reality liver failure brought about by acute alcoholism. (p.88)

If a person can get to a place where alcohol hurts more than it helps, they can quit. Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists and any other none "Jesus" religions can and do put depressed people on a spiritual journey and often apart from any god in the sky.

The fact is, when one is burned out by a section of their life of drugs and alcohol and their body is shutting down, what else can one do but to either change or die.

Call it "god" of self determination... both seem to work and boil down to that if help has a social support context, it's religion; if not, it's self determination.

Best,

Harry (former seminarian, now atheist, whose testimony appears in Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists)

P.S., just returned from the Blood Connection in my home town where I spent an hour giving red blood cells and having the plasma pumped back into my arm. I am told that my blood will save someone’s life. And, if it was someone injured by doing something stupid (such a driving while intoxicated and wrecked), I have (in effect) given my blood so they might have life...and, since they did not die form their “sinful” act of driving while intoxicated because of my blood, then my blood atoned for their “sin” via giving them life. This is just what the “Gospel Tracts” I fine at the bank ATM and other public places said Jesus did for us; he shed his blood for our sin. The theological term here is “Vicarious Atonement” where one sheds one’s blood for the life or “sins” on others (“others” in that they told me my blood or my blood products would be used to save the lives of many people). Before you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, remember I used to be a Baptist preacher plus six years in colleges and seminaries. Back in 1997 the supervisor where I work told our then secretary that he would not have a “Damn atheist as Man of the Year!” So he gave the “Man of the Year” award to a Christian on the staff (so much for the separation of Church and State). Now look! The Christian that my supervisor gave “Man of the Year” to was fired, my supervisor died, and old “atheist” Harry is giving blood to save the lives of others.
--Harry McCall

Thurokmeir said...

Perhaps the Christians continue to tell you these things because it's true? I believe you when you say you have Really Tried. However, to use a crude analogy, if I needed glasses and couldn't see you, no matter how hard I tried, would that make you any less there? Not liking the answer a Christian offers is no reason to deny it and it's validity.

And on your comment of keeping to the logical truth, is Christianity so illogical? Before you (or anyone else) start yelling at your monitor with all kinds of facts you've looked up, consider the opposing side.

Now, I appologize for switching subjects on this blog, but to bring up the good ol' classic, Evolition vs. Creation. Neither is logical, but one obviously has to be true (or something similar, if you side against creation). But as far as logic will take you, you will not get something from nothing (Big Bang Theory).

For those who care, I, a Christian, do not carry a blind hatred for all atheists. If a Christian does carry a blind hatred against you, that should give you reason to point our their moral contradiction and read in your bible (because I know you have one!) and find where it speaks against it. :)

For those who care, I DO hate that which atheism entails. Sin.

Jim Arvo said...

Thurokmeir: "Perhaps the Christians continue to tell you these things because it's true?"

Sure, that's a possibility; one of many.

Thurokmeir: "...Not liking the answer a Christian offers is no reason to deny it and it's validity."

That depends on what you mean by "not liking" the answer. If you mean because it makes one uncomfortable, or that it isn't the answer one was looking for, then I would agree with you. But then, I don't see anyone here rejecting Christianity for those reasons, so your argument would be a straw man. If, on the other hand, by "not liking" the answer you mean finding that the answer is arrived at through faulty reasoning and/or faulty premises, then I disagree with you. Those are *precisely* the reasons that one *should* deny the validity of an argument. And, guess what... That's why we reject such arguments.

Thurokmeir: "...But as far as logic will take you, you will not get something from nothing (Big Bang Theory)."

Is it your claim that "you can't get something from nothing" is logically provable? If so, please provide a sketch of your proof. If what you really meant was that it's an empirical fact,then I'd like to know what you base that on. Your personal experience? In either case, how confident are you that your assertion is correct?

Thurokmeir: "For those who care, I DO hate that which atheism entails. Sin."

But "sin" is only meaningful with respect to your purported deity, if by that word you mean a failure to act in accord to her stated wishes and/or law. If your deity does not exist, then "sin" is a fictitious construct. So, you left at least one crucial ingredient out of your entailment; that your god exists.

slingshot said...

To mattfulfs2, 3/15/06:

"Jesus died for us even the sinners."

There are some problems with this statement. First, according to christian theology, Christ did not die for those who do not "receive" him. If he had died for everybody, then we would all be "washed clean" of "sin." The problem here is that the world is not "free of sin," according to christian theology. No "sin" has been "cleansed." Unless you believe that it is "in the eyes of God," only, that we are "sin-free." If so, we have another problem: We should all go to heaven, not just christians, being "blameless" in the eyes of God. There goes fire and damnation (couldn't believe in it anyway!)
Second, when you say, "even the sinners," are you referring to non-christians, or to everybody since we are all "sinners," again, according to christian theology. If the latter, then why use the word "even" in the statement?
If this is over your head, I'm sorry about that. We use our brains here.

Say-Ton said...

God omnisciently damned humanity before he allegedly created Adam and Eve, how would a god not know humanity would be full of sin.

That's like... well... a father and mother getting together to have a child, knowing for a fact, that their child will be born with painful affliction, and live with that suffering for all eternity.

Well, at least that makes sense, if a christian believes their god is omniscient, and omnipotent.

slingshot said...

Christian theology is screwy.

slingshot said...

Why would God give us theology that honest, intelligent people are unable to accept?

Jim Arvo said...

SlingShot asked a good question. Here's how it often plays out in an actual discussion with a believer...

Skeptic: "Why would God give us theology that honest, intelligent people are unable to accept?"

Believer: "He wouldn't"

Skeptic: "Then why do so many honest, intelligent people not accept it?"

Believer: "Well, obviously, they're not honest and intelligent."

Skeptic: "And how did you reach that conclusion?"

Believer: "Because they don't accept the word of god!"

Skeptic: [Smiles at the blatant circularity of the reasoning, waiting for the believer to catch his mistake.>]

Believer: [Smiles at the cleverness of his own argument, oblivious to its circularity.]

Jim Arvo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Arvo said...

Oh, I should also add...

Skeptic: [Thinks "What an idiot, he doesn't get it."]

Believer: [Thinks "What an idiot, he doesn't get it."]

slingshot said...

LMAO!!!

M said...

Xrayman, me again. When He forgives you He truly forgives you, past, present and future. He wipes the slate clean, so clean that He can't even recall your sins.

But your issue is that His Name is not Jesus, you're calling on a name He is not known by. His Name is Yahushua.

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