sent in by a Texarkana man
Before I delve into any story of my struggle to remove myself from the shackles of religion, I will introduce myself. I think it only prudent to do so. My name is Mitchell H, and I am a 20 year-old male living in the middle of the Bible-Belt in a relatively small town on the border of Arkansas and Texas. This area is infested with a horribly regressive conservative ethic which lends itself to mindless obedience and rampant intolerance, which is a central theme of my story.
I am a gay man. I have known this in a certain capacity for all of my life. In early years, I knew I preferred the company of males and had an affinity for masculine beauty. When I was a child of about 6 years old and had just begun to attend school, I had a habit of attempting to kiss other boys on the playground. One day, after having kissed a fellow named Seth, the teacher called my parents to the school.
Mom and Dad totally freaked out. I was pulled immediately from public school after my father whipped me violently and sent to a parochial school under the domain of the Church of Christ. They told me that boys who like to kiss boys end up with something called A.I.D.S. which really hurts and eventually kills you and sends you to hell, a place of torment created for sinners by a merciful and just god who apparently lacked the foresight to not create Lucifer despite his supposed omnipotence. Not wanting to suffer torment, I became a christian and vowed to change myself no matter what the cost.
For about six years, (before I hit puberty), I could disengage myself from any interest in males beyond friendship with relative ease: Aided by a christian ethic, I found this easy to do until I was twelve years old. At that time, I had begun not only to enjoy the company of other males..... I had begun to notice that my body responded to them in strange ways. Of course, being a naieve kid in a private school with fundamentalist parents, I had not a clue what was going on. I discovered that on my own. When I learned about the nature of my attraction, I tried to force myself to stop it. I could not. I would only torture myself by becoming convinced that I was going to hell. I tried to date girls, which never worked. I tried electric shock therapy at my mother's insistance, which only succeeded in causing me great agitation. I could not experience the joys of having a significant other.
It went on like this for years, even after I had rejected christianity at age 15. That was due to living in my parent's house and meeting with nothing but disapproval and threats that if I were to ever act on these 'evil impulses', I would be thrown out on the street.
I suppose I should stop here and give a few moments to explain why exactly I left the faith. The obvious reason of the conflict the worldview espoused with my homosexuality aside, I had actually tried to commit myself to christianity by reading the bible on a daily basis. Once I began to study closely, I started noticing that 'god' was nothing like the being christians project it to be. From condoning mass slaughters of Isreal's enemies to torturing Job just to fulfill his own twisted ego, the god of the bible seemed more evil than the supposed Satan! I could also no longer reconcile my convictions and thirst for knowledge with the reactionary worldview of many christians.
In addition to being a self-hating homosexual, I had been a feminist, an environmentalist, opposed to the death penalty, and pro-choice. These views were each opposed by the vast majority of orthodox christians whose activism typically resulted in the propagation of ignorance and repression. So I rejected christianity without telling my parents due to fear. Though this did free me from internal restrictions, there was still the issue of external pressure due to the society I live in and more living with the parents and going to a christian school.
I was still unable to date openly. Private affairs were almost certain to get me kicked out, because Mom and Dad both listened to my phone conversations, disallowed me a cell-phone, checked my mail, snooped through my room, and made me come home by 5 everyday. It was a miserable existance. I had always thought that this must be what prison was like. When I graduated, I decided it was time for me to get a life beyond the dreary home-life and church my parents would drag me to 3 times a week.
I started dating a guy named Ash. It was as if I had actually started living. Though I knew it was dangerous, I would talk to him for hours on the phone, (I snuck these calls), go to his house and get acceptance from his parents, (he was out and had liberal parents I suppose). They were even kind enough to pretend that he was straight for my own sake. I felt, for the first time in my life like I was happy, because I actually had someone to talk to who would listen to me without trying to force christian dogma on me. But unfortunately, one night during one of our conversations, mom happened to pick up the phone. She heard me tell him that I love him.
Next week, I was kicked out and told never to come back. Ash and his parents have taken me in, but mom and dad refuse to talk to me ever again. I try to call them, and they either hang up on me or do not answer. I simply do not understand how something that makes parents turn their backs on their own son can be seen as something GOOD!
As I sit here typing this, I can not help but cry. You have to understand, though mom and dad did make me miserable often, I DID grow up with them, and I miss them. They won't talk to me, though. I don't know what to do about it. I do not know if there is anything I can do. All I know is that I detest religion and can depend only upon myself.
I just wish there was some way I could make mom and dad care about me again.
How old were you when you became a christian? 7
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 15
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Church of Christ. Christian Atheist, Agnostic, Satanist.
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist, Satanist
Why did you become a christian? Because one accepts the reality with which they are presented. This on just happened to be based on lies.
Why did you de-convert? I desired to have complete control over my own thoughts and destiny.
email: mitchx at mindless 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)