sent in by John
I've been coming here for several years now. Often times agreeing with many of the deconverts and smiling at the realization of those who had been in it for far too long and where suddenly shown the "light" of what Christianity truly is. But in the whole time I have yet to post my own testimony.
So this is my story.....
I was born to parents who had completely separate beliefs. My father was a devout catholic, and my mother was more or less simply a believer in individuality. They divorced each other when I was about 3 years old, much too young for me to remember or to really care much about the divorce. Anyways, after they divorced, my father's lawyer screwed him over and my mother received custody of me virtually by default. By then, she had remarried to an extremely abusive man who took quite a bit of pleasure punching me in the face, stomach, and throwing me around whenever I did anything "wrong".
For the next decade I had to deal with this and was rewarded with very little memory of my childhood up to 13. So naturally the visits to my father were more or less bliss in my eyes. He never laid a hand on me, my grandmother spoiled me all the time, and all the while they brainwashed me with the lies of the church. Being an impressionable young lad, I only saw that these people weren't treating me horribly and the idea of a deity standing beside me was a great comfort to me. I would spend hours with a bible in my lap reading the stories of moses, Adam and eve, the stories in revelations, all of them until my eyes hurt. It even got to the point that I could never see why anyone could not believe in a supreme god that would help us through all our troubles. Unfortunately whenever I brought it up with my stepfather, he would argue the stupidity of it and beat me if I didn't agree with him. I never did, at least not then. I would put up with the abuse, and see myself simply as a martyr in a strange sense, doing my deity's work.
When I was 13 I had a legal right to demand to live with my father. At that age, all I saw was a kind man who showed me the truth and never hurt me. So he forced my mother to sign a one year "trial period" contract that would give my father full custody of me until I was 14. The time where I alone would decide where I wanted to live for the next four years. So when I moved, I was happy and devout. I thought finally my deity had helped me out, he finally heard all my prayers to take me from the evil people who thought to raise me. But as time went on, I couldn't adjust to my new surroundings. I became extremely rebellious since I knew my father wouldn't even touch me, but I still remained devout in my belief. Until one day, I was sitting in church and I started to look around. Everyone seemed gloomy and a good portion of the people were asleep. I hadn't ever really seen this before, and so it took me by surprise. Mostly at how blind I had been by so simple a thing.
At that time I was very devout in my belief that everyone who attended church was as happy and devout as I, if not more. But when I asked my father why they were sleeping, he simply told me that they are sinners and not "true" soldiers of Christ. I agreed with that for a time, and then I started having conversations with people in my school. Some actually pointed out some discrepancies in the bible. I couldn't believe it, but my father did raise me to look at all sides of a situation. Unfortunately for him he forgot to mention that didn't include the bible. I started doing research, talking to people, but always left out the fact that I was catholic. But one day, I finally found the answers. The bible was written by man, not any supreme deity. My father had brainwashed me since I was a baby, even going so far as to baptize me behind my mothers back. When I finally announced my findings to my father though, he started arguing that I should be concentrating on other things. He said that the bible is true, you only need faith, and it isn't my place to judge god. Yea, right. So for the next several years I fought him tooth and nail about it, and he grew ever more distant. By the time I was 18 he gave up all together. He still told me I was going to hell, but that was about it. Every time he said that, my only reply would be that I was bringing the beer.
Needless to say he didn't help things with my siblings. I'm an only child on my mothers side, but my father remarried and had four kids. One day he told me that if I ever mentioned anything other than that of the church, and the truth of god, I would never see them again. I guess this is what a true catholic looks like. Needless to say, I more or less made up with my mother and my step-dad. They taught me to be open minded and admitted their faults, and after my stepfather and I kicked the crap out of each other two years ago, things have never been better with them. My stepmother doesn't mention my beliefs, but she does accept me, and my siblings love me to death. It just gets a little weird why my eight year old sister asks me why I don't go to church or pray, or why I don't have any crosses in my apartment. So I just tell her to go ask mommy.
My father and I are still on strenuous terms. He's moving his family out to the Midwest and already moved himself out there to get away from me. Not to mention that he sees my brother as a chance to succeed where he failed with me. I guess he is worried that since one son failed him so miserably, the second might do the same, and the family will no longer be catholic on the male side. I dunno where he gets that from, I do have uncles. But now that I think about it, I think they are all atheist anyways. So that's quite a burden he's put on himself.
So here I am. 20 years old, have my own apartment because I am the one who worked for it. I believe you can pray all you want, but until you get up and go out there, nothing will happen. You are the one who has to work for what you have, and I must say, now that I am free from all the lies, I am very happy with the success I have. I do believe that there is some connection between everyone. I'm not a tree hugger, but I do believe that there is something more to all of this. It's just not a deity, or an all powerful force directing us like the world is some sort of game.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for all the great testimonies on this site. You better believe that I will continue to come here as much as I can.
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)