sent in by Barb
I went away to a Christian college when I was seventeen. It didn't take long to see that there were many types of Christians. I was most comfortable with people like me: people who didn't smoke, drink, dance,play cards, watch movies, listen to rock music or fraternize with the opposite sex.
I was least comfortable with the Catholics I met-- my church had told me after all that papists worshipped Mary and therefore would be spending eternity in hell. But these Catholics, some of whom smoked, drank, and regularly had sex, were also involved in the community, working at soup kitchens and pantries, tutoring low-income children, etc, things that my church had never encouraged or emphasized. My church was comprised of middle- and upper-middle class people who were comfortably sedentary in the knowledge that they were saved, and except for the occasional "outreach" to save more souls, they felt no burden toward disadvantaged people. What was required was obedience to a long list of "no-no's." What was discouraged was thinking for yourself.
There had been many things that struck me as wrong (the singular derision saved for gay people, for example), but I tried to pray away my concerns. And, like others here, when I dared ask for help, I was told that every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before-- and that Satan was causing my doubt. Praying all the harder did nothing except make all the clearer the fact that the silence was deafening. It was heartbreaking.
This behemoth of religion that had promised me safety and security began to go ass-up-- it was the Titanic, and if I truly could save myself, it would be BY myself. So, I swam to the shore of reason.
So, I spent twenty years pointedly not going to church.
Then, I found the UU church-- a place that requires nothing of me but to think for myself. Pagans and athiests are welcomed. Gay people are embraced. I have found a community of "believers:" people who believe in the goodness of all people, who don't require answers, who are OK with not knowing.
I don't know either, and that's OK with me. Christianity was safe, like straitjackets are safe. I am free from the ties that had me bound and gagged. I pity the people who remain in bondage.
Joined at 7, then 10, then 13, then 16....
Left at 18
Was: Bible Presbyterian, fundy, evangelical, born-again
Now: Unitarian Universalist
Converted because: I was told the earth was round, and that Jesus was the way
De-converted because: Christian college showed me the many faces of X-ianity
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)