sent in by Chris
First off, I would like to say that I appreciate the many testimonies and stories on the site. It has given me hope and courage in the face of the trials I face daily with my decision to search for the truth as opposed to the Christian myth. Ever since I was baptised as an infant my life has been centered around the Christian religion. My mother's family is devout Catholic, which is actually quite rare in the state of Oklahoma. However, after my mother divorced my father, she decided to raise my brother and I as protestant Christians in my small, Baptist-run hometown due to her disgust with the Catholic Church's position on divorce. Everyone I knew in my hometown was a devout Christian and Church attendance was a given for just about everyone. My brother and I were thrown head first into the Christian culture during our childhood and involvement in our youth group. We started the church youth band and spent at least 5 days a week involved in some fuction at church. Summers were spent at multiple church camps playing music and preaching to our peers. It was a pretty normal life for an Oklahoma boy. My brother and I were talented musicians (he more so than I) and we took every opportunity to show off our talent under the guise of worshiping god.
This lifestyle continued throughout high school. I never questioned the Bible or my denomination's interpretation of the Christian religion. Then I went to college. College has been the most interesting and beautiful experience of my life. My first semester was spent partying with a diversity of people that I had never come into contact before: muslims, atheists, socialists, buddhists, catholics, jews, ect. I stopped attending church and became primarily apathetic to religion. This continued into my second semester when one night I attended a choir concert put on by the university. They did a gorgeous rendition of Ave Maria and I was so moved by it that I decided to look into my family's traditional religion. I found that I could believe in evolution and study philosophy while still being a faithful Catholic Christian. I was a firm believer in reason and rationality and it seemed that Catholicism was the light of the Christian world for me. It was like I finally found something to belong to and a community that was intellectually mature and had an ancient identity. I was wrong.
I felt absolute bliss as I went through the rituals of confirmation. The priest was chanting a beatiful gregorian song, the incense smelled heavenly and the orchestra accompanied our ancient liturgical hymns. I was so caught up in my new Catholic faith that I began speaking with my priest about seminary. I was intent on becoming a priest or possibly a monk. I went to meetings with the diocesan vocations director and I enrolled in philosophy in order to fulfill pre-theology requirements set by Pope John Paul II. In my first philosophy class I was to find the true light and purpose of my life. I began to study as much philosophy as I could. Little did my priest know, the philosophy intended to prepare me for the priesthood led to my disavowal of all irrational faith and religion. I began to honestly search for the truth like the great philosophers of the past. Socrates destroyed my belief that god was the standard of morality and the Catholic arguments from natural law were weak and dishonest. Further studies led me to completely reject my faith. Bertrand Russell and other great minds gave me hope and showed me what it was to be a genuine, rational and virtuous person.
Recently, my new convictions of secular humanism have left me with no community and my closest friends no longer ask me to spend time with them. They see me as a sinner and a lost soul. I press on in my search for truth and my search for others who have similar convictions in this Christian strong-hold of Oklahoma. My family still doesn't know about my loss of faith and probably still believe I am considering the Catholic priesthood. It has cost me almost everything to follow this search for truth. Still, I am not unhappy about my discovery of philosophy. Philosophy gives me a reason to press on and change this world for the better. Ethics has given me a chance to study the real foundation for human morality. I would not give up this opportunity for anything. Fond greetings and well wishes to you all from an ex-Christian philosopher.
How old were you when you became a christian? as early as I can remember
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 21
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Independant Christian Church and Catholic
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Atheist/Secular Humanit
Why did you become a christian? Born and Raised, Community
Why did you de-convert? Philosophy, Rationality
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)