sent in by A
I was born into a Lutheran family. My parents were both baptized Lutheran, married in a Lutheran church, and had each of their three children, of whom I was the youngest, baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran religion. I attended Sunday school and church pretty much every Sunday for the first 14 years of my life. I was in the church youth choir as well. When I was 12, we moved to another state because my dad was transferred. My father was an alcoholic, and was verbally and physically abusive to all three of us children, while my mother avoided confrontation to the point that she enabled him to get away with it.
When I was a virgin, I was raped by a friend's brother. At this point in my life, at the age of 13, I renounced God. He had taken away all that I loved and let a sacred rite be stolen from me. I chose to be an agnostic, and I called on God or the devil to come take me to use. Later, I returned to Christianity at the age of 22, when I married my husband. We attended counseling classes required by the Lutheran church for my husband and I to be married there, as he was not a Lutheran and had to adopt the Lutheran beliefs. We attended church prior to our wedding, but not much afterward. I had become increasingly disillusioned with religion and religious people over the past 9 years. I attended a church with my in-laws where they preached that Harry Potter was evil, and I almost stood up and walked out right there. The whole "speaking in tongues" thing is often just stupid; it is obvious the person says the same thing every time they are afflicted. A local "preacher" (I cannot in good faith call him that without quotation marks to indicate the absurdity of it) protested the appearance of "Heather Has Two Mommies" and "Daddy Has A Roommate" and waged a war to have them removed from library shelves. Then Bush came along, and all the fundamentalists in this Bible Belt area began praising his idiot name and raving about how evil abortion and gay marriage are.
I finally figured out that there is no religion large enough to encompass the creator of everything. He or she contains all religions, not one. I believe in tenets of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Probably more.
I am a student of history and I know that Judaism is the oldest religion, and Islam the most popular. Christianity is the most violent. When I read about Christ, I don't see him as a judgmental bigot. I've read "The Lost Books of the Bible" and the idea of an imperfect Jesus rings rather true to me.
I know that the Bible was written by human hands, and potentially "seasoned" with each authors' personal opinions or beliefs. There is much that may have been edited out or into the Bible, likewise with the other holy texts. I give weight and respect to all of these wise texts, the older they are, the more sacred. But I don't believe that the Bible is the end all, be all, last stop decision on who goes to heaven and who doesn't.
When I go to these churches, a lot of them praise and worship, I don't feel surrounded by God anymore than I do outside in nature alone--I feel God everywhere. In those churches, I feel surrounded by people who are there just to show others that they came; much of it has a sort of patting-themselves-on-the-backs feel to it. These are the places that have, instead of crosses at the front of the chapel, a performance stage, light effects, and accompanying sing-along screens. I would be much more comfortable in a Buddhist temple.
I don't feel the need to conform to society's view of a "good Christian" in order to be loved by God. I can't believe that everyone who doesn't believe in Jesus is going to burn in hell. That every Jew and every pagan and every Muslim and every gay person and every Buddhist and every Hindu and every abortionist/abortion recipient/abortion participant is going to burn in hell. That's a lot of damned people. And if they all deserve to burn--Ghandi and Buddha and the Dalai Lama--then I will burn proudly beneath them.
How old were you when you became a christian? 6 weeks old
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? what U.S. society calls a "Christian?" 13 years ago.
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Lutheran, Christian
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Independent/Buddhist/Messianic Jew....more too.
Why did you become a christian? no choice, born into it
Why did you de-convert? had my own mind.
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)