sent in by Nvrgoingbk
I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God. I was adopted at three months old into a Catholic family and I remember watching the story of Jesus on television at Christmas time. It broke my heart that he was crucified and treated so poorly when all he did was love us. Catholic statues were common around my home as were the repetitive prayers we said every night but never understood. My parents were not particularly religious. They were what I would consider soft secularists. They believed what they believed, but they didn't force it down our throats. They were hypocrites when it served them. We didn't frequent mass too often. We attended on Christmas and Easter and there was a brief period we attended regularly, but it was short lived. Sitting through mass was agonizing for me: All of the kneeling and standing, all of the prearranged services. Still, as I said before, my family was not particularly religious, so it was easy to not give Jesus and God much thought throughout my childhood years.
I was the only adopted family member. My older brother and younger sister were both the biological children of my adoptive parents. My brother liked to play with my pee-pee. He was five years older than me. I was about nine when it began and thirteen when I ended it by confessing to my school counselor and resource officer. I had never enjoyed a close relationship with my adoptive mother. She was a very controlling and abusive woman. My behavior had been adversely affected by the sexual abuse of my brother so by the time my parents found out about the abuse I had already established myself as a lying, thieving, whore. My family refused to believe my accusations and made sure to inform Child Protective Services that I was nothing but a trouble maker who had a history of compulsive lying. CPS wrote me off as a storyteller and left me in the home. I was thirteen. By the time I was fourteen I started running away. My parents decided to drop me off at a Christian children's home hoping that an Xtian influence would change me.
This was my first experience with "born again" Christians. The house parents were thirty years old with three children of their own. I was fourteen and beautiful and the house mother was very insecure. She hated me and made me know it. I recall an incident where she screamed in my face and spewed all kinds of venomous, religious poison at me and warned me of the horrors of Hell. I was at church with them one Sunday and listened to a sermon preached about how the world was supposed to end on Sept. 13. Well, it was the Sunday before Sept. 13 and the pastor gave the usual alter call and I ran up there sobbing. I sure didn't want to go that horrible place! My house parents were thrilled and gave me my first Bible. Reading it was like reading another language altogether. It was pointless. I only lived there three months before I was successful at getting my heathen self expelled from that loving Christian group home.
I continued to have discipline problems. I landed myself in Indiana Girls School Department of Corrections. I spent a long time there and was the only resident there who never received a visit from family or anyone else for that matter the whole time I was there. That was okay since I didn't like them much anyway. The only people from the outside world that I saw were the missionaries that would come and conduct Bible studies with us. Those ladies were so nice, I thought. Somehow, I don't remember when or how, I just came to believe their testimony of Jesus and how he could save me from my sins. I came to believe that the Bible was the word of God and I began to attend Chapel and pray and love Jesus with all my heart. Born-agains think it important to be able to cite the day of one's conversion, but I don't have a monumental "aha!" moment to rehash here. I just somehow came to believe and that was good enough for me.
For years I held on to those beliefs. I was a constant "backslider" ,but I never let go of my belief that Jesus was the perfect son of God that died for the sins of the world and was the only way to be saved. I would only marry someone I knew to be a believer and so I did. We had my son from a previous relationship and had two daughters of our own. We had a happy family and attended church often. My husband and I tried to have couple's devotionals and I have raised my children to love and fear God all their lives. My marriage did not survive and I attributed it to the fact that we hadn't been living Godly enough lives and that now God was punishing me. Oh how I would beg God to bring my husband back! Oh how I would beg God to change me into a good enough wife! For two years I kept the door open to reconciliation with him. I saw other people, but my husband knew that I would welcome him home if he were to decide to leave his mistress. Eventually I let go of that dream and I met another Christian man. My husband and I were legally divorced and I could love again without guilt. While my husband and I were married, a friend of mine had opened my eyes to the fact that Christians are guilty of paganism and she exposed the lie of the "rapture". I studied it exhaustively and came to the same conclusion, but it wasn't enough to make me leave my Christian roots. It wasn't until I met this new man that the foundation of my faith really began to crumble.
Nick was serious about God. For two years I sacrificed everything I could to show him how much I was willing to come under the authority of God and him as the head of our relationship. I was betrothed to him and considered myself as good as married without the paper. We never had sex; I gave up friends, smoking pot, etc. I allowed my children to love him and he even called them his own. I soon began to feel convicted about loving him and our impending marriage. I searched the scriptures and many other sources for freedom to remarry but could find no such freedom. The more I read the scriptures, the more strict I found the rule of no remarriage to be. I couldn't understand why God would send me to Hell for loving Nick when my first husband didn't want me and had abandoned me and his children for another woman. Why would he want a thirty-year-old mother of three to wait around for her ex-husband who has shown no desire to ever reconcile? I couldn't imagine how a love so beautiful as the one I knew with Nicolas could ever be considered "sin". I was tormented night and day by this and at times felt I would have a nervous breakdown. I entertained thoughts of suicide often. I would torment Nick. There was no relief until I finally just had to ignore Jesus' warning in Matthew and find happiness with Nick. The more I tried to go on though, the less I could ignore other troublesome scriptures in the Bible. I began to question things more and more. I had been a Christian a lot longer than Nick. He was very zealous for the Lord and had not yet begun to scrutinize his beliefs and the Bible. I had passed the stage of childlike faith that he had and could not ignore the inaccuracies, atrocities, etc., that seemed to plague the Bible. It was devastating for him. He wanted a good Christian girl, but I couldn't play the part. He was convinced that Atheist means A-moral and would not let me come between him and God. I wasn't even an Atheist yet! I still believed that Jesus was the savior and all; I just questioned all the other shit. It wasn't until Nicolas broke up with me for the zillionth time and it was really over for us that I began a diligent search for the truth into the origins of the Hebrews, the Christian faith, and the Bible. I already knew of Constantine and the changes that came to the Xtian religion through the Roman govt., but I knew nothing of the Zoroastrians and how much they influenced the Hebrew way of thinking. I knew nothing of the other "gods" who had supposedly been born of virgins, performed miracles, were crucified and raised three days later. I had never heard of Mithras. I knew nothing of the Epic of Gilgamesh and how its story of a world wide flood was almost 500 years older than that of Noah's flood. I had no idea that the Hebrews weren't monotheistic before they were influenced by the Zoroastrians nor did they believe in Satan, a hierarchy of angels and demons, heaven or hell. I had always wondered why Hell was even taught in the church when the Old Testament said little to nothing about it and God had told Adam and Eve that the punishment for their sin in the garden was DEATH not HELL, but I was so damned indoctrinated with fear that I was too afraid to leave Christianity.
I started college at thirty two (Jan of this year). I began to learn so much through the Humanities, World Religion and Ethics. It fed my hunger for knowledge and truth even more and continued to validate my doubts about the Christian faith and the beliefs I had held so dear but had systematically kept me in bondage at the same time. I wrote a ten page paper for my World Religion class this last summer semester. It was on why so many people were leaving the Christian faith. The three reasons I cited were, hypocrisy, the denominational splits, and biblical inaccuracies. My professor was Catholic. I got a 100 on the paper!
I wish that I could say I have found peace in my new found "unbelief". I have not found freedom in that regard. My de-conversion is fairly new compared to my years of brainwashed Christianity. It's a very lonely road to trod. All of my friends were Christians. I have told my ex-husband of my de-conversion and my sister. My best friend also knows and is devastated for me. My sister will continue to pray for me. Her and my best friend is convinced I will come back around and that this is just a phase. My thirteen-year-old son is superior in intelligence and so I have begun to reveal some of the problems in the Bible and with the Christian faith. It is sad for him to lose faith, but he told me that because I have established a foundation of trust with him he knows that I would not tell him something that were a lie and that if I have come to this conclusion, I have obviously studied a lot and come to it through much thought and research and would not knowingly lead him astray. I asked him why he had believed me about Jesus before and he said for the same reason. He knew I would never lie to him and if I had told him that Jesus was the son of God that it must be true. I told him at three years old that there was no Santa Claus. I never wanted him believing in fairy tales and I still don't. I don't tell my daughters. They are only six and seven years old. Their paternal grandmother and her husband are charismatic Christians. They are very involved grandparents and I don't want to cause dissention for them and my daughters. They love their grandparents. Right now I fear they are too young to deal with this earth shattering truth. I don't lie to them about Jesus or God. I just allow them to believe for now, because I don't know how to approach this with them.
I wish that someone would wake me up and tell me that it's all been a bad dream. I wish they'd prove to me that Christianity is real, but Christians can't even agree to the tenets of their own faith. The interdenominational wars continue and the arguing is so loud that they can't hear those of us screaming at the top of our lungs asking for answers. You'd think that if the salvation of one's soul was dependent upon the tenets of the Christian faith that Christians would agree upon what it really takes to be saved. You'd think that if serving God was so important and the Bible was the inerrant, God inspired book it is claimed to be that Christians would agree as to how best serve this God.
I am trying to redefine myself, but it's hard. That's human nature, ya know? We all want to belong to a group of people who believe the way we do even if that group of people have negative connotations attached to a name such as Atheist. I can't really call myself an atheist though. I think that to make a claim such as "There is no God" is just as audacious as to claim that there is only one way to God. As long as we are attached to these mortal frames we will not know what, if any, god exists. The Bible claims that for now we see dimly but that one day we will all see clearly. That is a morsel of truth my mind can accept. Thank you all for listening to me
How old were you when you became a Christian? :16
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian?: 32
Was: Baptist, Pentecostal, assemblies of God, non-denominational...
Converted because: I became a Christian because I loved the idea of Jesus, a perfect, loving, man-god that would die for me
De-converted because: Because I honor truth above all
email: Tiffanieradcliffe AT yahoo 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)