The truth will set you free

sent in by John Donovan

I was born into Christianity and its teachings. On my Mothers side they are very strict Pentecostals. My grandfather was an Apostolic Pentecostal minister—very strict. I was raised up in that kind of environment.

When I was 23, I was on the job and I was working with a Pentecostal person that was very devoted to that faith. He started telling me about Hell—that it was a deep dark pit and a person would fall for ever through flames, with other damned people trying to grab on to you. To be honest, that scared me. I started imagining myself falling through these flames. Well, being as young as I was, and ignorant of Christianity, I fell for it—Hook, Line and Sinker!

I started going to a Baptist church, soon went to a Pentecostal church, and became a minister. I preached several years, was licensed, and went to the fellowship meetings. I was the full-fledged thing.

I started disagreeing with the strictness of Pentecostal doctrine then and moved on to a non-denominational church. At that time I started getting interested in messianic Judaism, and stayed with that several years.

As I was surfing one day on the Internet, I came across a Jewish site that taught the errors of Christianity. Soon after that my life in Yeshua (Jesus) was turned upside down. I found out that Jesus was just another fabrication in a long list of fabrications. I did not want to believe it; I was flabbergasted. Everything I was taught and believed in was gone. After several months, I went on. I still had God and right and wrong. I went into pure Judaism, no Jesus.

But questions still nagged me: "If their is no Jesus, what about God?" The first book I read on the subject was "Losing Faith In Faith," by Dan Barker. I began to see that 16 of my years were wasted being a faithful Christian and believer in God. I didn't want to accept it, but the evidence was there. I wanted to believe and went through a back-and-forth battle with religion. It wasn't an overnight change. I would say it took almost two years for me to say I was an atheist.

I am so much happier now. Religion is frustrating and confusing. Who's right and who's wrong arguments just get old.

Joined: 23
Left: 38
Was: Baptist,Pentecostal,Messianic Judaism,Orthodox Judaism
Now: Atheist
Converted: To be "saved",Fear
De-converted: To keep my sanity
Email: mind2hunt39 at yahoo dot com


SpaceMonk said...

Hi John,

That combination of faith and fear is what keeps people locked in.
It's ridiculous that their faith is really that there is something to fear in the first place.

I 'like' your version of hell.
I never really knew how to imagine hell except as being an excruciating burning pain that never got any less.
When I tried to imagine the physical appearance of it I couldn't settle on the neverending falling, like what your friend described, or bobbing in a lake of fire.

Then I thought maybe it's like a big ditch with fires burning all around, but still within sight of heaven on the hill above, like in the story of Lazarus, but with demons wandering around cracking whips, or putting people in torture racks, etc.
Or maybe the ditch has a 'lake of fire' in it but it's shallow enough to wallow in up to our necks, but has a lava-like quicksand shoreline that we can never crawl out of...?

Or maybe it's a network of molten tunnels and torture caves like Dantes inferno?

Then I heard the "no flames, only seperation from God" version, and I imagined that as some kind of drifting though space with an ever shrinking 'light' in the distance...


Piprus said...

Hi, John

Welcome to our little gang of apostates. You're not alone in being an ex-minister turned atheist. There are a number of them here, so you're in good company.

Interesting, that pentecostal's description of hell. I wonder how he knew that...had he seen it? I rather doubt that, don't you? Such a fertile imagination...

Ian said...

Sorry to hear about what you went through John, but as you said, the truth will set you free. Learning about the historical origins of christianity and other saviors throughout history cemented my position outside of christianity.

I personally think you can have God without Jesus. I was once a christian myself who believed that Jesus was the only way to God. Why? Because he said so! However, I eventually deconverted after reading the conversations with God book series. The God I met there was far more approchable and made more sense then bible God. There was a lot of other stuff as well, but after two years i've arrived at a diest/buddhist position of beliving in a God who doesn't directly interfere with our lives (to let us make our own decisions and live with the consequences), and that we keep coming back to earth until we "grow up" so to speak, into mature, well-rounded, experienced individuals who can peacefully co-exist with others and can make responsible choices and decisisons.

I agree with you that who's right and who's wrong arguments get old. I think that neither side is completely right or wrong. And I also agree with you that religion is frustrating. I feel more free, happy, and peaceful outside of the faith.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

What information in your studies in Judaism led you to conclude Jesus was a fabrication in a long list of fabrications? I'd be interested in the information that swayed you, and why it was more convincing to you than the Christian side of the story you already had.

I think more Christians ought to be exposed to Judaism's take on Jesus, since they're so hot to piggyback the credibility of their religion on the credibility of Judaism and the idea that the Jews really did have a direct line to God that no one else did.

Anonymous said...

Ian, Buddhist do not believe in god!

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