sent in by Gretchen
I've always been a people pleaser. No matter what it was, I would do it. I guess that's why it was so easy for me to fall into the trap of Christianity. I remember my conversion well. I was attending vacation bible school and had been listening to this woman talk about Jesus' love and sacrifice for us. How he didn't want us to go to hell. How we were not worthy, but if we let him into our heart, he would come in and wash all of our sins away.
Afterward they did an alter call. I sat their thinking as a child does, how much the stupid little things I had ever done was hurting him. I went up to the alter and, with the help of a teacher, said the sinner's prayer. As I prayed, I cried and begged Jesus to forgive me. When I was finished I felt like I had been given a clean-slate.
I started to go to church full force for awhile, but tapered off. I only went to church sporadically. When I did go it was because of my grandmother. She was a devout Christian and was always telling me I needed to go. So I would go to Sunday School and Children's Church services, all the while thinking that some of this stuff can't be for real. I mean, I never could figure out how Noah got all of those critter's into that boat.
I was a very inquisitive child and I know I made the adults mad. I was always asking why. I never did get those answers. The only thing they did do was make me second guess myself. I began to believe that I just wasn't reading or interpreting it right. I was a child after all and these were grown ups. They had to know what they were talking about.
By the time I was a teenager, I quit going all together. I figured that if God and Jesus were real they didn't care if I went to church or not. All that mattered is that I believed in them. My junior year of high school I became pregnant. I was so afraid of how my family was going to react. I was scared that I was going to be disowned. Amazingly, they took the news well. But the guys mother wasn't as pleased. I don't know if her attitude toward the situation was because of her fanatical catholicism or what, but she told me I wasn't ready and wanted me to give my child up for adoption. Being the stubborn person I am, it didn't happen.
My child's father and I eventually married. It was at this time in my life that I found out what it was like to be pressured to convert. My mother-in-law was constantly on me to change religions for the sake of my family. I went to counseling with the priest, a church sanctioned therapist, and even a weekend retreat aimed at teaching you how to be a "godly" couple. The only thing I took away from that experience is that catholics are control freaks.
It never got better with her. For a long time she tried to make me feel guilty that my son had not been baptized. His father and I had decided to wait and let him make the decision on religion when he got older. But she kept pushing. At age three he was baptized in the Wesleyan church. I know it pissed her off royally. But in my mind he was safe from the insanity she called faith.
After Carl and I divorced, I only went to church once or twice in a 5 year time period. But I still held onto the notion that God was real. I even studied Revelation. I was scared to death of going to hell. I even got hooked on watching Jack Van Impe's predictions. At the time, it all made since to me.
Then this year my belief in Christianity was broken forever. I lost my grandmother,on my birthday, very unexpectedly. It was one of those freak things where she's fine one minute, falls over and is gone in the span of one day. It really threw me. I had been really close to this woman and in the blink of an eye, she was gone.
At her funeral, one of the pastors she had known for a long time presided over her service. He talked about her life and read a poem she wrote to her family. During this my life changed forever. He told a story about how she had stopped attending services regularly to take care of her ailing husband and mother. Then one day she told him that she was going to come back to church, no matter what. He then proceeded to say that because of this, she is now in heaven. That one decision shows how much of a good Christian she was and that we should all strive to be like that.
I remember literally wanting to jump up and strangle this man. According to him, her greatest accomplishment was the fact that she started to go to church again? Her life was reduced to her level of Christianity? Never mind the sacrifices she made to take care of them. Running back and forth twice a day. Never mind her ability to make you feel special no matter what. No, it all boiled down to whether or not she was in that pew every Sunday and Wednesday. His words made me sick.
I became angry. I couldn't believe a man of god would think like that. Then I began to question the whole thing. I started researching Christianity and began to see it for what it was. Baloney. Crap. A Lie.
During my search I came across this site. It has become a wealth of information and reading the testimonies on here has helped a lot. It's made me see that I'm not alone. That it's okay to feel like I do.
I'm still learning. "When you stop learning, you die." has become my mantra. I'm not sure what philosophy or belief I will end up with. I may even never find one and that's okay with me. But I do know that my mind has been closed to Christianity.
Was: Wesleyan, Nazarene
Converted because: Wanted to please family, fear of hell
De-converted because: Started questioning Christianity and found it to be false.
email: greckylou 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)