Waking up from the nightmare

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.


Indiana
USA
Joined: 10
Left: 27
Was: Wesleyan, Nazarene
Now: Human
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

30 comments:

Marty Mets said...

Great post. I, too, had finally become an Athiest at my grandmothers funeral. It was there I realized that the whole thing is emotional morphine for people who can't handle being alone in the universe, or the fear of death.

I'm sorry to hear of your loss, but you are now free of the shackles commonly refered to as 'christianity'. Life can now begin!

xrayman said...

Wow, what an awesome testimony. When you begin to distance yourself from religion and look at it from the outside, you really see the absurdity of it all. The story you told of the preacher and your grandmother really epitomizes that fact. I have never been heavily indoctrinated myself, but have been down on my knees many times asking God or Jesus to come into my heart. It never happened with me, therefore I was for the longest time in this religious no man's land, and I was often very scared. When I came of age and was heavily into "sinning" Jimmy Swaggert was in his prime. I would often watch him on T.V. and be in great fear as he seemed to be talking directly me when he mentioned the type of people who will suffer eternal damnation. Then of course it was with my greatest delight that he was caught with a very nasty hooker. Yet that asshole is still on the tube begging for money today.

Well obvouisly as I look back, my subconcious mind knew all along that religion was bullshit and that is why I never found God. Come to this site often there is much great wisdom. Thanks for your heartfelt letter. You will eventually become very comfortable with the fact that religion is a man made myth based on fear.

Lee said...

Gretchen,

Great post, and it's very coincidental that you mention the minister's extolling your grandmother's return to xianity as her greatest accomplishment...it seems obscene that someone would trivialize the life of a person so dedicated to her family.

It was that way with my mother, as well...after years of blaming god for her illness, she decided to return to church. At her funeral, which, coincidentally occurred not even a week after her return to that church (coincidence?!), her minister said that of all her accomplishments in life, her return to the fold guaranteed her a safe passage to eternity in jesus' presence...can you believe the audacity of that man?!

My first reaction upon hearing this at the funeral was rage, of course...my mother was an amazing woman in ALL aspects of her life, and to reduce her to "salvation by crawling back" was completely unacceptable. After the service, I was tempted to approach the minister and call him to the carpet on this egregious trivialization of my mother's life, but thought better of it, remembering my sunday school teachings: "Man was meant to suffer...no greater cure to the suffering of man than to give his life to god"...I can see that coming out of that minister's lips like a patterned response from the "how to handle atheists" book for xian ministers.

Instead of calling the minister on it and possibly embarrassing both of us-him for his response and me for probably punching him (lol)-I wrote a detailed letter to both the minister and his bishop. It was going to accomplish little, I realize, since they'll regard it as the rantings of another lost soul searching for god, but it made me feel better that I let that man know that he didn't slip his uneducated agenda past everyone. It's the little things;)

Lee

Lorena said...

Gretchen,

I am sorry you lost your grandma. It sounds like she was a great lady. And thank for posting your story, it shows how strong you are.

Take care

Gretchen said...

Thank you guys for your kind words. It's been six months and I still miss her. But I feel like this experience has given me the drive to finally break away from my fear and guilt. For the first time in my life I finally get how completely rediculous it is to fear something that is just plain stupid. I feel like I've been given a gift.
I've been reading posts on this site for awhile now. It's still amazing to me how christians leave such vile and judgemental comments but claim to care about you and your 'soul'. I started wondering, was I ever that hateful? Did I ever sound like some of these people? It makes me angry that I could have ever been as small and ignorant as some of them. I'm just glad that I can now say with pride " I no longer believe".

ryan said...

Gretchen, hi. A funeral is a great place to begin getting a grip.

The church I was born into has its roots in the anabaptist milieu of the post-reformation. I can't tell you what it is, because my past continues to be an embarrassment. Maybe someday I shall--hell, you might have heard of it.

This church was agrarian until just recently, but the past generation has been attending college and many even have computers. The core of their crazed religion is still back in the 16th century.

They condemned birth control. It follows that a pack of ignorant shitkickers, spending their lives raising cows and pigs, is going to see birth control as ungodly. A godly woman had lots of children, like a sow having a litter.

At my mother's mother's funeral, the minister had warm praise for this god-fearing woman who had farrowed 8 children. Her reward for her fertility was all these children who looked after her in her old age, never mind the fact that they all grew up poor, tattered, and hungry.

That sermon was one of my big reasons for walking away--that common bumkin who used a funeral to preach his barnyard sex education. I'm glad to be out.

xrayman: My experience is very much like yours. The funeral I am talking about took place after years of trying to be saved; trying to believe as they did; trying to think as they did, even trying to talk as they did. Didn't work. Still doesn't. The funeral was just one of several things that forced me to become who I was.

Have a great life, everyone.

Ryan from Indiana

Anonymous said...

AS a hated Calvinist,I have to say,for the sake of truth,you were another victim of the lie of Armininism. You were told the lie that if you let Jesus into your heart then he would come in. Now you know otherwise. You don't let Jesus do anything. He won't be let. He takes whatever heart he wants. Millions of others have been deceived as you were. And Billy Graham is one of the primary deceivers.A Benny Hinn is far worse. Sorry you were deceived but that is the way most of the Christian Churches are today. Enjoy your life without God. Best wishes.

Free_Deist said...

Anony:

Don't forget to take your gun with you when you go for a hike in the woods so Bigfoot doesn't sneak up behind you! Don't forget your camera when you go to Vegas so you can take a picture of the real Elvis!

John said...

To the "hated Calvinist," your post makes me understand just why you are so hated. You bring it on yourselves.

Throughout the New Testament, particularly in St. Paul's epistles, we are invited to accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, not told that He will take one of us against our will. It must be a conscious choice, because there can be no reward in coercion.

As for Catholics, you'd better get used to us, because with Mexico emptying itself into the United States via Texas and California, the US will soon be majority-Roman Catholic.

I'm sorry, Gretchen, that your experience was so negative. I don't want you to do anything against your conscience. If you feel better this way, then please don't let anyone frighten you into changing your mind because of what they believe. True, it would be nice if you had a better experience with Roman Catholic Christianity, and I would prefer that everyone at this site would discover it. But I only want people to practice my religion if they truly want to do so, not because they've been intimidated by anyone.

Bentley said...

Yeah it was actually at my fathers funeral that I decided that Christianity was nothing more than a hoax, especially when they had the gall to pass the collection plate right before the pastors eulogy. You could see the pastors face light up in brilliance as he watched the twenties and hundreds being put into the collection plate, and they even had the nerve to pass it along the deceased in the casket and the stewart even searched his linings for his wallet, and took his wedding bands and gold watch and cuff links. God that is so sick, of course I'm joking....lol

freedy said...

Anonymous...I agree that Billy and Benny are two of biggest con artists "ever" in churchanity,...
I grew up presbyterian,.. and you remind me of those arrogant,narcissitic"god chose me arsholes".Man !,..you are really screwed up!,..go get some help!

(try a little medication?)

jehovah's book of fairy tales said...

You christians just don't get that this site is for the support of exchristians, and not for debate of whose "so called doctrine is the right one". Anony and John, you two need to shove it.

To Gretchen: My condolences and welcome to the light. We're here for you.

ryan said...

I must say, anonymous, you have a refreshing approach. Most christians come in here, whimpering and wringing their hands because we have given up on the jewzoo, telling us that their bible stories are documented fact, how much they care about us, and then saying jewsus loves us. After all that whimpering and sobbing, they consign us all to perdition.

But you take a short-cut. You ditch all the extraneous "jewsus is calling" bullshit and go straight to damnation. A calvinist is efficient, like the god he believes in. Your god is an efficient god; a remorseless killing machine; what Thomas Jefferson called "a capricious, bloodthirsty monster".

You told Gretchen to "enjoy her life without god". You sadistic bastard, are you gloating over her unsaved condition? Why do you not find a girlfriend and experience some normal human feelings? And then you have the nuts to tell her "best wishes". If she is damned, then what do your wishes mean?

Has it occurred to you that, if your god is the whimsical tyrannt that you say he is, saving who he pleases, damning who he pleases, then you are not safe either? god could put the whole fucking human race into hell, every man, woman, and child who ever lived, and he would still be operating within calvinistic sovereignty.

Enjoy your existence devoid of human decency. I wish you all the worst.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I enjoy this forum more than any other I've joined. I have laughed out loud (at the office!) at least three times in the last 10 minutes of reading, and that's more than I do all day long.

Naomi

Anonymous said...

Annoymous:
According to you, Jesus is a kidnapper? Wow, that's a new one for me. I thought I had heard all of the so-called desriptions of this guy. I guess you learn something new every day.
Listen, you can keep him. Jesus sounds even more horrible the way you describe him. Sneaking around, stealing hearts and all. I can't tell if it's the brand of xtianity I used to subscibe to or the fact that I don't believe anymore that has your panties in a bunch. By the way, you know where you can stick your "best wishes".

Gretchen said...

Crap. That last post was mine. I wonder why my name didn't show up?

Anonymous said...

How the truth burns.

Iwan said...

no one should profit from religion... in any form of way. and religion (whatever it is that you believe in) should never be the competition for the longest penis... great post mate...

Nvrgoingbk said...

Anonymous: listening to you spew your venom is worse than swallowing my own vomit. You are disgusting. I assume you believe that you are one of the chosen few that are making it to Heaven so you can live forever with Jeebus and all of the saints. It's the bigotry you so beautifully demonstrate here that requires no argument from us heathens as to why Christianity is foul and despicable. All we would have to do is take you to an anti-religion debate with us, stand you up at the podium, and let you argue our case for us.

John, you may not identify with this mentally challenged individual's poisonous remarks, but Catholicism perpetuates the same lies and is guilty of some of the most dispicable acts attributed to mankind. Catholicism is the asshole of religion. Something stinks in here!


Gretchen: I'm sorry you were so deeply offended and that the memory of your grandmother was as well. You have been indeed given a gift. You've been given the gift to use the mind you were born with to imagine and reason with no fear of eternal torture. You have been given the opportunity to march to the beat of the music that plays within your own heart and not that of the church hymns. You are free to accept others as they are without having to ask if they know the secret word to the clubhouse. As Marty mets said above, "Life can now begin!"

Anonymous said...

All of you Christ-haters can rave on all you want. Nothing new about that. See you at the white-throne judgment and then we will see who goes down.

rocky said...

Anonymous,

So what-you can call me in hell and shout," Neener, neener!"? Judgemental to the very end. Sigh. I guess you win the free Suckerware then.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Anonymous said: "All of you Christ-haters can rave on all you want. Nothing new about that. See you at the white-throne judgment and then we will see who goes down."

Hey man, where's the love you Christians speak so much of? Shouldn't you be trying to re-convert us to your God of "love"? Do you think that warning us of Judgment Day is going to have us crawling back? What if the Muslims are right and you end up in Allah's Hell. In that case, you'll be sharing eternity with alot of people who are gonna want to kick your ass for believing you when you told them that Jesus was the Way!

btdt said...

Hi Gretchen,
What the pastor said at the funeral was inexcusable. Similarly, at my grandmother's funeral, the pastor said,

"You remember Edna as a generous, loving person, always hospitable, always ready to lend a helping hand...(more great things about my grandma). Well my friends, that was not Edna. (Yes he actually explicitly said this.) That was the spirit of Jesus working through her."

My grandmother was literaly stripped, at her own funeral, of all credit for being the wonderful woman she was, and turned into an automaton for jebus.

I was sickened, and livid. Once you're out from under the control of religion, these kinds of violations become absolutely intolerable.

Welcome to the fresh air :)

ryan said...

There is not going to be any "white throne judgement", you imbecile. That is an image planted in your mind by your hick preachers who no doubt graduated from calvin seminary; stunted excuses for men who were driven mad by reading the bible.

If all are predestined, then of what use is "judgement"? If it is all settled ahead of time, what is there to judge? For that matter, if it is all settled ahead of time, what difference will it make if we hate christ or love christ? You are terminally confused, like the rest of your backward subspecies. I have a suggestion for you: I am going to heaven, while you are going to hell. If calvin's god is sovereign, it can happen just that way. If god is sovereign, our conceptions of equity would mean nothing to him. He would make no promises; no deals.

So we will see YOU at the throne, hmmmmm? And by the way, "go down" is a euphemism for oral sex. Get your mind out of the gutter, you totally depraved little whacker.

Anonymous said...

RYAN
Nothing like being called ugly by a frog. So drop dead you arrogant self rightous reprobate.

tigg13 said...

Hey anonymous, you wouldn't happen to be anything like one of those "christian leaders" who are constantly getting arrested for child pornography and molestation would you? You sure sound like a malicious, arrogant, self-righteous little puss-monger who likes to applaud himself for being a "good" christian while defiling everything their faith stands for.

I really don't care myself. But jesus - well that's a different story. You're making him look bad, and he hates that. I'll bet when you reach that throne, jesus is going to get a couple of his angels together and they're going to beat the crap out of you.

So, you'ld better watch out cause jesus is watching you.


All the time.


He's outside your window right now.


Just staring at you.

Piprus said...

Welcome, Gretchen. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm just sorry that your testimony thread had to fall victim to a couple of xian trolls.

Allright, you anonymous posters, why don't you come out in the open and give yourselves a name. Better yet, join the forums and have some real debate with us. You might learn something.

Catholic, Calvinist, or Christianazi, who cares? Your beliefs are built on no evidence whatsoever. Jesus Christ is a myth, you fools, he never existed. He is no more real than Mickey Mouse.

We are not christ-haters. How can you hate a non-entity? What we hate is the self-righteous, holier than thou arrogance of you who consider yourselves some kind of elite in the human sphere, after having been fooled by the biggest hoax in human history.

ryan said...

No, hateful calvinist, I am not a frog. I am a handsome prince. I was turned into a frog by the wicked jewzoo, but a fair princess rescued me. She was the Damsel of Reason, as beautiful as the dawn, with a kiss as soft as the dew on the roses. I then took my place among the intellectual aristocracy of this world: proud, free, and fearless.

You have made a comlete and utter fool of yourself, as I could have predicted. You are the one who is arrogant and self-righteous. You have come in here like the low-caste miscreant that you really are, reeking of your superstitious nonsense, and reacting with infantile rage when confronted with superior intelligence. Well, if I had my ass kicked in an argument, I would be angry too;but angry with myself for being so stupid and poorly-read.

Listen toad, hop back into your gutter and come out when you have either the wits or the courage to answer just one of the challenges against you.

Just one more thing: a disciple of calvin is no way to go through life. Grow up.

Rebekah said...

Dear Gretchen ~

I, too, am disgusted about what that man (not of God) said at your Grandmother's funeral. It hurts me far more than you can possibly realize, because Christians like he are what leads people like you, who are not taken in by their lies, to forsake Christ. You are right: Christianity is "baloney" and a "lie". But! Oh, Gretchen! JESUS isn't a lie! It's just the man-made religion claiming to be of God that is a lie! It is the men claiming to be ministers who are not; it is the water baptism and other meaningless ceremonies claiming to wash your soul; it is the Church claiming to be the body of Christ -- these are the lies.

God's sweet, tender touches are not lies, Gretchen. Please, don't throw Him away as you continue to throw away all the false doctrines and emptiness of Christianity.

I have come out of the religion of Christianity. It is the source of all confusion and division among God's people on this earth, and He is calling His people to come out! It never was from God from its inception, which I'm sure you began to realize as you researched it's sordid history.

If you would like to learn more about what I am saying, visit our website: pastorjohnshouse.com.

Thank you for being patient with me and reading my letter!

Love,
Rebekah

Gretchen said...

Rebekah, all I can say is wow. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the obligitory apology by someone who has a relationship with God and Jebus and not a religion, commented. You're not sorry about the loss of my grandmother, you're trying to pretend to be sorry. What you are feeling is pity. Pity that I no longer believe in your magic fairy godfather.

You have judged me. In your mind I am a lost soul that needs to be saved. Well, I don't need to be saved by your hanging saviour. I saved myself. My journey may have started because of my emotions, but I broke from Xtianity, and Jesus, because of my brain. The more I learned, the more I saw that all of it was a lie. All of it. Every word God and Jesus supposedly spoke, every miracle performed, every word that was written down. The bible is the biggest lie of them all.

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