A burden is lifted

Sent in by Warin

Well, my name is Warin and I've been raised Christian from birth. Every Sunday we went to church, we learned about how God is in heaven and he's always watching us, protecting us, and loving us. And some day when we die, we go to a golden city of light. But if you're bad, you go to hell and burn for all eternity. It made me feel good as a young child about the Heaven aspect of religion, but the hell part always left me a bit uneasy. I wondered why a God who loves his children would send the naughty ones to a bit of fire and brimstone.

There were also other things that made me uneasy, like how Abraham had to kill his son. The Bible always taught that no man was to take another’s life, but God ordered him to do just that. Now I've always been a bright young man, and it didn't take long for me to see that the Bible has many gaps in logic. When I entered junior high, I took an interest in the rest of the world, and saw that while we here in America have it pretty good, the rest of the world was slowly slipping into the jaws of decay. I wondered why God would let his children suffer like this; why He wouldn't save them. Still in the grip of religion, I went to the church for answers. Much to my dismay, they quoted the Bible for me and prayed. With no answers, no relief, and no one to turn to, I began to stray away from the church.

The church had been my crutch for so long, I never knew how to walk on my own. I felt alone and ashamed. I was always taught that God was the only way and light, and now my world felt dark — like I was a bad person for my lack of faith. I finally confessed my atheist beliefs to a close friend. I expected shock and a hoard of questions, but instead he started laughing. He told me that just because I didn't believe in God, that doesn’t mean I have no direction.

He was right. In fact, without the restraints of my religious beliefs, my mind was free to explore the rest of the world around me. It allowed me to accept people for who they are, and not judge them about their religion, sexual preference, race, or lifestyle.

This all took place between 7th grade and junior year of high school.

Although all my friends now know, my mother still doesn’t know I don't believe in her God. I was sitting with her a while back and during our conversation she mentioned that atheism was spreading like a disease across the world. I disagree. It's not a disease, because there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't need to be cured or quelled. It's nothing more than a world of scared little people finally trying to walk without the help of a non-existent God. We are like children with training wheels on our bikes; we balance, but eventually fall down on the helpful wheels on either side of us. But we're learning, and soon we won't need training wheels at all.

And we'll only keep growing and learning from there...

With my mind set loose, I see that atheism isn't the only option I had to choose from. I'm only 17, so my journey is far from over. I still believe that humans have a presence in them that cannot be explained or killed, that all things have a certain oneness, and that we are all linked somehow. But I will not believe that if you don't live your life a certain way, or believe in a certain concept, you will be sent to a place like hell.

Don't be afraid to believe in what you believe in. If you must have faith, have faith not in God or the afterlife, but in your fellow man. That's who we are, and that's who we need to help.


Northbrook
Illinois
U.S.
Joined: Born Into It
Left: 17
Was: Christian
Now: Idealist/Agnostic
Converted because: Born into it
De-converted because: Common sense and reality sunk in

14 comments:

steamboat_willey said...

The ministers couldn't answer your questions about suffering because they are rhetorical questions. They have no answer and simply point out the incongruities of religion, which is nothing more than fear and ignorance fostered by the powerful.

Suffering in the world, when not directly caused by religion, is encouraged by it, through its teachings of predestination of souls, manifest destiny, and the divine right of leaders. Those teachings interfere with the concept that we are personally responsibile for what happens in the world, that we can change outcomes through the choices we make, personally and politically.

The only thing that will break the cycle of sufferning is the political power of educated, courageous individuals who are unafraid of the priests (or their gods), and unconvinced of the divine right of the leaders who contract with them to achieve a supposed manifest destiny.

steamboat_willey said...

I forgot to add that suffering and poverty are less prevalent in the United States because it's the land of the free and the home of the brave. Hundreds of years ago we decided not to let our country be run by the church with its nonsensical teachings.

Joe said...

If you have come to all these conclusions and this world view at 17 years old, then I applaud you. I can't remember exactly when I finally started to really observe the world and base my opinions on what I saw, instead of superstitions or whatever, but I must admit (a bit shamefully) that it was much later in life. Good stuff.

freedy said...

Fundamentalism is the disease spreading through-out the world,...not atheism!

Farris said...

Warin,
You're on a solid path early in your life. Good for you! Don't be afraid to question authority. Knowledge equals freedom. People that are afraid to expand their minds stay ignorant. Have an informed reason for believing whatever you believe.
Your Pal,
Farris

chan said...

Warin,
I'm sorry that you didn't have your questions answered. I teach 17 year olds in high school. I know that they have questions. An honest question deserves an honest answer. I have taught religion for a number of years and have experience with some of your questions. It's interesting to me that you have concluded there is not God at such a young age. One question for you. Isn't it possible, that there is evidence for God that you don't know about?
Chan

boomSLANG said...

Chan asked: "Isn't it possible, that there is evidence for God that you don't know about?"

Yes. So since you evidently already HAVE this evidence, give it up. Waiting.

I.H.M. said...

I think fervent faith can be a lot like tobacco: It is more likely to "stick" when they get "hooked on it" early in life.

I would also claim that continued faith requires some sort of psychological addiction.

So I would be really curious to know what an "honest answer" is to chan, although I certain of the type of honesty mentioned.

Gotta keep 'em hooked, don't we?

Don't forget that whole "fear of hell" angle, can't be a good xtian without it!

Noell said...

Warin, congrats and keep on questioning! This defines you as a strong minded, educated, rational, and sane human being. Welcome to reality and the truth.

Chan wrote.........”An honest question deserves an honest answer.”..........

Herein “lies” the problem! ALL religions are self defeating and based on human ignorance and fear! Chan, when it comes to religion, I believe that you believe that you think you know the truth. This is why you think you can offer truthful answers. The truth is your truth is based on lies and a weak-minded and frightened human imagination. Therefore you can not offer any truth at all! Honesty can only be based in truth.

If and only when a proven god or a higher intelligence can stand and be rationally recognized, then you should adamantly maintain and advise others that the only truth is that gods do not exist! Anything else defines you as a feeble minded, illiterate, irrational, and scared little peon.

As with others, I too will be patiently awaiting your evidence. I won’t be holding my breath.

tigg13 said...

Chan said, "Isn't it possible, that there is evidence for God that you don't know about?"

Warin went to church, he spoke to christian advisors, he asked for guidance; your god had a golden opportunity to reveal himself and his evidence to Warin and he flipped him off.

Boomslang pegged it. If you had any real evidence you would have provided it. Instead, you did what persons of your ilk aways do - you accused Warin of not adequately studying the problem.

Thats the way it works, isn't it? You make them feel guilty and insecure, that they aren't good enough because they haven't found the "right' answer.

You don't have any real evidence. You just want Warin to get so caught up in looking for some that he'll stop asking the questions.

Anonymous said...

I second what Joe said, 17 is a young age to face up to your questions.

I too was raised in a Christian home, but left when I finished school and am now at Uni.

I'm now 22, and over the past year have changed my perspective on life dramatically. I suppose this is a good side-effect of the Internet for people in our generation. Basically ALL my family and friends are christians who see me as "falling away". In a previous generation, it must have been much harder to connect with like-minded people.

Hope your journey is an interesting one. Have fun reading all the works of the great thinkers, and don't be scared of other points of view.

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" -Voltaire

Bentley said...

Religions and beliefs are a pacifier to shut up your questions that cannot be honestly answered by anyone. God did it, believe it or go to hell. So now shut up you have all the answers that you need. Which is also another lie!

imaginary skydaddy said...

Warin, I offer you congrats also. I was raised into christianity also and I had alot of questions. But, the all to famous reply was " you're not supposed to question god,it's evil" from my mother. I remember sitting down when I was nine and I randomly opened the buybull to the old testament and it just so happened to be one of god's vicious and hateful acts. I stopped reading and I pondered on it just for a short while and went on doing whatever was happening that day. If only I would have pondered it quite alot more, it's possible that I could have come to my senses at a much younger age like yourself and wouldn't have experienced so much misery that this poisonous cult causes for people, and if I'm right, there's others of you who visit this site that feel the same way. Also Warin, hopefully you won't ever wonder that you might be wrong about it. If you do, for your own sake, don't give into it. You'll feel much beter without it. Enjoy your life of freedom from the bonds of religion.

dmaas said...

Warin,
Congrats at seeing the truth about Christianity at a young age and taking action. I saw the truth at a young age, but sat around hoping the truth would change back to what I wanted it be so I would not have to tell friends and family that Christianity is crap.

I really don't think chan can answer your questions in a meaningful way... Most of the questions that Christians cannot answer are answered something like this... "When you get to heaven, God will give you all the answers." Or... "We cannot understand the mind of God, so just accept {{whatever it maybe}}." And many other worthless answers.

Good Luck,
Dave

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