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.

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

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