sent in by twincats
I was born into a Lutheran family, an only child. I grew up in a Southern California congregation with Midwestern values. My first memory of church is probably around age four, sitting in the pew in awe and wonder because God was up there, speaking to us. I believed that the pastor was actually God who’d come down from heaven. My mother didn’t work and since I was the only child, she had plenty of time to coach me about sitting quietly in church and listening to the word of God and who else but God is going to give His word? Time went on, I started going to Sunday school and learned about God and Jesus and the pastor, who really did the preaching. It was a letdown, sure, but everyone else seemed okay with it, so I went with the flow.
My first problem with the faith was around age 6 when they wanted us to bring our friends to Sunday school and church with us. We lived in a neighborhood where we, the Lutherans, were the only Protestants on the block. All of my little friends were Jewish or Catholic and they seemed happy with what they had and I saw no reason why I should try to change their minds! But they offered us a gold fishhook pin if we did and I really wanted one of those, but I still couldn’t bring myself to drag my friends to my church. I really didn’t believe in my heart that mine was better than theirs! I never lost that feeling and always inwardly rolled my eyes every year on Evangelism Sunday.
My next crisis started just before confirmation. I was filled with anxiety that I would not be worthy to take my first communion at age 14. I prayed for guidance and got none, so I talked to the pastor who managed to assuage my fears in time for confirmation.
The next four years were happy ones; I loved singing praises to God in the church choir, I was active in Youth Group and even taught Vacation Bible School. I felt safe and secure in the love of God and my congregation.
Like many, I fell away as a young adult; 10 years in the military, then another four away from home for college. I went to church only sporadically, but never lost my faith. In college, I took Western Civilization and learned about how religion (as in, Catholicism) was used to control the masses and how Luther’s Reformation only succeeded because he had the backing of the German nobility (who were tired of tithing to Rome and seeing no local benefit) and was far enough away from Rome to pull it off. This was the beginning of my long split from faith; Reformation Day (a biggie for Lutherans!) was never the same for me after that.
The biggest blow, however, came when I finally returned home to my childhood congregation. A new pastor had just been installed and he wanted to ‘shake things up’ as it were. He clashed with my beloved music director and she quit. Officially, she retired, but word in the pews was she got tired of his micro-managing the music after having had nearly complete autonomy for over 20 years. It was the first time I had witnessed such politicking in church and I was shocked and devastated! The next music director they hired was a joke, so I made sure that I wasn’t available for choir anymore.
Not long after that, I started seeing a man who was a Pagan. After he proposed, I began learning about Pagan religions and found that (lo and behold!) they have nothing at all to do with devil worship as I had been taught in the church. They had either lied to me outright or not bothered themselves with finding and telling the truth (and they’re supposedly all about the truth, right?) Either way, I had been grievously misled by my faith! That was the last straw! Like Saul, the scales had fallen from my eyes, only in reverse, and I saw Christianity for what it is; a lying, scheming, political and entirely human enterprise much like any other on this earth.
I am happy and at peace now. I have a lovely home and a loving husband. When we lost my husband’s oldest brother last week, the family comforted each other and I did not feel the absence of Jesus’ comfort one bit. I’ve found that all we have in this life is each other, but if you play your cards right, that’s more than enough!
How old were you when you became a christian? from birth
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 37
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Lutheran
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Pagan
Why did you become a christian? my parents were (no choice)
Why did you de-convert? Christianity stopped making sense
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)