Sent in by Ellis
I grew up in a Christian home and at a young age always believed in God and Jesus. I always loved the Bible stories that they told at Sunday school and loved to pray. I was always on and off from church-going and its activities, but gradually faded away from it once I was close to graduating from Elementary school. Prior to graduation, I went on some church retreats and attended Bible studies from time to time, but none of it really meant anything to me. No one even bothered to explain why we believed what we did.
Anyway, when I entered high school, I completely quit going to church and claimed to be an atheist telling these Christians that they were brainwashed. It wasn't until 2004 that I was "convicted of my sins" through the ten commandments. I returned to my old church and for the rest of that year, I went on to preach, witness and spread the "good news" through many different outlets such as audio recordings and classes. Unfortunately, none of the people seemed to really care about my "conviction" and I was still treated with subliminal contempt like I had always been. They failed to notice me as one of their brethren, yet I worked through the discouragement all alone. By the end of the year, I decided to leave the church. I wasn't growing spiritually as a Christian. Someone told me that church wasn't for social interaction, but they strongly misunderstood my intentions. I wasn't going there for social interaction, I was going there to "grow" like the rest of them. I wondered if they even knew what fellowship was and not just going there to sit around for an hour listening to a sermon and then splitting up.
Once I left the church, I felt so discouraged that I didn't want to return again. I never did. In 2005, I tried my best to follow God and obey him like what a Christian would do. However, it started interfering with the way I did daily activities and routines. It was always about that conscience thing and whether I should stay clear from something if it even had the bit of evil in it. I was also accused of being a legalist from hypocritical Christians that continuously claimed to "repent from sins." I was only trying to do what was right. It didn't make any sense to me. Also, the fact that so many people stressed the importance of church made me feel like they didn't appreciate my own experiences or feelings and just cared about church over God. The fact that all of these hotshot Christian preachers and writers were selling their books felt like they were only in it for the money. The fact that all of these people were so forceful was also a major turn-off. I began to realize that the only truth was reality.
It was also in the middle of 2005 that I split away from one of my best friends and I regret that. The reason for this was that the Bible said to not yoke with unbelievers. My life as it is was difficult enough. I didn't need all of this constant fear and alertness for "deceptive" religions and foolishness. I didn't want to listen to those on-going debates about which religion was correct and which religion was wrong. It was a total brainwash. Nevertheless, I still tried to cling to the faith and seek the supposed truth, but it was almost as if Christians didn't exist. Then, there were the internet Christians who were by far the worst people that I have ever met. They were constantly forceful and nosey. It was like they wanted to know everything about me. They were all hypocrites too. It was around 2006 that I started to believe that these people were all wrong. I hated the religious superiority that they held against other people as if they had all authority. I hated the way they treated people like they were lower than them. I also hated the way the Christians were so snobby and egotistical, thinking they knew all the answers to life.
In the middle of 2006, I left the faith. Now, according to Christians, they would argue that "true" Christians are always Christians or some nonsense like that. It's just a heavy addiction to mythical teachings, that's all. The further you get into it, the further you're "enlightened" or fascinated, just like with anything else. I personally think it's the epitome of complicating a person psychologically with its forceful antics and contradicting lies. It was unhealthy. I couldn't understand how a person could follow some story so profoundly when there was very little evidence to the "deity's" existence. Also, the fact that Christians are called to be "witnesses" didn't make sense. To be a witness, you'd have to personally witness something (in this case, JESUS). The whole religion felt like a feel-good self-help therapy cult. Ever since leaving the faith, I felt free from restrictions and slavery. I felt free to once again do what I did best and focus mentally on the things that did matter in my life. I also felt like a normal human being and not the constant Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with this whole divine intervention thing. Praise God? How about praise luck.
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)