Sent in by Kristina
I had the kind of faith that was coined as "childlike." My mom (a Christian) would remark on it often, saying she wished she had my kind of faith. That is funny, considering where I am now. I started going to church at the age of 10. I actually enjoyed it, and I used to beg my parents to go. Why? I don't know. I didn't even really have a relationship with God.
Then all of a sudden things got very serious.
I made a vow to read the entire Bible (almost succeeded too). I was only 11 then. From what I'd read about God, I had gathered he was a pretty angry guy, so I would pray EVERY single night without fail. I was afraid that if I didn't pray, God would get very angry at me and cause bad things to happen.
My prayers were "answered" on a few occasions. So, I thought, "Hey, this works," and continued to pray.
I don't remember ever questioning my faith. I didn't have the questions that kids usually have, like where did the dinosaurs go? or anything like that. I just accepted it as it was given to me. My life was pretty chaotic back then too. I lived with a dying grandmother, three alcoholics, and a bipolar mother who was unpredictable and often angry. I made up for my family's dysfunctions by being a very "good" girl. I vowed never to get angry at anyone. I made mom's lunch, cleaned her room, was nice to everyone. I was rarely noticed as a child. Some people would call it neglect, but it was only emotional. I was taken care of in every other way. I later learned I'd been molested as a toddler. My life was actually pretty screwed up. Having God helped me at times, even if He was "angry."
Mom decided it was time to pick up everything and leave. No shock, we'd moved a few times before, and I actually enjoyed it at times. There was a sense of adventure.
Things changed when we moved to Minnesota. The family moved on and got better, somehow, but I got worse. Mom had finally gotten meds, but my illness was just beginning. I lost faith very quickly in high school; all it took was a few friends with open minds. But I had gotten crazier and crazier as the days went on. I was diagnosed: depressed, histrionic, agoraphobia, social anxiety, general anxiety, bipolar, and schizoaffective, then bipolar again, all within the course of five years.
I had even attempted suicide a few times.
After high school I became hard to live with. My mom sent me to live with my grandmother. And it was there that I started hallucinating.
I had tactile hallucinations, not only that I was delusional, I felt things that weren’t there. I thought they were ghosts, then demons. These hallucinations would rape me at night — sometimes they would hurt me. I did a ritual about fifty times (I counted on a piece of paper) to try and get rid of them.
Then, finally, I turned to God.
Still didn't get rid of them.
My mom came and took me to a psychiatrist, and they gave me anti-psychotics, but that didn't work.
NOTHING gets rid of these hallucinations.
They sent me away to a three-month residential treatment center. I got a little better; they went a way for awhile. When I came home, that's when I started to get more involved with God. I went to church as an experiment.
I listened to Christian music even though I hated it. At first I felt nothing at all, but gradually I got more into it, and then I became a dedicated Christian.
At first, things got better for me. Faith seemed to be working out. I started coming out of the house, I wasn’t as moody, my hallucinations had died down for a while. My mom attributes all of this to God and not the fact that I worked with therapists for five years and took my meds, and went all the way to New York just to get cured. She says I'm the reason she knows that God exists, because nothing short of God could have cured me.
Hallucinations came back.
I sobbed endlessly... wouldn’t come out of my room... prayed. I was miserable.
People told me that the reason the hallucinations didn't go away was because I didn't have enough faith. That's like telling a cancer patient their cancer will go away if only they believe.
It's funny, because I told myself the very same thing. And not only that I didn’t have enough faith, but I also that didn't deserve to have them taken away.
The fact is, I prayed and nothing happened. This whole time I convinced myself that I loved God, and I would do anything for Him, etc., but every time I prayed, I cried.
I seemed to mourn my faith.
I hated it.
I studied all the apologist books, because I wanted to be able to defend my faith. But NO matter how much I learned, nothing seemed adequate. There was always something to knock down my faith somehow. I wanted to die. Every night I prayed for a car wreck, just to get me out of my miserable life. The Gospel should have set me free, but it did the exact opposite, I was imprisoned. I felt like I was in some sort of co dependent relationship where God smacks us all around, and I'm supposed to make excuses for Him.
I finally began to question my "child-like" faith. I researched the arguments against God. (I'd already read all the ones for God).
I gave up on God.
I have never had so much clarity, happiness, and independence — ever.
I went out shopping, something I never do. I drove, and was lost, and I didn't care,
I opened a new bank account. I talked to strangers. I WAS FREE.
These are things I’ve never done even under God's own dominion.
I didn't really make my separation from God complete until today.
This is the event that triggered it:
I told Mom that I didn't believe anymore. She said that Satan had gotten to me.
She also told me a story about something that had happened to her.
She said that she was sitting in her room depressed, and how usually when she's depressed she tells herself how dumb and worthless she is, and so on. And then she said she heard a voice that wasn’t hers and it said "stupid bitch," and she rebuked it and then prayed. And then she said she felt so much lighter. She says this voice is Satan.
I get very quiet and she asks me what's wrong.
I reply "Well, whenever I say I hear voices that aren't mine — in MY head — or that I feel things that aren’t there, people call me crazy. But somehow when it happens to YOU, it's Satan. Sorry, I just don’t quite get that."
Then she tells me that she prays for me all of the time. (She knows I've somewhat strayed, but she doesn’t know to what extent).
All of a sudden I had this irrational fear that the Christian God was real. And He was going to hear her prayers (and the Bible study, and her evangelism class, because they are all praying for me too) and then make me miserable again so I would come crawling back to Him.
Oh yes, He does that all the time. Just read Hosea.
And I told her to do me a favor and not pray for me. Then I said my own little prayer to this non-existent God... for closure.
"God I hate you, you bastard" Don't you dare take away my happiness — you don't have the right. You're just an asshole that can’t stand the sight of his creation. I don't want you."
I'm not going to look back.
Was: Lutheran, non-denominational and Baptist
Now: Agnostic pagan
Converted: because SOMEONE said it was a good idea
De-converted: because I realized that it was really a horrible idea
sendkristinagifts AT gmail dot com
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)