Reality Sets In

Sent in by Danielle, a.k.a Sithprincess

Well, here I am. Still struggling with some things in my mind, but all in all, I'd say that this hasn't been as hard for me as for some, judging by what I've read in some of the testimonies here.

I was adopted into a Baptist family, whom I love, and am thankful for. When I was little, we didn't go to church on a regular basis, though I do remember being in Sunday school from time to time. I was still raised with Christian values, though, and when I was around 13, my mom and I began attending a Baptist church. We got involved with it, Sunday school, prayer meeting, youth group - the works. I was at youth group every Friday, and eventually my mom became the co-leader of the group. I sat in Sunday school and listened to things that I now realize aren't really even Biblical, like the degrees of Hell and "If you put someone else before God, He WILL take them out." Oh, and of course, most rock songs had subliminal messages in them - that seems to be such a fundamentalist stand-by, doesn't it? I tried to be a good Christian - went to Christian school, tried not to be too "worldly", felt horribly guilty for not being comfortable doing door-to-door evangelism... I couldn't understand why people always said that if there was something we couldn't do, God would do it through us, yet I just could never feel comfortable with the door-to-door bit. I had questions about some of the things God did in my mind, like Him asking Jacob to sacrifice Isaac; it just seemed mean to me. But I assumed He had a reason, so I let it go.

I never was really fond of reading the Bible. It frustrated me that I could never remember where verses were. And I just didn't find it interesting to sit down and read. If I was looking for something specific, then that was okay, but anything else, well... I did devotions out of Psalms and Proverbs, and never ventured too far into the rest of the Bible for my devotions. But I always tried to be what I felt I should be, asking immediate forgiveness whenever I did something wrong.

Time marched on, and I was as devout as anyone could be, truly believing that what I believed was right and the other religions were all false. I married a man I didn't love, someone who was a friend because we had dated on and off for many years, for several (wrong) reasons, one of them being this one (and I'm sure you've all heard it from the wonderful Christian relationship authors before): "The Bible never mentions falling in love, it's all about commitment, you should seek someone you have things in common with and is a nice person, a Christian of course, and you shouldn't be sucked into the "world's" idea of love; pray to God and He will give you love for your spouse." Needless to say, this never happened - oh, I prayed and prayed, but my husband was still just my friend, and God never changed anything. We talked about divorce, and of course we wanted to see what the Bible had to say about it. I had researched this a few years ago, when I was engaged to a divorced man, but I had forgotten much of what I had learned. So I set out to find out about it, and discovered that "putting away" a spouse was different than the actual divorce; the Greek words were two different words with different meanings. I thought men had screwed this up (actually, I thought the very early RCC had screwed it up on purpose, and I still think maybe they did), and it actually prompted me to read the Bible more, and learn about it. The Bible became very interesting to me at that point.

I began looking up different things in the original texts to see how they should actually be translated, and I found more and more that was improperly translated. At this point I started wondering how any of us could be accountable for adhering to the Bible when men had messed it up so much. Sometime during all this research, I stumbled onto a Christian Universalist website and found that "hell" is a GROSS mistranslation of the original words used in the passages dealing with the subject. This was a wonderful revelation to me, that all of God's creation would be, eventually, reconciled to Him. It gave me hope! Around this time, I was also becoming familiar with the Emergent movement and I really liked it. I thought, "Finally! Christians who behave like humans!" Then one night, while researching something else, I found a site that was rebutting Universalism, and for some reason, that really struck a chord in me. The concept of Hell has always really bothered me, and Universalism made it all make sense - there would be punishment for the wicked, then reconciliation, with none of this torment "forever and ever". And I thought "How can we, as humans with finite minds, be expected to grasp something infinite, like Hell? How can we truly take it seriously when we have no true concept of it?"

It bothered me that so many sects had so many interpretations of Scripture, all with support, it seemed, but I figured it was just man's interpretation.

I was also questioning once again the nature of God: the subject of gays and Christianity had come up a lot on the Christian forums, and I had come to the conclusion that maybe it wasn't the problem people had made it out to be. Then one night I looked in the OT and saw that God HIMSELF ordered homosexuals to be killed! I was heartbroken that He could order such a thing! What of the love the NT speaks of? For years, I had thought that the stonings in the OT were MAN'S laws, and that God didn't command these things. It was the antithesis of the way Jesus dealt with things, after all. But there it was when I looked for it, in plain black and white. I just couldn't see loving this god.

It was at this point that I took a deep breath and dove in to see if Christianity was the one true way, so I googled the phrase "proving the Koran is true" to see what they had to say. I had an open mind now, and I really wanted to learn. Much to my dismay, I saw that there were many valid reasons, most of them scientific, to believe the Koran was true! I had never even entertained the idea that any other holy book even would APPEAR credible! This shook me, and I broke down, and cried and cried and begged and begged God to please, please show me He was real and I was on the right path. I got nothing. Zip. Nada. Within the next few nights, I conducted similar searches, seeking information on how to prove other holy texts were "true" and what they said about their gods, and found interesting things like Krishna feeding a multitude with one grain of rice! Sound familiar? I don't know if Christianity and Hinduism could have stolen stories like this from each other, but it was enough to make me realize that all faiths have their miracles. Then I googled "disproving the bible" and related things, and it pretty much went downhill from there.

It has been hard at times, but overall I think I've adjusted okay. I don't know if there is a God or not, but if there is, I have a hard time believing he/she/it would reveal itself to us via the written word. My most recent agonising thoughts have been about the possible lack of an afterlife. To think we just end, close our eyes and that's IT, is a very sad thought to me.

I still go to church - I can't tell my mom any of this, it would break her heart, so I'll just keep my mouth shut and go along for the ride.

I am glad I found the other testimonies here. They have really helped me; so many others have gone through the exact same ups and downs and had the same questions! It's good to know I'm not alone in all this.


MD
USA
Joined: 10ish
Left: 29
Was: Baptist
Converted because: Felt the need to get saved
De-converted because: Learned too much
email: beetlegirl126 at yahoo dot com

3 comments:

Nvrgoingbk said...

Hi Danielle and Bienvenidos! I can relate to the disappointment of realizing that this life may be all there is. That is something I think about often, but even as a Christian I never had peace regarding where I'd spend eternity. I was always guilty or "convicted" over something. The Bible was so damned UNCLEAR as to what it took to be saved and whether or not one could lose their salvation or not. I would also worry about the "unforgiveable sin" of "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" and wonder if I had ever committed it. It's all so fucked up, Danielle! At least now, we can wonder what, if anything else is out there instead of worrying about burning in Hell forever. I'd rather not know than live in fear for the rest of this short life that I'm going to Hell simply for the sin of unbelief. I would like to suggest a wonderful website called: www.ebonmusings.org It is a fine site chock full of wonderful atheist essays that give dignity to a life without a "higher power". Another site is Losingmyreligion.com

I hope you find peace this side of religion. Stick around the site and don't hesitate to contribute any wisdom and experience you have to those who enter this haven of reason and truth after leaving a den of confusion and lies.

Ian said...

Hello Danielle, and thank you for posting your testimony, and your findings.

I was a christian for four years, left, and took almost two and a half years to recover (still working at it). If I was a christian, I would most likely be a universalist. Why? Because as you pointed out, punishment, then reconciliation is true justice, not endless torture. The highest virtue that justice can be is the idea that it heals and reunites, rather then punishes and divides. If there is a loving God (and I believe there is), then sie's sense of justice is far better then our human sense of justice. If I think that eventually reconciling all people is fair justice, even if, regrettably, it includes punishment, then one wonders what a loving and merciful God would do.

You said that you found a rebuttal for universalism. That doesn't suprise me, since you can make a case for universalism and against universalism using the bible, as well as making a case for and against the idea that only those who accept Jesus will be saved...using only the bible. In a matter of that, I would go with what seems logical and fair, and what would work best for the good of all.

I still believe in a God...just not bible-god. If it helps, you might want to try looking at near death experiences (www.near-death.com is a good place to start). I have found them infinitly more useful then any religious book ever has been. The God found in NDE's promotes love and kindess towards others and self, rather then worship and "Accept Jesus!" If there is a perfect, loving God, then I think sie would want us to improve ourselves, our charachter, and work to peacefully co-exist with others, regardless of faith or personal belief.

Piprus said...

Ah, Sithprincess (Danielle)!
I have responded to your posts in the forums, and now you have revealed your background on the main blog, so simiilar to my own.

I observe that you're still exploring and considering all the possibilities within the reality your're observing, and it's good to do so.

No matter how you slice it, life is a journey...and when you've been exposed to christianity in childhood, that becomes another matter to be considered and evaluated. Keep up the good work, Sith, you're doing quite well...this, from on who has been a long-time ex-christian.

Do keep following the forums, raise your questions and respond to the posts...it's all in the interest of learning and growth.

Greetings from a fellow ex-baptist from Maryland...

Piprus

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