Sent in by Brian B
When I was 4 years old, my dad came into my room just before bedtime, and made me kneel with him and close my eyes. Then he guided me through the basic conversion prayer, despite my having no idea what the hell I was even saying. I mimiced his words-meaingless to me, of course- and he said I had just accepted Jesus into my heart. Thus began my Christian life.
Even at a young age, I could sense the tension between what a Christian should believe and what everyone else believed. Being very much interested in dinosaurs, I began reading books about them at age 6, and page after page claimed these beasts had died 65 million years ago. Meanwhile, at church I was told about a perfect garden where everone lived together only 6000 years ago. Obviously both stories could not be true, but my six-year old brain couldn't comprehend a non-christian mindset at that point. So I did what many intelligent, thinking Christians do. I divided my brain in half, with my faith brain on one side and my thinking brain on the other. The 2 had a mutual agreement never to touch each other.
This worked out pretty well for a while. But entering my teen years, I noticed something didn't feel right. The church I went to was very much in the modern, quasi-pentacostal tradition, with a loud, rock n roll band (which I was frequently a part of), and from there I got to see how people behaved during the songs. They raised their hands, they shouted, they fell to their knees, and they wept. Basically they lost control of thier minds. I always thought they looked so damned ridiculous, but I kept my mouth shut.
I never personally wanted to act like that, and I began to feel like if I didn't act like that, then I wasn't a real Christian. When we went to conferences and retreats, leaders would always tell us about "interactive prayer" and how if we meditated right, God would literaly "speak" to us, putting His words in our brains and giving us images from Him. I watched as thousands of people had "visions" from God.
When I was about 18 years old, 2 things happened: First, I got baptized, and second, I began to research evolution for myself. The more I studied the subject as written by mainstream scientists, I began to realize what a childish myth the creation story really is. After I admitted the fallibility of the first book of the bible, I saw no reason to respect or revere what was written on any of the other pages. From there I began to see that the "morals" in the bible were really very cruel and anti-human. I also realized, that although most of the Christians I knew were extremely nice, they didn't really follow a lot of the rules in the bible either, particularily the ones concerning women.
Of course nice people can't follow the bible. If they did, they wouldn't be nice. And since I wanted to be a truly good person, I decided to chuck the bible altogether and pick up the much more dignifying and life-affirming morals of secular humanism. And since I've always been skeptical of supernatural claims, and since I never really "felt" the presence of any god, It wasn't too hard to chuck the idea of Jesus as God himself. The final decision was made about a month ago. Now I'm stuck at this private Christian school full of people with infuruatingly narrow minds. Only 3 more months...
Now I can finally see my faith for what it was... pure and simple brainwashing and indoctrination. I feel incredibly stupid for having believed this stuff for so long. But for the first time, I feel free. And that feeling makes this all worth it.
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)