Are you an atheist now?

Sent in by Christine

I grew up in a Christian family but we never belonged to any particular church . In my early youth I remember going to different protestant churches until my dad, a retired teacher and somewhat reclusive, decided to "church" us at home. Every Sunday we had church service and bible study around the dinning room table. It was very sweet actually, it bonded us as a family. I thought Christianity was all about the love of Jesus. By my latter teens the home church ended due to my dad's health, so I began my own personal journey into Christianity. Where did I belong? I began to read up on all the different denominations, visited many churches leaving disappointed, sometimes in tears, other times offended or completely freaked out (ex. speaking in tongues!) I never felt like I belonged anywhere, so I read the bible myself, listened to Christian music (how I met my husband, long story) and Christian radio, on which I found a ministry that I agreed with. It was called People to people, it was (maybe still is) a grace based ministry. I felt like I found "it", they focused on all the good stuff, love, kindness, etc. I read all their books, listened to the radio program, and eventually found a bible study group through them. This went on for a few years until there was a sex scandal at the ministry (surprise surprise) and Christian radio stations pulled them off the air. I realized these people were not perfect, they were human, and since no human was perfect I should not be afraid to question anyone(except Jesus) . Eventually the bible study fell apart, so once again I was on my own as a Christian doing my own thing. I became more skeptical, my mantra became find at least one thing to disagree with from any human being. Question everything.

I thought this mindset would keep me safe from getting too caught up in anyone or any group. So for years I was content being a Christian on the outside of Christianity, I loved Jesus(my idea of him), but most of the Christian subculture annoyed me.

My thirties have been a tumultuous time, both of my parents died, I gave birth to two boys, life was getting harder, so we found a church. It was a new church, upon the first visit I thought we found "it" again, they claimed it was all about" the love", we found a home. Looking back, it was like falling in love before you really got to know the person. I remember being so excited at first, after all these years I found a church I liked. After the honeymoon wore off we started to see many of these people in a different light. Many of these people listened to talk radio(or as I like to call it HATE radio).We heard them on many occasions saying derogatory things, hateful unkind things. Most loved Bush, and supported the war, we did not. The divide grew deeper, we stopped going. Once again, were there any Christians like us?

Thank goodness for the Internet. I started to investigate and found progressive Christians out there, of course most churches of that kind were found in big liberal cities. One of the most progressive Christians I found was Bishop Spong. After reading his book Sins of the Scripture it changed my view even more. Also thank goodness for the Daily Show, they had many authors of books that caused my conversion Sam Harris(End of Faith) , Bart D Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus). My husband admitted to me first that he didn't believe anymore. I knew he visited the ex Christian website, so I was curious, it's is where I found out about Dan Barker. His book Loosing Faith in Faith helped me take that last step of letting go.

One day at work I was in the break room with a couple of coworkers, both born-again and very voca. As usual with them the subject of conversation went to God and church. I told them I didn't go to church anymore, I was "done". One of them said to me " So what are you an atheist now?" To my own surprise "yes" fell out of my mouth. AWKWARD! That was the first time I said it, so it was very weird for me. It's still a little weird to me, being a Christian used to be the foundation of my identity. But I'm on a new journey now, I'm still a kind and loving person without Jesus, (I just drink and swear more:). Life has become even more fascinating to me now. There is still so much for me to learn.

7 comments:

MichelleDesslerFan said...

After watching Sam Harris on Youtube videos...I started to do research on alot of different things about religion and Christianity in general.

The one thing I found disturbing and disappointing were the websites from Christian apologists unwilling to even listen to discordant thought on the possibilities much of Christian thinking was purloined from various religious faiths to accomodate the poor and pagan believers who didn't know any better.

The more I learn the more I'm beginning to realize I should let go of alot of baggage (I still believe...but I'm starting to see the problems inherent in Christian belief) like stuff involving Hell and eternal punishment. I mean, a click of the mouse tells me the belief in eternal hellfire started in Persian religious thought...mainly from Zoroastrian religious sects. Christianity will have none of that historical investigation impugning its "truth" . Therefore anything that seems suspiciously similar to Christian belief systems or coincides with their ideas of "punishment" from other cults or sects...is immediately called "the work of the Devil."

Oh yeah...I'm starting to wake up. I don't like what I'm seeing but at least I'm starting to realize I don't have much to be afraid of anymore.

Fretbuzz said...

Wow Christine - your story sounds eerily similar to mine .. esp. my journey through the 30s.

You know, I'm beginning to believe that our generation might be "the one" to finally scourge the cobwebs of that old time religion from our family line. It's been a difficult journey for me - I still have a devout wife and fervent relatives - but I think that the break I've made is really going to help my daughters through their journeys. I also find that I'm not akin to everyone else who's left xtianity - some are angry, some disillusioned and perhaps even confused. I simply remember looking back on my Pentecostal days as though I had actually participated in a cult: that scared me enough to ask whether or not the whole business was suspect.

Well, I'm still on the outside and happy as poop. Sure, I drink and swear more too but perhaps a good friend THAT I CAN ACTUALLY SEE AND TOUCH can help me with my rough edges.

I hope dearly that you and your hubby find others who have disengaged so that you have a healthy path to recovery!

Steven Bently said...

Christine, Thank you for that warm and honest testimony. I think the term Atheist, should mean "A return to one's original self." Before the brainwashing, before the needless guilt and emotional fear that was instilled in us by mostly our parents by passed-down indoctrination.

As I'm sure most of us have always been loving kind and understanding to begin with, long before we ever heard of Jesus, I wasn't born with hatred as I'm sure most people were not either, we didn't need Jesus to tell us how to be kind and loving, yet the religious idiots said we did.

One must admit, that most parents are less educated and less aware of scientific discoveries than our generation, this also indicates that their parents were less aware and less educated than them, and the further back in time you go the less educated and less aware of scientific discoveries and practical knowledge, as one goes back in time through history, we soon discover there was very little knowledge to be obtained, scientific knowledge was strictly forbidden and of the devil.

What is really so scary is that people in 2007 still want to believe that the Bible holds all the truth and knowledge available and prophesies just waiting to happen.

Even more scarier is, we have a president that thinks he's unfolding present Biblical prophesy, because he has been counseled by Ted Haggart and James Hagee and other religious idiots and there's very few people standing up and refuting these nut jobs, except for Alan Colmes, he tells it like it is and he's constantly repremanded by the religous nuts.

http://www.alan.com/index2.html

10pm-1am week nights Fox radio

xrayman said...

Hey Christine,
Great deconversion story. Although I was never too deeply indoctrinated into any religion, I tried really hard to embrace some sort of God belief, but my skeptisim always got in the way of me becoming too deepy involved. Acutally I often felt there was something wrong with me because I didn't fit in with the people at the church my family and I once belonged. Isn't it so ironic that some of the most devoutly religious people can often be the most judgemental, intorrelant assholes? You just wonder where the hell is the compassion?

You sound like a person of genuine compassion, like I consider myself to be. Once you immurse yourself in the material on this site, you will reach a point where there will be no turning back to God belief. A door will permanantly slam shut behind you, as it did with myself.

Fine well meaning religous folks will tell you not to base your religious beliefs on people or bad experiences from a specific church, but to base them on teachings of Jesus and the Bible bla bla bla bla bla. They just don't get the point that an enlightened atheist can't ever go back. Well obviously I guess we would all go back if we got a wee bit of evidence.

RubySera said...

Well, there's things between being a full-blown Christian and an atheist. I've heard it from Christians and atheists alike that god's existence cannot be proven or disproven. Then there is the position of agnosticism--a position that is not committed to either atheism or Christianity. Then there is also deism--the belief in god but not in Christ. I have not done enough reading on any of these positions to describe them very well. All I'm saying is that you have more options to choose from or fit into than just Christian OR atheist.

Telmi said...

Christine,

One cannot separate belief in Jesus from belief in the God portrayed in the Old Testament. Could people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris be wrong for calling the Bible God a genocidal maniac, a sadomasochist, a capricious, malevolent etc etc? Just read the OT and you will agree with them. I have read the Bible and now consider myself a non-Christian; why? Because the Bible God has been portrayed as a megalomaniac, and more.

Anyone believing in the Trinity has to accept that Jesus participated, no less, in all the evil things that God allegedly did as narrated in the OT.

It seems some Christians were not aware of the portrayal of God in the OT; either they have never read the Bible or were not paying attention to the written text.

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised she didn't lose her job, in some parts of the country (the Bible Belt) you risk alot more than just such reactions.

Archived Testimonial Pageviews the past 30 days