Sent in by angrykobolt
I was born a few years after my mom became a Christian. You’d notice this by our names all my older siblings except my brother were non-christian names, my name and my brother’s are bible inspired. The environment I grew up in was mystical to say the least. My mom was a founding member of one of the biggest evangelical churches here in the Philippines. She was a bible teacher too. As far as I can remember I was being taught about the scripture and (because she’s a loving mom) I associated it with home and identity. To add to that my older siblings used to tell me stories of how different she was before being ‘born again’ and that deepened my gratitude. During this time I had cancer. I was only 2 ½ years old. Mom told me the entire congregation prayed over me once the news was out. We stood on the pulpit while pastors laid hands on me and the rest of the people stretched out their hands. It was beautiful growing up in an environment saturated with love. My nickname was ‘miracle boy’ amongst the medical staff that treated me as well as in the church; I was cured after 5yrs. This was right after my father was just recuperating from lung cancer. So we really depended on the kindness of people to get by. My mom would walk outside at night, she’d pray so hard and cry out because there were times that we had nothing to eat the next day and like a miracle someone would come, a friend, a relative, to give us enough and naturally she attributed it to God. Before a Christian points out ‘theirs your miracle, that’s proof he EXISTS’ I sure would argue otherwise. I can tell you the probability of someone who lives his/her life like my mom would naturally get help. If she wasn’t respected and didn’t inspire such a large number of people, that wouldn’t have happened. And that it happened here in an Asian country where people are collectivists gives weight to this claim. And one sickening thing about this is that decades later some of those anonymous contributors broke their anonymity to demand a return of favor (what shameful bastards!).
I received the bulk of my education from Christian schools or academies. I only spent one year in a catholic school. I’ll only talk about Catholics here as I heard Catholics in other countries are different. Catholics here are the worst. My one year spent in a school with that orientation was hell. It was pretty violent for me as a child, take note; I was the type who would quickly fall down to his knees and pray for accidentally saying ‘shit’. And for any decent standard to base on, that catholic school was really falling short where teachers would drink in class and such and then appear so holy in front of the priest on Sunday. Kids cussed at teachers and teachers returned in kind. Very far from the Baptist school I came from. High school was spent in an academy and when I hit teens, naturally I became very rebellious (?). Pastors taught there, and I never met better friends than them. They were a decent bunch of young men that were really altruistic. I gained a lot, especially knowledge of the bible and even won preaching contests against higher batches. They didn’t have vices, didn’t curse, were very patient with us teens back then and didn’t ask for money. But I understand that I should not limit myself to the confines of my experiences and blind myself to the fact that Christianity doesn’t hold a monopoly over altruism, in fact, Buddhism has a greater claim over it. (To be honest, I was closer to living a Christian life more than anytime in my journey when I was adapting Buddhist philosophies.)
It was around this time when I actually accepted Jesus. Locked in my room, alone, I knelt and prayed the sinner’s prayer with all my heart and for a time it worked. Since I tried to conform to the standards laid out in the Christian doctrine and failed miserably (that was in the late ‘90’s nearing 2000 the theme of the sermons then was ‘What if Jesus comes back on Jan 1 2000?’) that I realized I couldn’t do it so I put my faith in Jesus. What can I say of this ‘born again’ experience? I was high ‘til the morning of the next day. I mean it was intense! Nothing I’ve ever experienced before. But I also have an explanation for that. And its not because of God. Imagine a guy that got struck by lightning and survives. Naturally, he’d be all high and joyful that he still is alive; he’s miles and miles happier than your normal guy who didn’t get struck. And the irony is that 90% of his skin has just been barbecued and he’s just a sack of pure joy. I forget the term in psychology for this but going back, my fear was genuine though the object (God’s wrath) was baseless and unfounded and my relief was also genuine despite the object (Jesus’ promise of eternal life) being a myth. To me it was all true, the culmination of years of indoctrination but when I looked outside the bible it all fell apart. Faith gave me the confidence to question about god and the more I asked the more it crumbled. I was asking in faith.
I had been a Christian for almost a decade until I became an atheist. For the most part, I was in different churches and only seldom did I attend the church of my early years. I did an informal qualitative field research of Christianity across churches of different divisions and different social classes. No matter how much they claim they are united, division means division, and no matter what the bible claims for itself infallibility, its contradictions are manifested in the commentaries and exegesis across sects and the biggest division being in between Faith alone (sola fide) vs. Faith and Works all thanks to its severe ambiguity. I was distraught at what I found where I came to the point that only thing holding my faith together was the memory of my first church. If I failed to mention early, the reason why I did this was out faith that I would see solidarity among those who claim inspired by the same god. IF THE SAME SPIRIT IS ACTIVE IN EVERY CHURCH THEN WHY ARE THERE DIVISIONS?? And when one looks at the reasons for these divisions that person will be convinced why it is A DEFINITE NEED to be called under a different name (ex. Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Full Gospel etc) because their doctrines are simply irreconcilable. I acquired a position in almost all the churches I’d attended, either as a music leader, cell leader, and even a youth leader. But once I noticed that I was getting in too deep, which would mess up the objectivity of my search, I’d leave. I did this for 5 years then I came back. Every time I saw something wrong with a church I’d always say ‘back in my church, you wouldn’t find that’. I was wrong.
When I got back I wished immediately that I had never returned. I found Jesus was no longer preached. They call it here the New Paradigm (I can explain it further if you like so I wont add it here, but basically it’s the last step before atheism). And that it was no different from the other churches if not worse. During my time away I only met, moderate Protestants, pagan Catholics, and a small number of atheists who weren’t really smart and who sounded like they just want an excuse to sin and not because they wanted to know the truth. So when I returned I was expecting something different but for the first three months of trying to find my place again I found instead? Sex. I already met two women ready to swing with me without even knowing me. And these women are senior youths, teenagers look up to them. To think I sparsely attended the Sunday service and never went to the extra services. I knew few people, and most of them were old buddies of mine. Imagine if I held any office. Christ! I was just getting started. I stopped attending because I didn’t want to see them. Instead I locked myself in my room and I studied. That was the biggest blow to my faith. I looked for god where he said he would be and he wasn’t there. When I started my inquiry it geared to explaining why god was no where to be found thus my opening statement. My experiences made my heart pliable. I read this book, it said that looking into the mind gives us an idea of how creation works and what absolute control feels like. Its talking about being able to imagine anything even the entire universe. So god’s power must function in a similar way. I can imagine a guy and name him John. And I imagine every detail about John, even imagine that he has free-will but at the same time I am in total control. So everything; this entire universe must be god’s imagination that’s why he’ no where to be found yet is very much active. But the Judeo-Christian god doesn’t fit this description. In fact, basing it on the bible, this abrahamic god does not in anyway display qualities of omnipotence, omnipresence, nor omniscience; in fact these qualities were only later mentioned in the commentaries to give an excuse for the rather foolish way the bible was written. And about the little tiny bits in the bible that we can apply today made their way into the bible simply because the bible was written over 1500 years by different authors giving enough research time to get it right on a few points on human nature. If it were written in one sitting that would give it a stronger defense this is definitely a point of weakness to add to the already overflowing body of evidence against the bible that span across different fields of inquiry. The bible is an ‘okay’ piece of literature but only when it’s not taken literally. Until then it’ll remain the greatest most widespread delusion of all time.
I’m a student in psychology.
I accepted Christ at 13yrs old baptized in the holy ghost at 17 and had the gift of tongues that I gave up early because even Christians were freaked out hehehe
Now, 22, I am an atheist.
If anyone who knows me stumbles upon this, s/he would automatically know it was me. So mom, know I still love you.
Email: angrykobolt AT yahoo DOT com
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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)