You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

Sent in by Andrew H

Hello all! I am a former Evangelical Christian. I was a leader in my high school youth group, I went to a Christian college, and even spent about 10 months overseas as a missionary. I was a "strong, growing" Christian. I tried to convert (successfully in some cases) my "unsaved" friends in high school, I led discipleship classes, I didn't have sex, alcohol, cigarettes, etc...

My passion was traveling, and thus I naturally felt as if God had "called" me to be a missionary, which I did for nearly a year.

After my experience in Christian College and on the mission field, I got engaged to a Christian woman from a strong Christian family. From the day I was born until then, my whole life my mind was in the "Christian Bubble".

Then one Saturday in February of 2004, I stumbled upon a web journal of a girl who was traveling around the world for a year. I spent nearly 6 hours reading every entry. She was not a missionary, she was just traveling for travel's sake.

Something in my mind clicked and I knew I had to do something similar. I wanted to travel. Not to do "God's work", but just to see what was out there. Of course I would still be a light for Jesus...

I called off the wedding, quit my job, and bought a one way ticket to London.

I then spent 9 months in Europe. There I met some of the nicest, most "moral" people I've ever met. Yet they were non-religious. I also saw governments with almost no religious influence provide and help the poor more than any church or government I've ever seen in the states.

I then spent a few months in Africa. I saw utter poverty. And in the midst of the starving, I saw white missionaries handing out bibles. The effects of the missionaries were horrific, I won't get in to the details as that would take me 50,000 words. To sum it up though, a few of the problems I saw were the families that were divided, the life long friendships broken, the attitude of arrogance, the lack of education, HIV and the religious fight against condoms, the abuse of hospitality, to name a few.

Then I went to the Middle East and spent a few months in the Muslim culture. And while I had a great time and met many wonderful people... seeing the effect of Islam on culture as an outsider was sad. Especially in regards to women.

Through out my time in Europe, I moved from a "typical evangelical", to a "liberal Christian". My time in Africa broke my heart, not just because of the poverty, but seeing from an outsider what negative effect missionary has on the host culture. I had been doing that for much of my life. I just didn't realize what I was really doing. I was raised to believe missionary work is the highest calling one can have. By the time I was in the Middle East I felt I was a Christian only by culture.

When I got home, and tried re-entering my old life, it was obvious I didn't buy any of the religious BS I was fed my whole life. And while it is tough that I've lost many friends, and there are now walls between me and my family members, I have never felt so liberated, fulfilled, and content in life.

Ironically, my favorite bible verse has stayed the same throughout my deconversion....

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32)

And the truth sure has set me free!

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13 comments:

resonate11 said...

Good for you for having your eyes, heart, and mind open to truth as you traveled. Congratulations on being set free!

eel_shepherd said...

One of my significant memories of an Islamic country is of being in Aleppo, Syria, in 1976, in Summer, where it gets pretty hot. There are quite a few ice-cream places in town, and a soft-ice-cream cone goes down pretty nice on a hot day.

This woman was walking along the street with her ice-cream cone, and she was completely dressed in black, including this bag-like head covering/veil. And she lifts out (but not up) her veil and the ice-cream cone went behind it, and came back out with a bite taken out of it.

Just that. And it just seemed so, so sad. All trussed up in black on a hot sunny Summer day, and that's how she has to enjoy her ice cream.

Religion turns people into freaks. Fuck `em all.

Anonymous said...

It's always exciting to read accounts such as yours where people use their logic and reason to come to a conclusion about religion. I wouldn't change a thing about my life now that I am non-religious. It's such a sweet life without the confines of dogma.

I agree with eel shepherd, religion turns people into freaks, even the "good" religions. People will do things for their beliefs that they wouldn't dream of doing otherwise. So, so sad. Jim Earl

stronger now said...

Makes me wish I would have traveled when I was younger. Perhaps it wouldn't have taken me so long to start embraceing the insanity of me and rejecting the insanity of the xtian faith.

I don't have the money(stupid tithing B.S.)for me and my family to go overseas. If i sold the house I could get an rv and hit the road.

It would at least get me out of the babble belt.

Anonymous said...

to eel_shepherd:
I guess one thing I would like to point out is that Islam and Christianity are two very different religions. Knowing the difference is definitely necessary.

Pull The Other One! said...

eel shepherd,

Never mind bloody ice-cream!, I've seen Muslim girls in England lift their veils out to smoke cigarettes! (Well away from their fathers and brothers of course).

andrew,

You're living proof that travel broadens the mind. I actually remember a minister advising young Christians to go travelling. He'd obviously never done it himself!

Spirula said...

Andrew,

Kinda makes you realize why so many Christians become so insular, especially in regards to their children. My childhood certainly was; Christian school, Christian college, no friends outside of those environments. My guess is that many posters here can say the same thing about their lives. Lack of exposure to other cultures, ideas etc. really does make you rather myopic.

Fed up with Christians said...

Great and excellent post! One of the best one's I have read on here.

I've seen people such as my father who put their God over their very own family, because the Bible tells them to do so.

I told my dad there is no way I would put an "Inivisble God" over my "Real Family".

I also told him that if his god is real and if he is all knowing and powerful then let him do his own dirty work, and that he doesn't need us humans to accomplish his goals. I told my dad that his family and the real people in this world are the one's who have needs.

The point is, people need to start taking care of each other instead of trying to please this "Self Absorbed" Make Believe daddy in the sky.

tiffanieradcliffe said...

I too, aspired to the missions field. As the years went on, however, I began to want to travel to Africa simply out of the will to do good for others rather than out of some desire to convert the heathen.

You have made me privvy to the reality of missions work and the division it causes. No one reports the truth. I always wondered myself, the things you mentioned, and now my suspicions have been confirmed. Christians go over there with all their good will and tell starving, desperate people that they will go to a place called Hell if they do not convert. Christians are NO BETTER than Muslims in that regard. They both use fear to control the population. One does so with promises of retribution in the hereafter and the other does it with a machete in the here and now. If you ask me, I'd take a machete over burning in Hell for all of eternity.

Telmi said...

Christians who have NOT read the Bible but believe in the Bible God are evidently ignorant in some areas of their God-beliefs. If a Christian is honest and can understand what he/she reads, this Christian will give up Christianity after reading the Bible - with all its evil and immorality, its inconsistencies and contradictions.

DEEZER said...

Good stuff, Andrew. I was basically going to say what Spirula said: Christians don't wander away from the flock out of fear that they'll discover their "truth" isn't true at all.

Anonymous said...

Bravo - this is a great story. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you for bringing your valuable mind "over to our side."

Anonymous said...

You know, it never occurred to me until now that how missionaries blatantly against condoms was causing such a problem, especially with such a HIV rate. Handing out condoms is going to save many more lives then bibles, and the problem with the Christians is that they are so opposed to pre-marital sex that just condemning the act isn’t actually helping anyone. A person who truly cared about another’s health and wellbeing would put aside their religions beliefs for a moment and help battle a real life issue through some education on safe sex.
Another person I know had very strict Christian parents. At 16 he still had not been told about sex and didn’t know what a condom was. His parents thought they were doing the right thing by God, but in actual fact, it caused more heartache and pain then they would ever have imagined. At just 16 he got a woman pregnant whom he did not like or love, whom his parents very strongly encouraged him to marry. The whole situation was a disaster, and then when it finally lead to divorce it only caused more judgement from the parents, more heartache for the children and lead to the church shunning him – one person who I actually looked up to refused to shake his hand. I was so mortified and hurt I stopped talking to a lot of people that day.

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