Sent in by Justine S
Since this is my very first testimony (ever!), I just ask that you all please be patient and bear with me.
I guess I should start at the beginning... there's two portions to my Christian life. I'll save the fundamental stuff for later. Growing up, my mother was somewhat involved with the Lutheran Church. She used to drag my sister and I almost every Sunday, although I believe this was more of my grandparents' conviction than God's. I don't remember too much about church services except stand up... say some things... sit down... repeat. I do remember being in the children's choir, and winter retreats quite fondly, however. They were really nice people, and they didn't seem to force religion. They were just happy to be helping children and giving them something to do. It was about the time for Confirmation Classes that I stopped going, and by this time, it was much to my relief. I had better things to do.
My parents were having great marital distress around that same time, and my mom was so depressed and beat down by my father's mental (and some physical) abuse that it was pointless... plus she wasn't allowed to go anywhere besides work. I started asking myself questions about God and such, but I kept them to myself. I didn't get along with my mother (what type of adolescent girl does?) and my father hated God, but only because it took the light away from him. We were always taught to pray before eating, and one day we did that and my father screamed, "I made this food for your pathetic asses! Not GOD!!!!". I thought in a twisted sort of way that he was right.
So, by now ya'll can see that my father was an extreme joy to be around. I was about 15 when I started toying with the idea of another church. My sister had been attending a Wesleyan Church for awhile and spoke of these people and how loving they were. I soaked it right up. I was in great turmoil because of all that was going on at home. My parents' divorce was in mid battle, and it was anything but pretty. I contemplated suicide, and cut myself when I just couldn't handle the pain. A loving church sounded good to me.
After about a year of perfect attendance, I was noticing that I wasn't getting any further in my "walk with God". It really concerned me that I was spending all this time trying to "grow" and nothing was happening. I would go to the altar to pray regularly, but what I got in return was the Youth Pastor saying I was doing it for attention. Being open stopped right then and there. I had enough of that at home, I didn't need it in Church. What really hurt was a woman I had grown really close to, she was a maternal figure to me, and she thought the same thing. She knew everything about me, to include my mom leaving and how horrific my dad could be, but she still agreed. Even through all of this (stuff like this happened regularly) I still managed to go faithfully through out the rest of my high school years until I graduated.
After graduation, I left for the Army. Wow. That was another world!!! I "backslid" terribly and kept coming back in repentance when I'd come home on leave. It'd last for awhile... then back to the party. I caught large amounts of judgment from Maternal Figure. Just what I needed. I moved to California with an Army buddy for about six months after the military. Something I "felt" I should have done. Why? It ended so badly, I hate to think about it. I was probably at my lowest, then. I came back to PA and started with the church thing again. Even harsher judgments from Maternal Figure.
After about a month of being back home, a cousin of mine whom I was very fond of was killed in a car accident because of the egotistical-showing-off of her boyfriend. There were four total people in the car, all of whom were ejected, she's the only one that died. I was so angry at God! I couldn't understand why God would take a 16 year old girl for no reason. I went to Maternal Figure for guidance. She basically told me that she's burning in hell because she wasn't saved. I was already feeling guilty because I hadn't witnessed to her. But, again, I went back to the church, but this time was the last time.
This time, I got involved with the Youth Group. I felt I had a heart for them because of some of the things I went through as a teen. I thought I was still young enough to them that they might reach out to me. When I came back, I had some conflicts with the way the new Youth Pastor was preaching. My old Youth Pastor preached that human beings are full of sin, and no matter what we'll still have sin. That's why we need Jesus. This new guy was preaching that he has Jesus, now he can grow to be like him, and one day he will be as perfect and pure as Jesus was, and how he can't wait for the day that he can tell his wife and kids that he's finally like Jesus... WHAT?!
Isn't this total conflict? Not only that, I found that most of my Church Family had left because the pastor had turned church into politics and began heavily micro-managing everything. That left just a few along with Maternal Figure whom I noticed was sucked in by the whole thing. I noticed she thought it was great. Even became a board member. How bout that?
I eventually quit coming to church and Sunday school. I continued to come to Youth Group meetings because I still had a heart for the kids (I still do). A lot of them began to open up to me, so I decided to stick it out.
All that being said, the straw that broke the camel's back was a conversation I was having with Maternal Figure. She began telling me about a common friend we had and how she was struggling. I inquired as to what, and according to Maternal Figure, she had jealousy issues because her and her husband made more money that this other woman, and because Maternal Figure's 1st born was going to college for ministry while the other woman's children are struggling... blah, blah. I cut her out after that.
I haven't returned since. I had a strong feeling of anger and rage. Shortly after, I stumbled upon this site. I found I wasn't the only person who felt this way and had to deal with similar situations. I have since been doing a lot of research and I'm finding there's so many flaws in the so called "loving and truthful" faith of Christianity.
I thank you all for listening.
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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)