I loved having access to the sole ‘truth’

Sent in by Chris S

I arrived at University in the autumn of 2004 never having given religion of any kind much thought, I was every inch the wide eyed fresher! I quickly encountered the local group of evangelicals who ran the Christian Union at the University and I found they gave me a great sense of fellowship and warmth when I was around them. As a result I thought I would go along to the variety of events they were putting on, that target new students, such as film nights and discussions over coffee. After a five week course in the local coffee shop looking at the basic of the Bible’s message in Romans, I decided it all seemed to make sense and gave my life to Christ at the end of the final session through a prayer. For the next two years I was every bit the convinced, fundamentalist Christian, a somewhat bizarre species in Britain, but they do exist! Not far off a million of them in a variety of shape and form, and they exist in almost every University. I attended many conferences, endless talks and sermons, bible studies in groups and one to ones, prayer groups and even went abroad to help spread the ‘truth’ about the Lord. I couldn’t believe that it would happening to me, but there it was. I loved having access to the sole ‘truth’, it was intoxicating not having to see things in nuanced shades of grey anymore and being able to be absolutely certain in something’s righteousness or otherwise, it satisfies the inner child in all of us. My parents (especially my mother) were pretty torn up about this sudden life change, as was I, as I now believed them both hell bound sinners in the eyes of God. Towards the end of my first year of study I was finally baptized and read out my testimony to all my gushing Christian friends, who were so proud to have hooked a genuine atheist from the pond. The Christian worldview provided me with an ideological framework to understand and explain the world, a coherency that had been lacking previously in my life, and I loved it.

It was towards the end of my second year that I began to have doubts. Some of the people I was around began to scare me, for want of a better word. They seemed so sure minded and confident about the authority of the Bible, that any ideas about really questioning and finding truth were entirely secondary. I was increasingly finding that the analytical and academic skills taught by my History course were in direct conflict with the approaches taken to the Bible by my Christian colleagues. It gradually dawned on me, after actually reading through the whole Bible (due to my studies it took around a year) that something such as Noah’s Ark could not possibly be an actual historical event. I mean its little better than a joke! And yet when I took this complaint to some of my Christian friends they were shocked and could barely conceal their horror at such a heresy. From that point onwards, my literal Biblical Christianity began to fade, slowly at first, but obviously the Bible could no longer be accepted as the ultimate guide to my life, and must be treated with caution in the same manner as any historical document. I tried to find answers in Christian literature, but it was all pseudo-scientific nonsense, I’m sure you know the kind of books I mean, they are a travesty to real thought. I found Christian books in general to be of a consistently poor quality, being repetitive and simple minded. Most of my Christian friends seemed to have only a vague interest in learning more about the history of the Bible and were entirely satisfied in listening merely to the pronouncements of out leaders.

Then during the summer of that same year, I had a foreign student move in with me for a couple of months who was also a Christian. We began talking, and he confided in me that he had doubts. At that stage I was not ready to admit that I too was doubtful at the type of teaching I was receiving. By the time he moved out my foreign friend had de-converted completely, and it was informative to see how much happier he seemed, finding himself a girlfriend and actually having sexual relations! I can’t believe I gave it up coming into University! After that, I attempted to walk a middle path, attending the same church with the same Christian friends, but trying to use the Bible as a guide not an absolute law unto itself. As time went by, I sensed this simply wasn’t working and I began to do some real reading into the real origins of man and the development of religion as part of human psyche, as well as the actual genesis of the book we call the Bible. This finally allowed me to see what should have been obvious from the beginning.

During my third year, as my special subject I was lucky enough to be included on the module for the Third Reich, an intensive study of every aspect of the regime. Current ideas on the nature of Nazism tend to view it as a political religion, along with such phenomenon as Marxist-Leninism-Stalinism from the Soviet Union. Although such a comparison may at first seem crude (in terms of content all of them are obviously very different!), they all attempt to teach ultimate truths that define reality. Nazism loved to use its own relics and use religious language in mass ceremonies. Some scholars have even compared the SS to the clerical class, as the administrators in chief of any ‘religious’ ceremonial rites! My tutor unashamedly called the Church a totalitarian institution, and by the end of the course I was coming round to the idea. All of them attempt to create a new man, a person who reflects the ruling ideology like a mirror with no independent thought, whether through propaganda and the Hitler Youth and League of German Maiden’s or through church groups. Both try to change you completely! The commitment to both causes must be total or it is nothing at all! (For a faith that seemed so simple to commit to, it was one that seemed to be making the most total of demands, demanding access to all of my time and efforts, all should be given up the Lord, if you truly love him that is?) The comparison does have its limits obviously, but it is not surprising to see its popularity in historical academia.

Having read many of the testimonials on this site, I feel somewhat fortune that my time in the Christian fold was relatively brief, and that the levels of time, effort and money invested were comparatively low. I feel a deep sense of shame that I could have been taken in by such a shallow, one track philosophy. All the richness and variety of life awaits me away from Christianity’s restrictive straitjacket. However it must be said that I bear the people who led me into it no grudge, I chose to give my life to Christ freely. Although misguided, that doesn’t change the fact that they are good people and I still remain friends with many of them. I had some truly wonderful fellowship with so many great people, but they really don’t need a religious justification for any of it! As a person I am much the same now as I was before, and the same will be true for them as well. To be quite honest I think there is a deep underlying sexual motivation for a lot of young Christians who are using their faith as a means to acquire a partner who will be committed to them in totality, especially the men who clearly get the best end of the submission stick. But deep, satisfying relationships and marriage don’t just exist within the walls of religious faith, its dependent on the people involved. It is obvious that many of them are deeply disappointed with me, having invested a great deal of time on me in terms of sermons and personal bible study times, but obviously this can have no impact on my decision. I have moved onto a greater study of politics, I have developed quite a taste for anarchism and its many variants. I can’t quite decide now whether to leave my experience behind me in its entirety or whether to do something about the friends I have, as to be honest, they scare me with their single mindedness and I won’t be able to sleep at night properly knowing that there are any people out there to whom reason means nothing. Or maybe I’ll just relax!

All the best to everyone on this site, and thank you for reading.

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15 comments:

Chucky Jesus said...

How you treat your Xian friends is your concern; more power to you if you manage to keep them as friends despite the huge ideaological differences, but I will say that as you find othter freethinkers, you will find them to be great friends too. I belong to an atheist "church" here in Dallas, Texas, and really the main point of it is the fellowship with other freethinkers. It's called the North Texas Church of Freethought. We have a meeting the first Sunday of every month, and lunch afterwards. The meeting includes a "Moment of Science™" when a science tidbit is taught, followed by talks on various subjects, usually relating to freethought, humanism, or a rationalist view of religion. We also have an in-house band which plays/sings fun songs in which the lyrics are sometimes altered for the sake of parody. I'd like to see more groups like this started around the world (there is a sister organization in Houston).

Anonymous said...

Chucky Jesus, do you know of any athiest churches (not meetings) in New York City?
To Chris, welcome to the fold, and I particularly like your assessment of Christian marriages, with their guarantee of loyalty, and the issue of submission. I haven't seen that addressed here.
Naomi

Anonymous said...

i haven't really read anything on this site to make me change my opinion about christianity. I think that people have a tendency to discount an entire way of life simply because of the actions of human beings. If you believe what you believe in, do so because it's what works for you. The problem with EVERY organized and/or institutionalized religion is that human beings take over and try to enforce their interpretation of doctrine down people's throats. I think that it's a shame you people are discounting christianity, not becaue it's inherently false, but because there are a bunch of hypocrits in it. Good luck finding anything on this earth that doesn't have self-promoting human influence in it.

Rich said...

You said:
"Although misguided, that doesn’t change the fact that they are good people and I still remain friends with many of them. I had some truly wonderful fellowship with so many great people, but they really don’t need a religious justification for any of it!"

And it does not bother you that these "great people" are part of an establishment that preys upon the gullible and the weak or those who are perhaps experiencing a crisis or a major life change? For example going away to college? How about the Sunday "school" that all churches promote or the sectarian schools that are even worse. Do you really think these are "schools".

You struggled free -- how many are lost for years in this tragic waste of time and effort?

Today I'm... said...

Anony: "Good luck finding anything on this earth that doesn't have self-promoting human influence in it."

That would be called a fatalistic attitude, with a smidgen of simpleton written all over it.

What a strategy... label everything stated as propaganda, in order to marginalize everyone as equals.

Sorry, simpleton, if that were the case, then Truth wouldn't exist. Now, why don't you go stand out in front of a nice big truck flying down the highway, and see if your verbal influence can actually "change" the reality of you becoming a hood ornament :-)

Reality, exists, if you say it does, you are sane, if you say it doesn't, you are an imbecile.

eel_shepherd said...

An Aug.13 anonymouse wrote:
"...Good luck finding anything on this earth that doesn't have self-promoting human influence in it..."

None more so than Xtianity.

rickyusvi said...

Anonymous wrote: "I think that it's a shame you people are discounting christianity, not becaue it's inherently false, but because there are a bunch of hypocrits in it."

Reading many of the comments from Xians in forums such as this, i marvel that i learned how to read, having been educated by Xians myself.

Read Chris's testimony again. There is nothing there about hypocrites, but there is an account of how Chris came to conclude that Xianity is false.

Who do you see here who gave up on Xianity because of hypocrites? Granted, some of us were driven away by hypocrisy, and some may even have seen the hypocrisy as evidence that Xianity's promises are false. But in the end, the only way to become an ex-Xian is to conclude that Xianity is false--especially considering that one has to overcome the belief that one will be tortured for eternity for not believing.

toxic said...

You say fundamentalist christians are a comparitively rare phenomena in the UK but I seem to know enough of them in terms of family members and neighbours! Like you I'm glad my time in fundamentalist christianity was a relatively short one.

trancelation said...

Anonymous Retard Fundy Number 110,768,991,475:

Nobody is discounting Christianity because of the way people act. This is a myth that does not exist outside of Christian polemics. Unfortunately, I know that this will fall on deaf ears, as Christians are trained to think that people leave Christianity because of Christians, not because of Christianity. You are a tool. If you were not a tool, you would have the capacity of mind to see, based on the ex-timonials here alone, that people do not leave Christianity because of Christians, but rather because of the hypocrisy and utter BS of Christianity itself. When I was a Christian, I was perfectly aware that people are not capable of living up to the ridiculous standards set forth by the Holy Roman Empire (the people who wrote the Wholly Babble). I was perfectly aware that Christians would be hypocritical, mindless shits, and I was okay with that because I thought that they, like me, were forgiven. I left Christianity because I ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE, RETARD. NOT BECAUSE OF THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHER CHRISTIANS.

Forgive my harshness, but I cannot take this ludicrous behavior from Christians any longer.

boomSLANG said...

Anony-nony: i haven't really read anything on this site to make me change my opinion about christianity

Oh, really?..no shit?? Good grief, do you think you could be realistic for 30 seconds? Let's try. Look, even if upon your first visit to this site you read up to 75 % of what's here, the likelyhood of you deconverting on the spot is nil. It takes YEARS to accept and ultimately convert to any religious sect(cult). To think that a Christian could bumble their way in here and that their "faith" could all be "shattered" in, um....how many minutes did you spend on this site?...10?..15?--in any event, to think it can all be undone in matter of minutes, or even hours, you only show just how detached from reality you are. Wise up, Jerky.

Anony' continues: I think that people have a tendency to discount an entire way of life simply because of the actions of human beings. If you believe what you believe in, do so because it's what works for you.

Um, yes, that's exactly what we're doing---REALITY "works" for us, because it has to work; because we've surrendered to the fact that "reality" is all that there is. The only alternative is non-reality, which, that would include legendary superstitious philosophies. "AlaKazam!" No thanks.

And by the way, your little pop'-soundbite about "humans" being imperfect, yada, yada, and that being the reason why we left the "faith"?...well, that has nothing to do with the belief, itself, being bullshit. Seriously, can you keep a straight face and tell me that you believe in spooks, talking vegetation, swimming hammers, flying smoldering chariots, unicorns, healing leprosy with bird blood, and camping out in whale's bellies? How old are you, again?..6?

Anony repeats: I think that it's a shame you people are discounting christianity, not [because] it's inherently false, but because there are a bunch of [hypocrites] in it.

In case you missed it--I "discount" Christianity because IT IS FALSE. There. The "hypocrites" are a byproduct. You can pluck the hairs out of a dog turd--it's still a turd.

Anony': Good luck finding anything on this earth that doesn't have self-promoting human influence in it.

Reality promotes reality. It stays the same, no matter how badly humans *want* to "influence" it.

Bye now.

xrayman said...

Hey Chris,

Your story made my day. From Atheist to Christian and back again. Well I guess you never said you were an atheist, but we will stay tuned.

It's funny because like yourself early in my adulthood I decided to accecpt Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I was a tepid God believer up until that point. Well a funny thing happened. Nothing. As hard as I tried to accect Jesus and feel his love, the rational thinking part of my brain would never allow it to happen. A little voice inside my head would always say "BULLSHIT" I really wanted to experience the boundless joy a born again friend told me so much about, but a true Born Again Experience for me was always thwarted by the subconcious. I always wondered why this all powerful creator of the universe could never touch me in some tangible way. For a while I just thought I was unworthy. Thank God(I will never loose that expression) for the internet and Amazon.com. Now that I know that God and the Bible are make believe, I pat my rational mind on the back. It told me so. If it weren't for sites like this I would have been locked in religious limbo for the rest of my life.

When you start to see the world through rational glasses you just wonder how you could have possibly bought into any of it.

Bill B.

rickyusvi said...

trancelation wrote: "Forgive my harshness, but I cannot take this ludicrous behavior from Christians any longer."

Now, now, don't despair! Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.

...Well, actually, God doesn't give anybody much of anything, so...

Poltergoost said...

ANONYMOUS FUNDY SAID:

<< i haven't really read anything on this site to make me change my opinion about christianity. >>>

Really? Sorry to hear that.

So far, I have not read anything in the bible, that changes my opinions about christianity.

However, there is still hope for you dear fundy xtian.

Due to the fact that you have been reading the information on this site, it proves that you are searching for the real truth, and you have doubts about your Xtian faith, and the B.S. Bible. If not, why would you even bother coming onto a website such as this? Most xtians I know would stray away from such a site like this one.

Congratulations for coming on here. There might be hope for you yet.

ANONYMOUS FUNDY SAYS:

<<< I think that people have a tendency to discount an entire way of life simply because of the actions of human beings. >>>

What you think, doesn't matter. You're right. What you said, is what "YOU THINK". It is not a fact. That's probably the most correct statement that I have heard from a fundy on here yet.

<<< If you believe what you believe in, do so because it's what works for you. >>>

Yeah, So?????

So, I should go ahead, and sacrifice all the success that I have had since leaving the christian faith by returning to it once again, just so I can kiss your god's royal holy ass, and stroke his ego some more. Yeah, just screw up everything I have worked for so far. *rolls eyes*

If my way works for me, you better believe I am going to do it. Not my fault that your false god doesn't work, and that he is so weak and pathetic that he can't make himself more personally known to man in a more practical better way, besides some out of date ancient text.

Sorry, but hearing thoughts in your head and reading a 2,000 year old text does not count as "GOD" speaking to you.

I'm sure this will go in one ear and out the other with you, just like it does most of the other fundies that come on here.

ANONYMOUS FUNDY SAID:

<<< The problem with EVERY organized and/or institutionalized religion is that human beings take over and try to enforce their interpretation of doctrine down people's throats. >>>

That's the whole problem with the bible actually. This has nothing to do with what human beings said, most of us have read biblical scripture you goof.

It is a stupid retarded book, and most of it has no practical meaning when it comes to reality, along with today's modern day world. Even half of you christians can't agree on scripture interpretation.

Your wonderful personal god has failed to reveal the correct "interpretation" of the bible to all of you.

<<< I think that it's a shame you people are discounting christianity >>>.

It's a shame that people like you deny reality, and are dumb, and gullible enough to believe in the christian message.

Damn, shame that such a powerful so called god has to use the threat of hell as a way to manipulate people into his christian cult.

<<< Good luck finding anything on this earth that doesn't have self-promoting human influence in it. >>>

No such thing as luck.

Don't worry, I don't have to look to find anything. I've found reality thank you.

Bad News for Christians said...

Ooops, the last link got cut off on the end.

Here is the correct link about Jesus' failed 2nd coming to earth that happened 50 years ago.

http://www.alienresistance.org/roswell1947ufocrash.htm

THE ACE said...

I didn't leave Christianity because of hypocrisy, although I saw plenty of it. I left because I
got tired of making myself a slave to the fears and beliefs of a long-departed Bronze Age society, that
got the biggest break any religion
ever got when Constantine made it
the official religion of the Roman
Empire. Without that act, I believe
Christianity would have slowly
faded into obscurity like so many
other ancient beliefs and today would be nothing more than a footnote at the bottom of a page
in a history book somewhere.

By the way Chris, that was a great
essay, one of the best I've seen yet on this site.

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