Sent in by Jason
From the first day I was able to be away from home as a newborn child, I attended church. My parents are Christians, and my mother’s parents are Christians and they believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. The vast majority of friends I ever had up until college were other kids that went to church with me.
Growing up, we were taught that it was best to marry another Christian, so I did. Though we both lived pretty loosely at the time of our initial meeting, my wife and I never lost hold of the faith and traditions instilled within us. Upon marrying, my wife and I both made concerted efforts to try to live a more godly life and seemed to succeed at doing so.
We have had four children (the oldest being nearly 9 years old) and have raised them the same way we were, attending church, and obeying the rules and regulations set forth by the infallible Bible give to us by the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. As we were likewise taught, we have warned our children of disobedience to us, and by extension God, as well as the eternal consequences of sinful decisions. Then something happened.
A few years ago, my wife’s brother (who at the time was struggling with his own faith as he was unable to defend it from seemingly easy questions about the inerrancy of the Bible and the nature of God) introduced me to a document I believe he had found online. If you were to visualize a lifetime of Christian beliefs as a tall, elaborate house of cards, this document was the equivalent of someone lightly bumping into the table upon which it stands. The cards didn’t come tumbling down, but the whole thing shook precariously for a bit. This document was a thorough study on many other Christ-like deities and respective belief systems including many that predated Christianity, which shared many of the same properties like a messiah-like figure miraculously conceived, of virgin birth, who was crucified, and raised from the dead (to name only a few). At that moment, I felt a profound sense of doubt about my beliefs, which unfortunately, I immediately sublimated due to the possible ramifications of losing my faith that quickly ran through my head. I thought that if I were to un-convert, my life would be inexorable changed, my physical family would disown me up to and including being written out of the will and my spiritual family would sever contact and friendly communications with me.
So, like a sheep I continued plotting the course with which I had been indoctrinated my entire life. Then within the past year, as my wife and I would sit and listen to Bible class stories and teachings, she would point out scripture to me that was never taught because it was either clearly contradictory or difficult to explain. Over the months we began to look more into the discrepancies and tyrannical nature of the Old Testament God of the Bible and were scared with what we found. The more we investigated the more unsettling it became. To truly understand how unsettling it was, you have to realize that both my wife and I could name all of the books of the Old & New Testament by the age of five. We could quote book, chapter, and verse for most of our beliefs as adolescents. We were taught (cynically) about other religions and how to answer their questions. We attended lectures, gospel meetings, and special services just to bolster the knowledge of our faith.
But what most people within a religion do not realize is that they have been taught to think from within a sphere of existing predefined conclusions. If God can never contradict Himself, then whatever logical gymnastics you perform within the constraints of that sphere to explain a contradiction will be just fine as long as the conclusion will never be that He had been contradictory. This explains the ridiculous Christian explanations you may hear or read about while studying to break free from a Christian faith. Unfortunately, this means that a believer who has been thus affected and controlled will never leave the tenacious grip of a religious belief system. Once someone seeking the honest truth will remove those constraints on free thought, it is very easy to debunk the myth of the Bible being an inerrant, God-breathed ancient book containing everything man needs to live and be acceptable in His sight.
With the help of some early doubts and especially my wife, we very recently took off the blinders. When faced with the choice to take the blue or red pill, we took the red one to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Despite the liberating feeling of being utterly convinced we are doing the right thing, we still have to deal with the familial and social ramifications of this radical change in our lives. One can’t live ingrained in a conservative, Bible-Belt Christian society and not have exit wounds while extricating themselves from the mess. Even my boss is a member of the church we used to attend, so we still have many things to overcome. Still, I can tell you this: Neither, I, or my wife, or any of my children will ever life their lives in fear of a tyrannical, immature, jealous, vindictive master of the universe that watches our every move and is ready to condemn us to eternal torment for lack of obedience. My family and I will strongly challenge any religious ideas brought to us by tradition, ascribed authority, or revelation.
Free at last. Free at last.
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)