I refuse to call myself a Christian anymore

From Marie

I grew up in a Christian Fundamentalist home, where the Bible was law and nobody questioned its authority. As a child we would watch the "Those Who Are Left Behind" type propaganda movies, and I was left with a deep fear of the so-called "End Times." I would never dream about my wedding day, having kids, or anything else most kids dream about, out of fear that I would be found "not diligently waiting with a lamp full of oil when the groom returns." I believed that it was pointless to plan ahead, as we are living in the End Times, and I would probably never get married anyway.

As I grew older a new fear took its place. I was taught that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Great. Since I was saved I had nothing to worry about. Not! Enter the fear of grieving the Holy Spirit. To this day I have no idea what that means, but it is terrifying. Constantly walking on eggshells. Checking your thoughts all the time. Never daring to question, never daring to search, as surely that would constitute a great grievance!

In church we were encouraged to continuously sacrifice ourselves and to be aware that no earthly thing came between our First Love and us. No idea what that means, but to a 17-year-old who loves music, the only thing I could think of was that maybe I had to place my guitar on the altar to prove my devotion. Luckily at that point I already had some sense of reason, and abandoned the idea. I was torn up with guilt for a while after that, convinced that I had somehow proven myself greatly unworthy.

I was deeply involved with the church: worship team, children's church teacher, even went to Bible School. When I left school I moved to another city and proceeded through what Christians call a "backslidden" phase. Living 800km from home meant that mom and dad could not pop in at the drop of a hat, thus, for the first time in my life, I lived!

During that time I met a Deist. He made a statement one-day saying that the whole Jesus story had been repeated many times through the ages, and that Christianity was based on mythology. Well, I was highly offended. Backslidden and all, I knew that this was blasphemy -- no doubt about it! But the thought stuck. He also taught me tolerance and acceptance of the gay community. (Being a South African, this was a huge step for me). I know that that is not exactly relevant, but my point is, Dom opened my eyes and nudged me towards an attitude of questioning my values and beliefs.

Years passed. I recommitted my life to Jesus, but could never find a church that I felt comfortable in. I started to criticise. I noticed how music could dictate the mood of the congregation. It was interesting to find that using certain instruments almost always resulted in the "tangible presence of God". I was amused to find that every time an altar-call was made, most of the congregation would rise, and I asked the question, "Is this real, or peer pressure?" Adding to that, I married a man who is even more critical than I am. He introduced me to sci-fi, fantasy and evolution. Church leaders hated that. We dared to disagree with them over issues. Then I started to question my prayer life. I would catch myself quoting scripture and repeating "catch phrases" that sounded right. Candy coating as it were. Was I sincere? Hell, no! Next I questioned my salvation. Based on love for God and a real desire to serve Him. Not! Fear of being thrown into the lake of fire was more like it. I wondered how salvation based on fear could be salvation at all. Through all of this Dom's comment about mythology nagged me.

Jump to the present.

I am now 33. For the first time I have found enough courage to REALLY question the things that I have held dear for so long. I found a website last night listing the similarities between Jesus and Horus. Scary. Everything matches. I found another site where a certain Rev Pete disproves the Bible by using the Bible. Even more scary. No argument I ever had for Christianity holds water any more. I am now convinced that God is not affiliated to any religion. He does not care where in the world you live. And He certainly does not want to throw us into a lake of fire!

I am not entirely sure where that leaves me, but I refuse to call myself a Christian anymore. I am still looking for answers, testing what I have been taught against true evidence. Till then, I remain pissed off.

19 comments:

AWLHEART said...

Congratulations Marie! You are on your road to reality! It's a very hard road to travel, but once you get there you will see you are happier than ever in your life. Many of us ex-christians go through the pain of finding out the truth and realizing we were lied to. BUT keep in mind, many christians don't know they're being lied to.

I hope you continue on your journey of research. Read lots of books on the subject. You'll find that the 3 Abrahamic religions, Muslim, Christian and Judaism have their roots all from the same place which is the Egyptian religion. Horus is also Amen Ra (the eye on the back of a dollar bill). Amen was the sun who walked on water, and still does. It's the reflection of the sun on water! Egyptians believed that in order for a prayer to be sent to god one must mention Amen, the "sun" of god, at the end of their prayers. Christians still pray through Amen and don't even know it!

To this day I still wonder how come others don't question their beliefs. All I can think of is, when one is told something from the time they are born they don't know anything else and can't even fathom something else. It's become a part of their brain. Sort of like a body snatcher.

People say, but some people need their religion. And some people need to smoke! That doesn't mean it's healthy! I've been an ex-christian for over 10 years now and I still find new things EVERY DAY!

I'd love to help you on your journey, so feel free to email me. I have a myspace. It's myspace.com/awlheart
Feel free to contact me there! I also have lots of info in my blog there.

I congratulate you again for being a strong woman and having a mind of your own. It won't always be easy, but it's SO worth it!
Gia***<3

Rosalie said...

I can relate entirely to your "testimony" and I also went through a questioning and anger stage in recovery from Christianity. Use your anger to find the answers that you want and need. I hope that you find the peace and love that you deserve to have in your life.

Enjjpt said...

Welcome to the real world! I hope your awakening is eased by the support of fellow de-converts who have been through the same thing you have. Count yourself luck that your spouse is on your team, when they are not you will find yourself asking, "why didn't I take the blue pill" often.

Carl K. said...

Why be angry? Anger is a destructive and mostly useless emotion. Instead, rejoice that you are finding your way out of the emotional/mental prison you were put in (which, to be fair, most of us were put in at one time, although possibly to a lesser degree than you).

And think about helping others out of it, too.

We can't totally control our circumstances. We can control how we think about them.

Cheers!

AtheistToothFairy said...

Marie wrote:
It was interesting to find that using certain instruments almost always resulted in the "tangible presence of God"
---
Now isn't this MOST interesting.
I guess if this god enjoy's the wafting smell of some overcooked burnt flesh, that it makes perfect sense that he also favors certain musical instruments, over others.
So I guess my question Marie, is what instruments enabled them to make better contact with the sky god?


Hey Boomslang.........I finally figured out why you never could get in touch with god.
You must have chosen the wrong instrument to learn to play.

I have a feeling that Stronger Now and Xrayman might insist the right instrument for xtians to contact god with, is the ummm, ummm, Skin-Flute.
Just a hunch is all [g]


ATF (who also wonders what song one must play to god on the chosen instrument as well)

Faith shaker said...

Good for you! I went through an angry phase also. I recommend the book " The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" by Robert Price. he is very detailed. It helped me argue with my Xtian friends.

boomSLANG said...

ATF: Hey Boomslang.........I finally figured out why you never could get in touch with god.
You must have chosen the wrong instrument to learn to play.


Well, aside from there is no "god" to get "in touch" with, that's an interesting hypothesis, and we can add it to the many others I've heard.

fjell said...

Reading this post from awlheart awakened the old fact - somehow buried by time - that I used to be the young keyboard player on a midwestern megachurch's worship team.

It has been over a decade, and I had almost forgotten the somewhat cold, strange sick guilty feeling which used to come and seize me, a boy of seventeen, for taking part in what I nebulously sensed to be a calculated conspiracy, as Rich, the worship team leader, having first privately formulated the wisest strategy for the reaping of souls would finally step forward and communicate to us, the team gathered about him in the wings of the auditorium, somber and ready in our stoic commission from the Almighty, the plan.

Later, once I'd moved to Europe, in my early twenties, I wrote a book consisting of my quixotic new foreign life with my American pedestrian boyhood standing in as backdrop.

I had almost forgotten this naive passage from the book which touches upon Rich and the pre-service huddle in a mix of stream of consciousness and prose, penned in reaction to the sight of a horde of American missionaries here on the streets of Germany:

"...fjell we need you to play I Exalt Thee, a few trills but nothing fancy as we have to stay sensitive to the spirit and the drugs which is your music might not nudge somebody on the edge to come forward if you get too flashy, so, I Exalt Thee ad infinitum and Mike needs to solo every time – Mike, nothing showy – you head into the chorus, build it, building it always wins someone near the aisle unsure about coming forward, so, build it, Mike solo, chorus, I‘ll give you two fingers to end, then I need a key change into Rain, Holy Spirit and we just might swing every soul in the auditorium. It's what I'm praying for. All right, I Exalt, sensitive, solo, build to chorus, I give two, key change, Rain, every-one‘s saved, we did it again, good job, boys, see you in heaven."

How surgically we worked on those people! At seventeen, I somehow couldn't articulate all the reservations I had concerning the manufactured nature of our work.

Now, at 31, I think: how can anyone, even for a minute, wish to worship a deity who allows the eternal destinies of souls to hang in the balance of which religious apologetic they might be confronted with first, or, like those people for whom I myself used to play, in the balance of whether or not I got too flashy on certain piece of worship music?

Could I really have stood in the way of some poor sod's route to eternal bliss?

Who wants a God in whose human universe such a thing is possible? And yet this seemed to be the explicitly inherent idea lying at the bottom of Rich's meticulous calculations.

As a partial disclaimer, should any incensed or strident Christian feel he/she must set the record straight, perhaps toss in the bald assertion that God needs no human aid in the winning of souls - I can only say that I wish this were more often the case. What a fantastic world this would be if the saving of souls was left strictly to the deity who wants to save them.

Funny the way deities so often employ humans to carry out their plans instead of just CARRYING THEM OUT.

freedy said...

I deconverted three years ago and I've worked through my anger issues concerning fundamentalism.

I've come to believe that people need icons like messiahs,movie stars,rock stars,gods etc.,to look up too.This simple idol worship is part of the human condition and will be around for a long time.

The need for absolute,right and wrong answers are also a part of the frustration that the religious wrong bible-thumpers create in us, during our journey out of Christianity.

Your anger is justified,good luck Marie.--freedy

bhawbpat said...

Marie,
Anger isn't a bad emotion, it depends on the circumstances. When you are a victim of a crime, you have every right to be angered. Is religion a crime? It most certainly is, it's a mental crime that attempts to steal your ability to think and to reason. Yes, marie, you have every right to be angry and you owe no one an apology for being so.

Micah Cowan said...

The Rev Pete site sounds intriguing... post a link? :)

Marie-Louise said...

Thank you! I am overwhelmed whith your responses!

Awlheart, I will definately continue reading up on the subject. No point in starting a journey if you don't intend to finish. Ta for the info on Amen Ra. I forsee many happy hours of Googling.
A friend of mine recons that 95% of the world population needs something to hold on to. Something/someone that keeps them in check and that they can follow (and blame, I guess) It is only us 5% that ask the question: "but why?".

Enjpt (what on earth does that mean?!), I was amazed at how many of my friends actually ask the same questions as I do. So, yes, I definately have a support system.

Carl K, me saying I am pissed off might have been an overstatement. Yes, I am angry at myself for being blind for so long. But it is not a negative anger. Rather the catylist I needed to nudge me into taking the first step to freedom. (Does that make sense?)

Atheisttoothfairy - I so like your name - it was more the manipulation of the tempo and pitch and what combination of instruments were used than a single instrument itself.

Fjell (where do you guys get your names from?!)is spot on in his response. It is amazing how much shit you believe when you are young. We used to stand on stage and then have to visualize the auditorium filling up with water from the stage to the back, flowing from us off course - rivers of living water I think was the aim.

Rev Peter can be found at: http://groups.msn.com/DEISMbeliefinGodwithoutthebaggage/biblicalerrancy.msnw

I have no idea how to post a link. Copied and pasted this one. Hope it works.
I know most of you are atheists, but his essays are not written from a Deist point of view as much as just taking Christianity apart and exposing it for the scam it is.
Again, thank you for your responses. I will continue posting my progress on this site. Completely new to the whole genre, but I must say I am enjoying it. How does blogging work?

stronger now said...

Way to go Marie! Glad to see you got out. I have seen a bumper sticker that said:

"Anger is the fear killer".

I would agree, but it isn't the only thing that kills fear. Knowledge sometimes does it as well.

For me, if it wasn't for my anger I would have never gained the knowledge.


ATF:"I have a feeling that Stronger Now and Xrayman might insist the right instrument for xtians to contact god with, is the ummm, ummm, Skin-Flute."

Yeah...but the christians still insist that we weren't ever playing it the correct way.

Don said...

Could you link to this website about Jesus and Horus please?

.:webmaster:. said...

Don,

Here's a few to get you started:
LINK I

LINK II

LINK III

LINK IV

Samlowry said...

Hello guys,

Isn't the Jesus/Horus argument pretty weak? I tried to research on it a while back and came up with nothing except for the jesus myth proponents.

meaning, Egyptologists don't seem to mention or care about it. Reading about Horus indipendently doesn't seem to have the similarities pointed out by bagent and acharya s.

There are many strong arguments against christianity and Jesus/Horus link seems to be not one of them.

We do not want to spread misinformation that could backfire on us.

I think John Shelby Spong's Jesus for the Non-Religious gives a better, non-conspiracy theory explanation.

Anonymous said...

"And He [God] certainly does not want to throw us into a lake of fire!"

This is very true...God wants us to be forgiven

Enjjpt said...

Anony:

If your 'god' did not want to put people into a lake of fire, he wouldn't have mede it in the first place.

Hitler: "Ich don't desire to put Jewish volk into ovens, Ich desire that they be gut little Aryans"

To which the logical question is, "Why did you build it then?"

Eternal punishment for a finite crime. Now thats what I call justice...

.:webmaster:. said...

God wants us to be forgiven, but HE just can't seem to get what HE wants.

Poor god. So sad.

So much for omnipotent.

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