Sent in by Shaida
I grew up in a rural area, and everyone went to church. How you felt about god was never discussed, you just went. My family is large, and we care about one another deeply, and the preacher always said that love was a sign of god, so I thought god was wonderful, loving, kind, welcoming, just like family. It was a nice dream.
But adulthood brings challenges, and I saw firsthand, many times, that Christian lives may be no better than "heathen" lives, and that Christians may hurt others WITH and BECAUSE OF Christianity, yet still claim that Christianity is all about love.
I began to think that Christianity was all about itself. It was about replication, not really people, but it hides behind it's so-called brotherly love to propagate itself. My fears were confirmed when my Grandmother died.
She was the most gentle woman, and had 55 descendants - some religious, some not, yet everyone loved her deeply. She was religious, but she never spoke about god to anyone, never pushed it out there. She was human, but a fine human.
My brother insisted that he would organize the funeral, as he was a preacher by that stage. No-one could challenge him, nor did we want to make a scene, we were all very sad. We thought he would know what best to do.
So he organized for a preacher friend of his, who had never met Gran, to do the service. No family spoke. There was no eulogy to speak of. The service was two religious songs and an hour long sermon on how wonderful Jesus was. Gran was only mentioned twice, in passing, and only then to say that she was a faithful Christian. No mention of her love for her children, of her years of craft and her sweet love for her cat, or anything else of the sort. The man ended with a 10-minute prayer and an altar call.
For me, it was the ultimate insult - she was a Christian, and yet her life, which was rich and full, was reduced to nothing but an opportunity to preach this man's own agenda.
My brother was so pleased with himself, and thought he had done a great job in trying to convert the unsaved in our family. Instead, he compounded their grief, including mine.
I realized then that Christianity does not care for people. It wants only to grow itself, because it thinks itself is more important than REAL relationships - like ones with family and friends, LIVING people. Jesus is not living, and he cannot love you.
For me, this is the freedom to have a deep, rich life, not one built on a fairytale and relationship with the imaginary. Real relationships are worth much much more.