I knew I was being conned, so I openly denounced the church

Sent in by Wesley

When I was young, and I mean real young (five at the oldest), I had like pretty much most of us, no real concept of human mortality, meaning I did not know I was going to die one day. I mean, death was just not something I ever had to consider. No family members I had ever spent time with had died, so my parents had just not really explained the whole death thing to me.

Now my parents were not really religious people. My mother was a self-confessed agnostic and non-practicing Presbyterian (by baptism), and my father was just a non-practicing Catholic (just weddings and funerals),

So, I had never really had any contact with strict beliefs in god.

However, my mother’s mother had started to become heavily involved in a new style of Christian church, a new American-style church led by a dashing dynamic young man with the title of “Pastor Mike.” He offered the reward of eternal life and happiness, but to achieve this status, there were rules to follow. And these rules were or are simple, as they are written in the bible and have existed for eons.


Now I just have to interrupt at this point as there are many different schools of thought on how the stories in the Bible should be interpreted. Many people believe that the stories are only elaborate myths that can be helpful to guide you through the rough times or when you are unsure of the best path to take -- a sort of guide book. Then there are the people who want to bring it all back to a literal interpretation, to assert that what is written is in fact complete and undeniable truth. They believe that an all powerful being created the entire cosmos step by step, bit by bit, until HE finally perfected it with Adam and Eve. You know the rest of the stories. This is what I understand to be a very fundamentalist view.

So, back up to speed.

It was around the time of my 8th birthday while staying with my grandma on a weekend visit that, without my parents consent, let alone mine, I was taken to this church and held under water, being instructed to ask some mysterious powerful being called Jesus into my heart as my life friend. This was my first taste of the “born again” version of the Christian religion.

My parents where furious with my grandma, but after the dust had settled, and in part due to my parents lack of experience with this church, that I was allowed to continue if I wanted to attend Sunday school at the church. It was OK at first. I met new friends and they told us cool stories of magical things from faraway lands and big bad monsters that punish the wicked. For a while I was hooked. It was fun.

But that did not last forever. I began to question the logic behind these stories. I could no longer believe that the entire human race with all its races and colours could possibly have come from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as well as all the other wonderfully elaborate stories that I was being fed.

Two years was all it took for me to realize that this was just all a crock of shit. I was being lied to in such an all encompassing way that I was being taught to fear an evil being that dwelt under the surface of the Earth and who would punish me for eternity if I stepped out of line. And then, of course, I was being promised all the wonders of heaven if I pledged my love to some big bearded guy in the sky surrounded by angels and family and other such loveliness. I had had enough. I knew I was being conned, so at the age of ten I openly denounced the church to my grandmother, to the shock of many, and told them all that I thought the whole thing was a load of nonsense and that I want nothing more to do with it.

This pretty much destroyed my relationship with my gram for awhile, and she sunk even deeper into her church activities. What was a once-a-week on a Sunday morning thing became a twice-a-Sunday thing, with more involvement in Bible studies, door knocking to spread the word, and then the ever bizarre speaking in tongues.

While I was spending occasional parts of my spare time examining and trying to comprehend the never ending contradictions and downright impossibilities and nonsense to be found in the Bible, my gram dove deeper into the church. She even participated in stints of Bible smuggling into China, missionary work in Israel and Palestine to convert Muslims, and months in parts of Africa to “Save the dark heathen masses from eternal damnation”

So it was at the ripe old age of 14 that I finally settled on my position, without too much external influence, that God did not create all that is around us, or us, but that we invented HIM. That conclusion made so much more sense. Religion worked (works) as a great method of taming the masses. Intimidation and fear mongering is meted out for those who did (do) not believe or follow, and an ultimate reward is promised for those who did (do) believe. This method was (is) successful because none of it could (can) ever be proven either way -- you just had to have faith. Faith: a blind belief in something completely un-provable. Also, it all makes for a great copout from reality when you start to comprehend your own mortality.

Well, I am thirty now and I still hold onto my non-belief in Christianity. Never has anyone truly given me a proper argument to make me think I am wrong. It just always keeps coming down to the faith thing.

That good old “unquestionable faith.”

Sometimes it just must be so easy to be so ignorant

Maybe it’s even bliss.


Anonymous said...

Ignorance IS bliss, because it means you are promised an after life. It helps the weak keep going, instead of improving the one life they have to live, they can sit back and be lazy, because hey, its not the end. It is scary for some to think "This is it. This is what I've got".

Enjoyed your post

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

Ignorance IS bliss, because it means you are promised an after life. It helps the weak keep going, instead of improving the one life they have to live, they can sit back and be lazy, because hey, its not the end. It is scary for some to think "This is it. This is what I've got".

Enjoyed your post

This is so true. And it's also part of the reason why I think women seem to be so much more willing to fall for this crap (at least that's what I've noticed in my experience). I think a lot of women throughout history had very rough lives (not that men didn't, of course, but women have a distinct disadvantage, physically speaking) and the idea that if they could just bear their burden in a martyr-like fashion that they would be eternally rewarded in the next life, had a lot of appeal for them. I also think it helped many women feel a certain moral superiority in a world where they didn't have much say in making the rules that governed them.


Anonymous said...

You, sir, were a child prodigy. At the age of ten, I'm not sure if I'd even shaken off my belief in Santa Claus, much less God. But I did come around in my teens, and I've definitely made up for lost time since then. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post. It reminded me of a friend who is now in his seventies. He was raised in a strict baptist church and was even baptised but the bs never took in his life. He went to church only because he was forced to go. He is now an outspoken atheist and proud of it. I admire him for his outspoken stance here in the deep south. Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this, and also I thought your speech was excellent. Although, I must say I am surprised the Xtians let you do as many speeches as you did before attacking. Thankfully, their recourse is usually a pathetic attempt at censorship and not like olden days when you'd be slaughtered and have your guts played with (maybe not the last thing, but hey why not anything goes)

RSM said...

Wesley, I'm surprised that not a single christian has responded to your story. Sometimes I think they know when they're beaten.

I am encouraged by stories like yours. I, too, knew from the first time I heard the story about Jesus dying so we could get to heaven that there was something wrong with it. I was not in a position to reject it. My parents used severe corporal punishment to force cooperation, and other means of deprivation when we got older. Thus, it took me till age 40 to openly reject their religion. However, just knowing that there were others who knew at an early age that there was something NOT RIGHT with religion affirms me that I'm not a total freak for having known so young.

My perception and insight has been ridiculed so extensively and so severely by my mother that to this day I draw on objective evidence to reassure myself that my perception of my situation is indeed realistic. Thanks for providing another piece of evidence.


WhateverLolaWants said...

Sophia, I'd never thought about what you said about women before, but it makes sense. I wonder if there is any sort of empirical data about women's religiosity vs. men's. Certainly, at my parents' church, women are much more likely to be involved, although that could be b/c they're less likely to work outside the home. I don't know... I'd like to hear more about that, though.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I am a Christian and yes some of the stories dont make sence and ignorance is infact a blissful state but I must say Jesus is the primary reason for my continued survival. In college I was semi-suicidal, in that I wanted to die, but thought it was a cowardly action to do to oneself. So my dream became to become a soldier and die one some battlefield in a distant land for no other reason than that it gave my life some meaning. Jesus however gave me that meaning that I needed to live. So yes Jesus, and God could quite possibly be something that we made up but is that so wrong? And I ask you people who read this not judge me and say that I am a weak person for believing this lie because I have had a dificult life, I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 14 and even before that i had little to no friends so highschool was difficult for me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Anonymous said...

Dear John:

I am glad your childhood cancer responded to medical treatment. I am also glad that YOU had the inner strength not to commit suicide during your college years.

One of my old college chums was not so fortunate. A couple of years after graduation, she had become addicted to drugs, perhaps because she was self-medicating in a feeble attempt to battle her bipolar disorder. At that low point in her life, she was taken in by some fundies and “accepted Jesus.”

The tragedy is that they convinced her to forego any treatment other than their prayers and laying-on-of-hands. When that failed to work, she became convinced that Jesus had left her, and she ultimately threw herself off the roof of a 14-story building.

That’s just one example of how fixating on a figment of the imagination can lead to horrible results. There are countless others, but this one is personal and it makes me sad. I still miss the person she was before mental illness and Christian brainwashing took her away.

Anonymous said...

John, this is for you.

You are still among us because of a belief in yourself, not anything else. You and you alone provide the reasons for living. If you have been born in Iraq and had the same problems you had here, your result would have been the same, except you would be thanking Allah and not Jesus. Think about it. Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

John said; So yes, jesus and god could quite possibly be something that we made up but is that so wrong?

John, yes it is wrong. And dangerous. Let me give you just one reason to think about. You said you had cancer when you were 14...I don't know how old you are now or what the state of your health is but someday stem cell and other medical research may be able to eradicate cancer and many other hideous diseases. Now, what group of people, do you suppose, are the ones standing in the way of that? Hint: They think like you do

Anonymous said...

John Wrote:
"I must say Jesus is the primary reason for my continued survival."

"Jesus however gave me that meaning that I needed to live."

"I ask you people who read this not judge me and say that I am a weak person for believing this lie because I have had a dificult life, I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 14 and even before that i had little to no friends so highschool was difficult for me."


I am sorry that you have had a rough time in dealing with life. It does seem that some people have a harder time dealing with life than others, so I understand and I do relate. You also don't have to worry about me judging you.

My next statement may seem harsh, and if it does, it is not my intentions to hurt you in any way. This is "Me" being honest with you about how I feel towards what you claimed about "Jesus being your primary source of survival, and Jesus giving you a certain meaning in life"

For me personally, Jesus did not give me any meaning period. Instead the belief about Jesus only gave me false hopes which led to one disappointment after another. The things that do give me meaning in life are family, friends, my hobbies, achieving dreams, and success.

Being told "Jesus is all that matters" and "Jesus is all you need" never made me feel any better, and it only caused me to sink further into depression, because I never experienced any personal comfort from Jesus period. Instead I ended up in more misery anytime I trusted in Jesus, because I gave up my free will only to be met with defeat every single time I tried to place my trust and faith in God. I found out in my own personal dealings with christianity that there is "NO" personal God who guides and directs our paths.

I have also found in my own personal experience that anytime I trust in a spiritual being to provide any type of meaning in life, I am always let down in the end. Christianity never provided the answers or meaning in life that I was looking for. It only led me further into depression. Christianity does not provide any type of comfort or satisfaction for me period. It gives me no meaning. I am not motivated or driven by invisible spiritual forces.

I can truly say that when I became a christian, I stared seeing less victories in my own personal life, and it was after I became a christian that I had to start taking Anti-depressants. As a christian I lost everything that had any meaning to me, and I found no comfort whatsoever in Jesus. All I ever found was dead silence.

Before I became a christian, I was pretty much living out my own dream and was pretty content with life. Things weren't perfect then either, however I can truly say that my life before Christianity was a lot better than what it was after I became a christian.

Now that I have left the christian faith behind, I now recognize that all of my happiness and success came from within myself. Not Jesus.

Jesus provided absolutely no answers for me period. The answers were always within myself, and I am having to learn to once again believe in myself, and I am having to learn to once again be true to myself.

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