Sent in by Jenni
I was raised in your average moderate Christian home. My parents, who are nondenominational Christians, brought me up to believe in Jesus Christ, but left me up for my own interpretation of the Bible. We never attended church regularly, as they didn't agree with many of the beliefs and values of fundamentalist Christians. On times when we did attend a church service, I was left in a youth group room, where I was told that Jesus Christ was coming soon, and we'd better prepare immediately for his return. I usually never understood what the youth pastors were ever talking about.
As I grew older, I started getting more interested in the Bible. There was no outside pressure do so, just my own curiosity. I believed in evolution, and since the Bible contradicted it, I was confused whether or not to take the Bible literally. I had a belief in god, but not a good knowledge of my faith.
One day in middle school, I befriended a girl who rode my bus. Her name was Jackie, and she was a Christian. She introduced her beliefs to me and opened me up to a world of religion I never had before. She told me that it was bad that my parents didn't take me to church, that I was destined for Hell if I didn't change my ways. started going to an Evangelical church with her and her family. Her family was poor and rather large, she was the middle child of 11 children, had an abused mother and a tyrannical father with fires of hell in his eyes.
Her father was the scariest man alive, he refused to let her befriend nonbelievers, forced her friends to participate in all their church activities and prayers, and even yelled at her and made her cry numerous times in front of me, calling her a spoiled brat, which she really wasn't. The man was unemployed and forced his wife to work three jobs to support the family. He had a hard time finding work due to a felony he received for child abuse. I still don't know the whole story to this day.
As time went on, our friendship grew stronger, and by the time we reached high school, I had been fully indoctrinated. I was a creationist fundamentalist Evangelical Christian. I was pro-life, anti-gay, and anti-evolution. Together we were a team and preached to our peers at school, arguing with them about their evil beliefs and how they needed Christ in their lives. I took her every word, without question, as her beliefs were not only supported by the Bible, but by her ever knowledgeable pastor. If I questioned anything, I was an enemy to Jesus. She even threatened to end our friendship when I started dating guys who were not Christian. I still had liberal ideas, that I managed to salvage during this time.
I was always interested in science, but never took it upon myself to learn it. Surprisingly, she also was interested in science, as long as it included creationism. We started reading books on physics, ones that tried to support proof of god. I took it upon myself one day, to claim a quest, to prove the Bible scientifically and historically. Of course I had to do this by doing what research I could with available materials, i.e. books and the internet. By this point in my life, our friendship was fading. Being alone for the first time allowed me to start thinking more clearer. I was reading things that not only didn't support the Bible, but was disproving it before my eyes.
I would turn to my Bible, struggling to believe what I could. I kept running over disturbing passages that I never heard nor read before. I started realized that god was sexist, violent, pro-slavery, malevolent and the Bible just stunk of scientific and historical fallacies. I couldn't take it anymore, nothing was making sense. I didn't want to believe in the Bible anymore.I was stuck in hard place, I couldn't prove nor disprove the Bible. I started examining humanity's life views.
Now, I was in college and taking a broad range of classes including environmental biology. We were given a book called Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. I found it's cover quite curious. I had a funny feeling about this book. I began reading, it was bringing up ideas that I had hidden inside me all along. The world was not created for mankind. It was not god who made man in his image, it was man who made up god in his own image. This sparked a whole new philosophy inside me and I had a new adventure to pursue, disproving the Bible. I started learning about Christlike figures that came before Christianity.
I learned that Christianity took on ideas from Zoroastrianism, Mirthraism and gods like Horus, which all predated it by hundreds of years, and even longer. I realized that Protestantism was a reformation of Catholicism that began from the actions of an anti-Semite named Martin Luther, in the early 1500s. I learned that the Bible was missing gospels that scholars chose to throw out because it made Jesus into a person people didn't want him to be. Nothing in the Bible suggested to me that someone more intelligent that myself could have written it. It wasn't. I was written by fallible man, with little knowledge of how the world really works. Why would god appoint fallible man to write an infallible book?