I was lost, and now I'm found

Sent in by Travis

I wasn't exactly raised in a strict Christian household, but we were Episcopalian and went to church regularly from when I was in the 4th grade on through to High School.

I was baptized at first and when I reached my teens I was confirmed and began taking communion. At the time I was told that when I took communion for the first time I would 'feel' the Holy Spirit come into me. Of course that never happened since there's no such thing, but my child mind was disappointed and felt let down.

As I started getting older and making friends I felt more and more different as everyone in Texas is pretty hardcore about their faith. I went to praise concerts and baptisms at my friend's pool and was so scared to admit to not believing it that I even faked speaking in tongues once.

Through High School I made no attempts to hide my lack of faith and was subjected to so many questions and interventions that I couldn't be civil about it anymore when it came up. It wasn't until I moved to New Jersey for college that I even found out I was an Atheist. I met people like me that knew the freedom of loosing one's religion.

The only answer that made sense to me was that there was no answer at all. I was finally complete and everything made sense.

Now I'm almost 29 and I'm married to the most wonderful woman. She's Christian, of course, and the conflict has created a few problems. We work through most of it. She doesn't drag me to church all the time and I find the good parts of the religion and try to implement those things in my life. I feel bad because I know she thinks one day I'll accept Jesus as being real, but it's never going to happen. Believers don't understand that once you leave there is no coming back. If you do come back then you never truly lost your faith to begin with.

I was lost, and now I'm found. Remember that character is based on what you do when nobody is looking - and trust me... nobody is looking.

13 comments:

eejay said...

Like yourself, I never felt anything at all after taking communion. I couldn't understand at that time why not. I certainly wasn't evil at the tender age of 7, so why did I feel nothing. There were times that I jumped through all the hoops to at least seem to be a part of it all, but it always just seemed so disconnected. I understand now, so many years later, that the reason I felt nothing, is because there is no such thing as the body of christ in communion.

I can't say I never gave religion a try though, becuase I really did want to feel what I thought I was missing, and I tried so hard to make some connection to this so called spirit being. Add that to the fact that the bible didn't ever make any sense to me, I get I had no choice but to follow the road to deconversion.

Glad you were able to find yourself also.

ExFundie said...

For so long, I was the Christian in my marriage. My wife struggled with her belief in God for so long til' she finally came clean with her atheism to me and some of her friends. I was a youth pastor and ministry leader. I neglected her and my two young sons for what I felt was my higher calling... ministry. My ministry team and I regularly prayed God would break the stronghold satan had in her life. Obviously, God never did. As an atheist myself now, I realize how hard it must have been for her. My purpose in life now is to love my wife, and be an involved father to my children. Reading your testimony makes me realize how lucky am to have her, being as she too was raised in a very religious, Texas household. Anyway, thanks for sharing. I am glad to hear your religious differences aren't ruining your marriage.

Anonymous said...

Travis,

Speaking in tongues is always faked, by the way.

I was raised a Southern Baptist and, at age 16, went over to the Assembly of God, where they boast the gifts of the spirit.

At my induction into speaking in tongues, I was told to simply speak out the syllables that were coming into my head as we were in worship. But I didn't have any syllables coming into my head until I heard those around me speaking in tongues, so I just imitated them. The whole thing was quite silly. And every time I was in worship with the Assembly of God, it was the same thing, imitating others around me - a perfect example conforming to the group.

So much for the "gifts of the spirit", eh?

Anonymous said...

Hi Travis,

Reading your post I realized that some of us are just brutally honest with ourselves. While others are sitting in church pretending to feel what they're being told to feel, we sit there wondering why we can't experience anything.

I now realize that the others aren't really feeling anything , they're just very good at lying to themselves.

I suppose the pretenders enjoy the self-deceit, while the honest ones just feel guilty for not having the experience, for a while anyway, until we realize that it is all bullshit.

Anonymous said...

I was also from a pentacostal background they would scream in jiberish and run around like they had just smoked a fat rock. I rember how I use to think they were holy and had a deep conection with god. But know that I read your story I am probably going to go back to my old church this sunday. I'll be the one in the back with a flask in my pocket. I could use a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy hearing others divulge that speaking in tongues was a 'fake it to make it' experience for them as well, rather than any 'force' working through them. When I was a xian, I thought there was something terribly, terribly wrong with me. I was pressured by my own parents to 'receive the baptism holy spirit and speak in tongues' while I was a young child. They explicitly told me, when we prayed and nothing happened, that I had to just say whatever 'sounds' came into my head and if I felt like I was faking it, that was just Satan making me think I was faking it. So they would make their sounds and I would make sounds very similar to theirs and they were so proud that their little girl was overcome by the holy spirit. And they pressured me to do it out loud in church services; they didn't like me just standing there while everyone else babbled blissfully. I felt like such a fake. Now I know the very fact that they warned me about 'feeling fake' tells me that they feel that way too; they just tell themselves it's a demon making them feel that way and everything is fine.

Ugh...just reliving it I feel like I need to go take a shower now.

Hells Bells said...

Speaking in tongues - I can still do it. My experience was slightly different, in that I was more formally "baptised in the Spirit" and it was explained that I might speak in tongues but that I might have other things happen instead, like prophecy or wisdom. When I first spoke in tongues, it was in the privacy of my own bedroom, and I don't think I'd had much experience of hearing other people speak in tongues. My partner's experience was similar - she hadn't heard of baptism in the Spirit or speaking in tongues before she started doing it. Therefore I'm not sure it can be described as a "fake experience". But I do know of many others who have had the experience that has been described - "just say the sounds that are coming into your head..." I think I might even have said the same to some people.

However, as I was trying to explain last night to some Christian friends, what I attribute that experience to now is not the Christian god that I attributed that experience to then.

People of other cultures and religions also have that experience - so it is not exclusively Christian, despite claims I have heard to the contrary. There is evidence from brain scans that what happens is that the part of the brain that controls spoken language is turned off when someone is speaking in tongues. It appears that speaking in tongues is just speaking gibberish, in the same way that a young child learning to speak might parrot or assemble random sounds.

I always found that speaking in tongues was almost irrelevant to my emotional state, and never really had an impact on it. I now think tongues was just a side-effect of the "emotional trance" that Christians learn to put themselves in. The reason I can still speak in tongues (and I did so last week just to prove a point!) without any faith at all is because it's learned behaviour - my brain has learnt that it can switch that language control centre off. It's completely unrelated to faith or spirituality or culture.

Surrender17 said...

Actually, you've always been lost. You've never been a believer in the first place, so how can you be found at all? At least God's given you plenty of chances to find him.

btw. this site is really pathetic. you'll see the truth someday, even if it ends up that you're too late. I'm sorry to see so many people believe the devil's lies.

Astreja said...

Surrender17: "At least God's given you plenty of chances to find him."

Imaginary beings are incapable of giving chances. Furthermore, imaginary beings can only be "found" in one's imagination.

"I'm sorry to see so many people believe the devil's lies."

I'm sorry to see so many people believe in invisible bogeymen.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Surrender17 said...
Actually, you've always been lost

Yes, I'm surely lost to your god, just as you are lost to the other human-created gods we've had throughout history. Perhaps those gods couldn't find you for the same reason that your god never found us; that being because there are no gods, including your bible god.

If you disagree with me, I await any proof you can provide to bolster your god belief to us.
Got any???

>btw. this site is really pathetic. you'll see the truth someday, even if it ends up that you're too late. I'm sorry to see so many people believe the devil's lies

No, what's pathetic is someone like yourself coming in here with your words of "wisdom", acting like we've never heard such words before and thinking you'll save us all from your fairy tale god's hellfire.

As far as this devil character goes now, I suppose you have proof to back up this devil claim, yes?
I also find it quite interesting that this devil sure seems to hold far more power than your bible god does.
Oddly enough, just like your god, the devil also loves to play this hide&seek game with humanity.

Or, it just might be both this god and devil are fictional characters, made up by ancient men, to scare small minded people, such as yourself.


ATF (Who wonders how much of their life, this person has wasted on chasing after a non-existent god?)

sconnor said...

Surrender17=delusional, fuck-tard.
Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo!

--S.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Surrender 17,
You're an idiot. You're wasting the only life you have on an empty illusion.

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