Why I am no longer a Christian

By Brother Jeff of ChristianityIsBullshit.com

A survey that I took the other day has had me thinking about why I walked away from the Christian faith. I didn’t walk away because I rebelled against God or because I was angry with God or because I was treated badly or hurt in the church. In fact, my church life was very good. I had good friends. I had a good relationship with church leadership. I even frequently sang solos during church services and sang in the praise and worship choir. I had a great time in church and I still miss the sense of belonging and the sense of fellowship with other believers that I enjoyed during my Christian days. There are other things that I still miss from my Christian days. I still miss the excitement and joy of praise and worship. I still miss prayer, and having intimate moments alone with a holy and righteous God. I still miss believing in an all-powerful, all-loving, Almighty God. So why in the world would I walk away from a belief system that worked so well for me and that made me so happy?

I walked away because questions built up that had no satisfactory Christian answers, and I could no longer ignore them. I walked away because I could no longer honestly believe in the claims and doctrines of the Christian faith.

I once believed very strongly in God. I never thought that I could let go of my belief in God, but it happened. My path to atheism was not an easy one. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide that I no longer believed in God. The road to atheism for me was difficult and extremely painful. I really wanted God to exist very badly, but the more I learned, the more I came to realize that God is a myth - a powerful myth, but a myth nonetheless.

I once believed very strongly in the power of prayer. I used to spend at the very least an hour a day in prayer. I would often attend early morning church prayer meetings, and then go home and pray more. It seemed like I was always praying about something going on in my life! I also, of course, regularly prayed for other people, including my pastor and church leadership.

I absolutely loved Charismatic-style praise and worship. I could literally spend hours in worship if the opportunity arose, just basking in the presence of God and being awed by his holiness and love. I can remember times when I felt wrapped in JOY beyond description. I can still access those feelings. I remember how great it was. But I no longer believe that the God those emotions were directed toward actually exists. And I understand the incredible power of belief. Once the human mind is convinced of the truth of something, the incredible power of belief takes over and shields us from seeing the validity of any other point of view. The power of belief can shield us from reality itself!

I once believed that Jesus was not only the Son of God, but also that he was God Incarnate - God Himself come to earth. I believed firmly in the Virgin Birth and in the sinless nature and life of Jesus Christ. I believed absolutely that he died for my sins on the cross and I also firmly believed that he rose from the dead again for my sanctification and justification before God the Father. I never would have thought that the day would come when I would give up those beliefs, but it did. I now accept the fact that Jesus Christ is a myth. He never lived, never died, and never rose again. That is the conclusion that the research I have done over the last several years has led me to.

I once believed that the Bible was the “Word of God”. I believed it with all of my heart. I just knew that it was the inspired word of the holy God that I loved to worship and be around. It was just obvious to me. But now I realize that it is nothing but a collection of ancient religious mythology, with no God behind it as the author. The Bible clearly reflects the ignorance and prejudices of the Bronze Age men who wrote it. It is a Book of its time, not a Book for the Ages.

So, why am I no longer a Christian? It boils down to one thing - education. I know a lot more about the Bible now as an atheist than I did as a Christian. I know a lot more about Christian doctrines now as an atheist than I did as a Christian. Or, at least, I have a different understanding of them now that I no longer believe them. I have a different understanding of God now that I no longer believe that he actually exists. Education has made the difference. The education I gained reading skeptical materials has made the difference. But it’s a good difference. I know how to think critically now. I know how to think for myself. I know how to give my own life meaning apart from religion. I know how to live life happily free from the chains of religious mythology. My Christian experience was not a bad one, and I have no doubt in my mind that I was a “real” Christian. But education stretches the mind, and like a rubber band that is stretched, the mind cannot return to its original condition once it has been stretched. I left the faith primarily for intellectual reasons. I can no longer honestly embrace the doctrines of the faith, and so - I am no longer a Christian.

13 comments:

Edward T. Babinski said...

Hi Jeff,
Nicely put. I enjoyed my Christian experience too. Though there were also negative aspects to it as well, psychologically and intellectually. There were highs and lows one might say. And like you pointed out, once you begin asking questions where do you stop?

I can't even imagine a God who would eternally condemn anyone for lacking the "will power" (as if belief were simply a matter of "will power") to believe in Christian doctrines, dogmas and ceeds.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Brother Jeff (OP) wrote:
It boils down to one thing - education. I know a lot more about the Bible now as an atheist than I did as a Christian. I know a lot more about Christian doctrines now as an atheist than I did as a Christian
----
Hi Jeff,

What you said here really hit-home.

I guess part of the reason I lost my faith in the bible god was because I asked too many question and looked too deeply into it's bowels.

The xtians in my family seem to be like the typical drivers of cars today, where they have no interest in what goes on "under the hood", as all that is important to them is that the car gets them from point A to point B. How the car was made, how it works, are unimportant to such folks.

For myself though, I always wanted to know how a 'thing' worked, even if that meant taking something apart that I shouldn't have as a boy.
I was never satisfied with just being told there was some-THING under that car hood that made the car go, so I had to know just how that engine worked.

The xtians in my family, place the emphasis about their god and their bible, on things like worship, fellowship and the overall 'good' feelings and assurances it provides them.
They seem to not only be disinterested in the origins of their bible writings, but seem to actually greatly shy away from looking 'too' closely at them.

Perhaps many xtians have an underlying instinct that tells them if they look too closely under the hood of the bible, that they'll find there is nothing magical about it and that it's all man-made, just like their car engine is human made and does not consist of "mice on a treadmill", like their Daddy once upon a time had told them.

I suppose one could also equate their shyness of looking too deeply, to watching a magic show.

The curious part of us usually wants to know how the magician did the trick, but another part wants to think the magician is actually doing something that requires a supernatural ability.
To find out how the trick is done, may appease our curiosity but I think most of us feel sad in a way that we now learned that it was indeed, just a clever trick and nothing more.

To look at religion too closely, will reveal that the lady was never "sawed in half" and for many, the mystique of god seems to be a primary driving force for religion's allure to them.


ATF (Who'd personally rather know the truth, than live out a lie)

billybee said...

ATF,
Another comparison is hot dogs. I really love to eat em'..but I DO NOT want to see how they are made.

ROB.BARNES4 said...

Your conversion in an absolute mirror image of my own. Scarily so.
Once you learn certain things they are impossible to unlearn.
Not always easy. But at least its honest.

AtheistToothFairy said...

billybee wrote:
ATF, Another comparison is hot dogs. I really love to eat em'..but I DO NOT want to see how they are made
--
Hi Billybee,

Yes I agree, when it comes to hotdogs, I really don't want to know the details of how they are produced [g]
However, if some super-hotdog starting telling me how to live my life, that I needed to bow down and worship it, then I sure would start cutting apart that hotdog to find out what it's made of.

Well, I cut apart the bible hot-DOG and found out it was all hollow inside and contained all bark and zero bite.

ATF (Who wonders if one should use mustard or ketchup on a god hotdog?)

resonate11 said...

Brother Jeff,

I love this testimony because it testifies to the fact that respect for truth based on evidence can trump imprinted beliefs even in an individual who "had a great time in church". You had every reason to remain a believer except that you refused to compromise your intellectual integrity as your knowledge increased.

Thank you for sharing! I sure would like to know which specific bits of information and/or which specific books most stretched your mind.

resonate11 said...

I think I forgot to click the follow-up comments box.

Anonymous said...

Intellectual integrity really does mean being prepared to follow the evidence, but evidence is manipulatable by those who want you to believe what they do, and that goes as much for sceptics as it does for the others. Scepticism and Keeping an open mind are two different things, I have often been dissappointed by sceptical material which turned out to represent highly coloured distortions, which is not to say that religous people don't do this but merely that it is a danger whatever you read.

sconnor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sconnor said...

ATF said, Well, I cut apart the bible hot-DOG and found out it was all hollow inside and contained all bark and zero bite.

Check out my blog; particularly, my heading illustration.

foodforthought

--S.

shadow7death said...

Wow. That was a great summary. I've also felt the hardships of purging myself from the belief in God. It's painful, but so it the process to be cured from cancer.

My eyes were opened to. I looked at all the different religions all over time, and just now know that Christianity couldn't be correct. It was just used to explain things in a primitive world where science couldn't.

I'm an Astral Satanist now (Laveyan Satanist that believes in an Astral-like afterlife; Laveyan Satanists are actually Atheist), and feel better than ever knowing that I didn't need to fear some judgmental God.

AtheistToothFairy said...

shadow7death said...
I'm an Astral Satanist now (Laveyan Satanist that believes in an Astral-like afterlife; Laveyan Satanists are actually Atheist), and feel better than ever knowing that I didn't need to fear some judgmental God.

Hey shadow',

"Astral-like afterlife" huh.
Well, good luck with that plan....LOL

ATF (Who wonders if trolls have an afterlife, astral or otherwise?)

Anonymous said...

"Once the human mind is convinced of the truth of something, the incredible power of belief takes over and shields us from seeing the validity of any other point of view. The power of belief can shield us from reality itself!"

So well said. When I was a Christian the fear of self idolatry was beat into us. The Bible was to be our only standard for faith and practice. Any thinking that didn't line up with it was considered "carnal" and "enmity” against God. Fear of displeasing God and winding up in hell fueled my obedience to illogical and insane doctrines for years.

Though I still believe a higher power started the universe, I was finally able to leave Christianity when I did what you did and trusted myself. Thanks so much for your post.

After four years I'm still aghast at how narrow believing the Bible made my perspectives. Interesting... people decide to believe the Bible. They actively make a decision to embrace its tenants yet emphatically believe God "called" them to do it, as if they had no other choice.

One day I realized that the most important decision I ever made as a Christian was not about making Jesus lord of my life. The honest facts were, the most important decision I made was DECIDING to believe the Bible was a perfect book from God. After any Christian makes that choice, everything else follows. So, really, it's all about THEM from the start. THEY decide what book THEY want to believe and then go about the business of confining themselves to what THEY have decided the truth is in the first place.

For all the bleating of idolatry those folks have for atheists or any other person who chooses to reject the Bible, they are oblivious to their own self worship. While I have no problem with every person’s right to decide what to believe, I have every problem with their condemnation of non-Christian “idolaters” while they, themselves, are the same thing.

Congratulations Jeff. I hope as you continue to use your mind and decide what's best for your life that those around you will love you for who you are. We’ve all experienced the pain of leaving Christianity but the bondage of forcing ourselves to believe doctrines that are so hostile to the non-Christian world can never bring peace to anyone. How can living in "spiritual warfare" ever bring peace to the human mind?

Archived Testimonial Pageviews this week: