Image by Quiplash! via Flickrby Paul
Sorry for poor English writing skills. I am after all a product a private Christian school education.
I was born into a typical ultra-fundy Southern Baptist environment. Out of six siblings and two sets of parents/grand parents, I am the ONLY one to have left fundamentalism -- about 10 years ago.
Son of a preacher/teacher, overseas missionary, healing, Christian Zionist, YEC, End-Time/Prophecy junkie.
I Attended small private Christian Schools, mostly Baptist except for the three years I spent in a denomination called "Bible Missionary," a cult similar to the Amish or Mennonite. The women could not cut their hair, no jewelry, no pants, no cosmetics,no TV, no dancing... Monthly revival meetings and the cultish belief in the "Sanctification" doctrine, where you no longer sin. I have NEVER met a group of individuals so dysfunctional, so hypocritical, so unhappy, than a church full of people who believed they reached a certain point in their Christian spirituality where they actually stopped sinning.
The last few years of my high school life, I attended public school for the first time. I led Bible studies and prayer groups, I walked around downtown passing out bibles and chick tracts.
My de-conversion was completely unexpected and began after high school when I, for the first time seriously studied on my own, what I loved the most, the Bible and Creationism.
My entire identity and love affair with Christianity had to with this concept of Unconditional Love, Jesus Loves me. I was enthusiastic and driven to live Christianity, be "on fire for Christ", and tell everyone also hell-bent on proving Creationism true (I have always loved science). I had no idea what I was jumping into. I had never before been exposed to critical thinking, the scientific method, other religions, canon history, Christian history and development and so on.
During this time I was working 12-hour shifts with nothing to do but sit and think about things. I realized, after dwelling on the compatibility of the Hell doctrine vs.Unconditional Love vs. Justice, it really hit me suddenly like a brick: Christian doctrines of Hell and Love are the ultimate illogical oxymoronic beliefs. I suddenly realized I could no longer believe in Hell. A few moments after I realized I could no longer believe in hell, my entire belief system collapsed. I sat down, cried for a week and lost my entire self-identity.
About week later I woke up one morning, as happy as I have ever been in my life, a HUGE world open before my eyes: a world full of beauty, freedom, the thrill of the journey, the love of not knowing and the love of learning.
Freedom is knowing that you don't know. I felt for lack of better words, truly born again. I really believe there was some physiological chemical change in my brain. Everything looked different, brighter... even colors... it was the oddest thing. I felt my entire self-identity was gone. While it was scary at first, after time it became a source of renewal, inspiration, and new life.
During my Christian experience, I had managed to infect/save three people with the Zombie Jesus Mind Virus, and one guy I accidentally "led to Christ" after my de-conversion. Thankfully I have helped de-convert three people since then (only one more to go), balancing out the negative karma I feel for infecting those others with the Zombie Jesus Mind Virus.
After my de-conversion, I accidentally converted one individual to Paulianity after giving him a handful of tickets to an evangelical Halloween event a few years ago.
My mom gave me the tickets hoping I would attend and repent. I gave them away at a warehouse I was working at. The next day a co-worker walked up to me with tears in his eyes, hugged and thanked me for introducing him to Christianity. DAMN-IT, more negative Karma
My family, siblings, parents, and Christian friends, they dropped me years ago. But thats life and not that uncommon amongst fundamentalist cultures.
I don't think I hold ill feelings towards them, only the Zombie Jesus Mind Virus.
Thankfully my wife and best friend of 14 years is 90% de-converted.
TO all you Christians out there reading this and feeling doubts about the validity of your Faith....don't let the irrational fear of not knowing keep you from questioning.
Viruses are strong, they want to feed and reproduce, they don't want to kill the host.
Don't let the viral survival mechanisms control you.
Freedom is knowing that you don't know.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)