Image by Brian Sawyer via FlickrSent in by Freeman
I’ve been reading posts here for about the past month and I’m very impressed with the honesty and warmth from both those writing and those responding. A recent series of events culminated in my decision to leave Christianity once and for all. A brother I’m very close to attempted suicide recently. He is now getting help for the depression and severe anxiety that afflicted him for years. This event had a profound impact on all my family members. My fundamentalist father decided that "more Jesus" was the answer for my sibling. I won’t get into all that now – but my father and I had it out and haven’t spoken in months.
I was raised Catholic and when I was 17 I read the bible from cover to cover. I remember thinking that some of this was really weird. I should have trusted my gut then. I got involved with the charismatic renewal and off and on attended churches of various denominations. At one point I followed my family to a Christian community in Maryland. It was in existence for about 30 years and gradually evolved into something quite evil. I later learned that this group fit the profile of a shepherding-discipling cult. It has since disbanded.
I often questioned many of the things others have written about here. Like how could a loving god tolerate a place like hell? I couldn’t envision causing such pain to my worst enemy. And how could anyone enjoy a single moment in heaven knowing a loved one was suffering for all eternity. I lived with these doubts for years. I also had been reading about how Judaism and Christianity borrowed almost all their stories from earlier religions.
I didn’t have an epiphany or anything. I simply woke up one morning and knew that the god of the bible and Jesus were fake. I didn’t need to pray for my family today. I didn’t need to pray for my situation. I didn’t need to fear final retribution. I no longer had anxiety about my life.
I have shared this with my wife and my brother. She is still a Christian and he is still a deist. I guess I’m agnostic – but still working that out. I don’t have a compelling need to tell anyone else about this. I plan on leaving evangelism behind as well. Even evangelism of my new found lack of faith.