Image by dullhunk via FlickrWhen I took the plunge into Christian fundamentalism at the tender age of 14, I was a shoe-in to accept the Bible -- lock, stock and barrel. The hope for a better afterlife was a hard deal to turn down. I had been physically and mentally abused by my father and the neighborhood kids. You see, I just wasn't rough and tumble enough for the other boys in the neighborhood. One neighborhood kid actually tried to kill me for that very reason. Enduring sexual molestation didn't help, either.
Throughout my adult life, the promise of the abundant life never materialized. Something was wrong. I still endured crippling depression and anxiety, very low self-esteem, lack of a social support system and ambition.
I bought into the lie: "Real Christianity means you have to suffer just like Jesus did." "Look at the apostles, they didn't live a charmed life." I would tell myself, "Suffering will ensure you make it into heaven." "It's a good thing that you're not like these 'worldy christians' who just go after material gain." Inside, though, I seethed with anger that I couldn't get on with my life.
With life passing me by, though, it became harder to stay on the fundamentalist treadmill. I started rebelling against those thoughts in my head. At first I would just argue with God but then "come to my senses." After all, "Hell is a long time you know," I would tell myself. The next phase was to start toying with the idea that the Bible was corrupted throughout the years of translation. That was a tough one, but I am making tremendous strides in accepting the fallacy of the Bible. The hardest hurdle I saved for last: The belief in hell. My progress with that one will be very slow. It has to be three steps forward and two steps back right now.
For me, it is an awesome thing to realize I am rejecting the framework for how I've lived my entire life.
It just amazes me how many problems are now being solved in my life by questioning everything I held sacred. I no longer have those bouts of draining anger at an invisible being; I'm seeking well qualified help for my depression and anxiety and am getting concrete results; I'm developing skills that I never had before -- social skills to successfully interact in society which will enable me to seek challenging work
It's still painful to look back at how much of my life has been wasted. One thing I am sure of though: Once a person starts getting a taste of freedom, it will be extremely difficult for fundamentalism to ensnare him/her again. Yes, freedom and thinking for oneself is a scary venture at first, but the rewards are tangible and satisfying at any age.