Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:29 PM
I have read many of the stories here and felt the need to share my own since reading what others have gone through has been a great help to me.
Both my brother and I were brought up as Catholics by my mother. We followed all the usual practices but it was never really an issue in our family, probably because my father had no religious beliefs at all and so it was never talked about in our home. We just got mass out the way every Sunday and then got on with our lives. That seemed to be enough. Unfortunately my mother had recurring problems with Cancer and finally died of a brain tumour when I was eleven.
The nurse looking after my mother during her last weeks happened to be a born again Christian and she did do an amazing job of looking after my mother but also took the opportunity to explain how she didn’t need her “rosary”, all she needed was to accept Jesus into her heart. I really don’t know what my mother’s last decision was.
My father had developed a close bond with the nurse and a relationship developed soon after that. My brother and I would be taken along with my dad as he “dated” the nurse and at her house I remember reading a Jack T Chick evangelical booklet left in the toilet which scared the crap out of me. Obviously I had questions about heaven and hell since I had just lost my mother and the nurse spoke to me about it. Soon enough, I was converted and I was instantly terrified that my brother and father were now doomed to hell so I constantly tried to talk to them about how “giving your life to Jesus” would save them from this fate
My father and the nurse married and by this time the whole family had been converted. We went to the local evangelical church and I tried to spread the word as widely and as fervently as I possibly could throughout my hometown. I went to Christian camps, avoided alcohol, smoking, underage sex, spoke in tongues, went to prayer meetings, played in the praise band etc….. I think it was around my last years of high school that I realised things weren’t right.
There were just too many things that didn’t add up. The church that I went to was filled with members constantly arguing and fighting with each other over so many stupid little things, my friend’s church in another town was falling apart because of the same thing, I had absolutely nothing in common with my Christian friend’s apart from a similar belief and my own household was always filled with so much misery because we could never live up to the tyrannical standards that my new Christian mother had set out even though I was an absolute angel compared to “secular” kids.
Basically, where I was supposed to find “love” I was finding frustration and unhappiness. The people who were supposed to be filled with love were better known to me for their nastiness and anger.
One of the main enjoyments in my life, before I was converted, was music and films. I tried to continue to enjoy them but I was constantly warned of their dangers. I tried to switch to Christian bands but they were never as satisfying. Christian films were nonexistent and I soon realised that my desire for art in general was not being met.
I was starting to feel hungry for some sort of expression since any kind of Christian expression was so watered down that it had no effect on me.
I remember hearing my pastor talking about how disgraceful the film “The last temptation of Christ” was and how it portrayed Jesus as a homosexual. Alarm bells started to ring when I knew he hadn’t actually seen the film. I also had a travelling preacher sit me down and explain to me how bad heavy metal (my choice of music) was and that the song “master of puppets” by Metallica was about Satan. Even then I knew he was talking rubbish since it was clear to me that it was an anti drugs song. How could these people in authority talk so much nonsense without any kind of research?
I also started to question the idea that God was Male. It made no sense to attribute a specific sex to a divine being but this was something that other Christians just could not handle at all. It made much more sense that the God who supposedly created both male and female would have attributes from both sexes and anyway, the whole idea of God would surely mean that s/he was so far above and beyond any kind of gender that it was ridiculous to assume either. This just did not compute with most of the Christians I spoke about it with. They seem to be offended that at the thought that God could have any kind of female aspects attributed to him/her. God was male to them, end of story.
At the end of my school year I only had enough grades to get into one course at University and that happened to be Theology. It was secular based course but that provided me the opportunity to get out of the family home and away to the big city where I could figure things out. I loved my course and it started to open my eyes to reading the bible in a non Christian way which shed so much light on how I had acted before. My past reading of the bible never stopped to question anything at all. I just read and consumed without thought. I was now shown problems with the text that I had never seen before and the problem with the first two chapters of Genesis provided the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Within the first two chapters of Genesis there are two creation stories that completely contradict each other. I looked into more biblical contradictions and it soon became clear that I could not accept any other excuses. The bible could not be the “Word of God” since man’s own human fallibility was stamped all over it. This lead me to question just what it was I had experienced all these years and I came to realise that the only constant in all of this was the interaction of other humans.
So yeah, I have been told that you cannot judge God by the actions of humans but how did I learn about God? Well, mostly through the bible which I now believe was written purely by humans or I was taught by a minister or pastor (a human supposedly inspired by God). I prayed to God and was supposed to have this “personal relationship” with Jesus but “communication” through prayer was always suspiciously one way. When I did think God had spoken to me it was more of a feeling inside me. I now realise that it was just my OWN feelings which I gave this silent God the credit for. God was never there. I was only ever reading man’s word or hearing man’s opinion or feeling my own emotions.
I hid my decision to not believe in God from my parents for some time but it soon felt like I was living a lie so even though I knew I would be letting them down, I had to tell them. So yeah, there is a lot of tension between us but it is really up to them to accept it since I accept their beliefs even though I disagree with them all. One of the funny parts for me was explaining how the word “Sin” had no effect on me anymore when they were trying to show that I was living in sin while living with my girlfriend. It felt like they always had this power over me, using religion as a way to control how I lived my life and suddenly that power was gone.
One thing I remember from all this is a mental picture of me, kneeling down in-front of my bed, crying out to God for forgiveness most nights because of the sins I had committed. I can’t believe how much better I feel without religion. Everything else makes so much more sense now.
I only felt “Free” after leaving religion behind. All this Christian talk of having my chains broken and my burden lifted has only happened after I made a conscious decision to not believe in God.
Thank you for reading. I hope it wasn’t too long. At the very least, expressing all this has been a huge help to me. I am so grateful that this space exists on the web. You are Good people. I almost want to say “God Bess You All” but you know what I mean…….
Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:39 PM
Same here. Isn't it weird? It's like the "good news" that supposedly set you free, is actually the bonds the make you a slave!
I can’t believe how much better I feel without religion. Everything else makes so much more sense now. I only felt “Free” after leaving religion behind. All this Christian talk of having my chains broken and my burden lifted has only happened after I made a conscious decision to not believe in God.
Glob Bless you too!
I almost want to say “God Bess You All” but you know what I mean…….
And behold, one came who in the form of a demon holding a beer, and he spake with a tongue of red. And when he spake, he said bye bye, and all listened, and watched as he smote the babbling troll with his +5 banhammer of fedupishness. And there was much rejoicing.
Book of Hans 3:16
Posted 03 November 2005 - 05:42 PM
experienced in the past as well - the burden of guilt, the emptiness of
prayer....yeah, been there, done that!
Hope you'll stick around!
Posted 03 November 2005 - 07:47 PM
We all support your wise decision to live in sin.
Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:28 AM
Welcome, and congrats for getting your head on straight!
"We have fossils - we win!"
Lewis Black (on Creationists)
Posted 04 November 2005 - 08:42 AM
Posted 04 November 2005 - 01:47 PM
It felt like they always had this power over me, using religion as a way to control how I lived my life and suddenly that power was gone.
Well, that's often what it is all about, isn't it.
Posted 04 November 2005 - 05:26 PM
death - especially your mother. I do wonder if you might
have been "caught on the rebound" because of the trauma
of that event.
The very best for the future, for you, Aereo.
What happened with the theology course - you didn't say.
Were you able to continue with it, given your new-found
freedom from religious bondage?
Posted 05 November 2005 - 12:24 PM
I would like to hear more about your comment, "Within the first two chapters of Genesis there are two creation stories that completely contradict each other." I have never heard anyone claim that. Could you elaborate?
It's not a claim, it's a fact: Myth Version 1 is in: Genesis 1:1-2:3 ; Myth Version 2 is in: Genesis 2:4-25.
This is the first of countless biblical contradictions. You'd think God wouldn't be so clumsy and stupid that he couldn't get his story straight.
Start here: http://www.skepticsa...a/accounts.html
Nearly all of the mistranslations of the Bible are online, if you'd like to compare.
Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:07 PM
I thought christians weren't allowed to post in the eximonies portion
of the forum. Has this changed? Issues with Genesis should really
be discussed in the Colisseum, shouldn't they?
Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:38 PM
And what a jackass I am! I forgot to say:
Getting rid of Christianity, then any theistic crapola is so very liberating. I was deeply depressed while a believer. I'm much happier now.
Posted 06 November 2005 - 08:04 PM
Please refrain from posting in this the Testimonies section.
Area reserved for those giving their stories involving their leaving religious persuasions, not to discuss or debate those reasons.
Feel free to post any questions or commentary in the open to Public forums.
Posts deleted by nivek.
Since the State necessarily lives by the compulsory confiscation of private capital, and since its expansion necessarily involves ever-greater incursions on private individuals and private enterprise, we must assert that the state is profoundly and inherently anti-capitalist. --Murray N Rothbard. Anatomy of the State
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. - Frédéric Bastiat
Posted 07 November 2005 - 06:32 PM
I think i will go have a look at the colisseum now where i would love to discuss the Genesis stories if anyone is interested?
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