Hey, so I’ve been wanting to post here for awhile, and I’m still kind of confused on how to post in what sections as a new member, but here I am!
I’m kind of nervous, but I guess I’ll just go ahead. I’m in my early twenties and last year I officially left Christianity. I grew up conservative and homeschooled in the southern United States, and I graduated college almost two years ago.
Three years ago I almost killed my self for a lot of reasons, but one of them was hating myself for being bisexual. I’ve known since I was about 11 that I was bisexual, at least in the loosest understanding of the word. Growing up in Christianity I always felt like there was something wrong with me for that fact. Something deeply, darkly wrong with me. I guess a more specific version of how every sinner really feels, right? My Mom used to tell me no one deserved anything other than Death, Hell, and the Grave and I always really hated that. But I still believed in God, in Jesus. I really did believe. I went on mission trips in high school, even in college. I shared the gospel, I went to a liberal arts college and had lots of discussions with people “different than me” and still believed. I’m not sure exactly what made me really begin to let myself doubt, but a lot of things in my head started to change after I almost killed myself. I started to care less about pretending to be something I wasn’t.
About two years ago I got to a point where in the back of my head I knew that I couldn’t go forward pretending my sexuality didn’t exist. I had a thought that this was the point that I was going to go all in or all out with Christianity. So I started to do research. I started out researching Christians who said Homosexuality actually wasn’t wrong according to the Bible. I looked into this Greek word versus that one, and this translation versus that minor or major difference. I listened to “ex gay” Christians and I listened to “gay” Christians. I listened to “same sex attracted celibate” Christians. I soon came to realize there was just a lot of subjectivity there. I realized people will write entire books on a one word difference that may or may not be true. And create entire seminary classes on why a “lifestyle” is wrong because a group of men a really long time ago agreed on it.
So that may be why I started to question Christianity, but it’s not why I am why I am today. Because from my findings at the time, for me, I surmised that the Bible did in fact condemn homosexuality. And with where I was in my life, I didn’t know how to reconcile that with Christianity. Let me also say that this first process was still very painful. I felt like I was having to make a decision whether part of my identity was valid or not based on 30 different scholars who knew nothing about me. So I made another decision. I decided to do a deep dive research into Christianity. No holds barred let all the doubts in.
I think this part was the most painful. I let myself feel the doubts and horror I had always felt about the concept of Hell and why other people had to be sent there if they were “good people”. I researched the concept and history of Hell. I let myself scream and cry at the idea of a God who would torture people like that for eternity. I researched contradictions in the Bible. I researched “fulfilled prophecies” and “signs of the end times” validity. I listened to Ex Christians. I listened to Atheists and people who left religion. I listened to ex Mormons, ex Jehovah’s Witnesses, ex Muslims, ex Evangelical Fundamentalists like I guess I was. I read testimonies on here. I studied The Lions Den. During all of this time my mind was churning and breaking apart a little. There was a lot of cognitive dissonance. Most of my close friends are committed Christians. Most of my family is as well. I was terrified to come out of the closet in two different ways. Agnostic/atheist or whatever I was becoming and coming out as Bisexual.
I told a few close friends about being bisexual when I was in the Greek research phase, and they just told me to be careful that it didn’t affect my faith. I mean hey, we see how that turned out.
When I fully began to acknowledge to myself that I didn’t believe in Christianity anymore, I didn’t tell anyone for awhile. I didn’t know who to tell. I told my brother and sister and they reacted pretty well. My brother is still kind of Christian but not super fundamentalist. My sister is kind of agnostic, she’s gone through the stages of progressive Christianity and I don’t think she’s super committed to the idea of Christianity. I came out to her in both ways and she just shrugged and told me to get a better job and I needed my own health insurance by now. She said she didn’t care about any of that other stuff.
I told a couple of my Christian friends and they reacted how I thought they would, they said me saying that I wasn’t a Christian anymore scared them, but of course they were still my friends. And since then we have been, because besides that they are good friends and they have been there for me through a lot. But I’m honestly not interested in talking with them, or “debating” with them about it. I told my parents about being Bi and leaving Christianity around the holidays and although they reacted better than I thought, there was still plenty of tears and yelling.
I apologized to my Mom for hurting her feelings for one instance and she burst out crying, saying how could I even know I was wrong if I left Christianity? How could I have any sense of objective morality now? I was stunned, and I fully realize the problems with what she said, and I tried to explain them to her, that plenty of people have morality without Christianity, and that religion doesn’t have a baseline on right and wrong, but she wouldn’t hear it. I then realized that this is how Christians see other people.
That is how I saw other people not in Christianity. I thought they could do good things, sure, but there was still something off about them to me. Could they really be capable of good without Jesus? In Christianity, when someone does “wrong” or “commits a sin” they’re “covered by grace”. But if a non believer does it, well they’re evil and of the world. We shouldn’t have expected any better. But when Christians commit sin and fall it just means we’re not perfect and we’re trying to be through Jesus. I’m realizing how nonsensical so much of Christianity really is. My parents listened to Evangelist Ravi Zacharias a lot growing up, and although he passed away recently, some things came out about him in the past few months about sexual assault allegations and misconduct. In fact it was his own organization that looked into the allegations after his death. They released a report and in that report it detailed how Ravi had nude photos of his masseuses. There were messages on his phone, payments he made to keep his victims quiet. Accounts from many women who said he touched them inappropriately. What got me was many Christians were surprised by this. And even more, how many just refused to believe it, even with all the evidence laid out in front of them. But I wasn’t surprised. I knew people in the Church covered up things like this all the time. But it was interesting to me, because I remember some of the messages Ravi used to say. “Secret sin will find you out” being one he would say constantly. I know it’s hard to admit when someone you looked up to falls. I guess especially if you’re not used to admitting you’re wrong, about anything. It’s hard to admit you’re wrong. I think in part, that’s why so many stay Christians when they have so much doubt.
I’d also like to add that although I love my parents, and I do love them dearly, they did things throughout my childhood that I now view as abusive. I’m an adult now. I’ve been in therapy for four years now. I’m 24. But my Dad threw me on the ground when I was a kid and it knocked the wind out of me. They tied me up with duct tape when I was an early teenager and laughed at me because I talked back (something they say they don’t remember doing). My Dad has punched holes in our walls. If I was clenching my fists while my Dad was spanking me, he would keep spanking me until I wasn’t “angry” so I wouldn’t have a “rebellious” spirit. My older sister got the brunt of a lot of it, and my brother maybe got less of it than I did. But it for sure messed all of us up. My parents have cried and said they’re so sorry for all of it. And I do believe them. And they are doing better. They’re trying, at least on that front. But it still doesn’t erase the damage. It’s hard to explain that to them. I also know they are the way that they are because of their parents. Their parents abused them in some ways as well. It’s hard realizing this, because I love my grandparents and they love me. My grandpa pushed my Dad down some pretty steep stairs when he was a teenager. My Dad still doesn’t see that as abuse and says he deserves it because he was talking back. So I see the cycles, I do and it hurts. I see Christianity as one of those cycles as well. And I want to break it.
I lost my Grandma last year to cancer, my Mom’s mom, and that was hard for me to reconcile with leaving Christianity. Because while Hell is such an awful idea, Heaven to me was such a nice and dear one for so long. I used to have dreams about it as a kid. We were pretty close and I wanted to be able to see her again. Letting go of that was hard, and I still have trouble with it sometimes. Then I remind myself that while Heaven may not exist and while there may not be anything after this, that makes this life so much sweeter. Plus it is so much better than believing in a tortuous eternity for anyone.
I guess I’m not exactly sure where I fall now. Maybe agnostic, maybe on the way to atheism. All I know for sure is that I’m not a Christian anymore. And although my life is still hard, I feel a lot better about myself in so many ways. But I do still struggle with some things. For a long time when contradictions would happen, such as when I would be praying if I should go to a certain college, and someone would talk to me about that college and I would think “oh thanks God.” Or if I hadn’t eaten lunch at work and someone brought donuts I would think “wow thanks for providing for me God”.
When I almost killed myself and I reached out for help when I needed it afterwards, I thought: “Wow God you really are there for me”. I’m realizing now that that, was actually just all me and other people. Not to sound full of myself, but realizing that it was actually just me being that strong has been comforting.
I still struggle with praying sometimes as a comfort measure, and maybe that will take time to fade. I still struggle with the thought that maybe I’m wrong about all of this, and sometimes even a fear of hell, and maybe that takes time to fade as well.
I know this was a lot but if there’s one thing I know about this website it’s that long posts seem to be okay here haha.
That’s most of my story, and I just wanted to reach out and say hello.
I also wanted to ask:
- What helped you with these doubts when you first really acknowledged Christianity was bullshit?
- Are there any resources you would recommend? Authors? Books?
I’m really not interested in debating or talking about Christianity, or why I’m wrong with my Christian friends and family right now. The little bit I’ve done has been exhausting and I just flat out don’t want to engage in it right now with them. I guess I don’t owe it to them anyway. If anyone tries to talk to me about why Christianity is right and I’m wrong I’m just going to say I don’t want to talk about it or leave. I don’t feel ready to argue or debate and I don’t really want to. That’s okay, right? I don’t want to talk about these things all of the time or hear about my mortal soul on the road to decay for the 100th time. Or hear how owning up to my bisexuality makes me an abomination. I’m just sick of it. And I am at the beginning of this, I guess I am on the younger side. So we’ll see how I feel about in ten years. Right now though I just want to be able to live my life. I’m not out to everyone I want to be on both fronts, but it’s getting to the point where I just don’t care who knows anymore. But it is kind of ostracizing. And I do miss the community that I had at church.
I guess regardless I’m here now.
- Fairly Sunny