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My Struggle


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Comrades in Nonbelief,

 

Like most Americans, religion did not play an important part of my life when I was younger. I beleived in God, and heaven, but I accepted those two concepts like I accepted Santa Claus and the Land of Oz. I tried to be good, to do kind things, because I figured that it would help me when I died and got to the so-called pearly gates. However, when I became 11 or so, I began to doubt the existence of God, if only in the back of my mind. I stayed with prayer and religion, however, because I figured that if I did so, it would be a win-win situation. If God did not exist, no harm done. If he did, I would be rewarded. Thus the first seeds of doubt were planted in my mind.

 

I would have seen the light sooner if it hadn't been for a girl I liked, who went to youth group at my church. I wanted to spend time with her, so I went to youth group to do so. I actually fell in love with her, and I began to equate the songs from the praise team (the contemporary band that played praise songs, for those of you fortunate enough not to be familiar with it) and everything about the church and God with my affection for this girl. It sounds cheesy, I know, but that's how my attachment to the church was strengthened.

 

Then, I was "saved". I went to a weekend retreat called Keswick. (Side Note: Do not let your kids go there, under any circumstances. I will explain later.) Keswick became one of the greatest frauds I have ever experianced, and probably ever will. From the first hour we walked in, at the first service, we, as teenagers, were constantly bombarded with the message that A)God Loves us and B)we are imperfect in God's eyes. They made us go to seminars with inviting titles like "Would Jesus listen to Beyonce?" and "Dealing with Non-Christian Friends."

 

The 24 hour crash course culminated into a service on Saturday night. We were all assembled in the sanctuary. The leader, a college student, began to talk. What he said had a powerful influence on the people in the room. He told us, basically, that we were like scratched CD's, irreparable. We would suffer eternal death if we did not find Jesus. He then asked for anyone who wanted to be saved to go to the alter. (This is known as an alter call in the business.) You would not believe what happened. Literally everyone had tears in their eyes. They wept, and I fouight not to cry. The leader's manipulations were successful. Dozens flocked to the alter. I did not, but I committed myself to Jesus.

 

You are asking, "What happened to your faith?" Many things contributed, but one thing worked the most. My faith after that event was strong, but in the fall of last year, a person close to me fell into alcohalism. She destroyed herself in drinking, and I prayed to God for it to stop. He didn't. She eventually got a liver condition, and she was hospitalized. She attempted to commit suicide. God did not answer. In late December, at the Christmas service, I felt nothing at all when I sat in the pews. Literally nothing, only anger, and sadness. I turned away from God.

 

Since then I have come to terms with my rejection of God. I know the value of life is in the moment and not working for entrance to some imaginary paradise. I am an ex-Christian, and an atheist. I am free.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Markkasan!

 

What a horrible thing to happen to your friend. Alcoholism is a terrible thing. I've lost one friend to it myself. He didn't die but he destroyed his life and he's as good as dead to me.

 

I'm glad you found your way out of the xian cult. I haven't been to a Keswick meeting but I've been to many evangelistic meetings and regular church services where the pastors totally manipulated the audience.

 

Stick around, I think you'll like it here.

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Christianity is all about spiritual manipulation, and retreat camps are a great atmosphere for it. They cut you off completely from the outside world and bombard you with their message; a perfect recipe for brainwashing.

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