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From Roman Catholic To Born Again To Atheist


Guest Loghann
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Guest Loghann

So, the college that I'm attending (Vassar) has an independent group called the Atheist League. We're putting out a publication to kind of let people know about our presence, and in it a whole bunch of members wrote up their stories of how their beliefs came to be. I figured that, since I've finally written it, I might as well post it here. It's kind of the condensed version, but you get the idea.

 

I was born into a Christian family with a Catholic mother and a Methodist father. My dad never really has been the religious type, the only time he decided to play that card was when I came out to him as gay a few years back. My brother and myself were raised in the faith of my mother's side of the family, Roman Catholicism. I went to Catholic elementary school and played on a parochial basketball team through the seventh grade. I was a good, pious little Catholic girl, I was baptized, had completed the sacrament of Reconciliation, and received Holy Eucharist. At one point I even seriously professed that I wished to become a nun. That caused a great panic in my family, and they backed off of the church for a while.

 

After switching to public school, I made friends with a few girls who attended a non-denominational Protestant church. I was invited to go with them to the youth services. They started at 10:32 am, something that I still remember as being odd. The service was called H2O, "For those who thirst". I remember being awed by a group of teenagers, on fire for God, singing praises to him (without an organ! That was huge!) with their hands in the air and blissful looks on their faces. The youth pastor was a friendly, outgoing man who made me feel right at home in this strange environment. When he spoke to the group, he said strange things like "saved" and "born-again". I was a bit wary of this whole business, but I listened anyway. What he said made sense, much more sense than the Catechism. The sacrifice of Jesus was broken down for me, and it seemed so clear what I had to do. It was so simple, and it felt right. I felt like I was being drawn to kneel there, to pray the sinner's prayer, and so it was on October 3, 2001, that I became a born-again Christian.

 

I spent the next few years feeling absolutely confident in my life, in my spirituality. I testified to people, even explained to my little brother the reasons why he needed to be saved. I felt that God was in my life through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I did things like bring my friends to church and obsessively read the Left Behind series. Things were looking up, going well, and I was happy. And then, horror of horrors, I started questioning my sexuality. Okay, so maybe "started" isn't the right word, as I remember kissing a girl in dance class when I was four and having crushes on female friends in the second grade. It just all was becoming clear to me, and I couldn't accept it. For the longest time I hid in my room (my mother was worried about me, but just chalked it up to teenage defiance) for hours, burning incense and praying, doing research on reparative therapies and Biblical verses. For a long time I was in a deep, deep depression, and I'd be lying if I said that suicide wasn't on my mind. Eventually I found groups of other gay Christians on the Internet and began to accept myself. I was able to reconcile my sexuality and my religion unto one another, and I was ready to start a new page of my life as a gay born-again Christian. But something had changed in that time spent in depression.

 

During my search for either acceptance or change I had realized just how much the Christian religion can be used like a hammer, for lack of better terms. I realized that people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell didn't really care if I was one of the flock or not, they hated me nonetheless. I realized that the friends who had led me to this new brand of Christianity had abandoned me as soon as I started asking questions, discussing the possible interpretations of Genesis 19 and such. And I realized that during my entire search, God had been silent. I pulled myself up out of that darkness, I fought for my own sanity, God hadn't stepped in and every prayer to Jesus had only brought more frustrating, deafening silence. So, I did what I always do: I started studying.

 

I studied other religions and more liberal braches of Christianity. I felt especially drawn to the Society of Friends, but there were no Meetings anywhere in my whole state, so that was out. As I branched out, I realized that there were billions of people in the world who believed things not only completely different than the things I believed, but, in some cases, diametrically opposed to the things that I believed. The strangest part was that they believed that they were correct with the same fervor that I did. It was disconcerting. How could I assume that I was right and they were wrong, when they were assuming the same about me? It seemed the very height of arrogance.

 

Up until this point I was still clinging to the label of “Christian”, if for no other reason than the comfort it gave. I was incredibly afraid of the fires of Hell, and maybe, just maybe, if I held on to the name for long enough, the confidence would come back, the faith would come back, and I would still be saved. It never did. My mother and I were driving when I finally came to terms with my spiritual state. We were discussing religion, and the words just popped out of my mouth “I don’t think I’m a Christian.” They shocked me just as much as they did her, and neither of us knew what to say. I labeled myself as an agnostic for a while, but then a friend of mine took me to her youth group and I was “saved” again, recovered from my back-slidden state. It was only a few weeks more before I started asking the tough questions again, and when no satisfactory answers came, I was left with my agnosticism.

 

That’s really the end of the interesting part of the story. Eventually I was no longer comfortable with the term ‘agnostic’, feeling that it didn’t quite fit my beliefs as much as the label ‘atheist’. And that’s where I am now. I got here through a mixture of emotion and logic, experience and observation. I am comfortable with this view, and the discussions it brings. I’m happier now, as an atheist, than I ever was as a Catholic, or as a born-again Christian. Life is good, and if this is the only one I get, I intend to do my best to enjoy it.

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I studied other religions and more liberal braches of Christianity. I felt especially drawn to the Society of Friends

 

I am glad you got out before you were destroyed by the belief system. So happy for you.

I went to a Quaker meeting for a while when I was searching. I like them a lot. They tell me that all meetings are different. At the one I attended I meet several humanists and atheists. Very insteresting group of people.

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There are so many things about Christianity which just don't add up or aren't right, and you have pointed out some of them. Glad things are going well for you now.

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After switching to public school, I made friends with a few girls who attended a non-denominational Protestant church. I was invited to go with them to the youth services. They started at 10:32 am, something that I still remember as being odd. The service was called H2O, "For those who thirst". I remember being awed by a group of teenagers, on fire for God, singing praises to him (without an organ! That was huge!) with their hands in the air and blissful looks on their faces. The youth pastor was a friendly, outgoing man who made me feel right at home in this strange environment. When he spoke to the group, he said strange things like "saved" and "born-again". I was a bit wary of this whole business, but I listened anyway. What he said made sense, much more sense than the Catechism. The sacrifice of Jesus was broken down for me, and it seemed so clear what I had to do. It was so simple, and it felt right. I felt like I was being drawn to kneel there, to pray the sinner's prayer, and so it was on October 3, 2001, that I became a born-again Christian.

 

I My mother and I were driving when I finally came to terms with my spiritual state. We were discussing religion, and the words just popped out of my mouth “I don’t think I’m a Christian.” They shocked me just as much as they did her, and neither of us knew what to say. I labeled myself as an agnostic for a while, but then a friend of mine took me to her youth group and I was “saved” again, recovered from my back-slidden state.

 

Welcome Loghann:)

 

I too was a Methodist so-called "born-again." I went to a retreat and I became a Christian there. Afterwards I would defend the faith, until I actually started looking into the arguments I was putting forth. So, like you, I studied and found out the true history of the Church.

 

It's rather disingenuous of your friend to bring you back to youth group in an effort to "save" you. How can you be saved if you are not lost? And what does being "saved" really matter? You are not broken, and you don't need fixing, so why try to?

 

Good luck with dealing with your family and friends about your unbelief as well as your sexuality. It's tough, but it's worth it in the end.

 

Best Regards

Markkasan

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good stuff! Like yourself it took me a while to let go emotionally, though intellectually my mind was made up.

 

I too called myself an agnostic for a while before drifting to "born-again atheism" as you so superbly describe it. It must have been even harder for you being gay, I can still remember some of the fire and brimstone preachers I heard condemning this outrage on morality. I still find the idea of sex outside of marriage and having sex with more than one person giving me trouble sometimes, so it must be extra hard for you.

 

Anyway, stick around, join in our discussions, and good luck to you.

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Good for you! Great eximony!

 

Hope life brings you better fortune now that you have awakened to the corruption of the church and it's ideals.

 

I welcome you to read my eximony also posted here. Titled The Godly Christlike Atheist.

 

Hmmmm see a pattern here?

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