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Goodbye Jesus

We are not monsters now


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Sent in by Joey Hackl


Below is an edited version of an email I sent to a friend briefly explaining my de-conversion from Christianity, without going into too much detail. I'm hoping this might help people gain a better understanding, as some people suddenly seem to think we are monsters now. Here it is:



[personal greeting]


I won't speak too much for [my wife], cause she has her own reasons for not believing, but I'll briefly explain how I came to a place of no longer believing in god or the bible. I won't go into great detail, or this email will turn into a 1500 page book, and I'm not writing this to convince you of anything, just to explain what’s up with us. It was a process that took many years. I did not wake up one day and say, "That's it, I don't believe anymore." I had been a pretty faithful Christian for most of my life. When I was 14, my family went to a conference and they came back telling about how they felt the presence of god and how the spirit touched them personally. This was the first time I ever heard talk like this. They were so sincere and were so excited about their experience. Their faith was fully restored and recharged by it. The following night I made a prayer to be personally touched by god in an undeniable way, to feel his presence in such a way that I know it could only be him. It didn't happen, but I was confident that eventually I was going to experience him. I continued to pray that for years and years, never experiencing that presence that others seem to easily get. Despite that, I remained faithful and hopeful, and convinced myself that it was going to be in god's time, not mine, that I'll experience him.


My whole life, from the early years of being a Christian on, I had difficult questions about things in the bible and apparent loopholes and contradictions in the bible. In the early days, I would ask some of these questions to people and they'd quickly discourage me from "wasting [my] time" on those questions, ‘cause the devil tries to use them to distract from Jesus. Well, I was obedient and I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind and suppressed them whenever they surfaced. When I was a teen, I learned that some of these questions were addressed by various Christian authors. I looked into them and accepted their answers, but inside I wasn't truly convinced, and I was ashamed to use them whenever debating with atheists. I continued to suppress those questions and rely on the happy parts of the bible and personal experience as my main argument and reason for being a Christian. "Well, I don't know all the facts, but I can tell you I know in my heart that he is real.." I really had myself convinced. I deliberately looked for things in my life to attach a "god came through for me" story to it. I was a moderately rebellious teen with a low self-esteem and I grew out of it. It was perfect material to use so that I, too, can have a testimony. Whenever in debate, I would always be backed into the "personal experience" corner as my last resort. The truth was, I had no personal experience with god, and I was still down on my knees, in tears, begging and longing for "his presence," and I started to feel like he was denying me. I started to feel like a child, who wanted nothing more than to just be in his dad's arms, but the dad wanted nothing to do with me. Always at the office, or away.. who only expressed his love through providing for me.


About two or three years ago, I started too notice strong differences between my views and many Christian views on such things as foreign policy and the US war in Iraq. Even some of the people I most respected viewed things, the exact opposite as I viewed them and they backed their views with the bible, as did I my views. This sparked smoothing in me. Basically, it sparked a strong desire, not to be spoon fed anymore, but to revitalize my faith by seeking out answers in the bible on my own. So I took to reading. I took to asking the hard questions and seeking out the answers on my own. I attempted to reconcile all the seemingly nonsensical things, the atrocious things, and the contradictions with the teachings of love and my personal beliefs. I learned more than I ever have before, and my parents would be proud of how much bible reading I did.


During all that we found [our church], a beautiful and loving group of people and I quickly got involved. Somehow [the pastor] seems to have seen something in me and thought it was anointing and tried to get me involved in a lot of projects. I took this as my opportunity to finally get right and hopefully experience god. Since I was doing a lot of reading, when he asked me about writing for Le Journal, I thought what a great idea. The thing is, everything I wrote, was incomplete and I felt like I had to put a positive spin on it somehow in order for it to be acceptable. I felt like if I wrote my true sentiments to completion, I would be sewing seeds of doubt in the church. So, I started off asking interesting questions and then quickly forming a moral based answer to them. It got to the point where I was having so many doubts that I couldn't write an article and put that spin on it anymore. It felt dishonest to do. So I tried... I wrote the beginning of a bunch of articles, but could never finish them. That is why you stopped receiving articles from me. Eventually I decided to stop, but I wasn't willing to share why at that point.


Well, not too long after that I came to a point where I realized I no longer believed the bible to be true. I had to stare my "unbelief" in the face and recognize it. I asked myself why I believe and the answer became clear that I just don't. Once I was aware of that I became scared, because my whole life revolved around Christians and the church. Family, friends, everything and everyone close. Though my wife was with me for the whole journey, I had to come clean to her and let her know that I simply do not believe in god. I was afraid of the consequences of sharing that. Would she leave me? Would that news just destroy her and make her mourn for my death in hell? What about the baby? Well, I shared with her, and she was surprised, but surprisingly took it very well. She asked me to explain what was it that made me stop believing, so I did. A little while later, she told me that she doesn't believe anymore either.


So we ended up in this position were we knew this information would hurt our families and friends, but we could not continue pretending. We shared the news with our parents and family. It was very hard. Then we shared with some friends, and then the pastor and his wife.


[personal closing]http://exchristian.net/testimonies/2007/01...nsters-now.html

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I too had doubts about the bible when I first became a Christian but was when I asked questions I was usually told not to doubt, just believe. I did just that for years until I finally had to confront these problems and contradictions and found the bible not to be a book written by God, but written by men.

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