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A Life Of Servitude Or Slavery?


Former Follier
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I have been putting this off for quite some time but decided to finally sit down and express my journey into and out of Christianity in as fair and concise a way as I know how. I haven't been putting this off due to any sort of lingering pain, hurt or any other emotion; I had never really thought about the entire journey as a whole, merely little snippets that compose the whole. So, here goes...

 

I was born early in the morning on June 2nd, 1982 and was in my parents' life-long church (independant, fundamental Baptist) less than two weeks later accompanied by my parents and my two older brothers. I mention this for no other reason than to set a standard for this testimony and to show that we were never caught up in a split or moved to a different church due to doctrinal differences. Our family went to that church and my parents still do.

 

I remember very little of my childhood. As a matter of fact, my "conversion" at the age of five is probably my third or fourth lucid memory. The others are brief glimpses of a family vacation to Silver Dollar City, Missouri, a game that my brothers used to play on me when I was in my crib at night ("The Claw"), and having a chain-link fence gate shut on me when I was in pre-school. So, how is it that having very few memories prior to "giving my life to Christ" (at five years of age?) qualifies me for such a life-changing event?

 

I don't believe that it does.

 

My conversion was actually quite matter-of-fact; I was sitting at the kitchen, eating a bowl of marshmallow-laden, circus-themed oat cereal (similar to Lucky Charms) and decided that I didn't want to burn in hell... ever! So I told my mom, "I just got saved." Did I pray? No. Did I shed a tear? No. Did I even understand what I was supposed to be sorry for or what the ramifications of my actions were? What do you think? Of course not! I was a kid. A very young kid. But that was that. I was saved and my parents were over-joyed! "Nathan received Christ... and at such a young age!"

 

Over the many years as a Christian, I attended pre-school, elementary school, middle school and high school in the church-affiliated school meaning that when I wasn't in the church building, I was in the adjoining school building. Every day of my childhood (less summer vacation) was spent on that property whether it was for religious purposes or quasi-academic purposes.

 

Fast forward a few years... I'm a young teenager, my brothers (four years older and seven years older) are both in high school and my parents seem to be completely preoccupied with sorting out their passive teenage angst.

 

Years later, my time came to rebel and rebel I did. I know that I was quite a handful for my parents and that they weren't at all prepared for my violent battle out of my life as I knew it. I did all I could to defy everything they stood for. I started dressing in the typical "punk rock" fashion that my friends were wearing, started smoking, began drinking... pretty much everything they despised, I wanted to be. I wanted to force them to accept me and not their idea of what I should be. My last attempt at rebellion was in joining the military at 17 years of age.

 

I made several spastic attempts during my teenage years to try to "shape up" and "accept God's will for my life" but I couldn't convince myself to swallow that pill. Strangely enough, God's will seemed conspicuously similar to my parents' will! My "deconversion" was slow and gradual over my last teenage years but became definite upong returning from the military and a few deployments when I finally got to see on my own what the world was and how insidiously Christianity attempts to shelter it's sheep from the truth and replace it with incoherent fantasy.

 

I'm nearly 25 years old and it's been a long time coming... I've endured a volatile marriage, physical suffering, emotional distress, an incredibly taxing divorce/custody case and life threatening encounters. How does my life ourside the church compare? Do I somehow attribute my failures and shortcomings to my departure from a supposed truth? Absolutely not! Life is what it is. I can't say it any simpler. Noone breezes through life without heartache and trials. But why would someone just belly-up when faced with struggles and place his or her faith in a being that has yet to be proven to have or have had any hand in anything that we know to be reality? Why would you choose to deny yourself that kind of power? I choose to take the reins of my life... to break free from the tyrranical governance of any religion and be a servant to myself and to those I love. I'm no longer God's endentured servant (with promises of freedom after death) but an emancipated slave who has the gift of life now.

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I'm no longer God's endentured servant (with promises of freedom after death) but an emancipated slave who has the gift of life now.

 

I like that. Glad you got free.

 

I also like your attitude not to feel sorry for yourself or get caught up in the idea that your marriage problems were God's punishment for deconverting. It must have been tempting to think it was. 25--that's young for having been through all that. Just curious here but did your parents or church have something to do with who you got married to? Just wondering because lots of people who marry for love just don't get into and out of marriage before age 25, esp. with kids involved. I realize this is really personal stuff so no obligation to respond.

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The person I married was indirectly linked to the way I was raised, I suppose. I met her right after I enlisted in the Army and married her six months later. Six months into the marriage, she stabbed me, thrashed me with electrical cords, bit, kicked and scraped me yet I stuck around for another four years. Why did I endure all of this? Why did I stick around? Take a guess. Christians raise their kids to be meek little pacifists who know that divorce is one of the cardinal sins. All of this combined kept me trapped for several years and nearly killed me.

 

I finally got out... a year ago this weekend, actually. If I'm being honest, a large part of why I completely reject the notion of an all-loving, all-seeing, intervening god is because it would seem like he would have given a shit that my wife was abusing me if he did exist. That is a very selfish reason, of course, but look at all of the atrocities that happen on a daily basis where god could divine his "good will". Instead, most like to assign those actions to some malevolent, supernatural entity (Satan) that is the antithesis of the god. It's all a crock.

 

My ex-wife and I currently have joint temporary custody of our two-year old daughter (which I am bitterly contesting in a series of long, drawn out court proceedings) and she continues to negatively affect and abuse my daughter. If god saw me as "damaged goods" and decided not to intervene for those reasons, how could such a "gracious" god sit by and let my innocent daughter be mentally and physically abused by her mother without zapping her? It's an obvious answer to an easy question: he doesn't exist.

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