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Born-again Atheist

Guest Victor

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Hello everyone,


This is my first post here and I'd just like to introduce myself. My name's Victor, and I am a college student from Pennsylvania who has recently renounced Christianity and religion in general.


I was raised nominally Christian, although my parents weren't really all that religious. My mother was a product of Catholic school, so naturally she distrusted religion in general. My father used to be a university professor, so he's no nitwit evangelist. Still, we went to church and I went to Sunday school, since I suppose my parents wanted me to have moral fiber. In any case, I "gave my life to Christ" when I was 13 at one of those youth retreats that I went to with my church's youth group.


Looking back, that youth retreat I went on really said a lot about the Christian movement in America today, in its deceit and shameless charlatanry. I went because my friends were going, not because I wanted to get closer to God or anything. The retreat was in the Jersey Pine barrens. It was called Keswick or something like that. Anyway, the minute I stepped in, I was bombarded with the message that I had to devote my life and soul to Jesus. I was told I was a "scratched CD," that I was "broken," and that I would certainly die spiritually (read: go to hell) if I didn't accept Jesus as my personal savior. It was very emotional. They did an alter call during a service on Saturday night, but I did not go up, even though I decided to devote my life to Jesus. I did not think that it was necessary to make my spiritual choice public for any praise or admiration. My youth leader harrangued me into walking up, so I did. Everyone was crying, embracing, praising Jesus. Rather sickening, actually, now that I look back on it. What manipulative bastards these pastors are. They manipulate your emotions into believing something irrational and stupid.


My faith in God lasted for five years. I know that's nothing when compared to some of you, who, I have gathered, have been hardcore fundies for decades. But I did pray, and even evangelized a bit to those who would listen. I was a pretty good debater. I knew the ontological, cosmological, and telelogical arguments by heart. I could defend every angle of attack. However, a series of experiences in my life disillusioned me from the idea of God. First, my older sister became an alcoholic, due to her bipolar disorder, and she almost died from an overdose. She went insane, literally. Evey day was a struggle to keep her safe from herself. Although now she has recovered, that experience left me with the knowledge that my prayers counted for nothing. No matter how much I pleaded, she would keep drinking and keep hurting herself. That continued for nine months, nonstop. My pastor's words were cold and callous: "Have faith," "Pray," and "Trust in God, Victor." What lies. What bullshit. As if my sister's sufferings were a result of my inability to place all my trust in God. Madness.


After that I became much less religious, almost to the point of agnosticism. I wavered from rejecting God to running back to theism. My church friends were no help, the hypocrites. Praising God in one breath and backstabbing and uttering insults the next. The girls, even worse. They were the more zealous to worship Father God, and yet that didn't stop them from sleeping around or being catty bitches to one another. I began to see just how corrupt the church's followers were. The few good men were outnumbered by dozens of hypocrites, liars, and charlatans. I was disgusted. I stopped going to youth group meetings because of that. Another symptom of my disillusionment.


Understand, comrades, that this was not easy, this transition from faith to doubt. I stayed awake many nights imagining a world without God, a death without an afterlife. It's frightening to comprehend. Yet, as time went by, I gained courage. I began to see life as more of a gift. If this life is the only one we have, doesn't that make it all the more precious? I resolved to live life to the fullest. I think this is where I crossed over into atheism. Once I lost my fear of death, I lost the need to have a deity to keep me immortal.


What do I hold sacred now? I believe in truth, justice, and compassion for fellow human beings. That is more I can say for the Biblical God, who seems to represent superstition, arbitrary punishment, and cruelty. Three cheers for being decent without incentive of heaven. Thank you Kurt Vonnegut for showing me that.


And here I am, mentally and emotionally free. I'm looking forward to participating in discussions and making fun of the antics of misguided theists in this forum.

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hi good to see you. My 'faith' probably didn't last very long if I only went to church on sundays for a couple of years. I was losing faith, or at least became agnostic in year 8, for that was when i felt attracted to buddhism. a year later i had the life changing experience, that i can not forget. I saw death, or rather a dying man. he was unrelated, but it was a violent death. he was losing sight, and in agony. he was the school security guard. I was 14, and shocked. I worked through GCSE but with an unhealthy obsession. I finally broke, after losing the ability to feel emotions, at 18. I was in Australia, my home, where I had no support from my parents nor from family. It was here where I met a beautiful woman who was also my teacher, Chris, and a friend who gave me all the emotional support, who to this day I still see her as an elder sister, Vincci. These two wonderful people gave me support at a time when I was confused. God did nothing! I went to the UK to re-do A-levels. My immaturity brought me down. The first year of uni, I had depression, not chronic, but enough to make me go see a psychotherapist. I'm out of it now, because I've finally managed to resolve to living for today for myself. I only denounced christianity 6 months ago. Only my uncle, an evangelist knew. I do not know how to compromise the anger I have against my family for the lack of ability to be there, yet still expect my commitment. It's funny, but sad that I can no longer feel trust to my family, without closing an eye. I've developed/matured beyond myself. I can no longer adhere to words, like 'We'll support you forever' especially not from someone who ain't there when needed. I'm only rebuilding a sense of trust towards others, to say the world is beautiful, even when you've seen the darker side. I realise that the only one responsible for my life is me. No matter how others try, they can not replace 'me' in the sense that 'I' am the ultimate reference point for 'me' as in 'I think, therefore I am.' Realising that makes me go to the conclusion of there is no god, or if there is, there are lots of questions for him to explain.


Unlike you, I've been in and out of x'ianity, but I know this is the final bow out. I'm still walking, removing myself from the anger that I feel. It is a lot better to appreciate the beauty of human nature as it is rather than say it was 'created' within them. At least I know it was chance that I met some wonderful people, although I would just as much love to say lady luck has not forsaken me. However I think Montaigne said it best in one of his essays

'it is the morality of a man that shapes his destiny'

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I was told I was a "scratched CD,"

Well, I guess my age is showing! I never heard that one before. Of course, CD's weren't invented yet when I was getting the lectures for teens.


Welcome to the group. I do remember all of the devices used to grab ahold of adolescents while they were going through turbulent times, because I rode through them all. But it is great to get out, ain't it?

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's great to get out, it truly is. Born-again atheist. That sounnds like me. Only it took some years to figure out that atheist fit me. CONFUSED is what I was. But when I committed to find my own happiness at whatever it may cost--that is when I was "born again." It was an experience I did not know could happen. The only framework by which I could explain it was with the Christian "born-again" language. Yet in my mind I was turning my back on all I was taught to hold holy.


Broken records. Scratched CDs. Where I come from (horse and buggy Mennonite) one was as unheard of as the other. I was taught by my pious mother and aunts that we humans are so utterly helplessly depraved that of our own selves we cannot so much as think one good thought. Never ever could I buy that. My very hope to keep on breathing from day to day depended on being able to find some inspiration in the beauties of nature and it never ever seemed to come from outside of me. I could praise God for the beauties of nature but not for allowing me to feel the joy and inspiration. Why? Because I was chronically depressed and didn't know it.


I think that on an unconscious level I knew that depending on God to feel happy and inspired (for one good thought as my mother and her sisters said) was writing off my life. It was a place I could not--would not--go. Finally I decided to break with tradition, cost what it may, and commit myself to make my Self happy. That's when I had my new birth. Today I am an atheist. So I guess that makes me a born-again atheist.

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