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Musings Of The Ex


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In the End of the Beginning


Sunday, March 7 2010


A date that will live in infamy. At least for me. The day of an awakening within my self.


Like a rush of water flowing over my body it left me in the blink of an eye. It's almost as memorable as the day I accepted Jesus into my heart. The same kind of feeling, except this time it was more of a loosing of the spirit, instead of the tightening grip which had so readily grabbed me before.


On this day I finally admitted to myself the truth. I no longer believed. It was a long time coming. I regret nothing. I did not fear it. It happened almost without my prompting it. I had taken month and months of searching and mulling over the biggest questions that would shake my faith to the core. It was relatively early in the day, perhaps about the time that Sunday service would be letting out. I was on the internet, listening to various lectures and the Atheist Experience. The feeling rushed over me and I said to myself:


"I really don't believe this crap anymore, I should just come clean. These atheists and supposed evil-doers make more sense than any of these theologians ever could have."


In the Beginning


Jump back to my conversation. I was a young teenager at a Christian summer camp. I always had trouble fitting in. In middle school I felt like I never had any friends, I had the typical self esteem issues that every kid went through. I got involved at a local church. I call it local, but it was massive. It was your typical youth oriented night time services. I met friends there. I liked these people. These people cared about being good and doing the right thing. These people didn't judge me based on appearance or awkwardness. I got very involved at the youth group. I really felt something, like I was part of something bigger. I loved it.


I didn't understand the message of Christianity though. The youth pastor never really presented the gospel in a way I understood. I never even heard what the gospel was. On one of the summer camp trips I took with the church however, something changed within me. There were sermons every night, usually pretty late. One night we had a very emotional altar call. I felt compelled to respond. Something was tugging at my heart, and I didn't understand what it was. Everyone's heads were bowed. The pastor asked anyone who felt that had accepted Jesus into their heart to stand. Nervously I looked around. Fear gripped me. Should I stand? Someone was telling me to stand.


No... I couldn't. Too dangerous. I wouldn't want the people next to me to know that I stood up. I think they knew me. How embarrassing if I stood up. But I swallowed my butterflies and cautiously stood up. I trembled. What should I do? I felt spotlights on me. There were dim lights around the room, but at that moment I felt them on me. I looked around. Several people were standing up with me. I no longer felt alone. I was empowered in my spirit. There were probably a hundred or so people in the room. It was quite large, with many aisles. The pastor instructed us to walk to the edge of the room and find someone who would pray with us. I walked to the back.


There was a man who said that he spotted me the moment I stood up. I was crying. Tears were streaming down my face. Something was overwhelming me. I could barely speak, I was blubbering. It took me a minute, but I was able to calm myself enough to speak to the man. I told him that I felt compelled to come. He asked me if God had pulled me out of the chair and if I felt a force. I wasn't entirely sure. We prayed pretty hard. He was overjoyed. I don't remember the prayer.


I don't even remember how the night ended exactly. The service obviously ended. My friends were overjoyed that I had come to know Jesus Christ. I was thrilled as well. Something was welling up inside me. My good friend Maria was also saved that night. We shared a long hug, practically crying on each others' shoulders. We didn't really talk. At the end of the night I went out to a little grove of trees, sat down and prayed very hard. I was so close to God. It was nothing but ecstasy.


The Fall


I was to be discipled by an elder at the church. For some reason this never happened. In some respects I regret that I wasn't properly discipled. I didn't really get into studying the bible very much and kind of remained very lukewarm. I was still involved in the church, but the pastor turned sour. He preached more about getting people into the church. He seemed to accuse us of not getting more people here rather than talking about Jesus. He eventually left to go to Seattle to reach the non-believing population there.


I still believed, I just fell out of the church. I went every now and then, but at that point I realized my relationship with God was more personal than based on the church.


I fell hard. I experienced more sin in my life during the last year of high school than I ever had before. I experienced alcohol and very emotionally tormenting relationship issues. I hated my life. I hated who I was. I hated looking back on all the wrong things I had done. I knew I was living a life offensive to God. I was broken. I knew I was sinning, but I couldn't stop and I had no desire to seek God.


Time passes. Graduation. A quick happiness. A girl. A long happiness. Went to college. Long distance. So difficult. Wanting to care. Wanting to make it work. Couldn't. More brokenness. Darkness. I wanted to start over.




Then I met him. My mentor. He brought me out of the darkness. I laid everything on him, he spoke to me about girl troubles. He was a wise man. I looked up to him. I loved him like a brother. He prayed for me. I eventually started seeking out churches here in Lubbock. I was so far from God. I needed him. I desired him so much. I had to get rid of my past life and become a new person.


Like a cool drink of water, I found a church that cared about me and cared about the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was so important. Jesus was actually the center. We needed Jesus more than anything. Only because of God's grace and mercy are we saved. He loved us so much to save us from our sin. It's so amazing. How could such an infinite being care so much about a finite pithy creature such as us. It was amazing.


It transformed my very soul. I understood the importance of the gospel, and how without it, we are nothing. I was shaken to the core. I had such a love for God, I couldn't believe that I had never seen it before. I was so blind. My eyes were opened.


The college pastor at that church eventually left to go to seminary. We had an interim pastor come in. He didn't preach the gospel. There was a rift between those who wanted the gospel to be the center, and those who thought the church was doing fine. Many of us broke off from that church and went to join the new church.


The new church was formed about 2.5 years ago. I was there at the beginning. I was really a part of something special. new church was very reformed just like my old church. They focused on the supremacy of God and how his sovereign grace is so amazing. I loved every bit of it. I came to know the core of people who started the church. The church grew rapidly. It was all so good.




Flip now to many months ago. I am well established in the church and firm in my convictions. I was deep in theology, really understanding God with such a clear biblical picture. I dealt with the hard aspects of God such as Hell, but I was confident in his unfailing love. I love God so much. My weakness was sharing the gospel. I wanted so badly to share God's unfailing Love with everyone! All too often I felt like I was afraid to share the gospel. I wanted to get over my fears and just do it.


I felt that I wasn't strong enough. I felt that I could never explain to someone why it was true. I didn't know enough about the history of the bible. I knew I couldn't explain how we got the bible or why it's true. I needed to understand why it was true. I of course knew it was true. I was so close with God that I knew it was true. But how could I explain this to other people? I began on a journey of apologetic. I was intrigued by higher textual criticism which deals with understanding who wrote the texts, their reliability, and where they came from.


In my search to understanding why the bible was true through higher textual criticism, I began to see that biblical scholars differed widely on what they thought was true. Liberal scholars obviously took the more skeptical approach, saying that we don't really have strong evidence regarding authorship. I saw that even our earliest manuscripts differed in many areas of the bible, especially the new testament. This wasn't good news. I tried to see things from the conservative scholars. They claimed that we do know who wrote them and can be very confident in the manuscripts. Their arguments never seemed straightforward though.


Throughout my searching I was having a hard time finding something that the majority of scholars agreed on. There seemed to be big debates over many areas of scripture. I learned about two-source theory. I probed into questions of how the cannon was formed. I just couldn't find straight forward answers as to how all of it happened. I was finding conflicting opinions everywhere. In the end I realized that these questions were getting me nowhere. I had to just believe that God inspired the bible and passed it down to us in the way He wanted.


I started studying various apologetic arguments against inconsistencies in the bible. This includes anything from faith with or without works, to conflicting gospel accounts such as who Jesus healed on the road, the Easter accounts, genealogy of Jesus etc. I learned more and more about the synoptic problem, basically why these accounts differed in many areas. Some recorded Jesus saying certain things, some recorded him saying something different or not at all.


I began to become overwhelmed with the amount of issues that needed to be overcome to say that bible was inerrant. I realized that I couldn't say that the bible was totally inerrant. It really worried me. I agreed to drop inerrancy, but I still believed the stories because I knew that eyewitness accounts probably wouldn't say the same thing about every little detail. God still preserved his general message to us.


I started then probing the question: "Why do I believe?"


After all: If I was going to go out and share the gospel, I'd need to explain why exactly I believe. I knew that my personal experiences weren't enough. I had to explain exactly why I trusted the bible and the message of God and hadn't gotten it wrong. I found that I was fumbling around in my mind. I couldn't answer the question, especially after realizing the bible is not as inerrant as the church would have me believe.


I frantically searched for apologetic arguments to support the idea that it was all true. I found them lacking. I felt like any lay person could pick these arguments apart. I was truely worried now. I realized that I would just have to tell people that I believed because I just did and that it's totally changed my life around.


If that were the case though, I had to ask another question: "Do I even believe it?"


I struggled for a long time with this one. I knew I wanted to believe with every fiber of my being. God why am I at a loss for words? Why can't I explain you to everyone? Why? I started to look at things from a skeptical perspective. I realized that I didn't have any good reasons for believing. I realized that if I was going to properly do this that I had to build my faith from the ground up and not from the top down. I couldn't start with believing in God, I had to come at it from a skeptical perspective and see why exactly it was true.


I knew the answer to my question.


"I don't believe in god"


And so on that day I had to be honest with myself and say that I did not believe. It was a long time in the making, but such a weight has been lifted. I no longer have the play the theological mind games when trying to defend the bible. I realized that I was really bending over backwards to try and reconcile the problems with the bible and faith.


I am free now.

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A great description - welcome to the forum. Funny how knowledge in an attempt to preserve a dying faith only hastens its end...

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I enjoyed reading your extestimony, it was very well-written and heartfelt. I deconverted last March, just like you. Welcome to your new found freedom.

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