Jump to content

I Feel Compelled To Share....


Recommended Posts

I signed up for this website awhile ago, but it's taken me until now to work up the courage to share my story.

Since it's all so personal, it's hard to know where to begin, or how to tell things cohesively, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

 

I grew up the son of a pastor. My father was the minister for a small, non-denominational church in a rural area in Minnesota.

I don't remember a lot of specific details of my childhood, but I could never forget how I felt as a kid.

 

I felt scared.

Alone.

Restless.

Weird.

Frustrated.

Sick to my stomach.

Guilty.

Tired.

Empty.

Sad.

 

When I was fourteen, my father ceased pastoring the church in Minnesota. For about eleven months he was a pastor nowhere, mostly unemployed, and mostly too distracted to offer me any life direction.

 

Those eleven months were a great time in my life. I had my first girlfriend, learned a few new words (wink wink), started listening to new music, hung out with my best friends all the time and had a blast. I finally felt FREE. I finally felt like a NORMAL kid.

 

But sadly, that time in my life only lasted a little less than a year.

 

My family moved to a small city in Wisconsin so that my dad could do a church plant. This began the darkest chapter of my life.

Some virus in my brain told me to "hunker down and get serious about God again" because my dad was pastoring again. So I went back to listening to all Christian music, avoided swearing, and tried my best to only do "Christian" things.

 

I only lived in Wisconsin for a year and a half, but it REALLY screwed me up. I like to define this period of my life as the "relapse" back into the bondage of religion. All the progress I made during those magical 11 months backfired on me. Not to mention, I was in terrible health at this time, and extremely depressed. I was one screwed up kid, and I had no clue how things could ever get better.

 

Somehow, they managed to. But I had to hit rock bottom first.

 

Up until fifth grade, I attended a private Christian school in that rural area in Minnesota. But since that point, I had been homeschooled. After our time in Wisconsin, my family and I moved back to Minnesota, this time to a bigger town about an hour away from where I grew up. My father couldn't find work as a pastor, and couldn't make enough to support the whole family by himself, so my mom had to get a full time job.

 

I resisted going to school at first because I was scared SHITLESS. Here I was, seventeen years old, never having been to public school before. And yet, eventually I did go. And it was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

 

This time in my life was rock bottom, because all the things I had repressed over the years - thoughts and feelings - began flaring up, and I had to face some SERIOUS demons. I was frequently depressed, acted very obnoxiously to try and cover up, and struggled through countless difficult relationships and friendships during my two years at high school.

 

Of course, the biggest demon I had to face was my questions about religion, and whether or not I believed it was true. I made progress in my thinking, then retreated, made progress, then retreated even furthur, ad infintium (or so it felt). But because I was at school, and held accountable by friends for the things I said and believed, there was eventually nowhere for me to run.

 

I spent most of my senior year avoiding EVERYONE and being sad, rageful, and lonely. My brain was having birthing pains, trying to form this new me out of all the bullshit I had been exposed to and coerced into believing as a kid.

But this is when I found a song that really helped me... it was a song called "See the Light"* by Green Day, which helped inspire my username.

I later found out the chorus is essentially a rip-off of an AC-DC song, but that's not really important to me. The lyrics go, "I just want to see the light. And I don't want to lose my sight." It's a simple idea, but profound at the same time: it's saying, "I want to have hope, but NEVER at the cost of losing my critical thinking and reasoning." I like AC-DC, but they never wrote a lyric like that to my knowledge.

 

That song gave me a push in the right direction, and now I sit in my college dorm writing this story of my life. I consider myself an atheist at this point, but I reserve the right to change my mind if there is ample proof that shows the idea wrong.

 

My father has no idea I see things this way, but when I work up the courage to tell him, I will make the following very clear:

I am not an Atheist because I hate you.

I am not an Atheist because I hate "god." How could I if I don't believe in one?

I am not an Atheist in some sort of adolescent rebellion plot. I am a full grown man, and as intelligent as you are.

I hope that my change of views do not change your view of ME.

And...

If you really do love me, you will love me no matter what I believe. And hopefully, you will respect me as long as I have rationale to back it with. I merely see no evidence to believe there is a god, and do not believe that "faith" is ample reason to give your life to an ideology.

 

 

 

Thank you if you took time to read this. I very much appreciate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing your story so far. Sounds like things can only get better from here. My dad was a pastor as well and a lot of what you said I could relate to. The whole thing about being told what you should be your whole life (good little christian with no faults), and then struggling to find your own personality and beliefs. I was in my mid-20s before I starting figuring out a lot of things, and realizing how much of an effect growing up in that guilt-filled environment really stunts your maturity, personality, and social skills.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Hi Chasing! I loved reading your story. My heart goes out to you.You certainly have found the right place to write out your feelings about all of this. I came on this site 3 months ago and it has helped me so much. Funny thing - when I read your list of 'feelings - I can honestly say that most of the time when I WAS 'serving' god, I had those same feelings. Oh, every now and again I would believe that Jesus was right there beside me and I was finally coming close to being in 'fellowship' with him................. :shrug: How can it be that in or out of Christianity - I suffered the same feelings all my life?

 

Alone. Restless.Weird. Frustrated.Sick to my stomach.Guilty.Tired. Empty. Sad................................

 

 

My feelings on this right now are because we were NEVER allowed to just be who we were. That's what I'm trying to do now - just be me - and I'm not quite sure who that is - but the people on this site are helping me to find my way.

 

I have watched the teens go back to school ( I knew many who 'home schooled) after years of being isolated by 'home schooling'. I always felt so bad that these kids did not get a chance at a somewhat 'normal' life. You know..... recess coming and everyone barrel's out the door to the school grounds ................all that 'normal' kid stuff.....

 

 

When you said this, I could so relate. How many times did I also 'hunker down''! ''This began the darkest chapter of my life.

Some virus in my brain told me to "hunker down and get serious about God again" because my dad was pastoring again. So I went back to listening to all Christian music, avoided swearing, and tried my best to only do "Christian" things.''

 

Depression has also been a huge part of my life. It could have been my middle name.

 

When you stated this - ''Of course, the biggest demon I had to face was my questions about religion, and whether or not I believed it was true'' - I also could relate so much. I am hoping with continued support on this website - I will not have to face this demon anymore...... well, hopefully, there will be no more demons for us to fight!

 

I loved how you ended your letter saying this, because that's 'it' in a nutshell! How smart you are!

 

''My father has no idea I see things this way, but when I work up the courage to tell him, I will make the following very clear:

I am not an Atheist because I hate you.

I am not an Atheist because I hate "god." How could I if I don't believe in one?

I am not an Atheist in some sort of adolescent rebellion plot. I am a full grown man, and as intelligent as you are.

I hope that my change of views do not change your view of ME.

And...

If you really do love me, you will love me no matter what I believe. And hopefully, you will respect me as long as I have rationale to back it with. I merely see no evidence to believe there is a god, and do not believe that "faith" is ample reason to give your life to an ideology.''

 

I am finding that people become petrified as one states their 'unbelief' out loud, because it makes them look at what they are really believing. If they admit that they have these same doubts to themselves - they will have their world 'rocked' - the same as ours was - and that's a hard thing to go through. We know that 'first hand'!

 

Good luck on your journey and I hope you keep posting because I need you here with us!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Chasingthelight. Welcome to ExC. I'm glad you found your way here.

 

I enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing it.

 

I would think that being a PK would have a huge impact on your life. I remember when I was growing up, I always felt sort of sorry for the PKs because they always had to act a certain way while the rest of us rugrats could go out and be ourselves without having to worry about hurting our Dad's church reputation.

 

I admire that you have come to understand that Christianity is a false religion in the face of the obstacle of being a PK and at your young age. I also agree with your view on atheism. I think it is similar to mine. I have never said there is no possibility that there is some deity out there somewhere. Maybe there is. It's just that I am totally convinced that the god of the bible doesn't exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Discern: Yeah, I think being raised in that environment does make a person a "late-bloomer", so to speak. I just feel lucky that I'm only twenty years old, and still have lots of road ahead of me. I feel like I'm behind a lot of my peers in certain areas, but I'm just taking it one step at a time, at my own pace, and making sure I keep balance in my life. Because in other areas, I'm WAY ahead of my peers, so there's no need to be too upset.

 

 

Margee: Change is uncomfortable. So whenever someone presents a new idea - like, perhaps the Bible isn't true - people start freaking out because most people want things to stay the same. I know I did. I didn't want to become an atheist, I just wanted to live in my little bubble because it was what I was used to. But slowly, I learned that life outside the bubble was actually quite nice, very desirable, and an improvement. So it was worth the strain and pain of change, because I know it would make my life better. Most people don't get to that point, however, for various reasons. I'm sure I could spend hours and hours talking about this one subject.

 

 

Overcame Faith: Sometimes I actually wonder what the congregation of my father's church would think of me now. Some selfish, immature part of me would like to flaunt to them the fact that I will not let their hollow beliefs control me. However, the more mature, cerebral me knows better than that, and I actually would enjoy someday to sit down and discuss with some of those people how and why I became who I am today. They would probably think the devil corrupted me or something, but maybe, just maybe, I could get through to them even in the slightest.

 

 

ilovemybrain: I'm already getting the feeling that this is true, and that there's some great people here. Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

, so there's no need to be too upset.

 

 

Margee: Change is uncomfortable. So whenever someone presents a new idea - like, perhaps the Bible isn't true - people start freaking out because most people want things to stay the same. I know I did. I didn't want to become an atheist, I just wanted to live in my little bubble because it was what I was used to. But slowly, I learned that life outside the bubble was actually quite nice, very desirable, and an improvement. So it was worth the strain and pain of change, because I know it would make my life better. Most people don't get to that point, however, for various reasons. I'm sure I could spend hours and hours talking about this one subject.

 

 

 

Very well put Chasing! thank you! This actually helps me with my deconverting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.