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Goodbye Jesus

It's Our Turn To Steal Something


WarriorPoet

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I know from reading a lot of testimonies, rants and other posts on these forums that I am not the only one that feels that xianity and the church have stolen something.  Many of us have missed out on experiences in life that we could have had if we weren't worried about the big killjoy in the sky watching our every move.  For some, this may be a lack of sexual satisfaction due to an obscene moral code, or you may have missed out on friendships because you felt you shouldn't hang out with "those people" (whoever "those people" might be)  These are a few examples from my own experience.

 

When I was a xian, I was in the gay hating crowd.  Granted, in my early days, this didn't really affect myself or anyone else, as there are not that many out of the closet gay people in small town midwest.  I was so bad that when I found out in history class that Adolf Hitler killed homosexuals as well as jews during the Holocaust, it showed evidence of the power of god.  That someone so evil could be used by god to do something that my perverted mind considered good.   Nothing about my former xianity makes me feel more ashamed than this total, unabashed bigotry.  When I grew up and left home is when this really started to impact my life.  I actually started to meet gay people, and I could not bring myself to become friends with them or anyone who would associate with those "sick and perverted individuals".  On a positive note, this more than any other factor was what eventually helped me see the light.  As I began to become more educated, I began to realize that this disgusting intolerance should have no place in humanity, and the fact that the bible preached it was the first chink in the armor of my faith.  I am extremely pleased to say that all traces of this horrible prejudice is gone from my life, but I wonder what have I missed out on due to it.  How many great people are not currently friends or acquaintances because I dismissed them out of hand.

 

The promise of eternal salvation has also impacted my life.  Now this part is purely hypothetical, because it is really impossible to know what might have been.  The belief that heaven awaited me upon my death was one of  the ways that I justified smoking to myself.  Of course, when one is young and feels immortal, he thinks that he would never let himself get hooked on something so bad.  I thought that I could be a recreational smoker and give it up whenever I chose.  And in the worst case scenario, If I did get hooked and smoking ended up killing me, well I just go to heaven 15-20 years sooner.  Now I obviously can't say that I would have never picked up a cigarette otherwise, but I feel it would have been far more unlikely had I always been atheist.

 

Perhaps the most insidious part of the subtle robbery is the false hope that can manifest from the belief in the almighty, only to have that hope snatched away during your deepest despair.  When I was a very young boy, I woke up on beautiful Saturday morning in November.  I got out of bed and as I was heading downstairs my mom met me and told me the most horrific news that a young boy can hear.  My dad had passed away overnight.  Of course it took a while for my young mind to process this but eventually the shock wore off.  At this point I remembered learning in Sunday school that god sometimes raised the dead.  Being 7, this did not seem too unrealistic.  I prayed my little 7 year-old heart out asking god to bring my dad back.  And nothing.  Not even so much as a message in a dream telling me why he could or would not accommodate my  request.  This only led to even greater devastation.  

 

So now I say, with all of you who can relate to my stories and have stories of your own, we need to take something back.  And I have an idea.  There is something I learned in church that now means more to me than it ever did as a xian.  And I want to take it.  It's an old hymn, and when I think about the words, they seem particularly true when I compare them to my experiences.  Many of us feel like we were lost when in the cult, we feel that now our eyes have been opened.  And what greater grace is there than that which comes from within each and every one of us?  

 

Today I make a declaration.  I'm sticking my flag in the ground.  The xians can have the other four verses, but the first is now mine, and belongs to anyone else here that feels like I do.

 

 

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

was blind but now I see

 

I know some of you are still on the long journey to freedom and you may not be at a point were you are able to feel the meaning that I feel from those few lines, but I hope you all get there.

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Oh my, what a powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing. Just, WOW.

 

As for gay people: I also grew up in small town midwest, and did not know any gay people (except for an older cousin I hardly knew, who committed suicide about 2 years ago). When I got out, grew up, and met/worked with more gay people, I found that this stereotype is true: gay men make the best friends for straight women. LOL. Those guys are awesome!

 

As for smoking: I did not smoke as a christian because that would be poisoning god's temple of my body. (I did occasionally smoke as the stress of my church situation got so bad, as a sort of "self medication," as my hubby and I called it, LOL.) But now I feel the opposite: my husband and I joke that smoking is our civic duty. We live in a tobacco town, so we are supporting our industry. In some states like New York, the excessive cigarette taxes go to pay for health benefits for the poor. And if we die early, we will be less of a burden on the social security system. For these three reasons, we laugh about smoking as a civic duty.

 

As for the devastation of god not answering prayer: Holy shit, your story nearly killed my heart this morning. How awful for you! Talk about setting yourself up for a lifetime of wondering if you were not good enough for god to answer your prayer, or whatever else downward spiral your poor little mind must have created. That is the worst! Thankfully for me, my realization came after years of abuse at my church, and constant prayer for god to provide justice. "Leave room for my vengeance," the bible says. I kept soldiering on, thinking god wanted me to right the wrongs, and that any day now he would step in and have my back. It was a sad day when I realized I was deluding myself, and that snapped me out of it... and on to my journey of deconversion.

 

When I was in the praise band at church, the Chris Tomlin version of Amazing Grace was one of my favorites to perform. I had such fun improvising on the piano, and singing harmony to our band leader, whom I loved and respected so much. For some reason since then, I have stopped playing every one of those hundreds of songs I learned, except for this one. I still sit down at my piano and play it for myself. Your perspective here makes me think I kept playing this song because it had this other meaning, and was somehow resonating in my heart. Thank you for showing me a new way to look at it.

 

Welcome, WP. I am glad you have found this place.

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Can we steal crosses back? I've got some nice jewellery I don't feel entirely comfortable wearing anymore because of what it used to represent to me haha.
On a serious note, I'm sorry you bought into that horrible gay-hating mind-poison! Fortunately I wasn't encouraged to have an overly judgemental view of  the gay people themselves so I just saw it as 'hey I have my vices, so do they!' due to having a few good out of the closet friends that I could see weren't any worse people than me. But still it was so liberating to finally accept that no there was nothing wrong with who they were born to be attracted to! And being able to cheer on their progress in getting more openly accepted in society is a wonderful thing to be able to be part of!
 

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Yeah, I was also very cruel to a gay friend of mine back when I was in high school. I thought about apologizing to him, but after friending him on facebook I now realized that he's also super religious now. "I'm sorry I mocked you for being gay. Your god is made up". I don't see that conversation going well.

 

 

"I once was lost, but now am found was blind but now I see"

Eerily very appropriate.

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ExXex,

Steal whatever you want, as long as it's symbolic robbery. I'm not advocating actual illegal activity.

 

RW,

It's crazy how different people can come to such different conclusions even if they believe in the same god and study the same book. Tattoos and body piercings were the types of things I considered desecration a of god's temple, because they weren't "natural". Somehow I was ok with women having their ears pierced, but anything beyond that was insulting to god. Tobacco was natural, one of god's creations so therefore it was ok even if it was unhealthy. The gymnastics our minds would go through to justify things to ourselves make Gabby Douglas look like an absolute amateur.

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Can we steal back the word "Truth"?  Make it a nice resounding opposite for False, again?

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