Jerry Posted March 15, 2019 Share Posted March 15, 2019 I was raised in a Christian home, Lutheran Missouri Synod, in the United States' Midwest. I was baptized as an infant, attended Sunday school, did my years of Confirmation on Sundays on Wednesday nights and was Confirmed into the Lutheran Church as a teenaged boy. My family and I went to church every Sunday and read daily devotionals. I went to a public school, where during my elementary years, we said the Pledge of Allegiance daily, reminding me that we were one nation under god. My high school curriculum didn't involve any sort of nonsecular teachings, ie. Creationism, but it didn't include much mention of evolution either. I guess that was my school district's idea of taking the high road on that debate. Most of my friends growing up were Christians as well, either Lutheran or Catholic, as these were the only churches in our community. We came from a long line of Lutherans, on both sides of my family, and it was a huge part of our identity. As I grew up, moved out, started my own family and became involved with my own life, religion continued to play a huge part. In my 20's I moved to the Southeastern US, married a Southern Baptist girl and subsequently started attending her church. While the service, and experience, was very much different than my childhood in the Lutheran Church, I quickly became accustomed to it and became active in the church. In my early 30's I was "born again" and was baptized, again, alongside my children, in our Baptist church. I remained active in church activities up until my late 30's when something miraculous happened. Somehow, a book ended up in my possession, a very remarkable book, that changed my life. It was The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond. It introduced me to the very interesting discovery of evolution. I really have no idea how I came to possess this book. It was just there one day. Regardless, I read it and for the first time, had my eyes opened to a whole new, intriguing world of science, anthropology and human evolution. I was mesmerized. I went on to read several more books about biological evolution, genetics, DNA sequencing, anthropology, archaeology and a variety of other scientific disciplines, and had my world turned upside down. Still holding on to my Christian "teachings" I nonetheless felt very confused. I had almost 40 years of Biblical study and education that told me one set of stories and a newly discovered world around me that told me another. However, the world of science had proof. It contained a fossil record, archaeological evidence and other proof to support its claims. Religion only had faith. Regardless, it was difficult to break away from my religious background. If my adulthood in the Baptist Church had taught me anything, it was that I was worthless without god. I was taught that, everything good that had happened in my life was god's work. It was because of his grace that I had anything, or accomplished anything. And, I owed all thanks, glory and honor to him for blessing me with so many wonderful things, relationships and abilities. On the other hand, anything bad that happened to me was of my own doing. It was brought about by my straying from god and trying to do things my way and not his. As foolish as it sounds, I was afraid to take any steps in my life that may essentially piss off god. I tried hard to remain a faithful follower of Christ. Praying harder than ever before, I asked god for help overcoming my weakness and doubt. Of course, nothing changed. Then, I went to my pastor, who was also a close friend at the time, and asked him for his assistance. This is when I really began to realize the truth. I told him the whole story and he immediately started reciting Bible verses about the dangers of knowledge. He belittled me for falling in to Satan's trap of human, worldly knowledge and basically recommended that I refrain from learning anything that wasn't in his sermons. His exact words were, "you don't need any knowledge to get through this life other than what I preach from that pulpit". As far as he was concerned, that was the end of my dilemma. He thought I was cured by being told to remain stupid and only listen to him. Of course, this wasn't a suitable answer in my opinion. As I continued to struggle with my faith, I looked online for answers. I was overwhelmed with the huge amount of evidence against Christianity. As I learned more about the religion that had stolen its best stories from other mythologies, I found that I was becoming less and less dependant on god. All the while, continuing my church pew appearances. However, I did "retire" as a church Deacon at around this time, citing a busy work and home life as my excuse. Of course, I had to uphold my Christian persona around the house too. As my internal struggle continued, I found more and more information that refuted my religious upbringing. Then, I decided to conduct an experiment. I decide to go one week "without" god. This included no praying, no saying the blessing, no living in fear of his punishment. One week turned in to two, then, a month, a year and so on. My life wasn't spinning out of control without a supreme being, like I was told it would. If anything, I had broken away from Christianities chains. I started to realize my self worth, as well as the worth of others. Finally, one day I came to the conclusion that what I had spent most of my life practicing and believing wasn't even true. Thank you Jared Diamond. LOL. Now, in my late 40's I am basically free from religions stranglehold. While I still have to remain a closet atheist at home, in my own mind I know the truth; and it's amazing. It's like knowing a secret that no one else is privy to. It's refreshing. I'm a better person for breaking loose from Christianity. I know that because I was told that just the other day. I no longer judge people based on their denominational preference, or lack thereof. Nor, do I chastize people for not believing the "good news". I'm free! 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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