InTheBigInning Posted May 12 Share Posted May 12 I was born into a Xian home back in 1984 in Cleveland. First born son of parents who are Independent Fundamental Baptists. Larger church of around 600 people. My dad is still a deacon there. The church ran a smaller private Xian school of about 300 students K-12. My parents were both on staff as teachers in the school. My mom taught 4th grade. My dad taught various subjects in the high school. My parents’ whole lives revolved around this church and school since our family income only came from this source. My parents didn’t mind the lower pay because they felt God (the god of the Bible) had called them to teach there as a ministry. The church held 3 services a week: Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Staff were required to go to all 3 every week and tithe as well. So when my parents went to church, I went to church. My parents were/are also in the choir, so there would be some choir practices on Saturday nights that I would have to sit through. We were there a lot of time during the week. Growing up this way since birth, I didn’t know any different. That was my normal. Frequently being at the church. When I was old enough to go to the Xian school which was behind the church on the same property, I was there on the church campus 6 out of 7 days a week. Sometimes 7 out of 7 days. I probably spent more waking hours at the church property than I did anywhere else. As a staff kid, I was held to a very high standard. An example to all the other kids of what a good upstanding Baptist was. My parents were also held to a very high standard for this reason. So no wonder my dad approached me at age 5 and asked me if I would like to go to heaven when I died. I said yes and he proceeded to lead me down the Romans road and I was “saved” after mimicking my dad in a sinner’s prayer. I was called up to the front of the church the next Sunday to make my decision public and then baptized about 3 months later in front of the whole church. I was in the club officially. I was an attentive and obedient Xian. I starting reading my King James Bible as soon as I could read. I was in Sunday school since birth and learned the Bible first before anything else academically. The Xian school had Bible classes every day and a chapel service once a week as well. There was really no stop to the long preaching services I attended. There was no alternative to the indoctrination. No chance for critical thinking. I swallowed all the preaching as fact. My parents were just trying to do what they believed to be right. To make God happy. To prove their devotion. I was taught that the Bible was absolute truth. And only the King James Version could be trusted. The earth was only 6000 years old and all these people in the Bible were real people who actually lived and all the things recorded in the Bible actually happened. You would spend eternity in heaven or a burning hell. The mission of the church was to get people to heaven. The whole point of life was to prepare to die and be ready for eternity. What you believed was the most important thing about you. So needed to believe rightly. And this church had the corner on what was right. I was a model Xian outwardly and in my mindset until 4th grade. That was the beginning of the end. A slow 23 year long process that led to my deconversion. I began to think for myself. I began to question the message of my church. It started very small. My 2 best friends in school went to a different baptist church than I did. Not as strict. They could wear tennis shoes and even jeans to church! They were allowed to listen to Christian contemporary music. Music with electric amplification and a drum beat. This was heavily preached against music in my church. When my friends said they listened to it, I attacked them just as my pastor said to do from the pulpit. I told them it wasn’t Xian music but instead from the pit of hell! You know what my friends did? The most powerful thing they could have done for me…….they laughed. That was the first crack in the ice. How could they not succumb to hearing the truth? How could they laugh? How could they disagree? And nothing happened? The next few days or weeks we would go back and forth while remaining best friends and I listened to some of the music at my friend’s house. DC Talk and Newsboys. I still protested and asserted what my pastor would say (that this music was evil), but you know what?….I liked it. I liked contemporary music. My friends’ families weren’t evil. They were devoted Xians too. Now I had a dilemma. Who was right? My church or their church? My family or their families? They both couldn’t be right. And I made the first decision for myself. I decided that my church was wrong about this subject and Xian contemporary music was not bad. My friends were very happy that I converted to their stance on CCM. Come to find out that my Xian cousins actually listened to it as well! I had become a little bit of a rebel from my church’s teachings. In 5th and 6th grade I began listening to secular rock with these same friends. I enjoyed that too. Rage Against the Machine. I was hooked. In junior high, I was listening to secular pop and rock radio stations (secretly of course from my parents). I started to develop a rebel attitude and enjoyed disobeying my church’s teachings about strict lifestyle. My friends really helped me get exposure to the outside world. I would go on to try alcohol a little and even started smoking in junior high. It was exhilarating to do what I wanted to do. To take freedom. But I went too far in 9th grade and was exposed and expelled from school. Very shameful for me family. They could have been fired and my dad blamed me. I repented and came clean about everything with substances and rock music. I completely cleaned up my life back to the old baptist ways. I was brought before the whole church and forgiven. Very shocking and fearful time in my life. Dad threatened to send me to an all boys Lester Roloff boarding school in Texas. I was terrified. They sent me to live with other my grandparents in Michigan for a month. I completed 9th grade at home. I was allowed back in school in 10th grade under probation. The pastor of the church was also the superintendent of the school and he hated me. He did not want me back. I didn’t get back into substances but did “fall” into new temptations. Sexual experience with my new first real girlfriend and then starting a rock band with my 2 friends since I found that I was actually naturally gifted at playing drums. I never really got caught with my girlfriend over the next 2.5 years but I did get caught for the rock band. Almost got expelled mere weeks before graduating 12th grade. We had to quit the band and publicly apologize to the student body in order to graduate. We did and we did until the day after graduation when we resumed the band. Parents of course humiliated and enraged again. My dad told me a few months after graduating that I couldn’t live at home if I continued playing in the band. So I left at 18. My friend’s aunt and uncle took me in while we played concerts and shows around Cleveland. I still believed in God and considered myself a Xian but I knew I was rebellious. A former classmate approached me about a year later when I was 19 and challenged my Xianity. He had left the IFB’s and become an even more hardcore Xian. An Anabaptist. I couldn’t refute his challenges and he claimed to actually follow the Bible unlike what my church had taught me growing up. I was interested and heard him out for about a month a realized I wasn’t saved. I had had doubts all through my rebellious years since 6th grade. But now I was sure. I wasn’t serving the Lord wholeheartedly and was in danger of hell. So I made it “right” on July 13, 2004 at age 19 and was born again. Quit the band. Apologized to my parents and everyone at church. Completely cleaned up my life again and even went further than my parents in strictness. It was actually very euphoric and freeing to have my life completely clean and on the “right” track finally. I was completely right with God. Nothing held back. I was seeking the Lord’s guidance in everything. Praying many hours a day. I felt something start to lead me. I figured it was Jesus or the Holy Spirit. It told me to quit my job and quit college in Cleveland and move an hour south to Kent. This is where my old classmate went to church and we became best friends. I left everyone and everything behind in Cleveland. A fresh start as an adult. I was very devoted to Jesus and led a very strict lifestyle. I was a street preacher. I met a college girl at church and we married after a year of dating in 2006. We would go on to have 4 kids and bounce from church to church as nondenominational churches would self-destruct around us. I had been in the construction business and learned property management so I felt led to start my own business in 2011 buying real estate and becoming a landlord. No other Xians lived as strictly as we did. We were seen as overzealous at each new church we went to. I felt that God was not leading us to devout churches. My wife and I began having personal problems and our marriage was declining. Then in July of 2017 it happened. I didn’t know it at the time but, I would start deconverting. Another former classmate of mine had adopted the view that the earth was flat because the Bible said so. I wanted to correct her but asked for material on her stance so I could poke holes in it more efficiently. She gave me a 130 page pdf of her reasons and I started reading leisurely. After 3 months I had made it half way through the document and I realized in October of 2017 that yes indeed the Bible is a flat earth book. It was like scales fell from my eyes. I still remember sitting on my bed when the realization hit me. What were the implications of the Bible supporting a flat domed earth cosmology? It had dawned on me that the Bible may not be accurate. It may not be infallible. It could have problems. I had to be sure. I hurried up and read the rest of the pdf. The Bible made so much more sense now. I could let errors be errors and not have to rationalize or explain away the faults. I knew I was on to something. I instantly felt relief. Very similar to the feeling of being born again. This time I had learned the truth. There was no hell to be afraid of. No heaven. No sin. I determined that the earth is not flat and so something had to go. Either the Bible or science. I chose to throw away the Bible. I felt so free. Intellectually free. Everything I had been taught growing up about Xianity was untrue. The world made so much more sense. I began talking about Bible errors and looking for the best arguments for biblical inerrancy. I gave God until January 1, 2018 to convince me that the Bible was somehow true and that I was wrong. Well, that time came and went. I openly came out as an atheist. My wife would not hear me out for very long. She was very opposed to my even searching into the Bible issues or biblical flat earth. She tried to get a local Xian college professor to set me straight (to no avail) and even tried to get my best friend to set me straight (again to no avail). No Xian could satisfy the problems in the Bible. I got bolder and bolder. My wife eventually filed for divorce in 2019 saying she needed a Xian husband. She would not have the kids end up in hell for questioning God and the Bible. She still hates me deeply. I lost half of my rental houses when she left and she got the kids for most of the time. I’ve since bounced back financially quite well and am doing fine. I get along with my kids great. I’m not preachy about atheism and not angry about Xianity. I did go through a long mourning process since my worldview had died but it’s so relieving to be out of that mindset. I know very well why I’m not a Xian and able to articulate it well. I was born to refute Xianity. With my background, how could I not? I’m passionate about helping anyone who has left Xianity and been shunned like me. I’ll go toe to toe respectfully with any Xian that wants to talk about the Bible. I really have a great life and enjoy myself quite a bit. The mental freedom is priceless. 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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