I suppose that in many ways, this has been a long time coming. And honestly, I'm not sure where to begin... not sure if the following will be long or short... but I ask that you bear with me regardless :)
Cover of The Fear Is What Keeps Us HereI was raised in a non-religious household. My parents never took me to church, never told me about God, or ever showed me the bible. If anything, I always sensed that my parents were cynical about Christianity in general (which I found interesting later on as I found out that they had been raised as Protestant). Anyway... through my years while growing up, I never once felt the need for reconciliation to a creator of any sort, and actually found Christianity (or religion in general) to be repulsive. When I was about 13, I discovered heavy metal. And because I was raised in a somewhat sheltered suburban neighborhood, had 2 full-time working parents, few friends, and was an only child, the world of music and metal became a great passion and comfort to me. No doubt, over the years, the views of death metal and black metal (and extreme music in general) became somewhat of a mentor to me. It was an interesting time. I collected music like crazy... smoked pot... drank a bit... moved out on my own... learned to play drums... started a heavy metal band... and then after nearly 26 years in the Midwest, I had an opportunity for a good job in central Florida, and took it. And with that came an extension of the bible belt that whipped me good...
Within six months of my arrival, I was a born-again Christian. I started going to a Presbyterian church... slowly walked away from drugs, alcohol, even cigarettes (and honestly I can't say that's a bad thing)... I became a bible scholar... and over time I sought a deeper relationship with God and became a super-fundie... I only read the KJV... threw out almost all of my music except for Christian artists... and even they were highly scrutinized... but something still wasn't right... my rational mind said something just didn't add up... no matter how hard I tried to fudge the numbers.
I began getting very depressed. I started secretly drinking again... tried Zoloft for a bit (and after 175mg a day weened myself off of it because I just didn't feel that it was doing anything but putting a bandage over the real issues)... I prayed and prayed and prayed and tried my best but always felt guilty... I hated myself... I couldn't stop drinking... I smoked sometimes... I looked at pornography and masturbated.... anything... just to FEEL something... and all the while I was attending a fundamental church and teaching bible study... even preached a couple times... played drums for music worship... I put on a good show, but I was miserable. Just fucking miserable.
I began studying scripture, church history, translations, philosophy... all of that stuff... just trying to find some answers. I desperately wanted to believe, but all of my studying and personal experience led me to the conclusion that I had been fooled. It was all a big joke. It was all a myth... and Jesus and a personal relationship with him and God was ALL IN MY HEAD.
Even more interesting, is that the woman who is now my fiancee, who I met in a Christian chat room nearly 2 years ago, has totally followed me of her own volition... even though we debated for a few months, she now sees what I see, and is emancipated... we have a FANTASTIC relationship because of it. If anything, we are stronger.
In the end... I did my best to believe for 6 years. I wanted so hard to believe... to please God... to be saved. I would confess my faith in Jesus to ANYBODY... I was not afraid. It was so powerful that I even tried to deconvert almost two years ago, but was so afraid of hell and God's wrath... and at the time I hadn't done indepth study yet...
But now... I am a proudly NOT a Christian. Not anything really but a free thinker of sorts. I have no problem with the concept of a creator... but believing in a personal god is ridiculous to me. I can't stand religion. Sure it has it's good points, but I would say that the negative VASTLY outweighs the positive. The Bible is shit... and the Qu'ran... and whatever else you have... Vishnu and Bhudda and Ayurveda and what-the-pak-ever.
Be true to yourself. Understand WHO you are and WHAT you believe. Be open-minded and positive. And finally, if you are a Christian, or trapped in any faith system, DO NOT BE AFRAID to question and criticize and walk away!!!!! Fear is the mindkiller (thank you Fear Factory). Even Zao said that "The Fear is What Keeps Us Here"... words of wisdom from a once-Christian band :).
I truly have a lot to say... but this will do for now. If you ask me, you may receive more answers ;)
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