Hi, my name is Justin, and I am an ex-Christian, and an atheist.
My story starts out at age 18.
Image by Robert Kim via FlickrAll my life I was brought up Christian. Baptism, first confession, first communion, confirmation at age 17.
My family was never very religious, but we went to church probably two weekends out of the month. I never liked it. I don't remember first communion at all, so I have nothing to say against it. At age 17, I had been going to catechism since an early age (I don't remember exactly when), every week during school. I never felt anything, or saw a point to it. All i knew was that I was supposed to be there, and if you disagreed with the church, you were thrown out of catechism.
I was never a bad kid. I've always been a peacemaker. So I went through catechism and going to church every Sunday or every other Sunday, never really wanting to be there, always thinking there was something else i could be doing besides sitting in a building listening to a man say stand up, sit down, let us pray, etc.
Confirmation comes, and we have to do a retreat. Great. I gotta spend a weekend with some religious nuts that think everything that hasn't been, or can't be explained by science, or that is a coincidence is a work of god... how awesome... I'm the only person with some sense that questions things and I have go meditate in church at night, with all the lights off to feel the power of Jesus christ...
So, I confirm, mainly to make my mom happy. She's always been the one to show us "god's way". My dad really didn't give a crap, and thought church was a waste of time.
All goes well for the next year or so, I go to church a couple times a month, mom's happy, everyone's happy.
I go to college for about two and a half months and decide it's not for me, so I move to Houston, TX to go to school to be a mechanic (my passion), and don't go to church for almost a year. It's such a relief to think for myself and not have to go listen to a man to tell me how to live. Mom can't stand it, but she makes do.
November of 2006 I move back into my parents' house from Houston after completing school, and after living on my own for a year. I haven't become atheist yet, but i believe that I don't need to go to church and confess to a man for god to love me and know I'm here. One night, mom says, "Justin, we're going to 8 O'clock mass tomorrow morning." and I reply, "I'm not going." This turns into a screaming match on why I should go to church, to which my dad does not participate. Then mom turns to dad and says "Are you going to support me on this?" Dad doesn't say very much. I leave to go ride around and cool off. Dad calls me and tells me that if I'm going to be like this, then my clothes will be waiting on the porch when I get home.
With nowhere to go, I give in. We then make a deal that I only have to go to church on major holidays. Well between easter and all saints day, there's a big gap, so I am made to go to church a couple times.
December 13, 2007, I move out of mom and dad's into my OWN house on my OWN property. Everything is awesome. I agree to go to church on Christmas 07 as a favor to my mom.
After the holiday season, I start "soul searching". I find that everything points to there being no god, and that every religion is based on "faith" where you don't have to have an explanation to things. This disturbs me. After a whole lot of research in just bout every religion, in July of 2008, I declare myself an atheist. It feels so relieving to finally feel at home with what I believe in my heart about religion.
Although I declare myself an atheist, I don't tell anyone except a couple very close friends who think like me, but haven't made the atheist path.
Months go by and everything is good. When my religious as hell aunt and uncle talk about god, I just nod and agree. Mom talks about church and stuff, I just nod and agree.
Things go good for about 2 years.
October 2009 I find the love of my life, who is Wiccan, which does not bother me. She is not a slave to a book. She does her own thing, and whatever she thinks needs to be in her religion, it's there. I don't practice it, but i learn as much as I can about it to understand it. Still an atheist.
My mom loves her, but has a hard time getting over her religion. She makes this very clear to me often.
Two months pass by, and I pop the question(yea I know it's soon). She says yes. Mom wonders what kind of wedding it will be. I tell her it will be a declaration of marriage to the universe. She asks, "What do you mean?". I say, "It's going to have Pagan influence." She freaks out and turns super religious on me.
A couple months go by and there's very little talk about us getting married. Mom breaks down every now and then and tells us that she can't witness a pagan wedding because it will be like betraying god. I tell her that if her god is that selfish, she needs to find another god.
She writes a letter to me telling me that she had a vision one night while she was sleeping that she saw me walking around aimlessly in hell, sad, with no purpose, that I am closed minded, and to go on a journey with her to find god. As she gives me the letter to read she is bawling uncontrollable. I read the letter without a shutter and tell her that because she is so brain washed by her religion that her brain is putting these visions in her head. She gets pissed at me because she says I won't go on her "journey" to find god. All the while my dad, like me, thinks all this is stupid.
More wedding plans go on, and my mom has a breakdown at me and my fiance's house while talking to each other. Mom leaves. I go on my computer and write her a letter. I write about how she is the one that's closed minded, and that I probably know more about the different religions than she ever will because I researched them all before I became atheist, that me and Kellie are made for each other, and that we are having the wedding we want.
I call mom the next day and tell her I'm coming over to talk to her. I give her the letter, and before she reads it she tells me how sorry she is, and she doesn't know what came over her. She reads the letter and apologizes for everything, apologizes to Kellie, and everything is good.
Since then, we've pushed the wedding back a year because we just found out we're having a baby!! yay! We've agreed(for both of our moms) to let them take the baby to get blessed(not baptized) by a priest. My mom is better than ever, and more friendlier than ever, to me and her.
Life is good now. Me as an open minded atheist, my fiance' as a Wiccan, and our baby on the way that we will teach what we know and let (him hopefully) make his own decision on religion.
Thanks for reading my story.
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