5/31/2010 | Share this article:By timjim --
I was a Southern Baptist Christian at the age of 10. Now I know that this is very young, but I actually had a friend who said he had been a Christian since 6, said he just felt like he needed something different in his life (give me a break). As I grew up I kept to my faith and read the bible each day, prayed each day, went to church each and every time the doors were open. Hell, I even went and talked to the preacher when I wasn't going to church meetings. I held my faith higher than anything else in my life and I was just a kid. I had every pastor and person that had anything to do with the ministry telling my parents that they believed God was going to call me to be a preacher. I even, at one point, believed that I was going to be a preacher.
Anyways, teenage years were hard (I hear they are hard even if you aren't a Southern Baptist Christian). I struggled with my faith, my hormones, and my friends. I felt the overwhelming need to tell everyone that they were in danger of hell even though I was afraid that I was also going to hell. Why would I fear going to hell? I mean I made the profession of faith you hear so much about. I prayed the prayer, honestly and earnestly, but I never felt like this was good enough. Every Sunday the preacher would present me with a new doubt. Every youth and children ministry event I went to had a speaker who made me question myself and made me spin further out of mental control. While feeling bad and shameful of my sin, I also felt like I could never meet up to God's standard. I tried every day at any available moment to keep my mind away from the girls I liked, the evil words I wanted to say, and from different ways I could masturbate. All of this living alone in my head I isolated myself from my peers and even my sister. While my friends were out drinking or trying to hit on chicks, I was feeling bad for jacking off to thoughts of my very attractive English teacher. It got to the point where each morning I would wake up afraid I was going to die, afraid I had, without knowing it, committed the unpardonable sin and that hell was what I had to look forward to. I had my mom up till almost sunrise many nights crying and asking questions about the bible that she didn't have the answers to. I even had my youth minister tell me that he was too busy to keep answering my questions all the time. Needless to say, I had a terribly horrific mental battle going on pretty much every day as a teenager.
When I got to college, my first year was at a private Christian university, I started to feel okay about myself. There were other kids here that had the same feelings. I began to realize that it was normal to feel these doubts. As I began to embrace these doubts I began to realize the truth behind them: my logical brain was trying to compute things that are and can never be logical. Once I began to question my faith and realize the empty shit that it is, I spun out of control for a while. I began to read all the literature that I could, I even read some of the Book of Mormon.
Everything started to make sense to me, finally. I didn't want to lose my faith, but it lost me. I realized that my misery was there because that's essentially what Christianity is, a ploy to make you feel bad and insecure at all times. I began to feel okay that I didn't have the answers to why we are here. I began to take biology classes and saw how the world works. Truly I couldn't deny that it seems like there is an intelligent mind behind everything, but that mind is far too advanced to be as dumb and as lame as the God that I had learned about in Sunday school.
In short this is the story of me. I am 24 about to be 25 and I have just started living my life the past 4 years and feeling okay about being myself and believing what I want---as sad as that sounds I hope that no one thinks that it's lame or sad. I have been divorced, graduated from a public university with a BS in general biology and a minor in English, and I have starred in 6 no-budget (several currently in the making), straight to DVD horror flicks where I kill and get killed a few times. I enjoy thinking outside the bubble I created for myself and was created for me when I was a kid. I have renounced the chains of Christianity. I do however fear for my niece because my sister has recently came back into church and I don't want my niece to experience the things that I have.
My grandparents think I'm evil and I am told that I do not have morals or anything because I refuse to go to church. My grandfather went so far as to say he was so disappointed in me because I didn't become a preacher like our pastor always said I would be.
I am here and enjoy reading everyone's thoughts. I hope to contribute a lot more to the discussions. Thanks for being around and helping me feel like I am not the only sane person in the world. (I currently live in the Bible Belt---trying to get out though!)
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