1/20/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Nikki ~
I am a very reluctant atheist. Having been brought up in the church and primed for becoming a missionary and marrying a nice Christian boy, to now find myself as both an atheist and a lesbian has been disconcerting, to say the least.
There were three main things that eventually led to my deconversion. The first was a love of truth; the second, a deep disgust with hypocrisy; and the third, my final acceptance of the fact that I am not, have never been, and never will be straight.
My love of truth paved the way. Many times as I grew up, things would bother me about what I was being taught. I wondered about the stories of God ordering genocides in the Bible, or just outright murdering people himself. I puzzled over discrepancies between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I wondered why, in all my years of being a Christian, I had never seen even one verifiable miracle. But I simply chalked it up to my lack of understanding, and went on as before.
Then my hatred of hypocrisy was brought to bear. As I rose in the "ranks" of church leadership, I became privy to a lot of the things that were going on behind the scenes. What I saw and heard sickened me - business fraud, deliberate smear campaigns against church members who objected to anything, a constant concern with "what the community thought of us..." It made me very angry. "If the church council members are so blasted concerned about their precious reputation," I thought, "why are they acting like such a bunch of jerks?"
Then three events converged on my already-crumbling faith: my church began to fall apart due to infighting; my health abruptly failed as I contracted both IBS and a nasty stomach ulcer; and, owing to my growing weakness, I could no longer deny to myself the fact that I was a lesbian.
I withdrew completely from other people for months, realizing that I desperately needed to think, and I needed to do it without having anyone screaming Scripture in my ears. Having accepted that I was gay, I could finally admit to myself that I always had been. Was I truly condemned for thinking that women were beautiful, fascinating creatures? I dove into the Bible like I never had before. (Which is saying something, since I'd gone to seminary.) I studied it and studied it, and let myself actually consider my questions about it seriously.
Finally, I came to the conclusion that the God of the Bible, independent of any Christian spin doctoring, is a manipulative, ego-maniacal, bloodthirsty, infantile jerk who delights in giving arbitrary commands and slaughtering innocents - who then has the audacity to turn around and claim to be a god of love. The faith I'd loved all my life was a lie.
And then, just as I'd begun to come to terms with all this and recover a bit from my physical illnesses, I got the news that my mother - the cornerstone and bedrock of my family since my father's death - is dying of cancer.
I am not happy Christ isn't true. I'm not happy about it at all. I'd give anything to go back to my faith, to be able to pray again and take comfort in the tenets of Christianity. I'd give anything to still be sharing my dying mother's faith. I want desperately to be the straight Christian woman I was "supposed" to be. But that isn't in fact the truth, and I'm not that person...maybe I never really was.
So now I somehow have to find an entirely new social circle, rebuild the way I think about the world from the ground up, deal with my mother's terminal illness, and maybe figure out this whole dating thing that I should have figured out back in high school instead of now. *buries face in hands* I think maybe I should invest in some psychiatric help.