4/28/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy gamestop ~
Before I start I would just want to thank all of you who post and write on this website. Before I found this site I felt truly alone with my thoughts and struggles but have found comfort in the one place I would never think I would find it. Among a bunch of non-believers. Thank you for listening and apologize for any grammatical errors or flaws in my story. It came from my heart and won’t be perfect.
Image by Jason Pier in DC via FlickrI’m 18 years old (almost 19) and was raised in a Catholic family. We go to church regularly and are what people call practicing Catholics. For the first 16 years of my life I was totally happy with my faith. To be honest I could have easily gone on like that for the rest of my life being a happy Catholic. My parade got rained on when a group called “Young life” got into our school when I was 16. It was instantly popular and a bunch of my friends went to it. Therefore I got dragged along. At the start it was a very fun group -- they played games and really knew how to get kids wanting to go. It was like a huge party so when a week long Young Life camp was going on in Colorado I had to go.
At this camp I got “saved.” Apparently, according to these people, Catholicism was wrong and all Catholics were going to Hell. I feel right into their trap. Parents if any of you ever see a Young Life group in your kids school get them out of there, they will brainwash your children. That is what happened to me. I was having my little good existence content with faith and life but they came along and messed it up. I got brainwashed into thinking the typical fundamental view of the world. The stupid: full of themselves, over righteous, constantly talking about God or scripture, narrow-minded, end of the world loving people. I constantly tried to be my best and do everything I could for the “kingdom” and found that I could only be a failure. My efforts where in vain I could not please God ever or the people at youth groups.
After time though I got numb. It is ironic many Christians say the world has become numb to sin, well I became numb to Christianity. My mess ups made me not care. I couldn’t be good enough, so I just stopped trying. The alter calls, intense prayer and worship services, witnessing, and gospel music soon become just an emotional high. I would sit and watch people be full of the spirit and soon figure that everyone was faking. I got numb to their actions and annoyed by the constant effort to save others. Another huge question was the nature of God? This dude who could do anything was bound to send people to hell because they were born flawed. Born flawed, in his image? Don’t understand?
People wanted to feel good so they went to church and they looked down of others who didn’t have fun the way they did. It was a place for the people who were weak. Not saying I’m the toughest kid out there but youth groups are dominated by people who have nowhere else to go, same probably goes to churches. I’m actually glad for this because they have a place to fit in. Only thing I hate is when they get into others lives and shove God down people’s throats. Not everyone thinks the same.
I also watched the documentary Marjoe made in 1972. For those who haven’t watched it, do. Best showing I have ever seen about the fakeness, emotional high, and fear used by all Christians to make people stay in their churches. The pastors also made a good amount of cash as well.
This didn’t happen overnight. Little by little my faith fell apart. I fought and still am fighting some to see my faith as truth. The church had been in my life the entire time and not having faith was something I was horrified of. Regardless I can’t help but see faith as a huge joke. Young Life was the first to go. I hated going for all the normal reason people dislike fundies -- witnessing, egocentric, hating gays (I’m not gay but why do they pick that one group to just wreck on?), condemning everyone and everything, and just being straight up jerks.
The leaving from Young Life helped me go to back to my Catholic faith stronger than ever. For a time it was good but the same doubts stepped in. Especially ones that the Young Lifers had pointed out themselves. My Catholic faith got destroyed by its horrific history. Pointed out by the very people I was running from. I had nowhere to go.
I laugh at the irony. I had two separate churches that I used to feed off each other for support that ended up destroying each other. When I look back there was only one person who did all those things that I thought was from God... Me. There was no spirit or force that guided my actions. I did it myself. People need to not look at something else to strengthen them and see that each of us has the inner strength to pull through anything thrown at us. We just like to think somebody has out back. Praying is just talking to yourself and testimonies are simply people following a typical Christian formula to get accepted and to elevate their Christian-social status. We are our strength. The inner strength we have gets destroyed by people seeing humans as worthless without god.
In one month High School will be a memory and I can move on in my life of faking Christianity. I still go to church and youth groups because I have my whole life and people look up to me. I don’t want to ruin my reputation with only a month left. I’m just going to finish strong and once summer hits I can stop faking it and be who I am. I’ve told only one person about anything that is going on in my head. A cute girl who sits beside me in biology whom literally is in the same situation. We are youth group leaders, great athletes in our schools, star students, “good kids”, and the ones who are the first to down shots at a party, dance, and light up (cigarettes/cigars, I don’t do drugs). Conversations with her are great but I still haven’t expressed myself fully and I really can’t. I just don’t know what will happen if people know what I really think.
As depressed as I might seem about losing my faith I’m really not. It is freedom. I’ve spent years watching my actions and back. Feeling fear and judgment for what I have done wrong. Constantly competing with others and myself to be the best Christian. Worst of all trying to save my family, x-girlfriend, and friends who weren’t in the group. People have come up to me and said that they used to be afraid of what they said in front of me because of my judgment. Once being called the most judgmental person they knew. I never partied, went out, or really just had a night of fun besides chilling with other Christian friends. Now I’ve found friends who don’t care at all about faith, we party, have more fun than I ever could at a church camp, and just see life for what it is. My friends have expanded so much once I stopped trying and my life has been more enjoyable.
Despite the partying and small acts of rebellion, I really do care about people. That is why I am looked up to and called a Christian. I will forever help others and be there to support my friends and family but I do it on my own, not for some treasure up the sky. I even tithe but no longer give my money to the church. My motives are actually pure and legit, not for a rewards.
The only regret I am going to have is my family.
Mom, Dad, I’m sorry. You’ve done nothing wrong in raising me. I go to church and youth groups still for your sake and you are the last people in this entire world I want to hurt. I’m not turning into a bad person I just want to be free. I will be better, happier. Not trying to be the savior of the world or being better than others will be a great relief. Love will still be the center of my life but I know the true source. Simplify me, despite what Christians think man can do great things and I intend to do my best. You raised me as best you could and being your son has made me who I am today. If I have done anything to offend you I am sorry from the deepest part of me. When I die don’t worry I won’t go to Hell. Nobody will have to burn forever while the “elect” look down upon them. We all will be at peace. I love you.
Filed Under: Testimonials