"We must question the logic of an all-knowing and all-powerful God who creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes." Gene Roddenberry
I first ran across this quote about 15 years ago. The beginning of the end for Christianity in my life had begun. Ive been lurking on this website for 2 years now and after reading the testimonials of all the deconverts here, mine eyes have been opened and I can clearly see the light. Seems to me that the people on this site have more compassion and understanding than any Christian Ive ever come across. That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to come off the sidelines and share my story. I am not a great writer so please bear with me. I will do my best.
Image by megaul via FlickrFirst, I would like to pay respects to all the posters who have shared their stories on this website. Your insights and experiences have helped me realize that I am not alone in my thinking process and I greatly appreciate that. Special thanks to WebMaster Dave, Renoliz, Discordia, EveningMeadows, DealDoctor, Wizenedsage, and Wylekat for your amazing and informative stories, comments and perspectives. And Ex-Pastor Dan, you da man! I love how you put those trolls in their place. LOL. I look forward to surfing this incredible website everyday and I truly believe I am in a better frame of mind because of it. Thanks to everyone.
I'm not gonna lie. I'm a little uneasy as I write this. The house is dark and quiet and I'm kinda expecting demons to jump out at me from the shadows! Make no mistake about it. The grip Christianity had on me goes that deep. My story begins with my mother. She was a very devout southern baptist woman who didn't attend church regularly until later in her life. Her reasoning was that she couldn't find a church she liked. But she was very spiritual and put everything in the hands of god. She prayed a lot. About EVERYTHING! And made us pray with her. To be fair to her, she was a good woman but she made a lot of bad decisions in her life, especially ones concerning her children. She had 5 of us, 3 boys and 2 girls and I was the youngest. We all had different fathers except for a brother and sister who were a year apart in age but born to her 2nd husband. It was during this marriage that I was conceived, the result of an affair she had with another man. Yes, I am my mothers love child, a fact that wasn't revealed to me until after she passed away. She never told me who my father was (and I still don't know) which has affected me my whole life. My brothers and sisters didn't accept me when I was young and called me a bastard every time one of them got mad at me about something. That led to a lot of emotional and self-esteem issues for me. I used to get picked on in school because I never had decent clothes to wear and we lived in a bad neighborhood. Needless to say, I had a horrible childhood. When I would come home to her crying my eyes out from the last bad episode in my young life, Mom used to say all the time "Just pray about it Son and put it in Gods hands. He will fight your battles for you." So I prayed. A lot. I was looking for any sign god was there for me. All I got was a deafening silence. Prayer works? Yea right.
In spite of all this, I was a very bright child. I loved to read and I was always fascinated with learning, so I did well in school. I loved learning new things, including the stories in the bible. There was only one problem though. I liked to ask questions. A lot of questions. As a child, when you asks a grownup questions about the bible, you accept whatever answer you get as the truth. But critical thinking developed early for me and I didn't really believe some of the answers I got. One bible character that I was fascinated with was Moses. My mother used to make us watch The 10 Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, every year at Easter. And I mean the WHOLE movie. Each and every time it came on! My favorite scene was the parting of the Red Sea. How could god give a man that much power! And with just a stick no less. If he could do that for Moses, surely he could solve my petty issues if I just prayed hard enough. The burning bush scene was Moms favorite. She would literally weep during that scene and sometimes would even 'get the spirit'. Damn she loved that movie.
When I turned 12, my Mom met and married for the 3rd and final time. This guy was my worse nightmare! He was mean, selfish and broke. For the life of me, I still cant figure out what she saw in him. He was divorced from his first wife and had abandoned his 5 kids. That summer, we packed up and moved to Alabama, right in the heart of the Bible Belt. That began another run of bad times for me for the next 5 years. They joined a small Baptist church that his father attended and he became a Deacon in the church and Mom became a Deaconess. Now I had to go to church every Sunday. Sometimes twice on Sunday. Even more during Revivals, which lasted a week. But I didn't mind because it was where everybody socialized in our small community. However, as I entered my teens, I was having major problems with my mothers husband (I don't call him my step-dad). He would do all kinds of low down shit to me behind her back. I would tell my mother but her answer was always the same. Pray Son. Let god handle it for you. But she wouldn't lift a finger to help me! My faith was strong. And I continued to pray for gods presence in my life. Still, nothing but silence.
Fast forward to February, 1991. Operation Desert Storm. By this time, I had graduated high school and joined the Army. I was deployed to the Middle East during the last year of my enlistment. We spent 3 days in Egypt before landing in Saudi Arabia. For those of you who have never been to that part of the world, well just let me say that I totally understand why Muslims believe in their religion like they do. The majority of the people there still live like in ancient times. They ride camels and live in tents and still practice customs that are thousands of years old. Thats why you hear stories of women being stoned to death. Islam is the law of the land. Their whole society is based on it and the people don't question it at all. During the war, I saw lots of dead bodies. Most of them were my age or younger. I prayed a lot, probably more so than at any point in my life. I read the bible everyday. However, theres something about seeing death up close and personal like that that opens your eyes to the real realities of life. The seeds of doubt had been planted.
After the war, I came home, got out of the service and found a job. Three years later, I met my wife and had 2 children. By this time, I'm not reading my bible anymore. Whats the point? My life is still a struggle, now I'm suffering from PTSD and real doubts are starting to set in. I still haven't seen or nor felt gods presence in my life. When we got our first computer, thats when I ran across Gene Roddenberry's quote. The critical thinking portion of my mind was beginning to take over. When my mother died in 1998 and I was informed that I was her love child, well that was the final straw for me! God didn't love me. He never gave me any signs that he was even there with me. What the hell was all that praying for? My heart is bleeding and no amount of faith is gonna make it stop. If there is a god, he sure dealt me a shitty hand. Time to stop believing in fairy tales.
Thanks to this site, I can clearly see that I wasted a huge portion of my life pleading for help from something that wasn't there in the first place. I could have been praying to a rock and got the same results. No longer do I give god the credit for my survival. I have overcome huge obstacles in my life and I made it this far because of my own will and determination. I know that now. I am a full-fledge atheist now. And I'm at peace with that.
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