8/31/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Dethblight ~
Today, (for no particular reason), I started thinking about something my Mom said when I first came out of the religious closet to her. I told her that I no longer believed in Christianity, and she automatically assumed that this was due to my experiences in the army. At the time, I immediately said "no", but now I realize that this may have played a role in the change of my beliefs... just not in the way that she meant.
When I first told her that I no longer believed in Christianity and the bible (though I was still a Deist at the time), her first response was something along the lines of "I know that you have experienced some horrible things...". While I thought nothing of it at the time, I now find it interesting that she (and most other Christians) assume that I lost faith once I saw the dark side of humanity for myself. To her (and them), the reason for my abandoning Christianity was somewhere between anger at God and assuming that such evil could not exist in a world with a God.
My immediate (and mostly correct) response was, "No, I don't disbelieve because of my time in war." But to tell the truth, my disbelief DID start with my wartime experiences... just not in the way that they expected. I saw fellow Christians killed by Muslims, dealt death to Muslims, and had some very close calls with death myself at the hands of these Muslims. In my mind at the time, this did not "show me the ugly side of humanity and convince me there is no god", rather, it strengthened my belief. Seeing close personal friends suffer and die at the hands of "infidels" only confirmed to me that Christianity, while imperfect, was far better than the alternatives.
This, combined with my very close calls with death convinced me that I needed to "get right with God". As such, I started reading the Bible and analyzing passages. I started doing research into the Bible and what it meant. I did all the things that the churches say you should do. The only problem was that once I started learning about my religion, doubts and questions inevitably popped up. In the end, the part of my mind that is dedicated to the scientific principles could not be silenced by the part of my brain that was dedicated to what I already "knew" and believed. I started subjecting my own religion to the same scrutiny that I subjected other religions to, and in the end, I came out an atheist.
So to finally and completely answer my mom's response of, "I know you went through some horrible stuff, but that is not justification to turn from God", I say this: I do not turn from God because I saw the evil side of humanity, I turn from God because I saw his human side, and there is nothing else left.