I was born into a Christian, non-denominational family...one that is self-righteously spiritual. I thought myself to be a Christian, and even formally asked Jesus into my life when I was 11 years old. Having parents that pushed God as my ticket to heaven and an exit from Hell was the binding component in my faith.
I didn't learn that my relationship with "God" was actually just negative reinforcement until I became a 24-year-old senior, majoring in psychology, and minoring in philosophy. I realized that I chose a relationship with God because I was fearful of a possible Hell.
In my best philosophical effort to understand my newly- formed doubt over Christianity, I began analyzing the details of my relationship with God. If God existed, and I worshiped Him merely to escape the perils of Hell, then I worshiped a God based on no positive love, or respect. How could God possibly accept me, a woman only worried about escaping Hell, into Heaven...a place specifically designed for those who have accepted Christ as their savior? My Christianity was never about Jesus. It was about escape. So if God existed, I formed the conclusion that my relationship with Him was ill-suited. How could He still allow me into Heaven if I was merely worried about escaping and not focusing on the love I have for Him?
I realized that even if God existed, I couldn't please Him. Science taught me that a mere lack of evidence (the existence of God in this case) can not result in God simply not existing at all, because that would be an assumption. Science has saved me.
I'm not a rebellious person looking to get attention by turning down God. I am first and foremost a scientist looking to find evidence. I still have anxiety over this new found freedom from Christianity. I have not learned yet how to be confident in purely myself, because for my entire life I was taught that I am nothing without Christ. When I was in my early 20s, I suffered from depression, which was partially due to untreated PTSD caused by a nasty car wreck in winter conditions. A few months into depression, I asked my highly "Christian" mother if I could meet with a psychologist. Her answer? "No. If you think you have depression, then you aren't keeping up your relationship with God--only He can fix your problems...not a psychologist." I felt immediately guilty for being a "bad" Christian. Even more so, I felt guilty for becoming a psychology major. I felt as if I wronged my mother.
So I prayed. I tried to be a strong Christian, but it was a relationship that was laced with my mother's acceptance. It wasn't about God.
The point I want to make is that I believe many relationships people have with God are not formed out of a true love and respect for Him. I propose these relationships are out of need for social acceptance, or escape from the possibilities of Hell or being rejected by one's Christian family.
It's only been a few months since I've formally denounced my Christianity, and I'm newly experiencing how it feels to discover enlightenment.
I hope my testimonial will be a light to anyone searching for hope and strength. Let philosophy be your guide.
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