5/11/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Danimal ~
We never went to church as a family. I didn't learn about you until I was 17 when I was introduced to an Assemblies of God church. There I learned that your worship was vibrant and emotional. I learned about the gifts of the spirit. I also learned about hypocrisy and narrow mindedness. But, we're only saved, not perfect, right?
You and I grew apart from each other when I joined the Army. I was leading a new, exciting life. I really didn't need you much. When I returned to the university, you and I got back together again. I didn't return to Pentecostalism. You lead me to various evangelical churches. Sure, the people tended to be bizarre at times and always narrow minded. But, we are all sinners. Who was I to judge your elect?
I eventually got married, found work, had four children, and eventually joined a United Methodist church. According to most people, you had richly blessed me. It was far from the real truth.
Ever since I can remember, I had difficulty getting along with people. I often didn't understand things people said to me. Because I could never look people directly in the eye, I was called "dishonest" and a "liar". I struggled with all the abstractions in sermons and in the bible. I was plagued with depression and despair. I was told that I was being attacked by Satan because I was "backslidden". Who was I to question Christians who were so much more spiritual than me?
I spent years in counseling. I was on powerful psychotropic medications. I sometimes spent days being nothing but a zombie. I spent time under the care of a psychiatrist. All this time I blamed my lack of faith. If only I was as spiritual as my friends at church were. If only I was a great christian father and husband, you would deliver me from the hell my mind was in. I prayed for deliverance. Even though I received nothing but silence, I still believed you were listening.
God, did I say "friends"? What I really had at church was "fellowship". Those that I thought were friends actually considered themselves "mentors". They believed that I was inferior to them spiritually, I needed their help, God, if you were to really love me.
I was always told that you never send more than we can bear. I believed that until a year ago. I finally had an answer to all my various mental afflictions: Aspergers syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. God, I was crushed. The more I learned, the more I realized why I think so concretely, don't understand abstractions, have limited capacity to interact with others, and have various sensory difficulties. Finally, I realized that you had indeed sent me more affliction than I could bear.
For months I questioned my faith. For the first time, I questioned you, God. As usual, there were no answers. I asked your spiritual people questions, but they began to shun me. I began attending church less and less. I quit singing those songs you love so much. I discovered that I had no friends in church. I discovered, metaphorically, the emperor had no clothes. Many Christians were actually delusional. Your scripture wasn't inspired, but was written by men. Finally, God, I realized you were simply an invention of men, as well.
So, God, it's time to say goodbye. It's time for me to move on so I can work through my autism the best I can. My prayers over the years were directed to a being who didn't exist in the first place. God, you will have company with my discarded myths of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. I would like to say that I'm sorry, but I'm not.
I know finally that I'm not the plaything of invisible super-beings. I live in a world that is often not fair. A world that formed over billions of years is far more wonderful than anything religion can add to it.
So, God, sayonara,auf wiedersehen, au revoir.
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