11/08/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Ray ~
It's interesting that I stumbled upon this site. Myself, I had dropped Christianity back in 2003. Yet, since that time, I have met no other who has done the same.
My problem with the religion began when I was young. I have never been an outgoing person but was particularly shy when I was little. I was forced to go to Sunday school. During those times, even though I couldn't understand what my discomfort was, I could never embrace the stories I was being taught. Even as a child, too many stories didn't sound real and instead sounded like fairy tales. This is interesting since I wasn't without imagination and was willing to believe in other "supernatural" stories. However, I think what was turning me off at such an early age was the hypocrisy of so much of what I was hearing verses what I was observing of people in general.
I particularly remember when the Sunday school teacher started telling all of the kids that they had to ask Jesus into their hearts in order to be saved. She said that she would help each kid do it. I was shy and didn't want to participate in a weird public prayer so I tried to do it at home. I inwardly called to Jesus to come into my heart over and over again yet nothing changed. Yet, during the next Sunday school session she would tell the kids that until they did this with her, they wouldn't be saved. I assumed I had done something wrong but let it go since it didn't feel right doing this thing with her.
During college, I had joined a Christian group for a brief time and found myself turned off when I observed a game of one-up-man-ship between a couple of members. The guy and girl were comparing how many people they had converted and "witnessed". It disgusted me because this was a huge display of ego, something very un-Jesus like and people were nothing more than points on a scoreboard to them.
I can't count how many times people asked me if I knew Jesus and if I followed him. I would say yes, but they wouldn't believe me. Maybe I didn't display the zeal that others get on their faces.I think what finally put me off was that since I didn't go to church regularly and wasn't an outward preacher of my beliefs, I was often questioned by Christians over my faith. I can't count how many times people asked me if I knew Jesus and if I followed him. I would say yes, but they wouldn't believe me. Maybe I didn't display the zeal that others get on their faces. All I knew was that I was again that kid who was failing to be accepted by Jesus because he wasn't doing it right.
When I finally left the religion, it was sudden and abrupt as I had come across some spiritual material that not only was not Christian in nature, but instead railed against the dangers of all religions, money and politics. It rang more true than anything I had ever heard in the past. At that moment, my fear of being cast into hell to burn for eternity vanished.
I have since grown spiritually in a way that would have never been possible during the time I was caught in the fear of the unknown over whether or not this religion which had been pushed on me, and which I had never felt comfortable with was actually speaking of truth; which I knew would have meant my commitment to hell for my lack of faith. I once told a friend of mine who converted to Christianity around the same time that I abandoned it that I have grown much closer to God after leaving the religion and he was incredulous. I'm sure in his mind, my soul is doomed. Yet, I found freedom to see the magic and love that God has created all around us through nature. I would have never known how great and wonderful the spirit can be as long as I was bound by an oppressive religion.
So, I have now lived free from religion for years, and as a result more spiritual than ever before. I have believed for years that I am an island amongst an ocean of hypocritical church goers. It's nice to know there are others out there.
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