2/01/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Josh K ~
Aw piss, where to even begin.
As I’m just now starting to vocalize my “de-conversion” from Christianity to the world around me it has taken me a bit to process and make cohesive the tale I have to tell and how I ended up here in the first place. Though maybe I will just start at the beginning, and leave the obfuscating tom foolery of starting the story elsewhere to those cleverer than I am.
Though being raised in a Christian family, I never really hit my spiritual stride until my senior year in high school – when my official “baptism of the spirit” occurred. At that point my family had just moved back to Washington State after living on the other side of the country for 10 years, to reconnect with our family in the Northwest. During our years away we held to those core beliefs of Christianity (you know, the for lack of anything better… I’ll have what he’s having beliefs) but we didn't attend a church or pray as a family or do those things I grew up watching those church kids do.
Most of my high school years were spent either:
a. smoking weed
b. helping my parents care for my severely developmentally disabled brother and
c. smoking weed
I didn’t exactly have a lot of motivation when we moved back to Washington, being just recently vacuumed away into the sky from my network of friends and being fairly introverted anyway, (with the self-esteem I had so carefully accumulated in my previous habitat – depleted) you could say I was ripe for the picking.
Enter my Mom’s side of the family – whom we lived with and around our first few months back. That I love these people is the first thing you should know, the second is that they are all deeply fervent “Charismatic” Christians. My Omi (we’re a good German family) being the staunch matriarch of the family faith, my aunt - the newly returned missionary from Africa and my cousin - the Jesus loving, weed smoking, tongue speaking hippie girl. In my mind she was cool – 2 years older than I was and when she went to church and sang Keith Green songs at the top her lungs after hitting the pipe, it gave her instant cred in my mind. And so, in my vulnerable state, when she asked me if I wanted to smoke a bowl and then go to a youth group meeting I obliged.
This is where the ball starts rolling. You see, in a charismatic youth group such as the one I received my introduction into organized religion, kids like me were dripping wet red cuts of meat to kids like them. I wasn't born again, I didn't go to church, and living like an all-around heathen in their minds - while at the same time displaying an openness to their beliefs - had them circling, sharpening their tools of the spirit that were often talked about but rarely used. I reveled in the attention they gave me, it petted my shrunken ego and lifted my self-esteem and eventually I came to “their” Jesus because of it. Being newly born again, I felt a voraciousness to consume and understand the creeds and concepts of Christianity. Partly being driven by a general thirst for truth and knowledge, partly by ambition to achieve recognition and respect from those within the community of faith, and partly by the attention of the cute girls in the church, I found myself fully immersed in this new reality.
I can truthfully say I believed fully – I don’t doubt that a bit. My faith in Christ and Christianity and my purpose within it eventually outgrew my immature and base motivations, becoming soon the beauty of god and his creation and his eternal purposes that propelled me.
Since that time, in the beginning when I came to really find my identity as a Christian, I have traveled the world as a missionary; I have led youth groups, and until recently led worship for my church. And since that time in the beginning – there have been questions. Questions that I swatted away out of guilt or denial or whatever that I never could answer, that would eventually turn to doubt; and that doubt into piles of doubt. I have read much of the testimony and reasoning on this site… and I have shared many of those epiphanies, but what has already been written will do just as good a job of explaining the inconsistencies of religion as I could do here – so I don’t want to go too far into it.
For me, Shortly after the death of my brother (nothing gets the wheels turning like loss) my doubts culminated – in the shower specifically, and I had to ask myself “how much can you actually doubt something and still maintain that you believe it?”
And then there was a light bulb in my head, it was the brightest thing I had ever felt – and for the first time I was seeing clearly. Clear to the beginning of time clearly, seeing religion and faith for what it was and is and why people needed it then and today. Once I was able to step outside of it and understand where it came from, I then understood that I no longer had need of it. I was free… sort of.
Thus far it has not been an easy road – with everyone on all sides of me (including my wife) being Christian, coming into the open with who I am now has been pretty disruptive and isolating. I still face many difficult inter-relational challenges, and I still find myself praying out of habit from time to time. But I am glad that I can see and think without filters now; after all, I didn’t choose to doubt… that’s just where the answers led to.
Thanks for existing... And reading.
Filed Under: Testimonials