6/06/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Cat ~
I was born into Christianity, the son of a deacon. I was a Son of God for 16 years, baptized too. All my best friends were devout evangelical Christians, as was my girlfriend (ex now), and I loved them all and still do. Those were the happiest times of my life, and sometimes I do wish I could go back to them.
At 14, I began being mentored in 1-on-1 sessions by the head youth leader of the church , and I was pretty sure he was teaching me to succeed him, as did his mentor before him (the previous youth head leader, now a pastor). I loved learning about God, Jesus and the Bible - in fact I would go around and attend theological study groups led by well known evangelists. I also led the weekly Christian group at my high school. At 15, I became the youngest leader for one of the largest evangelical youth movements in my country.
I tell you these things because I want you reading to know that by any and all standards and in the eyes of many a pastor or youth leader, and my peers, I was the 'perfect' Christian (obviously I was not and there is no such thing, but, if you imagine one with all the childlike innocence I had, you would pretty much get...me!). No one had any doubts about me in regards to my faith.
Like any Christian, I had doubts about my faith ;) Which we all do from time to time, (which is exactly what makes believing in God a 'faith', otherwise it would be 'fact'). These I would talk to my mentor about, and I would also do my own research into theology, and then my doubts would be annulled.
Now that I look back onto it, what are 'doubts' really? Well, if you get over a 'doubt', then the entire thing becomes a learning process for you and you become a stronger wiser Christian, with a new obstacle under your feet lifting you up.
Which is what I did...for a while.
For such an inquisitive person such as myself, the questions never stopped (the Bible is pretty darn big as you know). There weren't many, but they were there. Some questions couldn't be answered, and I was okay with that (not exactly doubts because I had no problem with the answers, they concerned Predestination and 'Where do babies go when they die?' A:Long story short, only God knows).
When I was about 15~16, however, I began getting questions I couldn't answer. There was one, then two, then three and bang! before I knew it I began falling away. It did not happen immediately, I did not suddenly 'un-believe' like an epiphany, but slowly and surely, as I came to grips with it all, I began to stop calling myself a Christian (in my head).
Over time, the weight of all my doubts couldn't allow me to rationalize the act of believing in the God of the Bible. What was, up until this age, MY ENTIRE LIFE, was falling apart before my eyes. This had been my world since I was a baby, but before reason and logic, the entire world that I was in shattered to pieces - it was as if I had been looking at an illusion of the world all my life, and now it was falling away.
I was just a kid, and all of a sudden I had figured out that my life was a lie. My parents and friends and everyone I loved and cared about were perpetuating it, and what's more, they believed it, so what could I do? I lost all my friends, fell apart with my lovable girlfriend (who is such a nice person btw :D)...and well, I guess I kinda died every day of the week I had to go to school and church knowing I didn't believe what all these other people standing around me did, and that I had to lie to them about it and continue doing so until I was living independently of my parents, and at that time it would be safe to come out about it. In my heart I tried to stop my relationships with these people, partly because of the guilt I felt, and partly because everytime I laughed and had fellowship with them I was reminded of who I wasn't - one of them. I stopped talking to my friends as much, I would reject offers of hanging out, I would take part less and less in whatever my friends were doing until I wouldn't see some of them for months. At the same time, I was trying to come to grips with how to act, how to live, really live!, how to grow up, how to EVERYTHING...my entire world had been obliterated, I had nothing, I even forgot how to love whilst getting over the (self-initiated) loss of my friends and girlfriend. It was like I was performing surgery on myself with a hacksaw, making excruciatingly painful progress, with no-one around but myself to patch me up.
It has been heartbreaking to go through the past 4 years of my life, and it still wrenches every time I see those beautiful friends I once had. Right now it's breaking as I write, reliving it all again.
I am now 19 almost 20, and even now I am still patching myself up. This piece is just a bit of that healing process too.
You know, I thought I was pretty well healed too, until I met a bunch of those friends today, and I had some superficial conversations with them (they still think I'm Christian, though they may be cluing in finally. I do believe my mentor realized a year or so ago, as he made a few confrontations to try to talk to me about my faith but I tried my best to avoid with vague or cold-ish responses - I'm a bad liar and it hurts me to talk to him - and since he's a nice guy I think he's letting me pretend that I'm a believer, even though he doesn't know my reasons for doing so. I saw him today too, but for a long time now he's been avoiding me like I don't exist. He won't even say hi to me if I stand next to him.) Then I felt compelled to write this piece as I realized I still have a long way to go if it still affects me this much.
If anyone would like to know what doubts I had, I will simply post up a link to a .txt file that I opened up whenever I wanted to vent my doubts during my earlier years. I have long since stopped opening up that file, but I used to open up notepad like crazy whenever I was trying to reason my way out of my own mind. Needless to say, those were pretty emotional moments, and so the file might be a little messy and crazy, and perhaps with gaps in logic at moments when my fingers couldn't keep up with my mind or my heart.
And for anyone going through what I went through, I would like to offer some encouragement and support - the process is sometimes scary, often lonely and always painful, but I am afraid it's necessary. I'm not entirely sure what I'll be when I come out, but the results are beginning to show, and I think I like them. I don't really think there's ever really an end, but perhaps you..I..can learn to live with the past and move on.
Here's the txt file with 2 links, one to a download of the original file I wrote in, and another to some online text hosting service I googled up.
If this site allows replies I will gladly respond to any questions anyone has, time allowing.
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