1/01/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy De-Converting ~
My religious story begins like many other middle-class Americans. I was born in a Christian home to Christian parents who were good, middle-class Republicans. We went to Church every Sunday and Wednesday night, did all of the socializing and activities, youth group, all of that.
But my parents were never really satisfied with their church experience. They jumped denominations a lot, even putting my siblings in Catholic school for a while (much to my Free Will Baptists Grandmother’s dismay) before deciding for a time on a non-denominational church.
The Preacher at this church was very good. His sermons actually had a lot of substance, as opposed to a lot of tripe you hear from the pulpit. This preacher was making my parents earnestly examine their faith and they began to delve deep into how they thought they were supposed to live according to the Bible.
This led them into a super-duper ultra conservative lifestyle. Think Mennonite or Quiverfull. Our lives were turned upside down as now things like Christmas trees, Tvs and women wearing pants were a sure path to hell. Our life revolved around a “plain” lifestyle, which essentially meant we had to live like we were pioneers from the 1800s. Now skirts weren’t modest enough, we had to wear one piece dresses in solid colors. Any music but gospel was playing with the devil’s temptation, higher education was out of the question, leaving home was out of the question, having a vocation that didn’t “glorify God” was out of the question.
Life was tremendously oppressive. I was very desperately depressed and became suicidal. I was told I was selfish and if I just allowed God to “break my heart” and submitted to His will, things would go easier for me.
Asking questions was considered rebellious. This was difficult for me, as I’ve always had a keen and inquisitive mind. I was very devout and wanted so much to please God and my parents but I was so dreadfully unhappy.
Eventually my severe depression culminated in a suicide attempt when I was 16. After I had hit rock bottom, I decided I was going to start taking control of my own life. I stopped relying on God to answer my prayers and started trying to put my broken mind back together. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I made it out of the dark tangled woods of depression and was finally able to live again.
Asking questions was considered rebellious. This was difficult for me, as I’ve always had a keen and inquisitive mind. I was very devout and wanted so much to please God and my parents but I was so dreadfully unhappy.This is when I realized that when I stopped depending on God to help me is when my life actually started turning around. It was about this time when I first started having doubts about the Bible. I saw that people living as close as modern day allows to exactly what the Bible says actually produces awful people and an absolutely detrimental environment. I realized that must mean either the Bible was not what I was taught it was, or God was not who I thought He was.
Eventually, I went to a Christian college (how I ended up there is another long story) and studied Philosophy. Finally I was at liberty to examine the questions that had plagued me for so long. Eventually, and in spite of the fact that I was being taught by Christians at a Christian school—I found more and more holes in Christianity until I stopped practicing religion altogether. By the time I graduated---last May---the only thing I still believed in was a God. Due to the nature of cause and effect this made sense to me. Plus I wasn’t able to disregard the numerous times in my life that I felt I was aware of the presence of God. So I have been calling myself an agnostic deist.
But about a week ago I found this site. I was so relieved, I almost cried. To find a community of people like me, to read their stories and to not feel so very alone has been wonderful. I feel like a criminal for questioning my faith and a liar to all my Christian friends who as yet don’t know.
There have been several things I have been too afraid to touch; things like what if there really is no God at all and whether or not Jesus was God. But now my mind is going there. And I am terrified. I don’t want to be an atheist, but my belief is sifting through my fingers like sand. With every passing day I am able to believe less and less. I am so scared, but I want to know the truth. That’s all I ever wanted.
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