Raised by my grandparents from birth, I was in church every Sunday since I can remember. My grandfather was a preacher and I learned quickly to be quiet and sit still during service. When I didn't, my grandmother would take me out the front door and spank me good. That was the beginning of the religious fear I would carry for 28 years.
When I was five my mom (as I called her) told my brother and I the entire spiel of Christianity for the first time. We were both "saved" that very night. My indoctrination was in full swing from that point onward. I had the typical brainwashing of memorizing the bible and learning all the cherry-picked "good parts" of the book.
When I was 12 I was filled with the holy spirit and began talking in tongues and trying to save every classmate I could. I condemned any who wouldn't listen to me, of course. This went on for four years until I tasted alcohol for the first time.
I, like other kids I guess, began partying and experiencing so many pleasures I was sheltered from for so long. These experiences always brought on the horrible cycle of guilt, shame and repentance. I always found myself going back to church and having a few months of "good" behavior.
In school I began skipping science class because it was of the devil and caused me to question my faith. I eventually dropped out and got my GED, believing my life was meant for ministry and I didn't need the secular education. Talk about a red flag!
At 22, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My grandparents' solution for this was to hold an exorcism to deliver me from the spirit of bipolar. You name a problem and that was their answer. There were demon spirits that specialized in every negative aspect of life, from sickness and mental disorders to anger and lust. I can't count how many demons they tried to pray out of me over the years.
Every spiritual experience I had was a production of my own bipolar (in my case) and gullible mind. When I finally got on medication after many failed exorcisms, I began to study the power of the brain and wondered if all my religious experiences were products of my defective and vulnerable mind. I kept these thoughts to myself until I had my final revelation because of Robotussin.
I do not recommend or endorse my drug experimentation to anyone reading this, but here's what I discovered. A friend of mine had suggested that I try "Robo-tripping," as it is called, for a month or so. So one night I finally tried it. The feeling I got from using DXM (the active ingredient of Robotussin) was the exact feeling I had when I was filled with the holy spirit. I'd felt it every time I was speaking in tongues in a religious frenzy. I felt what we called "slain in the spirit." I wondered for months after, if I really felt the spirit of God, how on Earth could I recreate that experience with simple cough syrup?!
I began to suspect what all of us here discover: Every spiritual experience I had was a production of my own bipolar (in my case) and gullible mind. The wealth of knowledge on the internet led me to the Christ Myth Theory, The God Delusion and The God Virus. After months of depression and education, I emerged an atheist.
I look back all the time. If I hadn't been raised in a cult, would I have a Master's degree by now? As of this writing, I am a sober, mentally fit cashier. I devour all the scientific knowledge I denied myself years ago. Actually, I learn everything I possibly can about EVERYTHING. I no longer see myself as educationally stunted because of my cultish indoctrination. I am a Phoenix rising from the ashes of ignorance and oppression. The future holds nothing but opportunity for me to better myself, my education and my life.
I love this site, I love you all, and I love these stories of freedom you all share with the world. May we all continue to inspire and uplift one another. Thanks for your time.
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