5/03/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Jeffrey Michael White, a Former Brainwashed and Heart-Enslaved Christian ~
I was raised in a Conservative Baptist Church in a Mid-Atlantic state in the American Union. From almost the beginning, I heard Bible stories, from both the Old and New Testaments, and I was also schooled in God's love, grace, mercy, and power, pretty early on in my Sunday School lessons. I remember hearing about hell when I was six or seven years old. However, from the age of six or seven, I had prayed with my mother and sister, and both my sister and I accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. (My mother had already been a Born-Again Christian for many years). Therefore, I was very confident, as a youngster could be, that I was headed for Heaven, after my life on earth, and that I was already saved, at the moment of my conversion. I might not have heard the word, or grasped the concept, 'conversion' at that
I did not question God, Christianity, the Bible, or the Baptist Church (which did not emphasize the universal Church, as much as Roman Catholics and certain Protestants). I was very happy and content with being a Born-Again Christian, as interpreted by the evangelical or fundamentalist doctrine; and what might have even vouchsafed me more satisfaction and joy was judging the bulk of my peers in the secular, public school, who did not believe or act quite similarly to myself and other conservative Protestants.
However, at age fifteen, I started to question some of the ethical rules laid down by my church, and even started rebelling against my parents, pastors, and other Christian youths. I also started becoming more depressed and angry, and a lot of that stemmed, I think, from my starting to think for myself about values, whether my moral propensity was Biblically or ecclesiastically-based or not. Then, I still was solid in adhering to the Christian belief-system.
In a few years, I started becoming more frustrated with even the faith of Christianity, and eventually became, or thought I became, an Atheist, and declared myself, so. Nevertheless, at that age, I was still depressed and angry from my experiences with Christianity, the Bible, my Christian faith, and with the church, which I frequented, that I did not wish to believe in or love God and Christ for those reasons, whether there was proof to God's existence, and historical evidence for miracles, including Christ's resurrection, or not. My family and Christian, that is Baptist, peers in church, treated me somewhat differently when I first rebelled from their rules, and even more so, when I repudiated my Christian beliefs, or, so I thought, I did, as such. Several years later, I started reading, among other books, some works on theology, including a bunch of excerpts, like from Martin Luther and Thomas Aquinas, and I became more fed up with the beliefs and ethical structure of Christianity, and thoroughly opposed to these different denominational politics and additions, subtractions, or intensification of Christianity.
I feel that I was psychologically and emotionally damaged from my church experiences, and my Christian faithWhen I read an excerpt from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, that if one sees a certain color, if the Church declares it to be a different color, we must believe and follow the Church. I started to suspect that other church authorities in other denominations as well, feel similarly, at least in effect. What I hated most about Christianity on a personal, emotional level, were the feelings of guilt and worthlessness, instilled in those raised in that cult. When I have not been in denial to others or to myself, I recognize that I am very substantially non-conforming, uncompromising, and uncooperative with God (if he were to exist), and with the church and secular society. While I am not claiming that those mentioned attributes of mine are beneficial to others, or to any group, that is the way I choose to be, within the confines of the laws of the land, of course). So, with feeling guilty or less acceptable to God for having those traits, made me feel worse, and I was conflicted with remaining true to my nature, or attempting to change, with divine or therapeutic assistance, or extraordinary discipline on my part). Now, I simply have dropped the farce that I have any desire to change, and do not seek help from God or any other person to guide and train me on a more "positive" or socially or church-accepted path; and neither, do I exert the effort for something I have no desire to generate in my spirit, or actualize in my life.
I feel that I was psychologically and emotionally damaged from my church experiences, and my Christian faith, for many years, and I still struggle, at times, though, fortunately, less so than previously, with the destructive emotions of guilt, shame, and deeming myself as inadequate in some way. The world tries to place those feelings on various persons as well, though in different ways, but I do not care about the world, either. I care about and love myself more, in my words, actions, and frame of mind; and I believe, from the core of my heart, that human beings, without the succor of the Holy Scriptures, or the agency of the Holy Spirit, can love, forgive, have compassion, and change or modify, if they so opt to. I greatly appreciate this site, and I plan on visiting it weekly. Thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity to express myself.
Oh, I just remembered, there were a great number of abuses, injustices, and violence in the names of Christianity, the general Church, or a particular church, and though, these do not necessarily reflect true Christianity, as presented by the New Testament, a plethora of the concepts, images, and stories of both the Old and New Testaments are extremely hateful, intolerant, and violent; and many Christians, throughout the Church age, have tacitly or overtly countenanced such Church-mandated conduct. Take care, and peace and enlightenment to all.
Filed Under: Testimonials