4/29/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Paul ~
I wasn't sure if posting my story was a good idea, but after remembering what it was like when I finally saw through the illusion of Christianity. How it completely shook my world and my entire thought processes and worldview went under doubt and investigation. This was a scary place where I had no idea what else i had been wrong about or who I could talk to about my experience. I began to have this deep fear of being trapped in another delusional thought process like that again (as far as my spiritual quest is concerned). It was as if I was scarred by my experience in a supposedly life bringing belief. Something that was supposed to bring me freedom had in fact shackled me tighter to the dark places in my life with no real hope of getting out. So i feel it important to share my experience with the hope that it will maybe help someone else get past this.
I wasn't born into a Christian family, but I did grow up going to catholic school so the seed of unreasoning was planted in me then. Around 18 I started having Issues with depression and drug abuse. After going through a couple rehab centers and not having much success (not realizing it was I that wasn't putting in the work to stay clean). It was recommended that I try a different approach; a faith based approach at a place called Teen Challenge.
I was very hesitant, but I decided to go since my options were running out. The place is referred to as bible boot camp and basically you were told that the only hope you have of ever getting free of drug addiction was to give your life to Jesus – there was no other way.
Being broken and desperate for a solution i decided to give it a try. At Teen Challenge we were forced to sit in bible class for hours then to do work for the program to help make them donation money to keep the program funded the program taught me the ins and outs of non-denominational Christianity. And, they instilled the "fear of God" in me.
The term “Fear of God” is very accurate because of the deep-seated fear of hell and straying from the path was now plaguing my mind.
I could think again. I could feel again. I could be human again. I went to church on a regular basis and became very involved. It was there that I felt the so-called “presence of God,” which was basically just a feeling of excitement and relief because I thought that I had found the answer. (Little did I know at the time that feelings are just a product of thoughts, and that it wasn't some magical deity coming into my life). I also read the bible and prayed every morning.
However, I wasn't truly happy. I was completely sick with myself on a regular basis.
I had to believe things that I didn't agree with like that no matter how good of a person you are that if you don't believe in Jesus then you will burn in hell for eternity by our loving forgiving God.
The list goes on forever of stuff I didn't agree with, but the important part is that I was in constant conflict with my reason and beliefs. The best part was that whenever I questioned anything, I was told that it was the devil and to just cast away the thoughts and pray to God. So there is no room for questioning or reason because it was the devil trying to lead me away from God and into sin. This is a bulletproof plan to keep people trapped in the ignorance of Christianity.
I began to become very judgmental of myself and hate myself, feeling as if I was less than and that there was no hope for me because I couldn't stop the thoughts and God never seemed to answer. I kept desperately trying to find happiness in Christianity, but it was nowhere to be found. I only clung to the religion because of the community and the belief that i would burn in hell if I didn't keep going.
I eventually had a nervous breakdown from trying to suppress my emotions and thoughts – trying to keep the devil out of my head. Things were worse than ever, but i kept reading the bible and praying as before but with less enthusiasm. I became more willing to question things eventually, but I had to do so with the bible. I started really reading the bible especially the Old Testament and started seeing the differences and contradictions.
This was how I began to unravel the whole thing.
I couldn't think my way out because I was told it was the devil ; so I had to look at the bible itself first and see that the devil is just a Christian idea, then I stopped believing in him.
Great! So now I can think again.
Then I began looking up why people leave religion and why the Jewish faith doesn't believe in Jesus, etc. The veil was now being lifted and for the first time I could see that this wasn't the ultimate truth like it was said to be and there was this sense of freedom. I could think again. I could feel again. I could be human again.
At first I did have a hard time adjusting to a life without a God. After all, I did spend my whole life believing in one. The world looked different and I couldn't help but question everything about myself and the world. It was hard at first and I felt incredible lonely.
I eventually found some people who had somewhat similar experiences and this in the end helped me get over the aftershocks of leaving the God concept.
I am still on a spiritual quest if you may call it one. I am also still clean from drugs and alcohol. My life still has meaning, and purpose. I enjoy helping people and volunteer on a regular basis. I can now enjoy the things that I love doing without the nagging thought of whether it is right or wrong or if it is the devil. I can spend time learning about my thoughts and myself and find ways to become a better human being instead of just praying for it to happen. I am happy. I am free from the Bondage of Religion.
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