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Out of the Sheep's Pen

By randomatheist:

Hi, I am a fairly recent deconvert by the pseudonym of randomatheist, and I am here to show you fellow Ex-Christians my deconversion story. I have been around this site before, posted a rant on Jesus, contributing to some of the discussion, although usually exposing the Christian visitors' asinine remarks and their two-cents, and basically felt a part of this site. Well I was busy doing other important things in life, but nevertheless I still frequent this site mainly to browse the latest updates. :)

NOTE: This is a long article. You have been warned!

Sheep PenImage by spratmackrel via Flickr

Like many of us, I was born and raised in a Christian home. During my early age I was genuinely saved according to my religious views of the time. My parents on the other hand, although both divorced, were of the laid back variety, and the church (let's call it "the shepherd's cottage") we attended wasn't a very fundamentalist church. They believe in the Bible as God's Word, however they view it as a compilation of ancient books. The Bible was directed toward primitive cultures, thus many of scripture wasn't supposed to apply today.

The livestock doesn't seem much different from the wilderness. The majority of my fellow believers rather "be themselves" than die to themselves daily. I never was really interested in going to the shepherd's cottage during my young age as I didn't retain the understanding of, nor keeping up with, their biblebabble. Whenever I went to the cottage I just daydream away to the clouds.

When I was young, I was more interested in hanging out with my friends, playing video games, or doing whatever stupid thing I desire, than learning about Sunday school cartoons like Moses, Noah's Ark, David & Goliath, the Adam & Eve story, the fall of man, and some man walking on water. I never was a serious cottage visitor, much less attending the basement Sunday school. The sheep in my pen, including my parents, didn't contribute anything to my reason behind this deconversion.

Fast forward to my teens, one day I was angry with God for something I couldn't remember, and thus I blasphemed the Holy Spirit. I forgot about it for awhile, then later during the night it bothered me, when I was laying in bed. Years prior, I remember seeing something on televangelist channel TBN preaching about unpardonable sins. Of course I couldn't recall a shred of what the sermon was preaching, other than a on-screen list of unpardonable sins (there were three). One of them included blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Another included accepting the mark of the beast (end times prophecy sin), and didn't remember the third.

That exact memory dawned on me, thus haunting me with guilt and terror. It was one of the most horrible feelings I've ever experienced, and sure was a lasting one. It interfered with my school, my conversations, and my hobbies. I literally felt I just blew it, and my relationship with the father in heaven is cut. Rather than getting angry, I just felt like I made a mistake, thus didn't deliberately commit the sin. However, the whole time I was in doubt with my salvation and that a mistake relating that sin is still going too far.

After a while I just had to see someone from a local church uptown because no matter what I wasn't convinced that making a mistake is OK so long you didn't deliberately say the magic sentence. Well this person has convinced me that a Christian isn't capable of committing the unpardonable sin after all, because if you're concerned then you've never done it. On the other hand, if you have done it then you wouldn't care any less, thus a false believer the whole time. The cherry on top of the sundae was he quoted scripture backing him up. I dispelled all my fears and guilt, and felt a very heavy boulder lifted off my back.

At my later teen years my mind dawned on me if I was ever really saved, as I never at all took Christianity seriously. So on the Internet I have Googled some online sites searching for the true gospel story. So I found one, stating salvation is totally free with no required works. I felt relieved that I was a Christian after all, just not one of those believers following a rigid ministry. This short adventure to finding a convincing gospel message took me to the Bible, and got me into reading it regularly. In the beginning I thought reading the Bible was really comforting my soul, I mean why loathe reading a love letter from your father in heaven with passages about God's amazing mercy he has on us imperfect creatures? Of course I started going to the cottage too.

Well when I got dedicated to the Bible, I ended up finding some real nasty bits, and more than I ever expected in a "love letter." To my surprise, the God of the shepherd's cottage (my church) is absent from the Bible. My shepherd never preached about this abusive macho deity for a god that's presented in the Bible. The shepherd wouldn't dare preaching about the bronze-age atrocities, wholesale killings, destruction of cities, Biblical inferiority of women, oppression of women, endorsement of slavery nor any of these absurd anti-human deeds that this God is behind of. The only very disturbing "doctrine" he preached was about hell, but only on a moderate level. The shepherd never wish he had to preach about hell, but according to many leading organized religions, everyone outside of their ranch is subject to eternal damnation. My thoughts on religion as a whole, the day awaits that all Christians will burn in Muslim hell, and Muslims will burn in Christian hell.

The shepherd also preached that God loves everyone, even the worst of sinners, but this anti-human God of the book says otherwise (no wonder the violent Biblical atrocities). I also found passages in the Bible that are used against my salvation. The best one is James 2 that cites "Faith without works is dead." Contradiction is the first word that came to mind, as Paul of Romans stated the contrary. The Christian argument for this contradiction is "All James is saying a true believer practices good works." Got me started my doubts again, in a more angry context too.

I shouldn't live by half truths, nor the one "if you want to know you're the son of God, then you better act like one" philosophy. Another disturbing doctrine in the Bible is that I must confess my sins daily so I can be forgiven in the context of a relationship with the heavenly father (1 John), contradicting the gospel that God has already forgiven me of my past, present, and future sins on the day of salvation err I mean on the day Jesus died on the cross.

So I browsed the Internet for Christian sites, as well as watching televangelist TV shows on TBN , a plethora of both, finding many of the problems in my religion, primarily that every single Christian has an unique opinion on the salvation gospel, rather than a standard (because there is none) on the true gospel. Each person's opinion on how to get saved varies slightly or drastically from person to person. Yet they all read the same book to cite their information. They also all pray for guidance in reading the Word of God. Why is God teaching each person a unique contradictory perspective?

Now I see the scenario in this mythical mess; the Bible is a book that can be interpreted in thousands of different ways, equally supporting any contradictory view, and couldn't even get reality, history, or science straight. God is never there to "help" the Bible's audience understanding His Word. Instead we have thousands of different denominations to choose from, in Christianity alone. Many of these denominations compete, rather than playing brotherhood and help each other. So much for the "one TRUE religion."

Back to the story. One night I was sleeping in terror of facing eternal damnation that I even felt that terror in my dreams, (not nightmares mind you). Sooner or later I did what I thought I'd never do, to throw away Christian dogma. But the story doesn't end here, I still held onto my belief in God, telling Him sincerely that I really don't care about my sin. I wanted to be myself, and wanted to enjoy life. It's not like I did some nasty wild misdeed worthy of facing barbaric punishment for eternity, but God created me in original sin. That's why I needed Jesus, because I am such an evil sinful creature since before I breathed for the first time.

But things didn't go too well. I was miserably feeling massive guilt and condemnation like I've never felt before. I felt like in order for God to love me I have to conform to His religious dogma or He'll cut ties with me. I felt very alone, it felt like falling into a hole so deep I could never get climb out, nor can anyone ever find me down there to drop a rope. I thought I was trapped, and going to be trapped forever, in this cage of insanity. I've suffered increasing stress, fear, self-hate, ultimately finding myself VERY dissatisfied with my life, with no avail, for over a whole year. This was leading me to suffer massive depression in my teen years.

I went on the Internet searching, not on Christian sites, but Anti-God sites, and led me to a plethora of rational free-thought information that makes much more sense than Christianity ever has made. I then came across this site, I felt no longer alone, but I am one of you guys who suffered the insanity of this religion equally disturbing or even worse, for some of you. This site alone has hammered the last nail in my faith. So finally I dropped this God officially. One of the first articles I read on the site is Dear Believer by Dan Barker, and I see eye to eye with the author of that letter. I would love to own a copy of his books as well.

My departure from Jesus Christ as he never knew me led me to recovery from all this damage, and finally researching rational free-thought material on the Internet that expose the truth behind the Christian religious system. I have found more evidence against Christianity than for Christianity. Out of this horrifying experience I've learned a lot. I've learned that the doctrine of eternal Hell stem from an ancient religion that was later adopted into scripture. I found out that there were belief systems with gods thousands of years prior to the birth of Christ sharing so many similarities with Christ, making Jesus a complex of stolen ideas from pagan religions. I am now exposed to awareness of the modern day atrocities in recent Church history including the People's Temple cult, heresy trials, witch burnings, crusades, the Spanish inquisition, and the frauds like Faith Healers.

In conclusion, the most frustrating, the most horrifying, and the most painful moments of my life were mostly centered around Christianity. I was no sheep, but a bird that nested in a birdhouse at the sheep's pen (I had a portable computer and a TV in my birdhouse too). I got out of this mess by finally opening my wings and fly, while I am still very young. I now think for myself, not accepting any idiotic superstition without a cause, but to take the time & patience to test it with science, facts, and logic. No longer do I need to feel proud of things to be ashamed of, nor feel ashamed of things to be proud of. This is my horror story about Christianity, and I wouldn't recommend this religion to my worst enemy. My experience was horrible that I would never speak well of Christianity. I flew out of the sheep's pen!