Image by brappa via FlickrBy JVC --
I have been visiting ex-christian.net for a number of weeks now and, although I have been away from the flock for a good couple of years, this site has been instrumental in finally getting me out of the field and off the farm.
Thank you. I’ve decided to write my testimony, not because it’s particularly momentous, but because I think that this site is slightly short of people who became Christians entirely of their own accord and left Christianity with a fairly positive balance…but left it none the less.
I was brought up in boarding schools with a broad Church of England tradition…that is…plenty of pomp and ceremony…not much god. It never meant that much until I flirted with a kind of deeper faith at around the 16 or 17 year-old mark. It didn’t survive my eighteenth year when I discovered girls and booze (hey..my boarding schools were all male ok!!)
Skip forward 10 years…I’ve graduated from university, I’ve partied, I’ve been in the army (pre 9/11) and now I’m teaching English for a couple of years in small-town Colombia, South America. I followed a girlfriend to an AOG full-on, tongue-talking, spirit-slaying church, expecting to take the piss…and…well…I was impressed by their take on the bible as something to live by, and after a few weeks I decided to become a Christian. I soon discovered I had a knack for theology….I loved stuff like ‘Jesus in the OT’ or ‘why bad things happen to good people’ etc etc. and it wasn’t long before I was up speaking in front of big youth groups and feeling pretty lleeeeno del espirituuuu! Oh…and yes…I even became a young-earth creationist. D’oh!
Next stop….London….I was working in investment banking (boooooh) and now attending a smallish independent semi-baptist church…really nice people, no healing, no tongues, no falling over. I’d never been very comfortable with the Pentecostal stuff so I felt great here. My family…unlike many people’s on this site, were fairly appalled at my becoming a ‘fundy’ especially as I did some stupid ass ‘spread the word’ stuff like preaching to my atheist grandmother….she was really upset and still hasn’t totally forgiven me.
OK…two years later, I decided to go back to Colombia. I went back to the AOG church and back to the girl who had introduced me to it. Another 4 years or so passed and then…no more church. So what went wrong? I want to cut the proverbial…so bullet point time:
- My engagement (remember the AOG girl? Keep up!) fell through. She went a bit crazy, scared of commitment….I started wondering why god had wasted so much of my time with her…if she’d just been a tool to get me in to the fold we should have split ages ago.
- My dad was told he was going to die of pancreatic cancer. They opened him up and he didn’t have cancer after all. Now…I know, I know…but, much to my surprise, my reaction was “WTF?” “What the bloody hell was the point in all that?”…..and, like with the engagement, I started entertaining the tiny niggling concept that maybe…just maybe, there was no point…that it was just stuff happening…
- Science/reason. It was getting more and more difficult to believe in the supernatural….and that young-earth creation thing…….the leaks were getting tricky to patch up.
- In His name…..I started getting tired of Him being present in everything…it still irritates me…I’m still in Colombia where atheism is ultra-rare…everything is Dios Dios Dios…..Hey! Do you like me because I’m nice? Or because I’m Christian? …well…not anymore.
- Hellooo??…..I’d now been a Christian for 8 years….having a personal relationship with my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Or not? Back up a moment there, chief..….8 years in a personal relationship and I’m not totally certain that I am! I say again: Personal relationship? Something smells fishy.
- The nothing. I went, I left……..and zilch, zero, cero, rien. No personal relationship dude showed up or even gave me a “hi” on facebook. I was still hoping he’d show up…but he never did. Good things happened, bad things happened, then more good things etc etc.
Anyhow… that’s a side of paper gone, so I’ll wrap up. I’ve left a lot out of this, but I hope it’s given some idea. Conclusions….
I got some good life lessons from Christianity, but, as many have pointed out before, these are universal lessons in humanity, not exclusive to the bible. I met some really nice people, not abusers.
In the end, it’s the lack of a genuine personal relationship in any normal sense of the word, the total lack of any personally witnessed evidence of the supernatural, and that leaving Christianity has produced no supernatural changes in my life…the positive changes that I got by entering Christianity stemmed from its philosophies, not from any kind of magic. I am also much more aware now that the type of person that I am is up to me…not some god…and this has given me a new-found desire to be a decent person, not because god says so, but because I say so. And with that, I’ll stop. I’m sorry this is so disjointed…but to have put it all down in detail would have put a mad rhinoceros to sleep.