Skip to main content

I had chosen to side with Mr. Satan

By Nathan ~

Hello all. My name is Nathan and I am 29 years old. I stumbled upon this wonderful site several days ago. This is my first public account of my Christian experience which ended 12 years ago.

Satan made me do itImage by danny.hammontree via Flickr
One of the things I love most about my family is that when I was growing up, they never told me what to believe religion-wise. My mother, however, did an outstanding job of instilling fear and self-loathing without the help of all that stuff.* By the time I was a teenager, I knew for certain that I was a horrible, worthless person. It was this deep-seated understanding of my own lack of value that drove the religious fervor of the years that followed.

At the age of fourteen I dated a very sweet girl for a brief period of time. She asked me to go to church with her and it was there that I experienced a magical phenomenon: Acceptance. The men all shook my hand, the ladies gave me hugs, and everyone smiled at me and treated my like a welcome guest.

Naturally, I was quite eager to return the following Sunday. After the youth group meeting, the youth pastor took me aside and showed me the "Romans Road" to salvation and I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.

I embraced my new life with every fiber of my being. By the time I was seventeen, I was singing in the choir, taking part in prayer groups with the men of the church, giving brief sermons in Sunday school twice a month, and I had even preached to the main adult congregation of the tiny church at a few Wednesday night services. The stories of visiting missionaries moved me, so much so that I pledged that I would become a missionary myself.

During summer camp that year, I found my mind wandering. I'd been bored during a service before, but that week I suddenly found myself terribly apathetic during the nightly church sessions. I was good with computers, and so I started to think that I might want to pursue a related career after high school. But I PROMISED to the god that I would be a missionary in front of the whole church!

As the pastors of the various churches present did their preaching that week, I used the time to really think about things. For the first time it consciously dawned on me that many of the decisions I had been making had been made for the feeling of acceptance it brought. Sure, I believed that what I was doing was the right thing, but more than that I craved the praise from my chosen moral authorities.

It consciously dawned on me that many of the decisions I had been making had been made for the feeling of acceptance it brought. All this thinking (along with a bit of subtle persuasion from Satan, no doubt) lead me to dangerous territory. I began to explore the notion that I could decide what I wanted to do. I could even decide what I wanted to believe! Just trusting the god about things that had concerned me just wasn't satisfactory anymore. Did all the people in the far corners of the world who had never heard of Jesus go to Hell? What the hell is up with dinosaur bones in a world that is only a few thousand years old? The dam had broken, leaving me to fight for my life in a deluge of unanswered questions.

I was quiet about the changes at first. Later that summer I attended another youth retreat sponsored by the church's favorite fundamentalist college. Before I left, I conceded to a dare from my girlfriend to let her paint my fingernails. My youth minister definitely wasn't happy about that. He questioned me thoroughly as he took me to a nearby gas station to buy nail polish remover and forcibly clean the homosexuality off my fingers. I did my best to avoid the truth, and stretched it when I couldn't. I told him that I had been listening to Christian Rock music, when actually Satan had introduced me to that nonsense long before my ordeal began and the real truth was far worse.

Growing more concerned about me, my mentor decided to drop in on me unannounced while I was alone in the hotel room engaging in shameful behavior. I tried to hide what I was doing, but I was using my friend's CD player at the time, and it just so happened that the volume knob operated in the opposite direction of my own player, causing me to crank the music up loud enough to be heard by others through the headphones.

He demanded to know what I was listening to, so I handed him the CD. He stared at the label in shock. Marilyn Manson. When he spoke, he let me know that he was very upset at me for "inviting Satan on the trip with us." I told him I didn't believe in Satan, but that was just more evidence that I had chosen to side with Mr. Satan, an opinion that he gladly announced to all my friends there.

Relief came the next evening in the form of my parents, who drove six hours to rescue me from the angry, raving lunatic that had formerly been my mentor and dearest friend. I kid you not, the guy threatened to "knock [my] teeth in" when I said I didn't believe that the presence of my Marilyn Manson paraphernalia was allowing Satan in to physically molest his three year-old son that night after the contraband was discovered. The preacher and youth director had a long talk with my parents when they arrived. From what I heard they were neither impressed nor relieved when my dad shrugged and told them that his favorite band was Black Sabbath when he was my age.

I went through an experimental phase after that. I studied a plethora of books and websites about Buddhism, Wicca, and Satanism to name a few. I even backslid for a month or two back into Christianity (albeit a non-"fundamentalist" version of it,) which I simply outgrew and threw away like an old pair of pants. In the end I learned to be honest with myself and to believe what I felt was true deep inside my heart, instead of following some book because I wanted to be a crusader or learn to cast Magic Missile.

I am an atheist. Awareness of the infinite, dark and empty reaches of space do not cause me to love my family, love my friends, or tolerate everyone less than a command from a vengeful deity might. If anything, life is more precious to me now.

(*My relationship with my mother improved dramatically after my parents' divorce. Love you, mom. :)


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two