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Breaking Free

By Scott ~

I have been visiting this site for a couple of years now as I have worked through my deconversion experience. I have a wife (married 22 years) and three teenage kids whom I love dearly. Because my wife and I share similar Christian upbringings, I have never felt like I could fully open up about the thoughts I am about to share in this forum.

breaking-freeImage by godogo via Flickr
I have asked questions and given indications over the last two years which would probably give her reason to question my faith, but I have never fully “come out” with my complete lack of faith and disbelief in the bible god. Unfortunately, we have brainwashed our kids just as we were brainwashed as kids with the Christian lie. Because Christianity is the foundation, so to speak, of our marriage and our family, I have serious concerns about how disclosure of my beliefs would potentially have a disastrous effect on my relationship with my wife and kids. I know that is something I will eventually have to come to terms with, but for now I would just like to share my journey in this forum, because I feel like I am going to explode without some sort of outlet.

      I was raised in a Baptist family and as a kid, I endured the likes of Campus Crusade for Christ, Bill Gothard seminars (Basic Institute in Youth Conflicts/now Basic Institute in Life Principals), the “I Found It” campaign (remember those ridiculous yellow bumper stickers?!?!) , and hours of mind-numbing music from the Bill Gaither Trio. As I reflect on my youth, I never felt like I even had a choice in what religion I would believe. Much as young children never even think to question the existence of Santa Clause, it never occurred to me that I could actually question Christian beliefs.

          I continued in the Christian faith through my college years and through the next 20+ years thereafter. Only in the last two or three years have I given myself permission to question everything I had been taught about god since I was a child. As I began to peel back the layers of lies and find out where my faith began to unravel, I identified several major hurdles with Christianity that I could no longer overcome or explain away.

          First, I could not accept the hypocrisy that characterized the church. I reflected upon the Promise Keepers (PK) movement in the 1990s. During that time I was an active member of a Baptist church and I felt pressure to attend a PK event. Even though I was strong in my faith, I remember how I dreaded attending the event. I went through with it anyway because I knew if I didn’t, I would be neglecting my obligation to be a “godly man and husband”. I remember sitting in the stadium and listening to Bill McCartney manipulate tens of thousands of men to make a promise they never intended to keep. He spoke of an upcoming rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC. As he worked the audience into a frenzy, he asked that everyone in the stadium who would commit to attending this rally, stand to their feet to demonstrate their commitment. Every man in the stadium stood to his feet! Do you really think that all 40,000 men intended to travel from Dallas to Washington for this event? Do you think a third of them intended to make the trip? Do you think McCartney knew this as he preyed upon the emotions of these men and used the mob mentality to get “Promise Keepers” to make a commitment that he knew and they knew they would never keep?

          Next, I could not come to grips with the idea of Jesus death as a sacrifice. If I was god, and I decided that I could get killed by men and take a nap for two days and wake up and go back to heaven and thereby save billions of people from eternal hell, is that really a sacrifice? Which of us wouldn’t make that deal to save all mankind? This is what I consider a sacrifice: the soldier with a spouse and kids who lays down his/her life to protect the freedoms of relatively few (compared to tens of billions ) people who he doesn’t even know… the fireman who charges into a burning building to save the life of one person who he/she doesn’t know. These individuals truly sacrifice their lives.

          Then there is the issue of free will. I simply cannot accept the fact that a loving god would give humans free will and at the same time allow every temptation that would condemn them to eternal hell. Why would there even be a need to put the tree of knowledge in the garden anyway? Also, god does not even honor free will. Consider a person with a drug or alcohol addiction who desperately wants to change. When they cry out to god to deliver them from their addiction, isn’t that a choice of free will? Then why are so many of these people who use their free will to ask god to deliver them unable to kick their addiction?

          Finally, I think it is insane to believe that the bible is the actual word of god. When most people read informative, non-fiction literature, they give consideration to known information about the author in evaluating the validity of their writing. We know essentially nothing about the authors of the bible outside of what the bible says about them. We don’t even know who wrote most of the bible!

          Moreover, the earliest books of the new testament were not written until at least 30 years after the death of Jesus. Likely they were written much later. How can we rely on the memories of unknown authors over a period of thirty or more years to stake our eternal destiny? Then we must consider how the bible as we know it today was created. The bible was not actually compiled until the 4th century! How was it compiled? Men voted on it! This book stays, this one goes…much like a bill would work its way through congress. And Christians believe we should organize our lives around this man-made book!

          There are many more reasons to reject Christianity, but these are some of the foundational issues for my beliefs. The good news is that they are my beliefs and not dogma that has been pushed on me. I know there are issues ahead of me with regard to my family. I have much anxiety around this issue. If anyone who has dealt with such issues has any advice, I would like to hear from you.