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How I became a non-Christian in the Bible Belt

By Open-Minded in the South ~

My story is a long one, however for the sake of time and space I will cut it down as much as possible. I am from the Deep South -- Alabama that is. You know, the State with the governor that stated on his first day in office that if someone doesn't share his Christian beliefs then they are not his brother or sister. Well let me tell you he may have apologized for that, but this is the mindset of most everyone around these parts.

I will start out with my childhood, I was my moms way out of the house, she got pregnant with me at 17 and married my dad right after. Dad was the 8th of 10 children and the first to be born in a hospital to a farmer and his wife. Mental illness was very strong in their family, but they were very good at keeping it a secret. My dad was very abusive, and in his early 20's was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. He also had some other stuff going on, because he was always making us leave the house in the middle of the night because there were ghosts, or the Mafia was after him... or whatever else his mind conjured up. However we went to a small Baptist church and as his sickness increased, so did his spiritual life. Sometimes he would leave work because he thought he was John the Baptist. He also purchased a cassette tape set of the New Testament and would make me study with him. I don't remember what he told me, but I do know that I had a real fear of Judgment Day and the Devil. He committed suicide on Feb. 1 1987, just 15 days before my 10th birthday. I found out later he wanted to kill all of us so that we could go to heaven together, but since I wasn't home he took his own life.

Fast forward a few years and at the age of 19 I wanted out of my house so I met this guy whose wife had just left him for his best friend, and I moved in with him. He was also abusive(figure that) and a severe alcoholic. We were together about a year and we started attending a small Holiness church. I was raised Baptist, so at first I didn't know what to think, but these people seemed so sincere. I could write a book on my experiences here, but for now I will just say that the preacher told me that if we didn't get married I would go to hell. So, I married the guy. A year later I finally got out. I left with nothing and stayed at a shelter for battered women. I was only 21.

I didn't stay long before I called my mom and she took me to my brother's house to live with him. I was miserable, so one day I called an old friend who was married to a pastor's son and started going to her church. I was accepted immediately, not like the people at the other church who really only liked my Ex and turned their backs on me when I left. These people really seemed genuine. The preacher and his wife counseled me and I got "delivered." In fact, I have been through three deliverances, and I could write on them also, but for now I will say that at that time I was so happy. I then started seeing a guy who was friends with my Wx and I fell in love. We got married on the first day I could legally remarry, and we are still married to this day. He has been the only stable thing in my life.

We later left the church and were churchless for a couple of years, then I met a girl at work and she invited me to her church, so we started going back again. These people seemed to be genuine, not like the last church that became so uncaring after we stopped tithing (you may be seeing a pattern). I went in head first and was going to change my life.

In a matter of weeks we lost my husband's granddad, his father (who had no insurance so we had to pick up the bill), and then my job. I prayed for god to make a way, but guess what? We lost our home and my car and had to file for bankruptcy. At the time it seemed like god's plan -- a new start -- he would make a way. A few months later I had a nervous breakdown after talking with an old friend who had always been the best that a Christian could be. He was giving and good and he now had a horrible disease. And, he had made some bad financial choices that he thought god wanted him to make. The once very wealthy man was on disability living from month to month, but he still had hope and believed that god would come through. I couldn't understand.

After that I almost lost my mind I then went through my third deliverance where I had to repent for being raped at 17 and just about everything else I had ever done. It did no good this time. Where was that relieved feeling that I had felt before? I began seeing a counselor and taking lots of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist that my mom and husband brought me to. I thought that I had committed the unpardonable sin, and the thoughts would not go away. The more I tried, the more the blasphemies would come. I began searching the Net and reading all that I could. I even joined a support group for people with religious OCD. I would pray and plead with god to heal me and forgive me, and every time I would talk with my "religious counselors" I would feel worse. One day my counselor told me that I needed to take a break from church. I was appalled, but I did it. I have been back to church maybe two or three time since then, but I began truly searching and I came across this website along with others and read about Buddhism and other ancient religions. What I found was astonishing to say the least.

I am no longer a Christian. Although I don't really know what I am, I know what I am not. It is so hard raising my three children as open-minded individuals. I have ingrained some pretty heavy stuff in them and getting it out is going to be hard. But what is worse is that if their friends and teachers were to find out about me, they would be blacklisted. It is ridiculous. We live in a small community where at Christmastime, a church group came in at PE and told the kids the "true" story of Christmas. I was so upset, but saying something would cause so much persecution.

Thank you ex-Christian for the stories and testimonies; sometimes it is all I have. Thank goodness for my husband who doesn't care which way or the other, he says we won't know anything till we die anyway. I could say much more but I have already said a lot so for now I think this is enough.