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I still feel guilt for leaving Christianity

By Lauren ~

I was not raised in a Christian family, however, my grandparents are Christian and they introduced me to a youth group church in the summer of my 8th grade year. I went there happily, for I had been told about God since I was a kid, and it was exciting for me to learn more about God.

That same summer I went to a Christian music festival and I got baptized there. It was my own choice. After hearing a bunch of messages and testimonials about God and Jesus, in my heart I felt like the Holy spirit was leading me to get baptized in Jesus' name and accept Christianity into my life. So I did that without a doubt in my mind. I accepted it kind of blindly.

When I returned home, I remember I was acting different. I was so happy all the time, and I spent much time praying. I tended to make assumptions that my prayers had been answered when it was really the result of my positive thinking. Or it was a coincidence. Or it would have happened anyways. I also read the Bible, but only the fluffy parts that made me feel good inside and lead me to love God even more.

So here's what first lead me away from God. My depression. There were COUNTLESS times where I felt like God had helped me overcome my depression, but it constantly came back to hit me harder than before. Now a lot of Christians would say "God won't do everything YOU want Him to, it's in His will." Yes that is true, but the thing depression is what kept me from God. I wanted Him to help me overcome it in order to be closer to Him. And that would always happen...temporarily, until I would screw up or something. I constantly felt like He let me down, and Christians told me I needed to pray more. It was as if my distance from God was my fault. Maybe it was...

Next was the people around me. So many of them were hypocrites. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've seen a Christian act holy on some days, but doing "immoral" things on other days. It's rare for me to find a believer who actually means what they say and believe. I couldn't be friends with many of the people at the youth group either. I was very different compared to them, and although they weren't mean to me, they often stuck to their cliques of extreme bible-thumpers. They tended to be nice to me because they had to, in Jesus' name or something.

Then, the Bible. Not only do I hear about so many people rejecting it as absolute truth, but I feel that way myself. I have a hard time putting trust into something that has been translated and interpreted in so many different ways. Take the homosexuality thing in 1 Corinthians for an example. Some people claim that the original bible was talking about male prostitutes, others say that it really is talking about homosexuals. It's just hard to know what the Bible means...and even in my days of being a Christian I thought to myself "If God wants us to communicate with Him through His word, then why did He make it appear so contradictory, confusing, and blurry to us?" I tried to ask my youth group that but no one could answer me right.

There are so many denominations of Christians, all with their own view point and disagreements. some even believe that the Earth is flat, when we obviously know that it is not. And as a teenage girl with never ending confusions about life, it was also hard to accept Christianity because I had to deny my own human nature and view it as a sin and repent. It was kind of tearing down my already low-self esteem by seeing myself as a sinner.

The whole story just makes no sense to me anymore. Why would humans have to unwillingly be born into this world with human sins that they are born with, only to have to have faith in a specific doctrine in order to go to Heaven? It's like we're all set up for something that only few people follow truthfully. I see Jesus' death as self righteous as well. He didn't die for us, but he died to bring us closer to Armageddon. He drew sympathy to others by calling out "Why have you forsaken me?" When in fact God did not forsake Him..Jesus knew His death was coming all along. Anyway I shouldn't go on a big rant about this.

So all of this added together (and a bunch of unmentioned stuff) created a pile of confusion that no pastor, no youth group leader, and no other Christian could help me with. I never expected to have answers to everything, but the whole idea of Christianity was too distorted for me to accept as truth anymore. Nowadays I can't accept hardly anything as truth.

I still feel guilt for leaving Christianity. This isn't the 1st time I had left it. Last time i left, I ended up making foolish decisions, and I believed it was because I left Christianity which caused me to be more of a selfish indulgent sinner. I can't say I'm atheist but I constantly don't know if God is real or not. I question the experiences I've had with Him and I found a pattern in them it was often my own positive thinking that helped me out. It's impossible for me to tell if God's hand was in my life or not..even when I believed He saved me from wanting to die.

I need advice guys...leaving this faith has left an open wound that is taking forever to heal. Sometimes I fear that I'm wrong and I'll end up going to hell for the choices I've made. And I still have a Bible but I'm afraid that if I read it (even if it's just for reading), then I might convert back again and go through the whole cycle of repentance and I have a million times. I just can't make up my mind. And if I can't be stable in this faith, then obviously I don't trust in it. Seriously this has been going on for three years now and I want it to end. I honestly feel like religion has destroyed a part of my self esteem.