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My journey away from the cross

By Kylm ~

Wow, I am so excited to have found this site! I joined immediately. It is such a relief to find a group of people who think like I do! I live in the Bible Belt of the USA, a very hard place to grow up in and to admit that you are not a Christian. My parents did not attend church---they just sent me with friends, unaware of the garbage I was being taught. I lived in fear of church---actually the better word would be "terror", but I didn't tell my parents because I wanted to please them and thought they must believe what I was being taught, since they are the ones who sent me.

As an adult, when I shared with my mom how traumatized I was as a child, she said, "I never would have sent you if I'd known they were teaching you that crap." I long ago forgave my parents, who otherwise raised me in the most encouraging, loving home a gal could have. I am 56 years old now and it took me 50 years to finally, once and for all, give up on Christianity. It never made sense to me. Even as a child I remember thinking---why would a loving God condemn anyone to an eternal hell? Why would HE even CREATE a hell to send his creation to? Why would someone have to suffer a horrible death on a cross to make God love me? Am I that much of an affront to my creator? But, when I voiced those questions, my Sunday School teachers had the vapors. Heaven forbid they should have a mere child question the word of God!!! So, I embarked on my own search.

I read the Bible in its entirety by the time I was a teenager, and it only made me really confused. I got "saved" when I was 10, and didn't feel a bit different. Then I rededicated my life over and over again, thinking I would eventually get it "right". Sometimes I went to the front of the church just so the dang service would finally end and I wouldn't have to hear another verse of "Just As I Am". I married at 19 and divorced at 20, because my ex-husband physically beat me. I was told by the church I should stay with him and "suffer for righteousness sake." So, I switched to a more liberal church, only to find that underneath the liberalism were the same intolerance that existed in fundamentalism. Still, such was the fear so deeply imbedded in my brain by the trauma of my indoctrinated childhood, I continued to look for a church where I would "fit in". In my forties, I was still terrified of going to hell.

Several things finally sealed my separation from Christianity, to name a mother putting a gun into her mouth and blowing her brains out (she suffered from mental illness). I suspected there could be no kind of God who would allow such a loving and kind person as my mother to become so depressed as to kill herself in such a violent way, at the age of 74. Where was God when my mother put that gun in her mouth? What about "He won't give you more than you can bear" or, "His grace is sufficient." Not to mention that the reason she did it is because my dad had dropped dead, unexpectedly, the year before on her 73rd birthday. Living without my dad, the love of her life, was obviously more than she could bear.

If I speak up and say I am not a Christian, people either get mad or just refuse to believe me. "Oh, yes you are!!" they say. "You are such a good person--you do so much for children--you have to be a Christian," they say. Then, my best friend's 32-year-old son, his pregnant wife, and their son were murdered in the middle of the night, in their beds, by a crazed stranger, for no reason whatsoever. The man just got angry, pulled up to their house in the middle of the Texas panhandle, and murdered them all with an AK 47 machine gun. A few years before that I went back to school and became a counselor---I counsel children. The amount of abuse and neglect that I see children suffer finally forced me to admit that I never really believed in the first place.

I now belong to a "humanist" "church" with people who think as I do, for the most part. For the first time in my life, I feel free. I no longer worry about hell---I try to make the world a better place in the here and now. But, it is hard to live in the Bible belt and claim not to be a Christian. People just ASSUME that everyone is a Christian here. If I speak up and say I am not a Christian, people either get mad or just refuse to believe me. "Oh, yes you are!!" they say. "You are such a good person--you do so much for children--you have to be a Christian," they say. As if, in order to be a moral, loving, kind, empathetic, compassionate person requires that you profess some type of religion. I have given up on trying to explain myself to these people. I figure the idea just scares them to death, and I can't seem to get past that fear. Having been so fearful for so long myself, I can understand where they are coming from. Anyway, that's my very abbreviated story. I would love to hear from others who relate to my journey.

Thanks for reading this far.