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From There to Here

By Carolyn ~

I am NOT a christian. It feels so good to say this ...

The cross has always been a symbol of separation to me. Several years ago I noticed something in the words "here" and "there." How does one get from there to here? Get rid of the "t" -- the cross. Without the cross I am only "here". I am no longer separated from myself. Inside me is a place that does not move, to which I do not need to travel, and which goes with me wherever I go. I like "here".

In 1995 I was 42 years old and leaving evangelicalism, in which I was raised. For the vast majority of the time, my experience with christianity was tortured. Times of peace were outdistanced by angst, fear, loads of shame, and private terror of a dark, punitive, tyrannical god who had hell in his hip pocket for me if I didn't love him, believe in Jesus, believe I needed to be saved, think the right thoughts, and in essence, make myself perfect -- whatever that meant. There are so many different definitions. It was all about eternal insecurity.

One of the countless examples of the insanity and element of christianity that plagued me was that when I was just a sweet, gentle, tender little girl, I was told that I must put to death my flesh because of its many dark wells of evil. (Just how far wrong can a five-year-old girl go?) In fact, I was told that god armed me with his own sword to do this. I took these words at face value. I knew that god hated my body and wanted me to kill it. He hated me. So, I was to suicide myself. If I didn't, I would go to hell. Yet if I did suicide my body, I would still go to hell. If your eye offends you, pluck it right out of your face. Better to go to heaven blind than to go to hell with seeing in your eyes. Do your feet offend you? Chop them off. Better to crawl your way into heaven than to go to hell with dancing in your feet. What will be left of me, I wondered, when I am done mutilating and maiming myself? What will happen if I don't kill my body? What will happen to me if I do?

This message is sadism of the first order, and delivering it to me was criminal.

Even though I was making strides in the mid 90's in leaving christianity, this brainwashing was still inside me. I began to fear it had seeped into my very DNA and that I would never be able to get it out. An underlying feeling of despair ran 24/7 in the back of my mind. Sadness for the me that wanted to be free was the source of tremendous personal pain. Getting free from christianity was like trying to free myself from a ferocious octopus. I felt trapped in a nightmare, unable to wake myself up.

But I WAS able to wake up.

I'm conscious of how different my life is today from the decades when I was snared in terrorizing christianity. I appreciate the people, books, articles, PBS specials, conferences, synchronicities, conversations, websites, forums, activities, and thinking and writing I've done, which were my journey to the freedom I feel today.

I happened upon ex-christian in June of 2003 and spent the next year here, reading and participating in forums. In the years since then, I came to know that the Jesus story is just that. A story. That the religion that spun up around him is a human contrivance.

The single most influential discipline that shapes my new worldview is science; in particular, quantum physics.

Life is what I know now. Just life. And this is enough for me. Ideas about god and Jesus and religion come and go, but life goes on. I trust life. I trust myself. I trust and like what I know inside.

The way I proceed in life has become pretty simple, "here" at fifty-nine years of age. I ask questions. I do what I know to do. I spend time just being. I hold myself open to new possibilities. I'm actively creative. I follow my intuition and instincts. I relish discovery. I contribute and give back. And I'm grateful.

I have found my way to here from "t"here.

Many people walk away from christianity faster than I did. I wish it hadn't taken me so long. I wish I'd dropped the "t" a lot sooner. I lost a lot of time. But the good news is that I did get free. Each of us has our own path regarding matters of ultimacy.

Help came my way in many forms, including this site. Thank you to everyone who makes it possible. This community helped me very much.