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No longer afraid

By Ash T ~

I grew up in a fairly non-religious environment. When I was in middle school I started learning about all religions and trying to find the right one for myself. At home, my parents were often drunk or on pills so I was trying to find somewhere I was welcome and safe. I (of course) found Christianity and embraced it. When I was in 8th grade, I had a science teacher that I really connected with, whom was deeply religious. I was very close with her for about three years until I came out of the closet.

She (of course) told me that I had to choose to "act in a homosexual way" or choose God. Naturally, she insisted that no one is born gay, but chooses to be gay. She of course also told me I would go to hell if I did not choose God. Side note: I am sure she herself is gay so it would make sense that she would deny people are born gay. If she can choose to not engage in homosexual acts then she won't go to hell. But if she is born gay, then she has no choice. Make sense? And it still amazes me to this day that she was so serious about it. She truly believed I would go to hell! I chose being gay and have not talked to her since. However, since that time I was not really sure of what my beliefs were. Even at that young age, I couldn't fathom a god who supposedly loved us so much, but made all these rules about who we could or could not love. I also understood that it was all about fear and controlling others.

So since about the age of 16, I've been in limbo with my beliefs. Recently I've started reading blogs, articles, books about Deconverts/ deconversion and also books from some scientists who are atheist (Dawkins, Sagan.) Reading all these things helped take (what was left of) the blinders I had on my eyes. My eyes are completely open now and I understand more than ever! And understanding that I am an atheist does not make me immoral or cynical. I appreciate life, the world, etc even moreso now that I know no god made it. I plan to keep learning and growing in my lack of faith.

"Religion uses fear to control the masses through reward of being good and punishment if their bad.”
— Sorry, but religion just reminds me of what being a child was like.. our parents yelling at us if we did wrong and rewarding us if we did right.