This community of agnostics, atheists and those somewhere in between has been "extremely" helpful to me in my own deconversion process. I've been reading your testimonies for several years now and have never presented mine. So here goes.
The following is an email that I sent to a "friend" that is still a very deluded Christian. What prompted my email to him was a statement that he made to a mutual friend last week, in my presence, stating that people in this country who don't accept and agree with the Judeo-Christian ethics of this country are free to leave and find a more suitable country to live (he's obviously been watching too much Fox News). I have to admit that he had no clear understanding as to where I stood regarding my previous Christian faith so I bit my tongue that night. Over the last several years though I stopped discussing religion with Jay as we had previously done so that should have tipped him off. What he said was eating at me and I felt that I needed to send him the following:
We have over a 30 year history that began with the Worldwide Church of God. Through the years we have shared many good and and a few bad times. When I split from the WWCG it took you awhile to see that I left for good cause based on what I believed were the erroneous teachings and practices of the church. After leaving that church I continued on in my search for the "truth". That search led me to over a dozen different churches over more than 15 years in an attempt to find the peace, unity and love that should have exemplified a church where Jesus resided. During that time I easily contributed well over $150K to churches, missions and worldwide distribution of bibles. For years I'd go out on weekend mornings and distributed probably well over a thousand Christian tracts in mailboxes, inserted into Sunday newspapers, car windshields in parking lots and any place where I might win souls for Jesus. I was always a willing volunteer to clean churches, cut grass, work in the church office, serve on committees, paint, pass the collection plate, be part of the choir, transport the elderly to and from church, buy supplies out of my pocket, go door to door to invite people to church, gave away 2 used cars to church people in need, hosted dinners and get togethers and more. I point all that out not from pride but as a statement of my level of commitment and sincerity to the cause of Christ. As the years went by though I came to realize that what I sought couldn't be found and what I found instead was a muddled mess of teachings and beliefs across the many various denominations/churches and very little peace or happiness in the lives of the people involved. I participated in prayer meetings and never saw anything that came close to being miraculous or the sure hand of God at work. Never witnessed anyone healed or saw desperate people delivered from their financial struggles. Never saw your prayers answered Jay in your many family struggles that you and I prayed about over the years. I saw a lot of emotions and got caught up in that in the charismatic churches we joined. I saw a lot of wishful thinking and pulpit arm twisting for more money from people who couldn't afford to give any more. I saw myself going through the motions over and over again and was none the better for it.
Then came a turning point when I started really questioning the validity of my pursuit to find the truth. I had to admit that what I'd experienced in all those years was a lot of confusion, disappointment and depression. So I left faith and emotion behind in a new search to understand reality which hopefully would move me closer to the truth. I no longer wore blinders but was willing to question everything in an attempt to find something that made sense. To make a long story short, encompassing 15 more years, I finally no longer believed in any of the religions that are in the world today. (The internet, the writings of Robert Ingersol, critical thinking, reason, logic and science ultimately provided a framework that settled my doubts and finally made more sense than faith ever could.) You reject all gods but one but I've gone one step further and reject them all! I now consider myself an agnostic but am more than willing to believe in god if there were sufficient evidence to believe. Instead I believe that all religions today are no more than mankind's attempt to make sense out of what appears to be a senseless, dangerous world.
..... the evening was going fine Jay until towards the end of the evening you turned to John and expressed to him in no uncertain terms that people in this country that don't accept Judeo-Christian beliefs are free to leave and find somewhere else to live! Jay I've put up with your narrow-minded, biased, ignorant statements in the past but I consider our sharing times together a thing of the past!
That's where things stand with us."
(Note to readers that there is more that's transpired between Jay and I in the last couple of years that's soured our friendship. I left out some parts of the email that addressed those issues. This was the final blow that's ended our friendship. Someone might say that I should have hung in there with Jay to try and influence him away from Christianity. But Jay is not well educated, gullible and immersed in his belief so that I don't see that happening.)