Skip to main content

Travelling Is What Saved Me

By Zelda ~
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Gustave Flaubert
I lost the first 33 years of my life due to Christianity and its lies about the world and human beings.

When you grow up in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity, it seems that you never gain a sense of who you really are or what you really want to do. You learn to question yourself from a very young age because you don’t have any wisdom, only God does. And, you can only get it by prayer or fasting. The good in you is only because of Christ living through you. Making life decisions becomes very difficult because you cannot rely on your inner self to guide you, you must rely on God and go through a painstaking process of prayer and sifting through the word of God to find your answers.

For some of us, who are eccentric or artistic and sensitive souls, this can be devastating because the arts are self-serving unless of course you are a worship leader. I became a teacher for various reasons but one of them was because I thought that I should do something related to serving others directly. I never wanted to be a teacher and I did it for 11 years, each year becoming more and more ill and more stressed. I never honored my own dreams. Neither did my parents. I knew what I wanted to do deep down but it was constantly squelched because of them telling me I couldn’t do that or shouldn’t do that. I knew from a young age that I wanted to learn foreign languages and travel. They didn't want me to travel or study abroad because they were afraid I would become tainted or that my eyes would be opened to knowledge. I did anyway, my own way, and went to France as an Au Pair at age 21.

In France, I met a young Anglican priest who didn’t believe in hell. We discussed the meaning of life over cups of English tea in the basement of the Anglican Church on many occasions and I remember asking him these questions, “Why are you a priest? What are you saving people from if there is no heaven or hell? What is the point of living if there is nothing to look forward to after you die?” I was shocked when he said that he loved people and wanted to help people lead happy lives. I believed that there was no real love outside of Christ and the love that this priest had for people must be phony because he obviously was not a Christian. I thought he was so deceived. Later, I found out that he was gay as well and I just could not understand how this was possible.

During this time, I was dating a French-English man. He had never heard the gospel before. I was stunned because I thought that everyone in the western world at least had had an opportunity to hear the gospel. I tried to convert him but he told me that he knew too much about science and evolution and that intellectually it was impossible for him to believe. He asked me to move in with him before I left France but I said no because I could not be unequally yoked. I was in love with him but denied my own heart for the sake of Christ. God would bless my virtue with a solid Christian man.

I went back to the States and fell quickly back in with my religion. I moved in with my Christian friends who were having charismatic prayer meetings every week. They were casting demons out of each other. They called these demons, “spirit of fear, rejection, guilt, lust, etc.” They tried to cast demons out of me but every time the spirit of fear would come back. I was then told that I needed to pray more and that I wasn’t giving my whole heart to Christ. I kept trying and eventually started going to an Assembly of God church where I met my husband (now ex-husband).

I was ... taught for so long that sexuality was a thing to be denied that I could not really enjoy anything. In turn, he treated me like an object which I accepted because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I remember crying in the bathroom so many times and praying to God that he would make me want my husband.I married this “Man of God” believing that it was God’s will. I was virgin at 25 years old when I got married and had no idea of how I should be treated. I was told that the man was the head of the household and ruled over the wife but yet he was supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church. A wife was supposed to submit to her husband. I was devastated on the wedding night because I felt such shame and was taught for so long that sexuality was a thing to be denied that I could not really enjoy anything. In turn, he treated me like an object which I accepted because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. This objectification of women seems to happen a lot in the church. I remember crying in the bathroom so many times and praying to God that he would make me want my husband. I thought it was my fault that I didn’t like it when he would tie me up and not let me go and watch me cry.

At age 29, I decided to go back to school and get my Masters of Arts in Teaching so I could teach French. That summer, I went to study in Paris. I felt free for the first time in a long time and didn’t have to worry when I was sleeping at night. The last week of class, we were discussing the relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and the subject came up of what it means to be faithful in a relationship. I spoke up and said, “It just means you’re not sleeping with anyone else.” All of the Italians in the room turned and looked at me and one of them said, “No, it’s not just sexual fidelity. Being faithful means loving your partner.” It was such a simple thing.

That was the moment, the moment that I realized that I was not being loved. I was not seen. I went back to the states after that summer determined to stand up for myself. It took some time, but I left. I was shunned by our church friends. My father told me that I had a sexual problem. My mother told that I had psychological problems. Could it have been that we were both incompatible and clueless about sex because of our upbringing? I didn’t care. It was over. The dream was broken. I couldn’t hang on anymore. I later found out that there was nothing wrong with me at all sexually, I was just with the wrong person and believed the wrong things about sex.

I share this story because the realization of what my marriage was what finally started to wake me up. It took me about eight more years before I finally left Christianity. I had to grieve the fact that I will never know for sure what happens when we die. I had to be okay with the mystery. I think the worst part is that I have lost my family but I realize now that I never really had them. They are my family but we can never be close and they will always think that I have gone astray and am seeking after the flesh. I am trying to get over it so I can move on with my life but the lies of religion affected my thought process and self-esteem for so long that it is hard to break free.

I am back in Europe where my mind started to open up the first time. I am struggling to know myself at age 43 and I hope that I am getting closer to that career change that I desire so much. This time, I am free and not bound by my religion. I can choose my own path.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust


Popular posts from this blog


By David Andrew Dugle ~ O ctober. Halloween. It's time to visit the haunted house I used to live in. When I was five my dad was able to build a big modern house. Moving in before it was complete, my younger brother and I were sleeping in a large unfinished area directly under the living room. It should have been too new to be a haunted house, but now and then I would wake up in the tiny, dark hours and see the blurry image of a face, or at least what I took to be a face, glowing, faintly yellow, high up on the wall near the ceiling. I'm not kidding! Most nights it didn’t appear at all. But when it did show itself, at first I thought it was a ghost and it scared me like nothing else I’d ever seen. But the face never did anything; unmoving, it just stayed in that one spot. Turning on the lights would make it disappear, making my fears difficult to explain, so I never told anyone. My Sunday School teachers had always told me to be good because God was just behind m

The Blame Game or Shit Happens

By Webmdave ~ A relative suffering from Type 1 diabetes was recently hospitalized for an emergency amputation. The physicians hoped to halt the spread of septic gangrene seeping from an incurable foot wound. Naturally, family and friends were very concerned. His wife was especially concerned. She bemoaned, “I just don’t want this (the advanced sepsis and the resultant amputation) to be my fault.” It may be that this couple didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation. It may be that their choice of treatment was less than ideal. Perhaps their home diabetes maintenance was inconsistent. Some Christians I know might say the culprit was a lack of spiritual faith. Others would credit it all to God’s mysterious will. Surely there is someone or something to blame. Someone to whom to ascribe credit. Isn’t there? A few days after the operation, I was talking to a man who had family members who had suffered similar diabetic experiences. Some of those also suffered ea

Reasons for my disbelief

By Rebekah ~ T here are many layers to the reasons for my disbelief, most of which I haven't even touched on here... When I think of Evangelical Christianity, two concepts come to mind: intense psychological traps, and the danger of glossing over and missing a true appreciation for the one life we know that we have. I am actually agnostic when it comes to a being who set creation in motion and remains separated from us in a different realm. If there is a deistic God, then he/she doesn't particularly care if I believe in them, so I won't force belief and instead I will focus on this one life that I know I have, with the people I can see and feel. But I do have a lot of experience with the ideas of God put forth by Evangelical Christianity, and am confident it isn't true. If it's the case god has indeed created both a physical and a heavenly spiritual realm, then why did God even need to create a physical realm? If the point of its existence is to evolve to pas

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two