Skip to main content

Tasting Fresh Air for the First Time

By Weeping Dalek ~

For me to accurately give a testimony of my shedding of religion, I feel that a brief history is needed for a deeper understanding into me and my situations. I apologize if I jump around in time every now and again.

You see, my mom was separated from her own family through a church closer to a cult than a common denomination of christianity during high-school. The leaders in this church told my mother from the time she was either a freshman or sophomore that she would end up marrying the pastor’s son and providing for him. And so, the courtship began. It wasn’t until much later, either junior or senior year, that she actually met the boy.

She explained that upon seeing him, she was immediately disgusted, said he looked as if he had down’s syndrome, though he had been tested and proven not. He was the class clown, wore black, played guitar, studied humanity, and produced his own comedy. She reviled the idea that spending forever with this person was what God wanted for her. But the church officials told her that if she didn’t follow through with this, she would be punished for all eternity for disobeying the will of God, and they prayed for her, to sanctify the two.

They married shortly after graduation in the late nineties, and I was conceived shortly thereafter. She doesn’t speak much of the actual marriage and what happened in chronology, but I do know quite a bit of various details. This guy, he would often drug my mother and rape her while she was unconscious. He would threaten murder and even chase both her and I around the house with a knife, even busting down a door at one point to reach us. He was deeply religious, though today my mom says it was never real christianity. He didn’t let her go outside or get a job. She once applied to Starbucks and he went up and told them she couldn’t lift the coffee bag so she wasn’t fit to work there. She said that he never wore protection when he forced himself on her, and the reason behind there not being many more pregnancies, was, what my mom said, being his low sperm count.

He didn’t only abuse my mother, he molested me from infancy/toddler age, to the time we left, when I was about four. I remember one instance when we were at my grandma’s house, this was near the end, I think. He was bathing me in the back bathroom. He told me that we were out of soap so he had to wash me with his hand, and he had his hand between my thighs, and I remember it burning, and I remember yelling that the soap was right behind me, and I remember yelling for my mom, but she must’ve thought I just didn’t want to wash my hair, because she didn’t come.

But aside from that sexual abuse, there was, what I came to call “religious abuse.” I remember one instance being him holding my arms pinned down on the dining room table and speaking prayers against the spirits of rebellion dwelling within me. He was yelling, and I was crying and screaming, and my mom kinda looked on from the sidelines.

I do not blame my mother for this, I understand the state of mind that she must’ve been in from such a detrimental relationship. I never blamed God for it, I understood that sin was part of humanity and that I had it so badly because Satan wanted to turn me away from God (that’s what my grandma told me). I don’t even blame the guy that did it, because I believe that all are capable of retribution and that no human being is entirely evil, people are often just products of their environment. I just wished it hadn’t happened.

During all this, around the time I was two or three, I was diagnosed with an incurable disease, called celiac disease. For those who don’t know, this disease prohibits consumption of wheat, rye, barley, or oats without risk of incredibly bad physical consequences. Then, two or three years after diagnosis, I was declared completely symptom free, and celiac free, they even stuck a camera up my butt, before and after.

My grandma and mom believed this to be a definite sign from God, that he cured my disease. I too believed it, because I trusted my mom and grandma, and so, I trusted their beliefs. Later in life, when I was about fourteen, we learned that celiac disease may just go into remission, but it never really goes away, so we thanked God for my remission and put me on a gluten free diet for the future me. I never stuck with the diet, so I went through cycles of binge eating gluten loaded foods that eventually turned into me eating normally. This past year, when I was fifteen, I was tested, and the results came back entirely negative, no celiac, no remission, nothing. We were overjoyed, God really did cure me.

During all this time, one thing kept showing itself to my mind, the fact that upon leaving my biological father, the symptoms went away extremely quickly. I gathered that this was because my celiac was stress induced, and went away once the stress was eradicated, since the body can react in very adverse ways when under extreme stress, and that would make a misdiagnosis possible. Plus, my mother shows signs of gluten intolerance, similar to celiacs, but not testable, so I already had a genetic inclination to show those symptoms. This was my explanation, the divine explanation was what you see above. In my younger years, I simply combined them, saying God was the “why” to the “how”.

When I turned nine or ten, I can’t remember exactly, my mom married my step-dad, and they are currently married still. I wasn’t sure exactly where to stick this tidbit, but I felt it was important sooner rather than later. Often, when I was eleven, up until very recently, I had trouble differentiating between he and my biological father, as in, I saw dangers that were nonexistent.

After we left my biological father, I don’t remember exactly what our living situation was, but I remember a heavy reliance on my grandma. I remembered every Sunday we would go to church over an hour and a half away, one of those halfway megachurches. When I was little, I wished that we were catholic instead, that way I could eat a snack at every service, I have always loved food. This every week ritual soon turned into every few weeks, which then turned into not at all.

But to say that not going to church negatively affected my faith would be a fallacy, my mom and grandma based much of our home life around God and the teachings of Christ. And my grandma did much more than my mom, she has been a very devout believer for as long as I can remember. If there was a dictionary definition of Jesus freak, her picture would be there. She would claim to have times in her life that God directly intervened and caused her to hallucinate and write things in haste on paper, that she would read post-prophecy. She once anointed all the mirrors in the house to rid us of demons because I saw a show when I was seven that planted a seed of fear of mirrors and reflections, which, of course, only caused to make my fears worse, because now demons could be in our mirrors too. My mom would claim to see the sins of people manifest as dragons, latching onto the tops of the heads of the people they owned. My mother also claimed that when she was younger, she had sleep paralysis and would wake the next morning to find man handprints on her neck, I am not sure how to explain this one, assuming it happened, and this was seconded by my grandma, saying there was a dark cloud hovering over my mom. Keep in mind, there is a history of Schizophrenia in our family, though my mom said she was tested and came out negative. My mom said that just before leaving my biological father, she heard an audible voice from God telling her everything was soon to change, since he often didn’t feed her and didn’t give her water often, and her mind was already incredibly jumbled, auditory hallucination was definitely out of the question. She said that in early 2000s, I forgot exactly what year she said, she was awoken to pray for (my now) stepfather, they hadn’t talked in years and this was around the time that he was deployed to leave for Iraq. The explanation I have come to take from this is that she may have thought of him often after graduation, because they rarely talked even in high-school, and one of the few things he ever said to her was his signature in her yearbook, which was him apologizing for not going to church more. Of course, it’s not the best argument, but just because I don’t have one doesn’t mean it’s supernatural or that it even happened the way she said it did.

Flash forward, my stepfather often would tell me stories of how God saved his life through placing others in cars that he should’ve been in, both while in Iraq and in high school. However, I fail to see how this is proof of God, but rather chance and a way to deal with survivor’s guilt.

I believed these things that they told me as 100% truth, and, any time I needed help with something, such as finding the keys, or asking for guidance, I would pray for God’s help. I wouldn’t always receive what I asked for, but I believed in the “God works in mysterious ways” concept.

Though, growing up, I did believe in the stories and fables and morals offered by Christianity, I never put much thought into it. I just accepted that Jesus died for me and that my God was a loving God. With Veggietales, Christian coloring books, and the whole shebang, there wasn’t reason for doubt.

My first question I ever raised was that of the concept of “free will.” A thought of my own, I hadn’t realized that many people ask this question daily. I was eleven years old and my middle school had this club called a “Good News Club,” they gave us free pizza and soda, and they let me feel accepted, I was never exactly liked by other kids. Since the closest church to where we lived was not what my parents wanted, this club was all I had. Anyway, the leader was teaching us about how God knew every single action that was to happen from the beginning of time to the end, so it didn’t make sense that he could know what I’d do, yet I still had free will. I asked her, and she told me that people shouldn’t concern themselves with trying to understand God, since he is beyond our perception. She said that it is a common misconception of many people, and that though he knows what we’ll do, that doesn’t mean we don’t make the final choice. Which is a bit of a circular paradox.

Shortly after all this, I started Independant Study Schooling. To get socialization, I went to a local Middle School and Teen Center, mainly because if I was home all the time I had to work all the time, usually getting yelled at a lot. One day, I didn’t want to go home and I wanted to stay at the MST after hours, but they said I couldn’t because a Youth Group had it set up, that’s why kids were still there. I didn’t know what a youth group was at the time, but I remember asking the leader, and she said it had to do with Jesus or something. I wasn’t a religious Christian, by any means, but I associated this with goodness, that these people were followers of Christ. So I called my mom and she let me stay.

That night was the first time I actually felt a sort of conviction toward God. Keep in mind, I was eleven or twelve. It was during the introductory worship, and I remember just sobbing uncontrollably, because I was worshipping God and learning what he had in store for me and really feeling him. Inside my chest, I felt that swollen feeling that can only be called the opposite of anxiety. I knew that where I wanted to be was with God. I knew that there was something above and it was the God of Jesus and Bethlehem. My previous concerns of free will were satisfied by the Good News Club lady, so I had nothing to hold my faith back.

I remember being extremely frustrated, though, after the first few times. Because I didn’t cry anymore when we worshipped. I didn’t feel the feeling of God moving through the very air and residing within my chest, it was empty. In hindsight, this can easily be attributed to the fact that a beautiful sight gets less beautiful the more you experience it, like the sight of a lake house losing its luster if you’ve lived there for years. And there’s something about worship, the large group of people, singing, with music booming vibrations through the floor, and lyrics that speak to those very things that you want to hear said, that can evoke a very personal sensation. But in that time, I saw my lack of
conviction being akin to me not trying hard enough, so I tried harder to search for God’s presence, but I found nothing except an occasional glimpse, say, if I didn’t attend for a few weeks.

God was personal to me, I believed from the time that I was in Kindergarten that he lived in my heart, literally. I remember talking about this with my best friend, and she agreed. I believe that the notion of my God being so personal was the fact that I am an incredibly emotional person. My personality type is an INFP, which, in short, is the most emotionally driven type out there. I desire for these images of grandeur by my very nature, giving me a higher likelihood to accept some strange old man myth into my heart without any questions (aside from that one about free will).

I stayed with the Youth Group for a few months, but it wasn’t long until I just stopped going. I felt incredibly guilty for it. I had always felt incredibly guilty for those type of things. When I was about eight or so, my mom was dating this guy, and we were visiting his friend, and his friend had a son. This guy’s son told me that if I didn’t go to church every Wednesday and Sunday, I would be doomed to Hell. I had a nightmare that very night in which I was on some sort of middle ground with Jesus high above me on a white cloud and the Devil way below me on a cloud of shadow. I remember being slowly pulled down to the bottom and screaming, that memory terrorized me for many months, if not years, afterwards. That’s just when I was a kid, as an adolescent christian, I had many times where just thinking about the sins I had committed made me feel like a worthless being who was, strangely enough, still loved.

Upon moving to Washington, the state in which I now live, I wasn’t exactly religious. This was when I was around thirteen and a half. I came into school as a Freshman halfway through the year for the first time in two. I had a rather strong belief in God, but over time, it deteriorated. Then Sophomore year started and in late November I tried out a local Youth Group and gave my life over to Christ that very night. I always have a habit of diving headfirst into things. Also, wouldn’t you know it, I was sobbing.

This church was a huge fan of proselytization, they urged everyone to invite everyone to church every Wednesday, and if the people said no, to just ask another time. Because everyone loves a stubborn Christian! They taught me about Jesus. They spoke of the worser parts of the Bible in a way that made it so that those parts weren’t so bad. I talked to God, in the best way I knew, anyway. The pastors always preached that you could sit and have conversations with God, but they always ended up as conversations with myself, since I did not see any reason in conversing with one who already knew everything. When I did try, I never got a response from God that seemed out of the realm of something I would say, oftentimes, when I came to conclusions on moral questions, the answers arose from my own psyche and understanding. I always attributed the lack of answer to a weakness of faith.

I did not lose my faith. I grew out of it.Same thing with speaking in tongues. Yes, I could form a lot of syllables out of a lot of Es, Is, Ys, Ls, and Ks, but it never felt divine. There was one boy there, I had the biggest crush on him, and he could speak in tongues, I did envy that about him. It made sense that my inability to speak in tongues was because I was always wanting what this boy had, and, of course, a weakness of faith.

I truly believed in God, despite the ways in which he seemed distant from me. The argument that those who convert from Christianity to Atheism were never truly Christians to begin with is bull. I could use the bible in an argument against a deist, agnostic, or atheist like any other. I prayed before I went to bed. I recited “the Lord did not give me a spirit of fear, but one of power, one of love, and one of a sound mind,” when I was scared or nervous. I relied on the goodness of a God to get me through Sophomore year, because I had no real connections as far as friends were concerned, because the church made me feel guilty about who I used to be around. I believed that my world was explainable through God. I believed that “God spoke it and BANG! it happened.” I believed that time was relative to God and that the bible was open for interpretation by whomever so chooses to read it. I wrote somewhere around a dozen worship songs on my own time. I was baptized and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever felt. I believed the spewings of Joshua Feuerstein near the end of my era of Christianity. So, for any Christian to tell me that I was never Christian to begin with, that argument is moot.

This church that I went to, it only lasted about seven months. We started in October/November of 2012 and ended May/June of 2013, coming back periodically because my mom would help them plan things, like Halloween. Our reason for leaving was that my family and I could no longer “feel the spirit,” that, coupled with the fact that they seemed so intent on getting enough money for a new parking lot that they devoted entire sermons to the importance of tithes. This church was a non-denominational pentecostal church, the name a contradiction in itself, and many people there were the types who claim sin as a reason to do bad, and just do whatever they want, just asking forgiveness at the end of the day being enough.

I had one question to them though, another of my own thought. This was when I was fourteen. I asked the pastor what happens to those who never hear of God because Jesus preached that the only way to God was through Him, and out church preached heavily on that. The pastor gave me one of those faith-saving answers, that those people are lost, and that is why it is so important to spread the faith. This put to rest my question for the most part. Though I didn’t entirely understand, I didn’t want to think about it too much.

There was one time, it didn’t really make me question my faith, but in retrospect, it should have.

There was a mission trip to Idaho that the church had planned and my parents were all for me going. That is, until I proved to not be worthy of going in their eyes, they said I had to be right with God before I could call myself a missionary, so I wouldn’t be allowed to go. I went to one of the prayer leaders with this, and she believed I was more than qualified, as did everyone else in the church (my parents go through periods of seeing me as a monster). So we prayed, me and the leader, for me to be able to embark on the journey to strengthen my faith and become more in tune with God. I also prayed with the three Christians, who somewhat accepted me, from that church who went to my school. It came time, and my parents showed no sign of wavering. The prayer leader and other church members said it was God’s will that I go and that my parents were holding me back, while my parents said it was not anywhere in God’s intentions.

I was not allowed to go. In fact, I think I got grounded at one point during all this. I don’t remember what was going through my mind, but I do know that I didn’t doubt my faith.

After we stopped attending regularly, my faith didn’t waver like it had before when we left other churches or organizations. I still believed very fervently and felt that we just needed a good church, I often listened to worship music over secular, I would flip through my bible (never really read it, but what christian does anyway?), I would pray to God and got response from Him (this was after I realized that God doesn’t really talk to you, he just evokes feelings or plays songs to let you interpret), when I was in turmoil, I did worship, it was awesome.

Well, except for the condemnation part. As aforementioned, I always felt guilty for any sin I committed, despite the burden of guilt being passable to Christ, I still felt lowly. I had lustful temptation, I masturbated, I got angry, I was lazy and slept in, I was sometimes selfish and narcissistic, I had mildly homosexual thoughts, I grew discontent at home, and many other things. I felt so incredibly guilty for everything. I dated a guy when I was fifteen from December 2013 to May 2014, this guy was an agnostic, leaning toward atheism, and still is. He wasn’t exactly the greatest guy, driving me into mild depression near the end of our relationship, but he did bring up some valid points about Christianity. I, of course, disregarded these because those in faith are typically incredibly close minded to anything outside their bubble of happy fairy land and scary monster land. I felt incredibly guilty about our relationship, because of the nature of it, him being a nonbeliever, and the fact that there were sexual acts committed. I spent countless hours trying to justify how non-married people giving oral sex is okay in the context of religion, and found none, so I felt like a “purposeful sinner,” one who disobeyed God and chose to do so, thus not entirely deserving of forgiveness.

Upon leaving this relationship, I was inspired to achieve forgiveness by atoning for my sins and telling my parents, plus, I am a pretty big advocate for non-hypocrisy. Of course they were upset, and I spent many hours with the radio tuned in to 88.1, listening to the words of God’s followers and searching scripture for a way to ease my pain. I even have one of those annotated bibles that gave references, and there was nothing in the context of my situation that I could use to apply.

This was a mere nine months ago. Since then, quite a lot has happened. Summer break started shortly after my birthday in June, and I had a small friend group that I hung around. During the time that all this was happening, my home relationships were crumbling apart. The nicest way to put it is that my parents weren’t exactly kind to me, the realistic way would be to say that they were growing to be psychologically, emotionally, and verbally abusive. It wasn’t too bad over the Summer, I only locked myself away and cried my eyes out because they told me I was selfish and cared about no one but myself (among other things) once a week or so. Now I will not sit here and tell you that I am the embodiment of Jesus Christ Almighty Lord Savior Jehovah God Yeshua Yahweh Himself. I was selfish from time to time, but not to the level that they said. They had stopped, for the most part, using corporal punishment when I was thirteen or fourteen, maybe even fifteen, I can’t remember, and they always defended it with “spare the rod, spoil the child,” or whatever scripture it is, I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, they continued to use this defense to defend their view on discipline and punishment, and every now and again I could hear the blood curdling screams of my sister as she had her butt busted because she was scared to take her ear rings out, at five years old.

With the coming of the school year in September, my senior year, I had very high hopes. I had a very new budding romance with yet another agnostic-leaning-toward-atheist. I had promises from family that because of higher school load, I would have less chores.

Of course, the chore proposition held up for two weeks, if that, returning to me getting the dishes done for five people, laundry done for five people, feeding and cleaning up after five pets, cleaning up after practically everyone, being blamed for any messes or things lost, and stressing out. This, on top of homework for two AP classes, the school newspaper, and Spanish 2. Not to include a social life. I was stressed beyond return. I didn’t know what to do to be on my parents “good” side, since the definition of that changed daily, though they claimed it didn’t (a parallel to christianity, I believe). Inevitably leading to me becoming depressed, severely so that by the end of October, I was suicidal. I had a plan and everything. The only thing that kept me from doing it was that one day I might be able to help other people out of their problems. This is the main driving force behind me wanting to become a teacher and author, so I can help to cultivate youth in a healthy way. Giving little hopeful words to a student goes a long way, often farther than a friend’s, since teachers aren’t expected to be there for you like that.

The three months of intense depression were arguably the worst of my life. I always feel bad when I say that, because the suffering of many others will often far outweigh my own, but still, a minimization by comparison does nothing for the subjective pain of the individual. I turned to God for help, and it did ease the pain for a portion of the time I was worshipping, for a bit of the prayer time, for a bit of the scripture searching, but never anything equating to happiness that could’ve come from God. It was merely an overwhelming swollenness inside my chest, that feeling opposite of anxiety that I remembered from the worship so long ago, and it never lasted.

It’s often easy to explain why God allows suffering when you are not the one to experience it, it is another when you are shaking so bad you can’t put your mascara on and you grow scared of putting on makeup at all because a crying fit might ruin it all. It’s another thing to have life-ending thoughts cross your mind every time you open the knife drawer to put away the knives. It’s another thing when you realize that mental illnesses are not simply a “demon.” I remember seeing something saying touching a pentagram on a piece of paper to a mentally ill person will cause their skin to burn. I tried it, and it was without result.

I felt “Godless with God,” as I put it. I begged God to show himself to me in a way that was more than just a feeling. I begged God to change my parent’s hearts so that they would stop treating me so detrimentally. I begged him, not just asking, but begging. The bible said that whosoever asks shall receive, and I never did.

There was one moment, in either late November or early December, I don’t remember the exact day. I had just gotten home from school and my mom wanted me to clear the leaves from the yard and move them to the natural dump a block away. This took around eight loads of wheelbarrow, and I had quite a bit of time to ponder while listening to Twenty One Pilots and trying not to get wet. To anyone who doesn’t know, Twenty One Pilots is a rap duo with some Christian undertone, that was why I liked them so much. I was listening to one of their heavier songs, just pushing the wheelbarrow along, and just before I finished crossing the street, an overwhelming thought entered my mind. I was only staying in this out of fear of an afterlife. In retrospect, I didn’t really even believe in God much anymore, and I was using Pascal’s Wager on myself.

This wasn’t the end of my faith, though. I tried to hold on for a little while longer, but it slipped free of my grasp. I remember sitting in incognito mode on the laptop, searching for testimonies from other deconverted Christians, and happening across this site, finding quite a lot in terms of “I’m not alone in this,” and I would just google the other questions I had concerning faith, often looking for atheist explanations, since the Christian ones no longer seemed like viable arguments. I think I only stayed in for another week before I realized that I was an atheist.

Once I realized I was an atheist, I had a moment where I looked at myself in the mirror, and I felt an overwhelming sense of smallness, which, at the same time, made me feel incredibly important. You know, some inspirational junk about being able to give what you can during your limited existence and whatnot.

Obviously, I decided not to tell my parents. They are fundy Christians who manage to twist the bible so the “metaphors” are inarguable. I only really trusted one adult in my life, which, strangely enough, was my Auto Shop teacher. I told him quickly at the end of a class somewhere around December seventeenth or what have you, and I was honestly surprised to learn he was also an atheist. I still had the preconception that atheists couldn’t be good people.

This was good, but I still wanted to tell my parents. Like I mentioned before, I don’t like hiding things. So on the twenty first I sat down and typed up a two-page letter to them, it went as follows:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am writing this to you because this is the only way I know how to tell you. I am slow when I am on the spot and this is my best way to think things through and effectively get information across.

This is my Christmas gift to you because I have no money and this is the most vulnerable I believe I’ve ever made myself to either of you. I have had this going on for months, or years, if you choose to see it that way. After continually oscillating between fundamentalist and skeptic, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am an atheist. There’s not really any other way to put it. I once considered myself agnostic, I once just didn’t know what to identify as, I was once a “bible-thumper” as many put it, I was a laid back christian, I was an active christian, I’ve never really known what to identify as. But now I do.

This decision comes from the logic, introspective thinking and soul searching that I’ve done over the past few months. From no origin to my knowledge, the questions wouldn’t leave my mind. I would be doing work and it would just be a simple question. Soon, however, I started to doubt. I started to think I could just believe in it anyway that way if it does exist I won’t go to hell. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t exactly christian, because you are never supposed to stay within something because of fear. You are supposed to love god and follow him for that. That led to many hours over the past few months spent in silence, mulling over my own beliefs, talking them out, and feeling crazy. The only outcome that I could come to, would be that I simply don’t believe in a god, I don’t believe that there’s a heaven or a hell, I believe that when we die, we die.

Now, I’m not one to approach this from a scientific or mathematical perspective, but there’s one thing they do consistently, theories and proofs. When they create theories, they test them, anything and everything they can, to see if it is incorrect; if as little as one test proves it wrong, the theory or formula is discarded. However, with religion, there’s a multitude of discrepancies, and I can’t bring myself to ignore them anymore.

My first (and biggest) concern. What happens to those who do not hear of Christ or god or any of that? They go to hell. I don’t mean that as an obscenity, they literally go to hell. It says in John that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that those who know him shall not perish but receive eternal life.” Those who know him. I asked the pastor at {church that shall remain unnamed} and he gave me the answer that those people are “lost” and that’s why it’s so important to spread the gospel. Despite that, I find it highly impossible that every single person above the age of accountability will have the chance to know of god and his works, meaning innocent lives will burn in eternity all for not ever hearing of god. One soul wasted is one too many in my book. Many people that I’ve talked to try to say that that couldn’t possibly happen because god is a loving benevolent god. Which brings me to my second concern.

How could God be benevolent and all powerful at the same time? I only ask this for the simple reason that an immense amount of bad exists in the world. There’s children starving, emaciated and abused. There’s people being raped at this very moment. There’s people being murdered. There’s forty three students that are all quite certainly dead in Mexico due to a corrupt system of government and gang activity. If god is all powerful and benevolent, wouldn’t he change something? Since he doesn’t, he is either cruel or powerless. People say that god works in mysterious ways, the older I get, the more this feels like a cop out. A way to say “my belief system won’t fix everything because there’s a plan,” which leads me to my next point.

We were gifted with free will. And god had a plan for everyone’s action since the beginning of time. (had this one in my mind since seventh grade) If god knew exactly what our each and every action would be, doesn’t that render the concept of free will nonexistent? He already planned from the beginning of the beginning that Hitler would attempt genocide, he already knew that John Smith from Kentucky would turn away from him and spend eternity in hell. God knew that these things would happen, yet did
nothing. Not only that, the bible itself had a lot of terrible things. Like how if a woman
is raped, the rapist pays her father one and a half units of silver {I now realize this is
incorrect} to own her from that point on; or how god tells them to murder everyone in the village but keep the women for themselves; not to mention it’s pro slavery. Many beliefs of the time it was written. God could have created a world free of evil, could have eradicated satan, could have stopped a multitude of bad things from happening, but never did. It may seem hard to grasp, but with god anything is possible, right? The fact that this benevolent, all knowing, all seeing, god of everything exists in the same time as all the other seems utterly preposterous to me.

Speaking of “other,” another thing that disproves it for me is the sheer amount of religions that exist. How could you possibly expect one belief to be “true” when all the other thousands claim the same, yet preach different? The answer, to me, is that there is no “true” religion. It’s something that people hold onto. A security, if you will. People can’t stand the idea that when they die, they’re gone forever (which shows how narcissistic the idea of an afterlife is), so they created a system that told them if they did good things, or believed correctly, they would be blessed. Whether that gift be virgins, heaven, or reincarnation as a higher being, it’s a reward system with the consequence (for christianity, at least) being eternal torture. I believe it started innocently enough, a way to explain the unexplainable, but it turned into a control mechanism. The only reason christianity exists on the level it does today is because the Romans adopted it some odd number of centuries ago.

It’s very feasible to believe that it was created as a way to control citizens. They wouldn’t listen to laws, so they put them into a book of fables and confusing people and called it sacred. There’s only one high-level politician in office today that identifies as non-theist, the others are christian. Every single president has been a christian. People are scared, because of this instilled idea that without a religion, you are amoral. Is that to imply that people are only using a book to keep them from murdering and raping everyone? I believe that to be a good atheist is much better, because you are doing it without expecting a return. I believe that some people are kinder than others, some are
ruder, some are louder. I do not, however, believe that we are all broken and in need of saving. Telling this to people gets them in a mindset of unhealthy reliance on religion without outside function (I think since christianity was founded when the church was the state, I’m onto something here).

My last big thing that I can think of at the moment is the fact that nothing in the bible was documented outside of the bible, as far as supernatural occurrences. During the time of Jesus’ resurrection, the dead were recorded to rise from graves for miles around. This was not recorded in any other instance other than the bible. Don’t you think it would’ve been?

I believe we are human. I believe we screw up and that’s ok, I believe we are capable of greatness without having to give the blame to a higher power. I believe we can dance. I believe we can think freely without someone listening in. I believe we love. I believe we live. I believe we can make a life for ourselves. I believe we die. I believe we don’t keep on after that point.

My desire from you now, is this. Please accept this and my beliefs (or rather, the lack thereof), and don’t expect me to someday be fixed. I’ve gone over this within myself countless times, and I can’t bear not to tell you guys anymore. Even if it means getting rid of every other gift you guys got me, returning or otherwise, this is all I really want. Please accept me. I told {Christian friend} and he’s being standoffish now. {Boyfriend} told me he’d support me no matter what my beliefs were, and the other close friends I told accept it. Please, this is all I want from you. My mood took that major jump when I realized that this was what I believed, but I’ve been downer lately because I can’t stand keeping something this big away. Please.



Probably not my smartest moment, to call a proclamation of atheism a Christmas gift, but it seemed very valid in the AM of December twenty second. Upon my parents receiving this letter, they were outraged. My mom went on to say that I was incapable of love because you can only love through Christ. They pinned the family relationship status on me, saying it was due to me rejecting and hating God.

They rebutted my arguments, saying that God reveals himself to all people, and it does say that in the bible, but I didn’t find that to be a valid argument, considering the blatant contradictions in the bible. They said suffering is a cause of human sin. I didn’t think of this as valid either, since God created us knowing that we’d have the curse of sin on our hearts, assuming the bible is to be taken with value. They didn’t have a response to what I’d said about free will, from what I remember. Later on, my mom said our religion was different because we were the only ones with a sense of fulfillment and that other religions simply borrowed from us (which is complete and utter crass). My dad said the notion of being a good atheist is much better did not make sense because Christians aren’t doing it for any sort of return, they are doing it for the sake of goodness (I take my previous statement back, this is complete and utter crass). They didn’t comment on the zombie resurrection.

After their “thorough” rebuttal of my argument, my dad continued to ask me how we all originated. I said that we have no way of knowing for sure, he picked up a bible and said “well, I do.” I asked him how he knew, and he said, “because it says so right here.” Other debate, of the nature you could probably assume, ensued following this, with my mom treating me as if I were a monster and the same with my dad, though more passively.

Many things followed this. The next day, my friend needed help with Christmas shopping, and my mom refused to answer any questions I had without talking to my dad, while she also refused to call him. She called me an ass, saying that I didn’t care about anyone except myself and that I ruined Christmas with such a selfish “gift.” My dad soon came home, and said I could go at the last minute, I didn’t really want to talk to them, so upon leaving, I just yelled from the door that my friend was there and I’d see them later. After getting in the car, I was called back into the house and was called an ass by my dad as well, for not taking the time to walk in the other room and tell them I was leaving, though they heard me and knew I’d be leaving.

Later, when I got home, my parents acted as if nothing had happened, and I stayed in my room, because it’s often an eggshell situation. I was up there for about three hours, talking to my boyfriend and reblogging things on Tumblr about atheism and abuse. I was called back down and they went through my phone, etc. At one point my mom said that I “just go around threatening suicide when I don’t get what I want.” To which I said that it wasn’t a threat and I really did fantasize about death.

Other things ensued, which led to my parents saying, “well, if it’s really that bad, then maybe you should go to the emergency room,” as if it were a threat. I ended up going and was there until about three AM. The next day, I had my first psychologist appointment in which I told him about the atheist thing and whatnot, and we talked about those things and various other things.

A few days after all this, I had a real conversation with my dad about the religion, and he re-convinced me for a little while of God. I don’t remember exactly how, but it makes sense that I can be easily re-convinced of something I have been indoctrinated into since birth, I find myself doing it lately without realizing still. I remember some questions I asked him he couldn’t answer, such as how orcas know right from wrong if they didn’t eat from the tree of life.

He brought up how, since God wasn’t governed by time in the creation of everything, that it didn’t have to occur in seven manmade days, thus explaining evolution. But I checked five different versions of the bible, and they all spoke in terms of him making night and day, then calling the times “night” and “day,” then evening and morning coming and that being the first day. It also doesn’t account for the dinosaurs, since nothing died before sin, dinosaurs, by geology, were not with the same era of even basic humans, meaning they had to kill and be killed.

I think I remember another argument. He used his previous experiences and the fact that he’s alive as testament to a miracle, which I mentioned earlier. But just because he happened to have amazing luck, does not mean it is God, that’s God of the Gaps. Did I mention that I used my headphones (that were going in and out) to receive a sign from God? I said that if they worked perfectly and were suddenly fixed, I’d believe. I hadn’t used them in about a week and when I plugged them in they did work... for about two minutes, then they started screwing up majorly every five seconds.

One more argument he gave was for the bible saying that it had contradiction because it was manmade, but divinely inspired. Which is a nice thought on its own. But doesn’t stand in an argument, because it requires even more faith then, because to take this stance, means you don’t just take it all as truth, but you have to figure out what in the truth is the “real truth.” My songs that I wrote for worship were not anything that could be called the word of God, they inspired by God, but I couldn’t just have them inserted into psalms, if psalms is holy. My songs were not holy, they were man made, and man made things can not be holy, due to the contradictions that arise therein. This isn’t even taking into account the political inaccuracy of the texts, the fact that the morals don’t hold up today, and the fact that the manuscripts (that we don’t have originals of) show evidence of major editing and co-writing.

Anyway, these arguments, and other things my dad had said made perfect sense to me at the time. The next day, my mom played worship music and I got that overwhelming fulfillment and I cried in the presence of God, that being the “proof” that I was looking for. Totally nothing to do with the fact that my family was being hospitable to me for the first time in months.

I believed for a day or two, albeit skeptically, until I remembered all my arguments and countered my dad’s and realized that the Judeo-Christian God couldn’t be the God as we know Him. I took interest in the story of the blind men and the elephant, making the creator be the elephant and the men the various religions, saying that as humans, we have no possible way of understanding a God or what he wants from us. So efforts to please a God are, essentially worthless, and if there is a judgement some day, I can only hope that the judge be someone that will judge me fairly based on my intentions toward humanity and life as I know it.

So that was my deistic couple weeks. I told my psychologist about my idea, and he said it made sense. Then I remembered all the other stuff that points the opposite direction, like my “personal” relationship with God that always disappointed me, like the fact that the Universe is possible to have occurred without a God, warranting a need for Occam’s Razor. I remembered the fact that I didn’t lose my faith, to quote one of my favorite youtubers.

I grew out of it.

Even now, when I think of God, I’ll have a slight sense of either anxiety or that lovey feeling, it’s very similar, and I want to believe. But then I remember how much strife the “God” of the Earth had given me in faith trials and needless worries alone. I remember how much statement manipulation a Christian has to do to keep the faith. I remember that, even though my boyfriend broke up with me (technically yesterday now, since it’s 2:02 AM as I finish this), it doesn’t mean that there’s a spiteful God out there, looking to get back at me for blasphemy, it means that we’ve been having issues for months now and that it wasn’t working out anymore.

Once again, for emphasis. I did not lose my faith. I grew out of it.

And once I realized that, it was like tasting fresh air for the first time.