Skip to main content

A Fall and A Rise from Christianity

By Zephram Harrison ~

"So, because you are lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot,
I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
-- Revelations 3:16 (New Revised Standard Version)

I was raised Christian. My church was near Indianapolis, Indiana, and was non-denominational.

My family was relatively devout. We all volunteered often at the church. My siblings and I were even in the drama team. We acted out skits to help teach lessons to the younger children.

I can't remember when I committed my life to Christ. But I can remember a moment, after doing it. I was riding home from a Sunday service in a white pickup truck. I was very young, about seven or eight, and I was very happy. My parents believed in God, and I wanted to be like them. It felt like the right thing to do.

The fall started quietly when I was between ten and twelve years old. I began having strong sexual thoughts towards girls. This is lust, a sin in the Christian faith. The Bible is very clear about this, in numerous places. Guilt is common with any sin, but I felt a deep shame for lusting, in particular. Not due to a single thought, but due to the unrelenting frequency of these thoughts. For the next six years, I would add into my prayers..,
"Please, God, help me to resist the temptation of lust."
I wanted to grow closer to God, but every time I had sexual thoughts, I felt like I'd taken a step back from Him. I doubted God's existence, for giving me a clear, biological compulsion, and then telling me not to think about it.

Then, my fear got the better of me. And a curious thing happened. While eavesdropping on a conversation between my mother and a visiting friend, I heard a story about a kid I knew from church. The child was walking through a hallway in his home, when a grotesque, green ogre with horns appeared. It was a demon staring down the kid.

The demon went away just as quickly as it appeared, and the kid was unhurt. The story was concluded by the fact that if you said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of this house," then the power of God would force demons to leave.

The idea that demons can visit children is utterly terrifying, especially when you are a child.

I'm a nervous person, and my first clear memory involves:

  • being afraid of the dark, and
  • not being able to fall asleep.

I would often think I saw faces in the dark or that someone was going to hurt me after I closed my eyes. I know, now, that those irrational fears are known as common paranoia. But when you're a kid, you don't know important stuff, like the mistakes you tend to make.

I was afraid of a great many things. The existence of a higher power that could protect me, was thoroughly appealing, especially at night.

When trying to fall asleep in bed, my eyes would close, but I would also listen intently to soften any lingering fears. After hearing the story about the demon, I'd preemptively whisper,
"In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of this house."
for a few rough nights.

One night, I was startled awake by a voice. The voice spoke in gibberish, and it was deep, guttural. Opening my eyes, I could only see two feet past my bed. Further out, it was all black.

A clock sitting on a brown hutch near my bed read "12:03 AM" in its green liquid crystal display. It was that time of night when you think no one else in the house is awake. The gibbersih might as well have been another language. It continued.

Closing my eyes, I weakly mumbled, unintelligibly, "In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of this house."The voice grew louder, yelling, as if emboldened.

Then I screamed,

"In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of this house!"

Then the voice went away, on the exclamation point of that yell. I was wide awake, sweating like a runner, and breathing hard. Throwing the covers over my whole body, I hid underneath for the rest of the night. I was scared worse than ever before.

I knew it was not a nightmare. The feeling of sweat on my back and the crystal clear memory are indicators that I was awake. I'd never had a nightmare with such strong details. In a nightmare, there is often a startling moment that forces one awake. Here, something caused me to wake up.

This event caused two critical things to happen:

  • I continued to believe in God.
  • I took pride in the fact that a demon had visited me.

The reasons came later:

If I heard a demon, then at least one exists. If the words worked, then Jesus's name has power. I was a witness to that power. For a time, Christianity ceased to become a matter of faith. To me, it became a matter of fact.

I kept repeating inside my head, "If God allowed this to happen, then I was not meant for a normal life." I felt unique, at those times in youth when you are so desperate for an identity, even a bad one will do. It lead to feelings of destiny. Along with feelings of entitlement and superiority. I continued to beat myself up for lusting after girls. It was a drain placed underneath my self-esteem. My self-worth could so easily be washed away by a single thought, an image, or an erection.

There is no immediate consequence for lust, in one's heart. Parents are not mind-readers. No one but me, knew how much of a sinner I was... unless I told them. And I'm not as honest as Jimmy Carter. God could forgive me, but I could not forgive myself.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction."
-- Proverbs 1:7 (New Revised Standard Version)
Around this age, I started reading the book of Proverbs, because I wanted to be wise. I wanted more than simple knowledge, like 3+3=6. I wanted to be mature, to understand people, and to know what to do next. I wanted to see the inevitable when one truly understands a situation.

In high school, after more reflection about that night, the question ceased to be whether or not God existed. The question became whether or not I could trust my own ears. I was still lusting; God hadn't answered my prayers. The more I questioned His existence, the less happy I felt. But I knew I'd rather be right and a little sad, than be happy and wrong. When long term benefits outweigh short term costs, the choice is easy.

During my first year in college, I made a deal with myself. I would stop believing in God for one year. Like a test. If I didn't feel God's presence, or I could live without Him, then I could permanently stop believing.

Without God, I thought I was free,

  • to believe what I thought was right, instead of what the Bible says is right,
  • to exist with the uncertainty of what happens after death (in place of a looming, final judgement)
  • to think sexual thoughts free of shame or regret

Old habits die hard.

I still felt shame when thinking about women. I was so ashamed, I virtually stopped looking people in the eye. I looked down at the floor as often as possible, and stopped enjoying the act of sight. In my later college years, it became worse.

I stopped getting a full night's sleep. I stopped brushing my teeth twice a day. I stopped showering daily. I stopped focusing on my studies. Due to stress, malnutrition, and a lack of sleep, I started to easily forget things. Most importantly, I forgot who I was.

After a few years, I got two cavities, and I failed a class. This left me at about the level of a seven year old in personal hygiene, and I lost good schoolwork as a critical source of self-esteem. A strong sense of failure began to spread through me.

Throughout my early life, I would think about a women, and feel ashamed from the thought. But then I would receive a good grade on a worksheet. Then the next hour or the rest of the day might turn out OK. Then night would come, when that type of thought is at its strongest, and the cycle began again.

I used to be a good student, but I started procrastinating and making poor decisions with my time. I wasn't good to my friends or the people who depended on me. At times, I made simple tasks more difficult, just to mess with myself. I was so tired

  • I forgot to smile.
  • I was on edge, constantly shifting between angry and afraid.
  • I didn't want to talk to other people.
  • I didn't want to eat.
  • I didn't want to think.
  • I looked for short-term pleasures: TV, drinking, etc.

I had many of the disadvantages of vanity, without the crucial benefits of self-esteem. It's a weird mix, but these two conditions can pair up in folks, especially in "my generation". (I'll expand on this in the next document. There is a link to the document at the bottom of this testimonial.)

I wasn't living; I was only surviving. I was stumbling through life with a useless depression, a useless anger, and tired eyes. I hated myself. I wanted to die, but I didn't know myself well enough to realize it.

Too much of my self-worth was tied up in a relationship to God, a being that may or may not exist. With the daily sin of lust, I felt like a wind-up toy, constantly running into the same wall, and quickly running out of energy.

I do not know, for sure, if Christianity is right or wrong. I know Christianity is not right for me. I know if I stay, I would keep hurting myself.

I am neither hot nor cold. I'm just tired.

Go ahead, God. Spit me out.

A Rise from Christianity


Popular posts from this blog

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

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

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

I can fix ignorance; I can't fix stupid!

By Bob O ~ I 'm an atheist and a 52-year veteran of public education. I need not tell anyone the problems associated with having to "duck" the "Which church do you belong to?" with my students and their parents. Once told by a parent that they would rather have a queer for their sons' teacher than an atheist! Spent HOURS going to the restroom right when prayers were performed: before assemblies, sports banquets, "Christmas Programs", awards assemblies, etc... Told everyone that I had a bladder problem. And "yes" it was a copout to many of you, but the old adage (yes, it's religious) accept what you can't change, change that which you can and accept the strength to know the difference! No need arguing that which you will never change. Enough of that. What I'd like to impart is my simple family chemistry. My wife is a Baptist - raised in a Baptist Orphanage (whole stories there) and is a believer. She did not know my religi