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I left Christianity while a licensed and ordained Southern Baptist minister.

By Fritz P ~

In August of 1973, I got in the family car and drove out of town, instead of going to work. I drove about forty miles, got out with a cardboard box of clothes, locked the car, walked across the highway and stuck out my thumb.

I was a licensed and ordained Southern Baptist minister. I was married to a wonderful woman, and we had a perfect one year old daughter. No one knew of my whereabouts for a week or two, then my wife was able to track me down in Air Force basic training in San Antonio, Texas. I had joined up, because I knew of no other way to raise the funds I knew I needed to pay for child support. Contrary to suppositions at the time, I'd never planned on trying to avoid my financial responsibilities to my child.

I had essentially committed suicide.

I did not know what else to do.

When questioned as to my religious position immediately after this rift in my life, I would generally respond noncommittally or with agnostic/atheist murmurings. But really, I wanted time. Time to think. I've been hated and castigated for "abandoning" my family. If you reached a point where you honestly believed that only the mentally ill could worship such a god as that found in the Bible, what would you do?

  • Would you leave the church, but stay and tell EVERYONE you care about that they are insane to hold the beliefs they hold?
  • Would you not doubt your own sanity before taking such a stance?

It took forty-four years for me to finally come to understand why I left it all in the way that I did. It was my precious daughter. She fell off the couch, I think the week before I left. She wasn't harmed
except for a little knot on her head. A moment of what was parental inattention resulted in my life being sliced in two. At the time, I remember questioning why god would allow harm to come to my child for no apparent reason. I quickly stifled such thinking with all the tried and true Christian replies and retorts to such thought. In reality, though my daughter had only sustained a little noggin knot, my belief system had shattered on that floor.

There is a logical disconnect between the biblical god and what an actually omnipotent, omniscient, loving deity would do. But that was not what determined the way in which I ended my ministry. I somehow knew at that moment that atheism was not where I was nor where I was headed. But, I didn't know where I WAS headed, religiously. How could I tell friends, family, EVERYONE, that the Bible was NOT the answer, without SOMETHING to offer in exchange? Most importantly, how could "I just don't know" suffice for that precious little girl's eternity?

So I left it all.

I would reconnect with her after the divorce, but then allow my ex-wife's new husband to adopt my daughter. I led them to believe it was about the child support, but I could see nothing but spiritual disruption for my little girl.

Thankfully, we've been able to become part of each others lives over the last twenty-five years. But, I still am troubled by what I see in Christian-dominated cultures. Why are there no movements to protect children from statements that glorify suffering and human sacrifice, while propagating Stockholm Syndrome ("Obey me and live forever or I'll send you to hell")?

My life split in half because it became obvious that there is a logical disconnect between the biblical god and what an actually omnipotent, omniscient, loving deity would do. Does the world REALLY believe that the destructive nature of Christian-dominated cultures is unrelated to this basic cognitive dissonance which underlies every facet of their societies?

I still hope for some action on behalf of children to provide them shelter from psychologically damaging dogma.


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