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My Journey Out of Christianity

By G.M. Gates ~

It was the spring of 2003. I had broken up with my then girlfriend for what was, probably, the fifth or sixth time in the span of a year. The cause of the break up wasn't incompatibility, or even trivial matters. It was Evangelical Christianity.

I had been part of various Charismatic/Pentecostal ministries throughout my mid to late teens. When I was 15, I saw a man preach who claimed to receive messages from God for random people seated in the congregation. This is what's called the Word of Knowledge in Charismatic churches.

Being that I had been raised Baptist, this experience was completely new. And when the preacher spoke these messages, people would often become overwhelmed with emotion.

I went forward to become born again. A few days later, I was Baptized in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues.

The next six years of my life would be a roller coaster of emotions. I would take the Great Commission literally. I would preach the gospel to everyone I met. And if i missed any opportunity to preach, I would spend an hour or two in prayer, asking God to forgive me for allowing people to go without hearing the gospel.

Between 2002 and 2003, I would end relationships with others I had considered "unequally yoked." My girlfriend at the time would feel the pain the most. I would break up with her, only to reunite with her a month or two later. I did this numerous times.

The reason for the break ups was because, people would often tell me that I had a gift of evangelism. And I couldn't enter the ministry if I was having sex outside of marriage. Yet, I wasn't emotionally or financially ready for marriage.

One day the thought crossed my mind, where I had wondered to myself, Am I hurting her for no reason? How do I know God is real?

I would end my relationship with Evangelical Christianity in 2004 – only to take a spiritual journey that would last for 17 years. During that time, I would practice paganism and Buddhism back and forth.

One day in January of 2021, I would hear an old worship song I used to love. And being that I was turning 40 that year, nostalgia kicked in. I began to have a midlife crisis.

I started to miss my old church friends. I was feeling lonely. So I started following Christianity again.

How do I know God is real? In May of that year, I enrolled in a Christian seminary to earn a MDiv. As I was going to school, I got a random idea to learn about the Old Testament from Jewish sources. I befriended some rabbis on Facebook and would learn of how the Christian Church butchered the Jewish Bible to promote their religion. They changed many verses and even added material that wasn't written in the original passages.

I wrestled with cognitive dissonance for a few months, only to withdraw from the seminary in July of 2021.

I followed Christianity faithfully from 1996 until 2003. But the pain of that life is still very real in 2022

A life without religion can be painful and lonely at times. But it's nowhere near the pain I endured years ago.