Friday, August 17, 2007

de-testimony

11:07 AM Posted by: M., 5 comments

at the new de-conversion.org forum (which you can go to HERE), there is a place to post your de-testimony. I wrote mine up this morning and I thought I would post it here too...it just is an off-the-cuff deal



"Oh God, you are my God, and I will ever serve you"...NOT.

I grew up singing all the lameass church songs that you know are lame at the time, but you are too afraid of eternal condemnation to even whisper a critical comment about them. I grew up with church leaders who seem like they are bitchy and judgemental and the only place they can criticize others without it being a sin is to pick on kids in youth group. I have been to summer camps, winter camps, mission trips, waterski trips, watermelon seed spitting contests, paintballing, pizza parties, pool bashes, and bible jeopardy extravaganzas galore. When I was in 4th grade, I made sure to memorize as many bible verses as possible so I could get the prize of a giant strawberry lipsmacker or fun-size butterfinger. I wore dresses to church which I hated, I tried to fake sick to get out of church at least once a month. I have done all that a young evangelical can do between the ages of 1 and 21...everything that is, except think for myself.

I was pretty brainwashed until I was 18. My best friend and I secretly hated church and would goof off all we could and make fun of everyone because we thought we were cooler...but essentially I was under the spell. I was terrified of sin and anyone who sinned. I was freaked out by homosexuals or homeless people, I thought that divorced women were bad, that non-christians who rode their bikes on sunday instead of church, deserved an eternal pit of fire. I wasn't a bad person, I was just overexposed to the church and God.

This all started to shift when I started thinking about college. I had always been interested in world affairs and injustice, but I never had the opportunity to develop as a human being in that field. So when it came time for college, I really just let go. I started to read about torture and war, watch documentary movies on sex trafficking and the poor. I basically self-taught myself abot human suffering and despair. I essentially got a more realistic worldview. So then I spent my college time studying war and peace (my college major was International Peace and Conflict Resolution), watching tapes of babies with severed limbs crying and women pleading for their lives in the Rwandan genocide. I sat face to face with a torture survivor from Rwanda who lost 17 family members and watched his wife be raped and macheted right before his eyes. At this point, the discrepencies between a "Good God" and a "Bad World" became more than just fodder for a 3-part sermon series, they became a tragic reality.

It wasn't until really my last semester of college that I began to really question. I attended a mega-church who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on video games, basketball courts, and fountains and no time on getting to know the congregation. I was shunned by the other kids in college group and the leaders too. I guess being a punk girl from California wearing tight black pants, converse, a washed out torn t-shirt and a homemade Clash hoodie didn't really fit in with the Northern Virginia Christian culture. but anyway, I found myself doubting, and exploring questions I didnt even know existed, while at the same time being pushed out and away from my so called "home church."

And basically from there the questions kept coming. I questioned suffering, free will, the arrogance of God, Biblical inconsistencies--basically what we all post on these forums about. I started a blog about 4 months into this big quest of mine and started discussing these issues with Christians, atheists, theistic agnostics, etc. And I realized over time that all the christian answers were those I already knew. I could answer my own questions but all those answers missed the point. So on and on with all the questioning, I just got further and further away from christianity and more towards agnosicism/atheism. I read books, discussed online, asked my friends, etc--all with an open mind to religion or no-religion. And no-religion was winning.

So in about early March of this year, it came to me. My heart switched off. I could kid myself no longer. I was not a Christian. I didn't make the decision, it just happened. Maybe my heart was "hardened" or maybe I came to the real truth. Whatever it is, I do not know. The only thing I do know is that I feel more free, more developed, more healthy now. I am not afraid of condemnation or Hell. I am not held down by fear and I am no longer trying to make excuses for God's silence.

Who knows what the future will hold. I will likely never be Christian again, but I do like the idea of a God. But as long as there is suffering in this world, I just have to commit my life to stopping that--not wasting my time reading christian self-help books trying to improve my prayer life all the while innocent human beings suffer and die.

So now, I probably sin, I hang out with homeless people and gay people without a second thought, my sister is a divorced woman I adore, and I ride my bike around town on Sunday mornings. Life is great.


5 comments:

Squirrel said...

Hi Marie. Thanks for sharing your testimony. You got out a long time before I did, but I am glad that you found courage to do so and face truth. If you're interested you can read my de-conversion testimony at:
http://athinkingman.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/coming-out/

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Thanks for posting this, Marie.

You know, you got me thinking about Christian songs. I basically had one atheist friend in high school who I secretly wanted to convert, but I didn't know how to convert him. I sometimes wondered what he would think if he was watching my church sing hymns. Not only would they seem uncool, they just contain weird stuff that would just seem like superstition to him. I kinda suppressed those thoughts in my head and moved on, but I just knew that the whole church service would just make him even more of a nonbeliever.

Slapdash said...

Hi Marie,
Thanks for posting this. You seem to have turned a corner recently - you seem much more confident of your de-conversion than your posts of a month or two ago. Out of curiosity, did anything specific happen to push you from what seemed to still be agnostic or "on the fence" thinking to what sounds like a much more certain sense that God doesn't exist?

marie said...

Hey Squirrel, Thanks for the link as well, I am enjoying your site a lot!

Hey JfC! Long time no see! I am getting ready to sit down and digest all the writing you have been up to--that is an interesting thought about your friend--it is weird to think about that stuff when you are questioning, because when I was a strong, on-fire christian, I still knew the songs were kind of weird, but I underestimated how they might deter non-christians

Hey Slapdash! I don't know what it is, but I guess I am feeling more confident. I mean, I am not confident that I know all there is to know, or that I know there is no god--but I am confident in the fact that I dont know or dont need to know. I still admit I could be wrong, but I am not really hinging every feeling I have on that
I mean, I dont think I can ever be certain God doesnt exist, but I am choosing to live like I can't believe he actually does

if that makes any sense haha

great to see you guys around!

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