ExChristianDotNet (exchristian_net) wrote in extian,

[Testimonies of Ex-Christians] The conflict burned inside me for years

Sent in by Brent SI have been reading many of the testimonials on this
site for a while now and so have decided to share my own brief
account.Like so many others, I was raised in a barely Christian
household. We considered ourselves Christians, but beyond Chuck Heston
movies, we didn't really know much about religion. Christmas and
Easter, and the occasional renaissance painting, since my Mother is an
artist who well emulates that style. Anyway, when I reached junior
high, we started having bible studies with a couple of Jehovah's
Witnesses. They were a very nice couple and came to our house every
Wednesday for a reading and a discussion. I also started going to a
centrist Christian Youth group with some friends from school. I was
quickly addicted for several reasons: the first was that I had recently
discovered my own homosexuality and was desperate for some form of
escape from that terrible affliction, and secondly, stemming from the
the same core issue, I was an outsider among my peers and found comfort
in the imaginary bonds created by religion.Diving into Christian study
did not cure my sexual proclivity, but in fact only deepened my
depression, but did allow my to convolute the idea that if I were a
good enough Christian, the latter might be forgiven. During this
infatuation with religion, which eventually led to me joining a Baptist
church while in High school, I did the one thing that religion never
wishes of its followers; I paid attention, and thought about what I had
learned.Over time, the vast number of inconsistencies mounted. I think
the number of sects that I dabbled with helped to propagate this
revelation. Also, I developed a love of science and began to read in
that direction. When faced with conflicting ideas such as God saying "I
can conceive no evil," with the scientific reality that something
cannot just spontaneously appear without a cause, makes you then wonder
where evil could have come from. If one God created everything and
allowed for free choice, then He must have been the one to define the
choices, and therefore must have had a pre-existing knowledge of those
choices. When I asked my "elders" about this, the usual answer was
something to the extent that we cannot understand God's ways.Oh.The
conflict burned inside me for years. Even after my first, second, and
more sexual experiences, I still struggled with all these questions.
Finally, with adulthood came more sophisticated ways of thinking and
college provided me with philosophy and the tools to recognize things
in a clearer light.Eventually, I had an epiphany! Mankind had been
inventing Gods since the first human crawled from the primordial slime
and stood erect. Gods created to gleam power over our fellows; to
explain what is beyond our ability to understand, and to rationalize
our own prejudices and almost anything else you can name.
Rationalization, to me, seems to be the number one function of
religion.To me, accepting the fact that we are here on our own, that we
are born because of simple biological acts, and only oblivion is likely
to meet us on the other side, was the truth that set me free.Instead of
being a blind worshiping machine, I now make choices based on
rationality; morality based on experience and empathy. I do not fear
punishment, nor do I hope for rewards. I have learned that kindness and
charity are rewards in themselves, and being perceived as a prick by
even one person is punishment enough, and the guilt that follows if I
know I have done wrong by someone.However, I do still enjoy Christmas
since the phrase "solstice decorations" do not roll naturally of the
tongue. And I do still appreciate renaissance art; having several
Madonna's around the house, because, as I say, all mythology has some
purpose.To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .
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