Thursday, November 4, 2010

De-conversion story 6

Here are 2 stories sent to me by readers:

1. I was 15 when I deconverted.

I had spent the past 10+ years of my life dutifully attending the Methodist church that my mother attended. I went to Preschool there, went to Sunday school, youth group, participated in various choirs and instrumental groups, attended church and served as an acolyte (person who lights candles on the altar) and crucifer (person who carries the cross down the aisle at the beginning of the service). Everyone knew me and I was close with many of the congregation. Thankfully my upbringing was liberal enough to allow for evolution and alternative theories (my dad only stepped foot in church once every few years when my mom guilted him into coming to church to watch me sing or play during the service.)

One day the regular teacher for our Sunday school class was absent and the associate pastor (a young female, recently out of divinity school) substituted. She began her lesson, and eventually she said something along the lines of "all those who don't accept Christ into their hearts will go to hell." That snapped me out of my lifelong daydream. I asked the question, "So does that mean that isolated tribes in Africa or Asia, who practice ancestor worship and never even got a chance to hear about Christianity because nobody ever visited them, they will all go to hell?"

When she said "that's right." I got out of my chair, left the classroom, and never came back. For once my mom didn't fight me about going to church or youth group. I haven't looked back since.

2. Becoming Free

Blame it on my parents.  They always told me to "think for yourself”.  I doubt they ever considered what would happen if I really did that. 

Now, I suspect what they meant was, "Think what we tell you but do it in your own words."  Too late.  When I was 13, I began to question everything and soon the total absurdity of religion became apparent. 

Because I have been “encouraged” (forced) to read the bible several times, it was easy for me to see the contradictions in the book, what christians professed to believe, and how they really lived.

When I refused to go with them to their church, they said they would "Make me go." 

I asked them, “How are you going to make me? How will forcing me to attend church change my mind?”  Already, their attitude was starting to harden me against everything else they would tell me.

Their next idea was to have their minister talk to me.  I told them it was a waste of everyone's time.  They persisted and had him come to the house to “Talk some sense into me.”  (as if they ever works for anyone)  After about 15 minutes, of him quoting the bible to me and me pointing out that he was either wrong in his quotes or showing him how it said something else in another place, he became very angry and told me I was going to hell.  I suspect it was because I knew the bible better than he did and was, at age 13, able to prove how ridiculous his arguments were.

I told him, “If there is a Hell I'll see you there.  Save me a nice place, OK?"  He said I was an impertinent, disrespectful child.  By then, I was angry myself and for the first time, I told a christian that he was a hypocrite, a liar, and a fool.  My parents insisted that I apologize.  I refused and left the room to a lot of yelling and threats.

For the next four years, I heard about this at least once a week.  So the night I graduated high school, I left my parent's home and didn't see them again for well over a year.  By then, with the credits I had accumulated in high school and summer school,  I had completed a couple of years of college.  Fortunately, I was able to pay for this myself.  I was entering the army and wanted to try to make peace with them, but had to listen to the same old recriminations and arguments again. 

The next time I saw them was two years later when I was getting married.  After several years of an on-again, off-again relationship they finally agreed to just not discuss it any more.  I'd like to say that worked, but  subtle hints slowly became outright condemnation.  Then I took a job transfer from Ohio to Arizona, so family meetings were rare enough to become occasions for something other than contention.

What did I learn?  Even your family can turn against you if you refuse to share in their illusions.  There are times if you are to become your own person you must stand firm in what you know to be true.


Anonymous said...

Number 2,
I have no doubt you love your parents and I saden that they could let there retarded faith destroy your family... think of the REAL thing you could of shared?
... and this wasn't even Scientology. Forshame parents forshame

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, "wasn't even Scientology"? Christianity is just as crazy as Scientology, the only difference is that the former occurs soley on Earth (Heaven is hebrew for sky), and the latter uses higher technology. They both brainwash their followers into doing really stupid things.

But, I do agree. SHAME PARENTS!

Anonymous said...

LOL yes that was my point...
Lately I've heard many stories of people bashing Scientology, when as you say it's just a crazy as the other creationists. I was hoping if christian was to read to articles and have some oppisition then they must see the hyprocricy when then bash others like Sceintology etc.