My Story

I was born and raised into a fairly religious household. I say fairly religious because my mom was the person who always took us to church and taught us about the Bible. The only time my dad went to church was when one of us were baptized or if someone died. Thirty some odd years later and I still do not know how or why this happened. He has always squirmed a bit when people wanted to talk to him about Jesus. I plan to ask my dad if he is atheist the next time I see him. But I digress…

I was baptized when I was 12 and felt like I was safe. Safe and scared at the same time. Safe because I thought that if I was saved and baptized like the Bible says that I am assured my eternity in heaven with my loved ones. Then came the fear. Every time I told a white lie or said “Shit!” when I stubbed my toe, I envisioned God putting a check mark beside my name in the book of life. Ahhhh, the book of life. Can you imagine how thin that book would be if the only people written in there were people who lived up to the expectations that the Bible lays out? Again, I digress…

I was a pretty wild teenager. I can’t tell you how many times I asked for forgiveness for sin when I was a teenager. I can’t even begin to get you to fathom how much time I wasted on my knees begging for forgiveness for sins that I thought were beyond redemption. I spent so many nights awake in my bed scared and waiting for the blinding light to come through my window and the loud voice that would summon my family to heaven and doom me (and probably dad) to hell. I never felt good enough for God. It has taken me growing up and becoming a parent to realize that the Bible is responsible for most of my diminished self confidence. I like to digress…

My husband and I began to get serious in church about 5 years ago. We had just moved back closer to our home towns and had a new baby. We were looking for fellowship and a church home since we had not had one the entire time we had been married. We became regular attenders and joined a community group. It was smooth sailing for several years. Then I found out one of my friends was having an affair with a leader in my church. I’m not sure why I cared so much, but I did. It bothered me that this man was sleeping with my friend on a Thursday and then serving my communion on Sunday. The very blood and body of Christ being handed to me by this man who obviously didn’t give a crap about what he was doing or what that sacrament meant to me at the time. I ended up telling the deacon what I thought about his choices and he stepped down as deacon for a little while. I kept going back to church, but I was unable to pay attention. I couldn’t hear anything past the deacon’s head 4 rows in front of me. We quit going right after that and haven’t been back. That was a year and a half ago. I began to ponder what makes us fallible as humans and whether or not I should have judged that deacon so harshly. Who was I to ask him for explanations? I certainly had not led a perfect or Godly life. I began to ask more serious questions and digging into scripture looking for answers. What I found didn’t make sense. It was one giant contradiction after another. One day I was at my mom’s kitchen table and she was talking about someone needing Jesus before it was too late. I asked her something that had been bugging me. “Mom, what about the people who live in the rain forest that have never known Jesus and didn’t know to look for him? Or the people in villages in Africa? They don’t know any better. What about my kids? Why should they be condemned when they were never told differently?” She shook her head adamantly, waved her hands and said “No, the Bible says that everyone will have the opportunity to be saved before the end occurs. And God would never punish children who didn’t know better.” I shook my head in agreement and didn’t say another word. I knew in my heart that this was an absolute physical impossibility. That is the day I began my search in earnest for answers. I began researching the Bible and other religions. Can you guess what happened? I found contradictions and conflicting ideologies galore. The more I read, the more absurd it all seemed. How was it possible to have all of these religions and only one of them could be right? I found that science was able to answer my questions better than any religion I could find. And believe me, I considered them all. What did it mean if I didn’t agree with any of them? Did I really need religion in order to live a good, moral, and fulfilled life? No. That is the conclusion that I came to. I began to feel more free than I ever thought was possible.

Even though I found the answers to most of my questions, I felt alone. My husband didn’t know how I felt. My family didn’t know and I had only one friend that was an open atheist. She had been my best friend for years and I had never discussed religion with her. We had both been respectful of each others views. She was my life raft during those first few months. She was okay, so I could be okay. It took about 6 months, but I eventually told my husband. He is still to this day afraid to let go of God. Although he has a background in science, religion makes sense to him. We don’t talk about it and we don’t argue. He knows where I stand and I know (but don’t understand) where he stands. I’ve told one friend. I have joined my local atheist meetup group and have found some support there. I began searching the internet for like-minded people in hopes of finding someone who could relate to what I am going through. I couldn’t believe what I found! So many people whose stories were almost identical to mine. I felt safe again!

So, that is where I am today. I have found a wonderful community to converse with and learn from. I am not open with my family, but I am safe here among my fellow heathen.

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5 thoughts on “My Story

  1. M. Rodriguez says:

    Congratulations on making it out. I am also in a situation where I have de-converted. and still in a mixed atheist-christian marriage. So I do understand that whole-gap in your marriage. Good luck and I hope everything works out well.

    http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/being-in-a-mixed-marriage-christian-atheist-the-issues-that-come-up-and-overcoming-the-issues-of-dogma/

    http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/overcoming-an-unequal-yoke/

    So far I have two guest post on that topic of marriage and family. I will probably be having one more come out in the next few weeks, if you are seeking advice or help in this area.

  2. anothernone says:

    Thank you so much! I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks and have enjoyed reading your posts. It is nice to hear from someone else who is in my shoes.

  3. Welcome to the land of the infidels! You are most welcome here. I too have found relationships with family are made difficult by the decision to reject religion, but I applaud your fortitude to confront these issues head-on. I look forward to reading your posts.

  4. Laurie says:

    Rest easy, you’re among friends. And don’t let it worry you too much that you feel the need to hide this from family. I’m in my 50’s and still haven’t revealed my feelings to my parents, although my husband and children know about my atheism. I just don’t see the point of telling my parents when it would break their hearts and cause them untold nights of fear for my soul. They find comfort in their belief that I am still a believer. Who am I to shatter that?

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