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Offline Larissa238

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Why I am not a Christian
« on: December 07, 2010, 02:10:02 PM »
My sister is getting her doctorate in social work, and one of her friends was doing her thesis on religion, so I typed up this long description of my multiple conversions and my deconversion. It's rather long (3 pages, single spaced) so I'm going to just be putting in the most relevant parts.

Why I am not a Christian

I grew up in a Christian household, but by the age of 6 or so, my father did not want us in Sunday School, so we all went to the big service together. I didn't really understand what was going on, me being 6 and not knowing much about the Bible and all, but that was just the way my dad was. I remember seeing the baptism of some kids and knowing I was never baptized I wanted it done on me. After the Northridge quake in 1994 (I think) we stopped going to church because it had been damaged in the quake.

A couple years later, my mom had custody of us on weekends so we would go with her to work. It started out that I would go with my brother and sister to the local Baptist church while my mom worked. I grew to love it, and threw myself fully into the church experience. I joined the teen ministry and even went on a mission trip to Mexico. During that trip I re-pledged my life to follow Jesus. I even became the president of the Christian club at school. All this time, though, I was living a lie and didn't know it. I was a bully for most of my life (up until about the age of 17). I would punch guys, kick them, and a bunch of other things that I am deeply ashamed about. I remember there was a time that I got out of leading the Christian club and then on the way down the hallway I kicked a guy that was sitting on the floor. I was a genuine hypocrite, and I realize that now.

My journey changed when I was about to get baptized into the Baptist church. I told my friend Chris that I was going to get baptized and he asked me if I knew what I was doing. I said I did and it was fine. That Sunday I was baptized into the Baptist church. My behavior stayed the same. My friend Chris kept inviting me to his church. I finally went with him. I met a woman, named Kris who I started studying the Bible with. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

As I was studying the Bible with the new church (the International Church of Christ aka the ICOC) they challenged every belief I had ever had in Christianity. This was to get me to a deeper relationship with Jesus. They were focused on living a life by the standards of the Bible-no more of me being two-faced. They also put a great pressure on bringing out new members, which they called “sharing your faith”. Kris told me that I would need to be re-baptized because my first one was invalid, since I didn't repent before I got baptized. They saw baptism as the key to salvation.

I finally finished my last Bible study in mid-November. They said my hindrance was my pride, and I would need to repent of it to get baptized. One night I resolved to “PUSH”- Pray Until Something Happens. I prayed for hours, and then I felt what I thought was an angel come visit me and take away my burdens. I was tested and repented. I then got baptized into the ICOC on November 26, 2000.

While I was in the teen ministry, everything went well. I continued to share my faith with people (we would go to malls, grocery stores, wherever there was people). I was pretty good at it. When I was about to graduate from high school and move on to college, they introduced me to the USC ministry. I met with the female leader, and in retrospect, I should have been shocked, but I don't know if it was the brainwashing or the pull to feel like I fit in that made me gloss over what she said. I've always been a tomboy, and came to meet her in some jeans and a shirt, hair in a ponytail as always and no makeup. We ate dinner, and then when we sat down to talk, she told me that if I dressed like that at USC nobody was going to respect me. She took some makeup and did my makeup, and did my hair. I now know that it wasn't the people at USC who were not going to respect me, it was her that was not going to respect me if I didn't look like a sorority girl.

This was going to be the tone set for my college church life. I moved in with 7 other girls from the ICOC at USC into a big house. For the most part, they acted like a sorority, with membership from the church being the initiation. For a couple of the girl's 21st birthdays, they got paddles with Greek letters on it, and there were jokes about putting some fake Greek letters on the house. The girls were all about looks and Jesus. They were genuinely trying to live their life by the Bible, minus their obsession with sorority girls and converting one of them. My freshman year, I let my roommate go through my closet and take out all the clothes that they deemed were to tomboyish. I was desperate to fit in, and willing to do almost anything to fit in. That's how most of my first year of college went.

My second year of college I was faced with some new roommates who were worse that before. I've already written a lot, so I will just say that they made my life a living hell. I had a breakdown in college and was diagnosed Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder. My roommates did nothing to help me, and in some cases, made me worse. I finished my year by the skin of my teeth and took a semester off.

I ended up leaving the church in 2004 because I came out as a bisexual and entered into a relationship with a good friend of mine. I ended up breaking up with her, and then a while later met my future husband online. I still had inclinations towards the church (I believe I was brainwashed) despite all the bad things that they had done to me. When Geo told me that he was an atheist, I didn't really have a problem with it, but I could see that in the future when I wanted to go back to the church (at that point I kept thinking that I would go back and somehow it would be better) that it could be a potential problem. I stayed with him anyways.

Geo and I got along pretty well, and I moved in with him when I graduated college in 2006. The next summer, I decided I wanted to try going to the same church again. I introduced myself and said Geo was my husband (we would have been married years ago, but there is a legal issue preventing us from getting married, so we just say we are married). I eventually told the woman who was helping me go back that we were not married and the harassment began. I went back and forth for months, putting Geo through hell. Eventually it came to a standoff between me and my beliefs and Geo. I chose Geo and didn't go back to the church.

Geo and I had always had talks about religion and why we believed what we believe, and he would find things to discuss with me. In early 2009, he sent me a YouTube video in a series called “Why People Laugh at Creationists” by Thunderf00t. I became intrigued and watched the whole 22 part series (I believe there are more videos now). Suddenly religion didn't seem to make the same sense that it did. I never believed that the earth was 6,000 years old, but I did take the Bible literally. I was exposed to the things that they never show you in church, for example if a woman virgin is raped by a man, she must marry him (Deut 22:29). I couldn't believe in a God who would condone such a thing.

Slowly, I came to deconvert. I started reading atheist news and blog posts, and even read “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. It was a long process, and there was a lot of stress involved. I prayed and prayed some nights to see if I could get some sort of response. There was nothing. I wanted to believe- it had given me some sort of comfort, as well as friends and a social life. I looked back at my conversion to the ICOC and my “visit by an angel” and concluded that it was most likely a stress induced hallucination (I hallucinate with the disorders I have, so it's not at all uncommon).

My mind began to open. I have studied other religions in my course (in the ICOC they wanted us to know the most we could about alternate points of view so we could discredit them and convert) so I didn't have any other religion that I could go to.

I now find it hard to believe that there is a being out there looking over us that isn't repulsed by the things done in it's name here on earth. If there is a god, then it doesn't care about his reputation.

People also say they need God to be moral. That is not true. There are so many laws in the Old Testament and even the New Testament that we don't follow. Stoning gay people for one (although if some people had their way, then could see that) and not working on Sunday. I don't believe in any god, but I'm not going to kill anyone. I have dated girls. That's against the Bible, but it is the most natural thing in the world for me.

In conclusion, I have been everywhere from not going to church to being a “True Believer”. I just don't see any evidence for a god. If someone came up to me and had proof that there was a god, and it stood up to scientific tests, then I could change my mind. That's the way science works. You have a hypothesis, and it changes as the evidence is presented.
On why Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce:

He would rather it that they worship Him, instead of spending their time on family.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2010, 03:18:18 PM »
very nice!
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline Larissa238

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2010, 06:25:06 PM »
very nice!

Thanks for reading it. I realize it's a very long post, hence I bolded what I thought were the most important things.
On why Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce:

He would rather it that they worship Him, instead of spending their time on family.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 10:02:13 AM »
I think I'll have to steal your technique for the next wall of words I'm responsible for  ;D
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline Larissa238

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 11:28:15 AM »
I think I'll have to steal your technique for the next wall of words I'm responsible for  ;D

It's funny. In college papers, I always came up short of the page count needed for that paper. Now that I'm out of college, I am very verbose. Don't know why.
On why Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce:

He would rather it that they worship Him, instead of spending their time on family.

Offline laura1

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 06:27:15 AM »
Hi Larissa,

Thanks for your story, I can really relate to your story.  Im still a believer and christian, but it has been tough, really tough.  I also wish God would reveal Himself so plainly and so completely that there would be no doubt in anyones mind.  I also wish for God to answer all my prayers and give me my way and be the God I want Him to be.

I have struggled at churches all my life, the politics, the unanswered prayers, the dissappointments, the depression, Im 40 and have had major depression since 13 and I keep asking God to heal me and he doesnt.  You name it Ive been there and seen all there is to see in the church.  I go to a methodist church now and what works for me is not getting so involved, I dont get involved in  the politics or the negetive things and I dont make close friends, survival mode I suppose.  But one question keeps me going back to God no matter what goes on - What is the purpose of life if we were just a bunch of chemical reactions created from a few chemical reactions, then we are born and struggle and struggle and struggle through life as we  all know, noyones life is easy,  then just die and cease to exist.  What is the point of that? why didnt we just stay as we were before we were born and not have to struggle through this life, why die and cease to exist whats the point of that?  If this is all there is this life, here and now, whats the point? do we have to make the most of the here and now? drink as much as we can? party, go on hoiliday make as much money as we can, get as many friends as we can, just do as much and as fast as we can cause when this is all over,well this is all there is so make sure you live it up as much as possible now cause this is all there is? my question keeps me searching and not just settling for a quick answer that this is all there is.


Thanks for listening, hope to hear from you

lots of love laura :)         
Laura1

Offline monkeymind

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 06:46:17 AM »
Quote
If this is all there is this life, here and now, whats the point? do we have to make the most of the here and now? drink as much as we can? party, go on hoiliday make as much money as we can, get as many friends as we can, just do as much and as fast as we can cause when this is all over,well this is all there is so make sure you live it up as much as possible now cause this is all there is? my question keeps me searching and not just settling for a quick answer that this is all there is.

You decide day by day and moment by moment what is important to you.

Believing that there is no afterlife has made me more careful in what I say and do. Because I now think I won't get another life, I value life much more than when I thought there was an afterlife. I also value your life much more.

I did not come to this 'answer' quickly, either.
Truthfinder:the birds adapt and change through million of years in order to survive ,is that science, then cats should evolve also wings to better catch the birds
Mailbag:On a side note, back in college before my conversion, I actually saw a demon sitting next to me in critical thinking class.

Offline Historicity

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 08:49:33 AM »
Thanks for reading it. I realize it's a very long post, hence I bolded what I thought were the most important things.

No, it flowed from one thought to the next.  The pejorative "wall of words" is for the boring ones that the author makes you work to read -- things like repetition, padding, convoluted logic, obscure reference, private definitions of words, disjointed transiitions[1], etc.

Loved it.


BTW, I never found any place in the Bible that acknowledges women dating women much less forbidding it.  Some woman told me she figured the rich Israelites who had harems didn't know or want to know what was going on. 
 1. I do that.  My thought jumps so my writing jumps

Offline velkyn

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 12:36:15 PM »
Hi Larissa,

Thanks for your story, I can really relate to your story.  Im still a believer and christian, but it has been tough, really tough.  I also wish God would reveal Himself so plainly and so completely that there would be no doubt in anyones mind.  I also wish for God to answer all my prayers and give me my way and be the God I want Him to be.
and you believe why? 

Quote
I have struggled at churches all my life, the politics, the unanswered prayers, the dissappointments, the depression, Im 40 and have had major depression since 13 and I keep asking God to heal me and he doesnt.  You name it Ive been there and seen all there is to see in the church.  I go to a methodist church now and what works for me is not getting so involved, I dont get involved in  the politics or the negetive things and I dont make close friends, survival mode I suppose.
usual OneTrueChristaintm nonsense.

Quote
But one question keeps me going back to God no matter what goes on - What is the purpose of life if we were just a bunch of chemical reactions created from a few chemical reactions, then we are born and struggle and struggle and struggle through life as we  all know, noyones life is easy,  then just die and cease to exist.  What is the point of that? why didnt we just stay as we were before we were born and not have to struggle through this life, why die and cease to exist whats the point of that?  If this is all there is this life, here and now, whats the point? do we have to make the most of the here and now? drink as much as we can? party, go on hoiliday make as much money as we can, get as many friends as we can, just do as much and as fast as we can cause when this is all over,well this is all there is so make sure you live it up as much as possible now cause this is all there is? my question keeps me searching and not just settling for a quick answer that this is all there is.
and the usual reason Christians keep believing. They want to be special snowflakes. 
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

http://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 01:02:03 PM »
Larrisa,

I really like one line of yours - "If there is a god, then it doesn't care about his reputation. "

In a discussion over at IGI, I wrote a particularly blasphemic shot that god was a feeble man with Alzheimers as he needed to have christians to remind him constantly what to do. This caused a couple of the resident theists to see red, and declare that god should smite me on the spot. I laughed and wrote that yes, if chicken sh*t god did have any balls he would. But since he doesn't exist, I'm just fine and dandy.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 01:10:01 PM by Brakeman »
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Offline Larissa238

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2010, 01:04:54 PM »
Larrisa,

I really like one line of yours - "If there is a god, then it doesn't care about his reputation. "

In a discussion over at IGI, I wrote a particularly blasphemic shot that god was a feeble man with Alzheimers as he needed to have christians to remind him constantly what to do. This caused a couple of the resident theists to see red, and declare that god should smite me on the spot. I laughed and wrote that yes, if chicken sh*f god did have any balls he would. But since he doesn't exist, I'm just fine and dandy.

I was thinking of making that quote as my signature. I'm going to edit my original post to highlight it. I think it's a good line too :)
On why Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce:

He would rather it that they worship Him, instead of spending their time on family.

Offline Larissa238

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 01:24:52 PM »
I also wish for God to answer all my prayers and give me my way and be the God I want Him to be.

God doesn't answer prayers. You can make him to be anything you like, but that's not going to change anything. I tried for years to figure out if God was real, and I came to the conclusion that he doesn't exist. There is no proof of him existing.
Quote
I have struggled at churches all my life, the politics, the unanswered prayers, the dissappointments, the depression, Im 40 and have had major depression since 13 and I keep asking God to heal me and he doesnt. 

I have mental issues, too, and I found that they were actually worse when I was in the church than before. I'm pretty stable now.

Quote
But one question keeps me going back to God no matter what goes on - What is the purpose of life if we were just a bunch of chemical reactions created from a few chemical reactions, then we are born and struggle and struggle and struggle through life as we  all know, noyones life is easy,  then just die and cease to exist.  What is the point of that?

I struggle with that idea sometimes, too, but you can have purpose without God. I want to live my life by helping people as much as I can. I don't need God for that. The way I see it is that if you make a change in someone's life for the better, it will carry on somehow. If I can do something to make someone's life better, then I'm going to do it (within reason, of course). I see helping people as a way of being immortal. The good I do is going to reflect on someone's life, and then other people and their children as well. I like to see it as the butterfly effect.

Quote
why didnt we just stay as we were before we were born and not have to struggle through this life, why die and cease to exist whats the point of that?  If this is all there is this life, here and now, whats the point? do we have to make the most of the here and now? drink as much as we can? party, go on hoiliday make as much money as we can, get as many friends as we can, just do as much and as fast as we can cause when this is all over,well this is all there is so make sure you live it up as much as possible now cause this is all there is? my question keeps me searching and not just settling for a quick answer that this is all there is.

The point, in my opinion, is that we are here to help each other out. Dealing with struggles is part of life. It's learning from them and teaching them to others. I have had a very traumatic life, but I'm still here, wanting to pass on my knowledge in the time I have here. My life has meaning, a purpose. And when it's all over, I want to be able to look back and be proud of myself.  I will say that although I am an atheist, I still believe in things like souls. This is not a popular belief, and it may change in time. I too, wish that there is something more to life than just chemical reactions, but it's not been proven yet, if ever. I have to be content that if I touch someone's life for the better, than I am going to live on that way, even if I'm dead.
On why Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce:

He would rather it that they worship Him, instead of spending their time on family.

Offline laura1

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Re: Why I am not a Christian
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 02:21:53 AM »
Hi Larissa

Thanks for the reply, great hearing from you. You mentioned that you would like to look back on your life when you dead and be proud of your life for helping others as much as you can, so in some way maybe you do believe in an afterlife in that way.  I suppose I have also tried to help others and be there for others, maybe it just got out of hand cause for instance let me give an example, giving lifts to the taxi rank to friends after work, they began taking advantage of my kindness and expecting lifts and demanding where I drop them, and when I was stopped by a cop cause I cant just stop anywhere to drop people off, i was going to get a fine, i didnt get the fine after all, but the "friends" left me to deal with the problem myself and they got into their taxi and when i told the "friends" i couldnt give lifts because of being stopped by cops did this one girl rant and rave and im the worst friend in the world etc etc etc, without a balance between helping enough and not helping, one will be used, abused and taken advantage of, now i keep my distance, everyone is my friend, but i miss really really having a meaningful friend that i can share with, go to the mall, go to movies etc

lots of love laura     
Laura1