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View Diary: A Challenge for the Daily Kos Atheist Community: Who Will Write a Diary Mocking Passover? (409 comments)

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  •  Now that sentiment I can respect. (6+ / 0-)

    I would love to see more folks who have decided to leave religion tell their stories, their own personal stories, like yours. It humanizes, and after all, we are human.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 11:14:25 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I've told mine before on here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      I can't remember if you were present at any of the times that I have, so in case you weren't, let me know, I'll post about it again.

      •  Please do, and I will be a friendly reader. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VirginiaJeff

        I think I did miss your story.

        Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

        by commonmass on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 01:50:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was raised as a member... (14+ / 0-)

          ...of the Worldwide Church of God. We were definitely a different brand of Christian. I even once was told by someone that I couldn't possibly be Christian because we didn't celebrate Christmas; we recognized the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter, and also had problems with stuff like birthdays. Instead, we kept the mandated holy days in Leviticus. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles. We also had no-pork and no-shellfish dietary laws (though I never remember any mention of the no-dairy-and-meat-in-the-same-meal law being enforced). So growing up people often thought I was Jewish. We kept the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, so once I said I wasn't Jewish, they'd then move on to thinking I was Seventh Day Adventist. But no. I have some good memories from my religion; the Feast of Tabernacles was the reason I got to see the ocean for the first time, for example. But I also had bad moments, like sitting outside in the darkness crying late night on a Friday night because I, though I was a part of the marching band, couldn't perform in the fieldshow at the football game because it was the Sabbath and I couldn't violate God's commandments. I was raised to try to be polite to other people. When cashiers in stores would ask me as a kid if I was ready for Santa Claus, I had been taught to respond with statements like, "As ready as I'm going to be." Further on the Santa Claus front, even though I wasn't raised to believe in him, I was made to understand as a kid that most other kids did. I knew I was in the minority, whereas mainstream Christians were the majority.

          Despite the difference between my church and mainstream Christianity, one thing they had in common was in teaching that being gay was a sin. It wasn't uncommon to have being gay listed in the same list as being a murderer and being a rapist. So as I slowly came to understand that I was gay as a teenager, I literally thought I was evil because that's explicitly what my church and every other Christian church I knew of taught. I had often heard that all gay people had to do was to pray to Jesus and he'd make them straight, so I did. For an entire year, every day I prayed to be straight and I couldn't understand why God wasn't doing what he was supposed to and take away my attraction to men. I started physically hurting myself when I'd feel attracted to men to try to make myself straight because I thought maybe this is something God wants me to overcome on my own to prove that I'm a good person and not evil. But it didn't work. I stayed attracted to men. The only conclusion I could come to was that God hated me for being gay so much that he refused to help me, and since I couldn't overcome it on my own, that must mean I was truly evil, just like I had always heard about gay people. So I started to think about how to kill myself. If I was so evil that God wouldn't help me, then I was too evil to be allowed to live.

          Thankfully, when I couldn't hold it in anymore and I came out to my then girlfriend, she told me that she believed that if I was gay that God made me that way. I was 19 years old. That was the first time in my entire life that I had ever heard a Christian say something other than gay people are sinners who God's going to burn in Hell. I didn't know there were people how didn't believe gays were as bad as murderers. But my girlfriend didn't, and that made me ask myself, what if she's right and my church is wrong.

          And that led to me asking myself what else might church might be wrong about.

          So, as I questioned myself, I realized that I didn't actually believe any of the things I had spent my life believing, that I had only ever believed them because someone else told me to believe it. As I kept contemplating my previous beliefs, I kept realizing that none of it made any sense whatsoever.

          God, being the perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe created people who're flawed and thus sinned and because they sin, they have to be either ultimately destroyed, obliterated, expunged, or they have to be tortured forever in Hell. But, the one way we have to avoid that fate is to believe that God incarnated himself as Jesus, died, and through belief that his death was a substitute for our obliteration or Hell-torture that we could thusly avoid being obliterated or tortured in Hell. Either believe in Jesus or be destroyed.

          That's what Christianity is for me because that need for redemption is the foundation of all Christianity that I knew for nearly two decades. Yes, I recognize there are good, decent people who're Christian. The aforementioned girlfriend is one of them. But that doesn't take away the life I've lived in which God was nothing but the threat of punishment for not behaving the way Christians told me to behave.

          After I realized that I didn't believe in a Christian god anymore, I made stops in Taoism and NeoPaganism. I missed the sense of community and belonging that I had had with Christianity. I wanted something, but I could no more believe in their versions of the supernatural than I could in Christianity. None of them have any proof. That's why their faith. And while I can understand the support and solace one can get from faith, I no longer can, if I ever truly did. Christianity has almost always been about being threatened with God's punishment. A being who's supposed to be all-powerful, but can't even make an unambiguous appearance outside of a grilled cheese sandwich to conclusively prove his existence. It makes no logical sense.

          I'm glad that Christianity gives you joy and meaning, but that really doesn't make it less absurd. And I can't pretend that it makes sense. And that goes for all faith.

          "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." -- Stephen F Roberts

    •  When I was about 4 or 5 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, BMScott

      my folks decided to take me to sunday school, to learn about god.  Gave me a pocket bible with red letters and a new suit (which mom, a seamstress, made), and put me and my siblings in a room at one end of the church complex while they went to the service.

      The 'teacher" (babysitter) took her job very seriously, and began, as it were, at the beginning, with the story of Abraham, and how he was told to sacrifice his son b fire, and then at the last minute was told "no, don't light the fire - it was only a test."

      I was astounded and appalled, and asked "and you want me to respect that?  to like a god who would play such horrible tricks?  to follow a god who lies like that?"

      And I walked out, and never went back.

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:25:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My introduction to religion came at (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trumpeter

        about the same age, also via Sunday school.  So far as I can recall 60-some years later, I just found the whole idea of a god ridiculous.  This stuff was obviously fiction; why did these grown-ups seem to take it seriously?

        I was stuck with Sunday school for another ten years or so, in a total of four denominations; they were all pretty inoffensive as these things go (or at least these particular congregations were), but I suspect that having to put up with this pointless waste of a Sunday morning did nothing to increase my tolerance for encroachments of religion into non-religious occasions, to put it mildly.

    •  It just faded away. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      I was born, baptized, raised, and confirmed Roman Catholic.  My parents stated very clearly that "as long as you live under our roof, you will go to church".  I was relatively observant through high school and into college, but finally realized that the only reason I had to go to church at all was the music.

      Hardening that indifference into strict atheism took another decade.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 07:34:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The penguins from K thru 3 beat any chance of (0+ / 0-)

        being religious out of me. Literally. Being a natural lefty, being curious, reading way too fast and too much, (they banned my reading from 7th-8th grade books when I was in 3d grade) and their gross hypocrisy will stay with me forever. It wasn't one or two, it was institutional.  
        These are a few of my favorite things?

        When the nuns bite,
        When the priests fright,
        When they make you sad,
        I simply remember it's a make believe fad,
        their fucked up religion's just mad!

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:00:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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