Our first story this week, comes from Mark. Follow him on Twitter here.
I was taken to church as a child, every sunday up until my dad left. After that, my mother stopped taking us there because she didn’t want to force religion on me and my older sister. By the way, about 5 years ago she came out as lesbian, and is married to my stepmom. When I started high school, I had an english teacher who taught all about different religions during a unit, which got me interested. I was on the edge of being Christian or atheist at this point. I went home and studied different religions and read the Bible over a few months maybe a year. It’s funny because the point at which I became atheist is after I read solely Genesis. Sad to think that at 13 I was more intelligent than most people in this regard. I continued in my reading and became more and more anti-theist because of the horrible and insanely unbelievable stories in the Bible. Now, I don’t hate religious people, I just don’t support genocide, infanticide, racism, slavery, impossible feats of physics, discrimination based on sexuality, sexism, rape to marry, the sin of pride, debate, along with many other sins. (I do hate radicals though). So yeah, I basically saw all the things people who teach kids to be Christian kept behind closed doors, and became a hardcore atheist.
The next story is from Josh:
I’ve read a multitude of deconversion stories, and they all have a striking similarity. The majority it seems like, find there is no God when they actually look for their God. Though there are striking similarities, each still has a kind of uniqueness to it. When I was a child it was all so simple. Santa brought me presents, God kept me safe from the boogeyman under my bed and my parents tried their best to assure me that the boogeyman wasn’t real. But I wasn’t convinced, because if God was real. The boogeyman didn’t sound so far fetched. My parents believed in the Christian God but could care less. He was just an easy answer for why things were the way they were. Needless to say my household was rather secular. I remember Saturday nights my dad would knock back a few beers and crank the stereo, blasting Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden’s “Number of The Beast”. I miss those days, I really do. When I was 7 years old my dad bought me a science kit, I remember looking down into the microscope and seeing what my eyes could not. The kit only came with a few things to ponder at under the microscope, so I started to expand. I would take dirt from outside and see what I could find, I would examine the pollen from flowers and the contaminated particles in water. My mother really threw a fit when she went to brush her teeth and all of the tooth brushes were covered in dirt. “Joshua! Get in here right now!” She screamedI knew I was in trouble.“Why are all of the tooth brushes covered in dirt?”I told her I was looking for dinosaur fossils outside. As I grew older my self esteem started to rapidly decline as I gained weight. The other kids weren’t really as interested as I was in finding “cool” rocks. I decided to give up my curiosity and began trying to make friends by taking interest in what everyone else was interested in. One day one of my new friends invited me to his church with his family. I had almost forgotten about the God I was told about a few years back. When Sunday came I jumped out of bed and him and his parents picked me up and we went to church. I picked up the scripture and message of the Bible rather quickly. I felt as if the people of the church really cared about me. They didn’t want to see my soul burn in an eternal lake of fire. They cared so much about me that they let me know if a man named Jesus, that would forgive me for anything I did or will do. He died just for me, how amazing I thought.I went to church every Sunday and each time, begged my parents to come with me.
Eventually, they gave in and went to church with me.I told them about all the important scriptures, all the great things God has done for us. I was only 12 years old and my own parents, full grown adults even listened to what I had to say! What a powerful God, people were actually listening to what I had to say. At 16 I started taking an interest in politics, I started watching Fox News, all the adults at church were watching it and I wanted to be smart. Just like them. I took particular interest in Glenn Beck, because he seemed to care so much about the role of God in our “Great” nation. So what did I do?I introduced the Glenn Beck program to my parents (Please forgive me). My household became a Patriotic house of the lord. The only words spoken were that of our Great Lord and savior or the troublesome times our nation is facing. The “homosexual agenda” the rise of atheism, the rise of the “heathens” in “Gods Country”.My brother on the other hand saw something different, he always questioned everything we stood for. Why is it wrong to be gay? How do you know there is a god? How is the story of Noah possible?I argued with him consistently, “You have no faith! You are blinded by the devil!”. A few years went by and my faith in God Became diluted and a little more moderate. However, I still stood firm on the bibles many miracles. I became sick (Behcets Disease) and turned once more to God, praying night and day to rid me of these painful ulcers. There was no reply. I went into remission and thanked the lord, he hadn’t spoke to me directly but obviously my remission was due to his divine works through prayer. But, something strange happened. I went into a depression and took my anti depressant medication Zoloft once more. The ulcers came back!Worse than ever before and I was hospitalized. I discovered it was a reaction to the medication I was taking. So, it wasn’t God that healed me? I thought. I began to wonder, had I prayed or not the fact that I stopped taking the medication put me into remission. So what other miracles have I attributed to my God, that had a completely rational explanation? All of them!!! It was than I decided it was time to find my God. I spent hours researching the Bible, completely dissecting it. Nothing was adding up, how did I not see this before? My mind had opened up. I visited my brother, a devout Pastafarian (peace be upon him). I asked him at random“If my God isn’t real than how are we here. What created the universe?”. I watched a few documentaries about the universe and read literature on evolution. I still couldn’t get the idea of hell out of my head, I was being “tempted” by Satan. There was just one problem, what if I’m wrong? Out of all the gods what if I’m worshipping the wrong one? Which hell would I go to? I started researching various religions thinking I would find the right one. But none of them made sense, all were extremely riddled with contradiction. Not only that but my morality was dictated by a book filled with these contradictions. So I began to question my morality.Why is homosexuality bad? Because the bible says so. Why was Fox News my only source of information? Because they had “God” on their side.It hit me and it hit me hard, I was a bigoted, racist, sexist, lunatic. I became extremely angry at myself for being so duped. I did not want to be this kind of person. All of those things are just plain out WRONG. Why was I mad at myself? My parents didn’t bring me to church.I brought them to church.My parents didn’t show me Christian conservative ideology.I showed them christian conservative ideology. They found the news to be boring, and I used my best biggest smile to get them to watch it with me.Thanks to myself, I am now viewed by my family as a satanic, communist, socialist, progressive, liberal brainwashed heathen.I created a monster, and now all I can do is sit back and watch. I am back where I was at the age of 7, curious of life’s many mysteries. Seeking the answers through observation, and hungry for broad knowledge. If you truly love your God’s, you will search for him or her or them. It is at the time you seek the hardest, that you will find nothing but an old book with clues pointing in a non existent direction. Looking any further instead of just accepting that reality can and will drive you into madness. From Christian conservative to progressive liberal.I am officially delighted to say that there is no God.