Deconversion stories from The Skeptical Review
I have been receiving The Skeptical Review for the last year. Please continue my subscription. Also send back issues from 1990 through and including Summer 1994. My check is enclosed. If there is an error, I will adjust accordingly.
I was a totally sold-out fundamentalist Christian for the past 15 years. I was not a hypocrite. I totally believed and put into practice the precepts of the Bible. I was honest, never cheated, faithful, forgave my neighbors, prayed unceasingly, attended church several times a week, tithed. I've read at least ten versions of the bible and spent much more time in intense study. I read only Christian books, listened only to Christian music, and spent much time evangelizing.
The problem was that the precepts of the Bible weren't panning out. There were troublesome spots that were hard to ignore, since I spent so much time in the bible. The preaching I heard didn't work in real life. Explanations I heard for the "hard" things in the Bible didn't always sit well, especially the genocide. I did a report in college on the genocide in Cambodia committed by the Khmer Rouge, and it made me sick to realize all the atrocities that occurred. I could see no reason why any humane god would ever allow any such occurrences. Neither could I see a whole lot of difference between the genocides of the 20th century and those of biblical times.
My own life was difficult. I came to Christianity with a lot of hard life behind me. I was sexually abused and raped as a child. I became involved in habitual drug use for ten years, and I became a teenage, unwed mother, among other things. Now I had five children I was trying to raise and rather than helping me to keep my family together, the church always seemed to find ways to take away our time from each other. Added to that, I am manic-depressive, which in fundamentalist eyes is akin to demon oppression, but when I became a Christian, supposedly all these things were done away, and I was now a "new" creature in Christ. In other words, bury it, push it under the rug, it never happened, it isn't happening. I tried to live for Jesus, to be like Jesus, but Jesus was never satisfied, and Jesus never really satisfied.
So one day, as I sat by the railroad tracks, having taken an overdose of drugs, thinking about throwing myself in front of the next train, because after all I was really a demon in need of going back to hell--as I waited for the train, crying out to God, I suddenly realized that he wasn't there. I couldn't depend on him, I couldn't trust him, I couldn't "give it all to Jesus," because there was no one there.
Things have changed since then. I started to think for myself. It was scary at first. Would God send me to hell for daring to question his wisdom? Sometimes I'm still not sure of so many things, but I am sure that the Bible is not the word of any god; it is full of myths and superstitions. Jesus is not the son of god. I tried him; it isn't true. Christianity is not the way of God, if there be a god.
I am thankful for the energies you expend in debunking the myths of the bible and Christianity. Your articles are very well researched and an encouragement to me. Someday I hope I might be able to discuss some of these topics with my Christian friends and family. Right now, they don't know what to make of me (of course, they expect that soon I will be back in the fold, despite my assertions to the contrary), and it makes our relationships difficult.
Fifteen years believing a lie. Pretty sad, isn't it?
If you wish to use my letter, you may do so, but because of its personal nature, please do not use my real name. Thanks.
(Writer's name withheld as requested.)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Normally, I don't publish letters without giving the name and address of the writers. In this case, I think it is understandable why I have respected the privacy of this writer. Those whose letters are published in this column tell me that they receive quite a bit of mail from other readers. If anyone would like to correspond with this letter writer, we will forward all mail sent to our address.
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