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I Am an Ex Christian

Posted by libhom Tuesday, January 05, 2010

You might not know it reading this blog, but I was a Christian once. The fact that I'm an ex Christian is amusing to me, because ex Christians do exist, while the more publicized "ex gays" certainly do not. For instance, the founders of the most famous "ex gay" ministry, Exodus, fell in love, left the ministry, and had a same sex commitment ceremony. The people who run Exodus now certainly have no shame, given their organization's history.

That's why the site ExChristian.Net certainly got my attention when I first found it. I think it's great that there is an online community for people who have liberated themselves from that religion. There's one disagreement I have with them over definitions. Some people there say they are "spiritual but not religious."

I've never bought into the notion that there is any kind of spirituality that isn't religious. After all, the belief in spirits, souls, or whatever you want to call them (Scientologists call them Thetans or something like that), is a religious belief. It is entirely faith based, and it contradicts all tangible evidence we have.

But, aside from that, I generally agree with what is there, especially the blog postings. Anyway, I thought I would witness how the truth set me from Christianity.

When I was a child, I really wanted to believe in God. My parents weren't that much of church attenders, but when I wanted to go, they agreed to go with me to a mainstream Protestant church (A Baptist church would have been out of the question because Baptists had alienated one of my parents during that person's childhood by saying anyone who wasn't a Baptist will go to Hell.)

I also went to Sunday School. I was so eager to believe that I wanted to understand everything I could about Christianity. Oops!

One of the biggest questions I had was why, if God wanted us to believe in him or her, did God make him or herself completely hidden. We should be able to see God, hear God, etc. All of the answers from my poor Sunday School teachers were easily taken apart by the reasoning abilities of a small child, and they always ended up with excuses like "God works in strange and mysterious ways." Ugh.

There were other difficulties with the Bible. The story of Noah's Arch was doubly problematic. First, how would God fit all those animals onto a boat? Why didn't the boat sink? When I learned about the existence of freshwater fish, the story became even more difficult to swallow.

The other dilemma was more important, since it was a moral one. According to Christianity, an all knowing, loving, wise, and powerful God killed everyone on Earth except for one family. When you add in the notion that people are God's children made in his/her image, that becomes even more reprehensible. Later in life, I realized that the story of Noah's Ark creates the psychological underpinnings for accepting genocide as OK, but that was much later.

This process ended by the time I was eight or nine, I had figured out that there was no possibility that Christianity could be true. I was an agnostic, because I didn't know enough about other religions or the phenomenon of religion in general to generalize more broadly. It wasn't until I had studied some Anthropology in college that I understood the social, cultural, and psychological origins of religion and could say with confidence that all religions are myths. I became, and still am, an atheist.

Since then, I have heard other arguments that have reinforced my atheism. You have to have blinders on to think that this world was created by a wise, loving god. Genocide, war, murder, rape, and child molesting priests all are examples of how crazy it is to think that the world originates and is controlled by a benevolent deity. Many Jews have become atheists because of the Holocaust. In reality, Christians, Muslims, and people of many other faiths should realize that their beliefs also are invalidated by the Holocaust and other atrocities.

Do you want to blame it on...who could it possibly be...I don't know....Saaaaaataaaaaaaaaan!?!? There's one obvious problem with this. Christianity says that it's perfect god created Satan. Oops!

Many atheists point out the many contradictions in the Christian Bible to bolster their arguments. I suspect most people don't catch the inconsistencies because they are having so much trouble keeping awake while reading that book. Greek and Norse myths may be just as superstitious as Christian ones, but at least they have some entertaining stories to tell.

Something that really bothers me as an adult about Christianity is that that religion's god supposedly killed his own son for our sins. WTF? That makes no logical sense and makes the Christian deity sound batshit crazy. I know it is supposed to sound noble and make us grateful, but if you look at it with a mind cleared of religious brainwashing, it's nuts. Why would an all wise and all knowing deity make us as the flawed creatures we are, and then have a son so that son could be killed slowly and painfully so that we would be "saved from our sins"? Was does "saved from our sins" actually mean, anyway? No one has given a definition of that any clearer than the definition of "victory" used by supporters of the war without end in Iraq.

Anyway, I definitely am an ex Christian. I know I never can or want to be an "ex gay."

 

7 comments

  1. Oso Says:
  2. I'm Christian but have little in common with much of what passes for organized religion.I go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve and that's it.

    I have faith, I believe in Him. When it comes to the Bible, stories from it, Jonah and the Whale,etc I guess I just don't give it much thought.

    If I were Muslim, seeing the Koran as the direct word of God would cause me to give a different answer.

    So much slaughter, inhumanity, intolerance. Genocide. Either in the name of God or by alleged believers in Him. Why He permits it? I don't know. The Free Will deal is hard to accept. I just don't know.

    Not trying to rebut anything you said, just responding man.

     
  3. vilges suola Says:
  4. You sorted this out earlier than I did. I remember irritating a Sunday school teacher at the age of about nine by pointing out that at so many cubits in length, Noah's Ark was way too small to accommodate two of every species on the planet. A cubit was about one foot six,and... 'A cubit is much more than that!' he snapped. Later at fourteen or so I listened to a sermon in which some vicar said he 'pitied' anyone who was homosexual. I asked those around me why he should feel such pity, and was told that the bible said it was wrong to be homo. That was another nail in the coffin of belief. Despite having serious objections to Xtianity from an early age, I didn't shake it off completely until I was about 19.

    I was not brought up in a devout home or surrounded by believers - I chose to believe, and then chose not to. At least there was no coercion for me either way.

     
  5. C Woods Says:
  6. I enjoyed this post. I am an ex-Christian, too. I started doubting when I was about 12 for similar reasons as you.

    A study of atheists in America showed that reading the Bible is the number one reason why Christians start to doubt and eventually become atheists. I always wonder how ministers can remain Christian after reading/studying that drivel for years.

    One of my youthful questions was, if god wanted to forgive our sins, why did he have to kill his own son to do that? Why couldn't an all-powerful god just forgive our sins and be done with it? That question has still not been answered to my satisfaction in the intervening 50+ years ---probably because there is no answer.

     
  7. Stimpson Says:
  8. Daniel Dennett, a philosopher of science you may have heard of, has attempted to explain the concept of "soul" in non-religious terms. Maybe you could look it into it and see if you could understand it well. I know I couldn't.

    C Woods says reading the Bible is a major factor behind people leaving Xtianity. I imagine so, as surely the sickening tales of supposedly righteous slaughter, rape and pillaging should make any Xtian or Jew re-consider her or his faith.

     
  9. Lew Scannon Says:
  10. Even though I was raised in a Christian church (Episcopalian, to be exact) I never embraced the religion at all. Does that make me an ex-Christian? Or a never was?

     
  11. libhom Says:
  12. Oso: I'm glad you can exress your believes in a non controlling way.

    vilges suola: I pity that silly vicar.

    C Woods: That study about atheists is fascinating.

    Stimpson: Daniel Dennett's definition of "soul" seems to be so different it probably shouldn't be given the same word as the religious concept of soul, from what I've been able to Google just now. I think it just confuses issues.

    Lew: I sounds like you have been liberated from Christianity your entire life. As for the "ex Christian" part, I think that is more of a semantic question than anything else.

     
  13. Christopher Says:
  14. I grew up Catholic. I went to Catechism classes when my parents could corral me long enough to drag me to one of them.

    I was a pain-in-the-ass sort of kid and I suspect the nuns, who were very kind and loving women, used to roll their eyes in frustration when they saw me walk through the door.

    Questions and answers. They went something like this:

    "Sister Mary Catherine, if God is an all loving God, why did he allow 6 million Jews to be slaughtered by the Nazis? Did he hate the Jews? Was he out of town or asleep or playing golf?"

    "Christopher, God has a plan."

    "But, Sister Mary Catherine, what if the Jews didn't want to be part of his "plan?"

    "Christopher, God has a special place in heaven for those who suffer."

    This circuitous logic would go on and on and on until Sister Mary Catherine would throw her hands up and tell me to meet with Father John who would field my questions.

    Remember, this was at the point when the Catholic church alleged dogs have no soul. When they die, they just die -- like a plant and as a lifelong dog-lover, this made me very upset and angry.

    I would ask the hapless nuns, how a loving, lovely, animal like my family dog doesn't have a soul but a monster like Hitler has a soul?

    Anyway, it was a terrible fit. Me and the Catholic church, that is.

     

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