A few members have expressed an interest in hearing my story, and since I have an interest in hearing other members stories, I'm hoping you will chime
in and share your own stories with us. I realize this is lengthy, but I really did shorten it a lot.
I was raised by my aunt and uncle, because my mother died when I was a baby. My father couldn't handle it on his own, so his sister took the
responsibility on. My aunt and uncle, hereafter referred to as my parents, were politically conservative, and though they were believers in God and
the bible, they were not church goers. So growing up, I had an awareness of the biblical god and Christianity, and my parents had plenty of
discussions about it around me, but they didn't push me into it. They felt that was a decision I would have to make when I was old enough...
By the time I was 21, I had already lived a hard and self destructive life. I grew up in a ghetto, and was filled with hatred, rage, and violence. I
was a drinker, a drug user, a womanizer, and no one you'd want to know personally. My parents were good people, and they did their best, but the
outside influences were more than they could overcome.
To digress a little, I have always been an avid reader from the time I could. I liked ancient history, science and science fiction, genealogy,
metaphysics, paganism, religious history, and even read the bible through as a teen(Not that it helped me at the time). I also read all of Von
Daniken's books as they came out, as well as The Golden Bough, and Drawing Down The Moon. So I'm old.
Some months after I turned 21, I literally looked in the mirror one day, and said, "Enough is enough!". And started trying to straighten myself, and
my life out as best I could. I quit drinking, drugs, et al. and by the time I was 22, I was back to reading the bible through again. During this time,
some things really jumped out at me in scripture, and I had a girlfriend who believed in God, but wasn't pushy about it. So she was easy to talk
Then one winter night, I was reading alone in the book of Matthew, and came upon these verses...
7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee
from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for
I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:
therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Now to the heathen,
those verses will mean little, but those are the verses that prompted me to accept Jesus Christ right then and there, by myself.
For the next 27-28 years, I was a zealous, hardcore, unapologetic, fundamentalist Christian. I read the bible through several times. I studied it word
for word, and sentence for sentence. I used lexicons, concordances, commentaries, and so on. I prayed day and night for understanding, wisdom, and
revelation. I also kept up with biblical archaeology, and the latest finds and critiques of original manuscripts, and early church writings.
I attended church every time the doors were open. I witnessed to many people on the streets, and anywhere else I felt led to do so. I taught and
preached from the pulpit, I served as an elder(deacon) in my church, and was 100% committed to serving God. I have met many in Christian ministries
who shall remain nameless, and have had numerous "prophecies" said over me. I have seen instantaneous healings, and other amazing things come from
prayer, and the laying on of hands.
As an elder, I was privy to things the congregation wasn't. And the longer I was an elder, the more I was privy to. I found myself counseling and
praying for people with problems I didn't think existed among Christians. I knew the churches business, and everyone's dirty laundry that I didn't
want to know, but kept it to myself. I didn't even tell my wife. I could live with peoples problems, because I had had plenty in my own life.
The problems really began with church leadership. Misappropriation of money, lying to the congregation, and non-Christian behavior among the
leadership. Then to find out there were those in leadership who didn't even believe what they were pretending to live topped it off. I began
confronting what I saw head on, and finally wound up leaving, only to find myself in another church with worse problems.
After leaving the church completely, I wasn't going to blame God where humans were obviously responsible. I had my ups and downs, but I never turned
completely away from God. Finally, at one point in my life, I began praying for answers. I prayed vehemently for a very long time for the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the church, Christianity, and God himself. And I never mentioned it to a soul. It seemed fruitless for a
while, but then...
Things I had read many years ago started coming back to me. Things I had glossed over and rationalized as being lies from the Devil came to my
remembrance. I started researching intensely. I continued to pray for truth, and dammit, I was going to find some truth. It was during this time that
I realized the world did not conform to my paradigm. And God didn’t either. I had been living a consensus reality for so long, I didn’t even
realize it. I knew about some of the things we talk about at ATS, but my perspective on them was “inspired” by Christianity.
I looked at all the religions again.
I looked at parallels and timelines between them.
I compared biblical archaeology, mainstream archaeology, and alternative archaeology.
I looked at contradictions in the bible.
I looked at scientific problems with the bible. (The sun standing still, and so on.)
I looked at alternative theories on Christianity, and the bibles origins. I still do.
And so much more. I did my best to be objective in my research, and to give all sides a fair listen and rebuttal. I talked with Christian and
But honestly, I think the final blow to my faith was my understanding of hypnosis, the subconscious, and the collective unconscious, which I do
believe exists in some way or form. I had quit practicing meditation and hypnosis when I got “saved”. But I knew and know from experience what
humans are capable of all on their own. Belief, faith, and prayer are all powerful whether you believe in a god or not. But my own cognitive
dissonance wouldn’t let me connect the dots for many years.
Add to that, the other evidence that I felt weighed heavily against my faith, and I made a decision to walk away and never look back. However, it
wasn’t quite that easy. It took a lot of work to deprogram myself, and the way of thinking I had become accustomed to. I had doubts and fears in
both directions for a long time. As I said in a post recently, I would never want to fight that inner battle again. There’s a lot more I could say,
but I’ll leave it there for the TLDR crowd.
Questions are welcome, as long as this thread remains civil, unlike a previous question and answer thread I tried to do that was a total fail. I would
really like to hear other members stories, similar to mine or not. So I encourage you to share your own experiences and opinions.
edit on 6/27/2012 by Klassified because: Formatting