I suspect my testimony is much like anyone else here. I was born and raised in the church. I was once a fairly hardcore believer. In my late teens, I was very much into study of bible based end-time events and read many of the popular books on the subject. It may have been around then that i began to notice there were varying beliefs and viewpoints about the topic, even among Christians. Something may have not seemed right to me about that, fellow Christians disagreeing about something. But i didn't completely understand the significance at that time. I also had not yet realized the ridiculousness of following a religion based in Judaism when I'm not Jewish. Growing up, my mother had taken me and my sisters to several different churches at different times, so i had the experience of hearing many different preachers viewpoints. As well as all of the christian authors of the books that i read. It began to dawn on me that that's how it is, different Christians have different opinions and interpretations of things in the bible and that to listen to a preacher meant you were getting his opinion. I may have then began to realize, in my early twenties, that something didn't seem right about that either. Why should i base what i believe on someone else' opinion? My mother began to be very naggy about me going to church. For some reason, she seemed to feel that was the solution to everything. If i would just go to church and sit through some sermon, everything would be ok. But i knew that after so long of going to church and taking so much in, the sermons had began to sound the same. I wasn't hearing anything new. I could probably have got up and preached sermons myself if i had wanted to. I was full of the dogma, and it would have only been regurgitating everything that i had consumed. I started to feel that was what most speakers were doing, just repeating what congregations wanted to hear.
My mother and i began to clash concerning going to church but it didn't seem to last long. She has mostly given up in that area but me and her never really had a big confrontation about me no longer being a christian. I'm fairly sure that she doesn't even realize that I'm not a christian anymore. I went through a time of a little depression, and her idea of help was to keep leaving me christian based self-help books in my room. I asked her to stop doing this, saying something like, i have enough of them already. But the real reason was that i already knew that all the books had the same message. Everything is centered around you being a better christian and "getting right with God". My mother even tried to get me and my sisters to go to counseling, but of course it was some guy at the church. And it was the same deal, any problems were the result of not seeking the lord. I was even rather aggravated when the main question this "counselor" was asking was, "how is your relationship with Christ?" I knew that wasn't the problem, the problem was an overbearing mother and a troubled home life. It was around then i suppose that i began to realize that the religion i had been trying to adhere to was all about comfort. That is why my mother and others cling to it so fiercely. It is a kind of security blanket. It comforts people to believe that they are a special elect people who will bask in eternal paradise when they die, and all unbelievers are poor lost souls who will burn forever. It is a nice feeling to think that anyone who disagrees with you is below you, and Christians relish the idea of trying to "save" people, because this means getting someone else to believe as you do. As it is terrifying to even hint at the idea that what they want to believe might not be true, which spawns a lot of anger towards non-Christians. It is based in fear.
It didn't make sense to me, the way Christians believe that if you don't believe in the christian god or if your even not sure, you go straight to hellfire to suffer for all eternity. That doesn't make sense. This always prompts Christians to go in to "free will" sermon. But it just doesn't seem like there is really any choice involved. But I'm not going to go into all the doctrines that don't make any sense, or into any of the contradictions or misinterpretations in the bible. Anyone who has done any real research already knows. I'm now 33 and call myself an agnostic since i do not believe that Christianity is the one true religion, but that i don't deny the possibility that it, or any other religion might have some truth in it. And i find the values and concepts in many religions to be useful and interesting. But what really infuriates me is when some gung-ho little christian comes along and starts to quote verses to me that i probably know better than they do or trying to give me a sermon that i have probably heard many times, long before they did. The main mistake Christians make is assuming I'm not christian because I'm ignorant of it. The opposite is true. Its because i know so much about it, that i no longer follow it.
I will close by saying that i used to like the saying, "Believe in something, or you will fall for anything." Christians love to go around saying this because it makes it look like anyone who isn't religious or especially not christian, is a fool. I know now that saying is not true at all. It is actually the opposite. It is the religious that are so desperately clinging to their comforting beliefs that they end up being exploited and taken advantage of. That is why i feel a bit of pity, mixed with a slight amusement for Christians now.
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