A Heathens Journey Away From Religion
I, like most Atheists grew up Christian. I was raised Methodist and actively attended church mostly by choice. I will admit as a kid, a lot of times I would have rather watched cartoons then show go to church, but as I got older, I started to take in the good of religion. I was convinced that what I was told was true. I was told that Jesus loves everyone and God made heaven as our eternal palace as reward for accepting Jesus. I felt that this was a wonderful thing and, at the time and age, did not realize that there were people with different opinion. I was always known as one of the people that just wanted to understand as much as possible. I was always on a quest for knowledge. When I was told to read a chapter in a book for school, I would read the entire book. My parents would have me put into classes that would challenge me more so I would not get bored with school. This was not only something directed to school, my quest for knowledge has always been strong in every aspect of my life. So obviously, when it came to church and Sunday school, I wanted to know as much as I could. My preacher made the comment about me asking questions that faith to a person is like a cup. When you are a child your cup is small and easy to fill and when you are an adult the cup gets bigger and is harder to fill. I was simply growing spiritually and wanted to cup to be full. He got me involved in bible study classes and youth groups. Little did he know, the knowledge I was getting was like acid slowly eating away at the bottom of the cup. I had all the questions and they had none of the answers to satisfy me. It all came full circle when I asked why God allowed people in different parts of the world to practice the wrong religion. I was told that we had free choice to do what we want and that they were going to Hell because they rejected the truth. I was baffled that the God that I was told all my life loved everyone the same would send someone to Hell just because they were not taught the same thing I was. I thought God was a just god, a fair god.. Why was he only being fair to me? I felt that I needed to know more and that I had to help people realize the truth. I really started to pay attention to what the preacher was saying in church. I was going to church camp, bible study, youth meet ups, you name it I was doing it. At church camp, I noticed that not everyone was Methodist like I was. We would discuss our church and I noticed that some people had different beliefs then what I had. At this point I began to worry if I was taught wrong. We all followed the same book, the same god, Jesus was our savior, but we all were taught different things when it came to our individual churches. The fear of going to Hell hit me at church camp. The next year in school, I had Biology with a teacher who happened to be the Deccan at the church I went too. He was going to teach us about evolution and creation. The part I need you to understand is that we dealt with the same people at the same church and I was taught about creation. I thought creation and evolution were synonymous. We had to take notes home to our parents that told them that we were going to be taught about evolution. I found this odd but my parents had no problem with this. The next day my teacher started off by telling us that we had a choice to make. He was going to show us the scientific aspects to evolution and it was up to us to decide which one we are to believe. After class I had to talk to him. I asked him which he believed. He did not even think about it, he said evolution is Science and the bible is not. He told me that the bible has nothing scientific in it because when it was written there was no scientific field of study. I asked him if it was wrong about creation. He told me that you have to look at the stories in the bible the same way as one of the parables of Jesus. In other words... allegorical. This is contrary to what I understood at the time. I thought the bible was the absolute word of God. He then recommended that I take part in a bible course that the church was going to offer. He said that it would help me to understand the bible a lot more by focusing on the entire thing rather then select passages in the normal bible study. The course was 18 weeks. During the course, each class would focus on one part of the bible. We would read it and discuss it. I then learned that, in my own church, people each had different views on the bible. My teacher and I both were looking at the bible allegorically while others took it literal. They argued that the story of creation is how it happened. Now this was in the first class... I noticed that there were two stories of creation in the first two chapters of the bible. I also noticed that both of them were completely different. I posed the question to the literal believers which one of them was correct. I was told by one members to let faith decide for me. I decided that each story was just a different way to understand and I ignored the contradiction. To make a long story short, by the time I got passed Leviticus in the bible... I was a full blown Atheist, I just did not want to admit it to myself. The hatred in the Old testament was completely against everything I was taught in my life. Out of the fear of going to Hell I had to find the right religion. I did my own studies into christian sects and other world religions. In each sect or religion, I realized that they ALL hated different things. They were not peaceful. I noticed how many people God had ordered killed. I began looking at the history of religion and noticed that many wars were fought in the name of God. Thou shalt not kill... seemed to be something that God ignored. Around the same time of my religious crisis, one of my friends came out of the closet and admitted to being gay. My first thought was he was going to hell... immediately followed by, “I have known him my whole life and he is a great person.” I knew what the bible said about homosexuality...kill... and then realized that there was a problem here. Many people in our school would talk about how he was going to hell for it. A lot invited him to church but most just were intolerant and made fun of him. They bullied him, threatened him, he even got into a few fights about it. This was my best friend, this was my religion, and one of them was wrong. The first person I went to was my mother. She was quick to answer that he was like a son to her and no matter what he is like she would always love him like a son. She simply had no problem with him being gay and said that my friendship was more important then what an old book said. To sum this story up, the answer was in the bible, and the bible IS wrong. It was not written out in any of the verses of the bible, but it was expressed within all of the inaccuracies, intolerance and contradictions within. The product of a medieval civilization is a medieval solution. We evolve both physically and mentally. I admit I was frustrated and relieved at the same time when I realized this. The answer I came to was so obvious. This was the first time I admitted to anyone, including myself that I did not believe. My mother told me that it was my choice and she supported it. As I mentioned at the beginning of this, I have always been on a quest for knowledge. I have not stopped studying religion. Religion is fascinating, but at the same time, so is Greek mythology, and science and math and astronomy and literature etc... To quote one of my favorite public atheists, Dusty Smith says it best “Knowledge is to faith as light is to darkness.” If you ever have questions, look for the answers and do a little research. The first thing I recommend you do is a little research on is the definition of faith. After this, you will not accept anything on faith alone. If you do, the chances are someone is playing you for a fool and chances are... it is total nonsense.
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