Hello everyone :)
I'm Krystin and I'm new around here. Perhaps I should tell you a little about myself? I was raised a Christian. My mother's side of the family is extremely religious. She would drag my sister and I to church every Sunday. In protest or maybe just because of a complete disinterest in everything the preacher was saying, we would sit and laugh our tiny butts off to the hymn "Amen" (a repeat of the word a hundreds of times was just too funny to a 5 and 6 year old.) Sadly, that is probably the most prominent memory I have of church and the things I was supposed to be learning about our apparently "All-mighty" creator. There are some other memories peppered in my head of the things my mother would say to me about God and the Bible ("God says not to cross yolks. This means you can only date the same race as you,") or the questions I would ask. Mostly, I remember never taking it seriously. Even as a child I remember thinking the stories were too fantastical, like something from a fairy tale. I never really believed it, I never felt that "connection to God" my mother was always raving about. She told me to become born-again and I would forever have a place in the Kingdom of God; that I would be accepting Jesus into my heart and it would change my life. It didn't.
When I was 15, my father came out as a homosexual. My parents had been married for nearly twenty years at this point. I'll never really know why, it could be because she was mad or because she truly believes it (she denies ever saying this now), but after this life-altering revelation my mother told me it was too bad that I would never see my father in Heaven. I asked why, she said because God sent gay people to Hell. I cried myself to sleep that night and for a few nights after. I was astonished. My whole life, (though I'd never really taken it too seriously,) it was drilled into my head that this God was a loving, welcoming father to all his Earthly children. Why then would the All-mighty send my amazing, funny, wonderful father to eternal damnation for the way God had created him in the first place? I struggled with this for a while, attempting to find "loopholes" or alternate explanations to these Bible verses and statements on homosexuality. I eventually became agnostic. I couldn't believe the horrible things in the Bible, it was mean, full of contradictions and unbelievable. But I also had been brought up to believe in a God of some kind. Perhaps there was one and he was just nicer than the Bible version?
Then, three years ago my sister came out as a lesbian. My mother had to reconcile this with her strongly held Christian beliefs. She soon decided that maybe God dying for our sins meant that the Old Testament didn't apply any longer. Oh, so her daughter wasn't going to Hell! But, that didn't stop her from also telling my sister that marriage should rightfully be between a man and a woman only because that's the Bible's definition of such a union. Baby-steps I suppose? I however still found it completely ridiculous that one could simply find a new way of looking at the word of God when it suited their personal needs. And so my search continued. Over the last few weeks I have gotten to know the works of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins and they have, for lack of a less cliche phrase, completely changed my life.
Certain family members have stopped talking to me. Most I couldn't care less about, one I feel sad to see her shun me simply because I no longer believe in her God. But mostly, I find that now knowing what I know, having my eyes opened to what I have learned, I could never go back to those beliefs, to that way of living and believing in something I now see as supernaturalism, fairy tales and the source of the majority of hate and cruelty in the world.
I like being free from the ties which religions binds with, (though I agree with Sam Harris that putting an "atheist" label on not believing in something is a tad redundant.) I hope to talk to, befriend and learn from everyone here.
Sorry my post was so long :)
Hey Krystin! Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your story. I'm really sorry to hear about the reaction of certain family members. But welcome to reality all the same! Congrats on having the courage to admit to yourself what the evidence (or lack of evidence) says is true rather than what you were raised to believe or would simply like to think is true, what would make you feel better!
I am new here too. I read your post. It sounds like you have been through a lot. Funny how something like Christianity that gets the reputation as being warm and fuzzy can cause so much pain in your life. I have also come out of Christianity, about a year ago, and am so relieved. I have also been reading those authors, and it is amazing isn't it? What I believed without even questioning it. So, friend me if you like, and we can chat anytime. I find it helpful to talk with people who were formerly in the Christian world. There is a lot of healing to do I guess. Have a great day! Kim
Yeah fundies are often very cruel not only to other people who they don't know but even to their own families. Take the Mormons for example they have this love family ... family is everything image showing them sitting around singing in a circle while dad plays guitar and little Susan plays the piano smiling but boy if you step out of line of LDS rules you have a good chance of being cast out by your family like trash or harrased to the point of insanity by agents of the church.
So true, Kim - how these amazing rational minds can open our eyes. It was like a kick in the gut, thinking how could I really have believed all of those ridiculous stories just based off of what my grandparents and my mother told me my whole life. It's scray that some hold their beliefs so deeply that not even reading those authors, hearing the evidence, will ever change their minds. Now that I'm older, it's clear why my father always claimed to have strep throat whenever Sundays or Christmas rolled around ;) Friend request sent. I am glad to have someone to talk to!
Thank you for sharing your story. It's always sucks to hear that family members have decided a book and a magic wizard in the sky whom seems to be really good at ignoring them is more important then a flesh and blood family member. It's sicking to be honest and anyone should be able to take a step back and ask themselves about the fact that in the bible Jesus demands that you love him more then your parents or even your own kids and say... really? Is that what I really believe? Everytime I hear the popular phrases "Jesus Loves You" or "God Loves Everyone" I just stop and say to myself and sometimes to others really? Have you been reading the same book?
I asked my mother once if God commanded her if she would kill me to prove her devotion. She wouldn't answer, which leads me to believe that she probably would. My mother would literally murder me. And yet I am now the "black sheep" of the family, not to be invited to family get togethers. I'm the bitch for not believing in magic.
Yes surely your soul has been touched by the dark lord Satan himself... I've gathered from many of the people who really believe that we all are devil worshipers ... the fact that we say we don't believe in any of that garabage is soo hard for them to understand that they assume we have something else that we worship to fill this void that they assume anyone would have without god. A part of my family isn't really that into the whole god thing and then we have a part that is all crazy about it... I normally just mess with them about it when they start on one of their crusades about god. I had a few convinced that I was a Buddhist for a while that was fun.